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House of Rage

keeping those twisted impulses off the streets
  (+4, -13)(+4, -13)
(+4, -13)
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Just what every town needs; a place to go when you absolutely, positively need to rape, murder or maim something. With the perpetual research that goes into cloning, what could be simpler than to mass produce humans (don't worry, we'll remove all the parts of their brains that deal with higher functions) for the sole means of being interacted with in inhumane ways? Maybe you aren't experiencing blind rage; perhaps its that particularly irritating supervisor. Again, not a problem; just borrow a few strands of hair and bring them to the House of Rage, and for a slightly higher fee you can have the experience personalised. Indeed, once gengineering leaves its current stage of infancy, it'll be the easiest thing in the world to start producing humans that absolutely LOVE being dismembered and pillaged!

I know that this idea is ethically unspeakable, and certainly not for the faint hearted; but the pragmatics will speak for themselves.

Zhade, Aug 26 2001


       Baked: Prison officers, especially in the States.
Hans, Aug 26 2001

       Baked: Al Capp's Shmoos. No cloning necessary.
The Military, Aug 26 2001

       Sorry, sweety; but no higher functioning/pain receptors = no victims... Would you call a rock a victim if I smashed it with a hammer?
Zhade, Aug 26 2001

       Then draw a caricature on a rock and smash the rock with a hammer - I recommend safety glasses.
You may wish to cut some wood with an axe or a hatchet - It gets yer ya-yas out all the while pretending it is whoever, and then personally open the gates of hell and toss them into the fireplace and watch it burn baby burn.
thumbwax, Aug 26 2001

       Cannot dig it.   

       This is a band-aid that treats the symptoms, not the problem. The underlying premise is that rage should be allowed to work itself out through violence, improper sexual urges through the same, and, in general, abhorrent behavior through "acting out". The real issue is treating the causes of these urges, not providing an avenue for them to be realized. I would hazard to guess that the house of rage would only intesify desires and make people MORE violent, not less.
iuvare, Aug 27 2001

       iuvare: unfortunately, the problem is far more difficult to treat. So far, no society of government has been able to create a law system that completely eliminates immoral activities which are a major cause of the problem.   

       I think animatronics would be more ethical. While things have not become thisrealistic yet,avenues by which one can vent (or "act out") their agression are already plentiful. Video games are meant primarily for this, some allow you to put real people's faces on the characters. And, as thumbwx said, chopping wood and other industious, but destructive activities are a great outlet.
nick_n_uit, Aug 27 2001

       juvare, I couldn't agree with you more, but as nick_n_uit has lucidly pointed out, there are very few solutions to the actual syndrome causing such urges. I'm not proposing the House of Rage as a cure for anything, and I totally agree that it might make violence more acceptable, but as long as it does this in a controlled setting with ~no victims~ there really cannot be any downside. I think (and this may be totally wrong) that the reason people will not accept this idea is a fallacious empathy with my meat puppets. You see a woman-shaped piece of flesh being raped and tortured by a group of bikers, and you immediately assume that she's experiencing discomfort. And will someone ~please~ tell me what Buddha has to do with this discussion? Oh, and incidentally (and again I'm only speaking for myself), anyone that's spent any amount of time knocking ten bells of faecal matter out of an inanimate object will realise that this is (a) again only dealing with the symptoms, and thus not a worthwhile alternative, and (b) at times when your anger has a concrete source (ie, the mother-in-law, the cheating spouse) pretty damned frustrating and depressingly unsatisfying.
Zhade, Aug 27 2001

       [Zhade] I can't see how your meat puppets would be that effective, as people want to do these kinds of things to see the person suffer. No suffering = no enjoyment.   

       The Buddha thing I think was a comment on the big Buddha statues the Taleban blew up, being 'rock victims'...
-alx, Aug 27 2001

       I can see this as a potential breeding ground for all sorts of psychological ills. It could provide the necessary fodder for sociopaths to take thier fanatsies outside the walls. Even though such a place would provide a decent labratory and training gorund for governmental assassins and such. So it would have lots of pratical military implications, but beyond that I don't see how it would be good for the genral public. I'll stick to my old fashioned fighters.   

       . . . Then again there is always a real Fight Club.
Tain, Aug 27 2001

       //So far, no society of government has been able to create a law system that completely eliminates immoral activities which are a major cause of the problem.//   

       Immoral activities are effects, not causes.   

