Physical Harm is More Serious than “Emotional Harm”

A few days ago, a protest rally outside Google’s HQ in London against the film “Innocence of Muslims” saw one of the speakers trot out this gem:

Terrorism is not just people who kill human bodies, but who kill human feelings as well. The makers of this film have terrorised 1.6 billion people.

It seems we have a wonderful new addition to the definition of terrorism. A woman wearing jeans is now a terrorist against mullahs who want her to cover up. Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year old girl who insisted on studying in school is now a terrorist against the Taliban who shot her twice. Couples who run away against the wishes of their parents are terrorists also. Sanal Edamaruku is a terrorist for exposing the fake “miracle” of the Jesus statue dripping water.

There are two kinds of people who favor restrictions on freedom of expression which “offends” others. The first type is worried solely about real world consequences. So if the film “Innocence of Muslims” outraged the Islamic world and caused riots where people were killed, that is is prima facie enough reason to ban it. They don’t necessarily care about the sentiments of the people who are outraged, and they don’t feel sad for them. It’s just causality. X resulted in Y. Y is bad, therefore X needs to be curbed.

This logic is easily destroyed. Taken to it’s ultimate end, it means that women must not wear anything “revealing” (that means everything other than a full body covering) because “men will be provoked” and if they get raped it’s because they wore something – not because the culprits chose to do it. It means that schoolyard bullies get to control what the rest of us can say, do and read because they merely have to raise a ruckus, go on a rampage and get things banned. It means that we’ve shifted the blame from the where it belongs – the people actually responsible – to something “higher up in the chain”. Either a book, a movie, a woman wearing jeans, or whatnot.

This is clearly untenable. You can’t ban something merely because you’re afraid that someone else may choose to break the law. Which leaves us with the second type of person.

The second objection to freedom of expression is that others will get “hurt” in the very act of hearing, seeing, or reading something. And since we have laws protecting people’s body, we must also have laws protecting their minds. This is a very dangerous idea and needs a more thorough debunking.

Physical hurt and being hurt by “getting offended” are fundamentally different. Here’s why:

1. Physical hurt affects everyone in the same way

When you hit someone with an axe, it will always cause pain regardless of who is hit. It will bleed. The person will feel pain. There may be an infection that has to be treated etc. Physical hurt leaves us with no choice but to be hurt. Since physical pain is uniform across humanity, we can make laws affecting all humans. Saying “hitting someone with an axe is wrong” is valid because everyone is equally affected by it.

Being offended on the other hand is not even close to universal. Not only do different people react in different ways to the same thing, the same person can react in different ways depending on his or her choice. If seeing something shocks you, you have the choice to either ignore it, or spend the next few hours holding your head in your hands and ruminating over the offense. You have a choice as to how to react. Many people simply choose to ignore something that offends them. If they can do it, why can’t others? Which leads me to my second point.

2. Merely “existing” can be offensive!

Our world is designed so that there is ample material to give anyone offense if they seek it. When I look around, I see religious people trying to spread their beliefs and that offends me. It offends me when khaps in India make stupid observations about women. It offends me that politicians say stupid things. There is no dearth of offense. Do I demand that they be banned? No. I can condemn them of course (and I do), but I don’t demand that they shut up.

For others, billboards can be offensive. Rich people can be offensive. Someone not moving out of your way can be offensive. The world is structured in such a way that offensive things are thrown at us day in and day out. We all have to formulate our own private ways of dealing with it. Either cut yourself off from most sources of offense, or learn to ignore it. Or you can continue getting frustrated, have a heart attack and die.

Every mentally healthy human has developed the capacity for ignoring offense. It’s a skill that adults are assumed to possess. Our world demands it. Because if not, then we would all be walking around in a perpetual fog of outrage and fear. Most of us are not that way, so we obviously have some way to deal with it.

Offense is an integral part of our everyday world. We all deal with it.

 3. It’s easy to distance yourself from offense

We all possess the ultimate defense against being offended. That of ignoring what we don’t like. Sure, we may have the initial exposure to something, but continuing to see it, or read it is a choice. Everyone has the power to close a web page, press the back button, or switch off the TV. These defenses aren’t available for physical violence. You can’t just “walk away” from someone who’s trying to kill you.

