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The 8th World Congress of Bioethics


I have sent the abstract of my oral presentation to the secretariat of The 8th World Congress of Bioethics, which will be held this August in Beijing, China. The abstract is similar to my post on March 28. The following is the summary of my presentation. I have not decided the content of the actual presentation. Probably I will make PowerPoint presentations just before the conference.

Ethical Issues in the Age of Painless Civilization: “Preventive Reduction of Pain” and “Fundamental Sense of Security”

Masahiro Morioka

Today is the age of “painless civilization.” We are trying to eliminate pain and suffering by using advanced technologies. Biomedical technologies, such as prenatal screening and selective abortion, are good examples. Painless civilization means a society where this kind of “preventive reduction of pain” is found everywhere around us. Our society in advanced countries is marching toward a painless civilization.

One of the most serious problems raised by painless civilization is that it deprives us of the “fundamental sense of security” that is indispensable to our existence and meaningful life. Then, what is “fundamental sense of security”? It is a sense of security that allows me to strongly believe that even if I had been unintelligent, ugly, or disabled, at least my existence in the world would have been welcomed equally, and even if I succeed, fail, or become a doddering old man, my existence will continue to be welcomed.

In this presentation, I am going to show that today’s advanced biomedical technologies are guided by the principle of painless civilization, and as a result, we might gradually come to lose the opportunity of experiencing the joy of life that comes from encountering an unwanted situation and being forced to transform ourselves to find a new way of thinking and being we have never known. The concept of “painless civilization” was first introduced in my book “Painless Civilization” (2003, in Japanese). I believe ethical issues in the age of advanced biomedical technology should be examined from this perspective.

By the way, I happened to find that the PDF file of my former paper, "Reconsidering Brain Death" (Hastings Center Report, 2001), was published on the web by Hastings Center & Georgetown University. This is the PDF file. You can see the photo-image of the actual pages of the journal. Great!

I am now planning to write two papers on life studies in Japanese and in English. The first one is "What is life studies?" (in Japanese) and the second one is "A Life Studies Approach to Abortion and Brain Death" (in English).

Photo: My office, Osaka Prefecture University

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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hy masahiro, as I read you are heading toward China in near future. wow that´s exiting. I wish you there a lot of fun and new experiences, I am very interested in China, somehow it´s the country where modern and ancient times meat eachother, like nowhere else. a lot of success with your paper and the publications on the net. your arash

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