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Op-Ed: Microdosing psychedelics — Cure for hacks, hype, or what?

The original idea of psychedelics was “expanding your mind” aka getting out of the pre-programmed rut in which people live and are trained to live. Much hype, and very little practical learning, has come of this idea. Aldous Huxley, Carlos Casteneda, and others developed the theme. The theme, incidentally, is very similar to the mystic experiences of laudanum and opium in the 19th century, but hey, who knew that?
In the 1950s and 60s, governments experimented with LSD as a mind control drug until the soldiers who took the acid told anyone who gave them orders to F… Off, and that was pretty much that. Now, some new research has discovered psychedelics do in fact deliver “unconstrained thought”, and do it without the bad experiences.
The new research was conducted by Luisa Prochazkova of Leiden University in the Netherlands. For a nice change the research focused on actual thinking processes, notably “convergent thought” and “fluid thought”, which mean finding a single solution to a problem and recognizing multiple possible solutions, respectively.
The result of the research was to note that the psychedelics, in this case truffles, did deliver exactly those results, marked improvements in both types of thinking. Nice to know that something anyone could have told you in the 1960s is now getting some attention, anyway.
It’s also nice to note that someone is finally doing some real documentation on a subject which is now almost folklore in the creative sphere. There are literally millions of accounts of the effects of microdosing online, but, of course, Big Pompous Science hasn’t really been paying much attention. It’s like there’s a law which says anything people are interested in has to be referred for approval to some ponderous committee.
In this case, it seems to be a committee of people dedicated to denigrating human thought. Disapproval of psychedelics by middle class media in the 1960s was based on the same moralistic BS as FOX today – People don’t have opinions or ideas, which is why they have to be told what their opinions and ideas are, and why they must have those opinions and ideas. So there.
In an environment where anti-creative people like media messiahs and social engineering psychologists, the least thoughtful people on Earth, flourish, it takes a bit of guts to do this research. The problem with researching human thought and intelligence is that these subjects are monopolized by psychology plodders, and behavioural evangelists who think everything is proof of their superiority over their study subjects.
(To be fair, many psychologists consider this bizarrely mediocre approach to their patients and studies to be totally insane, and incompetent. Not everyone does psychology purely for the purpose of looking down on the rest of humanity.)
Silicon Valley does acid? Yes, it does
The Silicon Valley version of microdosing isn’t some sort of fad. It’s actually an accepted way of working, and the people doing it aren’t too shy about it. They report better focus, better concentration, and even better empathy. There’s even a Reddit group of 18,000 people who report to each other, advise, and subject range from depression treatments to magic mushrooms, and microdosing while taking medication, among other things.
This rather more mature approach to psychedelics is long overdue. With all due respect to the original pioneers, enthusiasm and facts aren’t always the same things. Some practical approaches have always been needed, given the hype. God knows, someone might even trip over a way to be happy, pun intended.
Watch this subject. This research is meaningful and worthwhile. The only thing that bothers me about it is that Neuroscience, that smug little brat of a science, may stick its snout in to it and come up with some sort of Cambridge Analytica motif, something manipulative (the other hallmark of lousy science) or similar crud. Looks like the research is off the leash, though, which is good.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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