Rugged Individualists Do Not Become Followers

Created January 14, 2021

It’s often been said that Americans are rugged individualists. As compared with the world average, I would agree with that as an American average.

It’s also been recently media-drummed into our heads that only far-right Americans are rugged individualists, and that the rest of us – all of us who are not far right – are socialists/collectivists.

This is a Big Lie that apparently has been successfully installed in the minds of (my estimate post insurrection) 40 million Americans – and I estimate that another 40 million de-installed that program around January 7.

The strange behaviors we see all around us lately make it really easy for me to establish my case as to how powerfully the media affect us.

This post continues the current series “On the Road to Flow” aimed at helping you stay in higher levels of consciousness (Observer and Flow states) which the great psychologist of individualism Abraham Maslow called “peak experiences”. He also coined the term “Self-Actualized” to describe human beings who had truly identified and exalted their individuality. And thereby found themselves in more continuous peak experiences.

Today’s post comes at this from two angles:

  1. How to become a true patriotic American rugged individualist by not being taken over and made a mind-slave of the media you’ve consumed.
  2. How to become a true rugged individualist by ferreting out and removing the remnants of your early conditioning.

Increasing Discrimination Applied to New Media Input

We continue to be programmed all the days of our lives, until we truly wake up to Observer state and Flow state levels, after which we are far less prone to being programmed by media and others. Until we reach those levels of peak experience and semi-Enlightenment, we are easily able to be taken over by charismatic tyrants, Big Lies, code words and symbols, and the sense of belonging and power we get by aligning with charismatic tyrants.

We go along with that programming while we are in the unconscious trance called Normal Waking Consciousness because it makes us feel less bad. But we can be swept up like pawns, used and thrown away by the charismatic tyrant, and then possibly incarcerated by Law & Order against which we (our true inner spirit) unintentionally transgressed (followers wind up trapped in scapegoating someone the master wishes to punish). Of course, our Ego was totally involved in the intention. And there is no way to absolve an individual of the consequences of acts caused by the AI rather than the me-that-was-born. That would be too easy an excuse. The Universe does not offer that escape clause. Nor do human councils assembled with the intention for justice.

The terrible Capitol Insurrection is a very strong advertisement for the need humanity has to truly wake up to the way their heads work and how to stay master of it.

Removing Conditioning from Past Influences

In the Flow state, one’s attention is single-pointed and all-encompassing, it sees and acts upon everything in your inner sensorium and in your so-called outer world at once – your entire phenomenal experience bubble in one go. In fact, if one were to break that concentration by thinking about it, that would:

  1. Take you down out of Flow into Observer state.
  2. Have you commenting on how unusual it is to be Flowing as if dancing with a perfect dance partner who is the entire outside world as it is experienced by you at this moment.

But when you are not in the Flow state nor even in the Observer state, when you are in that most common of states, Normal Waking Consciousness, your attention is decidedly not single-pointed. And you are not merged with the outside world at all.

One of things you have been unwittingly conditioned into habitually doing in that Normal Waking state, is to constantly rate how well you did a moment ago.

For one thing, this blocks you from going into Observer or Flow state, because it takes you out of the Now into the Past. This squanders your scarce resource of attention, except when it is necessitated, such as by your suspecting you have just made and must instantly correct a horrendous gaffe.

In the great majority of such moments however there is no compelling evidence of such urgency to continuously rate yourself.

This is merely one example of the pernicious invisible conditioning we all go through in life – despite everyone’s best intentions.

From Chapter 4 of MIND MAGIC:

This self-rating program

Is another internalized voice

Which originally belonged to other individuals

Who used it as a reward-punishment device

To condition you to perform in the ways

They wanted you to perform.

When you did what they wanted,

They said “(your name) good boy/girl”;

When you didn’t do what they wanted,

They said “(your name) bad boy/girl.”

This program now has independent life in your head.

You’ll note that MIND MAGIC is written in a peculiar way, almost like poetry. I call it “Inner Head Language”. I find that it works best in changing my own behavior. It may be that its child-like simplicity is for some reason more accessible to the theorized AI in our brains. As if the Ego conditioning comes from a time we were very young, when this was the only language we understood then, so the code in our heads is written in that language.

