X-Message-Number: 24737
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 09:44:04 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #24734 - #24736

For Mike Perry (Msg 24735):

Basically you are stating that whether or not someone eats too much is
a matter of their will only. (I will point out that even at age 60
I myself remain far from overweight). To put this issue bluntly,
this idea seems both too moralistic and too primitive. It's not that
it's strictly false, it's just that it doesn't go far enough. So,
very well, someone has grown fat because they lack the will to 
stop eating. Why then do they lack that will, and what's happening
that makes them lack it? 

From my own experience with obese people, the simple observation that
they lack the will to limit their calorie intake hardly helps at all.
Humans have complex psychologies, even normal humans. Perhaps the
appetite centers in an obese person's brain have for some reason
grown too large and taken over when he/she comes to eating. That 
can happen for minor or important reasons in terms of how well their
brain is working. I would not be at all surprised to learn that
a subset of obese people suffer from a newly identified brain 
pathology. For that matter, strokes in just the right places can
remove our inhibitions about eating, and we go off eating, eating
and become fat when once we were thin. 

And I guess I come to one more Tale of Skastowe. Further along in
the book you will find a tale named "The 'crimes' of Gosalveno".
"crimes" is in quotes because Skastowe had no crimes in the sense
in which we have crimes. It's not that someone could not disturb
or even injure someone else, but that such incidents were dealt
with quite differently than now. You see, the people of Skastowe
understood much more deeply just how people work, and within
wide limits reorganized the brains of anyone who might be overcome
by an reasonless urge to hurt someone... and they gave such a 
person a choice, if he were troublesome enough: he could be put 
into a starship and sent off to colonize a very distant galaxy
alone in the distant future, or he could allow his brain to be
modified to eliminate that urge.   

It's far from obvious to me how a system which removed any 
tendency to reasonlessly hurt someone, even before it expressed
itself, wouldn't be better than one which punished someone after
they had hurt another. Such a system, of course, would require
far more understanding of how brains work than we have now, so
it's simply not possible now. 

           Best wishes and long long life for all,

               Thomas Donaldson

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