Whole Life Sentence

A while ago I got thinking about the way drugs can affect your perception of time, I wondered whether scientists would ever be able to isolate the chemical compounds that alter temporal perception in order to accurately reduce or extend how individuals experience time. I even considered how this might affect imprisonment and the idea that costs could be drastically cut by administering a dose of this chemical in order to make a single second feel like an entire week. If this were ever to happen, there would be no need for most prisons, the punishment could be administered in court at the time of sentencing. A sentence of a year could be served in under a minute and a sentence of a hundred years could be served in just under an hour and a half. There would be no need to pay thousands of prison officers. No need to buy in food, train riot officers, administer searching procedures, provide beds, toilets, or televisions, or even to arrange visits. No need to pay for any of that.

However, I didn’t look at it the other way. I didn’t consider that maybe sentences wouldn’t be shortened in real time but feel the same length, maybe they’d be extended in real time and feel even longer instead. Maybe we’d end up serving ten year sentences that feel like a millennia. And I definitely didn’t consider what would happen if people’s lives could be extended too so that you could serve hundreds of years in real time that feel like an eternity in your head. Well, recently someone else thought of exactly that. These thoughts are really disturbing. Check the article out at aeon magazine.

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