7.16.2009

Don't Worry About the Prozac

Years ago, the one cat I knew in high school who knew what he wanted to be when he grew up (a US senator) opined that prozac was a kind of vision of the norm: it makes people calmer, more thoughtful, it takes off the ragged edge of the neuroses from which most of us suffer, and he thought that it would be interesting if literally everyone was on it. Things would probably be a lot more peaceful. I was talking with another friend about it recently and that's what prompted item 7 on my last listy blog.

I don't have any orbit-breaking insights here, I just think it's funny and interesting how we all self-medicate. Prozac, sure, but so with alcohol and caffeine and nicotine and THC and sugar and exercise and stinky cheese, to say nothing of the insane chemical reactions prompted by and for sex. Heck, even sleep and solitude. It's just that tastes vary.

When I was younger I found the idea that our emotions were all just a very complex chemical stew to be appalling, but now I don't have a problem with it at all; it's like having a chemistry set in your head, and as long as you don't blow the whole thing up, it's not a problem trying out different combinations of reagents. Likewise, it doesn't make us any less human to accept the fact that there are biological bases for emotions; they're complicated enough to keep us all busy.

4 comments:

ransom said...

I guess the only remaining headache-inducer is that in self-medication, it's one chemistry set playing with itself, so to speak. The next experiment is written by the results of the last.

I think you're right, but it makes an interesting companion to the notion that our actions are not predestined as such, but roughly the sum of our chemistry and stimuli. I keep wondering in what ways the knowledge that I'm going to react to certain pieces of information in a certain way affects my reactions. It's still arguably deterministic, just recursive.

That, and the idea that perturbation over being deterministic causes a flurry of activity resulting in the seeking out of stimuli with information about or counter-suppositions to determinism, all of which is still just deterministic reactions to the first stimulus.

I hope my friends aren't bothered by the idea that I can't help liking them, and they can't help being people I like.

kungfuramone said...

I can't stop this feeling...
Deep inside of me...
Something something something...
Resevoir Dogs soundtrack...

El Chupacabra said...

If you're scientifically minded about it, you can break down anything on earth in this same manner. Beer is a list of organic ingredients with certain chemicals isolated and certain qualities amplified or reduced by process of fermentation.

Love is a biological necessity to ensure that we mate and protect the survival of our species. When you're in love, there is a chemical reaction in your brain that essentially makes you high on your sweetheart.

There are many approaches you can take to wrapping your head around the complexity of human existence. Personally, while I delve into the molecular nature of matter and get all scientific from time to time, in general I like to focus on the fact that beer tastes good and makes me a better dancer, and I being with girls is fun.

Austin Rich said...

"[Prozac] takes off the ragged edge of the neuroses from which most of us suffer."

This was the only part of the post I didn't understand, as "most" was clearly a typo, and should have been replaced with "all."