Brent Meeker writes:

> In fact, if we could > reprogram our own minds at will, it would be a very different world. > Suppose you were upset because you lost your job. You might decide to > stay upset to the degree that it remains a motivating factor to look for > other work, but not affect your sleep, ability to experience pleasure, > etc. If you can't find work you might decide to downgrade your > expectations, so that you are just as content having less money or a > menial job, or just as content for the next six months but then have the > motivation to look for interesting work kick in again, but without the > confidence- and enthusiasm-sapping disappointment that comes from > repeated failure to find work.
I think that's called a cocaine habit. :-)

The difference between happiness that is derived from illicit drugs and happiness derived from real life is that the former does not really last, ending in tolerance, dependence, depression, deterioration in physical health, inability to work and look after oneself, not to mention criminal activity due to the fact that the drugs are illegal. This is because drugs are a very crude way of stimulating the nervous system. It is like programming a computer with a soldering iron. The only time drugs work well is if there is a relatively simple fault, like an excess or deficit of a certain neurotransmitter, and even there you have to be lucky for function to return to normal. Changing specific aspects of thinking or emotions without screwing up other functions in the process would require much greater finesse than modern pharmacology can provide, and greater efficacy than psychology can provide. David Pearce in "The Hedonistic Imperative", and some science fiction writers (Greg Egan, Walter Jon Williams come to mind) have looked at some of the consequences of being able to reprogram your emotions, motivations, memories and personality. No-one that I am aware of has explored how utterly alien a world in which we had access to our own source code at the finest level would be. Perhaps that is one of the things that would happen at the Vingean Singularity.

Stathis Papaioannou
Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to