To read the full chapter of MIND MAGIC on this subject please click here.

To get the whole book free please click here. (Free offer expires upon herd immunity to Covid-19.)

All my best,

Bill

Re-Open Closed Switches Inside

Created January 8, 2021

HAPPY 2021! Wishing all of us a fresh start – pull up the transparent screen and erase 2020 and before – and you are new again, the world is new again – all hurts forgiven.

In my December 22, 2020 post I cautioned against hasty closure – the habit of making instantaneous choices reflecting ancient decisions. The objective is to reassert your true self – the you that was born – and to deny power to the Ego conditioning you received without having chosen it. Of course, if you are reclaiming your castle, you must be suspicious of anything inside you that moves you to immediately decide something new, the same way you have always decided that sort of thing before.

Each new moment is a new moment by definition. Treating it as an instance of a type of moment you have long since decided how to deal with, has zero potential to aid you in detecting as-if-traitorous inner habits. Considering alternatives that appear inconsistent with who you were is a worthwhile activity at this time. You may come back to where you were before on the subject, but do not assume that automatically. Automaticity is a sign of the inner robot at work – not the true you that was born, but the mechanical AI built out of protein neurons in your brain – your Ego.

In other words, as much as you may have appreciated the value of consistency as an abstract principle, you now, in recreating yourself anew, need to put a pin in that. You need to broaden your range of creative possibilities. It is a new world, a new day, you have paid off your mental mortgage to the past. Start right now. Be willing to reconsider everything, reopen all possibilities, take your time. Beginnings are not a time for haste. And even years from now, start life with a clean slate each moment. The you who was born, the observer that you are, inherently knows how to integrate all of your learnings to apply them to the present moment, and presents one impulse toward action for your motor control to adopt and activate.

With nearly equal speed, your Ego AI computes an impulse to action which is more likely to represent selfish goals.

Each moment you get to choose which of these impulses to act upon. It may not be obvious which is which. That’s why it makes sense to give yourself time before reacting instantly – except in the rare emergency situations.

Choosing what is the Right thing to do is the safest bet even in emergencies. That is more likely to be coming from your “heart” (essence, true self) rather than from your conditioning.

When you have given something adequate consideration and are sure of how you wish to be from now on, watch yourself create that intention and make that resolution. Act in small ways on that resolution immediately thereafter. Remember that resolution as an accomplishment in itself. Honor it upon going to sleep and upon waking up. The momentum of your robot will not make it easy to stick to new resolutions made by the conscious self, watch for trickery to cause you to lapse into pre-resolution modes of behavior. Note these objectively and redouble cautions against premature closure.

Avoid describing yourself, even to yourself. Remind yourself “That is how I used to be. I now seize the right to be differently if I so choose.”

Avoid mimicry. Do not submit to the prevailing worldview, while continuing to show it due respect.

Do not let yourself get carried away by the momentum of others.

Our expectations create perceptual screens. Tear away such screens by having no expectations. Look at what is actually there. See things as they really are by studying everything much more closely, as if you have never seen such a thing before, although it is old hat.

Ignore usual concepts of what is beautiful or ugly. See what is really out there. It was all put there by the same Artist.

Do not look at a situation and say that it is bad. Ask yourself instead, How might good be brought out of such a situation.

To read the full chapter of MIND MAGIC on this subject please click here.

To get the whole book free please click here. (Free offer expires upon herd immunity to Covid-19.)

Wishing you a 2021 that stands out as far upward in your memory as 2020 stands out downward in your memory.

All my best,

Bill

De-Robotizing Your Free Will

Created December 30th, 2020

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! May 2021 be the year we all learn to fully appreciate the lives we had before, and now are able to have again – sometime during the year.

In prior posts, I’ve hypothesized that we come into this world as an experiencer, and from our very first moments, our being’s very essence is that original witness. Free, and in bliss, until disturbed. That is our true Self.

