Category Archives: Psychotechnology

“Get the bad guy” is now proven an obsolete idea

World problems now can be solved only by Psychotechnology.

It has now gotten to the point of complexity and intertwinement that any legislated change will at best reduce suffering, but will not stop the endless violence and sadness. Change from the outside can be effective when individual populations being governed are small and separate enough so that tribal leader-level intellect (after all these centuries, what we still have at the top in most cases) is capable of dealing with the communities’ woes effectively.

Once populations enlarge and start to bump up against each other, as we have seen for the last 6000 years, the tribal leaders go to war that then lasts forever — at least so far. A few years ago there was a story in The New York Times that proclaimed war may be over, apparently because we seemed to be content maiming each other in more limited conflicts (fewer than a kilodeath per annum, the Times specified as the hip definition of “war”). But this is just wordsmanship. Sure, nukes and thermonukes and germ warfare are a reasonable deterrent even for the present human race to “get it” and try to keep the killing down to subcritical mass. But war by any other manifestation — terrorism for example — still results in many deaths, especially when the US, in order to fight back at all, so far can only think of ways of doing it that still escalate deaths on all sides, though at least reducing the powers of people that do in fact need to be contained or changed.

This will go on until the present human race bootstraps itself to a higher level of mental/emotional functioning. No other class of solution can touch this root problem: human beings believe they are separate islands of consciousness. This is an identity crisis of the highest order.

Therefore when one kills another, he/she does not realize that it is a self-inflicted wound to the overconsciousness, The One that sustains us all by being the spark of selfness each of us takes to be “me”. Each of us is in fact an avatar of the One Consciousness. S/HE is living through each of us. We are HIM/HER and most of us do not realize it. It is S/HE that is looking out your eyes and taking your experiences to belong to you the humanoid, feeling your selfness. (Please see the prior post for the development of this hypothesis.*)

Criminals, terrorists and tyrants are the way the overconsciousness has decided to behave in that instance of HIM/HER. Especially horrifying experiences when growing up will have that effect upon consciousness, especially during Acceleritis™. In a more information-balanced environment, individuals growing up with cruel parents (the latter having been children with their own horrors), for example, would stand a better chance of untangling their own mental/emotional knots within fewer decades.

Free will in itself could perhaps explain the human race in its present state, but Acceleritis helps explain how it has gotten to such a point that it seems like satire.

It’s time to make a world resolution to lift ourselves by our bootstraps into bigger people — bigger hearted, bigger in wisdom, bigger in ways that count — to be mensches all the time.

Among other things, this entails not blaming the other guy. It’s time to give up the practice of perceiving bad guys to go hunt and kill. We might still hunt and kill them if that’s really the optimal short term solution. (This is a testable hypothesis, via controlled military experiments, for example comparing drones in one zone vs. psychotechnology and communication in the other zone). But we cannot go on thinking of them as “bad guys”. They are the way the Universal Self (“US”) acts in that experiential petri dish. We might find that taking them out is the most humane solution for all, or we might find that if we treat them like mirror selves we might actually be able to reach accommodation with one another.

There is no way out other than this. Without taking the next evolutionary step — enlightenment for the masses, homo completus, change from the inside — violence will go on forever, made worse by even worse weapons yet to be invented but which surely will be invented.

We are forced at gunpoint — thinking of our grandchildren’s grandchildren and beyond — to confront our self. That self is actually The One Self, in my theory. What we take to be our own consciousness is actually one personality aspect of the One Consciousness. We are stitched into the universe, not isolated conscious players within an “Infinite Unconscious Dead Chaos That Is Accidentally Ordering Itself.” We are part of the One Universe, and it is more conscious than we are, in our present step along our evolutionary trajectory back into total awareness. (Dear reader, I know you will tire of my constantly reminding us that these are mere hypotheses within an unproven theory, so let’s hereby establish this as a given.)

