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It is an undisputed fact among scientists that individuals, groups, and peoples are subject to the same Darwinian laws of natural selection as plants and animals. Social Darwinism has proven that the strongest among us survive, and the weak must suffer what they will. I, a magecraft sorcerer, now have a legitimate policy to justify my imperialist actions. To accomplish this, I steal the lives of individuals by sucking out their souls and consuming them into myself. There, they will suffer excruciating torture for an eternity while I realize my noble ambitions of manifest destiny.

The suffering of countless innocent men, women, and children being robbed of their lives as I steal their souls provides for the most exquisite torment. It also extends my life and provides fuel for my sorcery. As a result, I have managed to extend my life for many centuries, robbing the innocent of their worthless lives while making myself more powerful. However, The hundreds of thousands of souls yelling and screaming all at once is at risk of driving me insane.

Hearing so many voices can make me lose sense of self, leading to schizophrenia. I may also confuse one of those soul-personalities for my own. This constant puts my self-identity at risk. I need to continue absorbing souls to extend my unnatural life, but at the same time prevent them from taking me over or causing damage to my own mind. How can I accomplish this?

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  • $\begingroup$ Why would you want him to avoid it, as an occasional game master (if not a 'writer' per se) it's far more amusing & leaves much more room for storytelling & conflict if you don't give them an easy out from this ;) $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Mar 27 '20 at 1:14
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Actually, it's better if you don't

Aren't you contradicting yourself if you do? If you truly believed in Social Darwinism, and that the strong deserve to lord themselves over the weak, and that the weak deserve to suffer, than you should also believe that you're inherently superior to all those souls that you've eaten inside you.

See, if the soul stealer really is the big cheese, then he has nothing to fear from all those weak-willed souls running around inside his body because he is strong and they are weak. Furthermore, if one of the souls manages to steal the body from him, that means that that soul deserves to be in control and the soul-stealer deserves to suffer - because, after all, Social Darwinism, strong eat the weak, weak suffer, you get the point.

Only a weak and feeble soul eater who doesn't believe in their own natural and inherit superiority over the feeble scrubs that they're eating for souls would choose the coward's way out and decline to allow the souls a futile and inevitably meaningless attempt to overwhelm them with their pitiful cries of pain. If you do feel sorry for them, of course, it just means that you're not cut out for the job.

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    $\begingroup$ Just because the character believes in something doesn’t make its lack of truth not affect them — the screams of pain of millions will still affect you if they’re in your head, no matter how little you believe they will affect you. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '20 at 0:40
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, I'm not saying it won't. (Of course, I'm not saying it will either - something like that is up to the author.) I'm just saying that someone with this belief in character will choose to withstand it because it's that's their character. $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Mar 27 '20 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Fivesideddice - That is hardly a given. For all you know, a successful sorcerer is either a sociopath or a sadist. If the former, the screams simply don't mean anything to her - they are the screams of other people, and other people don't count. And if the latter, he will actually enjoy the screams. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '20 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ This reminds me of the expression "God helps those who help themselves". A hare may be lose a race to a tortoise if it doesn't try to win. Does that mean the tortoise is actually faster/better? Well, it depends on your perspective. From the Social Darwinist's perspective, the tortoise deserved to win, but not because it was physically faster, but because it tried harder. That is what the Evil Sorcerer is trying to do. $\endgroup$
    – Matthew
    Apr 6 '20 at 16:56
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'Insanity' is a broad but you seem to be talking about schizophrenia specifically

I would argue that there are many outcomes of a person experiencing constant screaming in their head, all of which fit into some definition of psychological abnormality:

  • A complete lack of empathy: Once your sorcerer has managed to get past the eternal torture of the victims living in his own mind little else could move him. I would argue he must already have started down this path to cause the torture in the first place

  • Cognative dissonance: If he hasn't sank to entirely inhuman levels of disinterest in the pain of others the only way to do this is to completely separate the two beliefs and worlds. Perhaps he tells himself the pain he inflicts is necessary and part of a greater good but doesn't believe anyone else should have the same right.

  • A separation of the self: multiple personality disorder. Here he could tell himself there is some evil within that causes the torture that isn't the 'real' him, that he separates the actions he takes to preserve himself and his day to day life and calls them different people.

  • Religious belief: Perhaps he believes that what he does is to free the souls from their bodies to be judged by a God...if they're deemed worthy then they're returned to the body otherwise they're held and tortured in hell. The screams he hears, he tells himself, are only of those that God believed should be punished.

It would be interesting to see others in your world deal with this. Is the torture truely necessary or could another sorcerer first find out how to trick the souls into believing they're in another world, something akin to the matrix, where they're still under the belief they they're alive and so the torture doesn't reach them and the sorcerer wouldn't go insane. Perhaps their pleasure is as much a source of power as their pain, only their pain is easier to extract.


P.S For clarity the high brow, classic source which inspired the last thought was the early 21st century work of art known as Monsters, Inc.

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