Snakes in a Love Drug on St Patricks Day

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March 17, 2020 | 8 Comments


  1. ‘Thinking changes chemicals’

    Thinking can change ANYTHING, it’s down to the individual. ‘In the 1960s John
    Basmajian, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Ontario and a specialist in rehabilitative science, began training people with spinal-chord injuries use EMG feedback to regain control over single cells in their spinal chords’ Another psychologist called Elmer Green at the Menninger Institute used biofeedback as a form of therapy to make migraines go away.

    Very useful to know that ‘thinking’ can do anything, but ONLY when linked with the power of intention. Where just now the world seems lost in the confusion of the coronavirus, it’s good to know that it’s been scientifically proven that every single cell appears to be within an individual’s control. Read ‘The Intention Experiment’ by Lynne McTaggart if you want to know how the science works. Chapter Nine, ‘Mental Blueprints’ particularly good. Very empowering as we face coronavirus.

    • Heather

      I can see where the confusion comes from but my point was almost the opposite. Thinking doesn’t change chemicals reliably in the sense I think you suggest.

      The issue is about authenticity. Our general sense is that authenticity comes from a struggle. Great insights and peace can come from a psychedelic drug. (Ditto with alternate treatments or anything done to us). But my bottom line experience is that those who get their insights from psychedelics are the least likely to stand up to the powers that harm us when it counts. They won’t take on Roche for instance


      • David
        Yes, sorry, I was trying to say that if ‘thinking’ is employed in our authentic state, and can, if done in a controlled and directed positive way, bring about any desired result, then no one needs to find escape from struggle, discontent, ennui by turning to a drug to chemically enhance their life. For, as Annie so clearly states, once that chemical gets inside you, it can change you, probably irrevocably and your authenticity is lost.

        Giving someone a hormone like those contained in the contraceptive pill, can cause certain individuals such disruption to their natural personal hormone balance that depression can be the result. So, you prevent the conception of a baby but you at the same time throw that person’s mind into chaos. If 100 different effects can come from a chemical, and no one knows which ones will manifest in any one of us, it’s terrifying to imagine how blithely some of us trust a pill to bring us what we think we want but feel we lack.

        I was interested in the way athletes can achieve their best results by using their minds to imagine every step of the race, match, whatever, in detail, over and over again, from their armchair long before the race. If the authentic mind can instruct the body to perform at its best level of achievement, and if this is proven to be the case (most athletes apparently incorporate this in their training now) surely this can apply to any aspect of life, enhance relationships, remove ennui etc. You just have to be clear about what you really want, and then think your way to achieving it, within reason of course. So, who needs to hand control over to a drug, which can trigger all kinds of unwanted side effects, when we already have a means of self change/achievement in ourselves, to be used effectively and safely if we understand how to go about it, and it can be done simply, without involving anyone or anything else. And it costs nothing, and causes us no damage because we are focussed and in control. Not a pesky drug.

        I don’t think this is an ‘alternative’ treatment. It’s just trying to use, or tap into, one’s authentic mind to its fullest capacity, and I don’t think most of us have any conception of the vastness of its capabilities. Some might term it self hypnosis but I think it’s not exactly that.

        • Most athletes figure steroids beat these amazing mental powers hands down but the rest of us at the moment figure perhaps so but the performance is not authentic. And this is before we get into the tricky areas of transitioning males competing in female sports. As Suzanne points out Julian Savulescu has pushed the post-human boat out – saying we need to use all these techniques or we are doomed for extinction but when it comes to relating, while chemicals can play a part …


  2. Surely there is some sort of ethical dilemma between people who want to change themselves and those who would prefer not to.

    All the drugs developed change people.

    The ‘Chemical’ Romance, here.

    How naïve and stupid, taking Seroxat, and not realising that it would change me.
    Let alone all the other drugs foisted on me to relieve the effects and me not knowing that that they would change me even more. And given out with such hostility; those doctors sure know how to put the prescriptions in…

    We were all born authentic.
    We knew who we were.
    We were strong, upbeat and successful.

    But along came all these drugs and before you knew it, the change had happened.

    And forever…

    Ethical questions need to be answered. PSSD people are clawing for answers.

    If this review does nothing else, it should draw attention as to what do people actually want.
    A supposed romantic pill giving euphoria, a god-given right to explore alternatives to hapless lives or a market -driven machine hell bent on tapping in to people’s insecurities of life, love and all that, life and all that …

    As medication has progressed and we all swallow the propaganda delivered de facto so we need to think about how the ‘snake oil salesman’ will always be wanted?

