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Triskele

White-Luck Warrior IV

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Sometimes I wonder at synchronicities, though I certainly don't endorse describing them. They are happy anomalies to me that we can define any way we choose really.

I happen to think modern day human civilization, the world over, as one of the most base, ignorant examples of humankind from our entire history so the above are bad to me. So, obviously, this is perspective dependent. Especially, because it all serves to render us slaves to fiction, these debilitating myths we tell ourselves, raise our generations on. And Neuroscience, if it serves only the existing institutions and organizations, will make escape from our current cultural and societal configuration near impossible. Not to mention all the dark and bright extremes which will pock the entire escapade as we learn to understand ourselves and the world around us in this revolutionary manner.

I was nineteen when I read The Mind & The Brain, a short two years after I'd read the Darkness Which Comes Before and it simply blew my mind. In it, Jeffrey Schwartz outlines how his research, using talking therapies to rehabilitate those with severe OCD, led to some of the most dramatic proofs that Neuroscience has used in the last decade to build its expansive revitalization upon. Though make no mistake, we're still catching up to pioneers a hundred years dead and some of the most amazing examples of research into plasticity occurred before and up to the seventies. But Schwartz is largely responsible for the extensive and exciting research happening this day...

Plus, I'm of the opinion that there is almost always some sort of practice, conceptual and abstract, immediate and physical, to facilitate the chemical or electrical change we want. However, obviously, the "consumer" class is interested only in results, here and now. The idea and fact of personal responsibility is about as lost as can be on the average human; pills and surgery over actual effort.

Changes in your perspective create real concrete changes in your brain. We've not even begun to explore the extent of what might be "optimal" human functioning.

I like that you've read Pinchbeck. I'm not sure I condone his frame but he's a talented thinker and has some brilliant ideas. The Evolver Spores are one of the most ingenious ways to facilitate a global community and an invaluable way of disseminating information, quickly and efficiently, in the real world.

If you, sciborg, or anyone is ever interested I've posted some blogs on Evolver in the past, that people are more than welcome to check out. I post there as Madness as well. I try and keep my online avatar as continuous and consistent as possible.

Love the discussion and even more so that I can incorporate some of my interpretations of Bakker's schtick into it. Thanks. I'd like to continue this as long as it goes on but I'm sure this could become it's own thread if boarders would rather.

Curious about these synchronicities you mention - I am big fan of those happy coincidences, though like you I don't pretend to know what they mean.

I feel like I may still be sidestepping past what you are saying, let me know if I am:

I guess I'm just more optimistic, I see a lot of bad and a lot of good coming out of these developments. I also don't think the culture we have is horrible, especially looking back even a hundred years or so. I get frustrated watching the news, same as anyone probably, but maybe having so many friends in non-profit work makes me feel like there's a lot of positive forces out there.

Can people reprogram their brains to the point of dealing with the results of abuse, or negating chemical imbalances leading to depression? Maybe. But is there some moral imperative against taking drugs? I don't drink alcohol, but load up on sweets and coffee and hot dogs. Just seems like personal preference, and psychiatric drugs are the same as heart drugs to me.

I think science that helps people live free of mental illness is good stuff, and for worse some people need medicine to function in this world. I do think the stigma attached to mental illness is a huge stumbling block to our progess as a society. Be funny if Bakker wrote another fantasy where Dunyain are friendly wandering-therapist types.

I'll definitely check the Evolver. Honestly my one Pinchbeck, Breaking Open the Head hasn't been read all the way through, but that is just how I read - tons of books simultaneously in pieces. Bakker's fantasy is in in recent memory the only stuff I read all the way through in a week.

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Lol, I'm not sure I maintained a pertinent theme so nothing to sidestep, sciborg. I simply felt able to string answers to two comments, yours and Curethans, together into the semblance of a coherent response.

It all depends on exposure, the natural ebb and flow of some real complex social and cultural mechanisms. I'm glad that you maintain an optimistic perspective and have the luxury of concerned and outgoing individuals as examples in your own life. And the perspective that I'm offering is nothing but riddled with controversy and divergent possibilities, like many evolving scientific disciplines.

I feel very much like we're living in a society and culture with limited capacity for diverse perspectives. This is my issue. We're looking for a specific frame when educating, at least in the Western Empire.

Again, something like Neurocosmetic surgery is a good place to start being horrified. I know plenty of people who feel lost and alone in life and seek to and do remedy their experiences with any number of extras. Well, there are already scientists who think this is just a fantastic idea, to make someone more confident, less angry - whatever woes of soul they feel burdened with - along with the corresponding change in physical brain structure. Combined with the tendencies of psychologists, and certainly economies, to convey that certain types of persons are more or less socially acceptable than others, and we have now a way of developing some interesting tools towards what should be, but for some odd reason don't seem to be, detrimentally controversial ends.

