[LMB] OT: The Human Heart...Discuss

Sara A. mabonwy at mindspring.com
Wed, 19 Nov 2003 11:58:10 -0500

>Now, the thing is... As an author, this gives me a fantastic
>opportunity to make some great social comment about the
>prospective impact that a technology like this would have on
>society... And I think I'd be very remiss as an author if I
>didn't take that opportunity.

I'm not sure it would work that way.   You can do that with sensory 
information because your brain already has a well-defined "input"...the 
optical, auditory, etc. nerves.   It would be harder to do it with touch or 
smell, because of the nature of those senses, but still possible.  All of 
that is information that ordinarily comes from outside.

But emotions come from the brain itself, and from an older part of the 
brain, the limbic system.  They also form the majority of our ordinary 
day-to-day decision-making processes, and are part of our basic survival 
mechanisms.  We already mess with our emotions directly with the use of 
drugs...opiates work the way they do because they fit neatly into the 
brain's receptor sites for endorphins.  Part of the reason certain drugs 
are so dangerous is that, aside from issues of physical addiction, they 
produce a feeling of elation unrelated to what is actually going 
on.   People consequently do dangerous things because they FEEL good about 
it, and disregard problems in their environment ranging from messed-up 
relationships to living in squalor.

I think that being able to feel happy at will would be incredibly addictive 
for many, many people, that it would cause them to engage in a lot of 
reckless behavior,  and that someone who did it a lot would eventually have 
a very serious backlash, on the order of a psychotic break.