Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Brainwashing

Here's an ethical question for all of you.  Is it good to brainwash other people?

The answer is "no" because it negates their free will.  But let's consider it in terms of yesterday's episode of Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space.  In the episode, they brainwashed the villain into being nice.  That's a classic example of the ends justifying the means; our heroes thought brainwashing was okay, because it had a good result.

For a real life example, consider people in prisons who are forced to take pills which make them less violent and more docile.  That's not brainwashing per se, but it's forcing someone's behavior to change.  The scary part is that the pills work, even if the person taking the pills is completely against the idea of changing their behavior.

More commonly, you see pills like these given to children with ADD, to make them calm down so it's easier for them to pay attention in school.  It's the same idea; you give people pills, and they become more docile, whether they want to or not.

It's similar to brainwashing, because you are controlling how other people behave.  It's not as direct as brainwashing, obviously, but I still question the ethics behind it.

14 comments:

C said...

Yeah ... but with pills and such you're only changing behavior. In brainwashing, you're changing why people change their behavior.

Brainwashing is less okay because you're taking away someone's will and changing it to your own. Pills don't do anything but change the body's inner chemistry. Purely physical.

Not saying either is more or less right, just saying.

Is it bad to want to make prisoners more docile? Is it wrong to want a child with legitimate ADD to calm down so they can focus and learn? If it's not wrong, how else would you go about it? If it is wrong ... well why is it wrong if it promotes the safety of others and the person him/herself?

I don't know the answers.

Sammy said...

I know what you mean. My friend's younger sister has a type of autism. I remember several years ago, she was a lot of fun. She loved doing puzzles, which is something we had in common. Then, her parents put her on this medicine. She is NOT the same girl anymore. Whenever I talk to her now, all of her answers are usually only one sentence answers. I don't even see her smile anymore. Her sister said that the medicine is helping, but I think it's just making her more like a zombie. It's weird. ~Samantha

William D said...

Some pills do help people (pills at the mad houses make them stop fearing things, and helps them live a normal life) but most pills like drugs and the ones mentioned above just change someone physically and sometimes mentally, making them purely a different person.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that's most pills are rather, well, rude, just changing your body and personality, while a select few (medications) help you calm down, or face your irrational fears. (Did I even make any sense? DX )

GameOverTown said...

People don't necessarily have a choice if they need pills.
@william DX

Anonymous said...

I agree with C.

~Cupcake

Anonymous said...

So brain washing is real I know this but what about hipnoses?

William D said...

I don't make sense do I? DX

Stephanie Braddock said...

Unfortunately, we will never have the answers to these ethical questions, because although you have to respect a person's freedom, you also have to think about society. It BENEFITS society to put criminals on medications, because it makes them easier to handle and less likely to commit crimes again. Unfortunately, you have to sacrifice this person to do so. They will not act like the same person after they are put on meds. The criminal's personality will not be the same.

I suppose at this point, you have to answer the ethical question of "is this the same person?" If a person is suddenly nothing like themselves, have you killed them? Does that old person still exist? You have stripped them of what made them who they are... But are they still the same?

When you're dealing with people who pose a threat to others, I think you need to follow the mantra of "the ends iustify the means". We, being selfish creatures, will value our safety over the will of another's. It is our sense of self-preservation kicking in. But what about when someone is not a threat? What of those people who merely fail to conform to our standards?

These cases are far more difficult to justify or argue one way or another, and the outcome will vary depending on the situation. I think it's sad that we even have to make these choices, and personally, I believe they should be left up to the person in question. But that's just my opinion, and it won't change anything about the way we deal with the ethical problem.

Anonymous said...

that happened to my friend.she has "ADD" (i put it in quotes because it wasn't really ADD so much as an overactive imagination) so her parents put her on medication and she's very different. she's spacey and her imagination is gone.she didn't even need them.and her parents gave her an aide in the middle of junior high which did not do wonders for her social status

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