Re: Psychedelics and memes

Chris Lofting (
Sun, 13 Jun 1999 03:07:15 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Psychedelics and memes
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 03:07:15 +1000

-----Original Message-----
From: Gatherer, D. (Derek) <>
To: '' <>
Date: Saturday, 12 June 1999 1:17
Subject: RE: Psychedelics and memes

>Chris (previous):
>In generaal, we are dealing with two neurology-sourced 'threads' that seem
>to dictate the operations of 'in here'. These threads are woven together to
>create 'patterns' of behaviour that will come in various forms showing
>biases to one thread or the other. These threads show sensitivity to
>different biochemistry.
>The threads are:
>A. Object biased (Whole or parts). Self-contained. Fundamentalist. Stresses
>independence. Context insensitive due to the self-containment. Archetypal.
>B. Relationships bias (Static or Dynamic). 'Others'-contained. Relativist.
>Stresses dependencies. Context sensitive. Typal.
>You can trace these down to the neuron with A being more 'axonic' in
>behaviour, jump-like, pulses. B is being more 'dendritic' in behaviour,
>continuum bias and so all is linked. B is highly feedback sensitive and so
>exagerates/plays-down a state by utilising the feedback.
>I don't quite follow here. Is the above intended as a metaphor or are you
>seriously proposing that axons and dendrites are actual differentially
>involved in the production of the threads? If it's only a metaphor, then
>might be best to drop it and find another one, as neurologists are only
>going to get confused by use of the terms axons and dendrites in this way.


When we review the developmental processes involved in information
processing so the dendrites-axon interaction is repeated at the next scale
in the form of neural networks that synchronise and function as if a neuron.
This seems to have been abstracted 'all the way up' to the level where these
interactions are expressed in the 'object/relationship' categorisation
system we see in the neocortex.

The development process of the brain-mind reflects complexity at work where
feedback processes lead to the 'emergence' of 'new' structures that have the
SAME general methods of functioning as those processes from which they
emerge but with 'refinements' (abstractions) that come about as a result of
the more refined context that is able to support them.

For example, when we analyse the general behavioural characteristics of the
so-called reptilian brain we see characteristics that are reflected at a
finner level in the left hemisphere of the neocortex -- waypoint mapping,
conservative, tried-and-true methods, 1:1 behaviour (stimulus leads to the
same intensity of response regardless of scale.)

When we add-in the emergence of feedback (both plus and minus) so we see the
development of 'right' brain branches starting in the limbic system. Here we
learn 'considered response' as so refine the S/R skills.

>Chris (previous):
>We can see these biases expressed in the manner in which the hemispheres of
>the brain function with the left being jump-like, object oriented, waypoint
>mappings. Here is the 'source' of 'whole' numbers, the excluded middle
>(because of the jumps) and perhaps even the concept of quantum leaps!
>This object emphasis favours SELF over OTHERS in that OTHERS introduces
>relationships and here we get into right-hemisphere characteristics of
>relationships, the 'space inbetween' objects and so the ability to
>transform, to make something seemingly out of nothing -- the source of
>illusion more than delusion.
>Yes, I see the allusion to Sperry, but I don't quite follow how
>hemispheric activity relates to the threads. For instance, are you
>proposing that thread B is left-hemispheric??

*Thread A* is expressed in left-hemisphere functionality. Thread B in
expressed in right-hemisphere functionality. BTW, a more up to date ref than
Sperry is:

Davidson and Hugdahl (Eds)(1995) "Brain Asymmetry" MITP.

This contains a number of papers covering this. I can give you lots more if
you wish :-) Sperry's error was in seeing the left as all parts and the
right as whole. Not true. The left is all objects and the right all
relationships. This CAN lead to the conclusion that the right is 'holistic',
it isnt, it is relationships biased and so all is connected, there is thus
NO distinction of a boundary, of 'this from that', there is no EITHER/OR but
more BOTH/AND. THis can give you a qualitative precision but that is too
subjective (to date :-))

The entanglement of left and right gives us oscillations such that the
summing of harmonics (right process) can lead to a transformation by the
creation of an object,a 'thing' and that process is 'left' biased.

The objects bias of the left makes it 'point' oriented and there is no
'middle' between points, it works using waypoint mapping "A to B to C" etc
and so it 'jumps' and is every EITHER/OR when compared to the more general
right which looks at the relationships, the spaces inbetween objects.

The 'jump' nature of the left is the source of concepts such as 'whole
numbers', quantum jumps, and the 'excluded middle' (as well as concepts like
SELF). This nature has been abstracted in that it applies to sensory systems
in general (e.g. the Necker Cube oscillation in the visual system and the
'jumps' in formant transition detection in audition. The right, in both
cases, detects 'complex' forms where all is linked together, no particular
'objects' just a general sense of 'connectedness' which is NOT the same as
'whole' since 'whole' is by implication an object, it has a boundary...)

