Category Archives: Consciousness

One of the Greatest Mind Stretchers

Originally posted August 18, 2011

      Before Abraham - by Stan Satlin - © 2011
     Audio: click arrow to play/pause

Every now and then I am tapped to give a workshop to a group of sufficient strategic importance that I cannot refuse. Although I am there to tell them about THEI (the Human Effectiveness Institute), they usually tell me they have sought me out to start them off in some far-reaching planning cycle by simply helping them to first stretch their minds. They see me as a provoker of out-of-the-box thinking. I’m grateful for the opportunities this perception provides to disseminate THEI techniques conducive to higher performance.

In recent posts we have been stretching our minds by considering the possibility that the original spark of consciousness in the Universe is what each of us experiences as our own sense of self.

We saw that there are biases that come from our senses, which detect matter through the medium of energy interactions between our matter molecules and those of other matter molecules. In recent posts we have also worked to counteract these biases by focusing on the fact that it is only our consciousness, our sense of self, our experiencing of information that we detect directly, and can therefore say we “know”. Our sensory information comes to us through abstract hookups and translations of one thing into another, i.e. coded information that can be presented any number of ways. We do not “know” through our eyes as well as we know that we exist as a self even in a sensory deprivation tank.

These biases are magnified by Acceleritis™, the accelerating information overload that has outstripped our processing capacity except when we successfully use psychotechnology — the output of THEI and others practiced in the art, notably the advanced yogis, classic philosophers, religion founders, the writers of the literature of sages, and the synthesizers of this material via their esoteric schools such as Arica, Insight Meditation, Freemasons, et al. All of these people have tried to condense and pass along psychotechnology techniques conducive to shifting an individual’s consciousness into flow state, aka the Zone; this too is THEI’s raison d’etre.

In this post we will pass along one of the most mind stretching and mind bending exercises, one that must have existed before written language, because some of the very first things ever written down related to this exercise.

Except that those who first thunk it, and those who wind up thinking about it today, do not see it as an exercise, but rather as a stream of thought that suddenly turns a weird corner. Here’s how it happens. I promise you your mind will be stretched. How you use the extra limbering is up to you — we hope you will leverage it for something important to you.

It starts with thinking about the universe — whatever the individual knows or feels intuitively about the universe — stars, galaxies, the Big Bang. The next thought is usually “What was there before the Big Bang?”

This thought in itself is a mind stretcher. The imagination fires up a few cylinders and takes a crack at coming up with an answer. Before reading further we suggest you mentally go off by yourself and see what answer(s) your mind comes up with for the question “What was there before the Big Bang?”

Hope you enjoyed that. Quantum Mechanics (QM) and Relativity have today evolved to having a point of view about the answer to this question. Today the perspective is that fluctuations in quantum possibility caused the Big Bang. That presupposes that quantum possibility existed all along but in a state of equilibrium until these supposed fluctuations took place without a cause i.e. randomly, which raises the question “What created the quantum possibility?” Not to mention “What the heck is quantum possibility?”

In fact quantum possibility is simply the old metaphysical concept of “possibility” with the word “quantum” in front of it to make it sound scientifically respectable.

The ancient saying “Out of Nothing, Nothing Comes” reflects the human intuition that there is no free lunch. It also means that something cannot come out of nothing, because that would just mean the something was there in the nothing all along, but hiding.

So it is also possible that the universe could have in the beginning been simple nothingness, without even quantum foam, today’s term for the aether i.e. the spatiotemporal matrix as it exists before you count anything that is in it. In fact, isn’t it much more logical that nothing should have ever existed? After all, where would something have come from?

The human intuition is biased toward including time in every picture — time which QM says does not actually exist out of the context of an observer’s consciousness — and is therefore not a constant something in itself but is different for different observers. Yet we insist on intuiting with time in the picture. This makes us think “There must have been some beginning, but what was there before that, and what started time?”

The other way of thinking, without the bias toward including time, is that everything is already in every state it will ever be in, at once, i.e. all of time is condensed into a single frame in the consciousness of the universe. Thus there was no beginning, no something coming out of nothing, because what has always existed is this single master consciousness, existing in its own view within a single instant of its own time.

This could be Its motivation in creating its little selves like us who can scoot around in a series of instants and have a rollercoaster ride unlike any other route through the game that any other created little self has ever traveled before. Thus there can be an infinity of experienced information within the one instant.

Going back to the time-based way of thinking, if there ever had been Nothing, could anything have come out of it? An emergent characteristic of the Nothing?

