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Can Boredom Be Torture?

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What is isolation, solitary contentment, prison, the silent treatment; is it torture?What is something you never want to do again? Now think of staying in a room with nothing in it (not including water, food, a bed etc..,) for one twenty-four hour day. If you had to experience one of these things what would you want to do? ¨ Locked in the room. That actually doesn’t sound as bad as you think it does,¨ said someone I surveyed. Whether getting sick, breaking a bone, or waiting in the DMV, more than seventy-five percent of everyone I surveyed wanted to be locked in a room. People underestimate the effect of isolation and do not realise that it can be torture.

In the United States, cruel and unusual punishments (or torture) is not permitted. Solitary Confinement, or complete isolation from anyone and anything, can be very harmful and may ruin the victim´s According to this link, only fifteen days in solitary confinement will lead to permanent brain damage. People need stimulus, or something to entertain themselves, for their brain to function properly. In this article, I will discuss the effects of boredom and what can happen as a cause of this.

Allow me to explain the first hand knowledge on solitary confinement. “You’re left in here with your thoughts … that’s it,” said a former inmate named William Brown. This inmate knows guys that have stayed in this room for years, “Mentally, it scars them for life” said William, “This is almost a coffin.” A youtuber with a channel called Vsauce decided to be in a room like the one in the would you rather question in the first paragraph for three days. Michael Stevens, or Vsauce, experienced many side effects such as hallucination and a loss of sense of time and reality. For example, Michael thought there were six water bottles when their were really nine, saw different colors at different times of the day, and thought he had about five hours longer in this room when there was really thirty-two.

“We, as people, are social animals. ¨We need stimulus. Taking that away would be like taking away a dog’s ability to smell,” said Doctor Coleman. Science shows people prefer pain over boredom. A human subject named Jamison was in a room for thirty minutes with a toy that he knew would shock him and he pressed it twice. Even if it is negative, your brain would rather stimulus than no stimulus. The reason that people overestimate their tolerance for isolation is that they think that they can get used to it as they can with pain, but people do not know that over time, isolation gets less and less tolerable. The side-effects of social isolation can be hallucination, paranorma (seeing ghosts,) and the loss of the sense of time, which will lead to the loss of the sense of reality.

In isolation, your brain has no stimulus, so it thinks of crazy thoughts and makes your body believe them only for stimulus. One reason people might overestimate their tolerance for social isolation is that what people imagine is different from reality and people underestimate the need for social interaction. The longer someone is in social isolation, the more crazy that person will go. In social isolation, stimulus like toys or puzzles helps people tolerate it and stop the side effects. With new technology like smart phones, people are much less patient and social isolation is less tolerable. Some permanent effects of solitary confinement include a change in brain connection, a decrease in tissue that makes people live longer, and brain growth may shrink. In solitary confinement and social isolation, people are stuck with themselves and no one else, so they may be devastated when they figure out their deepest and most painful secrets. People who meditate or do other mindful things and may be more aware of their hidden emotion, and would probably have a higher tolerance in social isolation. If not voluntary, social isolation and solitary confinement is a lot less tolerable.

In the United States, cruel and unusual punishments are illegal. Many people think solitary confinement falls under this category. Solitary confinement is unimaginably cruel considering that there is emotional and physical pain, hallucination, paranorma, no sense of time or reality, confusion, and permanent damage after only fifteen days. This punishment is an unusual punishment considering that it is not what most people think of when they think of torture, that it is so underestimated, and that it can cause those fifteen days in solitary confinement to effect the next fifteen-thousand, or maybe more, days of a person’s life.

As a kid, Michael Stevens liked the feeling of independence and liked the phrase, “He who travels the fastest travels alone”-Rudyard Kipling. After his seventy-two hours in social isolation, Michael appreciates the full expression more: “It may be true that he who travels the fastest travels alone, but he who travels farthest travels with others,”-Vsauce.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq Kdhx-dD4&t=140s
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/donald-o-hebb-effects-extreme-isolation

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Can Boredom Be Torture?”

  1. Payton on September 12th, 2018 1:24 pm

    I didn’t know it was that bad. I feel that if I was put in that situation, I would just sit there and do nothing. But I didn’t know that so thanks for teaching me!

  2. Bella Dominick on September 21st, 2018 12:15 pm

    This article was interesting, but I feel like calling the article, “Can Boredom be Torture?” strays from the point of the story. Boredom, as it’s usually perceived, is what the majority of people say when they are simply not being entertained. Comparing boredom to solitary confinement seems like an oversight.

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