Category Archives: Mental Optimization

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

The Role of Feelings in Decision Making

Originally posted July 14, 2015

Negative feelings not only bring us down, medical evidence shows they also weaken our immune system, making us more prone to disease, and they distract our cognitive concentration, thereby reducing our effectiveness.

Bad feelings can also serve a positive function — as an alarm system to quickly get us to pay attention to a problem. Ironically, if bad feelings continue unabated while we are grappling with a problem on a rational level, it will take longer to solve the problem because we are stuck in a cycle of negativity. Most of us have experienced this cycle.

Are you more driven by thoughts or feelings

Are we generally more driven by our feelings than by our thoughts?

Freud established that thoughts are more likely to be rationalized in support of feelings, rather than our being able to use our thoughts to control our feelings. And yet, how valuable it is to be able to do just that — to have the mental self-discipline to focus our thoughts effectively even when our feelings are in an uproar?

Feelings are urges that arise within us, within our minds and within our bodies. Feelings are experiences, states of consciousness resulting from our motivations, sentiments, preferences or desires. These terms all really mean the same thing: what we value, what we want, what we are trying to get, what we want to avoid.

Feelings are how we respond internally to outer and inner events, based on what we are trying to get and avoid, and how current events can help or threaten our desired outcomes.

We feel positive if current events appear to favor our targeted outcomes, and we feel negative if events seem to be heading away from what we want to have happen.

Positive feelings are valued universally. There’s no argument: we all like them, and would like to have more of them!

Generally speaking, feelings are also a manifestation of our motivations colliding with the external world. What would we feel if we had no motivations?

You can discover this by meditating. While there are many meditation techniques, all of them have a mind/gut mirror effect of showing us what our motivations really are, where they have gotten us, and why we have each of our experiences. Through practicing meditation we can achieve this objectivity, turning off certain motivations at least for the moment and seeing what that feels like. What visions of future possibilities arise now that X motivation is gone?

The perspective we gain through meditation can give us a unique vantage point on our feelings and our motivations. Meditation helps us consider deeply our own feelings and their consequences in the world. It also generates positive feelings, so it’s good for our overall health and well-being. Practicing meditation and becoming aware of the role our feelings and motivations play in our lives allows us to better understand the value of both in our decision making process.

My best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-07-14 10:41:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Trying to Move a Boulder?

Originally posted June 9, 2015

Feeling blocked? Have you run up against a challenge that is worrying you and bringing you down? Here’s another of the tools I keep handy when I run up against a boulder that frustrates me, casting a dim light or even fog over the achievability of my goals and priorities. I find these tools can also be used proactively even during times of smooth sailing to notch my game up a bit.

Relax and Breathe

Imagine that you can feel the muscles in your head relaxing while you go blank and stop gnawing whatever bone has your mind obsessed at the moment. Don’t let yourself revive that conversation in your head for a while. Let it go, for now, and steer yourself into thinking or feeling about some different subject, for at least several minutes. If timing permits, it’s ideal to do this for up to three days.

Step away. Get out in nature alone, even when it’s cold or cloudy. Sit in it, hear it, smell it and see it. Pay attention to nature all around you, up and down, above and below you. (This works in the streets of big cities too although not as powerfully, so nearby parks are a plus, the less city-like the better.) This makes room for the inner messages that come from our feelings and intuitions, and the outer messages we get from our five senses.

Like trying to remember a word that’s on the tip of your tongue, you have to stop trying to remember it. You are going into the wrong file drawers in your mind, which blocks you from relaxing into the right file drawer where suddenly the word just pops into your mind in the midst of some completely different conversation.

Turning away from a problem allows the subconscious mind with its far greater resources to approach the problem from new directions. If we persist in trying the ingrained approach we are stuck in and can’t see beyond, it will just take longer to get to a solution, making us miserable and less effective in everything else we do in the meantime.

