Tag Archives: Acceleritis

The Regenerative Method for Stimulating Innovation

Volume 2, Issue 2. Originally posted April 12, 2012

This blog takes a shortened form optimized for Acceleritis™ conditions

Listening to you readers, I have enjoyed writing this blog more than ever. Everyone I’ve talked to has said it is something totally different and therefore worth reading. Thank you all again for the encouragement.

Habit is the biggest obstacle to innovation and adaptability. The number of repetitions in our ingrained mental habits is in the millions by age 30. Each repetition reinforces many synapses thus increasing their automaticity. This is your challenge in breaking out of mental ruts, which is something you must do if you aspire to Flow state. And something you must do simply to innovate and adapt yourself and your company/organization to an accelerated treadmill of inputs, questions, challenges, and opportunities.

Imagination is the best tool we have and the one that is the most fun to use. Use of imagination regenerates synapses that have fallen into disuse and dials back the automaticity of the ones you use all the time.

Take your company, for example. Imagine the wildest scenarios you can — radical changes in partnerships, a totally different pricing model, an impossible dream of a new product you’d love to have — you make it up. See if this mental exercise doesn’t give you some imaginative yet prudent immediate actions. I bet it will.

Do the same for yourself. Think the unthinkable. Every seven years every cell in your body is different, the old ones are gone. We are a new self every moment. Daydream your near-term and far-term future, knowing you are purposely being unrealistic and perhaps grandiose — it’s allowed because it’s only an exercise.

Or is it?

Best to all,

Bill

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

Originally posted 2012-04-12 10:56:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A More Alert Reaction

Just one of the benefits of Observer and Flow States

Originally posted March 1, 2012

 “A word to the wise is sufficient.” Confucius may have said this. The same conditions causing Acceleritis™ also reward those of us who can spend some time in the two higher states of performance. In the sped-up culture that continues to accelerate, we are more successful if we can extract learning and act on it quickly without delay.

The techniques, which we call psychotechnology, to help us stay in the Observer and Flow states therefore become important to learn and put into practice.

The wise are able to learn from a single experience without repetition because they are counting the cards. In the same sense that Captain Picard would say “more power to the shields”, the wise person has wordlessly said to himself/herself, “more power to observation”. This is why we say the entry into Flow state is through the Observer state.

It’s easier to turn on the Observer state than it is to just decide to turn on the Flow state.

The Flow state is a delicate balance of many variables. Having prepared by practicing being in the moment, not being attached to how well you perform or to anything else, being in the Observer state, having your skills in some degree of close balance with the challenge slope of the moment — these all must click for Flow to engage.

For the Observer state to take you over, there are fewer requirements. You must be single-pointedly focused — intensely following the thread of what is going on in the now, including and especially in your own mind and body, but equally in the “external” world. You must be intellectually honest with yourself, objectively critiquing your own last thought and feeling. You can’t critique what you don’t notice and so you are paying such close attention inwardly and outwardly that you are catching every inner impulse. You are bringing into your conscious awareness some of what would normally pass by subconsciously.

Getting into these “altered” states of consciousness is a “yogic” process — it is exactly the same kind of process one goes through in order to gain control of normally-involuntary muscles in the body, except in this case they are normally-unused “muscles” of the mind.

Some of what the Human Effectiveness Institute has rediscovered can be found in ancient Raja Yoga and Karma Yoga texts. I found it there years later, having discovered Flow state on stage at age 4 in the Catskill mountain resorts (then in their heyday).

An early experience worth sharing is one in which my Flow was so in the moment that I was unable to hear or even later remember the words I had adlibbed that got such huge laughs. Here’s an excerpt from a memoir I wrote for my Dad, bandleader and MC Ned Harvey:

Fat Jack was considered to be the hippest comic in the world by the denizens of the Borscht Belt. Jack E. Leonard was an insult comedian who may have created the genre. Don Rickles was next in the insult comedy lineage.

Speed and cleverness were the two main criteria. Fat Jack could backhand a comeback over the net even before the incoming line had ceased to echo in the air, and his riposte was both unpredictable and used the raw material of the incoming line. This was the stuff of genius.

Later I would think in terms of the terabytes per nanosecond of computing speed that would allow Jack to search his files, put together alternative combinations, and select the optimal response.

