Mind Processes = Brain Processes; Evil is Simply the Collective of Psychological Predespositions

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If brain processes truly are manifest mental processes (i.e. emotion, psychology, sensory perceptions – consciousness- are all products of neuron-chemical reactions), then, by altering the brain, we can alter the human psych. Now, if we understand the mind to be physically volatile and therefore synthetically malleable by means of advanced technologies, then conscientious behavior can be considered modifiable on the basis of physiological reformation concerning the brain, in regards to the certain components.

To complete the argument, it must be stipulated that evil is really nothing more than, as endowed in the title, the collective of psychological predispositions and therefore that crime is no more than the end result, almost like a traceable residue, of the criminal mindset. Really, the essence of criminality is psychopathy – crime is human psychology gone haywire and out of control. After all, the mind determines the voluntary action associated or correspondent with wakefulness (there is no such thing as an involuntary crime – i.e. one that was done without the awareness of the conductor) and it can be rationalized that, as logically follows, psychological perturbation is the root of malfeasance.

Now, since it is understood that evil is nothing more than an inertial frame of psychological establishment and the mind is alterable, it is perfectly reasonable and conceivable that, by modifying the psychology of criminals, it is possible to systematically “phase” the crime out of criminals, so to speak, without any negative repercussions, as is often the unfortunate case with the punishment-reward paradigm.

If the alteration of brain becomes sophisticated enough, after an incremental period of development, to be able to alter the brain so that the psychology of the affected is desirable and controllable, then there should be no resistance as to the remapping of the neural experiental networks.

A common objection might be that to change the brain is to destroy a life and create a new one in its place, but, if the nature of the circumstance was such that the existence of the criminal psychology would compromise the lives of other people, that abnegation would be overruled and effectively negated in respect.

So, in inquire of the general population, what think thee of the ethics to this matter and its extensions?

 
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While I’m not an Psychology / Ethics student, I do feel the need question an assumption you’ve made inside your argument.

Originally posted by simeng:

…it must be stipulated that evil is really nothing more than, as endowed in the title, the collective of psychological predispositions and therefore that crime is no more than the end result…?

Seriously? Do you really believe that: Evil => Crime => Evil

Originally posted by simeng:

… there is no such thing as an involuntary crime – i.e. one that was done without the awareness of the conductor …

My favorite counter-argument to this has to be the Chewing gum ban in Singapore. Criminal laws vary from place to place, and the only people to be truly aware of them would be the local lawyers. The complexity of the modern law makes it almost impossible to be always aware of the legal implications of one’s actions.

I think that the main objection to brain alteration has to be its ease of use in large scale population and mind control. For example, I’m now king and its illegal to disagree with me. Anyone committing this criminal act will be sent to a correctional facility where this evil behavior will be “phased out.”

While I do believe that true evil should always be fought against and removed when possible, the tools you are proposing are both too strong and too easily misused to be allowed to exist. Not yet anyway.

 
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Originally posted by simeng:


A common objection might be that to change the brain is to destroy a life and create a new one in its place, but, if the nature of the circumstance was such that the existence of the criminal psychology would compromise the lives of other people, that abnegation would be overruled and effectively negated in respect.

Every interaction and every experience changes the brain. Thus it could be said under the above definition of life, that the person we are dies every second and becomes a new one.

So, in inquire of the general population, what think thee of the ethics to this matter and its extensions?

Well there are some problems, like defining whats evil(or better to which crimes the solution should apply) and on how far to take the proposed solution.
Personally i am rather for it than against. But would limit it to in depth and wide coverage in the case of voluntary treatment and only slight changes and only covering extreme crimes in case of involuntary treatment.

 
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Originally posted by simeng:

If brain processes truly are manifest mental processes (i.e. emotion, psychology, sensory perceptions – consciousness- are all products of neuron-chemical reactions), then, by altering the brain, we can alter the human psych.

This is correct. We have seen this in those with severe brain injury.

More pertinently, we have accidentally triggered it ourselves when playing about with neuroprosthetics in the brains of living humans. One of the most vital jobs carried out by neuroimaging methods (notably MRI and CT) post-implantation, is checking for slippage of the implant. If a multiple-electrode brain-surface implant like an ECoG array does slip, it means active electrodes are forming new circuits with parts of the cortex, they were never intended to. This alters personality and behavior in unpredictable ways.

Now, if we understand the mind to be physically volatile and therefore synthetically malleable by means of advanced technologies, then conscientious behavior can be considered modifiable on the basis of physiological reformation concerning the brain, in regards to the certain components.

Much more difficult than you might believe, especially as we do not have anywhere remotely near a complete set of neural codes for the central nervous system. Additionally, since one of the core functions of the mid-brain is to create a personalised ‘compilation language’ for want of a better term, that the cortex uses as its basis for further growth, you would have to deal with what is essentially a unique programming language for memories and associations in every individual.

