AOH :: CONTECH.TXT|
The marriage of technology and consciousness by R. Adam Crane
CONTRIBUTED BY ADAM CRANE AMERICAN BIOTEC CORP
COMPUSERVE ADDRESS 72122,755
THE MARRIAGE OF TECHNOLOGY AND CONSCIOUSNESS
By R. Adam Crane
August 10, 1994 I had the opportunity to present at the Forum co
sponsored by the Wisdom Society and the Reuben H. Fleet Space
Theatre and Science Center. The Forum was conceived as an
opportunity to exchange ideas on "The Place of Science and
Technology in our Culture".
Since I feel that the material that emerged in that presentation
may be useful to others and (all things being relative) I feel
the evening went well, I would like to offer these excerpts from
The intention is to communicate with each other at the highest
level we can and to create an atmosphere that is as conducive as
possible to individual and group creative thinking. Together,
we make up a kind of mind field (not mine field I hope).
Keeping to the spirit of self regulation and self knowledge
technology I suggest that you scan your body, notice if you are
holding your shoulders up, look for unnecessary muscle tension,
breathe normally, deeply and comfortably. Be aware of all that
you can in the room. Loose your belt if it is too tight.
Breathing should be relaxed and deep and your stomach should be
free to move in and out.
As you are able, please watch the thoughts and feelings that
arise inside you (and outside too) as we work together in a
spirit of play. To paraphrase Marshal McLuhan, "those who think
education and entertainment are two different things probably do
not understand either one very well". Parts of this discussion
may be difficult, controversial, even fun. What is most
important is to watch your feelings arise and change.
I would like to examine one of the greatest, depending on how
you define technology perhaps the greatest challenge humanity
Twenty five years ago my wife suggested that I read a magazine
article entitled "Alpha, The Wave of the Future". During the
next twenty four hours after reading it I had a kind of classic
creative experience. Decades of contemplation and thought
seemed to converge with a euphoric, laser like intensity. It
seemed as though one of the greatest scientific and spiritual
stories of our time was creating itself before my eyes. And I
was being invited to immerse myself in an almost unimaginably
The next day I entered full time into what has turned out to be
an astonishing, scientific art form, a business and a series of
adventures leading me to this discussion here with you. I sold
my old business, and plunged headlong into the strange,
paradoxical, controversial field soon to be called by inadequate
terms like Biofeedback, Applied
Psychophysiology and Instrument Assisted Transactional
Psychophysiology. I like the term Self Knowledge Technology.
Twenty five years went by like a summer afternoon...a summer
afternoon filled with the surprises of life, like balmy breezes
and tornadoes, blue skies and thunderstorms, flowers and fun and
fights and fear and beautiful relationships and heart breaking
misunderstandings. All in all, just another day at the office.
The purpose of this discussion is not to focus narrowly on this
embryonic, niche, technological art form that I happen to be
devoted to....a science that is about where air travel was in
the 1850's when the implications of a balloon ride set people
buzzing the world over.
Our goal is no less than to see together a principle or
principles which if exercised can transform our societies
including our technology...principles that can lead to wiser,
more effective individual and collective action.
Some scientists warn us that it may already be too late...the
evolution of our self destructive technology has outstripped the
evolution of our cerebral cortex. They feel it is probable that
humanity will get cut off before the crisis in our consciousness
can be transformed into opportunity...and before a whole new
evolution in the consciousness of the tribe can take place.
Biofeedback, especially neurofeedback may be a helpful example
as we take on the challenge of understanding how to have right
relationship with technology. And have right relationship with
technology we will...one way or the other!
The creationists among us might be more comfortable to
substitute the word transformation for evolution. For me it all
merges together and evolution and transformation are taking
place quite naturally within the creation.
Biofeedback is simply the use of technology, to help people get
to know themselves better.
Sort of like mirrors or telephones to various parts of the mind
and body. If the signals can be made clear enough, it appears
there is no part of the mind/body that cannot be influenced if
not actually controlled.
Traditional mainstream medical biofeedback has been growing
slowly but inexorably for many years.
Some of you may not realize that brain wave biofeedback is
growing much faster than traditional biofeedback. Remember that
when you examine the human energy graph.
For those who do not understand how it's done: sensors placed
on the head amplify tiny electrical signals emanating from the
brain and feedback that information enabling the user to
increase some brain waves and decrease others, etc. The
scientifically trained among us will see that you cannot change
the brains electronics without changing it at the atomic,
molecular, brain chemical, behavioral and psychological levels.
I have devoted the last twenty five years to this work because I
believe that Self Knowledge Technology can assist a substantial
number of the world population to:
1. Increase the ability to attend. Increasing not only the
length of time a person may attend but also the depth or quality
of that attention. So the attention begins to become what I
call "profound attention". Now this may sound like a small,
rather obvious idea but it is actually an immense one because
many of the most powerful aspects of the human mind are
fixed.....almost unchangeable, but the attention processes can
be changed relatively easily producing extraordinary
results....breaking those mental "ties" that bind up the
mind....and restrict its vision.
