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Is it ethical to socially engineer a paranoid society?


Kriminal99
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Say hypothetically that a certain level of "paranoia" or exposure to random punishment causes human beings to look more carefully for further sources of potential punishment. Say this causes them to be more intelligent in a very important sense... If they are designers, they anticipate every potential problem. In general learning, they predict every potential use and additional meaning of what they learn- and thus learn at a hyper accelerated rate. They thrive on preparedness and as a result they are more efficient in everything that they do.

 

However, due to the nature of their condition, they are somewhat less happy then their "non-paranoid" counterparts. In short they are more sensitive to random punishment and feel as though they are receiving it when others may simply be oblivious.

 

Lets call a member of this society a "paranid".

 

Normal people may be oblivious to potential sources of danger that these people are aware of. So a normal person may be randomly exposed to one of these sources of danger and be completely unprepared. They may be hurt worse than the "paranid" and look up at the sky asking why. But at that point it could be argued that they simply become a little more like the paranid person, but only as much as necessary.

 

On the other hand a "paranid" would have developed better coping mechanisms, to the point where many types of issues would have little to no marginal effect on their feelings.

 

To create such a society, you might see many spartan like or militaristic practices in education. In these people might be thrown into unfriendly (but survivable) and unfamiliar environments where they had to use their wits to achieve any goals. They might also be treated in a harsh manner in a way that can be understood and overcome.

 

If this allows society as a whole to be more efficient and better prepared for problems, is there any reason it still might be considered unethical?

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If this allows society as a whole to be more efficient and better prepared for problems, is there any reason it still might be considered unethical?

 

Yes. There are medical reasons, such the reasons why you shouldn't shout at an old lady's face, or drop a baby from a three story building, even if it prepares you for something else, such as someone doing the same crap to you.

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Yes. There are medical reasons, such the reasons why you shouldn't shout at an old lady's face, or drop a baby from a three story building, even if it prepares you for something else, such as someone doing the same crap to you.

 

Your examples are obviously a bit off from what the question had in mind and would seem to serve little purpose.

 

The main point to be made here is that life naturally has ups and downs, that average people are ill equipped to deal with and just learn a little bit every time they face a problem. Once they adapt to that problem similar things can occur in the future and they will not be affected by it as much. I tend to think of this as the person being more mature.

 

Conditioning a society would simply consist of creating problematic situations like this, that they very well might have encountered later on in life anyways, early on so that there are not just a bunch of 30 yr olds going on 13 running around causing drama between themselves and other people, and that are able to deal with a variety of problems by having obtained a greater efficiency in achieving goals in general.

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You've defined no terms here.

 

If its simply having people go through a learning process to deal with difficult situations, then its hard to argue against.

 

By using a heavily loaded but undefined term such as "paranoia" you generate strong reactions to your completely undefined social experiment, seemingly in hopes of catching people in a contradiction of logic.

 

Is that your intent? If not, why use such loaded terms as "paranoia?" Why are you not outlining the specific social policy actions you see as bringing about the goals you wish? Heck, why don't you define your goals?

 

If you really mean "paranoia" in the sense of bringing about the kinds of human reactions that would be defined as clinically abnormal behavior, do you see any downside to this?

 

Can you think of a more constructive way to pose this issue that might engender a positive discussion?

 

Smile, it's better than a poke in the eye, :phones:

Buffy

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Say hypothetically that a certain level of "paranoia" or exposure to random punishment causes human beings to look more carefully for further sources of potential punishment. Say this causes them to be more intelligent in a very important sense... If they are designers, they anticipate every potential problem. In general learning, they predict every potential use and additional meaning of what they learn- and thus learn at a hyper accelerated rate. They thrive on preparedness and as a result they are more efficient in everything that they do.

 

However, due to the nature of their condition, they are somewhat less happy then their "non-paranoid" counterparts. In short they are more sensitive to random punishment and feel as though they are receiving it when others may simply be oblivious.

 

Lets call a member of this society a "paranid".

 

Normal people may be oblivious to potential sources of danger that these people are aware of. So a normal person may be randomly exposed to one of these sources of danger and be completely unprepared. They may be hurt worse than the "paranid" and look up at the sky asking why. But at that point it could be argued that they simply become a little more like the paranid person, but only as much as necessary.

