Chapter 9 - The New Edge (Brain Nutrients)
Smart Drugs - The Nootropic Controversy
Popping pills to ace exams?
Imagine that in the future, you will pop a “brain pill” in the morning along with your daily vitamins and orange juice. Then, you will go to school, or work, and have the benefits of double or triple your natural intelligence level. This scenario may not be far away, and scientists are already experimenting with substances that affect the intelligence level of humans. These products, called nootropics - from the greek words that mean “acting on the mind.” - are a spinoff from research that was done primarily on drugs to alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. Nootropic compounds - smart drugs - are part of a subcultural movement known as the New Edge. With roots in science-fiction literature such as Neuromancer by William Gibson, the New Edge is an attempt at true cybernetics: The fusing of the human organism with the machine.
The original source of the New Edge movement (and the Rave culture) was the CyberPunk, the latest trendy social rebel, anarchist, and revolutionary all rolled into one, spawned and forged from the marriage of far-future science-fiction and the computer movement. However, the New Edge itself now encompasses many more people from more walks of life and, as OMNI tells us, its sympathizers - not synthesizers - “…run the gamut from computer nerds and cyberpunks to AIDS activists and life extension enthusiasts.” With regards to smart drugs (only a component part of the whole movement), the cybernetic theme is obvious: Increasing organic intelligence through the use of artificial - man-made - products. In this case, nootropic pharmaceuticals.
The demand for products that increase intelligence has been overwhelming in the past few years. Jerry Stahl, the author of an article on smart drugs, puts it succinctly: “The Nineties are about survival. And to survive, you have to be smart.”[^1] He gives an overview of the budding “Brain Gain” movement: Smart drugs… is the term for a vast new breed of cerebral aids. Some are high-powered pharmaceuticals; others are vitamins and nutrients…
They all aim to empower a populace as hell-bent on boosting brainpower as it once was on pumping iron. Say goodbye to rippling muscles, say hello to a souped-up cerebellum. It’s enough to make Nancy Reagan just say yes.[^2]
Unfortunately for people interested on getting a piece of the action, the scientific verdict for all of this is not yet in. Divergent views make the smart drug movement a very controversial issue, and justly so: Drugs that can make you smart, might in fact make you sick. The lack of solid scientific proof that intelligence levels of normal, healthy humans can be boosted by ingestion of nootropic compounds is a testimony to the risks involved when experimenting with nootropics.
Flying in the face of medical opinion, proponents of nootropics swear by personal experience. “I’ll never quit taking Hydergine,” says Mark Rennie who is not only a lawyer but also a partner in Smart Products in San Francisco.[^3] Tony (no last name), the bar-tender at a Smart Bar - establishments that serve beverages and other products that contain nootropics, so-called “Smart Drinks” - says that smart drugs “…help to improve short-term memory and concentration. They do work. I take them all the time.”[^4]
What exactly are smart drugs and what do they do to you?
The rationale behind why nootropics work is this: They increase the speed at which your brain processes information, and therefore make you “smarter.” In the analogy of the computer, it is like installing a faster microprocessor. John Morgenthaler, co-author with Ward Dean of the “bible” of nootropics Smart Drugs & Nutrients, says it is “…not a software installation; it’s better, faster, more powerful hardware.” In other words, your brain is not working better because you learned a memory technique - such as that described in chatper two - but has been accelerated and improved biochemically. Physically. Another book, Mind Food & Smart Pills, by Ross and Taffy Pelton, says that nootropics:
- Increase the level of neurotransmitters in the brain
- Improve brain cell metabolism
- Optimize the action of certain enzymes
- Increase the supply of oxygen to brain cells
- Dissolve and remove cellular garbage deposits from cells
- Improve the level of electrical activity in the brain
These, then, are the general benefits that may be achieved through the use of “cerebroactive compounds,” or smart drugs. Let us examine each point in more detail. I will attempt to keep the technical jargon and concepts to a minimum for simplicity’s sake.
Firstly, we have an increase in the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that the body uses to transmit information between neurons - or the wiring in your body. For example, to transmit a command from the brain to a finger, neurons throughout your body pass messages to and from each other via neurotransmitters. The rationale behind increasing the amount of neurotransmitters in the body (and thus the brain) is that more of these chemicals will be available for neurons to “fire” (send messages) and thus the overall speed of neural communication will be increased. When your brain “thinks” it also fires neurons within itself, much like a microprocessor’s circuitry has electrical charges surging throughout its structure.
Improvement of brain cell metabolism means that the individual cells in the brain are able to process their biochemical activities more efficiently. Every cell is a basic unit of life, and by helping them do their job better, the overall result should be improved cognitive performance.
Optimization of certain enzymes in the brain will likewise accelerate chemical reactions that lead to faster brain response time. Enzymes are biological catalysts, or substances that speed up chemical reactions.
Increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain is probably the easiest to understand. The human body requires oxygen for all of its functions. By increasing the amount of oxygen available to the brain, the nootropics attempt to raise this ceiling on the upper levels of brain performance. The reasoning is that chemical and neural activity cannot be accelerated unless more oxygen is available for their successful metabolism.
Enhanced removal of cellular “garbage” from the brain cells helps again to minimize the bottlenecks in neural activity. If waste residues “block” the cells’ activities, then the higher performance of the brain is obstructed. Finally, by elevation of electrical activity in the brain, nootropics should, in essence, give the brain more power or energy, to operate.
The above lines of reasoning towards improved cognitive functions are logical, and sound feasible. Indeed, it is surprising that anyone would fail to grasp the obvious significance of these advantages. However, the major caveat to nootropic theory is that these drugs are not approved and not tested for such uses. It would be an easy decision to make, if they were harmless. People would simply try them out, and if they worked, then they would continue the regime of ingesting them, otherwise they would stop.
Unfortunately, the situation is not so cut and dried. Although certain smart drugs have been demonstrated to be relatively safe in even large amounts on a short term basis, there is no solid scientific proof that there are no long-term ill effects. In other words, even though people don’t immediately suffer from nausea or neural damage, there is no evidence to suggest that long term damage does not occur. In fact, damage that might occur may be so invisible to cursory examination, that it is overlooked or ignored in the zest towards higher mental function. Granted, the lure of super-intelligence is a large temptation indeed, but the real horror is the possibility of lowering of intelligence (or damaging the body) through the use of these products. Like a multiple-choice exam where there is a penalty for wrong answers, it is not a strategically wise choice to guess haphazardly.
To Be Or Not To Be - The Nootropic Dilemma
Just say… maybe?!