This being the first mention of God in today’s post, let’s stop for a second and look at the use of that word. I am of course not speaking of an old man with a beard sitting on a throne. I’ve taken one more logical step in the progression. If we are all within One Consciousness, this does not automatically equate the One Consciousness with what we think of as God.The Human Effectiveness Institute is looking around for a prison somewhere that wants 300 copies of our book for free, under certain conditions: it’s got to be used in an experiment to observe what actually happens when prisoners are treated as “God Gone Wrong”, not as “Bad Guys”. In fact, an atheist is more likely to consider the Theory of the Conscious Universe if that final association is not made, and the logic is left to end there. Why then further postulate that the One Consciousness of the universe is God?  The universe being conscious is itself a plausible scientific thought, given that we observe consciousness exists within patches of the universe known as human beings, so it is only a small leap to postulate that consciousness is everywhere throughout the universe. Why then undermine that scientific thought with one that has for centuries attracted such disapproval from so many materialist scientists, the thought of God?

The reason is that before I researched ways of supporting or improving my theory with latest science, what I had was a strong hunch — an intuition — that we are all God. I had been an atheist until that point, at age 12, when the idea hit me like a bolt out of the blue. Somehow I felt it to be true inside that I was God, and so was everybody else. Over the next 20 years I developed a theory around the idea and today am still in the process of supporting that theory with latest science.

So I can’t in good faith dodge the issue of God, in hopes that it would make my theory more palatable. It would also be dishonest. Knowing that this theory could offend both atheists and true believers in any specific religion, and not wanting to offend, I still feel the calling to spell out this worldview as a possibility. I find that it leads to creative solutions, and so it might simply be a useful fiction. Game theory would suggest following the worldview as a lens for its utility, without necessarily assuming it to be true.

But back to the jail experiment for a moment.

Flashforward: There’s Bill Harvey in the courtyard, a mic in his hand, interacting with the prisoners. (Flashback to 5-year-old Billy on the Brickman stage doing stand-up with his pop.) Back in the prison, we listen in…

Think about it. Let’s say you are God, hanging out alone, surrounded by nothing. After a while, just hanging out can get boring. You start to spend time thinking. You think about what your options are. You’re going to have to create something, so as to have something fun and interesting to do. Your imagination runs wild — you have visions of all kinds of stuff — you imagine having stars, planets, living beings, beings that have consciousness the way you do — in fact you know that what you are is consciousness.

How are you going to create something more concrete than your imagination? What do you have “at hand” to make anything out of?

Yourself. You have nothing else but yourself. Nothing else exists. You have to use some of yourself as the material if you are going to create anything.

Fortunately, consciousness is the perfect stuff out of which to do that. Let’s say you’re God, and you’re made out of putty. When you come to the decision of creating, and all you have is putty, it’s going to be a pretty boring universe. There are only so many things you can make out of putty. On the other hand, out of consciousness you can make anything. Why is that? Because consciousness itself is made up of information, and information is infinitely fungible, infinitely esemplastic. (Okay, big words for some prisoners — I’ll leave them out when the day comes.) You can make anything out of consciousness, and the really good news is that it all feeds back experientially to the One, to The Progenitor. Because it is consciousness, it comes along with selfness. There really is only one Self. That Self is playing with, and inhabiting, GI Joe and Barbie dolls — that’s who we are.

With the new way of thinking about themselves as an instance of God experimenting with life in a body, and the psychotechnology techniques in MIND MAGIC helping them to deal better with their own anger, fear and despair, the hypothesis is that an increased percentage of prisoners will rehabilitate as compared with norms. In the 1960s, the Leary-Alpert experiment at the prison in Concord, MA halved the recidivism rate. The main intervention in that experiment was LSD, but prison officials said the LSD had nothing to do with it, but rather, “If you shower so much attention on them before and after they are released, of course that would reduce the return rate.” (As reported in The Harvard Psychedelic Club, Don Lattin, HarperOne, 2011.) If these prison officials are right that the efficacy was due simply to the Hawthorne Effect as it is called, then surely our book and lecture series in prisons should have the same effect.

Rather than disparaging such interventions, if the Concord Prison officials are right and all that is needed is a little more personal attention of any kind, then why not give it to them? The book in fact has already been proven to have some positive effect on some prisoners: John Bowie, a convicted murderer, read our book and was changed by it. He repented of his crime and became a model prisoner, someone to whom other prisoners would turn for fatherly advice.

