Deep Brain Stimulation to stop major depression is a reality in its infancy hence let’s make a thought experiment:
Presume a much more advanced version of it was created and everybody could inhibit any emotional pain. Anybody could become a soulless stock broker who invests in companies which make profit selling weapons to third world countries or pollute the environment. Soldiers would go to war without being afraid of PTSD or any fear at all not even death nor remorse for indiscriminate killing. It would be easy to lie and to deceit to people because guilt and remorse would be removed by the DBS machine. Nobody would be upset not even when insulted or by the loss anything or anybody because pain caused by worry and grief could be removed.
If we had the chance to remove the emotions that make us social animals would we do it? Would society survive? Species such us spiders have cannibalistic behaviour and they are successful species. Could humanity turn into something similar? Could a society made up of mostly sociopaths survive and if so would they consider empathetic people “mentally sick”?
There is plenty of literature on machines trying to be human. Is there any on humans trying to kill their souls since it gives them just suffering a turn just like machines? This question is somehow similar to "soma" from Brave New World, are there any other examples? Do we really need "soma" or DBS, is not nurture, capitalism and violent upbringing as shown by history (Nazi Germany, Middle Ages Societies, Abu Ghraib, etc) enough to create a non-empathetic society?
References are wanted but not mandatory.
"Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies."