Re: ETHICS: reprogramming others, trials, justice (was Re:

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*
Sat, 05 Jul 1997 02:04:18 -0700

At 02:43 AM 7/5/97 -0400, you wrote:
>I was referring to reprogramming those people currently deemed "incorigable"
>or "beyond help", like chain murderers, the mentally ill, etc. I didn't mean
>that anyone would have a carte blanche to reprogram anyone who doesn't think
>in any particular way. What would you prefer to offer someone, jail,
>execution, or just reprogramming of the violent / stupid / whatever part of
>their brain? Personally, I think a violent person would thank you after the
>reprogramming because they'd realize how much better life is when they aren't
>so violent, and they didn't even need to become a vegetable as would occur in
>a labotomy. :-) Shawn

Well, as I say, I haven't made up my mind yet. I consider it
conceivable that extinction would be more ethical.
This is presupposing that the subject of reprogramming didn't
have a "living will" or some such detailing "what to do if
I get too weird for you" in the case of what are generally
called "the mentally ill".

"a violent person would thank you after the reprogramming"--
ah, this is sometimes called "retroactive consent".
"You'll thank me for this later, whoever you are _then_."
You might be right, but would that be the same person?
No worries, we'll just keep tweaking until whatever's left
*does* thank us.

Ever read anything by Robert M. Pirsig, especially his
second book, _Lila_?

At a minimum, I'd prefer that such activity be done with
explicit consciousness on the part of the reprogrammers
that they _might_ not know what they're talking about.
Provide perspective to the subject: Keep a copy of the
old personality around, just in case, and provide some
A/B - B/A comparisons: do both personalities agree that
B is better off? If not, then what?

If we're going to stick with the notions of "self" we have now,
I would feel better if everyone could choose integrity or death.
Getting someone else's definition of "fixed" is a third choice.
This is only because I don't know if I know what's best, and I
_sure_ don't know if a bunch of strangers I've never met do.

I come down strongly in favor of this mythical thing
called "choice".

Thanks for the opportunity to think about this.


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