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Neurohacking - Tutorials
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Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:28


NHA Tutorial 11

Procedural Memory & Metaphorization



We looked at Network 4 and some of its functions in the last tutorial, including our ability to abstract concepts from concrete contexts to abstract ones, using the same mental processes for two different types of tasks. For example, the same processes that N1 uses to automatically manipulate our bodies, hands and material objects in coordinated ways, are used by N4 to manipulate abstract concepts, data and processes of thought in coordinated ways; as well as fine-tuning and focusing our (concrete) physical dexterity. We will explore the 'concrete to abstract' processes that enable this further here.

We also began to explore some fundamental unconscious subroutines, such as sync, embodiment and bonding, that intelligence uses in all sorts of processes. In this tutorial we'll explore the interaction of eidetic (N3) and procedural (N4) memory that allows us conscious access to unconscious knowledge; the processes of analogization and metaphorization.

These are the mental programs that enable us to translate the profusion of sensory input into the seamless ongoing experience of consciousness, using concept sets of items, backgrounds and connections viewed by N4 as 'roles', 'scenes' and 'plots'. Understanding the system reveals a neat method for neurohackers that cuts interactional analysis time down to minutes instead of hours, and shows us ways to 'change the script' and 'change the plot' in real life, real time strategic situations. This is where we can really start reaping the benefits of connecting and aligning our conscious cognition with unconscious awareness. Input and output control methods to enhance this process by adopting habits of thought and behavior and developing cultural skills are also covered in this tutorial.

Network 4 shares N1's core behavior of bringing things together and organizing them into coherent patterns by abstracting similarities; bringing order out of chaos, and forming the congruous association categories that enable us to make and store procedural memories from our perceptions. These processes create a coherent dynamic 'immersive game' of our real time experience throughout life that has continuity, including a model of ourselves as personalities with roles and abilities in various different scenes. It is the quality and expediency of these processes which prompts our congruous or incongruous neuronal connectivity in learning, memorizing and understanding, and prevents or creates our memory health, problems or decline. We will explore this in depth here.

Follow the right habit

The word 'Habit' has several meanings. Most of the time in everyday conversation when we hear the word 'habit' it's in the context of addiction, especially to drugs: 'drinking excess alcohol is a bad habit'.

Here we want to concentrate on two other meanings:

1. A dominant or regular prevailing attitude, 'knack', tendency; or quality: 'She has a habit of looking at the bright side of things.'

These types of habit are unconscious subroutines that affect our attitude and 'disposition' in behavior. We can hack this kind of unconscious subroutine with psychological input control.

2. An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become automatic and involuntary: 'the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.'

This sort of 'habit' can affect our autonomy (free will) in choice of our behavior. We can hack this kind of unconscious subroutine with output control.

Input and output control methods are discussed in the Methods & Tech section.


When habits (unconscious subroutines) become automatic we forget that once they were learned. We assume 'that's just the way I do things'; and we apply this reasoning to our thoughts as well as our behavior; our 'way of doing things' seems fixed and permanent, we may even think of it as 'our nature'. -”He's just a naturally laid-back dude,” “She just has a jolly nature”.

This is of course not true. We are not 'naturally' a fixed system, but a dynamic system programmed to constantly change in directions that favor our success. Failure to adapt with resilience to changing circumstances, feeling like all the stressors are 'just piling on', being 'overcome' by hassle, holds many people back in many contexts and limits their ability to thrive. The biggest thing standing in the way of beneficial change is failure to believe it is possible - because then we never learn how to adopt the methods that make it possible. We need to deliberately change the way we think about things and in some cases what we believe about things, in order to change these destructive habits of thought.


the big picture

Our aim in NH is constantly to increase our habits of healthy thought and behavior and replace any harmful habits with more fortuitous habits. Our ability to do this relies on many factors; our perception (noticing there is something wrong in the first place); autonomy (free will to decide to change); rectitude (finding out what the appropriate 'replacement' behavior IS and practicing it); self-control (to block any automatic habitual tendencies); and awareness of what we are doing in the here and now (which some call a form of mindfulness, some call 'being focused', and others call simply 'being aware').

However, instead of looking at all the details of things we want to change, we should be looking at the techniques that we can use to change them all -it is the methods that we need to learn; regardless of what details they are applied to. Anxiety reduction, Input control, Output control and Core Conditions are winners every time, but their power is limited to how much we put them to use in real life.

Changing habits of thought and behavior isn't unnecessarily complicated because all habits rely on automatic associations in memory, and changing habits basically means learning the techniques to interrupt those subroutines and deliberately practising better ones to overwrite that memory. Mindfulness or 'being aware' is also a habit of memory. Once we deliberately bring something into conscious attention to be worked on, and get some practice, the exact same methods will work for all adjustments and every time we use these methods, they get easier.

Neither do we have to 'learn to synchronize' all the aspects of our thought and behavior, because sync will happen all by itself; no effort is required on our part. New healthy habits are like pieces of jigsaw puzzle that were previously missing from the mind's congruous 'big picture'. Once good habits are practiced often enough, they automatically fall into place as aspects of our (now congruous) personality and behavior. From our point of view, things just start to 'make more sense'.

All of our attention should be on conscientiously enjoying increasing our abilities -by introducing new habits and regularly reminding the unconscious that we are now doing things differently. We are doing things many humans CAN'T do. When mistakes happen, we stay cool and remind ourselves that this is a part of the process and that without mistakes we can't fine-tune our abilities. We know we must get experience of 'missing the target' in order to know how to hit the target. At some point we find we have already changed and we just 'don't do that harmful stuff any more'. The new behaviors have become habits because the unconscious is familiar enough with the new signaling pathways to make them automatic. From now on, we automatically 'do the right thing', strengthening healthy networks all the time.

Although actually doing the hacks/exercises and performing new behaviors is the main way to get practice and experience, there is some complementary background information in these tutorials that makes this sort of hacking much easier. For example if we know how the program code works, if we know what the mental procedures are for high level perception, if we know which rules can be broken and which rules can be bent, it's much easier to get a perspective on making changes. Forming congruous associations between conscious and unconscious thought is also much augmented by having a working knowledge of and recognizing archetypes, and the vital difference between fact and fiction.

Learning the difference between fact and fiction and forming a new ontology (world view) is something NHers must usually do anew because when we begin, almost all of us don't understand the problem due to previous wrong input (misinformation), we have no idea that our conscious ontology may well be right out of sync with our unconscious inner model, we have no idea how this is seriously reducing our power to interact and limiting our intelligence.

We all start out assuming we know very clearly what's real and what isn't; just like 'Mr. Anderson' in 'The Matrix'. Challenging those assumptions can be tough; facing the unknown is always likely to stretch our abilities, but it's certainly worthwhile. Developing the connections that unify unconscious and conscious thought puts us through a brain growth spurt and a phase shift, and we can expect big changes at this stage if we practice diligently. It's a real adventure.

The crucial factor for healthy development at this stage is the quality and quantity of connections between N3 and frontal nets (our unconscious and conscious minds), and consequently the degree of synchronization of signaling that can take place between them. The development and recruitment of concrete networks for abstract thought relies on getting enough communication passing back and forth between N3 and front nets to grow large, dense connections, which can only be made when the data on both sides has enough points of similarity for each networks' format to 'represent' or 'stand for' data from the other, and vice versa. That's what congruous association means. When both networks fire simultaneously to the same input, they literally grow together.

To 'build a bridge' between conscious and unconscious thought, synchronized firing must occur in both networks almost simultaneously (because cells that fire together...) and archetypal patterns are the medium of representation which allows this to happen. Through them, N4 is able to build metaphoric constructs that 'represent' N3's image-based interpretations of reality.

Biology is designed to interface with human culture to initiate this communication, through the media of stories and games. N3 and N4 need to understand things 'in their own terms' (in their own formats) and this is abstract, unlike the concrete, sensorimotor 'grounded' format of rear networks. For congruity N4 must interface with N3 and translate N3's analogical image-based 'story' format into metaphorical representations of dynamic events through time; as though life were an immersive game whose aim is development. Thus it can interpret whatever N3 imagines, and procedural memory can develop a chronology aligned with the arrow of time; the basis for many of our executive abilities.

For cells to fire together at all, association must be congruous -things must make sense, between our biology/psychology and our culture. If they do not, we will be left somewhat helpless, drifting about feeling lost and confused trying to find where we 'fit in', finding it much more difficult to navigate through life and direct our own path. Many people feel compelled to 'play the game' of life they find themselves in, but somehow events don't follow the same plot they are biologically programmed to expect and know intuitively how to interact with. It's like they were either given the wrong story plot or are somehow in the wrong story (some say, 'on the wrong planet').

The unconscious input from N3 (what intelligence needs to develop front nets) must match up with conscious patterns of representation (our conscious beliefs and behaviors) to make sense, fire coincidentally and wire together. The correct input for developing these connections has emerged in human culture as archetypal stories and games, and we'll explore this is depth later on.


For you

Working for us in developing congruous unconscious-conscious associations is understanding the natural archetypes developed over billions of years by evolution, hardwired into biology’s intent for our survival and success, emergent in our culture.

Association is the main supporting skill for imagination and procedural memory.

Without congruous association our imagination can't build our memory database to draw on for inspiration. If we want to augment imagination and procedural memory it's useful to learn their own formats, which are only like computer languages for representing data. The study of processing formats brings fast rewards and understanding of the whole system.

Forget anything you've heard about hypothetical, psychotherapy-related “archetypes”, which are in almost all cases stereotypes derived from studying people with mental problems! In healthy minds, imagination and eidetic memory compare all input with natural archetypes; representational concepts and images that cover all types of people, things, circumstances and events that a human may encounter in their lifetime. Core archetypes are cross-species in that they represent procedures that all life must practise whether great or small in order to meet its survival needs; basic behaviors such as seeking, avoiding, defending, collecting, learning, mating, homemaking and so on.

Archetypes have emerged from the interactions between human imagination and reality. Eidetic archetypes are representations of successful characters, backgrounds and 'stories' (ie, events). Procedural archetypes are representations of real life roles in, scenes from, and the overall 'plot' of successful human development. They apply to all times and all places. If we recognize them and learn to use them consciously, they enable powerful mental skills.

Also on our side is our accuracy at differentiating between real and synthetic systems. This awareness gives rise to some extremely powerful tools in NH, but obviously they develop only if we construct them and learn how to use them. This tutorial is dedicated to that aim.

Against you

Working against us and causing incongruity are synthetic systems and stereotypes based on society’s anxious intentions.

Stereotypes are synthetic constructs humans make up, and are usually derogatory (e.g., all persons from nation X are arrogant and obese, all blondes are dumb, lovers must get married, children must be circumcised, race A is genetically superior to race B, unnecessary violence is normal, X is inferior to Y, and men don't cry).

Stereotypes are arbitrary fictions; they are unique to their time and society; for example in one society at one point in history, redheaded people may be considered 'lucky', while on the other side of the world in a different society they may be considered 'demons', a few decades later in the same society they are considered 'valiant warriors', and so on. Thinking in stereotypes about people or events (for example, 'god did it'), restricts our knowledge to those stereotypes and puts boundaries around our perception of knowledge, preventing us from seeing individuals and events as they really are or learning anything new; leaving us open to misunderstanding, coercion and deceit as well as missing out on making valuable allies. Worse, stereotyping leads to dehumanization and delusions of superiority.

Placing artificial rules or controls as borders and boundaries around knowledge and behavior badly limits both our perspective on reality and further development by preventing unconscious-conscious communication. What we aim to change at this stage in NH are these limitations to perspective, because memory functions at its optimal (as it should) when unconscious networks are firmly bonded to conscious networks, and eidetic and procedural memory are firmly grounded in the core archetypal concepts of hard physical reality.

If they are not, is much it harder for us to associate, learn and remember things, higher faculties such as creativity and intellect will be limited, and we are also much more susceptible to being deceived or misunderstood.

In developing these connections, we are going to be hacking our way into “a world without rules and controls, borders and boundaries (and all the other things the unconscious views as 'fiction'), ...a world where anything is possible.” [1] The root of creative, flexible thinking.

By the end of this tutorial we should understand the difference between real and synthetic constructs, understand archetypes, and know how to overwrite memory using input and output control.


Spotting a habit nobody knows is a habit

When you sneeze, does it sound like "achoo!" or "atchoo!" or “atishoo!”? This is a habit you unconsciously copied from somebody else. "Achoo" is not universal - it's only what English-speaking sneezers say. The French sneeze sounds more like "atchoum". In Japan, it's "hakashun" and in the Philippines, they say "ha-ching" when sneezing. Animals just sneeze, without turning it into a word.

Inserting words into sneezes - and making automatic responses such as "bless you" - are (usually familial) habits we pick up along the way. Can you think of any other pointless habits other people don't realize they have? Suggestions at end of tutorial

bringing things together - structure and function - making connections


commissures & memory development

Association is our earliest use of imagination and it begins with the first sensory awareness. Simple categorizations within single networks such as 'same or different', 'attractive or repulsive', 'like or dislike', 'move towards or move away', begin to form right away.

While these basic ideas are roughing in, there is no 'direct' connection between our brain hemispheres –because the Corpus Callosum (the main connecting ‘bus’ between hemispheres) has not yet grown, and nor has much of N6.

Each hemisphere of the brain is specialized to control movement and feeling in the opposite half of the body, and each hemisphere specializes in processing different types of information from the same input (such as different aspects of language, movement, or types of patterns). Thus, to coordinate movement or to think about complex information, the hemispheres must connect and communicate and they do so by firing in sync with each other.

Commissures are conduits for communication between networks. In mature brains the corpus callosum (CC) is the main conduit which allows that communication. In a typical infant brain, the CC begins to develop between 12 to 16 weeks after conception, but it develops very slowly. While the basics for the entire structure begin prior to birth, the fibers of the CC continue to develop throughout childhood and increase in density until adolescence. Slowly, between years 1 and 4, initial joinings take place, and by the time we are approximately 12 years of age, the CC has wired up and functions essentially as it will in adulthood, allowing rapid interaction between the two sides of the brain.

This slow development means that during the time we form all our most basic memories, all communication between hemispheres has to go through N3, and there are two secondary busses that enable this called the Posterior and Anterior Commissures.

The individual basic architecture and procedural memory of Network 4 thus becomes firmly established long before the hemispheres begin exchanging information directly via the corpus callosum. The posterior and anterior commissures are the initial link between unconscious knowledge and conscious awareness.

Between them, these and other 'busses' connect networks, both to each other and to different areas within themselves. Without these connections the brain cannot synchronize or function as a single unit. [2]

The core process of bringing things together; connecting and uniting -setting up a conduit enabling things to communicate in order to synchronize - 'building a bridge'- is here seen on the macro developmental level of whole brain anatomy in relation to brain function.

It is this process of building connections; not the commissures themselves, that is the real focus of our study. On the physiological level, sync, embodiment and bonding are three ways of 'bringing things together' sufficiently to enable new kinds of interaction, and now that we understand them we can observe exactly the same core processes at work in the unconscious systems of the body, in individual heart cells, in synesthesia, in the physiology of multisensory neurons, and in brainwaves. We'll look at a few of these examples below to consolidate our knowledge of this process. It is always knowledge of the processes themselves; rather than the details, that is of most use to us in NH. Like software applications, or abstract systems such as mathematics, mental processes will work on any appropriate set of data, and once a process such as bonding or sync can be recognized, we will begin to notice more and more examples of it in all sorts of contexts, and at the same time, can take practical steps to help it happen where appropriate in our own development:


bringing things together - action potentials into brainwaves

Input data is digital; a series of ones and zeros as a neuron either fires or does not. But brainwaves (aka 'neural oscillations') are analog: they are part of a mechanism that represents data by measurement of a continuous physical variable, in this case as frequency or intensity. How can individual digital inputs be brought together to lead to wave propagation?

At the individual neuron level, oscillations appear both via shifts in membrane potential enabled by the movement of ion gradients, and as rhythmic patterns of action potentials ('ones'), which then produce oscillatory activation of post-synaptic neurons ('population voting'). Oscillatory activity in whole networks generally arises from feedback connections between the neurons that results in the synchronization of their firing patterns. The synchronized activity of networks gives rise to macroscopic oscillations at a different frequency than the firing frequency of individual neurons, which are what we see on an EEG trace as 'alpha' or 'beta' waves etc.


Bringing things together - Multitasking neurons

For a long time it was believed that all neurons perform in the 'one-task-per-neuron' manner of recognizing specifics such as color, shape or type of motion, and that these specifics, when added up, resulted in a whole congruous concept, image or idea of what was going on. Now we know better. There are many neurons, especially in brain regions that perform sophisticated functions such as thinking and planning, that don't fit into this pattern. Instead of responding exclusively to one stimulus or task, these neurons respond in different ways to a wide variety of things. Research reveals that the flexible neurons, known as "mixed selectivity neurons," are critical to building a brain that can perform many complex tasks all at once and are essential for complex cognitive tasks, such as learning new behaviors. Indeed without them, the brain can learn only a handful of behavioral tasks. [92]

From an early age these neurons modulate our remarkable ability to place visual stimuli into familiar and meaningful categories, such as 'fruit' or 'vegetables'. They also enable us to direct our spatial attention to different locations in a scene and make spatially-targeted movements, such as reaching. Research shows that these very different types of information can be simultaneously encoded by neurons within the lateral intraparietal (LIP) area in the Intraparietal sulcus.

Multiple functions can be mapped onto this particular region of the brain and even onto individual brain cells in this region, which can independently but simultaneously encode both spatial and cognitive signals; a simultaneous and independent encoding of both eye-movement and category information—multiplexing of information at the level of single brain cells. [5] Both the eye-movement and the category signals can be decoded with high accuracy. This tells us that different kinds of information that are consciously considered quite unrelated are simultaneously and independently unconsciously represented by the same neurons in particular brain areas. The same cells are being used for concrete and abstract (unconscious and conscious) processing, in parallel.

When each network area can do a number of different things in parallel, a lot more processing can be squeezed into the same spacetime. In a given 'same context', mixed selectivity neurons always behave the same way. It's just that they may convey one message in one task, and a totally different message in another task.

According to research, when mixed selectivity neurons make up about 30 percent of the total, a network's capacity becomes "virtually unlimited”. We like the sound of that. [10]


bringing things together - synesthesia & association

Two connected natural processes support the formation of congruous association. One is our unconscious use of analogy and metaphor for high-level processing of information (which we'll look at shortly), and the other is synesthesia, for lower-level processing of information.

A neuroscientist dude called Rama [3] outlined his research into the links between brain structure and function. He describes the phenomena of “synesthesia” in which people experience, for example, sounds in terms of colors or tastes. Another type of synesthesia has people seeing numbers, letters of the alphabet, or musical notes, as having a distinct color. Intrusive, 'overt synesthesia' is a peculiarity in which this association is permanently conscious; about one in thirty people have overt synesthesia and it can be induced by hypnosis.

How are sensory inputs brought together with non-sensory inputs? Physiologically in synesthesia, one sense triggers the receptors of others as well as its own, and cells that fire together... Latest studies are showing that the brains of people with overt synesthesia simply have more ‘cross-wiring’ than the rest of us, and this can be induced by changing inhibitory processes in the average brain (we'll tell you how to do it later on).

What's important to NHers is that synesthesia goes on unconsciously all the time as a subroutine of association and memory. Rama was investigating the origins of language, but his work is relevant to us here as it explains how we make analogies and metaphors and how sounds can be metaphors for images or other concepts – why for example sounds can be described as ‘bright’ or ‘dull’. In explaining how language might have evolved from cross activation of adjacent areas in the brain, Rama notes some crucial processes, and two of these are of particular relevance to eidetic and procedural memory:


1 “Synesthetic cross modal abstraction”: i.e. we recognise properties that sounds and images have in common, abstract them, and process / categorize/ store them in the same network. The sounds and shapes of the objects have characteristics in common that can be abstracted, say a sharp, cutting quality of a word, and the shape it describes - what Rama called the 'Bouba/Kiki effect' based on the results of an experiment where people are shown two abstract shapes and asked to relate the nonsense words ‘Bouba’ and ‘Kiki’ to them. The effect is real and observable, and repeatable.


Which of the following shapes do you think is called a “Bouba”? Which one is called a“Kiki”?

See end of the tutorial for answer


2 “Built in preexisting cross activation”. Rama points out that areas of the brain which appear to be involved in the correlations of Synesthesia are adjacent to each other physically; they have wired together, and that cross-wiring, or cross activation, can explain both Synesthesia and our ability to make analogies and metaphors.


Update on synesthesia

Lately (2007-2013), much more has been discovered about synesthesia. We now know which parts of the brain, which neurotransmitter receptors and even which gene contributes to our ability to associate synesthetically and to think metaphorically -a connection which is very important in this tutorial, so bear it in mind.

Association areas are parts of the brain where many networks overlap; they behave like 'junctions' for various different modalities. The fusiform gyrus (in the temporal lobe) is one such area, the angular gyrus (near the tempero-parietal-occipital junction) is another, and they give rise to synesthesia only if cross-wiring is sufficiently dense.

For those who associate color with the shapes of numbers, letters or words, two areas in the fusiform gyrus have wired together: our color detection area V4 and our shape detector which is anatomically right next to it. The result is known as 'low' synesthesia.

Those who associate color with numerical value or the sounds of letters/words, the number-value area in the angular gyrus and/or sound-recognition area is crosswired with V4. This is called 'high synesthesia.

A gene called HTR2a appears to produce the proteins that enable synesthesia and related abilities. If the gene is expressed in these association areas it enables synesthesia, if it is expressed throughout the brain, it increases our ability for metaphorization and for creative thinking. The gene, when expressed, increases the number of 5HT receptors; specifically a type called 5HT2a; causing an increase of serotonin type 2a. [4] There are several gene-transcription factors we can use to turn this gene on and off (see hacks section), so bear this information in mind when we discuss metaphorization and the origins of creativity later on.

As we know, all memory uses eidetic patterns in N3 to assist in recalling relevant information, while imagination both constructs and consults the inner unconscious model of 'what's going on'. The healthy function of synesthesia is to provide coincidentally-firing coordinates in this model, because context (and consequently meaning) of concrete data are emergent from interactions between sensorimotor, spatial and eidetic networks (processes like analogization).

In exactly the same way, context and meaning of abstract data are emergent from interactions (translating processes) between eidetic, procedural and declarative networks; processes like metaphorization (we'll be studying these below). What is important for now is knowing that (a) this step in processing both requires and facilitates the connection of networks processing unconscious knowledge with those processing conscious awareness, and (b) that this process in frontal lobes recruits the same networks used for synesthesia in rear nets. They are used by rear networks to contribute to analogization; processing data from concrete sensory signal association; and used by front nets to assist in metaphorization; processing abstract data from other networks.

Every bit of information stored in memory is located according to coordinates on the inner model. Cells that fire together wire together, and every coordinate in the inner model is associated 'synesthetically' with a particular physical movement, a particular type of smell molecule, a particular frequency of color, a particular pitch of sound, other, similar associated concepts, and so on. This is how we categorize the many unknown percepts coming in to fit in with the body of known concepts, reducing details to essentials, compressing the information into the coded form of N3's graphics. This makes it easier and faster for us to memorize and understand things, to learn rapidly and to recall more efficiently.

N3’s inner model stores each ‘category’ of items having the same type of abstracted similarity in its own ‘core’ area of the model (which relates back to our six core categories). We may not consciously be aware of these associations, but our brain remains unconsciously aware of them (and that's how we predicted which shape was 'probably' a ‘Bouba’, above).

This is why an optimal memory depends partly on developing synesthesia to the extent that our unconscious associations are strong, but NOT to the extent that it intrudes into conscious awareness when we don't want it to (because that can be a real pain in the ass). Once again, it's the Goldilocks Zone - just the right amount of synesthesia supports optimal development & function. We'll look at methods for achieving this in the Methods & Tech section.

DO IT NOW – test for synesthesia

To test synesthesia, Rama and collaborators designed an experiment where they could measure the vividness of the colors associated with the numbers 2 and 5. They chose those because you can make them look almost identical, although reversed, by choosing a boxy font. Then they made up a picture (below) of mostly fives, with a few twos scattered within there. Then they asked people to pick out the twos. Most folks could do it within about twenty seconds or so. See how long it takes you.

See end of tutorial for notes



bringing things together - Complex constructs - networks of networks

There is evidence suggesting that mixed selectivity neurons communicate with the correct targets by synchronizing their activity with oscillations of a particular brainwave frequency. The sensitivity of neuronal activity to the timing of synaptic inputs suggests that synchrony determines the form of the neural code, and, in turn, regulation of synchrony is a critical element in 'writing' the neural code to activate 'downstream' structures. [6] There is more evidence for how the brain synchronizes its own activity as a whole in this way. Every couple of hours during sleep, synchrony suddenly emerges, between not just brain networks, but all bodily systems. All the dissociated activity of deep sleep starts to fall into step, and in as little as 30 seconds every network has joined in. This change marks the transition from deep to light sleep, and until recently how or why it occurs was not understood. Now, we know that during sleep the brain is processing memories, carrying out repair tasks, building new connections and much more. In most of our waking time, networks tend to 'do their own thing' whilst working to complement each other to produce the output we require. After all, being modular implies divisional autonomy. But we can't make accurate predictions about what the mind will do based on the behavior of any one network, because in real life the system as a whole 'brain' is a construct in its own right. Real life is full of complex constructs - 'networks of networks'. Researchers have recently awakened to the idea that it’s not enough to know how isolated networks work; studying how networks interact with one another is just as important. Today, the frontier field in network science is the science of networks of networks, and studying processes such as sync. [7] At this stage in NH, we have to begin doing that too.


bringing things together - concept cells

In a multi-retrieval task such as face recognition, in rear nets, one neuron would not suffice to tell whether a detail is part of a face, a pair of glasses or grandmother. Each cell forms part of an ensemble, a combination that generates a composite image. If the picture changes slightly, some of the details will vary, and the firing of the corresponding set of neurons will change as well. This automatic response conveys no meaning, but from the primary visual cortex, neuronal firing triggered by an image moves through a series of cortical regions toward more frontal areas, bringing together details. If enough points of similarity are found between these 'bits' and any known pattern, individual neurons in these higher visual areas respond to 'the big picture' - entire faces or whole objects - and not to local details. Just one of these high-level neurons can tell us that the image is a face and not a piano. If we slightly vary the picture, move it about or change the lighting illuminating it, it will change some features, but these neurons do not care much about small differences in detail, and their firing will remain more or less the same—a property known as visual invariance.

Neurons in high-level visual areas send their information to the medial temporal lobe—the hippocampus and surrounding cortex. The responses of neurons in the hippo are much more specific than in the higher visual cortex. Each of these neurons responds to a particular person or, more precisely, to the concept of that person: not only to the face and other facets of appearance but also to closely associated attributes such as the person's name and behavior.

Evidence implies that these neurons respond to the concept - to ANY representation of the thing itself. Thus, the neurons may be more appropriately called “concept cells” (instead of, as previously labeled, 'grandmother cells'.) Concept cells may sometimes fire to more than one concept, but if they do, these concepts tend to be 'in the same set' or closely related. Research is showing that concepts may be coded and stored very efficiently in this sparse way. Neurons in the medial temporal lobe just do not care about different instances of the same concept. They fire to the concept itself no matter how it is presented.

Coincidence detection determines what constitutes a coherent event in terms of how experiences tend to - or tend not to - occur close to one another at specific times. Series of experiences that usually occur together (temporally related) form an event until a non-temporally related experience occurs and marks the start of a new event; (for example our concept for 'the dawn chorus' is a coherent event in itself that occurs as a subset of our concept for 'morning'). [8] Establishing such connections with concept cells in sparse networks is fast and easy. It just requires creating a few links between the groups of cells representing each concept, by getting a few neurons to start firing to both concepts. Another advantage of this kind of representation is faster learning - because something new can be added without profoundly affecting everything else in the network. Because 'cells that fire together wire together', if two concepts are related, some of the neurons encoding one concept also fire to the other one. (This would be much more difficult to achieve and energy-consuming with distributed networks, where adding a new concept shifts boundaries for the entire network.)

The workings of concept cells go a long way toward explaining the way memory brings together data to remember: in real life we need to recall people we know in all guises (like movies) rather than remembering every pore on their faces from only one view (like still photographs).

Concept cells constitute the building blocks for the memories of facts, procedures and events throughout our lives. Their elegant coding scheme allows our minds to leave aside countless unimportant details, and extract meaning that can be used to make new associations and memories. They encode what is critical to retain from our experiences, and can be viewed as the hardware components of thought and memory. [9]


bringing things together - format translation - concrete to abstract, unconscious to conscious

All experiences trigger neural firing patterns in various networks. As we know, the trick for making functional memories out of them lies in their association and categorization, and each network uses its own unique format to ever-more-finely tune our perception, awareness and memory. This modular behavior assembles networks into 'territories' with different formats or 'languages' representing data for each network, and its own type of processing and memory.

Any event happening in the here and now leads to the activation of multiple associated memories as a part of our perception. This seems obvious; it is how we can remember things outside of the context of which they were established and through stimuli other than those that were initially involved in the learning (such as a familiar smell reminding us of a place).

What may not be so obvious is that most of this association remains unconscious. N3 practises relational processing constantly and all input is associated with related images in the inner model that can be translated into any other format (eidetic images can be used by all networks congruously; they are data for a universal translator). N3's imagery brings together and unites multiple input (percepts) into a single 'meaning' (concept). It does so by finding enough points of similarity between known patterns and new variations, and consulting context for meaning.

The translation program from N1 to N2 is based on associating mechanical sensory input (a sensorimotor format) with spatial coordinates (a spatial format) via associating both with eidetic imagery. Translation of data from rear nets to N3 is achieved by the process of analogization, and translation from N3 to N4 (from unconscious to conscious) is achieved by metaphorization. These processes can be viewed as the software components of thought and memory. [9] Don't worry that you don't know about them yet; answers are coming.

The key to all memory consolidation—the long term memory of an experience, procedure, or information in our brain—is signaling from the brain's hippocampus across different cortical areas. The greater the distribution of signaling, the stronger the memory takes hold in our brain, and coordinated brain activity between associated areas increases with time after a memory is initially formed. [24]

Bringing things together - Pre-language-language - sound and meaning

During development, language processing is mostly unconscious. As a small child, when we want something and an adult makes the sounds: “what’s the magic word”, we make some muscular movements with our mouth to make the sound ‘please’ and we smile because we’ve learned the story of how to navigate through this interaction. We have no idea of the meaning or the cultural implications of any of the words at first, (although we already know that the smile expression means ‘this is good’, as that’s hard wired in).

For rear networks even in adulthood, language-handling is an unconscious process equivalent to the famous ‘chinese room’ much studied in AI. Rear networks don’t need to (and don't have time to) understand formal meanings of abstract symbols in order to make the appropriate response; in their opinion that’s some other networks’ job.

This is also how most animals perceive sounds. Any 'similar' sound will suffice for the same message; for example if a cat (or a one-year-old) knows that the sound “Tigger!” indicates possible benefits such as food when responding, the sound “bigger!” or “digger!” or “snigger!” or “trigger!” or (don't try this in public) even “nigger!” will work just as well and is perceived as 'meaning' exactly the same thing. Not so for adult humans!

The cat does not know 'Tigger' is supposed to be its 'name'; it's simply associating sounds with events. The noise 'tigger!' just like Pavlov's bell, 'means' there is about to be free food at location x; the cat has no idea why. Likewise a young child is simply associating sounds with events; not words with meanings at this stage. We know this association is largely unconscious; the actual frequency of the words' sound gets programmed in to interact directly with the sensorimotor system and produce automatic responses. This begins in the womb, and by the time we’re born we already have a selection of sounds in memory with their associated behavioral and neurochemical responses wired in.


Hearing words. The sound of language impacts network association areas in N3 before it gets anywhere near frontal nets that can translate its abstract meanings. Initially only its eidetic, analogical associations register.

In the developing brain, sound and motion are part of ‘the same thing’ (ask a toddler to say the word ‘hand’ and watch their hand automatically move). At that stage, we have only learned the basics. Up to age three or so, throughout our initial categorization of experience, the parents of any healthy child get used to the constant questions, “What’s that?” and “where's (insert item)...?” This is stage 2 of development; intelligence is filling in the details, and we have learned how to discover the names (sounds) for things by asking (the association of name/sound with appearance being a most useful reference in mentally categorizing them.)

At around age three or four, the sign that stage 3 is beginning (and that the CC is starting to be filled out) is a shift in questioning behavior on the part of the intelligence’s owner. A new question arises; intelligence is now asking, ...“Why?” Words are no longer just sounds; they are beginning to be associated with extra meaning and tell us a 'story' about what is going on. Indeed, we often chatter aloud in play and tell the story of what is going on in the game.

The best way to enable intelligence at this stage of development is to keep explanations simple and congruous with unconscious archetypes; not to furnish extra abstract scientific information. We bring imagination fully online by storytelling, fantasy, imaginative play, and copying our models through imitative play. The question “why” in the developing intelligence is really the question: “What's the story behind this?” or, “How does this (unknown) fit into the story (of the known)?”

For example the 4 year old asks, 'why does it go dark at night?' An optimal answer is, “I'll show you” -and to take the child into a dark room, asking, “Why did the light from the other room (or wherever you were) go away just now? -Because we are not there to see it; we are somewhere else! It hasn't really gone away, we've just moved round the corner. -Let's creep up on it and see if it's still there!”

This sort of playful response prompts further questions; there is no confusion, just more curiosity. Launching into a lecture on astrophysics (as frontloader parents feel obliged to do) or saying 'god did it' (the rearloaders' knowledge-limiter) does not give enough points of similarity to real life for a child who lives in a hands-on interactive story and relates everything to that story. If we 'keep it in the story', play with it rather than lecture on it, show rather than tell; use concrete models to demonstrate, more and more associations are being coherently confirmed, not confused.

'Fitting it into the story' is the developing brain's way of bringing together conscious experience and unconscious knowledge; 'theory' about real life and real life. Information has to 'fit in' to what is already known sufficient to cause coincidental firing. This sort of processing is vital for developing links between rear and front networks; between unconscious and conscious awareness.


Bringing things together - Grounded understanding

N3 grounds its inner model of 'reality' in the reality it knows best from memory - in our physical biology, in our sensorimotor experience of the physics and biochemistry of the real world around us, and in whatever it perceives via the senses. Our earliest interactions are sensorimotor and by the same method, to the unconscious mind an early interaction such as 'grasping' an object literally in our hands is the grounding for 'grasping' mentally (embodying the object's concept pattern sufficient to store it in memory and make it a recognized (remembered) object).

Synesthetic links and their spatially relational nature give us a conscious glimpse of unconscious processing and the inner model. The ‘bouba’ and ‘kiki’ shapes relate to areas in our model that have coordinates. When memory goes looking for a 'Bouba'-related coordinate it finds that similar sounds and shapes lead to images of jellyfish-blobs, balls, bubbles, round things, bubblegum, bubbles, boobs and blots. Together with the sensory signals of the sound of the word (whether it is spoken aloud or not), and shape of the word, imagination computes the 'probable' answer is that the rounded, blobby shape is a Bouba -for no other reasons than this. 'Bouba' is a low, slow, bobbly-associated sound and 'Kiki' is a high, fast, spiky-associated sound.

This habit of abstraction - unconsciously using mental analogies to concrete matter and space in higher cognition - is so automatic in adults and so embedded in our language structure that we don't even realize we're doing it at all. It's a habit we don't know we have. Here are some examples:


Q: What's the highest note on a grand piano?


A: None; the keyboard is horizontal and all notes remain permanently at the same height above the floor.


In music and sound, the way that we talk about ‘high’ and ‘low’ notes shows how musical pitch has its analogy in spatial location. We see this spatial analogy for measurement occurring in many different forms, for example height measurement, light intensity, pH of solutions, light and sound frequency, visual or audio resolution, volume, pitch, density, gradient, fidelity; all of these use the term 'high' as synonymous with 'a lot' or 'more', and 'low' as synonymous with 'few' or 'less'. Regardless of the details, the basics 'up = more' and 'down = less' remain the same.

This seems so obvious that we rarely think about WHY it is so. It is because the same process in the same networks is recruited for our interpretation and categorization of both abstract and concrete concepts. [11]

For example, pitch and height. Amusics (tone deaf people) are unable to tell whether any particular musical note is higher or lower in pitch than another. People with this problem have notably poor spatial skills -on average, twice as bad as normal. Preliminary evidence suggests that tone deaf individuals DO register pitch changes unconsciously, although they can’t consciously 'decide' whether one pitch differs from another. What's happening here is there's no translation between unconscious knowledge and conscious awareness - no connection between concepts of spatial height and abstract pitch. [12] If pitch is displayed in a concrete manner (for example on a screen), practice allows neurofeedback to grow the required connections and musical ability improves.

In physics and light phenomena, humans have worked out consciously through years of scientific discovery that sounds, radio waves and colors are all different frequencies on the same electromagnetic spectrum, but N3 already knows all this unconsciously and we associate them as we do due to their spatial coordinates on the inner model (‘high’ and ‘low’ frequencies, instead of, for example, 'dense or sparse' frequencies, or 'faster and slower' frequencies (-although scientifically to do so would be valid, because the frequency of something is about how often it happens over time). We are not deluded -we don't believe that radio frequencies or colors are to be literally found higher up or lower down in the earth's atmosphere just because we orient them thus on a measuring scale. We have simply abstracted one property that is analogous; height, to bridge the gap between concepts. X works 'sorta' like Y.

