[ibogaine] Re: AMON

Allison Senepart aa.senepart at xtra.co.nz
Mon Jun 23 08:12:27 EDT 2003


I just wanted to offer condolences to Amons Mum.  I saw his messages here
but had no idea he had died.  I don't know that any of this will make his
Mum feel better but a lot of addicts don't set out intentionally to die.  I
have a number of friends now that have overdosed or died accidentely while
using drugs which is an incentive   that helps my partner and I try to fight
to keep clean.  Its not easy and the temptation is always just around the
corner but so far we are staying good for longer than we have done at any
other time.  We have tried and failed so many times, had arguments, given
up, been sick and everything else that goes with it.  My daughter is now 22
and is very anti hard drugs after having to live with my partner and I and I
am certainly not proud to have introduced her to things she should never
have seen or been aware of.  All I can say is that its like one part of your
mind is saying one thing and then another half is talking you into the
opposite.  At times I was so determined not to do any more morphine, poppies
etc. and then my partner would arrive home with something and I would start
cramping in the stomach just anticipating it.  My parents were horribly
upset when they figured out what I was doing.  I managed to hide it for a
while but eventually everything feel to bits.  I would turn up to visit and
nod off in the middle of a conversation and I guess it was all too obvious.
They wanted to help me but I wouldn't let them.  My answer was to keep
telling them everything was under control cos I didn't want them to be
disappointed in me and also didn'twant to admit how desperate and sick I was
when I needed a fix to get to work and function for the day.
I wish Amons mum all the best and hope that she will find some understanding
from people on this list.
Regards Allison.   PS  It all sounds so inadequate but my thoughts are there
even if though the words are hard to write.
----- Original Message -----
From: "AMON" <amon at wetnightmare.com>
To: <ibogaine at mindvox.com>
Cc: <ibogaine at mindvox.com>
Sent: Monday, June 23, 2003 11:04 AM
Subject: [ibogaine] Re: AMON


> On Sun, 22 Jun 2003 13:04:35 -0400, "preston peet"
> wrote:
> I"m not sure how to send a  message to this group- but
> I would like anybody who might have communicated with
> Amon to know that on April 26, he died suddenly. The
> cause of death is still being investigated, but he was
> in the company of drug dealers at the time. I am his
> mother and would appreciate hearing from anyone who has
> insights or previous messages from him, as I mourn his
> death and try to understand his pain. I know he was
> trying desperately in his last two months to find help
> for his addiction. My agony is that I was not able to
> help him in time. If anyone out there can help me with
> understanding, I would be so grateful. thank you.
>
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> > Subject: [ibogaine] (OT, but interesting) Fw:
> [drugwar] Savant for a Day
> > X-Received: 22 Jun 2003 17:05:14 GMT
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> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: Tim Meehan
> > To: drugwar at mindvox.com
> > Cc: mapster at coollist.com
> > Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2003 10:28 AM
> > Subject: [drugwar] Savant for a Day
> >
> >
> >
> http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/22/magazine/22SAVANT.html
> >
> >
> > June 22, 2003
> > Savant for a Day
> > By LAWRENCE OSBORNE
> >
> >
> >
> > n a concrete basement at the University of Sydney, I
> > sat in a chair waiting
> > to
> > have my brain altered by an electromagnetic pulse. My
> > forehead was
> > connected, by
> > a series of electrodes, to a machine that looked
> > something like an
> > old-fashioned
> > beauty-salon hair dryer and was sunnily described to
> me
> > as a ''Danish-made
> > transcranial magnetic stimulator.'' This was not just
> > any old Danish-made
> > transcranial magnetic stimulator, however; this was
> the
> > Medtronic Mag Pro,
> > and
> > it was being operated by Allan Snyder, one of the
> > world's most remarkable
> > scientists of human cognition.
> >
> > Nonetheless, the anticipation of electricity being
> > beamed into my frontal
> > lobes
> > (and the consent form I had just signed) made me a bit
> > nervous. Snyder found
> > that amusing. ''Oh, relax now!'' he said in the thick
> > local accent he has
> > acquired since moving here from America. ''I've done
> it
> > on myself a hundred
> > times. This is Australia. Legally, it's far more
> > difficult to damage people
> > in
> > Australia than it is in the United States.''
> >
> > ''Damage?'' I groaned.
> >
> > ''You're not going to be damaged,'' he said. ''You're
> > going to be
> > enhanced.''
