Readers who find the subject matter of this book shocking or frightening should not delude themselves by also thinking it is something quite new. The physical study of the brain has been proceeding for more than a century; the technology of behavior modification has been developing for more than fifty years. For decades, it was there for anyone to see, discuss, support, or oppose.
Nor has there been any lack of publicity. Research in neurobiology is spectacular enough to appear regularly in the Sunday supplements. But the public has never really taken it seriously. There has been so much ominous talk and so much frivolous speculation for so many years that the public now regards "mind control" as a problem removed to the distant future: it might eventually happen, but not soon, and not in a way that would affect anyone now alive.
Scientists engaged in this research have sought public discussion. James V. McConnell of the University of Michigan told his students some years ago, "Look, we can do these things. We can control behavior. Now, who's going to decide what's to be done? If you don't get busy and tell me how I'm supposed to do it, I'll make up my own mind for you. And then it's too late."
Many people today feel that they live in a world that is predetermined and running along a fixed pre-established course. Past decisions have left us with pollution, depersonalization, and urban blight; somebody else made the decisions for us, and we are stuck with the consequences.
That attitude represents a childish and dangerous denial of responsibility, and everyone should recognize it for what it is. In that spirit, the following chronology is presented: