Locklin on science

Psychedelics are a waste of life

Posted in fun, Locklin notebook by Scott Locklin on January 17, 2021

Psychedelic enthusiasts are an irritation of modernity. People make wild claims about these substances. These claims are mostly demonstrably horse shit. I write this in the hopes that I’ll influence some young people to at least examine their choices. I don’t think psychedelics are the worst thing in the world, but they’re definitely not a good thing. I think their use is bad for  moral character, and I think it is trivially obvious that civilization has decayed since their use became popular and widespread.

My bona fides: I’ve used the things on and off from teenage years to my mid-30s, primarily for entertainment, but I also attempted various “man optimized” tricks with them that are presently popular. I’m a scientist, at least somewhat capable of reasoning and looking objectively at myself and others. I’m allergic to bullshit; even very popular bullshit -maybe especially popular bullshit. Psychedelic enthusiasm is popular bullshit.

I’m not even going to get deep into “psychological studies” because, as we all know by now, these are almost entirely bullshit: until recently they were saying you’d grow broccoli-like tumors on your noggin if you took the things. Now that enthusiasts who enjoy the things (instead of literal CIA mind control assassins and other government weirdoes) are involved in the “research” they’re being touted by irresponsible people as the next CBD oil panacea (and yes, CBD oil ought to be considered on all fours with snake oil unless you have some otherwise untreatable epilepsy or nausea). That’s the main reason I’m writing this: the enthusiasts are almost entirely unopposed at present. Not only are the enthusiast “researchers” unopposed, but people who are personal enthusiasts are generally unopposed and have unearned social status. I confuse the shit out of these people, because I have a fairly extensive history of use, but still maintain they’re about as personally useful as sniffing glue.

I’ll rely on a few statistics from the literature, but mostly I’m just going to rely on the humble tools of experience and rudimentary common sense. I won’t address their use in alleged treatment modalities for depression or whatever other than to vaguely doubt they’re any more effective than something like benadryl (which is apparently a pretty good anti-depressant, even if it does make your brain into swiss cheese taking it long term). I’d argue that the types of improvements in outlook measured as a positive outcome of psychedelic use would be similar for any novel, extreme and unfamiliar experience; most of which are less obviously bad for you. While you have Berkeley dipshits like Michael Pollan actively shilling for this nonsense, other Berkeley lumpy-head dipshits who are vastly more intellectually honest and scientific in their reasoning are at least raising doubts. It boggles me one need to credulously rely on “studies” -you just need to look around to know the irresponsible Pollans of the world are selling snake oil.

People who use the things on a regular basis think they bring back profound insights, because the drugs make looking at a flower feel profound. Yet, the actual insights brought back by people on their “trips” tend to be the type of thing a bit of self reflection would take care of, like “I’m mean to my family sometimes, and that’s kind of shitty.” I’ve yet to hear of any sort of improvement in creativity or even a single interesting idea anyone has ever brought back from psychedelics. Amphetamines have a vastly better track record of being useful stimulants for creativity; the last half of Paul Erdos career was fueled by benzedrine as have countless musicians, engineers and writers. There are many people who claim dropping acid made them more creative. But none of the people who make this claim are observably more creative than people who didn’t drop acid, and 99.9% of them are more mush-headed and self-regarding, which does seem to be a cognitive side effect of these drugs.

The feelings of profundity are another thing that irritates me. If trippin’ balls is the most profound thing that happened in your life, you lead a sheltered life. I’d put it at best on the same level as going on a roller coaster or committing a minor crime as a law abiding citizen.  I can think of any number of life experiences which were, for me, vastly more profound than tripping balls: sex, hunting in the forest (a primal altered state; every sense razor sharp), looking at nature through a microscope or telescope, old time religion, violence,  falling asleep, travel, newborn babies, heavy deadlifts, seduction, auto accidents, looking at the night sky, fighting, learning calculus and linear algebra, prolonged lack of sleep, love, dreams, even a really nice bottle of wine is more profound than muh trippin balls.  I mean, psychedelics are different from these experiences, they’re just not that amazing. I’m pretty sure (never tried; heard stories) taking a shitload of dramamine or robotussin is actually more amazing, and probably about as good for you.

The people who use aren’t good advertisements for their habits. While I know some who are heavy users, and some large fraction of my close friends are novelty seekers who have tried or used at one point or another, and everyone’s favorite burnout living in his cool apartment over mom’s garage is Joe Rogan, there are a lot of deserved stereotypes about people who use. Generally they’re more credulous about stupid things; astrology, weird nutrition, Q-anon, alien visitations, privilege theory, Russians under their bed, lost civilizations of ancient astronauts, magic crystals, whatever. I mean, that’s actually kind of cool: in principle you can talk to such people about anything. Except, perhaps, the idea that the church of psychedelics is worshipping a false god. The stereotypical “burn out” psychedelics user (who, admittedly, also probably smokes hella weed -which, if it needs to be said here, is also obviously bad for you) has all of the symptoms of pre-frontal lobe lesions; poor emotional regulation, apathy (drop out maaaaan), poor attention span and poor ability to concentrate and solve abstract problems, bad memory, poor impulse control. I’m not saying everyone that uses such drugs has brain damage, but a lot of users who identify with use of the stuff sure act like they do. On the upside, poor impulse control people are fun, and psychedelic users who are beyond hippy couch potato tier tend to do stuff which is more adventurous than most.

I suppose it may have been toxoplasmosis; no pictures of him with cats before LSD

Ernst Junger‘s novels got worse in literary quality after he dropped acid in 1948 too. Marmorklippen (1939) might have been his peak because of the foment in his life and his advancing age, or it might have been because he started punching holes in his brain later with his scientist friends. Can’t say, but I can definitively say that his literary style and creativity absolutely didn’t improve with use. Das Abenteuerliche Herz (1937) practically was psychedelic in its intensity (years before his use of psychedelics); he never wrote anything that visionary again.  Mind you, I think Eumeswil (1977) is a work of towering genius and I like much of his other postwar work as well, but his later work is complex, ponderous and doesn’t have the rays of artistic power that the earlier stuff does. Maybe the poetry is a young man’s flowering, and the old man is more of a thorn bush: but the point I’m trying to drive home here is acid absolutely didn’t nourish the flower -we must at least consider the possibility that it may have killed it.

In the US, rate of use is somewhere around 15-25% depending on the population segment and the survey. If there were some increase in creativity or insight or artistic or  improvement in technical/scientific change or personal awareness and social intelligence, this effect would be observable by now. We do not live in a time of great creative foment; the last 60 years since their introduction to Western Civilization have been vastly less creative than the previous 60 years. Very little to no great art, a dark age in architecture despite vastly more capabilities, chaos in interpersonal relations, even technology beyond improvements in lithography (a field noteworthy for lacking in dope fiends) has basically stalled for decades. On the other hand we do live in a time of widespread paranoia, credulity, political unrest, mass hysterias, mass mental illness, social decay, and declining standards of living. Pretty much exactly what you’d expect if a significant fraction of the population turned their brains into swiss cheese; just like your grandpa told you would happen. I’m not blaming psychedelics for the mess we’re in. I’m just inviting you to notice that things are at least not observably getting better despite widespread usage, and in fact are obviously getting worse, so the idea that psychedelics do something obviously and profoundly positive must be considered false when applied as a mean field theory.

The stuff is known to cause immediate personality changes after one use. Opinions obviously differ as to whether these changes are an improvement. This stuff was popularized by CIA mind control experiments after all. Do you think the spooks wanted people to be awesome independent minded supermen, or more mush headed and controllable? Think hard! Spooks are the ones who made it popular. Pretty sure cultures without psychedelics were more awesome than those where psychedelics have strong influence. Let’s take examples from architecture:

Wine and prayer

Peyote and howling at your spirit ancestors

 

Psychedelics are still used as models of schizophrenia and inducing schizotypical thinking in people. Again, schizotypicals who act like they have pre-frontal lesions can be fun at parties, but do you want to be that guy? Would you like to risk permanent  or at least persistent (for years) visual field disturbances? What about the people who experience complete psychotic breaks? We all know people who never came back in some sense from these substances, or who had severe mental illnesses afterwords. Enthusiasts will tell you some non-falsifiable happy horse shit about how they would have experienced psychotic breaks anyway, and the drugs just made it come out sooner.  This is incredibly stupid, and only the credulity induced by psychedelic use could make one take it seriously as an argument.  Sure, very few to no people actually die from taking such things, but losing your soul and becoming a shambling, muttering lump of flesh is arguably worse.

Microdosing is just as weaksauce. I tried it before it had a name, back when I was consumed with late undergraduate work. It was a terrible mistake. When you’re working to the limit of your mental abilities, such as trying to learn physics while working a full time job as a podunk redneck of dubious educational background, you notice when things are helping or hurting. Microdosing hurt, a lot. It is a nice stimulant; strong feelings of well being, and you don’t need morning coffee. It absolutely shreds your short term memory, and makes actual reasoning vastly more difficult. I tried lots of things to get an edge; at the time ginko and gotu kola were touted, and they might have had a mild effect which helped. Microdosing LSD definitely hurt; ridiculously obviously so. I was talked into it by a guy I knew who was gonna take a year off to microdose and learn topology. Rather than becoming Perleman or Grothendeik as he no doubt intended, he of course disappeared, literally never to be heard from again. I know people believe it helps them, but it’s entirely a subjective feeling; the science is pretty clear on this: no observable improvement on any axis. The risk/benefit ratio is vastly more obvious with speed and modafinil; both drugs help in the short term, but are ultimately probably rat poison. There is no microdosing version of Paul Erdos. The probability that you, as a special and unique snowflake, will be that microdosing Paul Erdos are basically nil. Not that you should want to be Paul Erdos; he was a genius, but he seemed to have a fairly miserable life.

Psychedelic use stinks of neoliberal suburban despair. It’s a shitty chemical induced bugman religion; a primitive and subjective one that produces no art, no beauty and no ideas of consequence. People get into this sort of thing because they’re bored, unimaginative and live in a shitty society; same as muh cummies sex degenerate people, except even more inward looking and pathetic. Widespread psychedelic use has brought no beauty or order to the world; it doesn’t make people better or more compassionate, it just makes them more compliant, subject to absolutely ridiculous conspiracy theories, and resigned to their fates as semi-lobotomized neoliberal bugmen. That said, if you still want to use such things, have at it. I don’t think you should be in jail (people who sell probably should be, and Michael Pollan ought to be flung into a volcano just on principle), but I reserve the right to make fun of you for being a credulous dipshit.

ps: even though I make fun of him for being a sperdo with a noggin even lumpier than mine,  this relevant SlateStar blog is pretty useful and good:

https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/05/09/is-there-a-case-for-skepticism-of-psychedelic-therapy/

 

106 Responses

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  1. George W. said, on January 17, 2021 at 4:32 am

    Joe Rogan fawns nonstop over DMT and mushrooms. It sucks that people praise them. Psychedelics have a cult-like following, the members of which are a monolith of 60’s hippie-wannabes. These types are well known for regurgitating spiritual diarreah onto everyone they meet as if they are Jesus, ironic since they also claim “ego death”. There’s no question that their experiences are the most profound thing in the world to them, but it’s not to everyone else. Psychedelic OCD should be listed as a long term side effect, it’s well documented and observable.