For N3, most concepts are understood through reference to other concepts in this way. Our spatial concept of 'up' is grounded (embodied) in our spatial experience. Our constant physical activity in the world from before birth makes an up/down orientation to the world centrally relevant; not merely to our physical orientation but in every object, context, and event. In order to make high pitched noises like, 'Yippee!', we need to raise our heads and tighten our vocal chords. Low sounds like groans are more easily made with the head tilted down and the pharynx relaxed. To increase volume (loudness), we take a deep breath and fill our lungs (increase volume spatially) before emitting it forcefully. And volume, to the unconscious, is all about size.

In a spatial context Volume is the quantity of 3-dimensional space enclosed by a given closed boundary (regardless of mass or dimensions). Volume in an audio 'loudness' context is an attribute of auditory sensation in terms of which sounds can be ordered on a scale extending from quiet to loud according to amplitude. It's about the size of a wave rather than the size of an object or area, but they are analogous in terms of the abstracted concept 'measure of size', and they are analogous in that they use the same measurement context -a background scale that goes from few to many, from less to more, from small to large, in a linear way.

In language development, Rama (see above) notes that the areas that control the muscles around the mouth are also adjacent to the visual centers, and suggests that certain sounds/words appear to make our mouth imitate the thing we are describing. Examples of this might be words like ‘teeny weeny’, ‘diminutive’ to describe small things; ‘large’ or ‘enormous’ to describe big things. We exacerbate the impression of these shapes with gestures and postures.

All abstract values and measurements are grounded in our own biology; the concept, 'more = bigger' has probably been around ever since our prehistoric ancestors unconsciously grasped physical rules like, “Bigger breath = more time underwater”, or “More bears = bigger hassle”.

Everything that is in our awareness is categorized according to its relativity to (its relationship with) us personally -we unconsciously categorize things according to how they relate to the sensorimotor systems of our personal biology operating right here in the real world. As biological entities, it is our most sensible way to categorize things for making strong memories and grounded abstractions. As we know, frequency of use determines density of networks and pathways, and our physical material and spatial concepts get constant use right from the start because of our very nature. Up/down, front/back, in/out, near/far and so on are so much a part of our continual interaction with our physical environment that they get priority over other, less-frequently-used concepts. Thus 'up' is not understood purely in material physical spatial terms, although its original meaning formed in relation to our upright position relative to a gravitational field; 'up' is also understood as analogous to 'higher', 'more' and 'increase'.

In the same way, 'hot' is associated with 'fast' and the color red, and 'cold' is associated with 'slow' and the color blue. Mature minds; with the development of our frontal lobes and cognitive reasoning, can make conscious observations that make logical sense of this sort of representation. We could observe, for example, that hot molecules move faster and cold ones move more slowly, that there is more motion when energy is applied, and that hot people look red and cold people look blue because of circulatory issues. But during development, when memory is first being built, we have access to none of this conscious information; we rely solely on unconscious awareness of associated concepts.

All meaning requires context, and even if the context is abstract, it must be grounded in the real. Context conveys meaning by analogizing the concepts associated with spatial coordinates on the inner model, and because N3 stores concepts such as ‘high’ , ‘sky’, ‘light’ and ‘up’ at the top front of its 3-dimensional model and ‘low’, ‘heavy’, ‘dark’, ‘ground’ and ‘down’ at the bottom back, we unconsciously analogize even such abstract constructs as our own emotions according to these coordinates. We intuitively say we are feeling ‘high’ and ‘light-hearted’ when we’re having fun and ‘low’ or ‘down’ or ‘heavy hearted’ when we’re unhappy. This too is grounded in hard physical reality (the literal dimming of our senses when depressed is discussed in the Methods & Tech section, via the effect of anxiety on networks' blood supply). -When 'down' or anxious, we are only able to access associations/memories from the cortex of rear networks.

Shapes, colors, textures, smells, sounds, tastes, etc., are all associated not just in the spatial coordinates of N3’s map but in reality; in the natural world and our measuring of it, and also in the processing tasks of the brain itself. The brain’s map, after all, is designed by evolution to give a clear picture of reality and the associations in it through inner representation which is what perception IS. N3’s map is a map of the brain and the brain is a map of the nature of reality; both have been fine-tuned by evolutionary experience for a very long time. On this planet, with these bodies, high in the sky IS ‘up’, and low below ground IS ‘down’, as far as any mammal that ever lived has ever been concerned.

bringing things together - analogization & metaphorization


“Every concept we have is essentially nothing but a tightly packaged bundle of analogies.

All we do when we think is to move fluidly from concept to concept — in other words, leap from one analogy-bundle to another.

Such concept-to-concept leaps are themselves made via analogical connection.”

(Douglas Hofstadter)


“Red thingy...moving toward the green thingy...

- I think we're the green thingy!”

(Guy Fleegman, acting tactical officer, 'Galaxy Quest')



In these tutorials we’ve looked at different aspects of a big issue that the brain has had to solve evolutionarily in order for intelligence to emerge: how can the physical, concrete, mechanical information of cellular memory of our experiences be (a) translated into the eidetic imagery of N3’s unconscious perceptual format and (b) re-translated into the abstract formats of metaphoric and formal operational thinking used in the frontal lobes for conscious thought? How can these totally different formats be brought into synchrony to interface the hardware of brain with the software of mind?

Another neat way of asking this was coined by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart as: “How can meat think?” [13] -How can conscious awareness emerge from unconscious processing?

We have now explored many parts of this story. -In tutorial 7 we learned about percepts (bits of data) and how they are compared against concepts (bits of meaning that are already in our memory database in graphic format.) We also examined cell signaling; receptors (input devices) and effectors (output devices) and how each neuron translates signals of chemical information about its context via cellular sensorimotor information (sensation as movement); with 'shape-shifting' proteins that signal the genome as automatically and mechanically as the punch cards in a Jaquard loom. This achieves the step from concrete sensory input to concrete spatial representation patterns. We have also explored the basics of N3’s 3-D memory ‘grid’ and inner model, learning how physical movement and spatial awareness are related to recalling factual information; and how spatial information is encoded and represented as coordinates in N3's inner model using the same 'GPS' grid cell system that we use for concrete navigation around the real world.

In tutorial 8 we explored the process of memory formation via the interactions between imagination and association and how this gives rise to a congruous unconscious system of eidetic categorization in N3. We looked at the steps in this process from the physical senses perceiving input with attention and orientation, to the sensory and cellular mechanics of turning percepts into concepts, and the changes in physical networks after defragging and consolidation (LTP) that are the end result of a memory successfully made.

In tutorial 9 we looked at emotional weighting and how concepts acquire their 'importance' weighting, emotional and behavioral associations; via frequency and intensity of input synchronization with neurochemistry and emotional response.



So now we approach the final steps in understanding 'how meat can think' by taking the biopsychological perspective and looking at the processes themselves -analogization and metaphorization- which interface between brain and mind; between hardware and software.

Imagination and association achieve the step from processing concrete sensorimotor and spatial representation to abstract graphic representation in N3 via analogization. This plus the next processing step in N4 -metaphorization- creates a 'bridge' between concrete concepts in eidetic memory and abstract concepts in procedural memory, enabling conscious awareness of unconscious knowledge via interpretation of input in semi-conscious symbology.

Tread softly, hacker. This is the interface between brain and mind; the output from concrete physical hardware of networks involved in unconscious perception and eidetic memory data processing furnishes the input for abstract software programs that are involved in processing perception and memory data for conscious awareness. Make sure your understanding of these processes is clear before using them for hacking.

Understanding abstract processing is made much easier if we 'zoom out' to get a perspective on the big picture of how each network contributes to what the whole brain is doing, so here is a table of how each network conceptualizes reality in its own terms, from which we'll zoom back in again and discuss the details below.



Type of concept representation

Items are conceptualized as

Backgrounds are conceptualized as

Connections are conceptualized as

























information transfers




The universe


(...everything; you know?)*


Together, the networks build up an accurate perception and conceptualization of reality in stages. Make a note of the table above in your Captain's Log, because it's like a 'Rosetta Stone' for hacking later on! Don't worry if you don't understand it yet. It will make sense as we track the development of conscious awareness through the first four networks, below, and we can refer back to this table as we learn. First, let's look at what the headers of the table mean:


Type of concept representation (representational format):

Each network has its own way of formatting things based on its type of memory and processing. It is useful to think of the 'format' as that networks' 'programming language', with all the programming rules each particular language implies and is restricted to. If you find this hard to grasp, consider how the same output may be achieved in computer programming using different languages although each language has its own restrictions, rules, limitations, and ways of stating commands.

Example: N3 can interpret this:



...but only front nets can interpret this:        



as the same message.


In all applications, programming languages must both be internally congruous and compatible (in congruity with) the software of the overall machine carrying out the instructions. Data; and not just memory but all data passing through the brain, switches format lots of times during processing. Although every network must use N3’s eidetic memory “core categories” to set up its own associations (because the process of making associations AT ALL requires imagination and eidetic memory), format-switching occurs throughout processing because every network has its own type of memory format and its own way of translating and representing the data on the inner model -in effect each has 'evolved' a new and more abstract way - its own specialized way - of 'representing' reality and each incorporates the data from those before, for intelligence to get an ever-clearer conscious perspective.

Engaging as each network first develops and coordinating in maturity through N3 and N6, this gives rise to full conscious awareness. We'll look at this development of our 'awareness about reality' in stages through the first four networks in a moment.


Items / backgrounds / connections:

All networks categorize all experiences into three main related concept sets: of “items”, “backgrounds” and “connections”.

We can mentally organize a myriad of situations, using these unconscious mental categories. Each network imagines and conceptualizes them in its own way, as described below, according to its ability and limitations. The kind and complexity of categorical concepts used in data representation depends on each network's type of memory, processing, and representational format.

The software for each network - for each of the brain's main processors - has its own set of unconscious concepts treated as rules about how reality works, also based on these criteria. The 'big picture' is formed by coordinating all available network outputs to represent different aspects of the same data, in fractions of a second for a real-time streaming output: our fully conscious perceptual experience of reality.


N1 - things, stuff and events

Awareness emerges in stages from the bottom up, and for humans that means sensorimotor first. It's hard for most adults to imagine thinking without language, even though we all did so for a couple of years before we learned to talk. Anyone who's spent any time with healthy infants knows that they're able to communicate, play, get about, think things through and accomplish quite a lot long before speech; we can see clear evidence that thought processes are constantly going on in toddlers but we don't normally remember our own experience of thinking in babyhood because most of this 'thought' is unconscious. Thinking just sort of 'does itself'.

Pre-language, only a minimal memory database of associations has been built. When we are still too young to process words as conveying meanings associated with concepts, our earliest awareness as infants on first exposure to 'what's going on out there' is that there are faster-moving individual items we conceptualize as THINGS; brightly-colored objects moving relatively quickly against a background of slower-moving or apparently unmoving STUFF. There is one known 'thing' in our awareness always close enough to focus on -that is carer's smiling face, and carer's smiling face makes us smile; first association is automatic. This 'known', reliable thing makes us feel warm and safe and comfortable again, so biology steps up a gear and within hours of birth we are motivated to begin play; the start of learning. Our vision begins fine-tuning as we play with our toes and carers' fingers, with our nose and carers' hair, and watch the 'things' going by; focusing on different distances with a little practice. Sensorimotor awareness calibrated by bonding at birth is wiring up our memory association networks with every sensation.

Despite our lack of personal mobility we move about in the world most of our waking time; magically transported (carried) by carer, and we pay more attention to the faster-moving 'things' rather than the stuff, because the things are more interesting and we want/need to explore them. Soon we reach out, going half way to grasping those things, and optimal carer meets us halfway by helping us to reach them and to manipulate them.

We compare all these unknown things to our calibration guide of the 'known' - ourselves + carer. Some things feel 'like we do', soft and smooth or hairy and warm. Some things feel very different from us, but still nice. Some things feel very different and not nice, like prickly or cold or hot things. Some things taste good. Some things don't. Optimal carer notices what our favorite objects are and provides them, notices what we don't like and avoids it, and never offers any unhealthy choices.

All this practice and experience grows more connections. The main difference awareness (and memory) is able to make at this stage between things and stuff is that the 'stuff' doesn't seem to have a natural boundary, whereas things do. 'Things' are masses with a boundary; they are objects which have a size and shape and taste and texture and color and a reasonably solid outside and an inside, we can grasp them or hold them in our hands. But the 'stuff' all around us -up over our heads, down below our feet, every direction we can see outdoors- seems to go on forever. We sit on the ground and we dig a hole -we never get to the bottom. We jump in the air -we never reach the sky. We can grasp some of the stuff in our hands but never all of it -there is way too much. It rains, and it seems to be raining everywhere; there is no obvious boundary, and the ocean or forest looks as though it goes on forever -which is why this 'stuff' is not an object or thing. Boundless 'stuff' just seems to be everywhere, and individual things move about or are to be found here and there within this stuff.

We grasp this essential difference mentally at the same time we become able to grasp objects physically with our hands (usually, we're just a few months old). It is N1's big unconscious “Aha!” moment: we are grasping the difference between matter and space; between material objects and their surroundings. From that moment on, the 'things' are things to play WITH, and the surrounding 'stuff' is a place to play IN.

And now a third category begins to form in our infant minds: that of 'events'. Events are not objects, and they are not stuff; they are what sorta happens BETWEEN people-objects and thing-objects; and between people and other people, in the background stuff. Events have associated noises/names; like 'having a bath', 'falling over', 'going out', and 'dinner'; and they involve connections that exchange information between things and stuff; or between things and other things.


N2 - objects, containers and conduits

Our real time view of the world as infants (lots of new input) finds correlation with our unconscious core concepts of matter and space in memory (the known), and everything makes sense. As N2 develops, masses (things, including people) are categorised spatially as “objects”, and “space” (background stuff) is a container for the objects.

In this second stage of awareness we explore the relationships between these concepts over and over with many different objects; testing out the relationship between containers and contents; we will put anything inside of anything as all parents know, regardless of details - our mouth, a hole in the ground, a cup, cupboards, an air vent, letterboxes, nostrils, shoes, a gap in the fence, a cardboard box, a pond, a CD drive, a toilet.

Physically we are exploring the material world, but mentally we are learning procedural rules and laws about the nature of reality. In container-object interactions, we learn some rules -objects may not fill the container, objects may get stuck in the container, objects that move by themselves may crawl out of the container, objects may even destroy the container. Some things can be containers AND objects. Some objects can move on their own, some cannot.

We unconsciously recognize these physical rules; they are the same rules we already experience personally; with regard to eating (where food items are objects and the mouth is a container), temperature (change of heat in an object or container), and motion (where we, as an object, move in and out of various containers) and we soon learn from experience that success with manipulating containers and objects, just like balance in walking, is all about finding the goldilocks zone. In the mechanics of manipulating containers and objects and our own bodies in walking steadily and moving through different spaces, we are learning how to discriminate in physical terms about balance on different levels; learning to judge the difference between too much, not enough, and just right in all sorts of different contexts.

Linking things together are conduits -our spatial network's very own concept of 'connections', in which information is transferred BETWEEN people and objects. The items and backgrounds (things, people and places) we like best in each stage of development have the strongest relationships (best connections) with us, because these have the potential for the greatest density of interaction at that stage. Accordingly, the unconscious views connections (such as relationships, interactions and associations between items), as “conduits” capable of transferring information whenever play (interaction) happens.

In each network we find the same processing rules and patterns recur, and the same categorization process brings an added enhancement to our perception. Connections (conduits) containing the optimal density of input attract our attention, and our relationships with known others or objects that can move by themselves (living things, water, snow) provide the most exciting interactions (play). The most interesting objects are those with densest interactive possibilities, and so are the most interesting people.

The unconscious concepts of rear networks; such as, “Matter is objects”, and “space is a container of objects” are interpreted by imagination as analogical, not literal; -we don't imagine as children that we're all inert material objects in a giant bucket-like container called 'space'; our initial conscious awareness about containers is only that they are different in some ways than mere objects; containers have added concepts -smaller things can fit inside bigger things, and bigger things are very often made of lots of smaller things.

These relationships are basic simple universal rules about the properties of matter (as well as objects and containers) that hold true regardless of details. Long before humans were able to peek inside atoms, the unconscious knew that 'most things seem to be made up of smaller things, and the smaller things often don't behave much like the bigger things.' This is a piece of unconscious knowledge every child has. This same concept is made available to the mature conscious mind (via intuition) as the basis of our conceptual hypotheses about atoms and subatomics, which physicists went on to discover was provably true and demonstrable via communication codes the conscious mind can understand; such as equations, words and diagrams.

We are born equipped with unconscious expectations about reality that drive our reasoning; such as “All entities capable of self-propulsion are containers full of objects” (ie, we know 'intuitively' that animals, robots, vehicles, machines, must all have 'innards', without which they no longer work.)[14] All toddlers know this, without any biology lessons.

This sort of unconscious awareness of reality is designed to be at the roots of our lives, our learning and our culture, and its imagery can be translated (given enough time) into ANY other code. The whole of science and 'knowledge in words' or mathematics, physics, chemistry; the many philosophical and spiritual systems humans have designed; our recreational drugs and habits; all of our creativity and all the art we make; all are different attempts to translate and bring unconscious knowledge into conscious awareness via some medium or another (and our personal choices of format in this creative endeavor depend on which of our networks are most efficiently wired).


N3 - characters, sets and stories

When N3 begins to develop, we become capable of symbolic analogization. Analogization is the cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject (the analog or source concept) to another particular subject (the target concept), or a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. N3's concepts for items, backgrounds and connections are characters, sets, and stories.

Analogy uses similarity; object A is similar to character B, situation X is similar to situation Y, process C is similar to process D, inside an atom behaves a bit like a solar system, the human digestive system works kinda like an engine, our brains work somewhat like machines.

Analogy in cognitive terms is high-level perception. They are one and the same thing. [15]

High-level perception—the process of making sense of complex data at an abstract, conceptual level—is fundamental to human cognition.

As we've learned, in low level perception, data which come from each of our senses making an input of billions of chaotic bits of environmental stimuli (proximal stimuli), are turned into percepts by N1 via their triggering of associated mental categories - known concepts/ memories - which are stored as spatial grid coordinates by N2.

In high-level perception, these coordinates trigger analogical graphic image representations (concepts/memories) in N3 that are used throughout cognitive processing. This gives N3 a pictorial analogy of 'what's going on out there' which (hopefully) is a good representation of the real thing.

The process of inexact matching ('mirroring') between known concept categories and new things being perceived as input (the transformation from concrete sensorimotor formats to more abstract graphics that have associated meanings) — is the act of analogization using archetypes. It is the mental mapping onto each other (in either direction) of two entities — one held in long-term memory, the other new and displayed on N3's screen. A strong eidetic memory is like a vast database of triggerable pictorial analogies; graphic representations of real life experience.

The selection of graphic archetypes in N3's eidetic memory is used as input for N4 which triggers its own mental categories (procedures) for interpreting these archetypes; put simply they are representations of concepts in a type of code that can be translated into any other format. Consequently at the highest levels of perception, input modality plays essentially no role. Our real life in the real world is represented (re-presented) as a dynamic, complex, interactive story.

Here is the transformation whereby the core of intelligence gives meaning to code; such that concrete hardware (sensory responses to input) gives rise to abstract software (imaginative association). The original sensory input modality of the complex story is totally irrelevant to intelligence; all that matters is how input jointly activates imagination to pull up a host of interrelated concepts from memory, in such a way that further appropriate concepts are automatically accessed and brought up to conscious awareness. [15]


The model is not the territory. -It is an analogy of the territory.

Archetypal symbols are not proxy for their objects or events but are vehicles for the conception of objects or events. In thinking or talking about things, we manipulate concepts of them, not the things themselves; and it is the concepts, not the things, that these symbols directly 'mean'. Behavior towards concepts is what thoughts and words normally evoke; this is the ordinary, everyday process of thinking.

It is not so much the individual graphic symbol that "stands for" or "reflects" the individual object or event in the real world, but rather that the entire system of signs, the entire field of analogical representation, lies parallel to reality itself; in other words, the eidetic format (when correctly used) is synchronized to be analogous to the organized structures which exist in the world of reality, and our understanding proceeds from concrete to abstract.

For input, analogization builds a bridge from bottom-up concrete reality to abstract 'code-represented' reality, weighted with the associated behavior-related neurotransmitters. When the two ends of the bridge connect through mutual association, we have congruity of association. [16]

For output, when the brain needs to translate abstract images of intent into concrete mechanical behavior patterns carried out by the body, neurotransmitters are released in response to the images that synchronize the emotional and muscular responses needed to produce the behaviors imaged.

We are thus primed to respond to whatever N3 imagines on the screen with appropriate behavior, regardless of whether it’s a physical event ‘out there’, a creative idea, a theory, a memory, or a decision. Emotion & neurotransmission are synchronized with archetypal imagery just as they are with animal behavior programs - animal behaviors ARE archetypal behaviors.


Tell me a story

From N3's pov, all creatures capable of communication tell stories. The warning call and leap of a bird signifying 'snake!' tells an immediate story to its comrades that they'd better (a) spread the message and (b) get their feathery asses airborne for a while until this bugger goes away. That's gotta be 'the next scene in this story' because evolution wrote this story; the alternative scene is to become painfully transformed into snake poop, and that's the end of the story.

Such stories trigger procedures because 'everyone knows the story'. They are not necessarily stories anyone is consciously aware of, even in humans; because it's our unconscious mind which constructs a graphic novel all the time for itself about everything we do.

A mature brain has a huge amount of ‘stock footage’ in its memory and creates dedicated lines for automatically acting out the most popular ‘stories’ (behaviors that we perform often). The developing brain does not have this advantage at first as we have to build up the contents of our memory databases step by step, from real life experience starting with very few given basic concepts (the ‘core concepts’ we discussed in tutorials 7 and 9). Just as rear network development requires epigenetic triggers furnished by interaction with carers and the natural environment; frontal lobes (and to some extent, N3) development needs interaction with human culture to trigger the epigenetic changes required for an ever-increasing intelligence to develop its next stage.

To N3 every procedure is a story; the master sharing knowledge with the student is telling the story of how to do something. Much of the story may be wordless demonstration, like a graphic novel. If the student understands and remembers 'the story' clearly, they will be able to achieve the same results as the master.

Each day begins a new series of stories, punctuated only by the stories in dreams as our software goes about its business during sleep.

A facial expression, body language or tone of voice, as discussed above, tells a story to N3 about the owner; their age, sex, mood, intent, and much more.

Memories are stories retrieved by 'retelling the story'; calling up (re-calling) the conditions in the brain that were prevalent at the time the original experience happened, reproducing them in the same synchronized way they presented last time, and attaching an associated emotional weighting to each set of conditions that will reconstruct a low-resolution copy of the original emotional mood.

When we write up an experiment, we tell the story of what we did, how we did it, and what happened. Telling the story reconstructs the conditions of events, or similar enough conditions for imagination to bridge the gap and reproduce the conditions. This is also how we can learn through empathic experience as well as direct experience, which is a very good thing.

All peoples tell stories about how life on this world, and how the universe itself, came to be; mythical stories and scientific stories. And all cultures tell stories about the past experiences of other people, which we call 'history'. Geology and Archaeology tell us stories about the past experiences of our planet and life here on earth. An equation tells a story about a mathematical situation, and a formula tells a story about a chemical situation. The standard model of physics tells a story about our physical situation. Every relationship is an ongoing story; a history of interactions.

This is how N3 views reality. Characters, sets and stories are archetypal eidetics. N3 sits in the middle of a realm populated by stories, armed with character-recognition, set-recognition and story-recognition software.

We learn how to 'write our own stories' (create new situations) in life by experiencing the stories of others before us and modeling the skills of both the characters in them and those who tell them. Long before we can culturally interact, we are designed to practice interaction safely by playing with fictional stories, by learning which behaviors and procedures work out beneficially (and they all lived happily ever after), and which ones don't (and the wicked goblin was so angry he blew himself to bits) when navigating through real life. We then transfer these concepts to 'real life stories' about how we view ourselves, others, and reality in general. Thus we are empowered to turn around and add our own contributions to culture. -We invent and tell our own stories, updating the archetypes to have enough points of similarity to current culture to make sense to the next generation. Our archetypal characters are recast in current guises.

'Eidetic' is from the Greek, eidētikos, from 'eidos'; shape, form. The ‘core’ eidetic images in N3’s database are the prototypes of 'optimal' characters, sets and stories. The character called 'Princess' lives in the set called 'Castle' and in the story she meets a character called 'Prince'. N3's archetypes are the optimal characters we aim to empathize/unite with, the optimal situations -'sets'- we aim to gather together or move towards, and the optimal stories we aim to take part in.

The archetypes can represent complex intellectual, creative, cultural and psychological relationships in their imagery. Storytelling is thus one of the greatest parental (or therapeutic) arts and skills. The very best answers to the earliest ‘why’ questions begin with “Well, once upon a time…”

The archetypes are universal across humanity, represented in all places and they cover the most important animal behaviors we all experience. The “young seeker” for example may be the young individual seeking a mate, the hunter hunting for dinner, the explorer looking for the lost temple of boom or exploring new territory; but the required root behavior for all these activities is seeking behavior. N3 uses characters to represent aspects of ourselves and others, sets to represent contextual backgrounds, and story plots to represent the events and experiences of life.

In this stage of development, the mind anthropomorphizes everything; from cosmic forces to computers, from cars to cats; everything is a 'character' or a character’s accessory. And every ‘character’ fits into ‘the story’. Using this system we are practising transference of information between networks 1, 2, and 3. Later, (optimally, between ages 7 and 15) when we are practising transference between networks 3, 4 and 5, the questions “Why?” “When?” and “How?” will require more technical explanations (like calendars and Newton’s laws of thermodynamics). For now, N3 needs the “facts of life” kept firmly within its own format; the story.

Ignorance of this process in our development is the second biggest mistake current schooling makes (the first being the restriction of motion during that stage when without motion, no learning can take place); and something most parents have little or no awareness of. Answering the question 'why?' with complete nonsense like, 'because I said so' is a classic bully behavior seen in many dumb parents and teachers, but equally damaging is the classic wimp behavioral cop-out, 'because god did it', or 'nobody knows'. If we don't know something, what we should be teaching is how to start finding out.

Just as confusing as rearloader superstition is the premature imposition of frontloader technobabble. Because N3 and N4 develop before N5, we have an unconscious understanding and love of stories long before we understand the literal formal meanings of grammar and words. The pattern of our neurological activity, during the performance of language tasks, does not begin to resemble the adult pattern until the onset of puberty. [19] Moreover, although the left hemisphere gradually acquires language, the right hemisphere continues to participate in language processing, including reading, as demonstrated by functional imaging studies. [20]

Stories serve to work out relations with reality and “how life works”. They give us the examples of the most beneficial paths, procedures and behaviors in difficult circumstances, show us how the plot goes (what usually happens after what, what usually causes what), and consolidate our unconscious likes and dislikes, loves and fears into the characters of heroes, goodies, baddies and monsters. The evil witch (with her nasty sentiments) has green skin, warts and rotten teeth, the good guys have the noblest emotions and the coolest tricks. The baddies may have superior tech/magic, the goodies may have meager means but always the best intelligence. Those expressing the most harmful sentiments die, those expressing the healthiest emotions always win against the odds.

As children (and often as adults) the heroes are our models; the competent, intelligent, confident, powerful people we would like to become. They always figure out what to do, they always manage to escape from any crisis. They are honorable and always keep their word, they have integrity and stand by what they know is beneficial. They gain dignity and respect because they are never mean or low or petty, they are never bullies or wimps, and they have the power to cheer us up and make us laugh even in tough circumstances. Heroes empower the despondent and inspire the timid to make more of themselves. When mistakes are made, heroes can laugh at themselves. Passionate in love, trustworthy in alliance, disciplined in training, dedicated and ruthless when it comes to dispatching monsters. By hearing stories about them we become more like them –we begin to live by their example; to copy them. To become them.

Our stories are the stories of our own development, physical and mental. They are also the stories of the development of life on earth, and the development of the universe, because our stories (all the ones that work - that achieve a beneficial change in the listener - ) are based on the patterns of emergence. The archetypes 'represent' the stages of emergence. They're not connected with age so much as stage of development. At different developmental stages we develop the skills, abilities and behaviors of each archetypal character in turn.

When we are born, our carer is 'the faithful servant' who takes care of the needs of our intelligence until it can learn enough control to meet its own needs; for locomotion, hygiene and self care, object-manipulation, and the ability to eat without getting food all over our faces. As soon as we master these skills we need to move on and learn the skills of the young seeker; such as using tools, getting to know our territory, learning the location of or signs of dangers and benefits, exploring, gathering and hunting; and so on; we 'play the role' of each archetypal character during each stage of intelligence development, and cells that fire together wire together.

To “analogize” is “to transfer meaning”. And that’s exactly what imagination’s doing; translating stuff out of sensorimotor and spatial formats into eidetic memory and up to the front ‘rooms’ for permanent storage according to its ‘place’ in the story. The ‘prototype stories’ are a close copy of reality endowed by all evolutionary experience; and all we need to know is how the here and now relates to these stories, because all we need to do to ‘get it right’ (i.e., practise entelechy or ‘optimally interactive behavior’) is to follow the story. We make the correct moves, we model the appropriate character, we improvise according to the rules, and the story will unfold as it should.

In other words, all we need to do is play.


Those of you with strong intuitive skills may feel you already know this somehow. ...That you’ve always known it, although maybe it got a little squashed by adults telling you to ‘stop dreaming!’ or even, ‘stop telling lies!’ Maybe you stood on some lonely hill a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away and watched the sun go down and you knew intuitively that you were destined for greater things, somewhere in a reality going on deeply hidden inside this obvious ‘material’ one; a reality that most other people didn’t seem to be able to see or play with (except for maybe a few musicians, artists, fiction writers and movie makers). If this was you, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief because science has finally shown that you were right. Unconsciously we know the story.


…”Tell your sister, you were right”

(‘Darth Vader’, Star Wars)



character archetypes

Get a good grasp of the main archetypes involved in imagination and try to spot the same ones in various different stories. Every epic story has at least one character in each core category. Start with the 6 main ones; interpreted over the centuries as various roles as follows:


N1: The faithful servant

loyal companion / beast of burden / nurturer / faithful animal / Batman's butler Alfred / Sam Gamgee / AI entity (eg robots / androids / cyborgs / spaceships or computers)/ squire

N2: The young seeker ('young' means inexperienced)

the young hero / explorer / seeker of truth / warrior / wooer / student / hunter / spiritual seeker / prince / princess / Alice (in wonderland) / Luke Skywalker / Neo / Frodo Baggins /knight

N3: The shaman

wild man of the woods / healer / herbalist / guide / nature spirit / magical talking animal (eg the white rabbit or hookah-smoking caterpillar) / faery / ghost / talking tree/ dragon / spirit guide / storyteller

N4: The wise master

wizard / scientist / engineer / hacker / inventor /genius nerd / time lord / elder / monk / hermit / teacher / programmer / professor / Obiwan Kenobi / Morpheus

N5: The benefactor

merchant / thief / pirate / mentor / benefactor / faery godmother / santa / good king & queen / supporting army / Batman AND Bruce Wayne / Iron Man / Han Solo

N6: The power of the universe

superhero (with non-human powers) / beneficial aliens / spiritual master / saint / angel / god / goddess / messiah / The Force / emergent intelligence


Although we have listed mainly goodies here, any of these characters can be good or bad. The good king becomes the wicked tyrant, the faithful servant becomes the unfaithful betrayer, the good wizard becomes the mad scientist, the hobbit becomes the orc, and so on. Each one also has 'growth' and 'defense' modes as we shall see below.

It is a good idea to keep this list in your Captain's Log, it will be helpful when working with archetypes.


Eidetic archetypes are a kind of 'universal code' or universal language that can be translated into any other network's 'language'. (If you are familiar with computer programming, the brain has a similar issue to solve: there is no single "universal" programming language that serves all purposes; we can think of rear nets as using machine code and N3 translating this into a low level assembly language.)

It should by now be getting clearer how we analogize concepts from concrete contexts to abstract ones and can use the same mental processes for two different types of tasks. Abstract thought is not available as input for the senses to interpret; it must be imaginatively created from within, and we must then process it in a way that transfers it into images that ARE available as input for the senses to interpret; connected with the packets of emotional weighting that both mind and body know how to respond to. A lump of rock can be put 'under pressure' until it is 'stressed', but we can also use this imagery to explain abstract human emotional experiences. Emotional 'pain' is processed by the same networks as real pain; it's just interpreted differently.


N4 roles, scenes and plots

Analogical signs invoked by visual images, gestures, textures, tastes, sounds and smells, etc., involve graded relationships on a continuum. They can signify infinite subtleties which seem 'beyond words'. (Emotions and feelings are analogically represented/reproduced via neurochemistry with similar effect.) Perception turns this wealth of sensory information into a number of defined categories via the dynamic properties of networks that transform input on a linear scale to discrete packets in a non-linear storage system. [17] Instead of having a distinct 'brain area' devoted to each separate category (as was once believed), research has revealed that brain activity and memory is organized by these associations - the perceived relationships - between categories. [18]

Just as the spatio-temporal coordinates from earlier networks could be translated into N3's ‘image’ format, so are the image formats retranslated into more abstract concepts as they are passed on to frontal networks.

As N4 develops, the unconscious mind begins to perceive situations in terms of the concepts of roles, scenes and plots. We realize that attitudes, behaviors and moods in any given 'character' are not fixed, but dynamic; the same character can play several different roles in the same story, in exactly the same way we can move through various different contexts and experience lots of different emotions during the same day.

At work, for example, 'Mom' is 'Doctor Jones', at home she is 'Sarah', online she is 'Zena101', and all these roles demand very different attitudes, behaviors and types of communication. 'Character traits' are not fixed; they can be taken on as the context and role require them, rather than installed permanently and used for all contexts. We do not have the same 'character traits' in front of our granny or our child as we do when with a lover or a close friend.

'Character' traits are not fixed variables, and nor should they be in a healthy human. It's fine, for example, for someone to be suspicious and on the offensive if they have just been attacked, it's not great for them to be suspicious and on the offensive all the time, in fact it's pathological. The same is true of sadness, grief, and hysterical laughter; none of our moods or behaviors is designed for permanence; but as a response to dynamic changes in our circumstances and events that require different types of interaction.

Notice how in stages awareness has had to 'break out' from the fictional boundaries of hardware in Alice's world to the concrete book 'Alice in Wonderland' and then the abstract software behind Alice's world; the role/s the characters play in the story, the scenes that take place in it, and the overall plot of 'Alice In Wonderland' (we have no graphic image to represent 'the plot', because N4 uses words rather than pictures).

Instead of seeing reality in limited terms of fixed characters, we have now become aware of dynamic 'roles', and we look to our culture for role models; people whose behaviors we would like to emulate. We also start to see our own lives in terms of roles; sometimes we are the young seeker listening to the wise master, sometimes we are the faithful servant taking care of our baby brother, or the wise master reading stories to our little sister and teaching her how to make water balloons, and our behavior changes accordingly as we take on the 'character traits' each role requires. Sometimes we are the explorer, young seeker or hunter sneaking through the woods in explorative play. Sometimes we are the student learning about something new. Sometimes we are the benefactor sharing our good fortune or packed lunch with the friend who hasn't got any. And so on. We look for roles that we would like to play by observing others playing them, and we model their behavior when we play them, getting the experience of what it feels like to be in that role; practicing and extending our repertoire of useful traits and behaviors for more and more differing circumstances.

Instead of fixed background 'sets' we now perceive dynamic scenes; our environment is not just a static backdrop for interactions, like stage scenery in a play; but a moving, changing set of circumstances that can be interacted with through time. We can design our own scenes; put some plants here, paint this blue, build one of these, move this, put this music on, change this lighting, ask a friend round. Creativity is blossoming on all fronts.

With the development of cultural awareness, the observer of stories has now become the participator in them and we have personal power to change things via interaction on a big scale. Life is no longer like a movie we are watching comprised of frames; it is a virtual reality interactive game in which we have the personal power to make a big difference, for good or ill, depending on how well we can interact. If we want to improve our appearance, behavior, performance and success, we begin to see how to take steps to do so. Creativity is coming fully online.

Optimally, this leap of intelligence to realization that reality encompasses dynamic change over time rather than fixed constants in contexts and interactions, should take place between ages seven and eleven; but for most of us it takes a good while longer, and many people never make it this far at all (witness the ongoing belief in 'personality types' as stereotypes in media 'pop' psychology and astrology, even among intellectual people. Such beliefs are often self-fulfilling prophesies, restricting our behavior and emotions to whatever we think we are 'supposed to be like' according to the ideal 'type' and holding further development in stasis.

In a healthy developing mind, N4 views roles as embodying archetypal characters and stories as embodying archetypal plots (procedures/ programs).

If you think all movie, game and story plots are different, look again; remembering that to the unconscious, the details are irrelevant. Prototype story themes do not simply spring from each specific person's -or even specific bit of our cultures' current creative imagination; although the details may make them appear to. Stories from around the world throughout history have universal themes reflecting our common underlying biology and unconscious knowledge. The eidetic and procedural associations in stories reflect structure in the real world; not random acts of invention by its current literary inhabitants. Thus story plots reveal a shared aspect of human experience that is present in all places and reflected in every language.

Researchers exploring our love of stories for clues about our evolutionary history have begun examining these theme and character archetypes that appear consistently in narratives from all over the world. Their work is revealing universal similarities that reflects our shared, evolved eidetic memory core. Eidetic archetypes in N3 and procedural archetypes in N4 can be thought of as the Proto Characters and Proto Plots from which all other characters and stories are derived.


