So because I am a lazy fuck who cannot spend more than ten minutes a day to finish writing up my memoirs from the imaginary world in my head, Daniel and I have found another way to keep my blog updated over the two weeks that we’ll be in Europe. Where it’s warm…. I’m sorry, I wanted to stress that fact to my friends who’ll be stuck in the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s cold and there’s not even snow to make it better. Anyway, I came across the website Philosophy Experiments during Religion, and Daniel and I got sucked in, and we went over god knows how many tests and quizzes which scrutinised our way of thinking.
And now I’m going to torture my nonexistent readers by describing every single quiz we went through. Starting with You’re Being Tortured In The Morning.
“Here we go,” Daniel says. “You have fallen into the hands of Zach Coine, a mad and powerful scientist. He informs you he is going to torture you tomorrow morning. Not surprisingly, you find this idea rather terrifying.”
“That’s not necessary Cat.”
“Sorry…this quiz doesn’t already take into account torture victims. Or mutants and imaginary paramours.”
“Okay, I’ll shush.” I look up at him. “Really.”
“Good girl.” Daniel turns back to the iPad. “However, Professor Coine has some sort of barely functioning conscience so he’s decided to tell you a number of things about what’s going to happen in the hope that you’ll be reassured about your fate.”
“Awwww, that’s so sweet!” I said sarcastically.
“You promised you’d shush.”
“I am! I am shush-”
Daniel puts two fingers on my lips. “There. Better.” He scans the rest of the page. “Basically, each time you read something, you have to decide whether it calms you down a little bit.”
Unable to communicate verbally, I merely raise my eyebrows and snort. “Okay…let me rephrase that.” Daniel rolls his eyes. “You have to indicate whether or not what he says makes you more certain or uncertain of your fate. Whether it reassures you or not. Compri?”
I nod. “Good girl. Now, there’s some things you should remember. One, everything Professor Coine tells you is the truth. Two, this test is only interested in how you find the prospect of being tortured. Basically whether you think you’d suffer or not during this event.” He frowns. “Whatever. Three, any wider moralistic or humanitarian worries you may have do not matter. Meaning, you can’t claim that you’ll never be safe because you’ll always know that there’s a violent psychopath out there. Four, you have to indicate how you feel about what the professor says in light of everything you know.”
I frown. “Mmm?”
“I think it means how what the professor says makes you feel about the current situation,” Daniel informs me. “Anyway, the last thing is that this is an online activity, so you’re not actually going to be fearful or reassured. There’s a thing called imagination….” He grins at me. “My, I have no idea where we would ever find that. Now let’s get started.”
“I’m not done talking though.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“Fine…” He removes his hand from my face. “Personally, I think you show more through your body language than your words.”
I flutter my eyelashes at him.
“I rest my case. You may start.”
“Professor Coine tells you that when the time comes to torture you, he’ll ensure you have no memory of having been told in advance you were going to be tortured, so it’ll be a surprise when the torture begins. Reassured or no?” I frown. “Wait, so…I’m being told what’s going to happen to me, only to forget immediately after?”
“I take it, not reassuring?”
“Nuh uh.” I read the next statement. “Professor Coine also tells you that at the moment of torture you won’t be able to remember anything at all that you now remember. So I have amnesia? I don’t remember who I am?”
“I don’t believe I’ve ever had amnesia,” Daniel muses. “I wouldn’t be able to tell you what it’s like.”
“I would probably be more frightened if I didn’t know anything,” I said. “If I had my memories, I might be able to think of something else.”
“If you say so.”
“Professor Coine now states that not only will you not be able to remember anything that you now remember, but you’ll have an entirely different set of thoughts and impressions of your past…well shit.”
“Well…no. If I’m a whole other person, I’m still going to feel pain, aren’t I?”
“The mad professor now tells you that the new set of thoughts and impressions of your past will exactly match those of somebody who is currently alive, and in fact that they will be copied into your brain from the other person’s brain. Again, not helpful.” I continue on. “So basically, this whole conversation makes me no less fearful of what is to come.”
Daniel reads the next part. “We’ll return to the mad professor in a little while, but right now we have a different scenario for you to think about. This one also involves torture, but happily this time you have more control over what’s going to happen to you.”
“Two people,” Daniel reads, “are about to undergo an odd experience.”
“Boys and girls of every age, would you like to see something strange?” I sing.
Ignoring me, Daniel goes on. “The thoughts and memories of persons A and B will be exchanged with eachother. In this scenario, you’re A. After the experiment is complete, one body-person will receive one million dollars. The other gets tortured. You want to get the reward, and avoid the torture.”
“Gee, I dunno…I’m kinda in the mood for getting my skin torn and my bones broken.” Daniel looks at me. “I’m into some fucked up shit.”
“Moving on…you get to choose which body-person is to be rewarded, and by doing so, also deciding who gets tortured. So what’s it gonna be?”
“So…I’m person A. But A’s memories are now in B. Does that make me B then?”
“You tell me.”
“…physically I am person A. Even with my memories have gone, I’m still A, and I’ll still feel the pain. I’d want to avoid that.”
“You’d be another person.”
“Is that meant to get me to change my mind?”
“This…” Daniel announces, “is deep shit.”
“Yeah…” I press the option which says Reward Body-Person A, Torture Body-Person B. I read the next part. “Good news. In common with 29% of the 43934 people who have completed this activity, you are showing no sign of Identity Confusion Syndrome. What even is that?”
“Let me read the rest.” Daniel scans the next few paragraphs. “I think they’re saying that you understand that even though your memories are gone, the person being tortured is still you.”
We continue to read the reasoning behind it. “I think I get it,” I say to Daniel. “If I chose B, it would be because I believe that I myself was now person B, and that I wouldn’t be tortured, because the person carrying my memories would be safe. But just because your memories are inside someone else doesn’t mean that they are you.”
“I…think I understand?”
I try explaining. “Imagine the idea that your memories are not your own, but someone else’s. It’s only now that you have become aware of this fact. So, who are who?”
“Well…I have Daniel’s thoughts and memories…and apart from what I used to see in Delirium those are the only ones I have…so I’m Daniel.”
“Bingo!” I kiss his cheek.
“Right answer?” He smiles shakily.
“Uhhuh. Even though your memories are in another person, you do not identify with that other person. You aren’t that person, as far as you’re concerned. Therefore, to choose B, just because your ‘true’ memories are inside them, would be silly. You’re person A still.”
“…did I make it more confusing?”
“Actually no. I’m starting to get a grip around it.”
“Good. Because it’s time for recess.” Fooooooooooooood, my inner voice growls.
“There’s one thing that interests me,” he says as we walk out.
“Imagine applying this to you and Kaya,” he says. “You’ve experienced her memories, and vice versa. You know her as well as you know yourself, and vice versa. Does that mean that you are Kaya?”
“No, of course not.”
“…it’s not possible. I know her. She’s a separate entity to me. Isn’t she?”