Spontaneous Philosophical Tea Party™

Spontaneous Philosophical Tea Party™

We’ve all gone off to Starbucks after pulling an all-nighter studying, or gotten coffee so we could stay up longer. Some of us just have an addiction that we can’t break.

Because of some negative effects I’ve experienced from use of caffeine (sleep deprivation, tiredness, generally increased anxiety) I’ve been trying for a while to avoid it. However, I’ve noticed that I’m a much more prolific blogger when on caffeine. Sometimes I think it’s because it has some sort of effect that makes me more angry, or maybe it makes me type fast enough so I can get posts out in one sitting.

So whilst trying to type three different angry posts with ideas that had burst into my head today I started thinking about it. In his book, Symmetry, Marcus du Sautoy also mentioned that when he tried to break his coffee addiction he was unable to do mathematics as well so he gave in and just drank coffee to do math. When I’ve had a dosage of caffeine it also tends to make it easier for me to get ideas faster for schoolwork or just general random thoughts speeding through my head.

So for today’s tea party…

Does caffeine help you in your cerebral activities? What other side-effects do you experience from it and is it worth it?

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4 Comments

  1. December 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm —

    I’ve never really been big on coffee. Diet Coke, though, is a completely different story. We always had lots of Diet Coke around the house when I was a kid, so I just grew really accustomed to drinking it. I gave it up mostly when I was in middle school, but when I got into high school, one of my teachers drank more than I thought was humanly possible, and another was pretty hooked on it, too. So, I fell back into my addiction pretty hard.

    Eventually, though, I realized that if I replaced Diet Coke with water and drank three times as much, I could stay awake fairly well without the terrible effects. So, back to water, I’ve gone.

  2. December 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm —

    I recently coined a term to represent the jittery, giddy feeling I get as a combination of too little sleep and too much caffeine. I call it “the weeblies,” and it’s characterized by increased heartrate, slight twitching of the extremities, and a euphoria that prompts me to chatter incessantly. It does seem to affect cognition just slightly, in that it allows me to talk faster than normal, without sounding like a complete idiot.

  3. Rebel 16
    December 1, 2009 at 10:36 pm —

    Caffeine actually does nothing for me. Also, when I was a child I would watch my parents stumble around in the morning, completely unable to function without that first cup of coffee, and I decided I never wanted something to have that hold over me, so I never started in the first place. Sugar will perk me up, but knowledge of the subsequent crash is enough to keep me from abusing it.

    I have to wonder: if you stayed off coffee long enough, would your blogging performance increase over time? I’d certainly expect the results you’ve reported in the short term, but what about after two or so months clean?

  4. December 2, 2009 at 11:09 pm —

    Come to think of it, the most productive day I had this week was on Sunday when I had no caffeine but created an entire wave to organize the other TS writers… so I’m guessing I’m not an addict.

    And I was trying to be caffeine-free for a while and only recently gave in, but that was after the whole re-organize Teen Skepchick spurt of energy.

    I’ll try that experiment sometime when I’m off school and sleeping an ideal number of hours.

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