Perhaps the anguish of the decision to take nootropics is relieved by government action. The Food and Drug Administration - the FDA - in the United States has put a ban on many of the known nootropics. Most of the substances are not available in the USA, but smart drug advocates make use of a loophole in federal law that permit individuals to order or import a small amount of drugs from other countries.[^5] However, this importation is actively discouraged by the FDA to the extent that shipments are simply returned to their countries of origin. This “nootropic censorship” has sparked a huge controversy, with white-hot issues of individual rights versus public safety. Proponents of both sides of the argument stand fast, and refuse to budge, each with evermore compelling arguments. Neutral observers hedging their bets find themselves drawn first to one side, then the other. The situation seems hopeless.
However, I have found an optimum method of balancing the benefits and risks related to nootropic compounds. The entire category of smart products can be classified, somewhat arbitrarily, into two groups: Harder Smart Drugs, and Softer Smart Nutrients. The smart drugs - SDs for short - are usually unavailable in North America. However, the smart nutrients - SNs - are available easily over the counter at health stores. Many SNs are, in fact, familiar products such as ginseng, with a few esoteric compounds such as ginko biloba, and gotu kola. I have found that SNs are both approved by the government, and usually “proven” safe through the use by millions of people over the centuries. Ginseng is the obvious example. The Chinese have been taking it for a long, long time, and the only side effects reported have been beneficial ones. We will leave discussion of the “harder” SDs until later in this chapter. For the moment, I wish to draw your attention to the safer and more convenient smart nutrients.
NOTE: Our examination of these compounds - both SDs and SNs - will be concise. I will present only the major substances and just enough information to describe their usage and benefits. For indepth coverage, please refer to the sources indicated at the end of this chapter, and Appendix B.
Smart Nutrients - The Mighty Vitamins
A more natural way towards higher brain power
The most readily available of all smart nutrients are the vitamins. Of these substances, the one most familiar to everyone is probably Vitamin C. This chemical, known also as ascorbic acid, has a myriad of uses. In fact, it is probably one of, if not the most, remarkable substances you can take. Vitamin C speeds healing of wounds, reduces the duration and severity of some types of infection, helps protect against cardiovascular disease, is a very potent detoxifier, reduces anxiety, promotes restful sleep, and in addition to many other benefits it also enhances mental function.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. That means, it cannot be stored in the body, unlike the fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are expelled from the body easily, through normal bodily cycles. Therefore, it is necessary that people have a constant daily intake of this vitamin. (Another water-soluble vitamin is Vitamin B.)
Because Vitamin C is so easily lost from the body - and in fact its effects only last for about six hours after ingestion - the vitamin must be replenished in the body regularly, at specific times during the day. Popular belief is that a daily vitamin pill (containing, among other things, Vitamin C) in the morning suffices. In fact, the amounts of vitamins present in these multi-vitamin pills are so minute, that for the most part, the pill is ineffective when it comes to the specific substances that improve mental function and overall health. The reason why multi-vitamins have such miniscule amounts of these vitamins is that the RDA (recommended daily allowance) stipulates such small amounts. In fact, there has been some controversy in general medical circles - unrelated to the nootropic movement - that the RDA levels are too low for good health, and should be raised. In any case, we are not concerned with these general guidelines and commonly set levels of vitamin intake. The benefits of nootropic enhancement are realised only at higher-than-normal levels of SN intake.
To return to Vitamin C, the required amount for mental enhancement (in addition to general health improvement) is from 1000 mg to 3000 mg daily. It is advisable to gradually increase your consumption of the vitamin over a period of several days in order to find your bowel tolerence. This is the level of intake at which you feel soft stools (slight diarrhea) and is exactly a little above the optimum level you should take. This bowel tolerence level varies among individuals. You should experiment to find yours.
Taking this increased amount of Vitamin C should benefit you with sharper mental function, and general wellness. One important point to note is that once you go on this programme of high-level Vitamin C intake, you must not suddenly stop. Your body manufactures larger amounts of certain enzymes when you are on a high-level Vitamin C regime, to make better use of the extra Vitamin C now available. If you suddenly drop the supplementation level, your body experiences a rebound effect, and your immunity level will drop sharply, and you will suddenly be very susceptible to colds and infections. If you must stop, then do so by gradually reducing your intake levels over a period of two weeks. A tip from me concerning the timing of Vitamin C intake is that you can purchase timed-release versions of this, and other nutrients. Usually, the caplets release their vitamins over a period of 12 hours. Therefore, you need only take them in the morning, and before retiring at night, and your body will be constantly replenished with Vitamin C throughout the day.
Another vitamin you may be interested in is Vitamin B. In fact, there are many sub-divisions of this category of vitamin, from B-1 to B-12. It would take too long to describe all the benefits associated with every type of Vitamin B. Suffice to say that this vitamin helps with the regeneration and maintenance of nerve cells, and is critical in proper cellular metabolism. The suggested daily dosage is about 1000 mg of a caplet with a Vitamin B-Complex formulation. Both of the above vitamins are of the water-soluble variety. They are easily lost from the body. On the other hand, we have the fat-soluble vitamins. These are stored by the body in fatty tissues, and are therefore easier to retain. However, there is a danger associated with experimentation with fat-soluble vitamins: You can overdose on them.
The danger is checked by the fact that even though it is theoretically possible to overdose on fat-soluble vitamins, the reality is that it hardly ever happens. Harder as it is to lose these vitamins compared to the water-solubles, lose them your body will, on a daily basis. Following directions on the containers of these vitamins will guarantee safety. Nootropic levels generally do not exceed these recommended levels when it comes to fat-soluble vitamins. (Perhaps it is proper to mention here that there is a fat-soluble form of Vitamin C, called Ascorbyl Palmitate, but since it is virtually impossible to overdose on Vitamin C - only - there is really no need to be alarmed.)
One of the more important fat-soluble vitamins is Vitamin E. It offers excellent protection for your tissues and brain cells against the ravages of free radicals - substances that damage body cells. Vitamin E also retards cellular aging, in addition to many other benefits. The nootropic level of intake is from 400 IU to 800 IU daily. (Vitamin E is measured in International Units, and not in Milligrams.)
The final vitamin that I want to present to you is Vitamin A. It is also available in the form of Beta Carotene. Both these substances offer cellular protection and have anti-aging properties. Your body converts Beta Carotene into Vitamin A, and therefore it is more efficient to take Beta Carotene instead of Vitamin A. Besides, Beta Carotene is harmless even at high concentrations in your body. Vitamin A can be toxic if overdosed. The nootropic level of Beta Carotene is from 10,000 IU to 35,000 IU daily. To gauge the optimum level of Beta Carotene intake, lower the amounts when you observe a yellow-orange discolouration of your palms and soles of your feet. This effect is called kerotenosis and is harmless, and will disappear when Beta Carotene levels are decreased.
We have covered four of the vitamins involved in nootropic enhancement. There is much literature on these, and other vitamins. Please refer to the sources in Appendix B for further information.We now turn to the topic of smart nutrients in the form of herbs.
