From: Martin Sawitzki (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Oct 08 2008 - 04:42:57 MDT
Evil bastard you are.
We should upload and torture some copies of you.
-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Wed, 8 Oct 2008 11:16:21 +0100
> Von: "Stuart Armstrong" <email@example.com>
> An: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Betreff: [sl4] Victims of SL4
> The darkness of the room was carefully controlled, mingling zones of
> absolute black with roving rays of lights that occasionally
> illuminated the nightmarish instruments. They never lingered too long,
> leaving the man unable to distinguish anything but a series of
> impressions: sharp blades, serated edges, gleaming wires, hideous
> creatures made of levers and chains.
> Then, a sudden spotlight, as the torturer entered the room. Lit in the
> glare, the torturer greated his victim with a smile, took off his
> white gloves, and said in a warm friendly voice: "Well, we better get
> started, shouldn't we? You have any initial preferences -
> electrocution or the rack?"
> "Wait," begged the man, desperately. Fear overwhelmed him, rendering
> him incapable of speech, and fear also granted him a crystal clear
> lucidity. Floating between these two extreemes, he was just about
> coherent at the moment. "Please! What are doing to me?"
> "Torturing you for fifty years," the torturer answered, looking at his
> watch. "You're only waisting your own time in asking questions, you
> know. I can stay here for centuries, and any time you waste now will
> just get added on at the end."
> "Torturing for fifty years?!?!? But why!??!"
> "Well, it's quite simple. There is a mailing list called SL4, and they
> like to test out philosophical ideas. When talking about morality and
> ethics, their standard "worst case scenario" is having someone
> tortured for fifty years. A reasonable amount of time, I feel."
> "Well, they use a metric system, and know that people's life
> expectancy is in the 70s or 80s, so quite reasonable." He looked at
> his watch again. "Do you want a cup of tea, while I warm up the
> "But why me?", the man begged plaintively.
> "Don't take it personally; you are just a random litterary creation,
> created simply for the purpose of suffering. I bet you don't even have
> a name."
> "I do! I'm called... Roger."
> "You just made that up. You don't even have any discernable features,
> up until the moment where they become relevant to the reader."
> The man nervously passed a trembling three-fingered hand through his
> thin black hair, and fixed his imploring brown eyes on the torturer.
> "Can you please... not do it?"
> The torturer shrugged apologetically. "Sorry, I'm as constrained by
> the philosophical example as you are. I don't have much personality to
> speak of - it's an interesting fact that SL4 examples look at the
> tortured in great details, but don't care much about the mind of the
> "What's this philosophical example, then? What is it that's causing me
> to suffer so?"
> "It's a bit complicated," the torturer answered. "It's one of those
> conversations where everyone is talking past each other and no-one
> actually listens. The exchange has got so convoluted that you are
> being tortured to undermine a tiny facet of an irrelevant argument."
> The man lay there, fear and despair mounting each other within him
> until they reached unimaginably high summits.
> "You know what's funny, though?" asked the torturer with a wide grin.
> Receiving no answer, he continued: "The example is flawed! You getting
> tortured does not actually make the point the author is trying to
> make! It's completely useless. Within a few hours, fifty people will
> point out the flaw, and the author will retract his example, or more
> likely, just forget about it. Your pain is worthless."
> "At least the torturing will stop in a few hours, then?"
> "I'm afraid that, as a literary figure, you can get fifty years of
> torture within a single sentence. And the torture will be duplicated
> exactly every time someone new reads the sentence - a few hundred
> times, at least. Though one of the SL4 debates is whether that counts
> as you being tortured a hundred times or only once; we'll just have to
> see, won't we. It'll be fun!"
> The kettle beeped, signifying that the tea was ready; then the
> electrodes beeped, signifying that the various implements of agony
> were also ready.
> "Now where was I?", the torturer wondered. "Ah yes, electrocution or
> the rack..." An smile of innnocent joy crossed his lips. "Why not try
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