Category Archives: Consciousness

Statement of Work

Created June 11, 2021

This is an SOW for the human race. It’s really an urgent request.

You see, it’s difficult to see something that is gigantic. Your mind has an automatic program for suppressing cognitive dissonance, especially during Acceleritis.

This is not any less threatening than all of those movies. This is the oncoming reality of those scary movies.

It’s time for each of us to stand up and pitch in.

Putting aside the petty grievances of the past.

This part is for philanthropists:

Think outside the box, it’s not business as usual right now.

Old reliable methods may need to be set aside during the emergency.

Where can your gifts do the most good?

After putting out the fires of old rivalries, Job Number One will be something like

  1. Bring all people in the world up to the current national average household income in the USA
  2. Do it respecting their desire to work for it, make fair deals, family education covered
  3. This is greenfield economic opportunity for everyone, if we go cold turkey on our addiction to dystopian expectations

In other words, if you can imagine for a second that the human addiction to violence might disappear suddenly, without having to think about that all the time, the development of the underdeveloped would be the natural magnet. That’s where the growth rate will be the most impressive, good for stock prices.

Only the violence and the addictive tendencies of the mind separate us, the human race, from stepping across the great divide, into seeing our wholeness, our connectivity, our oneness.

But if we could all be given that vision, wear that lens, for ten minutes, we would ask so what are we going to do instead? And self-realizing that there are excitingly vast possibilities in a future in which we can get along without hate, overt or covert.

The planet needs a lot of work, let’s get it organized and start to put it back together better than it ever was.

Belonging, Unity, and the Future of the USA

Created May 28, 2021

Belonging (a sense of social acceptance) is one of the 15 Motivations uncovered by the scientific* work I have been doing for the past 30 years or so.

Belonging is the most complex of the 15 Motivations in the sense that it contains more variations within it. It contains 25 Need States, such as Nationalism and Levity, and 220 of the 265 DriverTagsTM, each of which is a highly specific state of mind. It’s possible that Belonging is a hard-wired instinct, at the core of our nature as social animals, perhaps one of the survival characteristics that has caused homo sapiens (and other species) to be able to still be standing.

That’s why it hurts so much to be cast out of your belonging group. Like in the case of Liz Cheney, for example.

Although political parties were not mentioned in the US Constitution, 20 years later they sprung up and were bolted onto the constitutional system called the USA. Whether the political parties have done more good than harm is still a matter of debate. But one thing they have definitely supplied is the opportunity for belonging, something we all need. This would explain why 59% (Gallup) of Americans today belong to one of the two parties.

As the need for a sense of belonging is a constant, it’s possible that getting this mood-enhancing brain “drug” from political parties has become more important in recent decades as the power of the family might have declined, with children caring more about belonging to their peer group than their family, happening at earlier and earlier ages (hypothesis).

Religion for sure has lost a lot of its hold as a means for transmitting a sense of belonging.

Race has possibly become elevated as a means for generating the sense of belonging, as in the case of white supremacists.

Hypothesis: as the sense of belonging has deprecated from its traditional sources, that created an urgency of need which increased the emotional connection of party membership as a self-identifier.

Rhetoric is the art and potentially science of using words so as to cause people to believe them, whether they are true or not. Rhetoric existed before the media, but then the media became a means for applying extremely powerful rhetoric. Hitler used this in the case of cinema and other media. Today’s internet and social media are analogous to the atomic bomb version of rhetoric.

During the Greatest Generation’s watch, it would have been spectacularly unsuccessful to try to use rhetoric to pull the wool over people’s eyes to the extent that is happening today. I see it as having reached a point of mass hysteria.

Today it would probably entrain belief in the minds of at least ten million Americans if QAnon added another story that all fish can fly. Their fish minds have been taken over by devices used by the Democratic party obtained from pedophilic socialist aliens. They won’t let you see them fly, they only do it when you aren’t looking. But some day, there will be skies filled with dangerous fish swooping down on American patriots to wipe them out.

When you look at the strength of the need for a sense of belonging, how the traditional sources of this have been petering out, how political parties have always known that a populist charismatic leader is the thing to have, and then layer in the mind-bending power of the media (wait for artificial reality media to add to this brew), it’s possible to understand better what is going on today around the world not just in America.

It only took four years to push the USA back into its share of world power position (a measure of the perception of all people in the world) to pre-WWII levels.