However, now, in the waking state of consciousness, we associate a lot of other content with that true self: all the stuff in our Ego memory which has conditioned our current inflexible reactions. All of that memory (according to Freud, and which rings true for me) involved learning from instances of disturbance.

All memory, physically, consists of neuron networks that the brain has built as result of all the experience undergone in this life. The Ego is that part of the neuronal structure that relates to craving perceived deficiencies, self-esteem, and the approval of others.

Disturbance, learning, building of Egoic neuron association pathways. Creation of a protein castle in the head which gradually assumes more and more political importance in relation to the original witnesser, and to all other memories.

Some of the Ego’s “automatic pilot” programs in our head were punched in by our “conscious mind pilot”. But the great preponderance of our Egoic automatic-pilot programming appears to be of the Pavlovian variety, whereby we were addicted as we grew up to certain types of shallow rewards, without this being anyone’s conscious intention.

These shallow rewards cluster around the concepts of gaining approval and the support of others. This is easy to understand when we look at it this way: we know that the earlier in our lives something affected us, the more power it has. Psychologists have concluded that the first five years sets the keel for the person. Per Freud, again, the Ego (this mass of neurons, this robot bio-AI) first appeared at the moment the baby’s needs were not immediately met. By extrapolation, the function of building the adult Ego was a process revolving around first getting the parents to do what baby wanted, and then by further extrapolation, gaining the favors of everyone we met after that, using what we had learned from the Ego’s negotiations with one’s parents.

I’ve hypothesized that the latter mass and its functionality have welded themselves onto our sense of self. We always react to the same types of situations in the same ways. The programs are going through their steps while we sleepily look on, along for the ride.

In peak experiences such as Maslow and Csikszentmihaly wrote about, we escape the welded state and are able to see everything, including the machinations of the internal bio-AI in us, which I identify as Freud’s Ego principle. This neurons and associations produced by the experience since birth, I also call the Robot, my name for the same thing.

How do you get into the Observer state – your “Me That Was Born”? All of these posts in the “On the Road to Flow” series are aimed at answering that question. Today’s post specifically relates to the removal of conditioning from oneself.

Step one is to observe one’s own inner and outer behaviors, which of course, has the added benefit of putting you right into the Observer state (at least momentarily; you will see that your ability to stay there for longer and longer periods does itself).

Observe your Self as if studying another person, so as to be able to truly register things which have become too familiar to notice. Particularly study when you sense yourself experiencing emotions. Trace the source of the emotion. Something very important to you either got trampled on or caressed with a velvet glove. What was that thing so important to you as to have these emotions well up automatically, a la Pavlov’s dog?

Why was that thing so important to you? What is your earliest memory that could be related to you wanting that thing so very much?

Do you still care that much about that thing in your conscious mind? Or is that kneejerk reaction something you have outgrown and can live without?

What is more important to you now, being a person whose Will can overcome anything else inside, a person who is Master over self, or a person like the great mass of society, who has been conditioned into being a rolebot, and doesn’t even know it?

When you begin this guiltless housecleaning of your psychological innards, make sure you are not frustrated, angry and scared when you find that you cannot turn your own mind on a dime. It has habituated those behaviors repetitively for so long the psychic momentum is enormous. Your deciding to change 100% instantly would not be realistic. You must accept that the Ego will fight as if a living mind parasite to maintain control of you. But it isn’t a parasite, it’s a symbiote, all it ever wanted to do was help, and it’s autonomic, mechanical in its functioning, it isn’t a separate mind and will, although it seems that way at times. Don’t divide yourself against yourself by getting mad at it. Sense of humor is one of the highest most practical senses we have; use it. Be patient. Take a long term view. If you never give up, you will get there. That is the right course of action.

For the MIND MAGIC chapter providing more in-depth tools on this subject please click here. Remember, until the herd is immune to Covid-19 you are able to get the whole book free.

All my best,

Bill

Click here for our New Years gift, a song from Stan Satlin.

Holiday Blessings

A holiday gift to you from all of us here at The Human Effectiveness Institute and songwriter Stan Satlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooF8CDQIpDE

Outsmart Hasty Closure

Created December 22nd, 2020

Built into each human being before birth is an information-processing program whose apparent purpose is to help us understand our external and internal experiences.

