Like in any other domain of human endeavor there is a spectrum of quality and accuracy in science. Some double blind, placebo controlled human research is excellent and profoundly helpful to us in living better but I will show here that some "science" is tantamount to a ranty, opinionated blog, some is funded by the pharmaceutical industry and really is just marketing masquerading as science.
I'll encourage you to not place blind faith in the establishment of science the way that your ancestors likely placed blind faith in the catholic church or whatever their religious persuasion was.
As Nassim Taleb articulates in Antifragile:
the unconditional belief in the idea of scientific prediction regardless of the domain, the aim to squeeze the future into numerical reductions whether reliable or unreliable. For we have managed to transfer religious belief into gullibility for whatever can masquerade as science.
Information is the most powerful tool we have for living well, bad information really can limit us, science is the best source of helpful information, but it's far from a crystal ball that can be stared into to ascertain absolute truth. If you're willing to devote a little bit of extra attention and cognitive horsepower as a layperson you can easily recognize bad science.
I have Biohackers who contact me on nearly a daily basis complaining that their countries make it difficult or impossible for them to get quality, pharma grade Nootropics.
Americans who have never lived abroad have no idea how lucky they are that they can Google search any supplement they want, identify a high quality source of it, digitally swipe their credit cards and in 5-7 days it will reliably arrive at their doorstop.
In other countries they have a confusing mess of regulations and laws about what supplements are allowed:
- You never really know if you're allowed to import a supplement until you do.
- About a 3rd of the time it will get lost in shipping. The shipping firm almost always charges you some (surprise!) extra fees.
- Anything health related is more likely to get stuck in customs, sometimes they will release it, sometimes not.
- There's a 20% - 30% VAT tax.
Recently I ordered some things shipped to Sofia, Bulgaria and after waiting 2 weeks on shipping it was a royal pain in the ass to pick them up at the airport. You have to give power of attorney to a Bulgarian firm to fill out the paperwork to release your packages. It doubled the cost of the items and took at least half a day.Add a comment
It's been a few years since I took a really serious look at Kratom research...
It would be a real understatement to say that I was disappointed to find that after the FDA tried to ban Kratom in 2016 there has been no effort made to fund meaningful Kratom science. Namely, a double, blind placebo controlled human study.
One of the few pieces of scientific literature published on Kratom in 2017 concluded:
"Our data analysis has not determined if biochemical benefits of kratom may prove to outweigh its toxicity and risks. On the contrary, it seems that its potential side effects outweigh the benefits, and severe and real health hazards can, insidiously, lead to death. Kratom clinical, psychological, and medical manifestations can be disturbing."
From the abstract of another 2017 paper:
"...kratom has been reported to be abused together with other illicit substances with high risk of potential addiction. There are also anecdotes of an adverse effect and toxicity of kratom, i.e. tremor, fatigue, seizure, and death. Different countries have distinctive regulation and policy on the plantation and use of this plant when most of the countries banned the use of it because of its addiction problems and side effects."
An illustrative story...
It was early fall in Kiev, I was strolling by Taras Shevchenko park when a beautiful silver Maserati caught my eye. Kiev, Ukraine oddly has the highest concentrations of high end performance luxury cars that I've seen outside of Miami or Los Angeles.
It parked just ahead of me and a muscular, middle aged driver wearing stylish athletic gear got out.
I thought to myself...
I should approach him and compliment his car.
...but of course a bunch of reasons jumped to mind why that was terrible idea.
You have no idea who the hell this guy is! In a city and a country like this with a car like that he might be a real mobster. You're just a solo tourist here. You're in no position to be taking risks! You'll probably annoy him. Just mind your own business! This is not a country where people appreciate strangers starting conversations with them. He might not even speak English.
I pushed those thoughts aside and just started walking towards the guy. I clearly unenunciated in English
Excuse me. That is a beautiful car.
(I do speak enough Russian to say this but I've learned over the course of at least a thousand cold approaches that unless you speak a language fluently, just go with English)
The Malevolent Conspiracy that Explains it...
This has got to be one of the most compelling and unsettling new conspiracy theories that has emerged in the past year. It goes like this...