Now as we attempt to restore ourselves to what we were there are also wild behaviors happening outside the US which we ourselves caused during those four years, not to mention a potentially genocidal mutating pandemic and an “edge city” environmental situation.

It certainly is a good time to pull together and figure things out by focusing objectively with high performing teamwork and enlisting more help from rich people to make the world the heavenly place it can be. We can actually do it.

Not the best time to have to reach 60% majority vote before we can go to the toilet. The filibuster has been rationalized as preventing “the tyranny of the majority” and “preventing action that has not been fully thought out”. The Founders did not lock in the need for a 60% majority in passing bills, so despite being some of the greatest pragmatic geniuses in history, these considerations somehow did not occur to them? More likely they did consider such things and left it to the voting outcome whether razor thin or unanimous to settle legislative issues.

To people whose careers are in government, it’s easy to see why filibuster might appeal to them. It gives power to stop legislation if one is in the minority. Think of how harmful this would be within a corporation. That’s how harmful it is in government, especially under the emergency conditions we are now faced with. Yet because a politician knows that it’s likely that half his or her career life will be spent as the minority, filibuster will be a floor under how bad one can feel. We non-politicians have no such swaddling cloths in our lives, we make our own successes and failures, we have no special entitlements that keep our control of others high when we have not earned that by majority vote of the people or by our individual performance in the eyes of our employers/clients/customers/users.

Unity is more than belonging, it is a highly desirable condition in which people work together toward common goals. That’s what we meant when we called ourselves the United States of America.

Unity has always been a strength of the Republican party, they are able to band together as a voting block (sic) whereas Democrats in the past have always been all over the lot in the diversity of their thinking. But today the Republican penchant for unity is allowing 4251 people who at best represent only about 14% of eligible voters in the US to impede the rest of us – polls showing that more than 60% of Americans like what the present administration is doing – from getting things done at the federal level, but even more dangerously are taking advantage of the powers which the Founders gave the State level.

Unless we the people speak up loudly enough, the future of America is that a number of States representing a minority of the population will drive out non-white people and many important businesses, who will migrate to the States where non-whites are offered equal opportunity and a sense of belonging.

Internally divided, we will still stand, but will not be the country we could be if we had unity restored.

Our degree of perceived vulnerability with a civil cold war will be exaggerated in the eyes of One Man Rulers abroad. They will come after us. It will not be heavenly at all.

That scenario must not be allowed. The only way to stop it is to use all your own social media efforts to put a stop to the self-destructive urges we have collectively been entertaining. Participate in polls, speak your mind, when the referendums come participate in them too.

Do not add to the problem by hating the 34 million of us who disagree, or the One Man Rulers of other countries, or any group or individual. Hate has no constructive outcomes. Hate erodes Reason. We need our ability to think clearly to rise to the top and to drive all of our behaviors. We need our emotions to be courageous enough to rise above fear and hate and to leave our minds open to win/win unity where dissenting voices are respected and included. Everyone must be included or we will never escape the downward spiraling cycle of divisiveness.

My best to all,

Bill

*When I say “scientific” what I mean is observing patterns in data, forming hypotheses from that, and then testing those hypotheses by means of controlled experiments, with the intention of discovering new and useful truths. The data I have used relates to the content that millions of anonymized individuals choose to consume on television and the Internet as measured by set top boxes and log files. This body of knowledge is meant to complement and inform the psychology systems (link to relevant example emanating from centuries of science using other data types.

 

What Is Conservatism?

Created May 14, 2021

The GOP did not start out to be a conservative party, but in our memories it has always been associated with conservatism. What is conservatism? It is conserving the value we have already created, and not risking it unnecessarily by taking steps believed to be progressive which might have hidden flaws.

In principle, it’s a good idea, and so is the idea of making things better. Ideally, if you have to have political parties at all (the US Constitution didn’t think so), lining the two parties up with conservative and progressive philosophies is a very sensible dichotomy. One can imagine them working together to produce an optimally balanced result.

But today, most of the leadership of the Republican party – about 4251 people – have moved away from conservatism. They are in fact much more radical than conservative. Radicalism can happen on the conservative end or the progressive end of the spectrum. The new radical right is even more dangerous to us and to our democracies than neoliberalism. The radical right is virtually a return to monarchy, the same kind of monarchy that was the enemy of the American Revolution: One Man Rule. It is an undoing of democracy as a failed experiment.

The more the world sees us quibbling with each other and paralyzed by filibuster, the more believable is the idea that democracy can never work.

