Sunday, January 29, 2012

Humans are defined by torture

What makes humans different from other animals?

We like to pride ourselves on our superior intelligence. I think, therefore I am. Nice try but I think I may have discovered what truly makes us different and the picture isn't very pretty.

We are the animal that tortures. We torture in many different ways. It's not just waterboarding, electric shock, blow torches and on and on and on.

We have what we call the criminal justice system where we lock people up for years and years, sometimes for life.

We multiply laws so that we have more opportunities to torture people, always for their own good and ours.

Other animals will kill, almost always in self defense, to win a mate or, most commonly, to have something to eat. But we humans have come up with many more reasons to not just kill but to torture. You hear phrases such as, "Killing is too good for them."

We excuse the torture we do, saying we do it for a higher purpose. We want to protect "society," save souls, promote moral behavior, balance the scales of justice, etc.

And not only do we do this, we use the criminal justice system to do the dirty work we are afraid to do ourselves and with good reason. We want to wash our hands of the dirty work because we don't want to find ourselves subject to the criminal justic system.

The religions of the world are partners in torture. Good people go to Heaven. Bad people are torutured forever in Hell. And let's not forget the days of the numerous inqusitions when the Church actively tortured people for their own good to save their "immortal souls." Did you know waterboarding was one of the prime tortures used during the inquisitions?

Yes, humans are profoundly different from other animals but often not in ways there is anything to be proud about.