Jumpshift out of the prison to the world stage. Terrorists deserve being reached out to one more time, the extra chance justified because now there is a new communication strategy. We “get it” that they are God too and it appears to them the right thing to do to be blowing up children. We address their assumptions, which to them are compelling:

  1. They believe that God wants them to be doing this.
  2. Their other perceived life choices are uninteresting and unpromising.
  3. They are angry at being treated as backward people.
  4. They are in a support group where they feel a sense of belonging, and their needs are taken care of, including spiritual needs as well as physical ones.
  5. They are sure they will live after death — in this they are right.

The most difficult parts of the communication will be on the touchy subject of religion A vs. religion B. Actually in terms of Islam specifically (not that all terrorists are Muslim), many of the things we want to talk to them about, they are somewhat familiar with. The Great Jihad is work on oneself to be a better human being — I call it psychotechnology — it’s actually the very selfsame thing. We would do well to quote the Quran in support of whatever points it supports in the Institute’s psychotechnology, as we reach out and try one more time to communicate, this time on a spiritual level as well as a moral, scientific, social, and practical one.

What I am proposing here is that we begin to experiment not only in prisons but also in the very prisons where we are containing terrorists. These humane experiments will be intended to help, not use, the prisoners. The test is to see if there are signs that we have in fact helped. The ultimate objective would be to release model prisoners back into their communities as a further viral experiment in the spreading of positive memes. You might say, “A noble idea, but it’s hard to imagine these terrorists being willing to participate.” We would agree it is an ambitious hypothesis — but one worth trying, given that the problem has to be solved, and so far all we are achieving is a degree of containment, at a grave cost in lives. We therefore, I would argue, have to try everything that has even a slight chance of succeeding to any significant degree.

Jumpshift to our own lives. In my vision of you, a few of my words in these posts have resonated with thoughts and feelings you have always had. Take your own best thoughts and feelings to heart and act them out at all times, you become your highest self in every moment. You treat others as you would want them to treat you. You stop seeing bad guys and instead of getting mad when your boss craps on you, you smile when you think “Well if crazy Bill is right you’re God too, so that’s me in there making these stupid offensive remarks.”

Republicans and Democrats are God too. May we finally all grow up and stop spending our time blaming when we have reality challenges that urgently need our attention instead. We need solutions not blame. Let’s resolve to find ways for all of us to develop solutions together — now, today.

We offer suggested watchwords — Clarity, Unity, Rationality, and Love — the mnemonic being CURL.

My Best to All,

Bill

*I now realize, after years of merely having an intuition, that this hypothesis is today scientifically grounded in John Wheeler’s identification of information as the most real underpinning of the tangible universe. Wheeler did not take the next step of explicitly connecting information to consciousness. I will have to take the credit or blame for that, one day when the Theory of the Conscious Universe (TOTCU), is ultimately proven or disproven. The Theory of the Conscious Universe was the working title of my book, “You Are the Universe: Imagine That, released in 2014.

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

Originally posted 2012-01-05 06:13:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Google Validates Psychotechnology for Business

Volume 2, Issue 6

The Human Effectiveness Institute defines psychotechnology as methods which increase human effectiveness.

With the collaboration of my old friend and former brainwave research partner Dan Goleman, Google is offering its employees a seven-week course called S.I.Y. for “Search Inside Yourself”. The course is delivered by its prime creator, Chade-Meng Tan, a Google engineer, and other teachers, and is offered four times a year. More than 1000 Google employees have already taken the course. Each time it’s offered, half the 60 seats are already taken by the waiting list. This video  will give you a feel for what it’s like.

This is potentially a major turning point. One of the goals of The Human Effectiveness Institute (THEI) is to bring psychotechnology into schools at all levels and into organizations in a widespread way. Way to go, Chade-Meng Tan, Daniel Goleman, Google, and the rest of the collaborators behind the S.I.Y. course. Now that Google is doing it, all sorts of organizations will follow with psychotechnology courses for their staffs. As I say, a major turning point for the good.

When you start considering psychotechnology for your own organization, here are some things to think about:

  • Is there a focal point you have in mind, perhaps some problem you are trying to solve? In Google’s case it was the pressure and friction issues. The driven high-achievers who make up the Google corporate culture experience 24/7 stress and some had boiled over, and from this challenge came the idea of using psychotechnology to channel the energies back into constructive directions. One of the key takeaways from the Google course is S.B.N.R.R. — Stop, Breathe, Notice, Reflect, and Respond. Our parents taught us to take a deep breath and count to ten — a variant of the same ancient piece of psychotechnological lore. We get the sense that the Google course is somewhat focused in the affective (feeling) dimension.
     
  • Are you looking for a broader spectrum of benefits — cognitive, intuitive and perceptual as well as affective? The Institute’s psychotechnology aims to cover the broadest ground for the widest benefits, designing workshops that focus wherever the need is greatest.
     
  • Make sure that participants will be given interactive exercises not just lectures. In order to accomplish actual behavioral changes, people must do more than just listen; they must practice internal techniques during the course/workshop.

Let it be known that the Human Effectiveness Institute is a resource you can turn to for bringing psychotechnology into your organization. The Institute has for more than three decades been developing course materials and conducting psychotechnology workshops for organizations ranging from major corporations to elite units of the U.S. military.

Do a search and give consideration to all potential sources. Check out the testimonials from people who have taken the courses and/or used the course materials.

In order to accommodate expected demand for psychotechnology, THEI will be partnering with Richard Zackon in the delivery of courseware. Richard and I will be launching our collaboration later this year with a workshop (Richard changed the name to “playshop”) focused on creativity for high-level research executives, through the auspices of the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF). More details here as we approach the date and ARF puts out the call for participants.

Psychotechnology for business is now not such a wild and crazy idea. Hallelujah!

Best to all,

Bill

The Total Ineffectiveness of Negative Moods

Volume 2, Issue 4

Our motivations are the original rock that starts an avalanche. Motivations turn into goals, and then cascade into emotions that flare negative or positive when events/people are perceived to interfere with or enable us in reaching our goals. This all happens whether we are aware of any of it or not.

When we are in a state of negative emotion our capabilities are reduced. Brainpower is being distracted away from effective action clarity. The very thing that caused our negative emotion guffaws in triumph at our helpless self-attack, which leaves the irritant unscathed. The very thing we need most when the negative alarm goes off is to turn off the alarm and use all our brainpower effectively. So from the standpoint of adult commonsense logic, our indulgence of wallowing in negativity for more than an instant is totally unjustifiable and indefensible — in a word, ineffective.

People say they have no control over negative emotions. This is the archetypal self-fulfilling prophecy. If you refuse to give up control to your own habituated robot circuitry and instead fight it (the true meaning of jihad) eventually you win and then you feel very good forever after that. This is called Enlightenment. Think of it over-simplistically as gaining control of your own castle, your own motivations, goals, emotions, and everything else that is you.

What is a man?

What has he got?

If not himself, then he has not.

—   Excerpt from the lyrics of My Way, sung by Frank Sinatra

Once you have that control it is easier to give up control to the Flow state, where things seem to be doing themselves spontaneously and perfectly while we watch as observers from the inside. This often has the appearance to outside observers of you performing so perfectly that you even seem to know what other people are going to do next. Your motivations-goals-emotions-ideas-actions system is performing as a whole in Flow state, which is why the actions are so perfect. This is where you eventually get by rejecting negativity and getting down to solving whatever is the cause of your negative emotion.

I hypothesize that our being trained to cry for rescue in infancy sets up a circuit that sublimates into the same thing on more invisible levels throughout life. Parenting around this would be a good idea, for example by soothingly reminding the infant every time he/she cries that it is more effective to call for us more pleasantly, perhaps even musically, and we will come just as fast. Then we have to remember to pay off that promise ardently so as to reinforce the non-anguish appeal over the rescue me syndrome. I see all negativity as coming from this rescue me circuit. It is a construct that helps me overcome it.

Any construct that works to gain control of habitual counterproductive programming is a useful tool. A more extreme version is my imagining that an alien spy is the source of the negativity — it is not coming from the true me. Such constructs appear to resonate with the animal parts of ourselves or perhaps at the cellular level of consciousness and certainly with the oldest parts of our brain including the limbic system. At any rate negativity deflates in the presence of such mental toolware, which emerges from imagination in the marketplace of the inner mind. Imagination is a great source of energy and leads to clarity.

