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Comment author: Rain 25 March 2010 02:33:41AM *  3 points [-]

if this theory was true - and by manipulating blood glucose levels you could achieve far greater willpower whenever you wanted, what would you do?

I would wait for someone to provide cheap and easy implementation methods (a wristwatch that doubles as a body-monitor and expert system?), so I wouldn't have to do all kinds of primary research using very poor methods like self-experimentation, and wouldn't have to spend money on imprecise testing kits.

Comment author: eris 27 March 2010 10:29:01AM 5 points [-]

There is a cheap and easy way to stabilize blood sugar called ketosis. Anecdotally, suffice it to say that until I saw this article, I'd practically forgotten that I ever had an interest in akrasia.

Comment author: sprocket 26 April 2009 07:27:57PM *  14 points [-]

First of all: Hi all.

I've been thinking about Ramachandran's theory a lot since reading first about it. One of the things it does very neatly, is offer a possible explanation of why psychedelics work the way they do.

Let me explain what I mean. One of the things that has always baffled me about psychedelics such as LSD, LSA or psilocybin (the active ingredient of "magic mushrooms") is that their actions seem far too specific to be caused by a simple substance.

The effect I am referring to is that for some people and in some contexts, they cause what is often called a spiritual experience, i.e., experience that is deeply meaningful to the user and possibly long-term world-view (and behaviour) altering.

Look for example at this study

There's also this active study which is the object of a 12 minute report available on Youtube

From my limited experience, and from what I observed in friends, I would say that psychedelics can be used to increase rationality, specifically by eliminating those sources of irrationality stemming from self-deception. They seem to allow the reexamination of deeply ingrained beliefs about the self and the world, that are beyond everyday reach.

I've always wondered about how the actions of such drugs could be so specific. Of course, this specific action is less suprising when you take for granted that simple "ear-flushing" can have similar effects, even if this applies only in connection with brain damage. The main idea of my post can be summed up as follows:

Maybe psychedelics tap into the same mechanisms that are involved in Anosognosia.

Did anybody else follow this train of thought? Or maybe a related idea concerning meditation (which is associated with a similar realm of experience as psychedelics)?

Comment author: eris 27 April 2009 12:07:21AM *  4 points [-]

I also thought of this, yes. But it was more along the lines of psychedelics being extremely hit or miss. The only drug I know of that is ritually mass-prescribed for spiritual insight is ayahuasca, which I understand is also rather unreliable.

If I were to suggest a drug for denial-busting, it would be MDMA, hands down; it removes fear barriers. (I have no idea why people decided to use it for dancing, of all things.)

Comment author: eris 26 April 2009 12:16:08PM *  16 points [-]

I had the cold water procedure done at a GP to flush out an earwax obstruction. It was absolutely horrible, and I don't recommend it for self-testing.

The flushing took a minute or two. Then there was a minute of starting to feel more and more strange, while everyone asked, "Are you all right?" Then, for the next five or ten minutes....

Notice the reference to REM. If you've ever been so drunk as to see the room spin... you have a slight idea of what my eyes were doing. Closing them didn't help. The staff made me lie down, which made no difference -- I was still clinging desperately to the wall, disoriented and frightened out of my wits.

Eventually the vertigo went away, but I still felt wonky for the next few minutes. Best analogy: being woken from deep sleep and asked to do calculus. Only awake.

Life-changing realizations: none. Perhaps you have to be on-topic at the time. I'm not going back to find out.

Hope this at least slows people down a bit.

[Also, blindsight is an interesting tangent.]

Comment author: eris 26 April 2009 11:21:09AM 6 points [-]

You forgot Gerald the Green, the sole survivor of the earthquake.