The Theory of the Conscious Universe: Where Is the Self in the Brain?

Originally posted July 16, 2011

The Theory of the Conscious Universe was the working title of my book, “You Are the Universe: Imagine That”, released in 2014.

Picture the neurons in the brain as strings in a violin. Now picture them as superstrings. The brain is both.

In a previous posting we discussed the different “selves” that each individual has within him/herself, which are formed out of associational clusters of neurons constructed in the brain by our experiences after we are born.

These different selves in the software layer are not places amongst the neurons. Not quite. Each self is a particular conversation amongst neurons, and each self is evoked using specific places in the brain where those memories reside.

Each such “self” is a particular dance of the neurons.

Behind all this is the self you were born with.

This raises a semantic issue: the meaning of the word “self”. David Brooks, for example, says in his book THE SOCIAL ANIMAL, “Even up to age three, children don’t seem to get the concept of self-consciously focused attention. They assume that the mind goes blank when there is no outside thing bidding for its attention.”

Elsewhere in the book he says “You are the spiritual entity that emerges out of the material networks in your head.”

In reading this excellent and thought-provoking book, I get the feeling that he means exactly what he says in the prior sentence — that matter comes first, and that the self is part of the mind that arises out of the contacts we have with the rest of the world, and how those experiences dictate the laying down of neurons and connections in our brain.

Now, David is obviously a humanist who talks about moments of transcendence, and emphasizes the importance of emotions and the unconscious mind. At the same time he is probably a materialist, not in the popular social sense but rather as in the philosophy term of art, meaning he believes that matter appears ahead of mind in the timeline of the universe.

After all, read his last sentence above, once more. He is saying that your Self is what emerges out of the neurons that have connected since your birth. Whatever unconscious hard-wired genetic/instinctual predispositions you had at birth did not comprise your true self. To David, “You” remained self-less until your brain was sufficiently formed to where the self-ness function turned on — when you had enough contact with the rest of the world to emerge as a distinct self.

Here we would differ. I take the Self to be an experiential phenomenon. Not an abstract word. Practically every other word that we use refers to an object or something we see outside the Self. The word “Self” however has as its referent the actual ineffable experience you are having right now of being you. Reducing that to a word can be very useful, but can also be counterproductive if it gets us to think of Self as just another “thing” like all the others we perceive. The Self is not like anything else. It is in a class by itself. It is the only thing we know really exists. It is the Knower itself. Everything else is something we perceive indirectly through the physics of perception.

That is what I mean by Self and I suspect with that as a stipulated definition, David would probably agree with what I am saying here.

Once we start to perceive, our Self is lit up — we are the experiencer. If those perceptions start in the womb, or when we take our first breath, we likely have no notion of what is going on. Later, that experiencer undergoes various levels of evolution and becomes self-aware (has what David calls an “inner narrator that he thought of as himself”), and then later capable of looking at his/her own feelings objectively (what David calls “equipoise”). And even capable of Knowing Itself As Universe in moments of what David calls “self-transcendence” — moments when we lose the sense of separateness.

The Self is the experiencer. What the neurons lay down is the software layer. Sometimes, as David acknowledges, there is a fight for control among parts of the brain; we would say that the fight for control also includes one other part besides the ones considered in THE SOCIAL ANIMAL: THE ORIGINAL EXPERIENCER.

The Original Experiencer. The Self that was always there, before these levels of self-awareness that David represents as the step-off point for the Self. The ineffable spark of selfness that you have even before you can see yourself as separate or start to self-narrate or start to decide whether you are lost in bliss or somewhere else. The Self you have when your mind is empty. We would argue this is your true self, not the concoction of neuronal dances that you have going on all the time as a result of your experiences.

This is an important choice to consider in terms of your own thinking, I would submit.

What has all of this, however, got to do with The Theory of the Conscious Universe?

The Theory of the Conscious Universe postulates that the Universe is a single consciousness, is the single Self that exists, and that the Self lives through all Its creations.

As we shall demonstrate in upcoming blog postings, this conception of what we are can explain every detectable phenomenon within an Occam’s Razor scientific model fully synchronous with quantum mechanics (QM).

Because of the importance of consciousness in explaining our “Theory of the Conscious Universe”, we began this posting by talking about when the Self arises — what I call the experiencer. We can’t talk about TTOTCU without first discussing these basic issues.