2. Thereby increasing the clarity of thinking. This includes
the reduction of over thinking or "psychothenia". This in turn
3. Reduction of fear and inappropriate conditioning which are
at the root of the crisis in the consciousness of humanity and
embody the greatest dangers, inhibiting the opportunities that
lie before us.
4. Finally if the implications of both ancient and modern
science are followed to the end,
then a dynamic of indescribable potential, beauty and power
emerges....OBSERVATION AND ATTENTION CHANGES WHAT IS OBSERVED
AND ATTENDED TO. The quality of our attention has a
transforming effect on "what is". The most productive thing we
can do may be to observe with a high quality of attention.
Action emerging from that kind of attention appears to be the
most productive possible. The attention itself operates like
sunlight and rain on a seed causing the highest potential to
emerge or unfold from the reality that surrounds us - that
living possibility - potential that is in our hands everyday,
every hour, every second....now! This instant!
I submit that the crisis in the consciousness of our world can
be defined as a lack of the capacity to attend, loss of clarity
in thinking, over thinking ("psychothenia"), increasing fear
leading to unhealthy conditioning. In his book "quantum
reality", Nick Herbert said, "one of the greatest scientific
achievements imaginable would be the discovery of an explicit
relationship between the wave form alphabets of quantum theory
human states of consciousness." I assert that neurofeedback is
at least the beginning of that scientific achievement.
If Self Knowledge Technology can truly enhance our evolutionary
capacity to fix these mental and physical malfunctions (sort of
like agricultural - technology has alleviated the starvation
problem relatively, and electronics has smoothed out
communications and information processing) then the total power
of technology combined with other forces seen and unseen may
possibly enable humanity to snatch an unimaginable victory from
the jaws of extinction.
There are those who say it doesn't matter what we do because at
the last minute some outside agency will save us.
I dare say that many reading this piece feel as I do; that the
transformation of the way we live in this world is our
responsibility, and regardless of how dark the situation looks
sometimes, there is no real choice but to act as though it all
depends on us.
It is a great delight to contemplate the almost unimaginable
vastness of our own galaxy and then to go beyond that to sense
the entire cluster of galaxies of which we are a part, then try
to find some way to touch on the vast numbers of Galactic
clusters already perceived, scattered like jewels measuring
hundreds of thousands of light years across, throughout the
universe. What a playground for the mind if we can meet the
challenge of learning right relationship with each other and
technology.....we can be this responsible but will we?......For
heaven's sake--will we?
One of the questions I was most puzzled by as a child was why
science and religion seem to be so at odds with each other?
Since both are supposed to be devoted to the pursuit of truth.
Could it be that there are two great truths that are mad at
Or is the schism artificial? Frank Lloyd Wright comforts us
when he says "all that is done for the truth or against the
truth in the end serves the truth equally well." Perhaps we
have become polarized by religious leaders that are not open
minded enough and scientists who also focus too narrowly.
The great physicist David Bohm said "the mechanical model of the
universe makes nature a means to an end. It implies that nature
is there for us to get whatever we want out of it. I say this
model is not adequate. A part has no meaning except in terms of
the whole. The idea of treating everything as only parts may
work in the short run, but it doesn't work when you follow it
through." Stephen J. Gould - the anthropologist has said "that
evolution is a valid theory but survival of the fittest is only
partially true. There is considerable evidence that many of the
fittest have not survived. Either some other
dynamic/force contributes to evolution in the main - or you can
call it luck." This has extraordinary implications for the
concept that competition is all important.
Just as some of the "fittest" do survive so some of the most
competitive do dominate. But many business leaders feel that
competitiveness is overrated as a principle that causes the long
term healthy success of a business, much less as a force or
principle for bringing the greatest good to the greatest numbers
or true excellence or improved quality of life or as having very
much to do with compassion or wisdom or those things that most
of us believe are good for humanity. We are not denying
competition. We are saying that over-rating it blinds us to
even greater, much more productive possibilities. Competition
unchecked doesn't do much for family values.
Biophysicist Rupert Sheldrake's theory of formative causation
and morphic fields may have much more to do with those changes
that have been hitherto attributed to evolution; and by the same
token this type of field theory may be much closer to the truth
about what's shaping our culture than the theory of competition
(survival of the fittest) is.
Einstein said "the field is the soul governing agency of the
particles". If what we think and feel is a kind of field then
what we think and feel is what is creating our society, our
culture, our world....whether it is heaven or hell.
And which is it? We have allowed....no let us take
responsibility....we have created media which constantly
bombards us.....let's be kind, informs us of the horrors in the
world. And that has its value but it is also true that
stimulating fear and appealing to the lowest and dumbest
instincts in humanity creates anxiety disorders, leads to over
competition and contributes to unthinking, rampant
consumption...an unnecessary and self destructive orgy that
scientists tell us is eating up the earth.
It is a simple, extremely effective marketing principle: the
more afraid and insecure we feel the more we will try to acquire
to quench that insecurity. But does having more really prevent
insecurity? Is it possible to consume less while living better?
