Saturday, January 23, 2021

Fear is the Mind Killer

 


Litany Against Fear.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

- Frank Herbert

Friday, January 15, 2021

State of Play – Magical Thinking

 


I was putting the finishing touches on part one of this series on Noö Year’s Eve. Clearly, 2020 had been a paradigm-busting year, and as such, any retrospective needed to capture the quickening of High Strangeness that had become the “Modus Operandi” of our time. I began with examining an early-phase instrument of covert political power… assassination. 2020 ominously began with an international assassination, perpetrated by the U S government.

I examined how the year had been dominated by the way in which cultural Psy-Wars had gone from a domestic cold-war… to white-hot cultural rebellion. In this environment, issues such as the very reality of Covid 19, the adopted reality of Q Anon, even the legitimacy of the 2020 election, had been weaponized by Psy-War factions. What was originally a retrospective post, soon became a series as the events of January 6th, 2021 unfolded.

If 2020 began with assassination as political device, 2021 began with a late-phase instrument of political power, unbridled… insurrection. I began part two of this series: coup d'état… as a commentary on the part that our president, whom I referred to as the great Robber Baron (indicative of his pre-2016 business practices)-Trickster King (indicative of the cultic, mystical mantel he acquired after the 2016 election), had played in fanning the flames of conspiracy theory. I had originally planned this post to be a part of the Cult of Personality series.

My plans changed at the eleventh hour as I embarked on a re-write, during… and late into the night of January 6th. The post initially examined the great Robber Baron/Trickster King’s (45) unprecedented behavior after he lost the 2020 presidential election. As the events of January 6th unfolded, the post became a commentary, in real time, of a bona fide insurrection, propagated by 45 and his close enablers.
  
With the sacking of the U. S. Capitol building, all of the post-election political machinations began to take on new meaning… began to suggest new connotations as to just what the hell is really going on. On such matters, more astute thinkers than I (Recluse), have suggested that the entire insurrection was an elaborate LARP (to what end?). Given the strange history of Q Anon, it is entirely possible that the orchestrated events of January 6th were indeed conceived and initiated as a LARP, at least in the mind of 45… as he obliviously pulled the trigger.

However, with the first breaking of windows… with the first breach into the Capitol building by 45 loyalists, the alleged LARP... turned real. That is how propaganda works, especially in our post-truth world. Fantasy becomes reality, if evoked enough times. The violent sacking of the Capitol became insurrection, regardless of intent, with the firing of the first gunshot.
    
As of this posting, the fallout of the events of January 6th has been incredible to witness. Of particular fascination has been the manner in which 45 and his loyal Republican’s corporate overlords have abandoned them (at least temporarily).  As corporations withhold funding, politicians viability withers. Deutsche Bank’s decision to disassociate from 45, creates significant trouble as massive, personally guaranteed loans come due. Such is the manner in which power is exercised, here in Corporate Amerika.


Consequently, seismic changes are afoot within our corporatocracy. The fifth dimensional chess board is dramatically rearranging… the pieces have scattered, or been swept away. The signs and portents indicate chaotic disruption, moving forward. But what occluded undercurrents have been at play, undercutting the foundation of consensual reality, to bring us to this sorry state? What formative forces have we overlooked?

In light of all the high strangeness that you and I, dear intrepid reader, have witnessed over the last decade, it is useful for us to think of all that has occurred, in new and novel ways…

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a radical rise in magical thinking. The upsurge in magical thinking has been succored by a dramatic influx of people who have turned away from technological, linear thought. They have become disillusioned with a world culture that increasingly favors those at the top of the capitalist food-chain, at the expense of, or on the backs of, those who have been less favored… those contemporaneously known as the 99%.
 
The last 50 years of “trickle down” economics, have been exposed as a systematic theft… a fleecing of the 99, by the 1%. Despite Reagan’s empty promise, nothing trickled down. In the last decade, increasing numbers of the disenfranchised have come to realize that the stacked deck of crony capitalism is a no-win proposition. In desperation, they (we) have turned to occultic practices to “level the playing field” …to help tip the odds back in their (our) favor.
 
