|Neurohacking Tutorial 12 - Creativity, Bonding and Play|
|Neurohacking - Tutorials|
|Written by NHA|
|Wednesday, 22 October 2014 12:10|
Neurohacking Tutorial 12
Creativity, Bonding and Play
Updated October 2014
In this tutorial we will be exploring creativity from various perspectives, and its applications from the mundane to the amazing.
At this stage in NH we should be able to start taking a multi-dimensional view of things from different perspectives (for example physical, behavioral, chemical, psychological). We will do this in various contexts here; framing different perspectives as different dimensions which coordinate together to provide as much data as possible about the subject. Studying creativity in this way will enable us to understand its roles in learning, play, unconscious processing, interaction and relationships. We'll also be looking at the practical ways we can use creativity and play to improve our minds, our relationships, and our lives.
Creativity, play and bonding have a mutually catalytic relationship; that means whichever one we practice will improve our ability in the others. We'll explore that relationship in this tutorial.
By the end of this tutorial you should be up to date with all the latest research on creativity and the creative process, understand how to use creativity to augment overall intelligence, recognize the difference between 'adherence' and bonding in relationships, and know how to construct multi-dimensional views for easier learning, planning, decision-making and problem-solving.
But first, the basics:
Follow the right habit
Habituation is necessary; it is part of the brains efficiency of processing. Habituation frees energy and attention to play with (and therefore learn) from the next novel experience. Like rungs on a spiral ladder the art of creative play with its implicit learning creates a new and more expansive foundation for the next round of play and development. By design this ‘cycle of competence’ never ends, or should not. We are designed to creatively play with life for our entire life.
In this tutorial we'll be working to practice and establish good habits; one of them is getting used to approaching things with an open, playful attitude. This is practicing creativity's 'open mode' (see below); and another is getting a perspective on the truth and reality by replacing the habit of using the framing provided in counterfeit games, ie, beyond mainstream 'hearsay'; by cultivating the habit of looking at -focusing our attention on- the facts that are currently available. This is practicing creativity's 'closed mode' (see below). And it is important that we also upgrade our knowledge of the facts, as there is still a lot of nonsense talked about creativity, just as there is about imagination.
Let's begin by considering how most people currently frame 'creativity' from a psychological perspective in the mainstream counterfeit game, 'society's ideal self' (we can expect to reframe it much more accurately later as we get more of the big picture).
For some 'creativity' means being imaginative or inventive, taking risks or challenging convention. For others it is about original thinking, or producing something that nobody has come up with before.
Most people imagine creativity as a kind of mysterious gift one has to be born with, something to do with genes and/or genius, possibly, although they never quite explain how... Others tell us creativity just needs constant application and sufficient practice in any field in order to blossom, so go and do your piano practice.
It's a rehash of the old, nature-nurture argument again but thanks to research we are now able to provide the answer, and it's the usual answer we find in the new paradigm to 'either-or' questions like this: some of BOTH are necessary.
Think about it. -Whatever genes we do have 'for creativity' are of no use to us if they are never expressed. What prompts gene expression? -Okay, lots of things do, but in this instance we are thinking of the old favorite -nothing builds up network density like 'using it in the right way'- practice and experience. Strong creativity requires that we develop as intended, via interaction with our environment, our culture, ourselves, and others. Any intelligent mind, developing as biology intended and given the right input, cannot fail to develop creativity; just as a healthy body, given good food, water and exercise, cannot fail to develop muscles.
The idea that there are 'creative people' who can do things we cannot just perpetuates the myth that creativity is about special people doing special things. Research shows that there is no specific 'type' of person or 'behavioral trait' associated with creativity. It is possible to be creative in any activity that engages our intelligence because intelligence itself is essentially creative. Creative processes are rooted in the imagination and our lives are shaped by the ideas we use to give them meaning. We all have creative capacities but in many instances we do not know what they are or how to draw on them.
To say that creativity is a natural part of everyones development is to place the responsibility on ourselves for cultivating it (just as we must cultivate a healthy body). Healthy development leads to an increase in creative ability for everyone; not just those who have been told they are (or consider themselves) 'special'. There is nothing special about healthy development, even when it's no longer 'the norm'. We all have the potential to be highly creative.
system requirements for creativity
1. A dynamic platform
Creativity is an instigator of dynamic change, and currently the only creatures we know of who are consciously creative have dynamic biological brains for their platform (although the idea of creative machines is being heartily explored). 
Humans employ basic creative thinking automatically in everything from emergencies to everyday life, and these automatic responses are normally quite robust across various mind-states. But when we choose to employ creativity consciously and with purpose or design, we need to achieve specific states of mind conducive to its emergence. Our brain platform of interactive networks is therefore dynamic and capable of achieving -and changing as required- the optimal physiological and chemical states for each part of the creative process.
These states or 'modes' include an 'open' mode -a relaxed, open-minded state often accompanied by daydreaming or the musings of an inspired imagination; this state is optimal for input, inspiration and new ideas.
Creativity also employs a 'closed' or 'focused' mode -a state of focused attention that can be maintained over long periods of time (tenacity), when we are bringing creative ideas into actuality; and a 'uniting' or 'bonding' mode, during which creative insight and/or 'Zoning' may occur.
It is virtually impossible to get the mind into any of these states if we are habitually anxious, because the chemistry of anxiety turns off blood supply to the very parts of the platform we need to use for these processes -the frontal lobes (this is why new ideas and solutions to problems come less and less frequently as anxiety rises). Emotionally, we need to feel both safe enough to create and motivated (inspired) to do so, and anxiety is the main platform issue that can prevent creativity.
Creativity is often passionate, which requires emotional stability in order to be beneficial. In an anxious mind strong feeling is likely to exacerbate sentiment along with the accompanying psychoses. This is one reason why we should not work on enhancing creativity before reasonable emotional stability (particularly anxiety control) is achieved.
The second most common platform-based reason for lack of creative development is if rear nets, or their abilities (such as attention) have either not been developed or are stuck in habits of wrong use. It's impossible to direct creativity if the brain networks intended to facilitate it are too sparse, although this can be reversed via plasticity with practice. The rule 'always do things in the right order' is once again a law here, because the processes we use for conscious creativity using frontal networks need supporting unconscious subroutines from rear nets. The unconscious parts of our mind need to be firmly connected to the conscious parts, because unconscious processing interacting with conscious processing is essential for the creative process to unfold.
This should seem obvious. -Of what use are unconscious ideas, insights, knowledge or realizations if we can never become consciously aware of them? It would be as pointless as having an ever-growing library that we were never able to access. Unconscious-conscious bonding is essential for a creative intelligence, and we shall explore this further below.
Platform problems with supporting networks DO have to be sorted out before creativity can fully develop, and only consistent good habits of practice with (the correct) input fixes & develops networks.
! Warning -If you practice creativity enhancement before you have emotional control, you WILL get problems. Metaphorically speaking, Network 4 wants to sit N3 in its lap and play together, creatively coordinating their 'life stories'. Psychologically speaking, our conscious mind needs to communicate, interact, and play with our unconscious mind. From there it gets the story-input for its rendering of 'the game', and its own stories are input for the rest of the brain. Our conscious mind consequently has (or should have) a natural 'nurturing' attitude towards the unconscious; because unconscious nets are the source of all its input and so valued highly. The equally-playful conscious mind, of course, also wants to design and define itself (and we'll be looking at how that develops into a healthy dynamic personality in future tutorials).
Bodies and brains burn chemical fuel for energy on the concrete level, but we also need electrochemical neurotransmission to enable motivation and inspiration on the psychological level, in order for creativity to emerge (some call this the 'creative drive'), and in order to bring the imaginary into reality via various media. We also need a great deal of energy to maintain what we call 'staying power'; the tenacity and determination to put sufficient sustained effort into bringing our creative works through to completion. Half-finished projects don't become part of our culture or of our creative output.
Necessity may provide motivation for some otherwise uninspired humans (and other animals) to be unexpectedly creative in order to solve problems (the reason it is referred to as the 'mother of invention'). Otherwise, inspiration only happens when there is enough emotional weighting on a concept -an idea, a situation, an event, a person, a story- to enable our focused attention with enough resilience against distraction to initiate a 'creative burn'.
Our brains burn 8 calories an hour while we're just sitting on our asses passively reading this tutorial (the average human, at rest, produces around 100-120 watts of power,) and any further mental effort requires sufficient fuel for energy. Importantly, it's not enough to employ optimal nutrition. Although this may fill the bloodstream with nutrients that produce optimal fuel; we have to ensure sufficient blood-flow to the brain's frontal regions to enable those nutrients to actually get there, and that means there can be no anxiety (because frontal-lobe blood flow is precisely what anxiety hormones shut down). Anxiety also prevents nutrient digestion. Yet again, 'doing things in the right order' is pushed into our faces. If most of our energy is diverted into anxious thinking and behavior, or attention is distracted by indigestion, healthy creativity is unlikely to blossom.
Lack of natural sleep is as major a cause of low energy, fatigue and poor concentration as lack of sufficient nutrition. This is an area that many miss because they think of it as trivial, but lack of natural sleep and dream time is now known to affect cognitive and creative functions strongly, and those who have made the change to natural sleep often notice big improvements in creative ability right away.
Input here means both 'stuff for inspiration' and 'materials to work with'. The most creative musicians listen to the best music collections and play the best instruments they can get, the most creative athletes watch the performances of their best predecessors and get the best gear available. The most creative research scientists study everybody elses experiments and use the best data & tech they can get their hands on.
Whatever way we choose to express our creativity, it's likely that some sort of tools and/or materials will be used in the creative process, and they too are 'input' to the situation.
Previous input also matters, because without sufficient 'storytelling' and creative play, imagination will be slow to develop (and creativity relies heavily on imagination). Likewise if sensorimotor input has been sparse, overall memory may be sparse. Different people at different stages of development will have different issues, so input control both for improving rear nets and for enhancing creativity will be individual to the individual (that means you must organize your own).
There are some universal guides: If we put crap in, we will get crap out. If we put nothing in, we will get nothing out. When good input reaches a critical mass, take a break for defragging.
