Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mental Steriods

I've spent this morning procrastinating. I was invited to write a book chapter on experimental methods, which is quite possibly the most boring thing I've ever had to write. Sadly, it was due a month and a half ago, and I check my inbox every morning, terrified that the Editors (who are somewhere in Europe) have sent yet another polite where-the-fuck-is-your-chapter email.

Thus, the morning has been spent staring out the window, reading the Times, watching kids outside my dining room window doing bike stunts (i don't think schools quite out yet), and checking the IM for posts. I wish I had some Adderall. Joshua Foer (yes, there's a relation) describes his experimentation with it in Slate:

"As an experiment, I decided to take Adderall for a week. The results were miraculous. On a recent Tuesday, after whipping my brother in two out of three games of pingpong—a triumph that has occurred exactly once before in the history of our rivalry—I proceeded to best my previous high score by almost 10 percent in the online anagrams game that has been my recent procrastination tool of choice. Then I sat down and read 175 pages of Stephen Jay Gould's impenetrably dense book The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. It was like I'd been bitten by a radioactive spider.

The first hour or so of being on Adderall is mildly euphoric. The feeling wears off quickly, giving way to a calming sensation, like a nicotine buzz, that lasts for several hours. When I tried writing on the drug, it was like I had a choir of angels sitting on my shoulders. I became almost mechanical in my ability to pump out sentences. The part of my brain that makes me curious about whether I have new e-mails in my inbox apparently shut down. Normally, I can only stare at my computer screen for about 20 minutes at a time. On Adderall, I was able to work in hourlong chunks. I didn't feel like I was becoming smarter or even like I was thinking more clearly. I just felt more directed, less distracted by rogue thoughts, less day-dreamy. I felt like I was clearing away underbrush that had been obscuring my true capabilities."


Read more here .

4 Comments:

Blogger eugene said...

excellent. i think you should include foer's "experiment" in your methods chapter...

a friend of mine took a bunch of adderall one afternoon and subsequently decided to make a 6ft. x 6ft. quilt from scratch, all in one sitting.

good luck with the procrastination!

12:36 PM  
Blogger shannon said...

wow. drugs bad, but i would love to be able to shut off the part of my brain that compulsively checks my inbox.

eugene; did your friend already know how to quilt, or did they teach themselves while they made it? cause that would be even more impressive.

okay. time to stop procrastinating and do some work of my own. good luck on your chapter, duane!

9:03 AM  
Blogger eugene said...

it wasn't quite that impressive -- my friend knew how to quilt, and had all the materials ready to make a gift for her sister. but, noticing that she hadn't even started the quilt with her sister's birthday fast approaching, she decided to go for the mental steroids!

1:19 PM  
Blogger shannon said...

but it is still impressive; from the little i know about quilting, that shit is hard.

3:17 PM  

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