> >
> > The Medtronic was originally developed as a tool for
> > brain surgery: by
> > stimulating or slowing down specific regions of the
> > brain, it allowed
> > doctors to
> > monitor the effects of surgery in real time. But it
> > also produced, they
> > noted,
> > strange and unexpected effects on patients' mental
> > functions: one minute
> > they
> > would lose the ability to speak, another minute they
> > would speak easily but
> > would make odd linguistic errors and so on. A number
> of
> > researchers started
> > to
> > look into the possibilities, but one in particular
> > intrigued Snyder: that
> > people
> > undergoing transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS,
> > could suddenly exhibit
> > savant intelligence -- those isolated pockets of
> > geniuslike mental ability
> > that
> > most often appear in autistic people.
> >
> > Snyder is an impish presence, the very opposite of a
> > venerable professor,
> > let
> > alone an internationally acclaimed scientist. There is
> > a whiff of Woody
> > Allen
> > about him. Did I really want him, I couldn't help
> > thinking, rewiring my hard
> > drive? ''We're not changing your brain physically,''
> he
> > assured me. ''You'll
> > only experience differences in your thought processes
> > while you're actually
> > on
> > the machine.'' His assistant made a few final
> > adjustments to the electrodes,
> > and
> > then, as everyone stood back, Snyder flicked the
> switch.
> >
> > A series of electromagnetic pulses were being directed
> > into my frontal
> > lobes,
> > but I felt nothing. Snyder instructed me to draw
> > something. ''What would you
> > like to draw?'' he said merrily. ''A cat? You like
> > drawing cats? Cats it
> > is.''
> >
> > I've seen a million cats in my life, so when I close
> my
> > eyes, I have no
> > trouble
> > picturing them. But what does a cat really look like,
> > and how do you put it
> > down
> > on paper? I gave it a try but came up with some sort
> of
> > stick figure,
> > perhaps an
> > insect.
> >
> > While I drew, Snyder continued his lecture. ''You
> could
> > call this a
> > creativity-amplifying machine. It's a way of altering
> > our states of mind
> > without
> > taking drugs like mescaline. You can make people see
> > the raw data of the
> > world
> > as it is. As it is actually represented in the
> > unconscious mind of all of
> > us.''
> >
> > Two minutes after I started the first drawing, I was
> > instructed to try
> > again.
> > After another two minutes, I tried a third cat, and
> > then in due course a
> > fourth.
> > Then the experiment was over, and the electrodes were
> > removed. I looked down
> > at
> > my work. The first felines were boxy and stiffly
> > unconvincing. But after I
> > had
> > been subjected to about 10 minutes of transcranial
> > magnetic stimulation,
> > their
> > tails had grown more vibrant, more nervous; their
> faces
> > were personable and
> > convincing. They were even beginning to wear clever
> > expressions.
> >
> > I could hardly recognize them as my own drawings,
> > though I had watched
> > myself
> > render each one, in all its loving detail. Somehow
> over
> > the course of a very
> > few
> > minutes, and with no additional instruction, I had
> gone
> > from an incompetent
> > draftsman to a very impressive artist of the feline
> > form.
> >
> > Snyder looked over my shoulder. ''Well, how about
> that?
> > Leonardo would be
> > envious.'' Or turning in his grave, I thought.
> >
> >
> > As remarkable as the cat-drawing lesson was, it was
> > just a hint of Snyder's
> > work
> > and its implications for the study of cognition. He
> has
> > used TMS dozens of
> > times
> > on university students, measuring its effect on their
> > ability to draw, to
> > proofread and to perform difficult mathematical
> > functions like identifying
> > prime
> > numbers by sight. Hooked up to the machine, 40 percent
> > of test subjects
> > exhibited extraordinary, and newfound, mental skills.
> > That Snyder was able
> > to
> > induce these remarkable feats in a controlled,
> > repeatable experiment is more
> > than just a great party trick; it's a breakthrough
> that
> > may lead to a
> > revolution
> > in the way we understand the limits of our own
> > intelligence -- and the
> > functioning of the human brain in general.
> >
> > Snyder's work began with a curiosity about autism.
> > Though there is little
> > consensus about what causes this baffling -- and
> > increasingly common --
> > disorder, it seems safe to say that autistic people
> > share certain qualities:
> > they tend to be rigid, mechanical and emotionally
> > dissociated. They manifest
> > what autism's great ''discoverer,'' Leo Kanner, called
> > ''an anxiously
> > obsessive
> > desire for the preservation of sameness.'' And they
> > tend to interpret
> > information in a hyperliteral way, using ''a kind of
> > language which does not
> > seem intended to serve interpersonal communication.''