This rise in magical thinking has best been chronicled by the brilliant Gordon White, of Rune Soup fame. Mr. White, whose name suggests a reflection of his path… has for the last decade, anticipated and reported on the demise of the predator/dominator culture that currently has us in a stranglehold. As a defensive strategy, he has advocated magical protocols that can be incorporated for personal benefit, during these tumultuous times.

Such magical protocols have become a competing means to impact the unfolding of events that are otherwise out of our control.

The infamous magician, Aleister Crowley used the word magick (with a “k”) to differentiate the occult form of magick, from performance magic. He defined it as: “the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will.” Tradition tells us that there co-exists the white and black variations of magical practice. These variants are activated through the willful intent of those who seek to utilize a specific magical path.
  
The 21st century’s proliferation of magical thinking also saw a dichotomy of practice. At odds with the beneficial forms of personal magick (which utilizes astrology, tarot, affirmations, symbolic, or Sigil magick, etc.), other strange forms of ceremonial magick began to manifest. Forms that appear to be more malevolent. Around 2015, a strange, pixelated, egregore-like phenomenon emerged from imageboards such as 8chan. This vaporous power became known as Meme Magic.

Cult of Kek flags at the siege of the U S Capitol building, 2021

As meme magic became more popular on-line, it attracted more followers. One particularly virulent strain of meme magic began to focus on the 2016 elections. Adepts began to apply their cyberspace voodoo to elect then-candidate Donald J Trump. The closely associated Cult of Kek applied their meme magic to influence the 2016 Presidential elections, which (many people say) magically tipped the scales in favor of Trump, who became the 45th President of the United States. More on such tomfoolery can be found on a post I did on the Cult of Kek, back in 2017.

The origins of the Cult of Kek/Trumpian meme magic alliance can be traced back to gaming culture… specifically in Alternative Reality Games (ARG). As the astute reader of this blog knows, ARGs have been a topic of conversation concerning the more recent and more influential Q Anon movement. Like Kek, the Q entity sought to expand influence through cultic, memetic, magical means. The Q entity, arguably represents an evolution of the Kek egregore.
 
An egregore is best defined as an occultic presence… a distinct, non-physical entity that arises from the psychic energies of a collective group of people. Analogous to an egregore, Kek and Q wield power through cult-like manipulation of its/their followers. They draw their strength by leeching psychic energy from their faithful. They maintain power through the zealous apparatus of the cult. True believers double-down in their fanatical devotion, once the cult begins to unravel.


Magical thinking, pursued by the individual, and more nefariously by cultic hierarchies, is only becoming more prevalent in today’s post-truth world. The massive disruption of world economies have exasperated the growth of magical thinking. Fear of AI job displacement, climate change, the demise of fiat money and rise of crypto-currency… all add to cultural anxieties and confusion. Widespread, targeted disinformation campaigns further erode public trust.

Little wonder that people are abandoning the old, predator/dominator culture that has led us to where we are today. Little wonder people are turning away from consensual reality, in favor of a separate reality. The question becomes… as it always does… a question of discernment. As the fabric of the Old Patrilineal Order continues to disintegrate, will we replace it with cultic craziness? Will we exchange the Old Order for the likes of Kek and Q Anon? …Old-school conformity for cultic fanaticism?

Or do we pursue our own personal autonomy through creative, harmonious, indigenous, yes, perhaps even psychedelic paths? Do we develop our own magical strategies, similar to the ones advocated by Gordon White? Protocols of personal power? The tactics of personal autonomy (such as those that are humbly presented in my Tek-Gnostics series of books, as well) act as a counter balance to cultic cabals.
 
So this is the occultic State of Play that has been incubating in world cultures over the last decade. Cults such as Kek and Q Anon, prey upon people’s worst instincts. They utilize the black path of magick. The Individuated, Gnostic path of compassionate self-awareness, follows the white path of magick. I know this is a simplistic, dualistic statement, but we were born into a dualistic universe. Welcome to the planet of the apes.