 

On the other hand a "paranid" would have developed better coping mechanisms, to the point where many types of issues would have little to no marginal effect on their feelings.

 

To create such a society, you might see many spartan like or militaristic practices in education. In these people might be thrown into unfriendly (but survivable) and unfamiliar environments where they had to use their wits to achieve any goals. They might also be treated in a harsh manner in a way that can be understood and overcome.

 

If this allows society as a whole to be more efficient and better prepared for problems, is there any reason it still might be considered unethical?

 

Are you dealing with reality or fiction?

 

What is the source of that which is to be feared? Is it a god, nature, other human beings?

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The level of paranoia is directly proportional to the level of danger in an ordinary person. For example, I get a little paranoid when everybody's looking at me - I get a lot paranoid when everybody's looking at me and holding weapons. So how can your question be answered sensibly Kriminal99? Is it ethical to put an entire society in mortal danger?... my gut says no. There might be some small ethics problems associated with that.

 

-modest

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The level of paranoia is directly proportional to the level of danger in an ordinary person. For example, I get a little paranoid when everybody's looking at me - I get a lot paranoid when everybody's looking at me and holding weapons. So how can your question be answered sensibly Kriminal99? Is it ethical to put an entire society in mortal danger?... my gut says no. There might be some small ethics problems associated with that.

 

-modest

 

You are confusing a real danger with an imagined one. Unless someone is presently threatening you with a gun, you should not be living in fear of this person.

 

Straus was a Jew who came out of Nazi Germany, and went into one of our major colleges as a professor. He taught political philosophy and basically he taugh- to be a strong leader everyone must fear an enemy. If you don't have one, you better make one up, and that’s exactly what you find in the Bush administration. People should really take this more seriously and do their own research, and come to their own conclusion.

 

Much of what is happening today, can be linked by to Freud, and concepts of the subconscious, and Macchiavelli's understanding of using fear for strong leadership. This knowledge can be used to generate mass paranoia, and it is what makes a military state strong. The US is the greatest military power on earth. Before WWII, the US was almost completely unprepared for war, and did not have the war industry that it has had since WWII. This is a radical change in the US. It was Bush's and Cheney's intent to make the US a strong military power engaged in the mid east, before 911. This is laid out in the New Century American Project.

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You are confusing a real danger with an imagined one.

No - proportional level of danger in an ordinary person is what I said... not confused. I did not introduce or discuss anything imaginary. A person that is paranoid of imaginary things wouldn't be 'ordinary' would they? If you want to discuss imaginary danger I certainly can but there is no need to broach that topic with me by saying I'm confused. That's not helpful.

 

Unless someone is presently threatening you with a gun, you should not be living in fear of this person.

Nonsensical. Guns are not the only rational fear people should have. Children should fear and be paranoid of pedophiles. There are many levels of fear, many levels of danger, and many levels of paranoia. My post above not only leaves room for this, it is based on it. And I'm guessing you agree with me.

 

If you are trying to get me to say "people should not be afraid of X because it's imaginary" and then relate that to some political situation, there is no need to bait me into it. You can ask me if terrorism or Iraq or any other thing is a real danger and how paranoid people should be of that danger and I'll give my honest opinion.

 

Straus was a Jew who came out of Nazi Germany, and went into one of our major colleges as a professor. He taught political philosophy and basically he taugh- to be a strong leader everyone must fear an enemy. If you don't have one, you better make one up, and that’s exactly what you find in the Bush administration. People should really take this more seriously and do their own research, and come to their own conclusion.

 

I assume you're referring to Leo Strauss and not Oscar Straus.

 

I agree with what you say about him. He probably would have considered many things the Bush administration does as "noble lies" or "noble myths", the origin and consequences of which he discusses in very great depth.

 

- modest

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par·a·noi·a [par-uh-noi-uh]

 

–noun 1. Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.

 

2. baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.

 

Obviously NO.

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No - proportional level of danger in an ordinary person is what I said... not confused. I did not introduce or discuss anything imaginary. A person that is paranoid of imaginary things wouldn't be 'ordinary' would they? If you want to discuss imaginary danger I certainly can but there is no need to broach that topic with me by saying I'm confused. That's not helpful.

