The Hedonistic Imperative (researched and presented by David Pearce) basically states that suffering can and will eventually be eradicated from all sentient life. Just as pain today can be eliminated with analgesics and anaesthetics, negative emotions and feelings can also be eliminated, and all this will evolve in the neurological pathways of the human race -- drugs will not be needed. In other words, all humans will be high on crack all the time, without actually having to take it. To quote from the manifesto:
The metabolic pathways of pain and malaise evolved only because they served the inclusive fitness of our genes in the ancestral environment. They can be replaced by a radically different sort of neural architecture. Life-long happiness of an intensity now physiologically unimaginable can become the genetically-preprogrammed norm of mental health. A sketch is offered of when, and why, this major evolutionary transition in the history of life is likely to occur. Possible objections, both practical and moral, are raised and then rebutted.

Today's images of opiate-addled junkies, and the lever-pressing frenzies of intra-cranially self-stimulating rats, are deceptive. Such stereotypes stigmatise, and falsely discredit, the only cure for the world's horrors and everyday discontents that is biologically realistic. For it is misleading to contrast social and intellectual development with perpetual happiness. There need be no such trade-off. States of "dopamine-overdrive", for instance, can actually enhance goal-directed activity. Hyper-dopaminergic states can also increase the range and diversity of actions an organism finds rewarding. So our descendants may live in a civilisation of well-motivated "high-achievers", animated by gradients of bliss. Their productivity may far eclipse our own.

Very interesting, to say the least. Pearce's research offers some theories as to why hallucinogens and other drugs work they way they do; for more information see www.hedweb.com or www.cocaine.org.

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