Going even further, most people can even avoid the initial exposure if they really want to. How many of us go to see a movie without knowing what the story is from reviews or from our friends? When we click on an article link, we mostly know the kind of stuff we’re going to get. When you walk into an art gallery…well we all know what artists do and we may even be familiar with the particular artists whose work is on display. Most of the time we know full well what we’re about to be exposed to before we see it.

Millions of people spend vast amounts of time on the Internet without ever seeing something offensive because they’re careful about where they go and which sites they visit. So if you see a link or receive an email saying “OMG this video totally offends xyz religion!” you’re an idiot if you click it and don’t want to be offended. You have no one but yourself to blame since you had full warning. You deliberately touched a hot stove that you didn’t have to knowing that you would get burnt. And then later you turn around and blame someone else for your pain.

Take some responsibility. You caused that pain to yourself. You chose to cause that pain to yourself. Your problem.

Bottom line: The pain caused by “offence” doesn’t even come close to physical pain. And most of the time, the “offense” is directed towards a group or even a religion – not towards a single individual personally. It’s easy to bear, easy to avoid, and easier to ignore. To compare it with a real wound on the body which causes guaranteed pain that cannot be avoided or disengaged from, is perverse.

Don’t accept this illogic. This basic premise must be challenged and thrown down for good. Mature adults are expected to protect their own mind. Let the state protect the body.

Comments

  1. Sraboney says:

    What I can’t understand is why people can’t control themselves physically and/or emotionally. Why do they need to go and kill people and destroy property when they are offended? Does the feeling go away when they cause havoc or terrorize innocent people? Isn’t killing the worst a crime? I’m sure all scriptures say it’s wrong to take a life.

    • bhagwad says:

      The official explanation is that the offense is so severe, they go crazy and are no longer responsible for their actions. Just like rapists are supposed to go “crazy” when they see a woman wearing jeans and are no longer responsible for their actions.

      That’s why people who riot etc are not handed down strict sentences. It may not be a legal principle, but I think it’s implicitly assumed that they were actually the victims!

  2. Shobhit says:

    A very interesting post again. I completely agree with your points regarding offensive content and the sensibility to avoid it.

    Firstly, you are absolutely correct in saying that it is completely insensible to get offended by something that is not directed to anyone in particular. And secondly, you are right again about the choice to sensibly ignore or avoid something that appears offensive. If someone knows that the content of a movie, a book or a website is offensive, one can always avoid looking into it and prevent himself from getting offended.

    But here I would like to put forth a few points in relation to the ones you made in your post. Please do not think I am debating against what you said but the following points are just to provide some facts presuming you are not related to the field of medicine. It may be a rather long comment so please bear with me. :-)

    1. “Physical hurt and being hurt by “getting offended” are fundamentally different.”

    Yes. And No.

    “Physical hurt affects everyone in the same way.”

    No.

    Physical hurt and being hurt by “getting offended” are fundamentally different because they are perceptions to different stimuli. But they ‘can’ be same in the terms of the effect perceived in the brain. That is, pain.

    Let me give you an example. A person who gets physically hurt may be seen shedding tears. So can a person who is shedding tears out of sadness. The stimuli are different, but the reaction to both is the same. Tears. And the cause for the tears is also the same. Pain. Only that the pain is caused by a different stimulus in each case.

    Secondly, pain is also a perception. It cannot be measured. I have seen a 45 year old well-built man crying like a baby while being injected. Whereas, I have also seen a 6 year old kid getting his scalp sutured (which he had split while playing) without even shedding a single tear. Maybe both the people were in great pain and were expressing it differently. Or maybe not. I can’t say because there isn’t a way to measure the degree of pain except what the person expresses.

    Thirdly, some people express intense pain even on normal touch. A condition known as ‘Allodynia’. While in some ‘paraesthesias’, even severe pain is not perceived by a person.

    So you see physical hurt does not affect everyone in the same way. Of course, I don’t mean to say a person being hit by an axe would not feel pain. He would obviously feel it normally. These may be special cases, but reactions to physical hurt can be different in different people.

    But yes, the ultimate effect, that is pain, is same whether it is a physical or emotional hurt. Physical pain and emotional pain differ only in the part of the brain they initially stimulate. And since pain cannot be measured, it is not right to dismiss pain arising from emotional hurt. Most pains resolve promptly once the painful stimulus is removed and the body has healed, but sometimes pain persists despite removal of the stimulus and apparent healing of the body. And emotional pain is one of them because it is related to the development of emotion-related memory.

