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“We have a moral imperative to research moral enhancement”

At a TEDx conference in Barcelona last month, Oxford bioethicist Julian Savulescu shared his views on using medicine and technology for “moral enhancement”. According to Savulescu, humans urgently need to develop their moral capacities if we are to solve the range of “problems we have created for ourselves” (such as high rates of murder and sexual assault). Savulescu discusses the moral enhancement brought about by drugs like Oxytocin and Ritalin—we need more of these moral medicines, he claims, if we are to survive the coming decades.

Condensing, . . . Julian asks; “What is the main cause of all the world’s disasters?”

. . . his answer; “Individual human choice and behavior.”

If we lived in a perfect democracy, this might be a persuasive answer, but we don’t.

Governments select policy at the behest of their corporate and financial overlords, and therefore dictate what small range of choices are available to its citizens. The ability of any ordinary person to influence government is practically nonexistent.

The reality is that a tiny, incestuously vetted class of greedy & fabulously wealthy sociopaths control the direction of every ship of state worth mentioning. There is no remaining legitimacy to this situation, if there ever was.

Julian’s suggestion that brand name drugs be used to condition that relationship in a positive manner is certain to fail, if it were ever utilized. He wants to treat symptoms, instead of providing the cure.

Julian wants an extension of the current “industrial model” of medical practice; not fully invested in finding cures, but preferring to treat the undesirable symptoms from onset to demise. This is attractive to many in power because it assures return customers and perpetual profits, milking the same complaints with pharmaceutical palliatives.

I’ll suggest that the crux of our species most urgent problems is an inappropriately individualistic relationship to each other, the environment, and all of the planet’s forms of life. A much more accurate, flexible, useful, and symbiotic set of relationships are crucial to the potential success of humanity.

My belief is that one additive to our human culture that has hope of success is the endeavor to plan and structure the currently accidental imprints that are haphazardly and scandalously allowed to poison and distort the individual at the neurological level during their young formative years.

We too often act as if our species lacked the first clue about how basic human nature is formed and developed. For example, people are not clearly instructed about the way that sequential imprinting events constitute major elements of every person’s personality.

After the major causes of dangerous and counter-productive imprints are protected against, to the degree that a reasonably free society feels capable of carefully allowing, the remaining step would be to combine multiple, traditional right-of-passage ceremonies with legitimate transcendent experiences, and massage these events over time until the desired outcomes could be evoked with the necessary & sufficient strength and regularity.

This is likely where the introduction of certain drugs would be most helpful. Concoctions derived from molecules such as occur in psilocybin, weed, adrenaline, opiates, and the extraordinary DMT, would be excellent candidates for such “sacraments”. The Greek Eleusinian ceremony might serve as an initial template, but there would be various interesting & delightful cultural and social variations.
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