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Topics - Straker

Interzone / Nootropics
« on: January 03, 2011, 11:41:09 AM »
What is this community's opinion on Nootropics, or "smart drugs"? There are a variety of legal drugs available through the internet that purport to enhance perception and/or cognition. Such drugs include Piracetam, DMAE, hydergine, and others. Note that what distinguishes Nootropics from other drugs that supposedly enhance cognitive performance (ie Amphetamines, which only cause a momentary surge in norepinephrine and dopamine levels) is that they do not act in short-term boosts, but actually aid in the formation of new memories, facilitate communication between cerebral hemispheres, and possibly stimulate neuronal growth. These benefits are long-term and will not immediately dissipate if one stops taking the Nootropic.  Solid case studies of these drugs are not plentiful, despite the fact that they've been around since the 1960s, but there is enough evidence to suggest that they do indeed acheive the desired effect with negligible side effects. Piracetam, probably the most common Nootropic, is a prescription medicine in Mexico and some European countries. The FDA has not passed judgement on the drug yet, so it is possible for an American to legally order the drug from overseas.

Nootropics seem almost too good to be true. They are hardly existent in mainstream medicine's conciousness, despite their tremendous potential. Which leads one to ask: What are the ethical consequences of Nootropics? Is it "fair" to enhance one's mind without doing so through REAL life experiences and actively disciplining one's mind through one's own will? Are Nootropics modern man's forbidden fruit? What could the consequences of accessing forbidden knowlledge be?

Interzone / Self
« on: December 15, 2010, 10:27:11 AM »
Whaddya guys think about the notion of "self"? Is it real? If so, what is it?

Does the mere action of thinking substantiate the thinker as a distinct and real entity, la Descartes? From a materialist point of view, "I think, therefore I am" makes sense. However, more spiritually-inclined folk would contend that its just that gosh darn ego of ours, jus' tryin' to keep us sane and make sure we pass on our genes.

Folk like that Buddha, I mean. That gook would probly argyew that "self" implies something that remains constant and unchangin' in our dynamic and ever-changin' world -- but thar ain't nuthin' 'bout us that stays tha same fer two consecyuhtive moments -- includin' our own thoughts! Makes sense, don't it?

So where does this idear of self s'posed ta come from, you ask *hyuck*? Well, it comes from desire, the root of all sufferin' in this world... Hwhen ya realize that there ain't no self, and thus no reason ta want nuthin', yur sufferin' ends.  Er So Sais Booduh, a'least. 

Now, you're probly thinkin' "How the fuck would the human species even exist without desires? Isn't desire an innate aspect of the human condition? Isn't it rather solipsistic to want to free yourself from desire, ie disconnect from the world?" Well, I dunno. Why dontcha shoot the ol' Chinaman an email. What, have you been living under a rock? OF COURSE EMAILS CAN BE SENT THROUGH TIME! Hm? I dunno, somethin' to do with tachyons. Uh-huh. Yes, very expensive. Can we talk about this later?

Ahem... And then the Hindus think there's a little piece of 'God' in all of us which is our "true self" -- the ego is just our "small self". Sounds pretty reasonable. But then again, those people smell.

So. What is your take on 'self' and how does it influence your life?