Oct/Nov 2005  •   Fiction


by Dave Prescott

1. Carefully remove the top of your human's skull. For a while the subject will be able to function as normal; that is, until foreign matter starts to interfere with its neural processes. You will normally have about 30 minutes to conduct your experiments until the infection sets in irreparably. Don't forget to listen for the reasons your subjects give for their resistance. Note down any reasons not already on your worksheets.

2. This time, take your human and remove its limbs in the order specified. What you should notice is the loss of just one arm or one leg will not significantly affect its mental state. Indeed the loss may depending on its upbringing and genetic tendencies make it more keen to resist. With the loss of the second limb it will start to appear defeated, although you will find some who continue to show opposition. Three limbs down and it will probably become more pliant; indeed, do not be surprised if it asks to have its last limb removed for the sake of symmetry.

3. With your third human you will witness the effect of starvation: pay particular attention here to the willingness with which the subject allows itself to be starved, and the point at which it starts to eat parts of its own body (it may not reach this stage). If you pay attention you may be able to identify the positive correlation between your subject's resistance and its self-love.

4. In this experiment you will remove the subject's sense organs one by one. Please stick to the prescribed order for this; otherwise, the effect will be ruined. Be careful when you are removing the tongue after the nose has been excised to ensure the subject can still respire. What you need to identify here is the hierarchy of senses, and their relation to the subject's defiance. You will see that those who have only sight remaining are most likely to try to prevent you from your endeavours; those with only a sense of taste you will find to be as meek as an animal.

5. In this last lesson, place your subject in an enclosed space and remove all sources of light. Try to work out why some of your subjects last longer than others under these conditions. Once we had a subject able to survive in total darkness for several weeks, without arms or legs, and with its sensory organs removed. At the end of the experiment its heart was still beating. We have not been able to work out how this individual survived, or to what end.