It works as follows: certain experiences or perceptions trigger a feeling of dissonance in the mind; you pay closer attention to and think about these until you have a feeling of having absorbed their information, at which point the feeling of dissonance goes away and we say that you have achieved closure.

 Hasty closure can be defined as those instances in which it would have been useful to you to think further before closure. In the Observer state or Flow state peak experience states of consciousness – we are “above” or “behind” the autonomic mind (Ego) and Hasty Closure does not occur.

“Acceleritis”  — the condition caused by having too many things to pay attention to all at the same time, and pretty much all the time — makes us impatient if we are in “normal waking consciousness” – the autonomic mind (Ego aka The Robot). When we do not fully understand something, the drive for closure becomes palpable within our minds. We may become frustrated and maybe even apoplectic, especially if additional variables continue to be introduced — a ringing telephone, someone comes in with a request or sends us a text or e-mail, etc. If we are living in a state of continual impatience, our minds will do anything to get to closure as quickly as possible. If we run our lives and our minds in the usual impatient way, we will lack insight into this process, and so we will be eager to grab our mind’s first offering of a way to closure.

To help you distinguish which of these states you are in at any given moment, here below are some of the signs of hasty closure. When you spot these signs happening within yourself, you are jumping into the Observer state!:

  • One of the most obvious effects of Acceleritis is the increased tendency to see things in black/white terms rather than in shades of gray. “She is always out to get me.” “That guy is never right.”
  • Positions based on beliefs rather than on personal empirical experience. “A company should always be sharply focused on just one thing.” “Religion is just superstition.” “The White Race is supreme.” These beliefs likely came from other people who were influential in your life, including your parents.
  • Negative Charge. The presence of negative emotion such as tension, fear, anger or irritation. These feelings are evidence that you are seeing a situation a certain way, and on top of that, you have subconsciously already decided on a strategy for dealing with it. With such a negative premise, this is not likely to work.

Often these closures will trace back to experiences you had many years ago that you interpreted in a way that locks you into a certain inflexibility, and which trick you into believing you have learned something empirically from your own personal bad experience. But you’ve been fooled by the takeaway you received from that experience; the real lesson is somewhat subtler than the lesson you articulated to yourself long ago.

Typically, you may have overcompensation bias. You were too open, you thought you learned a big lesson, but now you are too guarded — “falling off the opposite side of the log”. You may have been too generous and now you’re too stingy, too severe and now too gentle, too trusting and now not trusting anything or anyone. And so on. You learned the wrong lesson — it wasn’t black or white, it was finding the right spot between them for each situation.

A powerful strategy for jumping into the Observer state is to doubt your own last thought/feeling. Before going off half-cocked, look back at what you just thought or felt, and demand proof before you choose what action to take. This ensures that all of you, your whole self, is in charge, not taken over by a part of you.

You may have an investment in accepting some thoughts over others, such as thoughts that make you look smart to yourself. Just knowing that you can be biased goes a long way to seeing past any bias you may have lurking in your head.

Don’t take anything to extremes. This post is not meant to turn you into Hamlet, never able to make a decision. You must in fact become more decisive, simply not hasty: think things through thoroughly and then take action. If you sense something is dragging on too long and you have needed to take action for some time, you really need to get away by yourself for however long it takes (within reason) to plan out what to do decisively.

Enjoy the peak experiences of the holiday season,

Bill

Your You-ness

Created December 17th, 2020

To recap recent posts, this series within Pebbles in the Pond, “On the Road to Flow”, is aimed at helping you establish yourself in the Observer state, so as to be able to spring into the Flow state more often. We kicked off the series by reviewing the work of Abraham Maslow, who identified the existence of these higher states of consciousness, which he called “peak experiences”. We then introduced the work of Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, who identified a higher state that Maslow had not alluded to directly but which ought to fall within Maslow’s definition of peak experiences. This he called the Flow state, and it is characterized by perfect action doing itself and a disappearance of the difference between self and other, a unity of self with the entire experience bubble (as I call it).