Good habits of input control do a lot for creativity (not to mention general mental health). The more creative our input material is, the more creative our output will be, and by merging parts of the styles of others in different combinations we will put together our own eventual distinctive style (which is exactly what they did, when they began). Physicists today would not be at all the same physicists if they had never read Newton or Einstein, never imagined the things those dudes imagined. This is what we mean by 'standing on the shoulders of giants'; culture shares our collective realized imaginings through time; fictional, practical, technological, emotional, intellectual, artistic, scientific. Having access to as much of our culture as we currently do via the net is an astonishing privilege, and cutting ourselves off from good artistic/scientific input is pulling the plug on our own development.
This is not to say that we should simply copy others' work; there's no creativity in that; only modeling. A 3-D printer can do it; no offense to printers but it's not creative. To be creative we must try to do something new; something unknown using known methods and techniques (or we must invent new methods and techniques). Creation means making or doing something different or new, yet without prior input from others in our chosen field there is no background for creativity to develop. Modeling others' work, therefore, is another good habit for beginners, in order to practice varied styles and techniques and to define our own.
Good Habits of Practice Build Networks
Once we have these basic system requirements: a well-developed, balanced platform; sufficient energy to be creative and carry plans through; and a critical mass of good input; interaction between our mind and the input is what allows our creativity to emerge or increase (and indeed, if we provide these three needs, it is almost impossible NOT to get creative ideas).
The series of interactions required in creativity form a program -the creative process. It is very similar to the learning process because since all play is in the service of learning and survival, it's actually a variant of the same thing, and we will be exploring this in more detail below.
Before we can express any deliberate creative ideas at all, however, a critical mass of habitual practice with our chosen creative media is necessary. The methodology of creativity; its techniques within our chosen media, have to be learned like any other methodology, whether we are painting, ballet dancing, doing mathematics, gardening, programming, playing music or doing rocket science. This is learning to use the tools of creativity in our chosen field/s; not the creative process itself (although both are likely to be going on at the same time, since we learn about things only by playing with them.) Competence in the field and with any materials necessary is always the prelude to deep creative exploration. Whatever field we choose, practice IS going to be necessary with its tools and methods, and we need plenty of it if competence is to result.
It takes plenty of exploration with any medium to get the practical, behavioral use of that medium 'automatic enough' for us not to have to pay attention to it any more. This is a reality we face in all of our creative endeavors; from learning to walk to doing differential calculus; a critical mass of practice is always needed to 'make things automatic'. Attention needs to be available in order for the creative process to run, and if we are still busily paying attention to how to hold a tool or trying to remember a formula or working out which key does what, we are already too occupied to focus attention for long periods of time.
Importantly, 'practice' does not mean 'hard at work'; it means 'hard at play' in an enriched environment (and here an enriched environment is one which inspires us to be creative and provides the tools/ materials for us to do so). If we never encounter and play with a musical instrument, for example, we will obviously be deprived of the option to choose playing music as a means to express our creativity. Inspiring input is found by exploring varied input from our culture, and the greater our experience of different creative media, the greater our capacity for creativity. Have you ever tried gypsy dancing, sculpting, playing the flute or painting with oils? How do you know what you would feel like doing it? It could be a totally inspiring experience or the best fun we've had in ages, but we'll never know unless we play with it, at least once. Trying out (playing with) lots of different things and ideas enables us to gravitate towards our favorite creative media and also directs the nature of epigenetic change (if our creative behaviors require further network connections or genes to be activated for physical or mental dexterity, practice (play) will do the activating, including enlarging the density -and even size- of any specialist networks required.) 
for you: bonding
On our side in any creative endeavor or in developing/improving creativity, are several subroutines that we are already familiar with -embodiment, sync and bonding. Different ways of expressing creativity use different combinations of these; for example, sync is much more vital in bonding when playing music creatively with others or dancing together than it is in carving a statue or writing a thesis, sensorimotor embodiment is necessary for bonding in creative endeavors involving tools, animals, musical instruments or machinery; this is what is meant by 'becoming one' (bonding) with the creative medium; where our behavior adapts to automatically include the tool or machine in our own neurokinetics.
Some sort of bonding is always vital for creativity. Mainly, unconscious-conscious bonding enables both creative insight and 'the Zone' states in which we experience either unique ideas or the flow of events as though they are 'moving through us' rather than coming from us. We often hear musicians or gamers discuss this 'special state' -and what many fail to realize is that all creative endeavors can and should achieve it. 'Zoning' is immensely pleasant emotionally and is part of our 'reward' for pursuing entelechy (optimal development) through creative play (interaction). It floods our brains with lots of nice neurotransmitters, including endogenous opioids.
We learned about bonding in tutorial 10; how it can function to transfer information between the creator and their media, and between the audience and the creation. We are also aware from past tutorials of emotional applications for bonding -the bonds we make in different kinds of interactive, creative relationships with each other (friendship, lust, fellowship, nurturing, respect and love).
We already know that we make bonds whenever interaction happens. For examples, physiologically two networks bond (connect) together when interaction happens between their neurons. In perception and learning, a new percept bonds with our known body of concepts in memory when association / categorization by metaphorization (interaction between our minds and the input) happens, and a new long term memory is born (emerges).
We can at this stage see how, in the processes of our perception, memory and learning; a metaphorical AND physical 'bridge' is built by bonding between our known body of concepts and the new unknown percepts coming in as input. We know that this 'bridge-building' requires there to be a critical mass of points of similarity (association) between the new percepts and the known concepts; (between ourselves and another person; between one idea and another) in order for the new percepts to make sense and 'fit in' with the rest.
The 'bridge' is a bond on these two dimensions -it is a literal physical bond (a connection) between neurons, while at the same time being an associational, metaphorically-represented bond between a new percept and known concepts. In other words, these are both physical-dimension connections and psychological-dimension connections; and this is so fundamental to intelligence that without these constant 'mini-bonds'; connections forming at a cellular level that upgrade our brain architecture and memory; we can't learn anything new or form any memories, let alone be creative.
The same bonding process is at work in developing creativity -but this time we're building a series of inter-network bridges; main data highways, busses between concrete and abstract; unconscious and conscious, rear networks and frontal lobes, right and left hemispheres.
However, there is no need to look for any 'extra procedure' here. Bonding through creative interaction IS the procedure that constructs new brain 'pathways' formed via plasticity, regardless of their size; and we now know that bonds begin to form between brain cells almost immediately as humans (and other animals) learn a new task. All creative play is in the service of natural learning and all natural learning is always in the service of development. We already know that bonding, with its attendant emotional weighting, is essential not only in all close relationships but also for our own development, which is catalyzed through a series of bondings; from the most immediate basic concrete bonds in the womb to the final complex abstract bonds with mind and intelligence itself. To develop fully, every network must make its appropriate bonds.
It's clearly obvious that our first network's physical bond is essential for development. -Without a placenta 'interface' and a womb, we cannot currently develop intelligent human life beyond a few cells. It's also fairly obvious that N2's bonds with allies (carers) are necessary for development too; for biologically we are no exception here -any baby mammal abandoned without a carer is not going to survive.
What's maybe not so obvious is that every other network needs its bonds too; network 3 for example needs its environmental bonds to 'tune us in' so that we can adapt to get the best resources from our environment and maintain an ongoing symbiotic interaction with it over time.
In Tutorial 11 we learned about bonding on two other dimensions that we will explore further below: bonding with our culture (through its input interacting with our creative output); and the bonding of our unconscious knowledge to conscious awareness (congruity). Without these connections there is no input that will serve to enable creative development (and research has revealed that our creative development forms the basis for all our higher functions).
Against you: adherence
Adherence is what happens in a dysfunctional system instead of bonding.
If we lack the ability to connect our unconscious mind to our conscious awareness, further bonding (and so further development) cannot happen. The real self is buried as society's programming replaces biology and emotion with artifice (counterfeit games) and sentiment, anxiety leading to insecurity, dependence and adherence.
We can take a multi-dimensional view of adherence here in order to get more practice creating multidimensional views: Adherence usually goes hand in hand with playing counterfeit games, and it manifests on the physical dimension as an obsessive-compulsive attachment to material objects, which are sought in the erroneous belief (under advice from the game) that they can somehow reduce the anxiety and make us 'safer'; consequently the average anxious person feels insecure without an ongoing supply of material goods. Usually material objects are valued much more highly than people. This type of adherence is often accompanied by depression and/or apathy.
The behavioral dimension of adherence manifests as addiction: habits such as excessive and compulsive shopping, binging, gambling, eating, TV-watching, drinking, drug-use and generally 'consuming'; the biggest addiction we face planetwide and the cause of most personal debt, waste, famine and pollution. Peer pressure and the fear of not appearing 'normal' have complicated this behavior with multiple confounding variables, and assessing the details of how addiction takes over peoples lives is too off topic to be covered here, however all details point to wrong input and anxiety as the root cause, in correlation with lack of bonding. Adherence behavior can manifest together with kleptomania, hoarding /collecting useless objects, mania, or paranoia.
We can spot adherence in the emotional dimension most easily wherever we see 'clingy' insecure or dependent behavior; wherever somebody has an obsessive-compulsive attachment to somebody else. Both extro- and intro-modes can exhibit adherence as 'clinginess' in relationships; extro-bully behavior is aggressively clingy and expresses domination, 'possession' (the other person is an object); and control (No you can't go out by yourself! Because I say so!); intro-bully behavior is helplessly clingy and expresses need (Please don't go out without me! I couldn't live without you!) Both ultimately fear loss and rejection.
An extro-bully mode coerces others to maintain adherence through fear of harm, threats and physical violence (I'll kill you if you try to leave), an intro-bully mode coerces others to maintain adherence through pity, sympathy, fear of blame/guilt and emotional blackmail (I'll kill myself if you try to leave).
Wimp mode behaviors pander to both types through fear (intro) or sympathy (extro). A bully mode agenda tries to change others into what they want others to be (usually replacement parents or faithful servants), a wimp mode agenda (the victim) is to be dependent and be told what to do; hopefully by the replacement parent. Both make the worst kind of parents themselves, because power relations have broken down and both treat other people, including children, as material objects; -things that pacify anxiety and which can be owned and controlled - not as equal partners. Neither do they take responsibility for themselves, laying any 'blame' for a failing relationship on each other. Emotional adherence often co-manifests with paranoia, depression, bipolar affective disorder, confabulation and possible delusion.