The integrity of the pursuit of personal autonomy is validated by the age-old conception of “Free Will.” We, as sentient entities, possess the authority to make decisions and pursue a course of action that is in our own best interest. Like everything else in a dualistic, manifest universe, free will comes with the two-edged sword of “credit and blame.” To accept free will is to accept responsibility for our actions.

In these crazy times of diverging realities and networked, open sourced, political insurgencies… we are not really left with any viable choice in the matter. We must pursue our own enlightened self-interest. In so doing, we choose to utilize tools of autonomy. In so doing, we balance our own best interest with the best interests of our brothers and sisters.

We measure the balance of our interest and those of our friends and neighbors by applying that other age-old concept, known as the Golden Rule. Such is the means by which we pursue our own best interest, while co-creating a viable, responsible community. This isn’t rocket science… it’s just being kind to one another. In closing, we can all draw inspiration and guidance from those two great bodhisattvas, Bill and Ted, when they said: Be excellent to one another... Amen.


"Do what thou wilt" shall be the whole of the law, dude...

  
State of Play

 Part 1   /   Part 2

Thursday, January 7, 2021

State Of Play - Coup d'état

 

I can't seem to face up to the facts
I'm tense and nervous and I can't relax
I can't sleep 'cause my bed's on fire
Don't touch me I'm a real live wire

Psycho Killer
Qu'est-ce que c'est
Fa-fa-fa-fa... far better
Run, run, run… run, run, run away…

- from Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads
 
In the waning hours of the great Robber Baron/Trickster King’s reign… here in the land of the free… his desire to remain in power, increasingly consumes him. Even after one of the most scrutinized elections in modern history, the Trickster King is unrelenting. He pursues a victory he failed to achieve… a high honor the American people did not renew. Yet he imagines it, still within his grasp…
 
In his narcissism, the Trickster King is outraged at the injustice, the unmitigated gall of a world… his world… passing him by. The changing tide of fortune erodes the ground beneath his feet… even as political capital sifts through his fingers. He is enraged… because the election’s outcome wasn’t fair… in the eyes of the Trickster King.
 
During his reign, calculations of prophet and loss dictated decisions of State. His many grifts, recklessly enriched his personal fortune. Every move, from the open bribery scam, where “interested parties” booked every available room at Trump hotels, while not bothering to actually check in (emoluments clause be damned!), to the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars paid for the security of his kids… every move, has turned a profit for the great Robber Baron/Trickster King’s empire.
 

  
Every enacted policy was designed to benefit his empire and/or the new corporate overlords (that he may be beholden to). His 2 trillion 2017 tax cuts, which accelerated the flow of wealth from the 99%, to the 1%, mostly benefited his (now our) corporate overlords. Case in point… the international shipping colossus, FedEx paid $1.5 billion in taxes in 2017, prior to the tax cut. The next year, FedEx owed nothing. Its effective tax rate had gone from 34 percent to (less than) zero.
  
Devoid of empathy, his policies were framed in populist jargon, all the while decimating existing policies designed to protect the American citizenry. His hollowing of agencies such as the EPA stripped public protections, betraying the environment while benefiting corporate adventurism. Even his accomplishments, like quickly getting those initial stimulus checks out, feels more like a bribe than a benefit.

After the election, the great Robber Baron/Trickster King’s grift turned to swindling his faithful supporters. In the Ironically named Stop the Steal campaign, the Trump syndicate raised $207.5 million since Election Day, most going to a new leadership PAC Trump formed in November. Trump’s fundraising scheme funneled the money to a new political organization created by the president: a leadership PAC called Save America PAC, a type of vehicle (popular with both parties on Capitol Hill) that is a slush fund, with little-to-no restrictions on how the money is spent.

Ominously, the Trickster King purged the pentagon of key staff, in favor of those loyal to either him, ex-lieutenant general Michael Flynn, and/or Q Anon. However, I can’t help but ask the question: Is trump pulling the strings… or is it Q Anon? Unshackled from his advisors, has he completely given himself over to an internet meme? Is the tail wagging the dog? Don’t even get me started on that conversation.