    2. “You have a choice as to how to react”

    Not always.

    One can certainly choose not to react physically/violently. But one has no control on some events inside the body.

    The human nervous system is divided into ‘Somatic Nervous System’ and ‘Autonomic Nervous System’. The somatic system is under our voluntary control. We can decide to close our ears and shut our eyes just as we can control our hands by not slapping a person.

    But the autonomic nervous system is involuntary. And believe it or not, it is the dominant of the two. It decides for itself and acts accordingly. Suppose, you are suddenly being chased by a ferocious dog. Would you wait to think and decide whether to run or not ? The sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system will make you run before you can decide. It is the system governed by the ‘fright, fight or flight’ hormone ‘Adrenaline’.

    Similarly, the center-most part of the human brain has a set of structures called the ‘Limbic System’ which governs emotions. And incidentally, it is NOT under our voluntary control. And the complex physiology of emotions is controlled by the secretion of various neurotransmitters between the limbic system and the rest of the brain. Some of which are ‘Dopamine’, ‘Serotonin’ and ‘Norepinephrine’. Not just the level of one’s emotions, but various psychiatric disorders are due to an imbalance between these substances.

    Another example here, I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but whenever you are excited, your pupils (of the eyes) will dilate. One doesn’t decide to dilate them voluntary. Just as one doesn’t decide to increase their heart rate or their sweating whenever they are angry/excited/frightened. You cannot decide to order your stomach when to digest food and when not. But of course one can control one’s hands and legs even when one is excited.

    So where is the problem ?

    The problem is, that the same substances that bring about these involuntary changes in the body have severe deleterious effects too. A person, who chooses not to physically/verbally react to something which offends him, while being behaviorally sensible, is having his brain secrete undue amounts of neuro-substances. Persistent exposure to such situations can ultimately lead to severe imbalances resulting in psychiatric disorders. And that is completely out of any voluntary control of the person.

    Similarly, a person who controls his anger (while being absolutely sensible in doing so) unknowingly exposes his cardio-vascular system to the effects of adrenaline which chronically leads to hypertension. Why do you think heart patients in critical care are kept in quiet surroundings ? Not because the sound waves are damaging their hearts. But because sudden shocks (from any stimuli) can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and/or cardiac arrest due to autonomic activity. A person who is completely normal in appearance, but if having atherosclerosis of his cardiac circulation, may undergo sudden cardiac ischemia/angina due to a fit of anger or shock. NOT because he or she is emotionally labile, but because of the autonomic nervous system on which one has no control.

    It is no wonder that the developed countries are the leaders in non-communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, etc.

    (Mind you, those who express themselves in anger are equally at risk to fall prey to such diseases.)

    Most deaths due to snake bytes (specially in India) are due to the shock of being bitten instead of the venom even if it is a non-poisonous snake. Emotions at work again. Similarly, anger or fear (which may lead do dilation of the pupils) can be hazardous for a patient of angle-closure glaucoma.

    So, one doesn’t always have a choice on emotional reactions to situations. And emotions are not just imaginations of the mind. They are actually controlled by substances and affect the physical health of a person.

    But here again, I agree with your view that if it is possible, it is better to distance oneself from anything offensive. In fact, getting offended by something in general is not sensible too. But yes, being the particular target of an offensive speech or act can be objected to for the well-being of one’s own health.

    The facts I stated above were not in excuse for the violence that people indulge in at being offended. The people who do that are either not sensible or have some vested interests. I just wanted to put some points of view regarding the medical aspect of emotions.

    While one can distance himself from a movie theatre or a public gathering, just as one can skip reading a book or a website, but there are times when one cannot distance himself from personal offenses which are not physical. And then one can choose not to react voluntarily, but he cannot prevent the involuntary actions happening inside his body which can sometimes be fatal.

    Once again, sorry for such a lengthy comment. :-)

    • bhagwad says:

      Thanks for the well thought out comment Shobhit. I have a few points to add.

      You rightly point out that both physical and emotional pain are a response to stimuli – either internal or external. You’re also right when you say that people can experience even physical pain differently. However, when it comes to taking offense, we have a much stronger choice to feel/not to feel something.

      For example as a blogger, I sometimes get the most hateful and abusive speech directed towards me. This is personal vilification and not some general criticism or ridicule of bloggers in general. I get such comments frequently enough. And yet I’m not depressed. I don’t harbor any anger inside me. I don’t have suppressed rage. I’m a pretty chill guy.

