Re: Controlling the male sex drive

J. John Bloch (
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 11:32:39 -0400

First J. John Bloch <> wrote:

> > I would say that tampering with the physical aspects of the human form
> > definitely be Transhumanist. I am not so sure about psychological
> > What is it that defines us as individuals; our physical forms or our
> > 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
> > of my personality (in the case in question, your apparently-overactive
> > libido) and still retain that awareness of "self".

And Anders Sandberg <> replied:

> 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.

Hmmm... Putting it in these terms, I would tend to agree with you.

Then J. John Bloch <> wrote:

> > Note too that the process of changing patterns of thought and behavior
> > through conscious means (counseling, meditation, whatever) is, in my
> > of view, the preferred way to modify behavior. That's because the
> > 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
> > natural progression in the personal growth of the individual.

And Anders Sandberg <> replied:

> 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.

While the decision may be a conscious one, the process itself would be autonomic. Such a behavior-modification implant would not really involve any true shift in personality, since (presumably) if it was removed one would revert back to one's previous state. I would still favor a slow and gradual process of change that actually addresses the root causes of the undesirable behavior, rather than something that merely attacked the symptoms. (Just as I would favor giving people a third eye through genetic engineering rather than physically implanting mechanical eyes in every newborn's forehead, to take an extreme example.)

Then Anders Sandberg <> wrote:

> 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!").

Here we agree completely. But I would add a third possibility; some things that some people see as "problems" others see as positive attributes. To return to the issue of the male sex drive (and there's nothing that says the principle doesn't apply to the female sex drive as well), I would argue that the reason that it is so overwhelming is because it is so vital to our survival as a species. I believe that procreation is a good thing, and should be encouraged (especially among Transhumanists). Technologies and/or memes that deliberately cut down the birth-rate among the most productive and inventive members of society (and I include Transhumanists in that category) are ultimately detrimental to our species' welfare and should be avoided.

J. John Bloch

NeoSapiens awake! Technocracy now!