In short, going in through the circuitry may not be the best approach for dealing with an association-based problem.

After all, the mind determines the voluntary action associated or correspondent with wakefulness (there is no such thing as an involuntary crime – i.e. one that was done without the awareness of the conductor)

Untrue.

If your ‘crime’ is a habitual response codified into the brain at an early level – a conditioned response combined with an unintentional memory association – then there is a good chance it’s happening without the mind in that brain being aware of it on a conscious level.

As such, punishment isn’t really going to be the best course of action for all such behaviors, and therapy will net better results.

Now, since it is understood that evil is nothing more than an inertial frame of psychological establishment

It’s a what in the who now?

Seriously, that whole sentence is just mindless technobabble. ‘Evil’ is a mixture of many kinds of actions: selfish behavior, behaviour that hasn’t been entirely thought through, an inability to understand the whole picture and thus cause unintended consequences, or the result of a poor association crossing in the brain. It can be any of those, or any variation on those.

Psychopathy is only one of a great number of possible causes for ‘evil’ – and even then the ‘evil’ is subject to differences of opinion depending on your point of view.

it is perfectly reasonable and conceivable that, by modifying the psychology of criminals, it is possible to systematically “phase” the crime out of criminals, so to speak, without any negative repercussions, as is often the unfortunate case with the punishment-reward paradigm.

Definitely not the case. Even accepting the extremely-simplistic subset of possible cases you are referring to – the ones with damage to the memory-association system, or corrupted neural codes in memory (just like with our computers, it is a possibility on the cards). Even accepting this framework and discounting the other possible causes of the ‘crime’, there is no way in hell you will be able to make corrective changes to the memory associations without causing knock-on effects elsewhere in the system.

All the memory-associations and behavioral habits are linked. You start making changes to one, then you’ll start altering the expressions of every linked association whether you are aware of them or not. Upwards of several hundred thousand different engrams can pass through the point where a pair of neurons meet, with different dendrites transmitting in different patterns to create different signals – like a parallel port with 10,000 pins. If you start chopping pins off to alter the circuitry of a given association, you’ll change the code for every other association that passes through that pairing and happens to use that pin (dendrite).

The very best you can hope for, is benign alteration of the person’s memories, or sense of self. At worst you could fundamentally alter their personality in seemingly unrelated ways or trigger the formation of a psychosis that was not present before.

 
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Really, the essence of criminality is psychopathy – crime is human psychology gone haywire and out of control. After all, the mind determines the voluntary action associated or correspondent with wakefulness (there is no such thing as an involuntary crime – i.e. one that was done without the awareness of the conductor) and it can be rationalized that, as logically follows, psychological perturbation is the root of malfeasance.

As others have pointed out, I also question if we’re really using the words we want to be here. Crime as inherently psychopathic? Certainly we agree that at least depends on the nature of the crime? No such thing as involuntary crime? Outside of simple ignorance of the law, most legitimate legal systems have quite a few acknowledgements towards involuntary crime.

Now, since it is understood that evil is nothing more than an inertial frame of psychological establishment and the mind is alterable, it is perfectly reasonable and conceivable that, by modifying the psychology of criminals, it is possible to systematically “phase” the crime out of criminals, so to speak, without any negative repercussions, as is often the unfortunate case with the punishment-reward paradigm.

Now, I agree with the suggestion that “evil” is an element of the mind. But that is true of all things. “Good” “evil” “nice” “bad” “generous” “selfish”. What is most important to any application of this is how we are attaining the definitions of these things. Now, I may be holding you to application when you’re just trying to establish theory. But I think the theory is well established. Although I cringe a little at the idea it may be so smooth as to avoid any repercussions.

If the alteration of brain becomes sophisticated enough, after an incremental period of development, to be able to alter the brain so that the psychology of the affected is desirable and controllable, then there should be no resistance as to the remapping of the neural experiental networks.

No resistance to forcefully imprinting “Desirability”? Hehe, I am not so sure about that. Wiping out individuals on account of their desirability is going to be a tough road to hoe.

A common objection might be that to change the brain is to destroy a life and create a new one in its place, but, if the nature of the circumstance was such that the existence of the criminal psychology would compromise the lives of other people, that abnegation would be overruled and effectively negated in respect.

I for one am no opponent of extreme measures, and this presents a perhaps better alternative to death or imprisonment. I am however leery of letting The Powers That Be that vet and administer this process Create and Destroy people. In even the most limited avenues that is a powerful undertaking, one I am not sure I trust to them. But when one starts thinking a little outside the box we have the entire remapping of the human psyche as an avenue, a full breach from billions of years of shared and inherited background. We could create creatures that are human in appearance only.