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Neurohacking - Tutorials
Written by NHA   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 01:01
Article Index
Neurohacking Tutorial 5 - Improving & Augmenting N1 & N2
Stress And Relaxation in Rear Networks
Growth And Development vs Protection Modes
What Happens If Things Go Wrong
Cells That Fire Together Wire Together
Motivation, Coercion and Unconditional Positive Regard
NHA Guide to Methods and Tech
Hacks and Exercices
Notes, References & Answers
All Pages


Neurohacking Tutorial 5

Improving and Augmenting Networks 1 & 2

(Updated: Nov 2009)


Before beginning this tutorial you should have constructed a personal plan for NH, based on your Functional Analysis and any other info you have gathered (for example lifestyle assessment or results of exercises done so far). This should enable you to start ‘walking the path’.

Despite personal differences, everyone's personal plan is going to incorporate the golden rule “Always do things in the right order”, so we will all be working with the same underlying structure:

  1. Reduce anxiety & control input (this gives you some immediate control in all networks)
  2. Work on rear nets from the bottom up according to our personal needs until reasonably balanced
  3. Work on N3 according to our personal needs, doing any necessary memory/ imagination/ emotional stability adjustments
  4. Upgrade, improve and develop front nets (networks).


We are assuming that you have achieved the first stage, which should now be a regular practice. We'll include different types of input control hacks in each tutorial from now on. In this tutorial we consolidate our work on N1 & N2, and take a look at the stress/relaxation principle as the main factor in learning, growth and development. 


Follow the Right Habit

Mental Fitness Begins Here

After anxiety reduction and input control have become regular, the majority of students need to continue NH with the earliest networks 1 & 2. Even if you don’t, you will probably want to augment them at some point. In this tutorial there are more details about what these networks do, what problems each can get, exercises & hacks for them, and we examine the way in which their processes provide a foundation for the fundamentals of intelligence.

Some beginners tend to think of the earlier networks as ‘less important’ than others; for example they might think it’s ‘better’ for intelligence to have a strong network for intellect or creativity but not really so important to have one for good physical coordination or strong attention. Others might think that all they really need in order to be intelligent is a better memory, an ability to think fast, and who the hell cares about social skills?

If you feel this way, maybe you’re forgetting what ‘intelligent’ means. Optimal function needs all networks! Whatever situation you’re in, whatever skills you have already, a full intelligence can make it better. Every network we maintain in good working order improves the performance of every other network; because all networks are intimately connected.

Conversely, any network struggling to keep up or processing the wrong things will slow down all your other abilities. So any improvement in any part improves all the rest by default, and you'll have noticed that some hacks/exercises are useful for multiple networks even though you employ them to upgrade just one.

If any set of networks could be considered ‘most important’, though, it would be this rear area, for without N1 & 2 we have nothing. As we explained in tutorial 2, almost all of your most important neurotransmitters are produced here. Those chemicals are responsible not only for your abilities, such as staying alert, paying attention, concentrating and being observant enough to learn anything, but also for your desire to learn; for your motivation and ability to take an interest in anything in the first place. Communications between the body and mind and between the senses and the brain are facilitated here too, forming the basics of all your sensory perception & orientation.

This is equally true in 'Starship' terms: No matter how huge a database of facts or clever procedures you carry in your ship's computer, you cannot do much with it with no sensors, burned out engines or failing life support.

You are beginning a grand adventure when you start developing intelligence, and the more you know about these basics the more quickly you will grasp the details. Also, some of the main processes (for example memory, perception, learning) that we will be looking at soon are quite complex, and understanding the fundamentals they rely on makes them much easier to fathom.


Stress, Relaxation and Development

One of the fundamental processes prevalent through the whole brain is the stress/relaxation polarity. This is part of the cyclic process of growth and development that takes place on all levels; physical, behavioral, neurochemical, procedural, cognitive, interactive.

We have already talked about the relaxation response and its effect on reducing anxiety, and here we will extend on the nature of the stress/relaxation polarity so that in the next tutorial you will be able to see its place in the natural cycle of learning.


For You and Against You: Motivation Versus Coercion (**)

The process of stress/relaxation is part of the cycle of growth and development apparent in both 'hardware' and 'software' -body and mind. In hardware terms we are talking about how learning increases the density of network connections in the brain. In software terms we are talking about the processes that enable learning, growth and development, what they need, and what can get in their way.


