Re: Controlling the male sex drive

Anders Sandberg (
29 Jun 1999 16:19:19 +0200

"J. John Bloch" <> writes:

> I would say that tampering with the physical aspects of the human form would
> definitely be Transhumanist. I am not so sure about psychological aspects.
> What is it that defines us as individuals; our physical forms or our mental
> attributes? I can replace a hand with a robotic prosthesis and still not
> change my sense of self. But I don't believe that I could wipe out
an aspect
> of my personality (in the case in question, your apparently-overactive
> libido) and still retain that awareness of "self".

This is yet another area where people differ. Would you like to become (say) a bit more assertive or more calm? Many people would likely say yes, despite that this changes your personality. Would you like to get immensely enhanced memory and perception? Again, many would say yes even if this really has implications for our whole way of living. Would you change your values? Some people actually would like some alterations here even if they are not as common.

I think changing personality is a quite valid transhumanist activity. Much of the philosophy really involves developing a positive, efficient and adaptable personality. How far you want to change, that is an individual matter.

> Note too that the process of changing patterns of thought and behavior
> through conscious means (counseling, meditation, whatever) is, in my point
> of view, the preferred way to modify behavior. That's because the process
> itself becomes a part of the individual's self-identity, and so the
> progression from Behavior 1 ("Thoughts of sex occur too frequently") to
> Behavior 2 ("Thoughts of sex occur when I choose for them to occur")
is a
> natural progression in the personal growth of the individual.

So what is the different from getting a limbic implant which you gradually tune from "Libido = 584" to "Libido = 36"? It is still a conscious mean of change.

> I wouldn't suggest that you resign yourself to a completely hedonistic
> life-style of 24/7 orgies (although the idea does have its attractions!).
> But rather than taking the quick and easy "out" of chemically modifying your
> behavior, I'd suggest alternative routes. Just as your sex drive is part of
> your identity, make the modification process part of your identity.
> Meditation, counseling, even self-hypnosis could all bring your
> self-perceived problem under control. Transhumanists in general (myself
> included) do sometimes look for a technological answer to problems when
> other, more appropriate or effective, methods are available.

True. Taking a pill is much easier and cheaper (at least in terms of time and effort) than real metaprogramming. And making continuing change and self-determination part of oneself is a good heuristic.

What I worry about is that the tendency to suggest that the "solution" to many personal problems today is to not see the problem as a problem needing a real solution but something to be accepted. It is even more obvious when you discuss death. A lot of psychology seems based on the idea of making people worry less by accepting various bad things rather than changing them ("I'm fat and crave sugar - but I feel good about it!").

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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