"...for ultimately the real intellectual challenge ahead won't lie in happiness-maximisation. After all, if non-stop hedonistic bliss were the (sole) objective of paradise-engineering, then a rat or monkey with electrodes implanted in its pleasure-centres already points the way forward. Electrical stimulation of the mesolimbic dopamine system is both extraordinarily crude and extraordinarily effective. No physiological tolerance exists to the substrates of pure pleasure. In fact, our descendants may find that sustaining life-long happiness per se trivially easy. A genetic predisposition to express the substrates of emotional well-being can be hardwired from conception. The truly challenging task in the era of post-genomic medicine will be exploring how to re-encephalise emotions in ways that serve our own interest - and not just the inclusive fitness of primordial DNA. In generations to come, a primary focus of neuroscientific mind-making may lie in remapping the axonal and dendritic arborisation of the neo-cortex. This task is much more ambitious than amplifying the brain's pleasure-centres - though states of bliss thousands or even millions of times more intense than anything accessible today may be routine for our descendants. As this neural remapping unfolds, our mutual emotional and intellectual enrichment may take many guises. The enrichment of (post-)human mental health is hard to quantify or even define. But the aim of this rational redesign of our own nature will be to bootstrap our way into fulfilling our second-order desires for who and what we want to become - whether gods or just better (post-)humans..."
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MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World