For You

On your side in employing the stress/relaxation response for developing and learning optimally is motivation. To maintain a childlike and open-minded attitude about playing, and about learning without being taught, you must have motivation. You have to WANT to learn; to want to improve and change. You must be interested in what you are learning and you must think that it matters, because otherwise you will not be able to 'walk the path' no matter how much you discover.

For some of us, motivation comes when we get totally sick and fed-up of feeling like crap, of being stuck in a rut, or of failure in interpersonal relations. We get tired of being tired, or sick of being sick, or bored with being bored.

For others, motivation is triggered by seeing, hearing about or experiencing an example of our potential, of what intelligence can do, (and this may be a factual or a fictional example as long as it inspires us.)

Motivation will be provided for free by your intent, if you are able to provide the background matrix that triggers it. To do this you need to be able to relax and reduce the anxiety factors in your life with input control sufficient for biology's intent to function healthily. This is what triggers motivation, as a growing desire to learn, develop and improve; and this is how we reawaken our natural striving for excellence.

You are definitely able to do this, because you've already used the natural learning system adeptly before. This is exactly the system our brains used originally as children, learning to walk and talk with networks 1&2 so that we could move about and interact with the input needed to develop network 3, (which gives us the mental ‘tools’ to develop network 4, and so on).

All the tools for developing any given network are built in to the previous network. You learned to speak and walk the natural way. You didn't plan these tasks and draw up a syllabus or call in a tutor. You didn't wake up some days with no motivation and think, “Damn it, I can't be bothered to practice walking today!” Your biological intent to learn and develop was still very strong back then because nobody had interfered with it, and you went right ahead and learned a whole language and an immensely complex series of sensorimotor coordinated movements, all by yourself.

This is what intelligence can do, and if left alone it will keep on doing it with whatever you want to learn as long as nothing gets in its way. Allowed to freely interact as a child, we will continue to follow whatever we are interested in and we will learn about it keenly and well. Those who get this opportunity in childhood are currently rare, but allowing yourself that sort of freedom now and recalling that state of mind at any age will provide you with motivation automatically.

Think about it... Are you (or have you ever been) really interested in something; like a sport or a band or comic books or a computer game or TV series? I bet you know lots about that subject; all kinds of details. We learn avidly about whatever we love and are interested in, and biology has designed it that way. Interest is a signal of potential benefit to intelligence, for as long as we are healthy. If we follow biology's intent and play avidly with whatever we love, we will develop our intelligence optimally.

When the intent within is met halfway by the correct content without (correct input), motivation is automatic and learning is easy and fast.


Against You

What's working against you is the fact that our society has interfered with natural learning by removing us from the input we need (no input = nonuse) and then trying to direct our attention to certain types of input in the wrong order (wrong input = wronguse). It's a double-whammy.

Forced learning education systems shove in declarative data that adults consider important and deny us the vital data biology needs. Doing this does not trigger motivation, because the brain knows unconsciously when input is wrong or premature. We just don't get naturally interested in the wrong input. So education systems have had to replace motivation (the result of our natural intent) with coercion (the 'carrots and sticks' of indoctrination). Learning is then slow, incomplete (motivation provides the neurochemicals that assist memory and association) and often impermanent (motivation also provides the chemicals for making memory long-term). Learning anything you are not interested in will not provide these chemicals because your brain knows that the information is not in reality of any importance to you.

Also, our “stretching” exploratory behavior only increases in safe environments, which makes great sense from a survival point of view -there's no use standing around learning stuff in an area full of dangerous predators, but whenever we are coerced into anything we don't feel safe. If we were with respectful friends, there would be no coercion, and biology knows this. Being coerced at all makes us anxious, it's something that shouldn't be happening in a healthy environment.

In summary, society's anxiety-based intentions have separated learning from play, and in doing so created work (and this “normal” way of looking at learning as associated with hard work is so entrenched in our society that it can make the ideas behind natural learning difficult for us to grasp at first), but bear in mind that the scientific evidence now strongly indicates that ALL natural learning takes place through play and is prompted by natural motivation.