      This reaction of mine is a choice. It’s very easy for me to react differently. I can sit and think about the abuse, get angry, feel outraged that a person comes to my blog and insults me. How dare they etc etc. I can voluntarily put my limbic system and my sympathetic nervous system into overdrive.

      However, I also have a prefrontal cortex that is known to modulate the autonomic nervous system. If my wife scares me from behind, my amygdala will scream “run!” or “fight!”. If my prefrontal cortex didn’t kick in and short circuit the loop, I may never stop running! Lots of animals possess this capability, but in humans, it is exceptionally strong.

      As mature adults, we are assumed to have the ability to modulate our responses to emotional stimuli. We have to. The world is a very dangerous place otherwise. If we didn’t have the capacity to regulate our emotions, we would be like a piece of wood tossed around in the sea during a storm. We would be perpetually walking around in a state of outrage, fear and irritation.

      But we choose not to. And that is what I’m asking. That as mature adults, people choose to simply ignore what they don’t want since it’s so easy.

      • Shobhit says:

        Yes, you are very correct in what you wrote in your reply. And that is partly what I wrote in my initial comment too. My points were just a bit different.

        One has considerable control on the somatic reactions to one’s emotions. Just like the example you gave about being scared by your wife. Maybe in such a situation, you will gasp/jump and quickly turn around to find no one but your wife. Of course it is under your control then to decide how to react to her. Since you are a chill guy you may just laugh it off. But someone else being in a similar situation with a stranger may react by hitting back in anger. Of course, here one should have a control on one’s reaction.

        But what I meant was that even you wouldn’t have control on the involuntary reaction of being scared. The initial reactions to being scared (like gasping/jumping/skipping a heartbeat) are autonomous. And your amygdala simply wouldn’t just tell you to run. It will have already released certain substances in response to the initial fear (something which you can’t have control on). So, while you can control your voluntary reactions, and maybe laugh after being scared, the substances released by your brain will continue to act on your body for a while (like increased heart rate for a few minutes) and that is what you can’t control.

        And about sitting and continuously thinking about a certain abuse/hurt/unpleasant experience, yes, that is under our voluntary control as you rightly pointed out. Because repeatedly thinking about something converts it to our memory, and hence leading to chronic emotional stress.

        But the emotional response at the time of the actual event is involuntary. For example, person A is abused by person B. So, person A can control not to sit and think about the event. But at the actual time of the abuse, even A cannot control the autonomic activity of his brain which are related to anger (like increased blood pressure/heart rate/flushing/tremors, etc.) though he can still control his expressive reactions to the abuse even at the time of the event.

        The reason why different people react differently to similar stimuli is because of the difference in the amount of neurotransmitters released by the brain. And that is involuntary.

        We can surely regulate the response to our emotions. But we cannot regulate our emotions itself. Like, if I try to feel angry while I’m typing this reply, I cannot. But if I was already angry about something, I can surely control not to smash something or type nasty words here. So, while being angry would not be under my control, how I react to anger would be under my control.

        Someone who does not experience any emotion to various stimuli (like happiness, sadness, anger, shock, etc.) is said to have a ‘blunt affect’. A strong component of Schizophrenia. So, it is normal human nature to experience different emotions. How people take care of their emotions is something different.

        So, you are very right if you say that people can control their reactions to emotions. Even partly correct if you say people can control their emotions too (by not thinking about them repeatedly). But I want to add that emergence of a particular emotion is involuntary. And so are the autonomic physical events that accompany the emergence of an emotion.

        AND, like you said, violent reaction to an offense is definitely insensible and wrong.

      • bhagwad says:

        You’re right – I have no control over the involuntary reaction of being scared. I can only add that very few circumstances in life have the dramatic effect of being scared causing the instant rush of adrenaline.

        Reading something offensive on the Internet can have an initial effect, but that effect is so small, that I don’t consider it worthy of protection by the government. I believe that tiny initial effect (that can almost always be avoided in the first place) is the price we pay for being a free country and something that all of us have the capacity to handle.

  3. I also suspect that those claiming to be offended (and hence killing, burning etc) could be just pretending – there’s no way to know if they are telling the truth about being hurt. Anybody can pretend to be provoked or hurt and then kill, rape, rob, burn etc because their sentiments were hurt.