Ginko Biloba - The Invincible Tree
The magic tree from ancient China
The most famous nootropic herbal product is ginko biloba. Usually it is available as the extract, in pill or liquid form, of the leaves of the ginko biloba tree. The leaves themselves were widely used in Chinese history as a herbal medicine. Its nootropic properties have been heralded throughout the world. Ginko biloba trees are the most primitive trees on this planet today. They have been dated to 300 million years ago. Each ginko biloba tree may live a thousand years or more. The traditional Chinese use for ginko biloba is as a brain tonic. Nowadays, over a million prescriptions are dispensed daily in Europe by doctors, to stimulate circulation in the body (and the brain).
Ginko biloba acts to produce several effects: It is a vasodilator, increasing circulation in the body; it prevents free-radical cellular damage; it prevents cellular damage due to low levels of oxygen (hypoxia); it enhances the brain’s ability to metabolize glucose (the main “fuel” in the body); it increases nerve transmission; it helps repair lesions in cellular membranes caused by free-radicals. These are but some of the many other properties of ginko biloba. The bottom line is, it fits many of the criteria for a safe and effective nootropic compound. It is perhaps the best and most effective nootropic compound available, at least for now.
All these benefits do not come easily. Ginko biloba is quite expensive. An average bottle with 60 tablets (almost a month’s supply) goes for $30. There are other formulations that cost less, but the most effective type is one with 24% concentration of bioflavonoids - the “active ingredients” in the plant - at a 50:1 production ratio - meaning fifty units of ginko biloba were used to make one unit of final product. There are other products with lower concentrations and lower production ratios, but they are not worth your while. Ginko biloba is also available in liquid form, as a sublingual - a liquid that is primarily absorbed through the soft membranes of your mouth, going directly into your bloodstream. Sublinguals are supposed to be more effective because of their direct path to the bloodstream, but I have yet to come across one that tastes good. Most sublinguals need quite a bit of getting used to, and I find that sometimes I skip my daily dosage when using sublinguals. Therefore, I recommend a high-quality pill form instead. The daily dosage of ginko biloba is 3 tablets a day, taken in the morning, noon, and night (for a total of about 160 mg daily). If you cannot afford that regime, the absolute minimum is one tablet daily, but a compromise can be reached at two tablets per day.
The effects of ginko biloba are not immediate. On average, you may begin to experience stimulated circulation in several days, and a sharper sense of mind in about a week. My personal experience has been very fruitful with ginko biloba. I used to suffer from cold hands and feet during the winter months, especially during sports such as skiing, because of poor circulation. The problems disappear when I start taking ginko biloba. Combined with other nootropics, ginko biloba is a powerful health and mind enhancer.
Gotu Kola - The Supercharger
Fuel-injected power for the brain
In my opinion, the second-most important smart nutrient is gotu kola. This herbal extract is not discussed at all in Smart Drugs & Nutrients, and is only briefly mentioned in Mind Food & Smart Pills. However, I have found that gotu kola is the only natural nootropic compound out there that gives almost immediate results.
After taking gotu kola, immediate effects can include a “hot” but not uncomfortable “energizing” of the brain. When I take gotu kola, during a period of high mental demand, the substance acts to “clear” any mental blocks because of overload, or mental fatigue. It is a refresher, and energizer. I have recommended gotu kola to many people and almost all of them report increased mental activity. Their dreams on even the first night after taking gotu kola appear to be more vivid and intense. Of course, these effects are highly subjective, and individual results vary from person to person. In India, where its properties have been well-explored, gotu kola has been used for a very long time, as a folk remedy and tonic. In the rest of the world, gotu kola is very popular in both Asia and Europe.
Gotu kola is available in several forms, but the best I have found is a liquid extract by Herbs, Etc. The liquid is added to a drink - for example a hot cup of herbal tea. There is no set daily intake level for gotu kola. I use it whenever I need to. However, for long term benefits, it is perhaps desirable to ingest at least one dosage of gotu kola per day (e.g., one cup of herbal tea with gotu kola added).
Note that I have recommended a herbal tea preparation. Do not use normal tea, for it contains caffeine. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine is not a good stimulator for mental functioning. In fact, it - and other harmful stimulants such as nicotine - can have intelligence-reducing effects. One of the key benefits of nootropics is a minimization of the confusion and anxiety experienced during memory recall. Caffeine and nicotine act to increase this anxiety and confusion, and create what is commonly referred to as tip-of-the-tongue phenomena. Stimulants such as these also inhibit restful sleep - interrupting your deeper delta and theta cycles - and therefore make you feel not as rested as you might have otherwise been. It also takes a long time before your body completely rids itself of these stimulants - it can take up to 24 hours for complete elimination. In addition, these harmful substances deplete your levels of beneficial chemicals such as Vitamin C, as your body deploys the anti-oxidants to protect your cells from the damaging effects of caffeine and nicotine. Therefore, during tasks that require higher mental function, refrain from coffee, tea, and cigarettes. Even the so-called “decaffeinated” products contain a small but very potent amount of caffeine. Substitute these products for natural and healthy choices such as herbal tea. There are enough varieties of herbal tea to satisfy even the fastidious connoisseur, or struggling student.
Chlorella - Solar Energy for the Mind
The little micro-organism that could
Finally, we arrive at the powerful chlorella. This magnificent product has not been covered at all by the two “bibles” of nootropic substances. There may be two reasons for this. First of all, chlorella is a relatively unknown substance in North America until recently. It has, however, gained considerable attention in the Far East, especially in Japan where it is exported to the rest of the world. The second reason for its relative obscurity in nootropic literature is that it does not really appear to be a nootropic in the sense that it acts on the mind, per se. Chlorella is an overall health enhancer, and yet nootropic enthusiasts tend to overlook it simply because it does not act solely to increase mental function.
Chlorella is not an herb. In fact, chlorella is an organism. It is a single-celled, fresh-water alga, the oldest and most primitive organism on this planet. Chlorella is approximately two-billion years old! Scientists have speculated that it serves as the bottom, the very foundation, of the food chain. For every “step” you move up the food chain, you lose some 95% of food energy. That means eating meat from an animal provides far less energy than eating plants (provided you can digest and absorb the plants). Since chlorella is at such a low-level in the food chain, imagine the tremendous amounts of energy it contains!
Chlorella is not spirulina. Some people mistakenly assume that they are one and the same. Spirulina is a valuable addition to a programme of health, but chlorella is a wholly different substance. It was discovered in 1890 by the Dutch microbiologist M.W. Beijernick. Until recently, chlorella has been virtually useless for humans, because we cannot digest it. The cell walls of chlorella are extremely strong. That is the reason why chlorella has survived to this day. It is very well protected. However, a Japanese company called YSK perfected a process to reduce the inpenetrability of the chlorella cell. By “grinding” down the cell walls, they have transformed chlorella into a form highly digestible for humans. Through their efforts, our species now has access to the most remarkable food substance on this planet.
Literature on the effects of chlorella have been relatively difficult to obtain by the general public. However, I will list several of its key benefits:
- Powerful Antioxidant.
- Super-concentrated energy source.
- Accelerates removal of poisons and wastes from the body.
- Supercharges cellular growth and regeneration via CGF.
- Retards aging
- Contains high amounts of important vitamins and minerals.
- Boosts immunity
Chlorella has been hailed as a miracle food. The super-concentrations of energy it provides to the body elevate all metabolic functions and enhances cellular activity. It provides a vast source of energy for your body to do its work, whether repairing cells, healing wounds, recovering from disease, or general daily operation. In the paradigm of the cyborg, chlorella is indeed an auxiliary power source.
Chlorella also contains CGF - Chlorella Growth Factor. This is a substance that accelerates biological growth. Studies have been done that show CGF effectuates the proper growth of children with developmental defects. CGF also plays a key role in speeding up cellular repair. The bottom line is, chlorella is the most miraculous substance ever made available to people. The Japanese use it consistently and frequently. It is even available as a topping for ice-cream in Tokyo.
Again, these powerful benefits come with a price. Chlorella is available in many forms, but the only really effective product is that made by YSK International Corporation. YSK’s exclusive production process - the Dyno-Mill process - is patented and their product - Sun Chlorella-A - is available in both a power and a tablet form. I recommend the tablet form, for convenience. Those are available in packages of 300 tablets each (about $30), or in a box containing 1500 tablets (five packages per box, about $150). You can even get a box that contains one package, of 300 tablets, but that is a waste of money and packaging.
The reason why there are so many tablets per package is that chlorella pills are extremely small. In fact, they are small and fragile. Each tablet is easily crushed. Handle the packages carefully. The daily dosage of chlorella required depends on the person’s state of health. Although the YSK package instructions indicate up to 15 tablets per day, this is too small a dosage to have significant effects. There is literature on chlorella that recommend enormous amounts, levels at which it would be impratical to maintain given the high cost of chlorella. My recommendation is a total of 30 tablets per day, taken in three divided dosages. That comes to about $3 per day using a 300-tablet package, at $30 per package. On the other hand, if you are feeling unwell or need the extra energy, increase the dosage to 50 tablets or even 80 tablets per day.
One important point to take note of regarding chlorella is that you must gradually increase your dosage over a period of time. Initial experiences with chlorella may include stomach upsets and gas while your body adjusts to the absorption of this new substance. A gradual introduction into your diet will minimize these effects, and allow you to reap the rewards of this miracle food. A couple of years ago, I was very sick, but had to go on a “forest marathon” with a friend. We had signed up the previous year for the event, and neither of us wanted to cancel it. So I began taking up to 90 tablets per day of chlorella (30 tablets per dosage) along with high levels of Vitamin C and B-Complex (among other things). I was able to make it through the marathon (which involved carrying a very heavy backpack, and travelling some 30 kilometers in six hours, up and down hills, around marshes, through forests, and sleeping overnight in a tent) and enjoy the event. We did not win the event, but I doubt I would have been able to even make it to the finish line without the assistance of chlorella.
For a good booklet about chlorella, please refer to:
Lee & Rosenbaum. Chlorella. Keats Publishing, Inc. Connecticut. 1987
For more information about Sun Chlorella-A, please contact:
YSK Interational Corporation at (800) 537-0077
Other Smart Nutrients - Honorary Mentions
Presenting a few of the other fellas
In this section, I will list several other important SNs. They are not as important as the ones we have already covered, but nevertheless deserve our attention. Dosage recommendations are based on my personal opinion. Check the additional sources listed in Appendix B for more information.
Lecithin: Lecithin contains choline, a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Lecithin itself is also a component of the myelin sheath - the protective covering of neurons to prevent cross-talk, or interference. Dosage is one 1200 mg tablet per day. Your body will convert lecithin into choline. Panthothenic Acid (vitamin B-5): This vitamin should be taken along with lecithin. Panthothenic acid is required for the successful metabolism of choline into acetylcholine. Dosage is 250 mg daily, taken with lecithin.
Ginseng: The ginseng root is so famous that perhaps it is not necessary for me to go into great depth about it. Indeed, the myriad of benefits of ginseng would require several volumes of books to document! This remarkable plant has been used throughout the centuries in Asia, particularly by the Chinese. Ginseng was not meant to be taken on a daily basis, and there are many different varieties of ginseng. You would do best to consult expert sources on the proper use of this plant. For the time being, follow directions given on the packaging of ginseng products you obtain from health food stores.
Pure Energy (by Montana Big Sky): This is a commercial preparation of a variety of substances. Pure Energy contains bee pollen, gotu kola, Siberian ginseng, and royal jelly. Although I do not recommend using Pure Energy as a substitute for direct sources of gotu kola and ginseng, this product has its own benefits as a source of increased energy and vitality. The concentrations of the ingredients have been carefully balanced to maximize synergy. It is available in capsule form at most health food stores, and is relatively inexpensive. Recommended dosage is 6 tablets per day, 2 tablets each in three divided dosages.
Montana Pollen & Herbs, Inc. Box 1, Hwy. 93 N., Arlee, Montana 59821. (406) 726-3214
SN Biochemical Effects Revisited
Don’t try this at home kids (maybe)
Let me mention once more that the benefits of synergy work with SNs just like it works with everything else. By paying attention to a variety of powerful enhancers, such as chlorella and ginko biloba, you are maximizing your body’s potential to rid itself of toxins, prevent damage from occuring, and operate at peak levels of performance.
The effects of the nutrients covered in the preceding sections have been well document, and I use them every day with confidence and peace of mind. I cannot say the same thing for the smart drugs that we now turn to. However, I do not mean to imply that smart nutrients - including, but not limited to the substances covered above - are absolutely safe. All nutrients contain amino acids, and their introduction into a normal human body may be interfering with the natural equilibrium of these substances:
[A study conducted for the FDA released in August of 1992 was] prompted by the recent deaths of 28 people who had taken the amino-acid supplement L-tryptophan, now banned for sale in the U.S. The actual cause of the deaths has not yet been determined, although some experts suspect a toxic impurity.
Amino-acid supplements are widely sold in health food stores as powders or capsules. They’re toted not only as smart drugs but also for such purposes as building strength and muscle mass…
Like all nutritional supplements, amino acids are classified as foods rather than drugs, so they’re not subjected to the same rigorous safety testing that drugs undergo.7
Although I have mentioned that it is my opinion that the benefits of nootropic compounds may be available in the form of smart nutrients (as opposed to smart drugs) I cannot guarantee safety for each and every person that experiments with them. Individuals with unique health constitutions or disorders may experience wholly different effects from other people. Again, I remind the reader that it is not recommended that a person experiment with any drugs, especially with unapproved substances. I say that honestly, and sincerely. If you must experiment, you are better off trusting the thousand-year old evidence of effectiveness and safety on a particular smart nutrient, rather than the results of a few of years of inconclusive experimentation done with smart drugs.
Smart Drugs - The New Frontiers of the Mind
One a day (might) keep the parent-teacher meeting at bay
In the 1970’s, a pharmacologist by the name of Cornelius Giurgea coined the term “nootropics” to describe a class of drugs that have specific effects on the mind. Giurgea’s criteria for a nootropic substance are that it has to:
- Enhance learning and memory, especially under conditions of disturbed neural metabolism resulting from a lack of oxygen, electroshock or age-related changes
- Facilitate information flow between the cerebral hemispheres
- Enhance the general resistance of the brain to physical and chemical injuries
- Be devoid of any other psychological or physiological effects8
Although relatively clear as a layman’s language, these criteria are in fact very vague compared to the strict standards by which modern pharmaceuticals are classified. The criteria that substances toted as modern “smart drugs” have the most problems with is the last one: “Be devoid of any other psychological or physiological effects.” As the results from research now stands, nobody can say with absolute certainty and conviction that smart drugs are perfectly safe for everyone.
Some of the smart drugs being used for nootropic purposes in normal humans were actually developed for treating disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. “We’re talking about treating elderly people with memory deficits… not 25-year-olds who want to earn more money on the stock market,” says Tom Crook, president of Memory Assessments Clinic Incorporated, a Washington company that specialises in assessing potential memory-boosting drugs for pharmaceutical firms.9 The reasoning is that since certain chemicals can improve the mental functions of people with disorders, their use in normal humans would likewise increase cognitive capacity. Unfortunately, Crook tells us that there is no scientific proof to back up this assertion.10 What evidence there is on the effects of drugs such as Piracetam include details of undesirable side-effects. Both Piracetam and Hydergine can cause insomnia, nausea and other gastrointestinal distress, and headaches. Other drugs cause similar and additional effects, some of them very harmful.11 Regardless of these facts, SD advocates insist on using them. Ward Dean estimates 10,000 users of smart drinks - beverages served at smart bars that contain mostly SNs - and many of those people using actual SDs. Here, then, is a brief look at what all the fuss has been about.
Piracetam - The King of them All
That which started the (snow)ball rolling
The most famous of all smart drugs has to be Piracetam. It was invented by UCB Laboratories in Belgium, and is reported to be an intelligence booster. One of the brand names of pircetam is Nootropil, attesting to its cognitive enhancement abilities.
Piracetam works on the brain as follows: It reduces the effects of hypoxia (reduced oxygen flow) in the brain; it promotes an increased level of data-transfer between the two hemispheres of the brain - essentially, encouraging whole-brain thinking; it is synergistically improved by the additional use of choline (lecithin) and other smart drugs. This “king” of all SDs is used outside of New Edge circles by medical authorities as a treatment for alcoholism, stroke, vertigo, senile dementia, sickle-cell anemia, dyslexia and other disorders. However, Piracetam’s cognitive effects have lately been the focus of attention, and more than any other SD, Piracetam helped bring about the awareness of this new genre of pharmaceuticals. The exact reasoning behind why Piracetam works is unclear. Research on this, and other SDs, has existed in a limbo state: It is hard to tell whether a report is valid or not. As a result, there is no conclusive evidence of the cognitive enhancement effects of Piracetam. On the other hand, there is no conclusive evidence to disprove its effects either.
A recent magazine article says of Piracetam:
- [It] alone has inspired scores of clinical trials over the last 10 years yet still remains in pharmacological limbo. It is just one of hundreds of compounds that have shown great promise in animal experiments - such as helping rats learn their way around mazes - yet seem to produce at best only marginal effects in patients.
A final point that I wish to make about Piracetam - and most other drugs, for that matter - is that it operates on an inverted-U curve of performance. In other words, the effectiveness of Piracetam may initially rise with increasing amounts of the drug, escalating proportionally with intake until it reaches a peak. At that point, effectiveness begins to drop, when too much of the drug is taken, until results become negative - as in overdosing. (Students of economics may understand this as an example of the theory of diminishing marginal returns). Therefore, with any medication, there is an optimum consumption point - the peak of the curve. However, this optimum point varies between people. The important thing to understand is that the relationship between the effectiveness of a drug and the amount taken is not immutable, and performance does not rise infinitely with ever-increasing levels of intake.
Hydergine - The Neural Synthesizer
Making happier little grey cells
Strangely enough, Hydergine is an extract of the ergot fungus, but it should not be confused with the tamer SNs. Hydergine is fully a SD. It was synthesized in the 1940’s by Albert Hoffman13, and is now manufactured by the pharmaecutical firm Sandoz. Its earliest applications included treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (Branconnier, 1983). Hydergine is one of the very few smart drugs that are approved for use in the United States, but a doctor’s prescription is necessary to obtain it.
The bartender at the Nutrient Cafe of San Francisco, known only as “Cat,” offers his personal testimony on the merits of Hydergine: "Smart drugs help me focus. When I use Hydergine, I never feel scattered."14 Dean & Morgenthaler’ s book states that Hydergine:
- Increases blood supply and oxygen to the brain
- Enhances brain cell metabolism
- Protects against free-radical damage, and inhibits free-radical activity
- Speeds elimination of age pigment (lipofuscin)
- Increases intelligence, memory, learning and recall
- Normalizes systolic blood pressure
In addition, Hydergine may reduce high cholesterol levels in some cases. The primary way that Hydergine acts may be the manner in which it mimicks the substance known as NGF - Nerve Growth Factor. This is not to be confused with the Chlorella Growth Factor discussed previously. NGF is neural-specific. It acts primarily as a stimulant for nerve growth. "NGF stimulates protein synthesis, resulting in the growth of dendrites… Dendrites are the communications connections between nerve and brain cells and are crucial to memory and learning."15 The potential that NGF holds for cognitive enhancement is tremendous. Brain cells that have been damaged or destroyed can be repaired or regenerated. Unfortunately, the status quo of mainstream NGF research has not yet led to an effective and proven method for this application. Certain SD advocates may be trying to reap the perceived rewards in this pioneering technology through the use of Hydergine.
The U.S. recommended dosage is 3 mg daily. The effects of Hydergine may not be noticeable until several months into the regime. This may be because time is required for the NGF to stimulate the regeneration of enough neural units to make a significant difference.
Vincamine - The Oxygen Booster
High octane for your brain
Vincamine is marketed under several names. One of them is “Oxicebral,” alluding to the oxygen-flow enhancement attributes of the drug. Again, we have a drug extracted from a plant. In this case, the periwinkle. Vincamine is a vasodilator, promoting circulation not unlike ginko biloba.
Vincamine has been prescribed outside of the United States to treat symptoms of reduced blood and oxygen flow to the brain. It has also been allegedly used to improve memory and concentration.
The dosage for Vincamine is 30 mg every 12 hours. It is not available in the United States.
Vasopressin - The Memory Enhancer
A nose job that helps you remember your stuff
Vasopressin is secreted by the posterior portion of the pituitary gland. It is a hormone vital for imprinting of new information into memory. Reputedly, it assists in the learning and recall of large amounts of memory.
Vasopressin is available in the form of a nasal spray, usually under the brand name “Diapid.” Effects are supposed to be experienced within seconds of application. The speedy transport of Vasopressin through the nasal membranes directly into the bloodstream is similar to the manner in which sublinguals enter the body through the mouth. SD advocates use it to “wake up” the mind. The other side of the story is that Vasopressin has been less than friendly to some users. Reports on the undesirable effects of this drug include "pallor, nausea, belching, cramps… etc."16 Like all other medications, effects may vary among different people when using Vasopressin. The dosage is 12 to 16 USP units per day, or about two whiffs three to four times a day. Vasopressin is available in the United States with a doctor’s prescription.
Nootropics - The Bottom Line
What your doctor might say to you if you dared ask for a prescription
We have examined a good number of compounds, most of them believed by smart drug advocates to enhance cognitive functions. However, because of the lack of substantial evidence to prove, to a reasonable extent, both their effectiveness and safety, the best course of action to take is a conservative one. The future may yet hold the promise of truly safe and effective nootropics. Research into this remarkable area of medicine is going on at a rapid pace. Needless to say, drug companies acknowledge the gains that come with the invention of a nootropic substance. The market value of this future industry has already been projected to be worth more than $40 billion, by 1994. But at the moment we must regard alleged nootropic compounds with a skeptical eye. Steven Rose, the head of the Brain and Behaviour Research Group, at Open University, and who has examined more than 100 studies done on nootropic compounds, wrote that:
There is no reason to assume that, for most of us at most times, our enzymes and neurotransmitter systems are not working at more or less optimal levels. The brain is well buffered against the effects of arbitrary increases or decreases in circulating chemicals so that simply consuming food additives which are acetylcholine precursors will not normally increase your brain acetylcholine level. And even if it did, increasing neurotransmitter activity is no guarantee of increased mental performance; rather, it can be positively deleterious to throw chemical spanners into the exquisitely balanced biochemical system that is the human brain. More does not mean better.18
Indeed, the human brain is the product of millions of years of evolution. Nature had carefully crafted it over the millenia, and we would be foolish and arrogant to doubt her ingenuity or wisdom, believing that in the span of a few years we could harmlessly change her designs. The goal of maximizing cognitive power should not be done at such a critical and virtually irrevocable level of biology. In fact, the better options to turn to when a cybernetic upgrade is required are the machines.
Program Modification - Redesigning The Self
Performing serious brain surgery on yourself with pen and paper
We come now to the closing of the book. This section on subconscious psychology will be the final presentation on advanced technologies for the mind. I organized it to be part of the last chapter in order to wrap up our discussion. In the very beginning of the book, I mentioned passion to be the critical motive force behind our endeavours. Although the concept was touched upon, it was not investigated with very much depth. The reason was that I wanted to show you all the tools first, before teaching you how to acquire the motivation to use them. Now that you know the what, when, where, and how of peak mental performance, it is time to know the why behind it all.
A Mind Within
Perhaps you are already itching to try out some of the advanced techniques. On the other hand, perhaps you are still undecided about taking action. In our chapter on military strategy, we designed our master battleplan, and within it we defined our ultimate goals, and our reasoning behind why we needed to achieve them. In a similar vein, motivation for any activity stems from the fact that our subconscious minds believe that it is in our best interests to undertake certain tasks, or adopt certain attitudes. Evolution, and the survival instinct, has endowed us with this subconscious intelligence so that we have a fundamental guidance in our lives. Regardless of the activity, deep down we believe that whatever we are doing will ultimately benefit us. Even if certain tasks seem harmful, we believe subconsciously that they are the best possible choices to take, given our circumstances.
Without going into technical details in the science of psychology, suffice to say that our subconscious acts in our best interests by minimizing harm, and maximizing safety. In other words, we try to avoid pain, and embrace pleasure. An important point to take note of is that the pain and pleasure can take either physical or psychological form. That is, we can suffer actual physical pain as in stubbing our toes against a door, or suffer emotional hurt from someone slamming a door in our face. In fact, physical pain is relatively easy to identify. It is obvious, and explicit. Few people have trouble recognizing physical danger and harm. The complicated part is figuring out the emotional aspect. It is not as easy to identify and deal with psychological danger. Our minds are equipped with highly developed psychological defense mechanisms that are constantly at work minimizing the damage to our psyche from daily experiences. In effect, we are relying on these innate psychological defenses to keep us functioning properly. It is actually a very precarious situation indeed. Every stimulus or experience we encounter has the potential to either empower or depower us. Most of the time we go through life without regard for this background process, and throw ourselves to the winds of chance encounters. We hope that our personalities will somehow be strong enough to deal with the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
Strength of character will indeed protect us. That is why people who have gone through more trials and tests in life are more successful at dealing with crisis and pressures in the face of danger. But strength of character takes time to develop. Most training comes to us haphazardly via trial and error. It has been said that success comes from the ability to make good decisions; good decisions are a result of experience; and experience comes by way of mistakes! Even people who deliberately train their characters through controlled experiences, such as the wilderness survival courses offered the world over by the Outward Bound schools, have to endure great physical and mental demands over a significant period of time. One does not overnight become a fully-armoured cyborg. However, in addition to real-life experience, we can conscientiously boost our character strength and will by way of inner psychological work that we perform on our subconscious minds.
Two Masters of the Mind
Freud and Pavlov
The existence of the subconscious mind was first suggested by the great Sigmund Freud, the father of all subconscious (or unconscious) psychology. He believed that there was a “hidden” part of us that acts without our conscious knowledge, and in fact was the key determinant of our destinies. Unfortunately, Freud was rather much the proverbial pessimist. He did not believe that people could change their destinies, and the totality of their lives was centred entirely on childhood experiences.
In another branch of psychology, we encounter the proponents of conditioning. These psychologists believe that all animals can be conditioned by associating a natural reaction to an artificial stimulus. For example, Pavlov showed us how dogs could be made to salivate upon hearing the ring of a bell. Conditioning denies to a large extent the existence of the mind, whether subconscious or not. Subconscious, and conditioning, psychology seem to be diametrically opposed. One stresses the power of the subconscious mind, while the other builds its theory simply on innate animal instinct. However, I consider both views equally valid, and we can use these powerful psychological theories to our advantages. When I refer to the “subconscious” I will mean, in the context of this section, the part of us which operates in the “background,” and which can be affected either by intelligent design or simple instinctive reaction.
