Jonathan Moreno

Jonathan Moreno

Mind Wars

Find out how neuroscience is changing modern warfare.


Guilt-Free Soldiers?

Jonathan Moreno discusses the application of beta-blockers, which could be used to eliminate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in military personnel. However, these drugs raise serious ethical concerns, as they would essentially create “guilt-free” soldiers.

In your opinion, do the benefits of relieving PTSD outweigh the potential consequences of creating an army without a conscience?


In this chapter of Mind Wars, Jonathan Moreno says, “Medical and science breakthroughs can also be used for purposes unrelated to the goals of the researchers.” What do you think about this dual use possibility?

Neuroscience Arms Race

Ian Sample from the Guardian blogs about the science of the brain and its role in the wars of the future. Read the article and join the discussion.

07/19 at 02:30 AM
from Internet, a single world without barriers

National security should start by granting civilians their rights like education, health care and freedom to speak and think without the paranoid surveillance (like Carnivore[1] and Echelon[2] surveillance systems) that government inflicts on their own and other citizens. This policy should be the standard policy for US but also for any other government in the world.

Sadly, it seems like it’s not enough to define ethical guidance on mind investigations. Nowadays, even with the Geneva Conventions[3] and Human Rights[4] we still have those shameful Abu Dhabi[5] and Guantanamo Bay[6] cases. It seems that governments are unable to get those practical law applications which are opposed to other corporate economic interest.
Contractor business seems to be the new governments panacea for responsibility outsourcing. The government may outsource some services, but is still responsible for its consequences.

When he says referring to mind technology that “There are many few countries with the capacity we have” I personally feel this asseveration like a déjàvu. Did we heard that before ? Of course ! Do you remember how Enola Gay and the atomic bomb helped the whole humanity ? The fact that someone is the only one who has some special power doesn’t mean that he is going to use it wisely.

The most affordable way to give proteins to South Africans is by feeding them with food. With 1/12th of the military budget we would be able to feed the world right NOW ... so why should I believe that war-oriented scientific discoveries will be used for anything else than domination ?


Barkley Pollock
07/22 at 05:42 AM
from Ottawa

Excellent Interview. I’m strongly against that node in the head idea from “Internet messaging.” or other sources.  I fail to see any benefit for that idea. Go to Enhanced University of Canada on facebook.

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11/06 at 05:59 AM
from Pattee West Course Reserves

Very interesting.
The use of technologies will aid man to the extent you predict I think.
The mind is just being considered a frontier.  Control mechanisms, mind expanding drugs and procedures should be available as prescribed intervention on a individual basis.
I can see where beta blockers could benefit persons with PTSD, and other illness, i.e. severe paranoia, rape victims, etc.

Fear and paranoia stop people in their tracts.  Fearful situations become a small hurdles for some people, the same event can be paralyzing for others. PTSD is a debilitating,life altering medical diagnosis.

If half the people today were not operating on fear based motivations regarding the government, greater steps might be taken to unify the country in this time of economic down turn and political unrest. 
Might fear become known as the number one factor in most failure.  Can drugs, therapies, neuroscience itself,  help people progress beyond their phobias and anxity. 

What if we did not have test taking stress, or fear of the unknown?  Might genius become a way of life, rather than fear, anxiety and hopelessness as we see today on a grand scale? 
People seem afraid of the first black president, government running their lives, global warming, etc…..instead of seeking ways to solve these issues, they grow toward isolation and depression, or aggression and violence.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
11/19 at 05:24 AM

great post, thanks.

Jon Stromberg
11/25 at 11:07 PM
from paris

It’s very interesting when you find out the way your little box works, but it’s even more fun to realize that you don’t have to be identified with it. We are energy and once you learn this, you can become one with yourself.

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08/30 at 07:49 PM

yea, it’s tough being a killing machine with that pesky conscience and those pesky memories getting in the way. video games and movies help to desensitize and make it unreal for prospective soldiers in their formative years. racism helps too, pounding it into the soldiers that the enemy is not human.

as far as curing PTSD and anxiety goes, there are tried and true non medicinal methods. emotional freedom technique works and has been used to great, almost unbelievable, effect on veterans who used to have constant night panics and nightmares. check out for people with anxiety or panic problems, the I recommend the linden method. These are proven, non-medicinal, highly effective ways to cure these ailments which cannot be debated when you look at the success rates. Drugging only periodically masks symptoms while allowing more to develop, all while the condition itself goes septic finding a more or less permanent home in the brain due to the person negating the actual root causes of the problem which can be easily gotten rid of with the aforesaid non medicinal methods. I also recommend the work of David Berceli at

What do you think?





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Super soldiers equipped with neural implants, suits that contain biosensors, and thought scans of detainees may become reality sooner than you think.

Find out how neuroscience is changing modern warfare, and discover the ethical implications with guest Jonathan Moreno.

Download the transcript.

For a captioned version of this interview, go to YouTube.


Jonathan Moreno began his career as a medical ethicist and is now internationally recognized as a leading expert on ethics related to neuroscience and national security.

Moreno is David and Lyn Silfen professor and professor of medical ethics and the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania and was formerly the director of the Center for Ethics at the University of Virginia. He has served as senior staff member for two presidential commissions and is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

  • Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense (Dana Press, 2006) Read an excerpt.
  • In the Wake of Terror: Medicine and Morality in a Time of Crisis (MIT Press, 2003)
  • Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans (Routledge, 2001)
Additional Resources


Penn State’s Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies supports the development and responsible action of non-lethal options for military and civilian law enforcement.

Learn more about the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies.


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