We were in our room in the Frat House, under the canteen…

In the room besides Ned, my mother Sandy, me and Fat Jack were a few other musicians and Bernie Klein the stage director. Jack was holding court and the other adults in the room were convulsed in spasmodic laughter. I was silent and missing a lot of the humor. I was maybe 5 years old.

For some reason Jack singled me out with his gaze and threw me a line. Then something weird happened — something that had never happened before.

I said something back and after an instant’s shocked silence the group broke up in surprised laughter. I was not able to hear my own voice. I had no idea what I’d said.   

Jack smiled too but threw me back a clever counterpunch that I also couldn’t hear — I answered him in the same voice that everyone else but me could hear. Again my line got a big laugh, bigger than the first. This went on for a while.

When it was over and the conversation moved on, I began to be able to hear again. Jack gave me a sweet goodbye, not characteristic for him. I had no idea what had happened.

There are levels in Flow we have written about here before. The level at which one is so sewn into the universe that subject and object merge, and there is no inner rehearsal — this is the level where it’s possible to eject words so effortlessly one cannot later recall what they were. The first words are not checked in any way and are just allowed to flow through motor control without a second thought as to result or risk. This has only happened to me one time since, with the same audience appreciation. The great standups did it almost every night.

Incidentally, “don’t attempt this at home” as they say on TV gator domination and hotdog skateboarding crash shows. Don’t run off at the mouth trusting that it will be Flow. Actions should be in the opposite sequence: first sense that you are in Observer state and then when you are in Flow state. Only then can you loosen the valve on top of your mental stream of consciousness as a firehose without embarrassing consequences.

The standard state of human consciousness in all industrialized cultures has as one of its aspects the psychic spark gap between the thought of what to say next and the act of saying it. That distance is enough to take the average person at the average time out of Flow. However, using Fat Jack as our above-average model, he might have had an inkling of what his foil was going to say next, so Fat Jack might have had a split second to forethink an answer and another split second to do a gut check before he was delivering the line with perfect command of his voice.

Flow neurology will be very interesting to study. There is a significant speedup in the thought process and ability to see one’s own mind (thoughts, feelings, images) clearly.

Let there be no miscommunication: we are not recommending that you say the first thing that pops out of your mouth. Definitely wiser to not interrupt. Wait for the moment and then if you have something significant to say, say it, letting yourself have the added time to refine and challenge whatever it is you think is worth saying next.

You and the people in your team don’t need to get to such levels of Flow in order to vastly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your operation. (And obviously it would not be helpful to have no memory of what you’ve said.) Everyone else being in EOP most of the time, if you can move yourself and your people up to spending a quarter of work time in Observer state, you’ll be in the top percentile of high-performing teams, analogous to a winning sports team and elite paramilitary units.

What you want are sensible procedures for instilling this level of alertness.

Here are a few starter steps:

  1. Share the model of EOP, Observer, Flow. Present it as a model, a construct, a lens, a useful fiction, a stimulant. If it is later scientifically validated, that’s great, but for now the thing is to test and observe results. The only reason we founded the Human Effectiveness Institute is because in our experience the techniques we share are useful in increasing innovation and success.
  2. Create an atmosphere where there is nothing to fear. Support people when they make mistakes, while correcting them in good spirits and being on their side.
  3. Take side notes to keep the mind clear of distractions. Ultrabrief one- or two-word trigger phrases that will remind you of the thought or feeling. Stay observant and connected in the now, with the inner/outer attentional focus described earlier in this post. Share this technique with your team as well.
  4. Reset all beliefs and expectations back to zero, except for agreements and dutiful obligations. Reconsider all possibilities. Erase assumptions. Especially the hidden ones. Root out hidden assumptions and expose and neutralize them.

Here’s to more alert reactions, and to even more anticipatory and effective pro-actions!

Best to all,

Bill

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

Originally posted 2012-03-01 12:08:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

It’s Possible

How Little We Know About the Nature of Reality, and the Technique for Remembering This

Originally posted February 16, 2012 as a recap of the first year of blog posts here at Pebbles in the Pond.

On February 17, 2012, this blog was a year old, with this our 52nd post. In reviewing what we have attested to over the first 12 months, here’s a recap of some of the possibilities that we put forth — for the benefit of all who want to ply into whatever might be valuable for the greater good.

We have said It’s Possible that:

  • All religions may in a sense be right. Looked at a certain way, Religion and Quantum Mechanics and our own experience converge on what reality is. The common thread is that the Universe is a single conscious object. If that is the model then all is explainable — the prophets and saints who channeled today’s major religions; the behavior of subatomic wavicles; what John Wheeler’s information-is-substrate physics really means; the tendency for justice to be done in the long run; our own transcendent experiences — love, bliss; the benevolence of the universe, obvious when we are cleansed of the things that bring down our minds. All these phenomena make sense in a Conscious Universe. Nothing is left unexplained. Although the rest of time remains for physics to fill in the blanks, the overarching nature of reality can be intuited long before science knows about how the system is sustained (we might say, how the illusion is projected) at micro-to-macro levels.
  • All we have to do to tune in our own intuition as a guide to further exploring the nature of reality from the inside, is to stop making believe we know something. The Human Effectiveness Institute is not about issuing dogma. Our basic methodology is to admit that most of what we think we know as individuals is hand-me-down “knowledge” biased by traumatic experiences in our forebears and ourselves, catchphrases from movements that captured us into their statistical meme waves. In other words, very little of what we say to ourselves, and then habitually emotionally and bodily assent to as the truth on which to base decision making, is actually solid knowledge assimilated into wisdom of right action and/or understanding/forgiveness of self and others for missing the right action. How little could be proven in a court of law, or proven to a team of scientists. How many questions are actually being avoided. How many assumptions are made that rationalize subconsciously that we are being sensible to not ponder questions.
  • Acceleritis™ is the reason we do not ponder, and instead charge on, driven by rationalizing assumptions below the level of our own awareness. Fear of not performing in the accelerating stream of this culture and thus the awful consequences of poverty, unaffordable ill health, rejection/loneliness, an abject sense of zero self-worth, and guilt — all of which makes us keep up the rat race in a way deeper and more dangerous than at the obvious level. The very way we use our minds is different because of the racing culture.
  • Visible language is possibly what started the acceleration of information per day. Writing brought language into our vision, which is our dominant sense as primates. Until written language just 6000 years ago, for millions of generations our ancestors — just as dependent on our eyes as we are* — communicated by signals and noises, and in thousands of recent generations before writing, had turned these sounds into sophisticated language. But how it blew our minds when we were able to see this sophisticated language. To make an analogy, sex is very important to us. Just like seeing is. What if sex carried language i.e. telepathic words heard automatically from the sex partner during the act. That’s the kind of thing that happened to us 6000 years ago. The admixture of two potent sides of our being — language and seeing. It immediately made our minds race with questions and ideas. These continue to accelerate for each generation to this day, and will be even more accelerated for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
  • We need techniques to contend with Acceleritis better than we currently contend with it. Evidence for the “possibility” of our Acceleritis hypothesis abounds so I won’t belabor the point. Failure of governments to be effective, corporations whose left hands and right hands do not even know the existence of each other, individuals living generally way below the level of constant bliss, although it is an inch away all the time. We offer techniques in our book and DVD, and in excerpts in this blog. Steal this book. Share it. We want everybody to have these techniques.
  • There are measurable levels of being. Our experience can be ennobled by techniques that aid our ascent out of Acceleritis into the Observer State where our minds are clear and courageously self-honest to an absolute degree. And further, into the Flow State (aka the Zone) where everything seems to be doing itself perfectly (and observers agree), because we are no longer living our lives separated from the universe but are experiencing being in that universe and somehow the same with it. The identity issue has faded and it is as if you are the Universe acting naturally without feeling like you have to worry about how it is going to come out. The innocence of “not thinking you know something” is a conducive launching pad. Thinking you know everything and acting rapidly as if always under time pressure is not conducive to Flow.
  • Democracy was one theme last year in this blog. Working together (Gung Ho!) is obviously very aligned with joining into oneness with the universe. Democracy is a good idea because it reflects the nature of reality — we are all one so it is logical that the One would want to benefit from the collective wisdom of all of its parts — this too is a possibility.
  • Readers have thanked me for not writing about the media business. Last week someone said to me “What a relief — something I like to read that has nothing to do with the media business — I read enough about the media business!” Yet in the past year there were some thoughts about all business and how they use media. Looking across articles about custom content, clashboards, and building human relationships with customers, the main theme has been breaking out of the “TV commercial” genre into new forms that fit the inventory avails but have more short- and long-term positive effect on the relationship of a brand and its customers. Such as 30-second and other length units that give good advice (e.g. in such product categories as beauty, pet, baby, home, financial, etc.), report good corporate citizenship activities in interesting and personal ways i.e. stories of real people affected, and pure entertainment such as we see once in awhile on Youtube, brought to you by the brand in the same way that the brand would do this for full-length program true sponsorship. Thus having the same Gratitude Effect that lifts sales, trust and loyalty.