Hitler kept the trains running on time. The cost of that benefit was the lives of 75 million people.

Yet today many of us are willing to set all that aside and go for a leader who can get things done, or at least convince millions of us that things are getting done.

The filibuster stalling during the Obama administration was the beginning of a breakdown that proved the system was not working. Filibuster and gerrymandering were largely the cause of that. Which only went downhill under Trump.

And yet Trump, the TV performer who used social media as mindlessly as millions of us, locked in on the basis of that gross rapport, a core following that today consists of 4251 people with enough power to retake the country plus (my estimate based on Pew and Gallup) 34 million Republicans who want Trump back. 34 million out of 239 million eligible voters. Definitely a minority.

We need philanthropists to sponsor an all-media education campaign to make sure that everyone understands what filibuster is, what gerrymandering is, and the voting rights issues behind today’s State-level rush to “fix” all future elections by making it harder to vote for people who are less likely to vote for the far-right Republicans, who are a minority.

Allowing mechanisms not in the Constitution which have demonstrated they can paralyze a government for an entire administration to continue is unacceptable. But until those “keep me in power” mechanisms are dismantled, they are a very large obstacle to their dismantlement!

Therefore, to let The People Speak For Themselves, those same philanthropists can help grassroots efforts toward referendums, and continuous State by State polling, to compare the wants of the citizens of each State, with the legislation being passed today in that State. These referendums (and polls where the referendums are thwarted at the State level) will demonstrate that a self-serving minority has gamed the system and is our new dictatorial government in the States where voting rights are today being set back after more than a half century of progress.*

This will expose States passing laws opposed by the majority of the people that they are supposed to be representing.

It is the 34 million slavish followers of Trump (and any radical kneejerk no-compromise people on the blue team) that need to be educated and to learn to think for themselves, and not echo the pronouncements of any one man (other than the sayings of great saints) or even the party line (multiple people), but to study the issues and reach their own independent conclusions.

An educational campaign can achieve those effects especially if it is in bite sized pieces and done with the quality that can be achieved by entertainment and advertising creatives and their research support.

Perhaps the federal government and the courts can achieve the restoration of order that is needed, but philanthropists who like to live in the USA, for reasons of enlightened self-interest ought to give money to support an educational campaign across all media to get people to think for themselves and study the facts not just believe what a politician tells them.

Especially focused around voting, filibuster, and gerrymandering, the three areas that radicals on both sides have abused for too long after creating filibuster and gerrymandering in the first place, none of that was what the Founders wrote into the Constitution.

The campaign needs to also explain what referendums are and how they work differently in each State.

A citizenry uninformed in relation to these foregoing subjects is easy prey for unscrupulous actors in high places.

It’s easy to just follow one man, it takes some of your time to study complex subjects, and millions of us are not disposed that way. Hence using the media to teach (in a non-partisan way and) in potent droplets is a logical communications strategy that is not being used enough today.

May the Middle Hold. May the extremes move toward the Center.

Best to all,

Bill

 

*True conservatives, by definition, would want to preserve progress made in the past. Someone who wants to erase past progress is a reactionary, one type of radical.

Feeling Happy

Created March 19, 2021

The Pursuit of Happiness. It’s one of our inalienable rights.

But do we exercise it enough?

What percent of our thoughts does happiness get?

Before Covid, probably our own happiness did not get much of our attention at all on the average day.

Since Covid, I hear from my friends that the constant video calls are keeping them busier than ever, and I’m certainly experiencing that myself. That might mean that we are giving even less thought to happiness, our own and that of others.

Those of us on the front lines, still moving around outside the home, may have even less time to self-contemplate. Although there are times in everyone’s day that can be stolen moments, when the priorities are remembered.

The trick is not just to remember to think creatively about how to make oneself and others happy. It’s also, even more importantly, to simply remember to be happy.

Not that we all can turn that off and on like a switch. Most of us have little talent for switching over to being happy. But with practice, like with everything, it actually is something that all of us can learn to do.

The way it works with me is:

  1. First, I create a minute or two of alone space. No one can interrupt or distract me. That may require slipping away and locking oneself in a bathroom.
  2. Long slow breaths help establish a certain calmness.
  3. I’m prepared to take notes with pad and pen in pocket. Just in case I get a flow of inspiration.
  4. Am I happy? If not, why not, what activity can I undertake when I rejoin the world that I’d rather be doing, and can I put off what else I’ve been doing, and if so, to when? I’ve written here before about the importance of working on what you feel like working on at the moment – it’s conducive to Flow state, on top of making yourself happy.
  5. I put on a smile to help others and leave my hideout.