> >
> > For example, Snyder says, when autistic test subjects
> > came to see him at the
> > university, they would often get lost in the main
> quad.
> > They might have been
> > there 10 times before, but each time the shadows were
> > in slightly different
> > positions, and the difference overwhelmed their sense
> > of place. ''They can't
> > grasp a general concept equivalent to the word
> > 'quad,''' he explains. ''If
> > it
> > changes appearance even slightly, then they have to
> > start all over again.''
> >
> > Despite these limitations, a small subset of
> autistics,
> > known as savants,
> > can
> > also perform superspecialized mental feats. Perhaps
> the
> > most famous savant
> > was
> > Dustin Hoffman's character in ''Rain Man,'' who could
> > count hundreds of
> > matchsticks at a glance. But the truth has often been
> > even stranger: one
> > celebrated savant in turn-of-the-century Vienna could
> > calculate the day of
> > the
> > week for every date since the birth of Christ. Other
> > savants can speak
> > dozens of
> > languages without formally studying any of them or can
> > reproduce music at
> > the
> > piano after only a single hearing. A savant studied by
> > the English doctor J.
> > Langdon Down in 1887 had memorized every page of
> > Gibbon's ''Decline and Fall
> > of
> > the Roman Empire.'' At the beginning of the 19th
> > century, the splendidly
> > named
> > Gottfried Mind became famous all over Europe for the
> > amazing pictures he
> > drew of
> > cats.
> >
> > The conventional wisdom has long been that autistics'
> > hyperliteral thought
> > processes were completely separate from the more
> > contextual, nuanced, social
> > way
> > that most adults think, a different mental function
> > altogether. And so, by
> > extension, the extraordinary skills of autistic
> savants
> > have been regarded
> > as
> > flukes, almost inhuman feats that average minds could
> > never achieve.
> >
> > Snyder argues that all those assumptions -- about
> > everything from the way
> > autistic savants behave down to the basic brain
> > functions that cause them to
> > do
> > so -- are mistaken. Autistic thought isn't wholly
> > incompatible with ordinary
> > thought, he says; it's just a variation on it, a more
> > extreme example.
> >
> > He first got the idea after reading ''The Man Who
> > Mistook His Wife for a
> > Hat,''
> > in which Oliver Sacks explores the link between autism
> > and a very specific
> > kind
> > of brain damage. If neurological impairment is the
> > cause of the autistic's
> > disabilities, Snyder wondered, could it be the cause
> of
> > their geniuslike
> > abilities, too? By shutting down certain mental
> > functions -- the capacity to
> > think conceptually, categorically, contextually -- did
> > this impairment allow
> > other mental functions to flourish? Could brain
> damage,
> > in short, actually
> > make
> > you brilliant?
> >
> > In a 1999 paper called ''Is Integer Arithmetic
> > Fundamental to Mental
> > Processing?
> > The Mind's Secret Arithmetic,'' Snyder and D. John
> > Mitchell considered the
> > example of an autistic infant, whose mind ''is not
> > concept driven. . . . In
> > our
> > view such a mind can tap into lower level details not
> > readily available to
> > introspection by normal individuals.'' These children,
> > they wrote, seem ''to
> > be
> > aware of information in some raw or interim state
> prior
> > to it being formed
> > into
> > the 'ultimate picture.''' Most astonishing, they went
> > on, ''the mental
> > machinery
> > for performing lightning fast integer arithmetic
> > calculations could be
> > within us
> > all.''
> >
> > And so Snyder turned to TMS, in an attempt, as he
> says,
> > ''to enhance the
> > brain
> > by shutting off certain parts of it.''
> >
> > ''In a way, savants are the great enigma of today's
> > neurology,'' says Prof.
> > Joy
> > Hirsch, director of the Functional M.R.I. Research
> > Center at Columbia
> > University. ''They exist in all cultures and are a
> > distinct type. Why? How?
> > We
> > don't know. Yet understanding the savant will help
> > provide insight into the
> > whole neurophysiological underpinning of human
> > behavior. That's why Snyder's
> > ideas are so exciting -- he's asking a really
> > fundamental question, which no
> > one
> > has yet answered.''
> >
> > If Snyder's suspicions are correct, in fact, and
> > savants have not more
> > brainpower than the rest of us, but less, then it's
> > even possible that
> > everybody
> > starts out life as a savant. Look, for example, at the
> > ease with which
> > children
> > master complex languages -- a mysterious skill that
> > seems to shut off
> > automatically around the age of 12. ''What we're doing
> > is
> > counterintuitive,''
> > Snyder tells me. ''We're saying that all these genius
> > skills are easy,
> > they're
> > natural. Our brain does them naturally. Like walking.
