Medical Technology and the Future

Shortly before experiencing an example of modern medical knowledge(same day surgery),I read an article introducing deep brain stimulation(MRI) as a method of reducing if not eliminating perseverative thinking about religious issues.Eliminating religious delusions as it were. It appears that the same procedure sharply reduces paranoid projections about “the other”.
If someone selects this course because of internal distress this (still experimental procedure)falls into the realm of medical permissibility.But what if this becomes not a matter of choice but a matter of state selection similar to early efforts at eugenics.Selection on the basis of what’s best for the future will not work and should make us grateful for some of our constitutional “rights”.The parallelism to other socio-psychiatric issues is hard to miss.

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4 Comments

  1. What is the difference between “religious delusions” and unjustified certitudes (delusions) of any kind? Maybe what is being “eliminated” by this MRI stimulation is not the “delusion” itself, but the underlining need(s) driving us toward many forms of pervasive self-deception. A belief that the “angels” are on “our” side is a self-serving state of mind that can become addictive. Such self-enhancing beliefs lead to many corruptions that are linked to self-righteousness, and when possessed with power create justifications for applications of authoritarian dictate. Is it possible for emotional “offense” to be experienced without first that mind being infused with doses of self-righteousness?
    In general, it seems that ideas can be drug-like, helpful, harmful, and dangerously addictive at the same time. When powerful ideas are justified with empirically-tested evidence the possessor is not likely to be in conflict with nature and a healthy common ground exists for comradery with others similarly guided. If ideas are allowed to be free of scientific grounding, more powerful idea-drugs can be (and often are) imaginatively manufactured. When free of common grounding, they evolve to diverse and often contradictory purpose.
    Many benefit by consuming prescription drugs (ideas). Some of these actually help us shunt aside harmful anxieties thereby allowing a more effective focus on other essentials. It is another power tool available for shaping the future. As with any power, we need to ask, who is using it? Who is “manufacturing” it, doing the prescribing, and for what purposes?

    1. Ideas are ultimately more powerful than guns and infinitely more difficult to control. It is possible that capitalistic democracy spends more time and effort attempting to control thinking about equality than thinking about workable methods of gun control. Will “following the money “help us understand?

      1. Guns and ideas are like apples and oranges. Guns are among a number of tools-of-power available for the expansion and protection of ideas. Guns, like any form of power, are used well or poorly, are “good” or “bad”, depending on the quality of the ideas they empower. It seems incongruous to desire that a (free) capitalistic democracy should be expected to “control thinking”. Instead, a free capitalistic democracy evolves consensus. A government capable of controlling thinking is not what America was originally about (but it is descriptive of today’s “progressive” trend). “Equality” is an idea whose meaning is context sensitive. The “guns” carried by government police can empower an equality of outcome, or empower an equality of opportunity. One word, but given diverse context it projects very different futures for humanity.
        In a free economy “follow the money” gives us accurate evidence about relative values. In an economy distorted by government-favored entities (often political) it becomes much more difficult to isolate and evaluate the true blend of interests. For instance, how much money should be spent (by the NRA or any other cause) to control those who are driven to be their controllers?

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