In describing what consciousness is and how it works we will make frequent analogies to the way computers work. We will explain why we doubt that robots can ever be made to experience, unless they are based on genetic technology, in which case they will not be robots. Yet we will also explain our odd hypothesis that consciousness exists in everything.

As we go along, you may find all the hypotheses in The Theory of the Conscious Universe odd — or perfectly obvious (latter group please send me an email — I’d like to chat).

So, what if anything does this have to do with the primary work of the Human Effectiveness Institute (“THEI”)? Our mission is to enhance human effectiveness. One way of doing this is by freeing the mind of constricting limiting notions that may be based on totally inaccurate pictures of reality.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers. Read my latest post.

Originally posted 2011-07-16 10:35:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Theory of the Conscious Universe: The Roots

Featuring: A Movie in Your Mind

Originally posted July 11,2011

The Theory of the Conscious Universe was the working title of my book, “You Are the Universe: Imagine That”, released in 2014 .  

An area in which the Human Effectiveness Institute focuses is the interface between psychology and physics. The ultimate nature of reality is what all of us assume physics is studying, while the nature of mind is what psychology studies.

However, picture a future in which psychology reaches what we might call the complete circumnavigation of the mind. Everything about human psychology is understood, and animal psyk too. Psychoanalysts working with the new perfect model have the same success rate as today’s hip replacements, and in about the same turnaround time. People are pretty much always happy, except for short lapses so as not to forget what the other emotions feel like, or lose their functionality through disuse. Got that envisioned?

Okay, we are together living in that future world and we have all read the popularizations of the ultimate psychology. We get it, it makes our lives work better, we are proud that the human race has achieved such an accomplishment.

Then, in this sci-fi movie we are playing in our minds, a problem arises: physics arrives at the same place as psychology. Physics, too, explains everything in its field. We know how the Big Bang happened and why. We know why there is a universe at all. Our picture leaves nothing out, everything is solved. We finally solve the 400 BC conundrum of which came first, matter or mind.

The problem is this: the physics picture totally overturns the psychology picture.

Then what do we do?

Obviously, at that point the hero/ine gets to work and we see time cuts of the hard work it takes (movies are great at condensing that part) and – voila! The old theory is ingeniously twisted 90 degrees and it clicks perfectly with the new model, and now the population is not always just happy, the entire population rises to the level of genius, is always in flow state, art flourishes and enriches culture, each individual becomes fully realized in all good potentials inherent at birth, the awe and magic of life is restored and never again forgotten even for a moment, psychic and/or telepathic abilities bloom gradually in everyone, and – most important of all – each individual is in total fusion with God.

Yes I said the dread word that causes materialism-philosopher-scientists (MPS) to stop reading. You see scientists have always been philosophers too. We have always had a segment of MPS and another segment of idealism-philosopher-scientists (IPS). Daniel Goleman or David Brooks might well write a book about the relative contributions to science of MPS versus IPS scientists – it would make fascinating reading. Newton of course was IPS. Quite capable of debating fine points of IPS with Leibniz, another idealist philosopher of the time who was a mathematician rather than scientist (Newton was all of these things). Mathematicians and scientists have always produced greater science by working together, and probably greater mathematics too.

The word “God” has meaning to IPS but causes shutdown to MPS. My guess is that those MPS still reading to this point are only reading so as to refute whatever my point might be in all this.

Before I get to the point, let’s stop for a moment to make a fix that has been long in coming. Roughly 2500 years overdue. The term of art “Idealism” when used in juxtaposition with “Materialism” is a confusing misnomer since the word “Idealism” has other meanings used far more frequently. Time to change the term, so let’s first understand where it came from. It was Plato.

Plato of course had heard similar thoughts and was putting them together more concisely and less mystically so everyone could understand them. Qabala contains similar thoughts, for example, and everything thinkable exists somewhere in the tradition of India, captured in written language since the Vedas.

The Idea is that there are multiple levels of reality. In the Absolute Plane of Reality, Ideas exist. They are the perfect embodiment of themselves. The Ideal Chair is the most often used example in philosophy courses –that’s sure getting old. “Ideal” in the sense of “Idea” and also in the sense of “Perfect Embodiment” and “Archetype”.

At any rate, there are these Ideas floating around in the realest plane of reality, and down here on these lower planes (Qabala has four levels, some Indian texts also, but other interpretations have infinite levels – Qabala calls this Jacob’s Ladder) we have shadow imitations of those Ideal Ideas, imperfect replicas intermixing all the Ideas in sort of a stew.