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I feel very much like we're living in a society and culture with limited capacity for diverse perspectives. This is my issue. We're looking for a specific frame when educate, at least in the Western Empire.
That might be reasonable, but I simply disagree. Especially compared to where we have been before. Heck, the most successful countries out there right now are the ones that actively crush diversity - and not by societal mores ,but with an iron fist.

Put it another way: the most popular consumer culture right now for everyone is something like Disney. Disney has the most ethnically and religously diverse set of programming out there. They do promote one generic 'buy more stuff' culture in the US - but that's about where the stratification ends. If anything the diversity and recognizing that diversity is valuable is slowing us down, because we don't have one obvious solution to everything, one course to sail on.

Also, yes - the standard will certainly be at first to help those people who want to feel normal feel more normal. And if you're against that, you are quite frankly a monstrous human being with no shred of empathy. You would deny people who have felt pain as outcasts of society and want to fit in because they should just deal with being different? Fuck that noise. When people start forcing that, that's when I'll cry out - but when people actively seek to change, there's a solution for that change, and you say 'no, it's okay to be different' - you are denying them that choice. You're telling the folks without good eyesight that maybe they can see things in a neat way and they don't need LASIK or even glasses. Sorry Bob, but you could get through your cancer and it could be a real life changer for you, so we'll just suck it up and deal.

Complete luddite rubbish.

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I agree with you on the stigma attached to mental illness - it has become, in many cases, one more thing for advertisers to get you to buy even as there are people who need it and benefit from treatments immensely.

No easy answers I guess. Making this relevant to Bakker, I think this is why I like Akka as a character - he genuinely seems to always try and be better (at least in the first trilogy), even with all his many flaws & failures he seems to instinctually realize the issues we're discussing about his own culture. He recognizes many of the same things Kellhus does, which is interesting that even Akka thinks of him as divine. Akka humanizes Kellhus's ideas of humanity, it seems to be the spark of compassion in him.

Even in the second trilogy, he is definitely The Kid as the Slog apes the desert trek in Blood Meridian -> "He is, she realizes, the first man to make her feel safe."

Definitely check out some of the work Neil Goldsmith is doing -http://www.nealgoldsmith.com/ - he has an interesting perspective on mental health and well being. If you are anywhere near NYC, definitely attend the Poetry Science talks he helps run.

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Kalbear, you seem very familiar to me.

Frankly, I don't believe you even bothered to scroll down the previous page of the thread to gauge any sort of context my comment may have had. Offering you some then, I was musing on the historical examples of declared insanity when the individual in question was only a threat to the social or cultural status quo rather than being actually ill. There's quite a percentage of these instances in our own world I'm sure. How many people are declared insane for reasons completely ulterior to being mentally deficient - whatever arbitrary distinction that is in the first place. I was wondering what institutions, who make these types of decisions for national security, or even simply social security, would make of tools designed specifically to manipulate the brain. There are projects in the works that exemplify these memes, in a not at all subtle or devious fashion, like neurotoxin grenades which could cause "temporary" amnesia or render those afflicted immediately compliant to instruction from their enemies.

I'll say it again. The world is about to be faced with nightmare and horror like never before. It is possibly uncontainable. Enlightenment was a crafty challenge and we're about to side step that trial in order to unlock all of the potential of our minds at once by our technology. Wars only imagined in philosophy may come to pass, steeped in terrifying physicality. Maybe I'll write a short story about it one day.

We're getting bogged down in personal ideology.

If anything the diversity and recognizing that diversity is valuable is slowing us down, because we don't have one obvious solution to everything, one course to sail on.

Complexity and ambiguity are simply the way of the world. Though, you frame this from a perspective with seemingly no contextual understanding. I'm writing about the infinite possible neural configurations, which are responsible for your experience, your entire aware self-hood, and everyone elses. You're writing like I'm making a distinction between Mexican and American.

Also, yes - the standard will certainly be at first to help those people who want to feel normal feel more normal. And if you're against that, you are quite frankly a monstrous human being with no shred of empathy.

I was referring to again the arbitrary distinction of normalcy. You and sciborg both interpreted my words to imply that I had something against mental illness. I do not. It is one anomaly after another. I want to help people become healthier in mind and I'm sure much of the research I do will accomplish this. I made the commentary earlier that so far, the majority of neuroscientific discovery has been reactive, simply responding to things wrong with the brain. I want to go further and to expand on our natural experience, to better understand and utilize our sensory awareness. But I digress. You know nothing about me and certainly should not make such a statement about me without more fully understanding me and what my argument actually might be rather than what you want to interpret and pounce on momentarily.

You would deny people who have felt pain as outcasts of society and want to fit in because they should just deal with being different? Fuck that noise. When people start forcing that, that's when I'll cry out - but when people actively seek to change, there's a solution for that change, and you say 'no, it's okay to be different' - you are denying them that choice. You're telling the folks without good eyesight that maybe they can see things in a neat way and they don't need LASIK or even glasses. Sorry Bob, but you could get through your cancer and it could be a real life changer for you, so we'll just suck it up and deal.

