[extropy-chat] When Did (or Do) People Start Locking Doors?

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Fri Dec 15 17:58:38 UTC 2006

On 12/15/06, spike <spike66 at comcast.net> wrote:

> In retrospect, there were probably heroin addicts about, but we failed to
> recognize them.  We expected filthy wrecks of men, lying unconscious in the
> gutter with a belt around the arm.  The real heroin addicts were most
> likely  indistinguishable from everyone else, possibly a little ragged
> around the edges, but so were we back in those days.

It is useful to note, that there were millions "addicted" to opium [1] (or
morphine [2]) in the late 19th century as a result of treatment for
neuropathy resulting from amputations during the Civil War and that fact
that laudanum [3] was commonly used by many women to relieve monthly
cramps.  It is also true that many authors we now hold in high esteem were
users (abusers?) during this time period.  Heroin [4] abuse arose in large
part due to the restrictions on availability of opium, morphine and laudanum
which in turn had is initial start in the "upstanding" upper crust of San
Francisco seeking to avoid having their daughters from frequenting the opium
dens of the Chinese in San Francisco and becoming easy sexual prey of the
"foreigners".  The History channel has a good documentary on this which they
broadcast from time to time [5].

The derivatives of opium which were supposed to be "better" unfortunately
were increasingly addictive which led to the nightmare in which one finds
oneself today (where highly addicted people in a criminalized environment
will commit criminal acts in order to satisfy the addiction).  It would be
so much easier and less costly to create environments which enable people to
"manage" addictions.

Fortunately, research is making progress separating the neuronal pain
pathways (which drive a significant fraction of alcohol or drug, esp.
opiate, "abuse") from the mental state pathways of wanting to "disconnect"
from reality.  Hopefully within the next decade we will have much better
solutions to the pain aspects (e.g. [6, 7]).

In the forthcoming era, one will easily be able to support people
(disconnected from "reality") who exist off of easily available energy
resources (nanoera parasites if you will) who do not wish to engage in the
survival and evolution game (e.g. Spike's so-called "filthy wrecks").
However there will come a point (in thousands or millions of years) when
parasites will have to justify their continued existence.

The interesting question for society is (and will be) whether the Poes and
Byrons make up for the not-Poes & not-Byrons (and to what extent one should
support or tolerate the not's in hope of the contribution the not nots may


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphine
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudinum
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroin
5. "Illegal drugs and how they got that way" (maybe?)
6. Such as opiorphin:
7. or cone snail toxin derivatives:
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