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April 2, 2012
Posted at 12:48 pm
Updated: April 2, 2012 - 12:59 pm
 

Mind Control, Rape and Morality

**NOTE: This is in the context of erotic/fantasy literature more than reality**

Since I write some mind-control erotica, and hypnosis is a fetish of mine, when I see people compared mind control to rape, I start thinking about it.


So, mind-control is "mind-rape?" Okay, sure. but...let's consider the consequences of ordinary rape:

* physical trauma, which we'll define here as pain
* psychological trauma, which we'll define her as pain

* secondary traumas to the victim's loved ones

I think we can argue from a utilitarian point of view that ordinary rape is a pure negative, as trauma is pretty much the only result.

I cannot think of a single BENEFIT to ordinary rape (other than the whole 'adversity builds character' adage, which I don't think counts, because otherwise we could use that argue that there's a benefit in any harmful act; it's a moral 'divide by zero').



Let us now consider 'pure' mind-control:

(Plot devices, side-effects, and the like are not being counted. I'm just postulating thoughts-and-feelings-editing without any other catches)

* physical trauma is unlikely, unless specifically carried out by the controller
* psychological trauma is, again, unlikely, at least for many representations of mind conrol

(but, I will grant, the mind-controller CAN certainly ensure that physical and psychological traumas are created - "punishments", bad judgments, etc.)

* secondary traumas to loved ones - more likely to happen, but judicious and cautious controllers can mitigate this.

Now, are there benefits that can come along from being mind-controlled? In many cases, yes - in many cases, we can see the victims being happier, or otherwise enjoying certain neurological benefits. Of course, again this depends on the use of the mind-control by the controller.

So, unlike rape, 'pure' mind control can be used to 'help' people by creating a net positive outcome.

In other words:

The individual who performs a rape is plainly creating a bad, a negative.

The individual who uses mind control is not necessarily creating a bad, but certainly has the potential to create much more pain than a rape.

HOWEVER, the individual using mind-control CAN apply judgment and compassion to ensure a positive outcome for their victims.

A rapist cannot do that.



the only immediate objection I can think of is: "but they both violate!"

And yes, they do. I'm not arguing that they don't have similarities. Can we go back a step and ask the question: why is this violation objectionable? I get in the case of rape - it immediately causes physical and psychological trauma.

But in the case of mind-control, there is no necessary trauma.

And yes, I know that the (potential) happiness that our theoretical mind control victim might feel is 'artificial.' But how much does that matter? And why?

Can we acknowledge that the feeling(s) are real even though they are artificial?

In which case, how does this differ from psychiatric medications? Or how does it differ from the after effects of brain surgery (or other cranial traumas)? Or mood changes from hormonal imbalances?

None of these are necessarily the 'choice' of the person experiencing them (I know many people who were given psych meds against their will, and are grateful). So they are outside the bounds of choice.

Are we going to give this an exemption because it is a human-instigated change, rather than one instigated through "natural" events (cranial traumas, hormonal imbalances)?

Even so, we should look at the consequences and the results, rather than perseverating on the violation of free will and identity (both of which blow with the biological wind anyway).

I suspect that a lot of objections boil down to a fetishistic desire to preserve the 'self'/'identity'. Speaking as someone who's had brain surgery, and had to deal with the changes - I still possess the same identity as I did before I had some of my left frontal cortex removed. But I am *different*.

I don't think mind control is qualitatively much different than that.

But I can see people proclaiming that the loss of identity and choice IS 'trauma' by its very nature. It is certainly a violation, yes. But I think I need more than that to be convinced it is traumatic.

(Again, this is 'pure' mind control I'm talking about. Stories have different gimmicks, which can have different side effects and other implications, which in turn should be considered through their framework.)



Whether or not one believes 'mind control' is moral, I think it is different enough from rape that it's kind of incendiary language to compare the two.

Mind control allows for a spectrum of choices (with different outcomes) that rape does not - either you rape, or you don't (and maybe you use protection).

And so mind control CAN leave the victim in a better state than they were before. With rape this is impossible.



So, within the framework of "Mind control exists, I have access to it, and I will willingly use it" (which one can argue IS an immoral stance):

There can still exist 'nice' controllers and 'bad' controllers.

A relative 'good' and a relative 'evil.'

OF course, this may be different in a particular story, because of the various plot devices, gimmicks, side-effects and other ground rules for the story's mind control.