    Notwithstanding (and with sincere apologies for a grossly overused cliché), it’s not black and white. As you referenced, these drugs can induce immediate personality changes. This is somewhat useful for the anxious, the depressed and people about to die in a hospital, all of who tend to be in psychologically rigid headspaces. In fact, maybe it *is* better to explore an unmarked cave, or just go backpacking for a weekend; yet, I’ve done both and found psychedelics on their own to be superior for breaking out of psychological ruts.

    Perhaps most such depressed people–not all–would fair better if they could will themselves into a healthier lifestyle. Cardio on its own goes a hell of a long way and as a bonus, it’s safe and fosters creativity 1. Still, this is not an option for people with cancer in a hospital, and it’s also not an option if people are not open to it or do not believe in themselves. The verdict is not out.

    They may not boost creativity, but they definitely change perception in ways similar to shuffling tiles in a scrabble-board game. Not much different than a couple beers or a joint, and not nearly as powerful as a full nights rest or a 15 minute walk.

    I’ve done psychedelics a handful of times now in low-moderate doses with extremely blissful and profound experiences. Oddly enough, I deplore these substances and send warnings to anyone I can. There are some people I can recommend them to, though none I’ve encountered. People should not use them haphazardly and expect everything to be fine afterwards. They’re really fucking weird and extremely fucking powerful. No plans to use them again, ever!

    Not sure they are a waste of life, but they need to be called out more for what they are: snail poison.

    1 (probably uneccessary. ) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurobiological_effects_of_physical_exercise

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 17, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      I know one of the main proposed “treatments” for the psychological “well being” of dying people is psychedelic use. I find this utterly horrifying. It’s an implicit admission that these things are mind-control drugs for making you passive and accepting of your fate. It may also remove people’s fighting spirit which could prolong their lives. I mean, we all have to go sometime, but if someone comes near me on my sickbed with the funny mushrooms, I’ll be outraged and attempt to triangle choke them. I’m pretty sure not even amazonian barbarians shoving plugs of DMT saliva up their schnozzes would dream of doing this to dying people.

      The idea reminds me of an old hippy exploitation movie, “Wild in the Streets” where hippy fascists sent all the “olds” over 35 to LSD reeducation camps

      I used to think, as you seem to, and many others do, that these drugs are good at blowing away the cobwebs in your noggin once in a while. Then I realized that any strong experience has the same cobweb noggin cleaning effect. Go bungee jumping or mountain climbing; it’s cheaper, better and healthier.

      Rogan has some blood on his hands for sure, but realistically, even though he is evidently a very nice guy, and is easily the best male talk show host out there, anyone who takes life advice from a comedian whose career was mostly hosting people who eat worms and do stupid human tricks, or talking about choking people out, and who consumes a giant soup of drugs and believes in space aliens or whatever …. I mean, I like the guy, but he’s no role model! It’s like taking life advice from Hunter S Thompson.

  2. Cameron B. said, on January 17, 2021 at 5:23 am

    I agree there’s been an authentic increase in mental illness, but the “mass mental illness” we often see reported is heavily influenced by the broadening of the inclusion criteria in the DSM-IV. This isn’t particularly relevant to your article, but I just finished A Short History of Anxiety and figured I’d share the wealth.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 17, 2021 at 12:09 pm

      One of the things I discovered about the world under Covid is the CDC is pretty good at counting sick people. 1/5 doesn’t seem real out of line to me; if anything, an underestimate. Literally 13% of the adult population of the US is on antidepressants at any moment in time. 22% of white women! At literally any moment in time; 22% of the strong and empowered, stunning and brave pasty-face females in the US are taking those drugs.

      https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db377.htm

      And that’s just depression; people really do suffer from crippling anxiety, and I have to assume psychosis more or less tracks the number of people popping pills to get through the day.

      When I look around me at people who do pop the pills, or suffer crippling anxieties or whatever, it’s usually something very obvious; they lead extremely shitty lives. The girl who sits on miles of dick because cosmo and her dumb whore friends tell her to who becomes depressed and anxious because she actually wants to be loved rather than a sperm spittoon, the wantrepreneur who optimizes every minute of his life and suffers crippling anxiety and depression because he sucks at business and should have been an accountant, the middle aged woman who has a shitty office job because of some societal message telling her she should who would really prefer to spend more time with the kids, the married couple who require endless therapy because the stupid “self fulfillment from working on the reeeelaaaationship” thing touted in sitcoms never actually happens for them (or for anyone else). It’s all life out of balance. Societies with a sense of the tragic and contact with physical and emotional reality do not suffer from these ills, but modern Americans do: the more they buy into the Hollywood/sitcom/masters degree marketing filth, the more miserable they are. The cures are generally obvious, but most people can’t see them because they’re hypnotized by what “experts” tell them, and the behavior and predilections of their imbecile friends, so they pop the pills and continue torturing themselves.

      Despite enormous ups and downs in my fortunes, I’ve literally never been depressed in my life, and can’t imagine taking a pill to make me feel better, unless the pill contains vitamins I lack from a modern diet. I’m sure some psychedelic enthusiast would blame my past usage of their favorite chemicals, but the reality is, an awful lot of depressed/anxious/crazy people have used the same things in similar quantities. I attribute my relatively continually happy mental state to a pretty simple thing: when I feel bad, I take it as a message that I’m doing something that is wrong. I probably got this idea from the ancient Church Fathers who told me “the wages of sin are death.” Emotions are a feedback mechanism evolutionarily designed to help you pass on your genes. If you sit in front of the TV all day and feel shitty, maybe you should stop doing that and go run around chasing buffaloes like nature intended. If you’re anxiously contemplating your dwindling fortunes, maybe you should do something about it instead of popping a pill to make you feel OK about it. Live like a caveman, not a bugman; make friends, go outside, be happy. But hey, maybe all those people are right and I’m missing out on modern life by not popping a fruit salad of prozac and xanex.

      • Rickey said, on January 17, 2021 at 7:22 pm

        You are spot on about anti-depressants. About 20 years ago, my now ex convinced me I was clinically depressed so I went to a shrink and he proscribed a 25mg daily dose of Effexor. I was on it for about one year.
        I was no longer depressed but I did not feel any joy or pleasure either. It completely leveled my emotional hills and filled in the valleys. I felt like a high functioning zombie. The only benefit it may have given me is that it prevented me from re-enacting the final scene from “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” on my boss when he made a snide comment about my productivity right after my father died. Now that I think about it, having a wife at home and a boss at work that were constantly gaslighting and playing passive aggressive mind games with me, I probably had a normal reaction to the situation. Getting both of them out of my life, exercising outdoors and being active in my church was 100% better medicine than any drug.

        On a lighter note, I never had the urge to take psychedelics since I essentially take an acid trip every night. When else can you fly, breath underwater, listen to original music, sometimes solve problems, your pets talk back to you, etc. with the benefit of improving your health and immune system.

        For an additional crazy psychedelic reference, don’t forget about Dr. John Lilly who gave LSD to dolphins and had one of his female assistants engage in sex with one.

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 17, 2021 at 7:36 pm

          Yeah I had a couple of buddies explain the anti-depressants as you do. I have no doubts that it gives some people breathing room to sort out their issues. I also have no doubts a lot of the weird sadistic lack of empathy for others so common in modern America has something to do with their widespread use.

          Glad for you that you are doing better now.

          Ugh, Lilly.

        • Walt said, on January 20, 2021 at 5:51 pm

          Anti-depressants do not work better than a placebo and have numerous side-effects. Dr. David Burns has data on this in his book “Feeling Good” and on his website.

          Licking toads and popping mushrooms are obviously bad ideas. Toads and mushrooms the poisonous nukes of the animal and vegetable kingdoms respectively.

          SPeaking of microdosing, Scott, did you hear of this story? It seems like microdosing eventually becomes macrodosing. Get a STEM degree, come to ‘Merica, work on social control algorithms, and eventually get plugged by the cops on an LSD-fueled rampage. Only in ‘merica! I am working long hours studying in technology!

          • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 7:11 pm

            I hadn’t seen that, thanks for pointing it out.

          • Robert said, on February 22, 2021 at 8:14 am

            I’m confused, why don’t you have any doubts that the widespread use of antidepressants contributes to sadism and what you perceive a (correct me if I’m wrong,) social narcissism? Also I have microdosed for seven years and only have become more effective at work, managing my emotions, empathy for others, awareness of other people’s wants and needs, etc. Since that time I’ve founded several companies, something I never even considered or conceived of before microdosing because of my severe anxiety and depression that lasted late into my 20s. I grew from an insecure 28 year old media producer into an entrepreneur that now represents an international business services firm. I had never had a single day without severe anxiety, which led to a bought of alcoholism. Microdosing for two months and my entire world was lifted, like shackles had been taken off my mind and I was handed courage, fortitude, joy, and intelligence to replace fear, insecurity, depression and long term learning problems. I am one case that indicates there is a theraputic value to these substances beyond being ‘nukes of the animal and vegetable kingdoms respectively’. I was over 275 lb at 16 years old and I could never lose it. Now I’m 175 and I never got ‘high’ on the psychedelic I was microdosing (lsd).

      • David said, on January 17, 2021 at 9:15 pm

        The media, medical “experts” and laptop workers keep aggressively telling everyone to “stay at home to save lives”, wear masks everywhere outside and inside and follow lockdown orders. All of this discourages friendship, going outside, breathing fresh air and all the other activities that make us healthier and happier. I think a lot of people will come out of these lockdowns (if they ever end) with pill addictions.

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 18, 2021 at 2:49 pm

          It’s obviously not doing people much good as far as their connection with reality. Pretty much everyone believing in baloney conspiracy theories at this point. I’ll pile on the Qanon and Kraken ideas of the right, but the “left” has a more absurd reality tunnel reinforced by their media. Only a few people out there are even allowed to recognize objective reality any more in any kind of public way. Usually because of obscurity.

          When they finally let people outside in the Summer, it’s either going to be a great party or shit is going to get extremely weird.

      • El Jefe said, on January 20, 2021 at 4:48 am

        Your descriptions of the 12 Monkeys mental institute we currently live in, is a literary masterpiece. Thank you for the moment of black humor (if sadly at the parade of lost souls that i see fitting of your description).
        I enjoy nature and the occasional mental experiment but dont assign any spiritual deification to substance. I think the mind is our computer interface so why not try different programs. If it works for you, enjoy….if not, any value or intellect you assign to its worth or use is of no consequence to anyone but you.
        I do enjoy the ”oneupmanship” of how one hipsters pretentious opinion is better than the that of another hipster with the exact opposite OPINION

      • Cameron B. said, on January 27, 2021 at 3:02 am

        I agree almost entirely. “Mental health” is a passion of mine only out of necessity. I was put on academic probation by my university in the sophomore year and soon dropped out. Months later diagnosed with severe OCD. Immediately I was skeptical of the diagnostic methodology. Seemed less like science and more like philosophy. I’ve taken plenty of prescriptions and seen plenty of therapists and psychiatrists but not once did anyone mention CBT. It took me years to discover CBT and a few more years to research and practice effectively. How do professionals fail to mention this treatment? How does such a catastrophic failure occur? Behavioral therapy, particularly involving exposure, has existed since those “ancient Church Fathers”, albeit under a different name. You’re scared of water? Throw him in the lake.

