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,
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.
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