The adherent relationship closed loop
Adherent relationships are dependent and static; they tend to go round in circles where the same basic problems repeat and only the details change. The circle runs like this:
1 Alice and/or Bob feel anxious without a partner. They go out looking for someone they believe might pacify their anxiety. Their current perception is modified by an optimistic, uninhibited, open-minded mood (and often, alcohol).
2 Alice meets Bob. They start to interact and in this congenial, uninhibited mood they notice (and remember) only the best things about each other. Anxiety is pacified for a while and they both feel great. Lust increases and this blossoms into an exciting, playful, rewarding sexual relationship (NB, this is not love).
3 Pacification measures and optimistic moods are temporary in the face of rising anxiety and both partners begin to develop dissatisfaction, disillusion, and yet a growing fear of 'losing' each other over time (dependence) partly based on peer pressure (what would others think if they had no partner?) and partly based on counterfeit framing (a person is like an object that can be 'lost'). Alice and/or Bob starts feeling more and more insecure once again, and each blames their partner for their failure to resolve anxiety and dissatisfaction (projection). Their perception is now warped by anxiety and they start to see (and remember) only the worst things about each other; feeding other habitual sentiments such as hatred and anger.
4 Both are swamped by anxiety. After a critical mass of rowing and exchange of angry sentiment, one or the other can't handle the hassle anymore and leaves.
1 Alice and/or Bob feel anxious without a partner. They go out looking for someone they believe may pacify their anxiety...
...Notice how we've come full circle here. This is a static lifestyle and no further development can take place. The only way to break out of such habitual circles is to go looking for something WITHIN OURSELVES that will reduce anxiety, (because that's where it is) -and that's the relaxation response. Changing our own habits of using sentiment and allowing genuine emotion, taking control of our own moods in the way biology intended, makes us emotionally self-sufficient and resilient against anxiety. Once we feel happy as ourselves, we can then play creatively (interact) with new people for long enough to form real bonds with affection, lust and love.
It's easy to tell the two kinds of relationships apart: In adherence, Alice and Bob disappear as individuals and a new entity, 'Alice&Bob' appears, often marked by marriage (another synthetic construct) and limitations on their behavior now that were not expected before. In healthy relationships, Alice and Bob still exist, there are no limitations on their behavior but there is now a third entity; 'Alice&Bob' that can achieve things each cannot do alone. Healthy partners maintain their individuality and lives as well as devoting time to close relationships. Freedom and ability to interact are not lost but increased.
Most problems with sexual relationships are due to lying and based on adherence (fear of loss if others see our real selves). People are not honest with each other in the first place (and often, themselves) about their own desire for sexual monogamy or polygamy, for fear they will be rejected. Lying about our own biological instincts is not a good way to begin a relationship. Pretending to be anything other than ourselves is also dishonest; not a good way to treat a possible future ally.
An honest relationship that forms real bonds and maintains core conditions will not get stuck in this loop, but both partners must be aware of anxiety and deliberately choose to break out of it by their own free will via core conditions for optimal relationships to form. Those who are caught up in treating others as 'objects to pacify their own anxieties', sexual or otherwise, will miss out on the experiences -and the development- deep relationships bring.
Psychologically adherence occurs as obsessive-compulsive attachment to synthetic constructs and ideas other people made up (such as religions, cults, political systems, gods, schools, myths, nations, societies) which we are conditioned to embody and then behave as though they are a real part of us personally and that an offense against them is an offense against us (to the extent that some will actually go out and die 'for them'). In this form of adherence the inverse of treating people like objects appears: fictional constructs (imaginary objects) are metaphorized as and treated like people. In real life, nothing can 'threaten a nation', because a 'nation' is a fictional construct which has no physical body, life, awareness or emotions.
Causing an immediate ideological dilemma when encountering those adhered to opposing synthetic constructs (other nations/religions/political groups), when in bully mode this type of adherence tends to induce bar fights, racist wars, gangster wars, religious extremism, planetwide conflicts and riots at football matches; it commonly results in loss of teeth, brain injury, or death due to blunt force trauma via fists or ballistic missiles. This is humans at their worst and their most dysfunctional, and this type of adherence unfortunately usually co-presents with arrogance, delusion, early-onset alzheimers and megalomania. This is not, as we have learned throughout history so far, a good combination.
In wimp modes, conversely, this type of adherence turns people into slaves, either desperately trying to be society's ideal self, loyally serving/worshipping the bullies for life (extro), or disappearing into the homeless, nameless, unseen ranks as a stereotypical 'loser' (intro).
On the cognitive dimension we see adherence as obsessive-compulsive attachment to money for its own sake; in the belief that this somehow prevents anxiety by controlling changes. The fact that it doesn't may never reach conscious awareness, or it may (and if it does, it can cause deep disillusion with a danger of impulsive suicide). In bully mode it can manifest together with mania, confabulation, self-delusion and excessive narcissism (extro) or hoarding, self-isolation, and paranoia (intro). Serious 'wimp mode' sufferers have been found living out their lives in phobic miserliness, enduring poverty, cold and hunger, with a secret cash stash of millions which they believed against all reason must 'never be touched'.
In the big picture (coordination or summary) of adherence, then: on all dimensions adherence reveals dissociation between unconscious and conscious processing; anxiety has turned off most of conscious logic and reason (although a shallow, surface 'cleverness' may well remain if intellect is strong.) Relationships are based on insecurity, dependence and an anxious need for constant comforting. There are not equal power relations in adherent relationships, and nor can there be bonding (adherence usurps the same networks that bonding should use). Some people can display several types of adherence. Adherence has a strong correlation across all dimensions with OCD and chronic addictive as well as manic-depressive behavior.
Adherence limits creativity development by its prevention of bonding, by exacerbating neurochemical imbalance and feelings of personal insecurity, and by investing large amounts of time and energy on unnecessary defensive or pointless repetitive action/reaction behaviors rather than in interactive and creative behaviors.
You can probably see how each type of adherence correlates with particular counterfeit games, and maybe recognize some of their possible stereotype characters (e.g., 'Scrooge' -the old miser; 'stand by your man' -the frightened little mouse whose partner beats them up; 'limpet' -the insecure girl/boyfriend who won't let go someone's hand; 'loudmouth twat' -the drunk thug or fanatic who beats up members of the opposing team/color/religion; the 'sexual harrassment fondler'; 'lardass'; 'bimbo' ...But let's not digress too far... )
In order to create, and even in order to make bonds, intelligence must be secure enough to bond and engage in dynamic creative play; interaction; the process of discovery, learning and growth. When repetitive bad habits of thought and behavior like adherence take over, creative thought -and so development- often slows down or stops altogether. Closed-mindedness and static lifestyles also tend to become habitual in counterfeit games, accompanied by a rising fear of change and the unknown; which, it is believed, society keeps people 'safe from'.
“The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.”
What people are being kept 'safe from' (isolated from) is the possibility of full (or any further) mental development. In order to reinitiate that development, we must recognize and use creative play in every aspect of our lives. This is not at all difficult if we know the basics, which is what this tutorial is for.
A free intelligent person being their real self is a unity of interactive conscious and unconscious mind, bonded firmly with reality, their allies, their culture and their world. Self-Programmable from the bottom up, cooperative and self-motivated, a mature mind has infinite possibility.
The main counterfeit-reality game, 'Society's Ideal Self' programs the conscious mind to permanently separate from and abandon the unconscious; leaving the resulting conscious mind isolated, programmable and vulnerable to coercion from the top down (and the success of such coercion relies on that unconscious/conscious split being maintained), with resulting chronic anxiety. Our mental health declines whenever this happens, and the resulting personality ends up 'split' between what biology wants and what society wants; between what our minds and bodies need to develop healthily and what we're told we 'should' want (and preferably, buy).
points of view
The section above on adherence is an example of taking a multidimensional view. We can use this technique of framing subjects in their various dimensions in order to creatively consider all possibilities of an issue, problem, thing or event. Our unconscious can already do this; we have the software. We are designed to learn to bring this process into conscious awareness during development in order to enable our intellectual and creative abilities to attend fully to any issue.
Taking a multidimensional view is something we can all do deliberately once we have seen an example. Here is a multidimensional view of an apple:
Physical/sensorimotor: its a fruit.
Behavioral/spatial: they grow on the trees over by the hill five minutes walk away and & we can eat them when they're ripe.
(Neuro)chemical/eidetic: I love apples. I remember the ones grandpa used to grow... (+ loadsa pages)
Psychological/procedural: an apple is associated with temptation in some mythologies, others associate it with fertility...(+ loadsa pages)
Cognitive/declarative: The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, Malus domestica of the rose family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widely ... (+ loadsa pages)...
Holistic/anthropocentric: its good food!
Our 'summary pov; the 'holistic/anthropocentric', operates on the 'need to know' basis of conclusions held in working memory, which we'll explore in future tutorials. This works well for biology as it is robust across different sets of details (eg, the summary conclusion would work equally well if the fruit were called a 'Pomme' or a 'Taganazi fruit', whether it grew on a bush or a tree, over here or over there), we have grasped the most important thing about it we 'need to know' as humans: the correct conclusion that 'from our pov it's good food.' This holds true even if we don't like apples -a mature healthy mind is able to clearly differentiate between facts (eg, 'they are good human nutrition') and personal preferences (eg, 'I personally dislike the taste').
DO IT NOW -practice multidimensional perspectives:
Choose one of the following and construct a multidimensional view of the subject in less than 100 words:
I couldn't live without:
list 6 things you believe you couldn't live without.
See end of tutorial for notes.
Creativity: the story so far
“We think; therefore we are. We create; therefore we are human.”
Creativity is the fountainhead of human culture. All human thriving, progress and innovation depend on our creative ability to change existing thinking patterns, break with the present, imagine and build something new or do something different. It's what makes our species such flexible, adaptive opportunists. The intent towards entelechy is what drives us to behaviors such as working with fire instead of just running away from it.
Given the central importance of this seemingly extraordinary capacity of the human mind, one would think that the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of creative thinking would have been the subject of intense research efforts in the behavioral and brain sciences throughout history. After all, to study creative ideas, and how and where they arise in the brain, is to approach a defining element of structure and function that makes us human. Innovation through imagination and creativity not driven by immediate need are the uniquely human characteristics that set us apart from other primates. Yet the public (and even researchers) are only just starting to associate creativity with science and study it effectively with scientific methods. -Why such sparsity of research?
