365 days In Solitary Confinement For $30 Billion Dollars: Could You Do It?
30 billion dollars is so much goddamn money. That Money in a savings account with a conservative 1.5% interest is $450,000,000 which means you literally buy an NHL team a year. Probably several yachts. Basically, you would have so much money you literally would run out of fun ways to spend it and start manipulating world politics because you were bored.
Now for the challenge. 365 days in a padded room. There is a lot of debate about food schedules, bathroom apparatus, and light schedules. You see a lack of a light cycle would seriously fuck up your circadian rhythm, and that would cause serious problems. I would honestly argue that I rather get served 3 meals a day of some sort of bland milkshake that just meets all the nutrients rather than 24/7 light. The circadian rhythm thing is going to be a huge problem.
So has anyone done solitary confinement for a year, and what happens to people's minds when alone for that long? Will your mind really be even able to enjoy 30 billion dollars after all that time alone?
The effects of solitary confinement on mental health can be lethal. Even though people in solitary confinement comprise only 6% to 8% of the total prison population, they account for approximately half of those who die by suicide. Relatedly, observation cells in prisons, which are used for suicide watch — often with similar conditions to solitary confinement — are disproportionately filled with transfers from segregation. People often cycle between the two units without receiving adequate professional help to address their underlying mental health concerns.
Even if someone doesn’t enter solitary with a mental health condition, it’s possible for them to develop a specific psychiatric syndrome due to the effects of isolation. Dr. Stuart Grassian, who first identified the syndrome, notes that it is characterized by a progressive inability to tolerate ordinary things, such as the sound of plumbing; hallucinations and illusions; severe panic attacks; difficulties with thinking, concentration, and memory; obsessive, sometimes harmful, thoughts that won’t go away; paranoia; problems with impulse control; and delirium.
Robert King and Jack Morris, who spent a combined 62 years in solitary confinement, underscored many of the above findings at the International Symposium on Solitary Confinement. Mr. King noted that after a while, he lost his interest in communicating and experienced an emotional numbness that led to a loss of basic skills. Even since his release from prison in 2001, Mr. King says he struggles with simple things, including his sense of direction. Research indicates that many problems people develop while in solitary confinement often persist upon their return to the general population or their release to the outside world.
62 years pales in comparison to one measly year for 30 billion.
Putting away the real-world implications, how would you spend a year in solitary. I feel like if you made a weekly schedule and stuck to it you could probably fill your days with tons of pushups and situps, as well as pull-ups off the light fixtures. If you could get a decent routine going and learn enough yoga to fill your days. The difficulty would be remaining mentally sharp. I feel like counting would be a huge asset. If you could set aside a time once a day to count maybe all the pads in the room 5 times to take up a couple of hours of your time it could be a serious asset. Also, a major bonus of the situation would be sleep. If you could end up sleeping 16 hours a day and then just try to find 8 hours of activities to take up your time would be a great strategy. You then could after taking weeks on this rigorous schedule just take unlimited vacations from it until you get bored and start doing it again. Everything I am planning is probably completely nonapplicable in a real situation.
Since the money is involved what you could do is spend time planning on what to do with the $30 billion dollars. At some point you have to doubt if the world is still even going on outside the walls of the room. I would maybe spend time assembling and disassembling the light fixtures as a thought exercise as they seem to be some of the only sources of entertainment. Climbing up the walls of the padded room would also be a fun activity to master. This guy Vsauce attempted it for 3 days and I highly doubt anyone could actually make it out of there.
Fun thought experiment but ultimately I doubt anyone could spend a year in there and make it out unscathed.