Archetypal plots

Two thirds of the most respected stories in narrative traditions are variations on three narrative patterns, or 'prototype stories'.

The two most common prototypes are bonding and/or heroic plots—both are about the hero’s journey (the development of full intelligence), both focus on how the power of intelligence / love / interaction can overcome all trials and travails and succeed despite overwhelming odds. In these stories the power of intelligence is synonymous with 'goodness' and the issue is that goodness will always prevail; that no matter how great the unknown may be, the stress-relaxation algorithm must hold. No matter how huge the adversary, the laws of reality remain rock solid; whether they be physical laws or processing rules.

Mind is the magical ingredient that transforms situations. Without it, physical laws alone determine who gets eaten and who does the eating, but adding intelligence to the equation even to a tiny degree changes outcomes fundamentally. A single line unconscious command like 'IF snake shape is seen, THEN yell your head off' saves all future generations.

The two main story themes are about the entire process of development versus obstacles to development. The hero/seeker character/s represent the developing intelligence, passing through various unknowns. The main plot of Star Wars, for example, is an heroic plot; good versus evil, with baddies representing various sentiments; and the sub plots of Han Solo & Princess Leia's relationship or Luke and Yoda's relationship are bonding plots. Bonding plots can represent the bonding of conscious to unconscious mind, or the bonding of complementary networks with each other (the 'master-student' bond portrays the connection between N2 and N4, the 'faithful servant-young seeker' bond the connection between N1 and N2, the 'prince-princess' bond represents the completion and balance of all rear nets, at which point we 'win half the kingdom' - intelligence has its first three networks fully functional.) Our whole development is metaphorized unconsciously in this way.

The third story prototype focuses on celebrating individual aspects of intelligence such as adaptation, innovation, creativity, strategy, wisdom, cooperation, problem-solving and judgment. These are “isn't intelligence fabulous!” celebratory stories. How for example a given role model (hero) or group of heroes deal with issues such as famine / plague / accident / apocalypse.

These tales focus on individual areas of development and they are about intelligence's ability to interact with the unknown by adaptation to specific threats; not so much about good versus evil in an intellectual sense (like the Evil Empire) they are more about natural disasters or accidental misfortunes. There is no evil dark lord behind a volcano erupting, a plague, forest fire, or an asteroid headed for Earth; it just IS.

These three themes appear over and over again as humans create narrative records of how best to manage their lives in an endless variety of problematic contexts. Wherever good (beneficial) fights evil (harmful), you will find the hero or god fighting the tyrant or devil. 'Goodies' exemplify righteous emotion, baddies embody various sentiments; usually including hatred, anger and fear of change.

This is how a six year old can tell sentiment from emotion; only the goodies can feel real emotion. Sentiment is a harmful behavior to intelligence, and the real goodies just won't be threatened or coerced into feeling it. The baddies can feel only sentiment. They keep trying various ways of tempting the goodies to 'turn to the dark side', but rarely succeed.

We are also shown in story plots what happens to those who stray from the path of using intelligence, fall prey to sentiments and become 'baddies' -it may take a series of stages or a short sharp shock, but these 'baddies' stop succeeding in some spectacular ways. We learn that a 'baddy' can turn back into a 'goody' and vice versa; that is to say, some “lose the plot” temporarily, and some can never be saved. And all those magical weapons we use -'The Sword' of intellect for cutting through the monstrous misunderstandings to get to the truth, the Magic Cloak of invisibility/ disguise/ shape shifting/ camoflage, that makes us invisible to our enemies, the magic ring that brings light (understanding) wherever there is darkness (ignorance) - all represent aspects of intelligence we can use to increase our chances.

The battle between good and evil is the battle for healthy development versus damage or destruction of intelligence, and is a major feature in most tales. If a goody falls, they fall long and hard -Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader largely because of his own imbalance plus wrong input- he is no longer 'himself' (as metaphorized by his change of name). His real emotion (love for his son) is what saves him in the end. Many wannabe Lords of the Ring fall to the sentiments of greed, possessiveness and arrogance - unjustified confidence in their own integrity, self control and ability to control the ring - (which itself induces these sentiments). Cinderella's Ugly Sisters have truly ugly minds, full of jealousy, pomposity, arrogance and greed, and they are bullies.

The Bad King may be a pompous and dictatorial bully, or he may be a soft-assed wimp, cowering in a corner while the greedy Evil Ones (sentiments) take over the Kingdom (literally the landscape of our minds) and rule it by coercion. The Big Bad Wolf (an embodiment of the traits of greed, predation and deception) eats (destroys the minds of) children. And little Goldilocks has to seek out the 'just right' balanced choices to find a safe way to interact. Three times, obviously (and we find this often - once for each rear network). Otherwise her conscious interaction with the bears (unconscious behaviors) might not have gone at all well. 'Goldilocks' portrays the bonding of conscious to unconscious mind.

These timeless stories are found everywhere in human culture; they are our inherited metaphoric guide to successful interaction for optimal development, fine-tuned by evolution and experience. N4's awareness of roles, scenes and plots representing our own developmental process is THE source from which our conscious minds attempt to perceive what is happening, remember what happened, take an intuitive guess about what might happen, and optimally, direct what we’d like to happen by getting things 'just right'.

We may be surprised to discover that we are designed by biology to learn this process unconsciously as a result of play during development –this system of analogy, metaphor and symbol that can transfer meaning back and forth from concrete to abstract imagery, transforming raw experience into abstract language and thought, creative imagination into physical creativity, and static archetypal characters into dynamic roles. Practice at thinking according to our inner model's congruous system of story archetypes automatically synchronizes that system with the format of metaphor used by N4's growing creative skills.

The input we require in order to learn this code (and optimally, to think in it) comes (or should) from the external network that is the natural context for growth and development of N4 -our culture. This DOES NOT mean 'society' (we'll discuss the difference later); it means a larger group of allies in the world; those people who create, discover, invent, innovate, and share their knowledge and ability and creations openly; for the love of nurturing ever greater cooperative inquiry into the nature of reality, and to learn more themselves. In other words, all those whom we genuinely respect and admire for their knowledge and ability, and who enjoy sharing it with us.

Whether they are still alive or died centuries ago, these are the giants whose shoulders we (and every generation) stands on for this part of our development. A healthy culture forms the external network which nurtures intelligence (the internal network) through its next stage. Our culture contributes to, studies and records our species' progress at bringing unconscious knowledge into conscious awareness; through invention and discovery, creation and study, synthesis and analysis; construction and composition.

Members of any culture share their open-source knowledge and skills with each new generation, in their own interests. The relationships that furnish optimal learning are those of love and respect. If 'master' and 'student' do not love and respect one another, if the writer does not respect the reader, if core conditions do not guide their interaction, learning is of poor quality and very slow, and development can slow down or stop.

The process needed for intelligence to grasp complex behaviors such as cultural skills, imaginative creative thinking, innovation and problem-solving, is metaphorization. Learning it takes place in the usual way; through interaction as creative play. The input needed for the mind to practice and learn its coding skills is stories and games.

Order out of chaos

Archetypal plots follow the program of the emergence of intelligence, and map all details onto that program. The 'Hero's Journey' is the story of the emergence of intelligence. Intelligence loves stories so much because they show it the pattern for its own next stage of growth, reveal where it is now, affirm the pattern of its overall path, and predict likely paths to success; 'The Way', 'the path', to follow to make it happen. “Do not stray from the path.”

The point is, the universe is an ordered place; life conforms to scientific laws that have existed for a lot longer than we have known about them consciously, but our unconscious memory and our entire biology has HAD to embody them via evolution and experience, or creatures could have developed no grasp of meaning and no way of interacting with the world.

Our bodies and brains and unconscious minds assume that the universe makes sense because it does. Experience supports imagination -we catch a ball because our minds imagine perfectly the complex physics of where it’s going to be and when, associating memories of the past with prediction of the immediate future in the split seconds before it happens. When we blink an eyelid to avoid an incoming fly, muscle memory responds with unconscious inbuilt awareness long before conscious awareness could ever do. Without this unconscious automatic associative grasp of meaning, our experience of life would be a random chaos of input; there would be no starting point for understanding anything or responding to anything. Intelligence can suss out practical physics from personal experience long before it is able to put concepts into words or even speak, and every infant must do so anew in order to learn how to walk and throw and catch things.

The development of conscious processing from unconscious knowledge is made beautifully easy because we have this embodied shortcut to connect unconscious to conscious and concrete to abstract. Our unconscious is able to use our culture's stories to learn the process of metaphorization, by which our conscious minds can translate concrete concepts into abstract concepts that lead to rational thought and real life strategies. In order for this to happen, rear networks and the frontal cortex have to connect together strongly (bond). And cells that fire together...

Whether imagination is called upon to create images of the world “out there” or the world “in here” doesn’t matter to it. The process is the same. The ability to merge internal images and to transfer meaning through them - a strong imagination and eidetic memory- is the gift of storytelling. Archetypal stories are the foundation stone for all abstract thought and one of the greatest gifts a parent can give to a child is reading aloud or telling stories. Story plots convey an entertaining conscious message to the conscious mind, but also an encrypted unconscious message to the unconscious mind, and it is this coincident input 'all in one package' via someone we love which enables us to 'bridge the gap' between the two conceptually simply because cells that fire together wire together.

The power of stories does not stop with their ability to reveal the workings of our minds. Narrative is also a potent persuasive tool, and it has the ability to shape beliefs and change minds. We constantly unconsciously pay attention to N3’s “story”; in effect we ‘tell ourselves the story’ of what our life is like and what it is likely to be like. If it is based on good eidetic association, we will imagine the life paths that will lead to benefit, our imagination will be accurate, and life will ‘make sense’, enabling us to interact, predict and strategize. We will be more optimistic and more realistic, with better decision-making and executive skills.


Bringing things together - Hardware and software - Ghost in the machine code

“I don’t even see the code; I just see blonde, brunette, redhead”

(From 'The Matrix')


The formats of our rear networks are concrete and physical; and those of the frontal lobes are abstract and non-physical, but the format that can be translated everywhere is analogical –graphics representing concepts- one thing 'represents' another thing and meaning is assigned

through association of similarities.

Our minds reformat data for N3 by analogization, and reformat it for N4 by metaphorization (which we'll talk about shortly).

The coordinates of Eidetic Variables (archetypes) act as "storage locations" for data in a program. They are a way of naming information for later usage. Each variable has a set of coordinates on the inner model associated with a symbol in N3 and a name in N4; an example eidetic variable name is “The Young Seeker” and its symbol will be a picture of an archetypal 'young seeker' or hero ('young' denotes inexperience).

When we are watching Star Wars, N3 is running the equivalent of the program line:

The Young Seeker = Luke Skywalker**

-which stores the concept 'luke skywalker' in the archetypal variable The Young Seeker. Then, anywhere in the same context N3 consults the variable The Young Seeker again, memory retrieves Luke Skywalker. (If it didn't, watching movies would be really confusing). Variables cannot change coordinates, but they can change content according to context, (for example if we were watching James Bond later, Bond would be the young seeker in that context, but this wouldn't wipe or displace Luke Skywalker from the other context.) Bond and Skywalker (and however many heroes you can think of) can all be stored at the same coordinates because they are associated with the same archetype in eidetic memory.

The information “The Bad King lived in luxury and amassed treasure while the people starved” tells our conscious mind that this is a story about a mean and greedy bad king, but it tells our unconscious mind that if Network 5 is taken over by anxious addiction and greedy sentiment, (ie, behaves like the Bad King) our behavior will become obsessive-compulsive while the rest of our networks (and areas of our lives) starve and develop poorly, unless we get the system back into balance and depose the tyrant.

The Bad King may be deposed by the faithful servant (note that the servant is faithful to the Kingdom - Intelligence - and to the archetypal role 'Good King' (benefactor) rather than the character of any particular king, who could be good or bad). If the current Network 5 role is that of a good king, he will have a faithful servant in Network 1. If he is not a good king his servant may well betray him or disable him (usually via bad food or wine) in the interests of 'the kingdom'. Alternatively, the Bad King may be deposed (and usually is) by the Young Seeker with/without his or her band of faithful allies. God or superheroes (Network 6 roles) only tend to interfere if miracles will genuinely solve the problem and the hero/es have given their all.

Noodle baker: All the stories we humans create model not only the archetypal evolutionary experiences that have shaped our species, they also model our own brain processes and intelligence development ...which themselves are embodying the archetypal evolutionary experiences that have shaped our species...

...Anybody need a cookie?

Procedural Memory


“You put your left leg in, you put your left leg out,

In, out, in, out, and shake it all about”

(from 'The Hokey Pokey'; origin unclear)


“What is the one song that half of them sing to their children generation after generation?

I swear to you it does not mean a thing!"

(Ambassador Londo Mollari, Babylon 5)


Ambassador Mollari was wrong. Little games like this mean a great deal to procedural memory in much the same way 'Peek-a-boo' means a great deal to object constancy networks. Concepts for procedures needing associated synchronized movements are still 'stories' to N3; only when viewed from the perspective of our conscious minds are they revealed as complex, time-dependent procedures; coordinating parallel synchronized muscular signals with chemical and behavioral events that we employ for various behaviors, like little programs we act out.

In previous tutorials we explored the formation of memory in rear networks as unconsciously emergent from network interactions. Carrying out conscious procedures in the world requires our background unconscious awareness of 'what's going on' (what things are, where they are, and what happens in interactions between them) to be brought into conscious awareness. Unconscious areas of networks must connect to (bond with) conscious areas of networks. The rear nets must 'become one with' our frontal lobes.

Only by being grounded in and expanding from eidetic memory can procedural memory properly develop. Network 4 (and hence procedural memory) is nowhere near fully developed at birth, [21] and our first procedural responses for the survival-essentials of behavior such as sucking and grasping are hardwired and unconscious (we practice these automatic movements long before birth). Even modeling is automatic at birth; we are hardwired to respond to a smile by smiling, because smiling releases chemicals in ourselves that destroy any remaining birth-stress steroids, make us feel nice, and grows more brain cells; and biology knows this.

Likewise object manipulation and locomotion; only the basics are wired in, requiring epigenetic triggers and practice to develop optimally. All healthy infants make automatic 'procedural' grasping and crawling movements, even though we're too small to hold onto most objects or support our own weight; we can 'go halfway' towards holding and crawling. Whenever this occurs it signals optimal carer to play; helping us to hold objects, supporting our posture and moving our limbs in ways that have enough points of similarity to real crawling for us to imagine and model the process, making the associated cells fire together, sending a clear signal repeatedly to the genome that proteins for bigger muscles and extended sensorimotor & spatial memory networks are going to be needed real soon.

In the epigenetic response, gene switches operate and new proteins are churned out both to form connections in the brain that represent these movements, and to build the muscle fibers in our bodies that will support them. All we have to do is play at crawling, and all the work goes on underneath (ie, unconsciously). Our own infant movements take us 'halfway' to crawling, the response of our carer meets us halfway and helps build a bridge -make a connection- between the known movements and the unknown procedure required to control our body. The more our carer helps our body behave as though it were crawling, the faster we learn what it feels like to move successfully in these ways, and the more networks & muscles form that enable us to start to repeat those same movements by ourselves in the real world. Carer has helped us to 'behave as though' it were happening, and that behavior has signaled the genome to make it start happening. Cells that fired together have each 'gone halfway' to making a connection, and wired together. This is the very beginning of procedural memory.

Without this optimal input 'coming halfway' to meet us, it is much harder and takes much longer to get the critical amount of practice to turn on those genes. With optimal response from carer, memory quickly stacks up knowledge of manipulation and locomotion procedures from all this experience, and we are well prepared to enter the world of 'things and stuff' when N2 and our muscles have grown dense enough connections for us to crawl off unaided. [22]

Autonomous behavior (using procedural memory that we have made ourselves through practice) relies on epigenetics because it begins as an extension of those assisted automatic grasping and crawling movements, needs a critical mass of suitable input to develop, and only then can add to its own database through practice and experience of sensorimotor control and spatial manipulation. We must build our mental tools before we can use them.

While we are learning by playing the procedures of manipulation and control -of our own bodies, of material objects, and physical laws in these interactions- our movements are patterning in the related 'programs' in procedural memory. Unconsciously we know that a procedural algorithm is a series of steps that leads to a desired output or solution. Now, from personal conscious experience, procedural memory has its network 'backbone' for attaching more and more associated concepts; our procedural database can add to itself every time a new set of associated synchronized movements is successfully made.

Unconsciously, in an optimal system where unconscious and conscious awareness are coordinated and congruous, the important fact being reinforced in the unconscious by all experience is this: “When I go halfway, some other aspect of intelligence/the universe comes the other half of the way to meet me”.

In rational conscious terms this means, whenever intelligence follows this procedure - stretches out into the unknown to learn about the world and improve itself - it will succeed. Our intent to do things precedes our ability to do things, but correct procedures lead to interactional success.

Our unconscious awareness of this process 'going on underneath' is the foundation for all learning, self-confidence, and ongoing creative motivation. It dispels anxiety about facing the unknown and makes us natural optimists. A healthy intelligence “knows”, balls to bones, that should we stretch out halfway by using that intelligence and interact with anything in the universe, assistance or understanding or ideas always 'come to meet us halfway', routes around obstacles will be found - just as it is for the hero in the story plots, or for evolution in the face of extinction. Successful organisms adapt TO a new context. Successful intelligence adapts both its context AND itself.

Sometimes assistance comes from interacting with someone playing the role of the Faithful Servant, sometimes with someone playing the role of Wise Master, sometimes interacting with nature itself, or with our own minds and memories; 'thinking things through' and forming adaptation strategies. Sometimes we must play the role of the hunter or seeker, this time after knowledge. Life helps those who help themselves, and we must stretch ourselves as far as we can -we must always go halfway. But wherever intelligence is interacting with a system, relaxation always follows stress, just as night follows day and spring follows winter and sleep follows wakefulness and answers come to those who seek knowledge only if they have the tenacity to keep looking, keep working on problems most others cannot face, or after all others have given up.

It's all 'part of the plot' for intelligence -and human- development. Once upon a time, the young seeker (Intelligence in Network 2), assisted by their faithful servant (Network 1) had to perform many 'quests' (showing they have the ability to interact in the face of the unknown) and stretch their limits (go halfway), so the hero can win the hand of (connect to) their prince/princess (complementary networks wiring together) and receive 'half the kingdom' (a fully-functional set of rear nets), whereupon gifts (abilities) will be showered upon them by their culture and the nobles (networks 4 and 5), their union will be blessed by God (Network 6), and they all live happily ever after.

Procedural memory, unsurprisingly, is procedural : ) and our lives are categorized and represented by N4 as a series of procedures ('scenes') that in sequence follow an ongoing overall procedural algorithm (the 'plot'); and in which ourselves, other entities, and objects play 'roles'. Our entire waking conscious experience is viewed as an interactive game defined through archetypal roles, scenes and plots. [23] Our unconscious mind displays its knowledge of procedures as plots whenever we write fiction, but most of us don't consciously realize that it uses the same function -metaphorization- the program which categorizes its memories, for keeping track of everyday real life.

Items, backgrounds and connections in real life are all linked together through time; a procedure is a set course of events that has a beginning, middle and end in real time, even if it only takes microseconds to run. Network 3, restricted to accessing rear networks, could only represent these procedures as a literal 'series' of still 3D graphic models of reality in which 'changes have occurred'; like stop motion photography. If imagination gets it right, the inner images we perceive are accurate analog representations of the images 'out there', but they are static and connected only by association.

This is why children under the age of 7 do pretty well at remembering individual events, but have difficulty at placing these memories in context of when and where they happened and major difficulty remembering events that have overlapping elements (for example, young children will have no difficulty remembering that they always go swimming with mom in the morning and play in the garden in the afternoon; but they will have problems remembering 'what happens when' if on some days they go swimming in the morning and play in the garden in the afternoon, but on other days the times are reversed: the swimming is in the afternoon and the garden play is in the morning.) We need to develop a more complex memory structure to handle temporal relations, and without N4 we just don't have the capacity to do that. [21]

But when a critical mass of procedures has been patterned into memory in N4, a new kind of representation becomes possible (and needed). With N4's connections to N3, imagination can now run that series of stills through time as an imaginary sequence of events, exactly in the same way 3D animation can be achieved from stills in stop-motion as individual frames on a film. A series of pictures coming in faster than the eye (or in this case brain) can detect forms a seamless moving picture; an ongoing procedure. This is how perception constructs the 'interactive game' that we call everyday reality. From this stream we turn episodic memory into our own 'autobiographical' ('we were there, dudes!') and procedural memory.

All aspects of our development are covered by archetypal plots. As discussed above, analogical language and eidetic imagery in stories are the input that ‘comes halfway’ for enabling metaphorization and triggering the merging of unconscious and conscious awareness -stories are a mid-level programming language; understood by the unconscious (which interfaces with the 'machine' of our hardware) and the conscious mind (which interfaces with the unconscious.) In short, we can consciously AND unconsciously grasp the similarity between the imagery and procedures taking place in game-playing and the way we perceive everything else. This is how procedural memory views reality.

The physical laws of reality cannot be broken, and are back of and behind all change within it. Change in complex interactive systems (consider the weather, or human communication) is dynamic and seemingly unpredictable in its details, but very simple and profoundly straightforward in its basics. As far as procedural memory is concerned, all events must follow the plot, so the details don't matter. What matters is recognizing the plot; so that we know what is likely to happen when and how best to interact with it.

We need a certain critical mass of archetypal plots in procedural memory in order to successfully navigate through real life. If examples of these are never given, network 4 can never fully develop. Life seems full of unknown threats, hassle and problems that appear insurmountable when we feel we've 'lost the plot'.

The procedures in games and story plots form the concepts of procedural memory; whose format is metaphoric. To N4, 'Driving the car' or 'walking' is the same as 'Riding the trusty steed', 'Flying the starship', or 'Operating the Magic Carpet', because exactly the same thing is required -we perform a procedure that moves a vehicle and its contents to a distant place, and the procedure is similar despite the peripheral differences in what we do with our hands, voice, legs or mind -effectively we need to 'manipulate' a container full of objects safely through a conduit, avoiding hazards. That's what Star Trek's Matter transporter does, it's what walking a thousand miles does. Procedures rely on hard physics, their details can make them seem incredibly complex but the subprocesses for details all depend on the 'main plot' procedure of moving A to C through B without any loss of information (damage).

Core procedural memory is the 'deep-time' inherited record of algorithms for basic series-of-events experienced by our species throughout evolution; “things all humans do”; events such as birth, growth, walking, seeking, mating, facing good fortune and adversities, adapting to benefits and dangers. It is a database of metaphor, whose basic structure of plots makes it applicable to any details.


metaphorization as a process

Metaphor is for most people about 'unusual' rather than 'usual' language (eg, “Burning the midnight oil” is a metaphor for working overtime.) More importantly, metaphor is typically viewed as a characteristic of linguistics alone; something to do with 'semantics' rather than with thought or interaction. Mainstream sources may tell you that a metaphor is a type of analogy, and in the context of formal linguistics this is an adequate description, but neuroscience has recently revealed that metaphor is all-pervasive in everyday thought and interaction, and also in what we think of as 'normal' formal language.

A metaphor is a method of describing a concept/group of concepts by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated concept/group of concepts, and N4's processes include coincidence-spotting via looking for similarities between constructs and procedures, concrete or abstract (N1 runs this same program to look for similarities between material things and events); categorizing similar concepts by similar location in procedural memory (what objects go in what containers); and fine-tuning synchronizing connections (enabling transfer of information via conduits). N4 grasps similarities between concrete and abstract concepts, hence “Burning the midnight oil” makes sense to us as an abstract concept associated with working late; it is congruous with reality (we really do, both physiologically and technologically, burn fuel for energy).

Our unconscious conceptual system, in terms of which our behaviors and thoughts are formed, is essentially metaphorical in its nature. And researchers have found ways to identify in detail how healthy minds unconsciously choose metaphors for each interaction that can be most easily understood by the networks processing those interactions; which increases our processing speed and system accuracy. Metaphor, in other words, structures how we perceive, how we think, and what we do, and also the speed and agility of our mental responses. [25]

We are all able to think consciously in formal, logical language (or we wouldn't be able to read or write it), but the concepts that define our unconscious thoughts are not stored in the format of logical language. The unconscious uses its own languages; of analogy and metaphor. Our metaphoric concepts structure our ontology; our construct of beliefs about reality, all the way from what we perceive to what we believe, and all of our behaviors including interactions and relationships of all kinds, defining the ways in which we relate to the world. In short, what we believe, the way we think, what we experience, and what we do every day is largely dependent on our chosen contextual metaphors.

This is not something we are normally aware of, because it's unconscious. Most of the time, we just get on with life and a lot of what we are doing is automatic. But exactly where the line lies in each individual between conscious awareness and unconscious awareness is neither fixed nor clear. Since formal language is also based on the same system, this is an important research area for discourse analysis and a prime source of evidence for what our unconscious ontology contains.

Our ability to think metaphorically and to 'get' metaphors has been partially physiologically mapped. -Remember the Angular Gyrus, discussed above for its role in synesthesia? It has long been known that the AG plays a role in cross-modal association (not exactly a surprise; considering where it is; right at the junction of several sensorimotor association areas). Interestingly, patients with damage to the AG have lower sensory acuity and also cannot 'get' metaphors, in much the same way most AI's can't; they interpret everything literally (this is also a problem prevalent in some kinds of autism).

As well as cross-modal association (input that can jump from one sensory modality to another; where one sense can 'represent' another using the same interpretation process with synchronized input from the same context), the AG area generates cross-modal metaphorization (explanations that jump from concrete to abstract; where one set of ideas can represent another using the same interpretation process with synchronized input from the same context).

Disproportionately larger in hominids than other primates, the angular gyrus, given its strategic location at the crossroads of areas specialized for processing touch, hearing and vision, is turning out to be apparently critical both to conceptual metaphors and to cross-modal abstractions more generally. It appears that the angular gyrus contributes enormously to many quintessentially human abilities, including metaphorical -- and other abstract -- thinking.

It is not the only area involved. We also have large numbers of cross connections in specific regions of N4 opposite to Broca's area [26] with an observed role in processing non-literal aspects of language such as metaphor. [27]Research recently revealed how the fibers that connect parts of the brain using different formats or "languages" connect to a pair of central translators near the middle of the brain in N3. [28]

Part of the 'translation' involves multiple channels of information running from the parietal cortex in the middle of the brain between the visual and motor cortex. The brain routes information according to behavioral goals. There is a dedicated pathway to the part of the brain that controls eye movements—important for quickly collecting new information about changing surroundings—and a separate pathway to the front of the brain patching in the supplementary motor cortex and its talent for higher-order movement planning. The brain's tactile and motor neurons, which perceive touch and control movement, also respond to visual cues, and network areas dealing with abstract thought are connected with network areas that allow us to manipulate objects; this is the cellular architecture enabling metaphorization. [29]

Researchers [25] have systematically documented the non-arbitrary way in which metaphors are structured, and how they in turn structure thought. A large number of sensory metaphors refer to the body and many more are inter-sensory (or synaesthetic). Furthermore, sensory metaphors (e.g., ‘loud shirt’) also respect the directionality seen in synaesthesia. That is, they are more frequent in one direction than the other (e.g., from the auditory to the visual modality). [30]

Our system of metaphoric concepts in procedural memory is built from the ground up, enabled by interactional experience, and like all other such systems (eg development, learning,) proceeds from the concrete to the abstract. For example, 'understanding'—an intangible, abstract concept—is often recast in terms of the concrete sensory experience of sight. To understand something is to 'see' it, and so we often say that we 'see someone’s point', 'I see what you mean', or that an idea is 'clear' to us. Metaphors of this sort—linking the abstract to the concrete, perceptual, and visceral— allow us to make the conceptual leap across the barrier of difference between concrete and abstract.

Our concepts are fundamentally shaped by the fact that meat is thinking; that we and our minds reside in fleshy, physical bodies. As a result, even our most abstract concepts often have an “embodied” structure. And all is congruous. -What appears as metaphor in linguistic terms (eg, “I'm in the dark on this subject”, “This is all going over my head”, “She's hot” or “He uses colorful language”) is a literal sensory experience in synesthesia. This may explain why synesthesia is eight times more common among poets, artists and novelists than the general population. The essence of art is, arguably, metaphor, and its practitioners are especially prolific — and metaphor is just a convenient shorthand for the connection of unlinked cognitive phenomena. That’s exactly what happens in synesthesia. [3, 4]

Artificial intelligence has such trouble understanding us because we use metaphor all the time to convey everything. We take a chunk of language that refers to a physical concrete context and lump it together with an abstract context. For example, in conscious reality 'time' is an abstract construct we use to measure the distance between repetitive events, but the unconscious considers time as a resource, and so we speak of it in those terms:



There's PLENTY of time

We're RUNNING OUT of time

We shouldn't WASTE time

PUT ASIDE some time for recreation

Do we HAVE more time LEFT?

We haven't GOT ENOUGH time

I LOST time when I was OFF sick

WHAT's the time?

WHERE did the time GO?


We speak and behave as though 'time' (an abstract concept) has concrete physical properties -like a lump of something we can set aside, lose, waste, or run out of. We are using our everyday experiences with objects and motion, limited resources, circadian habits and valuable commodities to conceptualize time. This makes perfect sense to us because we have evolved to make use of metaphor in exactly this way, but to an AI (at least one with no understanding of metaphor) it's very difficult to discern meaning. If we ask, “What's the time?”, a machine may well answer “The time is a construct we use to measure the distance between events.” While this is a perfectly correct answer, it's not the one we want. Intelligence needs our unconscious metaphoric ontologies to derive accurate meaning for abstract concepts.

Metaphorization isn't limited to seeing one concept in terms of another, but also embodies whole systems in terms of others. Most of our fundamental concepts, including the emotional system, health, consciousness, success and even morality are all metaphorized in terms of spatial coordinates; happy is UP, sad is DOWN, conscious is UP, unconscious is DOWN, health & vitality are UP, sickness & death are DOWN. Excited is HIGH, depressed is LOW. Personal power is UP, weakness is DOWN. Status is HIGH or LOW. The future is UP and AHEAD, the past is BEHIND us and DOWN. All that is good is UP, all that is bad is DOWN.

Depth metaphors are congruous with this system and used to imply complexity of content, eg, 'She's a very DEEP character' or 'She's very SHALLOW' or 'in the DEPTHS of despair'.

Width metaphors also get a look in; we describe people as “BROAD minded or NARROW minded”.

Intelligence is metaphorized as light; “Not very bright”, “A brilliant mind”; and understanding as clarity.

As explained above, metaphors are grounded in our physical and cultural experience; not randomly assigned. 'Happy is up' is maximally congruous with 'good is up' and 'healthy is up'. [25]

We even metaphorize our concept of language itself: Words, ideas, or meanings are OBJECTS, sentences and linguistic expressions are CONTAINERS of Objects, speech is a CONDUIT, communication is SENDING, interaction is seen as INFORMATION TRANSFER. Here are some examples:


I'm trying to GET THROUGH to them

It's hard to GET that idea ACROSS

His words CAME OVER as odd

The text CARRIED little meaning

She didn't CONVEY anything new


These examples show how a concrete concept such as containers and objects moving through conduits can adequately represent an abstract concept like transference of meaning in formal language, and how an abstract concept like emotion can be adequately expressed in terms of physical spatial coordinates, via metaphorization.


Framing with metaphorization

Now let's consider how we frame whole belief systems in terms of metaphor and how that can extend or limit our knowledge and ability.

Metaphors in language invite conceptual analogies, and different metaphors bring to mind different knowledge structures and suggest different analogical inferences. The metaphors we choose for framing our abstract knowledge fundamentally change the way we (and others) both perceive and respond to reality.

All future growth of intelligence will be based on the metaphoric constructs we keep in unconscious memory. All structures of knowledge, ontologies, beliefs and opinions will refer to them. We will relate to reality according to the models we have for doing so,

Our ontology (our belief system, background perspective, frame of reference, or world view), is the metaphoric construct on which our behavior, thought and interaction relies. Our ontology includes things we consciously believe to be true, things we consciously believe to be not true, and a whole bunch of stuff in the middle that we have to label 'not sure' or 'don't know yet'. Likewise possibility. There are certain things we believe are possible, certain things we believe to be impossible, and again a big bunch of 'we don't know if that's possible yet'. These beliefs shape our every move. Many people stop developing simply because they believe further development to be impossible.


Framing with metaphorization

Let's explore how a metaphor-based ontology can change the way we deal with problems, for better or worse.

Here are two different metaphor-based ontologies, used by group A and group B. One is more congruous with unconscious knowledge than the other. Can you guess which one, when adopted by an ordinary group of people, produces the most beneficial results?

Group A: We believe violent crime is like a war, something we must fight, catch the evil criminals and punish them.

Group B: We believe violent crime is like a disease, something we must stop spreading, take preventive measures against, find those affected and treat or isolate them.


Answers in text directly below.


This exercise is based on an example from real life:

Group A represents a society that thinks in incongruous metaphors and considers itself 'at war' with violent crime, one case is described by researchers: a serial rapist attacked 11 girls over a 15-month period before being captured by the police. During those 15 months, the police had information that (had they thought of violent crime as a disease) they could have shared with the community, which could have protected against and prevented most of the attacks. Instead, they opted to keep that information secret to 'set traps' for their suspect. [31]

The police were entrenched in their media-fueled metaphorical role of 'hunting down' and 'trapping' the criminal, and neglected their responsibility to protect the community against further harm. The girls, the researcher writes, “were victims… not only of a rapist, but of a metaphor” [32]

Some societies (group B) have taken this research seriously, adopted the 'violence is a disease' ontology, and implemented programs to treat violent crime as a contagious disease. For example, a crime-prevention program run by an epidemiologist treats crime according to the same regimen used for diseases like AIDS or tuberculosis, focusing on public awareness and preventing violent behavior in one person from 'spreading' to prospective victims. It is far more effective in saving lives than that of group A.

The unconscious already knows that unnecessary violence is a symptom of mental sickness, but if N4 has been taught to think in incongruous metaphors of 'war' it will have no language with which to say so. Without unconscious / conscious congruity, the unconscious cannot speak; cannot be given a conscious voice. It can only feel, and think. [33]

The influence of the metaphorical framing effect is covert: people do not recognize mental metaphors as influential in their decisions; instead they point to more “substantive” (often numerical) information as the motivation for their problem-solving decisions. But this example profoundly illustrates how our background 'view of reality' or ontology, affects not only what we do personally but what occurs around us when a lot of people start thinking in terms of incongruous stereotypes established by mass media. Rationality falls apart when metaphorization is not congruous, because metaphorization covertly (unconsciously) influences our reasoning.

This is by no means a phenomenon restricted to the level of groups or societies. Exactly the same problem affects each of us personally. Cast unwittingly in roles they did not choose for themselves, people don't have the mental tools to break out of 'the story' or consider following a different plot -they are not even aware of being stuck within the confines of an incongruous closed system framed by its metaphoric limitations. In other words, what they believe to be true is fiction. [34]


Metaphoric constructs - World of Emergence

Regardless of what we are consciously aware of doing, think is important, or believe we ought to be doing, our unconscious mind knows that we are living intelligent beings who develop by playing in ever more complex ways with reality; in a full immersion interactive game of life which, if it had a name, would be called something like, 'Optimal Intelligence Development' or 'World of Emergence'.

We are driven, biologically, to pursue this process; to keep on playing the game. The unconscious knows 'the plot' of the game of life, as outlined by the section on archetypal plots above. It knows there are game 'levels' (stages of our own development) that we can only reach by getting a critical number of experience points with various types of input; and every interaction wins us 'experience points'. It knows there are special tools and abilities on each level that are only revealed when we seek them out, and only available when we work out how to use them. It knows there are methods and routines and procedures we must practice to get past unknown obstacles of varying difficulty and diversity and navigate successfully through the game. It knows that if it plays well, we can win.

It knows that to shift from any level is to emerge out of it into another one, while taking with us all the skills and knowledge and mental tools we have already gained. The nature of our development is such that each level is larger and less constricting, or more abstract and less concrete than the previous one. Each level enables more possibility and power, and provides an increasingly safe context. At each level-shift (even as adults) we experience a brain growth spurt, which prepares us for new learning. We learn by exploring the new level and constructing its replica in the inner model; this is 'embodiment' of the level; a sensory integration of the game matrix; a structure of knowledge of it and of possibility within it. Play gives us development and with development comes control, within ourselves, our lives, and our world. [35]

Our unconscious ontology can be considered as 'the reality which the game is set in'. This metaphoric construct forms our unconscious 'game space', updated in healthy minds as they mature, which frames the nature of our own interactive game; determining basics such as what sort of roles are available, who the main characters are, what the rules are, what moves are possible, what's the basic plot, and how to play.

In World of Emergence, roles available are archetypes. For newbies, each role must be explored in its turn during six levels of development and then (on maturity) they can be selected and applied in the correct contexts. We enter the game at conception learning about the role of the faithful servant, the body and brain must learn the processes of how to serve the mind (the intelligence); the task on this level is to develop material awareness and physiological control, the goal is the bonding of body/brain to mind (the embodiment of intelligence). The required input, energy and 'safe space' for this level are provided by the womb, and it takes around 9 months for the brain to wire up autonomic systems in response to our playing (interacting) with input sufficiently to control our own physiological systems, for birth to successfully take place.