Here on Earth we exist in the lowest of the planes in hard material reality, sometimes called the Visible World. To Plato we are as if in a cave watching shadows on a wall cast by something outside the cave we cannot see.

Without attaching to the history of the term, I’ve laid it out here to show the trail. This is how the great debate got to be called “Materialism versus Idealism”.

What instead should it be called? The debate is trying to solve the question of which came first, mind or matter — which of these is the actual basis of reality, the ultimate quantum plane from which the universe arises.

About 400 years ago, by the way, Hume and Berkeley, Leibniz and Spinoza and Kant and many others drove a period of philosophy where mind came first, before matter.

Today the view that is baked into the average person including scientists is that matter is the supreme substance of the universe. Ironically, the most far-out physicists are now heading back in the other direction toward mind or an intermixture, and gradually the culture is slowly following them. This is not discussed philosophically by the average person, who may nevertheless detect a drift back into what s/he would call a spiritual direction.

We would prefer that the debate be called “Materialism vs. Mindism” or “Materialism vs. Consciousness as Prime”. That’s what it always has been about. The “Mind Came First” position in this debate does not necessarily have to be locked into Plato’s multiple-levels theory, as there are many theories that could be built around the “Mind Came First” position.

“But how could that possibly be?” one thinks, still in the current culture that assumes materialism without even knowing that one is doing so.

After all, Carl Sagan told hundreds of millions of viewers that after the Big Bang occurred due to forces we do not yet comprehend, bits of matter started to assemble due to electromagnetic forces we do understand. At a certain point they formed the Replicator molecule – akin to viruses – robotical pseudo-life. And then just impelled by these random collisions of electromagnetic forces, this process continued to evolve and build itself up until consciousness emerged.

We all mostly bought it, didn’t we? I must confess I didn’t – it seemed like random waves on a beach could build beautiful sand castles if I just sat around for a googletillion years. I still can’t convince my gut of this.

So what is this Theory of the Conscious Universe I was supposed to talk about? Please excuse the tease, but I promised I would lay out the roots here. Now that I’ve established the roots, in the next postings I will get on to the theory.

Best to all,

Bill

I would like to invite you to a free ARF webinar I am presenting next week on April 18. A featured section will propose standards for ethical use of psychological data.

Originally posted 2011-07-11 06:17:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP) on a Social Level

In a superbusy world, EOP (Emergency Oversimplification Procedure)* Man jumps at the chance to believe, and says to himself he has no time to think for himself. Religions, political systems, sports leagues, the old left-right wing oversimplification, skin color biases, all of these things become time saving conveniences to EOP Woman and Man. Don’t have to think, thanks!

At some age, pretty early in life, each of us thinks of all the big questions for the first time. Who am I, why are we here, etc. That, on top of all the other unanswered questions produced by our interactions with others, drives us all to the same emotional state of permanently giving up on getting answers. This is the very moment EOP begins.

Some of us never did give up on getting answers and so slip in and out of EOP but spend more than the average amount of time out of that state. EOP still gets us because our minds were not trained to deal with the rapid and complex input streams. But we periodically catch up and come out of it.

Avoiding deep thought and simply getting through life is EOP.

This creates an ideal petri dish in which to grow the ideas that are offered to us as mass movements. Instead of each of us having access to tools that allow us to bring out our inherent individual talents and give these developed talents to the world, our time is too constricted for that because we are doing something often tangential to our true talents in order to pay the dues we owe society in the form of money. Instead of our own perceptions we are provided a menu of mass perceptions to choose from, and because everyone subconsciously gets it that we are all in some kind of fog (EOP), there are not too many choices.

Pre-packaged belief systems on the menu: Capitalism, Communism, specific religions, immersion in some form of ongoing mind-consuming gladiatorial spectacle (spectator sports) requiring memorization of names and scores and other factoids in order to sustain a feeling of belonging and being accepted, choices on mass issues such as race – all of this is a kind of mantra that distracts the mind and keeps it busy processing the accepted mass topics and positions on things, often particular to where you happen to live.

The individual life of the mind is something we are faintly aware of hearing and feeling going on somewhere in the background but we don’t have time to pay much attention to our own thoughts except when we are alone, which is rare. If most of us break out of EOP at all, it is sometimes, when we are alone.

Socially, the effects of EOP are dramatic. We ignore the empathy-endowing effects of the mirror neurons in our brain and coldly close our hearts to other people except under exceptional circumstances. We see life as a dog-eat-dog bar brawl in which we have to look out for number one. Money pressures are the riverbanks that shape the flow of our actions and reify the perception of life as a free-for-all fight for survival.

Neofeudalism becomes the underlying state of society, in which the Haves control the situation, and not-having is perceived by all as being perfectly civilized. Democracy is the right idea when fully carried out, which it never has been. Today democracy is a noble intention but not yet a realized reality. The Internet creates greater potential for true democracy – we shall see how many years go by before such a thing happens.

Whatever tools we use to re-adjust society it will probably take hundreds of years to fully eliminate Havenotism everywhere on Earth, and establish a hutopia (a humanly possible utopia) where individuals are cultivated for their unique mix of talents, which can be shared with others on as large a scale as naturally develops in each case. Again it sounds like some form of Videoized Internet will be involved – perhaps totally artificial reality as visualized in the early works of William Gibson (who coined the term “cyberspace”).

Some will ask whether we can ever really get there from here. Naturally it is easy to think of the Haves as being selfish and not wanting hutopia. In fact you the reader are probably a Have, as I am. We are not bad guys. So maybe there are fewer bad guys than is normally assumed in EOP. Maybe practically all of us are just caught up in this Acceleritis™ pandemic, and not actively against hutopia. How about hutopia without anyone giving up a reasonable level of wretched excess?

In hutopia even the Haves will be having a better time. There is a very high ROI on hutopia. And it is a payoff for everyone, without exception.

The pursuit of happiness. Having that in our country’s Declaration of Independence and bonded into the Constitution was a first in history. No country before us legitimatized the natural right to happiness, or even the idea of natural rights. The great contemporary songwriter and my great friend Stan Satlin brought this to my attention and said that in Judaism is the same idea, mitzvah, focused on giving others happiness and so sharing in that happiness oneself (and thereby giving back to the Creator).

I often think that the one other natural right I would have suggested had I been there would be the right to have one’s innate talents cultivated. This is where I see the greatest tragedy in Havenotism. So many talents wasted. We all benefit from having the greatest development of talents on Earth. We will all wind up getting better service that way.  😀

The Earth’s resources divided by the number of people probably makes hutopia easily possible even with today’s toolware. And the technology is also in (and driving) the state of Acceleritis so it won’t be long before the technomultiplier effect gives us even more economic leverage to achieve hutopia with.

But put that dream aside for now. Let’s talk about what we can do in our lifetimes.

I submit that the priority is EOP. We have to get out of it.

How do we do that?

First of all we will need a psychotechnology – a set of practices which allow an individual to spend less and less time in EOP. More time in the Observer State and Flow State.

This is by no means optimized as a technology today. What we have are the beginnings of toolware. Thousands of people have attested to the fact that these tools work.**

As a society we have to continue to develop and refine psychotechnology, and we must see to it that it is installed in all of our schools.

I don’t mean my stuff necessarily. Let’s as a society engender a process by which these plowshares get beaten into gleaming instruments of biofeedback contentware, kind of a Rosetta Stone language feedback courseware expanded into all conceivable media from books and blogs to artificial realities and brainscans.

Let’s make it a priority to clear our minds of EOP. By all means let’s have real scientists verify what I have been saying. I have in fact been getting positive feedback from neuroscientists for some time, so I know that while unscientific, my hypotheses are somewhere in the vicinity of the truth, lying as behind a veil just out of perception range by the mass of humanity.

It should be possible to measure the brain signatures of EOP, Observer State, and Flow State, and thereby better understand their existence and ways to move from one to the other. Since the early 80s I have been peripherally involved with experiments of this type and know that symmetry of EEG levels (delta, alpha, beta) between left and right brain is one part of the brain signature of the Observer State (and probably of Flow State). From recent work at Yale we know there is a reduction of random information flow across the corpus callosum – as if a reduction in mental chatter – in the Flow State (The Zone, as Yale Master Marvin Chun puts it).

Precisely knowing the totality of the brain substrates of these states will move us from hypotheses to a real theory of brain states, and a true psychotechnology that can elevate the effectiveness of the human race. It’s my hope that the Human Effectiveness Institute can at least begin this process, and we will get as far as we can.

Best to all,

Bill

*EOP (Emergency Oversimplfication Procedure), the condition that sets in when there is too much information resulting in desperate shortcutting such as rationalized guesswork.