System requirements for research
New discovery and learning in any field relies on its context to progress. A supportive context for emergence (of anything) must provide a platform, energy and input. A critical mass of past discovery in any given area presents the possibility of new discovery from already-existing data, if the current context is supportive of new discovery. Technology and discovery bootstrap each other and an increase in technological progress often kickstarts a period of enlightenment whenever it coincides with a more autonomous, less paranoid cultural context.
Times of 'supportive context' where conditions are ripe for new discovery occur when culture is allowed to progress without hindrance or imposed boundaries from society, and we call such periods in history a 'renaissance' (a 'rebirth'), or an 'enlightenment period'. Such times go hand in hand with creative 'booms' -we see new progress in technology, new methods, new paradigms, innovation and new discovery; we are entering such a period currently (2014) and may expect the pace of cultural progress to increase accordingly, as indeed it has.
During such times, society often does the right thing (such as framing scientific research or exploration as beneficial and supporting them,) for the wrong reasons (such as fighting wars or stealing resources), but the benefits to cultural progress in terms of discovery are still manifold, even though we often have to learn what NOT to create and enormous quantities of resources are wasted blowing each other up.
During the last such period (14th -17th centuries), despite rapid progress in engineering and discovery our culture was not yet equipped with either the technology to explore complex mental functions or the wealth of supporting data we now have from which to extrapolate. So although the framing of reality during the last Renaissance provided good conditions for creativity research, the opportunity was premature; neuroscience itself was embryonic and in many areas even the practical exploration of anatomy was forbidden.
We must remember that for a long time prior to the Renaissance most of western society was running religious-based games whose rules for being 'god's ideal self' forbade exploration of anything that might cast doubt on their veracity. Whilst performance arts can largely be coerced into reaffirming any counterfeit game by representing its propaganda, and funding for new invention can be given or withheld, new discovery cannot be undiscovered; so explorative sciences such as 'natural history' (biology, archaeology, geology), psychology and astronomy are some of the most dangerous areas for religion-based games, as they tend to come up with the most inconvenient facts. With death or imprisonment (and definitely no funding) for anyone whose discoveries might contradict the established -albeit unfounded- claims of the game's 'representatives of god', understandably, progress was slow.
Incongruous metaphoric framing
Humans first began our cultural ascent without any instruction manual for playing with the universe. Our starting tools were creativity and imagination. There were no known rules, borders or boundaries, and seemingly infinite possibility. Everything we have invented since has come from the interaction of mind and reality; even though mind is clearly a part of reality itself, with measurable properties. Everything we have been able to share throughout the history of discovery and invention has been passed on through our culture. The cumulative explorations of art-science have resulted in our slowly putting together our instruction manual for playing with the universe, and the more we learn of its laws, the better we are enabled to interact with it ever more adeptly.
From that beginning, throughout our history until a couple of centuries ago when large scale societal schooling caught on, human culture framed science and art as one; and this is a congruous view because throughout our species' creative exploration of technology and methods and materials, our real life experience was that the development of our conscious knowledge-as-information about facts, the behavior and properties of materials, mathematics, natural laws, measurement, analysis and synthesis went hand in hand with the development of our knowledge-as-ability in practical arts such as construction, toolmaking, engineering, reading, writing, tailoring, dyeing, painting, pottery, sculpture and metalworking. In all of our learning rationality confirmed insight, and all technological development involved creativity.
By nature we are polymaths as well as specialists and all of our endeavors, even learning itself, are creative. There is no possibility of our inventing or making a new tool or a new method unless we have first creatively imagined how it could be useful or would make things easier. There is no real understanding of a fact without creative imagining of how it applies to reality. This is how concepts are made -once we can imagine a thing, then we can build the connections necessary to represent it; and we must be able to represent it in our minds (imagine it) before we can represent it in real concrete materials (construct it).
By the 17th century in europe it was considered that the arts of painting, sculpture, literature, architecture, engineering, mathematics and science should be comprehended by all intelligent people. This universal polymathy was the sign of the 'renaissance man'; considered 'learned in all the arts'.
Subjects were ALL 'the arts'. There was the art of natural science, the art of chemistry, the art of surgery, the art of mathematics, the art of storytelling, and so on. A scientist or engineer was expected to be just as creative as a musician; each in their own context. The word 'art' was defined as the practice and techniques and abilities to be grasped within any subject, leading to the ability to interact competently within that subjects context; as is meant in 'The art of flyfishing' or 'the martial arts'; and these terms still make sense to us today in congruity with our unconscious associations.
In the 1800s, for those playing 'society's ideal self', the game details changed. In many places, politicians and merchants ('ruling families'; today called 'multinationals') were starting to replace priests in terms of wealth and therefore credibility and societal control. Although this reduced the hazard of new discovery upsetting god, part of the reason for the lack of creativity research since then has been due to the artificial separation of the concepts of art and science as societies attempted to impose new boundaries on culture via a schooling and IT model (media) based on a conditioning system for public control.
The reframing of knowledge to conform to school curricula rather than reality disrupted our science/art associations; making it nearly impossible to study 'art' and 'science' subjects simultaneously and splitting formal language ('science') from metaphoric language (which necessitated, absurdly, separating 'language' from 'literature'; the former being 'science', the latter 'art').
During the last two centuries there has been an ongoing persistent attempt to continue framing sciences and arts as separate -and at one point even as opposing- pursuits. 'Science' was seen as dealing with facts, organization and measurement and rules about physical matter; things that are well defined and predictable and required a high IQ or at least familial wealth; whereas 'Art' involved freedom to act more intuitively and required some sort of genetic (or even divine) 'gift' for creativity. Even poor people could do it!
Creativity was all about art, which apparently had nothing to do with science. Separation rather than integration had occurred and a false polarity was created (and at the same time, unconscious knowledge was divorced from conscious awareness in yet another area). There were at this point two alternative 'directions of study' to go in mainstream education -one of art/creativity, one of science/intellect. Some believed that the two disciplines were performed entirely by separate halves of the brain, and that we couldn't ever master both -whichever one we could do depended on either 'our genes' or 'gods gifts'. This belief spread despite the obvious fact in everybody's face that ALL new invention -including experiment design and mathematical formulation- requires both creativity and intellect. -Never expect logic in counterfeit games.
As for the choices in schools; well, 'Creative people' did arts, and 'Intellectuals' did science. Art could be associated with spirituality, divine gifts, and emotions. Science most certainly could not. Research on emotion, imagination, aesthetics and creativity suffered accordingly.
To some extent, the belief that it was not possible to investigate certain aspects of the human mind prevented any such exploration. Within the parochial framing of a system designed to condition behavior, only those rare few fortunate enough to emerge with both 'artistic' and 'scientific' abilities intact would have been aware of the truth; knowing as they did that they used exactly the same mental abilities and procedures in both pursuits; attention, concentration, imagination, memory, synthesis of ideas, and so on. Yet suddenly in the 20th century if a person was able to do both they were breaking the rules of 'society's ideal self'. Good for them. Everybody else assumed the arbitrarily imposed division was in some way essentially true because either 'the teacher said so' or 'the teacher said god said so', and most people were conditioned not to question the competence or genuineness (let alone the potential hazard) of either self-appointed or divine authorities.
Conditioning prevents creativity
'Many teachers feel strongly that current priorities and pressures in education inhibit the creative abilities of young people.' 
The overall message of conditioning is this: “You will learn to automatically do what you are told”. It is only just now being realized that the pressure on teachers to cover society's mandatory curriculum content in order to process pupils for standard national examinations inhibits the development of the learning methodologies, conditions and relationships that foster creativity, curiosity and robust intelligence. However, since the effectiveness of conditioning is what is being measured (in terms of declarative memory attainment and repetition), it is perhaps not surprising that many teachers and parents (and most especially employers) still view the promotion of creativity, imagination and innovation as unnecessary, or even distractions from the real business of schools - to prepare supply chains of well-conditioned workers for society's job market via conditioning and to test conformity to that conditioning in declarative tests and examinations.
Schooling -and other societal conditioning via media- concentrates on the relevance of each subject only in context of society's counterfeit games, ignoring overall associations with the big picture of genuine reality. In the game, you are conditioned to do the tasks you do NOT because they make sense to you and make you feel good, but because somebody 'more important' (in bully mode) has told you to do them and convinced you that you have no other options; that your only safe life choice is to keep on playing this game and obeying the rules.
During the late 20th century in many places the trend in conditioning shifted to passive aggressive rather than active aggressive form. Your teacher or boss or master no longer beat you with a stick; they now threatened your personal freedom, your social status, and your family's financial security via 'official legislation' (a bunch of extra made-up rules) if you did not do as you were told.
This was by no means true everywhere; many societies still preferred to run a god-based game with good old fashioned 'death for disobedience' rules; but regardless of the game details, pre-internet it had become increasingly more difficult in the western societal school/work context for anyone to grasp the big picture -the actual relevance of what we learn and do to its genuine context -humanity, reality, our real lives and the real world.
To date (2014), school pupils are shown each subject's associations only from the top down in context of its relevance in counterfeit games (ie, 'you do this because you will get more money if you do this, and that's how you get others to respect you.'). There is no emphasis on the cultural facets or innate personal benefits of educating and developing ourselves, or the advantages of integrated knowledge and learning either to us personally or to our species. There is no invitation to join in our cultural heritage; we are taught to study it from afar as something 'experts' do. The underlying message of the current school curriculum is: 'You need to remember this stuff to pass these tests, in order to get a good position in society (getting a job/money/as many possessions as possible), because playing this game is the only way you will ever have a good life. Ours is the only game in town and if you don't play by the rules you'll be abandoned.'
...Before you point out any examples of successful, happy, real life, nonconformist people as evidence against this hypothesis, remember that it's only those who are stuck in the game who truly believe this, and they are not going to believe you.
From a real-life, big picture perspective we can see some underlying personal anxious agendas running here. What's REALLY being communicated is the paranoia that was conditioned into the teacher: 'I need to coerce enough of you dumbasses into remembering enough of this stuff to pass these exams or I'll lose my teaching job and risk having a shit life with no money and I will get abandoned'. Teachers (even those with the best intentions) are just as conditioned as the rest of us, and get trapped in the stereotypical roles of small-minded anxious slaves teaching the next generation how to be small-minded anxious slaves while deluding themselves that it's all for our own good. Also, most people externalize their own issues and paranoias via projection, and the illusion of self-control brought by apparently 'controlling' other people pacifies their own paranoia during bully mode.