       I'm interested in treating the problem, not eliminating external effects. Laws provide consequences to actions and are are a means of distributing justice...they don't necessarily treat the problems from which these acts stem. Treatment of the problem is a deeper issue and one that isn't necessarily easy to do.   

       Causes are an admixture of upbringing, genetics, societal forces, and free will to name just a few. Treatment of the problem is a deeper issue and one that isn't necessarily easy to accomplish, yet one that I DO believe is possible with great commitment and effort.
iuvare, Aug 27 2001

       juvare - "i'm interested in treating the problem . . ."   

       What, exactly, is the problem? That the world is a frustrating place, that people will piss you off, that we have unusual urges?
quarterbaker, Aug 27 2001

       //That the world is a frustrating place, that people will piss you off, that we have unusual urges?//   

       The problem isn't having the urges, it's the improper management of them, which, in the extreme cases, is acting them out.
iuvare, Aug 27 2001

       I agree with iuvare--the process of learning to cope with rage is often called 'growing up'. On the other hand, remember Furbies? Bam! Crunch!
Dog Ed, Aug 28 2001

       <Devil's Advocate>Why are people always so down on rage? I know that sounds disingenuous, but maybe the reason we have these darker urges - feelings like rage, desire, fear, disgust, etc. - is so that we *can* cope with them. If all we had were the automatic responses of adrenal 'fight-or-flight' and suchlike to act on, we might well be pretty tied into knee-jerk reactions, acting on them without reflection. But we have impulses instead of (or at least, as well as) compulsions; maybe we have all this conscious awareness of what we want, don't want, and so on, for a very good reason - so we can balance up conflicting drives, play them against each other and decide which to act on, and which to *not* act on.   

       I don't buy the argument that "acting out" will provide an easy catharsis; but I think the idea that "acting out" will just desensitize us and lead to real violence is equally simplistic. 'Growing up', as Dog Ed puts it, is about developing social skills to cope with anger, to delay gratification... and imagination is a big part of this. Juvenile animals play-fight partly so they can learn what kind of response is appropriate in what circumstance. We just have more complex games. Is the House of Rage, in providing a focus for angsty, narcissistic anger, really doing anything that much different from novels, comics, movies, role-playing games, video games, punk/rap/metal music, or any other medium that provides similarly artificial fields of hostility for our vicarious involvement?   

       Whether these give us ways of dealing with reality or ways of retreating from it (and up our own arses) just depends on the quality of the product, I'd say. If you really saw and heard and smelled the consequences of stabbing someone in the gut, I would suggest, all but the clinically psychopathic might find this much more of an 'empathic learning experience' than watching some Hollywood action movie which prettifies killing and provides gung-ho jingoism as justification. Do you really want to kill your neighbour? Do you *really*? You want the smell of pierced guts, urine, shit and blood? There's a reason soldiers get PTSD. </Devil's Advocate>   

       That said, a (genetically) lobotomised human being is still a human being - not just a lump of meat. I can't imagine anyone trying to justify fucking a brain-dead accident-victim before the life-support gets unplugged, or putting a bullet through a newborn baby's undeveloped brain for the sheer pleasure of it... "It's OK; they don't have any higher functions." Yeah, tell it to the Judge, mate.   

       You can project your revenge fantasies onto a rock, a cardboard cut-out, a punch-bag, a robot, Lara Croft, whatever, but when you start talking about flesh... well, I don't see much difference between this and beating your dog because your boss pissed you off.   

       A very fishy idea, then.
Guy Fox, Aug 28 2001

       violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
mihali, Aug 28 2001

       /don't worry, we'll remove all the parts of their brains that deal with higher functions/

Before they're cloned? Or are they going to be GM'd not to have a brain? How is the body going to function?
It's easier to work out your frustrations on an inanimate object. The Japanese baked the violent half of that a long time ago and the porn industry baked the sex bit.
DrBob, Aug 28 2001

       [alx], they could easily be engineered to react realistically with simple algorithms that wouldn't need intelligence or sentience on even the lowest of levels (if you feel pressure > x, then scream, volume, facial expression etc determinate by pressure and place of impact). And if this can't be done by simple gengineering, then surely a computer could control these wretched creatures without necessarily feeling any pain. I know that this type of tech is a long way from being baked, but perhaps it will be before any satisfactory conclusion to such a controversial debate...   