** Out of ~35,000 copies of my book Mind Magic sold on lifetime moneyback guarantee, 11 came back, and over 2000 endorsement letters/emails were received generally citing life changes in desired directions and saying more people should read this book.

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Originally posted 2011-05-24 07:13:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What if the Mission of the USA Is to Demonstrate Democracy?

Originally posted June 11, 2011

      Liberty Tree - by Stan Satlin - © 2011
     Audio: click arrow to play/pause

In the previous blog post we asked the question, “What are we here for?” “We” in this case being the United States of America. (Of course, asking this question of oneself, “What am I personally here for?”, is one of the highest uses of the mind, and we recommend it as a meditation — but that is a subject for another posting.)

We didn’t propose any answer to that question and instead invited readers to ponder it for themselves and come up with their idea of what the Mission of the USA is — or should be.

In the post before that, we offered a starting list of 14 things that all people should be able to expect of their government, implicit in the evolved social contract between and among individuals and the nation to which they pay taxes. Making the tacit explicit is always a good idea in any kind of contract or simple oral agreement — being explicit about what otherwise would be hidden assumptions prevents bad feelings (or worse) from happening later on.

On that list of 14 items, one of them is “Democracy (sharing control)”. In that posting I suggested that some of the items on the list could be combined with other items, so the eventual list would probably be shorter. Now let’s consider for a moment that Democracy could be the linchpin, or cause, around which all the other items on the list exist as effects.

Why postulate that Democracy could achieve so much — clean air, fair prices, and all of the other 14 things on the list? Because if people are effectively sharing control, in the end they will do what is best for the people, to the extent that they can figure out what works and what doesn’t — even if only by trial and error.

Not everyone believes this. To those who believe in Aristocracy or even Meritocracy, Democracy is tantamount to mob rule, and can go in any direction right or wrong; like putting one’s life in the hands of fools.

Plato in his Republic described pure Democracy being able to work in a polis (city) of 1000 well-informed and well-educated citizens. Most philosophers since have interpreted Plato to mean that Democracy would break down in larger numbers of people, and perhaps Plato did mean that. However, Plato did not have the Internet. Perhaps with TV, radio, print, outdoor, the Internet, Mobile, Social Media used in the right way together, the citizenry could be educated, kept well-informed, and their brain power tapped and aggregated quickly — resulting in working Democracy across hundreds of millions of people.

Or perhaps the polis idea still holds, and people should self-rule within small pieces of geography, and then those geographies vote. In principle, this is not so far from the USA plan — if citizens had stayed involved in politics in their communities, which very few of us have done. Possibly the messes we now see would not have gone so far out of control had we not abdicated the right to stay involved politically within our local areas.

Can there be a realistic process to bring ourselves back to the ideals on which our country was founded?

To be realistic, such a Renaissance Project would need to involve the private and voluntary sectors as well as the public sector — and would probably need to be driven by the private sector, as it appears to be the least poorly functioning of the three sectors, especially when the profit motive is tempered by the will to do good for all.

If we think novelistically about a plausible scenario, the first vision that pops to mind is an Internet company launching a fun, social, massively multiplayer realtime gamelike site, that quickly and virally attracts a huge loyal audience, in which the main game is to “Sim” (in the sense of the successful videogame series) running the world as it exists today.

If designed with social awareness, it throws off huge profits from advertising while tithing 10% of gross revenues to philanthropy, the money allocated according to the Democratic process — the vote of the site’s audience.

If the site also attracts audiences outside the U.S., even in countries that are not anything like Democracies, so much the better.

Do we citizens of the United States still believe in Democracy as intensely as Jefferson and all of the Founding Fathers did? The Founders enshrined the “consent of the governed” in the Declaration of Independence. Hobbes, Rousseau and John Locke had “invented” the ideas of social contract (consent of the governed) in the 1600s–1700s, and Rousseau’s 1762 treatise came only 14 years before the American Revolution. Locke’s term “natural rights” was invoked in the framework for our country, as no country before it or since.

If the mission of the USA is to demonstrate Democracy, then let’s make it the inspiring core of a new energy in this country. Some specifics on how we might do that — ideas worth testing perhaps — in upcoming blog postings here.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2011-06-08 06:12:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What is the True Mission of the U.S.A.?

