[ExI] The Old Dope Peddler

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Jun 24 00:42:37 UTC 2010

2010/6/24  <udend05 at aol.com>:
> Hmmm. Lest anyone should think I am an advocate of such a technology, I want
> to reiterate here that I am only interested in the potential desirability of
> replacing talking therapies with some from of advanced technology that could
> wipe away a person's problems (cognitive, emotional, psychological) and make
> them more effective in terms of their aspirations and their ability to lead
> successful lives (however they may be defined). I see it as a branch of the
> abolitionist project - which is also something I am not entirely decided
> upon.
> But I am certainly not advocating for 'dope' as a way of making people
> happy. Indeed, I'm not really talking about making people happy at all - not
> in the sense of 'Hey, I'm so high I couldn't give a flying...'. What I am
> suggesting is a process that could reverse-engineer, for instance, a
> person's life in order to understand where lines of thought were tainted
> with irrational (to use the language of Albert Ellis, the pioneer of
> Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy) elements. Such a technology might
> enable a person to access buried memories, repressed feelings, forgotten
> relationships or experiences. Think mind uploading and then reviewing the
> data, to give a very basic example.
> To liken these ideas to the use of crude neuropharmaceuticals or
> psychostimulants is an irrelevance at best. The crux of my issue is whether
> there is some inherent value in working through a set of problems within a
> therapeutic setting, or whether that struggle for understanding is an
> unecessary by-product of the procedure. That needs a great deal of working
> out.
> Damian U.

With a talking therapy, you bring about changes in a person's brain by
causing vibrations in the tympanic membrane. With the equivalent pill,
you bring about the same changes via absorption of chemicals from the
gut. One problem with this is that you can't really have an
"equivalent" pill because there is not enough room in a single
chemical to pack the information you can pack into sound waves. So, a
pill will be much cruder than talking therapy. Sometimes crude can be
more effective: you can crack a walnut more easily with a hammer than
by talking to it; other times crude will not be as effective. In
theory you could put more information into a pill by having multiple
chemicals in combination, but there is no guarantee that this method
would work. I would be more hopeful about direct brain-computer

Stathis Papaioannou

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