As earth can be said to be a hell and getting worse so there are
places and people who are experiencing a kind of heaven on
earth.......at least some of the time. This breeds contentment,
peace, the sense that one has enough. The desire to take more
leisure time to enjoy the world, to develop one's mind, to reach
out to help others, to work to reduce environmental damage, to
stretch what one has to the limit which means be more
Science is defined as systematic knowledge of the physical or
material world. Doesn't this mean that science is essentially
the pursuit of the truth? This means that a science imbued with
wisdom - a true science will understand when to say no....and be
enforce it. Science has given us the means to destroy all life
on earth. Just because it can be done does not mean it should
When we refuse to go through one door, it means we will go
through another. Because go we must. The physicist Freeman
Dyson thinks our destiny may be to populate and manage the
galaxy. This requires a science that knows what not to do.
What breeds that kind of wisdom?
Most creative thinkers feel that the most powerful creative
principle is " la via negativa". The negative way. By
elimination of the untrue the truth emerges. When asked how he
created the beautiful statue of David out of the block of
marble, a great sculptor once said, "Oh, David was always there
I just eliminated the unnecessary marble". OUR ABILITY TO SAY
NO MAY ALLOW SOME OF THE GREATEST YES'S OF ALL TIME TO UNFOLD.
So then we have to look closely at fear because it is guiding
our thinking, our science, our technology to a very great
degree....an extremely dangerous degree.
Are people governed by fear fit to populate the galaxy?
Fear is a form of thinking. Thought is a material
process...some say thought actually is matter because matter is
defined as "energy traveling in a pattern."
A further characteristic of thought is that the more energy
pumped into it the more it "materializes". This computer, this
presentation, this beautiful airplane I am flying in as I edit
this is essentially thick thought. As we think so we are.
Descart was a catalytic thinker triggering sciences penchant for
the mechanical view of the Universe. He said, "I think
therefore I am". Once he walked in to a bar. The bartender
said, "what will it be?...a glass of whiskey?" Descart
answered, "I think not" and disappeared. Somehow, that joke
reminds me of a T-shirt which says "God is dead" Niche. "Niche
So, if we are putting more and more energy into fear, it must
materialize. Although fear may have a place, it seems clear
that we must materialize much more than fear thoughts - or put
the other way around, there are certain deep fears in the psyche
of the race that we had better not materialize if we really want
to make a heaven on this earth...much less extend ourselves into
the galaxy. Conversely there are thoughts deep in our hearts,
indescribably sublime which can also materialize. But will we?
The suspense is killing me.
At this point in the presentation we showed Peter Russell's
masterful thirty five minute video, "Global Brain".
The graph shown here was taken from that video. It represents
essentially the amount of human work hours spent and money
earned by major technological movements during the past 2000
Note that from the dawn of recorded history until 1900 the
dominant activity was agriculture. By 1900 the curve
representing the industrial age doubling every 14 years passed
the agricultural curve. By 2000 the consciousness processing
curve, doubling every 3 1/2 years is expected to explode past
the information processing curve.
There is a chinese "curse" - may you be born in interesting
times - these must be some of the most interesting times in all
I may err on the side of attempting too much in this piece but
I'm going to take some chances. Forgive me if I seem too sure
of the truth. What I say are merely assertions...working
hypothesis. Oswald Spengler said that "a hypothesis does not
have to be absolutely correct as long as it is useful". He who
says he knows probably does not. Let's go exploring together
and see what we can discover.
May I remind you to stretch? Please sit comfortably, breathe
deeply and naturally, drop the shoulders, be as aware as you can
of all that's going on in the room, and most importantly of what
is going on in you. Watch yourself agree and disagree. Notice
emotions arising such as happiness, sorrow, fear, anger or peace
and enthusiasm. Watch these feelings like colors of energy arise
and fall and flow like waves between and around us. When
thoughts wander just watch them and when you can, come back and
join our journey together. If you fall asleep watch that fast
moving theta imagery...insight may occur at the moment that you
have a myoclonic jerk (twitch) so whatever happens we are taking
advantage of it and using it. The quality of our awareness can
shape what goes on much more than anything I say.
How many are familiar with David Bohm's work on dialogue?
Some of you may have become interested in the work of the late
Dr. David Bohm, especially his creation of the Dialogues. I
think Dave is on to something enormously useful. This notion
that a group of people can create an environment and a kind of
field of mind that allows wisdom to unfold. The idea behind the
dialogues is that when a group uses the tool he called
"participatory thought" skillfully enough, and perhaps even more
importantly attends profoundly enough there can be an unfoldment
of mind that is utterly unpredictable....is probably more
functional and intelligent than the sum of the intelligence of
all the individuals present. I believe that the potential for
such groups exists on Forums such as this one.