> > Do you know how
> > difficult
> > walking is? It's much more difficult than drawing!''
> >
> > To prove his point, he hooks me up to the Medtronic
> Mag
> > Pro again and asks
> > me to
> > read the following lines:
> >
> >
> > A bird in the hand
> > is worth two in the
> > the bush
> >
> > ''A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,'' I
> say.
> >
> > ''Again,'' Snyder says, and smiles.
> >
> > So once more: ''A bird in the hand is worth two in the
> > bush.'' He makes me
> > repeat it five or six times, slowing me down until he
> > has me reading each
> > word
> > with aching slowness.
> >
> > Then he switches on the machine. He is trying to
> > suppress those parts of my
> > brain responsible for thinking contextually, for
> making
> > connections. Without
> > them, I will be able to see things more as an autistic
> > might.
> >
> > After five minutes of electric pulses, I read the card
> > again. Only then do I
> > see
> > -- instantly -- that the card contains an extra
> ''the.''
> >
> > On my own, I had been looking for patterns, trying to
> > coax the words on the
> > page
> > into a coherent, familiar whole. But ''on the
> > machine,'' he says, ''you
> > start
> > seeing what's actually there, not what you think is
> > there.''
> >
> > Snyder's theories are bolstered by the documented
> cases
> > in which sudden
> > brain
> > damage has produced savant abilities almost overnight.
> > He cites the case of
> > Orlando Serrell, a 10-year-old street kid who was hit
> > on the head and
> > immediately began doing calendrical calculations of
> > baffling complexity.
> > Snyder
> > argues that we all have Serrell's powers. ''We
> remember
> > virtually
> > everything,
> > but we recall very little,'' Snyder explains. ''Now
> > isn't that strange?
> > Everything is in there'' -- he taps the side of his
> > head. ''Buried deep in
> > all
> > our brains are phenomenal abilities, which we lose for
> > some reason as we
> > develop
> > into 'normal' conceptual creatures. But what if we
> > could reawaken them?''
> >
> >
> > Not all of Snyder's colleagues agree with his
> theories.
> > Michael Howe, an
> > eminent
> > psychologist at the University of Exeter in Britain
> who
> > died last year,
> > argued
> > that savantism (and genius itself) was largely a
> result
> > of incessant
> > practice
> > and specialization. ''The main difference between
> > experts and savants,'' he
> > once
> > told New Scientist magazine, ''is that savants do
> > things which most of us
> > couldn't be bothered to get good at.''
> >
> > Robert Hendren, executive director of the M.I.N.D.
> > Institute at the
> > University
> > of California at Davis, brought that concept down to
> my
> > level: ''If you drew
> > 20
> > cats one after the other, they'd probably get better
> > anyway.'' Like most
> > neuroscientists, he doubts that an electromagnetic
> > pulse can stimulate the
> > brain
> > into creativity: ''I'm not sure I see how TMS can
> > actually alter the way
> > your
> > brain works. There's a chance that Snyder is right.
> But
> > it's still very
> > experimental.''
> >
> > Tomas Paus, an associate professor of neuroscience at
> > McGill University, who
> > has
> > done extensive TMS research, is even more dubious. ''I
> > don't believe TMS can
> > ever elicit complex behavior,'' he says.
> >
> > But even skeptics like Hendren and Paus concede that
> by
> > intensifying the
> > neural
> > activity of one part of the brain while slowing or
> > shutting down others, TMS
> > can
> > have remarkable effects. One of its most successful
> > applications has been in
> > the
> > realm of psychiatry, where it is now used to dispel
> the
> > ''inner voices'' of
> > schizophrenics, or to combat clinical depression
> > without the damaging side
> > effects of electroshock therapy. (NeuroNetics, an
> > Atlanta company, is
> > developing
> > a TMS machine designed for just this purpose, which
> > will probably be
> > released in
> > 2006, pending F.D.A. approval.)
> >
> > Meanwhile, researchers at the National Institute of
> > Neurological Disorders
> > and
> > Stroke found that TMS applied to the prefrontal cortex
> > enabled subjects to
> > solve
> > geometric puzzles much more rapidly. Alvaro
> > Pascual-Leone, associate
> > professor
> > of neurology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
> > Center in Boston (who,
> > through
> > his work at the Laboratory for Magnetic Brain
> > Stimulation, has been one of
> > the
> > American visionaries of TMS), has even suggested that
> > TMS could be used to
> > ''prep'' students' minds before lessons.
