I started posting on Less Wrong in 2011, learned about effective altruism, and four years later landed in the Bay Area. I do direct work in operations, and write for fun.
You can find my fiction here: https://archiveofourown.org/users/Swimmer963
Each section should weigh and criticise the criticisms. Not enthusiastic to fix this article myself. Alti (talk) 10:36, 24 April 2017 (AEST)
I had an above knee amputation due to cancer in March and have been on opiates – several different kinds, less over time, sometimes when I was in a lot of pain and sometimes more prophylactically when I'm not in pain but am preparing for something I expect to be painful. I mostly hate the experience of being on them, especially the "high" if I take it before I'm actually in pain from physiotherapy or whatever. (I do appreciate being in less pain. Pain is bad.)
I...guess it's interesting and I could see a different person liking the experience? I get a lot of dissociative effects, especially with the IV opiates they gave me in hospital. (Feeling like I'm floating above my body, feeling like I don't have free will and am just watching my actions happen from a distance.) I don't particularly enjoy this. They also make me feel tired and out of it / cognitively impaired, and I am really, really averse to that. I ended up drinking so much coffee in the hospital trying to fight this off.
My guess is that brains vary and some people would experience this as "feeling great". (I've noticed this with other things like stimulants; I really like how coffee makes me feel, for example, but I know a lot of people who experience it as anxiety/unpleasant jitteriness.)
Oh, yeah, for the subpopulation where opiates are therapeutic this seems really valuable. (Which, who knows, I could end up being in, if I'm unlucky and get chronic nerve pain from my amputation). But IMO that's a pretty different thing from "wireheading" or a "happiness silver bullet" and it really confuses the issue to call it that.
Based on a quick glance at the Wikipedia page, it looks like ibogaine may have a significant risk of toxicity (and also the experience of being on it does not sound necessarily fun? I would not choose to take it): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibogaine
Also, I think this would rely on opiates being a pleasure-causing experience for everyone or almost everyone, which doesn't seem obviously true to me. (Source: recently had major surgery, had experience of various opiates including given by IV, kind of hate all of them except for the part where they result in less physical pain.)
I found this post valuable at the time, and read it again as research for writing fiction about rationality, finding it pretty relevant.
I think this post crystallized a concept I had not previously had and will be useful for writing about rationality
read for research on my EA/rationality novel project, pretty relevant, well laid out
this topic is super relevant to my fiction project! Really good summary of a lot of areas that affect progress.
Used as a research source for my EA/rationality novel project, found this interesting and useful.
Used for research for my EA/rationality novel project, this is a really good analogy!