by software artist Scott Draves. You may also follow me on google+ or twitter, buy art, or join me on facebook.

June 23, 2004

get the wire

The FDA just approved the Cyberonics VNS Pulse to treat severe depression. Periodic high-voltage neural stimulation to the Vagus nerve. How long before the pleasure centers of the brain are easily targeted? Posted by spot at June 23, 2004 02:14 PM
Could it be that, once the Vagus nerve is easily, routinely stimulatable, its shape of pleasures is quickly mapped and its limited extents felt? I guess I want to believe that the feedback circuit of pleasure is more complex than some circuit with a single line of feedback that we can tap into and amplify as a quantity. How could brute stimulation of a known locus of pleasure really drive the full scale of potential satisfactions? I'd like to believe that the human capacity for pleasure is, in absolute value terms, as great as the capacity for pain and disappointment, and that reaching the full heights of either sign requires creativity. Even electric sheep, so hard to describe and so fascinating to watch, eventually earns a specific category in my mind, a charted and yes limited territory of what it can show me. I think it's a testament to how good the human brain is at reducing complex inputs to defined ideas. So I'm skeptical any electrodes, however cleverly placed, could replace the true organic satisfaction of a life well lived. Posted by: blevin at June 28, 2004 11:14 PM
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