Birthing and calibration of senses (relying on interaction with the carer) prompt a brain growth spurt, infant-carer bonding, and admittance to level 2, where the required input, energy and safe space are provided by carers and our home. The task is to develop spatial awareness (objects, containers and conduits) while learning about the role of young seeker/explorer in a dynamic environment (our home and local territory). There is a heck of a lot to explore, we need to master locomotion and communication to better explore it, and it takes us at least 3 or 4 years to get enough experience to shift levels.

Each level needs appropriate input, energy and a safe place for growth & development to take place. In level 3 these should come from our natural environment -the real world of trees, rivers, mountains, beaches, rocks, bugs, animals, other people, and weather; and the medium of stories as discussed above. In level 3 we bond with our environment; it becomes an extra support system that can be interacted with for benefits. In building this relationship with nature we are learning the role of 'the wildman of the woods'; that formidable archetype of shamanism, 'the Green Man', who can live entirely in harmony with nature and can harness its power to heal (in real life often through knowledge of herbs and medicine; most shamans are skilled pharmacologists).

We will still get help from carers -we remain bonded with our support systems throughout the game, we just slowly grow less dependent on them. We learn emotional control on this level in interactions with others as part of our natural experience.

In level 4 our input, energy and safe space should come from our culture in the form of games, skill sharing, inspiration and introduction to that culture's output (its beneficial behaviors and its beneficial products). It should come from those we trust and respect, those playing the role of 'the wise master'; and it should come in the form of spoken words, games, stories, pictures, artifacts to play with, and demonstrations. We must learn how to teach openly as well as how to learn openly -how to play the role of wise master. We bond with our culture just as surely as we bond with our environment -we embody culture (make it a part of ourselves, and make ourselves a part of it) when we master all the basic cultural skills, learn behavioral control, and start producing our own creative output.

At level 5 we should be mature enough to provide our own input, energy and safe space; our own minds now know enough to consciously (rather than just unconsciously) take care of ourselves, seek out the knowledge, methods and practices we are most attracted to and perfect them -it is now that we have free will and awareness sufficient to choose what sort of things we would like to spend our time doing, learning, and making. We also learn mental control, self-discipline, and from now on can be responsible for the contents of our own minds, including the nature of our own thoughts.

This is the role of the Benefactor -we are now independent and powerful enough to acquire what we need, assist others and at the same time increase the number of our healthy allies. We produce output for ourselves, our friends and our culture; we innovate and experiment with new ideas, we verify, analyze and confirm our body of knowledge and learn to know ourselves -the unconscious bonds fully with the conscious.

Level 6 is traditionally the role of Gods or Superheroes. We are not suggesting that everyone's destiny is to end up being Batman, because Batman is a fictional character and this game is very real. We end up, optimally, becoming Ourselves. Our optimal real selves, reaching our full potential and ever-pushing the boundaries of intelligence onwards. There is no indication that this expansion has boundaries any more than there is for the universe having boundaries, and it may well be infinite; evolving new contexts in which to grow, of which we are the latest editions. Some view this level as our 'spiritual' development, others call it 'the emergence of higher mind'.

The experience is the same regardless of the label. At level 6 we turn to reality and the emergence process itself for our safe space, energy and input. That's what happens when we're in 'the Zone', feeling our abilities and skills are somehow being stretched and yet relaxed at the same time; unconscious and conscious mind working in synchronized unity. Anything we can imagine a process of actualization for can be made real, but only in accordance with reality's laws (the Game Rules).

In an optimal environment, everything we do would be in full awareness and support of the process of intelligence emergence; the game of life. Parents, friends and our entire culture would practise behaviors that support the goal of intelligence development. In all natural mammal species left to their own devices, this remains the case.

Our introduction to our culture's embodied knowledge (our stories, our music, our methods of science and works of art) should be part of our natural input as network 4 is developing; storytelling, games and creative thought develop imagination and processes such as analogization and metaphorization, that we later rely on for rational thought, logic, formal reasoning and executive abilities.

Most of our initial learning should be by word of mouth and demonstration, because we don't respond well to literacy until network 5 is being developed (optimally around age 10). If we learn before then by reading and writing (as in school), long term memory will be poor, as the brain has no choice but to develop networks that are most often used at the expense of normal, healthy growth (it's a bit like pruning a plant to keep flowers but no leaves. Without the support of its leaves, there's no further growth). Memory is designed to absorb most of its information through listening and watching until this age; that's what develops our 'mental muscles' - constant memory workouts. Memory in our current generation is extremely poor, because all information is recorded externally (our address list is in our phone, not in our mind). This makes us dependent on technology - instead of using it to augment our abilities, we are using it to decrease them. Used to enhance our abilities the phone would be a backup, and an extra space for the details of those who are not really important enough to KEEP IN MIND.

Those who can remember enormous amounts of stuff are today looked upon as savants, but a few hundred years ago such memory skills were normal. There remain a few nerdy individuals who can do stuff like reciting the entire dialog of Star Wars. Laugh at them we might, this seems a futile exercise to most -but they'll be laughing when they're in their nineties with no memory loss. Trust the Force, Luke.

To regain our natural abilities we have to USE the networks that enable them, and to keep our culture alive and enable it to benefit us we have to partake in it; enjoying each others' creations, interacting, and creating our own output. Sadly, many people are too caught up in playing society's counterfeit games to have time to develop themselves, and fall into decline before they even finish development.

Does development ever end? There may or may not be further cycles of development; we don't know yet. Once we reach level 6, the aim (as far as we currently know) seems to be to remain in level 6. The second law of thermodynamics (inevitable decline over time) does not apply to open systems, and all emergent systems are open systems. The minds of those still playing the Game of Emergence remain open systems throughout their lives -they retain an open intelligence and a flexible logic.

All those playing any other game (eg, 'society's ideal self'; 'worship the great god woo-woo', or 'make more money'), are in a closed system that will degrade over time. In a brain, degradation means malfunction and dementia. We canna break the laws of physics, captain.



Real or counterfeit? Fact or fiction?

If the things we believe to be true really ARE true, and the things we think are real actually ARE real, everything is working as it should be and our mental ontology will be an accurate representation of the way the real world works, in sync with (in conscious agreement with) our unconscious knowledge. It is only when we start consciously believing that fictional stuff is true (ie, when we misunderstand the nature of reality and form a fictional ontology that we then treat as real,) that we get into trouble, because our unconscious knowledge is never going to agree with false conscious beliefs. With faulty perception, we are liable to make false memories and find them indistinguishable from real ones, get deceived easily, and generally used and abused, and retard our own development, sometimes indefinitely.


Real constructs & synthetic constructs

Real constructs emerge from the bottom up. Culture is such a construct. So is language. So is technology. So is art. So is science. So is a forest. So is the internet (although many would not like it to be).

Real constructs work coherently and perform functions that are beneficial to (and in many cases essential for) our development. Real constructs are dynamic, open systems and encourage change and innovation. What is considered 'ideal' is using the construct to improve our intelligence.

Real constructs bring us together on the basis of our similarities (desire to learn, interact and improve).

Synthetic constructs are designed from the top down. Society is such a construct. So is religion. So is nationality. So is school.

Synthetic constructs do not work coherently and create obstacles that are harmful to (and in many cases prevent) our development. Synthetic constructs are static, closed systems and discourage change and innovation. What is considered 'ideal' is constantly using our energy to maintain the construct.

Synthetic constructs set us apart on the basis of our differences (age, sex, size, area of birth).

A real construct (like a forest) can be turned into a synthetic construct (like a christmas-tree farm) only from the top down. We can impose synthetic rules on it that quickly turn it into a non-workable system. 'One rule fits all' is the usual method. Synthetic constructs cannot interact with or interface with reality; the forest can maintain itself and if left alone will thrive, the single-crop farm cannot; it needs energy and input to construct an artificial context in which it can continue to exist.

A synthetic construct (like a society) can be turned into a real construct (like a culture) only from the bottom up. We can scrap any artificial rules and allow natural order to emerge as our intelligence interacts with the material of the construct. Different rules for different circumstances will become obvious as it does so (the 'rules' in natural order are natural laws). Thus we can take for example a christmas-tree farm and direct the emergence of a permaculture garden (which will then take care of itself as we continue to interact with it for our own benefit).

We can create real constructs or synthetic constructs, and synthetic constructs are absolutely fine and harmless -and in fact very useful- when they are correctly labeled 'fiction'. When the mind clearly knows that something is made up, we have the correct perspective towards it. This is how we can enjoy movies without fearing The Evil Empire might really be following us home.

This is not saying that 'fiction' is not real. It is saying that fiction is not reality. When something people made up is treated as real fiction, we are fine. But behaving as though fiction is fact, outside the realm of play, is pathological. It's great if Harrison Ford plays Han Solo; it's not great if Harrison Ford really believes he IS Han Solo.

Anything we create that is going to function beneficially must align with the natural order and specific laws of biology, physics and chemistry as applicable to its individual context. A space satellite does not have to be safe to eat, but a food should be. If we create a food that isn't safe to eat, we have created a harmful synthetic construct. It is not strictly speaking a 'food'; it is something pretending to be food; a fiction disguised and regarded as reality; a counterfeit. It's out of sync with biology's laws and will cause harm to many who encounter it.


Culture - the human success story

Culture is an emergent phenomenon. It emerges naturally from the interactions between a group of organisms and their environment without any interference or 'direction' or deliberate teaching. It is not a synthetic construct and it was not invented by humans, even though some would like to believe it so.

Human culture uses interaction, natural learning, creative media and technology to record, store and perpetuate the journey of intelligence itself, its adventures, discoveries and creations, through time from one generation to the next.

Intelligence has built itself a time machine, from which we can learn from all previous generations, and into which we can insert our own contributions for future generations.

Culture begins with individuals interacting with their environment and other individuals. We quickly learn the most efficient ways to work together for mutual benefit in many tasks. Those methods that turn out to be best for each individual are modeled by those who also find them useful.

Culture was and is never imposed; members opt in for their own advantage and it benefits others as well. Culture was developed by biology in adaptation to life on earth, it emerges when creatures with conscious awareness interact, and it is found in many mammals apart from ourselves who form groups as a survival strategy.

Experienced rats show inexperienced rats how to forage. Apes who crack nuts with rocks show other apes the same procedure. Mature gorilla shows younger gorilla how to care for baby gorilla just by doing it in front of her; just as older gorilla showed her. Knowledge is shared freely for mutual benefit, and it is the ability to interact with more and different situations which determines each animals personal status. Culture organizes hierarchy according to ability; not according to age or size or color or any arbitrary quality, and it is, for humans, naturally dynamic (the one best able to interact in each particular situation is temporarily deferred to in that situation. The best spear wielders may lead the hunt, but when they get the belly ache, the shaman is the master).

We are supposed to learn all the vitals of cooperative life within our culture, from hunting to hygiene, from childcare to diplomatic communication, from history to invention, from making music and art to studying science; from those whom we love and respect; those in the role of the 'wise master'. The procedures for self-care, childcare, tool use, appropriate behavior and interaction are all meant to be learned in this way, as well as our cultural skills of diplomacy, etiquette and propriety. All interactions with our culture develop and use network 4.


Games people play

Because we create our own metaphoric construct of reality; from imagination, memory and current input, our perception of 'reality' can end up being a real construct or a synthetic construct. Real constructs will align with reality and perform useful functions that result in successful, high quality lives; synthetic constructs will be at odds with reality and create harmful problems that result in unsuccessful, low quality lives.

Every game within 'World of Emergence' is unique. We are supposed to play our own game; not anyone else's game, because we are all different. The game we all (should) play is still the World of Emergence, but for each of us the details and puzzles presented will be different, because every game (every life) is unique. The roles remain the same; they are archetypal roles, but our particular interpretation of them will be original. The plot of our game will also be archetypal, but the details will be again unique according to ourselves, our environment, and our lifetime.

We are designed genetically and physiologically to play this game and only this game -real life- in order to develop. It is the only Real Game. Not to play, or to waste time acting out an automaton life in a counterfeit game through fear based on fictional beliefs, results in personal decline and poor quality of life.

Our beliefs (as the background ontology for the game) should be provable facts. In deciding what we believe is real, intelligent people clearly delineate fact from fiction -or so we believe.

Because of the nature of perception, there is no hard line between fact and fiction in our unconscious awareness. Our own inner model of reality is, like everyone else's, 'probably mostly accurate'. We know how easily our perception can be tricked into believing stuff that isn't real; that's how requests for financing Nigerian Princesses or claims that radium is good for the skin can con people. Maybe we think they're particularly dumb people, but few among us could claim we have never in our lives been conned, deceived or tricked in some way. Nevertheless, it can still be a bit of a shock to discover we may have been conned just as thoroughly into playing a counterfeit game and missing out on real life.

Metaphor functions as a 'bridge' or conduit between fact and fiction. Clearly the brain is not a machine, but we understand that it is 'sorta' like a machine in some ways, and we can use this metaphoric association to convey factual information about real brains more easily.

Metaphorization stands between the darkness (unconscious) and the light (conscious); between the candle (unconscious intelligence) and the star (full intelligence). [36] It can join the unknown to the known; the unconscious to the conscious.

Metaphorization is intended to construct, as we develop, a background ontology that extends our range of interaction successfully in congruous ways. Synthetic constructs (systems with rules that humans have made up; such as societies, religions, political systems), cannot achieve this. Control of ourselves must come from the bottom up; from within; not from outside ourselves. We can be SHOWN what to do by another, but we must be TOLD what to do by our own minds. This is what 'self-control' really means.

The human ability to invent fictional constructs, systems and rules via metaphorization enables us to incorporate structure into our lives in any way we choose, and if our choices are congruous they enhance our ability to interact. If they are not, they retard it (slow its growth). This is safe enough in an open system where we are all free to upgrade our ontology every time the old one is proved wrong (that's how the growth of intelligence and cultural progress happen). But the system of metaphorization becomes much more deadly when an incongruous fictional construct is imposed by some upon others (such as parents on children, or teachers on students, or the media on a population, or the governmental cults of long-dead megalomaniacs on current generations.)

We all make stuff up, including dysfunctional people, who make up dysfunctional stuff based on their own anxieties. That becomes everybody's problem wherever it is combined with coercion -the intention to control others, and the imposition of synthetic rules. This problem is compounded when it is inherited as a given.

'Society' is a fictional metaphoric construct made up by humans, which is why societies worldwide vary greatly in their details and all claim different things are true. Whilst we vitally need our culture, we do not need any specific 'society' in order to fully develop intelligence (or a thriving culture -in fact, culture thrives wherever society isn't). Societal (Political/authoritarian/military/religious) power as a concept hinges on some people genuinely believing they have a right to control others apart from themselves; expressed via either some sort of overt (physical violence) or covert (bureaucratic or religious) intimidation (bully behavior).

The belief that any human automatically has this 'right' (or any right) is a peculiar fictional delusion; the very idea would never arise in any healthy mind because it would be acting against our own best interests. Equally-able independent allies cooperating is our best resource for thriving; real constructs are self-organizing, and we succeed as a group most adeptly when leadership is dynamic - when whoever is chosen to 'lead' others in a given situation depends entirely on their ability to interact in that situation. But facts do not hold back the delusional.

'An automatic right to control and coerce others' is a fictional concept. Some long-dead bully simply made it up. They pretended to themselves that it was true, behaved as though, and acted accordingly, coercing others into joining in. Religion is based on a similar premise; here, the 'right' is claimed as 'god-given' and based on claims of some kind of pretend hotline to, or 'channeled' text message from, god/s that told us so, and the rules are: you have to believe its true, and so do what we say, or god will have your guts for garters (and in case god's negligent we, your fellow believers, will punish you on his behalf).

The ontologies of these games are synthetic constructs that have nothing to do with real life or real culture. When believed to be real, fictional constructs (like political parties, nations, social classes, race and gender and age inequalities, astrology and all the gods on mount olympus) can seem to make sense consciously; we are attracted to the patterns, the dogmas, the rules and regularity of such systems, because they resemble real systems and because we are designed to try to fit in with our context; but since they do not align with reality and biology's unconscious concepts, we cannot model or represent them in ways the unconscious can understand.

If we get caught up in these games, we gave fallen for the biggest con job of all time and let go of the thing of greatest value, for we have abandoned our own mental development in favor of living a lie. We then only have life as a counterfeit personality in a counterfeit reality.

We can go on developing intellectually using a fictional ontology, and a surface 'cleverness' may be maintained by memorizing multiple declarative facts and reciting them parrot-fashion, but there is no depth of understanding because there is no depth of mind. From hereon in we can sign up for slow (and sometimes not so slow) degradation of intelligence. Everything we do from now on will be in the service of the counterfeit game, not in service of our own development.

Our propensity for creating fiction is NOT what creates the problem here; indeed our ability to imagine stuff that doesn't yet exist is fundamental to our creative ability to turn ideas into reality; this is one way we can adjust our environment to better suit ourselves. If we have an ontology that believes it is possible to go to the moon, even if we 'don't know yet', we can predict and devise means to do so that are (have to be) totally congruous with reality and real physical laws in order to succeed. Many things that were once fictional are now fact, and this is all part of healthy human culture within the game of emergence. As we ourselves emerge, new factors of our culture will continue to emerge.

Nor are counterfeit games some government conspiracy; they are a mish-mash of many different people's attempts to control other people in the past, based on megalomania (false beliefs that they are in some way better than others, qualified to tell others how to live, and that their ways of doing things are 'the right ways' for everyone). They are maintained through habit and basic anxiety-based reactions; automatic parts and automatic behavior; systems which can never change except to decline and which must consume energy from outside themselves in order to function. (Society, a closed system, perpetuates itself by consuming energy from humans.)

Since life, the universe, biology and intelligence are all open systems, getting caught up in counterfeit games leads many into personal disaster -not to mention all the developmental experience they are missing in the Game of Emergence (because we can only play one game at a time). In effect, large numbers of humans have been dropping out of reality to play life-consuming fictional games they don't even know they're playing -dropping out of their own development.


'Society's Ideal Self'

We all recognize the ability to 'suspend disbelief' for a little while for fun, as we watch our favorite movies or play computer games. We deliberately allow ourselves to get 'immersed' in the story and in sync with the action -to the extent that it affects our emotional system in the real world -we get excited when the goodies are winning, and so on, and the hormones and transmitters this pumps around our systems are absolutely real. Unconsciously, we know that the movie or the game is a fictional construct made up by some dudes, and that's what gives it the context which allows it to make sense as entertainment. We are giving ourselves this chemical input on purpose, because biology enjoys it. Movies and gaming get us high.

But imagine if we didn't know it wasn't real. Imagine if we were raised in the context of a game; born to parents who didn't know they were in a made-up game. We are not speaking of some sci-fi virtual reality here, but a game played out in our physical material lives via learned behavior patterns. Imagine if we were programmed to believe that there are things called countries, gods, and leaders, and that these things are real facts of nature and part of timeless reality, despite the fact that the unconscious has never heard of such things. Imagine if we were put through a system of parental, schooling, religious, business, and political structures to reinforce this, with predetermined 'acceptable' patterns of behavior, based on everyone's belief that the game was real. We would be raised entering endless contests to see how well we could conform to society's ideal, and by doing so we'd be winning not skills or abilities but endless material objects, knowledge of how to carry out meaningless procedures, and a counterfeit status which attracts ever more insincere sentiments and pretended friendship from others trying to purloin our resources and gain status by association.

There are no levels of development in this game because there is no development -everything is on one shallow level of reality; the mere act of playing creates an obsessive-compulsive addiction to material objects and a paranoid suspicion about personal relationships. The game rules say that the only way to survive is by competing to get more and more objects, and everyone else is a potential enemy, because the game operates on the false assumption that 'more for me is less for you'.

Society's ideal self is a stereotype. We are taught very early on in this game that the 'ideal self' is measured in terms of prestige according to financial status, appearances, and conformity to the rules of the game; and everything around us reinforces those concepts. Instead of us controlling the game, the game controls us with our anxiety at and fear of not conforming to its 'ideal' image. We grow up in the game never knowing that if we stopped identifying with that image and became our real selves, we would have free will and society (and anxiety) would find it very difficult to control us.

Biology being what it is, even if we were raised in something resembling this game, occasionally we might still glimpse reality; usually in those moments of deep play that we call 'the zone', where all of the false limitations, rules, conflicts and pressures of 'society's ideal' disappear. Society and anxiety lose their control over us and we have free will and can perform in completely new ways. We are 'in play' - 'in the zone' - and have literally slipped out of society's control; out of the synthetic game and into real life; and can experience all the advantages of a working intelligence that only real life allows.

But most of the time, for most people, the unconscious, with its strategy of viewing life as an interactive game, tries to adopt the synthetic reality because it is given nothing else. This leaves us in a situation dangerously like 'The Matrix', and we may never realize our lives are based on a fictional construct some authoritarian dudes made up centuries ago before people really knew very much about human development at all. We are stuck living in a dream world, Neo; where plots are shallow stereotypes and roles are defined by job titles and name-prefixes.

The unconscious can deal equally adeptly with either real or fictional constructs, (it uses fictional constructs to solve problems, invent things and write stories, for example), but it doesn't perform at all well when the two become mentally mixed up, for a self-contradictory personality emerges that can end up consciously despising itself and feeling guilty for not being 'society's ideal', while unconsciously grieving over having been abandoned (by frontal networks) due to somehow 'not fitting in' to the game. Fear of never being good enough, of being abandoned, then rules our lives.

Since all unconscious computation goes on by nature below conscious awareness, we aren't consciously aware of any of this; all we are aware of intuitively when playing 'society's ideal self' is a vague inexplicable slight discomfort; everyone around us is behaving as though everything's fine and normal, but we have a feeling that somewhere, something is not quite right; something should have happened but it didn't, something is missing, nothing seems genuine, there is no depth or substance to anything -not even ourselves - everyone is just pretending ...and some people live their whole lives with that uncomfortable feeling and the anxiety it brings.

Their intuition serves them well; what's missing is the unity of conscious and unconscious knowledge, the incredible intelligence we are biologically designed to become, blocked by our two familiar villains Wrong input and Lack of input. Wrong input in this case is belief in fictional constructs being in some way real beyond their parochial context. And because we can only play one game at a time, wrong input automatically causes lack of input.

Unconscious signals to the conscious mind (which should build strong, permanent connections between the two as part of our development) find themselves blocked on such a regular basis that their connections atrophy and their associations are lost. Without those connections, the development of our real self is put on hold (basically abandoned) in favor of creating the conscious mind's fictional avatar; 'society's ideal self'. This is a public avatar that we pretend to be, a counterfeit 'me' which takes the place of the real self, cutting off communication between unconscious knowledge and conscious awareness, making us dependent on society for input. The more fiction we believe is true, the more our conscious and unconscious become contradictory instead of synchronized, and sooner or later we start to use this shallow avatar even when alone. We start to lie not just to others, but to ourselves, about who we really are.

Metaphorically this is 'The Fall of Man' -the story in our culture of a 'fall' from the clarity of intelligence to the darkness of stupidity and ignorance- even about our own nature. We are falling from unity into separation; from an independent, dynamic system into a dependent, static system. We are falling off the path of our own development. This is the price of falling for the con; the moment we start to treat the game as real, we literally stop developing, and start to lose, our minds. We are a slave, Neo.

The unconscious has been left behind trying to compute how to make sense of things; and when half our brain is in inner conflict with (or cannot communicate with) the other half, we will never harness our potential for an integrated congruous intelligence. Life will then be restricted to practising automatic, mindless behaviors that both perpetuate and fulfil the needs of the fictional construct; not its individuals, whose task in these games is to work as hard as they can to be the 'ideal' cog in society's machine until they drop dead.

Society, although it functions often via bully behavior, is based on the anxiety-laden fear of abandonment (wimp behavior), obsessive-compulsive attachment to material objects in the belief that they can somehow 'keep us safe' from abandonment, and a morbid fear of the unknown that extends to chronic anxiety at the slightest discomfort or difficulty, including change. Society is a game designed to try to prevent the unexpected and avoid the unknown -exactly the opposite of the real life we need for intelligence to thrive. Society as a game exists as a looping process of correcting the errors the game itself causes, mindlessly and repetitively consuming the energy and lives of human beings. It is a synthetic matrix that uses real people for fuel while distracting their minds with a fiction. Sound familiar?

Society consumes people. For those with a perverse sense of humor, a taste for the spooky, or X-Files fans: in doing the research for this section it was discovered that an alarming number of players in this game simply vanish (around 700,000 A YEAR from cities worldwide, around 38,000 of whom are children). ...So like, around 56,000,000 people are expected to disappear without a trace, during your lifetime?! [37]

As for the rest, they commit not only themselves but the next generation to playing the game, because the game rules ensure players cannot raise their children in any other game without immense difficulty. Thus we inherit, by being coerced into copying, the behaviors that trigger epigenetic malfunction. The rules of the game control all aspects of our lives, made-up concepts such as marriage, schooling, jobs and hell fire repress our natural drives and cause chronic anxiety. The only way out of that anxiety seems to be by becoming society's ideal self, and that's never possible without further depriving our real self.

For an intelligent human in the 21st century it's actually embarrassing how stupid this all is and how gullible most humans really are. Counterfeit games have become both a tragedy and a comedy in our midst, because they use the tools and inventions of culture (such as creative media) to reinforce addiction. The very process of playing takes away players' independence (free will) and makes them dependent on the game structure, so they cannot leave.

The ontology of competition in this game; 'everyone else is the enemy' automatically reduces the quality of all our lives. -Why should 'we' bother providing quality goods or services to 'them'? Why should we give a crap about 'their' health or wellbeing? Why not, indeed, try to get rid of them? -After all, the fewer there are of 'them' the more stuff there is for 'us', right? To truly 'win' this game, we would have to destroy everyone else and take all their resources, but here lies its ideological dilemma: two of the main resources biology needs are allies and culture, because interaction with them increases our ability to thrive. The entire game fails to make sense when we see this big picture; something the game (and many of its players) would prefer we couldn't see. Real life has depths; it is not shallow or hollow. It also makes sense. Every rule of the game is based on a law of nature that can be backed up by personal experience, as well as scientific theory.


Variations on a theme - The Blame Game

(Caution, this section contains rude fucking language)

This is a counterfeit game using wimp behaviors, in which we play the stereotypical role 'victim' as an excuse not to take responsibility for and bother improving ourselves. We blame one or more of these six things for all of our problems in a given situation:

OUR GENES (Gave us an inherited disease / tendency / appearance that fucked things up for us)

OUR PARENTS (Were overprotective / neglectful / controlling / absent / dumb, and that fucked things up for us)

SPECIFIC EVENTS OR CIRCUMSTANCES (Particular peoples' behavior / growing up in the ghetto / an accident / disaster fucked things up for us)

SOCIETY (School / work / the government / laws / religious rules fucked things up for us)

OURSELVES (We were/are too shy / too cold / too dumb / too embarrassed / too naïve / too stressed out / too drunk, or we said or did something stupid, and that's fucked things up for us)

GOD (It's just our destiny / fate / karma that's fucked things up for us)


Which one we choose depends on our dominant networks, but what we are missing when blaming externals is the truth: We are stuck in a stereotypical 'victim' role in a counterfeit game and it is THESE VERY BELIEFS that are fucking things up for us.


Consider whether you play any or several of these blame games. If you do, look up the other half of their story below.


...Because these beliefs ARE only half the story. Get real.

GENES: we may have been handed some rough genetic dice, but so were many people in our history who have adapted to severe disabilities and achieved great things.

OUR PARENTS: Had their dysfunctions too, and so did their parents, and their parents before them. They probably knew they were far from perfect, and fought to do their best to care for us and keep their heads together regardless. Some of the most innovative minds around had shit parents, they adapted, took control of their own development, and got over it.

SPECIFIC EVENTS OR CIRCUMSTANCES: There have been plenty of cool successful people throughout our history who were once molested by Uncle Bert, lived in the ghetto, got dumped, were suddenly confined to a wheelchair, found themselves growing up in an unexpected war or a tenacious ice-age environment. They coped with it. We can use tough experiences to learn and grow, or live in a fantasy game anxiously seeking others' pity while we blame past bummers for stunting our growth until dementia sets in. Choose.

SOCIETY: If we grow up in a shit society, why waste time and energy moaning about how shit it is, that could be spent getting out of it? (N.B. “getting out of it” mentally by getting so drunk we don't know where we are doesn't count.) Put your resources into getting out of there.

Perhaps we think we can stick around and change things 'from the inside', but have we considered that closed systems don't want to change and if we try this we're starting another fictional construct and forcing OUR ideas on to a whole lot of other people? We can live surrounded by society and still be a part of culture. Why not find an aspect of culture that works WITH you, or pioneer creating one?

OURSELVES: It's easy to get on a guilt / regret / disillusion / shame trip. We fixate on and 'wallow in' past fuckups, bad memories, and our own problems and disorders. Self-pity creeps in, hand in hand with either paranoia (if we're exhausted) or envy and resentment (if we're hypertensive). Everybody seems to have a better life than us.

This is clinical depression and IT is the problem; not any detail it's blamed upon. Most people get it at some point in their lives, often after too much stressing out. If we're healthy, it's at most a passing phase. If we get stuck with it we must find some way to reduce anxiety. There are literally hundreds of methods and no excuse not to try.

GOD: “just wants me to have a rotten time” is a crafty way of abnegating responsibility for creatively changing our own lives. -If all is predestined, why should we bother?

...Because the point is not whether this belief is true, but that it makes good sense for our own self esteem, happiness and quality of life to strive to be the best we can be in life regardless.


Our overall problem in this game, the thing that is keeping us going round in circles, is that we keep on blaming things and mulling over what made things go wrong, instead of getting on with performing new behaviors that make things go right.


Ideological dilemmas

We all unconsciously construct our own story to live in, from our memories, our associations, our experience and our ideas, all of which rely on our ontology; our background belief system, for their frame of reference. We have seen above how our knowledge and behavior can be 'framed' by our metaphoric constructs, and we all have experience of it in real life -everyone's heard of some dude who died due to refusing medication and believing the gods would cure them. This is suicide by fiction treated as fact. All around us are the obese results of an ontology that believes cereal products are good for humans. Their behavior does not serve their survival, once again it's based on fiction treated as fact.

Societal systems based on fiction treated as fact are the current human habit. The story changes -one time or place it is God-based fiction, another time or place a finance-based or war-based fiction, but fiction it remains. No system based on fiction treated as fact can serve our wellbeing. Belief in fiction as truth does not fit well with reality's facts -for reality continues to exist even if nobody believes in it, and facts continue to be facts even if nobody believes in them. Try believing with all your heart that there is no gravity, and see how far you get.

Here are a few examples of how mistaking synthetic rules for facts messes things up:

Fact: it is biologically most beneficial for those who want to reproduce to do so with several different partners. This keeps diversity thriving in our species and is good insurance against harmful mutation and plagues. In real life, in different contexts, some of us will be naturally monogamous, some of us naturally polygamous, some of us naturally homosexual or asexual, and these trends will be dynamic -in times of overpopulation, for example, there will be more homosexual and asexual individuals. Our whole species can adapt dynamically in these ways with automatic population control in response to environmental changes.

Synthetic rule (ie, someone, sometime, made this up): “it's morally wrong for humans to have sex with more than one other person, to whom they must be married.”

This particular fiction is a hangover from other fictional beliefs, for example that intelligence (or for some, 'soul') is 100% inherited; that nurture counts for nothing; or that this is somehow 'what god wants' and you're a bad person if you don't comply; and it's perpetuated these days by fear of what society (represented by 'the opinions of other people') would think of you if you didn't do the normal thing and get married and have kids.

Treating this fiction as fact leads to a lot of unwanted children and repressed adults. Nowhere does the real fact in benefit of our diversity get a look in. 'We are all different!' reality cries, but nobody listens; they are all too anxious and afraid of 'not fitting in'. The anxiety is that 'not being normal' results in abandonment by and rejection from society. If people haven't made biology's intended bonds with their loved ones, the real world, their allies and their culture, this seems like a death threat to biology because they believe that society is all there is.

There are more harmful fictions; for example some societies' belief that humans should marry only their relatives, to keep the 'family blood' pure. Many taboo societies rely on parents deliberately abandoning their children at an early age to teach them what happens if they break a taboo. History teaches us what sort of mental health problems these behaviors can lead to, but these beliefs are taken absolutely seriously in the societies of those who practise them. All societies have similar problems; it's just more difficult to see them when we're caught on the inside.

Wherever unconscious factual and conscious fictional ideas clash, we get ideological dilemmas. For example: we meet an attractive person who is interested in us and unconscious biology goes 'Woh, dude!' 'Have sex with this person!' 'You are genetically suited!'

Conscious mind, meanwhile, is thinking 'OMG these are bad thoughts and feelings!' 'I'm married!' 'we're not married and this is wrong', or 'What if my partner finds out?'

This is an ideological dilemma. Anything we choose seems wrong, because the choices are limited to those of an unworkable closed system that doesn't align with our biology; it's like making up a rule that it's morally wrong to pee except on one specific tree and only when it's dark.

Ideological dilemmas are a major sign of incongruity between conscious belief and unconscious knowledge. People find them impossible to resolve because they are. Whatever we do, a part of us feels 'wrong'. No matter how we resolve them in practice, half of our own mind comes out as the 'enemy'. Neurohackers have the advantage of knowing who the real enemy is - anxiety - and behaving accordingly. Once we trace which beliefs are based on fact and which ones are fictional, we can behave appropriately for optimal mental health.

Abandoning fictional morality does not mean we will have no morals and will all run around screwing anything that isn't dead or on fire. Natural morality uses conscious logic in sync with unconscious biology. It can for example remind us, 'This person's appearance may be the result of plastic surgery and/or my alcohol intake'; 'Let's get to know them and then decide'; 'Not tonight, Josephine,' or 'Where can I get some condoms?'

This is conscious thought in sync with unconscious knowledge. It is free will. It is not dictated by fear of what anyone else will think of us, including the gods. It is the power of free decision to shape and change our lives and base them on factual knowledge of what behaviors are beneficial to humans, not some antiquated fictional system another human made up. This is what synthetic morals are: once upon a time, some human made them up. They are fictional and imposed from outside ourselves; often part of someone else's dysfunction that took place centuries before we were born. Systems like societies are full of fictions perpetuating themselves and the sort of behavior that keeps them alive.

The good news is, we can walk through, play in and even interact safely with counterfeit games for as long as we continue to recognize them for what they are, remain mindful, and practice input control to offset their effects. More on that later.


False memory

Another side effect of the separation of unconscious knowledge from conscious awareness is false memory. There are many incidences of feeling certain about past events, what we did or what we said, even though in reality they might not have occurred.

Wrong interpretations of input due to unconscious-conscious separation also lead to false memory. Unfortunately, this is often interpreted by others as deliberate lying. If our memory of events is frequently contradicted by others', this may be an underlying cause.

False memory can be detected in recall with MRI, which shows that persons believing a false memory to be true fail to access eidetic memory for ‘the whole story’ (the global gist or ‘big picture’ of an event); they only access association areas in declarative and spatial memory for specific facts about an event:

Activity in both sides of the medial temporal lobes, (MTL; left pic) plays complementary roles during healthy episodic recall. Activity here is greater for true memory recall.

Activity within the FPN (frontoparietal networks, right pic) is greater for false memory recall.

In case you are wondering, this is NOT a lie-detector test –it cannot be ascertained if an individual is telling the truth; only whether they have correctly remembered something or believe a false memory of something that did not occur in real experience. This is a view of an unconscious process; not a conscious one such as deliberate lying or fabrication.

Core counseling can be very effective for reassessing memories, learning how memory functions by experience, rooting our false memories and improving our self-knowledge. It is a major tool in reprogramming an incongruous ontology.


biased recall

Automatic repetitive recall of bad memories, and unconscious avoidance of good ones is a problem for many, and a major cause of failure in sentiment-based relationships.

When memories are not weighted correctly in the first place, they tend to 'come back to haunt us', often whether we like it or not. Learning control of the behavior of our own memory, and rewriting incorrectly weighted memories, relies on providing the unconscious what it needs to do its job - access to and congruity with frontal nets.

Our ability to achieve accurate emotional weighting of memories in the first place depends on how well N3 and N4 are developed and connected, how congruous our association is, and how emotionally stable we are, (because we can only use the tools biology designed if they have already been built, and they can't develop with anxiety in charge.)

Fortunately, we can still develop these tools at any age, and we can use conscious awareness of unconscious knowledge to achieve reweighting. By reconsolidating concepts in memory using control via the rules for interaction, we can correctly remodulate memory weighting (and this is exactly the sort of thing we do in co counseling).



bringing things together: Observe the interplay of imagination and memory

1. Think of a movie you really like. Imagine you are writing to someone has never seen it, who asked you what happens in the movie. Write down a brief outline of the plot in one paragraph.

Here's one student's example (we're sure you can guess what the movie is):

“There's this bloke called Rambo, he's a Vietnam vet and he's got like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anyway he just turns up peacefully to visit an old friend, and then all these small-town police assholes start giving him a hard time and arrest him but he freaks out and gets free, then they chase him all over the forest and keep trying to kill him, so he comes back and wrecks the town and blows loads of stuff up and then his old commander comes and talks to him and gets him out of there.”


2. After you have written your own movie summary, consider the process your mind went through in order to do this exercise. Our memory of the events in our chosen movie must be recalled in the right episodic order so that we can go through the plot and pick out the main scenes, which we use in our summary. We summarize the plot, main scenes and main roles, and this gives the 'big picture'.

If we were asked for specific details, however, our memory would have to zoom in and see whether it had that information. If it didn't, imagination is very likely to make up something 'most probable' and insert it into the story to 'fill in the gaps'. For example, we asked our student to remember these details (without checking):


A What was Rambo wearing in the first scene?

