Do YOU know where your impulses come from?
VERY important to note here that TLP/Alone thinks that Toxoplasmosis in humans is a possible reason behind schizophrenia.
Although schizophrenia is probably more related to that C4 runaway synaptic collapse thing due to the high heritability, it should be noted that "too much dopamine" maps eerily well to the effects of toxoplasmosis on a wolf, and too much dopamine is a huge part of what psychosis is, thus every antipsychotic downregulating dopamine.
Fantastic article. Just re this bit though, "But if so, it’s a parasite/disease/damage that has infected nearly all of the great figures in history as well as the successful people I personally know", you might be using a limited definition of success here. The Harvard Longitudinal Study on Happiness suggests that happiness and life satisfaction are pretty much only correlated with the quality of our human relationships. There might be some pursuits it ain't worth winning at.
Resident Evil 4 for the Oculus is awesome, just in case anyone was wondering.
Robert Heinlin refers to this exceptional few in this quote:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”
Do you think that drug would also curb - or even eradicate - your impulses to be creative? I love writing. It soothes my anxiety in a way I'd describe as spiritual. Yet, any number of vices, including overeating, also stifle my anxiety in a way that is more immediate and requires less effort, but leaves me empty. Too many times I find myself with an impulse to be creative but choose the latter instead. I guess what I'm trying to say is that anxiety can drive us to be productive or self-destructive, but if it didn't exist at all we might just become complacent zombies.
I'm so glad I found you after being served your tiktok videos on Instagram. You're doing great being a reluctant celebrity. I am going to enjoy reading through your newsletters!
Love this. But my cruel master compels me to inform you that you spelled it "cruel mater" once after the gloriously organized purple cables.
A fine reminder that control is a rumor scrawled on a bathroom wall.
I've often said that if someone creates an implant that fixes ADHD I'll be the first one on the table screaming for them to drill a hole in my head and stick that shit in my brain.
And now you tell me there's a drug that might effectively do the same thing?
Sign me up. Stimulant medication only takes the edge off my symptoms and works as a bit of a crutch.
Darn it, Jason. You got me to pre-order your book. I'm not sorry. I guess I'll go finish reading the article now, and working on my books.
About the effect of the internet on controlling ideas:
This is why the world wide web will come to an end. It will be replaced by a series of national internets with heavily policed international connections. That way, your mind won't be "polluted" by external views. That way, they'll have more control.
This makes me think of friends of mine who have told me they envy my executive function because they feel they fall short, but there are times I wish I could give it to them. Would I get as much done without it? Would I be happier? In the cosmic scale, which matters more?
I think you've still got a problem here - you're explaining motivation in an abstract way (the desire to accomplish a thing), without considering the thing itself. What if the compulsive whacker-off is perfectly fine with his situation, and wishes to perfect his talent for slapping it? What if the compulsive zoophile is totally fine with the idea that a horse should be inside of them? Science here has only dealt with half the problem - they can make it easier for people to get the things they want, but they can't make them want the right things. If you give an anti-trans fundamentalist a pill that charges them up, I suspect that will lead to a lynching long before it leads to a productive and useful transformation.
So medical science has two issues to deal with, and it's only hit one - make a person want to do something that the person already wants to do, but harder. The second one is the hard part. The second one is how you override volition and convert pacifists into soldiers and quite contented fat people into fitness buffs. I would go so far as to say that the second bit is more important than the first. The growth in extremists that we've seen over the past twenty years or so hasn't made things better., and we would just be manufacturing more extremists.
Now, I suspect that in a hundred years, we're going to have some of this figured out. There are dangerous paraphilias. We're going to figure out what makes a person want to diddle what they want to diddle, and we're going to be able to change it so that the pedophile just doesn't want to screw kids in grammar school anymore. The social ramifications are staggering, of course (in making this discovery, you will have also discovered a mechanism that can be weaponized to de-gay somebody, for instance, and we are all in some way familiar with X-Men, I assume). That work, however, I expect to be limited to one thing or class of things at a time. Anger and aggression do not come from the same place as your hog administrator. The desire to eat/not eat food doesn't come from the same place as anger and aggression, or (presumably) your hog administrator.
How we use these new motivational drugs will reflect moral norms (if we only give the pills to people who want to be skinny, we will be implicitly setting or reifying the norm that being fat is somehow "wrong"), but I doubt they'll change them. I'm more scared of that second bit.