Re: Fast-acting 5-HTP supplementation for accute despair

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun Jul 16 2000 - 09:24:36 MDT

"Michael M. Butler" wrote:
> So, I really want to understand this...
> You appear to be saying: tampering with the serotenergic system(s) is
> not OK, but sticking with the dice that were/are rolled by your genes,
> your perinatal circumstances, your diet... this is somehow guaranteed to
> be Extropic.
> Am I reading this correctly? It sounds really odd to me.

Random tampering is hardly "guaranteed to be extropic" either. I don't
exactly spend all day worrying about whether I'm being sufficiently
"extropic", but I should rather say the spirit of Extropy is
*improvement*, not mere *change*. "Immortality is Extropic, so drinking
ancient Chinese arsenic-based immortality potions must also be
Extropic." Non sequitur.

Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, meaning that
serotonin released by serotonergic axons hangs around the synapses
longer. This may produce a stronger on/off qualitative signal, but it
seems likely to me to blur the transmissions of any information-carrying
synapses. Since serotonin is implicated in self-evaluation
("self-esteem"), and this is thought to be the therapeutic pathway of
SSRIs, it seems that the likely result would be walking around in a
pleasant fog of lowered self-awareness. This corresponds fairly well to
my own experience, except for the "pleasant" part.

--    Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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