On 06 Dec 2009, at 05:21, Johnathan Corgan wrote:

> On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 2:27 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>  
> wrote:
>
>>> All of this indicates that salvinorin A has potent but short-lived
>>> effects on the brain systems involved in memory, identity, body  
>>> image
>>> and perception of time and space (along with a host of other effects
>>> not discussed here).  Regardless of one's view on the use of these
>>> substances to alter one's cognition, it seems there is a great
>>> opportunity to study these effects to zero in on how these brain
>>> systems are related to our subjective experience of reality.
>>
>> Very difficult task, but very interesting, and probably parts of the
>> experience/experiments needed to build an artificial brain.
>
> A double-blind study protocol to test for particular effects would be
> difficult to design, no doubt.  I don't understand your reference to
> the need for an artificial brain.

Some people can say "yes" to the doctor, not for a complete artificial  
brain, but for a part of the brain.
Taking a drug, or a psycho-active substance is already an act of that  
type. Some molecules build by some plants (in general to attract or  
manipulate insects by acting on their brains or nervous system) can  
already be considered as "artificial subpart" of your brain (at the  
molecular level). The use of more and more specific agonist molecules  
for the brain molecules, is a way to learn about the brain, and how  
good can some new molecules can be to do some job in the brain. People  
will not necessarily ever say really "yes" to a doctor, but they will  
be propose evolving artificial part of the brain.
Well, what I say, is that the self-brain-study, through entheogen, may  
accelerate the development of artificial brain parts.



>
> However, it would still be possible to carry out experimentation to
> correlate subjective reports of these altered "1-pov" percepts with
> "3-pov" data obtained by FMRI, EEG, etc.

Exactly. We may never understand the whole human brain, but we can  
find those correlation by self-testing.



> Unfortunately, current laws
> in the U.S. restrict experimentation of this type to therapeutic
> applications.  It is possible to test to see whether MDMA is a
> successful treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, but not, say
> only to find out the dose/response curve for its psychedelic
> properties.

This is weird. What is a psychedelic properties? It is vague term.
I think that studies of that kind have been made on some meditation  
technics.



>
> Absent those types of studies, it would still be enormously
> educational for someone to conduct a meta-analysis of the many
> thousands of first-hand written and recorded reports of Salvia
> Divinorum use.  While far from being a random sample, at least one
> would have a better map of the territory to guide further research.


Yes. It is very informative on the consciousness phenomenon. It is fun  
too. I have a read a lot also of all the possible diaries of dreams,  
and I have written and studied my own dreams. I am no more, because it  
asks for work, a good lucid dreamer, but I have practice and develop  
technics at times, and the tools (mainly coffee!) to practice lucidity  
the night. Nowadays I use calea zacatechichi or salvia, which have  
some interesting impact on dreams (also on the "non REM dreams",  
hypnagogic images, etc.
"Conscience et m├ęcanisme" contains a chapter on dreams, I tend to  
follow Hobson, and Dement, LaBerge, and Jouvet. In the REM dream, we  
are awake, hallucinated and paralysed. The cerebral stem plays a key  
role.




>
>> Well, if we define a drug by something harmful and addictive, then
>> salvia is not known to be a drug today, because there are no evidence
>> it is harmful nor evidence it is addictive.
>
> Indeed, animal studies to date have shown that salvinorin A
> administration reduces the levels of dopamine in the portions of the
> brain associated with addiction and craving, which is exactly opposite
> the effects of strongly addictive and euphoriant drugs like cocaine
> and methamphetamine.  Whether this is true in human brains remains to
> be seen (and difficult to study due to reasons above).
>
> In any case, this discussion is probably more relevant in other
> forums.  I brought it up only because we frequently discuss
> consciousness, memory and identity, and lo and behold there is a drug
> which has radical effects on the subjective experience of all three,
> and a body of written reports to examine.

Not only it is relevant, but it is at the cross of many levels of  
description of the data which we have to take into account if we want  
to progress on the everything riddle.

The relation between a Brain and a Reality is akin to
the relation between a Theory/Machine and a Model, in logic, and to
the relation between an equation and its solution, in algebra.

The common point is a "Galois connection" which entails something  
like, roughly speaking, that to a self-perburtation of the "brain, or  
the theory/machine, or equation" will correspond an exploration of  
nearer set of possible "subjective realities" (for the brain), of  
models for theories, or solutions for the equations.
Reversible self-perturbations of the brain, may help to progress in  
the consciousness,  realities, number relation, but has been used by  
the brain itself all along its evolution. Some technic in artificial  
Intelligence can be described in similar terms. Nature, by which I  
mean the natural numbers (grin) allows feedback between high and low  
levels.

Bruno Marchal


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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