Large groups of the population distinctly remember certain cultural memes one way, yet a simple Google search will show they are totally different. Significant proportions of the population have false memories about mainstream cultural memes.
Some examples...Nelson Mandela died in the 1980's in prison instead of in 2013
Darth Vader did NOT say Luke, I am your father he actually said No, I am your father
Sex in the City is actually Sex and the City
Life is like a box chocolates is actually Life was like a box chocolates
The Berenstien Bears is actually The Berenstain Bears
In Field of Dreams If you build it, they will come is actually If you build it, he will come
Mirror, Mirror on the wall from Snow White is actually Magic mirror, on the wall
Interview With a Vampire is actually Interview With the Vampire
Sally Field(s)'s Oscar acceptance speech you like me you really like me was actually You like me, right now, you like me
In the assassination of JFK there was 4 people in the car, nope it was 6 actually
There's bunch of other examples of the Mandela effects...
I encourage you to go through them and I think you'll be surprised to find that you yourself have some false memories of cultural memes, old movies and brands. It's kind of creepy.
This is going to be little bit different than all these pieces of content about sleep hacking - the supplements, the sleep masks, the orange sunglasses, the apps - in this article I'll address a really common sleep issue that people report - which is that they can't get to sleep because they have all these thoughts running their head.
I've had an lively mind and an over active imagination for as long as I can remember; which has led me to lead a life of adventure and novelty seeking. The unfortunate downside to this is that also for almost as long I can remember I was on the insomnia spectrum; getting to sleep has always been challenge. There is always just so much to think about!
As a teenager I remember wondering what should I be thinking about to go sleep?
This was before the age when you could find a really helpful answer to that sort of question by just Googling it.
I would read these different self help type books which would say that...
Before falling asleep you should think about what you're going to do the next day or write down a challenge you're dealing with.
This really did not help my sleep as I would then spend hours tossing and turning worrying about what I was going to do the next day to overcome whatever I was dealing with.
I had also heard that you may want to repeat a mantra like
Relax... Relax... Relax...
That you want to try to "self talk" hypnotize yourself to sleep
You're going to sleep Jonathan... You're getting sleepy... You're going to sleep Jonathan...
These really did not work for me. I felt really silly repeating mantras or trying to talk myself into falling asleep and then I would get frustrated with myself.
The story of how I met the disciple of the most hated man in the world is illustrative of how to (NOT) spend money on personal development.
I had just arrived in an exotic, new (to me!) city.
I knew nobody there. I started by requesting to join the local RSD wingman Facebook group. As I've explained elsewhere my lifehack to forming intimate relationships fast is devoting my time socializing to high affinity groups with deep shared values; RSD trained pickup artists are actually one of the best such groups. In the Facebook group a cool looking local guy had posted that he was offering free introductory pickup artist bootcamps, which is like infield dating coaching. I've never taken a bootcamp but I've always been interested, if I had several thousand dollars just burning a hole in my pocket I would do a bootcamp.
He had posted a couple of indicators that he knew what he was doing, and it was a novel application of the freemium model so I thought why not? What do I have to lose?
I contacted him and made what I thought was a generous offer of buying him dinner and then we could go out at night and do the free coaching.
I thought if he turned out to be a really effective coach I might purchase one of his coaching packages, if he sucked then at least I would have explored the city some and have had a stimulating conversation over a succulent meal.
I met him and he had gravitas, swagger and style. I picked his brain about the nuances of seducing the sexy local girls. He spoke three languages fluently. We talked about meditation, fitness, Entrepreneurship Biohacking, supplementation and Colombia. Overall a pretty impressive guy.
Interestingly, he had worked directly with, at the time, the official most hated man in the world. Weirdly the most hated man in the world is not some tyrannical dictator or murderous narco boss but was a douchebaggey pickup artist guru that had pissed off a bunch of feminists and the politically correct main stream media. My new friend had coached with him and had the photos to prove it. He really emphasized how much of an influence this guy was on him.
An old friend of mine died recently. We were business partners, roommates and at times rivals.
Patrick was a real dichotomy of inner demons, vices, insanity and redeeming features, work ethic, competitiveness, creativity, masterful persuasive ability and ambition. I learned a lot from him.
