English 250 -...

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Unformatted text preview: http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2009/04/cognitive_enhancement_and_crea.php Cognitive Enhancement Posted on: April 29, 2009 7:28 AM, by Jonah Lehrer Margaret Talbot has a thorough and thought-provoking article in the New Yorker on the potential pitfalls of "neuroenhancing drugs". At this point, enhancement essentially consists of taking uppers (Adderall, Ritalin, Provigil, etc.) to improve concentration and focus. These drugs might have fancy new brand names, but the underlying concept is as old as caffeine and nicotine, which work by tweaking our neurons (often through the activation of excitatory neurotransmitters or, as in the case of coffee, by inhibiting our inhibitory neurotransmitters). Furthermore, there is a lofty literary tradition of modern writers who relied on benzedrine , the Red Bull of the mid-twentieth century. W.H. Auden, for instance, began every day with a cup of coffee and a little benzedrine, which he credited with allowing him to write precisely honed poetry for hours at a time. ("It makes me think faster," he said.) Philip K. Dick also took the drug to increase his focus and help him pump out prose. And then, of course, there's Jack Kerouac: he got hopped up on Benzedrine so that he could write On the Road in an epic twenty day writing session. So shouldn't we all be on speed? What could possibly be wrong with these mild amphetamines? For starters, benzedrine is addictive, an unfortunate consquence that many of these writers would later discover. (Auden tried to quite when benzedrine was no longer sold over the counter for bronchitis.) consquence that many of these writers would later discover....
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This note was uploaded on 10/17/2011 for the course ENGLISH 250 taught by Professor Langenberg during the Fall '08 term at Iowa State.

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