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"I think a lot of kids whose mental growth outruns their maturity gravitate to science fiction."
- Dan Simmons

Mind Destroyer  
  A method for wiping clean the mind of a human being, leaving only enough to run the body's functions.  

Now, I can destroy your mind before you go down—if you want me to."

"That's against the law," said Mercer.

Doctor Vomact smiled warmly and confidently. "Of course it is. A lot of things areagainst human law. But there are laws of science, too. Your body, down onShayol, is going to serve science. It doesn't matter to me whether that body has Mercer's mind or the mind of a low-grade shellfish. I have to leave enough mindin you to keep the body going, but I can wipe out the historic you and give yourbody a better chance of being happy. It's your choice, Mercer. Do you want to beyou or not?"

Technovelgy from A Planet Named Shayol, by Cordwainer Smith.
Published by Galaxy Science Fiction in 1961
Additional resources -

Compare to the mindwipe from Mindkiller, a 1982 story by Spider Robinson.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Planet Named Shayol
  More Ideas and Technology by Cordwainer Smith
  Tech news articles related to A Planet Named Shayol
  Tech news articles related to works by Cordwainer Smith

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