His body was found in his vehicle in Florida, it was a none violent death. He was not in imminent danger of death from chronic illness so when it happened everyone was really surprised - but not me. I saw this day coming for him over half a decade ago and I became even more certain of it just a few years ago.
About 10 years ago we were doing what everyone who knew us will probably remember us for: partying at a nightclub. That night we were rolling in a brand new Maserati (that the company we worked for had insanely bought) as the ladies night crowd was spilling out of the entrance of the lounge, Patrick illegally parked the Italian beast of a car in front. An attractive older woman posed with the car and Patrick invited her to sit in the red leather racing seats for a photo. The car was idling and Patrick encouraged the woman to rev the engine, the exhaust snarled like an angry cat, making quiet the scene. At that moment a cop approached, assumed the car was the woman's, closed her door for her and ordered her to move the car, which she promptly did. Me and Patrick were dismayed to see this woman who's name we didn't even know drive off into the night with the $125,000 car. Luckily she just drove around the corner and parked the car, we ran after her and got our car back. Patrick invited her to after party with us and 3 other totally random girls in a yellow car followed us back to our friend's apartment nearby - these sorts of things happen with a car that costs as much as a house. Back at the apartment me and the woman ended up in a bedroom and started having sex. I kept hearing the others rudely peaking in at us, finally balls deep Patrick and my other friend burst into the bedroom, cheering me on. I promptly withdrew and kicked my friends out.
For men is an unbeatable Biohack for motivation, energy, aggression and improving overall mood.
A lot of guy's issue with social anxiety is that they lack social motivation. After a long day or week of work, they just cannot be bothered to go out.
Or perhaps, if you're like a lot of guys I talk to, you would be motivated to go out and practice your social skills if you knew you were going to be connecting with intellectual equals. If you knew you were going to go out and meet people who you could have stimulating conversations with, who you were actually attracted to, you would actually go to the trouble of getting out of the house. When you do go out and socialize you often find yourself bored by the quality (or virtual lack) of (coherent) conversation. It seems like you have to get so far outside of your comfort zone to meet people who seem like they are barely a few IQ points north of being retarded. Why even bother?
This is a bit of a catch-22 because to really connect with the people you want to; people that actually turn you on in one way or another, you are going to need to develop your social skills. Right now, if we are honest, your social skills are probably not up to par to connect meaningfully with these people.
Following the Limitless Mindset model of High Leverage Skill Set Acquisition, we want to learn fast, we don't want to bash our heads against the wall for years trying to learn something. High leverage social skillset acquisition entails taking social risks and getting a lot of reference experiences in a relatively short period, like the 10 weeks in the Social Anxiety Protocol.
Are you going to take all those social risks within your current social group or with your coworkers? Probably not. Unless you don't mind losing your current group of friends or jeopardizing your career.
So to take these social risks you really need to embrace connecting with, we will call them, intellectual subordinates. You need to get excited about taking social risks with the people you perceive as (maybe) being below your level. This is a bit of a catch-22 if you are not motivated to socialize with anything less than the highest caliber of people. This is where No FAP is key. It will double or even triple your motivation to get out and get social with everyone.
A personal anecdote...
After reaching peak productivity that day in the mid afternoon I settled down for 20 minutes of Jedi breathing combined with meditation. Modafinil is a drug that really effectively prevents me from being an introspective time traveler; instead of trying to predict the future or analyzing the past I'm fully committed to the present. Usually the first 10-15 minutes of meditation is something like wrestling with a rowdy pig in a kidipool filled with Vaseline but on Modafinil it's a whole different experience; all my worrying and grasping at abstractions goes away.
Typical of my meditation sessions as I held my mind empty and stared into the abyss subtle hallucinations appeared on the insides of my eyelids. In a powerfully symbolic moment a vivid wolf appeared, I stared into it's eyes and it transformed into a dove that flew off. The wolf was my bullying mind. The tyrant within me that beat me up constantly. That self critical internal dialog. The dove was my flighty mind that lurched and reeled in reaction to the world.
But now I was the wolf. Finally, I was the one in charge. The world would react to me.
A powerful sentiment that imbued a degree of tranquility for days after I had taken the Modafinil.