        We’re certainly facing a mental health crisis which is not explained by the broader DSM definitions. “I attribute my relatively continually happy mental state to a pretty simple thing: when I feel bad, I take it as a message that I’m doing something that is wrong. Among other problems, it seems as though younger generations view their unhappiness as a message that others are doing something wrong.

  3. Steve said, on January 17, 2021 at 5:41 am

    Just wondering- what’s wrong with Michael Pollan? His psychedelics book didn’t seem too bad.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 17, 2021 at 1:09 pm

      Maybe you’d have to have lived in Berkeley for as long as I did to muster up the level of hate I have for him and his kind. He’s a sort of avatar of NPC thinking; the type of dope who goes into transports over the fact that Berkeley Bowl grocery store has 100 different kinds of tomato, and never notices that the tomatoes are pretty awful, and people who go there would run you over with their prius to get a parking space.

      I think he has blood on his hands with his psychedelic book, because it’s effectively a marketing document for a demographic who are more likely to be damaged by the things than, say, Joe Rogan fans.

  4. DamnItMurray said, on January 17, 2021 at 7:38 am

    At 21, I’ve had multiple opportunities to try psychs, but have always shrugged it off exactly because of this persistent thought: yeah it makes you feel really good, but does it actually give you the cognitive boost everyone is swearing by? Don’t get me wrong, if I find out huffing Windex can move you 1 and a half SDs up the bell curve, I’m on that train, but come to LSD and DMT it’s true that I have yet to see someone improve further than “yo dawg, i saw colors and I realised cheating on my girlfriend is hella bad!!”.
    By the way Scott, I am not knowledgable enough as of yet to make comments on your physics understanding, but the breadth of your meme expertise is goddamn uncanny!
    Support from Bulgaria!

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 17, 2021 at 12:47 pm

      Memes are the best modern art; the most expressive, the funniest and the most honest, truest stuff around. Most of them should be preserved in museums somewhere as timeless wisdom, though someone would probably be triggered and burn the museum down. I seek them out, carefully preserve them in directories, like an autist stamp collector. They’re sort of crystalized old-school standup comedy or HL Mencken aphorisms for current year.

      Anyway TLDR “you can skip the mushrooms” -lots of life to experience which is better, and less danger of turning yourself into a mush-headed ding dong.

      Greetings to land of Belisarius; I will visit some day when the madness ends.

      • DamnItMurray said, on January 17, 2021 at 5:46 pm

        Having sex with your first true love is something no drug can mimic(maybe heroin but lol) and breaking up with your first love is a bad trip that handfuls of LSD can’t match in intensity and duration. People are trying to replace people – be it with drugs, ai, porn, and a plethora of other doodaas, but until Covid, none of these modern day sufferers realised the missing link – people (except some autists and the likes) need other people.
        Would love to have you in the country of openly corrupt politicians and beautiful women, nature and cheap but life changing night-time experiences

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 17, 2021 at 7:38 pm

          You said a bunch there: frands are important above all. I wonder how much of modern madness is simply a lack of friendship.

      • iakv (@mglu2r) said, on February 11, 2021 at 4:37 pm

        Post the meme archive some day!

  5. Raul Miller said, on January 17, 2021 at 9:14 am

    It’s almost like you have a thing against brain lesions! Next thing you know, you’ll be telling me that there exist other people’s obsessions which you do not share!

    eh.. anyways…

    For what it’s worth, most days I would rather spend time pondering some cartoon than I would a picasso. (Not that I spend any significant time on either, nowadays.) Or: art is what it is, but my tastes are my own. And I am more than prepared to ignore the scorn of people with different tastes. Or, at least, I like to think that I am.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 17, 2021 at 12:16 pm

      Brain lesions: thumbsdown: -funny, the last period of my life I was interested in such things, I was also doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which can also potentially give you brain lesions if you’re choked out improperly.

      I prefer cartoons to Picasso as well. And really, people who trip balls are fine with me as long as they leave others alone about it; it’s the shilling which actually bugs me. They’re worse than Jehovas Witnesses ringing my doorbell at 8am! Mostly, of course, because there are more of them in my circles, but you get my idea.

  6. chiral3 said, on January 17, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    I love your juxtaposition of the church and the sweat lodge.

    I think with a little bit of skepticism, maybe some incredulity in recognition of one’s own biases, and awareness of the limitations of our understanding, we can extend your criticism quite a bit. People anoint and protect their subjective experience like it’s their jobs. In many cases it actually is their job. String theory. Project management. Immortality. Psychiatry. Audiophiles that put crystals on their walls. People that need aliens to exist. The food obsessives. Et cetera et cetera. the whole gamut of non-falsifiables. If this stuff was true the world would be run by modafinil-chugging nootropic-stacking overlords that are solving TOEs in their spare time and working off vastly longer lifespans than the rest of us idiots.

    We have many accounts of Greek or Roman triremes traveling from A to B, a known distance, in a known span of time. Knowing the distance, the time, and how the boat was manned, we can deduce the watts put out by the rowers. Ancient rowers, akin to ancient bus drivers, at a minimum put out as much power as our best rowers today. Hunter gatherers of the time were nomadic and largely covered 500 square miles. They weren’t visualizing, taking supplements, seeing a counselor. They were adapted to their time as dictated by survival and it appears they could kick our asses today despite our advanced training and nutrition. As Rome demonstrated… if we hooked conveyor belts of food and booze up to their mouths, removed the chance of being dominated and killed by other men or beasts, and made their sexual conquests easy, they’d get fat fast and quickly be in therapy talking about alien abduction while nervously eying their blood pressure.

    There’s two things going on with the OP. There’s the narrative psychology of the whole human experience – butt chugging coffee takes simple pleasures like coffee and enemas and just wraps them up with all the fucked up shit that’s happening in your head because of something that happened when you were 14. On the other hand DMT is interesting. The pineal gland produces DMT, not kale chips, and evolution or God or whatever did that for purpose in design. Each cog in the antikythera mechanism has a purpose (BTW, thanks for that video reference. I watched the whole thing in one sitting. Amazing.) All the shit in TiKAL/PhiKal is interesting. I don’t know enough about it but it simultaneously seems like boring neurochemistry – all these combinations that just make the computer do different things, like when the audiophile tries silver wire instead of copper and the music not only sounds different, it sounds better. Replace this ring with blah blah blah and visual distortions become auditory. I mean it sounds like a lifetime of testing a really complicated circuit by sending an infinitude of arbitrary signals and currents through it and documenting the effect of every possible combination and coming out the other side with the result being your noodle leaking out of your ears. Whether someone believes in evolution or creation I think everyone can agree that the current form and function is pretty cool and arbitrarily dosing it to see how we can make it short circuit doesn’t really advance our knowledge of anything.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 17, 2021 at 7:58 pm

      People believe in all kinds of weird shit. On the other hand, no audiophile ever insisted I stick quartz crystals in my wall, or use silver braided OHFC cables, and the worst flack I got from them is turning up their noses at my $100 wifi sonos speakers. Psychedelic users are often evangelists (recently, a few times in my local social circle), and this bothers me. It bothers me because I have extensive experience (I didn’t emphasize how extensive; very extensive -had a reputation for it and everything), and I know what they’re saying is both false and harmful to many. Even when I was buying LSD as a dumb 14 year old from the other dumb 14 year olds: people were warning me: “this shit is pretty strong bro, be careful.” Now somehow people want everyone to experience this not-very-amazing and slightly dangerous thing. I’ve never pushed booze on a Mormon or Muslim, never had any inclinations to debauch a celibate, don’t understand why these zombies attack with their evil philtres.

      Re: athletics pre-nutrition “research” -you might enjoy David Willoughby’s “The super athletes.” Lots of crazy stuff people used to do without protein powder herbal enemas and so on.

      FWIIW I’ve read Shuglin and gone through blue light, erowid and all the other things. Compared to actually living life, all of these experiences seem extremely masturbatory to me. It kind of disgusted me reading it (I even wrote a few; at least mine are funny).

      • chiral3 said, on January 17, 2021 at 10:44 pm

        Funny, we must be about the same age, and had similar experiences growing up. I remember a friend that new a guy and got us access to a deprivation tank in a building in brooklyn so we divvied up an eighth of ‘shrooms. Most likely reason was a favorite movie was Altered States (second favorite may have been Wargames, speaking of Fredkin). I might have posted something about the experience on the erowid vault at the time. But that stuff ran it’s course. I did my share and it ran its course.

        We did stuff back in the day because we were searching and curious. I never lived in San Fransisco but I’ve seen the parties cropping up on the east coast and it seems that people are doing it because they are unhappy. I read the other day that Bay area tech types are dabbling in poison toads lately; DMT, ayahuasca parties, and peyote I suppose having run its course.

        I take your point esp w/ Pollan and Rogan. Rogan has 12m followers plus however many didn’t click the button. His words are driving people to drugs. I had a friend that got all worked up over nootropics. This was years ago. I told him he was nuts. I was bored one night so I did some research. Worked my way through the names and corporate structures of a bunch of SLC-linked Mormon shit. Found some more names of the supposed chemists (they were grad students in Colorado) finally landing on the guy that was getting the raw materials for the pills. I tracked down his home address and got visuals. He lived in a mobile home in New Mexico. He has chanlink fence around his home, pitbulls everywhere, and large storage containers, some open, revealing plastic drums. People put shit in their bodies and have no clue where it came from or what it really is, and guys like Rogan are pushing people to acquire substances of dubious provenance.

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 18, 2021 at 3:07 pm

          I used to take various ‘racetams. The last batch (from a new supplier, recommended by Gwern, since the old one decided to sell other bullshit instead) went in the trash as it tasted like polystyrene. They definitely help. Not a huge effect, but it was enough to take the stuff. Russians are big on it. I think it particularly helps the morning after you have too much to drink; acetylcholine. In my defense, I didn’t learn about this from Toe Rogaine. The best nootropic for me, of course, is being healthy and having lots of testosterone.

  7. Ben Gimpert said, on January 17, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Weird though, Pollan’s book on diet (In Defense of Food) is the only thing on nutrition worth reading, and a nice counter to the dopey Atkins -ish crud that keeps getting regurgitated.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 17, 2021 at 7:43 pm

      Probably too much Berkeley traumatized me. I actually liked Berkeley Bowl too, because I could buy stuff like tomatillos or weird peppers that made me shit fire, but the people in it were jerks!

      https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2008-sep-22-me-bowl22-story.html

      • Theodor Auervonderhaid said, on January 28, 2021 at 7:59 am

        The best tomatillos are bought in shitty bodega type places in east Oakland or the mission.

    • Altitude Zero said, on January 18, 2021 at 10:47 pm

      Pollen doesn’t know anything about nutrition, either.He’san equal opportunity dumbass.