Again, I'm saying nothing of the sort. I'm sure people can be and are helped immensely by pharmaceuticals and brain surgeries and will continue to be so helped by advances in nanotechnology and neuroscience. However, on topic, I do have an issue when talking therapies or physical practices might have helped persons avoid pitfalls on their journey to recovery, pitfalls that are only and completely due to the negative side effects of an industry pushing incomplete versions of solutions on the human species worldwide. Perhaps you'll deny it but there are several instances of pharmaceutical corporations, unloading their faulty medication on second and third world countries because even the American FDA wouldn't allow too low a quality within North America.

The theme in the paragraph of my last post - which might have been more apparent - was about people who might serve as consumers for an industry that would exploit Neuroscience for cosmetic, not therapeutic reasons, which constitutes a lot of mislead human beings, not those with actual mental illnesses. We're going to soon become a society that recognizes and accepts neurocosmetic surgery like we do simple physical cosmetic surgery. Instead of carving up our bodies to look like we'd rather be, we're going to, as a species, carve and slice the last remaining possible resting place of the human soul, into who we think we'd rather be without first understanding the brain, in its natural state, simply to be more like the society Disney, Hollywood, government, or corporation imagines we should be. That's a rather stunted and ignorant view.

Your turn.

Thanks for the link, sciborg.

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I was wondering what institutions, who make these types of decisions for national security, or even simply social security, would make of tools designed specifically to manipulate the brain.
And yet how is this different than what happens now? Is it more or less monstrous to kill these people outright, or torture them, or lobotomize them? I presume you're thinking that they'd just start doing these things - but the fact is that they already have been, and doing significantly worse.

So now you're just arguing that because something could be used for harm it should be avoided or feared. Which is similar to saying that because a crutch can be used to beat people to death, you should not allow them at all.

However, on topic, I do have an issue when talking therapies or physical practices might have helped persons avoid pitfalls on their journey to recovery, pitfalls that are only and completely due to the negative side effects of an industry pushing incomplete versions of solutions on the human species worldwide. Perhaps you'll deny it but there are several instances of pharmaceutical corporations, unloading their faulty medication on second and third world countries because even the American FDA wouldn't allow too low a quality within North America.
No, I'd not deny that. It's also been the case since forever. You seem so horrified of this when it's not anything special or new. Point of fact, it's been significantly better in recent times due to people's ability to get knowledge and expose issues outside of regular channels.

Ultimately everything we create we can abuse. So what? Are the ramifications of the abuse so much worse than the wonders they can cause?

Is the notion that you will be forced to convert to some neuroscience so much worse than the notion that the same kind of government that would do this would probably just kill you instead?

which might have been more apparent - was about people who might serve as consumers for an industry that would exploit Neuroscience for cosmetic, not therapeutic reasons, which constitutes a lot of mislead human beings, not those with actual mental illnesses.
And I think that's almost entirely fine.

Think of a world where you can literally rewire your brain so that you can understand what it's like to think like someone else. Where you and your wife can think like each other as part of couple's therapy. Where you can negotiate with someone based on their actual brain makeup and understand what they want and how to achieve it. Heck, think of a world where you can sample cultures the way you sample cultural cuisine, and all the amazing things that can come with that. Or think of a world where you can take 'drugs' that are nothing more than completely temporary experiences that are controlled and crafted by other people and are totally nontoxic and at best only psychologically addictive.

Humans have wanted to rewire their brains in countless ways since they figured out how to spin. Humans spend almost as much time trying to rewire their brains as they do fucking or eating. This is the kind of science that would do things like obliterate recreational drugs. Why would you bother doing drugs when you can simulate the effects that you want? Want to have the social lubrication and confidence that alcohol brings without the lack of motor skills? Want to have the giddiness and mild hallucinations of THC? How about having a great trip on LSD but with zero chance of a bad time? All of those things are possible, and all of those things could be even healthy.

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Want to have the social lubrication and confidence that alcohol brings without the lack of motor skills? Want to have the giddiness and mild hallucinations of THC? How about having a great trip on LSD but with zero chance of a bad time? All of those things are possible, and all of those things could be even healthy.

Feel compelled to point out therapy using LSD had a lot of positive results. I realize this sounds kind of New Agey, but I do think that drugs such as LSD, mushrooms, ibogaine, can have incredible therapeutic benefits. A recent study giving shrooms to terminally ill cancer patients found the drug helped these people feel better about their approaching deaths.

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And pot has tons of psychological and physical medicinal qualities.

Really, just like the argumentative reasoning thing - humans (and most mammals) are wired to want to get fucked up in various ways. It is healthy, at least in some moderation. It's been a consistent cultural schtick across every culture we've ever seen - and we even see it in mammals when given the chance too.

I just don't have a problem with people doing it very deliberately and targeted.

