Drug blog, day 1: Room for one more?

Followup to: Zinnia on drugs! A nootropics experiment

23-24 Aug 2010

I woke up around 12:30 PM, then took 2 piracetam and 2 choline (1600mg/1300mg) at 4:00 PM, 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM. The choline citrate tablets have a sour and tangy taste.

Overall, I haven't noticed much of an effect so far, but I wasn't really taxing myself today - just lazing around, playing video games, working on the next video (it's about mosques) and idly philosophizing. Did you ever think about the possibility that there could be minds complex enough that they could think about people and their minds in such detail that these thoughts would have a consciousness of their own? This may not be entirely hypothetical. If dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder) is a genuine phenomenon, this would seem to indicate separate "individuals" coexisting in one brain, alternately having primary access to the body or being pushed into unconsciousness.

This seems like it would have some interesting neurological implications, given that (as far as we're aware) the brain typically only appears to house one personality, which is never really forced into the background by some competing consciousness. People with DID start out with only one as well - but somewhere along the line, others develop. Is it possible to think about something or someone with enough complexity that it becomes conscious? Is there even enough usable space in the human brain for this to be a real occurrence?

That's not the pills talking, these are just the kinds of things I tend to think about.

Other than that, I haven't been experiencing any kind of unusual insight that I'm aware of. If anything, maybe I've had a bit of irritability (I've been yelling at idiots on reddit all day, but that's not unusual), though it's nothing excessive and it may just be because I have to sit around at the gallery tomorrow instead of doing a video like I wanted (which is my real job). If I happen to be a super-bitch, do let me know!

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15 responses to Drug blog, day 1: Room for one more?

  1. James Rowland says:

    Mental constructs becoming conscious themselves? Yeah, a few weeks back I was trying to think of a plausible reason an explanation for consciousness might be inaccessible to conscious minds (rather than simply unknown but discoverable) and the same thought dawned on me. The thought didn't become conscious though. :)

    If a particular kind of information structure is conscious when instantiated (and without any other prerequisites,) then thinking about one ought to create a conscious instance.

    There might be some fundamental reason why this won't happen. Maybe conscious minds can only be instantiated as representations in physical information (i.e. states of matter) and not as second-order representations. Or so went my idle speculation...

    One thing that definitely IS possible is to have more than one mind in a (damaged) brain. Split brain patients have been shown to have different opinions depending on which hemisphere you ask!

    • Zinnia says:

      I was thinking it would be more of a limitation along the lines of how it takes literally years just for the brain to physically develop to the point of having one personality within it. This seems to take a lot of work, and it's also implemented in a stable physical structure, albeit a gradually changing and developing one. That's what makes me suspicious of the idea of creating a whole other persistent person inside nothing but a thought. With a very large and complex mind unlike anything in the realm of human experience, perhaps it would be more plausible. But in a human mind? I suspect that, if it was even possible, it may not have the consistent features that we see in stable, singular personalities. It might appear for mere moments and then vanish as soon as the idea leaves your mind.

      Either way, it seems like it would be difficult to detect and monitor, at least given present technology.

      • Lilith says:

        Well, It's not inconceivable for one brain to have multiple identities... and it's not necessarily a bad thing that some people do have them. First of all, consider how much information the Human brain can hold. We don't have a static cap on how much data we can store in our brains, but it's upwards for a few petabytes. Second, I COULD make an analogy to computer science and say that someone with DID may well have discovered, either intentionally or not, how to "dual-boot" different personalities, akin to how I have dual-booted my laptop to run Windows and Ubuntu and can go freely between the two. All our brains are is essentially an organic computer and little more.

  2. Ann says:

    Do you take choline as a common vitamin, or is it something you decided to combine piracetam with?

    I don't think you're going to notice the effect of piracetam quickly, unless it's actually a placebo effect.

    I've been taking another nootropic, which is supposed to be much stronger and have an immediate effect, but I haven't noticed any changes so far.

  3. N-Szewski says:

    haha I was thinking for sure at first that that was the pills talking, just because you sort of brought that up so out of the blue. Also, I never really heard you talk about subjects like this. I suppose that's probably because there's not usually a use for making a journal on it since there's probably not enough information to give about it.

    But that sort of interested me that you do think about these things a lot because sometimes I wonder who else thinks about things that almost seem to be possible, yet if you really tried to bring it up in a blog, you'd just sound like a psychonaut. I know I do, ever since I began to care about learning and left my New Age hippy beliefs. But sometimes thinking about these things makes me worry that I'm still somewhere inside thinking like my New Age self. But obviously I never think the way I used to, like "Hey, that really seems to all make sense. I'm adding that to the list of things that I believe now".

    I guess when I think of smart people, I think that whenever they see abstract philosophies, or even ones that may not be quite so hypothetical and think "I don't see how this is even reasonable to wonder about". So that's just why that kind of surprised me.

    • Zinnia says:

      That's usually why I don't always mention this sort of thing, because most of the time it's not assembled into a coherent or meaningful philosophy rather than just something interesting to think about. Still, I try to remain rational about it and in line with reality as we know it.

  4. The movie, and maybe a book on "The three faces of Eve" was about multipul persoalities later explaned as "caused by abuse" at an early age. A real eye opener!

  5. Michael Lewis says:

    Interesting... I'll need to meditate on that. My intuition is that, though as we think about things we may give attribution to the thoughts themselves of consciousness if it seems appropriate, I think it's just an extension of our own, the same way that if we write a book, we can know what all the characters are thinking by pretending that they're conscious, but without actually giving them consciousness, and the more defined their mental state is, the more conscious they seem.

    Idle philosophizing is basically what I define myself as doing, the rest is just filler.

    Here's one for you: Do you think it's possible that, over billions of years of evolution, that somewhere in the universe there's an organism so advanced that they are actually aware of our consciousness and our thoughts the same way we're aware of a conversation going on in a room we share with those having it?

  6. Adam says:

    Have you read I Am A Strange Loop by Douglas R. Hofstadter? It investigates some philosophical issues similar to the ones you raised here. If you're looking for a book on which to test piracetam's attentional effects, perhaps it could be that one, if you're already thinking about this sort of thing.

    (Also, I would not be surprised at all if you have already read Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by the same author, but if you haven't, I strongly recommend it.)

    • Zinnia says:

      I have GEB, yet haven't read it yet. I'll make an effort to. I read part of I Am a Strange Loop a couple years ago. I'll try to find it again.

  7. Pingback: Day 2: Of two minds | Zinnia Jones

  8. Pingback: Day 8: Videos :: Zinnia Jones

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