The Ghost in the Machine

The Ghost in the Machine: The Forced Chemical Evolution of Man

Brent Jessop, Knowledge Driven Revolution

Below are a couple of passages quoted by Arthur Koestler in The Ghost in the Machine published in 1967:

“Here at our disposal, to be used wisely or unwisely, is an increasing array of agents that manipulate human beings… It is now possible to act directly on the individual to modify his behaviour instead of, as in the past, indirectly through modification of the environment.” — Dean Saunders, of the San Francisco Medical School, at the Control of the Mind symposium (1961).

The next quote was preceded by a discussion about the potential use of tricyano-aminopropene to cause an “increased suggestibility in man”.

“The author is [referring] to any substance inducing changes of biologically important molecules in the neurons and the glia and affecting the mental state in a negative direction. It is not difficult to imagine the possible uses to which a government in a police-controlled state could put this substance. For a time they would subject the population to hard conditions. Suddenly the hardship would be removed, and at the same time, the substance would be added to the tap water and the mass-communications media turned on. This method would be much cheaper, and would create more intriguing possibilities then [voluntary introduction methods]” — Hyden at the Control of the Mind symposium (1961).

Where did all of this come from and why was a celebrated (he was made a Commander in the Order of the British Empire in the 1970s) author, journalist and polymath like Arthur Koestler writing positively about such disturbing ideas?

The Ghost in the Machine is a discussion of Koestler’s theory that all of nature — from the genetic code to governmental structures – is composed of hierarchy based systems. The majority of the book is focused on disproving Pavlovian/Skinnerian behaviorism and Darwinian evolution (which is not too difficult to do) and to replace these ideas with his hierarchy based theory.

Read the full essay: Brent Jessop,   Knowledge Driven Revolution