posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 09:28 AM
I would like to first address with the reader keeping in mind our system of criminal justice and punishment as it exists in the United States, and
many other parts of the world.
Now, on to the subject...
There exists a protozoan parasite called Toxoplasma gondii
which has a unique and fascinating life-cycle, involving rats, cats, and humans.
While infected with this parasite, each host remains virtually identical, and exhibits few symptoms, except for changes in behavior.
An excerpt from article:
"This parasite manipulates host behavior so that the host becomes more likely to be eaten by the next host in the chain. The extraordinary
Toxoplasma gondii parasite infects billions of humans but is thought to be benign in the human host, although there is new evidence linking it with
Part of T. gondii's lifecycle is lived in rats. It alters rat behavior via mechanisms that are not yet understood. Rats normally exhibit fear of
new environments, "neophobia" and avoid areas with cat smells. The infected rats are not neophobic and do not avoid cat smells, and may possibly
even seek them out, but are otherwise indistinguishable. In effect they become "rodent kamikazees" more likely to be eaten by cats. The cat is T.
gondii's next host in its own "food chain." These subtle behavioral modifications were only discovered as recently as the late 1990s.
T. gondii has also been shown within the mid 1990s to ALTER HUMAN BEHAVIOR. Men become less willing to submit to the moral standards of a
community, less worried about being punished for breaking society's rules, and more distrustful of other people. These changes presumably occur
when T. gondii enters and manipulates neurochemistry. Researchers have so far casually or laughingly dismissed that these behavioral changes have any
significance in the human host..."
So, what we have here is an organism that via the manipulation of how your nervous system works, causes men to be more antagonistic to society and
less fearful of punishment. This effect benefits the parasite when it infects mice because it increases the likelihood that the mouse will be eaten
by a cat. But you can't ignore the fact that this parasite also infects humans, with discernible effects on behavior.
So... fascinating as the subject is, I couldn't help but think that in our society full of prisons, police, and punishment.... what does it mean to
know that there are things out there that can turn a "good" person into a criminal outside his or her control?
[edit on 11-6-2010 by 30_seconds]