Creativity poses a significant threat to conditioning techniques of all kinds because it employs our ability to interact via a powerful intelligence and recruits a potent mixture of free will, executive functions and personal responsibility; and all of these defend against conditioning. Creativity helps self-esteem and confidence to develop and anxiety falls; creative thought causes us to start playing with things; questioning things and changing things and trying out new things and developing the broad-minded views that come with the enhanced perspective bestowed by a genuine cultural education. Creative awareness, imagination and most especially curiosity, are the nemesis of counterfeit games. One day we might imagine the truth, and then where would society be?
Society as a conditioning system, then, needs creativity or imagination like we need a hole in the head. Consequently, personal interests (in students or teachers) play no part in schooling because there is no room for free will or natural interest let alone the developing brain's needs in preset, top down instruction aimed mainly at network 5. There is no foundation of experiential-related understanding or overall model of reality given to relate creative ideas to. Nobody is taught how to think well, how to question, how to seek out the truth, how to assess evidence for proof, because in conditioning the aim is to avoid both thinking and truth. Top down instruction creates a circle of parrots teaching parrots thousands of bits of unconnected information which in most cases remains unconnected to anything but the counterfeit game.
The replacement of learning with conditioning; of the real world (an enriched environment) with the classroom (an impoverished environment); the master (someone with whom we make a bond; whose abilities & knowledge we respect and desire to emulate) with the teacher (an unresponsive preconditioned conditioner); and play with work; brought about a population-wide decline in the conditions that enable creativity to develop, because conditioning relies on the enforced separation of our unconscious and conscious minds and creative ability relies heavily on their unification.
There is no room for creative thought in a conditioning system; in fact creativity is a hazard because it encourages questioning the status quo, inducing possible disobedience and even (horrors!) the threat of change. The separation of work (serving & obeying) and play (learning & creating) was now complete.
When an ability is framed as rare or is considered 'a gift' or 'extra' it attracts much less interest in mainstream science; and given that belief this response is reasonable; after all, any discoveries in such a field would only be relevant to a few 'gifted' individuals; nor would they result in any consumable product or service, as creativity (while it remains rare) does not present any problem to be solved, or rely on society's resources. The only problem with creativity for the mainstream now is its rarity, for if it is needed, an individual cannot personally acquire it with money. However, the game rules suggest that for as long as a safe, static situation can be maintained, with as little change as possible, there's no need for creativity. An efficient automated society such as a wasps' nest for example needs no creative solutions, no individuality and no cultural progress. Welcome to the machine.
Derogatory stereotypes and superstition
Enrolment (having to play a role) in this attempted static system has led in the first instance to generations of culturally-inept, school-conditioned frontloaders with an inability to be innovative (or often even imaginative) due to lack of any experience or examples (and this is one more reason why creativity was still a taboo subject during more recent psychology and neuroscience research), but more influentially in the second instance it has led to a superstitious fear of imagination and paranoia about creativity in general (because anything unknown causes confusion in a mind too anxious to comprehend mystery, and anxious people fear what they don't understand).
Consequently from the 1960s the association of creativity with woo-woo, mental instability and illicit drug use is the other main reason relevant research has remained sparse. 'Creative people' (yes, we know its a fictional category) have been consistently framed in derogatory stereotypical ways in the last century or so.
From a big picture perspective it is easy to see why this happened. Anxiety-driven power relations in conditioning lead to our acceptance of incongruous value-judgments (such as, poor people are poor because they are either lazy or stupid -therefore they are inferior). False beliefs such as this set up false polarities and dualism between people where unity formerly existed; creating opposing imaginary categories of 'us' and 'them': 'Intellectual people' (another fictional category) were presumed to have worked very very hard to become so clever, and framed themselves as rational, reliable, well balanced, wealthy, hard-working, sane, moral, ideal citizens; so help me god, -and, incidentally, in control of public media.
'Creative people' although often viewed privately as 'someone to coerce into making what we want', were framed publicly as melodramatic, overemotional, dependent, weak (prone to addiction, immoral behavior and mental illness), unreliable, poor, and generally inferior; possibly genetically inferior; -maybe, thought the superstitious, that's the price of their mysterious 'gift'...? These stereotypes have stuck fast for many years, and in mainstream society are partly still with us.
This particular pattern of subject positioning, based on anxiety about anything different (in this case anything which cannot be analyzed, dissected, measured, controlled and audited), is known as “We're okay, They're not ok”. These stereotypes have stuck fast for many years, and in mainstream society are partly still with us.
Nowhere was it considered -and it never is- that such subject positioning leads directly to dehumanization and social exclusion; and any group which finds itself framed as 'them' is not likely to thrive mentally in social situations. Subject positioning via stereotyping leads us to 'behave as though', -for example imagine if the news repeatedly told us, 'All people with blue eyes are highly likely to become schizophrenic' -how would that affect the social experiences of blue-eyed people? We'd soon see the effects of exclusion on mental health -followed by articles about the correlation 'proving' that blue eyed people had higher levels of depression and mental illness. Behave as though it's happening, and the brain will think it's happening.
DO IT NOW – recognizing incongruous subject positioning
...Zoom your mind out for a moment and let's consider from a big picture perspective why the “We're okay, They're not ok” perspective ALWAYS arises in counterfeit games.
In discourse analysis, stereotyping is called Incongruous Subject Positioning (ISP), and leads to dehumanization. Blind adherence to counterfeit game beliefs of this kind in the past have enabled behaviors such as slavery, murder, coercion and exploitation to seem as if they were (be framed as) justifiable and even 'good for' those groups being oppressed. So its useful to be able to spot ISP wherever it arises.
To grasp the limited repertoire of stereotyping, note how the exact same stereotypical associations more recently aimed at 'creative people' have been used in past counterfeit games for framing different subjects as 'us or them': discourse analysis shows us that this particular subject positioning of superior/inferior has been used in propaganda against many other 'Them' groups in the last century alone -Some such groups are women, gays, Jews, the poor, and black people. -Can you think of any others?
Clue: Think about the key stereotyping script lines about 'Them'; -such as, 'They're genetically inferior'; 'They're mentally unstable'; 'It's in their nature'; 'They need discipline'; 'They can't help being born that way'. All these scripts reveal the underlying superstition, 'They're inferior'.
Answers at end of tutorial
ISP is a major repeating pattern in counterfeit games which prevents individuals in the 'them' group gaining independence within the game via social credibility; we'll find these same accusations & assumptions wherever power relations go out of balance in any group or population and an arbitrary (fictional) polarized separation arises to justify unequal resource distribution. Such beliefs are always good indicators that those who hold them are caught up in the counterfeit game of 'society's ideal self -and will feel strong sentiments (anger, fear, hate) about 'people like THEM' (whoever 'they' are). This is a useful clue for assessing which groups or individuals to avoid in input control.
Back to the present: All these factors have affected the general public and mainstream sciences' attitude to creativity, and between them have more or less swept research on creativity & imagination under the carpet throughout the last two centuries or so. It is no surprise, then, from an overall perspective, that the experimental study of creativity did not develop apace with other areas of the psychological sciences.
Even in the recent past, simply avoiding the taboo subjects (emotion, imagination, creativity) was 'the norm' because, even if anyone made any headway exploring them, their work was likely to be largely ignored and would probably remain unheard of. Any research papers on 'that woo woo creativity/imagination pseudoscience nonsense' would almost certainly never be read by anyone who valued their funding...and since the field remained largely 'a black box' nobody saw any sensible reason for funding 'that sort' of research.
However today (2014), human culture, rational thinking, concepts of enlightenment and the 'age of reason' are currently coming back into popular awareness, largely due to the dynamic developments in technology and biology that help us perceive more of the truth and make the sort of discoveries possible which regularly kick a static society up its backside and thrust a new paradigm upon it, much like Darwin's work did.
There have, as we discussed above, been several of these 'enlightenment periods' throughout our history during which our cultural progress occurs much faster than at other 'less enlightened' periods. This time, the internet, imaging, biotech, gene sequencing and other technologies have led /are leading to a new cultural renaissance; the media (and scientists themselves) are once again portraying it as cool for scientists to be creative and artistic -in fact some are claiming it's essential for good scientists to be creative; and the general public is now being exposed to a new framing of creativity, imagination and ideas. Consequently, 'that sort' of research is now going ahead whether old-school frontloaders like it or not.
Copyrighting retards the modeling stage of the creative process
Because it is in our nature to learn by modeling the behavior -and constructs- of others, the practice of copyrighting new discovery or artistic creation has made it difficult for us to practice this part of our development and aspiring creatives can find it difficult to get experience in doing what they do without breaching copyright rules. Lack of access to technology reserved for the wealthy (software or hardware) has also caused problems; although many of these have been gotten around by creative minds via hacking. It is a sad measure of our times that people may have to break the law to get access to sufficient input to become a competent artist or musician. It is sadder still that people may have to break the law to access information from their own culture about developing and protecting their own mental health. Many scientists have thumbed their noses at this game rule, treating it as an 'illegal order' which for reasons of both moral and practical benefit we cannot endure.
Society had long ago gotten into the habit of trying to control creativity by letting its products in through 'the back door' -where 'agents', companies and employers made huge amounts of money out of other peoples' imagination (for example from writers, designers and musicians), or from other people's discoveries (like graduate students whose research 'belongs to their lab'); but the development of social sharing media on computer networks and the noble efforts of individuals who do the sharing have enabled the presentation of creative ideas to expand without borders or boundaries. Truth-hunters can now culturally collaborate; and this has finally brought some progress. Creativity research is finally out from under the carpet.
The current story
Since the advent of IT, the internet, fMRI scanners and the cracking of the genome there has been swift progress in both creative independence and in many areas of creativity research. Through sharing scientific papers, experiments, scanning data, surveys, case studies, historical records and inventories, biopsychologists have already amassed a large database about the creative process, from the procedures and habits of individual 'geniuses' to general patterns common to anyone expressing creative behavior, which we will share with you here.
