Cognitive Toolkit Meets Psychotechnology

David Brooks has done what I wanted to do — tried to do for many years but couldn’t make it happen, at least not in such a big way. My hat’s off to him!

In his book The Social Animal — and in the popular reaction to the book — David has called the world’s attention to the levers that we all have inside. Things that make us better — strategies — little acts of will within our own minds. Levers we don’t leverage to their full advantage. I have called them “psychotechnologies” since 1976. David calls them “one’s Cognitive Toolkit”.

If you have read my earlier post about Acceleritis, you know I postulate that our culture has been accelerating since the advent of written language some 6000 years ago, and that the number of question-producing stimuli falling upon the average one of us each day has in that short period increased exponentially, given our 200,000 years in existence as homo sapiens.

If it were not for Acceleritis, most of us would quickly catch on to what David calls “equipoise” — the learnable trait of looking inside objectively so as to see how to improve oneself. In the infopressure stream hitting each and every one of us each second each day (with a few oases here and there), the development of this trait remains stunted. This is to my view a pandemic — a world-wide mental degenerative disease.

Because David has grabbed the mic and the world is listening, I see this as an opportunity to compare my psychotechnology theories to those set forth in The Social Animal. This can make for quite a few of these postings until one of you says talk about something else already.  😀

I’m serious. I really believe it’s important for all of us to learn the traits David wants us to learn — and a few he hasn’t gotten around to yet.

All of the easily-listable things wrong with the world reduce to human behavior, which reduces to what makes us tick inside.

What has been needed for 6000 years is a practical toolkit for overcoming the distractive power of Acceleritis and instead focusing inward — without losing one’s job etc. In fact, making even more money and succeeding in far more important ways as well, because of having seen inside more clearly than one sees in the average daily state of consciousness called “normal” on Earth in the current era.

What we call normal I call EOP: Emergency Oversimplification Procedure. We are not in the moment, savoring the moment, we are trying to get past it and on to the next thing on our list or one of the distractions that arise constantly to draw us away from our list. We are in a robotic state.

What I consider to be the really normal state a human being could be in all the time is the Zone aka Flow State — what David calls “Moments of Transcendence”. We would be there were it not for Acceleritis. That’s my theory anyway.

We can get there with the toolkit. David’s got some of it, I’ve got some of the same and quite a few different tools, others throughout time have had pieces of it. Let’s use it all. The more diverse the toolkit, the more balanced and accessible to all.

Science can help us discover the toolkit and validate it — but that is a very slow process. We might blow ourselves up — literally — if we wait for every tool that works to be validated by science before we use it. We should use it because it works. That is the apropos rule for dealing with runaway culture. Use what works — what is a win for all concerned.

David was in Flow for much of his Keynote at the ARF. But he didn’t mention the state. He gets it about the tools, but did not present an integrated theory — I’m guessing he would modestly say that the scientists from whom he draws his ideas are the ones to look for if we want theory — practical tools is where a writer might feel compelled to stop.

In my case, since I see myself as a scientist (in my approach to research), I have no hesitation to offer whole-cloth theories. My theory of Holosentience encapsulates the tools David presented — and those presented in my book FREEING CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS — within an explanation of how and why we move between states of consciousness — EOP, the Observer State (David’s “Equipoise”), and the Flow State.

By Holosentience I mean that in Flow State we are inhabiting our entire sentience at once — we are totally aware, open to information from unconscious (subconscious) sources — we are in a “Moment of Transcendence”. In the Observer State we have detached from conditioned mental/emotional circuitry that functions autonomically. In EOP we are dominated by the latter robotic circuitry. When distracted by Acceleritis, EOP is the probable result.

That robotic circuitry has been known classically as the ego. It is a subsentience that takes over, and as Dan Goleman and Richie Davidson say, “Hijacks the mind”.

When you are “in” your subsentience you think that’s all there is. You are the whole you that you always are. That’s what you assume. But there is another more noble and elevated part of you that you are oblivious to.

Neuroscience linkages to the three brain states hypothesized by my theory are presented in a previous posting, The Three States of Waking Consciousness, with guidance from Dr. Richard Silberstein, CEO of Neuro-Insight.

In some but maybe not all upcoming postings I’ll continue to bounce my ideas off those of David Brooks. It will be illuminating fun for all, I hope, including me. And maybe David is reading and getting some kicks too.

Best to all,



2 thoughts on “Cognitive Toolkit Meets Psychotechnology

  1. Pingback: Getting Your Team into the Zone | Bill Harvey Blog

  2. Pingback: Finding That Hidden Switch Inside | Bill Harvey Blog

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