>Chris (previous):
>Regarding Paranoia, it seems to be more linked to attention system problems
>where it is 'stuck' in wide-angle mode (diffuse). Mania is the 'opposite'
>where the attention system is 'stuck' in narrow-angle mode (intense). There
>is a Cingulate Cortex emphasis here with the prime dimension being that or
>Why is anterior/posterior so important in the cingulate gyrus?

See work on the attention system by Posner and Raichle (1994) as well as the
Architectural analysis of the Cingulate cortex by Paul MacLean (forgotten
the ref, will look it up if you like...).

We seem to be dealing with the same general format of 1:many dimensions, log
scale stuff, rather than the usual 1:1 perspective, but the 1:many IS the
relationship style we find in hierarchic systems.

>Serotonin has an operational dimension:
>Uptake too quick = depression.
>Uptake too slow = "God in the head Syndrome". Note that 'you' are not 'god'
>but you experience 'it'/'him'/'her' due to the biochemisty bias.
>Surely this is an oversimplification. SSRIs are used for a variety of
>conditions, from depression through to OCD. What is your source of
>information concerning serotonin uptake speed?

Read the literature produced by the drug companies (e.g. producer of Prozac
(product name for fluoxetine)) another source is the usual refs. e,g, :

Dowling, J.E.(1998) "Creating Mind: How the Brain Works" NORTON for example

"[prozac] potently and selectively inhibits serotonin uptake.."p54 (BTW
Dowling is a Prof at Harvard so he must know something... I think..:-))

FYI 'God in the head syndrome" is also known as "runner's high" and results
when serotonin uptake 'collapses' and the system gets flooded with the
stuff. Uptake is too slow (none at all!? :-))

There is also a list of refs (and animations) on drugs and brain-mind in the
March issue of the online journal on brain-mind:

>Hallucinogens favour these pathways.
>Serotoninergic receptor non-specific blockers do seem to also block some of
>the effects of LSD, but I don't know if you can read too much into that....

I think you can. When you analyse something the initial characteristics
detected, although 'raw' and 'general' will always be there no matter how
much you 'dig' and attempt to brush them aside. There ARE two threads at
work 'in here' and their characteristics determine all that follows....

Of course we have to recognise that the METHOD of analysis determines what
you see and the meaning you will derive.. so some of this could be illusion
in that we are confusing properties of the method with properties of the
thing under analysis...

>Another dimension is that with acetocholine (spell?). Nicotine has an
>interesting influence here.
>Yes, one class of acetylcholinergic receptors bind nicotine, but they're
>class which is involved in most voluntary muscle movements.

.....Which leads to a feedback loop to the brain-mind and you 'feel' relaxed.
It is an illusion. The drugs destroys the acetycholine and so 'stops' the
shakes but it does not stop your metabolic rate from still burning at a high
rate. Nicotine acts to speed you up...and in some acts to 'keep you

>That would make sense if we see Schizophrenia as a thread bias either
>the thread (too quick/slow pickup) or across threads where imbalance is
>controlled by introducing an extreme in the other thread.
>Drugs these days are more particularised and so make management easier..
>Most of the current schizophrenia treatments act at dopamine receptors.
>I'm not sure I'm following your argument entirely. I worry that you are
>taking Sperry's differential hemispheric activity ideas and seeking to
>derive an explanation of schizophrenia from them.... This might be a
>idea than I am giving it credit for, but I don't follow all the steps along
>the way, especially the bit about serotonin reuptake. I'm also
>uncomfortable with your idea that mania is somehow the opposite of paranoia
>(perhaps I misinterpret you in this???)

No. :-)

There is another dimension at work here that is a little more 'general'.
Severe neurological damage to the left anterior of the neocortex will, over
time, lead to the emergence of a more depressed behaviour. Damage to the
right anterior of the neocortex will, over time, lead to the emergence of

What seems to be happening is that the characteristics of the undamaged
'brain' take-over management of the brain-mind as a whole and in doing so
reveal characteristics of their 'biases'. In this context we note the
'mania:left side' implication but also recognise that the left emphasies
precision, details, fine-points when compared to the right that is more into
approximations, generalities, value-precision.

When you include the attention system as a dimension of influence so the
left/right take-on a more passive role where the attention system, combined
with normal circadian rhythms, acts to accentuate the properties of the
hemispheres and on the context of damaged system you will see what we see,
re-configurations of the system to deal with the problems.

The depression link is to the RIGHT side and is tied to serotonin pathways
that do seem to be more right thread oriented than left and so will appear
in the largest expression of right-thread characteristics, i.e. the right
hemisphere of the neocortex.

Schizophrenia is more LEFT oriented where the 'excluded middle' suddenly is
given 'random' preference that can be frightening to a 'left biased'
individual -- 'strange' connects are made and the independence bias makes
this all very 'strange' -- at times psychotic... (the left is also the
source of the concept of 'randomness'... if drugs play with this I think you
can see the potential affects on cognition!)



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