Until recently, the standard test for 'creativity' used divergent thinking (for example, how many alternative uses can you think of for a brick, or an automobile tire?) This approach runs into trouble as soon as we realize that creativity in real life is usually the result of a convergent process (for example composing a song, or a computer program); a process involving synthesis, rather than analysis; although analysis will also be employed at some stage.
The main problem with studying divergent thinking is it is incapable of identifying the fundamental processes, either cognitive or neural, that make information processing categorizable as 'creative'. We can detect and measure via neuroimaging when someone is doing it, but in itself divergent thinking is a sub-process (it combines with various different, and separate, mental stages or processes). Plus it does not describe in any way the other components or processes of creativity, such as synthesis and artistic composition. It has become apparent that we cannot, through studying divergent thinking, isolate the cognitive elements that supposedly turn ordinary thinking into creative thinking.
Cracking the composite nature of the creative process has also required more than neuroimaging tools. In the search for the neural correlates of creativity, researchers have studied various different kinds of creative tasks. These tasks do not share a common underlying rationale but can perhaps best be categorized as neuroscientific studies on musical and artistic behaviors.
One of the most remarkable features about the experiments fitting this broad paradigm is the innovative way in which the subject of creativity is approached. This new alternative approach has had important yet underappreciated consequences for our understanding of the neural basis of creativity, particularly in terms of preventing the ever-present danger of treating 'creativity' as a single process or program restricted to a single part (or parts) of the brain.
Investigations of musical and artistic processes, such as music composition, improvisation, imagining a painting, or drawing an abstract concept, reveal that several of the ideas which have dominated the field in the past—for example, divergent versus convergent thinking, right versus left brain processing, and focused versus defocused attention—are vague, inaccurate and insufficient.
Another domain that has been explored to help uncover the mechanisms underlying creative thinking is creative insight. 'Insight events' are rightly a subfield of the creative process because one of the steps toward a creating a product or creative problem-solving is, more often than not, a creative insight. Insight tasks are more narrowly defined than those of the other domains, and they have helped reveal the full measure of how complex, varied, and coordinated the neural mechanisms of creativity really are.
So in studying creativity we should first be aware that, similar to 'emotion', there exists as yet no mainstream theoretical framework for mapping structure to function in the neural basis of creative thinking; so once again we have had to use our own. Our own theoretical framework rests on model-dependent realism constructed from a bottom-up, data-driven approach to current creativity research.
Secondly, once again like 'emotion' studies, there are many competing hypotheses, ideas and unfortunately outright nonsense about creativity available online, each with its own assumptions and (often fictional) notions about what creativity is.
In scientific fields since 2000, there have been three broad categories of progress in 'creativity' research: (a) studies using the (old) paradigm of divergent thinking, (b) studies investigating the cognition of art and music, composition and improvisation and (c) studies looking at creative insight events. We have focused here on the data from (b) and (c) for reasons given above regarding divergent thinking.
The material dimension: Anat & phys, structure & function.
Study within the physical, material dimension of creativity and the function of brain structures involved in it has benefited greatly from modern technologies such as functional scanning, optogenetics and TMS. Although multiple networks and areas of our brain are used for creativity, recent research has show how a network of neurons in and between the hippo and the cortex switches states to facilitate some of the stages of creativity -these stages we are calling 'open mode' and 'closed mode' in adults. It has also been shown how a stimulating environment promotes this switch, and thus enables creativity and learning.
Networks of specific cells (called 'basket cells') in these brain regions relevant for each particular type of learning, switch first to a "learning state" (open mode) and then to a "learnt state" (closed mode), and there is now no doubt that our environment and experience modulate these processes strongly, regardless of age. The truly exciting outcome of this research is the discovery that the 'switch' can be pharmacologically activated.
New learning and creative inspiration require 'open mode', but the consolidation of memory or the actualization of a creative idea require 'closed mode'. Basket cells, (inhibitory neurons assembled in a network to modulate the function of excitatory neurons in brain regions such as the hippocampus), switch between three states during a learning experience. From a neutral state, many basket cells de-differentiate as the learning experience starts. This facilitates local formation and remodeling of new connections, new synapses; the network is plastic, receptive, and conducive to learning and memory of new relationships (associations between concepts) potentially important to the formation of creative ideas.
As soon as there is a coherent creative idea or new possibilities have been grasped, this initial switch is reversed, and many basket cells switch to a highly differentiated state. The local network now loses its ability to form new synapses, but at the same time enhances the function of the synapses involved in the newly formed idea or learned skill; the network loses its plasticity whilst it consolidates this knowledge. Input is sufficient, the ability to perform the task stable.
What's happening at the processing level that modulates this switch is alternating open and closed mode -synthesis and analysis; relax and stretch.
A substantial amount of evidence demonstrates that discrete circuits are involved in specific aspects of higher brain function.
That is to say, rather than creativity employing just one or two networks it uses a large scale circuit of pathways recruiting parts of different networks across the whole brain. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what we're attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task. Many regions work as a team to get the job done, and many recruit areas from both sides of the brain. In recent years, evidence has suggested that creative cognition results from the dynamic interactions of distributed brain areas operating between large-scale networks.
Here we encounter another neuroscience semantic dilemma. Current research refers to these pathways as 'large-scale networks', and often refers to them simply as 'networks'. Because cell body 'hubs' are also referred to as 'networks' (eg, N1, N2 etc.), this can cause confusion. Here is the difference:
'Networks' such as N3, N4 are like Local Area Networks (LAN).
'Large-scale networks' are more like main routes on the internet; they unify local area networks so they can function (and connect) together. They include the information highways between networks, and parts of networks recruited for coordinated tasks; and it helps to think of them as circuits or pathways.
To help avoid confusion we shall here refer to their names in full or use their abbreviations as below.
There are (at least) three 'large scale networks' involved in the creative process:
The Default Mode Network (DMN) (referred to sometimes as the Imagination Network)
The Task Positive Network (TPN) (sometimes called the Executive Attention Network)
The Salience Network (SN)
We will explain more about these below.
The idea that we cannot be empathetic and analytical or 'convergent' and 'divergent' at the same time is true only in the same sense that we cannot speak and listen at the same time. Effectively (as we know in conversation) we can flick back and forth between the two so fast that we can keep up a rational discourse and miss very little. Research shows that we can shift from open mode to closed mode very quickly and if necessary repetitively, and the two 'opposing' pathways in the brain are more like 'complementary' to our understanding as they only prevent us from being empathetic and analytic at exactly the same micro-instant. This is because when we are engaged in a non-empathic closed mode for a task such as analysis, we need to suppress activity in 'Default Mode Network' (DMN) pathways. The moment the analytical stage is over, activity in the DMN bounces back up again.
On the other hand, if we are engaged in an empathic open mode requiring synthesis, we suppress brain activity in the pathway known as the 'Task Positive Network' (TPN). The moment the synthesis stage is over, activity in the TPN bounces back up again. Thus we can now understand a little more about creativity's different modes or stages on the physical dimension, and our ability to rapidly shift from one to the other.
Converging research findings suggest that creative cognition recruits and coordinates via these pathways brain regions that are critical for daydreaming, imagining the future, remembering deeply personal memories, constructive internal reflection, meaning-making, and cultural skills. Most of our complex processes work like this; they recruit and unite areas from several networks, which is why creativity does so many diverse things across the board; from the concrete (carving statues, building spaceships); to the abstract (solving mathematical conundrums or understanding subatomic physics in terms of pure theory).
Research tells us that the Default Mode Network (referred to sometimes as the Imagination Network) is involved in “constructing dynamic mental simulations based on personal past experiences such as used during remembering, thinking about the future, and generally when imagining alternative perspectives and scenarios to the present.” It normally serves to “instantiate the maintenance of information for interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands.” It is described as a “Bayesian inference engine” designed to make predictions about the future, that is also serving creative cognition.
The Default Mode Network is also involved in cultural skills like empathy. For instance, when we are imagining what someone else is thinking, this brain network is active. The DMN connects unconscious to conscious networks by joining N3 and N6; putting medial regions deep inside the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe in communication with various outer and inner regions of the parietal cortex.
Red= Open Mode -'Default Mode Network'. (Strictly speaking these are functional pathways for complex processes recruiting multiple areas from different physical networks. They are best analogized as circuits between physical networks.)
Green= Closed mode -The 'Task Positive Network' (sometimes called the Executive Attention Network) is recruited when a task requires that the spotlight of attention is focused like a laser beam. This circuit is active when we're engaging in complex creative problem solving and reasoning that puts heavy demands on working memory. This neural architecture involves efficient and reliable communication between lateral (outer) regions of the prefrontal cortex and areas toward the back (posterior) of the parietal lobe.
A third pathway necessary for creativity is known as the 'Salience Network'; which constantly monitors both external events and the internal stream of consciousness and flexibly shifts our attention to whatever information is most salient to completing the current stage. This pathway includes the dorsal anterior cingulate cortices [dACC] and anterior insular [AI] and is important for dynamic switching between networks.The dorsal anterior cingulate specifically has been associated with orienting attention to the most relevant environmental stimuli involved with intra- and extra-personal events.
Different patterns of neural activations and deactivations are important at different stages of the creative process, and researchers have provided the above evidence as a “first approximation” regarding how creative cognition might be mapped, structure-to-function, in the human brain.
The evidence suggests that when we want to loosen associations and enter open mode, allowing our mind to roam free, imagine new possibilities, and silence the inner critic, it is necessary to reduce activation of the Task Positive Network (a bit, but not completely) and increase activation of the Default and Salience Networks.
However, it’s important to bring the Task Positive Network back online in order to enter closed mode and critically evaluate or implement our creative ideas.
Other areas modulate the shift between open mode and closed mode. Data from other studies, meta-analysis and resting connectivity data all suggest activation of a particular brain area, the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ), in attention-reorienting tasks.
The TPJ is an area just above and behind your right ear, and is one of the areas where N2, N3 and N4 meet and connect. Previous research has already confirmed that activity in the TPJ changes as we learn to employ empathy and theory of mind. This gives us early access to long periods in open mode, and short periods of closed mode throughout most of our early development. Maintaining 'closed mode' for long periods in early childhood is not possible outside of sleep -until rear networks are well-developed and balanced, and frontal lobes are sufficiently developed to focus attention and avoid distraction (and some people never get that far; we'll discuss why later). Early learning and creativity, therefore, relies heavily on natural sleep for periods of sustainable 'closed mode' consolidation of memory.