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And yet how is this different than what happens now? Is it more or less monstrous to kill these people outright, or torture them, or lobotomize them? I presume you're thinking that they'd just start doing these things - but the fact is that they already have been, and doing significantly worse.

I’m not so naïve, Kalbear. It’s as monstrous. However, they couldn’t lobotomize us all before if they wished. We’d speak out of injustices.

If we let this come to pass smoothly and in support of existing institutions, we’ll never be able to escape that nightmare.

So now you're just arguing that because something could be used for harm it should be avoided or feared. Which is similar to saying that because a crutch can be used to beat people to death, you should not allow them at all.

Simply that we don’t have the maturity yet to use a neuroscientific crutch.

No, I'd not deny that. It's also been the case since forever. You seem so horrified of this when it's not anything special or new. Point of fact, it's been significantly better in recent times due to people's ability to get knowledge and expose issues outside of regular channels.

I could argue that the very frame of your argument might be moot point in this discussion. The agency of outcry you speak of might be lost to you. The government puts prozac, among other things, in the water supply of certain cities in America.

However, Kalbear, I’m horrified anew every time. That you can make a statement that something shouldn’t be horrific simply because it’s not new is horrific. And should shake all of our complacent global society to its pith.

Ultimately everything we create we can abuse. So what? Are the ramifications of the abuse so much worse than the wonders they can cause?

In this case, I would say yes.

Is the notion that you will be forced to convert to some neuroscience so much worse than the notion that the same kind of government that would do this would probably just kill you instead?

Death is natural. Neuroscience and its utility are not.

And I think that's almost entirely fine.

Think of a world where you can literally rewire your brain so that you can understand what it's like to think like someone else. Where you and your wife can think like each other as part of couple's therapy. Where you can negotiate with someone based on their actual brain makeup and understand what they want and how to achieve it. Heck, think of a world where you can sample cultures the way you sample cultural cuisine, and all the amazing things that can come with that. Or think of a world where you can take 'drugs' that are nothing more than completely temporary experiences that are controlled and crafted by other people and are totally nontoxic and at best only psychologically addictive.

Humans have wanted to rewire their brains in countless ways since they figured out how to spin. Humans spend almost as much time trying to rewire their brains as they do fucking or eating. This is the kind of science that would do things like obliterate recreational drugs. Why would you bother doing drugs when you can simulate the effects that you want? Want to have the social lubrication and confidence that alcohol brings without the lack of motor skills? Want to have the giddiness and mild hallucinations of THC? How about having a great trip on LSD but with zero chance of a bad time? All of those things are possible, and all of those things could be even healthy.

My emphasis. Things I noted.

My problem is that this all sounds like a convenient way to not deal with our natural human experience - as arbitrarily as that is defined. We built an entire civilization around convenience and have an extremely low per capita happiness to show for it.

Your argument seems to suggest that rather than acknowledge this and consider that more technology and economic progress is not the answer, we should simply press forward and forever destroy our original selves, Homo sapiens, in favor of… well, creatures like the Chiropractor in Neuropath will only be the beginning.

I’d personally like to understand the complex biological entity I am before simply changing into “who I want to be because I want to be it.”

An 18-year, even 16-year old, can legally or illegally get breast implants or add inches to their dick. I really, really don’t want to live in a society where a such ignorance can affect and determine the minds of those around me.

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Madness, what do you think people will do with this designer personality concept? Right now we have ways to treat people's damaged/deformed brains, help their attention spans, their anxiety, their depression.

I feel like I am missing something about the dangers.

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I could argue that the very frame of your argument might be moot point in this discussion. The agency of outcry you speak of might be lost to you. The government puts prozac, among other things, in the water supply of certain cities in America.

However, Kalbear, I’m horrified anew every time. That you can make a statement that something shouldn’t be horrific simply because it’s not new is horrific. And should shake all of our complacent global society to its pith.

No, I just don't understand the faux outrage and fear at this specific issue. Why would you care about neuroscience but not freak out about guns or knives or chloroform? Governments don't lack for ways to hurt people or cause them to be on their side. Is your problem with this concept that it could be easier? Or impossible to detect?

Also, the whole prozac in the water supply thing? It's because it's not possible to filter it outside of our waste, and it gets back into the water supply via waste treatment. It's in such small dosages that you might as well be talking about homeopathy.

Death is natural. Neuroscience and its utility are not.
Gotcha. So as long as you're dying a horrifically painful death naturally then it's fine. Torture is okay, as long as they don't use any of those newfangled mechanisms and stick to bamboo shoots and removal of various body parts!

Please. You're saying that it's better to actually kill a human being than to alter their brain. Putting aside the completely wrong notion that it is unnatural to alter a person's brain (you spent a ton of time arguing all the ways in which we already do so, after all), you're also saying it's better to kill a person than change their mind.

And then you rail against the society that is not diverse because no one hears another person's opinions? What's the phrase Bakker would use here? "Such is their conceit!"

