I think torture has always been with us; there are signs dating well back into prehistory, and there have been books written, for example, about the Assyrian murals and what they depict. The Central American ball-games weren't innocent either of course. I think it was Lorenz who postulated that humans have gone awry with the development of tools that allow killing at a distance, in spite of deflection behavior, but torture is otherwise than this; it is intimate; the other's body is not only in reach, but is _reached._ I think all of this is tangled with our primate behaviour as ravaging generalists who began with limited food supplies and over-the-top group solidarity, but I really don't know; I do think there are far too many who take pleasure in torturing.

I do want to add there is other pain and suffering to consider - I'm thinking of cancer, of the abandonment of the elderly, even of the wildly different accounting for tragedy between, say, the eternal technophilic optimism of Wired, and the constant reminders of world-wide extinctions, local warfares, etc. etc. For me the accompanying images, sound-bites, and videos of slaughter are intolerable, inconceivable; Azure filters them for me, because they reduce me to catatonia. The suffering of the world is overwhelming, in spite of the promise of a bright and glorious future, etc. I don't know how to accommodate all of this, how to think of it or through it. My work deals with the unthinkingness or abandonment of the world, in other words - and it's something Sandy and I considered in the pain text (which we'll send out in a day or so - would rather the discussion continue online for now without more reading from us!).

Thanks, Alan
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