Re: Hedonistic Imperative

From: phil osborn (
Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 21:18:22 MDT

>Subject: Re: Hedonistic Imperative
>Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 12:49:12 EDT
>In a message dated 6/17/00 11:45:36 AM Central Daylight Time,
> writes:
> > The quality I'm talking about has to
> > do with sensing the unexpected in the ordinary [snip]
> >
> > I've always thought of this way of seeing as being "childlike," because
> > young children often seem to understand it better than older people.
>I'm sure there IS a connection to "childlike" mental attributes. When
>young, our brains need to be very plastic and able to form lots of new
>interconnections between concepts and novel perceptions. As we age and
>master the basics of the world and culture we grow up in, evolution has
>probably selected pretty heavily in favor of "locking in" the connections
>that work. Subjectively this is experienced as a dulling of perception and
>fewer and fewer "aha" experiences. Much of what people describe as the
>psychedelic experience seems to be a recapturing of a childlike openness to
>the novelty of individual experiences and the vividness of the moment.
Phil comments: One of the most valuable experiences I had in college -
initially, at least - was mariuanna intoxication. What I learned was that
in fact I had been screening out most of the reality around me, all the
while thinking myself purposeful and intellectually pure. The patterns and
alternative interpretations on every level - sensory, perceptual,
conceptual, emotional - were almost overwhelming.

A very large portion of maturation consists of that screening out process,
naturally. Unfortunately, the most drastic filtering is required when you
have the fewest tools. As a child, you learn particular filtering
techniques to the point that they become invisible to you. This is normal.
I well recall learning piano. At some point in learning a set piece, I was
no longer directly aware of the motions of my hands and fingers. I sensed
the overall pattern, not the notes.

THC allowed me to go back and look at the techniques that I had developed
for better or worse on the note and finger level. I've never found a better
method for doing this, altho I haven't indulged for many years now, as I am
alreay overwhelmed by the data I'm having to deal with anyway. Who needs
drugs? Reality is too much already... ;)

>One important goal of a mature psychopharmacology should be to give us
>to modulate this childlike openness. We ought to be able to "open up" when
>we need to, so that we can adapt to novel situations and clear out the
>cobwebs of old, set behaviors. At the same time, we need to be able to
>onto hard-won lessons about basics.
> Greg Burch <>----<>

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