Re: Psychedelics

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Nov 23 2000 - 16:20:11 MST

"Zero Powers" <> writes:

> I've seen the phrase bandied about. Not sure of its meaning. What do you
> mean by "meta-programming?"

Who programs the programmer?

The idea is that you can reprogram yourself, change the habits, ways
of thinking or beliefs you have by going into a special state where
they become fluid and you can reset them. I guess the the term
originates with John Lilly in his book _Programming and
Metaprogramming the Human Biocomputer_. Robert Anton Wilson did a lot
of popularization of this idea (cf. _Prometheus Rising_).

In my view (as a computational neuroscientist interested in learning),
the idea isn't bad at all. My main problem with it is that most of the
drugs around produce states that may produce a very fluid view of
reality, but they also make the users so confused that it is hard for
them to do the desirable changes. I think (the early) Leary and others
meant that this was why psychedelics should only be used in a clinical
setting where an expert helped the user to exploit the state.

>From a neuroscience point of view, the drugs also seem to be a bit
crude when it comes to modulating plasticity. Ideally, we should have
drugs that affected only some of the memory and learning systems so
that the effects were more directed and less prone to random
inprinting. Here I think current memory research will produce a lot of
interesting chemicals over the next years as the biochemistry of
memory continues to be discovered (what a wonderful time to work in!
things are happening *fast* right now! :-).

Personally I think other means such as self-hypnosis and
self-suggestion (enhanced for example by ritual) can be even very
useful metaprogramming tools.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:30 MDT