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Comment: Re:It's just sad... (Score 1) 164

by Kingofearth (#47160671) Attached to: 'Godfather of Ecstasy,' Chemist Sasha Shulgin Dies Aged 88
Why do so many people seem to think it's axiomatic that all drugs cause brain damage? Most psychedelic drugs are not known to cause any neurological damage. Our brains are constantly restructuring themselves to adapt and learn from the current environment, and drugs, like everything else you come in contact with, will affect that. But in general that's a neutral change; it's not necessarily good or bad, it could be either.

A few people do end up rewiring their brains in negative ways from psychedelics, but most people generally find the changes beneficial if they are using it safely (which I suppose is a subjective term). Many people who have used psychedelics report being better able to connect with people and nature, being able to watch the flow of their thoughts more easily, and having abstract thinking come more easily. Not to mention the new perspective on what it means to be you and the subjective nature of reality that the psychedelic experience itself gives you.

If you think people take LSD "to get cool dreams, feel bliss, or see things" you obviously don't know much about it.

Comment: Re:Whatever (Score 3, Interesting) 529

by Kingofearth (#46493883) Attached to: Religion Is Good For Your Brain
I'm an atheist myself, but if you don't think there are real benefits from the community and support involved in group religious participation you're just as deluded as they are. My parents are involved with their church and I see a lot of benefits that they gain from it, in addition to the sense of hope and protection their "delusional" beliefs bring (which provide some value as well, regardless of their truth).

They have a community of people they've gotten to know fairly well over the years, some of whom they have become good friends with. They take part in numerous "extra-curricular" activities made available to them such as softball leagues, YMCA outings, book clubs, etc. One summer when there was lots of flooding a bunch of them helped put sandbags around people's houses. When I was moving apartments and had a 3-day gap between move-out and move-in, someone from their church let us borrow a large trailer for the week so we wouldn't have to rent a U-haul and deal with unloading it just to load it back up in a couple days.

Then there's the fact that they regularly get together with their fellow church-goers with the express intent of discussing deep topics. Things getting to the core of what makes them who they are. What the purpose of life is. Why things are they the way they are. Discussions of right and wrong. Although I really wish those discussions wouldn't be limited to biblical analysis and based off what I see as extremely flawed premises, at least they're discussing these significant topics. And even if they aren't discovering fundamental truths, there are big emotional and cognitive benefits to just having those discussions.

I really wish there were similar groups for the non-religious. Where we could meet weekly to discuss philosophy and the state of our existence. Get to know a group of people at a deep level, where it's encouraged to discuss our feelings, hopes, fears, and beliefs to get support and feedback. A community that will help each other out in hard times, and organize fun events for good times.

Comment: Re:Article not quite right (Score 1) 221

Magic? Did you read the article? There were concrete demonstrable results from the experiment. No magic involved, just a drug that activated certain receptors. Are you also going to argue that amphetamine doesn't actually make people better able to focus and any benefits it allegedly provides people in getting things done is "magical thinking"?

I'm not saying do acid all the time. And of course had work and discipline are important to improving yourself and coming up with new ideas, but LSD opens up a different way of thinking about and perceiving things that a lot of people find very valuable. I fail to see how any of those things precludes the others.

Ever hear the phrase "sleep on it"? It's true that a lot of the time sleeping and not thinking about something will cause you to come up with a solution to a problem. That certainly doesn't mean sleeping all the time and constantly ignoring your problems will solve everything.

It's all about using the wide range of tools at your disposal.

Comment: Re:Am I the only one *not* worried/panicking... (Score 1) 221

Probably fear of the unknown, mixed with jealousy for those who get to experience a future i never will, mixed with disappointment at all the answers i'll never get to some of the questions that really fascinate me. There are some other emotions too. I don't live like that though. I don't think i'm unique in this respect.

You're definitely not alone. That sums up my view perfectly

Comment: Re:Similar Tests.. (Score 4, Interesting) 221

And there was the study done by John Hopkins Medical School which looked at the effects of psilocybin on healthy adults.

Fourteen months after participating in the study, 94% of those who received the drug said the experiment was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39% said it was the single most meaningful experience.

Critically, however, the participants themselves were not the only ones who saw the benefit from the insights they gained: their friends, family member and colleagues also reported that the psilocybin experience had made the participants calmer, happier and kinder.

You can read more about it here: http://healthland.time.com/201...

Comment: Re:Article not quite right (Score 5, Interesting) 221

People always make jokes like this about LSD, and granted a lot of "revelations" and "brilliant ideas" turn out to just be drug-induced delusions, but you really can learn a lot about yourself and other things from LSD. A lot of the things you learn are deeply personal and wouldn't be meaningful to anyone else. Some are things you already "knew", but get integrated better from the experience. And a lot of people have profound spiritual experiences, which, truth aside, provide their lives with meaning.

And then there was the experiment where a couple dozen professionals who had been stuck on various problems for months were given LSD to determine it's effects on creative problem solving. (You can read about the experiment here: http://www.themorningnews.org/...) but here's a quote:

"But here’s the clincher. After their 5HT2A neural receptors simmered down, they remained firm: LSD absolutely had helped them solve their complex, seemingly intractable problems. And the establishment agreed. The 26 men unleashed a slew of widely embraced innovations shortly after their LSD experiences, including a mathematical theorem for NOR gate circuits, a conceptual model of a photon, a linear electron accelerator beam-steering device, a new design for the vibratory microtome, a technical improvement of the magnetic tape recorder, blueprints for a private residency and an arts-and-crafts shopping plaza, and a space probe experiment designed to measure solar properties."

Yeah, LSD is a lot of fun to use recreationaly, and it's easy to mock "the semi-coherent ramblings of some guys on LSD," but LSD has a lot of potential to offer our society if only we'd take it seriously.

Comment: Re:Who's surprised? (Score 1) 310

by Kingofearth (#45281165) Attached to: NSA Monitored Calls of 35 World Leaders
My post wasn't intended to be more about consistency than spying in general. If you're ok with our government spying on any foreigners for any reason, then you must be ok with foreign governments spying on us for any reason, at least if you want to be able to claim your argument is based on some fundamental concept of right and wrong and not just "I want the world to revolve around me."

We should be spying on nations, organizations, and people who are a direct physical threat to the safety of our country, and I would expect and be fine with other countries doing the same. We should have a military that will protect our country from those physical threats as well, as should every other country. Just because I disagree with many of the people our agencies spy on doesn't mean I want our spies gone altogether, I just want them to be focused only on the people who are out to cause us harm.

More to my original point, if I am not planning harm against Russia or France, I would say it is immoral for them to spy on me. On the other hand, if I were planning an attack against those countries, I may not like them spying on me, but it would be hard to argue that it is immoral for them to do so.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack

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