Originally posted June 3, 2011

      I Am an American - by Stan Satlin - © 2011
     Audio: click arrow to play/pause

What is it that we are striving to achieve as a nation, our Purpose on Earth?

What did Tom Paine expect of us, or George Washington?

If we do not know our purpose then no matter what good we may achieve on the face of the Earth, we will be rudderless inside. We won’t know where we’re going or how we want to get there. We will be guided by the plan du jour. Any good we do will be random, grasping at straws of tactical opportunity to head toward the seeming good at that moment – and we have seen how repeatedly in history who or what at first seems good turns out to be not as good as we thought.

What is worse, during a period when we have forgotten our purpose, the nation will be contributing little to the spiritual nourishment of its citizens. Yes, I said spiritual – a nation owes it to its citizens to create an environment where the citizenry finds it easy to slip into feelings greater than their individual selves, and can act on and become those feelings through and through. In the previous post I referred to that perhaps too vaguely as the “Facilitation of individual development” – I probably should have specified physical, intellectual, intuitional, emotional, perceptual, and spiritual development.

Despite separation of Church and State, and widely ranging opinions as to the spiritual details of the Founding Fathers’ notions of the nature of reality, no one can deny the spiritual resonance of the words that led to our nation’s birth.

Are these not spiritual words: Liberty, Equality, Justice. They evoke a state – albeit typically all too brief – where our emotional being is swept up into something larger than our personal self. In the current hyper culture this brief flash of inspiration might go by too fast for consciousness to notice it.

Those words used by the Founders are spiritual words. Words that refer to, and evoke, states of spiritual sensitivity – openness to the duty we owe others, owe the Universe, owe in fact to God, whatever you conceive Him to be. Ideals that many humans envy but consider pragmatically irrelevant in their actual moment-to-moment dog-eat-dog lives here in the hypersphere*.

Regardless of the efficacy of those words then or at times like WWII or today, even when a nation fails to nurture spiritual ideals as part of its heritage, in our moment to moment existence on Earth we must consider the measurable value of being a nation focused on spiritual ideals.

If we could be that inspired nation again – or if we are still that nation right now but not taking enough notice of it – then one way or another it is time to tap into that tide of human positive emotion that can energize creative thought and enable right action.

So let’s consider again – what is our true mission as a nation?

In the absence of creative thought and in the heat of trepidatious events, piling up one after the other without respite over decades, the country has accepted its present mantle of world cop – protecting the weak from aggressors.

What if that isn’t the main point of our existence?

It would be terrible to have accepted the role of world’s cop, and then fifty or a few hundred years later when the world has become a rational and emotionally positive society, a cop is no longer needed. Or the role that had been cop in mean times is ever sinking down to a kind of nudnik level, solicitously protecting people from themselves in pestering ways. America, the world’s nudnik?

We have the opportunity now to choose our own destiny. Let’s as a nation agree on what it is. And let’s start the dialogue, here and now. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Best to all, Bill

*Not in the sense of spheres in four or more dimensions, but in the sense of the Earth in Acceleritis™.

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Originally posted 2011-06-03 05:47:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

14 Things Everyone Needs From Government

Originally posted May 29, 2011

In The May 16, 2011 issue of The New Yorker (an especially fine issue even by that iconic publication’s standards), a Pakistani storekeeper doing business in the neighborhood where Osama had been hiding, says he doesn’t care about that particular struggle, or any other fight going on in the world. He doesn’t want weapons, he says, he wants “light, water, health and education”.

Most people everywhere would echo those words. A huge percentage of the history of the world being written every day, and a huge percent of the money spent each year, is tied up in competitions and power struggles going on over our heads. The people with power are shaping the lives we must live, and we appear to have zero control over that reality.

We the People

We live in a democracy, we like to think the world’s best, and certainly the world’s first in modern times (thinking of Athens in the Golden Age as USA-like in a very few respects). We vote – those who still feel it makes a difference or that we would be cowards not to try to make a positive difference. But that’s just it: more than half of us have given up voting, mostly because we are sure that there is nothing we can do that makes any difference whatsoever.

Robert A. Heinlein once mentioned a scale plotting the strength of an individual’s will (and so the probability of that individual’s survival) where the lowest point is named apathy. Giving up, believing that one has zero control, is the very definition of apathy.

Each of us has the potential to move the world. I have seen a little bit of this first hand, in a small microcosm of the Earth called the advertising business. I set out to change it and have already made some markups on it.

Moving an industry takes vast effort every day and is worth it. I recommend it to everyone. Just figure out what would make it better and cautiously make tentative suggestions for a few decades and see what happens.

If one person can change an industry, then with a little bit of gung ho cooperation among a bunch of people, it should be possible to change the world.

And now we’ve got the Internet. When I first started thinking about what were called “online services” in the late 60s, the word “democracy” just kept popping up in my head all the time. I saw webcams becoming a part of a new type of social television – something which I am sure will happen at some point in the sequencing of media revolutions still to come.

I hoped to be one of those bringing together positive thinking, socially aware advertisers as sponsors with similarly aware networks to create a new screen programming, totally interactive and melding Town Hall with Delphi techniques, to actually influence the thinking of politicians, and to provide a platform for bringing forth inventions and ideas from the entire citizenry to public attention at large.

I reasoned to myself that even just based on the people and ideas I knew were available, the programming would be entertaining and super informative and would garner a huge rating. People like Norman Cousins, Eric Sevareid, Walter Cronkite and Jimmy Carter, to name just a few, gave positive feedback to some of these ideas, and kept me charged to continue another step in the journey. And then another. I continue to this day, and hope you will join me in the co-creation of democracy social screen programming.

Taking a step back, there is another matter, another toolset we will need along the way. Taking some share of screen audience each day to play a game of running the world, and actually having impact, that’s one thing. But will it go far enough? What are the root causes of the ills we’re trying to cure?

They come back to the need for evolution of the minds of the people at the top. Those who are having the biggest effect on history. They are still getting into wars like the petty kings and dukes of yesteryear. They have not mentally, emotionally, and spiritually evolved far enough to rise above the emotions within that cause them to get us into wars.

So whatever kind of Television/Internet (I have been calling it “screen” to cover all screen media – yes, even cinema) we create, no matter how many great ideas we bring to light, the people who control our lives will only move inches and not miles per year as a result, unless we can get into their heads and make the necessary adjustments. And before we can say this justifiably, we have to get into our own heads and make sure of our own motivations.

If we act out of pride and self-aggrandizement, we are right there with them. Only by taking the long view and the big view – that we are grateful to the Universe for having us, and we want to give back in that spirit by taking care of as much of the world as we can nurture – only by being ourselves nobly motivated can we help make the shift at the top.

This is what I call psychotechnology. It is the subject of my books and videos, which are designed to get the reader/viewer to objectively look inside and consider certain adjustments to get into a higher, more effective state of consciousness.

With psychotechnology and new media we can change the world for the better. It will not be easy nor quick. But it would be cowardly and apathetic to shy away from the task. Let’s do it together.

Impressed by the words of the Pakistani shopkeeper, I made a straw man list of 14 things we should expect from our government. I started where he started and added the rest by stream of consciousness. What you see below is how it came out, not in any systematic order yet.

Of course safety (protection) is on the list, and people who know me know of my great respect for our military. I am not against defense when I write about the need to wind down on wars. I have given many workshops to the military over the years and have met great-hearted and super intelligent people there. People who glom onto psychotechnology without a moment’s hesitation.

I didn’t put protection on the top of the list because, if we do our job right, within a century the world will be run by highly evolved human beings and the need for protection will gradually move down the list. So it came out near the bottom because I was thinking of the future ideal state – the one our children’s children’s children will inherit. Alas it cannot be removed from the top of the list yet – a sad statement about the leadership of the world in general.

That is not a blanket statement about all of the world’s leaders. I think we have some of the smartest – yet they need to look inside to better resolve their emotions into more Solomon-like action reflecting true wisdom.

The following list, being a pro forma, contains items some of which really fall into the bucket of another item on the list – “A Good Economy” would give us many of the others. But for the people who have not, it is worth spelling out even if duplicative.

The list in itself is something we can refine over the next hundred years. Meanwhile let’s get to work on building the screen superhighway through which democracy will flow healing ideas into the minds of those at the control switches.

14 THINGS EVERYONE NEEDS FROM GOVERNMENT

  1. We need Light
  2. Water (clean, please, including oceans)
  3. Health
  4. Education
  5. Clean Air
  6. A Good Economy
  7. Jobs
  8. Fair Pay
  9. Fair Costs of Living
  10. Safety (protection)
  11. Facilitation of Individual Development (I would put this one on top)
  12. Freedom
  13. Democracy (sharing of control)
  14. Equality

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2011-05-29 06:56:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter