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Pain Management (A Short Story)

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posted on Jan, 2 2011 @ 09:56 AM
Step closer. If you look carefully, here on the wall, you will see scratches in the stone. Many dark scratches. You can see them clearly. They tell an interesting story of the last ruler of the Ancient Kingdom.

In his youth, he had demanded all the many thousands of his subjects refer to him as "His Magnificence". But as he achieved maturity, he realized that this sounded pretentious. He eventually preferred the title "Earl Marquess", or simply the "Earl".

He considered himself a judicious and kind leader of his people, interested in new technology and methods, willing to try new things to benefit himself, his subjects, and the world at large, in that order.

If the Earl had a single fault (which none dared ever speak of) it was that he had a very low threshold for pain. He had no tolerance whatsoever for the most minor discomfort, would complain at length if it was slightly hot or cold, or if his clothes were a bit too binding for him, or he had the slightest case of indigestion. Generally, in these situations, the Earl would complain incessantly, or even lose his temper and lash out viciously at innocent people around him.

The introduction of psycho-proxy technology to his domain was therefore of great interest both to himself, and to his immediate staff.

The psycho-proxy was a simple device. It would sense an individual's brainwave patterns, and then cancel those patterns with new ones, for the expressed purpose of disabling pain. The device wasn't useful for anything else, although the Earl had often (usually secretly) experimented with it to see what pleasures it might induce; it was only good for canceling pain, and nothing more.

You would shine the psycho-proxy at an individual, and then shine the device on another. The pain of the first individual would be transferred directly to the second, providing instant exchange and transference of discomfort with relief. You simply used the "transfer" button on the hand-held control, and a toothache, headache or soreness of a stubbed toe would disappear from the first individual, and magically appear in the second.

Most amazingly, if the transferred discomfort was deemed to great for one person to stand, you could distribute the pain among various people, so that nobody had to tolerate torturous agony. You simply held down the "distribute" button as you shined the beam on one person after another, without limit. Each subject would automatically receive an equal share of the original pain, lessening the burden for all.

It was a remarkable device, mysterious in origin, completely reliable in operation, available only to the Earl, and forbidden to all others in the Kingdom.

It had strange properties, and was the subject of many metaphysical debates.

There were tricks you could play with it. Once, at a state dinner, when one of his wives was particularly annoying and gossipy, he ordered one of his servants to bite his own tongue, and then the Earl used the device to transfer that pain to the too-talkative wife. The court laughed at length, complementing the Earl on his wit and cleverness!

But generally, the Earl recognized that the psycho-proxy was not a toy. He respected its power. He had too much fear of pain to misuse the device, and was always cognizant of the fact that the device did not distinguish between royalty and commoners. With the device in hand, anyone could be the sender of pain, or receiver of pain, depending upon who had access to the device and how it was operated.

Philosophers instruct us that administration of the law, while seemingly complex, is actually quite simple. All that is required for success is deliberation and care. The great mistake, so often made by legislators and rulers, is that care must be exercised not just in the execution of the law, but also in how the law is perceived.

The Earl made this precise mistake.

Towards the end of his rule, he created a new tax policy. And this tax, although relatively minor, caused such dissension among his people that a revolution overtook the kingdom in a manner of weeks.

Such a small price to pay (so the Earl had rationalized.) So small a sacrifice! As was said earlier, the Earl fancied himself a benevolent and gentle ruler, deeply concerned with fairness and justice. But he was also quite sensitive to his various chronic discomforts. How could anyone possibly object if he used the psycho-proxy to distribute his personal pains to his subjects? The discomfort, over such a large number of people, would be insignificant, surely!

The people immediately revolted, and seized power. The resentment among the people was severe. Many thousands of citizens, all of who were unwilling to take any tiny portion of the Earl's personal pain, craved revenge against him.

Today, we regard it as a bleak chapter in the history our country. Yet, looking back, it is easy to understand, and certainly we can all agree: to relieve the pain of the ruler, at the expense of the population at large – no matter how minor that tax actually is – well – that is just plainly wrong.

Hence the scratches on the hard rock wall, carved by the Earl's fingertips, over the course of his prolonged and ghastly sufferings. Yes, the dark lines within those grooves are caked blood from the Earl's torment. It is well document how he screamed near continuously for many years before his heart eventually failed.

The psycho-proxy device was used more cruelly than the guillotine. But, how can we blame our ancestors?

Imagine, when they learned that the psycho-proxy, capable of transferring the pain of one person to many others, easily worked in the reverse direction!

posted on Jan, 2 2011 @ 11:10 AM
Thanks for the story.
I enjoyed that.

Interesting idea which reminds me of something I managed to do once.

I burnt my finger one day, and as I lay in bed with my hand outside the covers due to the pain being intensified by the heat under the blanket, I imagined the pain spreading up my arm and throughout my body.
As I did so, the pain became less and less, until it completely disappeared.
Haven't managed it since though.

So many creative people on this site.

Happy New Year.

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