Monthly Archives: June 2012

What Is The Highest Good?

Volume 2, Issue 13

As a philosophy major I learned to say “The Highest Good” in Latin: Summum Bonum. I had begun philosophizing as a toddler about the same subject, vaguely noting that my inarticulate intuition could not accept anything I was told as an absolute, even from those two beloved gods Ned and Sandy (my parents). Without innate acceptance of authority as absolute I was required to develop my own ideas, which uncorked a lifelong case of idearrhea. (Just kidding.)

What is the “singular and most ultimate end human beings ought to pursue”? The word “ought” is a marker that indicates one is being slipped an assumption of necessary morality, rendering the question a loaded one. Kant believed that the universe “ought” to contain God to reward the Good. Christian thought is that one “ought” to live in communion with God and according to God’s precepts. In such schools of thought, one assumes the intuition of the elders to be the last word when it comes to interpreting God’s precepts. Other schools “believe” that one is required to be one’s own interpreter of the Will of God.

Before receiving my degree I had developed my own “philosophy”. The ideas had jumbled natively in my mind before formal study enabled scholastic order if not rigor. I decided to choose aesthetics as my touchstone to the Summum Bonum, to allow my own aesthetic preferences to determine what for me would be The Highest Good. With or without God, what did I decide/intuit/feel to be the most beautiful way to handle each moment? And of God, which would be a more beautiful universe — the one with or without God? In that way I decided which hypotheses I would base my life upon. This was my rational mind, ever forgetting that the intuition is the boss of the rational mind, which dutifully articulates whatever the intuition has already decided. In EOP the robot masquerades as the intuition so convincingly that our mind is hijacked, to use Dan Goleman’s term.

My own definition of intuition is the ability to sense what is going on, to make connections and put things together, leaping across the intervening logical steps that remain to be identified by the rational mind in its quest to rationalize what the intuition already told us. Sometimes someone asks me why I did something and it takes a while to provide an adequate answer. This makes me an intuitionist in the Jungian scheme of four functions of consciousness, identified as the rational mind (thinking), intuition (cognitive feeling), feelings (bodily emotion), and perception.

Being many “-ists”, including a pragmatist, The Highest Good to me is the best conscious approach to any situation, which I see as love — omnidirectional, unconditional, and nonattached love. Such love creates the greatest long-term happiness for the greatest number, which I find aesthetically pleasing.

“Why nonattached?” one might ask. Nonattached would seem to neuter love and to make it bland and vapid. Not our intended meaning. I was using (as I usually do) the word “attached” in the Buddhist sense, which is the same as the Greek Stoic sense as in the Enchiridion of Epictetus. Where it means the losability of the things one is fond of, and thus freedom from addictive dependence upon the objects of our affection. There is utility in losability because the things that shove us down into EOP are our attachments — the ones our gut does not consider losable.

The intuition is not immune to learning from the rational mind — the intuition evolves and is not simply a static animal instinct (we have those too). But the intuition is not the part that becomes addictively attached; it’s the robot, aka ego. The ego is not our true self because our true self is the totality of everything we are and the ego is just a part of that.

What is The Highest Good to you?

Best to all,


Being Amused by the Accelereality Comedy of Errors

Volume 2, Issue 12

Have you experienced being in a meeting where someone shoots down your idea dismissively and then presents a longwindedly crude expression of the same idea, without seeing that it is the same idea?

Have you pitched something to a company that is so clearly what they need, and then have them take a pass based on the strength of frozen ritual processes that no one believes can ever be changed?

Impossibility thinking, dream state management, “Earth must be God’s sitcom channel”, and other amusingly cynical thoughts pass through my head as I encounter these events daily. Still, I remain ever hopeful that in time the race will learn to use its prefrontal cortex, and see how the psychotechnology techniques such as those of the Human Effectiveness Institute do push back against the tide of information overload, i.e. Acceleritis, which causes the pandemic EOP (Emergency Oversimplification Procedure) exhibited in these funny behaviors.

It’s healthy and pragmatically useful to take these things as amusing rather than become frustrated by them since that negative emotion brings us down to the EOP level. If Observer state and Flow state are the objective and the answer, then the sense of humor is a major ally in the game. Humor and perspective are closely related, which is why comedians are actually philosopher/poets who express profound truths in an artistic and therefore pleasantly diverting form that cleanses the emotions of negativity or sublimates the negativity to a less harmful species of it.

The prefrontal cortex is a radical evolution. Once it was empowered by seeable (written) language starting about 6000 years ago — a mere eyeblink in human history — this triggered an acceleration process that manifests as a fall from grace, a submersion in self-dwarfing pettyism, a loss of the sense of connectedness to divinity and our numinous birthright. Acceleritis as we call it. Written 2190-2070 BC, much earlier in the accelerating information overload period we are still living in, the Lamentations of Ipou-our recall the spiritual culture that Egypt had already lost by that time.

Prior to the discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, the Nag Hammadi library was found in Upper Egypt in 1945. Whereas the Dead Sea Scrolls appear to be early drafts of the Old Testament, the Nag Hammadi scrolls contain what appear to be early drafts of the New Testament. One muses that the wars perennially fought over the Holy Land might have something to do with the findings of these materials — which cast such revealing light on our early Western spiritual beginnings. Not exactly a grail, the scrolls near Nag Hammadi were found in a large jar. The aspect I find particularly interesting about them is the many writers who groped to explain why, if there is God, the world has gone so wrong. These explanations are all variations on a theme of error-ridden/evil early offspring of the original Spirit creator, bad demiurge gods/archons aka the Devil. The early Christian church edited out these heresies (while retaining Satan) probably wisely as they are so negative and paranoia inducing. Also, the far simpler and perhaps more logical explanation is information overload and the time it takes for information-processing beings to learn to manage their own internal resources after such a powerful mutation (evolution of the prefrontal cortex) and its cascading effects.

The most important work each of us does is the work we do on ourselves, which the Human Effectiveness Institute calls psychotechnology — the broader field containing Buddhism, psychoanalysis, Zen, and a host of other specific methodologies springing up in different regions of the world. Psychotechnology is what propels us out of the Acceleritis-driven EOP state. Many of us, with the coming of maturity, reach a permanent equilibrium in the Observer state that allows us to laugh at ourselves and to appreciate the humor in the challenging, maddening conditions of our historical period. Jews call this being a mensch. This is definitely a hopeful sign, of which many abound all around us. Perhaps in a millennium or two, we will emerge from Acceleritis on a global basis — or maybe we are even closer. What can we do to (at least begin to) make it happen in our own time?

Best to all,


The Force Is Conscious

Volume 2, Issue 11

In his inspired space epic film series Star Wars, George Lucas postulates a religion based on the notion that a single Force pervades all of spacetime, and can be used by adepts in combat and other situations. It imparts powers of telekinesis (the ability to move matter with the mind), prescience/precognition (knowing the future), remote sensing/clairvoyance (the ability to see things beyond the field of vision), and the ability to shoot bolts of energy from the fingertips.

In Lucas’ cosmology, the Force also has a Dark Side that can seduce you into using these powers for selfish benefits; however, this turns your eyes red and ruins your complexion.

When the first Star Wars movie came out on May 25, 1977, I had just two years earlier formulated my vision of reality which I refer to as The Theory of the Conscious Universe. I was keenly interested in the similarity between Lucas’ vision of the Force and my own theory. One of the key differences is that Lucas does not convey that the Force is conscious. In my theory, the universe is a self-aware field of consciousness.

There is no scientific reason why this cannot be the case.

In fact my theory makes it understandable why the world’s leading theoretical physicist of our times, the late John Wheeler, stated that we observers (consciousness) co-create reality, and that “bits (information) precede “its” (physical objects/energy fields)”. Why shouldn’t our consciousness co-create reality, if we are part of the One Consciousness that created reality in the first place? And why should we be surprised that information plans precede the creation of bits of matter/energy, since consciousness and sometimes conscious planning precede all human inventions including the words we speak — if everything is just one big consciousness?

We know that fields exist — electromagnetic, gravitic, the strong nuclear force that holds atoms together, the weak nuclear force that mediates particle decay. Why should consciousness not be a field?

The other key difference between Lucas’ Force and my theory is that I postulate the One Consciousness lives through us — what we take to be our identity is a sub-identity of the One Consciousness.

One reason I have conviction this theory may actually be the truth is that whenever I am most deeply immersed in acting for the good of all, the incidence of my slipping into Flow state, aka the Zone, is increased.

I have not detected anything like a Dark Side of the Force. When I am in a dark selfish mood I never find myself in Flow state. In my Theory of Holosentience I hypothesize that dark moods are part of EOP, which is the opposite end of the performance spectrum from Flow.

Why not experiment for yourself with “wearing” this point of view of what the universe is, to see if it has any effect on your daily life, and your experience of the Flow state?

Best to all,


What Is A Friend?

Volume 2, Issue 10

Being a friend to everyone is conducive to the Zone

Flow state, aka the Zone, is behind the purpose of The Human Effectiveness Institute. In last week’s post we focused on the internal maintenance of a good mood as a precursor to the autotelic (doing it for its own sake not for outcome) Flow state. Self-management of attitude for maximum performance was the point of that post. In this post, we focus on the external world and the ways in which it can be leveraged to help you and your team into Flow.

How do personal interactions lead to — or away from — the Zone?

When someone frustrates you or otherwise pulls you out of your good mood, investigate first how you played along with the event so that it was both of you causing the bad mood. This construct will get you quickly to the levers you can pull to effectively work on that relationship. And the best way to carry out such a long-term plan (relationships are not short-term situations) is as a friend, not as an enemy nor as a distant party.

Resist the temptation to demonize the other person. Realize they got to where they are through a series of events that were perhaps unfortunate and be glad your corresponding events left you with more visibility and perhaps less closed-mindedness. Be open to all possibilities including that your behavior was the progenitor of the events you did not enjoy.

Resist the temptation to teach other people — that is not what they want. If they want your advice, they’ll ask for it. What they want the most from you is simply and truly to be their friend. So what does that mean?

  • Warm, good feelings (love) — from the heart;
  • You tell them the truth — in a way that helps not hurts;
  • You want them to succeed — even if they succeed ahead of you;
  • You share fairly with them;
  • You encourage them;
  • You help them see the brighter side. People want to be in a good mood — bring yours and they will join you — that is leadership.
  • Help them find creative outlets that might have higher probability of success than their current time use.

So being a friend really entails a lot. It is the optimal underpinning to any relationship, including relationships with relatives. It helps make the Zone happen for you, your friends, and sometimes among whole teams of people.

Best to all,

PS — Ed Keller and Brad Fay of KellerFay have just come out with their new book THE FACE-TO-FACE BOOK: WHY REAL RELATIONSHIPS RULE IN A DIGITAL MARKETPLACE. The revelation of the book is that face-to-face conversations still rule in terms of volume and in terms of credibility, despite all the press about social media. The practical application is about how to use not only social media but everything else that has been proven to work to drive positive conversations including face-to-face. The book includes case studies naming brand names such as Kraft and General Mills. Learn what works. KellerFay not only talks the talk but walks the walk as proven by the way they are marketing the book on Facebook, for example, where you can get a free excerpt at; Win a Free Copy The book is available on Amazon,, and 800ceoread.