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"OH WATERS, TEEM WITH MEDICINE TO KEEP MY BODY SAFE FROM HARM, SO THAT I MAY LONG SEE THE SUN." - Rig Veda
What can we do about it? The drugs and the technology and the culture have all mutated to take advantage of their environment, but our policies have remained static for many decades. Instead of constricting supply, drug laws focused on a group of well-known chemicals have simply pushed users towards new and increasingly dangerous forms of chemical stimulation. And now attempts to enforce the law simply encourage greater, riskier innovation—and no one now knows where that will take us.
Caldicott offers an analogy: “Let’s see drugs as an illness, and prohibition as an antibiotic. If you treated any illness with the same antibiotic for 50 years, medical people would be stunned if resistance hadn’t developed.”
Theoretical neurobiology offers a simpler explanation for all of these effects—from a Bayesian perspective, as the brain is progressively optimized to model its world, its complexity will decrease. A corollary of this complexity reduction is an attenuation of Bayesian updating or sensory learning.