[ExI] social reprogramming

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Wed Nov 14 13:18:04 UTC 2012

On 14 November 2012 13:41, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> The issue of tuning down empathy in soldiers is nontrivial. No military
> force wants sociopaths - they are destructive to the organisation. And
> soldiers that have no empathy will not help each other well: a lot of
> military organisation requires quite a lot of comeraderie to function
> socially and practically. Presumably the goal would be to keep the empathic
> circle focused on "us", but again this is tricky: is that just the military
> itself, the civilians of the home nation, or some other set? Especially
> given the existence of vast and unexpected categories of not-us but
> not-enemies (the Red Cross, civilians from enemy countries, diplomats,
> foreigners...) getting the tuning to produce the right result might be very
> nontrivial.

I have always found bizarre the marines' code of honor described in the
movie A Few Good Man, which would go: "Corps, Detachment, God, Fatherland",
in the order. I suspect that the order has always been quite different in
European military ethics.

Moreover, behaviourist training strategies, once more at least depicted in
US movies, actually appear to aim deliberately at the development of a sort
of controlled sociopathy.

For instance, abuse by drilling sergeants is probably commonplace in
everything military, but, say, the Prussian tradition insisted on the
contrary on an extreme formalism even in the superior-to-inferior
relationship, so that I sincerely doubt that it was routine in that context
to disparage the alleged sexual conduct of the mother of a given recruitee
or to encourage troopers to write "born to kill" on their helmets.

Stefano Vaj
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