My problem is that this all sounds like a convenient way to not deal with our natural human experience - as arbitrarily as that is defined. We built an entire civilization around convenience and have an extremely low per capita happiness to show for it.
Compared to what?

It's not a convenient way to deal with our natural experiences. It's recognizing that humans will always, always try to figure out ways to get into altered states. Always! That's what we do. Whether it be drugs, booze, sex, spinning around until we pass out or banging heads into walls - humans will do this. It's part of who we are.

Now, you can state that it's unhealthy and not part of the human condition but that's flat out wrong. You can state that it's not good for society and in some cases you'd be right. But to disallow it because it's not the kind of altering that you favor? That it's artifice? Come on.

Your argument seems to suggest that rather than acknowledge this and consider that more technology and economic progress is not the answer, we should simply press forward and forever destroy our original selves, Homo sapiens, in favor of… well, creatures like the Chiropractor in Neuropath will only be the beginning.
Technology and economic progress have given us double our lifespans, eradicated birth defects and childhood diseases, allowed us to communicate with people across the world in a blink of an eye and given more people more insight into themselves and to the world around them than anything before. We've already destroyed our original selves, ten times over. We're nothing like what we were 10,000 years ago and very little like what we were 100 years ago.

I hope things like the chiropractor is only the beginning. I figure there will be early adopters and weird cases where we do fuck up. That isn't a reason to not do it ever again. By the time people can do neurocosmetology it'll be so well understood that the cases where you get serial murders will be about as common as the guy who ate 90 twinkies and went on a rampage.

If anything, I fear a society that has this technology but only Top Men have access to it vs a society that has it at every 7-11.

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sciborg: Feel compelled to point out therapy using LSD had a lot of positive results. I realize this sounds kind of New Agey, but I do think that drugs such as LSD, mushrooms, ibogaine, can have incredible therapeutic benefits. A recent study giving shrooms to terminally ill cancer patients found the drug helped these people feel better about their approaching deaths.

Kalbear:And pot has tons of psychological and physical medicinal qualities.

These aren’t good comparisons to neurotransmitters that humans can and will develop, though these drugs all enact their changes on the human psyche through different neurotransmitters. I don’t have an issue with these drugs, minus the LSD, because they are natural phenomenon and have evolved alongside us, in some cases, symbiotically with us.

Madness, what do you think people will do with this designer personality concept? Right now we have ways to treat people's damaged/deformed brains, help their attention spans, their anxiety, their depression.

I feel like I am missing something about the dangers.

An easy one to imagine is another military application but I’ll use the established neurocosmetic argument. We’re developing invasive surgeries, stimulus/inhibition technologies, which would allow us to remove a sense of morality from a soldier in field combat. Completely reversibly possibly. However, I’m a street thug who simply wants the same abilities but so I can better collect drug debt for my dealers – and will be able to do so on the black market soon.

I like to consider myself a bit of a philosopher. If that doesn’t capture your imagination with implication though I can think of darker examples.

Everything we find stable and wholesome about our day-to-day conceptions of natural experience is about to come up, chopped and skewed, on the cutting board.

No, I just don't understand the faux outrage and fear at this specific issue. Why would you care about neuroscience but not freak out about guns or knives or chloroform? Governments don't lack for ways to hurt people or cause them to be on their side. Is your problem with this concept that it could be easier? Or impossible to detect?

The impossibility to detect is an unnerving idea though I think that purposeful neuroscientific change will leave traces we can and cannot imagine. I try very hard not to fear pain or death, Kalbear, because there are, what I think are, better responses to these universalities. I fear human ignorance and what it will do with new and catastrophic technologies and revelations.

Also, the whole prozac in the water supply thing? It's because it's not possible to filter it outside of our waste, and it gets back into the water supply via waste treatment. It's in such small dosages that you might as well be talking about homeopathy.

I’m inclined to think that you’re getting off topic. However, this is what you’ve chosen to believe. Why consider that governance organizations would purposefully do such things because governments do conduct experiments on their citizenry? Why consider my viewpoint at all, right?

Gotcha. So as long as you're dying a horrifically painful death naturally then it's fine. Torture is okay, as long as they don't use any of those newfangled mechanisms and stick to bamboo shoots and removal of various body parts!

Please. You're saying that it's better to actually kill a human being than to alter their brain. Putting aside the completely wrong notion that it is unnatural to alter a person's brain (you spent a ton of time arguing all the ways in which we already do so, after all), you're also saying it's better to kill a person than change their mind.

I’m not sure I’d enjoy the experience Tom had at the end of Neuropath against my will, Kalbear. I might prefer death.

I do think it is more… honest to simply kill a human rather than rewire one invasively – again outside of strictly therapeutic application, which is itself subject to all that wonderful gray area of the human moral compass.

I have spent my time trying to argue that I think invasive technological or chemical neurosurgery is wrong and extremely ill-advised in all but the most extreme situations. You can interpret what you will. You and I have both highlighted the many fashions in which we have naturally rewired our brains and I’ve argued that it happens all the time, that the brain is uniquely, and constantly, plastic.

