Saturday, 23 August 2014

Standard Technology

How standard technology comes about

Some problem arises, a difficulty presents itself. In order to solve this problem a solution is thought up. If the solution is found to be workable (or at least have some degree of workability), it then becomes the established way of solving the problem. Until someone comes up with a better way, this then is 'The Solution' for the problem. The standard way of getting things done. The standard technology.

A verdict is read over a loudspeaker by a cleric: 'death for committing adultery'. A truck arrives and dumps a pile of rocks. Someone clad from head to toe in black, is brought over and buried to waist-height in the ground. Locals gathered at the scene, carry out the sentence. The victim, after the stoning, is now deceased. Strict shariah law has been imposed. Another public execution has occurred in the Middle East. An outraged President Obama yells: 'How dare they perform capital punishment with rocks, and not with lethal injection or the electric chair, like we civilized Americans', and orders his generals to launch air strikes.

What has occurred?

The problem they were attempting to solve in the Middle East is the prevention of adultery. The solution they have come up with: deter the practice, by stoning to death those who do it. This is their standard technology for dealing with the problem. Is it barbaric?

In the USA they attempt to solve criminality using capital punishment. This is the solution they have come up with. And use their preferred method of execution. Their standard technology for dealing with the problem they have. Is it barbaric? Is it humane? Does it matter, as long as it works? Does it work? Is the United States of America a crime free nation?

Other aspects to consider

Even though something has some degree of workability it can become hijacked (stuck; prevented from being improved upon) by other elements. What if in the case of the stoning, the deterring factor of adultery was really not the primary reason that it takes place? What if the whole spectacle of such an event provided an outlet for sadistic impulses?

There are some people who apparently receive gratification from inflicting pain on others. These would be the first on the scene when word got around that a stoning was to take place. Those who would be 'chomping at the bit' and full of anticipation for what they would perceive as a 'wonderful opportunity'  a 'joyous occasion' to cause pain to some unfortunate individual who was unable to defend themselves.

And this can equally apply in cases of capital punishment in the US. There exists a personality trait, a sadist's sub-group, called an enforcing sadist:

"Enforcing sadists can be found among military sergeants, teachers, deans of universities, physicians, prison overseers, police officers or other authoritative functions because they are in a position where they feel they should be the ones controlling and punishing people who have broken rules, regulations, or laws. Though they believe themselves to act in the common interest, they have deeper motives: these sadists generally seek rule-breakers in their domain of authority--or in society in general--and exercise the most severe punishments. Enforcing sadists who are police or prison staff are rarely perceived to be unjust and therefore have great freedom to dominate, victimize, or destroy others at will. Their personalities cannot appropriately respond to the emotions that drive their sadistically vicious behaviors. As these sadists dominate and punish others, so increases satisfaction and power they feel, reinforcing their self-perception of righteousness and increasing their ego. This intoxication can unleash their behavior and blind them to reality, usually without attracting any negative attention because they act within their legal authority to exert power and normally behave in everyday situations." (Wikipedia)

It gives one an insight into the attraction certain people have to particular professions. These positions furnish them with an opportunity to dramatize. To unleash normally hidden aspects of their personality. Whether they indeed, purposely seek out these jobs just so they're able to let loose. Unrestrain themselves and give free-reign to whatever bottled-up sadistic impulses they may have festering inside.

This is not to say that everyone in these professions have such impulses. There are no doubt many decent human beings in these jobs also.


Image Credit: Microsoft

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