Re: TECH/SCI: Brain Changes

From: Michael Wiik (
Date: Tue Apr 25 2000 - 12:42:23 MDT

"ct" <> wrote:


I know zlich about neuro-whatever, but can observe what's happening to
myself. I'm sitting here, surrounded by three PCs which pretty much
continually display animated, colorful web pages and typical apps used
to develop web sites and applications. This goes on for hours and hours
everyday, pretty much from when I wake up to when I go to sleep. I'm a
consultant who works 90% at home, and alone during the day.

For relaxation, I sometimes play games, Quake, HOMM III, SMAC, MOO II,
etc. A while back I noticed that I would sometimes have 'pangs' occuring
in my head while waiting to fall asleep. This occured most noticably
after some intense on-line FPS or RTS gaming. Often the 'pang' would be
a specific sound effect from a game: the retreat effect of a spaceship
withdrawing from battle in MOO II, the 'thump-BOOM!' of a siege tank
firing from Dune 2000.

I've had such 'pangs' before, in my youth, long before exposure to video
games, and by 'pang' I mean a very brief but intense stimulus that wakes
me up and often triggers involuntary muscular action. If you've never
experienced this I would recommend meditating on a corked faucet
building up pressure right before you go to sleep.

Now, I've learned to avoid certain games right before bedtime, and am
considering getting off the computers for an hour or so and viewing some
TV comedy or reading instead. The 'pangs' were usually very occasional,
but lately I'm experiencing something I call 'whooshes', and what it
feels like is every neuron in my brain firing at once. This can occur
especially if I take a late afternoon nap and is unrelated to gaming but
I feel certainly related to my work environment.

Somewhere here there is an intersection between my experiences, the link
referred to above, Greg Egan's _Distress_, etc. I don't know how it all
fits together but to me it suggests that humanity -- or at least the
portion of humanity consisting of high-tech workers in a similar
position to myself -- is doomed. I know I'm projecting here, but I feel
we are lost - there is no going back. We have to embrace post-humanity,
and the post-biological, because we have already passed the point of no
return. Chips are destiny (Kosovo?)

This applies even if 'The Last Mortal Generation' is the one that steps
into the brain-scanning uploading machines.

Michael Wiik
Messagenet Communications Research
Washington DC Area Internet and WWW Consultants

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