B What sort of bag was Rambo carrying?

C What was his footwear?

D What was in his bag?


...and our student's answers were:


A army clothes

B a canvas army bag

C army boots

D his knife, a lighter, maybe other things


In real life, the facts are:

A blue jeans, a tee shirt, vest, army jacket

B Rambo doesn't have a bag; he's carrying a bedroll

C army boots

D The items our student mentioned were not in a bag, but in Rambo's pockets or tucked in his belt.


Imagination is really good at making stuff up to 'fill in the bits', which is why eye witness testimony is so poor and memory priming so successful (ask someone what color the car was, they will automatically assume there was a car). Imagination is on the lookout for clues about reality all the time, both from our own memory and other people's, to 'complete the story'; because the unconscious knows the better we know the plot of the story, the better we will succeed in all things.

Covert intelligence operatives are trained to avoid making up false memory details. We have included some exercises for this in the hacks & exercises section.


Most common problems at this stage in NH


The “I’m OK” error

One thing that holds a lot of people back at this stage in NH is the (apparently) sensible assertion, “Well, I grew up in and I live in this society, and I’ve got a high IQ / a good job / plenty of money, I consider myself successful, so I'm okay, and society can’t do that much harm!”

This is like a dude who drinks spirits all day claiming it does 'no harm' because (a) they have a million dollars and (b) they don't feel drunk. They have completely forgotten they own a liver, and in exactly the same way the 'I'm ok' dude has forgotten they have a mind.

Imagine for a moment if you could take steps to upgrade your intelligence to be at least twice as effective as it is now. If we “grew up in and live in society” it’s likely that with NH we can do that. The error here lies in our interpretation of ‘OK’, and 'successful'; for Herr Hitler believed he was 'ok and successful', and so does a lunatic living in a fantasy world. Not to mention that what we now call ‘OK’ declines into ‘not quite so OK’ faster and faster as the years go by unless we turn back to improving ourselves. We can replace livers damaged by the wrong input, but we can't yet replace minds damaged by the wrong input.

By 'I'm OK', most people mean 'society thinks my fake avatar is ok'. Being truly mentally 'OK' means having the ability to interact, a rich cultural, personal, creative and emotional life, many and varied trustworthy allies, long term fulfilling deep relationships, a constantly improving set of mental tools, and ongoing motivation to discover new things and break new boundaries. In other words, continuing development and improvement.

No matter how successful we seem to be materially, we have no way of increasing our mental abilities or avoiding mental decline without providing the essentials for biology, any more than we can maintain energy levels or avoid physical decline without food.

Ironically, a surprising number of people who think they're OK join 'self-help' or 'self-improvement' classes, with the agenda of becoming more like society's ideal self (and a lot of so-called 'self-help' classes teach this, too.)


The fundamental attribution error (FAE)

(see Tutorial 10). Arises when front networks are not yet balanced (which can indicate a sparsity of corpus callosum). In trying to assess which of our networks may not have fully developed, we have to look at the things such as counterfeit games that can damage those networks. It’s a common error to get stuck in one of the two FAE modes here:

A Blaming problems on supposed traits, attributes or failings of individuals such as 'stupidity' in people is a habit when network 5 is dominant and N3 underdeveloped. “It’s all my parents'/partners'/my fault for being stupid”. Parents often get this when they discover what school, daycare, TV and a lot of other things they may have done to their children retards intelligence. Conversely we may blame our own parents for subjecting us to those things, or a partner/ex-partners' influence for 'ruining our lives'.

These are false beliefs. In real life, we all do stupid things sometimes; that's why we have evolved to learn from mistakes.

B Blaming problems on situational context (see 'the blame game' above). “It’s all society’s fault”. In a society where 'victim' is an accepted stereotype, this view is often considered normal, but attributing our problems to social circumstances is also only half of the story –usually in persons with N4 dominant and N3 underdeveloped.

This too is a false belief. If we find ourselves anywhere the circumstances are bad, our first duty is to get somewhere else by whatever means we can, or organize our lives/ improve the circumstances so that we are better protected. If we hold tea dances on an active volcano, we cannot blame the volcano.

In both these cases we have to learn that problems almost always have multiple causes, that past generations have faced and future generations will face similar problems, and that intelligence does have the personal power sufficient to solve our problems, if we calm down enough to allow it to.


The error-correction error

We should not see any of our limitations, or the problems and symptoms they cause, as “errors that need correcting”.

We get anxious whenever we are distracted from the course of natural development. Focusing on the problems that distracted us will not get us back on the path of development; only developing will do that. Developing means practising good input and output control, concentrating on our performance in the here and now. Problems of the past may be acknowledged and learned from, but then we must let go of them. We are not here to 'put things right' by any other means than practising activities that get us back on the developmental path. It is only by developing ourselves we can prevent past stupidities recurring.

Neither are we here to 'correct each others errors' or 'teach' each other; we are meant to openly share experience and discovery because that benefits us all; but we are not intended to control or direct another's development; that is for them to do. If we are properly mindful of what we are doing, we won't have so much spare time to dwell on what others are doing.

If you find you pay an undue amount of attention to what others are doing most of the time, you're probably neglecting your own development.

If you pay undue attention to mistakes of the past, they need reweighting.

Attempting to ‘solve a problem’ by treating the symptoms never works. We need to deal with the underlying cause, which is our failure to develop mentally. Once we address that cause and start developing again, we get a more useful perspective on problems and can see how to remove them.

In short, we can improve our minds NOT by worrying about what went wrong with our development last time round and trying to repair intelligence from the top-down with intellect; but by focusing on models of and input for each network in turn from the bottom-up and allowing intelligence to build itself, without anything getting in its way this time round!

Some of each network almost always develops, and whatever has already developed will provide the basics for any amount of maturation and improvement. No matter how squashed our original development might have been, no matter how severe the resulting anxiety has been, the only thing we need to do is be willing to change, to interact and to respond, to start playing the real game.

No 'self-help', trying to intentionally repair stuff, 'heal the damage' or ‘fix problems’ is required; all we have to do is walk away from the crap, take a break from thinking about it; start thinking about healthy development and walk towards healthy behavior from now on; one step at a time if necessary. Little by little we will then experience our birthright -intelligence unfolding far beyond our current capabilities.

Core counseling and interactional analysis are two reliable methods for getting a perspective on past and present problems.


Fear, doubt, and disbelief; they are the dark side


To risk being self-responsible and out of society's control, to operate with free will, we need to feel self-confident, open to new learning, and largely anxiety-free. Most of us don't start out that way as newbies, and self-doubt is another common problem at this stage.

Some of us have been stuck in other people's games for so long we may find it difficult to recognize our own. However, development can be re-initiated at any age the moment we decide to rejoin the Game of Emergence. To do so, all we need to do is play.

However, the programs/processes of metaphorization, imagination and creative play are extraordinarily complex and can be difficult to grasp consciously. Whenever we cannot grasp something that is being explained to us, the emotionally stable among us become baffled, and the emotionally unstable become anxious.

If your response is currently bafflement, rest assured it took us all a long time and much research and practice to grasp these remarkable processes ourselves.

“All we have to do is play” means relaxing the conscious mind and trusting intelligence to know what to do. This is what we are doing when we're in 'the zone'. If you haven't yet experienced 'The Zone' don't worry; you will come to understand and recognize these processes through personal experience as you try out the exercises and hacks.

How to recognize an anxious reaction

typical reactions are:

(a) denial of reality: the belief that whatever we don’t understand/are offended by just ‘doesn’t exist’. (A good example is the western attitude to female sexual desire a couple of centuries ago, or the societal fear of imagination which until recently discouraged any research in that area).

(b) denouncement of research validity, often with aggression and contempt: the belief that the 'facts' are secretly a load of rubbish that scientists are either making up or have been paid to write or mistakenly believe in (we saw many good examples of this in climate change debates). Once again, reality won't go away, even when everyone denies it.

(c) pretense: the concept in question is looked on as something it’s just socially polite or trendy to claim exists, say we believe in, or like, and so everyone is pretending. (A lot of people do this in religion, but it doesn't work in science because reality won't go away and the truth keeps kicking us up the ass by disproving 'popular' beliefs.)

(d) stonewalling: constantly steering away from confronting any and all reference to the thing we don’t understand. (Such as leaving out the spleen from anatomy diagrams because we were not at all sure what it did, or ignoring the imagination for the same reason.)

(e) self-doubt: believing we are not smart enough/experienced enough/qualified enough to understand/learn/practice these concepts. -'I'm not too bright; I'm just the little guy'. This is putting your own boundary on your development.


If we are not practising anxiety control and our perception is affected, any or all of these could happen to us when trying to learn about creative play and they can all cause snapback.

Notably, persons with weak rear networks and/or wrong input to front nets may feel an illogical aversion to all things ‘poetic and mystical’, whereas those with weak front nets and/or wrong input to rear networks may have a deep mistrust of all things ‘cold, analytical and logical’. Our message to all of you: get over it. We must dare to face the ideas we find difficult -this is how we develop.

Fear, doubt and disbelief in ourselves or in the ability of intelligence are all anxiety-based.

Be sure that you are comfortably open-minded before proceeding.


Adding insult to injury –TV

One major incidence where wrong input and lack of input are combined is the mechanism of TV, which we have mentioned in earlier tutorials with regard to earlier nets’ development.

In a developing brain, television literally prevents neural growth. It suppresses the capacity of the mind to create an internal image of some thing, or some one, or some event not available to the sensory system from the environment, which is mimicking the process of imagination, a fundamental power of intelligence.

Remember how lack of input can affect developing senses. Whatever a developing animal cannot interact with, whatever input is missing, it cannot include in its database of memory or use the abilities those memories would contribute to. Exactly the same is true of the ability to imagine. Whatever input is missing from our experience of reality, we cannot learn to associate with, and this is why perception is so fundamentally affected by impoverished environments.

In the context of imagination, 'impoverished environment' means a lack of material for accurate association with real life phenomena. If you have not yet developed imagination, or if you would like to develop it more, whenever you are watching TV you should be aware that you have put yourself in an impoverished environment for developing imagination.

Once you have developed imagination, it can use TV and movies selectively for further inspiration, but imagination cannot develop itself, unless it is first given the proper input to do so. We will have to avoid TV for a while if we’re serious about developing our imagination skills.

This can be hard to understand because we usually think of TV as ‘useful input’ –it tells us stories; exactly what imagination is supposed to need! The same seems true of picture books and early reading (which also limit imagination’s development). But to a developing intelligence, experience of hard reality with as many senses as possible firing in unison is what builds the imagination, the association nets and the physical networks. TV uses only our long-range senses of sight and sound, and as such is impoverished input for a developing mind.

If we are trying to increase the density in rear nets, we can also shortcut by avoiding TV and going straight to the input they need – if we’re developing N1 & 2 this means input control by choosing experiences that use all or most of our sensory systems (like camping, gardening, physical sports, gourmet cooking, fishing, or exploring in the woods). These will grow connections much faster than experiences that use only one or two senses (like watching TV).

If we’re developing N3, experiences that use imagination networks (like listening to a story in the dark), grows connections faster than experience that uses no imaginative networks (like watching TV).

In short, TV floods the system with a low-resolution input which cancels the processing through which the mind is supposed to interpret hi-resolution input for itself. Expecting TV to develop imagination is like expecting someone to learn to cook by giving them free dinners every day. Their cooking skills get no practice! Since they can just sit back and enjoy endless free dinners, why would biology waste energy developing cooking skills, even though the free dinners are admittedly mediocre?

Links between TV and poor abilities in children have been known for some time, but researchers used to assume that it was the content of the programming (e.g. mainly depicting trauma & violence) that was negatively affecting ‘impressionable brains’. All we had to do, said educators, was make sure children watched good, violence-free, preferably ‘educational’ programmes. Then it was discovered that whatever the programme, brains actually start to go into an hypnotic-like trance in front of the TV; due to the way that the brain responds to radiant light, (which is the light source of television and computer monitors), as opposed to reflected light, which is what brings us our ordinary visual experience.

The brain tends to close some networks down in response to radiant light sources. Radiant light, the light of cathode ray technology, produces a dramatic downscaling of all brain activity associated with high energy, alert, healthy, disequilibrium. Television and VDT viewing take from the brain the best features of its highest non-passive functioning. [38]

The television industry, in full knowledge of this effect and the fact that it makes viewers lose interest, countered it by introducing what are known as "startle effects" into programming. A ‘startle effect’ is anything that triggers the brain into thinking that there might be an emergency out there and alerts it to pay more attention to the source of the disturbance with a squirt of stress hormones, so we are repeatedly jerked out of catatonia by mild subconscious alarm.

TV accomplishes this with sudden and dramatic changes of intensity of light, color and sound and a rapid shifting of camera angles as though the viewer were themselves moving about. Eventually, however, due to plasticity we adapt; the brain habituates itself to the situation, realizes these are just false alarms, and starts to ignore them and shut down again. As a result, every few years or so the television industry has had to counter this by making the 'startles' brighter and louder or more and more frequent, until finally what we have are constant bursts of attention-grabbing imagery, (currently an average of sixteen times every half-hour).

No organized thought is possible in these phasic states, and congruous associations are overwritten by fictional associations, deprived of their purposeful meaning. TV is consequently a very common way for people to get stuck in sensorimotor modes of thought. Intellect and creativity can still develop, but will be used to attempt to fulfil the (insatiable) desires of rear nets for fulfillment and pacifying the anxiety caused by this imbalance. Network 3’s function of imaginative response to stimuli is given no input and doesn’t develop. With no ability to create internal imagery people become compulsively attached to TV (since that’s the only source of input available at all) and people then feel uncomfortable in real life material reality. TV is addictive for this reason; not psychologically but biologically. The vital issue is, with no internal imagery ability, rear nets cannot make new connections to front nets.

Finally, selection of programme and nature of the programme content does also matter. While the frontal networks are capable of conscious thought and know that the images on TV aren't real, the rear networks do not. This means that every time we see anxiety or sentiment portrayed on television, N1 & 2 send a series of alarm messages to N3, which immediately triggers the HPA. The moment this system receives any indication of negativity or danger, it triggers the release of cortisol. We should by now know what that means.

Around 80% of characters portrayed on TV are stereotypes in stereotypical roles- not the sort of behavior we want to be modeling. If we're smart, we'll stick to archetypal role models in our choice of media.

The wrong input to N3 can have serious consequences to intelligence. There is evidence of complete failure to differentiate fact from fiction. One example of this is the common experience of actors who play the villain in a soap opera, of being accosted in public as if they are to blame for the fictional behavior of the fictional 'character’ they play. Another is the failure to differentiate the individual’s society (or political/religious beliefs) with their specific invented rules and ideologies (fiction) from the real world and its natural laws (fact). If we experience confusion about these kinds of issues, we need to develop imagination using the correct input before going back to watching television (exercises at end of tutorial).


“Cells that fire together, wire together”

Whatever type of memory we consider, it consists of the same essential thing; an association between a group of neurons such that when one fires they all join in, creating a specific pattern within the brain that is represented on N3’s inner model of reality. Memories, thoughts, sensory perceptions, ideas, hallucinations, are all made up of these same kinds of firing patterns. Long term memories form when the pattern is repeated frequently or when it has a large enough emotional weighting.

We should at this stage have a pretty clear idea of exactly how “Cells that fire together wire together”. Note that neurons do not literally all fire at exactly the same instant; coincident 'staggered' firing (where neuron A firing persistently triggers firing in neuron B) is what results in cells (or whole networks) growing denser connections to each other. This is the neural mechanism of plasticity, and it means: each time a group of neurons fires together and makes a pattern, they connect more closely with each other and so their tendency to fire in the same pattern again is increased –because they grow more connections with, exchange more information with, and pay closer attention to, their associated neighbors.

Recently, this habit of cells has been incorporated into the design of neuroprosthetic devices controlled by brain-machine interfaces, which hold promise for restoring motor and somatosensory function to millions of people who suffer from severe levels of body paralysis. Becoming fully incorporated in the brain's sensory and motor circuitry could allow the devices to be integrated into the brain's internal image of the body (embodiment). [39]

Synchronous firing between neurons or networks is triggered by association. Eventually, repeated synchronous firing creates multiple connections between neurons or networks so that the slightest activity on one will trigger all those that have become associated with it to fire too. A long term memory, set of associations or habit of thought have been formed.

This is a golden rule because it is a basic law of neurobiology; a scientific fact that we can use to our benefit in all aspects of NH. Plasticity, for all its wonders, depends on the appropriate gene expression, and gene expression in turn relies on the appropriate epigenetic triggers that switch genes on or off. Communicating the correct signals with sufficient frequency is the most usual method of getting 'cells to fire together' and hacking any given network or the brain as a whole.

We cannot do this sort of hacking if we are stuck in anxiety, which is why we go on about it so much. We can take control only when we are aware (we believe / imagine) that we can take control (and this awareness only comes as actual knowledge-as-experience when we are anxiety-free.)

Neurohacking teaches us ways to adapt to deal with anxiety. We know that epigenetic signals to our genome rewrite our gene expression when in anxiety; putting us in 'protection mode' which is exactly the opposite to what we are trying to achieve. What NH can do is help us direct the expression of our own genes into 'growth mode' by giving sufficient healthy epigenetic triggers and practicing anxiety-reduction.

Hebbian theory is complex and those wishing to study it in greater detail can follow up the references at the end of this tutorial. [40]


NHA GUIDE methods & tech

The very ways we perceive events, make, store and recall memories is a process of unconscious story-making and story-telling. Using the media of senses and brain, we tell ourselves a story about the game we are in: who we are, what we're supposed to be doing, and what is going on in the game generally.

The game that we 'behave as though' we are in becomes our perceived reality the moment we fail to remain mindful of what's really going on. We are able to use rational thought to communicate, but our unconscious networks or individual cells cannot. Input or output control on a psychological level requires understanding the languages that networks 3 and 4 can understand; the imagery we live with in N3, the metaphors we live by in N4. Because our automatic unconscious processing using these constructs controls everything we think about, feel and do.

If we are currently anxiety-free, and we have a clear perspective on how such constructs function, this gives us the ability and free will to decide what roles to adopt and what sorts of behavior are appropriate to perform, in whatever 'scenes' are going on. If we have a clear understanding of how unconscious games work and remain mindful, we can choose which games to play, write our own games, understand and interact safely with counterfeit games, and even begin to reprogram games. As the observer in N1 & N2 became the participator via N3, the participator (game-player) of N3 now has the opportunity to become the programmer via N4 and N5. Because unconscious games control everything we think and do, this is the powerful way our intelligence is designed to direct our own development.


Change the game - Getting out of The Matrix

We're going to refer to all counterfeit games as 'The Matrix' for ease of understanding, since (a) counterfeit games cause exactly the same problems whether in VR or in concrete reality, and (b) this movie is very well known and has an archetypal plot metaphor of 'society versus culture', nicely framed as 'AI versus human'. [41]

We now know how the unconscious perceives real life as an interactive game, and how counterfeit games can trap people in a state that halts their development. An anxious society is centrally concerned with coercing motivation -how to move ourselves or others to act. Everywhere parents, teachers, coaches, preachers, governments and managers struggle with how to motivate those they control, while the individuals so controlled struggle to find enough energy to mobilize effort, surf the hassle, and persist at the behaviors and tasks society constantly requires.

People are usually coerced into action ('motivated') by external ('extrinsic') factors such as reward systems, grades, evaluations, threats, punishments or the opinions they fear others might have about them if they don't conform.

In a healthy culture, people are motivated from within, by their interests, curiosity, care and abiding values. These ('intrinsic') motivations do not need external reward or support, they are driven by biological intent, and naturally enable our passions, creativity, and the sustained efforts that achieve beneficial development.

Culture and society behave like opposites; culture is emergent from the bottom up and is vital for our development, society is anxiety-based, imposed from the top down, and slows or stops our development. But it's clear that culture and society are intertwined together in our current situation, and this is not surprising. All societies uses the tools of culture (such as literacy and the media, music and art,) to spread its own agenda and project counterfeit games. Over time, culture just walks on by; its output of provable ideas from people like Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein cause intermittent societal panic attacks that defuse into an embarrassed silence and (finally) acceptance. Obviously we don't always perceive this process of cultural development through deep time when caught in the middle of the messy, complicated hassle of the here and now.

What may not be so obvious is the amount of choice most people get about how they behave -because in many cases human behavioral self-control is close to zero. Instead of playing, the participants behave (and expect to behave) like programmed puppets. To many, this state is 'normal'.

We can't become a programmer if we remain oblivious to the fact that we're in The Matrix. Yet most of us live in the confines of an anxious society, which we know is also an impoverished environment filled with harmful stressors, and the most popular questions of students at this stage are, (1) “How do I get out of The Matrix?” and (2) “How do I dodge all those bullets (stressors) whenever I'm in The Matrix?”

So the first thing we must grasp is that WE DON'T HAVE TO drop permanently out of The Matrix in order to develop further. There are no Cyphers here. We can choose to stay in there, or to spend time in any counterfeit game, as long as we keep our perspective on the reality of the situation clear. Once we are aware that we are operating in a counterfeit game, once we are no longer conned into believing it is reality, then we can interact with The Matrix as and when we please. Being free to choose what games we play does not bar us from playing any game, as long as we remain aware that it IS a game and that the game has risks and limitations around which we may have to use cheats (such as camoflage, body language to reduce anxiety, or lying to stupid people in order to protect ourselves) in order to succeed.

We should also be aware that there IS a genuine reality and a genuine game waiting for us to step into, and the sooner we start to explore that game, even if only in our spare time, the sooner we reinitialize frontal lobe development and start building connections between N3 and N4. The more time we spend in the real game, in real life, the faster we develop. Some of us already live there, and slip into The Matrix regularly on our own terms. This can be difficult to see before we have taken that step, because everything around us when we're IN The Matrix is believed to be (and seems like) the 'only' reality. Practical questions such as, “But how do I make a living?” cause anxiety and confusion to arise, and we may feel we don't yet have the tools or knowledge to understand how to survive in this 'reality' that somehow lies 'behind' all that we know.

So our first practical move in getting out of The Matrix is to get a clear perspective on the difference between culture (universal, dynamic and part of the real world) and society (arbitrary and a static synthetic construct). Then we can start shifting our support structure and reliance towards ourselves our allies and our culture, and away from dependence on arbitrary societies or social groups and their current opinions.

If we decide to leave The Matrix, we will be interacting with culture and our allies (and we can still interact with The Matrix) to 'earn a living'. But setting ourselves free isn't about radically changing our lifestyles; giving up our job and living in a tipi, or giving up our tipi and getting a job. An intelligent NHer can tweak their physical context to give enough good input to keep themselves developing almost anywhere. What REALLY need to be set free are our perspective and our ability. The borders and boundaries we must hack are those artificial psychological constructs which frame and limit our intelligence, ability and knowledge.


Perceptual input control

Second, we must understand why WE DON'T HAVE TO dodge bullets (stressors) or former sources of anxiety, because this is where we reap the benefits of having spent so much time learning ways to control our anxiety levels. Practice at dealing with anxiety (learning how to deliberately calm ourselves down and cheer ourselves up) is what gives us the immunity and resilience against stressors. WE DON'T HAVE TO control sentimental reactions to stressors when we no longer have them -in circumstances that previously stressed us out we now get excited at the challenge instead! As soon as we use our ability to control our own anxiety levels we are effectively in control of our own development. Once we have spent enough time practising these skills, our habits of thought become automatically healthy and non-anxious, at which point many former stressors simply cannot affect us; we are able to ignore them as the brain can ignore a ticking clock; they are now weighted correctly as 'not important'.

This gives us an extra degree of freedom in interaction with input. For example, researchers found that playing violent video games can make anxious people more hostile, particularly those who are less agreeable, less conscientious and easily angered to start with. But for those without anxiety, exactly the same game simply offers opportunities to learn new skills and improve cultural networking. No harmful mood effects are apparent. [42]

This is how a state of mind can become a functional prophylactic that protects itself. We gain the ability to interact beneficially with an ever-greater range of input without harm. And that is what intelligence development is all about. When we are no longer anxious, and have cultivated the habit of approaching situations openly and calmly, we are able to extract useful input from a situation which, for the anxious, only causes harm and confusion.

This shows how our state of mind profoundly alters our perception and ability. Approaching anything as our real selves from a non-anxious state makes us 'immune' to many of its harmful aspects; we simply don't pay any attention to them, being too busy improving our skills. A healthy, powerful mind won't easily think in harmful ways, and the less anxious we are the more we can interact with some types of otherwise risky input.

We may currently think of input control as a good way to improve our mind by surrounding ourself with inspiring and healthy input. We’d probably include a good diet, exercise, sensible choice of friends, media and learning material. We might include a natural environment. We probably don’t think of input control as being on a ‘perceptional’ level, but all that’s about to change…

Physical input control is designed to give the student a 'safe space' context in which to practice developing intelligence. Even the absolute newbie can predict what activities, places, people, and things are likely to increase anxiety and decline, and which are likely to increase growth, inspiration and learning; and make immediate positive changes in what they surround themselves with. The more we practice good habits of input control, the faster our development will be. If we have worked through these tutorials as directed we should by now have good experience at controlling anxiety 'in the field'. We’ll still be taken by surprise and ‘stressed out’ on occasion (although the gaps between such occasions will steadily increase) but we'll be able to see what’s good input and what isn’t with much greater ease. Our good habits will have become automatic, and we won’t have to pay so much attention to physical input control.

So we can now move on to perceptual input control. Remember: all perception is relative to and reflects the state of mind of the perceiver. So Alice can walk through her day with a neutral facial expression, and all those who are anxious that day will see Alice's expression as 'slightly hostile'. Anyone who's happy that day will see Alice's expression as 'slightly friendly', and so on. In a chronically anxious mind, a blue sky really looks gray, and every interaction is a threat.

Our own perception is a tool at our disposal only when we have learned to control it and choose consciously to do so. That's easy physically; all we have to do is smile, to change our own perception.

Changing mental perception in the here and now is achieved by making a habit of shifting and focusing attention, away from the concrete and towards the abstract. Everyone's ontology of beliefs about reality determines the limits to their perception. We will become more like...whatever metaphors we are mentally surrounded by. Archetypal systems will fit any details, and its absolutely possible to live mentally in one reality while physically in another. [43] In other words, we are all looking at the same reality; our perception is just interpreting that reality in terms of different games. Now that we have separated in our minds the concepts of Culture and Society, we can unite them again by reminding ourselves of what reality is:

“How do you define real?

-If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see,

then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”

(Morpheus, The Matrix)


Being 'in The Matrix' or in 'World of Emergence' is A STATE OF MIND; a perspective; a way of interpreting and perceiving input; a (conscious or unconscious) choice of metaphoric framing.

Remember how all the participants in the video game experiment mentioned above were playing exactly the same game, but getting different input? That's how we get out of The Matrix - healthy perception focuses on real life regardless of what games are being played out around us. Our perspective on fact and fiction and our ability to SHIFT perspective is our safety net. WE are here to give code meaning. WE are the conduit that links unconscious to conscious and mind to world, through interaction. WE are designed to be programmers.

We have learned above how the metaphors we choose to live by, and our habit of 'framing' our thinking and behavior with them, can place boundaries on our knowledge and ability to interact. Being 'stuck in The Matrix' simply means perceiving and interpreting reality only via anxiety-based processing, believing fictions as facts, and being unable to break out of framing everything with false, fear-based beliefs. In this state there is no way we can step out of the game; the door to real life is invisible (it cannot be perceived; the networks that can perceive it are closed down). Anxiety-free people perceive the World of Emergence, and understand how different perceptual interpretations shape our experience of reality. We can see benefits where others see only fears. We can develop while others decline, using the exact same input. In a given context, an anxious person will perceive everything from the point of view of society's ideal self, and be harmed by all the stressors in relation to that belief system, ending up with more problems; a non-anxious person will perceive things in terms of reality, and benefit from all the experience each new challenge has to offer, ending up with more abilities.


There are techniques discussed below for perceptual input control.


Counterfeit games: the big picture

Once we get a grasp of what The Matrix IS, (ie, a specific distorted interpretation of input based on false assumptions), then we can begin to hack it by taking down those assumptions. All a counterfeit game IS, is the appearance of conformity within a construct of synthetic rules (boundaries) which a group of people attempt to enforce (usually ineptly), based on the game's metaphoric ontology (whatever metaphors are used to represent how it assumes real life works). Living according to counterfeit game rules as though they were the truth (as though the game were real) OR treating real things as though they did not exist (like imagination) is what causes harm.

Without the self-confidence afforded by anxiety reduction, fear of being thought 'different' or 'weird' are just such boundaries to a growing intelligence designed to discover facts via truth-hunting. This is another kind of mental boundary we have to break, and we do so by understanding them for exactly what they are: somebody else's made-up (and often nonsensical) ideas; a damaged person's distorted view of what is 'normal' (nobody in their right mind would antagonize a possible useful ally). In short, ad hominem is nothing worth weighting as valuable or important; just a symptom of others' paranoia to be borne in mind when around people who are stuck in counterfeit games.

Learning to respond to other people's personal conclusions as what they really are (opinions; not facts) can take practice; usually an intelligent mind pushes for the truth, such as by asking them for their sources. But this is not THE most difficult thing to learn at this stage. THE most difficult thing is learning to think within a context of natural morality (which is dynamic, with no fixed boundaries) instead of society's morality (which is static and has fixed boundaries).

In real life 'good' and 'bad'; 'allowed' and 'not allowed'; are not fixed constants; all moral decisions are 'IF = THEN' decisions. It is bad to kill IF this dude is a possible ally, it is good to kill IF something is trying to eat your children. It is good to eat IF hungry, it is bad to eat IF full. It is good to share with those IF they may later share with us. Every so-called 'moral' rule depends absolutely on what behavior makes most sense for thriving of the specific intelligence in the given context -and even this changes- today our best strategy may be to run our asses off; tomorrow we may have learned enough to fight the Agents.

Getting a grasp of the 'big picture' once again helps us to keep perspective. As long as we are interacting wisely with enlightened self interest and directing our own path, nobody around us is likely to be harmed and many will most likely benefit.

We also have to avoid the 'Human versus Society' stereotype. Society is not something we are against; it is something we can largely ignore. Anti-society or anti-dogmatic angst arises automatically in most counterfeit games, because life and intelligence can't remain comfortably in static systems any more than a growing, moving object can remain happily in the same sized box. But this is an error-correction error; when the game doesn't have much effect on us any more, it's not worth paying much attention to.

Societies, religious systems, political parties, fashions, never endure but come and go, rise and fall, grow and decay, while culture is ever-enlarged. Erroneous belief systems start new counterfeit games that are closed systems; using synthetic rules which become fixed boundaries in static societies. Societies like to 'conserve' - in fact 'conservation' is something they are hubristic about, but trying to keep anything the same whose very nature is constant change is never going to work. Both culture and intelligence are designed to break boundaries, they are constantly moving, growing and dynamic processes. Words and ideas can describe a process, but the words, the descriptions are not the process itself. The map is not the territory. The images, ideals and symbols people have created about themselves and their lives are just that; images. Trouble is sure to follow if we mistake one for the other, or try to constrain the living process to conform to any individual society's fixed metaphors.

Culture hacks societal boundaries over time. Some society remains for centuries secure in its belief that The Gods put the (flat) earth in the center of the universe, then along comes culture digging out the truth and woops! Everything 'the people' thought they knew is turned upside down and shaken out of its frame and some weirdo is writing about spaceships already. The Greek Gods no longer control our weather, because, yes, thousands of people can be wrong. Anxious societies tend to try very hard to ignore or repress this sort of change, but the truth has no emotional value system and is not embarrassed to keep on proving itself true even when nobody believes in it. Wherever society seeks to stamp out or put boundaries on the truth, culture just adapts (meaning its truth-seekers go underground and play secretly in sheds.)

Getting out of The Matrix HAS BEEN ACHIEVED the instant we can see counterfeit games for what they really are and grasp the big picture. Society is not the enemy; once intelligence recognizes what it really is, at worst it can be weighted as “stuff that can be largely ignored or bypassed”, like adverts, spam, or the ticking clock. -Anxiety is the enemy; it makes society (or god, or The Matrix) appear in people's perception like a larger-than-life ogre; a control freak system that programs and puppeteers our every move through it; and makes us unable to perceive anything except The Matrix. We cannot see the wood (the code) for the forest (appearances).

A good way of freeing the mind from the confines of counterfeit games is by fully taking part in perceptual input control, because looking AT reality draws our attention right back into the Game of Emergence and our real selves. There are several techniques and abilities we can use to encourage this shift of habit into self-controlled thinking, and once we do so we will see our creative thinking/problem-solving skills truly start to blossom as procedural memory begins to connect up densely with N3. This is discussed further in the sections below.

Increasing the density of neural connections between N3 and N4 has a noticeable effect on our personality, for some more than others, so NHers at this level should be aware of what to expect. Curiosity seems to be one of the first things to increase for most of us; other increases that students have described include imagination, playfulness, open-mindedness, friendliness, willingness to try new things, communication, flexibility, humor, confidence, energy, cultural skills, receptivity to new ideas, honesty, eagerness to learn, and fun.


Change the roles

DO IT NOW -archetypal roles

Get out your Captain's Log and make rough notes about your everyday activities in the following network-linked categories:

1. Repairs & maintenance (this list will include self-care, care of your home & stuff, and personal care for others; eg personal grooming & hygiene, eating and sleeping, anxiety reduction, meditation, exercising, care of any small children or those who are injured/ill, food preparation, cleaning, mending & repair, tidying up, doing laundry etc.)

2. Tactical & logistics ('seeking' activities that take you on a journey or exploration with a purpose, either physical; eg shopping, foraging, going to work, traveling, going to the gym, out seeking new friends/partner; or mental activities; eg learning, studying, seeking, gathering information. Include activities that increase your security or natural resources, eg martial arts, hunting, fishing, bushcraft, fetching wood and carrying water.)

3. Medical & environmental (activities providing input that either benefits health directly, such as treating any physical problems in ourselves or others; or that maintain health via interaction with others or the environment, such as gardening, growing our own food, making herbal remedies, input control, interior design, decorating our home, entertaining ourselves and others, watching movies, listening to music, making love, having parties etc.)

4. Cooperation & development (cultural procedures that involve cooperation with others, with materials or machinery, or personal creativity; such as demonstrating abilities, skill-sharing, lecturing, making, designing, playing music, team sports, painting, writing, acting, programming, diplomacy, team work, hacking, helping others, problem-solving, synthesis, construction.)

5. Assessment & administration (activities that assess or manage ourselves, our resources and creations, for example budgeting, analysis, sharing, swapping, doing backups, accounting, presentation, distribution, storage, scheduling, introspection, self-assessment, planning, discussing, judging, filing.)

6. Coordination & communication (activities that make and maintain connections and direct our course through life, for example keeping in touch with those we care about, strategizing, directing, organizing, conflict-resolution, decisions, meetings, output control, making new friends, playing with loved ones.


Here are the most appropriate archetypal roles for each group of activities:

The faithful servant / the loyal insider

The young seeker / the warrior

The shaman / the guide

The wise master / the outlaw inventor

The benefactor / the good pirate

The gods / The superhero

For every network there are two beneficial roles; one for favorable contexts for growth and one for harmful contexts for defense or protection. For example in a healthy context the goodies play the roles of the Benefactor and the faithful servant, in an unhealthy context (where for example the rulers are baddies), the benefactor does best playing the role of 'Good Pirate' (eg Robin Hood), and the Faithful Servant's best option becomes the 'Loyal Insider' (eg, a spy working for the goodies).

Clearly, not many of these are 21st century job descriptions. Here are some modern alternatives:

The faithful servant could be a nurse, PA, parent or secretary; anyone caring for anyone else because they want to / the loyal insider could be a spy or saboteur (on the side of the goodies, obviously).

The young seeker could be a student trying to master a subject, a kid trying to master riding a bike, or a neurohacker, anyone exploring new territory / the warrior could be a soldier, a security guard, a hunter, anyone striving against the odds or protecting something for a worthy cause.

The shaman could be a healer, a co-counseling partner, a therapist, a lifestyle guru, a counselor; anyone who enables us to experience a broader perspective in life / the guide could be a translator, a navigator, a close friend; anyone who helps us through confusion to understanding.

The wise master could be the lecturer, demonstrator or expert, or anyone in any field who shares skills because they love to / the outlaw inventor could be an engineer, a hacker, scientist or artist whose creations benefit life and intelligence. Anyone who removes barriers to our learning or development and keeps culture open source.

The benefactor could be a kindly uncle who sends us really useful presents, or anyone who uses their skills & resources to help a worthy cause / the good pirate could be anyone who takes resources (including their own time and energy) away from the harmful and puts them into the beneficial. That includes all smart people on welfare.

The gods could be spiritual yoohoos or enlightened persons / superheroes could be those who make or implement the discoveries that fundamentally improve human culture for us all. After all, somewhere out here in the real world there are still minds at least as nifty as Newton's, but we tend to 'see' the giants of science and art only in retrospective perspective.

Comparing this list above with your list of activities in your Captain's Log, consider which of these roles are most appropriate in your everyday contexts. We can expect to play several or many of these roles in the course of a day. Once we are aware of how others' unconscious (and our own) sees us in relation to the 'big picture', we have a behavioral map for all contexts. Everyone is unconsciously playing a game, and we will benefit from choosing which role most benefits us in our own game and behaving accordingly, knowing ahead of time how others' automatic responses must proceed. Programs have to respond to programs.

