[ExI] LA Times: Drugs to build up that mental muscle

PJ Manney pjmanney at gmail.com
Wed Dec 26 19:57:05 UTC 2007

On Dec 25, 2007 3:46 PM, Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com> wrote:
> What do you mean by "at least"? Mainstream attention is detrimental to
> the well-being of the alt-cog or augcog industry. The public will want
> to ban it: those who can't afford it will question why it is that
> others get to be smarter by some 'miracle pill', among other things.

I don't make the news.  I just report it.  :)  What I mean by "at
least" is, the New York Times, Washington Post and European news
organizations, among others, have already been discussing these issues
-- and the ramifications -- in print over the last couple of years.
You and the LA Times are a little late on the uptake.  More
importantly, what do you recommend the people who develop these drugs
and/or use them to do?  Hide under a rock?  Are all the consumers who
are altering themselves or self-experimenting going to disappear?
Since when has that ever happened?

A societal dialogue should and will take place, like it has to a
greater or lessor extent on every other H+ tech/modification.  We
haven't banned cosmetic surgery or personal communications
technologies, just because some people can afford them and other's
can't.  Does the argument for inequality exist in those areas?  Of
course.  We did ban steroids, but for different reasons than fear of
inequality -- they're dangerous.  If certain alt-cog techniques prove
dangerous, they'll be banned, too.  [However, steroids were only
banned in sports for the PR appearances, as window dressing to
maintain an illusion of a level playing field.  Franchises and leagues
have to be seen as prohibiting them, but they secretly encourage their
use.  Trust me, there is no sports franchise on Earth that feels bad
for a kid on 'roids making millions of dollars a year as a sports
entertainer because he'll suffer from negative side effects, no more
than a movie exec feels bad about the negative side effects of an
actress' plastic surgery or consumption of diet drugs.  That's the
price of admission for these kids and they all know it.  The fact that
they are made to feel they have to enhance is the consequence of the
big-money distribution system they work in.]

In reality, while some people debated the ethical issues and paved the
way for acceptance, the tech snuck into the marketplace and found
consumers.  And money talks.  I believe alt-cog is simply one of the
next arenas for this progression.

> Luckily, as the article suggests, there are some fronts that seem to be
> OK, like the ADHD scene (ahem) with quiet dissmissal of any of the
> issues so far.

If you think hiding this phenomenon (or any other H+ one) is going to
make its eventual acceptance easier, I think you're wrong.  New ideas
only become acceptable or mainstream through exposure and trial, plus
repetition, repetition, repetition.  When "yuck" becomes "yeah", then
they are taken for granted.  And a consumer only knows if they are
interested in or capable of pursuing a choice like this with access to


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