 

 

Nonsensical. Guns are not the only rational fear people should have. Children should fear and be paranoid of pedophiles. There are many levels of fear, many levels of danger, and many levels of paranoia. My post above not only leaves room for this, it is based on it. And I'm guessing you agree with me.

 

If you are trying to get me to say "people should not be afraid of X because it's imaginary" and then relate that to some political situation, there is no need to bait me into it. You can ask me if terrorism or Iraq or any other thing is a real danger and how paranoid people should be of that danger and I'll give my honest opinion.

 

 

 

I assume you're referring to Leo Strauss and not Oscar Straus.

 

I agree with what you say about him. He probably would have considered many things the Bush administration does as "noble lies" or "noble myths", the origin and consequences of which he discusses in very great depth.

 

- modest

 

Sorry, I grew up in Hollywood, California in a home that never had locked doors. At age 8 I was walking the streets by myself, and fortunately was not living in fear. May be our disagreement is about having different memories of reality. However, I remember reading something that said something along the lines of fearing a lion in the living room is not rational unless there is a lion in the living room. I am talking about our relationship with fear. Of course we can living in constant fear and rationalize why this is necessary, I just think this is paranoid. Like a coward dies many deaths, because such a person is constantly imagining his/her own death.

 

I believe, the average American lives in fear of Ladin and terrorist. While to me it is obvious the targets of 9/11 were very specific to the institutions of the New World Order, the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and ?- probably a government building because this is the missing peice of the puzzle. Whatever, citizens of the US were not targeted, so it is paranoid for us to give away our privacy and agree to our government having the ability to track all of us and even prevent us from traveling, because we fear "the terrorist". This is like being afraid of the lion in the living room that isn't there, and is the heart of this discussion. Our military spending is the result of paranoia, resulting from the military technology of WWII to fly over oceans and drop atom bombs. For this we spend far more on military spending than any other nation and have increased our ability to destroy many times over.

 

Drop about 12 B B's in a tin bucket. Then drop the rest of the B B's in a tin bucket. That is how much we have increased our destructive potential since WWII. Is this necessary?

 

Not to mention we are now requiring people carry ID and are judging them by what is in a file, and have given our government the power to track people through education, banking and medial care, and are now tying driver license to Social Security numbers, and getting the masses accustom to police questioning and constant police presince in places like Social Security offices. ****, we should have just gone alone with Nazi, Germany and saved a lot of lives and collateral, because this is what we defended our democracy against, so why are we spending so much on national defense now? What are we defending ourselves from now? Like how much worse can it get? This is paranoia. We didn't always live like this, and thought we were defending our liberty and freedom when we went to war, but it was all for nothing, because we are what we fought against.

 

Come on, the Germans and Japanese were not "evil people". They were human beings just as ourselves. Let us use our national defense budget to give everyone around the world computers and Internet serve, so our leaders can never again lead us into stupid wars. What do we fear? We gave citizens, not the president, control of spending, to keep us out of wars, and now we think what makes us great is our military might. I think I am loosing it. I am obsessed by what has happened to the US.

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par·a·noi·a [par-uh-noi-uh]

 

–noun 1. Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.

 

2. baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.

 

Obviously NO.

 

In his book "Is Germany Incurable?" Richard M. Brickner, M.D. Richard defines paranoia as excessive need to be in superior and in control. He published the book in 1943, and the book is a fascinating follow up on Charles Sarolea's 1911 book "The Anglo-German Problem".

 

By imitating Germany in every important way, we are what we fought against, including paranoid. Unfortunately this is not limited to fear of an imagary enemy, but is wholistic. A large of part of this beast is bureaucratic.

 

"Whatever their efficiency, such great organizations are so impersonal that they bear down on the individual lives of the people like a hydraulic press whose action is completely impersonal and therefore completely effective in crushing out individual liberty and power." Tagore A teacher Sara H. Fahey quoted Tagore during her speech to the 1917 National Education Association Conference. During this same conference J. A. B. Sinclair, Surgeon, United States Navy, Portland Recruiting Station.. explained why public education should apt the German modeled for military purposes. Because our national defense depended on patriotism, not technology- until WWII, we didn't adopt the German model for education until 1958. However, during the Roosevelt administration, Roosevelt and Hoover adopted the German model of bureacracy to the US model. This was not the problem it has become until we also adopted the education that goes with government control of the people.

