Johnathan writes

> Lee Corbin wrote:
> > When I was in high school, I read that dentists were considering
> > use of a new anesthetic with this property. I was revolted, and
> > even more revolted when none of my friends could see anything
> > wrong with it.
> > 
> > Experiences are real, whether you remember them or not.
> It's interesting how different people react to things.  I've actually 
> been through this (see previous post); it's not theoretical for me.  And 
> I would do it again, and wish my dentist could use this technique.

I thought that you said that the pain wasn't all that terrible.
Moreover---and this is key---were there or were there not better
anesthetics available?

> (Of course, in my case, is was for a semi-surgical procedure that I 
> could probably have withstood with conscious sedation; I don't think I'd 
> choose this for open heart surgery!)
> Here is a case where I voluntarily chose to undergo a mildly painful 
> experience with the foreknowledge that I would have no recall of it.  I 
> am none the worse for it.  Did I "experience" pain?  Yes, so I am told. 
>   Was that experience real?  Sure.  Can I relive that experience in my 
> memory?  Not a chance.  And that's how I wanted it.  What is so 
> revolting about it?
> What's behind the strong emotion here?  (You seem to have had a similar 
> reaction to the events depicted in Brin's "Kiln People.")

The strong emotion is the mistaken idea that can come to people
that there is a free lunch here: namely, that anything goes so
long as it's not remembered. Where will this stop?  Can we at
once begin the horrific and gruesome experiments in the penal
institutions?  (After all, I am sure that a number of scientists
are truly interested in pain, and so if we conveniently remove
the moral element here---since the inmates don't remember the
pain it doesn't count---they can go for broke.)

So would it be worth it to you to be awakened every night at 3am
and hideously tortured for an hour provided (1) you never remember
it the next day (2) there is no adverse ill effect (say, lack of
sleep), and (3) you are very well paid for it, say $1000 per day?

If anyone wants to go for that, what then if subjectively the 
hour of torture is made to be a century?  So that during each
nightly century you realize over the decades and decades that
the fool that you are during the day has made and is making a
gross mistake. For you come to realize after the first few
years of some particular night that your real life is a life
of total pain and agony; that the mere days which interrupt
the centuries (the days that your day self can remember) are
relatively meaningless interludes, as nothing compared to
each night's torment.

Or, on the other hand, since by the next morning you don't
remember it, what difference did it make????


Reply via email to