Those are the main possibilities we have been chatting about here. As to your technique, we are not suggesting you believe any of these things, just accept them as possibilities to be cautiously tested along with your cautious testing of all other possibilities. We especially suggest that you cautiously re-test all the possibilities you now take for granted that are welded into your life and your instant-by-instant interior life — the guidance system of feelings, images, thoughts, rationalizations, analyses, syntheses, hunches, and so on. which constitutes your inner senate and resolves its turbulent symphonies into your instant-to-instant outer actions.

Now is the time to step away from Business As Usual when you take counsel with yourself. That is our suggested technique for the week. When you realize and remember that you have more choice than you typically exercise, stop what you are doing and check in with why you are doing it. Watch as if from a third-party position the way your mind deals with this and other questions that will then arise. See if you can change the process to one completely different, if only to explore other possibilities. Don’t be stuck in your own usual way of doing things. Live in the moment and the moment is always new, everything starts again now, unencumbered by whatever has gone before, a fresh start, rebirth.

Best to all, and thank you,

Bill

*Information processing in the brain drops significantly when eyes are closed, shifting brainwaves down from high-speed beta to slower alpha.

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Originally posted 2012-02-16 12:35:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Door to Enlightenment Is Always an Inch Away Part 2

Originally posted as the second part of February 9, 2012 blog post

In the prior post, Part 1, we analyzed the concept of Enlightenment and some of its meanings from Kant to SRI VALS to Eastern philosophy, and pointed out that it is not an attainment but a maintainment, as one keeps slipping back out of it, with very few making it a permanent state. In this post we’ll focus on the practical steps one can take to beat the odds of spending more time in that state.

It’s okay to be a saint, in other words. It doesn’t mean you are NOT Enlightened. It simply depends on why you are acting saintlike. If there is any trace of ego motivation, you are merely in the highest attachment area before Enlightenment, which is not bad at all. Especially today when Acceleritis™ has us on the brink of our own mass destruction and already practicing it actively against other species of fauna and flora. If you count insecticides that have caused awful cancers and brain diseases, we are already practicing mass destruction against our own species, so caught up in Acceleritis are we.

So if you want to be a world saver, or caregiver, or an otherwise unselfish actor, consider that a degree of Enlightenment already; go ahead and give in to it. We need more of it anyway. It will lead you all the way.

And so as to technique: what techniques can be engaged in order to have these brief epiphanies of Enlightenment?

Why would a saint be taken out of Enlightenment if primarily motivated by the desire to please God?

Because this takes one out of the moment — doing the moment for something outside of the moment — something that exists in the future. Flow, which contains Enlightenment at its top end, does not work that way. If one is doing something for any outcome, one is out of Flow.

One is even out of Flow if one is grading one’s own performance. This is one of the biggest blocks to Flow. This is part of the herd mentality. You are only worth what others think of you. Each moment you have to be attached to what they think of you. This is drilled into us with reward/punishment (“Good Billy! Bad Billy!”).

This goes deep and starts at the first moment of dissociation, the first descent from Flow singularity/pointedness into a divided sheaf of self — the moment Freud referred to in Civilization and its Discontents when the Ego (manager-intermediary) first forms. Freud saw the id (the self that one is born with) as being a primitive, animal-like tabula rasa (a blank state) rather than being the single Consciousness of the Universe — the pure state of Selfness — the singularity of experiencing  — the Observer.