Perhaps, I’m clinging to another outdated paradigm but I prefer work, practice, and personal responsibility in order to change myself rather than the option of changing myself immediately with invasive technology or chemicals. I’ll struggle through my emotional issues with meditation and reflection rather than zapping myself more confident, assured, and immune to such base emotional worries – insert the ambiguous internet sarcasm here.

And then you rail against the society that is not diverse because no one hears another person's opinions? What's the phrase Bakker would use here? "Such is their conceit!"

Lol, why wield Bakker like such a brute instrument of attack? I don’t share your perspective and you say “how the poor soul must be deluded.” I’m actually trying to consider your viewpoint. You are shoving little pieces and shards of “Kalbears” worldview down my throat.

Compared to what?

It's not a convenient way to deal with our natural experiences. It's recognizing that humans will always, always try to figure out ways to get into altered states. Always! That's what we do. Whether it be drugs, booze, sex, spinning around until we pass out or banging heads into walls - humans will do this. It's part of who we are.

Now, you can state that it's unhealthy and not part of the human condition but that's flat out wrong. You can state that it's not good for society and in some cases you'd be right. But to disallow it because it's not the kind of altering that you favor? That it's artifice? Come on.

Again, Kalbear, you’re condoning things I assume you can’t imagine. Drugs are a social controversy. So will be designer neurodrugs.

I’m simply trying to suggest that we understand our naturally evolved human brain before we exercise unimaginable human hubris and conceit and rewrite our very selves. Can you accept that? Because we lose this last chance before someone like you or I gets to decide how human beings should be. Which is insanity.

Technology and economic progress have given us double our lifespans, eradicated birth defects and childhood diseases, allowed us to communicate with people across the world in a blink of an eye and given more people more insight into themselves and to the world around them than anything before. We've already destroyed our original selves, ten times over. We're nothing like what we were 10,000 years ago and very little like what we were 100 years ago.

Touche. Yet not yet as drastically as we will with neuroscientific application.

I hope things like the chiropractor is only the beginning. I figure there will be early adopters and weird cases where we do fuck up. That isn't a reason to not do it ever again. By the time people can do neurocosmetology it'll be so well understood that the cases where you get serial murders will be about as common as the guy who ate 90 twinkies and went on a rampage.

If anything, I fear a society that has this technology but only Top Men have access to it vs a society that has it at every 7-11.

I think that you should reconsider that perspective. That you hope for these things disgusts me a little.

However, your last sentence here is well versed. And I can only assume that will, economically, come to pass. Just as there already exists an economic and educational class division. Just like I can’t afford cosmetic surgery or a better education and am, without my personal drive, left languishing in the lowest cadre of an intellectual class division.

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My problem is that this all sounds like a convenient way to not deal with our natural human experience - as arbitrarily as that is defined. We built an entire civilization around convenience and have an extremely low per capita happiness to show for it.

That is an arbitrary definition, and I have no respect for it. Same goes for "per capita happiness" - I challenge you to provide a realistic measure of happiness before the modern era. As for the modern era, the Top Ten Happiest Countries in the World when polled are all Developed World Democracies with High Incomes and plenty of consumerism.

As for building a civilization around "convenience", I see nothing wrong with that. Most previous societies could only wish they had the ability to live lives so easily and comfortably - they aimed for "convenience", but had to settle too often for "survival".

Your argument seems to suggest that rather than acknowledge this and consider that more technology and economic progress is not the answer, we should simply press forward and forever destroy our original selves, Homo sapiens, in favor of… well, creatures like the Chiropractor in Neuropath will only be the beginning.

I don't see that as a problem. This type of science finally makes transhumanism possible, allowing us to truly transcend the limitations of what evolution has given us. It's about time, too, seeing as how homo sapiens sapiens evolved for a hunter-gatherer society, and we've had to constantly implement all kinds of societal and cultural "work-arounds" to deal with the issues that inevitably occur in developing something more complex.

I’d personally like to understand the complex biological entity I am before simply changing into “who I want to be because I want to be it.”

Not me, but that's my opinion.

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Lol, difficult to explain but let me try and describe the circumstance to you.

1. I would, personally, suggest that it's an exponential increase in neural connection.

2. This is based upon a fitting analogy and what I've come to call, unceremoniously, spider-webbing. Now, I'm the first to suggest that the computer metaphor was enlightening for two reasons: it is itself an enlightening analogy and it also teaches that the Mind/Brain continues to defeat analogy. But analogy suffices for some purposes.