      • Scott Locklin said, on January 19, 2021 at 10:20 am

        Probably, but to be fair nobody else does either, and at least he’s not shilling for soylent. Most of his advice seemed pretty basic common sense. Useless for people who get any exercise beyond light cardio of course.

        • Altitude Zero said, on January 19, 2021 at 4:48 pm

          Probably true enough, but I really, REALLY dislike Pollen, and in my opinion is that anything true he said about nutrition was nothing more than basic common sense, and anything new he came up with was BS. Of course, as noted above, I’m probably biased here.

          • Scott Locklin said, on January 19, 2021 at 5:57 pm

            :allies:

            I have my enormous biases like everyone else. On my blog, I try to just be honest about them. Nobody else is. Anyway, fuck Pollen and the vegetable eating donkey he rode in on.

  8. David said, on January 17, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    Do you think anti-depressants may have epigenetic impacts on a person? Impacts that would show up in one’s kids or grandchildren?

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 18, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/antidepressants-in-pregnancy-tied-to-autism/

      Supposedly they later controlled for genetic predisposition to depression and the effect goes away, but if this was a real effect, I’m sure someone would deny it anyway.

      https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/link-antidepressants-autism-explained/

      I think it stands to reason that popping mind altering pills while preggos is a terrible idea: they don’t encourage pregnant women to take ritalin …. or thalidomide. It also stands to reason being depressed might make for weird kids, whether it’s biological or situational depression; if for no other reason, depressed mom (or emotionless antidepressant robot mom -they used to call it “refrigerator mother syndrome”) won’t raise the kids properly.

      The kind of epigenetics where you’re supposed to believe something happened to you and it gets passed down somehow through the generations; not sure there is good evidence for that. Would be interesting if it was! I’ve been exploring memory-RNA hypothesis; I suppose that could be a mechanism.

  9. Simon said, on January 18, 2021 at 10:18 am

    The American Soto Zen Buddhist author Brad Warner frequently compares people who take psychedelics to reach spiritual enlightenment with athletes who use doping in order to improve their performance. I think that is a very useful analogy here.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 18, 2021 at 3:00 pm

      Yeah I’ve seen that. I think it’s probably more like athletes taking strychnine or arsenic like back in the 1920s.

  10. Anonymous said, on January 18, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    I get my own brain lesions free of charge, courtesy of crappy genes: What do I need drugs for? I also get my hangovers without the wild party the night before or the bar tab. At least the papers I’ve read on migraines so far say that the long-term brain changes aren’t impairing. (Then again, papers from more than 20 years ago say that migraines are a vascular disorder, so what do they know?)

    Sometimes I wonder if we’re all on some sort of drugs, or not on the right kind of drugs. My ability to make myself focus on what I want to focus on started evaporating in graduate school. (No drugs other than ludicrous amounts of caffeine.) I’m pretty sure about half of it is the internet. Half of it might be age.

    When reading older books, autobiographies, correspondence, etc: Facility with language seems to be noticeably greater in general. Also, we were building nuclear plants and putting flags on the moon. It doesn’t seem to me like a good explanation that some near-universal genetic change happened over threeish generations. Something environmental changed. Nicotine? Protein content of our diet? Severe underexposure to smokeless powder and mustard gas?

    Drugs that might actually improve ability to reason and focus are very interesting to me: You would think it would be a civilization-making research program, the prospect of actually being able to improve everyones ability to think. Caffeine does it, and is mostly harmless – I wonder if other mostly harmless stimulants that don’t burn you out exist. Might be unnatural, but we have to deal with an unnatural world.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 18, 2021 at 3:18 pm

      I had a pal in grad school who pointed out that sodium benzoate helped prevent stomach cancer in the West. Dunno if it was true, but I believe there are things like that.

      Nicotine definitely helps people concentrate: probably the best thing for it. Too bad smoking is so damn bad for you.

      Modern people are both incapable of risk, and are completely miseducated. I’ve pointed out many times that my working class parents learned both Latin and Anglo Saxon in high school. Going farther back; every high school student was also skilled in details in geography, the ancient greeks (language and history), and their math was better too. There are other things which should be considered; my parents went to single-sex schools. Since I spent most of high school staring at girls (or … middle aged teacher) boobs, I can imagine that producing better results in my trigonometry class.

      Here’s the Harvard entrance exam from 1899. Harvard was the dumbass school.

      Click to access harvard-admission-1899.pdf

      I could probably get the algebra right!

  11. Anonymous said, on January 18, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    PS: Wasn’t LSD the key component of a chemical weapon? BZ? Thousands of tons of deadly weaponry in the hands of people tripping out sounds like all sorts of fun.

    I think it was because LSD does what it does in microscopic doses – it just takes a microgram droplet to hit to screw up your perceptions. I imagine trippers inability to repeatably and safely (assuming there is a safe dose) dose themselves is probably related to the effective doses being immesurably small.

    I want my brain to work better, not BSOD it so I can look at the pretty error screen.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 18, 2021 at 4:58 pm

      A psychologist pal I discussed this with pointed out that tiny doses like with LSD ought to make people worry more. Of course, mushrooms or whatever do the same thing at normal sized couple of to hundreds of mg drug doses.

      BZ is an anticholinergic; more or less “super dramamine” (which is also apparently hallucinogenic in heroic doses) or scopalamine (ditto; witches used it). Terrible weapon. Thankfully apparently they decided it was ineffective as a weapon compared to just killing people.

  12. Brent said, on January 19, 2021 at 3:09 am

    It’s not just the chemicals; read the case studies in Lee Sanella’s The Kundalini Experience. I’d be a lot more careful today with anything that promises superpowers: meditation, yoga more advanced than sport stretches, float tanks (I have a soft spot for these but only got out of my body once)… the late John Lily nearly killed himself, btw.

    What happened to academia when everyone stopped smoking pipes?

    Just for fun, the Doc Savage Method of Self-Development:
    http://heropulp.com/the86floor/novels/method.html

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 19, 2021 at 11:02 am

      Early on I read a book on the dangers of transcendental meditation. People sometimes can’t turn it off, more or less zombify themselves. The Kundalini stuff is obviously dangerous; a quick glance at the type of people who practice it makes this practically self-evident. The best of them are reclusive weirdoes with a sort of rude, sinister charisma. The plurality are absolute basket cases. Probably you’re basically talking yourself into having a seizure.

      This is my basic judgement call on all lifestyle choices: I look at the people touting them and judge them. That’s what people used to do before “muh science papers.” It’s usually pretty obvious! Of course the boring reality is Christian “normies” with families who save their money, exercise and eat their vegetables look a lot better than nose-ring and tattoos blue-haired meditators who follow the all-beef diet (or whatever) and live in a polycule. Both in physical appearance, life outcomes and in every other respect. Saying that, of course, rustles the jimmies of the blue hairs who think muh science protects them. Sorry; evolution will remove you as surely as it did the Shakers.

      Man of Bronze exercises are amazing. Prana-Bindu. Why can’t we have nice things like this?

      • Brent said, on January 21, 2021 at 12:57 am

        Weirdos and basket cases: you’re being very gentle and polite. They call it the serpent for a reason.

        As a tangent, salt water float tanks are not nearly as nice as the ones with epsom salts: I think there’s an epsom salt body high involved. If I were doing science, I’d use a regular bath with epsom salts as a control.

        Nose-rings and tattoos and blue hair and all that is pretty much diagnostic for personality disorders. It’s a terrible thing to be weird, boring, unpleasant, and not actually all that creative.

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 21, 2021 at 10:42 am

          There’s a float tank place near my new place; hoping it survives -never tried it. I do take epsom salt baths on occasion. Magnesium is allegedly absorbed in the skin. Minerals are highly underrated as supplements. If you’re out of wack on your iodine or boron, you can actually feel it.

          It’s interesting that there are a couple of distinct physiognomies associated with blue-haired nose-ring types. Those deep learning things can do it; I assume humans are better.

      • Walt said, on January 21, 2021 at 9:52 pm

        In Christianity, the serpent is a symbol for Satan. Maybe Kundalini practitioners mess with the demonic realm and go bonkers. It was introduced to the West by a British nutcase who went native in Calcutta. Definitely do not turn yourself into a cautionary tale from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

        When you hit middle age, you can really distinguish the blue-hairs with brains like swiss cheese from the normies who live cleanly. To a large degree, it’s not the years but the mileage.

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 21, 2021 at 11:42 pm

          It boggles me that some people our age refuse to make such distinctions. They’re not all swiss-cheese brains either. Cowards, mostly.

  13. gbell12 said, on January 19, 2021 at 6:33 am

    Great piece, thanks for writing it and putting out some counter-narrative. There are at least 17 references you link to that I’ll go through.

    Sure, don’t listen to Rogan – as you point out he’s a comedian and a reality-TV host. Instead, listen to the countless scientists and experts he’s had on.

    What I take from them is that there’s evidence that psychedelics promote divergent thinking (and the fMRI prints on the inside cover of Pollan’s book show why), as well as awe and wonder… three effects we could really use with some of the predicaments we’re facing as a species recently divorced from religion and nature.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 19, 2021 at 10:38 am

      Rogan’s “experts” are always interesting, but they are a decidedly mixed bag as experts. For example, I love the bejeepers out of Graham Hancock, but don’t believe a thing he says, and he’s obviously mostly an imaginative burnout who asks a few interesting questions and draws some really crazy conclusions. Paul Stamets is an interesting person, and I gave a few of his ideas a try (aka lions mane mushrooms as nootropics). But I think he’s a snake oil merchant who doesn’t know his own limitations as a thinker.

      I think the fact that he’s never had anyone on the show that understands some of the the downsides of muh weed and muh DMT, eating an all-beef diet, or, like whatever his “anti-aging” regimen of testosterone and HGH is, indicates there may be some sample bias at work here. I think I understand some of the downsides of all of these things (dame bramage, increased probability of bowel cancer, of all kinds of cancer and supply chain problems respectively); they’re pretty obvious. You can talk about the risk/reward ratio of all of them and make an adult decision to do such things anyway. But Rogan never has experts on which truly challenge his beliefs. Just a parade of immortality touting snake oil salesmen and cool BJJ fighters. You can actually hear his brain short circuiting when he talks to Pavel Tsatsouline, and comrade Pavel says he doesn’t know anything about nutrition and he doesn’t think anyone else does either. Pavel’s the absolute godfather of modern training modalities, especially for fighters and “functional strength” people. You know Rogan is a fanboy; I am too. But you also know Rogan has miles of horse shit beliefs on how broccoli water makes you immortal or whatever; you can see his brain short circuiting.

      That said, I enjoy saunas also (got it from Germans, not Rogan), some of his interviews are wonderful, and I think Rogan is one of the few high profile figures who can go up against the totalitarian censors ruining Western Civilization or say obvious things that are on other people’s minds. He also seems like a genuinely nice person who is interested in others. But taking advice from him is same as the pothead who lives over mom’s garage.

      • gbell12 said, on January 19, 2021 at 11:59 am

        JRE content seems to be disappearing off YouTube and his website, but there was a 3 hour debate between James Wilks & Chris Kresser, and Wilks, a vegan fanatic, decimates his opponent with piles of research and analysis. JRE’s open mindedness is a big part of the reason he’s so popular (people seem tired of ideology).

