Affective mental "illnesses" and Super-Intelligence

Dave Hall (
Mon, 18 Jan 1999 23:33:22 +0200

I'm new to this group but have read through most threads posted over the past week and a number of the regular participant's personal websites to get an idea of the kind of content required. Brief introduction: I'm 33-year old partially burned-out South African software entrepreneur taking a semi-break from the front lines of "Internet start-up" battlefield. My last project can be found at

As I'm still somewhat overawed by the high quality of writing in this list and on the websites of the various "regular" contributors that I've checked out, I feel it best to pose a few questions before diving in at the deep end with my own view points.

Question to Extropian and Transhumanist thinkers and philosophers: A manic-depressive with a decade long history of recurrent hypomania/mania and mostly mild depressive episodes chooses after initial diagnosis and voluntary hospitalisation to forego the "benefits" of modern medication, so as to better learn to "use" the cycles to enhance thinking and ability. Prior to diagnosis, coping mechanisms were learned by trial and error but are felt to be sufficiently effective. This, of course, could just be warped, grandiose thinking and poor judgement as per the symptoms.

Could this person considered to be a self-experimenting transhumanist OR irresponsible and delusional, a danger to society and to herself/himself?

The reason I ask is that the subject of affective mental "illnesses" hardly seems to appear in transhumanist discussions, "science fiction" scenarios and essays. This despite the psychiatric notion that great minds like Newton and Einstein "suffered" from forms of schizoid affective disorder, whilst the list of possible manic-depressives amongst philosophers, entrepreneurs, leaders etc. is too long to even start mentioning specific individuals. Kind of like no one wants to talk about it, despite huge leaps in neuroscience in recent years.

It would seem to me (and admittedly my research on enhanced intelligence and so forth is still far too limited to say anything really sensible at this point) that studying what it is that made minds like Einstein's tick is a critical part of understanding true super-intelligence, and recreating it artificially. Rather most biotech/medical research appears to be directed at finding "cures" and treatments and better ways to ensure medication compliance.

Insights, comments and questions always appreciated.