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This is your brain on Neuralink

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher






July 19, 2019

Originally published July 19, 2019, in response to Elon Musk's Neuralink plan to fix brain disorders

Musk's idea might sound funny, were it not for the fact that many equally nutty ideas have been implemented in the name of psychiatric 'science' over the past 150 years: enema therapy, insulin coma therapy, Metrazol therapy, fever therapy, enforced isolation, and even forced sterilization - all piously claiming a scientific basis for their method of action. As if this past menu of hubristic horrors is not enough, we have modern psychiatry to thank for the fact that, even as I type this, 1 in 4 American women are chemically dependent on SSRIs for a lifetime - never mind the fact that these pills were originally trialed and marketed only as short-term remedies.

To be sure, Musk's comments focus on the use of implanted AI to treat Alzheimer's, but he also makes the grandiose insinuation that no mental trouble will eventually be beyond the mind-correcting powers of his surgically implanted device.

I used to laugh at the Kurzweils of the world who ran around screaming that "the Singularity is at hand," while I, for my part, could not even make myself understood by a corporate phone-bot, not even when using the most basic of highly articulated English-language phrases. But now I see that the AI proselytizers have to be taken seriously, not because they are on the brink of solving the world's problems, but because they THINK they are and so are liable to create real problems for real patients, unless we see through their enticing sci-fi pretensions to the vapid philosophy that underlies it: materialism, which is to say the philosophy according to which all the nonsense cures cited above once claimed to be justified.

Don't get me wrong: I would be thrilled if Musk could electronically tweak the brain so as to essentially cure Alzheimer's, but his ambitions go far beyond that. He's out to cure "brain disorders" in general, which, given his materialist assumptions, presumably means depression and anxiety as well.

That's where I say "hold everything."

We already know of plants whose use can create new neural connections in the brain, yet we do not even consider using them to treat mental illnesses. Why? Because Americans, who otherwise boast of their scientific prowess, have yet allowed those plants to be rendered illegal for over a half a century now. Plants! To be rendered illegal! In a scientific society? Hello?

We have no right to go casting about in the electronics cupboard for cures for depression and anxiety under such anti-scientific circumstances. Scientists and researchers should instead be rising up en masse to overthrow this government-sponsored prohibition on medical progress. (Better late than never: had they not been snookered by politics and materialist prejudices against psychedelics, scientists would have risen up in this way 50 years ago.)

Instead, almost to a man (and to a woman), scientists ignore their loss of freedom, expunging it from history in the very sentences that they speak. Thus a clinician will claim that they use ECT as a last resort, because everything else has failed for a given patient, when what they really mean is: 'We're using ECT because the government refuses to let us use non-damaging and non-addictive plant-based therapies instead.' That honesty would serve a profound purpose, by reminding the tabloid-led public how hysteria-based drug laws end up harming everyone in the long run.

I mention these indefensible drug laws because Musk's ambitions only make sense in the light of their pernicious existence. If the depressed and anxious were able to proceed with the informed use of psychedelics to treat their depression and anxiety, then I think Musk's AI plans would appear as laughable to them.

'Let's see,' says the giggling psychonaut: 'I can use this natural plant here to expand my mind, thus following in the footsteps of the mysteries at Eleusis in which Plato himself took part. . or I can have this Elon Musk fellow implant some operating software in my brain - which he'll no doubt update from time to time à la Windows Updates."

Then, reflecting on the countless PCs that have been ruined by Windows' bug-filled Updates...

"Uh, thanks, Elon, but I think I'll stick with my plant medicine!"

Author's Follow-up: December 1, 2022



Neuralink might be just another promising tool in a sane world, but it is an ominous development in a Drug War society, because its very existence begs the question, why are we willing to computerize the brain while we are unwilling to naturally empower it with godsend medicines? Apparently for the same reason that we will damage the brains of the depressed with shock therapy but we are unwilling to let them chew a coca leaf, use laughing gas or enjoy MDMA. Apparently for the same reason that we are willing to euthanize patients with chemicals but we are not willing to give them chemicals that will encourage them to live.




Next essay: Eight Reasons to End Drug Testing
Previous essay: America's biggest drug pusher: The American Psychiatric Association:

More Essays Here




Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

That's the problem with prohibition. It is not ultimately a health question but a question about priorities and sensibilities -- and those topics are open to lively debate and should not be the province of science, especially when natural law itself says mother nature is ours.
ME: "What are you gonna give me for my depression, doc? MDMA? Laughing gas? Occasional opium smoking? Chewing of the coca leaf?" DOC: "No, I thought we'd fry your brain with shock therapy instead."
"When two men who have been in an aggressive mood toward each other take part in the ritual, one is able to say to the other, 'Come, let us drink, for there is something between us.' " re: the Mayan use of the balche drink in Encyc of Psych Plants, by Ratsch & Hofmann
In his book "Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers," Ross Heaven explains how "salvinorin A" is the strongest hallucinogen in the world and could treat Alzheimer's, AIDS, and various addictions. But America would prefer to demonize and outlaw the drug.
The December Scientific American features a story called "The New Nuclear Age," about a trillion-dollar plan to add 100s of ICBM's to 5 states, which an SA editorial calls "kick me" signs. This Neanderthal plan comes from pols who think that compassion-boosting drugs are evil!
Drug warriors aren't just deciding for us about drugs. They're telling us that we no longer need Coleridge poems, Lovecraft stories, Robin Williams, Sherlock Holmes, or the soma-inspired Hindu religion.
The Drug War is one big entrapment scheme for poor minorities. Prohibition creates an economy that hugely incentivizes drug dealing, and when the poor fall for the bait, the prohibitionists rush in to arrest them and remove them from the voting rolls.
Folks point to the seemingly endless drugs that can be synthesized today and say it's a reason for prohibition. To the contrary, it's the reason why prohibition is madness. It results in an endless game of militaristic whack-a-mole at the expense of democratic freedoms.
In "Four Good Days" the pompous white-coated doctor ignores the entire formulary of mother nature and instead throws the young heroin user on a cot for 3 days of cold turkey and a shot of Naltrexone: price tag $3,000.
We deal with "drug" risks differently than any other risk. Aspirin kills thousands every year. The death rate percentage from free climbing is huge. But it's only with "drug use" that we demand zero deaths (which ironically causes far more deaths than necessary).
More Tweets


essays about
MATERIALISM AND THE DRUG WAR

How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed
Obama's Unscientific BRAIN Initiative
Materialism and the Drug War Part II
How Thomas Nagel Reckons Without the Drug War
Materialism and the Drug War
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation
Why Science is the Handmaiden of the Drug War
David Chalmers and the Drug War
The Placebo Effect and Drugs
Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me
How Bernardo Kastrup reckons without the drug war
The Pseudoscience of Mental Health Treatment
Physics has found a theory of everything
The Handicapped NEED Crutches
Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide
Speaking Truth to Academia
A Quantum of Hubris
Unscientific American: the hypocritical materialism of Elon Musk
Modern Science as a symptom of insipient madness
Materialism's War on Drug Addicts and Alcoholics
The Book of the Damned continued
The Muddled Metaphysics of the Drug War
Illusions with Professor Arthur Shapiro



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Buy the Drug War Comic Book by the Drug War Philosopher Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans



You have been reading an article entitled, This is your brain on Neuralink published on July 19, 2019 on AbolishTheDEA.com. For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at abolishTheDEA.com. (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)