Not the Best Ways to Make a Change
ONCE patterns of behavior are established, how can change be effected? Whom could you turn to, and what methods can be used to produce lasting improvement?
Let us consider some extreme measures being used today.
Millions of people today are living under regimes that seek to control ideals and codes of conduct. Such governments use their power to induce change—some subtly, others forcefully. Some use brainwashing techniques, often including intimidation, imprisonment, and torture. Exercising control over the news media and other educational systems, they seek to replace all formerly established concepts with those desired by the current ruling elite. All dissent is forcibly quashed. Anyone who proves unwilling to be reeducated may be subjected to terrifying treatment that often breaks the individual’s spirit.
Psychosurgery and Electrical Stimulation
Certain parts of the brain have been identified as affecting specific moods and forms of behavior. Psychosurgery involves the physical removal or destruction of the brain tissue in that part of the brain. Once removed, that section of your brain can never function again, and any behavior it influenced will disappear.
It is said that thousands of such operations have been performed, especially on people with deviant and dangerous sexual behavior. Some have had small electrodes inserted deep inside their brain, and when a current was applied, it stimulated or blocked the brain activity in that area. It is claimed that this modifies impulses affecting the behavior controlled by that part of the brain.
Drug use in psychiatry is quite widespread and often needed. There are drugs to pacify, drugs to induce sleep, drugs to enliven, and drugs to correct chemical imbalances in the brain. There are also drugs that have been used punitively in prisons and other correctional institutions. Two such drugs are apomorphine and Anectine.
Apomorphine has been administered to prisoners whose behavior was regarded as unacceptable. It causes violent nausea and vomiting. The prisoner is told that if he behaves badly again, he will be given more apomorphine. This is also called aversive therapy. Anectine causes an asthmatic, choking feeling in the misbehaving prisoner. He thinks he will die. If he misbehaves again, he gets more Anectine.
Are these the ways you would use to change your behavior pattern?
Most of the above methods violate free will. They also involve the influence of people with power over another but not always with that one’s advantage in mind. Is the political power seeking its own advantage or the individual’s? In psychosurgery, who holds the scalpel? Who controls the switch when electrical stimulation is used? How long-lasting is aversive therapy? Can the therapist be trusted?
Let us consider a more acceptable procedure.