As the Internet's smart drug dealer I have to admit something to you...
The end game of smart drugs is to not really need them.
Would you believe that a lot of days I don't actually even use them? Here's why; I've internalized and habituated a lot of the self discipline that Nootropics imbue.
Drugs do permanently change personality; this is why we have stereotypes about potheads or psychedelic enthusiasts. Smart drugs will have a long term affect on your personality via several mechanisms:
- First of all they show you how focused and productive your mind can be. Some people have never been as focused as they will be the first time they use Nootropics.
- They feed your mind the raw building blocks for synapses that will increase density of gray matter.
- Smart drugs are an instant gratification tool for self control. They work fast.
- With the enhanced degree of self control you get from smart drugs you can habituate other "more holistic" practices that will cultivate your self control.
A smart drug that will really wake up your powers of concentration is Modafinil. After trying +80 different smart drugs it's easily within my top 5 for habituating focus.
We are living in history and the profound tectonic level politcal, cultural and technological changes happening below our feet will reward those with extraordinary powers of attention and punish harshly those who remain unenhanced.
FocusWish.com did an exhaustive meta analysis of Modafinil and created this useful Modafinil infographic which breaks down the 8 mechanisms of action by which this drug transforms our self control capacities.Add a comment
This huge flowchart breaks down +300 Biohacking podcasts and expert interviews by category/subcategory and all of the Bulletproof® products. This really is an exhaustive visual flowchart of the myriad topics that fit under the Biohacking umbrella.
- Sleep Hacking
- Smart Drugs
- 40 Years of Zen
- Intermittent Fasting
- Heart Rate Variability
- Bulletproof Diet
- Bulletproof Coffee
The purpose of this article is NOT to make a case of which of the candidates for the 2016 US presidential elections have the more favorable combination of vices, virtues, liabilities and redeeming qualities.
Remarkably these candidates have spent cumulatively over a billion dollars yet from my observation at least, they are failing to employ some Biohacking strategies and tools that would make them all the more effective as campaigning candidates and politicians.
These would be my recommendations to the Trump and Clinton...Add a comment
I used to know a real life witch. She made me a bit of an obscene offer...
I think I was about 22 at the time, worked at swanky nightclubs, drove a brand new Maserati (yes, really!) and was going through a particularly rowdy summer. I'm lucky that I didn't get anyone pregnant.
She was an active Pagan-Wicca practitioner and was dating a friend of mine. She would make pentagrams, light candles, burn incense, say prayers to a cool brass icon of an Egyptian deity and cast good luck spells all of which had a pretty undetectable effect as far as I could tell. Interested in taking my rambunctious sex life to the next level, I asked her one day if she had an incantation or magic spell that would result in a supernatural sexual experience; that would imbue me with extraordinary powers of seduction and/or give me an especially vivid and intense hedonistic encounter.
She smiled coquettishly and replied yes, that her metaphysical abilities had the power to do exactly that but that it would be a double edged sword, that could potentially do me great harm.
I would get my Casanovaesque powers of pickup, I would get a once in a lifetime sexual experience but then I'd likely have a psychotically intense relationship on my hands. Especially if I betrayed the spirit of the spell (which a 22 year old me likely would have!) by not repaying pleasure, behaving inconsistently afterwards or really any kind of post coital douchebaggey antics. This would definitely NOT be a no strings attached peak experience, I might have a Fatal Attraction type situation to deal with.
As fun as that all sounded, my sex life was already pretty good, so I decided to pass on her offer.
Since then I've delved deeply into the latest Biohacking research, the Meta-Analysis papers of human libido studies and traditional Chinese Taoist methods for optimizing sexual experience and health. I'd like to share with you a Biohacking protocol that will pragmatically accomplish a lot of what the witch promised me but without the potential metaphysical downsides.
It makes you unproductive, unhappy and impulsive according to the study I reference here
Yet we spend so much time doing it! Instead of free flowing random thinking, I'll suggest that when you find your mind wandering instead mentally play out your reactions to different specific scenarios.
Let's say you have a first date coming up, instead of reflecting on your past relationships and how past partners made you feel, imagine how you'll specifically react to different things happening on the date. What would you do if...Add a comment
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