“I think the analogy with sports doping is really misleading, because in sports it’s all about competition, only about who’s the best runner or home run hitter,” said Martha Farah, director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. “In academics, whether you’re a student or a researcher, there is an element of competition, but it’s secondary. The main purpose is to try to learn things, to get experience, to write papers, to do experiments. So in that case if you can do it better because you’ve got some drug on board, that would on the face of things seem like a plus.”But there are all those the standardized tests that have so much impact on what schools you attend. And in law school, students are competing for grades that will have a huge effect on their employment options. And how other students do affects how you do, because the teacher is required to meet a predetermined curve.
Jeffrey White, a graduate student in cell biology who has attended several institutions, said ... “You can usually tell who’s using them because they can be angry, testy, hyperfocused, they don’t want to be bothered”....Oh, great, we're all going to have to take drugs and the drugs will make us all assholes.
Mr. White said he did not use the drugs himself, considering them an artificial shortcut that could set people up for problems later on. “What happens if you’re in a fast-paced surgical situation and they’re not available?” he asked. “Will you be able to function at the same level?”And your surgeon will be a druggie. That is, you'll have to hope he's on drugs, because when he can't get his drugs, he'll be terrible.
One person who posted anonymously on the Chronicle of Higher Education Web site said that a daily regimen of three 20-milligram doses of Adderall transformed his career: “I’m not talking about being able to work longer hours without sleep (although that helps),” the posting said. “I’m talking about being able to take on twice the responsibility, work twice as fast, write more effectively, manage better, be more attentive, devise better and more creative strategies.”Or so he thinks. But he's an asshole, right? Or is he a stealth advertising agent for the company that makes Adderall? Because I feel like getting it now.
Imagine working extremely hard because of a drug. You had the will to achieve — that came naturally — and you chose to take the drug. But now the choices you make come from the drug, and you've lost the natural intuitions that would prevent you from descending into workaholism.
If that is the future, if you value your brain, your intellect, your soul, you must cede the intellectual fields to the drug-fueled superhumans who will dominate and domineer over you unless you take the pills too.
Timothy Leary said "Tune in, turn on, drop out." The slogan will need to be revived — but with a negative added to the middle clause.