Unfortunately true dialogue or "participatory thought" is
relatively rare because when people with different thinking
styles and agendas assemble to work on problems; wrong
conditioning, fear, misguided egoism and anger block the
emergence of insight and sense of adventure latent in the
The quantum, multi dimensional explosion in technology is
inevitable. It is obvious that the genie cannot be put back in
Unable to slow the growth of technology, we are forced to
develop a far greater sense of responsibility or probably be
destroyed by it. In fact, it is clear that the growth of
technology is increasing geometrically. Computer "brains" are
already inventing self propagating technology, and leading
scientists are worrying about the moral and ethical problems
involved in developing new life forms, and computers that think
and exhibit feelings and signs of consciousness. (Note the
enormous flap over the biotec tomato for heaven's sake!) I
believe it was Penrose who wrote a serious and stunning treatise
on the ethical problem's of teleportation...during that process
where is the soul? And what are the moral and legal
Awareness of the "spirit" in tools breeds a far different
attitude towards technology. As in the case of master craftsmen
and women, attention to the subtle energy that technology is
imbued with appears to produce a much more symbiotic and healthy
relationship with that technology and the human beings attached
The late Edwards Deming is a productivity genius who went in
with Mac Arthur to help rebuild Japan, assisting that great
people in learning how to maximize their democracy and free
market. I believe he is the only non Japanese in history to be
awarded the highest medal that nation offers.
One of his greatest insights is embodied in his use of the term
"Profound Knowledge". It means asking the deepest possible
questions about the micro or meta system that you are interested
in improving. An example would be the crisis carburetor
manufacturers found themselves in. They believed they were in
the carburetor business so most of them made better and better
carburetors while selling less and less product. The best
carburetors the world has ever seen were made by these companies
just before they went bankrupt. Those who had "Profound
Knowledge" realized they were in the business of getting fuel
into the cylinder head as efficiently as possible. Therefore,
they entered the fuel injection business early and became
So, we are bringing this kind of questioning to our meta system,
our society, indeed our Global Village...our Global Brain.
There is appalling horror going on in many places in the world.
For some of us the
apocalypse is here and now. However, I assert that there are
many gutsy organizations and their existence implies that there
is a kind of awakening emerging in many U.S. and global
businesses and educational institutions.
What happens when even a small percentage of those who have
enough say to themselves, "making more and more for myself seems
like a waste of my precious life. I reject the notion that he
who has the most toys when she dies wins. Let me seek out those
who want to enter the greatest adventures imaginable.
Individually and together we will apply the skills and power we
have developed in becoming successful to identifying and working
to solve the problems humanity faces."? It would be a paradigm
shift...especially coming out of the greed is good eighties. I
say this shift is underway and is growing at a magnitude and
with a force that is unprecedented in the history of the world.
We are here to encourage one another and network...to salute and
feel this hopeful phenomenon.
A poem from Christopher Fry's play The Prisoner says it
The human heart may go the length of God
Dark and cold we may be
But this is no winter now
The frozen misery of centuries
Cracks, breaks, begins to move
The thunder is the thunder of the flows,
The thaw, the flood, the upstart spring
Thank God our time is now
When wrong come up to meet us everywhere
Never to leave us till we take the greatest stride of soul folk
Affairs are now soul size
The enterprise is expiration into God
But what are you waiting for?
It takes so many thousand years to wake
But will you wake, for pity's sake?
Many species are dying out or are threatened and huge human die
offs are a virtual certainty. Destruction seems to accompany
Once we realize that life is inherently insecure and that the
only real security lies in the
recognition of that insecurity and in the way the mind is being
used, then we have come to a very practical, Profound Knowledge
type of insight. Those who can apply this insight can live in a
kind of heaven whether life goes on for another minute or for a
hundred years - whether we as a race last one more day or are
still populating the galaxy and playfully harnessing the energy
of black holes a billion years hence.
Many of us have studied the lives of those human beings whose
minds have flowered...people who have actualized their
potential. It is particularly interesting to observe the
processes and stages a person goes through as the mind matures.
The type of maturity referred to here has nothing to do with
Have you noticed how as a person awakens there is not only a
greater awareness of life inside but there seems to be more
awareness of aliveness outside as well?
Notice how this person becomes more aware and respectful of
"spirit" in others. As this process of waking up progresses,
the capacity for Profound Attention increases. This breeds
greater sensitivity and the awareness of aliveness or spirit
begins to extend beyond human beings and into the animal
kingdom. Notice how the wisest and most compassionate
individuals become aware of and respectful of the spirits and
souls of animals. And if they are meat eaters themselves do so
with humility and gratitude to those creatures which die to
Notice how people who are so passionately alive extend their
awareness into the plant kingdom and begin to care deeply about
what happens to trees and plants and may even begin slipping in
and out of states of consciousness in which they swear they can
feel the life in a stone.
Notice how masters of technological art forms like music,
painting, carpentry, etc have traditionally shown great respect
for their instruments and tools. Ponder the teaching of the
great oriental carpenters and warriors who will not step over
their tool or weapon if it is lying on the ground because they
do not want to offend it's spirit.
What about the Celtic mythology?...The Arthurian legends and
Excalibur...technology which protected you if the mind and heart
were right and hurt you if the mind and heart were not right?
Now see our current situations...our love affairs with cars, and
houses and planes and T.V. and movies and computers and all
kinds of technology.
