Picard in Chain of Command

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Reeborg, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. Reeborg

    Reeborg Commander Red Shirt

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    I find the portrayal of Picard in that (second half) episode widely unrealistic. Is he really so arrogant to insult his captor under torture? "I see you now only as a six years old boy without defense" and other bold statements. :eek:

    How do you feel about that? Do you think you would behave like this (sitting in Guantanamo ;))?
     
  2. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't anyone really knows how they would react until they are in the situation.

    I think Picard was trying to defend himself from his torturer. Torturers try to dominate their victims mentally by dominating them physically. Picard was helpless physically but he then understood more about his torturer and used that to support himself.

    While no doubt the Cardassian took it as an insult, it was really the truth.
     
  3. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Torture is one of the LEAST effective methods of extracting information from someone. It's just an excuse for whoever is doing it to just inflict pain for the sake of it. Picard would have known this and just was messing with the guy since h eknew that was what this was all about the whole time.
     
  4. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Insult him... Defy him... What's the difference? If he'd wanted to acquiesce, he should have just said there were 5 lights right off.

    It's clear Picard thought of it not only as a test of his own will, but as a battle of wills. Hence, why he gets fairly excited when he trips up Madred into calling him Picard. Seeking to establish victories against your torturer is a natural response, the same way that cursing when you accidentally hurt yourself can provide a bit of emotional comfort too. Picard also calls to attention that his daughter will be emotionally stunted from witnessing such brutality.

    As soon as the four lights came out, it was clear he was only interested in bending Picard's will & not obtaining truthful information, and at that time & from then on, Picard took the position of defiance. Ultimately, his will was broken & he "Would have told him anything", but the defiance would've always remained, in some amount

    The only thing torture has ever been effective at is tripping up someone who is lying, because the pain messes with memory ability, & lies can be tough to remember under duress, but once the victim has chosen either defiance or acquiescence, it's little more than purposeless cruelty

    One thing is for sure... That dipstick captain in Gambit 1 & 2 couldn't have picked a worse guy to play that pain inducer crap with
     
  5. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree. We don't know how we would respond to torture or any other extreme situation (violence, danger, etc.) until we're in the midst of it. We might surprise ourselves with unexpected strength, we might wilt under pressure, or anything in between. Picard's reaction is one realistic possibility among many.
     
  6. Reeborg

    Reeborg Commander Red Shirt

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    I am a bit surprised about the opinions, that so many user here find that behavior normal and realistic. So be frank, if your boss treats you very unfairly (shouts at you), who of you would start to insult him? I am sure most people wouldn't, because you would possibly lose your job. In Picards position you would even suffer immense pain and/or you would/could lose your life.
     
  7. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In the work situation, there is some power left in the employee. There are also options: the nominal possibility to leave that job (obviously limited by what other opportunities there are), complain to another boss or the personnel department, get help from one's union, file a lawsuit.

    Picard had no options. He was at the complete mercy of his captors. If they decided to execute him they could have. Picard was doing what he could to keep some bit of control over himself. In that particular case, it meant pointing out the source of Madred's impulse to use cruelty to dominate others.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed; Picard had absolutely nothing to lose.

    Also, he could find comfort in the idea that if his boss did try to fire him, the boss, his family, and everybody the boss cared about would immediately be fired, and driven from their homes to the streets in a hail of rotten tomatoes - the Cardassians were obvious underdogs in military conflicts, and failing to return Picard would have dire consequences for them, all the "we deny all knowledge of you" nonsense aside. I mean, Starfleet would have no real incentive to deny anything. "Yes, we raided one of your facilities, your excellency. Now contact the embassy and tell them to return the body of our agent or you lose three planets every hour, counting from now. Hmh? What are you waiting for? Guards, beat the Ambassador with rifle butts until he remembers how to contact his embassy. And then ask him to apologize, and clean the butts."

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What were the options? Cooperation (not a good choice), passivity or resistance.

    Picard was ready to die...to die as he lived..as a fighter and an intellectual. So yeah, lecturing your torturer is the Picard way of dying.
     