 

The other contingency measures that he took in the lead-up to the election, didn’t seem to be transactionally paying off. To date, at least 86 judges from across the political spectrum, including some appointed by Trump, have rejected one or more post-election lawsuits filed by Trump or his supporters. The SCOTUS twice rejected attempts by Trump’s allies to contest the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Delusional Desperation soon began to set in… the 11th hour phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger sounded like your basic goodfellas shakedown… “I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”
 
In the weeks leading up to electoral college confirmation of president-elect Joe Biden, the great Robber Baron/Trickster King had encouraged his paramilitary minions to converge on D.C.. He promised that the rally  would be “wild.” Incredibly, he kept his promise. During his rally in front of the White House on the morning of January 6, Trump “pulled the trigger” on his planned coup d'état. He was aided and abetted by Giuliani and Donald junior. Together, they incited his minions to move on the Capitol  building, for purposes of insurrection. His faithful paramilitary promptly sacked the Capitol… our Capitol… that hasn’t been sacked since the war of 1812.



This was the beginning of the promised “boogaloo” that White Supremacist factions have been waiting for…

Even as the Capitol was breached, the Trickster King tweeted that VP Pence “didn’t have the courage” to do what needed to be done. The shocking lack of security around the Capitol building, stinks to high heaven of a co-conspiracy. Unbelievingly, the Capitol police appeared to aid and abet the storming of the Capitol. It is not necessary to point out how other, more peaceful protests have been dealt with, in our near-past.

Like PKD's quote "the empire never ended" ...clearly, the Civil War never ended.

So it was that the great Robber Baron/Trickster King, in his megalomania, committed the treason that many knew him capable of.  He, at-last, openly incited the violent takeover of the legislative branch of the American government. He perpetrated traitorous acts, in his delusion, to maintain power. In the words of Billy Butcher… Diabolical!!!

So why did he do it? Why did the President of the United States incite insurrection? Is it because he fears incarceration once he leaves office? Given all the grifts he has brazenly pulled off, given all the crimes he has committed while under presidential immunity… given all the existing law suits and investigations being leveled at him and the Trump organization… fear of a long prison term, once he leaves office and loses presidential immunity, could be a motivation.



Is it his extreme narcissistic personality disorder? It is clear that the Trickster King is a megalomaniac. After he incited the mob to walk up Pennsylvania avenue on January 6th, hinting that he would join them, he instead snuck back into the Whitehouse. While watching his plot unfold on television, did he congratulate himself for how he duped his base? Did he chuckle at his cleverness? Wallow in his self-aggrandizement?
 
Amazingly…  outrageously… inconceivably… this is the political state of play of our times. As I have said before, the veneer of Democracy is paper thin. It is now clear that tyrants such as the great Robber Baron/Trickster King, can indeed destroy Democracy… at his whim… in his megalomania. 

Make no mistake, his actions are far worse than any alleged “Deep State” ...for he preys upon people’s fear of a deep state, to line his own pockets. He takes advantage of his faithful's confusion by appealing to their baser instincts, tricking them into doing his dirty work. He deceives his followers… those who he would call the cops on, if they dared show up in his neighborhood. 

Such are the events that we, as a democratic republic, may not be able to recover from.

The question is… what response? Should the 25th amendment be invoked? Should a second impeachment begin immediately? Should both be pursued? The great Robber Baron/Trickster King is clearly unfit to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States. Nor does he have the capacity or the desire to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. He is a danger to our Nation, and likely to himself, as well. 

Regardless, the January 6th insurrection feels more like a beginning, than it does an ending. These are conundrums we are faced with. These are the riddles that must be answered… and quick. A con-man and a grifter is not the messiah promised by Q Anon… but then again, we knew the kind of guy he was before he took office...