I introduced my additional higher state I call the Observer state, which appears to be the first step on the ladder upward from normal waking consciousness. I provided some preliminary takeaways about how to know when you are in the Observer state, and how not to immediately kick yourself out of the Flow or Observer states when you get there. After this post we shall turn from theory to practice: takeaways helpful to getting into and staying in these higher states.

I promised at the end of the prior post to discuss one more eminent philosopher of psychology in this issue, and because I used the hint “Ego” many of you probably knew I was going to talk about Freud.

To Sigmund Freud, when we are born, the original self we are is the Id, an animal-like mentality devoid of conscience, and the Ego arises as a mediator the first time our needs are not immediately cared for. Later we gain a Superego by being taught what civilization expects of us, that is the conscience.

I agree with Freud about a few things, and differ about a few. (Of course, what do I know, I am only talking about my own experience, a sample of one.) I agree with Freud that there is “The Me That Was Born”. To me, that is the Observer, the True Self, the Essence, the Witness, The Experiencer, Who We Really Are. To me it does not have conscience nor lack conscience, it is pure of such considerations, but intuitively loves and protects everything. So, quite unlike Freud’s description of the id, the original you-ness is neither animal-like nor intrinsically selfish, in my estimation: it is the pure experiencer, consciousness itself. On the other hand, I agree with Freud’s writings about the source and nature of the Ego and feel that the Superego is part of the Ego.

To me, the Ego consists of the neuronal connections the brain makes, starting when the individual begins to have experiences. Freud likens it to a manager but I think of it more as a press agent, and that’s close enough to know Freud and I are both talking about the same thing.

What I am saying is that the protein constructions the brain builds are the Ego and Superego. The True Self is The Observer that was born. When we get into the Observer state, we are residing in and acting from the Me That Was Born. At all other times, the Observer, The True Self, is merely along for the ride, watching and identifying with the modulations of the mind and feelings generated by the neuronal net the brain has built in a “machine learning” way from internalizing and learning from our experiences.

My hypothesis is that the Ego we think we are is actually like a bio-AI. A robotical system we have become falsely identified with over time, starting from the original terror we felt upon noting our own helplessness and lack of understanding at a world that could and often did hurt us. This subsentience became our tour guide and we trusted it to take care of us. We had no idea how it would enslave us. In the average moment, the average person believes this AI is the self.

What does this mean for you?

You will know you’re not in the Observer state (nor in any higher state) if you are experiencing even mild negative emotion, making judgments that are critical of people or things, rating your own performance – the list goes on and we will cover all of it in this series. These experiences are “tells” that you are centered in your Ego – that built-up defensive self that you were not born with but is now a network of real physical neurons in your brain. In my estimation this evolutionary development is not a positive survival factor – even when we need to protect ourselves the Ego just seems to make things worse – whereas staying out of Ego would make you more formidable and effective in your own self-defense.

Your sense of self (I call “Your You-Ness”) can be in one of two places:

  1. Your true self that was born, which is an observer not obsessively attached to what is going on in experience bubble. The Observer enjoys an intrinsic sense that everything will work itself out and it therefore stays cool. That is where you want your You-ness to reside. And the locus of your You-ness, your sense of self, is controllable, but much trickier than riding a bicycle.
  2. Your Ego, or robot, a mechanistic and deterministic response of a neuronal net biological AI in your brain which evolution thought might be helpful. Science has observed in many species that evolution produces dead ends sometimes.

Takeaways:

  • Keep your sense of self apart from the thoughts, feelings, and images rolling through you. Observe those ephemera and decide if there are gems of wisdom in there anywhere which could be actionable in your current life situation, and let the rest go by.
  • Especially let any annoying thoughts go by, those are definitely the Ego. It can only help you as an alarm clock does, by pointing out that deep down inside a few things are bugging you. Write those down and when you feel like it, look at the bug list dispassionately as if these were concerns one of your children or mentees brought you, asking you to make it better. Intelligently and without excessive caring determine what your best advice will be to your Ego-self.

To be continued.