 

Today, the average American needs superiority and control, and this the extreme opposite of our past, when we trusted in God. In a way we could say, the exploding consciousness of technology is like Pandora's box. We went through some kind of consciousness shift from the marvel of science and still trust in God, to technology and trust in our own achievements. But because we replaced our liberal education with the German model, we are now technologically smart but without the wisdom to use this technology. Part of the technological smartness is the ability to track citizens, and malnipulate every part of thier lives, creating above humanity Tocqueville's greatest fear 1835 "Democracy in America". A tutelary government where no one is accountable and government attempts to manage every aspect of everyone's lives. What we must understand about this, is the power shift from individuals to a bureaucratic machine, reducing the whole of society to a mechanical society. It is the bureaucratic order that is the problem, not a conspiracy of a few individuals who understand the machine and how to place themselves well within it.

 

Whatever, the US is expereincing the same mass paranoia that Germany experienced and for the same reason.

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Sorry, I grew up in Hollywood, California in a home that never had locked doors. At age 8 I was walking the streets by myself, and fortunately was not living in fear. May be our disagreement is about having different memories of reality.

 

Interesting - every society has a different collective memory of reality as well.

 

However, I remember reading something that said something along the lines of fearing a lion in the living room is not rational unless there is a lion in the living room. I am talking about our relationship with fear. Of course we can living in constant fear and rationalize why this is necessary, I just think this is paranoid. Like a coward dies many deaths, because such a person is constantly imagining his/her own death.

 

Paranoia is not only a clinical disorder for schizophrenics. It’s a basic human (and animal) emotion. It has developed through billions of years of life-experience. I would suppose there’s a reason people are more paranoid of snakes than butterflies. As long as you brought up lions I could easily ask how many of your ancestors were killed by saber tooth cats on the African savannah? Did they watch their backs, keep an ear to the ground, an eye on the bushes? Was it paranoia? Was it healthy? Yes to all. Paranoia is far to entrenched in the human genetic psyche to be rejected so readily. This same emotional state of mind can easily be projected on to the actions and character of a society.

 

I believe, the average American lives in fear of Ladin and terrorist. While to me it is obvious the targets of 9/11 were very specific to the institutions of the New World Order, the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and ?- probably a government building because this is the missing peice of the puzzle. Whatever, citizens of the US were not targeted, so it is paranoid for us to give away our privacy and agree to our government having the ability to track all of us and even prevent us from traveling, because we fear "the terrorist".

 

I agree, it is “paranoid for us” to live in fear of terrorism. Is that bad? Are we too paranoid? Is there a healthy level of paranoia societies should have about certain things? You haven’t explored any of that. Your implication that any level of paranoia is bad - I would reject. And your statement that citizens were not targeted on 9-11 is wrong. Were you sympathetic to their aim?

 

I personally think people living in western countries are far too paranoid of terrorists. America as a society is also too paranoid and it shows in a lot of the things we do. But, there is a healthy level that needs to be found.

 

This is like being afraid of the lion in the living room that isn't there, and is the heart of this discussion.

 

It is too simple an analogy. We can’t take the lion out of the room in our analogy because terrorism IS real. But, it maybe shouldn’t be a lion because terrorism is not that dangerous to the average person. I’d rather share a country with a terrorist than a room with a lion. So, let’s make it a cat (one of the little ones). But the cat has to be ill tempered - hissing and getting ready to scratch - like a terrorist. Should the person in the room be paranoid now? ‘No paranoia’ would mean the person sits down next to the cat oblivious to the danger and gets mauled or scratched a bit (the severity of the eventual attack is yet to be determined). ‘Too paranoid’ would mean the person kills the cat with his hand grenade and blows his house up in the process. The correct level of paranoia would lead to removing the danger some how without over reacting. Maybe putting the cat in a pin or cage. I like this analogy better.

 

Not to mention we are now requiring people carry ID and are judging them by what is in a file, and have given our government the power to track people through education, banking and medial care, and are now tying driver license to Social Security numbers, and getting the masses accustom to police questioning and constant police presince in places like Social Security offices.

 

I agree. A great example is London. All the cameras watching, identifying, undercover police and MI5 is a direct result (or partially a result) of all the terrorism they’ve faced in the past decades. An argument can be made that this is healthy and another argument that it has gone too far. But, it’s a matter of increments and proportion. Simply calling that kind of behavior ‘paranoia’ isn’t adequate to the situation.

 

We didn't always live like this, and thought we were defending our liberty and freedom when we went to war, but it was all for nothing, because we are what we fought against.

 

As soon as you decide to kill your enemy, you are what you fight. War is always evil and we always fight our brothers in arms. But, when the cat in the room turns into a lion you’d best be ready to put it down. It (they) want your blood nutronjon.

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I do not think I followed your reasoning. If the lion or ferral cat are in the room, it is sane to fear the cats. However, if they are not in the room, it is not sane to be acting as though they are in the room. Paranoia is acting as though they are in the room when in fact they are not. Do you see a difference?

 

But paranoia is not just excessive fear. It is an excessive need to be superior and in control. This is effecting every aspect of our lives, in ways unknown to us 50 years ago. Our banking business was between the banker and the citizen, and no one else! The federal government did not require the bank to check validation of a person's ID and address. Loans were not sold to unknown persons. When a wife asked the doctor about her husband's health, the doctor told her. We did not have federal government regulations that prevented the doctor from telling family about family, and also tied every medical service contact a person makes, to the federal government. Would we rather have the federal government know every single medication we use and where we buy it, and all other details of our health care, than our own family? When did we vote for this privacy that prevents family from knowing about family and enables the feds to know so much? Who is controlling, and for what purpose is this control in place?

 

I remember when we knew the police can not require people to show ID, if they are just standing on the street or a passenger in someone's car. I don't know when this changed, but other changes came with it. Employers could not asked about a person's criminal record, unless a security clearence was needed for a special reason, such as cleaning banks. They sure didn't do credit checks, and neither did property managers. Forget all the good reasons for this being done now. There were excellent reasons why we didn't do these things, and I would be a lot happier if we lived by the reasons for not doing these things, and returned to the strong opinion that privacy is important. We didn't even tell people our ages, and asking about a person's income was terribly rude, unless a person was applying for a loan.

 

In Sparta privacy was unimportant, and in Athens privacy was important. In

Sparta everything was made public, and in Athens there was a clear distinction between our private lives and public lives. I mention this, because the change in the US is not a matter of technology, but a matter of values. And our reason to live in fear, that is to be paranoid, is much, much higher when our lives are no longer private. We have lost essential control over our own lives because we have been robbed of our privacy. This brings out the worst in democracy, because it brings us to mob rule. We are now marginalizing people, for small infractions, such as getting drunk and punching someone, becomes a criminal charge that can prevent a person from getting a job or housing. Because these judgements are based on records, rather than an effort to know a person; when someone's identity is stolen, life can become a living hell, and it can cost a lot money and take many years to resolve this problem. This lost control over our lives, exasperates paranoia. Again, this is not just because we have technology that we are making our lives hell, but how we use this technology is a matter of values.

 

Paranoina is not just fear. It is also excessive need to superior and in control, and by destroying our privacy we have exasperated real reasons to live in fear of the powers over which we have no control, because we have no personal power, when are a judged by what is in a record. Such a government that establishes these laws, without our vote, and education that is amoral and no longer defends our liberty is a serious problem. The fear this generates is being directed to "terrorist" and terrorist are equal to the boogy man children fear. In the past we had enemies and knew who they were. A terrorist is not easy to easy to identify. I assume thoughout history there were kidnappers, and reason to protect children, but this reality and the reality of boogy men is different. As the reality of enemies and terrorist is different. It is malnipulaton of the media for political and economic purpose that gives us "terrorist" and we should not allow this to happen.

 

I said a lot and wonder if I succeeded in conveying the concepts?

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Good manners are more important than good laws. Public education use to teach good manners and we had fewer laws. I am very distressed by the reversal in our consciousness, that has favoring laws over good manners. We are destroying our liberty, and that makes every war for nothing, and what we spend on national defense is not defending you and me, but multinationals and companies like Blackwater that profit off war.

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