12 Harv. J. on Legis. 610 (1974-1975)
Beyond the Cuckoo's Nest: A Proposal for Federal Regulation of Psychosurgery

handle is hein.journals/hjl12 and id is 618 raw text is: STATUTE
BEYOND THE CUCKOO'S NEST: A PROPOSAL
FOR FEDERAL REGULATION OF
PSYCHOSURGERY
Introduction
In Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a lobotomy
permanently ends Randle Patrick McMurphy's heroic struggle
against Big Nurse.' In Michael Crichton's The Terminal Man,
Harry Benson learns to stop worrying and love the charge he gets
from 40 electrodes implanted in his brain.2 The characters are
fictional, but the techniques and the potential dangers are not.
Today, the new wave of psychosurgery sweeping the country
mandates legislative action.3
Psychosurgery4 is the most extreme and controversial of recent
developments in the wide-ranging field of psychotechnology.5 At
best, psychosurgery is a promising new technique offering release
from crippling psychological disorders. At worst, it is a primitive
method which blunts emotional and mental processes and threat-
ens to control the mind. At least, it engenders serious ethical,
social, and political problems which can no longer be ignored.
1 K. KEsEY, ONE FLmv OVER TME CUCKOO'S NEsT (1962).
2 M. CicrrroN, THE TamNAL MAN (1972). This story deals with the control
of temporal lobe epilepsy through computer-controlled Electrical Stimulation of
the Brain (ESB), one type of psychosurgery. See text accompanying notes 214-16 &
note 215 infra.
3 See Breggin, The Return of Lobotomy and Psychosurgery, 118 CONG. REC.
E1602 (daily ed. Feb. 24, 1972) [hereinafter cited as Breggin]; Holden, Psychosur.
gery: Legitimate Therapy or Laundered Lobotomy?, 179 SCIENCE 1109 (1973); Hear-
ings on S. 974, S. 878, & S.J. Res. 71 Before the Subcomm. on Health of the Senate
Comm. on Labor and Public Welfare, 93d Cong., 1st Sess., pt. 2, at 359-60 (1973)
[hereinafter cited as Hearings] (testimony of Dr. Peter Breggin).
4 Defining psychosurgery is an elusive but important endeavor. See § 2 of the
proposed Act and text accompanying notes 209-19 infra for proposed statutory
definition. An accurate preliminary definition for our purposes would be surgery
on the brain performed for the principal purpose of modifying thinking or behav-
ior patterns.
5 The term psychotechnology was coined by R. L. Schwitzgebel and R. K.
Schwitzgebel (eds.) in PSYCHOTECHNOLOGY: ELECTRONIC CONTROL OF MIND AND BE-
H-vIoR (1973). The term refers to the varied tools and techniques for predicting
and modifying human behavior.

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