We are vain and we are blind
I hate people when they're not polite

Psycho Killer
Qu'est-ce que c'est
Fa-fa-fa-fa... far better
Run, run, run… run, run, run away…





State of Play

 Part 1   /   Part 3

Friday, January 1, 2021

State Of Play

 


Here at the beginning of 2021 CE… the “business as usual” retrospective of the ill-omened year 2020, seems hopelessly inadequate. In such a fateful year of Pandemic, Partisan Politics, and Paradigm-Pulverizing Paranoia… a more essential, clear eyed-reflection is called for. One that assesses the quickening of High Strangeness that is now clearly the predominant “Modus Operandi” of our time.
 
Moments like this call for an authoritative pundit, a masterful expert of the High and the Strange to walk us through what we have just experienced over the last year. Alas, no punditry, no expertise exists for the crazy shenanigans we all just lived through. So in the absence of any such authority, I’ll take a stab at it.

As you recall, 2020 ominously began with assassination. Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani was assassinated in a targeted U.S. drone strike on January 3, 2020 in Baghdad. The strike was strongly condemned by Iranian government, as well as the U. N. and many nations world-wide. Hours after his burial on January 7, 2020, the Iranian military launched missiles against U.S. bases in Iraq. While no lives were lost in the second attack, the Pentagon reported that 110 U.S. troops were wounded as a result.

So opened 2020… a harbinger of things to come.

The Trump administration’s Middle East policy clearly favored despots. Trump has called Egypt’s leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, his “favorite dictator.” His (Kushner’s) 2018 moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem all but doomed any humanitarian peace solution in the West Bank.
 

Trump’s un-holy alliance with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been in evidence since his inauguration in 2017. Since then, Trump has made arms sales to the Kingdom an integral part of his foreign policy, arguing they are necessary to counter the Iranian threat. This alliance is perhaps one of the most under-reported and most consequential stories of the Trump presidency.

Even as we speak, the Trump administration has approved another $290 million precision-guided bomb sale to Saudi Arabia, according to a notice to Congress. Pompeo’s State Department approved selling Saudi Arabia 3,000 Boeing-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) munitions and related equipment on Dec 29, 2020. This sale is in addition to a license the Trump administration recently moved forward with approving that would allow Raytheon to directly sell Saudi Arabia 7,500 of its Paveway air-to-ground “smart” bombs at an estimated value of $478 million.

Trump’s critics suggest that there is no coherent policy in the Middle East, other than the wielding of power for power’s sake. Power not applied is power waisted. They further argue that Trump’s entire foreign policy is one of strategic incoherence. One based more on whim and Alt-Reality fantasy. Over the course of 2020, we saw plenty of Alt-Reality bubbling up from the fringe. Although condoned by Trump, certain alt-reality scenarios were driven by nefarious actors, foreign and domestic.

Consequently, we saw the very tangible ramifications of targeted psychological operations, cumulatively known as Psy-Wars… playing out on cable and network news, as well as Twitter, Facebook & YouTube, and various other on-line sources. As we shall see, one of the most fascinating and illuminating facets of the Psy-Wars, was the proliferation and weaponization of Trump’s dooms-day cult, seemingly dormant beneath a cloud of coronavirus.
 
The first half of the year was overshadowed by the rise of COVID 19. Moving into the spring, the lowly medical safety mask became a street-tek necessity in our daily forays into our brave noö public spaces. As indicated in this post, it was oddly reassuring to see musicians, artists, and tiktok influencers looking good behind bejeweled safety masks. Immortal in their youth, the fearlessly hip asserted their fashion statement on the pandemic... and thus persona evolves…


While the pandemic raged, another pandemonium was quietly incubating. Smoldering in the aftermath of the 2016 election cycle, festered by the pandemic, Q Anon was about to erupt. As you know, Q Anon or “Q” is a conspiracy theorist persona, alleging a secret war being waged by president Donald Trump and his supporters, against supposed "Deep State" pedophiles. Q’s precepts and vocabulary align with the cultic, religious concepts of apocalypticism.

In examining the Q phenomenon with my para-political colleague, Recluse… something even stranger emerged. On the heels of our speculation of the origins of Q… multiple news sources reported on Q’s apparent genesis, as an outgrowth of LARPs and alternate reality games, or ARGs. An ARG is an interactive, networked, gaming narrative that uses the real world as a platform and employs transmedia storytelling to deliver a story that may be altered by players' ideas or actions.
 
