Customizing the Brain with Psychoactives
It’s long been a desire of the human species to have complete control over our own thoughts. We’ve all had these moments where we curse our brain. Asking questions like: “Why wasn’t I more fun at that party”, “Why did I act so mean to that person? “ and “Why am I not reaching my creative potential?”. In the last couple of decades, a plethora of psychoactive substances have been discovered. With them came the ability to exercise control over our conscious minds.
Some drugs have been already been accepted into society as a useful tool. In fact, some have been integrated so thoroughly that many people don’t even see them as drugs anymore. Take for example the most popular drug on the planet. It is used by billions of people, often every day. Its effects as a stimulant are very useful. People use it to be more alert and productive on their job. The drug in question is of course caffeine. Alcohol is also widely accepted. It has brought fun and sociability to many a party.
The more novel drugs are often deemed more dangerous. Their use is not as widespread and not a lot of research has yet been done on the risks involved. However, our knowledge on these drugs is increasing rapidly. And people are using them for a wide range of mental hacks. Disclaimer: In the following examples I assume the user is being sensible about things like dose and precautions.
MDMA, also called the `love drug`, can transform any regular dance gathering into a festival of love, euphoria and understanding. Its uses are not confined to jollifying ravers though. Psychotherapists have been getting very promising results using MDMA to help people with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This blurs the line between recreational- and medical drugs. Some people see even more therapeutic value in MDMA, and are not waiting for legalization. They take MDMA in a home setting with family or friends, to have meaningful conversations with them while in the more positive mindset that the drug creates. Some say it resolves old issues better than therapy ever could.
Psychedelics like LSD or mushrooms can be a tool for the user in an entirely different way. They pull a person out of context, out of their normal reality. This can create moments of deep insight because the user is seeing the world in a different way, as if for the first time. This helps create new connections in the brain. A lot of users say it made them more conscious of humanity as a whole, even life as a whole. Jason Silva calls it the mental equivalent of taking a trip. Going somewhere you’ve never been before where your context is radically different from normal. The surge of creativity that follows is very useful for people in creative jobs.
Most of these drugs certainly have a risk factor. The human body has not yet evolved to deal with drugs, as with most technologies. But it’s this writer’s opinion that the good aspects should be looked at along with the bad. And luckily research is helping that change in attitude.