Whatever the parts of consciousness that exist when one is divided, as has become the endemic (and to Freud, natural) state of our race — the point is that a divided mind is the opposite of Flow. Our hypothesis is that our race could have existed mostly in Flow at some point far back enough in time, before Acceleritis set in.

Not being divided inside manifests as there being no distinction between your self and the moment. It is all one piece. You are not observing it from outside. You are experiencing it from inside while being totally immersively aware of the moment. You are not rating your own performance. You are not focused on success. You are not trying to remember technique. You are not narrating your own life novel. You are not making smart alecky comments although they may occur to you wordlessly. Feelings and ideas are happening quickly without being seized upon by the muscle of the mind. They do not take away attention from Flowing with the moment. You are not trying to figure out why you are doing this, or what techniques you are using — you are just doing what comes naturally.

When in Emergency OversimiplificationProcedure (EOP), we are living as though watching a rear view mirror, facing backward all our lives, with breaks to look forward. Only once in a while are we lucky enough to see/be the moment as it happens, not seeing ourselves and the moment as different things. This is to be cultivated.

The looking backward is all about slave mentality — judging your own performance in sublimated attachment to what others think of you. Such attachment is a form of dilemma perception — seeing everything to always be in a world of permanent dilemma, imperfection, hence the need to strive for something outside of the moment.

The word dilemma is all about being divided — “two postulates” is the Latin root meaning. Of course if there is more than one postulate there is the potential for a conflict between them, hence the uneasiness of having a dilemma. Dilemma, dissatisfaction, striving, attachment, all of these are the same thing — EOP. The state the great majority of us are in virtually all of the time. Our leverage to get out of that state and into Flow state is through these little windows that are only an inch away.

Here’s a recap:

  • If one is doing something for any outcome, one is out of Flow.
  • Grading one’s own performance is one of the biggest blocks to Flow.
  • A divided mind is the opposite of Flow.
  • In Flow, there is no distinction between your self and the moment. It is all one piece.
  • In Flow, you are not trying to figure out why you are doing this, or what techniques you are using — you are just doing what comes naturally, in the moment.

Jump through!

Best to all,

Bill

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

The Door to Enlightenment Is Always an Inch Away Part 1

Originally posted as part of February 9, 2012 blog post

A friend sent me Kant’s definition of “Enlightenment”:

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. “Have courage to use your own understanding!” — that is the motto of enlightenment.

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a proportion of men, long after nature has released them from alien guidance nonetheless gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians. It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the pull-cart to which they are harnessed, these guardians then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone.

Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts. Thus, it is difficult for any individual man to work himself out of the immaturity that has all but become his nature. He has even become fond of this state and for the time being is actually incapable of using his own understanding, for no one has ever allowed him to attempt it. Rules and formulas, those mechanical aids to the rational use, or rather misuse, of his natural gifts, are the shackles of a permanent immaturity. Whoever threw them off would still make only an uncertain leap over the smallest ditch, since he is unaccustomed to this kind of free movement. Consequently, only a few have succeeded, by cultivating their own minds, in freeing themselves from immaturity and pursuing a secure course.

The idea of a social conspiracy was so prevalent at the time Kant was writing ideas like these, he spoke of the “guardians” who consciously and with specific effort kept the human livestock in ignorance. This Age of Enlightenment was above all political, and only scientific as a side effect; Kings were the principal bad guys in the drama. Capitalists and usurers too. The idea of a social compact was created to replace the social conspiracy that had been ultimately exposed.

Today we need not posit a conspiracy to understand how self enslavement has occurred, and continues apace long after Kant wisely explained our true situation. It was not that those benefitting had to keep us down with active effort and malice aforethought — it was easy enough to just depend on the green monkey effect.

Ghastly experiment that it was, someone once painted a monkey green and observed the effect on the monkey in context of its tribe — it was shunned, attacked, driven away. Nauseatingly, they replicated the experiment to make sure of the results. This is what keeps us from stepping outside of the sheep herd. We sense that we will be attacked and isolated defenselessly if we move too far away from the central tendency of our group. This is why Belongers are such a large segment of the population according to SRI VALS I&II, and why Belonging as a human value is prominent across all segments. All VALS segments describe the human condition prior to Enlightenment — the smallest of all segments today as always throughout history — standing above even Self-Actualization (see prior post).

