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ysilverman's picture

I agree, on this, with both

I agree, on this, with both Paul and Adi ... though, at the same time, I see another sort of slippery slope (kind of akin to what Sophie was talking about last class).

My guess is, all of our bad behaviors are genetically influenced (and if not genertically, than enviromentally -- basically, regardless of origin, most are biologically, or subconciously, based). I think that most people who end up murdering others are somehow predisposed to do so. Is their behavior controllable? Well, perhaps. But, as we know from so many other biologically influenced behaviors (predisposition to addictions of all sorts, predisposition to depression, to anxiety, to mania) it isn't easy. What if, at the end of the day, we can explain most agressive acts biologically, and treat them? I don't think we're talking about a slippery slope -- I hope we're talking about finding ways to help people feel better in their skin (and less prone to hurt themselves and others).

But, more slippery, is where does this sort of thing stop? What sorts of behaviors amount to things that make us unique and different, and what are pathologies?  (This is what Sophie was saying in class, I think, and something I particularly agree with.) What is the fabric that makes an individual an individual, and what characteristics can and should be treated? Is it ever good to feel sad, or is all sadness something that should be explored? When does sadness (a feeling that most people would want to avoid, I think, at least in the throes of it) benefit us? If we can all become kind, athletic, bookish, happy, achievers, should we? If someone goes on depression medication and ends up with a dull affect -- no longer sad/suicidal, but really basically emotionless -- have things improved? And, if not, why not?

It's possible none of the above scenarios will be achievable, maybe even probable. (Well, except for the dulling effect of some anti-depressants, which is already here.) Still, that's the slippery slope I feel more worried about. (Because I think most behavior *can* be blamed on chemistry, at least to the extent that I don't think consciously dictated self control is actually what divides an angry person who murders from an angry person who doesn't, or a person who drinks a glass of wine three or four times a week from an alcoholic.)


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