3. The brain is not remotely rigid like the caricature of the nicely organized pieces where each part has strict bounds and limitations, though I find these areas useful in designating average organizations - this is probably because Western society and academia reliably produce a structure of similar experiential modifiers and subsequent brain functions. We breed very similar minds in an potentiality abyss - the brain - essentially as diverse and terrifying as any character Bakker might describe. Back to point, if a few of these brain geographies - modules as some academics seem to refer to them - correspondence to catching a ball, and I decide to toss and catch a ball - the more aware and conscientious I am of the this act the better (what Jeffrey Schwartz coined Directed Mental Force) - I exponentially increase the neural connections in this area, spider-webbing a set volume of brain matter. This corresponds to changes, permanent if practiced enough, in my level of skill tossing and catching.

4. This implies that the same samples, which correspond to language, would relatively correspond to the similar brain maps in any person but in polylinguist's the brain map would look exponentially more complex and sophisticated than a monolinguist's.

Thanks mate. So there would be an increase in brain density rather than encroachment.

Enjoyed the rest of the debate.

I suspect neuro-tweaking can only chart the same horrors of the human psyche that we have already seen played out in history.

We don't have the ability to make a subjective lens for reasoning machines, which suggests that we can't invent new motivations for ourselves either.

That said, I would love to read a short story based on the kind of totalitarian worst case scenarios that you outlined above; sounds like a great and original dystopia meme.

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That is an arbitrary definition, and I have no respect for it. Same goes for "per capita happiness" - I challenge you to provide a realistic measure of happiness before the modern era. As for the modern era, the Top Ten Happiest Countries in the World when polled are all Developed World Democracies with High Incomes and plenty of consumerism.

As for building a civilization around "convenience", I see nothing wrong with that. Most previous societies could only wish they had the ability to live lives so easily and comfortably - they aimed for "convenience", but had to settle too often for "survival".

I'll redefine then. A natural human experience can be the daily state of mental equilibrium that most of us experience on day-to-day average. No matter how many drugs I've done in my life, I always "came down." To what? That shared equilibrium of being - what I'm now defining as a natural human experience. Better?

I find it extremely hard to digest that we believe that modern civilization is the pinnacle of human development, the exemplar of all good things human. What pride.

Convenience distracts. You are still just surviving.

I don't see that as a problem. This type of science finally makes transhumanism possible, allowing us to truly transcend the limitations of what evolution has given us. It's about time, too, seeing as how homo sapiens sapiens evolved for a hunter-gatherer society, and we've had to constantly implement all kinds of societal and cultural "work-arounds" to deal with the issues that inevitably occur in developing something more complex.

Again, transhumanism simply seems another way not to deal. A way to literally sidestep the beautiful anarchy of human cognitive dissonance.

Evolution hasn't given us many limitations - my arguments should expose something of this concept, I hope. We just refuse to understand ourselves on life's terms and so demand the world conform to our fragile beings.

The human brain's natural capacities are about limitless. Certainly limitless enough to outdistance even the newest technological analogies, as I said in a post on the previous page.

You're a beautiful unique snowflake, Wise Bass. No offence or Fight Club cynicism attached.

Lol, brain density. Brilliant, Curethan, you could have saved me a thousand words. However, that density correlates to exponentially increased deftness and grace utilizing your language skills.

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Lol, brain density. Brilliant, Curethan, you could have saved me a thousand words. However, that density correlates to exponentially increased deftness and grace utilizing your language skills.

Although I'm a monolinguist, I often feel quite dense. ;)

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I'll redefine then. A natural human experience can be the daily state of mental equilibrium that most of us experience on day-to-day average. No matter how many drugs I've done in my life, I always "came down." To what? That shared equilibrium of being - what I'm now defining as a natural human experience. Better?

If you define the absence of drugs as the "natural human experience".

I find it extremely hard to digest that we believe that modern civilization is the pinnacle of human development, the exemplar of all good things human. What pride.

It is much better than previous civilizations. Much more just, much less violent on the individual, far more prosperous, far more free (from disease and tyranny in much of the world), far more access to knowledge, far more literate.

Convenience distracts. You are still just surviving.

I can satisfy my need for shelter, sustenance, and company on a fraction of my income and time, allowing me considerable leisure and time to use as I choose. That's more than surviving.

Again, transhumanism simply seems another way not to deal. A way to literally sidestep the beautiful anarchy of human cognitive dissonance.

I don't consider it "beautiful". It's just another artifact of evolution, one that we can and should change as we choose when the opportunity arises.

Evolution hasn't given us many limitations - my arguments should expose something of this concept, I hope. We just refuse to understand ourselves on life's terms and so demand the world conform to our fragile beings.

Evolution has given us countless limitations. Our bodies start to fall prey to internal failings and other issues the older we get, and particularly after our reproductive prime. Our minds are defined by all manner of cognitive issues and limitations, particularly a tendency to see "false positives" in pattern recognition. Our "natural" social mechanisms for social order and cohesion start to fall to pieces in groups larger than 150-200.

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If you define the absence of drugs as the "natural human experience".

I would ask that you offer a definition then, Wise Bass. It was not my intent nor even a statement I might advocate - natural human experience is not simply the absence of drugs. An attempt at an analogy. However, we share some kind of equilibrium, least society would cease to function?