    • bhagwad says:

      Exactly – and since governments and people on the outside view nothing except the looting and burning, we’re forced to take them at face value. It’s absurd.

  4. Purple Cloud says:

    “When someone’s nose is broken you can see it. You can verify it. You can measure it. A broken nose is something that will always be caused when enough force is suddenly applied and you know that pain is being felt. Broken bones can be examined and measured.”

    If you are applying the criteria of measurement to verify hurt, then even a lot many cases of physical hurt cannot be measured.

    What if a person is punched in the stomach ? Where will you look for the signs of injury in such a case where there is neither an external or an internal deformity visible ? The victim will still have pain. But it is only the victim who can ‘know’ if he is having the pain. On the other hand, if a person wants to fabricate pain in such a scenario, he can easily do so. Now should we say that any physical force which does not leave behind a visible sign should not be considered ?

    “How will you prove who is feeling something and who isn’t?”

    So, how do you prove pain in such a scenario ?

    A well measured strike to a person’s chest can easily cause cardiac arrest and death (without leaving any visible signs of injury). So unless you don’t consider slaps and punches as physical ‘hurt’, even physical hurt is beyond measurement in many cases. So does that mean if a person is punched, he has no right to go to the police ? How do you expect him to show signs of injury and how do you expect the law to measure the pain ?

    “People have the right to emotionally abuse others.” & ““Force” only refers to physical force against a person or their property.”

    These are entirely your opinions.

    “If a person’s boss is emotionally abusive, that is not enough to force a person to leave.”

    Any ‘normal’ person is expected to react to emotions. If a person doesn’t react to emotions then he is said to be suffering from a psychiatric disorder. I hope you have heard about Schizophrenia. :)

    “Merely taking their word is not enough. Till we have a scientific way to determine whether or not a person is feeling something the law has to ignore emotional abuse.”

    Well, this goes against your stand on marital rapes. It has been argued by many that rape can be impossible to prove in many cases of rapes within marriages. Something to which you had replied :-

    “Believe it or not, some men need to be told that it’s not ok to rape your wife. I want at least the law to be on the books. We can institute protections, put the burden on the complainant etc. But the law should tell people what is acceptable and what is not…we can discuss evidence after that.”

    So you agree that even though physical and scientific proof is unavailable even in a case of physical hurt like rape, there should be a law against it. Why ignore evidence in a case of rape but not in a case of emotional abuse ?

    Incidentally, I agreed and still agree with your opinion on marital rape. :)

    • bhagwad says:

      “What if a person is punched in the stomach ? Where will you look for the signs of injury in such a case where there is neither an external or an internal deformity visible ?

      So, how do you prove pain in such a scenario ?”

      There will be witnesses or some other evidence that a struggle took place no? If there are no signs of a struggle or witnesses or any other circumstances that could back up the story of the person who claims to have been punched in the stomach, then we should certainly ignore that person. The law works on evidence. Not on mere claims of harm.

      If we can show that a person was punched using such means we can ascertain a violation of that person’s bodily rights since a person’s body is their property and the perpetrator can be punished accordingly. It’s not that big a problem as it may seem to you.

      Every human on the planet feels pain when punched in the stomach. No exceptions. Since this is a verifiable fact, we can have laws against punching someone in the stomach. Also as I mentioned, hitting someone is a violation of their property which is their body.

      “Any ‘normal’ person is expected to react to emotions. “

      Responding to emotions is perfectly ok. But every “normal adult” is also expected to choose what is best for them to do. “Choose” – not force.

      “These are entirely your opinions.”

      These are facts. In the absence of physical coercion against a person or their property, no one in the history of humanity has ever lifted a finger, moved a hand, moved a leg or spoken a word by being “forced”. If a person doesn’t want to lift their hand, the hand will not move. If a person doesn’t want to say something, the throat will not speak. Every action, every movement by voluntary muscles is an action of choice. Unless there is physical force being applied or the threat of physical force being applied, no one can ever be forced to do anything.

      “So you agree that even though physical and scientific proof is unavailable even in a case of physical hurt like rape, there should be a law against it. Why ignore evidence in a case of rape but not in a case of emotional abuse ?”

      This is curious. I don’t believe I have ever mentioned anywhere in this post or any other writing that a prosecution should take place without evidence.