If Possibility is a real thing then Possibility could have co-existed with the Nothing, because Possibility is not a something, it is just a possibility of a something. But are these mere words without real referents, i.e. for things that actually exist?

“Nothing should ever have existed” is a permanent perception of one part of my mind, the part that thinks in terms of there being a beginning — which most of me doubts. It is comforting that we do not know everything, yet some day we might learn the real answers to these incredibly important questions in understanding who and what we are.

Nothing should ever have existed — that’s like saying “They gave a universe and nobody came.” It just seems improbable that anything could exist since how could the universe start out in any condition other than Nothingness? Nothingness seems to have to be the rest state — the starting condition — doesn’t it?

Thinking this way the ancient Kabalists saw the universe being formed in three steps:

  1. Ain — Nothingness
  2. Ain Soph — the Nothingness becomes self-aware forming a singularity in space (first Kether)
  3. Ain Soph Aur — endless light begins to stream from the singularity in space

I wrote a book for my grandson Nicholas David called The Nothing’s Imagination based on this premise: the active cause for the bootstrap operation by which Nothing gave birth to Everything was the imagination of the conscious Nothingness.

Hope you’ve enjoyed a little mind stretching contemplation of the virtual beginning of everything. If your mind feels different, please do something creative and fulfilling right now, or as soon as you can.

From now on we will start each post by stating the intended benefit of the psychotechnology in that post, as we did here.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2011-08-18 10:09:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What is Consciousness made out of?

Originally posted August 4, 2011

This may seem like an academic question yet it leads directly to the meaning of life. Who among us has not pondered the meaning of life at one time or another?

We know consciousness is real, we know it exists. As René Descartes said, “Je pense, donc je suis” — I think, therefore I exist — meaning that you dear reader know something exists because you are experiencing something right now. Rene might have said “something is being experienced, that is what can be stated with certainty”.

In fact nothing can actually be stated with such great certainty except that consciousness — that which experiences — exists.

So what is this stuff that exists? You and I both experience It.

It is the weirdest stuff around. Everything else is easier for our minds (consciousness itself) to grasp. That too is weird — consciousness finds itself weirder than everything else that it experiences, at least among the scientists who have dodged this question while ironically basing everything else in their cosmology upon the observer — which is the same “Self”/”Consciousness” that science has avoided investigating more deeply.

Matter, energy, time and space seem perfectly normal and reasonable to us. Those are names that we put on aspects of what we experience. Names seem normal and reasonable too. Just not consciousness — it is so ineffable, so hard to grasp, to even think about.

Scientists either avoid the subject entirely or else try to reduce consciousness to events in the brain. The late great physicist Evan Harris Walker in his book The Physics of Consciousness brilliantly posited that consciousness emerges from quantum effects at the synapses of the brain. This however has nothing to do with the experience of consciousness. It is the experience itself that we are interested in, not in how we might explain away these experiences by relating them to physical events. The latter explanations beg the question of which came first — i.e. consciousness could have created the brain rather than vice versa — and although we are culturally biased to consider that sequence absurd, there is no scientific evidence either way. It would be the definition of unscientific to take any position under those circumstances.

Those locked into cultural first assumptions are by definition unable to see past those assumptions or to even see that those assumptions exist.

Try this if you will: focus your mind on the experience of consciousness for a moment. What is it?

To ask what consciousness is made of is itself evidence of our predisposition to assume that substance — matter or energy — is the substrate of the universe, so that everything in the universe must be made out of either matter or energy. This is just a bias.

But let’s play along with that bias for awhile. Is consciousness an energy? Okay, if so, then what is energy? Simply saying that energy is a force or a force field is just replacing one name with another — it does not tell us anything, it adds no new information — we are just playing with words.

Today scientists relate to energy in terms of waves radiating from a source. That itself is an ancient metaphor to waves on the ocean. Scientists assumed for a long time (some still do today) that waves must be waves in something. In Newton’s time the term aether (“ether”) was the stuff the waves were waving. By Einstein’s time and our own the concept of an aether has become passé. Today we are more comfortable thinking that things reduce ultimately to wavicles — things that have both a wave and a particle aspect depending on the choice of instruments and experimental conditions the observer chooses to set up.

Do you begin to see The Great Circular Argument going on here? Really the modeling of “what is” falls back on the way we as humans perceive the world and the ultimate categories we place as contexts around everything else — the way we perceive time and space — the apparent hardness of matter — which we now know is actually the mutual repulsion going on in electromagnetic and nuclear energies at subatomic levels. There is no hardness, it is a subjective readout our brains feed to our consciousness. We are trapped in Plato’s cave, making up possible stories about what is really out there. But what is in here?

The Theory of the Conscious Universe* postulates that everything in the universe reduces to neither matter nor energy, but to INFORMATION. But then what is information?

The clue comes from deconstructing the word into its parts: IN…FORMATION — information is a pattern — a formation. Any pattern is information — even randomness. Since information exists in the form rather than requiring a substance — form and substance being an ancient division of aspects of things going back at least as far as the Vedas — information can exist even in something that is substance-less.

In fact we see this every day in our computers — which contain and send and receive and process information — but that information does not have a concrete substance — it exists when stored as energy/nothingness, as both charge and non-charge, representing zeroes and ones. The nothingness (the zeroes) are as much information as the 1’s (electric charges).

What then is consciousness? It is the Self — the capacity to experience — that which experiences — and the experiences are information received by the consciousness or Self. The information appears to us to be coming from something that has independent existence outside the Self. It appears that hard and/or wet and/or gaseous objects out there are encoded as electromagnetic signals that strike our visual sense organs which then encode them as electrical pulses in our brain — or that strike our apparent body where they are converted to electrical pulses we call touch — or as compactions and expansions of air that cause pressure against our auditory sense organs where again they are converted to electrical pulses in our brain — or as interactions with our taste and smell organs, also winding up as electrical pulses in our brain.

But all of this could actually be taking place in our Self. There might be nothing out there because there might not be an “out there”. Our experience would be the same.

One way or the other, we can definitively state now two things: the Self exists — the Experiencer — and information exists, for this is what gives variation to what we experience. Both the Self and information exist in consciousness — this much can be stated as fact. The rest is supposition.

But why am I capitalizing Self? The answer in our next posting — our response to the question, “What is the meaning of life?”

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

All the best,

Bill

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

Originally posted 2011-08-04 06:42:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Ten Minutes in a Life

Originally posted December 20, 2012
Volume 2, Issue 36

He looked up from the gas pump to where a moment before he had an intimation she would be, and high in the sky was the moon behind a pale shimmer of cloud, one day past full. Down and to the left was an American flag. Trees were all around. He suddenly realized the time was pretty good now. There was nothing to be concerned about that he could feel at the moment, no time pressure, everything was going fine. Then it came to him that he always assumed there was something wrong, some unrightness he would constantly have to steer against. He was thrilled at having uncovered a bad lens he could discard.

A minute later, starting up the car, the lyrics of a song on the radio triggered a vision.“The dearest thing in all the world is waiting somewhere for me” (“Waiting Somewhere For Me” by Rodgers and Hammerstein). He saw a scene of indescribable beauty, something between a fractal and a huge mural, a panorama of infinite detail and intense color, the parts in constant unfolding and rotational movement everywhere. He couldn’t hold it all — it was overwhelming, filled with light, luminous, numinous. The words “Oh my God” began in his mind but all wording was pressed out by the overwhelming emotional wave enveloping him in awe, love, victory, beauty. His feelings united with the scene so that he was the scene, the beauty, the happiness, the realization that not “he” — now “it” — was past the need for words forever, past the possibility of unhappiness forever.

He contemplated the vision as he drove to catch his train. Several minutes later on the cold train platform he watched himself hurriedly extract a mint, his body still assuming time pressure, always assuming the need to get done an important job that had to be done at top speed because suffering would be relieved for more people faster that way. He knew this assumption was also a bad lens to be removed. More good would be done without that lens, too. And besides, in his day job he was not relieving suffering directly, more like paying for the time spent in nonprofit work.

That was the ten minutes.

An hour and forty minutes later in Manhattan he wondered if the shock — that is, the heightened sensitivity — he was feeling would incapacitate him. Being in Manhattan with its concomitant information pressure could pull him into some ineffective state of consciousness if his skills were not all available. He did not worry yet as he was merely curious about it at this point. Next he automatically told the cab driver where to go before he could miss a beat. The rest of the morning unfolded that way, with actions being taken in natural confidence. Soon he stopped being concerned that he might be in a degraded effectiveness state.

What was it that he had seen? It couldn’t be the whole of what the consciousness of the universe sees, since that perspective would include what was going on inside each of the parts he had seen from the outside. He had been seeing some abstraction of the whole of what there is to be seen, but he had seen people striving, other life forms striving, the very cosmos striving, its movement the necessary means to some end. The dimensions of error/evil had been visible as wrong turns taken out of synch with the rest of the whole, there were great movements in history explained by the turnings of the wheels inside the driving bio-mental Platonic Forms gearbox whose meshing appeared to be a higher reality underlying the explicate order visible to human eyes.

Would science classify this as an hallucination? It was a vision, its complexity and the intelligence of its designs far beyond the negative connotations of the word “hallucination”. Also it was not seen with the external eyes, so if it were a hallucination, it would have to be classified as an interior one. Is that what science thinks a vision is? Or did I actually see something real?

Perhaps cutting-edge science would say that ideas long evolving in my head combined intuitively by themselves to present me with a visual representation. If so, this is a testament to the power of our subconscious minds, and to the function we call intuition, when for ten seconds we find ourselves in Flow state.

Best to all,

Bill

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

Originally posted 2012-12-20 13:48:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What Is Your Summum Bonum?

Originally posted April 7, 2015

As a philosophy major I learned to say “The Highest Good” in Latin: Summum Bonum, but long before, even as a toddler, I had begun thinking 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.

Live in line with your higher good.

Before receiving my degree I had developed my own “philosophy”, ideas that had jumbled natively in my mind before formal study. When I contemplated Summum Bonum, I decided to choose aesthetics as my touchstone to determine what for me would be The Highest Good. “With or without God, what did I intuit/feel/decide to be the most beautiful way to handle each moment? And which would be a more beautiful universe — the one with or without God?”  That’s how I decided which hypotheses I would base my life upon.

This was my rational mind at work, yet my intuition was really leading my thought process. My definition of intuition is the ability to sense what is going on, to make connections and put things together, sometimes leaping wildly across intervening logical steps. Sometimes someone asks me why I did something and it takes a while to provide an adequate answer because I was driven by my intuition more than pure rational reasoning. In Jung’s four functions of consciousness (thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition), I’m an intuitionist, among other “-ists”.

Being a pragmatist at heart, 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 to be the most philosophically beautiful approach.

What is The Highest Good to you?

Best to all,

Bill

*Nonattached love means accepting the losability of the things one is fond of, and thus being free from addictive dependence upon the objects of our affection.

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Originally posted 2015-04-07 12:59:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Invisible Emanations from Your Navel

(A useful mental construct?)

 Volume 4, Issue 6

At stages of the Flow state one becomes able to sense in uncanny ways. For thousands of years people from one end of the world to the other — people with remarkable achievements and qualities — have reported actually seeing other subtle energy bodies within our physical bodies.

Their reports are uniform in the observation of seven energy centers and in other particulars. There are to my knowledge no other similar but conflicting systems for the structure of inner energy bodies. If this was all just crazy stuff, surely numerous nuts would have made up widely varying systems to gain attention.

Anyway, put a pin in it. The conversation today is about not actually seeing anything, but getting a feeling about or image of something. You could call it sensing — meaning “detecting something independently* real”; or you could call it imagination making a symbol of something in order to think about it better. 

The point is pragmatic. Opening your mind to experience this naturally-occurring phenomenology as it unfolds within you is not necessarily a waste of time. You might see something going on inside that you were not noticing before.

Play along with me for a second, if you will. Visualize a stream of luminous microparticles emerging like a firehose stream from your navel, then diffusing and forming an egg-shaped luminous cloud around you. Imagine that these are the signals you are sending out to other people and whoever else is listening/watching whatever. These could in the physical world include pheromones, microgestures, signs of nervousness or tight control or emotion or distraction and so on.

In my construct, this signal stream is the unconscious one, and is dominant in driving outcomes in the consensus reality. Heck, Gerald Zaltman and many others have now proven that part.

Meanwhile in our conscious mind we are playing the Game however we are playing it consciously. We are controlling the mask. We are trying to project something. Or we are in a higher state of consciousness — Observer state or Flow state. In these higher states there is communication with the subconscious, increasing across three levels of the Observer state and five levels of the Flow state.

What the people around us are getting about us is coming from the firehose, not from our conscious actions.

The firehose emits content relevant to whatever it is that we Love. In the Acceleritis cloud, Love turns to attachment, caring too much, making us unrealistic and eventually neurotic. In that ordinary state — which probably will not be ordinary in a culture that graduates from Acceleritis — the firehose is communicating our neediness, self-protectiveness, and/or some other unattractive emanation.

The unconscious signals are the “L-Offense in the Room”. To a degree you are broadcasting the chip on shoulder, heart on sleeve, etc. Observer state allows you to see these signals because you are in touch with your subconscious. The first phase of Observer state is a negative state in that you are seeing things you do that you don’t like but can’t seem to control. In the second phase, when you’ve evolved some degree of ability to control robotical behavior, your emotional starting point is neutral, and in the third phase is emotionally/mood positive. At that stage of Observer state you have adaptive toolkits that can take you far, all the way to the Flow state of Action. More about this next stage next week.

Best to all,

Bill 

*The word “independently” is meaningless in this context because everything in the Universe is interconnected in depth, and at the core is only One thing.

P.S.

  1. Watch for my new book, You Are The Universe: Imagine That, coming soon.
  2. For those interested in my work in the media business world you might watch myvideo interview in which I sum up highlights from the ARF’s ReThink Conference  in New York last week with Bob Lederer on Research Daily Report.

    Bill Harvey being interviewed by Bob Lederer at the ARF ReThink conference last week.

    You also might want to check out this collection of videos.

  3. Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

Your Unconscious Is in Control

That much Science and I can agree upon

Volume 4, Issue 1

I think now that I might have been borderline autistic.

The stage performances, and Ned and Sandy’s social behavior coaching, eventually got me to a place where I could hang out with people. Hanging out led to ultimately receiving data from my mirror neurons, thereby really sensing other people and their feelings. And being able to love people for what I sensed in them.

What I always found most interesting to study, however, was me. Watching myself carefully, I knew from very early on that I the observer was not in total control of this reckless robot. Psychology as a science is only now coming to that realization. If they had only looked inside they would have found out sooner. Instead they were looking outside for measurable phenomena in the subjective consensus reality, the scientific credibility of subjective introspective reality having washed out to sea after William James left us very early in the 20th century.

My room had a red rug, black couch, black furniture. On one wall was a construction I had made with a Fairbairn Fighting Knife hanging under a red plume feather pen. “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

Door closed often, I would stand in contemplation for very long periods of time. I would take notes and sketch diagrams of consciousness, my own consciousness.

Later I would write down the distillation of decades of operating this observatory. I could have called it Mining the Unconscious. Mind Magic, as it is actually called, is a way of pivoting your mind that happens as you read the book and gain more transparency between conscious and unconscious.

My brainwaves apparently indicate abnormal amounts of delta waves going on while awake. I happened to be in a terrific mood the day of the measurement and laughed when the psychologist asked if I was extremely depressed. He opined that I must have access to my subconscious mind at all times to have sleep waves going on during wakefulness.

One thing I noticed was that there were many “voices” speaking to me (really thinking to me) in my head. I knew by this point what split personality disorder (schizophrenia) was and studied myself carefully, ruling out that conclusion. I did not seem crazy to me, and there were not two or a few well-defined personas with their own names and such. Instead it was a senate of many speakers, all in effect claiming to be the same person. Me.

This became useful when I learned that I the observer could listen to a speaker in my head acting as me, and objectively consider the message as if it were coming from someone who is not me.

Reporting my results to a strategic government think tank a couple of years ago I shared my working hypotheses:

  • A new neuronal net grows around undigested experiences that impinge on motivations.
  • This involves brain plasticity, i.e. new neuron formation;
  • As well as new patterns of connections among neurons.
  • In effect this is new software, not part of us at birth, therefore not the essence observer self that was born.
  • Each such “senator” or “senatorobot” is able to convince the observer self and moreover the body to follow its commands as if it were the total self speaking.
  • Each senatorobot is a subsentience, i.e. it has a degree of intelligence and a degree of self-reference as its own self.
  • Therefore each senator has a drive to continue to exist even when the observer self wants to discontinue it (for causing undesired behaviors).

Science has now validated certain parts of this theory. I just finished reading one of my Christmas presents from Lalita, Incognito, by noted neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman. Dr. Eagleman refers to senators as “automaticities” and describes the way the unconscious mind runs most of our behavior as “a team of rivals”, which sounds like a senate to me. The number of pages I’ve marked in his book suggests I’ll be writing a book about his book! 😀 

Drinking caffeinated (who knew?) carbonated beverages in great quantities I laid awake nights watching the debates among the senators and feeling how a speaker could ensnare me into fully taking ownership of what he said. I assumed that everybody was doing this.

I am very happy now to see a path to integrate my theories with the latest best-of-breed science, and hopefully add a dimension: how our experience changes when certain things are going on in the neuronal part of our self. That dimension gave me a control surface to work with to metaprogram my brain. Without introspection, neuroscience would have no way to hand the controls over to the patient, except Pavlovian button-pushing to change the chemical mix. David Eagleman’s work is a bold step away from the dominance of reductionism, leaving introspection as a valid part of the testrig. Thanks, David!

Best to all,

Bill

Watch for my new book, You Are the Universe: Imagine That, coming soon.

For those interested in my work in the media business world you might want to check out this video. Or this collection of videos.

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.