This deliberately slow development of our prefrontal cortex is one reason healthy young children fail at many attention-based tasks but excel at imaginative ones. Being in open mode a lot of the time during the first half of our development (networks 1 to 3) aids us in rapidly acquiring new knowledge early in life before we have much experience.
We now have the technology (namely, TMS) to experiment with momentarily disabling certain brain pathways to see what happens when they are deactivated. This has led to a startling discovery about the right TPJ. Without it, we cannot tell the difference between cause/effect and correlation. Both our moral and scientific judgment are warped and we overestimate the degree of responsibility others have in causality (for example, blaming them for accidents or random unfortunate events without justification, simply because they were there at the time or because of some other arbitrary association.) In effect when activity in this area is sparse, we fall prey to paranoia -unjustified alarm, suspicion and superstition. When activity in the TPJ is healthy, we have more accurate awareness of causality and of others' involvement or lack of it, and allocate responsibility logically and accurately.
The discovery that suppressing a single area of brain can warp our moral judgment without our being consciously aware of it is stunning, because it is almost certainly the case that large numbers of 'normal' people haven't developed this brain area sufficiently to make accurate, logical moral or scientific judgments (and it also implies that we cannot ever develop rational thinking skills without developing empathy and the ability to imagine what others are thinking -theory of mind). We'll be looking into this further in future tutorials, but in the meantime, students should also note that any problems with empathy may be addressed by stimulating and developing this brain area.
The right supramarginal gyrus (rSMG) also plays an important role in creative processing. The right SMG is another association area where N2, N3 and N4 meet and interconnect. The SMG helps us to distinguish data sources accurately; for example to distinguish the data from our own emotional state from that of other people during empathy.
Until recently, cultural neuroscience models have assumed that we mainly draw on our own state of mind and experiences as a reference for empathy. This only works straightforwardly, however, if we are in either a neutral state or the same state as our counterpart – otherwise, the brain must counteract and correct.
Imaginative empathy and simulation are vital for modeling and creativity. Shared neural activations between self and other underlie our ability to represent the internal states of others in learning. However, interpersonal misunderstandings and conflict can arise when such a self-referential mechanism is applied in situations where it is inappropriate; for example, when falsely assuming that someone else is happy or sad, just because we are. The dysfunctional tendency to imagine that one's own (or stereotypical) mental states are actually in others or 'coming from' others has broadly been referred to as projection.
Empathic judgments could be biased by our own emotions and mental state if they are incongruous with those of the person we attempt to empathize with, so the right SMG ensures that we can decouple our perception of ourselves from that of others; distinguish between data from different sources, such as someone else's motives and our own. When the neurons in this part of the brain are disrupted in the course of experiments, the participants find it difficult not to project their own feelings, beliefs, likes and dislikes, behavioral problems and personal anxieties onto others. Their assessments were also less accurate when they were forced to make particularly quick decisions.
View of the right brain hemisphere:
Findings provide converging evidence from multiple methods and experiments that the rSMG (yellow) is crucial for overcoming projection. Effective connectivity analyses suggest that this may be achieved by early perceptual regulation processes (pink) correctly disambiguating proprioceptive first-person information (touch; cream-colored areas) from exteroceptive third-person information (vision) areas during incongruity between self- and other-related affective states. During incongruity experiments, the supramarginal gyrus is particularly interactive with the pink brain areas. The cream-colored areas are activated through tactile stimuli on the hand. Recently, it has also been shown that making empathic choices requires simulation and self–other distinction operating at the same time, with activity in prefrontal and inferior parietal cortices coding for these two processes, respectively.Dysfunctional projection can be imposed by using repetitive TMS (rTMS) to temporarily interfere with the normal functioning of the rSMG.
Imagination is fundamental to the creative process; no longer just needed to reproduce and represent reality and memory for perception in the mind's eye; it is now called upon to represent possibilities outside of known reality; that is to say, it is called upon to play with ideas and/or materials presented and from them create something new; to 'be spontaneous'
The goal is never the same, although overall the intent is to create something new and beneficial ('beneficial' = useful, and in a creative context, 'beautiful' and 'inspiring' also count as 'useful', since biology knows that they are). Often, there is a specific known puzzle for creativity to solve or a specific message or formula to convey via the chosen medium; but at other times we practise 'freeform' creativity such as doodling aimlessly or improvising (in music or in conversation).
Different aspects of creativity recruit different networks and areas in the brain. Scientific discovery is just one particular way we can use our creativity, other aspects of creativity have different goals and different methods of achieving them, and their own specific set of networks that must be called into play.
Improvisation, (aka “flying by the seat of your pants”) for example, is spontaneous creativity within a set of mutually-understood constraints. This type of brain activity is present during many types of improvisational behavior that are integral parts of life, for example we are continually improvising words in conversations, or improvising solutions to problems on the spot. One researcher said, “Without this type of creativity, humans wouldn’t have advanced as a species. It’s an integral part of who we are”.
Blue = memorized performance. Orange = improvization. Notice how the 'practice/repeat' process of procedural memory in N4 (right side of diagram) is sufficient for memorized performance, but the introduction of spontaneity (autonomous variation) requires N5 to play a bigger part (left side of diagram).
Improvisation is a prototypical creative behavior in music, where it involves free spontaneous generation of melodic, harmonic and/or rhythmic musical elements that must be adapted to the ongoing performance, properly monitored through auditory and somatosensory feedback, and adapted to meet overall aesthetics goals. During improvisation, creators can develop increased spontaneity and fluency and enter 'the zone'. The ideas are created without premeditation, which frees the creative process from the constraints of performing pre-composed works as evident during interpretation.
Spontaneous improvisation has been studied with fMRI and is now known to involve changes in a large selection of areas in various networks, including the dorsal premotor cortex (dPMC), the anterior cingulate (ACC), and the inferior frontal gyrus/ventral premotor cortex (IFG/vPMC), frontal operculum, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, pre-supplementary area and the anterior insula as well as the amygdala (which recruits some of the same processes that we use to achieve empathy, during improvisation).
The Amy is also active while listening to other people's improvisations and is sensitive to the fluctuations of loudness and timing in melodies.
fMRI studies found that spontaneous improvisation was associated with widespread deactivation of the lateral prefrontal cortex along with simultaneous activation of the medial frontal cortex, and researchers describe this shift as “intrinsic to the creative process,” being the “innovative, internally motivated production of novel material”
These functional studies appear to show the same pattern of shifting 'back and forth' between different states, with improvisation resulting in increased activation of the DMN (and decreased activation of the TPN), as well as modulation of the interplay between these two networks by the Salience Network (i.e., anterior cingulate, insula, etc.).
Thus creativity's 'open mode' appears to depend, at least in part, on disinhibitory neuronal processes of the DMN, while 'closed mode' would appear to necessitate activation of the TPN. This would be a plausible allocation of cognitive resources; with DMN pathways devoted to the innovation and variation mechanisms associated with the “constructing of dynamic mental simulations,” while the TPN would be engaged to test retained innovations within the framework of the external environment. This would also be consistent with evidence from cognitive research.
Creative cognition is like other types of cognition, only more specialized in a terms of its focus (i.e., often domain specific) and type of adaptive problem solving (using abductive as well as deductive reasoning; convergent as well as divergent thinking, and synthesis as well as analysis). While the varieties of creative expression are many (i.e., domain specific), the cognitive processes critical to its manifestation (i.e., domain general) are relatively few; thus, researchers have now identified these cognitive pathways central to creative cognition. Results appear to indicate that information flow between these areas of the brain in each different 'mode' is necessary for the development of creative ideation and achievement respectively.
The behavioral dimension: Being creative
On the behavioral dimension, creativity involves the forming of associated elements into new combinations. Defragging memory assists this process via changes in acetylcholine and norepinephrine levels that occur during REM sleep.
During REM periods of sleep, high levels of acetylcholine in the hippo suppress feedback from itself to the neocortex, and lower levels of acetylcholine and norepinephrine in the neocortex encourage the spread of associational activity within neocortical areas without control from the hippocampus. In waking consciousness, higher levels of norepinephrine and acetylcholine inhibit recurrent connections in the neocortex. It is proposed that REM sleep aids creativity by allowing "neocortical structures to reorganize their associative hierarchies of concepts, in which new information from the hippocampus would be reinterpreted in relation to previous semantic representations or nodes.”
creativity & attention
Our records of everything, even our selves, exist "stored in our memory," and are clearly the product of only whatever we pay (and have previously paid) attention to -since we obviously can't choose to remember or include anything that we have never noticed to begin with.
The dynamic nature -and creative ability- of our mind and brain models and reflects, therefore, the emotional-sensory association data provided by past and current input, relationships and interactions we pay attention to.
Input goes on, second by second, minute by minute, in real life, all the time. What we allow ourselves to pay attention to -think about, watch, hear and do- today is shaping the person we will become next week, next year, tomorrow. At this stage in NH, the controlled direction of our attention is our most formidable weapon for rapid improvement, as well as being the key to opening the flood gates of creativity, high-level processing and incisive rational thought.
Input and creative speculation for ideas rely on open mindedness and receptivity (open mode), where attention must be relaxed and free to observe, to be curious, to play and to explore; testing out all possibilities, but the actualization of creative ideas (closed mode) relies on attention being focused, fine tuned and maintained without distraction over long periods of time.
Creativity has sharp, specific subprocessing needs from different networks, but almost all of the creative process, like the learning process, relies on the direction and control of our attention. If attention is either absent or too distracted by wrong input, or neutralized by anxiety, no creativity can take place. One of the first discoveries from some of the earliest studies shows decreased creative ideation associated with increased anxiety.
Creativity demands rapt attention ('rapt' = "completely absorbed, engrossed, fascinated, 'carried away'"). Anxiety makes us reflexively award more attention to negative or toxic input and memories (like failures, crap times, problems and complaints), while neglecting to recall or 'weight' positive or pleasant input and memories (like successes, fun times, solutions and compliments) with the significance they deserve.
The attention we bring to bear on creative activities requires both the ability to relax and the ability to focus and these require removing anxiety. Sometimes, the creative endeavor itself is what removes the anxiety, but usually the kind of attention that opens into complex, innovative and creative thought tends to get swamped by the urgent demands of anxiety until we can reduce the anxiety.
