Mind-altering drugs are both promise and curse. Make the right choices, and a better life can open up before you. Make the wrong choices and you may lose the ability to make any more choices at all.
“OxyContin, Xanax bars, Percocets and Loritab,” Lil Wyte rhymed in Oxy Cotton. “Valiums, morphine, patches, ecstasy. And it’s all up for grab.”
… [Fentanyl] is increasingly being used to cut cocaine and heroin, dramatically boosting their potency, often with fatal consequences… Fentanyl has even been used as a weapon. The U.S. military spent a decade tinkering with an aerosol version of the narcotic, trying to create an incapacitating spray. And it is believed to have been the active ingredient in the gas that Russian commandos used in 2002 to knock out Chechen terrorists who were holding 750 people in a Moscow theatre, fatally poisoning 117 hostages in the process. __ http://www.macleans.ca/society/health/fentanyl-the-king-of-all-opiates-and-a-killer-drug-crisis/
You can try to achieve a state of euphoric utopia with drugs, but you are certain to crash, and end up “chasing the dragon” to utter futility and decline.
You can choose moderate usage at particular times, taking vacations from reality at discrete intervals, avoiding the degradation of self and the destruction of opportunity that comes to compulsive, daily users.
Or you can join the mainstream users of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and perhaps an occasional joint or other mild and generally non-addictive euphoriant, stimulant, or hallucinogen.
And then there are the “smart drug” users, who take over the counter and prescription substances to boost their abilities to learn, concentrate, and remember. The ultimate goal of such “smart drugs” is to achieve the potency of NZT, the nootropic featured in the film “Limitless,” soon to be a regular television series on the US network CBS.
But none of the smart drugs are even close to the fictional NZT, in the ability to induce brilliance and mental energy. Of those available now, Adderall can provide a boost of mental energy and mood elevation, but at the cost of a letdown when usage is stopped. Modafinil can boost mental energy, focus, and perhaps memory, but not brilliance or genius.
“Modafinil is an FDA-approved eugeroic that directly increases cortical catecholamine levels, indirectly upregulates cerebral serotonin, glutamate, orexin and histamine levels, and indirectly decreases cerebral gamma-amino-butrytic acid levels.” The paper’s researchers, from Harvard and Oxford universities, reviewed 24 studies about modafinil’s effect on users published over 24 years.
The trend of “off-label” use of the drug is likely to accelerate, seeing as the researchers found that the side effects are about the same as drinking coffee, though there can be significant negative consequences if it’s taken in large doses.
A number of smart drugs are “in the pipeline,” but they will need to demonstrate safety and efficacy for well defined pathologic states, before the US FDA would consider approving any of them.
A cholinesterase inhibitor, donepezil, which has shown modest benefits in cognition and behavior in the case of Alzheimer’s disease , was also seen to enhance the retention performance of healthy middle-aged pilots following training in a flight simulator . Ampakines might also be helpful. They are benzamide compounds that augment alertness, sustain attention span, and assist in learning and memory where depolarizing AMPA receptors could enhance rapid excitatory transmission [16, 17]. Also helpful, could be the drug molecule MEM 1414, which activates an increase in the production of CREB (the cAMP response element-binding protein) by inhibiting the PDE-4 enzyme, which typically breaks it down. Higher CREB production is thought to be of benefit for neural enhancement because it generates other synapse-fortifying proteins [13, 18]. __ Melanie Swan
Pharmaceuticals are probably not the best pathway to achieve brilliance, but it is likely that some of the classes of drugs in development may well help some people to climb higher up the occupational and financial ladders than they would have climbed otherwise. Just ask the tens of thousands of university students and Google employees who are taking stimulants to get ahead.
Seriously, drugs or nutritional supplements may help you relax, sleep, focus, remember, forget, perform better in bed, in the exam room, or on the concert stage . . . but they will not make you a genius. Even stratospheric IQ levels cannot make a person a genius. Something more is required:
Exceptional intelligence alone yields useful but unoriginal and unsurprising ideas. Marilyn vos Savant made it into the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s highest recorded IQ, and yet has not managed to find a cure for cancer or even build a better mousetrap…
… The most important process underlying strokes of creative genius is cognitive disinhibition—the tendency to pay attention to things that normally should be ignored or filtered out by attention because they appear irrelevant. __ Genius and Disinhibition
Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder tend to accomplish more when cycling through the “disinhibited” manic phase. But would their work have the same depth if they had not suffered through the depressive phase? Difficult to say.
Another mental state of disinhibition is seen in some forms of schizophrenia. John Forbes Nash attributed many of his best ideas to inspirations that came along with his schizophrenic delusional states. Talking to space aliens, or inventing a fertile new field of mathematics? Nash may have answered: “What’s the difference?”
Milder forms of disinhibition may occur in less disabling forms of mental illness — certain personality disorders or some forms of neuroses.
Newton was, by many accounts, highly neurotic. Brilliant, but neurotic nonetheless. He was prone to depressive jags, mistrust, and angry outbursts.
Unfortunately, his genius might have been rooted in his maladjustments. His mental state led him to brood over past mistakes, and eventually, a breakthrough would dawn. “I keep the subject constantly before me,” he once said, “and wait till the first dawnings open slowly, by little and little, into a full and clear light.”
… Neurotic people don’t fear the earth will be invaded by aliens tomorrow. They think their wife will cheat on them on a business trip, even if she’s the most loyal and loving woman in the world.
Strangely, these melancholy thoughts also have an upside: They help in planning, delaying gratification, and, some studies show, with creativity. The more you keep your life’s big problems “constantly before you,” as Newton did, the likelier it is you’ll resolve them.
__ The Neurotic Mind
Most neurotics and psychotics are merely troubled individuals, in need of help and understanding. Only those with high intelligence are likely to be able to use their intermittent disinhibition to create new ideas and technologies. Likewise, some geniuses can appear relatively normal on the surface. But they only have so much time to accomplish the things they can dream. Try not to waste too much of their time.
Smart drugs or electromagnetic brain stimulators may stretch ordinary brains past their normal limits of endurance or accomplishment, to a higher level. They may help us to temporarily transcend distractions and stray thoughts that may have otherwise derailed our focus. That is better than nothing, as long as we watch out for the downside of the experience.
The genuine path to the human superbrain will consist of a combination of interventions, the precise nature of which will depend upon the age of the subject. Human consciousness and subconsciousness is an incredible medley of electro-magnetic-chemical activity, precisely timed — and highly dependent upon the proper function and feedback of all of the systems of the body.
There will be no “one size fits all” approach to the shaping of superintelligent humans with heightened creative tendencies. If you consider all the different types of creative activity that are possible, you will understand why even extremely intelligent generalists might specialise when it comes to masterful creativity.
Normal persons of ordinary high intelligence will help to pave the way for the next level of humans, since there are many breakthroughs yet to be made. If the job is done well enough, they may even be taken along for the ride.
Particular phosphodiesterase receptor inhibitors are in the “smart drug” pipeline. Genetically altering the gene expression also works, for mice.