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Ever watched a cat play with a mouse? That certainly seems to meet the requirements for torture. However, we shouldn't anthropomorphize too much. It is doubtful that the cat has the empathy required to understand what it is doing to the mouse and without that knowledge cannot be guilty of intentional torture. Furthermore, we do not know what it is like to be a mouse. We do not know how it feels. Is it actually capable of being "tortured" in the way we would understand such a concept? Better to err on the side of caution, of course, but there's no sense getting too worked up about such things.
If it makes you feel better, mice can be evil little bastards. I had some as pets when I was a kid and they quite literally ate each other alive. They had plenty of food/water, plenty of toys, and plenty of space to avoid each other when they wanted some alone time. But they chose to hunt each other down like furry little psychopaths. Then, when only one was left, he chewed off his own ears. I kept hamsters and gerbils before this with no problem at all giving me a lifelong suspicion that mice are just fucking mental.
As a teenager I once had a mouse in my bedroom that needed to be dealt with. I was sitting on my bed and saw it just happily wandering around my room. My parents had traps in the house but clearly this mouse wasn't falling for those so I grabbed my air pistol and, making a shot I'm still quite proud of, shot it through the throat from a decent distance. I'd never killed anything other than insects before that. I was shocked by how much blood pumped out of it and how long it took to stop breathing. I felt terrible watching the little guy die. I've never killed anything since then though I wouldn't hesitate if it needed doing. Killing is a strange thing really. I think I understand why people enjoy hunting. I believe I would greatly enjoy it. The intensity of the build-up and then the thrill of the actual take-down. I'm just put off by the killing part. Intellectually I do not wish to kill anything I do not absolutely need to kill. But a part of me does want to. A part of me wants that rush. As a rational being I can easily ignore that and maintain my no-killing lifestyle. But the idea still fascinates me. A desire to take life seems quite common amongst humanity. Where does that desire stem from? What purpose does it serve? You could argue that it helped our ancestors acquire food but I think hunger would have been enough of a motivator for that. I want to know why humanity often seems to enjoy killing just for the sake of killing. Torture is even harder to understand, at least when performed for purely sadistic reasons. I can't say that I can see the appeal of that, not even on any kind of instinctive level. What beneficial evolutionary function did cruelty serve, or is it a side effect of some other function?
I'm rather sleep deprived, hence the oddness of this post.
“Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.” – Bill Hicks