      There should be a laws against marital rape – of course. But without evidence, nothing can be prosecuted. You need evidence. Facts. Verification. Measurement. If none of these are there, no action of law can ever proceed.

      • Purple Cloud says:

        “There will be witnesses or some other evidence that a struggle took place no?”

        That’s exactly what I pointed out. I particularly mentioned about physical injuries which leave no external signs. Which means a person can slap or punch any random individual provided there are no wtnesses or evidence of a struggle. Great!

        “If we can show that a person was punched using such means we can ascertain a violation of that person’s bodily rights since a person’s body is their property and the perpetrator can be punished accordingly.”

        Are you just practicing your fancy writing skills ? Violation of a person’s bodily rights ??? If a man is punched in the stomach by someone in a lonely street and robbed of his money, do we just ignore him because he has no witnesses or evidences of struggle ? Now please don’t start about money here since no way can you ascertain that the money in someone’s pocket was actually robbed from another person.

        “Every human on the planet feels pain when punched in the stomach. No exceptions. Since this is a verifiable fact, we can have laws against punching someone in the stomach. Also as I mentioned, hitting someone is a violation of their property which is their body.”

        Thankfully, since you accept this, all I want to ask you again is how do you verify or ascertain that a person has been punched when there are no witnesses or other evidences around ? Peole can even be killed without leaving any external signs of injury on their body. Do we ignore them too ?

        “Every action, every movement by voluntary muscles is an action of choice.”

        Oops… I just touched a hot pan of boiling water and my arm snapped away from it even before I could “choose” to move it away from the pan. I wonder why that happened. :D

        “This is curious. I don’t believe I have ever mentioned anywhere in this post or any other writing that a prosecution should take place without evidence.”

        Please refer to your own comment – http://www.bhagwad.com/blog/2013/rights-and-freedoms/the-huge-opposition-to-marital-rape-laws-is-shocking.html/comment-page-2/#comment-16761

        Where you write – “But the law should tell people what is acceptable and what is not…we can discuss evidence after that.”

        So why not use the same yardstick for every type of hurt. Let the prosecution proceed once any evidence is provided that the harm/ hurt happened. Just because it is rare and more difficult to provide evidence in cases of emotional hurt how can you simply ignore it altogether ?

        You accept that emotional hurt does happen. And you also accept that hurt is not acceptable. Then why not illegalize emotional hurt as well ? Let the complainant prove evidence of his hurt for the prosecution to take place just like you say in your comment on marital rape. How can you justify ignoring emotional hurt altogether just because you presume that evidence will not be available ? The same can be said for so many cases of physical hurt as well.

      • bhagwad says:

        “Which means a person can slap or punch any random individual provided there are no wtnesses or evidence of a struggle. Great!”

        This is exactly how it’s supposed to work. Otherwise anyone can just make up a story that you punched them and off you go to jail!

        “If a man is punched in the stomach by someone in a lonely street and robbed of his money, do we just ignore him because he has no witnesses or evidences of struggle ? Now please don’t start about money here since no way can you ascertain that the money in someone’s pocket was actually robbed from another person.”

        I’m sorry, but yes. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that you can prosecute people without any evidence. Sure, you can register a complaint but without anything to go by there’s no way a functioning criminal justice system will prosecute anyone.

        “Peole can even be killed without leaving any external signs of injury on their body. Do we ignore them too ?”

        I’ve heard that autopsies are useful these days…

        “Oops… I just touched a hot pan of boiling water and my arm snapped away from it even before I could “choose” to move it away from the pan. I wonder why that happened. :D”

        Hmm…if only I had specified voluntary muscles and not those under the influence of a reflex action.

        Oh wait :D

        “Just because it is rare and more difficult to provide evidence in cases of emotional hurt”

        How on earth are you going to “prove” emotional hurt? It’s impossible. Made even more problematic by the fact that you can’t look at actions since two people will react differently to a given emotional stimulus unlike with physical pain where it’s verifiable.

        “Then why not illegalize emotional hurt as well ? “

        Because any lunatic can feel “hurt” that I made an ugly face at him. It’ll be the end of freedom as you know it.

        “Let the complainant prove evidence of his hurt for the prosecution to take place just like you say in your comment on marital rape. How can you justify ignoring emotional hurt altogether just because you presume that evidence will not be available ? The same can be said for so many cases of physical hurt as well.”