It is fear of non-belonging that keeps us from risking loss of social position, riches and fame, from maturely seeing that there is something more to Life than those objectives. Fear of losing those things, an immature fear, keeps us immature.

And yet the potentiality is there to cross the great divide into Enlightenment in any instant.

This is uncommon. More common is getting there for a few instants but then slipping back. Both are good things and worth being open-minded to the possibilities.

You initially slip back because although you may have broken from the attachments to finite, immature things — fame, riches, many lovers, self-esteem — in your intellect, but this has not yet permeated all of your cells and processes. Before you know it, an habitual feeling within you has once again tripped a cascade of bodily and other responses that you can only realize later was the moment you slipped back into entrapment. Major parts of you have not yet given up what your intellect thought it gave up, your intellect apparently imagining that it actually controls all parts of you.

Even though you may slip back millions of times before you no longer slip back, every time you become infinite if only for a moment, you pile up neuronal probability of establishing yourself permanently being there sooner rather than later. Therefore it makes sense to consider activation of techniques for slipping across the wave front into infinity, even though they may initially yield merely momentary glimpses. More on such techniques later.

Digressing here to chord-resolve an incomplete thought train in last post. Commenting on the last outpost of finitude, the life of a world saver, I now see we left the impression that once Enlightened, a being would not spend a lifetime serving humanity, as the Buddha, Jesus, Saint Teresa and many other saints did. Huston Smith points out that in India the one who returns to help others, although already freed, is called a bodhisattva. Worldwide this being is also known as a saint. My reliable editor Yana Lambert of course tried to point that out to me, and in a moment of Acceleritis™ I missed the point the universe was making to me through her. Synchronistically a few days later Huston reminded me in The World’s Religions, as the Universe is kind in making needed points any way it can.

Noia is my word for the suspicion that the universe is secretly out to help you and is always sending you clues if you can but be sharp enough to notice and decode them. The opposite of paranoia.

In the context of my Theory of the Conscious Universe (TOTCU)*, we are like neurons carrying messages across the universe by the passing on of information (memes) to other places in the cosmic brain where, from the Universe’s point of view, that information should go — keeping the whole universe moving toward greater perfection of understanding at all levels, in a sense upgrading the health of the whole. Each neuron also benefits in the process by getting information it is grateful for (if it is awake enough to notice and/or helped by the technique of Noia). By visualizing the universe as a biomachine, the cost in language is a step away from accuracy since “what is” awesomely exceeds the reductionism to any sort of machine. Yet this is the price we pay to be able to convey the theory to the present age where logical positivism would otherwise dismiss TOTCU as meaningless.

Acceleritis is notorious for banana-peeling you out of Flow and way out of its highest manifestation, Enlightenment.

What I had meant to say was that the bodhisattva/saint is not attached to saving the world. He or she will still do it with the same degree of eager zeal knowing that he or she will never get credit for it. Not even doing it specifically to please God. Even that takes one out of infinity. More on that and techniques in next week’s post in part 2.

Best to all,

Bill

*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 2012-02-09 08:21:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Ideas We Think Are Important

And which deserve further research

Originally posted January 26, 2012

What is a life worth? All each of us can do for the betterment of the world is largely constrained by our funds. Warren Buffett, God bless him, is one of the least constrained in this way, and has heard the clarion call to give 99% of his fortunes to the benefit of mankind; he is destined to do a world of good.

For most of us, all we can do is all we can do. We have to continue to strive to do as much good as we can, and not be attached to the outcome.

Some people have good ideas that cannot be heard because they are ahead of their time. Stendahl, the father of the modern novel, died unrecognized and his books only became popular classics a century later. There are many such examples.

The Human Effectiveness Institute was set up to carry on my work in perpetuity, knowing that in my own lifetime my results could be limited. Without funds to carry out more extensive research into the brain, Quantum Mechanical interactions with consciousness, controlled experiments with new forms of education and so on, I don’t know if any of my ideas are right. All I know is that I will continue to try to find out as best I can, because I see promise of wide benefit if any of these ideas are right.