These reports confirmed Recluse’s suspicions that Q was spawned from a hijacked ARG known as Cicada 3301. More information on this, can be found here. The emerging significance of Q’s evolution out of alt reality games, sheds light on the evolving nature of Psy-Wars.

What we are dealing with, dear intrepid readers, are very real psychological operations that are initiated as fantasy… science fiction… seemingly innocent, on-line alt reality games. What starts as fantasy, begins to first influence, then modify… and ultimately supplant fact. In this way, fancifully targeted narratives begin to gain influence in the minds of many, so that, over time, people forget that these narratives are fiction. They essentially become reality, through the fertile imaginations of those who subscribe to the targeted narrative.

Q is a particularly successful example of such targeted fiction, replacing fact. The completely crazy fantasy of a world-wide cabal of baby eating, communist pedophiles… who all just so happen to be Democrats… has, as obviously incredulous as it sounds, become fact for those taken in by the Q psy-op. Importantly, Q is just one of the more insidious examples of how our modern culture is being pushed into a post-modern, post-truth paradigm.


Now I am not saying that there isn’t some pretty evil goings-on in high places. I strongly suspect that power corrupts… especially within the political class. After all, these guys aren’t (didn’t start out as) super rich, but they want to be. Power once tasted, becomes very intoxicating. I also suspect such power not only corrupts, but it perverts, as well. Hence the vile rumors… you know the ones of which I speak.

But in recognizing these ARG fueled propaganda Psy-ops… we can begin to get a grip on just how susceptible we all are to disinformation campaigns. We can begin to understand how easy it is to be deceived. Don’t think, in your cynical recognition such trickery, that it couldn’t happen to you.

That is why we must not think harshly of our brothers and sisters taken in by the likes of the Q psy-op. It is now abundantly clear that a massive, well-planned disinformation campaign was launched and relentlessly executed, very specifically targeting the Alt-right. Those sympathetic to alt-right ideologies were identified as a segment of the population who could be coerced into acting against their own best interests… against the principles of democracy… to the brink of sedition. But to what end?

These coordinated psy-ops are very sophisticated. Whoever initiated them is playing the long game. They have been quietly at it, for a long time… patiently planting the seeds of disinformation. Just who these actors are, and what their ultimate intent is… at least to me… is unclear. I have my suspicions, but the fog of Psy-War obscures my view.


What is clear to me, is this is the new battlefield… the new theater of operations in a global Psy-War. Nefarious actors have, for the last decade, been utilizing fantasy LARPs and actively manipulating ARGs to impact, even change consensual reality. As unsettling as Q is (who will likely be around, continuing it’s/their influence for some time to come), Q is merely one example of the new theater of operations. This is the state of play we find ourselves in.

In our musings, Recluse and I recognized another influence on the current state of play. We looked at the pioneers of reality hacking… namely, Robert Anton Wilson and Bob Shea, whose madcap “Illuminatus!” brilliantly foresaw our post-modern, designer-reality world. Their prophecy popularly took the form of Operation MindFuck.

The readers of this blog are well-aware of Operation MindFuck, and it’s origins as an a-political revolutionary prank. I strongly suspect that you, dear intrepid reader, have also read “Illuminatus!” as well as other instruction manuals, such as the “Principia Discordia,” the works of Philip K Dick, etc. As such, you are well-equipped to navigate the current state of play of our post-reality world.

In your investigations into the High Strangeness of our brave noö world, you have, no doubt crossed the threshold of Chapel Perilous… and found your way to its far side. In these crazy, upside-down times, you are the authoritative pundit, the masterful expert of the High and the Strange, that is so desperately needed.

So be patient with those who are just now coming to the realization that our world has irreparably changed… for the weirder. In addition to the shock of the pandemic and its associated political and economic fallout, most of our fellow citizenry have suffered the additional future-shock of a forever changed world. Stay calm and exit the matrix... your expertise will be needed. Your contribution to our transformation will be invaluable in helping others realize that, in this brave noö world: Reality is what you can get away with.
          
