Sound torture

The world of music is full of prisoners, whether they are in a foreign country or behind bars. A good song can help them escape. An excellent song can make their rebellion more successful.

Here’s an example: Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” was used as a sound torture when the government was forcing prisoners to listen to it over and over again. Listening to this song was almost as bad as being tortured by it, so the prison guards were not allowed to use it against their prisoners.

The combination of creative music and cultural context helps break the will of the prisoner and get him to try something different (i.e., the prisoner tries not to be tortured by Metallica).

2. How Song Torture Works

There are two ways to break the will of prisoners.

The first one is to use music; the second is to speak.

The first method is, of course, sound torture, since it can be very effective in breaking down an individual’s resistance to certain stimuli. The second method, though, works especially well when you have a captive audience (like a crowd), and have them chanting things like “I love you” in return.

The Origins of Song Torture

It’s a little hard to pinpoint how music torture will work in practice. There’s a lot of concern about the potential for it to be used to control someone, but I think the idea of it being used as a form of torture is too abstract; we’re not talking about something that happens once and then disappears.

The way Torture works in real life is that the person being tortured has already been trained to obey whatever commands are given (in this case, by the guards). They don’t feel pain in their body though, but they certainly do feel the discomfort.

This is because the commands are more complex than just “stop moving” or “stop resisting” or any other simple instruction. If you imagine yourself as being on a Roman road surrounded by soldiers, you wouldn’t just move your feet — you’d have to move them every which way. Right? You’d also have to make sure that your hands weren’t moving in any way with them (it’s possible to tell if something was done with your hands without moving them at all). You would also have to pretend like you didn’t know what was happening on your side (even if you knew exactly what was going on on your side), and if those orders were given in a language that no one else could understand, you’d need to pretend like you were able to answer questions about what was happening around you (and even if you couldn’t do this at all, it’s still possible that someone else could help you out). It turns out that this is much harder than simply telling someone not to move — there’s more involved than just making sure their feet aren’t pointed towards anything specific for example.

This leads into another interesting point: even if people can be brainwashed into believing something completely false, they still only believe it for so long. This means that people who are trained from birth with things like this may be able to resist — they may still believe in their inherent goodness and self-control as long as they believe they’re doing “good” things (which means that when faced with an order made directly against them rather than through others who will likely survive longer), but they’re usually not going to give up entirely. And when faced with less direct forms of abuse (e.g., psychological or physical abuse), people may break down sooner due to lack of resources, especially since there aren’t always people nearby who can help them out or

The Effectiveness of Song Torture

In the world of music, it is not unusual to see prisoners tortured in order to make them confess to crimes they didn’t commit. In fact, there are records of military and police forces using songs to break a person’s will. A number of hardcore bands use a similar method for their own purposes. The technique has been used in the past by the CIA, the FBI and other governmental agencies for years now. There are also people who have a long history of performing torture under the pretence that it will improve a person’s performance – for example, by reducing stress levels and improving concentration.

On one hand, it’s not surprising that such a process exists; on the other hand, when you look at how society uses songs as tools of torture, you may come away with an uncomfortable impression: that this isn’t just some kind of twisted hobbyist community or joke.

The first thing we need to do is figure out: what is it that contemporary musicians are doing? We need to develop some hypotheses around why individuals would attempt this kind of behavior; what could possibly motivate someone to do something so repugnant?

Given that there is no clear answer to these questions yet, we are left with two options: either everyone involved believes they’re doing it because they’re good at it (which seems unlikely), or they believe they’re doing it because they want something from someone else (which seems more like an excuse). Either way, we need to learn from their choices and apply our own analysis before we can decide how best to go about getting them off our backs.

The Future of Song Torture

I don’t know how it happened that a song like Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” could be used to break the will of prisoners, but it has and it will. Yes, there is the classic example of one such story:

In 2009, a man named Ryan Geboer was locked up in the Western Australian prison system for raping a 14-year-old girl. He was sentenced to eight years plus three months for the crime and was being held at Wacol Prison. One day while he was in a court hearing he got up and left the room. So when his lawyer asked him to return, he did. His response?

He told the court: “You know what? I think I’m going to do it on my own. F— ’em all…I’m going to walk out of here and I’m never coming back again.”

He walked out with his release papers in hand and never came back. He died on April 17th this year (age 27) from complications from an infection in his lungs brought on by toxic shock syndrome — which occurred weeks after he had been released from prison.

This story is what led me to write this post about songs like Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Barney’s “I Love You” being used as torture devices. And yes, it does involve music — though not just any music: It involves songs that have been designed specifically for breaking people’s will (by making them sound like they can’t take it). It also involves the fact that such songs make people sad enough so they feel compelled to do something (the  explanation below comes from cognitive scientist Keith Stanovich). The last part is based on some data I wrote up during my PhD days at McMaster University; you can look me up if you want more info about the details of how such things are done:

So why would anyone want to do this? As with most things in life, having someone exert pressure over you is usually not a good thing; threats are often made as attempts to get you to do something which you don’t really want or need doing in order to survive (unless they are very specific threats, that is). But songs aren’t just annoying; they can actually make people feel bad


There are two kinds of sound torture:

1) (a) the kind where you just keep going;

2) (b) the kind where you stop and think about it.

Sound torture is sometimes called “I can’t take it anymore” (or, “I can’t take this anymore.”), but neither term is entirely accurate. What we all find disturbing in sound torture is that it stops us from thinking clearly, so we don’t end up solving the problem at hand. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for our purposes it clearly isn’t working for us either. It is difficult to come back from an initial shock of what may not be real, and our motivation to get back on track wanes as we contemplate how we got here in the first place.

Sound torture does have a purpose: it helps us figure out why something was done in the first place and helps us determine whether or not we want to do something differently in the future. But if it is not necessary, we should try to ditch it as soon as possible — and when it comes to marketing your product, there are far better ways of breaking your will than increasing your ability to think clearly about the challenges you face than by putting more pressure on your users by making them listen longer and longer at a time when they should be able to ask more questions.