I had a talk with my friend about limitless.

Imagine if we had a drug that

Increases intelligence
Increases success
No side effect or no side effect
Makes people more creative

Would it be legal?

Most people would agree that it would be illegal. That's because most humans don't really care about the dangers of a drug if something gives relative advantage over some other thing.

Another group of people would say it would be legal. I mean, it's harmless.

What would actually happen?

  • 19
    $\begingroup$ Do you mean coffee? $\endgroup$
    – Spencer
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 12:21
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ How available is it? Can it be mass-produced in quantities that everyone can afford it? Or will it only be affordable for an elite? $\endgroup$
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 12:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It can be mass produced in quantities. Actually coffee would qualify. Another is DMT, acid, xtc. Both increase certain intelligence for a while but does not do long term harms. $\endgroup$
    – user4951
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 12:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't quite get two of your sentences: "I had a talk with my friend about limitless." It looks like you are missing a word at the end of that sentence. "No side effect or no side effect" Why is there an "or" with the same thing on both sides? It looks like one of those could be removed. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 13:16
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ DMT causes hallucinations and impairs reflexes. XTC damages long-term memory and has been linked to psychotic episodes (it may be abuse- or dosage- linked, but still). I wouldn't call this increasing intelligence with no side effects. $\endgroup$
    – LSerni
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 14:02

6 Answers 6


The first country that adds it to their water supply would gain a large boost. With no side effects it will be widely used by anyone that can afford it. Some will object but with no side effects they barely have any arguments.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Increased IQ has been tied to reduced empathy." Could you provide a reference for this? $\endgroup$
    – Nat
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Nat quora.com/… read the answers there for your reference $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Cursed1701 Yeah, as your source says, usually IQ and EQ are seen as positively correlated. I'm curious where Mormacil found a negative correlation between intelligence and empathy. $\endgroup$
    – Nat
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding "The world might become a colder harder place though. Increased IQ has been tied to reduced empathy.", it seems that the reverse is likely to be true. More intelligent people tend to be less emotive, as they enjoy greater control over their thoughts and emotions, but that's entirely distinct from a lack of empathy. $\endgroup$
    – Nat
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah I can't find my sources anymore. I'll remove that bit for now. $\endgroup$
    – Mormacil
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 17:32

As regards a society entirely comprised of "Alphas"; from Brave New World

Each one of us, of course," the Controller meditatively continued, "goes through life inside a bottle. But if we happen to be Alphas, our bottles are, relatively speaking, enormous. We should suffer acutely if we were confined in a narrower space. You cannot pour upper-caste champagne surrogate into lower-caste bottles. It's obvious theoretically. But it has also been proved in actual practice. The result of the Cyprus experiment was convincing."

"What was that?" asked the Savage.

Mustapha Mond smiled. "Well, you can call it an experiment in rebot- tling if you like. It began in A.F. 473. The Controllers had the island of Cyprus cleared of all its existing inhabitants and re-colonized with a specially prepared batch of twenty-two thousand Alphas. All agricul- tural and industrial equipment was handed over to them and they were left to manage their own affairs. The result exactly fulfilled all the theoretical predictions. The land wasn't properly worked; there were strikes in all the factories; the laws were set at naught, orders dis- obeyed; all the people detailed for a spell of low-grade work were per- petually intriguing for high-grade jobs, and all the people with high- grade jobs were counter-intriguing at all costs to stay where they were. Within six years they were having a first-class civil war. When nineteen out of the twenty-two thousand had been killed, the survivors unanimously petitioned the World Controllers to resume the govern- ment of the island. Which they did. And that was the end of the only society of Alphas that the world has ever seen."

  • $\begingroup$ Please don't use code syntax for quotes. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand what code syntax means. You mean the yellow blockquote box? Please edit it to be correct and I will pay attention and get it right next time. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yellow block quote box is what I changed it into. Gray box with monospace font is what I'm talking about. See revision history. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 15:19

I think not the actual drug itself may have certain legalities when it comes how you use it and whom on but overall I dont believe this will be illegal if ever becomes real. I think there should be a few laws put in place to stop any bad things happening with the drug itself:

1. Use without PERSONAL Consent

Think this one is very true as it would be illegal if force-fed, or taken by an unoriginal being who never gave full consent to the act itself. But you also need to factor in the fact that depending on the relationship you have with the individual will depend on the consequences she/he will overtake on you.

2. Negatively overused

This one is just simple any drug will get out of hand and extremely addictive when overused if this drug was ever brought to the streets I wouldnt think it would be simple to obtained or be much when obtained. I would silly if the government allowed anybody to have the drug. But this could be used against certain laws and given in the breaking of 'the first law, 1.' .


Yes, it'd be legal

Intelligence both defines human experience and improves it. More intelligence would allow people to enjoy/experience life more, rapidly advance technology including medicine, increase humanity's odds of surviving longer, etc..

All else equal, attempting to ban something that increases human intelligence would be a crime against humanity in just about every conceivable sense. Any conspiracy to ban such a drug would be a conspiracy against humanity itself; there're very few people depraved enough to engage in such an atrocity.

Even sociopaths wouldn't try to ban it

You'll sometimes hear conspiracy theories about how there is such a drug, but alleged power-hungry sociopaths are keeping it under wraps for their own gain.

Of course, in real life, everyone would benefit from humanity as a whole being much smarter. Examples:

  • Everyone's going to need a doctor some day. Wouldn't you want your doctor to be smarter?

  • That doctor's going to try to help you with medical technology. Wouldn't you prefer for that medical technology to be more advanced?

  • You probably like gadgets like computers and smart phones. Wouldn't you like them to be far more advanced?

  • You probably like material wealth. Wouldn't you like to have even more of it?

  • Want to go to Mars? It'll happen faster if our scientists/engineers are smarter.

  • Some ecological disaster's threatening to destroy the planet! Wouldn't you prefer for the people who try to stop it to be smarter?

In short, even a sociopath who cares only about themself wouldn't want to prevent others from having the drug. And non-sociopaths would certainly love to see the world become a better place, both for themself and others. It'd take a truly spiteful person who would accept personal suffering just to see others also suffer to oppose such a wonder drug.


Imagine we are all taking it already. And we started taking it in the enlightenment period.
Now we are boosted to maximum possibility with no side effects. You can take drugs take takes you even higher but those have side effects on your brain and nerve system (Stephen Hawking, Grigori Perelman) and are given to a handful of people that can take the toll and have skills on their own that said boost will give even better results.


It could be addictive, even if not in a chemical sense. If you were super smart for three hours a day, you would spend the rest of the day wishing you were that smart. I believe that it would be outlawed for that reason.

  • $\begingroup$ You should expand your answer a bit, as the OP specifically asks for whether the drug would be legal or illegal. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 14:17

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