Conversely, all forced learning replaces motivation with coercion, and all forced learning is wronguse.

Natural learning produces intelligence, and society doesn't want intelligence (indeed, intelligence would dismantle our current society by replacing it with an intelligent culture). The current population is made up largely of anxious people with adult-sized bodies and dysfunctional minds stuck in mid-development; childish rather than childlike (***), and our social structure has developed in order to service the needs of this majority; it provides the needs of the terminally insecure; not the needs of intelligence; in short it can't currently provide very much that intelligence needs and instead provides a lot of things that damage it. Forced learning is simply indoctrination into compliance with its system (and since this is at root a non-workable system for intelligence, this creates a great deal of confusion.)

Many NH'ers are going to have to totally reconsider how learning works, and think hard about the differences between what intelligence needs and what society wants. We'll explore this and its consequences later on; for now we are going to focus on understanding the basis of the natural learning process and providing what intelligence needs.

You should by now know enough to be aware of the brain’s physical needs. Intelligence, of course, has more than physical needs; it needs relevant input and time to mess about (play) with it, free from coercion.

We hope you have understood that there are only really two types of input, regardless of where it comes from. These are 'helpful' or 'harmful': input we can use to improve things or input that will use us to make things worse. If you don't understand this yet don't worry; it will become clear when you do the practical stuff and see what a difference consistent good input makes. This is why it is vital to take control over your input, spending most of your time doing things that will make you smarter, and actively avoiding those that will make you dumber!

We often point out 'versus factors' (things for you and against you) in specific circumstances in these tutorials , but figuring out consciously ALL the things that are working for and against you in every single situation would be far too complicated a way for brains to go about things in real time. By the time our ancestors had worked it all out cognitively and computed what to do, they would have been eaten or starved to death. What biology needs is a superfast simple method to tell right away (sometimes within fractions of a second) if something is “on our side” or working against us. And guess what? –We’ve got one. We have labeled this ability variously as 'intuition' 'instinct' 'hunch' 'a sixth sense', 'attraction/repulsion' and 'gut feeling', but in fact intuition and even instinct are the result of extremely complex unconscious processing, as we will learn.



Nature has evolved all creatures to “like” and be motivated to move towards habits of behavior that are good for them, and to “dislike” move away from and avoid all things that are bad news. This is indeed 'instinctive' (instinct is an inborn hardwired set of programs for activities and tendency to behavior common to a given biological species, prompted by biological drives). If you’re a owl, for example, you’re going to “like” food, sex, nests and hooting. If you’re an ameba you're going to like warmth and food and dislike cold and toxins. If you're human though, it gets a bit more complicated.

Humans are flexible and adaptable in ways that other creatures are not. We have 'plasticity' throughout. We can survive on a multitude of different diets, in a multitude of different climates, adjust our habits for our own convenience, and create tools and artifacts to help ourselves survive and thrive. The trouble with our adaptability is that it relies on our culture to become our matrix for development as we grow by showing us through example which habits are ‘helpful’ and which are ‘harmful’.

Your “Culture” is supposed to be comprised of your social group and its collective survival-and-thriving habits. Culture should vary according to circumstances and environment. If you live in the jungle, for example, your culture is going to need to follow different rules in order to help you survive and thrive than those you will need if you live in a western city or in the arctic. Nature expects the information and examples that you are given to be accurate and expedient; based on millions of years' of exploration, discovery, learning and adaptation. Parents, relatives and friends are expected [by nature] to be intelligent, experienced, helpful and wise. Those who teach are expected to be exceptionally wise (no, don't laugh). This is what biology expects.

Unfortunately most of us are not raised by an intelligent, helpful, wise culture. Most adults don't know how to survive and thrive themselves in their own society. With only the anxious intentions of current adult and cultural misinformation, we cannot associate anything with biology's own definitions of “helpful” and “harmful” and we get it wrong. Instead of an accurate and clear understanding of what is important in real life that we need from our culture, we get indoctrinated into believing nonsense by a dysfunctional society based on chronic anxiety, fear and greed. In our society, the people who find out the facts about things [researchers, scientists, explorers] are not the sources of our information; which are television, newspapers, teachers and gossip. The aim of our sources of information is to sell us things to pacify anxiety and make money to pacify theirs. The contrived (intentional) aim of society is to keep people dependent, preferably for life (as the drug companies put it, 'from conception to death').