The Human Effectiveness Institute offers such toolware but we achieve our own highest success when we inspire individuals to get into the game of creating their own toolware in response to their own observed moments of EOP and their own observing of what works to overcome it.

To return to our first point, motivations are the base of your being, so it is good to start there as you re-inspect your “SELF” from these perhaps new points of view offered here. What are your motivations and why? What are the goals that serve these motivations? What is helping you reach those goals? What is impeding you? What do these insights imply in terms of action decisions?

In the absence of protracted negativity — using it just as an appreciated alarm system — enjoyment of life is the natural levity remaining once the weights have been lifted. Let’s levitate into levity!

Best to all,

Bill

Choosing Your Lens at Will

Science in all its amazing advances still admits it does not know the ultimate truths of our existence — who we are, why we are here, what reality is. In place of this knowing some choose faith as one lens e.g. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, et al. Even though perhaps attending a specific church, many slide easily into the prevailing unspoken lens of our times — the lens that earlier science gave us and which still sticks in our head (and eyes). We assume unthinkingly that the lens of science has not changed in 200 years.

The old lens is the lens of materialism, which says matter is the primary constituent of the universe. The lens that says the universe is an accident, and the force of its accidental explosion into being caused and still causes most major interactions to occur through collisions, e.g. stars, planets, satellites, asteroids, comets. The lens that says life also began by accidental collisions forming chemicals and then proteins and eventually life. Life then evolved through the destruction of all but the accidentally survivable species. And life then evolved consciousness accidentally, and the consciousness we experience is a phenomenon projected by the material brain somehow, all on its own. And of course, each consciousness is forever separate, cut off, and in competition with everything else in the universe for survival, eking out as much contentment as possible against great odds.

Science has matured enough to realize that the latter is all a lens and not proven truth. In fact its central premise, all that exists is matter, has been utterly blown away. Matter turns out to be (as Indian sages said thousands of years ago) an appearance of what is really going on, which when you are able to detect really small interactions, everything is ultimately not matter, but energy. Matter is made of energy. Another way to see this is that the macro phenomena we associate with the word “matter” are illusions of the interactions between our sensory apparatus and the energy swirls in our immediate vicinity. One scientist once said it this way (wish I remembered which scientist): matter is just light revolving rather than moving in a straight path.

My favorite physicist John Wheeler then decomposes energy as the ultimate substrate of matter by saying that information is even more basic and foundational than energy to what the universe is.

These are all still lenses, ways of gestalting the universe. Not scientifically proven truth, nor fact. Models. Constructs. Ways of talking about things, ways of looking at things, ways of seeing them.

It’s good to be able to remember this and not be stuck in making fixed immovable assumptions that are hidden from ourselves, based on the autonomic and forgotten use of lenses. Because then we use these hidden assumptions as the basis for decision making, even when we do not realize we are making decisions every moment. Choices that keep us moving in a direction that at the same time might be a direction we complain about.

In the absence of knowing much, there is a way of making decisions that works extremely well when it is actually applied. This is called Game Theory.

With Game Theory, when you don’t know what the outcomes will be, you list possible outcomes and then see which ones you like. Then you see if you can convince yourself to make the decisions that will get you moving in one of those preferred directions.

How much meaning do you want to see in life, in your everyday, second-to-second life? If you want there to be rich meaning abounding, then choose a lens that gives you that view. A lens that makes things more explainable and understandable. Remember, it is still just a lens!

For example, let’s say that in terms of the nature of reality, there are really only two clusters of lenses to choose from. One says there is something like a God, and the other says there is nothing like a God.

Through the lenses that say there is something like a God, there appears to be an abundance of meaning in our lives. In the other cluster of lenses, there appears to be a dearth of meaning — much happens that makes no sense, nor do we expect it to make sense.

I was in this lens for many years. It came from being so impressed by science as a kid. I can testify that there are good things about this lens. For one thing, it makes one feel terribly independent, an independent thinker, since most of the world is in the other lens cluster. It sometimes strips away so many considerations that you can quickly look at situations and see the barest of elements, the quintessence. There is a certain minimalist “cleanliness” if not clarity.

Emotionally the lens of being alone in an unbenevolent universe can be toughening, allowing you to more easily become fatalistic and to shed many of your attachments. You get in the habit of not making assumptions but rather being very commonsense and down to earth. Very empirical. You don’t lean on illusions or faith or anyone else to define reality for you. All of which can be good.

The God lens from the standpoint of Game Theory has its benefits too. Again we are not saying anything definitive about the true nature of reality. We are only discussing the lenses we can look through.

Through the lens that says the universe is not accidental and intelligence was present from the beginning, intelligence may indeed be the ultimate “information processor” that both started the universe and is the universe. Everything else — information, energy, matter — is epiphenomena arising in appearance from this intelligence as the single existent thing in the universe.

This is somewhat of a new lens — I might even be inventing it — in the cluster of lenses I have dubbed the “Something like God exists” cluster.

The other lenses in this cluster are more “religious” in their depiction of the underlying intelligence. Mine is more “scientific”. On the other hand, when one looks back through history for others who have espoused lenses similar to mine, one goes all the way back to native shamans and to what for a long time we have called “pantheism”. Certainly all mystics use lenses that come close to mine in the sense that they are mystics —  admitting they still operate in the mists, with no one fixed ideology.

This scientific-mystic lens affords meaning to everything. Use this lens (without believing it to be the truth, nor disbelieving it) if you yearn to have more meaning in your life. You will always see the meanings as tentative without become locked into them, but at least you will see a wealth more meaning in your life.

Since meaning adds a sense of value to all human beings, the Game Theory “bet” on intelligence behind the universe is a better bet than the opposite bet, because it imputes more value to life.

However, I am not saying you should make a bet, just continue to keep an open mind, and experiment with both lenses.

In fact it will help you shoulder on the mantle of this lens to remember that you don’t know the meaning of life or reality — nobody does, it is all a wonder-fully thrilling awesome unknown. This makes it interesting, mysterious-mystical, immense, awe-inspiring. Wouldn’t we be missing something if we did know everything?

Since a universal intelligence of some kind cannot be ruled out, this lens allows you to entertain explanations for things in every moment both with and without God or Universal Intelligence in your mindstream.

Wearing this pure empirical maximal-skeptic lens you will start to see possible reasons why certain things happened — as if the universe is trying to help you — even by putting certain training obstacles in your path. I call this noia — being the opposite of paranoia.

By seeing things as possible gifts from the universe even if they are not, and even if they don’t feel like gifts, you gain some leverage from being able to see how to use the event better. Game Theory.

You benefit most by being able to switch lenses at will. Have fun!

Best to all,

Bill

David Brooks the Star of ARF AMS 6.0

I really enjoyed the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement Symposium 6.0, the largest audience measurement conference in the world. I always do — and this time, with my own papers co-presented there, and David Brooks’ keynote, it was better than ever.

Best-selling author and well-known columnist for The New York Times, David eloquently summarized some of the key learning from his new book The Social Animal.

Because David is talking about psychotechnology, which is the work we have done for years at the Human Effectiveness Institute, I was thrilled that such an important public figure and best-selling author is now calling attention to this crucial area.

David of course does not use our terminology. He talks about reviewing our cognitive processes, thinking about how we think, and making improvements in those processes. He is tapping into the latest brain science and popularizing the learning so that it is accessible and valuable to the entire culture not just to brain scientists. This is a very worthy activity. He joins us in this, with the kind of immediate impact we hoped someone would have someday. That day is here.

First he talked about the unconscious/subconscious part of our minds. He pointed out that only 40 bits of the 12,000,000 bits of info entering our brains each second reach conscious attention — the rest goes into the unconscious mind.

He went on to say that emotion — rather than being a flaw as it has been characterized tacitly by this rational culture* — is not in fact a flaw. Emotion is the foundation of reason, because it determines what we value and then reason is a means we use to go after what we value.

Here we differ slightly — emotion and intuition together actually are the foundation for our perception of what is valuable to us. As Jung pointed out, emotion and intuition are actually two different functions — two of the four functions of consciousness (intellect/reason, feelings/emotion**, intuition and perception).

The Human Effectiveness Institute (THEI) considers intuition to be an important part of our minds that has been relatively ignored by the scientific community. THEI also aims to improve people’s performance and their lives by focusing on what works in a pragmatic manner. We have observed that when one gives mental management advice, it is very easy for people to take it the wrong way and then more harm is done than good. The exact wording is mission critical. I am guessing that David knows all this and could not pack it all into one short speech.

