Introduction: Ethics in America
Ethics in government and elsewhere have long been front and center in American politics and business. This is not because of a devotion to ethics by public officials, the general populace or others, but rather due to persistent transgressions of ethical norms, often of a flagrant nature.
Dubious behaviors inconsistent with the public interest have run amok from the earliest days of the Republic, during the nation’s middle years (e.g., the Gilded Age), throughout the 20th century and now, perhaps more than ever, in the still-brief era of the mercurial Donald Trump, America’s first Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not” president. In less than half a year in office, The Donald has brazenly used his high office to promote hotels, golf resorts and other personal interests.
Should we be concerned? Of course.
A “what if” question related to the promotion of sensible mindsets and lifestyles might be asked at this point.
Suppose I had a REAL wellness ethics laboratory, say in Transylvania, the land many still associate with bloodthirsty vampires and howling wolves where Dr. Frankenstein once did research on rejuvenation. Suppose I devoted every moment I could steal from exercising, dining on vegan treats, meditating and doing yoga (next to none) and otherwise maintaining balance, living in the moment, experiencing WOs and DBRU equivalents and writing about safe, non-controversial topics. If I had a lab and spent time there doing brain research, for instance, what might I discover about ethics and REAL wellness?
I have no idea. I don’t have a lab and have never been to Transylvania, though I understand it’s a lovely region in the central part of Romania.
Perhaps I could discover the elusive ingredients for a wondrous new medication, a breakthrough REAL wellness brain-changing, non-fattening, non-addictive supplement. I took a chemistry class in high school – maybe I could apply what I remember about the properties of matter, how and why substances combine or separate to form other substances and learn ways to put such energies to good use in lifestyle choices. Imagine a magic wellness bullet, a super wellness pill composed of chemical substances that channel just the right impulses in the human brain.
What form might it take? How about a pill, only one per week needed, that would induce impulses that boost reason, exuberance, athleticism and liberty. I’d like to see it come with instructions. For example, the user might be urged to recite aloud a trance-like mantra, perhaps an Ingersollian affirmation I’d create, something like this:
“I am too sensible to waste time on superstitions or Bronze Age rituals, or to bow or cringe before make-belief wizards or gods, knowing my existence is so very brief in this narrow veil between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities.”
Like a magic spell, the litany would set in motion chemical processes in the frontal, parietal, occipital and the temporal lobes of the cerebral cortex. Electro signals in the glia cells would interact with hormones, thereby engaging the five senses to good effect. I’m starting to think this might work.
What could go wrong?
Consequences of a REAL Wellness Pill
Remember, the purpose of the new med would be to induce a wellness lifestyle, guided by the best values and noblest ethics! Who would program these values and ethics? Well, hell, I’d be willing to give it a shot.
Is there anything to be concerned about should my research pan out? I read somewhere that the Devil lurks in the details. Maybe one dark and stormy night, when lightning bolts are striking all around the REAL wellness lab I set up in Transylvania, a problem might arise with the super pill. For example, perhaps one unintended consequence might occur due to non-compliance with the directions for use.
Could unfortunate things happen if pill takers do not behave in ways consistent with REAL wellness ethics or behaviors? What if users engage in smoking, excessive alcohol consumption or voting Republican? I’m concerned that all manner of bad habits (eating junk food, taking oneself too seriously, thinking some god does favors for some and not others or loves you more than everyone else, failing to nurture a minimal sense of humor or look on the bright side of life – these and other worseness tendencies could interfere with the chemical processes in the brain activated by the REAL wellness pill. Receptor sites in the brain habituated to being stimulated by positive initiatives could, with bad behaviors, cease manufacturing vaccines that alter neuron signaling in the nucleus accumbens. Immunity might be lost against self-pity, morose and peevish reactions and tendencies to whine, wallow and whimper. Dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine transporter systems replete with brain receptors might no longer bind with Ingersollian affirmations.
While most who take my wellness pill would want to proclaim and act upon the wonders of the concept, some might fall off the proverbial wellness wagon. Alas, there could be torments and tribulations to pay for such transgressions.
Ethical Concerns and Questions
What do you think? Would you want such a pill available to just anyone, no questions asked, no qualification required? Should an easy way to wellness be enabled, or discouraged for ethical reasons?
I have not technically or otherwise discovered such a pill. My chances of doing so are not great. I don’t have a lab and I didn’t do so well in my high school chemistry class, in fact, I switched after a few weeks into a P.E. course. Today I just write essays for Ezine.
For these and a few other reasons, I think it might be best to work out the ethics first, just to be on safe ground, should I ever go down this road and succeed.
But, imagine for a moment that there might someday be such a pill (Wellagra?) and that the maker would want to offer it to any and all seekers – with no need for a prescription, the blessing of clergy or other safeguards. Would you try it?
The consequences of such a choice and others that may come about in the near future are far reaching.
Be well – and let me know what you think.