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finite complexity-->immortality? and new nootropics

Posted by nootrope , 12 March 2008 · 514 views

The NY Times had an article on Tuesday about a program to train laypeople in rural India in psychotherapy. It pointed out that many people in India are uncomfortabe talking about emotions. I think in this blog I've over-romanticized some of the traditional ways of India, partly because I've had success with ashwagandha, an ayurvedic herb.

Another blog here proposed that humanity will, no doubt, conquer aging because human biology has finite complexity. I think this argument is too abstract and that its abstraction covers over its flaws. I consider myself not a "true believer" in transhumanism and immortality and Singularity so much as someone who recognizes: accelerating technology (computers, biotech, and nanotech) may well produce results beyond conventional imagination, and it's worth it to understand where all this might go. But I don't think any particular result is a given.

First, "complexity" has many different meanings. A computer program could be said to have finite complexity, and yet the problem of identifying whether any computer program is "immortal" has been rigorously proven to be impossible to solve! (The "Halting Problem".)

In the 1st half of the 20th century, science discovered some unexpected "limits". The speed of light limited relative speed, the uncertainty principle limited precision of measurements, and Godel's Theorem limited how much math we could prove. But these limits also opened up new opportunities. Relativity didn't just limit speed: it showed huge energy was stored in matter, and it suggested black holes were possible. Godel's Theorem showed that mathematics was a richer subject than thought. I think when we find an "impossibility proof" (as for perpetual motion, for a 19th century example) we also find something unexpected in the richness of natural possibility, and down the line we may be able to exploit those possibilities.

Of course this argument is also abstract and may be overlooking something because of that.

I'm trying some new sleep aids and nootropic herbs. L-Theanine has a strong relaxing and sleep-inducing effect on me. I've also started on Gotu Kola (which at times has been called "brahmi" in Ayurvedic medicine, along with bacopa) and magnolia bark extract. I've also restarted a multi-medicinal mushroom extract I'd tried for a month before. It includes cordyceps, turkey tail, reishi, maitake, oyster, shitake, and lion's mane mushrooms.

I'm now getting my ashwagandha and bacopa very cheaply in powder form from bulknutrition.com. The powders have strong and complex smells and tastes. I've tried incorporating them in curries and mixed with honey and butter (as in chywranaprash, a traditional Indian herbal remedy.)





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