- J


   
State of Play

 Part 2   /   Part 3

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Limitless Noötropic - Modafinil Field Test


Smart Drugs were a big thing back in the early Cyber-punk days of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. This fad came and went. In 2011, the film Limitless* staring Bradley Cooper, hit movie theaters across the globe. Through this movie, a whole new generation of would-be psychonauts were introduced to the possibility of nootropic “smart drugs” such as the film’s NZT-48 pill. Consequently, there has been much renewed interest in nootropics, with a thriving, grey market appearing for them, globally.

*Limitless Film recap: Eddie Morra (played by Bradley Cooper) is a laid-back writer that lives his life in chaos and misery. He is plagued by the writer’s block and is also stressed by a rapidly approaching deadline. His life becomes even more of a mess when his girlfriend dumps him because of his financial uncertainties. Eddie seemed to be driving straight into a wall. However, one day, he gets his hand on this pill (NZT-48) from an unidentified pharmaceutical company that is advertised as a “smart drug.” Having nothing else to lose, he tries the pill, and suddenly he becomes more focused and more productive than ever. He begins cleaning his house. He remembers details from long ago. He writes a new book that is highly praised by the publisher. His life suddenly feels worth living.

The next day, however, the effect disappears and he crashes. This is when he realizes that he needs to take the pill every day if he wants to remain the “smart guy.” Although his supplier had been murdered, Eddie found his stash and hid it for personal use. Ever since then, he began improving his life, focusing on his career, on being fit, on socializing more, and even on learning new foreign languages. His brain could handle it now.

Today, you can see ads and stories all over the internet with claims about finding NZT-48 (even some products which are named NZT-48), in an attempt to market what quite often is a mediocre product or outright sham. Although not as miraculous as NZT-48… Modafinil has been labeled the “Real Limitless Pill” on college campuses…

“But there's one pill rising to the top in Britain and overseas: the "Limitless pill," Modafinil—the only smart drug clinically proven, as of last year, to actually work. It makes people alert, but isn't quite as intense as others. So could popping pills to concentrate be the new normal in the near future? The dramatic rise of modafinil use in universities suggests: yes. As many as one in four students are said to have taken it, and in 2013, Sky News found that there was a black market for the drug on campuses, with students bulk-buying it and selling it on.”

- Hannah Ewens from 2016 Vice article

In its most basic sense, Modafinil is a nootropic that is composed of both right-handed and left-handed enantiomers to make a substance that is both fast-acting and effective. Popular generic versions of Modafinil are Modalert and Modvigil. While not strictly a stimulant, Modafinil reportedly increases the speed of thought and helps with focus and attentiveness during tasks. It can act as a mood booster as well, which adds to its ability to help in social situations. It works by boosting the activity of dopamine, serotonin, and histamine in the brain.

Modafinil is most commonly used in the treatment of: Narcolepsy, Obstructive sleep apnea, and Shift work sleep disorder. Additionally, Modafinil is also known as effective eugeroic medication. In other words, it works as a powerful cognitive stimulant by boosting energy levels, especially in those who have Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis.

Primarily, Modafinil functions by enhancing specific chemicals and neurotransmitters within the brain. These include glutamate, serotonin, histamine, dopamine, and GABA. Its effect on the central nervous systems is as follows:

Inhibiting Dopamine Reuptake (DAT)

Increasing Orexin Release

Inhibiting Norepinephrine Reuptake

Boosting Histamine Activity in the Brain

Multiple studies have shown Modafinil to be a powerful cognitive enhancer, particularly within individuals who suffer from sleep deprivation and related disorders. Its effectiveness extends to the point where it has been used to treat individuals suffering from mental disorders as they often experience deteriorated cognitive functioning. All in all, it covers the full cognitive spectrum.

In its role as a cognitive enhancer, Modafinil reportedly works to improve:

Intellectual performance – Learning – Thinking – Reasoning - Problem-solving - Memory retention - Decision making - Attention span.