> >
> > None of this has gone unnoticed by canny entrepreneurs
> > and visionary
> > scientists.
> > Last year, the Brain Stimulation Laboratory at the
> > Medical University of
> > South
> > Carolina received a $2 million government grant to
> > develop a smaller TMS
> > device
> > that sleep-deprived soldiers could wear to keep them
> > alert. ''It's not 'Star
> > Trek' at all,'' says Ziad Nahas, the laboratory's
> > medical director. ''We've
> > done
> > a lot of the science on reversing cognitive
> > deficiencies in people with
> > insomnia
> > and sleep deficiencies. It works.'' If so, it could be
> > a small leap to the
> > day
> > it boosts soldiers' cognitive functioning under normal
> > circumstances.
> >
> > And from there, how long before Americans are walking
> > around with humming
> > antidepression helmets and math-enhancing ''hair
> > dryers'' on their heads?
> > Will
> > commercially available TMS machines be used to turn
> > prosaic bank managers
> > into
> > amateur Rembrandts? Snyder has even contemplated video
> > games that harness
> > specialized parts of the brain that are otherwise
> > inaccessible.
> >
> > ''Anything is possible,'' says Prof. Vilayanur
> > Ramachandran, director of the
> > Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of
> > California at San Diego
> > and
> > the noted author of ''Phantoms in the Brain.''
> Snyder's
> > theories have not
> > been
> > proved, he allows, but they are brilliantly
> suggestive:
> > ''We're at the same
> > stage in brain research that biology was in the 19th
> > century. We know almost
> > nothing about the mind. Snyder's theories may sound
> > like 'The X-Files,' but
> > what
> > he's saying is completely plausible. Up to a point the
> > brain is open,
> > malleable
> > and constantly changing. We might well be able to make
> > it run in new ways.''
> > Of
> > those who dismiss Snyder's theories out of hand, he
> > shrugs: ''People are
> > often
> > blind to new ideas. Especially scientists.''
> >
> >
> > Bruce L. Miller, the A.W. and Mary Margaret Claussen
> > distinguished professor
> > in
> > neurology at the University of California at San
> > Francisco, is intrigued by
> > Snyder's experiments and his attempts to understand
> the
> > physiological basis
> > of
> > cognition. But he points out that certain profound
> > questions about
> > artificially
> > altered intelligence have not yet been answered. ''Do
> > we really want these
> > abilities?'' he asks. ''Wouldn't it change my idea of
> > myself if I could
> > suddenly
> > paint amazing pictures?''
> >
> > It probably would change people's ideas of themselves,
> > to say nothing of
> > their
> > ideas of artistic talent. And though that prospect
> > might discomfort Miller,
> > there are no doubt others whom it would thrill. But
> > could anyone really
> > guess,
> > in advance, how their lives might be affected by
> > instant creativity, instant
> > intelligence, instant happiness? Or by their
> > disappearance, just as
> > instantly,
> > once the TMS is switched off?
> >
> > As he walked me out of the university -- a place so
> > Gothic that it could be
> > Oxford, but for the intensely flowering jacaranda in
> > one corner and the
> > strange
> > Southern Hemisphere birds flitting about -- and toward
> > the freeway back to
> > downtown Sydney, Snyder for his part radiated the most
> > convincingly
> > ebullient
> > optimism. ''Remember that old saw which says that we
> > only use a small part
> > our
> > brain? Well, it might just be true. Except that now we
> > can actually prove it
> > physically and experimentally. That has to be
> > significant. I mean, it has to
> > be,
> > doesn't it?''
> >
> > We stopped for a moment by the side of the roaring
> > traffic and looked up at
> > a
> > haze in the sky. Snyder's eyes contracted
> inquisitively
> > as he pieced
> > together
> > the unfamiliar facts (brown smoke, just outside
> Sydney)
> > and eased them into
> > a
> > familiar narrative framework (the forest fires that
> had
> > been raging all
> > week).
> > It was an effortless little bit of deductive,
> > nonliteral thinking -- the
> > sort of
> > thing that human beings, unaided by TMS, do a thousand
> > times a day. Then, in
> > an
> > instant, he switched back to our conversation and
> > picked up his train of
> > thought. ''More important than that, we can change our
> > own intelligence in
> > unexpected ways. Why would we not want to explore
> > that?''
> >
> >
> > Lawrence Osborne is a frequent contributor to the
> > magazine.
> >
> >
> >
>
<]=-----------------------------------------------------------------------=[
> > >
> >   [           Moderated by: Preston Peet |
> > .drugwar.com           ]
> >   |          -=/[ To Subscribe:
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