Doesn't it follow that the same Universal Mind that creates
flowers, and babies and solar systems is creating technology?
Only this Mind is using humans as a kind of tool for creating
technology, a material part of the Universe, unfolding as it
Notice how respect and affection for another person's spirit
usually brings co-operation and benefits from that person, yet
disrespect can cost us dearly, even cost us our life.
Do you see where this is going? Profound Attention applied to
technology breeds great sensitivity to the spirit within that
technology. As this phenomena emerges technology becomes a kind
of Friend, an Incredible Companion as our own body, minds and
spirits solve these essential crisis on earth and extend
throughout the galaxy and beyond.
On the other hand if our awareness and attention is inadequate
allowing conditioning and low level thinking to dictate our
relationship to technology then technology may wipe us out. The
technology we built becomes a suicide weapon....our executioner.
Many scientists say mankind is doomed, the crisis in
consciousness and the technological explosion has already gone
too far. The great sage Laotze says, " the gift of prophesy is
but the flowery trapping of the Tao and the beginning of folly".
No one knows how this immense journey will end...or if it ever
will. Margaret Mead said "a small minority who are responsible
can bring about unforeseen, unimaginable change. Change has
always happened that way".
Chaos and Turbulence theory is profoundly contributing to
paradigm shifts occurring in physics, math, psychology.
Essentially Chaos theory says there are living patterns that
simply emerge from the mind of nature given the right
conditions. These are called attractors. They are always the
same and always different. A snowflake, a sea shell, a flower,
a human being, participatory thought...where two or more are
gathered together. Another aspect of Chaos theory is that
nature tends to amplify the small. It's called the butterfly
effect. The wind from a butterflies's wings can theoretically
cause disturbances which amplify and can trigger a storm on the
other side of the world. Jim Crutchfield, a computer scientist
studying the sensitivity of chaotic systems has estimated that
gravitational pull of an electron, "randomly" shifting position
at the edge of the Milky Way can change the outcome of a
billiard game on earth. So, perhaps Margaret Meade is right.
We are not too weak and too few to make a great difference.
Some types of technology may be offering unprecedented
opportunity for human beings to come to know themselves better
including enhancing the ability to watch thought more clearly.
If this is true then technology or the "spirit"(or if it is more
comfortable for you, the morphic fields Sheldrake talks about)
in technology may be setting the foundation for a self
correcting paradigm shift of infinite value to the unfoldment of
life on earth.
The fact is many of us feel the most important values in life
transcend the material and so we have a love/hate relationship
with technology because it is so blatantly material. As we
helplessly watch the accelerating development of technology our
excitement and hope is mixed with frustration, sorrow, anger,
and fear that technology may be of the devil; and if we don't
find some way out it will not only cost us our lives, worse it
us our souls. There is no one among us who would disagree with
the fact that technology has precipitated an incredible crisis
in the world.
Is technology really the problem? Or is it a tool, a kind of
mirror that we have created in order to amplify and reflect the
crisis in our consciousness? An even more interesting question
is: have we accelerated the development of technology in order
to force humankind to transform itself? Is it possible that
collectively we have set up circumstances that are forcing us to
either make a great spiritual/evolutionary/transformational
leap...or perish? Crisis means danger and opportunity.
Evolution and transformation seems to usually if not always
progress based on great pressure.....crisis, if you will.
One of the more understandable aspects of the crisis in
technology and the consciousness of the tribe is the dualistic
way we view conflict between the spiritual and the material.
Most of the wisdom schools of both the eastern and western
traditions point out the danger, the futility, the immense
mistake in dualistic thinking.
There is a huge problem that occurs when we allow the brain to
settle into the semi-conscious comfortableness of the corridor
of opposites. One aspect of David Bohm's work in physics was to
prove that meaning and matter are one. I believe that the
illusion that they are separate is at the root of this fear,
anger, psychic paralysis and dangerous disrespect that we have
for the technology that surrounds us, and yet is forcing us to
awaken like it or not. Sort of like a friend. Friends don't
let friends drive drunk. Are we as a race driving drunk?
The Heisenberg principle states that you cannot observe
something without changing it. Won't it be interesting if the
magnitude and quality of that observation has a direct
relationship to the magnitude and quality of the change?
There appears to be in quantum physics some kind of bridge
between the non material essence or ground of being from which
material reality emerges and into which it disappears.
According to quantum field theory all material things, whether
they are automobiles, or human bodies or the brain and nervous
system as we know it are made up of atoms. These atoms are made
up of subatomic particles. And these subatomic particles are
essentially fluctuations of energy and information in a huge
void of energy and information. So then the basic conclusion
without going into in depth detail of quantum field theory, is
that the raw material of which everything is made up is
apparently coming from the non material. So that this line
between what is material and non material may not in fact exist.
This means that the stuff of the universe is in fact non stuff.
I submit, mind stuff. Perhaps we can put it this way, all
manner of advanced technologies such as
computers, television, radar, radio, fax machines, radio
telescopes, etc are possible because science no longer believes
that the atom is a solid entity but rather that it is
information and energy in a void of all possible states of
information and energy.