You might find other ways to switch yourself to the happy channel. If there are seriously painful things going on, that’s a whole different situation. Still requiring creativity, alone space to focus. The only constructive question is always What can I do about it? You can’t control the outcome of certain painful situations but you can identify where you can exert creative effort to make a positive difference. Sometimes the only thing you can control is the impression you make on others, showing how a mensch can stand up to anything, supporting others, still able to have an apropos type of smile on your face, calm and working toward the good every moment.

All of us can be refreshed and reinvigorated by a daily dose of a few minutes’ contemplation on our happiness. Or the whole day, it’s the one thing worth double-tasking. While you go about your day, remember that you are responsible to yourself to enjoy every moment of the gift of life.

Bring able to keep that criterion within every moment is one of the most important priorities of life.

It might seem selfish but on a practical basis it is not. Your being happy will actually make people around you happier than they would be if you are unhappy instead.

All my best,

Bill

Don’t Fight Yourself

You may not realize it but sometimes you fight yourself. You are desirous of one type of outcome but your actions force you to the opposite outcome.

This is caused by mental-emotional processes that are built in.

How do you know when you are doing this to yourself?

One sure sign is negativity.

Negative emotions are a dead giveaway that you are fighting yourself. You want something very badly and your actions are going to work towards denying you that outcome.

The negativity is impossible to fully hide even if you are a great actor. And when the other person senses your negativity, they are less likely to be persuaded by whatever you say.

Negativity lowers your effectiveness. You are picturing yourself failing and that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There is one sense in which negative emotions are a useful tool. Like an alarm clock, they wake you up to a problem needing to be addressed. Just like an alarm clock, to be at your best and most effective, you turn off the alarm before doing anything else.

However, most people find it is virtually impossible to turn off their negative emotions.

Chapter 11 of MIND MAGIC (free links during the pandemic) provides a battery of tools which can enable you to turn off negative emotions, while getting down to creative solution thinking, that will aid you in whatever your outcome quest happens to be at the time.

The first thing to do is to understand where and why you are experiencing negative emotions.

The easiest case is fear. It will be fairly easy to figure out what you are afraid of.

Anger is another type of negative emotion that is a little more difficult to diagnose in terms of the cause. But the secret is to ask yourself what you are afraid of losing or not getting that is making you mad. Anger is always the result of fear of loss of something you have or are trying to get.

Depression or disheartenment are the most difficult types of negative emotions to figure out the cause of. If you feel a dull vague sense of negative emotion it could take a while to determine the cause.

Your feelings might be hurt. You could be frustrated at how long some things are taking. It could simply be the aftereffects of a bad dream.

When it takes more than a couple of minutes to see the cause of your negative emotions, the best approach is to stop trying to figure it out, and to take a break from work, get into an alone space (outdoors in nature is the best), and just goof off. Yoga or meditation would be ideal if you do those things. Otherwise goofing off is a perfectly acceptable proxy. Goofing off is very close to meditation. The main point when you don’t know why you are sulking, is to stop trying to get through your TO-DO LIST. Goofing off is a wonderful cure, because it allows the subconscious mind to send you messages. Ones which would almost never get through while you are enmeshed in your TO-DO LIST.

Once you find out the cause, then a useful tool is drawing schematics of action options, circles with captions indicating what they represent, and arrows indicating what you are feeling the cause and effect relationships would be if you took those actions. Keep going until you feel that you have a plan and a sense of inner clarity.

There is much more useful technique in the chapter at the link above. Here’s a sample:

Transform worries into tasks

 

by distinguishing

the variables you can control

from the variables you cannot control;

 

then set out to control the former variables

and essentially ignore the latter variables.

 

Worrying is negative input

once you have identified the controllable variables

and have set yourself to controlling them.

 

Worrying under such conditions

implies that you should concern yourself

with phenomena beyond your control;

such concern is misplaced,

since you will always have quite enough to think about

as regards phenomena that are under your control.

 

That which is beyond your control

is not your responsibility;

 

whatever happens that is beyond your control

can only be accepted as necessary.

 

Wishing you alignment with yourself and the much-admired capability to keep on smiling through whatever life throws at you.

All my best,

Bill

Identify With The Wisest Voice In Your Mind

Created February 19th, 2021

The average person is controlled by their own mind. This might seem like a very good thing, if we interpret it to mean that the average person acts autonomously, guided solely by their own independent view of things.

