After lunch was finished, the party returned to its semicircle. Elaine began with a question, “Gabriel, what, should we make of those humans seemingly without a conscience. Those sick-puppies who realize that cold-blooded killing, physical torture, and gang rapes are amoral, but do such because they find it pleasurable and lack even one atom of remorse or altruism?”
Gabriel began, “Good question, Elaine. Your Magick training has increased your presentiment. I see that Merlin and Morgana are doing what they need to do I was going to discuss this problem later, but I will do so now. It has to do with neurobiological deviancy.
Unfortunately, a small portion of persons is born, or early on suffer neurological developmental problems, leading to a defect in the central nervous system which prevents the expression of any feelings of connection or caring for other persons. They understand why they should not torture or kill from a social perspective, but not from an emotional perspective. Rather than feeling disgusted or guilty about such extreme actions, they actually experience pleasure and delight from hurting others. Without any feelings or remorse, they take what they want, when they want, and from whom they want, bearing in mind the dangers of dealing with other sociopaths.
The real danger of such persons is that they tend to rise to positions of power as they are willing to remove everyone in the way to be as a human god. For whenever, conscience is missing, selfishness is unopposed and such a person becomes a living Satan.
“So should we call these people, Evil, with a capital ‘E’ then,” asked Elaine. “Is such Evil just a defect in how the human body and brain function, no more?”
It seemed that Gabriel enjoyed questions very much and responded, “Now, this question strikes upon the crux of the problem of true Evil. Are Good and Evil simply a matter of human brain function? Or is a combination of brain function and something more dangerous? I am curious as to how many of you would say that Good and Evil are no more than the output of brain function? How many think there is more to the story than just brain function?”
Gabriel said, “Close your eyes and raise you hand if you think little or big Evil and little or big Good arises solely from the particulars of brain function?” No hands went up. “OK, no point asking the second question.”
“If the function of the central nervous system was totally responsible for our thoughts, feelings, and actions, then all of us are no more than biological machines. No one has a soul. If this is true, then a pragmatic and peaceful society would junk all machines which cannot be fixed. They would set up an algorithm to judge behavior and then impartially go about business. It would not be a bad place to live actually, but, clearly it is without any lasting purpose since members of such society are no more than an apparatus which is valued when useful and terminated when not. Moreover, no blame, shame, or guilt is layered upon any member of society for it is a just society.
But, wait, something does not seem quite right about a machine society, does it? So where do we go with our analysis. Clearly, all of us are biological machines with variable phenotypes. Some are inherently altruistic and some are inherently selfish. Some have a wonderful conscience and some have none. Why do we feel inside ourselves that each of us is held to a higher standard of behavior than is just explained by machine code and hardware? What inside of us encourages us to do more good and less evil?
In the solely neurobiological world view, the human mind and psyche are restricted to a pseudoexistence, being no more than an electromagnetic epiphenomena, entirely dependant upon neural activity. Regardless of our personal opinions as to the matter, we are just robots doing robot things. Your very sense of existence is an artefact. You are a machine and a zombie, nothing more. Good and evil are determined solely by societies rules and can change at any time. There is no meaning or purpose, really. Rather, sad, eh?
There is another alternative world view. In this view, our operational unit is the body with its organs and activities. Our body possesses a highly complex central nervous system which is able to create a personal and a shared virtual world, we all share in experiencing and developing. We need this biological machine for experiencing both the physical and the aphysical worlds. I call us, Neurobiological Machines with a Twist!”