Since we are looking so deeply into the principle of attention,
observation and neurofeedback I'd like to integrate some
comments from a presentation I made to the Society For The Study
Of Neuronal Regulation.
None of us really knows exactly how brain wave biofeedback is
working. So all of our views are hypothetical; including mine.
This hypothesis holds that thought is matter and (like movies)
thinking is a material process and an image making process based
on memory. Furthermore, that high order, what I would like to
term "Profound Attention" is probably the most important mental
asset a human being can have.
Capacity for "Profound Attention" can in many if not most human
beings be enhanced. This enhanced, "Profound Attention" carries
with it the capability of conscious observation of thought. The
implications of this are that this ability to watch oneself
think is the healthiest possible way to manage and improve the
quality of thought. This observation is a kind of "field". "The
field is the soul governing agency of the particles". In this
case the particles are thought. The implication follows that
one of the most effective ways in the history of learning to
enhance this "Profound Attention" and improve the quality of
thought is slow wave, relatively synchronous neurofeedback
English is only five hundred years old. An incredibly young
language, it lacks words to describe much subtle perceptual and
consciousness phenomena. So often, we must borrow these words
from more mature languages.
This hypothesis further asserts that as cartographers of
consciousness we must now come to much more precise definitions
of intelligence, thinking, imagery which transcends thinking,
and attention, etc in order to clarify what we really want to
reach for, what we want to materialize.
If the ancients (and many of the modern masters) are correct and
the problem is that psychothenia, over thinking, "unconscious"
or unobserved thinking is the fundamental barrier to the natural
intelligence and creativity latent in humans and if it is true
that in most "normals" slow wave (ALPHA/THETA) but mostly
mid-range ALPHA training can enhance the ability to profoundly
attend to internal (thought, archetypical imagery, etc) and
external phenomena simultaneously, in real time, then indeed
ALPHA/THETA neurofeedback, skillfully managed is one of the most
valuable educational tools ever developed.
This hypothesis is not prejudiced against fast wave training
(SMR/BETA); however, it does hold that the type of "attention"
enhanced by SMR/BETA training should be redefined as a kind of
"seize and hold" attention...a kind or class of attention highly
impregnated by thought and very useful in its own right. This
kind of attention is not the "Profound Attention" enhanced by
ALPHA/THETA; it can, however, lead to "Profound Attention". And
that should be a goal of advanced neurofeedback training.
Obviously, I could be mistaken about this; however, I strongly
believe that the evidence indicates the essential validity of
I once asked Dr. Les Fehmi to work with me teaching Attention
Deficit Disorder protocols and he commented, "who in the world
does not have Attention Deficit Disorder?" He was, of course
referring to the almost universal deficiency in the exercise of
"Profound Attention" may be general or focused and carries with
it a quality of depth, or emotional integration as though one is
attending with the heart as well as the brain.
The following model has considerable appeal to some. Brain
cells perhaps in combination with surrounding glial cells, etc.
have at least two major capabilities...thinking and attention.
These capabilities produce signals in the range of ALPHA for
"Profound Attention" and BETA for thinking. The kind of
attention enhanced by SMR/BETA training is what some are calling
data-capture-and-hold attention. Eventually I believe this kind
of attention will be redefined as a subset of thinking.
Therefore, ALPHA training (perhaps other frequencies under
different conditions allowing for individual idiosyncrasies)
enables the individual to substantially increase the number of
brain cells that are attending. They are attending to "what
is". That is, these brain cells are reflecting (like smooth
water) subtle signals (vibration). One of the most important
things they are watching is thought.
This thought is in the form of movie-like images being generated
by other brain cells radiating energy in the form of
approximately BETA. In short ALPHA training can in at least
some people enhance the ability to watch thought more clearly.
The more clearly thought is attended to the less subject to
error it is.
I believe brain cells (and their field) either are attending or
thinking. I am uncomfortable with the idea that a single brain
cell both attends and thinks at the same time; although, that
may be the case. Many are sensing that a paradigm shift is
occurring in psychology. Some are already naming it the
"Psychology of Awareness."
The notion is that awareness itself breeds both optimal mental
health and enhanced performance. This awareness and Profound
Attention are the same or inter-dependent.
There is no question that these high orders of
awareness/attention can be learned without neurofeedback.
Indeed, the biofeedback field unfolded largely from the study of
people who had developed these mind skills without technological
feedback as we know it.
But these most gifted ones are often quick to see the value of
neurofeedback when it is
explained to them. They are also quick to point out how mind -
numbing, difficult is the treacherous path to discrimination
between high order attention and thinking one is attending.
Herein lies the awesome potential of brain wave biofeedback.
IF NEUROFEEDBACK CAN BE USED TO HELP AN INDIVIDUAL DISCRIMINATE
BETWEEN THOUGHT AND ATTENTION/AWARENESS....THEN IT IS A
TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH AS IMPORTANT TO THE EXPLORER OF THE
MIND AS THE COMPASS AND SEXTANT COMBINED ARE TO NAVIGATION.
