Consider a human being produced for biological experimentation. Consider then this being to be subject to experimentation outside traditional ethical considerations. Consider the experimentation to exist without limits on how the being will be treated, experiments of physically damaging nature, of extreme duration or intensity, or of bizarre and non-traditional hypothesis. Consider the brain and nervous system of the being to be designed for one of two limited sequences of experience to be repeated for the lifetime of the being, and for the elimination of any memory production structures, so the sequences will appear novel with each iteration. Consider the prior facts outside of your control as a researcher involved in this project and therefore outside your ethical consideration. Your job, however, is solely ethical; you must determine which of the two sequences will be that repeating in the beings brain; the first is a 30 second pattern of nothingness, not an anxiety ridden existential nothingness, but the elimination of all conscious mental functioning. The second is a 30 second pattern of bliss, the type that causes the muscles on the back of your neck to spasm pleasantly. This sequence can be, for our purposes, considered pure, without blemish, without unpleasantness at all. Which of the two would you assign, which do you find more ethical (if there is a distinction), and finally, for what reasons did you make your choice?


Anonymous said...

First and foremost, let us put ethics on the back burner for a moment. I think we should look at what those two sequences could yield firstly for the subjected individual, and secondly for the research team.

Would the 30 seconds of bliss be in conjunction with a conscious thought pattern? Would the subject be "thinking" in this stimulating state? Where would the mind take you with a sensory experience as such? Or would this "bliss" be so intense that it overrides the conscious "thinking" mind.

Which brings me to the "Nothingness", in a sort of way.

Contingent to the "overriding" sensory experience, let us imagine what 30 seconds of conscious no-mind, in this case far to an extreme of what meditation could achieve(?) could do for the subject. More specifically, the subject's .subconscious. mind.

Totally reprogrammable. Or, perhaps more intriguing, a complete voyeuristic journey into the subconscious working without a cognitive filter. What would leak into the mind from the subconscious being .completely. the only functioning aspect of the brain, or better yet how would the subconscious be effected without a filter? Imagine a pasta strainer. The water drains in a very specific and predictable way, not to say the strainings of the subconscious is a matter of prediction, it being a unique matter to each individual person (putting aside a shared subconscious theory), but picture instead merely dumping the raveole into the sink. Would the undercurrent of our minds have a similar pattern? A splash of subconscious, the infinite frame work of a human mind splattered. The ice berge fully emerging.

Completely reprogrammable.

Of course this would suggest we would have the technology to fully monitor the human mind, inner and outer. Let's assume so.

With 30 seconds of pure bliss, pure in its application, would this still not be acting as a sort of filter for the subconscious? Would not the experience be effected by the inner workings of the experience that in a sense provide the happening of said experience? This is why I find the 30 seconds of no conscious functioning to be far more intriguing.

Also this could bring up what our mind uses as a filter. Auxiliary aspects we don't know about? At least I don't...

Answer as unto ethics: Do both, observe reactions, count your loses, get back to me with your theorem.

How to Operate Your Brain said...

thesaurus dot com says chaos

How to Operate Your Brain said...

dictionary dot com says 3. the infinity of space or formless matter supposed to have preceded the existence of the ordered universe. says 5. Obsolete. a chasm or abyss.

How to Operate your Brain said...

In mathematics, chaos theory describes the behaviour of certain dynamical systems – that is, systems whose states evolve with time – that may exhibit dynamics that are highly sensitive to initial conditions (popularly referred to as the butterfly effect). As a result of this sensitivity, which manifests itself as an exponential growth of perturbations in the initial conditions, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future dynamics are fully defined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos.

Chaotic behaviour is also observed in natural systems, such as the weather. This may be explained by a chaos-theoretical analysis of a mathematical model of such a system, embodying the laws of physics that are relevant for the natural system.

Anonymous said...

30 seconds of pure, uninhibited nothingness could drag on and on and on... .

Grant said...

I) First, DODGE.

II) Second, to some of your concerns, more later. The bliss pattern would not overload conscious thinking. In order to fine tune this, let's presume a limited and delimited consciousness, with two elements; 1) the experiencing element which causes conscious feeling of a) bliss or b) nothingness, and 2) the repeated erasure of all memory functioning. You may be right, that within thirty seconds the nothingness subject would get all Dasein-y and have to grapple directly with the horrifying sublime of eternal nothing, making that choice terrible and the ethical dilemma fall squarely toward bliss. Let's then eliminate the longer sequence, and make it very short, something like a thousandth of a second. Time-awareness will not be functioning, so it will make little conscious difference to our subject, but possibilities for the eruption or production of a "mind" as traditionally understood would be eliminated.

III)I'll have to think about the sieve analogy.

IV) If the brain problem remains, the ethical problem remains unanswered. Phrased differently, and more directly, how would it affect you as an observer to imagine the experience of a tortured subject that could a) experience something you could relate to, namely bliss or b) not experience anything at all, perhaps alien to what you could understand but still biologically human in their physical structures. How does each concept of sensation draw the figure on the table closer or further from what you, as an ethical subject demand from your fellow subjects (or from your fellow structurally intact humans to be considered same), and demand for your behavior toward the ambiguous figure?