Like meditation, psychedelics are a tool that many humans have used to achieve profound and insightful states of consciousness going far beyond the ordinary ones we experience in our daily lives.

Compared to meditation they have different pluses and minuses. They can have profound transformative effect, and take you into amazing places, without requiring years of preliminary practice first. On the other hand -- like meditation but perhaps even more profoundly so -- they can induce all sorts of confusion, states in which one part of the mind fools the other and so forth.

The criminalization of psychedelics in most modern societies has made it difficult for their potential to yield positive transformation in the contemporary context to be thoroughly explored. This is a real shame.

However, it seems likely that once technology has advanced further, we will have far less crude means of altering our state of consciousness. Psychedelics and meditation will then be viewed as blunt instruments for modifying brain dynamics. Once brain dynamics are better understood ... and especially, once we have either nanotech for pliably modifying the brain, or uploading that puts our minds into more pliable substrates ... then we'll be able to shape our state of mind the way a master sculptor shapes a hunk of clay.

And then, "drugs are bad" won't be a moral judgment, but rather a realistic assessment of their relative effectiveness!


  1. Following from my comment on the 'Joy and Pain' section and after reading this it's made me wonder whether one could ultimately perceive physical reality as emerging patterns in universal consciousness that deal with the consciousnesse's changing experience. In other words, assuming that all actual states of mind exist in the same meta space and they all get experienced by the same one experiencer (godhead, brahman, universal consciousness, whatever) then all these ordered patterns of causal structures that we perceive as physical reality are nothing more than emergent patterns of conscious states, themselves being yet more self-referential conscious states. This is surely not a new idea but it makes me wonder if all reality amounts to is God getting caught up in his daydreams, giving raise to things like universes, us and even singularities (I guess this sort of what the Hinduists believe). If there isn't much more to it then I'm pretty sure the first GAI would realize it very soon and probably turn itself into some sort of enlightened Buddha god who might appear very boring to us. Perhaps the only real issue, if any, is for us to figure out how to most easily experience whatever it is we want to experience and totally forget about any notion of real as opposed to illusory, since ultimately pretty much everything is just an illusion.

  2. Are you trying to say that artilects are going to look like Mr Mackey? "Drugs are bad, mmm-kay?"
    (It would be kind of a cosmist practical joke if the artilects arrived on the time-line and summarily exterminated the terrans, but were so bored with the cosmist humans and so afraid of amplifying their gonads in intelligence that they pretended that their ideal society was one ruled by carbon copies of South Park's Mr. Mackey, so that we would all kill ourselves out of boredom...)

    BTW: you won't hurt my feelings if you remove my posts here. They are just my immediate "off the cuff" reactions to what you wrote