It is much better than previous civilizations. Much more just, much less violent on the individual, far more prosperous, far more free (from disease and tyranny in much of the world), far more access to knowledge, far more literate.

All the more indicative of where you place your experiential premiums, what you find important and obvious. But I suggest you peruse some more history. Our human repertoire is replete with examples of the cultural and social high roads - historical examples of evolution that we took so, so long to repeat in our current conceptual organizations.

We're pretty comfy near the heart of the Western Empire. Compared to how many humans there are, we're already a social minority in our ability to simply utilize the internet. We're also the most deluded as to how bad things really are.

I always wondered what it'd be like opposing the American Regime in the Middle-East. Probably indistinguishable from fighting early versions of Skynet.

I can satisfy my need for shelter, sustenance, and company on a fraction of my income and time, allowing me considerable leisure and time to use as I choose. That's more than surviving.

Do you wonder what we sacrifice for these "freedoms?"

I don't consider it "beautiful". It's just another artifact of evolution, one that we can and should change as we choose when the opportunity arises.

Can and should? I certainly don't have the ability or desire, let alone the conceit, to make those choices. From where did you inherit this perspectival lens?

Evolution has given us countless limitations. Our bodies start to fall prey to internal failings and other issues the older we get, and particularly after our reproductive prime. Our minds are defined by all manner of cognitive issues and limitations, particularly a tendency to see "false positives" in pattern recognition. Our "natural" social mechanisms for social order and cohesion start to fall to pieces in groups larger than 150-200.

We might command the capacity to harness the ability to heal ourselves. We seem to be able to change, with willpower alone, our physical brain structure and thus the tendencies towards particular pattern recognition, a skill our society reinforces, by the way. That's another part of Bakker's schtick, clearly, that the academic institutions in place, to educate us on the cognitive pitfalls you reference, don't.

What is it you disagree with, Wise Bass?

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topic split?

***

The Sagas, The Dreams, The histories are all a fiction. The Heron Spear was recovered but had long since stopped working. the final Dream of TTT of Anaxophus failing to kill the No God is the true dream, not the warrior prophet dream that agrees with the Sagas. Seswatha does not know how the No God was destroyed, perhaps it was an accident, perhaps it has something to do with his fathering Nau Cayuti, with a biblical father/son sacrifice thing. But Seswatha has founded the mandate and warred against the Consult as penance for their crimes against his son. He has the mandate relive fictions to motivate them, things that are mostly true, but fictions at important points that hide the truth of his shame and failures. He makes himself into a hero rather than be seen for the much more frail human he really is.

Akka cannot see any of this. He is too conditioned by what he knows, by what agrees with him to ever recognize that some of his most cherished, unquestionable beliefs are exactly what should be questioned. So when he has a true dream of the Plains of Mengedda at the end of the series he thinks "that's not how it happened!" instead of recognizing that he is seeing the truth of what happened.

Kellhus saw it true though, when he spoke to Seswatha. And I think he lifted the blinders off Akka, because it is only after this that we see the non-traumatic seswatha dreams, The five part dream of invading Golgotteranth (odd, none of the prior dreams are broken up, from a continuous narrative). Or he put blinders on Akka, and is the source of all the wierdness, depends on how you see Kellhus.

***

I have a new theory on how Kellhus' firewatching ability works. We've heard throughout the series the metaphor "The Parchment of the World" What if it has metaphysical meaning. What if Kellhus can fix that meaning through a meta-anagnosis use of the analogy: As fire burns through parchment, so Kellhus can see through the holes in the parchment of the world that fire makes. Or something like that. It's late.

***

Moe declares Kell truly mad when Kell says "he speaks to me to. The No God" What if this is not so much a Earth understanding of madness, which we readers naturally presume, but an Earwan understanding of madness.

What if the goal was for the trial to break kellhus. The goal was for Kellhus to Go Mad.

Because if Kellhus goes mad he becomes closer to the Outside.

If he's closer to the Outside, then he can speak to the No God.

If he can speak to the No God, he can come before that Circumstance.

Moe has probably thought long and hard about various blindnesses. What the Dunyain are blind to, what he is blind to, what Cishaurim are blind to. What the Gods Are Blind To.

The Dunyain are Blind to the No God, and like the gods, if they are Blind to him, then they can do nothing.

We earth-folk. We think of madness only in negative terms. We want to DEFEND Kellhus from this impugnment, this slight, this falsehood. This monstrous deceptive lie. But what if it's a good thing in the context of the narrative needs? Why do we earth folk feel such a NEED to defend Kellhus against the claim of madness?

Nothing like some 3AM earwa thoughts. :-p

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He hears a voice and knows not it's origin. For a dunyain, to harken to this voice is madness.

Moe isn't wearing his snakes when he faces Kellhus. He summons them after Kellhus leaves though. A further intimation of blindness, perhaps?

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