a drug that would deliver both the instruments of torture and the instrument of their utter concealm

NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
Does "a drug that would deliver both the instruments of torture and the instrument of their utter concealment" mean "a drug that has two functions: one that serves as the instruments of torture; the other that serves to conceal the instruments (so that media have no way to find the facts that you've used the means of torture)"? Some nuance here is beyond me.


Thanks in advance

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To demonstrate just how abstract the torments of the tortured can be made to seem, we need only imagine an ideal "torture pill"—a drug that would deliver both the instruments of torture and the instrument of their utter concealment. The action of the pill would be to produce transitory paralysis and transitory misery of a kind that no human being would willingly submit to a second time. Imagine how we torturers would feel if, after giving this pill to captive terrorists, each lay down for what appeared to be an hour's nap only to arise and immediately confess everything he knows about the workings of his organization. Might we not be tempted to call it a "truth pill" in the end?


-Sam Harris' The End of Faith
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The sentence is very badly written and the use of "instruments" is not very clear (to the extent that I think Harris has used the wrong word - unless Harris is using "instruments" figuratively in reference to context you have not given...)

    a drug that would deliver be both the cause of torture and the instrument of their utter concealment would be undetectable

    All this is explained better in the next sentence - which I recommend you read. ;)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    He’s talking about an imaginary drug that could make the victim suffer the same effects as actual torture, without leaving any physical trace.

    Perhaps rather ill-advisedly, he uses two different meanings of “instrument”:
    • the instruments of torture — literally the devices used in torture (whose physical effects are emulated by the drug)
    • the instrument of their concealment — the means by which the presence of the drug in the body is rendered undetectable
     
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