Ran Prieur http://ranprieur.com/#9a417fe513f58988c3b5b1e84cfc57397194a79b 2018-02-12T12:40:19Z Ran Prieur http://ranprieur.com/ ranprieur@gmail.com February 12. http://ranprieur.com/#8d33040adc1d4ea5e4a5d22fa59dab6261894583 2018-02-12T12:40:19Z February 12. Doom! This new article predicts an information apocalypse: "Technologies that can be used to enhance and distort what is real are evolving faster than our ability to understand and control or mitigate it." So fake news is still in its infancy.

My first thought is that people will just stop caring what's real, and the article covers this and has a term for it: reality apathy. It also reminds me of the saying, coined in the novel Alamut and popularized by the Assassin's Creed video game: "Nothing is true; everything is permitted."

My next thought is much weirder, because I've studied the paranormal enough that I already don't believe in truth. I think objective and subjective are theoretical poles on a spectrum, and you can never quite get all the way to either. On the near-objective end, a few years back the metal cylinder that defines the kilogram changed its weight and nobody knows why. On the near-subjective end, even our dreams are anchored in a shared social reality.

In the New Age movement, you can find the idea that physical reality is 100% created by human belief. That's silly, but in this context it leads to a crazy thought experiment, where the information apocalypse is not about people being wrong about what's true, but about a fragmentation of truth itself. Flat-earthers might break away into an alternate world where you can actually fall off the edge.

I'm not joking, just exaggerating. I think reality is some kind of compromise between matter, human consciousness, and levels of mind we're not aware of, and it need not be universally consistent. In the coming decades I can see humanity diverging into internally consistent worlds that can no longer be reconciled. Eventually, through technological collapse or technological sophistication, these reality factions might not even be able to communicate.

February 9. http://ranprieur.com/#8382c53c70341eb1aa72c6646e6d55fb5eb111de 2018-02-09T21:10:15Z February 9. Today, all drugs. First, some good news: Maine becomes first state to protect marijuana use outside of work. And thanks Doug for this guide to drug combinations.

This subreddit thread about psychedelics has some great comments, especially the big one at the top from lukey, who goes into detail about how drugs affect people differently, and how sometimes getting the best out of a drug takes practice.

Also on the subreddit, thanks MakeTotalDestr0i for linking to this smart blog, Knowing Less, which has several good posts about tripping, including Permanent Mental Effects from LSD.

Personally, my one LSD trip was a fizzle (I plan to try again), and the other day, after I praised mushrooms, they smacked me down. I took another microdose, and it had the opposite of the usual effect -- instead of feeling clear-headed and energized, all week long I've felt unmotivated and stupid.

What am I hoping psychedelics will do for me? I'm hoping they'll make some deep and subtle change -- or show me how to make the change myself -- after which life will feel less like climbing a mountain of mud, and more like sailing across a clear ocean. This is not unrealistic -- lots of people have described that kind of change, including Aella's post above.

I'm also thinking back to accountt1234's Psychedelic Renaissance post, and wondering: What would be the role of drugs in a really good human society, a world that we don't have to overthrow, or escape from, or make tolerable, because it's already completely on our side?

February 7. http://ranprieur.com/#22c9f879f2d4601701f968ccb54dec251423f244 2018-02-07T19:50:57Z February 7. I have nothing important to write about today, so I'll write about sports. The Philadelphia Eagles just won their first ever Superbowl, after being underdogs in all three postseason games. This happened because their elite young quarterback, Carson Wentz, got injured, and his replacement, Nick Foles, looks, acts, and usually plays like a career backup. He did have one season with an incredible touchdown-interception ratio, but everyone thought it was a fluke, and their suspicions were confirmed when he reverted to mediocrity.

Then Eagles coach Doug Pederson thought, what if it was something about the offensive scheme? In Nick Foles' great year, he was playing under coach Chip Kelly, who used a run-pass option, where the quarterback reads the defense after the play starts to decide whether to hand the ball off or throw it. In football, as in everything, new ideas come from the fringes and gradually work their way to the highest levels. Chip Kelly brought the run-pass option from college to the NFL, but he was not able to evolve it week by week to stay ahead of defensive coaches, so he washed out of the pros and back to college. But Pederson's more robust RPO was exactly what Foles needed to thrive.

Even the Patriots' all-time-great coach, Bill Belichick, underestimated Foles. He decided to bench Malcolm Butler, his second best pass defender, for someone stronger and heavier, to force the Eagles away from the run and toward the pass. For more details, see this article.

February 5. http://ranprieur.com/#2ba62071dd9b1cfc3cfb0f7677c2ce7cb9f07450 2018-02-05T17:30:02Z February 5. A couple weeks ago I cast some gloom on the social benefits of psychedelics, and later deleted that bit, because there's so much we haven't tried yet. In prehistory, shamans had access to only a few things growing locally, and then through most of history, psychedelics were suppressed or unknown. It's possible that just in the last 20 years, more opportunities to trip have opened up, for more people, than in all previous time. And that trend is accelerating.

Of course we're going to make terrible mistakes, both with underground drugs and prescription drugs, while we sort them out and learn how to use them. But it's also an exciting time for experimentation and learning.

I'm experimenting with two of the oldest drugs, cannabis and psilocybin, in small doses, and I still find myself doing things I haven't read about. I've learned that psilocybin does one thing for me, and it's different from what it does for most people. I don't get any visions or insights, only the urge for silent darkness, where I drift pleasantly on the edge of sleep. The best part happens a day or two later, when I feel like I'm a new person inhabiting my mind and body.

Cannabis is the opposite. It gives me all kinds of insights, from cosmic to personal, but no motivation to do anything about them. So I'm starting to use the drugs as a team, with cannabis as the brains and psilocybin as the muscle, to notice and change deep habits. I still need to work out the timing, but I'm already getting good results.

My point is, what I'm doing is not complicated or difficult or dangerous. If this level of therapeutic experimentation were as normal as getting a flu shot, how much better would the world get?

A tangential thought: a lot of people report "anxiety" from cannabis. How much of this is meaningless paranoia, and how much is valuable and troubling awareness?

February 1. http://ranprieur.com/#02814d04c74641c1f3895afde6c8c9af19a2297b 2018-02-01T13:50:04Z February 1. Going early into the weekend, first I want to mention this new accountt1234 post, The City Of The Future, which includes a great defense of the supposedly dystopian Kowloon walled city.

Now music. Two weeks ago I posted four songs, and the one readers liked the most, Satori Pt 1, was the one I liked the least. So I thought about how it's different from the one I like the most, Mirrorball.

It's about time scales. If you listen to two minutes of Satori, there's a lot going on, with as many as four riffs, two in guitar and two in vocals. Then if you listen to two minutes of Mirrorball, it's just the same riff the whole time, plus a confusing background cacophony. But if you listen to two seconds, then Satori might give you a few notes of a sound that's not very interesting, while Mirrorball gives you a mind-blowing tiny symphony. Even Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz is nowhere near as dense.

So now I'm looking for music that sounds great on every time scale, and where I'm sometimes finding it is in older pop songs, where the large scale has good melody and structure, and the small scale has beautiful blends of sounds, usually voices. Recently I gave a close listen to Tracey Ullman's 80's hit They Don't Know, and it blew me away. And I'm not sure, but Kirsty MacColl's original might be even better.