My best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

 

Observerness

Created December 11, 2020

Happy Chanukah, commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the one that Jesus loved! Wishing you a glorious Festival of Lights!

This continues from the prior post. We are discussing how you can reach and stay longer in the higher states of consciousness, real states whose existence have been reported throughout history, and by distinguished scientists such as Abraham Maslow and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

In the chart above I immodestly put myself on the same page as two of the greatest psychologists of all time. Not to seek to elevate myself to their class, but simply to compare what developed in my own worldview from my own experiences during a period in my life when I had heard of neither of these wonderful people.

To me what is interesting is how similar the three worldviews are!

As an applied scientist in the field of marketing and media science, such consilience is a suggestor that some objective truth is out there underlying three such similar although independently developed models. There is a higher state of consciousness, and probably a ladder of them, although the ladder idea is implicit in Maslow, and not mentioned in Mihaly’s work (or I missed it).

Maslow had said that the highest state available to humankind is self-actualization. And then, later in life he amended that to state that there was a higher level of self-transcendence. Peak experiences he said are the moment to moment manifestations of being in those upper states. For the average human, in the average moment, life was not a peak experience but a relatively drab one, laboring at tasks not selected by one’s own passionate interest but which pay the bills, and rescue one from penury, disdain, rejection and a sense of failure and worthlessness. The needs the average person experiences in the average moment are driven by the desire to avoid unwelcome outcomes and are pervaded by a sense of needing to compensate for one’s own deficiencies.

What does this mean for you? It points to a simple way you can check on your own state, as often as it occurs to you. The more your heart yearns for peak experiences and a life of fulfilment, the more often you will naturally check in on your own state. These states can fluctuate very rapidly, as you may have experienced yourself.

Maslow took the long view whereas both Mihaly’s work and my own are phenomenologies rather than typologies in that we focus on moment to moment changes. For example, the moment when one realizes one is in Flow state, can be the moment that kicks one immediately out of Flow state, so it is important to not let that happen by avoiding the reflex of gloating.

Mihaly focuses on how Flow arises when there is an equilibrium between the challenge and one’s own skill set. Psychologists Yerkes and Dodson found that the degree of arousal (how much one cares about winning) when at a midpoint causes maximum performance. Mihaly and these other folks were on the same page. In my own self-taught methods I found that I performed best when I had “burnt out” attachment to winning and was just watching to see what would happen when I just played the game for its own sake.

Takeaways so far from this post:

  • Check in on your own state.
  • If you find yourself having a Flow state experience beware of patting yourself on the back and just keep focused on what you are doing.
  • If you are in a situation where you would like the highest performance from yourself, remember to focus on the doing and not on whether you will score high or low.
  • Prepare yourself for this neutral, detached state starting well before the event, if possible. Visualize how you will act nobly whether you win or lose, literally visualize each outcome separately, and how you will behave if that moment comes.

As you can see from the chart above, my model is a bit more complex than the other two. I suspect that what Maslow referred to as spiritual or self-transcendent experiences, I refer to as Spiritual Flow. Under that the next level down in my model is Flow, where one is performing at one’s best effortlessly and without attachment to how well or poorly one is performing. Next step down is the Observer state, the doorway to the states above it.

You know when you are in the Observer state, not when the kibitzing narrator mind turns off, but when you can observe its workings and its fears and angers, without getting sucked into them, as if they are outside oneself.

In the state of normal waking consciousness, one tends to play tapes, say the same things over a lifetime, like a mechanical robot, and to be subject to irremediable lifelong pain depending on how others react to us – Maslow’s reference to “deficiency”, what I have always thought of as defensiveness or self-protectiveness.

Added takeaway:

  • Note when you are in the Observer state. You may not be doing everything perfectly as in the Flow state, but you are keeping your detached witness identity and seeing what your lower mind is doing without be carried away by it. It’s highly conducive to Flow to happily remain in the Observer state for longer and longer periods of time.

You’ll also note that in the schema above I introduce the work of another philosopher of psychology by using the word “Ego” in the context of normal waking consciousness. Let’s start there in the next post.

My best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.