Category Archives: Acceleritis

How Did We Become So Distracted?

Originally posted March 10, 2015

We live at a discontinuous point in history.

Most of us know that the human race started evolving from primates, coming down out of trees over 1,000,000 years ago, but it’s only been the last 200,000 years that we’ve been homo sapiens.

We’ve written things down for only 6,000 years out of those million years so we have no written record of what went on before those roughly 6,000 years.

Key Survival Characteristic

My hypothesis as a social scientist is that in the last 6,000 years, written language changed the way we use our minds.

It actually started with the cave paintings, some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, using symbolism — we started to be able to look at abstract symbols to represent things like animals that we were going to be hunting.

When we moved to written language, we could see the language — the granular bits of information. Pictures don’t have chunks to them like words do.

Though nowhere near digital yet, we started to get into granular chunk thinking as soon as we got into written language.

This development marked the beginning of a revolution in the way we use our minds, and this has been accelerating for the last 6,000 years.

We started inventing things — first tools, then weapons and then media — and all of those things have contributed to the fact that we now every day are subjected to a deluge of stimuli that exceeds our ability to answer all the questions arising in our mind second-to-second.

We get into a habit of just sweeping things aside. “I’m never gonna answer all this stuff. I won’t try to answer all this stuff. I won’t even try to answer the basic question of what is life, what is the meaning of all this, what is my purpose? It’s just too many questions. I can’t answer them.” I call this condition Acceleritis™.

We see things like increasing ADD and ADHD and we see people who are supposed to be running big countries acting like high-school kids and not getting anything done.

This deluge of stimuli all the time is not good for any of us. In the face of the hugely distracting environment of Acceleritis, we are being distracted from Flow state, which I believe is our natural state and which occurred a lot more before 6,000 years ago.

This is why I consider psychotechnology, which prepares people with techniques to stay focused through complexity, to be so important. No matter who we are, the quality of our life depends upon our effectiveness in meeting challenges, whether as a parent, an executive, an athlete or a world leader.

Shutting out distractions

Most all of the techniques I use to increase focus and creativity are included in my book, MIND MAGIC, and I also share them here in this blog space — techniques like mindfulness, meditation, self-awareness and letting go of attachment. Learning to become the observer more often and not getting caught up or reeled in by all of these distractions, we can find greater clarity and reach Flow state more often. Learning to stay focused in an ever increasingly distracting world, we can ultimately increase our creativity and improve our decision making.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-03-10 12:24:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do what you’re moved to do.

Originally posted April 28, 2015latest Great Being post

One of the challenges of our current reality is the pervasive condition we call Acceleritis™ wherein we feel we never have enough time to do all the things we feel we ought to do.

Don't overthink it.

Do you feel like you are always behind and have too much to do? Do you speed up your actions to the point of increasing errors that require fixing (which then slows you down and makes you feel even more behind with no apparent hope of ever catching up)?

You are not alone! We have a natural drive for closure, and the seeming impossibility of ever reaching closure on everything the mind desires closure on makes us uneasy at most times — but we have gotten used to that feeling.

During your work day or at play, are you often not sure what to do next? Try to not overthink it…

Do what most inspires you at that moment. Why? Because the chances are higher that you’ll be doing it in the Flow state, which never occurs when you are doing something because you should do it. I call that “doing it to get it out of the way”. Flow state only occurs when you are enjoying what you are doing, and doing it solely or mainly for its enjoyment.

If you’re in the grip of Acceleritis and therefore not in the Observer state, you may not know what inspires you more, X or Y or Z. The solution here is to just let your body go and watch what it does. The body often makes decisions before the mind is consciously aware of making the decision.

Don’t be driven by email/text/social media.

It has become all too easy to become driven by incoming email, texts, Tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts — meaning you don’t decide what to do next, you react to the ubiquitous digital input stream. This goes on all day and you become a willing slave to others’ priorities rather than your own. Instead, practice setting aside a time each day to deal with and catch up with emails and texts and whatever else is queuing up. This puts you in charge of what you do for the better part of your day.

Create a practice to step away from the to-do list.