The evolutionary aim of our biology (intent) is to make us autonomous and independent as well as sociable and cooperative, and now that you know this you can probably see where many problems begin; in the disparity between the two.

Not knowing the helpful from the harmful makes things difficult for intelligence because indoctrination makes our intuition unreliable, but we can still work it all out from first principles -'this feels good', 'that tastes nasty' etc. if we are allowed to. The 'double whammy' occurs because most often we are taught by our society that biology's decisions are wrong, that they are dirty or bad or evil or wicked (although we're never quite told why) and we are programmed to listen to what those around us say is good, as well as what we feel is good.

In a healthy culture the two should match up, then allow for adaptation. Instead, in anxiety-driven societies we are told that if we trust our instincts and intuition we will develop into violent, stupid, filthy animals (instead of nice civilized human beings who listen to their teachers and get good jobs and get married and go to church and pay their taxes and stuff.) This picture of 'civilization' is society's ideal. It has to be imposed on biology via coercion and forced learning (because society's ideals are not instinctive, since they are harmful to biology). What this indoctrination process really achieves is domestication, a bunch of dumb dependent creatures which serve their society as they are told, and civilization is the very thing this indoctrination is preventing.

Confronted with this dilemma as youngsters we stop trusting our instincts, stop being sure we know what's good and bad for us, start believing we need others who are more qualified to tell us what is good or bad or right or wrong and what to believe, and biological development and intelligence development slip out of synchrony.

Having the helpful not just made unavailable but also replaced by the harmful like this is devastating to intelligence because it removes all possibility of optimal synchronized development, wrecks our health, and causes us more and more problems as time goes by. We are not prepared (matured) properly to cope with life’s realities, we can't adapt and things stress us out simply because we don't understand what's really going on or why people are 'what they're like'. This confusion and its attendant misunderstanding shows up most clearly in interpersonal relationships. We don't even understand why we don't understand, because we still feel unconsciously somehow that we should. We feel we should have 'seen it coming', whatever it was. Intuition tells us that we're smarter than this. (Don't think you are -know you are) : ) This is why some have described NH as a process of 'waking up in stages'.

Reawakening your natural ability to know helpful from harmful is partly what we are doing this program for; enabling you to reclaim the awareness and motivation that biology intended you to have in the first place. Habits, even habits of belief, are only habits, and all ‘tastes’ are ‘acquired tastes’. NH enables us to adapt, realign ourselves with natural development and become so much more than we may have expected or been told.


Our minds develop through interaction with intelligent culture, but biologically any intelligence raised in this society starts out as an unfortunate culture of one. To find the input that intelligence needs, we must reconstruct a 'patchwork' culture for ourselves from first principles out of distributed fragments of truth. The information in these tutorials is providing just one of those fragments our culture should have given us; the music and the movies we choose as input provide us with another fragment, and so on.

Once we have input control and have started doing this, we are creating good conditions for growth and development; biology's intent is once again matched with appropriate content (input) and we slip back into synchronized development. Once back in sync we learn and remember more easily; brain chemistry, mood and behavior are balanced by complementary networks moving through cycles of stretching and relaxing, and we can then use this cycle deliberately to augment intelligence, balance and build up our networks. By creating the matrix for growth, we allow intelligence to unfold as smoothly as biology intended.




Test Your Variable Attention

Take as long as you need to work this out without rushing, but time how long it takes you.

I have before me two boxes. One is empty, the other I notice has a box within it, and that box has two boxes within it, and those two boxes have 4 boxes each within them. So, I pick up the box with all the other boxes in it, and place it inside the empty box....how many boxes are there all together?

(answer at end of tutorial)

This test is called the TOVA (Test Of Variable Attention). Paying attention and concentrating are easy when the subject or activity you're involved in is fun and interesting. This is the easiest part of learning; allowing the events to draw you in and following where your interest leads. To grasp the finer details though, you need to be able to 'stretch' your own mind and push concentration, observation and attention to detail.

If you found this puzzle easy, you may be surprised to learn that some people cannot do it at all. The longer it takes you to figure out, the more work you should do on your attention skills, including anxiety reduction.


Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 13:12