        Because laws against physical hurt outlaw actual acts – such as hitting someone. Emotional hurt on the other hand can be caused by literally anything. Because there’s no earthly way I can guarantee that some idiot or the other will not be hurt by absolutely any action I take. Tomorrow someone will feel hurt that bought x brand instead of y.

        Bottom line: Physical hurt – yes we can have laws. Emotional hurt – sorry, you’re on your own.

      • Purple Cloud says:

        “This is exactly how it’s supposed to work. Otherwise anyone can just make up a story that you punched them and off you go to jail!”

        Wonderful ! So by this logic, any law against domestic violence goes into the trash can. As a husband can slap and punch his wife as much as he wants in the confines of their house. If the wife goes running to the police for being hit, all she’ll get is – “Sorry, you are on your own.”

        “I’ve heard that autopsies are useful these days…”

        A well directed blow on the chest can result in death from cardiac arrest. An autopsy can at best detect the cause of death as cardiac arrest. The heart tissues will not have a written message on them saying – “Person X hit me !” :D

        “Hmm…if only I had specified voluntary muscles and not those under the influence of a reflex action.

        Oh wait :D”

        Yes, if only you could wait and think before making your comments… :D

        “Emotional hurt on the other hand can be caused by literally anything.”

        Wow. So are we dismissing a type of hurt just because it can be caused by anything ?

      • bhagwad says:

        So by this logic, any law against domestic violence goes into the trash can. As a husband can slap and punch his wife as much as he wants in the confines of their house. If the wife goes running to the police for being hit, all she’ll get is – “Sorry, you are on your own.”

        Lol. Most domestic violence has clear physical injuries. Maybe you haven’t seen pictures of domestic violence victims. I suggest Google images.

        “A well directed blow on the chest can result in death from cardiac arrest. An autopsy can at best detect the cause of death as cardiac arrest. The heart tissues will not have a written message on them saying – “Person X hit me !” :D

        Tough luck. No evidence, no prosecution. Even circumstantial evidence will do. But you need something. That’s the way the law works. Too late to do anything about it now. And thank god.

        “Yes, if only you could wait and think before making your comments… :D”

        I think you kind of shot yourself in the foot there. Read that bit again about your nonsensical statement regarding involuntary reflexes and get back to me…

        “Wow. So are we dismissing a type of hurt just because it can be caused by anything ?”

        Yes – exactly. Because emotional “hurt” does not outweigh the rights of people to live freely. Physical harm can be caused under specific well defined circumstances. Emotional hurt is too damn broad and subjective. So not going to happen. And most courts agree with me.

  5. Purple Cloud says:

    Just going off the discussion for a bit as I want to know your views about the ongoing match-fixing and betting issues in Indian cricket if you may have come across the news.

    Do you think betting should be illegal ? And, do you think fixing of matches in any sport by players should result in them being arrested and sent to jail ?

    • bhagwad says:

      If it’s a privately owned match, then no they can’t be sent to jail. You can get banned from the sport probably for life and not be invited to play anywhere again. But not jail no. We can’t send people to jail for breaking private rules…

      • Purple Cloud says:

        I couldn’t get what you meant by a privately owned match. I meant as suppose there is a football match between the national teams of France and Italy where players of one team fix it up with some professional fixers to lose the match in exchange of sufficient amount of money. In that case, should they be arrested or jailed ?

        As for betting, if a person places his bets on the above match, without having anything to do directly with the proceedings of the match, should he be booked too ?

      • bhagwad says:

        I guess I would see who rented/owns the ground where the match is being played. Who are the funds going to? Basically is it a government organization or a private one? If I hold a private match in my own house and award my own prize money then I don’t see how the law can put anyone in jail for cheating.

        And no, no one should go to jail for betting. Whether they bet on the weather or a match shouldn’t make a difference…

      • Purple Cloud says:

        Ok. So in the recent incidents of fixing and betting, the Indian cricket board rented/own the grounds. They organized the tournament/matches. The funds (from tickets/advertising etc.) go to the board, the team owners and the players and the broadcasters are paid from the same. The tickets are sold to the general public. And yes, a part of the funds go to the government as well for providing police security during the matches.

        So, should the government investigate and book those who fix the results or aspects of the matches ?

      • bhagwad says:

        If it was a public event, I guess maybe they can be booked for fraud. Don’t really have strong thoughts about it.

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