“A 2012 study of 18 helicopter pilots by the Warfighter Health Division of U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory found that Modafinil was a veritable solution for maintaining "acceptable levels of mood and performance during sleep deprivation" in periods of sustained wakefulness up to 40 hours. In a 2004 study of 10 F-117 pilots "Modafinil attenuated flight performance" for up to 37 hours of continuous wakefulness. The French air force includes them (Modafinil) in the ejection seat survival packages of fighter jets.”


In the interest of psychonautic exploration, this blogger obtained (don't ask how) some Modvigil 200 tabs. My intent was to experiment on my own nervous system, as to the cognitive effects of this purported, miracle nootropic. It takes about 45-60 minutes to take effect. It has a half-life of 13-15 hours, so I anticipated that it would transform the course of my entire day. What follows are the field notes of this experiment...

Modafinil Field Trial - 12/4/20

Initial trial - taking 200mg of “nootropic” (smart drug) Modafinil. This substance is known to be a cognitive enhancer. Although how it works is unclear, one possibility is that may affect the areas of the brain involved with the sleep cycle.

8:00am - Ingested 200mg modafinil (brand name: Modvigil).

8:54am - slight cognitive arousal. Sensations reminiscent of pre-entheogenic tingling... likely psychosomatic anticipation.

9:21am - scalp tingles... again, reminiscent of pre-affect psychedelic excursions. No jitters... Performed website maintenance, answered e-mails, did some writing... good concentration and recall. Didn't look up until mid-morning. 

10:40am - slight nausea, possibly from coffee on empty stomach... ate banana w/yogurt.

11:30am - commute to work. hyper-concentration during drive. Although not aware of it at the time, I am pretty sure the speed limit was exceeded... made good time to the office. Enjoyed the aesthetics of the ride to work... sunlight glistening on newly fallen snow. 

12 noon to 5:00pm - good, consistent focus during office activities... time seemed to fly by. The usual mundane chores seemed very interesting to me... did some webpage design that (in my opinion) turned out great. Inspired to re-work some old design... good artsy-creativity. also put in an hour or two of writing, with good result.  

5:00pm - commute home. Energy and focus. Again, enjoyed the ride.

9:00pm - Energy and concentration still apparent. Still awake after dinner and cocktails... good mental energy and focus, unusual for this time of evening... usually a little sleepy after a good meal. 

11:00pm - Began to unwind and think about bedtime. Read a chapter in "The Immortality Key" by Brain Muraresku. Dozed off somewhere 'round midnight.

2:45am - Woke up and immediately was wide awake. Classic beta-wave mental activity. Did not drift off to sleep (as is normal), but ended up on iPad till dawn.

Note: Perceived symptoms of discomfort during the day... slight tightening of chest, noticed will driving car. This was a fleeting sensation. Slight, fleeting headache, centered on temples. Not sever, but noticeable.

Counter Indications: Some bad news about Modafinil… it's an antibiotic that suppresses 800 different types of bacteria. While it's not quite as dangerous as powerful antibiotics like Cipro, Clindamycin, or the Fluoroquinolones which nuke your gut microbiome, it could contribute to antibiotic resistance. Intake of Yogurt, or other healthy microbiome foods is recommended.

- End Field Report


During the following day, I had no symptoms of fatigue from waking up early. Usual bedtime at the end of the day. This field test did not produce dramatic effects, such as one might experience during an acid trip. No hallucinations or extra-terrestrial contact. No grand epiphanies or encounters with machine elves. However, there was also no social anxiety or erratic mood-swings. I was able to communicate with cohorts without awkwardness or self-consciousness. 

The trial did produce antidotal evidence of prolonged concentration and mental energy, with little adverse side-effects. Looking back, I am completely satisfied with my work-rate during the experiment. Tedious, as well as creative tasks were equally entertaining to me, during the day. My productivity was good and I did not lapse into boredom, or for that matter, daydreaming... during the day. All in all, my experience was a positive one. This is your intrepid psychonautic field reporter, signing off.