  10. AgentCoop

    AgentCoop Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    I am a bit surprised that you can't see that your example and Picard's situatuon are worlds apart. Picard is not in danger of losing a paycheck. He is in danger of being tortured to death. In that situation, defiance-no matter how pointless it may seem to an outside observer-is really the only kind of victory available to him. Picard's defiance under Gul Madred's torture is kind of the whole point of the story.
     
  11. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Makes you wonder who was really being tortured.

    "Let the dead rest... and let the pahst... remain the pahst."

    "Okay, I give up! There are four lights! You can go now!"
     
  12. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How you respond to an unfair boss has little to do with how one responds to someone who has total physical control/power over you. When you can't fight back physically -- and Picard obviously couldn't -- your only options are to use psychological manipulation and your intellect. And, yeah, that might include insulting your captor, probing for a weak spot to exploit.

    This. :) Well, lecturing and defying. Not giving up his values. As AgentCoop said, that's kind of the point of the story.
     
  13. urbandefault

    urbandefault Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Isn't the point of the torture to break Picard's spirit, to make him willing to cooperate? To convince him that what he sees is not the truth, and that he should trust his captors?

    At that point, Picard's defiance is the only thread of reality he has left.
     
  14. -Brett-

    -Brett- Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Most of us aren't the kind of people sent on secret missions behind enemy lines to neutralize weapons of mass destruction.
     
  15. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Picard defiance showed us that torturers act out of their own sense of powerlessness.

    Of course, since Picard was ready to admit that there were 5 lights, it also shows that torture is ineffective as well as immoral.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, torture won't pry any useful information out of the victim, because while he will undoubtedly eventually tell the truth, the torturer will not recognize it for such. There's way too much "noise" to the "signal" there, and the torturer will only hear what he wants to hear.

    But given time, Gul Madred would obviously have gotten Picard's full cooperation. By that time, any information Picard could give would be outdated, but he would still be useful as a double agent (as long as Central Command recognized his fundamental untrustworthiness), a propaganda tool (although humans wouldn't be fooled by a human shouting pro-Cardassian slogans, some other species might be impressed), or at the very least a means of luring in further victims.

    I doubt Madred was trying to get any of those things out of Picard, though. Cardassian torture would probably be based on a long tradition of extracting confessions out of the victims, and torture is always effective for that! It would suffice to have Picard admit to spying, theft, sodomizing of space sheep and other crimes against the Cardassian Union in a public broadcast, after which he could safely be executed. And Madred could enjoy the path to that destination, as he apparently had no better things to do.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    Unfortunately, I think torture is an effective tool. Many resistance members in WWII preferred suicide to being captured by the Gestapo, fearing that sooner or later they would be broken.
    Truth serums and similar drugs are probably more effective.
    But, I have decided that if I were threatened with torture, once it had begun, there's no sense in giving in then--when you've already been maimed and disfigured. What's the point of living, then?
     
  18. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder what would happen if you simply say “Yeah, you've won, there are 5 lights.“ without believing it. Your will wouldn't be broken, and you would have saved your strength.
     
  19. The Mariah Has Awoken

    The Mariah Has Awoken Admiral Admiral

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    Picard is also supposed to be a strong, heroic character with strong willpower and strong sense of self. The way I would behave under such conditions doesn't matter because I'm not Picard.

    Trained military personnel would also do a better job resisting torture than I would. Also I'd do a much better job resisting torture if I actually possessed information that could be used to kill my compatriots and damage my country.

    Why should a trained military officer be held to the standard of a bunch of scifi nerds on the internet? I don't watch science fiction to see a bunch of sniveling weaklings betray everything they believe in the second they face a little pain.

    And it was pretty clear in the episode that five seconds longer and Picard would have said there were five lights.

    @Jarod

    I disagree that Picard wouldn't have been broken if he had said that without believing that. He would have been declaring his obedience.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Or his contempt, and Madred wouldn't have been satisfied with that. But the torture would have continued until Picard indeed was docile, and whether saying "Yeah, five lights, and 2+2=5, and the Earth is flat" at that point would have hastened or prolonged that process is difficult to tell. Probably prolonged, as it would mean Madred having to adopt (perhaps even invent) a different approach.

    Timo Saloniemi