Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Sensory Deprivation

Sensory deprivation has been a blog topic and is mentioned by Stieg Larsson who notes that:

it is inhumane according to the Geneva Convention;
dictatorships have used it for brainwashing;
it may have been inflicted on the prisoners in the Moscow show trials.

Thus, there is a parallel between an alien prisoner of Dominic Flandry and Larsson's Lisbeth Salander. However, Lisbeth is confined in a room free of stimuli, containing only a bed and a restraining belt. Inhumane though this is, I question whether she is right to equate it with sensory deprivation in the full sense.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Thanks for the link to my article "Sensory Deprivation" and the combox comments. I do have a few comments to make.

    DOES the Geneva Conventions explicitly condemn sensory deprivation? And how is that term even defined? Frankly, I have my doubts that many people defined sensory deprivation as carefully as did PA in WE CLAIM THESE STARS.

    I do agree that to use sensory deprivation to make people say things they don't believe in or know to be false is indisputably wrong. Yes, the description of Salander's case does not satisfactorily fit the definition of sensory deprivation. It reminded me more of how the invading aliens in Niven/Pournelle's FOOTFALL kept a human prisoner unwilling to cooperate with them isolated in a cell for sixty days.

    And as you and readers know my article I am not sure sensory deprivation, as defined and used with the care shown by Dominic Flandry, is always and under all circumstances unethical to use. I urge interested readers to read the linked article and the combox comments. And to deposit their own comments!


    1. Sean,
      I don't know the details of the Geneva Convention.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      And I don't even know if the Geneva Conventions on the laws and customs of war even mentions torture! But it would be easy enough to find out.


    3. Sean,
      I found this:

    4. Kaor, Paul!

      Thanks! I googled and discovered the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibited the use of torture. Which was reaffirmed and extended to internal insurrections and civil wars by the Second Protocol to the Conventions in 1977.