       And while I'm not even going to try to dispute the possible ramifications of this idea, pointed out very concisely by [Tain], I am particularly drawn to [Devil's Advocate]'s argument that it'd be little different to many other types of entertainment. Does playing paintball encourage people to hunt? Does a keen chess player often declare war? Indeed; do Mortal Kombat fans run around the civilised world impaling and decapitating people because they enjoy doing it onscreen?   

       On a minor point, I'd also like to challenge [juvare]'s use of freewill as a factor of behaviour; many people would deny that it even exists. But that's a different discussion entirely...   

       And whilst I agree with the words of the esteemed [Dog Ed], I'm afraid that not all 'grown-ups' can deal with even the most basic urges. Are not the whacking majority of (known) serial killers between the ages of 25 and 40? Sometimes socialisation simply doesn't happen. If the House of Rage could control the actions of only the small percentage of killers that do the act out of boredom or sheer curiosity, then it would still be a worthy enterprise.   

       [Guy Fox], again, I argue that even if these meat puppets could be categorised as human, it would still be perfectly legal and ethical to use them in the proposed way. Please tell me: what ~is~ the difference between mutilating and 'raping' (I'd argue that this term would be inaccurate) a lifeless puppet and unplugging a life support machine?   

       As for a neonate, this is not a parallel example to what I'm proposing; think more of a foetus. If its legal to crush the head and tear piece by piece from the womb a forming human, then the House of Rage is definitely acceptable.   

       [mihali], a wonderful and stirring axiom, and an appreciated contribution to this discussion. Please validate or justify it...   

       [UnaBubba], try telling a man who's been stuck in traffic for six hours and has just arrived home too late to intervene in the sexual assault on his wife that he should consider Tai Chi... [DrBob], it'd be no more difficult to keep them 'alive' without higher functions than it would to sustain one of the aforesaid brain-dead life-support patients. And, yes, GM is exactly the line I was thinking along.   

       Yes, people, most of us can take out our anger by punching a door, kicking a ball, maybe going as far as yelling at a loved one. For everyone else I propose the House of Rage.
Zhade, Aug 28 2001

       Zhade: //I'm afraid that not all 'grown-ups' can deal with even the most basic urges.//   

       Gawd, ain't it the truth. And some of these potentially violent adults are mentally disabled--I have a close relative who at age 16 had the emotional and intellectual ability of an 8-year-old; now that he's 40 he has the emotional control of a rather volatile 16-year-old. It's no fault of his, and he really does the best he can, but his rages are something to behold.
Dog Ed, Aug 28 2001

       Re: rock as victim: Michelangelo's Pieta was attacked by a man with a chisel in 1972. Chemically it was piece of marble; symbolically -- for people with deeply protective feelings toward (for example) Catholicism, Christian iconography, and/or Western art -- it "might as well have been" a person. And that's the sort of thing that starts jihads, as extremists of various camps know well. No act of violence happens in a total social or psychological vacuum, even if the urge comes out of nowhere (as it often seems to, even for "normal" folks). Anger is a form of energy; once it's sparked (by whatever means), you have a choice about what to do with it. Sometimes (as in the unambiguous defense of loved ones) direct and immediate expression of the urge is appropriate -- and that's what we developed it for in the first place. In "civilized" life, violent behavior is supposed to be inappropriate (which is why it makes for so much lucrative cinematic fantasy) -- but I doubt that humanity can ever expunge violent emotion universally. So we're left with what to do with it when (not if) we feel it. Fortunately, the central nervous system is pre-cognitive enough that it can't tell an imaginary experience from a real one; if you take out the energy in some way that won't damage or end your life (or anybody else's), all the body knows is that it's used the energy. It's satisfied. At least it was in my case when I used to work at an inpatient psychiatric facility and (to deal with the pointless anger left by many things, including the incurability of many chronic mental illnesses) train in a karate dojo twice a week. It turned "bad" tired into "good" tired; the body really doesn't care how. I also like [thumbwax]'s solution, provided you can just use the anger as a power source for the ax without having to jump into the fire to cut the wood.
whatsbruin, Sep 04 2001


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