Unfortunately, the ruminations of words, images, feelings, and action impulses that we experience as our minds, does not typically represent our own viewpoint, but a mélange of viewpoints that we have been washed in for a very long time, which have worked out their own dissonant coexistence with each other in our memory banks.

In order to get from there to autonomy requires careful weighing of all of what we think we know or believe. That is a wonderful process. Most people succeed in avoiding it all their lives.

And so, the typical mind rambles on, being taken ultra-seriously by its owner. Often it causes us to do something we regret. Sometimes it can literally drive us crazy. All too frequently it exercises its power to make us feel bad, in the midst of a day which could otherwise make us very happy.

When one introspects with concentration, avoiding hasty closure, this brings on a state I call the Observer state. From this state one is able to discriminate between valuable thoughts and counterproductive ones. By filtering the stream, one is panning for gold, and is no longer a slave totally controlled by the inner wordstream.

In MIND MAGIC, Chapter 9 “Disidentifying With The Thought Senate” is filled with phrases that help bring on and maintain the Observer state during introspection and when in action, specifically by remembering the subordinate role of the talking-to-oneself mind and the sovereignty of the generally-upspeaking self who is the observer, the one who experiences.

The chapter starts out:

Visualize the mechanism

which sends you verbal thought messages

not as one speaker,

but as a vast senate of many different speakers.

Each experience you have had

creates a separate viewpoint

from which comments may be made.

Therefore, the first step to take

in analyzing any thought sent to you,

is to determine who is speaking:

which set of experiences that you have had

is expressing its viewpoint to you?

Do not identify with your thoughts. 

You are not the thinker of the thoughts;

 

you are the hearer of the thoughts.

 

The thinker of your thoughts

is a subsidiary mechanism within you,

which attempts to put some of your feelings

into words;

you must then assess the way you feel about these words.

Not looking at the matter this way,

most individuals tend to identify themselves

as the author of the words in their head,

and consequently are biased in favor

of believing and defending these thoughts

In fact, each thought you have

is merely a trial balloon,

a draft from your speechwriter

sent to you

so that you can decide whether you agree or disagree

In many cases, you will realize

that the speaker of the last thought sent to you

is representing the viewpoint

of some other individual(s) you have known,

often in the exact words and tone of voice

used by these other individuals.

Obviously, accepting such viewpoints as your own

would be submitting to mental slavery.

Yet this is precisely what most individuals do,

by identifying with their thoughts.

After you have identified the last speaker,

engage him or her in a dialog

in which you ask the speaker to defend his or her position

by asking the speaker specific questions

which illuminate possible flaws in his or her position.

In this way,

you will always be questioning your own last thought

in a search for objective truth,

 

separated from the conditioning effects

of your experience

and from the influence

of communications you have received.

Recently I was excited to read an article about a psychologist and neuroscientist Ethan Kross, who is developing ways of advising people how to deal with their inner dialogue.

It’s interesting to compare one’s own work to the work of others taking different routes up the mountain. Ethan whose work I respect and appreciate is not distinguishing the different voices in our mind, many coming from ego, the AI, and some precious few coming from The Me That Was Born.

My theory is that we have an unerring compass within us, our highest self, that which came into this world, that says very little in our mind, but when it speaks, what it says has the ring of truth, and turns out to work in the real world. Such events of inspiration occur in the Flow state, where the organism is functioning optimally, a state even higher than the Observer state.

My experiences with Flow and Observer states, as well as spiritual and ESP experiences, form the difference between my work and that of most mainstream psychologists and neuroscientists. I’m glad that as a chorus we psychologists and introspectionists of all kinds are focusing more on where the real leverage to save the human race lives: our individual inner lives.

We live in challenging times. It’s up to each of us to help pull us through and bring us to our highest positive potentials. Whatever works for you, use it. Test my advice, test the advice of others, seek your own inner wisdom most of all. But follow that which works for you in the real world, which makes you and the people around you happy.

One way or the other, it’s undeniable that now is the time to strengthen your self and your mind and body in all the ways that you can. We have chosen leaders who have taken us down paths which are not going to be so easy to switch out of, even with new and better leaders we have now. The one family we were coming out of WWII, the free peoples of Earth, those who believed in Democracy, somehow have of their own choice taken us back into a world in which force and threat rule. It will affect each of us. We have to be our best, better than we ever were.

You can do it. We will do it.

Best to all,

Bill