Jung was the first modern scientist to postulate that the intuition is a true function of consciousness capable of deriving accurate solutions to complex challenges. In our own time many scientists are studying the capabilities of the right cortex in pursuit of knowing more about the intuition. I expect in time we will discover that the intuition is a true set of algorithms and heuristic equations able to predict correct answers even though the left-cortex intellect is not able to explain step by logical step why that answer is correct.

In short, the reason I bet my life on my ideas is that they are the product of intuition. These ideas feel to me as nearing the direction of truth, even though they may turn out to be slightly to the right or left of being exactly correct. I can choose to be safe and not share these ideas, or to risk loss of face by sharing them. Given the potential to reduce suffering, it’s a person’s duty to put aside personal risk and contribute whatever ideas could be helpful to society.

Here are six ideas I expect will turn out to have some beneficial effects in the centuries ahead. We recommend whatever funds can be allocated to test these ideas further as a prudent investment in the future of humanity.

  1. The Theory of the Conscious Universe*. Hypothesis: the spark of selfness in each of us is actually a dub of the single consciousness that exists. Quantum mechanics would be the appropriate testbed for experiments searching for interaction effects between consciousness and matter/energy. This would be a starting point leading to experiments that expand our sphere of scientific knowledge into what used to be called metaphysics. Once given proof that we are all truly One, the implications for war, terrorism, violence, hatred, crime, fear of death, and other negative phenomena would be profound. The diffusion of such proof from intellectual circles down to the level of affecting the emotion-driven behavior of the common person in the age of Acceleritis™ would be the next challenge after finding such proof.
  2. The Theory of Holosentience. Hypothesis: latest evolution of the human brain is still in the field debugging stage, with the left cortex and limbic system driving behavior in an unbalanced fashion relative to under-developed patterns of use in the right cortex and prefrontal cortex. This lack of integration in whole-brain utilization has propagated the formerly backward violent culture into a technologically advanced violent culture. The inventiveness springing from the new brain parts, even used in an unbalanced manner, has caused an acceleration in question-producing stimuli falling upon the average human consciousness per day, which we call Acceleritis™. This has proceeded through three phases involving the invention of written (“seeable”) language, tools/weapons, and media. Brain research and controlled experiments in new educational interventions are the directional recommendations for research proving the efficacy of specific psychotechnological applications to increase human effectiveness, thus improving creative decision making to solve world level challenges. Such educational interventions would include forms of meditation, including what we call psychotechnology — the applied use of meditation continuously throughout life.
  3. Democracy enabled by Social Media. Hypothesis: the new media have finally reached a stage in which true participatory democracy is possible. All that is required is to launch and fine-tune the specific applications. Mining/crowdsourcing the solution ideas of the entire population so that the everyone can discuss these ideas intelligently and “vote” on them through Digital and all other media, could turn out to be the highest use of these media we have invented. Moderated commentary is essential in order to filter out the rancor that characterizes current political discourse, and to keep the process pointed at constructive solutions rather than blame.
  4. Individualized Education to Realize the Potential of all Human Beings. Hypothesis: the most valuable resource is the talent latent in human beings. If society were reorganized to practice true education, we would all benefit from far greater creative output. By true education what I mean is education that is true to the original meaning of the word, which is derived from two Latin roots, educare and educere, meaning “to draw out” something that is in there already. Our education system operates on the opposite basis of pounding stuff in that is not already in the child. The proposed new form of education would utilize batteries of tests to identify the innate talents and interests of a child. On the basis of these interests and talents the child would be helped to design his or her own work/study program from kindergarten on (with a modicum of the basics). In the old Russian and Chinese programs the testing was there to find out the child’s talents, but the child’s preferences were not considered. This created the opposite of utopia, i.e. dystopia. As George Burns said, chewing his cigar, “Do what you love to do. You’re going to be doing it all your life. You’d better love it.” Organizations would take part and begin to identify and sponsor children from their earliest contact with the new education system. If America were to institute individualized education, other nations would once again look up to us and understand our role as practical idealists striving to lead the world into a higher destiny. Combining this with true democracy through our media would put America back on the course set for it by the founders.