Try this approach next time you have a boulder to move. It works for me.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-06-09 12:17:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Visualizing 2018

Visualize the whole universe as one thing

Originally posted January 5, 2016Volume 5, Issue 47

As we leap into 2018, with clear intentions and resolve, let’s keep this visualization in the forefront of our minds to guide our thoughts and actions:

Visualize the whole
Universe as one thing
Every individual

of every species
Every idea
Every event
Every moment of time
Every percept
Every lump of matter 
and energy
All parts of one thing*

Then, each day, realizing your connection with the Universe, play your hand as best you can:

You are a Musician,
harmonize.
You are an Actor,
detach.
You are Real,
don’t pretend.
You are in Time,
don’t hurry.*

May we all reopen our minds to the existence of all possibilities, as we rediscover the unique experiment that Nature has designed uniquely for each and every one of us on our branch of the Tree of Life.

Happy New Year 2018!
Bill

*From Mind Magic: Doorways into Higher Consciousness

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Originally posted 2016-01-05 08:54:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How a Subtle Shift Can Be Useful

Originally posted May 5, 2015

The peachy-purple-gold sunset reflects with pink iridescence on the wet sand where the sea recedes from its last sally onto the beach. Soundlessly a squadron of hunting pelicans glides past my writing hand. These two-day escapes to the seashore reinvigorate my excitement at life.

beautiful sunset on the beach

Simply clearing the decks of our mind and its latest obsessions, stepping back as the Observer and seeing the richness there is to be observed around us, we can attain peace anywhere.

When I was very young, somehow I became inspired by the notion that a slight shift in the way I look at things could have enormous effect. Now decades later, the number of times I have applied this principle must be in the millions, firmly installing it in my neurons, making it second nature for me to shift my point of view.

What I’ve learned

The thinking part of the mind and the feeling part both represent potential obstacles of different kinds.

The feelings do not want nor seek solutions. Specialized in expressing themselves, the feelings therefore wish to simply find more and better, increasingly dramatic, ways of expressing whatever they are feeling at the moment, kind of an inertial momentum (i.e. an object in motion tends to remain in motion kind of thing).

Reasoning with the feelings, using thinking to change unwanted feelings, is not inherently a strong strategy. Telling oneself to feel joy, and that happiness is a choice, so go ahead and make that choice, be strong, be positive — this sometimes worked for me, because I liked the idea of being indomitable and of not allowing anything to have power over me or my mood. At other times some part of me is clearly relishing wallowing in sulking, rage, guilt, anxiety, or whatever, as if a part of me is coming from a separate reality and visiting here on a trip specifically for the experience of such an operatic-size dramatic expression of emotion.

The strategy that works best for me is more intuitive, neither straight thinking nor straight feeling. It is through the intuition that we can make a creative and altogether indiscernible slight shift in the way we look at things, which will both fill us with the happy anticipation of effecting positive change, and enlighten us with light cast in from a new angle to reveal amazing insights.

Engaging the intuition this way has first a positive impact on hope and secondly a positive impact on curiosity. I find myself looking around in my mind for the perspective that will create the shift. I start from the assumption that my thinking mind accepts: there will always be an angle on the situation that will bring relief. So far, that prediction has always come true.

Finding that mental switch inside that leads to this subtle shift in feelings may not be so easy the first time you try it. Keep practicing.

Wishing you all a strong and agile new mind muscle, giving you the ability to seek and grasp the hidden gearshift to indomitable happiness.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-05-05 07:50:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Rediscovering that Ancient Territory: Your Own Mind — Revisited

Originally posted February 10, 2015

All of us are naturally curious about our own selves. When someone who knew us when, someone older, tells us a story about something we did when we were too young to remember it, we are raptly attentive.

Looking inward at oneself is the first step toward clarity.

If it were not for the culturally ubiquitous time pressure, we would have the same curiosity if offered a searchlight method to see more deeply into our own mind than ever before. Here we offer just such a searchlight.

This posting is a brief exploration into the architecture of inner experience and offers tools to look into your inner Self, through observation and experience. Why bother? Because in order to get into the two higher, most effective states of consciousness — the Observer State, where we can really see what is going on inside ourselves rather than being puppeteered by software in our heads, and the Flow state (Zone), where we are spontaneously doing everything just right — we need to become experts in the empirical study of our own minds and inner life.

What Is the Architecture of Our Inner Life?

Carl Jung defined the four functions of consciousness as perception, feelings, intellect and intuition — the latter referred to in day-to-day life as “hunches”. These are four kinds of events that can go on in consciousness.

Within consciousness, what we experience first is something inside that motivates us and moves us toward or away from something. Those are feelings. Instincts — hardwired genetic carryovers inherited before birth — are partly responsible for some or all of our feelings. The rest arise from motivations we accumulated during our lives, stuff we learned or decided to want or not want as a result of our experiences since birth.

So what are these things you call your thoughts, your feelings, your hunches, your perceptions? Consider, or reconsider, all of the experiences you have had of your own mind, your own inner life.

When I watch what goes on inside of me, it often starts with a feeling that is also somehow an image at the same time. Another part of me then takes that feeling/image and interprets it as a conscious thought — putting names, categorizations, and other specific recognizable details onto the original amorphous feeling/image.

I think that’s what a thought is. An interpreted feeling/image. Diverging from Jung, I posit that thoughts and feelings are the same thing, at different stages of development.

Thoughts add details to feelings/images, turning them into specifications, bringing out additional information that had somehow been packed into the feeling/image.

Possibly feelings are the most substantial and primary actor, coming out of our most intimate connection with our self, and arising to be transmuted into intuitions and/or thoughts and/or emotions and/or images/visions.

Perceptions coming in from the “outside” accompanied by an equal stream of feelings from “inside” suggests that feelings are another sense, like seeing and hearing. In which case, we simply perceive, and the rest of the functions are what evolves from our perceptions. In other words, feelings are inner perceptions, and what we call sense perceptions are outer perceptions. Inner and outer perceptions are the raw stuff of experience, and as we turn them over in our minds, those perceptions turn into thoughts and/or intuitions.

I suggest that perceptions evolve into what Jung classified as thoughts (intellect) and/or hunches (intuition). Outer perceptions — the five physical senses — are what Jung called “perceptions” — and the inner perceptions are what Jung called “feelings”. In my own experience, the raw stuff of my inner life is comprised of feeling/image arisings that I then articulate internally as thoughts, with either words or not, or observe as hunches, without inner words.

Intellect and intuition have always been seen as similar functions. Intellect reaches new conclusions step by effortful step. Intuition gets there in one leap, involuntarily, all by itself. Sometimes when the intuition or hunch is particularly credible and important and came out of nowhere, we call it inspiration, suggesting help from some outside invisible source.

The Searchlight to Our Inner Self

We need maps to study consciousness. We also need meditation to concentrate on seeing what really goes on inside by understanding the basic building blocks of all inner experience — thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and perceptions.

Try this. Find five minutes when you can’t be interrupted and there is nothing dragging you away like a deadline. You might not find time to try this until the weekend, so leave yourself a note somewhere you’ll see it Saturday or Sunday morning.

Sit with your eyes closed and back straight, with your head drawn up toward the ceiling. First, still the mind by experiencing your breath going in and out, without trying to control the breath in any way. After a half-dozen breath cycles or whenever you feel as if your mind is relatively still, begin the exercise.

Now simply watch for what happens at the very beginning of a thought or feeling. A thought or a feeling is going to arise. You are in a state of concentrated sharp attention and the game is to see that arising as quickly as possible, identify what it is, and be able to remember the experience of it as accurately as possible.

This is not as easy as it sounds because we tend to get so instantly caught up in the thought or feeling we forget that we are doing this exercise. That is, until through exercises like this, we find that we have gained true control of our minds in a gradual process that we get better and better at over time. By looking inside, we can begin to cut through dogma and other people’s beliefs, and see for ourselves who we are in our inner worlds.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-02-10 12:51:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter