Death and the Maiden: The Torturer Speaks
Torture is the most ancient of the fine arts, older than the so-called art of love, and certainly richer and more varied. The art of love is nothing but a dozen positions and a couple of dozen refinements, but torture has a thousand varieties. All animals can couple, but man is the only animal that tortures. The essential ingredient of torture could not be more simple: all you need is a collective, constituted group operating on a man in isolation. The group, as we know, is stronger than the individual, and torture is the first way of proving it. Torture is also the first of the experimental sciences. All it calls for is a pair of bare hands and a gang to hold the patient down and assist in the experiment. Furthermore it is an art which, like all the primitive arts, dance, song, story-telling, poetry, requires nothing but the body. As for the art of love, well, the zones of pleasure are very much fewer than the zones of pain, and pain is more intense and can last much longer. Pleasure is not the opposite of pain; it is a different thing altogether, poorer and more limited.