If you tell people that emotion is the foundation they are likely to take it that they should simply follow their feelings. People leaving the ARF conference for example could have this as one of their takeaways from David’s talk. However, following one’s feelings as the Rubicon without some balancing rules as regards what to do about reason, intuition and perceptions often has disastrous consequences. In fact when emotion is negative and there is no cognitive tool for processing out the negativity before action, it always leads to disaster of small or large kinds. We welcome the opportunity to explore this further with David. Meanwhile, I am enjoying his book.

In the next posting we will continue to report on David Brooks’ incredibly valuable contributions to our culture, and will continue to point out how we feel his ideas could be sharpened to be even more positively effective.

Best to all,

Bill

 

*We would add that this bias began in Greece in the Golden Age, circa 400 BC.

**In recent psychology parlance, emotion is actually the physical manifestation of feelings (heart rate, breathing rate, adrenalin concentration in the bloodstream, etc.) so when discussing consciousness/mind, the more appropriate term is feelings rather than emotion — but this is just semantics.

 

Psychotechnology for the 21st Century

This post will overview the Institute and our work. As a media researcher I’ve analyzed large databases, done surveys, measured brainwaves, tracked eye movements, absorbed a vast amount of information, and thought for the past 40 years about the way media affect the mind.

I started using computers in the 60s and was on the Internet in 1980 when it was called Arpanet. My exposure to computers during this period as they ascended to a major role in our culture got me to think about how the mind and the computer work in similar ways.

In my childhood my showbiz parents put me on stage from age 4 onward. The pressure of being on stage gave me the experience of “flow state” – almost an out of body experience, watching myself perform as if from the outside. These experiences made me intensely curious about what was going on in my head not only at these times, but all the time.

I have always been a meditator and contemplator, having discovered the techniques myself, under pressure to perform at above what I thought was my ability. What do these words mean to me? Contemplation is immersive observation, and can be focused on any subject. Meditation is when the focus of contemplation is one’s own self. You observe your self without identifying with the feelings and thoughts that arise, observing them as if from afar.

All of these currents in my life coalesced into a set of theories that are the basis for my nonprofit work, which is the Institute.

THEI as I call it for short has the Mission of disseminating useful psychotechnology – tools for internal information processing optimization – similar in a way to the media optimization tools I’ve helped invent for the marketing industry. Tools for sublimating negative emotion into learning and into action items. Leaving only positive emotion.

The Vision is that one day, maybe pretty far in the future, the whole human race will be using such psychotechnology on a continuous basis. Because this will avert war at the individual level and cause a shift from competitiveness to cooperation and mutual nurturing. May it come as soon as possible.

The history of the human race is uplifted over and over again by the introduction of bits of such psychotechnology, which in the past has manifested as yoga, Zen, religion, mysticism, philosophy, science, psychology, morality/ethics, aesthetics, and many other good things.

THEI’s psychotechnology is in the realm of science and specifically relates to translating ancient and self-discovered practices into the language of information processing so that it may be considered objectively by all parts of the population including people normally biased against such possibilities.

My book MIND MAGIC is an experiment to see if this personal psychotechnology (it has been proven to work in my own life, or I wouldn’t pass it on) could actually be transferred to anyone else. About 2000 letters, cards, and emails indicate that the original  version worked at least for some people. Including a range of well-known folks from Norman Cousins to John Lennon, Ram Dass and Daniel Goleman. Also some bank officials, corporate executives, Army Generals, Colonels, Navy Captains, et al, people in jail, teenagers, seniors, without any known group excluded.

Why do we need psychotechnology? It helps reduce stress, improve health, increase emotional intelligence, maximize performance, make you able to enjoy moment to moment Life even during downturns. It is speed learning. The element that it controls is attention – where you place it, where you don’t, and how to withhold the autonomic response that gets you stuck in every feeling and thought you have before you can apply quality control.

Some free samples of THEI psychotechnology are being offered in these blog postings and on our site. We hope you get something valuable out of THEI psychotechnology and give us feedback to help us make it better.

All the best,

Bill