What works best for me is meditation — where the mind observes itself, watching thoughts as they come and go. I find this is the most effective way to allow assimilation and closure of the most salient “anti-closures” bugging my mind subconsciously at any given point in time.

Like trying to remember a name, meditation does not work by “trying to do it”, it works by letting go of everything going on inside, and continuing to let go of thoughts/feelings/ images/hunches as they arise, watching them float away (or whatever imagery works best for you). From this effortless place comes clarity that often moves you closer to closure.

Next time you are overwhelmed, step back, and do what you are moved to do!

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-04-28 11:53:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Multitasking Increases Short-term Brain Fun at Expense of Long-term

Volume 3, Issue 13

Speaking at the recent Wharton Advertising 2020 Conference in New York (where I also had the honor of being one of the speakers), neuroscientist Carl Marci used his closed fist to illustrate the brain. He described the fingers, curved under to touch the palm, as the brain’s newest evolutionary part, the prefrontal cortex. He noted that this latest brain development curls back to reach for and touch the much older limbic system, the seat of motivation and emotion.

His interpretation of what the DNA is looking for in doing this, is that the service of the most intellectual part of the brain seeks contact with the primal driving forces that are the seat of the goals in the goal-seeking organism. As if the power of mind exists — like every other part of the organism — to serve the highest ends of the DNA coding the system.

It is all highly purposive and this interpretation lends greater respectability to the primal drives that for centuries have been characterized as “lower” aspects of our being. This also gets back to Freud’s depiction of the id as being the animalistic and gross, babyish and least acclaimed part of our selves. In an earlier posting I offered an alternative view of the id as being our true selves, our original essence divorced from the later layering of experience-driven neuronal nets of software that expand the true self into new territory, some of it counterproductive.

Carl went on to spellbind us with an outpouring of ideas, one of which is that multitasking is so popular especially among Millennials because it gives them a jolt of pleasurable brain chemicals (presumably oxytocin or adenosine, or serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, etc.) by maintaining novelty-driven attention on something again and again by adding in another element whenever boredom sets in, which it all too easily does.

This jibes with my theory that the Acceleritis-ridden culture shifts us into avoidance of going deeper into percepts. Due to the overwhelming daunting list of questions arising in our brains from all this stimulation, which one subconsciously wants to avoid opening like a Pandora’s Box. This avoidance of the deep makes us lovers of the breadth – seeking more brain-juice cocktails by taking the overdose of stimulation even further.

However, as Carl noted, we are less effective when multitasking. Single-pointed attention is the way to Flow state/the Zone. This means that the seeking of momentary brain pleasure actually works against the organism attaining the goals of its heart. In the long run this reduces brain pleasure more profoundly and in a more lasting way. Borrowing on the credit card of brain-juice by multitasking burns your credit in the end.

Best to all,

Bill

NOTE:  Learn more about dopamine in this article.

Heroes Outnumber Emotionally-Damaged Evildoers

Volume 2, Issue 18

What is it about the beautiful state of Colorado that explains first Columbine and now Aurora? The cowboys and today’s anarchistic militias, fiercely independent, have been associated with the Western frontier that started over 400 years ago in New England and then rolled out across the Rockies to the Pacific shore. Maybe that has something to do with it. Deep sigh.

As always, the tragedy contains a deeply buried profound mystery. How is it that ordinary people turn out to be real heroes when the going gets tough? What are we all made of inside that causes so many of us to unhesitatingly step in front of the bullet to save others?

In my intuitive cosmogony (to be released as a book later this year, entitled Imagine) it is the fact that you and I, all of us, are not who we think we are — separate entities cut off from everything else in the universe, out for ourselves. We are like pseudopods of a giant amoeba of consciousness that is the Universe, itself conscious and divine. Living through each of us is the One Divine Original Consciousness, which is the only thing that exists. What we take to be our own island of consciousness is actually the Universe’s local consciousness cache, temporarily cut off from the consciousness of the whole, for the never-ending adventure of existence.

Why then does the Universe turn bad, becoming so negative in one such pseudopod as to want to destroy complete strangers?

It comes with the territory — where there is free will, there will be error. The Jewish esoteric philosophy of Kabbalah explains that sin, aka evil, is missing the mark. The “mark” is right action for the circumstances. The insight is that no one purposely misses the mark — they are self-deluded into missing the mark.

Acceleritis has been around for as long as the human race has recorded history. According to my theory, the written language (seeable symbolic abstraction) that permits recording history is itself the primal cause of Acceleritis. My colleague Dr. Phillip Romero sets the start of human abstraction 35,000 – 40,000 years earlier than written language, in the cave paintings — when art began — although he does not assert that Acceleritis began with art.

It is Acceleritis that causes error (sin, evil) to be so remarkably widespread, and makes so many people capable of killing wantonly. And yet such people are a miniscule fraction of the human race, and most of us are as heroic as the heroes that populate our movies, TV dramas, and novels.

In the decades and centuries to come, it is my dream that we will conquer Acceleritis by training our minds to deal with the attachment, false ego selves, and emotionally-charged information overload that causes even such a small fraction of us to go so bad as to generate widespread suffering.

May it be so.

Best to all,

Bill 

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,

Bill

How Acceleritis Affects Organizational Effectiveness

The metrics used today to judge the effectiveness of organizations are primarily stock prices and their direction in context of the market condition. This is supposed to reflect the equity of the brands in the stable of the organization. It is therefore all built on the fuzzy perceptions that people collectively share, of individuals, brands and organizations. However we think most of the judgments made of which organizations are high performing based on stock prices and general fuzzy perceptions, are largely accurate. We hypothesize that human beings have sufficient intuition and intellect to quickly see a team that works well together and to see the opposite. This post offers a few thoughts on how to move your team toward higher effectiveness in terms of these economic metrics.

You’ll recall my hypothesis explaining the increasing inability of the human race to be effective in managing its world: the acceleration of information racing into the brain per average day.

No one can deny there has been such an acceleration whether or not you buy my method of reaching that hypothesis.

Is there a reader who would argue that the human race is just as effective in managing its world today as it ever was, and that the human race is as effective today as it ever can be? You may be right (if “you” exist) but that is a self-limiting thought. This meme can spread like a virus through our biocomputers – and it has. Defeatism, and self-limiting self-fulfilling prophecies have been observed being inculcated in children by pessimistic parents, and the children then perpetuate these self-put-downs and everyone-else-put-downs for the rest of their lives, passing it on to their children, and so on down through the centuries.

Has there ever been a time when no one could think up a new idea to restore equilibrium to the perilously-wobbling globally interconnected economic system?

Of course, we never had such a precariously interconnected system before. The challenges of our own making have escalated due to tool making and invention. This and media are causal drivers of acceleritis in the first place. A secondary hypothesis posits that the three main causal drivers of acceleritis are written language, tools/weapons, and media.

These are three historic shocks that have created the modern trance. (pre-publication monograph available to other researchers in this field.)

The word “trance” implies hypnotism or drugs or a mental state brought on by high fever – characterized by a reduced level of functional effectiveness, especially in terms of complex challenges. EOP (Emergency Oversimplification Procedure) is my name for the state caused by acceleritis. Like a trance of any other kind, EOP reduces our functional effectiveness as compared to when we reach two higher states, Observer state and Flow state. The vector that best describes the continuum formed by these three states of waking consciousness is non-distraction: distraction brings the mind down to EOP; and perfect singlepointed focus where distractions are automatically mentally controlled, yields Flow state, Observer state being the doorway to Flow state. The message inherent in these hypotheses is that we must as a race and as individuals learn to stay focused through complexity. This is the purpose of The Human Effectiveness Institute and the psychotechnology toolware we are creating.

How do organizations actually function today, under these widespread conditions of acceleritis and EOP? For a moment, contemplate government. Then, for a moment, contemplate your own organization. What behaviors and outcomes can you see that are consistent with this hypothesis?

The flow of communication in organizations is extremely non-optimal in most cases I’ve observed during my 30 years of consulting for hundreds of Fortune 500 corporations.

As information moves upward in the typical organization today, much information is purposely hidden. The motivations are primarily fear, and secondarily lust for success – not necessarily greed, because that implies people already have the basics covered, which is not the general condition today.

Workers tell certain things to their managers, hiding their mistakes and also hiding bits of information they sense could be useful to them more when the timing is right and they’ve thought it out to the end of the logical stream. “Wisely” they do not want to blurt out ideas that could be powerful and could also be stolen and used by others to gain the power that the individual lusts for. Alas this “wisdom” (actually cunning) serves motivations that are conditioned rather than consciously chosen. Acceleritis is what has conditioned people to “not have time” to fully contemplate their lives and so they are just rushing through it, trying to keep up, and oversimplifying everything as much as possible. Black and white jumping-to-conclusions is one common tactic for keeping things as simple as possible. None of these acceleritis-driven behaviors (information blocking, black and white thinking, rushing) are conducive to being a high performing individual in a high-performing organization.

Information blocking then continues as information flows upward and across an organization. Managers tell directors what is beneficial to the managers. Directors tell officers what is beneficial to the directors. Officers tell the CEO what is beneficial to the officers. Information becomes overladen with this spin and that, with specific people in the organization taking credit for certain spins and where they should lead, so that they will be promoted if the course is taken and works out. These behaviors trace back in the evolutionary dawn to the level of brain development in the reptile stage. Territoriality and pecking order start even earlier and are exalted in this stage. Mammals and humans have more corrugated cortical tissue and the potential to understand nobility. Nobility mediates selfishness to create an individual in tune with others, and thus able to lead. However nobility is a high level of further human development not inherent in the acceleritis shaped civilization we have built. Nobility must be achieved by bootstrapping oneself out of acceleritis driven EOP and into Observer state in order to clear the mind of its own distractions and robotical behaviors, at which point periods of the highly-effective Flow state occur naturally.

The same is true with organizations. The thing that obstructs information the most is lack of direct contact between the top and bottom of the hierarchy. One deals mostly with peers and superiors. The King/Queen does not disguise himself/herself to go among the people to learn what is really going on. When this occasionally happens “accidentally”, so much is learned it inspires creativity throughout the organization.

The larger the organization the more levels and therefore the more filtering of information for selfish reasons. With companies and governments getting larger and larger, acceleritis continuing to accelerate, the harm of organizational bigness is exacerbated. Plato reasoned that a utopian community could consist of individual groupings of people not larger than 1000 persons, because everyone could stay in touch with everyone else. Above that it would not be optimal in effectiveness because communication would break down and selfish interests would tear it apart. Whether or not he got the magic number right, his prediction has certainly been borne out. The larger the organization, the more important that the leaders find a way to stay in touch with people at all levels of the organization, as many as possible.

One method of encouraging people to share their ideas early so that more minds can work on them sooner is to develop a culture that rewards people for their ideas with immediate positive recognition.

Fear can also be minimized in an organization by a culture that provides constructive feedback in a supportive manner, and never creates a mood suggesting impending punishment and disgrace.

A sense of safety and collegiality makes a team more likely to perform in Observer state, where objectivity and search for clarity are the mood, and there is no compelling emotional tug of war between one outcome and another. In this state, which has been called the basic professional state (Ichazo), wasteful movements are minimized, and people keep their eyes on the real priorities from second to second. There is a relative absence of fear and other negative emotion, as people are not attached to getting recognition, nor fearful of sounding stupid, because this has been the context that management has successfully inculcated.

Leaders need to be role models and this is the strongest form of training. Aplomb is the operative word. Merriam-Webster definition: “complete and confident composure or self-assurance: poise.” Poise sounds more like something one is trying to project. In my mind, aplomb beats poise just because aplomb counter-suggests that the person is striving to portray an image. Instead, to me, aplomb evokes an image of a lead plumb bob hanging down perfectly steadily. That is of course where the word came from, French a plomb, “according to the plummet” (plummet=lead plumb bob in modern parlance). A person in equipoise, not needing to prove anything to anybody, incomparably fearless, palpably unflappable. At rest like a plumb bob but ready to move in any direction responsively.

People, especially leaders, like to show confidence. But in doing so sometimes they show a lack of aplomb either by fleeting angry expressions, trying to make a joke, scratching themselves, or any of a number of other obvious clues including just their apparent tension. This shows the confidence is just a façade. People around them know what it is without necessarily putting it into words in their mind. They know the leader is not truly confident but that it’s just an act. This does not attract real supporters.

