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当无聊成为一种酷刑

当无聊成为一种酷刑



我们翻译这篇文章的理由


疫情肆虐下,隔离在家成了我们新的生活方式,隔离下的无聊成了普遍的情绪,然而这相比于监狱中的单独监禁,可谓小巫见大巫。美国自引入单独监禁制度以来,便逐渐发现了其中巨大的惩戒功效,无聊带来的绝望感甚至可以让人通过自残来获取知觉。

——张松


👇


当无聊成为一种酷刑


作者:SAIDA GRUNDY

译者:王宇琪&金殊羽

校对:何翔宇

策划:张松 & 郭嘉宁


Why Boredom Affects Us So Much

为何无聊对我们影响巨大


If being isolated at home is starting to feel like your own personal prison, it’s because tedium is also used as a severe form of carceral punishment.
如果居家隔离让你感觉身处监狱,那是因为沉闷本身就是监狱惩罚的严酷形式之一。

For more than a month, and with no definitive end in sight, many Americans have been confined to their home because of shelter-in-place orders due to the novel coronavirus. Though health-care workers, service-sector employees, and gig laborers are running at a fever pitch to keep millions of people safe and functioning, the rest of us are stuck indoors without the fun of social gatherings or the routines of work and school to structure our time. That reality has brought scores of people face-to-face with how agonizing it can feel to be bored for days on end.
从过去的一个多月到没有明确期限的未来,由于新型冠状病毒的出现,许多美国人将不得不受制于“就地避难(shelter-in-place)”的命令待在家中。尽管卫生保健工作者、服务部门员工和零工们正忙得不可开交,以保证数百万人的安全和正常生活,但我们其余的人却被困在室内,没有社交聚会的乐趣、也没有工作学习的日常以安排我们的时间。这一现实让许多人亲身体会到,连续多日感到无聊是多么痛苦。

By now, most people have likely seen or made comparisons of this new normal to house arrest or detention. Comedians such as Ellen DeGeneres have even jokingly likened self-quarantining to jail. It is beyond a reach to compare our temporary state of health-advisory compliance to the condition of the 2 million Americans currently incarcerated. But if being bored and idle at home is starting to feel like your own personal prison, it may be time to consider a harrowing truth: Boredom within confinement is one of the harshest forms of punishment in existence, and a signature practice throughout the American penal system.
到现在,大多数人可能已经看到或开始将这种新常态与软禁或拘留比较。艾伦·德杰尼勒斯(Ellen DeGeneres)等喜剧演员甚至开玩笑地把自我隔离比作坐牢。我们无法将我们暂时的健康咨询合规状况与目前处于监禁中的200万美国人的状况相比。但是,如果在家里感到的无聊和虚度开始给你带来身处私人监狱的感觉,那么也许是时候考虑这个令人痛心的事实了:监禁中的无聊是现存最严苛的惩罚形式之一,也是整个美国刑罚体系的标志性做法。

Many people believe that boredom within confinement is a measured, even sensible, form of punishment. Parents, for instance, often send their misbehaved kids to their rooms alone and deprive them of the phones and tablets that occupy their attention. Pop culture is riddled with images of after-school detentions where the offender is bored to tears by rewriting the same sentence on a chalkboard.
许多人认为,监禁中的无聊是一种基于标准的、甚至是明智的惩罚形式。例如,父母经常把捣乱的孩子单独关在房间里并拿走吸引他们的手机和平板电脑。课后留校的场景在流行文化中随处可见,犯错的学生在黑板上反复抄写同一个句子,无聊到流泪。

In this widespread acceptance of boredom as punishment, however, many Americans underestimate the degrees of severity between the restlessness of provisional idleness and the long-term boredom that comes with being imprisoned, specifically within solitary confinement. Isolated detainees routinely serve weeks, months, or years in a condition that is already cruel in denying them human touch and interaction. But the fact that solitary confinement is specifically designed to numb all of one’s senses and maximize suffering shows that boredom is an essential quality of one of the most severe forms of punishment.
然而,在普遍接受无聊作为惩罚的过程中,许多美国人低估了短暂的无所事事所带来的不安与被监禁(尤其是单独监禁)所带来的长期无聊之间的严重程度的差别。被隔离的囚犯通常要在监狱里待上几周、几个月或几年,在这一已十分残酷的环境下他们不能与人接触或互动。特别设置单独监禁的目的是麻痹人的所有感官并使痛苦最大化,这表明无聊是最残酷惩罚形式之一的基本特征。

Sociologists have described solitary as a “prison within a prison,” in which even minor infractions are punished with long-term stays in a four-walled room typically no larger than a parking space. Residents refer to it as “the SHU” (special housing unit), “the box,” or “the hole.” Jessica Simes, a sociologist at Boston University, who conducted fieldwork in a solitary confinement unit, told me: “Solitary confinement denies people access to their communities, to education and programs, even to regular physical movement and sometimes food.” In a study published in 2019, Simes and the economist Ryan Sakoda found that the practice discriminates against black prisoners, who, on average, spend two more weeks in solitary than their white counterparts. Its different uses and biases can be observed across various facilities (including juvenile and immigration detention centers), but universally the intention to exacerbate human deprivation is the same. Experts across the fields of psychology, medicine, public policy, sociology, law, and neuroscience have extensively argued that solitary has severe, lasting, and deleterious effects. More than 15 consecutive days in solitary meets the United Nations’ definition of torture.
社会学家将单人监狱描述为“监狱中的监狱”,在这里,即使是轻微的违规行为也会被长期关在一个四面环墙只有停车位大小的房间里,人们称它为“特殊住房单元(special housing unit,the SHU)”、“盒子”或“洞”。在对一个单独监禁牢房进行实地调查后,波士顿大学的社会学家杰西卡·西梅斯(Jessica Simes)告诉我:“单独监禁剥夺了人们进入集体、接受教育和参加活动的机会,甚至剥夺了他们定期进行身体活动的机会,有时还剥夺了他们的食物”。在2019年发表的一项研究中,西梅斯和经济学家瑞安·萨科达(Ryan Sakoda)发现,这种做法歧视黑人囚犯,他们平均比白人囚犯多被单独关押两周。单独监禁的不同用途和偏见出现在各种设施中(包括青少年和移民拘留中心),但普遍而言,进一步剥夺人权的意图是相同的。心理学、医学、公共政策、社会学、法学和神经科学等领域的专家广泛认为,孤独会产生严重、持久和有害的影响。超过15天的单独监禁即符合联合国对酷刑的定义。

For people whose “confinement” looks more like days on end in pajama bottoms, media outlets scramble to provide useful tips for combatting quarantine-induced boredom. Users’ social-media feeds are flooded with content that makes light of how people are responding to the drudgery and how hilariously creative they can be in their attempts to break up monotony. Yes, the boredom of sheltering in place can be stressful, but for incarcerated people, that stress can be deadly.
对那些连续几天穿着睡裤被关“禁闭”的人,媒体争相提供有用的建议来帮助他们克服因隔离而产生的无聊感。社交媒体上充斥着各种各样的内容,这些内容忽视了人们是如何应对单调乏味的工作的,以及人们在试图打破单调乏味的过程中可以有多么可笑的创造性。是的,就地避难的无聊可能带来压力,但是对于被监禁的人来说,这种压力可能是致命的。

When isolation was first introduced into American prisons with the opening of the all-solitary Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia in 1829, the institution’s progressive Quaker founders thought it a humane way to invite quiet reflection and penance. But despite state-of-the-art cells with indoor plumbing and adjoining individual yards, Eastern State’s residents died at puzzlingly high rates. Once it was clear that solitary was not harmless, a new consideration of how it could be used punitively took root in the 20th century. With the tough-on-crime political rhetoric of the 1970s through the late 1990s, the use of solitary exploded when draconian sentencing policies tripled the number of federal and state prison facilities from 511 to 1,663—an expansion that increased capacity to place thousands in isolated cells. Today, in response to COVID-19, prisons and jails have ramped up solitary: More than 300,000 incarcerated peopleare being held in their cells or bunks on full or partial lockdown. Last month, lockdowns and visitation restrictions in response to the pandemic resulted in an Italian prison riot that led to a dozen deaths.
随着1829年费城东部州立监狱投入使用,单独监禁被首次引入美国监狱体系。这种刑罚由进步性的贵格会提出,他们认为这是一种能够使囚犯安静思考与忏悔的人道方式。但尽管有最先进的监室,并配有室内管道设施和与之相连的独立庭院,东部州在押犯人的死亡率还是高得惊人。20世纪,人们认识到孤独对人们并非没有伤害,于是将单独监禁应用在刑罚当中的想法由此产生。20世纪70年代至90年代末,严厉打击犯罪的政治言论出现,残酷的量刑政策出台,联邦和州监狱设施的数量由511个增加至1663个,单独监禁的使用出现了爆炸式增长。如今,为应对新冠肺炎,监狱和拘留所增加了单独监禁的人数,超过30万在押犯人被拘禁在狭小的牢房或铺位当中,并采取完全或部分封锁措施。上个月,由于不满应对新冠肺炎采取的封锁和限制探访措施,意大利一座监狱爆发骚乱,导致数人死亡。

Survivors of solitary have spoken about how the boredom they experienced is immensely different from anything on the outside. Steven Czifra, who first experienced solitary when he was 13 and who served eight years of his 17-year sentence in solitary, told The Guardian in 2016 that “boredom in a solitary-confinement cell is not like boredom anywhere else. Because if you are bored in a solitary-confinement cell, it means you have exhausted all of your remedies … it’s not boredom, it’s despair because there is no hope of alleviating it.”
经历过单独监禁的刑罚后被释放的人曾表示,他们在监狱里所经历的无聊与厌倦同外界的任何事情截然不同。史蒂文·奇夫拉第一次经历单独监禁是在13岁,他被判处17年监禁,最终在狱中服刑八年。2016年,他接受《卫报》采访时表示:“单独监禁的牢房的无聊和其他任何地方所感受到的无聊都不一样。因为如果你在这样的牢房当中感到无聊,这意味着你已经用尽了一切补救方法……这不是无聊,而是绝望,因为永远不会有缓解这种感受的希望。”

Just as those on social media pass the quarantine time by getting inventive, confined people use creativity and imagination to combat boredom when the stakes are as high as losing their mind or even their life. In the collection Six by Ten: Stories From Solitary, Maryam Henderson-Uloho recounts how she was thrown in “the tank” for refusing to remove her hijab. She was stripped naked and left with nothing but a blanket and a roll of toilet paper in a dank windowless room. “I kept my mind busy by making flowers out of the toilet paper,” she said. “My whole cell was filled with flowers.”
正如一些人在社交媒体上发挥创造力来度过隔离期一样,当严苛的刑罚让人近乎失去理智甚至想到死亡时,这些被单独监禁的人们会通过创意和想象力来对抗无聊。《六乘十:单独监禁者的故事》一书中,玛丽亚姆·亨德森-乌洛霍讲述了她是如何因为拒绝摘掉头巾而被扔进牢房的。她被剥得一丝不挂,只留下一条毯子和一卷卫生纸,在一间潮湿无窗的牢房里度日。她说:“我忙着用厕纸做花,整间牢房都布满了鲜花。”

For Marcel Neil, who spent three years in confinement, the darkness of the solitary ward was pierced only by the terrifying noises of others nearby having manic episodes of kicking and screaming. He said he got through three years inside by daydreaming “to places where I didn’t think my mind could go.” Years after his release, he still struggles with anxiety attacks and bouts of paranoia when interacting with more than a few people at a time. It is common for those in solitary to self-harm, often as part of their mental will to feel any form of sensation. It is not uncommon for them to simply die from the circumstances.
对于被单独监禁了三年的马塞尔·尼尔来说,只有不远处其他人发出的声音才能穿破这单人牢房的无边黑暗,这些人有时会狂躁地踢腿和尖叫。他说,他在监狱里度过三年时间靠的是做白日梦。“我去了一些自己也觉得无法想象的地方。”获释多年后,他仍然会在同一群人打交道时因焦虑和偏执抓狂。在单独监禁当中自残十分常见,它通常作为犯人精神意志的一部分令其重获知觉。犯人在单独监禁中死于自残的情况并不罕见。

The penal system doesn’t punish with boredom because it’s soft, but rather because those within the system know it’s extreme. The 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer—a devout critic of Eastern State—argued that American penitentiaries did not intend to improve the heart of the offender, but merely set his head to the logic that good behavior was the safer course in society. “Boredom,” he wrote, “is certainly not an evil to be taken lightly.”
刑罚体系以无聊作为惩罚的手段并非是想对犯人网开一面,而是因为体系内的人都认为这种刑罚足够极端。19世纪德国哲学家亚瑟·叔本华是一位虔诚的东部州的批判者,他认为美国的监狱体系并不是要改造罪犯的内心世界,而只是使他明确一个逻辑:良好的行为能够让社会更加安定。他写道:“无聊并不是一种能够草率对待的邪恶之事。”

Those who are imprisoned survive solitary almost entirely due to their own indomitable humanity that wills them to endure. Most people can perhaps never truly appreciate how severe solitary confinement is for the imprisoned. Yet in this current state of uncertainty, vulnerability, and dependency on one another even when distanced, free Americans share with them the human determination to make it through the worst of times. Sheltering in our homes doesn’t compare to the inhumanity of punitive confinement, but it presents a unique opportunity to rethink the conditions to which no human being should be subjected.  
犯人捱过单独监禁刑期最终获释,几乎完全是依靠自身不屈不挠的意志,这样的意志让他们选择一再忍受牢狱之苦。大多数人可能永远不会真正意识到单独监禁对于犯人来说是怎样的酷刑,但当下人们正经历着不确定性,时时暴露于危险之中,人与人即使相隔遥远也要互相依赖,自由的美国人开始同这些犯人一样,有决心去度过这段艰难的时期。隔离在家无法与监禁刑罚的不人道相提并论,但它提供了一个独特的机会,让我们重新思考单独监禁这样一种没有人应该置身其中的艰难处境。






当无聊成为一种酷刑

  • 本文原载于 The Atlantic

  • 原文链接https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/04/why-boredom-affects-us-so-much/610114/



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