Over thinking, error prone thinking and inappropriate
conditioning are barriers to health
and creativity. Therefore this model integrates the popular
notion that almost any neurofeedback training works as long as
it moves the over conditioned brain out of its "parking place".
I call this the steel filings and the magnet principle.
Breaking the conditioned patterns apart with neurofeedback is
like breaking a hunk of steel into filings. The brain is better
able to reorganize itself, like the filings, along the natural
lines of force of the magnet or attractor, if you will.
However, this hypothesis holds that ALPHA training in many
subjects goes much further because it teaches the difference
between active, memory based image making and true relative
neural silence. This neural quietness is essential for the
healthy management of thought.
Fear is a form of thought and is at the root of most if not all
psychological disorders. When adequate masses of brain cells
are quieted fear in general is cut off.
This means that attention/awareness deals with fear now, in real
time, replacing it with increased sensitivity to what is....and
creative or as Jung would say "archetypical imagery".
The late David Bohm, was a genius and a physicist, who devoted
his incredible talents to the integration of the physics, and
math of consciousness, perception and those principles by which
the mind naturally unfolds itself.
We became friends towards the end and I am still wrestling with
all he taught me. But one most interesting thing is his way of
categorizing thinking as types a, b, and c. In my efforts to
claim it as my own I changed the terminology to thinking of the
first kind, second kind, and third kind...sort of a play on the
movie Close Encounters because thinking of the third kind
implies contact with a high order of intelligence.
Thinking of the first kind is the condition in which a person is
lost, not a good thing. The individual is not aware he is
thinking and cannot observe himself think.
Therefore contact with "what is" is lost. All that she sees or
hears or feels is distorted by this condition of unconscious
over think..."Psychothenia"...usually leading to one form of
disaster or the other. Extreme psychothenia would be typified
by a panic attack, complete disassociation and inability to see
Thinking of the second kind is the condition that the thinker
begins to watch himself think. This begins the capability for
the thinker to discriminate. The good engineer emerges because
he can reject those thoughts that do not conform to natural law
as he understands it. Of course, when his wife asks him to take
the trash out, his ego is activated (fear and panic emerges) and
he falls back into thinking of the first kind.
Thinking of the third kind is the highest order of thought. In
this condition a kind of quickening of thought occurs as thought
awakens to its own structure. This leads to awareness by the
thinker that his self image or ego is constructed of images
based on memory and that he is not who he thought she was.
Further, thought becomes aware of its own limitations. At this
point thought stops trying to be all things. For example, being
limited, it stops behaving as though it were unlimited. This
produces a kind of shock and in this shock relative neural
silence, greatly enhanced sensitivity and creative or
archetypical imagery emerges. In this silence there is the
possibility of "contact" with the unlimited.
A relatively small group of us became deeply committed to EEG
biofeedback about twenty five years ago. We then struggled with
a long period of rejection by the biofeedback community as a
whole and even worse enormous frustration because neurofeedback
did not work with our clients as quickly as we thought it should.
I believe that Dr. Gene Peniston was enormously productive in
helping us to realize that we had been too impatient.
Most of us who became so convinced that neurofeedback was the
grand breakthrough it is now believed to be, did so because we
had personally experienced impressive insights and changes
linked to our EEG training.
I call this the "primed pump syndrome". We were all
tremendously involved in our own mind explorations...meditation
if you will. Therefore, a small amount of training produced a
big result. Most of the clients we trained were not so primed.
Therefore, many more sessions over a longer time were required.
In addition, unconscious fear of the exposure of the image of
the me (or ego) as unreal, a kind of fraud, and the certainty of
the need to break free of conditioned behaviors produces a
further obstacle to many, if not most.
One of the problems of definition that exists is the confusion
over THETA brain waves.
It appears that there is healthy THETA and unhealthy THETA.
This model holds that unhealthy THETA relates to a kind of
trancelike behavior the result of which is a kind of detachment
from "what is". Walinsky, a psychologist has written a book
entitled, "Trances People Live". These are generally not good
trances. I assert that this dissociative phenomena may be
broken out of by "Profound Attention".
On the other hand, "Profound Attention", increases sensitivity
to subtle internal imagery such as the fast moving archetypical
insight imagery associated with healthy THETA.
ALPHA training prolonged produces the "window". This window
appears to be a condition where healthy THETA emerges,
constructed visualizations have enhanced effect and
consciousness-contaminating repressed psychological material
rises up...to be, as it were, burnt up by insight, energy.....a
kind of fire in the mind.
SMR/BETA protocols may have greater economic power at this
moment. However, the ALPHA/THETA protocols are basic to our
field. "Peak performers do the basics very well." Many clients
will come home to "Profound Attention" better by using the
compass of ALPHA/THETA training.
Vaclav Havel, president of the Czech Republic, received the
Philadelphia Liberty Medal at Independence Hall on July 4, 1994.
I'd like to share some of his poetic wisdom with you:
"....The way out and something else is painfully being born. It
is as if something were crumbling, decaying and exhausting
itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising
from the rubble.