  5. A New Money System. Hypothesis: a smooth transition to a more optimal monetary system could eliminate world poverty without negative side effects. There is more than one possible money system. Our present money system just grew like Topsy. It was not designed based on consideration of all alternatives, or by controlled experimentation, optimization, or any systematic means. While modern banking can be traced back to medieval and early Renaissance Italy, the first records of banking activity date back to around 2000 BCE in Assyria and Babylonia, where the merchants of the ancient world made loans to farmers and traders that carried goods between cities. Banking transactions probably predate the invention of money, in that deposits initially consisted of grain and later other goods including cattle, agricultural implements, and eventually precious metals such as gold, which were stored in temples and palaces to deter thieves.** From money as symbols for cattle, to the Templars, to Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes, the random walk of events led to the present monetary system. Naturally those with the power of violent control would steer any emerging system in their own favor, whether it was the currency of exchange, organized religion, statehood, or any other system. Some of the violence perpetuated by the imbalances in brain use described above would sublimate into passive aggression through the exploitation of the masses by the rich and powerful. Imbalances in brain usage have led to imbalances in individual opportunity. Revolutions have occurred to rectify the situation, always resulting in the new leadership re-creating similar imbalances afterward, because the fundamental imbalances at the brain level had not changed. Communism was one flailing attempt at a new money system that was spectacularly wrong. This does not mean that a new money system as a concept is automatically going to be wrong. Our best economic thinkers could probably design credible alternatives and baby steps that could cautiously test these designs. Robert A. Heinlein in For Us, The Living depicts a future in which the Social Credit ideas of economist C.H. Douglas have become the norm. In this system, the government prints money not backed by gold (as is the case in America today) and extends this money to all citizens like an allowance. This differs from Communism in the freedom given to the individual as to how to spend or invest the allowance, and how to spend or invest one’s time. Alberta (Canada) started to test these ideas during the Great Depression until shut down by the courts. Nobody knows how well the idea would have worked if it had not been shut down. Today’s economists presumably could come up with even better ideas than those of a century ago. Renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs in The End of Poverty describes a path to eliminating extreme poverty by 2025 without any fundamental change in the money system, and all 191 UN member states in 2002 agreed to this plan, called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Extreme poverty is the tip of the poverty iceberg and it is possible by opening our minds to even more creative possibilities for the money system, all poverty and fear of poverty can be banished in this century.
  6. Cause-Centralized Marketing. Hypothesis: advertisers can increase sales and profitability by doing good works and publicizing these good works in miniprograms in place of some of their TV commercials. Cause marketing — a form of corporate public relations hinged on good corporate citizenship, doing good works/philanthropy — is today about a $1 billion annual phenomenon. This is about a tenth of one percent of the total spent worldwide each year on marketing/advertising/PR. A very small allocation and yet there is evidence that the return on investment from cause marketing and related forms of marketing such as true sponsorship is far greater than the ROI of average marketing/advertising/PR. The Cone agency in Boston has done surveys for years proving that the majority of the public will change brands to favor brands who are corporate good guys. My own work on true sponsorship (underwriting good content on TV/Digital media) shows 7X the average persuasion scores as compared to 30-second TV commercials, along with higher ROI. People are more affected by substantive actions by advertisers to improve the lives of human beings, than by claims of superior cleaning power etc. So why such a low allocation for cause marketing? The main reason is reach. Marketers know that cause marketing and true sponsorship have high impact but low reach. The obvious solution then would be to create a form of cause marketing that has high reach: replace some of the advertiser’s TV commercials with equal length units showcasing the individual human stories of people who have benefited from the advertiser’s support of good causes. This would provide high reach, high impact, and social good. A truly win/win solution. True sponsorship can also be emulated in commercial length units by means of miniprograms that touch people’s hearts, tagged with the brand’s name at the end. Changing the advertising can do more to uplift the entire culture than can be imagined. Advertising in a way is like the chatter that goes on in our minds — a form of background radiation that conditions our perceptions, thoughts and feelings. Why not channel it for the good of all — especially since the evidence points to that being the highest ROI solution anyway?

If any of these ideas makes sense to you, and if you would like to help me move it forward using a few minutes a week of your time or whatever you can manage, please let me know. I feel there is latent promise in these ideas and each needs a lot more work to bear fruit.

Best to all,

Bill

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

**See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_banking for more background on the subject.

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Originally posted 2012-01-26 16:07:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter