Nation X: Author’s Commentary On Pleasure Centre

In my Nation X series, I told of the genetically enhanced humans enslaving the ordinary humans by getting them to be addicted to the pleasure stimulated in their brains with a machine. While most of it is fiction, the concept of pleasure centre in the brains is a scientific fact.

It was discovered in the 1950s by two brain researchers named James Olds and Peter Milner. They identified the part of the rodent’s brains that give them pleasure and experimented on them by inserting electrodes into the pleasure centre. When currents pass through the electrodes, the rodents were supposed to feel happy. How did they know?

The researchers made a switch for the rodents to have full control on the electrical flow. The moment they pressed the switch, small electrical pulses flowed into their brains. The result: These animals did nothing other than pressing the switch. They totally ignored food, drink and female rodents. They ended up died of thirst and starvation. Such is the danger of pleasure.

However, the human brains are different. We do not have a specific area in our brains for the pleasure centres. Our pleasure centres are scattered throughout the brain. What do you think will happen if we manage to find a way to activate them artificially? We may end up like the rodents.

Joy Machine.

Now, let us suppose the feeling of joy can be duplicated. Think about it. What do you like to do? When you do that thing, you will cause electrical pulses to flow through the pleasure centres in your brain. You will feel happy and want to do it more often.

Suppose there is a machine that can store those pulses and duplicate them to your brains. What will happen then? You will not need to do that thing to be happy. All you have to do is to press the button and you will be as happy as you have done that thing.

The implication of the invention of such a machine will be disastrous. Our drive and enthusiasm for progress are caused by our joy of achieving them. If this joy can be achieved from pressing a button, then all our drives and enthusiasm for progress is gone. Once addicted to the artificial joy, we may not even have the will power to take a break to eat and drink. We will be dead within days.

Therefore, I conclude that if such a joy machine ever got invented, it will be the last invention of the human civilisation.

If you happen to have ideas of this machine, the best thing you can do is forget all about it and destroy all records of it. If you know someone who has made progress on it, you have to stop it. The survival of the human civilisation is dependent on you.

Tool of subjugation.

In the story, the X-sers used it to enslave the rest of humanity. Theoretically it can work. If I have this machine, I will set it on you for a few hours to let you experience pure joy. Then I switch it off and let you get back to normal. You would have withdrawal syndrome and you will do anything to feel the joy. I would have enslaved the whole world.

However, what is there to stop me from setting the machine on myself? In the end I will be as addicted as you. I will no longer be your master. We are just fellow slaves.

Therefore, the only way the joy machine can be used as a tool of subjugation is when it is used by beings with a completely different biology from us. In other words, aliens.


The pleasure centre of the brains is real. The addiction to it is also real. Only the joy machine is not. Let us pray that it will never exist.