The distinguishing features of transitional periods are a mixing
and blending of cultures and a plurality or parallelism of
intellectual and spiritual worlds. These are periods when all
consistent value systems collapse, when cultures distant in time
and space are discovered or rediscovered.
New meaning is gradually born from the encounter, or the
intersection, of many different elements.
This is related to the crisis, or to the transformation, of
science as the basis of the modern conception of the world. The
dizzying development of science, with its unconditional faith in
objective reality and complete dependency on general and
rationally knowable laws, led to the birth of modern
technological civilization that spans the entire globe and binds
together all societies, submitting them to a common global
At the same time, the relationship to the world that modern
science fostered and shaped appears to have exhausted its
potential. The relationship is missing something. It fails to
connect with the most intrinsic nature of reality and with
natural human experience. It produces a state of schizophrenia:
Man is becoming completely alienated from himself as a being.
Classical modern science described only the surface of things, a
single dimension of reality. And the more dogmatically science
treated it as the only dimension, as the very essence of
reality, the more misleading it became. We may know
immeasurably more about the universe than our ancestors did, and
yet it increasingly seems they knew something more essential
about it than we do, something that escapes us.
Today, we are in a different place and facing a different
situation, one to which classically modern solutions, do not
give a satisfactory response. After all, the very principle of
inalienable human rights, conferred on man by the creator, grew
out of the typically modern notion that man - as a being capable
of knowing nature and the world - was the pinnacle of creation
and lord of the world.
This modern anthropocentrism inevitably meant that He who
allegedly endowed man with his inalienable rights began to
disappear from the world: He was so far beyond the grasp of
modern science that He was gradually pushed into a sphere of
privacy of sorts, if not directly into a sphere of private fancy
- that is, to a place where public obligations no
longer apply, the existence of a higher authority than man
himself simply began to get in the way of human aspirations.
The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part
of any meaningful world order. Yet I think it must be anchored
in a different place, and in a different way, than has been the
case so far.
Paradoxically, inspiration for the renewal of this lost
integrity can once again be found in science. In a science
producing ideas that in a certain sense allow it to transcend
its own limits. I will give two examples.
The "anthropic cosmological principle" brings us to an idea,
perhaps as old as humanity itself, that we are not at all just
an accidental anomaly, the microscopic caprice of a tiny
particle whirling in the endless depths of the universe.
Instead, we are mysteriously connected to the universe, we are
mirrored in it, just as the entire evolution of the universe is
mirrored in us.
The moment it begins to appear that we are deeply connected to
the entire universe, science reaches the outer limits of its
With the "anthropic cosmological principle," science has found
itself on the border between science and myth. In that,
however, science has returned, in a roundabout way, to man, and
offers him his lost integrity! It does so by anchoring him once
more in the cosmos!
The second example is the "Gaia hypothesis." This theory brings
together proof that the dense network of mutual interactions
between the organic and inorganic portions of the earth's
surface form a single system, a kind of mega-organism, a living
planet, Gaia, named after an ancient goddess recognizable as an
archetype of the earth mother in perhaps all religions.
According to the Gaia hypothesis, we are parts of a greater
whole. Our destiny is not dependent merely on what we do for
ourselves but also on what we do for Gaia as a whole.
If we endanger her, she will dispense with us in the interests
of a higher value - life itself.
What makes the "anthropic principle" and the "Gaia hypothesis"
so inspiring? One simple thing: both remind us of what we have
long suspected, of what we have long projected into our
forgotten myths and what perhaps has always lain dormant within
us as archetypes. That is, the awareness of our being anchored
in the earth and the universe, the awareness that we are not
here alone, nor for ourselves alone but that we
are an integral part of higher, mysterious entities against whom
it is not advisable to blaspheme.
This forgotten awareness is encoded in all religions. All
cultures anticipate it in various forms. It is one of the
things that form the basis of man's understanding of himself, of
his place in the world and ultimately of the world as such.
The only real hope of people today is probably a renewal of our
certainty that we are rooted in the earth and, at the same time,
the cosmos. This awareness endows us with the capacity for
Politicians at international forums may reiterate a thousand
times that the basis of the new world order must be universal
respect for human rights, but it will mean nothing as long as
this imperative does not derive from the respect of the miracle
of being, the miracle of the universe, the miracle of nature,
the miracle of our own existence.
Only someone who submits to the authority of the universal order
and of creation, who values the right to be a part of it and a
participant in it, can genuinely value himself and his neighbors
and thus honor their rights as well.
It follows that, in today's multicultural world, the truly
reliable path to peaceful co-existence and creative co-operation
must start from what is at the root of all cultures and what
lies infinitely deeper in human hearts and minds than political
opinion, convictions, antipathies or sympathies: it must be
rooted in self-transcendence.
The declaration of independence states that the creator gave man
the right to liberty. It seems man can realize that liberty
only if he does not forget the one who endowed him with it."
During one of the many times when my own inner faith had grown
weak my wife made a
comment that was very helpful to me. "Of magic doors there is
this, you do not see them even as you are passing through."
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