“Are We Ready for a ‘Morality Pill’?
“Why are some people prepared to risk their lives to help a stranger when others won’t even stop to dial an emergency number? Scientists have been exploring questions like this for decades. In the 1960s and early ’70s, famous experiments by Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo suggested that most of us would, under specific circumstances, voluntarily do great harm to innocent people. During the same period, John Darley and C. Daniel Batson showed that even some seminary students on their way to give a lecture about the parable of the Good Samaritan would, if told that they were running late, walk past a stranger lying moaning beside the path. More recent research has told us a lot about what happens in the brain when people make moral decisions. But are we getting any closer to understanding what drives our moral behavior? ….
“It seems plausible that humans, like rats, are spread along a continuum of readiness to help others. There has been considerable research on abnormal people, like psychopaths, but we need to know more about relatively stable differences (perhaps rooted in our genes) in the great majority of people as well. Undoubtedly, situational factors can make a huge difference, and perhaps moral beliefs do as well, but if humans are just different in their predispositions to act morally, we also need to know more about these differences. Only then will we gain a proper understanding of our moral behavior, including why it varies so much from person to person and whether there is anything we can do about it.
“If continuing brain research does in fact show biochemical differences between the brains of those who help others and the brains of those who do not, could this lead to a “morality pill” — a drug that makes us more likely to help? Given the many other studies linking biochemical conditions to mood and behavior, and the proliferation of drugs to modify them that have followed, the idea is not far-fetched. If so, would people choose to take it? Could criminals be given the option, as an alternative to prison, of a drug-releasing implant that would make them less likely to harm others? Might governments begin screening people to discover those most likely to commit crimes? Those who are at much greater risk of committing a crime might be offered the morality pill; if they refused, they might be required to wear a tracking device that would show where they had been at any given time, so that they would know that if they did commit a crime, they would be detected.” …
“Undoubtedly, situational factors can make a huge difference ….”
This is the sum total of the author’s attempt to understand humans as learning, thinking beings with rights and dignity instead of cogs in the great industrial machine of western “civilization”. Perish the thought that people might model reality based on the realities that have been thrust upon them. There’s no profit in bucking the system, only in shoehorning people into it. The reductionist paradigm of human existence only allows for the analysis and judgement of individual fish, not the ocean that we all swim in. This is why modern, “scientific” obstetrics and psychiatry are so very dangerous the the human rights of children and the well being of society as a whole. Their so-called science has no concept of normalcy or human dignity. The consequences of their normalized abuse are simply dealt with (at a further profit) by other agents of the state. A tidy business model for the status quo.
At the risk of sounding reductionist myself, these people are like computer programmers who attempt to debug a malfunctioning program with wire cutters and a soldering iron. Maybe the problem is with the input, not the cpu.
Morpheus: “The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”
Neo: “What truth?”
Morpheus: “That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage… born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.”