Modifying Conditioned Responses
We can peform “modifications” on our subconscious in several ways. For starters, we can extract our subconscious feelings into the open, analyze them, and redefine them consciously. This takes considerable effort and much psychoanalytical work. Another possibility is to design a conscious plan that is so compelling, that it evokes an emotional response from us, typically fear or passion, and induces the subconscious to operate towards the achievement of that goal. Finally, we can apply conditioning principles to manage our emotional states by creating conscious links to objects or experiences. In a sense, revamping our “response matrix.”
Let us look at the latter method. It is the simplest to implement, yet perhaps not the simplest to understand. The theory, however, requires merely that we associate a certain basic natural response such as hunger, fear or joy, to an artificial stimulus, or cue. This process actually happens to us on a daily basis. We learn to associate the sound of a police siren or fire alarm with the possibility of danger, and thus we elicit a fear and alert reaction whenever we hear these sounds. Likewise, most people are conditioned to associate commercial produts such as Coca-Cola with joyful and exciting states of emotion, through the presentation of images of people having fun when they are drinking Coca-Cola. The method of association can either be conscious, or subconscious. We can be aware of the association, as in the usual television commercial, or we can be oblivious to the attempt at conditioning. If the latter, the process is referred to as subliminal programming. We can thus be influenced regardless of our knowledge about the attempts. A classical example of subliminal programming is in the form of the story about a New Jersey theatre owner who flashed the words “Drink Coca-Cola” on the screen during a movie, and enjoyed a 58 per cent increase in sales of the drink over a six-week period.19 It is a tenacious existence indeed, when we realise that we are exposed every second to stimuli with the potential to be associated with certain states of mind within us.
Thus far, the ability to be conditioned seems to resemble more of an Orwellian psychological nightmare than anything else. On the contrary, it was probably a survival trait. If our ancestors learned to associate the potential of injury or death with specific cues related to danger, and the possibility of food with its respective cues, their chances of continued existence would be greatly increased, especially since the conditioned reaction is provided in an instant, without the delays of rationalization. On the other hand, conditioning can become maldaptive. People with phobias, or unreasonable fears about certain things, have learned to associate panic and discomfort with specific conditions or items. This unfortunate phobic reaction was probably formed during early childhood. Therapists treat phobics by exposing them to the fear-producing stimuli under controlled conditions. However, it is not an easy task, for the conditioned stimulus is able to produce states of mind in the person even without the original conditions that evoked the emotional response in the first place. In other words, the person who fears large bodies of water can experience panic even if they are on dry land, and totally safe, because of a childhood experience of drowning. The panic they experience is bad enough to be self-sufficient and serves to maintain the phobic reaction. Likewise, cigarette smokers have associated the act of smoking initially with peer approval, and yet as time progresses, they elicit emotional reactions of relaxation and luxury by smoking (encouraged, no doubt, by the myriad of cigarette advertisments that induce such links).
If we, as cyborgs, need to modify our internal processing, we must apply proper conditioning to maximize beneficial mind states, and minimize maldaptive ones. We achieve this by consciously envisioning a specific mental image, whenever we want to associate a certain cue to that emotion. The key here is the subjective emotion we feel in the mental image. We associate emotions to cues. For example, if we want to reduce our smoking, we must associate the physical cue of holding a cigarette, or drawing on the cigarette, with a totally horrible and disgusting emotion such as that experienced while on the verge of vomiting. Some of my friends have successfully cut down, or eliminated altogether, their smoking by inducing themselves to vomit (using some very ingenious ways, I might add!) whenever they felt the desire to smoke. Conscious and rational modification of your conditioned links requires a lot of good planning, patience while the links are being modified, and faith in the results. As surely as your knee will jerk when hit properly, your conditioned responses will be modified eventually. The actual duration depends on the severity of the link, and the amount of emotion involved. People can become phobically sensitized to certain cues by a single traumatic event. Others become programmed to do certain things out of the accumulated reinforcement of daily habit.
Please go now, and write down a list of all the conditioned responses in your life that you can think of, and pick the ones you need to modify or eliminate. This is no easy task. Because of their hidden nature, conditioned links are sometimes hard to fathom. But take your time, and over the next few days write down all the links you can think of. Then devise new links for them, and recondition yourself. The cigarette-smoking example above is probably something that a lot of people may want to attempt. In order to make it most effective, you should create very specific and vivid mental images. While suffering from the physical discomfort, really feel in your mind the every nuance of smoking, really feel each breath you draw, and the pressure between your fingers of the cigarette filter. The keys to effectiveness are frequency of association, attention to detail, and magnitude of emotional response.
Prime Directives - Modifying Our Programming
On-site upgrades for the software in your brain
The next method of subconscious programming that I want to discuss is related to simple conditioning. This time, we will look at a more rational and thought-out way of modifying our internal behavior.
Recall that our subconscious can be influenced by external conditions. Although we usually think of external events as comprised of experiences, we can also modify our internal programming by conscious and rational thought. We do this by creating a compelling rationale for doing something, and this will create the appropriate emotional reaction to induce our subconscious to awaken to the new directive. When both our conscious and subconscious minds are focussed on a certain objective, there’s no stopping us.
To begin, we must identify an objective, and the reasons why we must achieve it. If the reasoning is not adequate, we will not be subconsciously compelled to achieve that objective. No matter how much logic is involved, if we are not emotionally aroused by the idea, we will not likely take adequate action to see to its fruition. The subconscious is performing its energy-saving functioning. In effect, it is telling us to take it easy, and really think about whether or not it is absolutely necessary we embark on a certain course of action. Most people stop at this stage, and don’t exhaust the train of thought. Unless you believe that it is absolutely necessary you do something, chances are you probably won’t do it.
Take a writing instrument and some lined paper, or fire up your word-processor. Now, referring to your master battleplan, write down your BigT and/or any other objective. Perhaps you feel that you are sufficiently empowered and compelled to achieving your BigT already. In that case, pick an objective that you’re not that sure about. The best way of identifiing these objectives are seeing which ones you’ve been procrastinating or putting-off. Perhaps it’s a specific assignment you have to complete, or a client you have to confront.
Now write down, with as much detail as possible, the reasons why you have to achieve this objective. Be very specific, and through. Exhaust completely the line of questioning. When you are finished, write down the consequences of not achieving the objective. Again, be precise in your language.
