[ExI] Which nootropics work best?

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Mon Mar 14 00:36:49 UTC 2011

On Mar 13, 2011, at 2:25 PM, Will Steinberg wrote:

> Max,
> In the most serious manner possible, I recommend taking a dose of serotonin-pathway-affecting psychedelics.  The most commonly known of these are LSD and psilocybin-containing mushrooms.  The experiences I have had with these substances are the most profound form of cognitive enhancement I have ever encountered, and the positive aftereffect/takeaway is long-lasting and integrable into normal life.
> When you think under the influence of these psychedelics, the way you proceed through concepts is not the same as sober life.  It is no longer linear; instead of taking one route from a concept to an endpoint you view the proverbial vector bundle of all possible thought routes out of this concept.  In this way, instead of beating around the bush to conceive an idea, one has the choice to engage totally with any idea.  The platonic nature of the concept is revealed by an exhaustive (and incomprehensibly fast) understanding of its causes and effects.

In my youth I did follow this school of mind-expansion pretty closely including running many many personal "experiments".    Except for a few episodes of extreme hyper-lucidity, hyper-focus and extreme insight the overall results were not so good for cognitive enhancement.  The hyper-lucid, etc. states were not at all dependably producible.  The spaced out and other side effects were large.    I would not recommend this path as a way to cognitive enhancement.  I might recommend parts of it for other things for some people but not for that.    

Now if you are or have access to a very excellent underground chemist and brilliant trustworthy researches that have found otherwise and can help in applying their findings then please set up a secure channel and let me know.

> Also unique is the ability to blur the lines of the ego, so we may see our place in a very large, complicated universe.  It gives you more appreciation for both nature and the incredible specimen that the human brain is.

Ego death is a common brain based phenomenon under some drugs and under many types of meditation.  It is not significant for enhancing cognition.  It can be a great help in reorienting personality and worldview though.  That is one of the reasons psychedelics were and are interesting from a therapeutic point of view.

> It is sad that many people who do not understand the effects of the aforementioned substances take them and give them a 'bad rap.'  For intelligent enough people, the only effect these drugs can have is a wider, more comprehensive perspective on reality.  

Well, not the only effect but I agree they are given more of a 'bad rap' than deserved.  Of course it would help tremendously if what was actually being talked about was quality sources rather than street drugs that vary tremendously.

- samantha

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