Nobody is suggesting that to accomplish this perspective we should dress up as outlaws and raid middle management, btw; it is the habits of thought -the reframing of ideas through archetypes and the perspectives imparted by these roles- that enable us to interact in these new ways to influence real-life outcomes. Roles, scenes and plots are metaphoric tools for looking at people and situations, events and relationships, from different perspectives, and if we know which perspectives lead to most success it is in our interests to adopt them.

When we fit clearly into an archetypal role, others' anxiety around us unconsciously reduces. Our behavior 'makes sense' to them unconsciously and at this point we may find others asking for advice about their problems. Already armed with Core Conditions, we can now see clearly how sharing our sources and resources (such as music, books, movies, interactional analysis or Core Counseling) enables others as well as ourselves to start using such tools. Yet if we find ourselves in this position, let us think, 'What would the wise master do?' Remember, no coercion. We do not have 'the' answers for people, we can only show them how to go to look for their own answers (we can only show them the door)...

Thinking things through in terms of archetypal roles, scenes and plots enables us to perceive real life in terms of what code is running; what metaphors are predominant and what processes are taking place. In counterfeit games archetypes function as game cheats; when we can perceive eidetic or metaphoric code at the same time as (in sync with) the reality they represent, we can begin to direct what code is running. Some call this ability to sync conscious with unconscious thought 'enlightenment'. Some call it becoming a programmer.

Change the scenes - improving cultural skills

Because abstract mental processes are grounded in physical concrete behavior, behavior itself can modulate neural growth and development. By changing our habits of thought and behavior, and practicing specific behaviors, we can influence the growth of neural connections between networks as well as within networks.

This gives powerful control in working with plasticity and can facilitate directed development; working in sync with biology with very speedy results. All of the following practical areas can be useful in developing our unconscious-to-conscious connections (and as a bonus they develop our cultural and interactive skills, which improves those connections even more.)

Cultural skills are about non-verbal communication; the most important parts of human interaction that are emotionally-weighted and go straight to the unconscious, regardless of any spoken words between us. We base most of our opinions and decisions on these forms of communication, even though we may like to believe otherwise.

Cultural skills are what give us 'depth' of character, clear emotional communication, skill-nurturing abilities, and tools for successful interaction with other people. Developing and honing them enables culture to emerge and allows us to bond with our culture in creative and beneficial ways. Cells making connections are what enable us to make connections ourselves; when we are bonding emotionally or bonding mentally (learning), we are literally connecting different parts of our own brain networks together more efficiently to process more information with similar associations.


input control and attitude -habitual patterns of thought

Habits of thought and behavior shape the design of our brains' architecture and connections right from day one, and since the nature of the brains' connectivity affects the development of intelligence, they continue to be a powerful influence, unless addressed, throughout our lives.

‘Healthy’ thinking habits (those that improve our intelligence and increase the density of connections) are a strong prophylactic (protective) against dementia, so healthy thinking habits are important -because we can accidentally adopt habits that decrease the density of networks and decrease our intelligence, and as we have learned, most people do.

Research shows (sadly) that few among us acquire good habits of thought and behavior by modeling sensible parents or carers. A key finding is that parents' greater use of an evaluativist stance and looking for proof for claims is strongly related to the amount that their children later talk about evidence and question what they read or are told. (This is NOT about having smart parents -the parents' scientific background or level of education is NOT related to their child's inquiring nature and seeking of evidence, but their example behavior IS.) [44]

Most of us don't have intelligent, inquiring, open-minded, truth-seeking parents, and those of us who are familiar with 'habits of thinking' that focus on evidence or justifications for 'how we know' have had to teach ourselves from experience that it's a good idea to question what we read or are told. Even if we totally trust the person, publication or video telling us something, we have to recognize that they too are human and may have been misled, and that in real life nobody is immune to misunderstanding. Once we have this broadness of perspective, including awareness that we too can misunderstand, we are then also the 'lucky ones', -because the unlucky ones are those who never get this far and can never form a congruous map of what's going on in life, relationships, and their place in the world.

Questioning the validity of all information is a very good habit of thought, because it saves a lot of time and energy.

Our own attitude, inner thoughts and expectations, form a part of our input for “What we are surrounded by” -which the unconscious mind assumes (imagines) is our ‘context/environment’. Our own thoughts, ironically, shape the chemistry that forms part of our brain’s ‘environment’, which will affect our current and future behavior just as that behavior will affect our current and future thoughts. Navigating through real life requires the attitude of a healthy human, and if we go through life with the attitude of a timid mouse, a zombie sheep or a clumsy bull, we won't develop very far. A healthy, inquisitive, resilient, light-hearted intelligence requires a healthy, inquisitive, resilient, light-hearted attitude as its context in order to develop.

Looking at how our unconscious programs respond to 'contextual/environmental' stimuli and how that affects our behavior via epigenetics helps us to understand ever more clearly how powerfully input control works. Psychological input control for attitude includes assessing and then modifying our own habits of thought, since the unconscious can not only hear conscious thoughts, but takes them a lot more seriously than other input (after all, it knows they are messages from the 'Captain' and therefore of greatest importance.)

Our attitude shapes our development strongly. We start out and are by nature optimistic, and studies have found optimism to be universal and borderless; indeed, the capacity for optimism is often thought to be a defining characteristic of our species. [45] In a recent global study, researchers found that most individuals worldwide are still optimistic in adulthood. Additionally, the link between optimism and improved health and well-being is also universal. In other words: Optimism is universal, and so are the benefits. [46] These studies strongly indicates that optimism is a universal and adaptive human characteristic that is linked to improved well-being and perceived health.

Even as very young children we unconsciously know that thinking positively will make us feel better. And parents' own attitude of optimism or pessimism plays a role in whether their children understand how thoughts influence emotions. The strongest predictor of children's knowledge about the benefits of positive thinking—besides age—is not the child's own level of hope and optimism, but their parents'. [47]

Parents should of course be modeling NH skills like 'how to cheer ourselves up', 'how to look on the bright side', 'how to deal with conflict sensibly,' and 'how to calm ourselves down' right from the start. For those of us who had/have pessimistic, anxiety-ridden or paranoid parents, or who have persistent anxiety problems ourselves, beginning to practice these skills deliberately as soon as possible is essential. There are plenty of options to try in these tutorials to learn this sort of control. We have the power to change our own mood and behavior through these practices, and should use it to develop a positive, resilient attitude.

Our attitude shapes all the responses of others towards us, all the time. An alert, calm but cheerful attitude will set most others at their ease simply because programs have to respond to programs.

Our attitude also shapes a whole host of other things. For starters our attitude shapes what benefits or harm we can perceive in, or receive from, every context we encounter. Those with an 'optimistic' attitude who believe they are doing well will put out the most effort - and we exhibit an increase in activity in our posterior parietal cortex (PPC) - when we expect to experience more satisfaction from being successful.

Conversely, those individuals who believe they are doing poorly - the pessimists - show the most brain activity when there is anxiety about failure. They're more worried about risks and scared of potential losses, and so less able to care about potential benefits. [48]

Our choice of input is affected by attitude, and can limit us to an impoverished environment. When we're in a negative mood, we tend to choose bland or depressing (or too often, no) input. When everything seems like shit, nothing seems very different from anything else. When in a positive mood, we tend to choose input that matches our mood and our level of emotional arousal and that we find entertaining, interesting and stimulating, automatically creating an more enriched environment for ourselves. [49]

Our attitude even changes our sensory perception. A bored person who says that the world looks dull and gray, nothing tastes particularly nice, and that flowers no longer smell so sweet is not just speaking figuratively. Two recent studies provide evidence that sensory perception is diminished in depressed individuals. [50]

The retina’s amacrine cells, which feed sensory input to the neurons in the eye, rely on the neurotransmitter dopamine to function, and mood disorders notably correlate with neurotransmitter levels that are 'out of the green zone'. There is also reduced odor perception (and probably reduced pheromone perception) in depressed patients. Compared with control subjects, those suffering from depression are less able to detect weak smells; MRI scans revealed that they have smaller olfactory bulbs. [51] There is also reduced gustatory ability; both in terms of taste and digestion. Subjects with mild, subclinical depression rate the taste of high-fat and low-fat foods similarly when in a positive or negative mood [52] ...And it's well-known to us at this stage how cortisol and adrenaline shut down digestion. There are also reduced auditory abilities. The amygdala and cortex are modifying subcortical auditory processing areas, emotional weighting affects how we hear and process sound, and anxiety reduces our pitch discrimination.

What's more, when certain types of sounds become associated in our brains with strong emotions, hearing similar sounds can evoke those same feelings, even far removed from their original context (for example in PTSD). [53] Most importantly our attitude affects our immunity and overall health. We've discussed how anxiety reduces overall immunity in past tutorials. While conventional stress-management protocols like relaxation exercises and deep breathing can help us cope with stressors and avoid anxiety, they do not address the causes of anxiety; wrong input or lack of input. As our hopes and expectations wax and wane in optimism, our immune response follows along. At more optimistic times, we have more optimal immune responses; at a more pessimistic time, a more sluggish immune response. So, even being optimistic about success in a specific, important domain may promote better immunity against some infections and faster healing. [54]

We do not have to tackle an 'attitude problem' head on; we can change our attitude by changing our input. Psychological input control is the best way to introduce changes that address wrong input one step at a time. A good rule to remember is: “Garbage in = garbage out.” We can change the input to N3 directly by practicing responding to events and circumstances with a positive attitude. Begin by imagining ways of doing this, then put them into practice. This sort of practice further reduces anxiety. With lower anxiety mindfulness is easier; we focus more on the world around us, we desire to interact with others more, and we tend to think more happy thoughts and be more optimistic.

By changing our attitudes we can change our health. Cultivating a more positive outlook and embracing life with greater zest has potent, positive consequences for physical health. Research has demonstrated that a healthy mental attitude is a far better predictor of long life than a healthy lifestyle. [55]

We also tend to have a lower inflammatory response when attitude is improved. By being more actively engaged in real life, deliberately pursuing things we enjoy, making sure we get into natural surroundings often, taking an interest in caring for ourselves and maintaining strong ties with friends, colleagues or family, we build up a reliable network of allies and a more enriched environment, all of which can significantly help us to bounce back from and adapt to any stressful events.

An anxious, bullying or 'victim' attitude, is an input-shaper; changing the ability of input to be useful, and transforming what could be good input into harmful input, as discussed above in 'Getting out of The Matrix'.

An optimistic, hopeful attitude can of course reverse this process -and change what would normally be harmful input into something benign or beneficial. Immediately we change our attitude, half of the 'problems' are no longer problems!

There are exercises for improving attitude in the Hacks & Exercises section of this tutorial.

output control and autonomy (free will) -habitual patterns of behavior

As well as input control we should also be practising output control, healthy behaviors for interaction with life, environment and others, that will become habitual with practice. Output control at this stage of NH focuses on reconstructing our own demeanor and countenance to be more beneficial to our needs, and practicing control of our own mental behavior.

Our ability to interact in all of our experiences (our intelligence) shapes what we are, and those experiences that we have most often or that register as most important become those with the greatest 'weighting' in memory that will shape us most. The behavioral habits we most often use are therefore the hardest to transform, so we should begin by working on small, unimportant habits first in order to learn the technique.

Habitual behavior patterns can become so hard wired in over time and function so automatically that we do not know or notice they are even there. Involuntary behavior patterns are useful when they work in our favor (for example, looking both ways before crossing the street). But when behavioral habits work against us (for example, not bothering to look when crossing the street) they are harmful and should be retrained. Working on transforming habits like these is part of output control.

Output control for our autonomy is sometimes called 'self-regulation'. Self-regulation means that we regulate our behavior to aim for interactions that maximize well-being, paying attention to the results of our own behavior and making corrective adjustments as needed.

When self-regulation is not practiced, habitual behaviors which produce poor results are simply repeated endlessly. The result of such behavioral ruts is as disastrous as when the thermostat breaks in a heating system. Failure to adapt our behavior causes things to get worse and worse.


demeanor & countenance

As we now know, via plasticity and epigenetics, our habits of thought and behavior directly affect AND are directly affected by our demeanor (posture, body language, gestures, tone of voice) and our countenance (facial expression, appearance).

We have explored this to some extent in previous tutorials, and should now be aware that all these factors are viewed as tools for NH, right from the sensorimotor, bottom-up basics such as doing exercises that will change the way our mind works and how our immunity functions (simply smiling is one such exercise) all the way up to augmenting mental calculation, memory, strategy and executive responses. Our attitude is one such powerful tool. Our demeanor and countenance are two others we shall now examine.

Our posture is a form of unconscious sensory communication of our state of being - it 'tells a story' to others and ourselves, and is strongly linked to probability of behavior, which is why comic books, games and graphic novels are so good at conveying characters and events with a minimum of language. Everyone knows the following characters:

...But how much time do each of us spend habitually in these postures each day; releasing all the hormones into our own bodies and minds associated with them?


body language

Like posture, body language is taken very seriously by the unconscious, it is a major part of unconscious communication of emotion [56] and it is worth every Neurohacker's time to study it.

As we write (aug 2013), a new research project is investigating the mechanisms behind our crucial ability to perceive and interpret the intentions of other people from the way they move; for example, whether a person approaching us is sprinting or strolling, whether that means they are angry or calm, and how we should respond. Previous studies have shown that the brain can deduce socially meaningful information from very simple depictions of human movement, such as collections of dots denoting the major joints of the body. [57]

Nearly everyone is influenced by “nonverbals” — feelings and messages that are emoted by body language. The way we sit, stand, or walk; our body language is telling a story that measures us up — and that includes to ourselves. Research reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions, and even our own body chemistry, simply by changing body positions.[58]

For example, a broadening of the arms and legs is a nonverbal form of saying, “I'm not insecure” that both humans and other primates employ and understand. Lacing our fingers behind our head with elbows pointed outward sends a message that we’re a strong, relaxed, confident individual. Standing up, leaning forward and putting our hands on the desk is a classic 'bully mode' indicator, but change our position by standing hunched over and locking our arms close to our body with our hands folded, and suddenly we’re perceived as submissive, wimpy, weak and vulnerable.

Recent research has rewritten many old ideas about what specific body-language 'moves' reveal, and some universals are:

Hands on hips, wide stance = confidence in the healthy, possible arrogance in the unhealthy.

Fidgeting = embarrassment, or a sign of boredom, anxiety, lack of attention or deception.

Raised arms, chin up = pride in the healthy, possibly hubris in the unhealthy. True in all cultures and even among those blind from birth. [59]

Handshakes are a reliable indicator of a person's conscientiousness and level of motivation, [60] but detecting lies from body language is notoriously harder than from facial expression (see below). While there are a few certain signs which in combination usually imply dishonesty: dilated pupils, fidgeting with objects and scratching; the trouble is, behaviors like fidgeting and avoiding eye contact tend to be signs of emotional discomfort in general which affects almost everyone when being interrogated.

Beware also of relying on the popular notion that humans signal attraction to each other by flipping their hair, tidying their clothes, nodding and making eye contact. We make the same number of encouraging signals in the first minute of meeting strangers whether we're attracted to them or not. Such behavior is only a sign of real interest if it keeps going after the first 4 minutes or so. [61]

Neurohacking with body language is something we can do right away. We can evoke these feelings of power, confidence, or calmness in ourselves by simply assuming the different positions and holding them for as little as two minutes. That’s because our behavior can change our mindset, just as our mindset can change our behavior. Once our behavior changes, it will without doubt change outcomes in our lives — all in the way we position our body.

Using models is beneficial in this practice. It is absolutely possible to model a confident walk from anyone who has one; on screen or off. People who practice sitting still and being calm and attentive, making regular eye contact, smiling and nodding are making interaction easier for themselves and are more likely to communicate clearly. Those whose gaze wanders or who avoid eye contact, keep their head still and don't change their expression much are more likely to be misunderstood. If it doesn't come naturally, consciously adopting a confident walk, a smile and nod and some extra eye contact is a good place to start this sort of output control.

Modeling calmness and confidence changes the way others perceive us, and we can also use our body language to change ourselves. Researchers asked volunteers to hold either a "high power" or "low power" pose for 2 minutes. The former were expansive, including sitting with legs on a desk and hands behind the head and standing with legs apart and hands on hips, while the latter involved hunching and taking up little space. Afterwards, they played a chance game where the odds of winning were 50:50, and the researchers took saliva samples to test the levels of testosterone and cortisol – the "strength” and “stress” hormones, respectively – in their bodies.

High-power posers had a 20 per cent increase in testosterone and a 25 per cent decrease in cortisol, while low-power posers showed a 10 per cent decrease in testosterone and a 15 per cent increase in cortisol. [62]

The numbers don't lie. The feeling of power is not just psychological: increased testosterone has been linked with increased pain tolerance and higher confidence, so power posing really can make us more powerful. Other studies show that sitting up straight leads to positive emotions, while sitting with hunched shoulders leads to feeling down.

Regularly practising posture control will result in good posture and healthy body language becoming a habit -ensuring good results on a permanent basis. [63]

There are more body language exercises in the Hacks & Exercises of this tutorial.



Gestures are a part of every communication, others' as well as our own, and we become extra-sensitive to each others' gestures when we can't hear our surroundings (for example, when there is loud music or if we are wearing headphones). Speakers of sign language (whether deaf or not) become more sensitive as they are trained to pay attention to gestures when signing, which is good evidence that sensitivity and awareness can be increased by practice. [64]

In general, we tend to make more expansive gestures when in extro mode and less expansive gestures when in intro mode, but recent research is not convinced by unproven claims about the importance of individual hand gestures. It is often said, for example, that "steepling" our fingers, makes us look authoritative, and an open hand signals honesty, but there is no evidence for this. These are examples of context-dependent gestures that have meanings which people in different contexts interpret in different ways. In other words, these well-known "rules" of body language are multifunctional. An extended open hand, for example might be a metaphor for trustworthiness, but it could just as easily signal holding the weight of something, not caring, begging, or not having a clue what is going on. The gesture is ambiguous (as are many spoken words with multiple meanings) without context and cues from tone of voice.

Speech and gesture mutually interact to enhance comprehension. Comprehension and response are faster and more accurate when the gesture matches the spoken word, even when we are concentrating consciously on the words alone. Research results suggest that when gesture and speech convey the same information, they are easier to understand than when they convey different information. In addition, results indicate that gesture and speech form an integrated system that helps us in language comprehension.

These results have implications for avoiding distractions and/or being hacked in everyday communicative situations, such as in schools (both teachers and students), persuasive messages (political speeches, advertisements, religious sermons) and they also suggest that the best way for speakers to get their own message across is to make sure what they say with their words with what they do with their hands is congruous. [65]


tone of voice

Our voices also communicate information far beyond what we say with our words. Like most animals, the sounds we produce have the potential to convey how healthy we are, what mood we’re in, even our general size. The sound of our voice affects how attractive we appear to others. Research shows that the happiest-sounding voices are those with higher pitch, whether male or female, the angriest-sounding are those with dense formants, perhaps unconsciously indicating large body size. As for attractiveness, a voice that is breathy is considered by the unconscious to be more attractive than one that isn't. [66] Evidence suggests that human speech evolved less from vocalizations than from communicative facial gestures allied with sounds as expressions of emotion. [67]

The best way to spot a liar, studies found, is not to watch a person's body language but to listen to how they are saying what they are saying, compared with how they normally sound. Liars tend to talk with a higher-pitched voice, give fewer details in their accounts of events, are more negative and tend to repeat words. [61] Consequently, we tend to unconsciously trust those with lower-pitched voices; regardless of sex. Voice pitch can also affect how people perceive a speaker's competence, honesty and strength, according to past research. [68]

In NH we can benefit from being aware of our tone of voice and understanding the impact this has on the responses of others. An overly giggly or high pitched tone of voice and passive body language can result in others (and ourselves) not taking us seriously. Conversely, aggressive body language and a harsh tone of voice may get others’ attention but it also tends to cause them, especially the anxious, to feel defensive or afraid.

Further, those who hear a negative tone in anothers voice often tend to avoid interactions with that person as much as possible. So we may need to pay attention and become more aware when we are communicating. A firm even tone of voice along with relaxed but confident body language lets others (and ourselves) know we are confident and helps them feel more relaxed. Tone of voice is especially important in hypnosis and self-suggestion; when the person we most need to convince is ourselves.


Facial expression

Our core facial expressions, congruous with our core emotions, are hard wired. Babies practice facial expressions in the womb, so it's pretty clear we can't pick these up by modeling. Our highly specialized facial muscles are capable of expressing many unique combinations. [69]

It's clear that many of our core facial expressions link emotion to physiology and confer a survival advantage; for example research has found that an alarmed or defensive visage improves peripheral vision, speeds up eye movement, and boosts air flow, potentially allowing a person to more quickly sense and respond to danger. The upthrust chin and outthrust chest of defensiveness also increases testosterone production so we’re ready to take on threats. Squinty, scrunched-up expressions of disgust have the opposite effect, limiting vision and decreasing air flow, ostensibly to keep out substances that might be harmful to the eyes or lungs. A happy face enables all around us to release more serotonin and oxytocin, and improves group bonding as well as everyone's self esteem. [70]

What's more, only with the correct intonation and facial expression does communication acquire congruous meaning. We can improve our communication skills by deliberately managing these nonverbal messages.

The extra layer of information that we add to a message when speaking is called prosody. The most important conclusion is that prosody lies not only in the voice but also in the facial expression. Further it appears that auditory and visual information together are more effective than the same information separately. Once again, strong interaction and clarity of understanding relies on N4's ability to put things together in synchronized ways; not just in input, but in our own behavior.

Research into prosody provides information about the interactions between speakers and listeners, for example why some people are interrupted a lot due to unconsciously giving signals that they have finished speaking, for example dropping in pitch or volume or looking away (one possible solution is to adjust the intonation of voice and only to break eye contact when we have finished speaking). [71]

We are programmed to mimic all faces we see -to pass on 'the message' to others around us. In true emergency -such as a fire- the alarmed looks and sounds of others helps to alert us to danger, but the counterfeit 'dangers' most people are worried about in everyday life present no threat to us, and we should beware of automatically assuming similar expressions and postures. If we're not aware of this, the expressions of anxiety in the persons around us can make a significant difference to our own state of mind. [72] We should exercise self-control in NOT modeling others' expressions of anxiety, sentiment, or boredom. Other people's expressions are designed to catch our attention - a friend's own look of alarm makes us think again about what we ourselves are doing, even before we know the cause (which may be nothing to do with us; maybe she's just discovered she's sitting in an ants nest). If someone describes something to us with an expression of disgust, we'll feel mildly disgusted, even if what is being explained is not at all disgusting. Hitler used this extensively.

A major contributor to research on emotions and their relation to facial expressions and musculature is Paul Ekman. [73] Ekman, (aka "the best human lie-detector in the world"), provides a lot of stuff to agencies like the CIA and British Intelligence. He conducted seminal research on the biological & anatomical correlates of specific emotions, demonstrating the universality and discreteness of emotions in a Darwinian approach. [74] Ekman is the co-discoverer (with Friesen, Haggard and Isaacs) of micro expressions, which show up on our faces for fractions of a second as an indicator of emotionally-weighted processing. [75]

Ekman designed some important cross-cultural emotion recognition studies [76] and in 1978, he and colleague Friesen developed the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) [77] to categorize every human facial expression. FACS is an anatomically-based system for describing all observable facial movement for every reason; including pain, sentiments, and stuff like absent-mindedness or exhaustion. Each observable component of facial movement is called an action unit or AU and all facial expressions can be decomposed into their constituent core AUs. [78] An update of this tool came in the early 2000s when it was renamed F.A.C.E. (Facial Expression, Awareness, Compassion, Emotions) and redeveloped as a tool to learn about identifying and recognizing expressions in the human face. Ekman has also contributed to the study of social aspects of lying, why we lie, [79] and why we are often unconcerned with detecting lies. [80]

Research in facial expression progresses daily, for example it's now known that treatment of facial frown/worry lines with Botox leaves people feeling less depressed simply because they cannot continue the automatic habit of scowling (Botox effectively paralyzes muscular movement), and conversely people who receive treatment for laughter lines report feeling more depressed. [81] It should be no surprise to us at this stage of NH that such hacks are effective, knowing as we do how our physical muscular behavior affects our neurochemistry and so emotion/sentiment, and how powerfully emotion or sentiment can affect our minds and thoughts (anxiety shutting down the frontal lobes completely). Adopting a non-anxious demeanor and making it a habit, being aware of our tone of voice and posture and deliberately using them effectively to match our meaning, along with appropriate gestures, should become part of our NH practice of output control.


Controlling our own thoughts and behavior is temporary (it becomes habitual, so there's no need for continuing imposed control), and like anything else we learn this is a matter of practicing good habits often enough for them to become the 'default' for us. Repetition and 'behaving as though' is what 'programs in' the new behavior.

Newbies often do not understand this nature of many NH exercises as 'temporary intervention measures'. It is never necessary to continue practising the same things for very long, because the whole point of practice is to make aspects of our responses automatic (replacing the bad habits that were previously practiced for long enough to make THEM automatic). Practicing good habits is a replacement process designed to overwrite old harmful programs with new beneficial ones.



Even if we have no aesthetic sense whatsoever when it comes to clothes sense, we can learn the universal rules behind aesthetics and work from the bottom up.

The first rule is, no matter WHAT we look like, we are going to make somebody somewhere anxious. It may be they think our hair is too long or too short for their idea of 'safe'. It may be that we are wearing a color or fabric or style that they personally have negative associations with. It may be that we have similar eyes/nose/chin/hair to someone who harmed them in the past, and none of this is in their conscious awareness; it's simply 'gut response'. The anxious tend to see everyone as a threat in some way or another.

So we must forget the idea of appearing appealing to everyone else, or to society's ideal, and concentrate on appearing appealing to ourselves, finding our 'green zone' of dressing for comfort and pleasure while remaining aware that if we go out in public in medieval armor with a sword, we are going to cause a stir.

Most of us will probably find it advantageous to dress in different styles for different contexts as part of our output control, knowing as we do that adapting to similarity of appearance in groups helps put others at their ease. But our appearance should always reflect our self esteem, so cleanliness, comfort and healthy grooming should prevail, and our own favorite colors and textures should be a part of our wardrobe. [82]

Biology being what it is, the appearance of the people we hang out with is seen by strangers as associated with ourselves, and forms part of their judgment about us, just as we look at who those others hang out with and make more assumptions about them. We all prefer making friends with those who have attractive friends! [83]

There are exercises for these aspects of output control in the Hacks & Exercises section of this tutorial and some useful links in references.


In Tutorial 10 we said, “There are two other 'top down' methods for improving cultural skills; Cognitive Reappraisal and Discourse Analysis, which we'll look at in tutorial 11.” Here they are:

Cognitive reappraisal

Cognitive reappraisal (or as it's fondly called, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” technique) can be used for two things: an emotional re-weighting strategy that involves changing an anxious sentimental response into a healthy emotional response by reinterpreting the meaning of events, [84] and a method of building resilience to stressors and improving our response to mistakes. It's a little bit like doing co counseling by oneself but with an objective rather than a subjective approach, and focusing primarily on reframing an event in order to reweight it and so change our responses to it. This technique has proven useful in treating depression and anxiety issues. [88]

Appraisal theories of emotion suggest that it is an individual’s subjective appraisal of an event—that is, its weighting for meaning and significance—rather than the event itself that leads to a specific emotional response. [85] Indeed, research on appraisals and stress has found that people respond quite differently to the same (or similar) stressors depending on their appraisals of the event. [86]

Learning to change the appraisals (perspectives on what is going on) we make in sentimental or stressful situations is thought to be a key ingredient of many psychological interventions, such as Core Counseling, Interactional Analysis, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Because our appraisals play an important role in weighting events with emotional states, any reappraisal which alters that emotional weighting to more accurately fit reality is a powerful emotional stabilization strategy.

How to do cognitive reappraisal:

We focus on ourselves, revisiting in memory any anxious or sentimental response to any chosen situation, and reappraise the situation (examples below), using core conditions, seeking ways to change our responses for better outcomes. This process involves two parts: (a) recognition of any anxious or sentimental response and why it happened (getting a clear perspective on what was/is REALLY going on). We review our own responses in stressful situations and analyses where anxiety got in the way and why certain key points triggered anxiety in various persons. and (b) reinterpretation of the situation itself objectively in terms that either reduce the probability of the anxious response, or exchange the sentimental attitude for a more healthy emotional attitude. We construct a new perspective on the situation using Core Conditions, able to interact with honesty and without fear.

Cognitive reappraisal is introspective truth-hunting; looking for the big picture, while being open to looking at things from a new perspective based on core conditions.

Reappraising a situation is easiest (and most useful) when written down and read aloud. Here are two students' examples:

Example 1

Original description of situation: “We had a row, she always left the kitchen in a shitty mess, no matter how many times I told her, the kitchen is disgusting, half the food you buy goes off without even being eaten, why leave it in there? She just ignored me, that's no way to treat a so-called friend.”

Reappraisal from core conditions: Maybe she's too tired or depressed to think straight, and/or maybe so am I. Maybe she is chronically short of time. Maybe messy kitchens don't stress her out, and I get stressed out by mess more easily. Maybe she ignored me because I was yelling and that stressed her out so much she couldn't think straight? Yelling isn't a good way to treat a friend either. Maybe I could share her excess food in exchange for helping clean up. Maybe my never cleaning the bathroom pisses her off as much as her never cleaning the kitchen. Whatever is true, there is no way an insignificant mess should compromise a friendship and make two people behave like idiots. It's no big deal. Letting anxiety drag us into dysfunctional behavior was the big deal; let's both work on preventing that happening again.

Example 2

Began with:

“So the stupid snow results in three weeks off work in a goddamn wheelchair bored out of my mind unable to go out with my mates, the doctor says it takes two years for bones to get back to their original strength, my leg hurts too much to drive, I am so pissed off...this is making me depressed.”


I am thinking in an anxious state about this, so I will only be seeing the negative aspects of everything, plus some of what I'm thinking will prove untrue; there will be false assumptions and associations. Let's take out the anxiety and look at some positive facts of the situation and the big picture. I am being paid for three weeks to do nothing. I have always wanted time to learn 3D modeling. There are loads of tutorials online. I don't have to get up early so I can invite my mates round any night I like for drinks and watching movies. It could be more fun than the pub. My local food store does home deliveries. Using taxi cabs actually works out cheaper than running my car...And I won't have to see that asshole from middle management for ages!!

Often a reappraisal brings out simple truths that were missing from the original weighting of data due to anxious thinking; once we add them to the equation, memories are reweighted more accurately. This is how wrongly-weighted memories can be overwritten.

There is a famous comedy song; “Letter From Camp”, which sets up the gloomiest view of a situation before doing an about-turn cognitive reappraisal in the final verse. [87]

We can also do cognitive reassessment 'quickies', for example:

We begin with:

Julie hates me because she's jealous. (A closed judgment, stated as an absolute; this admits no possible change in a fixed view of reality.)

A better description of the truth:

Anyone who feels hatred and jealousy is currently anxious and confused and most people have no awareness of how to change that. (An open-ended statement that allows for change in a dynamic reality.)


Cognitive reappraisal should not be used by newbies, as it can increase depression if the student has had no practice at anxiety reduction and mindfulness. A mind with no anxiety control finds it hard to avoid dwelling on past problems subjectively instead of objectively when reappraising them. For newbies, it's easier to start with interactional analysis where the situation is objectified by calling everybody 'Alice' and 'Bob', etc., as though one were outside the picture.


Change the script - Discourse analysis

Discourse analysis works with 'naturally occurring' language use, such as live conversations, email exchanges, non-fiction books or forum posts, and aims at bringing unconscious habits of thought into conscious awareness. This is very useful for spotting sentiment, for archetypal role work, and in output control.

Most of us run discourse analysis programs automatically on a broad level, for example, as soon as we see a religious pamphlet we assume (from the discourse) that the writer was probably a genuine believer. We judge from a few pages or even lines whether an email or speaker or article is 'probably' interesting enough to continue paying attention to. We all do this sort of thing, but analyzing discourse on purpose reveals a deeper level of communication, which we can be sure the unconscious is already 'listening' to.

here are two basic DA principles:

1. One of language's functions is to "do things" at the cultural level (i.e. above the merely interpersonal). For example, language is 'constitutive' and can build real constructs. A good example is History: the history of our species is constituted by all the written records of all ages, all our stories, all our art and science, all the details of what humans have done recorded by ourselves and others, and so on. All these records are 'just words, objects and pictures', but they constitute a construct that is very real and that exists outside ourselves.

Language also promotes someone's (or some group's) interests. Healthy communication promotes the interests of human thriving, inspiring curiosity, learning and friendship. Likewise, coercive language warns of a coercive system. We also reveal through our choice of quotes and analogies what sort of literature, art, music or movies we like.

Most importantly, analyzing discourse reveals underlying metaphoric constructs and tells us what 'game' the speaker thinks we are in and what their ontology is likely to be.

2. 'Interpretative repertoires' are discourse practices people use, often unconsciously, in communication; such as particular words, phrases, terms of reference, metaphors, rhetorical styles, systematizations of knowledge (e.g. rule books, catechisms, manuals, laws, style guides ....) which, together, reveal their ontology. Identifying and analyzing interpretative repertoires is a major methodological component of discourse analysis.

Some examples: Heil Hitler, Fabulous Prizes, New Age Healing, God Bless America, Happy Hanukah, My Dog, Human Rights, Touch Wood, Good Boy.


Any particular repertoire is constructed out of a restricted range of terms used in a specific stylistic and grammatical fashion. Commonly these terms are derived from one or more key metaphors and the presence of a repertoire will often be signaled by certain 'tropes' or figures of speech.

All communication is framing by nature, limited by the choice of description, and the associations it implicitly makes; e.g., the choice between: 'she's my wife' and 'we're partners'; the choice between 'the colored gentleman' and 'the black dude'; the choice between: 'evolution designed' and 'god designed'; the choice between 'the freedom fighters' and 'the terrorists'; the choice between 'Mama', 'Mother', 'Ma' or 'Mom', tells us a lot about the speakers' own attitudes to the subjects under discussion and their beliefs in general.

What people say or write reveals what metaphors are being used to 'frame' information, as discussed above. This tells us the probable ontology and plot of others' unconscious games. This can help us communicate better by enabling us to speak 'in terms of their map'. It is also of great help in avoiding deception, being lied to, or conned. It's like being able to see harmful anxiety-based agendas as the dodgy 'small print' on the end of what looked like a promising contract; or, 'reading between the lines'.

Studying conversations will also show us how anxiety arises when speakers have different unconscious systems for determining when one person's turn is over and the next person's turn begins. This exchange of turns or 'floors' is signaled by such linguistic means as intonation, pausing, and phrasing. Some people await a clear pause before beginning to speak, but others assume that 'winding down' is an invitation to someone else to take the floor. When speakers have different assumptions about how turn exchanges are signaled, they may inadvertently interrupt or feel interrupted.

Indicating our attention is also signaled in different ways. Some people expect frequent nodding as well as listener feedback such as 'mhm', 'uhuh', and 'yeah'. Less of this than they expect may create the impression that we are not listening; more than they expect can give the impression that they are being rushed along. For some, eye contact is expected nearly continually; for others, continual eye contact seems rude. The type of listener response we get can change how we speak: If someone seems uninterested or uncomprehending (whether or not they truly are), we may unconsciously slow down, repeat, or overexplain, giving the impression we are 'talking down' or being pedantic.

Power relations are clearly revealed in discourse, this helps us perceive and defend against prejudice or bias and teaches us how better to communicate with each other as respected equals. Power relations become obvious in relationships where there is 'supposed' superiority; such as parents and children, teachers and students, cops and robbers, doctors and patients. But it also happens in everyday communications; bully behavior tends to result in commands, directives or coercive remarks, and wimp behaviors result in pleading, defending, moaning or justification.

Core conditions and Core Counseling are designed to eliminate inequality in power relations.

Ideological dilemmas revealing unconscious-conscious incongruity can also be detected via discourse analysis, giving us plenty of practice material for cognitive reassessment. Ideological dilemmas occur when an individual can accept two conflicting sides of an argument; like a Faith Healer with appendicitis.

For example: 'Staying at home with my kids is better for my kids' and 'going out to work for more money for my kids is better for my kids'. Or 'I want to have sex with this person' and 'its wrong to have sex before marriage'.

The cause lies in incongruity between unconscious knowledge and conscious belief, and the solution is aligning the two by looking at the big picture.

Cognitive dissonance often results from ideological dilemmas, with the internal conflict played out through inner language. An example is: 'I'm anxious. Consciously I want a donut. Unconsciously I know I'm overweight but...consciously I know that cheering myself up with a donut is good for me, but the ingredients of the donut are bad for me...but that's only if I'm anxious. But unconsciously I am anxious; that's why I want a donut...but consciously I know that resisting the donut would improve my self esteem...' and so on, and so on.

Another classic example: Bob doesn't really get along with Alice, but Bob is scared of not being able to get another girlfriend if he splits up with Alice...and Alice isn't so bad...but Bob doesn't really get along with Alice...

Non-biological systems can get stuck in similar situations logic cannot solve:

“Windows 95 cannot find the keyboard: press any key to continue.”

Obviously Windows wasn't consciously aware that what it was doing didn't make sense; it just waited forever for an impossible response. It is the user who experienced conscious awareness of the incongruity in the form of thinking "WTF?"

We do something very similar mentally with cognitive dissonance, and it leads to an inability to make decisions. The system needs reprogramming, or the internal dialog can babble us out of our minds and even cause sleep deprivation, leading to mental problems. The way to get rid of ideological dilemmas is to jump into the 'big picture' and find the truth; for example in the 'want a donut' case:

“I'm anxious and looking for a sugar rush -but fast-release carbs are addictive. -How can I get the most anxiety relief with the least harm?” This approach also draws the attention to forward planning for better input control.

And in the 'girlfriend' dilemma:

“I'm anxious about what others will think if I don't have a girlfriend, so I hang out with girls I don't like and pretend to like them. That's not healthy. Time for a big change. If I want a girlfriend, what sort of places can I meet girls I DO like?”

A 'subject position' in discourse analysis is a role that is constructed and indicated through language. For example through the language used a woman may identify herself with mother, sister, professional, or lover subject positions in different contexts. Discourse can also position others; for example “Your country needs you” positions the reader as a loyal citizen of the Nation, “Know your rights” positions the reader as having certain rights, and so on.

Whichever choice of words we make, and whatever associations we imply, will serve to reveal our own ontology. The choice of one type of description over another, and the associations thus revealed, are significant and of major help in maintaining core conditions. Our choice of words can reflect more clearly what we truly mean and what we truly are. When what we truly are is not anxious, this is a powerful ability.

We should remember that nothing spoken or written is perceived as neutral or impartial (though it may claim to be). It's like Alice's 'neutral' facial expression; dependent not just on the transmitter but also the receivers. The language in which our communication is set up is 'good' (makes sense, and is interesting and helpful) for some, and 'bad' (does not make sense, and is boring and harmful) for others. Anything we say may be seen 'in the worst light' if viewed through the distorted perception of somebody else's anxiety. Paying attention to others' communication styles helps us with discerning where the potential for more fulfilling relationships lies.

How to do a discourse analysis: Take the example of your choice and look for the factors discussed above (eg framing, ideological dilemmas, subject positioning, unequal power relations, interpretative repertoires).

For those who want to learn more about Discourse Analysis, follow up this reference at the end of the tutorial: [89]


Output control: Self-regulation practice with discourse analysis.

The important task here is not about the details (in this case they just happen to be about swearing). The important task is to learn the technique itself whereby one verbal habit can be overwritten by another, because it really is much easier to change what a pathway carries than it is to restructure the pathway via top-down control, which takes a good deal more time. After all, if connections are strong, why not simply use them for healthy input? (It's by exactly this method that many of us ended up saying 'sugar' to avoid saying 'shit' in public).

Write down the ten most likely swearwords/expletives you personally use in extreme circumstances.

How many of your curse words are related to religion (for example, 'jesus christ!' 'Oh God!' 'christ!' 'aw hell!' 'damn it!') ?

Now choose which category you fit into below:

1 If you don't have ANY religion-sourced profanities in your list, you don't need to do this exercise but you can if you wish use it to replace any swearword you don't particularly like.

2 If you are a christian: presumably you'd like to break this habit of invoking religious associations in swearing, because it's using the lord's name in vain.

3 If you are not a christian, presumably you'd like to break this habit of invoking religious associations in swearing, because it's meaningless and stupid.

Now choose a replacement term for your most often-used religious swearword (for example instead of 'Oh Hell Fire!' or 'Oh Dammit!' you could now use 'Oh Smeg!') [90]

Whenever you automatically say 'oh hell fire!' (and trust us; this will probably happen even if you're determined it won't), you will be immediately aware that you were planning on giving up saying that. At this exact moment, remind your unconscious by saying, 'Oh Smeg!' out loud.

Also, start saying 'Oh Smeg' deliberately for a few minor mishaps where normally you would not swear at all. After just a little practice, 'smeg' should come up as an association faster than 'hell fire'. (Do not interpret that sentence literally.) : )

We can attack other meaningless swearwords, or dumb things we say, or words we habitually pronounce wrongly, all in this same manner to practice the technique. We all have habits of mispronunciation, usually picked up from parents. For example, instead of 'nucular', some of us may wish to practise saying, 'new clear' power; or replacing the word 'drawering'/'droaring' with 'drawing'; or the phrase 'could of' with 'could have'. Changing these simple things doesn't really matter, but it's all in the interests of practicing the techniques of output control and discourse analysis, and will also help us be more easily understood and less easily misjudged as dumb (even though we all pronounce some words wrongly, there is a lot of prejudice about mispronunciation, as unconsciously it implies the speaker either cannot model, doesn't care, or is too dumb to notice details. That's not true -we rely so deeply on modeling others that most mispronunciation happens because the last few generations (not to mention the media) either couldn't model, didn't care, or were too dumb to notice details. ) There's a similar prejudice in online communication, where most misunderstanding happens due to bad grammar and term interpretation, but people complain more frequently about bad spelling (even though this doesn't confuse meaning).


change the plot

Suggested new plot = Optimal Development -the plot of 'World of Emergence' (recommended).

Programming tools:



Controlled attention is a power that we possess to give or take away meaning. Paying more attention to anything increases its weighting in memory. This is why repetition of anything enough times will skew our perspective to make it seem more truthful and more important. We can use the noble art of ignoring things to reduce their weighting.

Attention needs to be directed to habits of practising BEING the changes we want to see; performing the behaviors that improve ourselves. To pay fully receptive attention in a relationship conveys respect and takes attention away from bad habits such as worrying about what others think of us.

As we free ourselves from the borders and boundaries we formerly accepted about ourselves, we naturally access a wider spectrum of mental abilities. It is a state of being we embody; not any particular skill. Optimum states of mind provide the optimum environment for optimum development. If we are to reach beyond the limitations we impose on ourselves, the change must begin right now, in this present moment. [35]


Anxiety reduction/Input control

Optimal development needs freedom from anxiety (note this does NOT mean avoiding stress!) Development progresses most in those times when we feel 'safe enough to play'; to 'stretch our abilities'. Remember at all times biology is either in 'growth & development' mode or in 'protection' mode. Core conditions are designed to keep relationships safe by insisting on unconditional respect, but we must also maintain unconditional respect for our OWN intelligence. The prejudgements anxiety causes us to have about ourselves, others, and reality are barriers to development and interaction. The key is to dissociate the behavior of 'society's ideal self' from the person's real self. It is the real self, the real intelligence, we are showing respect for and helping to enable.


Challenging assumptions/ontologies

Relationships often encounter boundaries in unspoken assumptions (Alice 'assumes' behavior x is 'normal', Bob thinks behavior 'x' is rude and that 'all decent people should know that'.) Unless these assumptions are known, Alice will unknowingly offend Bob every time she performs behavior x. Prescription: communication with core conditions.

Persons caught in counterfeit games mirror the game's ontology of assumptions in their relationships. Predetermined (automatic) responses involve very little conscious awareness; it is mechanical behavior, and such people do often seem to behave like robots. If we let them, assumptions will control our behavior.

In real life one cannot respond to dynamic, intelligent systems with fixed mechanical assumptions. We must remain open minded because only thus can we invite the unexpected into an all-too-predictable plot. Stopping the habit of acting immediately on assumptions re-opens the door to intuitive natural responses. We have to stop assuming the game must proceed in a preprogrammed way and become aware that IT DOESN'T HAVE TO.

To be open to new habits, some old habits of thought will need to go. To embrace a more realistic perspective, the boundaries of the old one must be broken. Conflict between what really happens and what society thinks should happen is inevitable, but we can deal with each issue calmly and reasonably as it arises and think them through.



Anxious minds usually focus more on anxiety's agenda or intentions in context of counterfeit games than what is actually going on around them in reality. To change the plot of a game we need to develop deep observing and listening skills. We must become sensitive to the ever-changing flow of inner and outer states and interactions between them. This demands a quiet mind, alertness, focus, and freedom from all arbitrary trivia such as value judgments and preconceptions.

Focusing on and taking our cues from reality demands a state that is quiet, listening, observing, sensitive and curious, with no interest in prejudgments. In this state of mind, we can shift mentally to perceive not what the conscious mind believes IS going on, but only what the unconscious knows SHOULD BE going on.

Then we behave as though what should be going on IS going on. This is a subtle but radical shift of behavior that redirects processing towards the plot of Optimum Development. To make this mental shift puts us in a situation where we literally stop 'performing' and we 'don't know' what we or others may be doing or what could happen in the next moment, but we trust 'the plot' (intelligence development) to take care of itself. Prediction or control are not required here. The goal is to lift our responses free from automatic reactions in counterfeit game plots, and allow our natural responses (and so events) to move with deliberation into the healthier plot.


“Delenn does not walk in the same world you and I walk in.

She does not see the same world you and I see.

In her world we are better than we are, we care more than we care.

We act towards each other with compassion...

I much prefer her world to that of my own.”

(Lennier, Babylon 5)



Mindfulness is a good way to learn how to respond deeply and completely to the here and now. We can use this technique to insert a 'pause' or 'gap' between input and response. Without this 'putting the brakes on', automatic responses will charge ahead regardless of whether they are appropriate or not, before any integration of conscious with unconscious can take place.

Past habits (just like past viruses) can modify themselves endlessly with new details, and we may feel like we are making the expected spiraling progress when really they're sending us round in circles. Unless we continue to develop, the future us will be what we are now in a different context. If we are yelling at or ignoring people today, we'll be doing that tomorrow too. To hack the loop of habitual behavior, there must be change now.

Mindfulness renews our sense of deep involvement with reality. It develops states of being such as calmness, awareness, and adaptability to stressors without anxiety. Our responses become naturally deeper, archetypal and authentic. We enter a true state of play.

Responding deeply and completely to reality rather than mechanically or superficially transforms a relationship. Communication becomes playful, new possibilities emerge, challenging and changing both participants. Mindfulness opens a door and invites creative conscious intelligence to get together with unconscious knowledge. Unconscious intelligence is always there, always trying to improve itself. It behaves spontaneously for our benefit if we get the assumptions, agendas, rules, borders and boundaries out of its way, and allow it to play. Intelligence wants to play with the world, to do so it must be allowed to get a word in edgeways.



Has its favorite input: it likes to listen rather than watch. Reading is ok, but listening is best. Imagination uses words/symbols to trigger mental images. The creative play of these images results in our discovery of new patterns and possibilities that we then use to change our environment. The inside affects the outside affects the inside -it's a reciprocal spiral in dynamic equilibrium.

Fail to connect imagination to creativity and the creative cycle ends. We are stuck in The Matrix; a reactive, mechanical, shallow reality in which behavior is thoughtless and automatic and we have little free will or control. The idea of a better future has no meaning without imagination.

Change the plot to Optimum Development, and the behavior changes with it, along with the ontology and self-image which shapes all of our relationships. In the real world this dynamic of inner-outer-inner is going on all the time, moment by moment, driving our personal development with every interaction. Stories, descriptive words, symbols and metaphors, are the input imagination needs to 'make the connection'. Imagination is not engaged when we are looking at a movie or computer screen. Descriptive language, art and music are the keys to firing up and wiring up connections between our unconscious and conscious awareness.

Without this cultural input, much of the structural coupling meant to take place cannot. As a consequence, procedural memory develops few metaphoric associations, abstract learning is slow, and symbolic constructs will not be built. Equations, sheet music or chemical formulas will look like meaningless marks on paper, because we will have no metaphoric ability to transfer those symbols to the frontal lobes for conceptualization. Ultimately the frontal lobes cannot develop to fulfil their main purpose: symbolic conceptual systems processing.

Without unconscious-conscious coupling people can sense only what is stimulating their physical system, and become anxious when such stimulation is sparse. They initiate stimulus by constant physical movement or shallow verbal chatter, and are uncomfortable with silence and stillness.

Getting back to the childlike states that develop us -curiosity, humor, flexibility, willingness to experiment, playfulness, receptivity to new ideas and a lifelong eagerness to learn- all involve imagination. Every time we respond in the here and now with these qualities, we are developing those qualities. [35] It's our free choice: Do we continue as automata in the same old plot of counterfeit games with automatic responses, or turn back to the wonder, excitement and growth we felt as a child in the World of Emergence?

Imagination opens the door for changing habits of thought, behavior and mind. If we step through that door into the unknown territory, we embody the code that represents reality. We play on the surface, and all the reprogramming goes on underneath. Learning is taking place with each new hack of old habits, with each new perspective. That learning feeds back into our behavior, and through practice we embody the new habits. Suddenly the things we now do 'automatically' ARE the optimum responses. We have changed the plot, development is back on track, and a lot of things start to make sense that never did before.



Understanding that play is the state of natural learning and that natural learning IS development, we can employ hypnosis techniques to enhance that state of being and change the plot. Here are the two most useful:

Presupposition Algorithms

To achieve a change in a number of steps, for example a deeper and deeper relaxed state, we can use a set of presuppositions. For example if we want to relax more, we could say "Try to relax a little more", or we could say "As you relax a little more, notice how your hands feel". We are presupposing that we are going to relax ‐it simply isn't in question.

Of all hypnotic language patterns, presuppositions are probably the most important for ensuring we get the response we need, because the unconscious tends to do what it believes is expected of it. A series of presuppositions can get you there faster than most other methods. It's easy to succeed when failure is not an option.

Analogy, Metaphor and Stories

The unconscious mind works more with underlying patterns than details and so this sort of language can be very useful in communicating ideas to the unconscious mind.

For example, if I want to convey an idea about running smoothly and powerfully to an athlete, I could say "Imagine what it would be like to be running smoothly and powerfully". Alternatively, I could use metaphor and say, "Imagine what it would be like to be a cheetah chasing its prey, the way ahead clear, your muscles working in perfect harmony."

This is a simple example, but metaphor can be used in many ways, including full stories that can serve to 'lay down patterns' for the unconscious to follow later.

Learning about hypnotic language patterns can add grace, subtlety and effectiveness to our communication. There is an hypnotic script including various techniques we have used so far, in the Hacks & Exercises section of this tutorial.


Mind Maps & Analogy

Remember Mind Maps from Tutorial 6? Try forming analogies and using them as maps. We've used several in our tutorials, comparing the behavior of mind to that of computer software, and the brain to a starship.


Choose one of the following and make a mind map of your analogy:

A brain and a car

A body and a car

An ants nest and a humans village

Archetypal story characters and your acquaintances (choose any story)

Archetypal story plots and events in your life

Apply what you know in a different way; for example if intelligence were distributed across the six main archetypes, what type of intelligence skills might each embody? Can you mind map this?

Your imagination should have improved enough by now for you to be able to invent your own mind map exercises to bring out association links.


Eidetic Association maps (EA maps)

Eidetic Association maps are similar to mind maps and can be used for many things: as a graphical mnemonic and analysis tool that improves our memory and learning speed by improving our association skills; as a method for increasing unconscious-conscious congruity; to align imagination with archetypal plots; to improve categorization skills; to get a different perspective on a problem or 'see the big picture'. Other uses will occur to you.

Our particular method was developed to be as consistent as possible with the latest discoveries in neuroscience, and is not a mainstream method. There are various similar methods of mapping the mind online, and we should use whatever method makes the most sense to us personally, because that is most likely to work well for us; but we can use any method for getting the hang of the process.

By using analogical links and metaphorization, we can quickly assess the basics of any situation, event, subject or process and analyze things much faster. It’s a useful technique for improving all aspects of intelligence but most noticeably memory. EA maps merge the idea of mind maps with N3’s spatial coordinates. The brain uses the same spatial map as representative of reality itself, so that all we are really doing is reassociating the brain’s original unconscious natural eidetic patterns by bringing them into conscious awareness. That’s all we have to do; our brain will do all the rest of the work for us; mostly while we sleep. : )


Practical Assignment: make your own eidetic map

Here are instructions:

First design your background. Make this fairly simple, because you are going to write all over it. Color coding is good. Some backgrounds that students have used are: A brain seen from the top down / A star map / Rainbow colors in squares / A spaceship / A building / A yin-yang sign / A blank page with 6 circles / A butterfly / A flower with 6 petals.

The most important thing about our design is that it should have a distinct space for each brain network. An EA map is more structured than an ordinary mind map. The layout of our design should have a spatial arrangement that generally has a similar layout to the position of the main 6 networks in the brain itself that we are studying. We can’t make it exactly the same because we’re working in 2D [although we’d love to see a 3D EA map!) This version is one we should be able to view in our diary, see on one page on a screen without scrolling, or stick on our wall.)

The best network layouts are these two:

On our background we then fill in the key words or phrases about what the networks are associated with, what they process, or what they do (we’ll find these in tutorials if we can’t remember, but we should try to remember first). We should use a medium we can erase if we get things wrong or if we change our associations as we learn more -this is a dynamic, evolving diagram. We could begin with the keywords for core concepts (‘space’, ‘time’ etc,) or the different types of memory, the functions of intelligence, types of core behavior, emotional/neurotransmitter processing, stages of COMPVC, or any other basic association.

Here is an example of how one student's map looked at this stage:

An EA map is a map of the conceptual associations of very basic categories in a healthy brain. So there are two rules:

(a) Everything on this map must be both real and universally applicable to all humans; real experiences and real concepts. So we can use ‘spirituality’ but we cannot use any particular religion (it’s not universal). Likewise, we can use ‘music’ but not ‘Beethoven’ or ‘The Beatles’. We can use ‘food’ but not ‘Pizza’ or ‘Ratatouille’. All humans eat food. Not all humans eat pizza. Now you’ve got it. (We can make our maps as complicated as we like later on, but we need to limit them to basics here or we’ll run out of room and fall off the edge of the tutorial.)

(b) Everything on the map must be healthy. So we cannot include disorders or problems such as ‘anxiety’ as map terms, and we cannot use sentiments such as ‘worrying’, ‘guilt’, or ‘jealousy’. These are not things the brain is meant to be doing, so they can’t go on the map. If we’re unsure of what is a sentiment and what is an emotion, we don’t put either on the map until we’ve studied this in more detail (see other tutorials). “If in doubt, leave it out” is a good guide here.

Bearing these rules in mind, we proceed as with a normal mind map; putting in whatever associations we recall around each keyword (so our map has six ‘centers’ of association). As we become more aware of what each brain network is doing, we can add associations. Our EA map will grow as our awareness grows, and it will be unique to us. It will serve as a constant mnemonic for what each network is doing and we can remind ourselves at a glance. As you learn new skills, you can assess from your map what networks will be needed for each particular skill and for each stage of learning. Eventually it will become a ‘universal’ mind map with words associated with any activity or study, giving you insights as to how all things are related in the brain and making you aware of the universality of the brains eidetic map.


Self assessment using association

(1) Thinking through your favorite movies, books, stories, see if you can think of some examples of each type of character. Do you prefer movies with one particular sort of archetype? If so, it could indicate a stronger network.

(2) Where on your eidetic association map would you place the characters: Wizard of Oz / Hercules / Winnie the Pooh / Indiana Jones / C3PO? Why?

Answer to (2) at end of tutorial


towards entelechy


“Many neuroses we meet in today’s western society are healthy responses to an unhealthy environment; sane responses of the psyche to the insanities of a diseased society.”

….(Dr D Hoffman, plant herbalist & chemist)


In fear, truth is the first casualty.

We should know enough by now to know that we must find the strength to say ‘no’ to anxiety. Only thus can we say no to lies, stupidity and fear. Only thus can we really be free to enjoy our intelligence and our lives.



Fetching wood and carrying water

Before Enlightenment, constantly troubled by not knowing wtf is going on.

After Enlightenment, constantly troubled by knowing wtf is going on.

(sensei labrat)


Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds!

(Bob Marley)


The most important bits to remember


Synesthesia gives associated meaning to concrete input. Metaphorization gives associated meaning to abstract input.

Imagination uses analogy to represent abstract concepts in an imagery based format ('eidetic' means image based). In the unconscious networks and in stories these are represented by characters who have certain associations. It works like a code. The same code means different things to different networks.

Our perception and beliefs control the expression of our genome. Using metaphorization, imagination enables intelligence to do three things –project ‘the plot’ of what is going on consciously, project the closest associated ‘most beneficial’ story/game in unconscious knowledge, and trigger the gene transcription signals and/or intent (motivation) to alter both in order to help them match up and slip into something more comfortable: unconscious-conscious synchrony.

Walking the path: The only thing that can cause a change in awareness or belief is a change in intelligence. A change in what we know. Learning and experiencing new stuff is what changes our beliefs about reality. Applying our new beliefs (what we have learned) in practice is what develops our intelligence and enhances our perception of reality.

We all form an Ontology (a set of associated beliefs & assumptions about the world, how things work, other people, and our own lives.) There are 2 types of ontology; Open/Flexible (real) and Closed/Static (counterfeit).

OPEN/FLEXIBLE: If all goes well, the more we mature, the clearer and more aligned with reality our ontology gets. More and more things make sense to us as we realize that former beliefs were not necessarily true, unconscious knowledge begins to connect up with conscious awareness, and we adapt our understanding of the world and events through processes such as metaphorization, to include new experiences and information. Perspective broadens, the path ahead emerges more clearly, communication is easier and the steps to success can be predicted. How well we adapt to change, stressors, or new learning is called our capacity for 'flexible, creative logic' or 'muscular-mindedness'.

CLOSED/STATIC: If we get stuck in a counterfeit game, as time goes by our understanding of the world and events remains static but we try to fit all new experience and information into it, creating a distorted view of reality. Because it doesn't align with actual reality, the path ahead is confusing, communication is hard and steps to success unseen.

Our capacity for interaction using an open intelligence and flexible logic is more directly correlated with success than any other measure of human ability.


For the 'Neos' among us: Summary of input & output processes covered so far

INPUT processes: machine-readable sensory input (binary)-->+neurotransmitter weighting-->analogization (Eidetic Variable Disassembly (EVD)) -->metaphorization (decompiling)

data is now conscious-readable.

For input (from behavior to thought), the eidetic variables themselves (not their contents) are used in N3's 'assembly language'. The process of analogization in N3 functions as a disassembler program; turning binary input from the senses plus emotional weighting into N3's assembly language of eidetic code, and the process of metaphorization in N4 functions as a decompiler program that translates this eidetic code assembly language at its relatively low level of abstraction (eidetic code is designed to be unconscious-readable rather than conscious-readable) into a form having a higher level of abstraction (designed to be conscious-readable).

Metaphor is a high level language that conscious human minds can understand. This high-level language is portable across multiple architectures (all networks), but requires interpreters or compiling.

OUTPUT processes: Metaphorization (compiling)-->analogization (eidetic variable assembly (EVA))--> +neurotransmitter weighting-->machine-readable behavioral output (binary)

data is now unconscious-readable.

For output (from thought to behavior) the process must reverse, and N3 now uses analogization as a compiler to translate from N4's metaphoric format into its eidetic code, and an assembler to convert N3's eidetics into code generation at the low-level, rear-net binary nerve receptors that power everything from muscles and speech to neurochemical signals. This process is 'Eidetic Variable Assembly' (EVA).

The mind needs only two programs to accomplish all this. Everything that was disassembled (converted from binary into assembler) on the way in can simply be assembled, on the way out, back to the same binary - after all, it's just a sequence of bits. At the higher level, metaphorization can be used as a compiler or a decompiler as required (and, beautifully, all this processing can go on, in parallel, at the same time).

Some of this terminology is counter-intuitive to non-computer-programming people; in colloquial speech we are used to thinking of 'assembly' as construction rather than translating or transforming, so it's important to remember: Eidetic Variable Disassembly (EVD) turns binary data from the mechanics of cellular and motor behavior into Analogical (eidetic) format; and Eidetic Variable Assembly (EVA) turns Analogical (eidetic) format into binary data for the mechanics of both cellular and motor behavior. What is being 'assembled or 'disassembled is the binary; not the Eidetic code (that's just the format we do it with).

If you understand this, you are beginning to understand how meat can think. It lives in the hallowed presence of self-moderating code; the ever-evolving 'ghost' software that makes our brain so much more than a mere machine, and that we all, at the core of our individual intelligence, consist of; the timeless memories and programs of intelligence itself. Welcome to the real world. : )


Self assessment:

Early in this tutorial, we said, “By the end of this tutorial we should understand the difference between real and synthetic constructs, understand archetypes, and know how to overwrite memory using input and output control.”

Do you understand the difference between real and synthetic constructs?

Do you understand archetypes?

Do you know any methods to overwrite memory (habits) using input and output control?


If the answer to any of these is 'no', and re-reading the tutorial does not help, please let us know.


Hacks & Exercises


hacks for developing N3, N4, and connections between them


Cognitive reappraisal - positive memory review

Get out your Captain's Log and make a list of six people you see or contact regularly. Beside their names, write down all the good things you can think of about them. Include their skills and abilities, sense of humor, kind things they have done for you or others, good habits, creative activities, things they have made, written or done etc.

When you have finished, review the list and add any last-minute cool things about each one. Don't try to memorize it; just read it through.

The next time you see or hear from one of them, try to bring to mind what was on the list about them. Don't look at the list.

Anxiety tends to bias memories to negative ones. As we practice positive memory review, our here-and-now attitude will adjust to bear in mind this 'big picture' and we'll start to get a more balanced perspective (and weighting) on people as they really are; not how anxiety limits us to seeing them.

We can also perform this hack on ourselves for increasing self-esteem and confidence. This is a great hack to get us out of 'wimp space'.


Attitude hacking

Make a list of things you enjoy that you know improve your attitude. Whenever you feel despondent or bored, do them!

Make a commitment pact with a close friend, fellow student or partner to help each other work on attitudes. Working with trusted others is the fastest way to progress in this stage.

Break the pre-judging barrier: Try something new. Example: foods at an ethnic restaurant which you have previously avoided because you consider the food 'unknown' or it 'looks yukky'. Be open to what stuff actually tastes like in real life, rather than what you imagine it might taste like or others say it tastes like. We are all different.

Assess your attitude by counting your laughs for a whole day. Research finds that small children and 'tribal' adults laugh between 250-450 times a day, while industrial western adults score 0-50.

Does drinking or smoking in moderation give you pleasure and improve your ability to communicate your feelings? If the answer is yes, enjoy!

Music has a very powerful effect on our attitude and mood if we listen to it (rather than talking over it or using it as 'background' noise). Put on some of your favorite tracks and consider what aspects of the music makes you feel good in different ways. Why do some tracks seem to energize us whole others calm us down? What neurotransmitters are likely to be involved? Why not make some mood-enhancing compilations? Consider how you could use these to 'change the scenes'.

Privately dance to music with no thought of how you look. Let your body naturally express its response to the music.


Hacks to change the scenes:

Next time a friend invites you to do something challenging, say yes and then push through any temptations to find excuses to cancel or drop out.

People are cooperative animals. We feel good giggling with each other. If you are currently living alone, think how you could share your accommodation with a good friend or relative, or how you could spend more time with people you like.

Volunteer to work on any kind of useful project where you can directly learn something new as well as help others.


Hacks to change the plot:

Walk somewhere instead of driving there.

Go somewhere you haven't been before.

Take a look at any groups you are a member of, online or off. When was the last time you communicated with or took part in activities with each group? Leave groups you never interact with. Search for new groups compatible with your current interests and activities. We mean now.

Consider whether it would be possible for you to move somewhere nicer. This is not as difficult as it might seem when the steps necessary to do so are written down. Weigh up the pros and cons of moving versus not moving. This will either consolidate your reasoning for being where you are currently, or inspire you to investigate moving possibilities. Either is good for overall awareness of 'the plot' of your current life.

Evaluate your relationships in a similar manner. Is it time to move closer towards your favorite people, or further away from your least favorite people? What obstacles are stopping you from doing both?

Use ritual (archetypal) scenes, such as bathing, a new haircut, a new outfit, going to a new place, walking through a door from one place to another, along with an hypnotic script or self suggestion to really get the message through to the unconscious as well as conscious mind that you are initiating change and taking up new habits to direct your own life.


Hacks using discourse in input control

Keywords are good mnemonics for blocking bad habits. We can use the same technique we used for swearwords to spot habitual repetitions in our dialogue (such as: 'errr', 'so', 'actually', or 'you know'), and replace them with silence. Sure, that may teach us that we're uncomfortable with silence, which is probably why we started the habit in the first place, but we're a step closer to being more comfortable by knowing this about ourselves, as now we can address it.

Having a name or nickname that we really like and associate with good things works wonders on our self-esteem and is a great hack for a new beginning and a personality reboot. Changing your real name can improve things too. If your parents named you Mohamed Gearbox, Wendy Massivebutt, Moonflower Littleweed or Dick Small, consider doing so -it can be done online and is very easy. It's NOT compulsory to marry and change your name, or accept the name someone else chose for us. It IS possible to select any surname and first name we please.

Find the songs that have your favorite lyrics and have a look at what you have been putting into yourself. -Are they all depressing laments about lost love affairs? Sentimental wallowing? Or are they inspirational, telling you how great life is and how cool it is to be alive?

Consider importing some positive input. Comedy is good, but beware of the over-cynical (go for the silly and playful comedy rather than the political or celebrity stuff). If you've never seen Red Dwarf, Monty Python or The Mighy Boosh, get on youtube now.


Hacks for those who think they had wrong input or lack of input to N3

Input control with stories

Sit quietly for a moment and think about someone you think is a fast, quick thinker with a great memory. It doesn't matter if they're a fictional character or a real person, dead or alive. Write down all the reasons why they are awesome, why they are fantastic, why they are worthy of respect. Have a good rave about why they are great.

Whenever you are about to learn something new, read what you wrote.

On taking a test or exam after reading this sort of thing, we do better. Why? It’s called ‘exemplar activation’. Our unconscious brain has soaked up all those words about a fast, quick thinker with a great memory and applied then to our own performance. It seems kind of creepy, but it’s a very useful tool. Before a race, for example, athletes who read about 'heroes with great strength & endurance' will perform better themselves. Reading about a calm, beautiful place assists anxiety reduction. If we describe/read about a brilliant person just before an exam, we’ll get higher marks.

This effect has a weird side. If we spend a short amount of time reading about/describing elderly people with mobility problems, and why they may find it difficult to get about, we will actually walk slower for a short time afterwards, and the opposite is true if we read about/describe super-fast athletes.

This simple exercise will increase awareness of our control with regard to input. Bear this in mind when choosing stories.


Working with stories

The lack of sufficient storytelling, fantasy play and imaginative pastimes causes many later limitations and dysfunctions, and many of us develop our imagination later in life. To do this we must familiarize ourselves with analogical language and metaphor, and while this is relatively easy for some it is very difficult for others. It is well worth the effort, as the improvements to main mental functions are noticeable quite quickly, and perseverance will pay us back tenfold.

We should be aware that when we are doing this sort of thing that people who are afraid of imagination may accuse us of getting caught up in airy-faery nonsense. This is not our problem; they are afraid; not us. (A lot of the things we do in NH raises the eyebrows of those who don’t.)

It's important to avoid TV and movies for a while and start listening to stories. If you can get someone to read to you, make sure they read well. Alternatively use audio books.

This is the fastest way to develop imagination. The more we do it the faster we will progress. When listening to stories, don’t try to make imagination a conscious process. All we need to do is play. In this case that means just listen. Don’t try to consciously fabricate images to match the words. Imagination is there inside us, ready to activate a ‘growth’ process when the relevant input comes in as words. Our imagination will respond to the words all by itself, internalizing the action of the story via spontaneous image rendering, and we can just sit back and enjoy the ‘movie’.

Students working on improving imagination often find that when they first start listening to stories, they fall asleep! Far from being a problem, this is a good sign of development reinitialization -suddenly we are providing the mind with exactly what it needs and memory is devouring it voraciously. We need more defragging time and a brain-growth spurt may well be triggered. When the mind is stretching itself, we need more relaxation. If the problem continues with time, shifting our listening time to the morning usually resolves it (although we may still need extra hours' sleep that night).

Another common problem is attention drift -we stop listening to the story and start thinking about something else. If this happens, go back to the last part of the story you can remember and direct your attention to whatever is going to happen next.

Choice of material:

Fantasies, faery tales, science fiction, myth and fable, fantasy comedy, magic and mystery, anything unreal or improbable. No horror.

Make up stories yourself, and fantasize about your favorite characters.


Role play

Play imaginative games with your everyday tasks in which you 'play' one of the archetypes; for example if your place needs cleaning or your car needs fixing, pretend you are 'the faithful servant' preparing a situation for the most important and respected person in your universe (later in the day, that will be you). Maybe you can imagine yourself in this role as Alfred; Batmans butler, keeping the Bat cave in good order for Batman, or Sam Gamgee in LOTR, without whom Frodo wouldn't have got very far. Or maybe you're Scotty fixing up the good old Starship Enterprise, which with a bit of hotwiring in the right place will get you from here to Mars...

If you get good at this, your imagination will start to change your real life because all the tasks you do will happen more efficiently and faster.

Consider trying out role playing games on or offline, of the kind that contain wizards and magic swords, rescuing people and slaying monsters. They are not for everyone but can be of great help to some for improving imagination and focus.


Input control

Every frequency of sound, color, every taste, every texture, every facial expression, every posture, every shape, every movement, every dance, “tells a story” to N1 & 2. To hack rear nets, use these media.

Every odor, every pheromone, every emotion, every behavior, every analogy, every fantasy, every memory, every image, every pattern, every thought, every picture, tells a story to N3. To hack N3 use these media.

Every procedure, every metaphor, every construct, every design, every aesthetic assessment, every joke, every piece of music, every creation, every song, tells a story to N4. To hack N4, use these media.

Every fact, every intellectual analysis, every assessment, every calculation, every word, every introspection, tells a story to N5. To hack N5, use these media.

Every plan, every decision, every strategy, every spiritual insight, every realization, every judgment, tells a story to N6. To hack N6, use these media.

All networks should be getting their own parts of “the same story”. Every memory recall and every transmitter release depends on getting that story right, for appropriacy. If some of our networks are lacking input, input control can help us to ‘fill in the gaps’. Any stimulus (e.g. lightwaves, molecules, touch, soundwaves) has the potential to create a multi-sensual experience.


Construct your own archetypal story

Our unconscious story 'plots' are archetypal too. Whoever we are and whatever we do, we are always using the same basic human behaviors in different combinations, and we'll also recognize that in chains of events ('chapters' or episodes,) they often come in a certain order (the same order we actually process information in).

The episode starts off with the faithful servant and the young seeker...a journey begins... inexperience leads to problems and the seeker meets the healer. ..To gain more experience they seek the master...after training and experience, they have the resources they need to finally defeat the baddies and from the benefactor more will be given...the goodies win. See if you can write your own short story following an archetypal plot like this.

Begin with a version set in the here and now, where the 'young seeker' is 'Alice' and the faithful servant is Alice's computer, and so on.

Transport your story through time. Do a version set in the future. How have the archetypes evolved? Is the faithful servant now a robot and Alice a starship pilot?

Do a version set in the past. Alice's faithful servant may now be a person...or a horse?

Pay some close attention to this timelessness of archetypes. Everyone in all times meets these same archetypes in their own temporal and cultural context as well as in their cultures' ancient stories and myths. In the stories the archetypes are portrayed as larger than life epitomes of what they represent, but we still know who is the young seeker in Star Wars and who is the faithful servant in Lord of the Rings.

Start trying to see how the unconscious applies archetypes to all persons, places and situations as a part of basic perception and processing, and you will begin to see how this leads to our dynamic, distributed, association-based categorization in memory.


Hacks to develop imagination, cultural awareness & empathy

Reading literary (but not pop) fiction

Boosts our understanding of other people's minds. Literary fiction takes the reader on a journey into other worlds, other lives, other minds. Studies show that this has an immediate effect on the reader's powers of empathy, as judged by simple lab tests. The same benefit is not found for popular fiction. If you're not sure of the difference, choose fiction that has been awarded or short-listed for literary prizes. [91]


Try to find one example of each archetype in your favorite movies and imagine being that person. Regardless of the story plot they are in, imagine that you are each character in a quiet moment reflecting about their life. What would be the most important things in your life? How would you feel about things? What would be your priorities? Can you think of anyone you know who fulfils these roles in real life?


Describe your inner vision (needs assistant)

Sit comfortably with a friend and imagine a person, a place and an object, one at a time. Explain the images to your friend by talking about them, not by drawing them. It will probably help to close your eyes. Gestures and drawing shapes in the air are allowed.


“Hippo-compass” Hack/game to improve inner model congruity AND spatial navigation skills

Great fun at parties -especially office parties!

Sitting version (requires swivel chair)

Playing Alone: First make sure you know how the main compass directions (NSEW) roughly apply to the room or place you are in. Assign each wall or corner its direction (depending on orientation, you may have a 'North wall' or a 'North corner'). If you keep forgetting which is which, label them with big paper signs. If you feel compelled to play at work, remember if anyone sees this they will think you have lost it bigtime.

Next, make sure the room is evenly lit (spot lights or bright windows will give the game away) or dark. Sit in your swivel chair, close your eyes and keeping them closed, swivel around in one direction, either by pushing yourself round with your feet or stepping repeatedly in one direction. Continue for about ten seconds, then stop, and keeping your eyes closed guess which direction you are facing. Then open your eyes and make a note of your guess and the reality and how far out you were.

In pairs, groups or teams: You twirl one another. Whoever guesses the closest to the real direction wins (and can nominate a player of their choice to down their drink in one, if you're into that kind of thing and have plastic on the floor.)

Bear in mind when you first get out of the chair your balance may be affected by centrifugal effects on the vestibular system and/or alcohol.


Standing version (requires assistant)

Your assistant twirls you round and round while you keep your eyes closed, then proceed as above.

Traveling version: On sunny days it is easy to tell where South is, otherwise you may need a compass. Close your eyes when you're a passenger on public transport. Allow the vehicle to take several turns and try to keep track of which direction the vehicle is traveling. Check and make a note of how far out you were.

This game directly stimulates head direction cells in the hippo. With enough practice at any of these, something that seems uncanny occurs. You begin not to have to guess, because you just 'know'... although you don't know HOW you know, because it's natural learning and its unconscious. Your practice while playing the game has built up and fine-tuned a rich density of head direction cells in your hippocampus.

This happens faster in the group or assisted methods, and it also happens faster when we make notes recording the results (presumably the unconscious thinks it's 'more important'). In fact looking back at your notes will show you when the change from random guessing to intuitive knowledge took place. You can actually see the figures reflecting how your brain is increasing connections.

So if this happens to you, don't call Mulder and Scully. It's not ESP. Nor is it an NH superpower -rats can learn this process really fast. But do enjoy it. You (and the rats) will never get lost again. Plus you can now get other people really drunk playing them at this game.


Be amazed

Mazes, like jigsaws, and playing music/singing, improve N3-N4 communication. Here are some maze sites:





hypnotic script with examples of various techniques:

KEY: Underlined = embedded suggestion

BOLD CAPITALS = Illusory choice

Bold = presupposition

BIG CAPITALS = nominalization

Italic = Dependent suggestion


You can go into hypnosis with eyes open or eyes closed, but it may well be more COMFORTABLE just to take a moment to close your eyes right now. And the interesting thing is that when you begin to relax deeply, the flow of blood in the body is altered.

When a person becomes tense, blood tends to leave the stomach and go into the major muscle areas and people can develop digestive problems but when you RELAX, quite often parts of the body feel warmer. The hands can feel warmer sometimes and blood flows into the hands and the stomach often begins to function in a very NICE, EVEN way as you begin to RELAX.

Now what you can do, is just to take a few seconds now to imagine the sort of place where you could be at this time on listening to this where you’d be BEAUTIFULLY, NICELY, PEACEFUL and RELAXED. The sort of place that can give you the space in your mind, to really learn and discover the new ways of doing and being in your life.

Now in a few moments I am going to count from one to ten and you can just allow the process of listening to those counts to take you more and more into that place, noticing the things you could see and hear, taste or smell and just be aware of once being in that SPECIAL RELAXING

place. I do not need to know where that is and you may not even know where that is until you find yourself there. It could be a FOREST or a ROOM or a BEACH, FIELD, some people talk about WATERFALLS, MOUNTAIN TOPS, VALLEYS. It could be ANYWHERE YOU FIND PARTICULARLY REFRESHING AND PEACEFUL and as you become more aware of this place you can begin to notice changes in the way your body is working.

So from 1 just becoming more and more aware of how you breathe deeper as you RELAX more and how you can notice temperature variations in different parts of the body as you go down to 2...

And now you can imagine yourself walking down to that place through A FIELD OR A PATH OR A ROAD OR STEPS OR JUST DRIFTING THROUGH to that place, that’s it. 3…

RELAXING deeper ...and you know the more you experience CALMNESS in your everyday life,

the more clearly the mind can work in certain ways. and 4…

that’s it, drifting DOWN AND ACROSS OR UP to 5...

Just becoming aware of the sort of shapes you would be able to be aware of. And the sounds of the BIRDS SINGING OR WATER OR WHATEVER you would experience in this special place…

You know, the skin on your face, that’s it, tends to alter color just a little bit as blood comes to

the surface. You know when people are very tense, they tend to go pale some times and blood

can come to the surface and move around the body more freely as you RELAX more and more

to 6… And 7...

And you know when you go into hypnosis, the mind wanders inward the same way that it does when you dream sleep. The mind wanders inward and you can travel the expanse of your CREATIVE inner reality. That’s it… 7,8 …

that’s it just drifting through… 9...

and you can begin to prepare to drift down to the next number and when you do so you can notice how RELAXATION can extend more and more throughout your body, drifting around the mind. Part of you can do what it likes and another part of you can just be aware of what it is to find real REST… and 10...

just drifting through… you don’t have to see or even be aware at all levels of the special place but a part of you, even the part you are not aware of, can be aware of this SPECIAL place… and the POWERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, PEACEFUL and SERENE effects that this place can have for you and on you.

Almost as if to just to sit in this place can allow muscles to rest in the neck and the back the legs and the arms and even the bones to REST, almost as if they are covered by an invisible quilt of TRANQUILITY… that’s good… and all the organs to REST and the joints…


chemical hacks to increase/decrease synesthesia & metaphoric thinking

Those of us familiar with psychedelics will recognize the 5HT2a receptor as one which LSD stimulates, increasing synesthesia to the point where it becomes conscious. Before everyone goes out looking for mushrooms, further experiments showed that Melatonin can also increase 5HT2a, whereas Prozac can block it (and this should be of concern to creative types, because 5HT2a increases creative ability). If you have overt synesthesia or problems with hallucination, though, Prozac may help.



exercises for developing N3, N4, and connections between them


output control (countenance & demeanor)

We should aim for a 'default mode' of anxiety-free, playful curiosity. Performing procedures that increase our oxytocin levels (we should know what they are by now) causes actual physiological changes in the brain, which develops more oxytocin receptors. We also take on the facial expressions associated with oxytocin release, and others respond accordingly. Those facial expressions send signals via our muscles to release more oxytocin, and after enough oxytocin-releasing 'airmiles' genes for permanent change are called into action. Before we know it, we have become more trustworthy, compassionate and kind; and it's recognizable in our body language and expression. It's a part of what we are; that's what adaptation attempts.


Exercises for body language/tone of voice

make a movie

A great way to do this is to arrange to videotape some of our interactions with our friends (with their knowledge). This type of feedback can be invaluable. It might seem a little elaborate but often we really don’t see ourselves objectively until we get feedback from another source. Many people are surprised at how pleading and wimpy or how aggressive and bullying they actually sound when speaking to others. When communicating, our body language is something that is often completely out of our awareness. Seeing ourselves on video is almost always more effective than having others describing our actions to us.


Through the looking glass

Once we have decided what we need to change in our body language and tone of voice, we will need to practice it. Change is not always easy because it requires a critical mass of repetition for it to become habit. It also requires that we are aware of the body language and tone of voice we DON'T want to have if we snapback and revert to doing it again. This means we need to catch ourselves doing it. By practicing a new behavior in a mirror, we can pay attention to the details of the new behavior patterns. With a mirror we are better able to notice how our body feels and looks, as well as how we sound. Once we have practiced our new tone of voice and body language we will need to practice with our friends. Don’t expect miracles overnight; many of our habits took years to develop and we do need to put the practice in to change the script.

Remove distractions

Communicating with others is always difficult when they have their attention on something else. This means making sure others can see and hear us, which normally involves keeping relatively still and modeling their movements (and not waking round the room or going in and out to get tea, cookies etc). Input control also means removing distractions from the equation. For example, if music is playing or the TV is on, lower the volume so that they can hear us, and turn the television off. Not to do so sends the immediate rude message that you're more interested in a TV or radio show than you are in them (if this is true, all the more reason to set up conditions for beneficial change!) Closing the window to avoid the sound of neighbors or traffic, or opening it to allow the odor of dinner/trainers/marijuana to disperse and decrease CO2 levels are similar considerations. People who are not comfortable don't relax.

Remember core conditions

If we help others understand the value of respect by giving them our full attention they will better be able to respond in kind. If we are confident in our body language and tone of voice others will be more likely to hear and attend to what we are saying. On the other hand, if we come across as aggressive and angry, the anxious will be more likely to make the fundamental attribution error and attribute that to us having a bad disposition rather than being a product of their own behavior patterns.

We can also have more impact in our communication with others by making some type of physical contact with them. A reassuring hand on the shoulder is often more than enough.

We need to also remember that we are role models when we are communicating with others. The way they respond will likely be similar to the way they perceive we communicate. Effectively interacting is one of the more important skills we can learn. If we want to see change in our lives it will almost always mean changing ourselves in some way. In NH, just like when we were kids we are all works in progress. The more willing we are to change ourselves, the more able we will be to influence change in ourselves


Exercise for congruous association & synesthesia

Your imaginary task is to put some instructive signs together for a friend’s health farm. You have four colors of paint for background: Bright red, soft lilac, mid green and electric blue. You have four captions for the four signs she needs:


  1. “Welcome to the flotation tank chill-out room”

  2. “Cyberpunk night club –open 8pm-3am”

  3. “Conservatory café and outdoor gym this way”

  4. “Beware! Hidden entrance! No parking”


What colors would you match with what captions? Why? What brain networks might these be associated with? Why?

[see end of tutorial for answers]


exercise for association, memory & learning

You can use sound for a ‘context-dependent’ learning boost as follows: Put some music on [I mean NOW –if there is already music on, leave it alone.) Any sort of music will do; this takes less than a minute.

Imagine a happy cartoon rat, dancing to this music. Now imagine a real rat dressed up in a costume, dancing to whatever music you hear right now. How weird would that look? What does your imagined 'rat costume' look like? Do you have a Rap rat, a Punk rat, a Blues rat or a Rock & Roll rat? A Classical rat in a tuxedo, or ballet gear perhaps? A Jazz rat? A rat in blue suede shoes? A Heavy Metal rat, or some rat raver spacing out to Trance?

Now first of all, if your rat is Morris/Line dancing, grooving to girly pop, or dressed as a cowboy, don’t worry. Just consider enhancing your CD collection.

Second, think about this: I bet every time you hear this music in the future, you’ll have no trouble remembering that little rat dancing.

This is context-dependent learning. We can use this tendency of deliberate association to enhance all learning. If we’re studying a particular subject and we always play music at the same time, we’ll find that listening to the same music afterwards helps our recall. Mozart, The Beatles and Bach have been recommended as the most effective so far, and one of our colleagues uses action movie soundtracks to induce alertness, but nobody’s experimented very much with other kinds of music as far as we know, so if you discover a really good one, let us know!


“Music Lesson”

You don’t have to know any music theory to do this; you just need your ears. Put on a piece of music that you like. The only rule is, it must be technically in time and in tune. Sit still and quiet and listen to it carefully, and try to work out where the lowest and the highest bits of melody are. If there is a singer or a lead instrument, where do they hit the highest notes in the song?

When the song is over, sit in silence for a moment and see if you can remember the main tune accurately enough to whistle or hum it back. Don’t put in any words, just concentrate on the tune. If you can’t do this don’t worry, just practise the exercise and notice whether you can remember some tunes better than others. You can start with something as simple as ‘happy birthday’ if you want to; it doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should have an example to listen to; don’t just do it from memory without listening first, even if you think you know it well. –And don’t ask a friend to sing it for you unless you’re sure they can sing in time and in tune.

Practicing this exercise once or twice a week will improve connections between N3 and N4, as well as a host of supporting rear network skills.


Eidetic Variable awareness exercises (for forming congruous associations in memory)

Recognizing Eidetic Variables

Consider some of the different archetypes for “seeking behavior” (hunter, explorer, warrior, wooer, student etc). How might they be re-cast in modern entertainment? (e.g., Indiana Jones, Ripley in Aliens, Agent Mulder, Luke Skywalker...keep going. ) What is each one seeking?

See if you can work out the human behaviors associated with each of the main character archetypes. This is easier if you already know what the networks do and how they relate to each other; for example 1 and 5 are both gonna be about providing our needs, 2 and 4 are gonna be about learning and demonstrating respectively, 3 and 6 are gonna be about weighting and interaction for our benefit.

1, 2 and 3 are gonna be about concrete material skills, 4, 5 and 6 abstract skills.

Next we turn to our favorite action/adventure/saga movies, which we can now enjoy with the added interest of expanding the frontiers of our minds. Choose one of your favorite movies of the genre described to do this exercise.

Focus only on the 'goodies' characters the first time. How many of the main characters can you associate with one of the archetypes?

We don't want to give too many actual examples because it's better if you work it out for yourself, but here are some field notes:


Faithful servants usually associate with mechanical engineering, personal assistant, or maintenance type jobs. Their care often saves the hero at various crucial points. If you hear they line, “I/we/they couldn't have done it without x” in a movie, 'x' is the faithful servant in that scene.

Young seekers associate in bad times with defense/security/tactical and in good times are explorers on a quest seeking something/someone/somewhere. They often travel a lot.

Shamans are characters with some special relationship with nature, enlightenment or healing and they often fix up the hero, counsel them or are guides who help them to find their way when they are lost or wounded due to inexperience. Often found out in the bush with sparse resources, they live in the wild or in hidden places. Sometimes this role is played by friendly 'ghosts' or nature spirits.

Wise masters are often eccentric scientists, time travelers, hackers or inventors, their specialist skills assist the young seeker (who often becomes their apprentice). They live in caves/basements/lonely towers/attics/sheds full of technology and they often invent things.

Benefactors can be the surprise element like the extra army or rogue individual you didn't expect that turns up at the last minute to help the heroes. Or they may be an unassuming character who hands the hero a treasure map, the wise judge who says 'give them back their spaceship and let them go', or the great king who gives the heroes the resources they need.

The power of the universe is variously represented as deities, wise beneficial aliens, superheroes, prophets, saints, or unexplained mystical forces.


Notice how the old 'traditional' occupations match up with archetypal characters and roles (eg warrior, healer, king, merchant, apothecary, servant). Can you match up modern occupations to archetypes in the same way? Notice how this tells you which networks someone is likely to be using when performing them. This is a very cool trick for predicting what sort of processes those around us are likely to be running in various roles.

If you pay attention you'll notice that a character in a movie can play more than one archetype during the progress of the story. Try to see where characters switch from playing one archetypal role to portraying another. Importantly, try to identify which archetypes tend to turn into which others over time. If you get it right, you will notice a pattern of events emerging. Each archetype often turns either into its 'defensive' partner (eg the benefactor becomes the good pirate); its opposite (eg the benefactor becomes evil); OR the archetype of the network ahead (eg the benefactor becomes a superhero or saint). There are other patterns, but these are the most popular and if you study them you will see the ongoing pattern of networks being portrayed in different contexts as the plot progresses.


Cross modal association

The imagery based format is a beautifully simple pattern of basics that gives rise to all human behavior. It's a code that uses stories and characters as metaphor, in the abstract sense they are representational of formal linguistic concepts and in the concrete mechanical sense they represent mechanical behaviors, and in the middle they represent triggers for neurochemistry to tie the two together -unconscious-to-conscious reality.

Once you've associated the archetypes with human behaviors, see if you can remember which neurotransmitters are needed for which types of behavior, and what kind of emotions these will invoke in a healthy human being.

If you've done the NH tutorials, there are some good cheating possibilities here because we have already listed animal behaviors and their connection with neurotransmitters, but its also good to try to remember for ourselves because that helps us understand the system.


Watch the code - Pattern processing

predict what abstract symbol comes next in this sequence:

ANSWER at end of tutorial


Exercises for awareness of false memory

See how easy it is to implant a false memory


Read the first two lists of words (don’t try to memorize them) and pause for a few minutes.

List 1
apple, vegetable, orange, kiwi, citrus, ripe, pear, banana, berry, cherry, basket, juice, salad, bowl, cocktail

List 2
web, insect, bug, fright, fly, arachnid, crawl, tarantula, poison, bite, creepy, animal, ugly, feelers, small

Now wait a few minutes (go make yourself a coffee or something), then scroll down to list 3 -at the end of this tutorial in 'footnotes & refs'. Write down the words in list 3 that you think were also in one of the first two lists. Then scroll back and check your accuracy.)

You may be surprised at the result. This method is known as the Deese-Roediger-McDermott  (DRM) paradigm, and the findings have been replicated numerous times.


Look at the figure below briefly, then turn away from the screen and go find a pen and paper. Without looking back at the screen, write down what you think you read.

Now read the words more carefully. How long does it take you to spot the extra words?


The example above is used in the memory-training manual of a certain intelligence agency. What follows are some of their exercises for agents.


Exercises to improve mnemonic accuracy & avoid creating false memory details.

Attention, focus, and awareness of how false memory happens are the keys to avoiding false memory.

1 When anywhere new, imagine that you are going to be asked to draw your surroundings. Consider the main structures, then fixtures and fittings, décor and contents. Use the same strategy with people and vehicles.


2 In public places, clear your mind of all other considerations and fully focus on where you are now. How many others are in the same place? Which of them would you most like to be introduced to? Which of them would you rather not be introduced to? Why? Who is the easiest to remember? Who is the hardest? Why?


3 On recall, question the questions. For example:

“Who was with the UnSub (=Unknown Subject)?” -Was ANYONE with the UnSub?

“What make/color was the vehicle?” -WAS there a vehicle?

“What sort of coat was the UnSub wearing?” -WAS the UnSub wearing a coat?

“What did the UnSub say?” -DID the UnSub say anything?

“When the UnSub said/did x, what happened next?” -DID the UnSub say or do x? -How sure are we of what we heard/saw?


4 Collect a selection of landscape images, both urban and rural. Look at each one briefly then turn away and try to sketch what you saw.


5 Be aware of not interpreting others' behavior in light of how you personally would respond in the same situation. This is a famous bug of memory, especially in fast, complex situations.


6 Assess the 'important points' of any indoor area so that you are aware of entrances and exits, obvious surveillance devices and any emergency equipment. Play with scenarios in your mind, preferably comedic ones -for example, 'What would I really do, right now, if the gentleman on the end of the aisle exploded?' 'What would happen to this building if a large vehicle crashed through that window?' 'What would I do if the sprinkler system/lighting/power suddenly went off?' 'What would happen in here if those two nuns started a food fight, and I did nothing?' 'What would happen if a million mice suddenly came out of the next room?' 'What would happen if everyones' clothing suddenly turned into ballet costumes?'

The more amusing and realistic your imaginings are, the better you will recall the surroundings and people in real life accurately.


7 Rhyming remains an innate strengthener for human memory. Make up your own mnemonic rhymes to recall procedures. For example:

“If the contents are inconsequential, file it under 'Confidential'.

If it's out of date and getting older, file in the 'Top Secret' folder.”


There will be further exercises from this same source in future tutorials.


For fun and awareness: Observe for yourself how incongruity slows your brain down

1. Say aloud the COLORS of each of these words, as fast as you can:




If naming the second set of colors is more difficult, your performance exhibits what’s called the ‘stroop effect’ (named after Mr Stroop, who discovered it. When you look at the second set of the words, different networks perceive its color and its meaning, but cannot put the two together. If those two pieces of evidence are in conflict, we have to make a choice. Because the conscious mind considers that word meaning is more important than ink color, interference occurs when we try to pay attention only to the ink color. The difference between the times of the two tasks is your incongruity ‘interference score’ (this is how much you'll get slowed down by incongruity).

The interference effect shows how we're not always in complete control of what we pay attention to!



ANSWERS to Do It Nows & Puzzles

Do it now -Spotting a habit nobody knows is a habit

There are lots of habits people are not conscious of, such as messing with their hair, nibbling nails or pens, sitting in a bad posture, saying 'actually' or 'so' in every sentence, waving their arms when speaking, etc, etc. Anything someone does without knowing they are doing it counts.


Bouba & kiki

–There is no ‘correct’ choice; what is revealing is that almost everybody chooses the ‘blobby’ shape as a ‘Bouba’ and the starry shape as a ‘Kiki’, reflecting the nature of memory’s archetypal association. The letters K and I are more similar in shape to the starry blob, and the letters B, O, U are more similar in shape to the rounder blob. This association has important implications for archetype formation, as we shall see later.


DO IT NOW synesthesia & association

If you see these numbers as different colors and the twos really jumped out at you as a triangle, you don’t need to improve your synesthesia! You will still need to check over your associations


congruous association & synesthesia:

Soft lilac: “Welcome to the flotation tank chill-out room”

Electric blue: “Cyberpunk night club –open 8pm-3am”

Mid green: “Conservatory café and outdoor gym this way”

Bright red: “Beware! Hidden entrance! No parking”


Soft lilac, chilling out and bliss, do you have this association? If you know that N6 deals with a lot of our spiritual experiences you may have got that too.

Electric blue and ‘cyberpunk’ are probably also associated in your mind. Night clubs hold an obvious association with music and we know that’s associated with network 4, so you may have sussed that too.

Green associates well with outdoor pursuits, plants and vegetation, ecology, and you might have linked this to N3 if you’re aware that its processing job is to handle the interaction between us and our environment.

The red is obvious. You want people to see a sign like that and most cultures already use red for warning signs. You may have also associated it with earlier networks as these are our ‘danger warning’ areas.


Self assessment using association

The wizard of Oz is an easy one –He’s N4. He’s a wizard for a start, but N4 archetypes are also often connected with machinery or tool use and procedural skills, (because N4 is where they’re processed.) Hercules is well known as a strength hero (N2) and Winnie the Pooh –a talking animal- is N3. Indiana Jones is N2 –an explorer and a seeker of truth, and C3PO is without doubt N1; the faithful servant and loyal companion as well as being a material object. These natural associations conform with true archetypes (which is why they are good characters). Considering them in this way, looking at your own favorites and making associations between them will help you build a strong association net. True archetypes always assist you by working for your wellbeing. Stereotypes place limitations on people, whereas archetypes remove them.


Watch the code -pattern processing: The symbol that belongs in the blank slot is three arrows pointing upwards.




List 3
happy, woman, winter, circus, spider, feather, citrus, ugly, robber, piano, goat, ground, cherry, bitter, insect, fruit, suburb, kiwi, quick, mouse, pile, fish

(Write down the items on this list that you think were on one of the original two lists above. Now scroll back up to the original lists and check your answers)


*In loving memory of Douglas Adams

**The brain doesn't actually think in Python, but the layout is the simplest I could think of.



1 Paraphrased from “The Matrix” movie, Warner Bros. 1999

2 Health News Copyright 2013 HealthDay. "Brains of fetuses 'build a bridge' between regions, images show." February 20th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-02-brains-fetuses-bridge-regions-images.html

3 Vilayanur S. Ramachandran; http://ww2.psy.cuhk.edu.hk/~mael/papers/RamachandranHubbard_Synaesthesia.pdf

4 http://www.imprint.co.uk/rama/synaesthesia.pdf Unfortunately most researchers (even Rama) still see synesthesia as 'aberrant' and those with it as 'defective' simply because most of us don't have it; i.e., the defective is seen as 'normal'. All infants have strong connections between these areas, and it is our hypothesis that these later atrophy only in those with lack of use. That this is currently a majority in western societies should not be taken as the norm. At some point we hope they'll consider things the other way round -synesthesia is normal; indeed it's essential for high creativity, and those of us without it are defective. HTR2a has failed to turn on or degradation ('overpruning') has taken place.

5 March 6th, 2013 in Neuroscience. "Independent category and spatial encoding in parietal cortex," published online March 6 by the journal Neuron. Provided by University of Chicago Medical Center. "One region, two functions: Brain cells' multitasking key to understanding overall brain function." March 6th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-03-region-functions-brain-cells-multitasking.html

6 Nature Neuroscience 16, 259–263 (2013)

7 http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/343939/title/When_Networks_Network When Networks Network.

8 "Neural representations of events arise from temporal community structure," was published in the April edition of Nature Neuroscience. Provided by Princeton University. "Subconscious mental categories help brain sort through everyday experiences." April 10th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-04-subconscious-mental-categories-brain-everyday.html

9 Scientific American

10 Provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. courtesy of MIT News (web.mit.edu/newsoffice/), a site that covers news about MIT research, innovation and teaching. "Neurons that can multitask greatly enhance the brain's computational power, study finds." May 20th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-05-neurons-multitask-greatly-brain-power.html

11 If you fly a real starship, for example, 'pitch' in spatial terms refers to angle up or down from front to back and only really matters in relation to other craft or in an atmosphere, as indeed do sound waves. In space, no one can hear you scream, 'Pull up, you stupid bugger'.

12 S. Dalla Bella et al. Disorders of pitch production in tone deafness. Frontiers in Psychology. Published online July 14, 2011. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00164. Abstract available: [Go to] http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/352997/description/The_Tune_Wreckers

13 Cohen, J. & Stewart, I; Figments of Reality 1977, ISBN 0 521 57155 3

14 "Young infants have biological expectations about animals," www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/08/28/1314075110.abstract AND "Who's got guts? Young infants expect animals to have insides." September 11th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-09-guts-young-infants-animals-insides.html

15 Douglas Hofstadter / See Chalmers et al. 1991 http://people.cs.kuleuven.be/~joaquin.vanschoren/Flexo/highlevel.pdf

For AI fans: Researchers have used category theory to mathematically demonstrate how the analogical reasoning in the human mind could arise naturally from the use of relationships between the internal arrows that keep the internal structures of the categories rather than the mere relationships between the objects. Thus, the mind may use analogies between domains whose internal structures fit according with a natural transformation and reject those that do not. [see Steven Phillips and William H. Wilson http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000858 http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1002102 AND http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=]

16 (Langer 1951, 67).

17 “How the brain forms categories” http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-10-brain-categories.html#inlRlv

18 December 19th, 2012 in Neuroscience More information: Huth et al.: "A continuous semantic space describes the representation of thousands of object and action categories across the human brain." dx.doi.org/10.1016… .2012.10.014 Provided by Cell Press

"Study reveals how the brain categorizes thousands of objects and actions." December 19th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-12

19 (Hollcomb et al., 1992)

20 (Bottini et al., 1994; Cuenod, et al., 1995; Price et al., 1996).

21 "Some parts of memory still developing deep into childhood." September 23rd, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-09-memory-deep-childhood.html

22 Infant humans with optimal carers are walking unaided by seven months of age and have corresponding brain network development. [Liedloff, J. The Continuum Concept; ISBN US 0201050714 ISBN UK 014019245X http://www.continuum-concept.org/]

23 Provided by St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center "New vision of how we explore our world." April 5th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-04-vision-explore-world.html ]

24 Provided by New York University "Neuroscientists find a key to reducing forgetting—it's about the network." August 29th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-08-neuroscientists-key-forgettingit-network.html

25 George Lakoff & Mark Johnson, “Metaphors we live by”, University of Chicago Press, 1980. ISBN-13: 978-0-226-46801-3. ISBN-10: 0-226-46801-1.

26 (Scheibel et al 1985)

27 (Anaki et al., 1998; Brownell et al., 1990) http://perception.research.yale.edu/papers/97-Scholl-BBS.pdf ]

28 "Brain pathways tie together mental maps." September 17th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-09-brain-pathways-mental.html

29 Expanding the primate body schema in sensorimotor cortex by virtual touches of an avatar, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1308459110 AND "Touch and movement neurons shape the brain's internal image of the body." August 26th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-08-movement-neurons-brain-internal-image.html

30 (Day, 1996; Ullman, 1945; Williams, 1976).

31 Kelling G (1991) Crime and metaphor: Toward a new concept of policing. City Journal 1: CrossRef PubMed/NCBI

32 Thibodeau PH, Boroditsky L (2011) Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning. PLoS ONE 6(2): e16782. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016782

33 Guo X, Li F, Yang Z, Dienes Z (2013) Bidirectional Transfer between Metaphorical Related Domains in Implicit Learning of Form-Meaning Connections. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68100. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068100

34 Thibodeau PH, Boroditsky L (2013) Natural Language Metaphors Covertly Influence Reasoning. PLoS ONE 8(1): e52961. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052961

35 Michael Mendizza & Joseph Chilton Pearce; “Magical Parent Magical Child” ISBN 9781556434976 ]

36 Paraphrased from Babylon 5. -N.B. Metaphorization is not necessarily a member of the Minbari Gray Council : )

37 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Commission_on_Missing_Persons

38 Mulholland, Thomas, and Erik Peper, "Occipital Alpha and Accomodative Vergence, Pursuit Tracking, and Fast Eye Movements." Psychophysiology 8.5 (1971): 556-575.

39 Expanding the primate body schema in sensorimotor cortex by virtual touches of an avatar, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1308459110 Provided by Duke University Medical Center. "Touch and movement neurons shape the brain's internal image of the body." August 26th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-08-movement-neurons-brain-internal-image.html

40 http://hebb.mit.edu/people/seung/papers/hebbseung-00.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebbian_theory http://www.nbb.cornell.edu/neurobio/linster/BioNB420/hebb.pdf

41 If you've seen it, you've seen a good portrayal of how surprised and alarmed someone can be when they find out they've been living in a dream world; a synthetic construct. The majority of NH students should should expect to be similarly surprised, but not so alarmed. If we are anxious, such an unpleasant surprise can cause shock and snapback. If we are well-prepared for change (eg with anxiety control), we'll navigate safely through the change.

42 American Psychological Association; "Violent video games may increase aggression in some but not others, says new research." June 7th, 2010. www.physorg.com/news195132881.html

43 If you don't believe this, ask any intelligence operative.

44 Luce, M., Callanan, M., and Smilovic, S. (2013). Links between parents' epistemological stance and children's evidence talk. Developmental Psychology, 49 (3), 454-461 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0031249 Author weblink: http://people.ucsc.edu/~mluce/index/Home.html

45 May 24th, 2009 in Medicine & Health / Psychology & Psychiatry; http://www.physorg.com/news162395082.html

46 May 8th, 2013 in Psychology & Psychiatry "Optimism is universal, and so are the benefits, researcher says." May 8th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-05-optimism-universal-benefits.html

47 Provided by Society for Research in Child Development "Young children understand the benefits of positive thinking." December 22nd, 2011. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-12-young-children-benefits-positive.html

48 Iyer et al. Motor Preparatory Activity in Posterior Parietal Cortex is Modulated by Subjective Absolute Value. PLoS Biology, 2010; 8 (8): e1000444 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000444 California Institute of Technology (2010, August 9). Gain and loss in optimistic versus pessimistic brains. ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100804151500.htm

49 Fabrizio Di Muro and Kyle Murray. "How do mood and emotional arousal affect consumer choices?." March 15th, 2012. http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-mood-emotional-arousal-affect-consumer.html

50 Biol. Psychiatry. 2010 Jul 15;68(2):205-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.02.009. Bubl E, Kern E, Ebert D, Bach m, Tebartz ven Elst L; Epub 2010 Mar 31. “Seeing gray when feeling blue? Depression can be measured in the eye of the diseased”.

51 S Negoias, I Croy, J Gerber, S Puschmann, K Petrowski, P Joraschky, T Hummell; “Reduced olfactory bulb volume and olfactory sensitivity in patients with acute major depression” .

52 Platte P, Herbert C, Pauli P, Breslin PAS (2013) Oral Perceptions of Fat and Taste Stimuli Are Modulated by Affect and Mood Induction. PLOS ONE 8(6): e65006. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065006 Provided by Public Library of Science

"Feeling happy or sad changes oral perceptions of fat for mildly depressed individuals." June 5th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-06-happy-sad-oral-perceptions-fat.html

53 Bidirectional effects of aversive learning on perceptual acuity are mediated by the sensory cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nn.3443 Provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

"Researchers discover link between fear, sound perception." June 30th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-06-link-perception.html

54 Provided by Association for Psychological Science Suzanne Segerstrom and Sandra Sephton "Optimism boosts the immune system." March 23rd, 2010. www.physorg.com/news188569401.html

55 From the work of Dr. Ronald Grossarth-Maticek; “The Attitude Factor - Extend your life by changing the way you think” by Thomas Blakeslee, published by Thorsons 1997, ISBN 0 7225 3546 5

56 The Royal Society (Open Access Paper)

57 Provided by University of Lincoln; "World-first research to explain why actions speak louder than words." August 9th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-08-world-first-actions-louder-words.html )

58 More information: The paper, "Body Cues, Not Facial Expressions, Discriminate Between Intense Positive and Negative Emotions," was published in Science Nov. 30. www.sciencemag.org… 225.abstract Provided by Princeton University; "Don't read my lips! Body language trumps the face for conveying intense emotions." January 15th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-01-dont-lips-body-language-trumps.html

59 NewScientist; http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829111.900-lost-in-translation-body-language-myths-and-reality.html?page=1 (Science, vol 338, p 1225).

60 Bernieri, F., and Petty, K. (2011). The influence of handshakes on first impression accuracy. Social Influence, 6 (2), 78-87 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15534510.2011.566706

Author weblink: http://oregonstate.edu/cla/psychology/bernieri

61 “Cues to Deception”, http://belladepaulo.com/documents/Cues%20to%20Deception%20Abstract.pdf

62 Psychological Science, vol 21, p 1463)

63 http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

64 "Deaf sign language users pick up faster on body language." January 12th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-01-deaf-language-users-faster-body.html

65 "Two Sides of the Same Coin: Speech and Gesture Mutually Interact to Enhance Comprehension," Psychological Science. January 5th, 2010 in Medicine & Health / Psychology & Psychiatry. Provided by Association for Psychological Science

66 http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/science-sushi/2013/04/28/am-i-sexy-now-voical-cues-to-body-size-sound-attractive/#.UX-NMcqt18E

67 Cineradiography of Monkey Lip-smacking Reveals Putative Precursors of Speech Dynamics: Asif A. Ghanzanfar, Daniel Y. Takahashi, Neil Mathur and W. Tecumseh Fitch. Current Biology, July 10, 2012 print issue. Provided by University of Vienna; "Monkey lip smacks provide new insights into the evolution of human speech." May 31st, 2012. http://phys.org/news/2012-05-monkey-lip-smacks-insights-evolution.html

68 "Sounds like a winner: Voice pitch influences perception of leadership capacity," Klofstad, C., Anderson, R., and Peters, S. Royal Society of London B., March 14, 2012. DOI: doi/10.1098/rspb.2012.0311

69 Provided by Durham University, "Unborn babies 'practise' facial expressions in the womb." June 7th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-06-unborn-babies-practise-facial-womb.html

70 Science http://sciencenow. sciencemag. org/cgi/content/ full/2008/ 616/2?etoc

AND Provided by American Psychiatric Association, "What are emotion expressions for?." December 23rd, 2011. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-12-emotion.html

71 Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research; http://www.physorg. com/news14328326 4.html

72 Parkinson, B., Phiri, N., and Simons, G. (2012). Bursting with anxiety: Adult social referencing in an interpersonal Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART). Emotion DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0026434

Author weblink: http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/college/profile/academics/brian-parkinson

73 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ekman

74 Freitas-Magalhães, A. (2012). Facial expression of emotion. In V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (Vol. 2, pp.173-183). Oxford: Elsevier/Academic Press. ISBN 978-008-088-575-9. AND "Paul Ekman". American Psychologist 47 (4): 470–471. April 1992.

75 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m72bqvf_qDg

76 Ekman, P.; Friesen, W. V.; Lutzker, D. R., Psychological Reactions to Infantry Basic Training. Medicine, U. o. C. S. o., Ed. http://www.paulekman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Psychological-Reactions-To-Infantry-Basic-Training.pdf

77 Facial Action Coding System

78 Ekman, P., A life's pursuit. In The Semiotic Web '86: An International Yearbook, Sebeok, T. A.; Umiker-Seboek, J., Eds. Berlin, Mouton De Gruyter, 1987; pp 3-45.

79 http://www.hulu.com/watch/53632

80 "FACS Investigators Guide - Acknowledgements". Retrieved 2 September 2009. Paul Ekman's site: http://www.paulekman.com/ Sadly, Ekman charges cash to share his discoveries (see free version below) but there are alternatives (see below), plus there's a free blog on his homepage and some articles here: http://archive.paulekman.com/publications/journal-articles-book-chapters/

Remember that Ekman's focus is not the study of emotional systems but the study of facial musculature in expression; his personal focus is detecting deception and he began by studying body language. Consequently he makes no distinction between emotion and sentiment; his system categorizes ALL human facial expressions including stuff like pain, absent-mindedness, sleepiness, and of course deception. Also, different types of sensory pleasure are labeled as different emotions despite using the same transmitters, but at this level of NH, students should know enough to bring order out of chaos and adapt/translate this info for practising recognition of emotions or sentiments, and learning about lying in its many forms, in the interests of better interaction.

Basics on FACS here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_Action_Coding_System

Open source FACS: 'MPI search':


source code: http://sourceforge.net/projects/kolmogorov/

More open source FACS: http://www.academia.edu/3797888/HapFACS_an_Open_Source_API_Software_to_Generate_FACS-Based_Expressions_for_ECAs_Animation_and_for_Corpus_Generation#

81 April 12th, 2013 in Psychology & Psychiatry Dr Michael Lewis; "Treating laughter lines leaves patients feeling more depressed." April 12th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-04-laughter-lines-patients-depressed.html

82 further reading: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1571469

83 The University of Twente. The study was published in the International Journal of Web Based Communities.

84 ^ Ray, R., McRae, K., Ochsner, K., & Gross, J. (2010). Cognitive Reappraisal of Negative Affect: Converging Evidence From EMG and Self-Report.

85 Lazarus & 1984; Ortony, Clore, & Collins, 1988; Scherer, 1988

86 Folkman & Lazarus, 1985; Scherer & Ceschi, 1997; Smith & Ellsworth, 1987

87 http://www.lyricstime.com/allan-sherman-hello-muddah-hello-fadduh-a-letter-from-camp-lyrics.html

88 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278301/?_escaped_fragment_=po%3D2.00000#!po=2.00000 Seeing the Silver Lining: Cognitive Reappraisal Ability Moderates the Relationship Between Stress and Depressive Symptoms.

89 good course on discourse analysis here:


90 for examples of how to apply 'smeg', see 'Red Dwarf' TV series

91 http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/10/02/science.1239918.abstract

Author weblink: http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/faculty.aspx?id=16180

"Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind," by D.C. Kidd et al. Science, 2013.

"Reading literary fiction improves 'mind-reading' skills, research shows." October 3rd, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-10-literary-fiction-mind-reading-skills.html

92 Provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Neurons that can multitask greatly enhance the brain's computational power, study finds." May 20th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-05-neurons-multitask-greatly-brain-power.html






Last Updated on Friday, 12 February 2016 21:32