Now, looking at the results of the latter exercise, imagine what your life would be like in exactly one year from now, if you did not perform your task. Where will you be? What kind of person will you be viewed as? Will you be happy? Above all, write down the level of possibility of fixing the mistake. As long as your mind believes that you can still do something to change the consequences of non-action, it will not be totally compelled to take action. When you are finished with projecting ahead one year, repeat the exercise for a projection of five years, and then ten years. Really think about all the things that can happen because you were “lazy” now. If you are not going to your classes as often as you really should, think about the consequences of not being qualified for a well-paying job in the future. Think about all the hardships you will have to endure because of this. Perhaps you won’t be able to support yourself, or you will be unable to help your loved ones financially. What if your spouse, or a member of your family, needed money for an operation? What if you could not give your children a proper education? What if you had to perform monotonous and menial tasks all your life just to get by? This exercise in future projection is not futile and irrelevant. It will become your reality, if you continue on your present trajectory. You are doing yourself a favour now, by time-travelling into the future, and placing yourself in the upcoming situation. If you find that your future self would probably have much cause for regret, be thankful that you are still in the here and now, and that you can do something about it all. Do not neglect this very important mental exercise.
When you have finished with this powerful session, take your master battleplan and modify it. Reconsider objectives and methods. Streamline the plan by eliminating the unnecessary.
Beyond The Limits
Striking up a conversation with the “little voice” inside us Scientists have determined that there is a “threshold” between the conscious and subconscious minds. Above this threshold, stimuli are perceived by the conscious mind. Below it, the information is processed only by the subconscious. By targetting information at the level just below the threshold of perception, the subconscious mind can be optimally influenced. This can be achieved in the form of visual images flashed at fractions of a second, a speed too fast for the conscious mind to perceive, yet slow enough for the subconscious to acknowledge. Information can also be in an audio form, by presenting it just below the threshold of conscious hearing. Most subliminal products on the market today use either of these two methods. Unique are those that utilize both.
The value of subliminals is that it provides a direct “gateway” into your subconscious mind. Analogous to the computer programmer who can edit the program listing directly, we now have the technology to edit the core “program” of a person. Subliminals implant specific beliefs into your subconscious mind. The process is direct. You are “rescripting” your internal dialogue without the time and effort involved in the above mental exercises. When your subconscious mind receives the new information, it will adopt the new beliefs. The important point to note is that the subconscious mind cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy. The responsibility of identifying reality falls on your conscious mind. However, when the subconscious is rescripted, it will induce the conscious mind find reasons for its beliefs. In other words, whatever your subconscious mind believes is true, your conscious mind will evoke action to prove that the subconscious is correct.
To take an example, if you subconsciously believe that you are a failure, you will have the paradigm of constantly seeing bad luck happen to you. On the other hand, if you believe that you are a successful person, you will find that you can identify numerous examples that support your belief. Think of the subconscious mind as a filtering system, through which you perceive life. But filtering isn’t the only thing the subconscious does. If you believe, for example, that you are successful, then that affects your self-esteem and your confidence. If you are confident about yourself, you will take intelligent risks, and dedicate yourself to achieving your goals. However, if you lack the belief that you are able to do the job, you will not have enough confidence to keep you going when you run into difficulties. As a result, you may abandon your projects. In this manner, you are perpetuating a self-fulfilling prophecy: Once you believe you cannot do something, you will stop your attempts, and ultimately prove yourself correct. It has been said that whether you believe you can or cannot, you are correct.
To summarize, subliminal programming cuts through the conscious pathways and accesses directly your subconscious mind. In effect, your subconscious paradigms are restructured. By doing so, it provides your conscious mind the fundamental beliefs it requires to prove the subconscious correct. In this manner, you will be internally and intrinsically motivated. People who have reservations about the possibility of deliberate manipulation of the subconscious mind should take note of the irrational behaviours of millions of people who daily smoke or otherwise perform activities detrimental to good health. Remember, the combination of proper subliminal programming and conscious mental work will guarantee maximization of self-confidence and secure your total success. There are many subliminal products available commercially. Uses range from cigarette smoking reduction, to stress management, to higher brain function. Because the quality of subliminal products is virtually impossible to ascertain by the general consumer, there are unfortunately a lot of subliminals that don’t work. As a result, they can contribute to decreased public confidence in the effacy of subliminal technology. However, I firmly believe that subliminals are powerful, and when properly executed can help even the most unmotivated individual to succeed.
The only ways in which a person can rate subliminal products currently on the market, are through word of mouth by satisfied customers, and by looking at the manufacturer. Promising attributes include a large scale of operation, and a considerable length of time the firm has stayed in business. However, the best yardstick is still customer testimony.
I do not profess that they are the best manufacturer for subliminals on this planet, but Zygon International seems to put out very high quality products. I have had the best results from their material, compared with the technology from other companies. Their information is listed in Appendix B.
Your subconscious is being bombarded by subliminal influence every day, from a multiple of sources. It is your responsibility to put a check on the amount of randomness you allow this bombardment. By using subliminals, and performing “brain surgery” on yourself through the above mental exercises, you ensure that you remain the captain of your ship, and allow your body to “boldy go,” without fear or lack of confidence.
True Cybernetics - The Human/Machine Interface
A power tool for the mind
Subliminals are only one type of mind-enhancement product from the high-tech world. Companies such as Zygon have made available devices that can induce specific mind states. That is to say, you can change your emotions at the push of a button.
One such product is the InnerQuest machine. It stimulates your brain via subliminal signals produced over a pair of headphones. By varying the pattern in which the signals are presented, the machine can induce your brain to go into the various alpha, beta, delta, and theta modes that we discussed in the section on sleep. Therefore, you have the possibility of “forcing” your mind to do as you wish. This is a way of establishing conscious control over your natural and subconscious urges. Some brain units combine the use of audio and visual stimulation, by providing an additional visor which stimulates the eyes via flashing LED lights.
Brain machines can work in conjunction with subliminal programming, to enhance the programming effect. By creating a mind state that is most conducive to learning, for example, it can accelerate education by remarkable factors. Unfortunately, this powerful technology does not come cheap. Most brain machines cost about $300 and not all of them are effective. Specialty hobby and consumer electronics stores should carry them. They epitomize the true cybernetic connection between the human and the machine.
Thus ends our discussion of the tools and skills towards maximization of cognitive power. Your brain is the most valuable component of your organic body. Both the conscious and subconscious aspects must be recognized and catered to. Careful attention to detail and a conscientious programme of maintenance and tuneups will ensure peak peformance.
In the next and final chapter, we will chart a course towards…
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- Lambert, Victor. Using Smart Drugs and Drinks may not be so Smart. FDA Consumer. April '93. P.25
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- Ward, Dean & Morgenthaler, John. Smart Drugs & Nutrients. Pp. 118-119
- Stahl, Jerry. Invasion of the Brain People. Playboy. July '92. P. 150
- Stahl, Jerry. Invasion of the Brain People. Playboy. July '92. P. 88
- Rose, Steven. No Way to Treat the Mind. New Scientist. April 17 '93. P. 26
- Taylor, Eldon. Subliminal Learning. p. 18