If the team does not have total confidence in the leader, their acceleritis will immediately leap them into a mode of performance that is sub-optimal for the organization, where they will be in a mood of self-protection rather than a mood of teamwork, solutions and success. If it is not gamelike, if it is not play, if you would not be doing it except for the money and where it might lead you, you might get through the day but Flow state will be a rarity. Your team needs to see that you are enjoying every minute of it so they realize this way would be more fun than the way they usually get through a day.

Acceleritis is the great enemy of aplomb. Imagine a higher being – God if you wish – or simply a being that is to human beings what human beings are to viruses – a scientific possibility in the viewable universe of billions of galaxies. Somewhere right now such a being probably does exist. Imagine that being is the soul of aplomb. What does she/he have to worry about? Phenomena such as acceleritis and EOP cannot take hold in the mind of such a being, its intuition and intellect — being at far higher bandwidth and information processing power than we operate at — can see through such traps of the mind while we as yet cannot. At least until the individual discovers this truth for herself/himself and begins to work consciously on seeing the EOP trap and subtly sliding around it again and again back into Observer state, every minute of the day, every day, and brings it under conscious control such as a higher being could do far more quickly and easily, with no practice needed.

We Earthlings do need constant practice if we are to make our minds fully conscious of what drives us and therefore in control of that whole process. That’s just where our current bandwidth is at. Comes with the package, the brain as it is today in evolution. Software that has been pre-programmed into our minds before we ever knew to think to ask for a choice about which programming came in and which stayed out. By the time we are five there have been over a billion neuron connections wired into our brain simply by our experiences. The brain automatically learns, and some learnings are actually incorrect — they make wrong predictions about what will be successful, yet they exist in your brain as having power over you to force you or impel you into unthought-out actions that have the apparent safety of being exactly the same thing you always did before in such a situation.

This is conditioning. Conscious choice is preferable to being a robot driven by your conditioning.

It’s not what you have to learn. It’s what you have to un-learn.

Imagine how manicky you and I must seem to a higher space being of true aplomb. Racing around to get things done without the perspective of how unimportant most of these things are in the Big Picture, although we are anguished by them at the moment.

When the EOP caused by acceleritis is stripped away, and the person spends more time in Observer state, where fewer and fewer things can press her/his buttons, the individual exhibits true aplomb, signaling true inner freedom from attachment to anything. True fearlessness with regard to whatever could happen, including death. This is not a common state for human beings today. However, we do see this aplomb in sages, saints, “great men” and “great women”, performers of all kinds from athletes to entertainers to public speakers/politicians – very rare in the latter category, though some of our presidents have had aplomb at important turning points in history, and great deeds emerged from this cocoon.

Your team gets closer to aplomb when you have created the right atmosphere, and provided the right role model. They are less obsessed by the petty little personal biases, ambitions and other stuff that a typical team is totally immersed in and can’t see past. This is not coming from their essence as a person but from the acceleritis buildup of conditioned robotic behaviors driven by powerful neuron clusters in the brain. A person who is not aware of this syndrome can obviously do nothing to counter it. Those who have achieved aplomb have done so consciously, having discovered the inner software and reprogrammed it over time.

Aplomb at its highest level exists because the individual identifies not with the body you see standing there before you, but with the entire universe including the parts unseen, and so has nothing to lose. In India and throughout Asia, this ultimate aplomb is also known as enlightenment, liberation, equipoise, and by other names, and those who have achieved this ultimate aplomb are known as gurus. Real gurus are very rare even in the East, although those on the path to guru-ness are a much larger number. In our blog we are constantly offering suggestions toward a degree of guru-hood for all of us some day in the perhaps not-too-distant future. Science and our own Will shall determine the speed of getting there; however, I hypothesize it is in fact our destiny to all rise to this higher level, or Flow state, through long practice maintaining Observer state from which Flow eventually springs.

Ultimately, organizational effectiveness will be exponentially increased as a result of most of us spending most of our time in Observer/Flow states. This will have a hugely beneficial effect on government, the economy, levels of happiness and quality of life.

Best to all,

Bill