        Another counter-example, Professor Matthew Walker, a UC neuroscience/psych researcher, and (disappointingly) points out that cannabis wrecks the most important sleep cycle (alpha?). It may have been on Dr Rhonda Patrick’s show that he said that though.

        • chiral3 said, on January 19, 2021 at 12:53 pm

          I think the whole spotify concern that he said “don’t worry about” was / is real. It’s Joe’s interview style that’s his talent. He seems to come from a place of no ego, where everything his guests say are like seeing a new magic trick. There was a point, though, maybe 3 years ago, at the height of bringing in academics, where he had it with academics. It was around the time he had these guys in that were arguing about food. The gist was guy one said it’s just calories. Guy two said it was the quality of the calories and type of macro. He couldn’t control them. There were a number of episodes like that around that time. I think he can tolerate pseudo scientists, like Lex Friedman – who, for the life of me, I cant figure out what he actually does at MIT- but that time was a big inflection point and he went back to MMA, comics, aliens, and melty drugs. Even Jordan started to oversaturate the circuit and have little meltdowns and arguments that sounded insane. Somebody in JREs camp, some handler, must note this stuff and get in his ear. The Renee Direstas are cool but nothing will get ratings like smoking a blunt with Musk.

          • Scott Locklin said, on January 19, 2021 at 1:02 pm

            I am a fellow Lex Friedman non-respecter. Lots of people like him! He puts me to sleep. Similar Rogan formula though; talk to smart and interesting people, ask them weird but chill questions. I think he’s in Rogan’s BJJ mafia; I believe he has a black belt (which I totally respect).

            MIT…. home of the Media Lab; an Epstein funded pile of silly horse shit if I ever saw one; until recently, literally run by a former Yakuza sex trafficker. MIT ain’t what it used to be!

            • anon said, on February 4, 2021 at 7:25 pm

              I’m so glad I’m not the only one that thinks this. It really seems like he has no deep knowledge in any area of math, science, or engineering. That being said, I don’t think he needs to and I’ve enjoyed a good few of his podcasts. I just wish people would stop pretending he’s some cutting-edge researcher.

              • gbell12 said, on February 5, 2021 at 1:51 am

                I don’t have a boat in this race, but do note he’s published quite a bit. Lex’s papers: https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=wZH_N7cAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra

                • Scott Locklin said, on February 5, 2021 at 2:08 pm

                  Mixture of horse shit, “think pieces” and things he got invited to by …. probably people on his podcast. Real papers in the subject look like this:

                  https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=36ofBJgAAAAJ&hl=en

                  Soumith is about as far along in his career trajectory as Friedman, and while he has the benefit of knowing me a little bit (because I know Yann a little bit), he’s not a super-dooper leader; just a regular worker in the field who made real contributions building infrastructure and doing novel papers.

                  • gbell12 said, on February 5, 2021 at 11:28 pm

                    > Mixture of horse shit, “think pieces” and things he got invited to by …. probably people on his podcast. Real papers in the subject look like this

                    Just had a flip through one paper from each guy. Is there a quick way I can reach the same conclusion on my own, or does it require some mix of domain knowledge and reading the entire papers?

                    Alright, I’ll come out and say it – before this thread I also thought Lex seemed a bit dim. His questions never had any more depth or insight that I’d be able to generate.

                    Scott, what do you think of Eric Weinstein?

                    • Scott Locklin said, on February 6, 2021 at 11:33 am

                      Soumith’s stuff is meat and potatoes machine learning, building new libraries, using tools to do things. Fridman’s stuff is all airy-fairy hand wavey stuff. There may be some meat in there somewhere, but none of it pops out. Autonomous vehicle stuff: real work in this field is done in industrial labs and not published.

                      Weinstein’s interviews are also boring with the additional disadvantage of being disorganized, and he occupies a similar space as Fridman and Joe Rogan as a public figure.

                • anon said, on February 5, 2021 at 3:16 pm

                  Fair enough. All I’m saying is that when I hear him speak/converse with his guests, he doesn’t come off very smart. Maybe he’s just bad at talking ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          • anonymous said, on January 19, 2021 at 8:00 pm

            I am deeply unqualified to judge Lex Fridman’s “AI” research on a technical level, but he triggered my BS detector a while back and I did an ill-advised internet dive. Supposedly he was quietly erased from the MIT website sometime late September 2019. His primary legacy seems to have been putting out a rather questionable paper asserting the greatness of Tesla autopilot, soliciting “objective” journo attention on Tesla fanclub forums in lieu of peer-review (1), the paper being praised tweeted out by Elon, and finally Elon going on Lex’s podcast. There were also claims that some of the data he acquired would have required explicit collaboration with Tesla, something from the CAN bus. Probably par for the course from my understanding of the “AI field”, but most AI researchers don’t have hundreds of thousands of internet fans.

            1. https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/best-journalists-writing-about-tesla-autopilot.147002/

          • gbell12 said, on January 19, 2021 at 8:32 pm

            Lex’s papers: https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=wZH_N7cAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 19, 2021 at 12:59 pm

          I don’t blame Rogan for abandoning the sinking ship, in particular for a $100m payout. Vegans have some good points, but are mostly madmen, presumably from B12 deficiencies. Again using the humble Locklin criterion of, like, looking at people, if veganism worked for people; you’d see more dominant vegan athletes, civilizations, ultra-long-lived people and so on.

          I’m sure a few scientists who contradict Rogan views get on the show; Pavel is an example, but I guarantee no anti-pot/psychedelic “extremists” (say, me, if I turned this post into a textbook) manage to make the cut. That’s fine; people don’t watch Joe Rogan to find out weed is bad for you; they tune in for Alex Jones and ancient astronaut stuff. If weed and whiskey keep him relaxed and a chill dude who entertains people with his ideas, that’s fine by me, but I’m not going to pretend these habits are good for you.

  14. remnny said, on January 19, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    The Coomer meme really is a gift from God… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16K5PaeR_EY

    • chiral3 said, on January 19, 2021 at 5:50 pm

      There was a simpler time when this idea manifested simply and without baggage in things like Seinfeld

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Contest

      • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 11:40 am

        Hahah, now I get to call someone a boomer. Not quite the same thing! Good Seinfeld though.

        The coomer meme is INSANELY CREEPY compulsive masturbator who insists wanking is good for you. I suppose such people didn’t really exist in our and Seinfeld’s “forest porn” day before 4k 3-d sound 24-7 porn of any imaginable configuration and dildo tinderellas swinging from peen to peen like monkeys swinging on vines in the forest. There are male and female versions of the coomer, and, amusingly, there are IRL avatars people have found (some linked above). It’s one of those things that polite society doesn’t allow you to talk about, and the hilarious reaction of some to the idea that some young people don’t want to be degenerate sex-addicted monsters indicates …. well, it taps into something very real, and it bothers the lizards that some kids these days notice and want to be “masters of their domains.”

  15. […] Psychedelics are a waste of life Locklin on science Read more… […]

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  17. dick hedden said, on January 19, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    I needed this dose of reality. I am 22, beginning my career as a project manager, and have done decently high psychadelic doses twice. At best they give you pretty pictures and meaningless fleeting revelations, and at worst they can provide exactly what you said, temporary psychosis and a glance into what its like to be a schizo. not fun.

    The best I ever feel is when I am getting regular exercise intense in nature. However I am now working 7 am to 3-4 pm and then going to class at 5 or 6pm until 8:30 every weekday. I feel so fucking tired all the time I cant hope to exercise as much as I like to be happy. I dont want to poison my personality any further with drugs either. Is this a personal defect? should I be able to exercise these days? I normally can but I feel so exhausted.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 12:15 pm

      For myself, weights and calisthenics are really time efficient; I took them up at a similar time in my life (I liked martial arts, but they’re very non-time efficient, especially if you have a commute to the dojo) when I needed to do something physical. They also force you to get enough protein to feel healthy. You got two days on the weekend and probably a few minutes every morning to get some done. Push ups, free squats, handstand push ups and kettlebell/dumbell swings; pick your poison. Start small; just do something. It will pay off and you’ll look and feel better very quickly.

      The nice thing about death marches like that is when they’re over. The marchers in Anabasis seeing the sea; Thalassa! Make sure at some point, this phase in your life is over and you get to go for a run in the woods or whatever lights your jets.

  18. The 8th said, on January 19, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    Good job with the subject, article is well written and enjoyable to read.

    I agree with you on the cult like aspect however almost everything in our culture is becoming a mini cult. I also agree that these things are likely very bad. All that said the one time I did mushrooms was HELLA FUN.

  19. Darren Dahl said, on January 20, 2021 at 12:10 am

    Big agree. I’ve taken LSD a few times and the best insight I got is that we are all different “types” and that different types working harmoniously together is good, and those who cannot work harmoniously because something is holding them back deserve our love. Really retarded stuff looking back that seemed so unbelievably insightful at the time. I do like rock and roll from the 60’s and 70’s though – the Doors, Hendrix, good stuff. Total shit since then. An absolute garbage culture has been instantiated in it’s wake.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 12:32 pm

      I always thought it weird how all those guys had military connections; Hendrix was a paratrooper, Morrison’s dad an admiral involved in the gulf of Tonkin false flag, Zappa’s dad worked on chemical warfare…. I think Crosby Stills Nash and Young had some weird military industrial complex connection also. Might have just been the militarization of society at the time, but there are amusing conspiracy theories about “Laurel Canyon” and the hippies being a sort of escaped from laboratory experiment by the spooks.

      One could make the argument it makes a decent weapon: the Czech revolution was ultimately run by hippies, and modern color revolutions are often fronted by modern “counter culture” groups (brought to you by JPMorgan and Coca Cola). Hippies and modern “counter culture” themselves are basically great ways of soaking up trouble makers and keeping them passive until they decide they like money.

      • Darren Dahl said, on January 20, 2021 at 12:56 pm

        Yep there is this super strange dynamic where “counter-culture” is literally bankrolled by the system. It’s extremely obvious now, but I always thought back then (I’m 29) there was something genuine about the hippy movement. But it seems like the same playbook!

  20. therebutforgrace said, on January 20, 2021 at 1:32 am

    The only friends of my younger adult years who did more than me turned into total basket cases. One went tranny. Another fathered and abandoned children, then expatriated and renounced, becoming a stateless person.

  21. Ron Reich said, on January 20, 2021 at 3:02 am

    Buuut, there was the Grateful Dead…

  22. anon said, on January 20, 2021 at 3:51 am

    Read your article and found it more of a long form shitpost than anything else really. Seeing as you’re a hardcore Christian I’m skeptic as to whether you had any intention of indulging in meaningful dialogue in the first place.

    I even started to write a long comment and all but some of the stuff you go into is such a trollish take. Not everyone has been blessed with a life free of debilitating depression and trauma despite sticking with most intuitive treatment paths out there. Those at least somewhat on the right I’ve met who got into this generally have the same reservations about the culture surrounding it and, like me, did it as a last resort, going through an awful lot of preparation beforehand. I can’t imagine how one could rely on these things as a crutch in the same vein as the weedbros. Then again I don’t have the kind of immaculate brain chemistry like yours so I could never envision doing a moderate dose more than once for the sole purpose of entertainment. I find that kind of amazing actually.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 11:49 am

      Ladies and gentlemen: the NPC take.

      You’re correct: this is a seminar, not a debate, and you, sir, are a cautionary tale.

  23. Reverend Draco said, on January 20, 2021 at 3:56 am

    I’ve done LSD more than once. . . it’s difficult, as I appear to be rather resistant to most drugs, illicit or not.
    Long-term affects, none.

    Currently looking forward to trying Psilosybin, being natural – natural substances appear to work on me just fine.

    One thing I learned over the years I did drugs – particularly LSD. . . everyone is affected differently. What appears to be utter nonsense to one person may be the thing that another person exactly needs.
    If psychedelics don’t do it for you. . . don’t use them. . . but don’t *ever* try to tell another person they can’t or shouldn’t – as it might be just what the person needs.

    Thanks the gods for America and it’s Individual Liberty.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      Sad.

      >don’t *ever* try to tell another person they can’t or shouldn’t

      Nobody should willingly subject themselves to dame-bramage garbage developed as part of CIA mind control experiments. Imagine a regime in which they are forced on people as sentences/treatments for certain crimes. Enthusiasts should be looked at as pariahs; that’s the world they want.

  24. Kratos Tomatoes said, on January 20, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    >CTRL+F MDMA
    >Not a single fucking post

    You all are using the wrong psychedelics.

    We have a divorce rate of 50% in our society, and the SINGLE BEST TOOL to mend relationships and promote emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy is banned. Why?

    MDMA also has an unparalleled ability to aide people in breaking addiction when used with a therapist, and can help others with mental disorders understand themselves and their issue in a different light.

    I’ve heard a lot of healthy people on these threads say that psychedelics offer nothing to them beyond some surface level epiphany’s and understandings. I imagine these are the same people supporting the tranny dysgenics programs, and believe that anyone with a mental illness is not worth helping. There are drugs out there that can help people with mental illness by showing them a new perspective, not constantly flooding their brain with blockers for the rest of their lives! It’s a disservice to our society to ban them from use.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 2:27 pm

      Most MDMA users I know are animated human refuse with no emotional range beyond hedonism. Its use is widespread, probably the most widespread of them, even its use in therapy is common, and the divorce rate continues to go up, particularly in regions where it is used (as opposed to old fashioned religious people who basically never use weird drugs and never get a divorce).

      Typical NPC current-year solution. Muh pills. The structural problems, the treating of marriage as a status oriented consumer good; the fact that modern life makes normal family formation impossible; the fact that people GET PAID to get divorced; nah, that’s too hard to deal with. Just give them happy pills. That will fix everything.

      FWIIW it’s one of the psychedelics proven to give you permanent dame bramage to your serotonin system; a fact you could trivially verify if you weren’t a drug chugging enthusiast for that soul-destroying poisonous garbage.

      • Kratos Tomatoes said, on January 20, 2021 at 2:42 pm

        >Most MDMA users I know
        That’s some nice anecdotal evidence you got there, Scott. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s a fantastic tool for people that want to use it responsibly. Naturally, since it’s currently banned, a larger proportion of current users are going to be people with other issues.

        >old fashioned religious people who basically never get a divorce
        Yes, I agree with you that Church and Religion certainly offer healthy templates to approach relationships and marriage. What about people that don’t have any faith and believe in God? Can a psychedelic aide them in finding God? Who are you to tell them that they must only find God in a Church, and not in an experience? Again, by banning the substance we naturally see a concentration of people with issues gravitate to the drug in our current societal configuration. By making it legal, it allows people to use it responsibly, and have the freedom to live their lives to the fullest. Personal liberty and the benefit that MDMA brings to responsible users trumps the harm done from abuse in my opinion.

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 3:56 pm

          Anecdotal experience and mean field approximations based on observation and common sense are vastly superior to quacks selling snake oil in the journals because it’s a fun thing they can use to hoodwink their patients. We have vastly more psychedelic therapy now than ever before, and vastly fewer happy relationships or sane people. It’s not just stereotypes here: there should be an obvious positive effect if there was one. Tell me what the millions who have used this rat poison are doing with themselves. Are they happiness swamis, marinating in happy marital bliss or are they weird cat ladies on SSRIs? It’s a huge number: should be a huge effect even if it’s slightly positive.

          Similarly, cognitive behavioral therapy, which is at least physiologically harmless, looked great in early days: long time scale, it’s indistinguishable from doing nothing. By the way: you have failed to produce any evidence that this shit is useful, let alone harmless. You’re just saying things, anonymously. Scott Alexander above is a real shrink, also a psychedelic user, and he thinks it’s probably bullshit.

          I have a long and varied life, and know many people. I know exactly one MDMA using couple who have achieved something like long term success. They’re both highly educated upper middle class people, they’re both Houllebecquian swingers, they have a therapy bill larger than most people’s house payment, a non successful reproductive lifecycle, and … are not people I would hold up as worthy of emulation. How many dozens or hundreds of your MMDA using friends even rise to this level? The vast majority of people I know who use that particular drug have a long term life trajectory more along the lines of “cat lady” or “homeless person.”

          Psychedelic use is self-lobotomizing hedonistic lame-ass consumerism. Their use in therapy, until there is inescapable evidence, is “muh weed bro” snake oil. Your “you’re taking my precious away” reaction is very typical, and ought to be a warning to anyone who would dabble in these substances.

          • Kratos Tomatoes said, on January 20, 2021 at 4:24 pm

            Another appeal to your experience and who you know? That’s great that you think your microscopic amount of time on this planet and your experience and perspective on all things are absolute, but your hubris is showing. God granted each person their own reason and perspective. Yours is healthy for your life, and you’re entitled to it. Mine is right for my life and I’m also entitled to it, the same as you. Your appeal to authority is ill-founded.

            I’m not advocating for joining a swinger party and living in hedonism. I’m not arguing to take SSRI’s and become a numb robot. You’re putting words in my mouth and arguing in bad faith.

            There is plenty of evidence of MDMA being useful for treatment of PTSD, OCD, and various other mental health issues. A simple google search will show that. There are also ways to take the drug responsibly and with no impact to the brain by using supplements before and after the ‘trip’.

            You claim that I’m a “drug chugging enthusiast” yet you don’t have the slightest clue to my drug use frequency, history, and personal usage model. As I’ve said before, there are plenty of people who take drugs in unhealthy ways. There are plenty of people that flock to drugs to solve issues that could otherwise be solved with therapy, or healthy lifestyle choices. But, just as was mentioned above:

            “The American Soto Zen Buddhist author Brad Warner frequently compares people who take psychedelics to reach spiritual enlightenment with athletes who use doping in order to improve their performance.”

            Psychedelics allow man to exceed what is naturally possible. Now, before you go putting words in my mouth again, do I believe all roided up muscle heads and dopers are good people? No. Do I believe that steroids and enhancers allow man to exceed his natural limitations? Yes. Is it always good or always bad? No. Life is gray! This is why personal liberty and freedom are the best approaches. Again, if there are people that can benefit from it, then it is immoral to ban it!

            • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 4:50 pm

              >Psychedelics allow man to exceed what is naturally possible.

              Citations needed; you’re a terrible example of an apparent zombie who is terrified daddy is going to take his precious away. There is no evidence of any benefit to psychedelics, let alone “allowing man to exceed what is naturally possible,” and there is abundant evidence this people’s subjective experiences with this rat poison turn them into mindless cultlike zombies. Who should be pariahs like moonies in the airport.

              Tell me an anecdote. Tell me how it’s improved your life in some measurable way; include no-dox details about yourself. Or with anothers you have observed. Toe Rogain tier “whoaaaa bro it really helps people because muh science” justifications for bad habits are not acceptable.

              Spend a non-drugged out moment in self reflection and look at the people in your life who use the rat poison and compare them to other people who don’t and see if you’re impressed with all these alleged super benefits. I have, as a former user of these things, done the exercise; I continue to see people use them, and the consequences are all neutral to extremely bad. I’m telling the kids to not go over the waterfall; it’s a bad idea, and likely to turn you into more of a muddle-headed shithead.

              This sort of humble common sense reasoning has tremendous value in our era of unreality and reality denying abstraction. You should try it. It works on all kinds of things, and is the origin of the scientific method.

              Muh subjective feels mean nothing. Hell I know heroin junkies who will tell you of the wonders of booting horse; doesn’t make it a good idea. The risk profile of psychedelics and obviousness of its ill effects is different, but the dynamic of “muh precious” displayed is the same. Why aren’t you embarrassed by this?

              • anon said, on January 20, 2021 at 8:21 pm

                >Tell me an anecdote. Tell me how it’s improved your life in some measurable way; include no-dox details about yourself. Or with anothers you have observed.
                You’ll find no shortage of them among hardcore drug addicts who were able to quit cold turkey when nothing else ever produced lasting results, after a very very small number of iboga trips from hell. At least that’s the way they usually describe the experience, I’ve never done that stuff and the closest I’ve come across are guys who stopped smoking weed after doing ayahuasca. On the other extreme, I’ve literally met a middle aged tranny who switched genders after doing it. My own experience indicates that it is a hell of a path to go about self improvement to say the least, one which I dread. And although I never found the spiritual aspect appealing, I can’t discount it any more than I would the average bible thumper.

                Personally, the most immediate benefit after doing ayahuasca was getting past some of the internalized self-hate I’ve been plagued by for years, a lot of which was irrational and more a result of childhood trauma than anything else. It didn’t come out of any peace and love trip marked by bright colors though, the exact opposite. Few things thus far have helped me regain confidence which wasn’t phony. Definitely no amount of sunning my balls, autistically obsessing over my diet or trying my earnest to become a gymcel have. And as a truly measurable result, among other things, my GPA went up significantly while the courses haven’t gotten any easier. And it’s not because of any newfound affinity for college, nor a more solid work ethic either.

                • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2021 at 9:07 pm

                  Spoken as a true 20 year old; it’s a wonder people don’t hire more of you -y’awl got it all figured out. Get back to me in 20 years with your insights.

  25. gbell12 said, on January 21, 2021 at 5:59 am

    Scott, I’m super-grateful for this dialog.

    > This sort of humble common sense reasoning has tremendous value in our era of unreality and reality denying abstraction.

    This is “street smarts”, no? This is something of a lost art among most of us. I don’t have it, and am always floored when it beats logic or scientific results.

    Curious what the anti- gang here thinks of the legal drugs – nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine, compared to cannabis and psilocybin/LSD? I could argue that the legal/illegal line seems arbitrary, but I could also argue that, while harmful, the legal ones don’t alter the mind in a weird way.

    That would all be assuming that the War on Drugs was instituted by good people for our own good, when the reality is the opposite (reference, the excellent Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari), and the results have been catastrophic.

    Also, if we’re restricting ourselves to anecdotes, what about the major humanity-changing breakthroughs that have been credited with psychedelic use? I’m thinking of Crick and the double-helix structure, and Mullis and the PCR. Due to the stigma, there are undoubtedly others, plus many arguable, like the entire tech revolution, which coincided in time and space with the Haight-Ashbury scene.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 21, 2021 at 11:23 am

      I think “street smarts” is overstating it. Standard common sense “bigotries” such as my grandparents had (entirely based on observation and frequentist folk wisdom) have tremendous predictive power. A lot of modernity in America is beating this out of you, making you the ideal multicultural serf. The modern type is so out of touch with this and their instincts, they can’t be “judgmental” about anything. There is another option to lobotomozing yourself into a non-judgmental dingbat: you can simply decide to use obviously predictive prejudices as a Baysean prior, and judge individuals on an individual basis; being nice and accepting to people who deserve it while avoiding trouble -just like my grandparents did.

      I think caffeine and especially nicotine are almost overwhelmingly positive. Nicotine long term makes your blood pressure higher, and the most acceptable delivery systems give you cancer, but it’s definitely a net benefit (you shouldn’t smoke though). Alcohol has been with humanity since Goblike Tepe times; obviously physically harmful. Cultures which deal best with it have been civilized longer. Civilization probably originated because of booze; we tried getting rid of it, and failed. Even the Saudis have a hard time getting rid of it. Booze is going to be with humanity forever; like respiratory viruses.

      The War on Drugs in the West has been mostly a disaster, mostly for the same reasons everything else in the West has been a disaster since the 70s. The US government/elite fund both sides of this “war” and it’s turned into a racket for special interest groups. It’s entirely possible to win such a war; it has to be an actual War. Singapore is an example. I’m sure there are others. There are other compromises possible: societies which treat drug use as a medical problem …. might be too early to tell if this works, but so far so good.

      Mullis never really attributed his discovery of PCR to LSD. He was definitely an enthusiast, and he also believes in UFOs and other weird shit. That’s the problem with such things; subjectively they make you think they’re amazing, but objectively, Mullis looks like a crank who is also pretty smart and had one super good idea. Crick may have fooled around with LSD, but he was never a public advocate, and the “he had the idea while tripping balls” is the type of urban legend regurgitated by hopeful dope cultists. You’re leaving out his colleagues as well; Maurice Wilkins is often forgotten (his staffer Rosalind is better known) and Watson’s still around as well. Can we attribute Watson’s co-discovery of DNA to his racial beliefs? Even if we uncritically accept these subjective accounts as unmitigated fact: on the large scale, the number of people who have had amazing ideas while hung over, shitfaced on booze, smoking, drinking coffee or frying on amphetamines is vastly larger. Psychedelic advocates won’t shut the fuck up about them; I’m sure we have a more than complete complete record of revelations achieved under the influence of psychedelics. For that matter if I am ever blessed with a good idea, will my past (extensive) use of this garbage be counted as a win for the psychedelic enthusiasts? It better not be! I generally have my best creative ideas when extremely tired from hammering on a hard problem. Sleep deprivation is the best drug for creativity, and it’s all natural (also probably physically harmful, so don’t do it too much!).

      Many of my physics friends (including very accomplished ones, and several who were at Harvard at the creation of psychedelic culture) used the things; mind you, during an era where physics languished absurdly. They all enjoyed them; it is interesting watching your conscious thoughts work in vastly different ways when you’re a professional thinker. None of them had any good ideas while tripping balls and thought the idea of getting anything done while frying absurd.

      I use the example of Steve Jobs, who was a huge advocate. People think of him as “creative” -mostly from corporate propaganda, and he made all kinds of subjective claims about how LSD gave him superpowers. The IRL Jobs superpower was being a sociopathic perfectionist. His personal life and beliefs (which ultimately killed him) were an unmitigated disaster. If he never fell in with programmer types he’d probably be living in a cardboard box in Portland, oogling coeds and gibbering to himself. Having spent 20 years in the Bay Area, I knew many people who worked directly for him -psychedelic users even, and the universal assessment was that he was an intolerable psycho. Maybe it’s useful having a psychopath in charge of your company; it’s a common CEO personality type. I don’t think psychopaths are worthy of emulation.

      • gbell12 said, on January 22, 2021 at 12:31 am

        Mullis actually did credit LSD for PCR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC5ApU4YKBU

      • gbell12 said, on January 22, 2021 at 12:44 am

        Fantastic, and deeply thought provoking. You’re causing me to re-reexamine my beliefs (I was staunchly anti-drug through my 20s). Thanks again.

        One of my two “experiences” stopped my moderate, non-problematic drinking dead in its tracks for 6 months – no willpower required. I felt the muddy feeling of an alcohol buzz would to cause me to forget how good the experience was… I was trying to hold onto it (and the clarity) as long as possible, and just had no interest in dulling my perception with alcohol, nor in replacing the memory of my last altered state.

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 22, 2021 at 12:54 am

          I like wine, myself, but I fully recognize it’s bad for me. Alcohol numbs the brain, more or less from the outside in. But the outside of your brain is the part that helps you think creatively and do high level stuff, like write new programming languages.

          I had a conversation with a younger friend with a gift for stating the obvious (lol Norwegians) which caused a fairly serious lifestyle change in that regard, with excellent results. Friends > dope.

  26. Montius said, on January 21, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    Great post, sir. I’m a huge fan of Jünger, and don’t think his post war/psychedelic use work suffered any, but it is obvious that his psychedelic use wasn’t the genesis of his creativity. Let’s be honest, for every Jünger that may personally (if not creatively) benefit from psychedelic experiences, there are thousands of dipshits who take them where it is probably not a positive. Most of us are not Jünger, and would be better off not messing with such things.

    I do think there could potentially be some personal benefits in doing them within a sort of very specific ritualistic context, but I have little hope that much of anybody within our modern, psychologically crippled society has said context enough to benefit from it in that way. Or maybe not. I don’t have a mind like an Ernst Jünger.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 21, 2021 at 9:45 pm

      I’ve liked everything he’s done available in English so far, but post-1948 doesn’t sing like pre-1948 stuff. Again, might be just the dude being older, but it’s at least worth noting.

      • Montius said, on January 22, 2021 at 7:26 am

        I can definitely see and respect that. I think his pre ‘48 stuff was probably more informed by his poetic days. I’m sure he continued to write poetry after that, but from my understanding that was the period when he was writing more poetry, but I may be wrong about that.

  27. asciilifeform said, on January 21, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    Consider England, in the 1730s: concretely, consider gin. “Mother Gin.” “Drunk for 1 penny, Dead drunk for tuppence, Straw for nothing !”

    Somehow, historians still bloviate re: the “miseries caused by gin” in those days. In the ideologically well-manicured Anglosphere, that is. In the old Communist Europe, every schoolboy knew that the prime mover of the English misery was not gin, but the enclosure of the commons. “The sheep have eaten up the men.” Gin had simply taken off as an inexpensive “opium of the masses” with which the dispossessed (and prosecuted for “vagrancy”, or employed at starvation wage) English anesthetized themselves.

    Gin was rightly feared by the parasite upper crust — because it is impossible to force dead men to work. Yeltsining to death is, if you will, the ultimate “strike”. There are no “strikebreakers” at the cemetery.

    The situation with the current-day dopes is exactly analogous. Both the officially-prescribed dopes (permitted on account of the vendors padding the right pockets) and the unpatentable and therefore forbidden ones — serve exactly the same purpose.

    Many if not most of the current-day dopers simply do not have any realistic option for to “go run around chasing buffaloes like nature intended.” The “weird cat ladies on SSRIs” and all the many other kinds of deculturated, deracinated bonsai kittens of “the civilized world” will not somehow transform into “Christian “normies” with families who save their money, exercise and eat their vegetables” if they were to quit dope; they will simply jump from a bridge a few years sooner than otherwise. (And if this is what you’d actually like to see happen to them, why not admit it?)

    The “normies who save and exercise with their happy families” have become rare simply from what a biologist would call habitat destruction.

    There are ~no buffaloes remaining for Homo Redditus to chase; nor anywhere to chase them in. There will not be “effective reproductive life cycle and family formation” in a totalitarian shithole where a smallish wooden house costs like a business jet (because “muh investments” and “muh retirement”); where anyone with a steady income gets taxed 50+% to feed raging, fecund lumpens and the “national security state”, etc. It’s a moribund civilization, and the sooner it collectively ODs on whatever pills, the better for absolutely everyone.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 22, 2021 at 12:06 am

      It wasn’t that hopeless in my youth; it was just boring.

      If modern zoomers can’t pull off a virtuous life for some reason, anesthetizing themselves isn’t going to help anything. Modern life is awful, but it’s mostly self-inflicted awfulness, and while working class people have problems, being a hard worker who gives a fair deal and puts in an honest day in the right fields: you can still do fine. Not oligarch, but enough to have a house and children. At least for now. Soma won’t help, especially if it gets really bad.

      I’m absolutely certain the present healthy fear of the ruling caste of insectoids is one of the reasons “muh weed” stores are open in a pandemic and bars aren’t; perfect soma. Rather than people talking to each other and realizing the direction of the country is over the cliff, dope yourself up into a stupor and be happy with greasy diabeetus takeout with your Biden-bucks in front of the one eyed demon. Same story with the impending legalization of the psychedelics.

      Even the muslims who are truly without hope in many places, under the boot of oppressors find a way to make a good end. Wish they’d set their sights higher.

      • sigterm said, on January 25, 2021 at 7:35 pm

        Your zoomer is going to “have” his house in his sixties (even then, he’ll have to pay whatever the state wants as taxes), while probably not all of “his” children are actually his. All work and no play made him a dull boy in his woman’s eyes, you see. But many already saw this in their lame gen X father, who got a lifetime of nagging in exchange for honest toil. None of that crap for me, the zoomer thinks!

        As a wife and children are essentially hostages the state uses to get a man’s obedience (credit goes to James Lafond for this wording), a virtuous man cannot have a family under an evil state. One has to seek a better state to contribute to, or find that one woman who takes your side against the rest of the world (by nature, very rare).

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 27, 2021 at 11:54 am

          I won’t argue against any of this; modern zoomers have a bad deal. However, Syria is in a vicious civil war with mass death and the hyperpower, Russia, Turkey and Israel raining death on them like weather, and they still manage a lifetime birth rate of 2.8 per woman. Meanwhile American zoomers are genociding themselves with ennui and ipotatoes.

    • Walt said, on January 22, 2021 at 12:53 am

      Outstanding.

      I’ve always thought our elites would benefit from reading Westminster Larger Catechism questions 96 – 153, but particularly 124-133 and 140-142.

      North America served as an outlet to the problems you discussed above, but no there’s no North America to run to. The pressure’s building.

  28. passerby said, on January 22, 2021 at 12:04 am

    I’m in my mid-twenties. Over the past couple years I’ve tried a few psychoactive substances for the first time: ayahuasca, LSD, psilocybin, MDMA. I definitely did find the layers of woo around some of those substances (esp. the psychedelics) quite repulsive — and still do. That said, my own beliefs/mindset/model of the world have stayed largely intact throughout — at least as far as I can tell.

    For me personally the most interesting outcome has been the first-hand subjective experience of drastically altered states of consciousness — wait, my brain can do what??? (I know that probably sounds lame but oh well). I’m a bit ashamed of that now, but at some point I was one of those annoying “bro you gotta try it” people. Admittedly, in absence of more lindy mechanisms, taking mushrooms with friends in the forest seems like a decent bonding experience.

    What started off as curiosity has largely turned into escapism. As time went on I realized pretty quickly that I’d been taking psychedelics as a way to escape the all-too-familiar aspects of modernity: largely meaningless career, living in a pod, lack of genuine human connection and fulfilling relationships, nihilism. No room for ennui on 300ug.

    MDMA was a bit different in that it helped me feel viscerally what it’s like to drop the shell I’ve been building and hiding behind without realizing it. The neurotoxicity claims and the general no-free-lunch principle do concern me a lot though, as I’m still not sure just how exactly I’m going to pay for it. An MDMA-like substance with the safety profile of say caffeine would be game-changing though.

    Not really going anywhere in particular with this, but this post has resonated strongly and has made me reconsider my relationship with those substances. Thanks, Scott!

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 22, 2021 at 12:11 am

      > For me personally the most interesting outcome has been the first-hand subjective experience of drastically altered states of consciousness

      I can’t argue with that; this is the main positive thing I can say about it. Interesting. Like many things in life. Nothing actually positive came of it, though, is the counter point.

      And there are lots of people who never touched the stuff who are “nerds who don’t get it” according to psychedelic enthusiast goons, but who objectively did much better in life than I or any of them did by being boring fuddy duddies.

      Hunting with friends is also a good bonding experience in the woods. Innawoods in general highly recommended.

  29. J. Oliveira said, on January 26, 2021 at 1:34 am

    I suppose this is somewhat relevant to the discussion. Since you like memes, here you go:

    A Man Microdosed Dark Web Bought Mushrooms. This Is What Happened To His Organs.

    The kind of idiocy present on “self medicates on psychedelics” ends up wrecking the dude’s organs

  30. gmachine1729 said, on February 1, 2021 at 10:34 am

    To Dr. Scott Locklin,

    I’ve learned a fair bit and been inspired much by your writings, in particulars your writings on the history of science and technology. You are few to note the obvious, that since 1960, aside from microelectronics, there have not really been major or revolutionary advancements. Something else that I am very curious about your thoughts on is the matter of Isaac Newton and the relationship of his works with those of Robert Hooke, Leibniz, Huygens.

    This American mathematical physicist thinks Newton was the smartest person who ever lived. I read in detail his Wikipedia page and that of Huygens, Hooke, and Leibniz, and I am somewhat inclined to believe that Newton was a nasty person inclined to take credit for the works of others. However, that American mathematical physicist insists that Newton was a league above the rest, even though I might be inclined to suspect that his greatest achievements were ones of explanation in the form of synthesis, which is of course extremely important, but really can only be done once the bits and pieces are already discovered to some degree. That guy thinks that Robert Hooke was mediocre, lacked vision, and how even as a experimentalist, he could not compare with Faraday.

    I am inclined to believe that Newton is overrated much because Leibniz created visibly better notation and also came with up with mv^2 as vis viva instead of mv. Moreover, after Newton, English mathematics was visibly a notch lower than mathematics in continental Europe, and one might argue the same to a lesser extent for physics as well, though of course for physics, you had Faraday and Maxwell.

    As for calculus, there were lots of hints in terms of concrete examples by John Wallis, James Gregory, Isaac Barrow, and Newton had certainly read Fermat’s work wherein he set the derivative to zero to find local minima/maxima.

    All in all, it seems like Isaac Newton’s genius was mostly one of theoretical synthesis and proof. Robert Hooke on the other hand was more of an inventor. Calculus aside, the biggest mathematical achievement I know of Newton is the generalized binomial theorem and power series, in particular reversion of term. It is clear that Isaac Newton was more of a theoretical thinker. As for invention, I don’t know of anything else other than his vastly improved reflecting telescope. Though I know pretty much nothing in detail about those devices, I feel like Huygens was a more significant inventor than Newton, with the pendulum clock’s being much more impactful than Newton’s improvement of the telescope.

    I read that Bertrand Russell claimed that what the Islamic world did was mostly preservation of Greek texts as opposed to innovation, but I think in that statement, Russell is full of Eurocentric hubris. The Islamic world advanced pretty far in trigonometry, with law of sines, law of cosines, and trigonometric tables to like 8 decimal places for each degree, not to mention algebra and decimal system (which were first seen in the form of Chinese counting rod arithmetic, with algorithms elaborated in Sunzi Suanjing around 400 AD). In the 13th century, many works were translated after all, and not all of them were ancient Greek texts preserved by the Muslim world. You have Alhazen, Al-Biruni, Al-Khwarizmi, etc. Copernicus was not the first write on heliocentrism; the Muslim scholars had already done so in similar ways, and the Indian Aryabhata in like 5th century already proposed the earth spinning on its axis.

    That American mathematical physicist’s argument was simply that Newton was too ahead of his time, too smart, and there was nothing he was not capable of doing himself, but he was often too lazy to write stuff up to explain to the dumb dumbs who he was contemptuous of.

    My view is the progression of science seldom starts from a general theory based on first principles. Instead, people solve some isolated problems and concrete example to hint at the general theory. It was the case with calculus. There were lots of hints, with the areas under curves of x^p already figured out in 1630s, setting derivative to zero to find local minima/maxima without an explicit concept of derivative.

    I especially disagree with that mathematical physicist I talked with on his view that the continental Europeans by themselves would’ve have done what Newton had done a few decades later. He even said that the British got a major head start because of Newton, but I think it’s apparent that math and physics, especially the former, after Newton advanced more in continental Europe than in Britain. It seems Isaac Newton was too “anti-social” and not all that great of a communicator or cultivator of students who would become top scientists too.

    That guy goes on about how even Gauss was intimidated by Newton, and I’ve noticed that both Newton and Gauss were reluctant to publish stuff that they didn’t regard as perfect. Moreover, it is well known that Gauss liked to hide the intuition of his proofs. That guy also said something along the lines of how Isaac Newton was so smart that he didn’t even need good notation to do world class math, and that Leibniz’s understanding of calculus was significantly lesser than that of Newton.

    I certainly think that the ability for deep understanding and theoretical synthesis that Newton was genius at is extremely important. However, it is not everything, and especially in Newton’s era, what was more lacking was in some sense advancement, cost-reduction, and proliferation in technology and experimental apparatus. The big game changer that enabled the West to develop modern science in my opinion was actually Gutenberg’s printing press. While some Chinese and Koreans like to say that they invented movable type and metal movable type centuries before, with the first metal movable type book printed in Korea, in effect it doesn’t mean all that much because the logographic writing made it too expensive to scale and proliferate. It was a major reason why Chinese mathematical texts in 13th century with decimal arithmetic, numerical methods for solving polynomials, and solutions of equations for geometric problems were forgotten after a dynasty change, with such research only to be resumed by the Japanese in the 17th and 18th century when they discovered determinants, Bernoulli numbers, series for sin and arcsin, and eventually also definite integrals of polynomials.

    Notation is honestly for practical purposes quite important. I read today that the British mathematicians only adopted Leibniz notation around 1820. Sure, a brilliant person can totally get by with worse and cumbersome or inconsistent or redundant notation, but it surely would require more time and cost, sometimes much much more. That Japan and Korea exceeded China in many ways also has to do with their invention of alphabets (Japan before 1000 AD, Korea in 15th century), which made learning, writing, and printing much more efficient.

    Again, in those days, the bottleneck, especially in the West, was more material and one of technology. Even then with the printing press, printing and books were not all that cheap, and dissemination of knowledge was still somewhat slow, which only makes communication more important. I say this also because the West already had Euclid’s Elements firmly established within the elite education system. I would also believe that the ideas within Euclid’s Elements were actually initially spun off the need to solve practical problems. I do not think that thinking axiomatically is natural to humans; it has to be developed over a period of time given certain circumstances. The mathematics in the East was algorithmic, computational, and not axiomatic for this reason, and also for the reason that before paper was invented in the 1st or 2nd century I believe, the Chinese could only write on bamboo strips tied together, to which extremely compact hieroglyphs were in some sense more suited, whereas papyrus had been invented in Egypt over 4000 years ago. Once you have these material problems solved, with some aristocrats with free time and curiosity about mathematics, the production of some theoretical geniuses is not all that difficult in my opinion.

    I recall you’ve written how it would have been ridiculous to try to build airplanes after Bernoulli’s principle was discovered, with reference to the analogy of quantum computing. This is like how though Vikings explored and had some settlements in North America in like 11th century, it didn’t make much difference because at that time, the economic and social circumstances were not ripe for settlement and colonization at scale. Simply said, some of the more mundane and less sexy stuff has to be achieved before one can deliver the more spectacular results. An important theoretical result in science also takes some time to disseminate and be accepted. Heck, after the Romans took over, it took quite a while before the Greek texts were translated to Latin. Back in those days, the lack of printing meant the fall of a dynasty or empire would mean loss of transmission of knowledge and a consequent backwards step that would take some time to recover. One can imagine even that if not for conquest by the Mongols that caused much destruction, the Muslim world would have gotten the results of Galileo, Kepler, Newton earlier provided that they also invented non water powered mechanical clocks.

  31. Rooger Bigod said, on February 28, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    I tried acid a few times in LA back in the 70’s. One morning I was supposed to meet some friends for lunch and I decided to get an early start. I took a the usual dose and started feeling unsteady, so I went back to bed.

    It turned into a mellow, positive trip with happy nature memories. But it wouldn’t have had total karmic fullness without some negative vibes, which I could glimpse as flecks of darkness. They slowly grew to take over the entirety of my mental field, with abrasive grinding noises and wrenching pain. When the agony reached maximum intensity, the karma switch reversed again and it slowly receded. I remained still, since
    I couldn’t do anything about it. I didn’t try to reflect on what was happening, just went with the moment. There were 3 or 4 more rounds of universal sweetness and cosmic suffering before I suddenly woke up. I hadn’t moved despite the inner turbulence.

    I noticed some twinges of discomfort in my upper abdomen and quickly figured out that the episode was muscle spasm in in the upper intestine, probably the duodenum. There are neural ganglia there that use serotonin and related neurotransmitters, and the acid had triggered one. The cosmic suffering I’d experienced was just intense muscle spasm in my innards. The bliss was just my gut’s gratitude forthe relief. I’d read Huxley, Hofmann et al. so I knew what had happened.

    But it would have been easy for an innocent to believe that good and evil forces had been fighting for his soul. I was a little embarrassed to have been taken in to the extent I was, projecting the miswiring of my gut onto the whole universe, but I mostly had the response of a knowing adult to some interesting sex with a dubious partner: I was drunk. No regrets, no repeats.

  32. Zeeshan Mahmud said, on July 7, 2021 at 1:37 am

    I am wondering if I can read this blog aloud in an Youtube podcast with links directing here. I really, really love this article but I feel many people won’t willingly search for it due to the overglamorization of psychedelics, as well as snobbism.


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