    We need many more conversations about the Ethics of Changing People and we need to talk about Who, are happy to do so …

  3. I don’t know how a philosopher is defined and often self defined as a philosopher but whatever I find Julian Savulescu and his ideas deeply offensive. And worryingly ignorant of the drugs he defines in his lecture. (on vimeo below). He took over the editorship of the british journal of medical ethics some years ago – thereafter contributions which would have been accepted and encouraged by Raanan Gillon (pred ed) were refused.
    Julian Savulescu coined the phrase procreative beneficence. It is the controversial[3] putative moral obligation of parents in a position to select their children, for instance through preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), to favor those expected to have the best life.[4] An argument in favor of this principle is that traits (such as empathy, memory, etc.) are “all-purpose means” in the sense of being instrumental in realizing whatever life plans the child may come to have.[5]
    In some of his publications he has argued for the following: that parents have a responsibility to select the best children they could have, given all of the relevant genetic information available to them, a principle that he extends to the use of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and preimplantation genetic diagnoses (PGD) in order to determine the intelligence of embryos and possible children;[6] and that stem cell research is justifiable even if one accepts the view of the embryo as a person.[7]
    Julian Savulescu also justifies the destruction of embryos and fetuses as a source of organs and tissue for transplantation to adults.[8] In his abstract he argues, “The most publicly justifiable application of human cloning, if there is one at all, is to provide self-compatible cells or tissues for medical use, especially transplantation. Some have argued that this raises no new ethical issues above those raised by any form of embryo experimentation. I argue that this research is less morally problematic than other embryo research. Indeed, it is not merely morally permissible but morally required that we employ cloning to produce embryos or fetuses for the sake of providing cells, tissues or even organs for therapy, followed by abortion of the embryo or fetus.” He argues that if it is permissible to destroy fetuses, for social reasons, or no reasons at all, it must be justifiable to destroy them to save lives.
    As editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, he published, in 2012, an article by two Italian academics which stated that a new-born baby is effectively no different from a foetus, is not a “person” and, morally, could be killed at the decision of the parents etc.[9]
    Along with neuro-ethicist Guy Kahane, Savulescu’s article “Brain Damage and the Moral Significance of Consciousness” appears to be the first mainstream publication to argue that increased evidence of consciousness in patients diagnosed with being in persistent vegetative state actually supports withdrawing or withholding care.[10]
    In 2009, Professor Savulescu presented a paper at the ’Festival of Dangerous Ideas,’ held at the Sydney Opera House in October 2009, entitled “Unfit for Life: Genetically Enhance Humanity or Face Extinction,” which can be seen on Vimeo.[11] Savulescu argues that humanity is on the brink of disappearing in a metaphorical ‘Bermuda Triangle’ unless humans are willing to undergo ‘moral enhancement’.
    Pills that improve morality: Julian Savulescu at TEDxBarcelona
    15,653 views•23 Jul 2013

  4. Oh dear. Looks like another book by another two armchair academics. The spiel ends in the Amazon review with: “Love Drugs (sic) arms us with the latest scientific knowledge…” But does it really?
    In bookshops, I’ve leafed through a number of seemingly interesting books like this. Very often they don’t included bibliographies enabling the reader to read the actual ‘science’ of which the writer is ‘synthesising’ into layman’s terms for its reader (although there are often, many a footnote saying “Read my other books xyz for more information”). When properly cited references do appear, the actual science papers often turn out to be either misinterpreted, used out of context or poor science and in some cases all three together. Think much of this is done out of naïveté. For whilst they may have had their own papers published in journals, I’ve discovered for myself, that many professionals only ‘think’ they know how to make sense of a science paper.
    This hardly amounts to equipping the reader of such books with enough insight to start forming meaningful, enlightened opinions. Also knowledge itself should not (must not) be confused with wisdom. This appears to be a plank in the eyes of as many modern day ethicists as in the past. One only has to consider how often they contradict each other. From having read a lot of history, I get the impression that their ‘thinking’ goes a full rotation along a helix (its seldom an exact repeating ‘circle’) about every 70 years.
    Therefore, I’ll refrain from commenting on the subject matter of the book itself, especially as DH has read it and I have not.

  5. Hear all about it then ask how someone as ignorant of vaccines was asked on the show.Vaccines at 6.36
    Jeremy Vine – 20/07/2020 – BBC Sounds
    Jeremy Vine
    Released On: 20 Jul 2020Available for 29 days

    Savelescu drivels on at 6.36 on the bar Slip sliding all over the place eg amongs other things he said and changed his mind when caught out was that he had been tested and so has anitbodies to the Covid virus – then back tracked when told that would not guarantee protection for more than a few months, so hey if compulsory he would then have a vaccination. In One sentence he thinks vaccine should be compulsory then back tracked again in a total muddle. It tooks a couple of people to phone in and inform him of potential serious reactions to the iingredients’ of the vaccines. He knows zilch about medicine. Or ethics. Common sense at least would tell him not to accept invitations to shows where he lacks competence.Who does he know at the BBC ? there can’t be any good reason for inviting him – unless the connection being vaccines are being produced at Oxford and he works in a non medical capacity there.

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