The ability to sustain attention is also a prerequisite to an effective working memory buffer. Attentional processes in the form of selective perception occur at all levels of the perceptual process, however intentional control of focus and the maintenance of prolonged focus appear to be frontal lobe functions. It has been proposed that the focus of attention is capacity limited; restricting the amount of information that can be held in working memory as well as the amount of central executive processing that can be performed in parallel.
Humans (should) have a great deal of volitional control over what we attend to, and the attentional network of the prefrontal cortex is not only a mechanism to select the content of consciousness, but also to maintain the chosen content online ('in mind') long enough for a creative solution to mature.
What is certain is that attention is a main feature required throughout the creative process. Much evidence exists suggesting that open mode is the result of defocused attention, but the ability to deliberately direct attention to the most pertinent information in closed mode is also a prerequisite for creative thinking and also for constructive problem solving.
Perception & prediction as creative processes
Our perception of what's going on in real life is also made up only of the input and associations which we pay attention to. The 3-D virtual reality interactive game experience of life furnished by our perception is an imaginative creation, an adeptly edited synthesis of 'relevant' experience, memory, and probability prediction; providing us with a workable, accurate (but highly selective) individual model of the world around us in interaction with our own existence.
As well as being emergent from input, imagination and memory, our perception is a creative interaction. The process we explored in previous tutorials by which perception emerges is, you will remember, achieved by comparison of the unknown percepts coming in as input both to the known concepts in memory, and to imagination's predictions of their meaning (ie, we consult the past and the future to determine the nature of the here and now). N3 (specifically, the hippo) also makes predictions of what will happen next by automatically recalling an entire sequence of events in response to a single cue.
Creativity is required to create new concepts from percepts, which literally create new connections. Our minds are responsible for creating what we see, not just within themselves but all around us right now. Our eyeballs are not reading this; they are just being pointed at it. Our minds are doing the reading by creatively processing and interpreting these words.
If creativity is necessary for perception, it is essential for prediction. We predict the future by analogy to the past, and the here and now by analogy to the past and future. Real life is a dynamic system; a network of networks, and to work within a dynamic system our intelligence has evolved to be dynamic; from the start it has needed to be adaptable, versatile and able to improvise; to innovate, to invent, to 'fly by the seat of its pants' through an ever-changing landscape of things, stuff and events towards an event horizon that is the limit of our current ability for predictive imagination. In other words, it has evolved of necessity to be creative.
Production of novelty is 'the norm' in human information processing, and most of us are unconsciously creative every day. Diplomatic lying is a very common creative habit that many people indulge in all the time; we smile at people we dislike, we indulge in boring small talk when we're really not interested, in order to be polite -because we predict that this strategy; this specific type of output control; will help things to run smoothly and reduce any latent paranoia. These kinds of 'polite' predictable maneuvers are embodied by cultures worldwide for the same beneficial reasons. The details may differ; smiles here, handshakes there, bowing, nodding, traditional words of greeting, bushido, kaizen; everywhere people have created basic ways of predicting how to put each other at mutual general ease and avoid discomfort or offense.
In deeper communication we must predict what others mean and what is being conveyed, in order to appropriately improvise our response in a timely manner. When non-anxious, we don't stand around wondering what sort of thing we should say; we just allow ourselves to respond spontaneously and expect our minds to make the relevant vocabulary automatically available for us in order to do so (when it occasionally isn't, we get that 'it's on the tip of my tongue' feeling) When we get it right, creativity has recruited the process of imagination making predictions by analogy, which we explored in tutorial 11. This is something we do both unconsciously and consciously, much of our waking time.
The emotional/neurochemical dimension: Creativity as a conduit for communication
On the emotional dimension, one of the many functions of creativity is for non-formal, often emotional or experiential, concept expression and communication.
Humans acting out little noise-enhanced 'plays' to communicate with each other probably went on long before spoken language; as did signing, facial expression and gestures to indicate emotional experience. Music, color, sound, touch, smell and motion are all capable of conveying emotional information and even facts without words; for example an unpleasant smell can both trigger general disgust and warn us of a specific danger.
Metaphoric language, as used for example in poetry and song lyrics like the examples above, is another verbal way of conveying emotional and other information. For this to work optimally, the composer and the receiver both need to reference the same or a compatible metaphoric model and the appropriate network format/s to accurately interpret the output. Biology relies on our sharing an unconscious metaphoric model with universal associations and attendant emotional weightings and archetypal roles via our culture, specifically in order to more deeply understand each others' meanings. Skilfully crafted, a poem can convey more information than either prose or formal language, and can also convey some concepts not covered by either.
DO IT NOW 'sounds like...'
A good way in for anyone who feels 'clueless' trying to understand poetry, metaphorization, or synesthesia, is to start with this humorous exercise:
The Late Great Douglas Adams co-wrote a fun little book called “The Meaning of Liff.”
The authors picked a number of existing area place-names and assigned new interesting meanings to them; examples are Shoeburyness ("The vague uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a seat that is still warm from somebody else's bottom"); Letchworth (“The door bouncer at a lapdancing club”); Hinton Waldrist (“One who persistently returns to a subject no one else is interested in”); Grimsby (“one of those little bits of unidentifiable gristle that turns up in cheap meat pies, and looks so disgusting you leave it on the side of your plate.”)
...Okay, you get the idea. What we want you to do is invent some imaginary meanings for these place names:
To do this you'll have to imagine what the word might mean. What does it sound like it might mean? Remember you can be as silly as you like. We made up our own (which probably won't be the same as yours) and list them at the end of this tutorial.
Now lets move on to something more complex: a couple of Lewis Carroll's famous lines:
'Twas Brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe'
The first time you read this, did you laugh at how nonsensical it was? That's a natural response to the author sharing his sense of humor and love of word-play with us; simple emotional information conveyed by a poem.
These lines are obviously nonsense invented for fun, but let's play a game with them. Try to put all thoughts of Lewis Carroll and the original context out of your mind. Imagine that instead of a nonsense-poem this is an ancient script written in a rare english dialect, and archaeologists are trying to translate it. Some words are known already, and they seek the rest. Your task is to help them by suggesting what these unknown words might mean, and we'll do this by looking at their context. We'll start you off:
Brillig -sounds like it could be a season, a time of day, maybe some festival or notable date?
This is also giving us practice at changing the context (changing the scene) and reframing by analogy.
We can all analogize, but we don't normally think of it as creative. Our minds have to automatically detect and construct feasible analogies in order to read and write, to understand mathematical symbols or a musical score. Our brains can grasp the analogy between the marks on a musical score and the notes on an instrument; because in order to make the translation work all we have to do is imagine that one 'means' the other. The same is true of these words right now; we know that the map is not the territory. Hence the word 'cat' is not itself a real cat but a word representing a cat, and we each have a memory containing a (more or less) similar concept for cat.
The 'more or less' is important. We understand each other fully only if our memories agree on the same meaning for words in a given context. We have to share the 'rules'; the underlying program, to understand different forms of communication.
In formal language the rules are those of grammar and pronunciation; we derive meaning from the context and from the formal definition of the words. In poetry the rules are different: we derive meaning from the context and from the sound of words and sentences, as well as their metaphoric meanings. In some cases both are congruous (for example swearwords, song lyrics and much emotional language) but in some cases the rules are not the same. In formal language, for example, we can still 'sorta' understand the meaning even if someone changes the context (for example, 'Hungry now am I'). In poetry however the context cannot be changed without changing meaning. The exact position of every word in relation to every other word is relevant, because poetry, like music, uses sound combinations and metaphoric imagery in a dynamic (changing) context to convey meaning.
We need to review the art of formal language freed from its framing as 'non-creative', and reunite our language skills; because formal language can be every bit as creative as poetry, and poetry can be every bit as informative and factual as formal language. Poets have the gift of correlating seemingly unrelated words or concepts in manners that illuminate the world in new ways. They create unexpected analogies as a means of teaching higher-level structure. Creativity is mixing and matching patterns of everything you’ve ever experienced or come to know in your lifetime. It’s saying, “this is kinda like that.”
Extracting factual information from formal language does not require a strong aesthetic sense, but we do need a good aesthetic sense to extract and correctly interpret the emotional and metaphoric information from literature or poetry.
Creativity & aesthetics
...And here we approach a difficult subject for some. -No; not poetry; aesthetics.
To anyone without sufficient unconscious-conscious connections, no aesthetic senses are functional and material things are seen in the practical context alone.
Try to empathize for a moment with 'Alice', who doesn't 'get' aesthetics: Alice has a tea mug here; it holds tea. She has a firm belief -nay-KNOWS- that it doesn't make any difference to anything what color it is or what patterns are on it, in fact decoration on objects -and creative art in general- kinda confuses her; what's it FOR?? It seems like a total waste of time to her, even having different colored things is a bit pointless. It doesn't matter if all your office walls (or website pages, or clothes) are a conglomerate of bright yellow, puce, orange and green; or if everything were just plain gray (which would be a lot cheaper and therefore more sensible). Alice thinks art is just another rippoff con to get us to waste money.
Alice not only doesn't have a favorite color but doesn't understand what on earth could ever determine one for anybody -one color is just the same as another color! Color isn't something Alice can like or dislike; it just IS. Finding out that other people DO have favorite segments of the visual band of the electromagnetic spectrum that 'make them feel nicer than other bits' makes her anxious and annoyed- annoyed because she assumes these people are just making it up -they are simply lying; trying to fit in with everybody else lying. The whole idea that color makes people 'feel things' or 'means things' is stupid woo-woo. It's the same with flowers -the only associated concept Alice has for 'a bunch of flowers' is literal: 'it's a load of dying plants', which she thinks is a very weird thing to give someone as a present.
When Alice looks at what are so-called 'great works of art'', or reads poetry, she feels no emotion and gets no information at all apart from maybe feelings of boredom or bafflement. She doesn't have the required sensory equipment to translate the information being conveyed in these formats into conscious awareness.
Even though there is no conscious awareness of meaning conveyed (due to the lack of connections between unconscious and conscious networks), she may well have the ability to receive the information unconsciously. We know this because if we wire up Alice or put her in an MRI and ask her to stare at a bright yellow picture for a minute or so, Alice's body will respond to the image unconsciously just like everybody else -by raising her blood pressure and altering her neurotransmission. Her unconscious knowledge and responses are intact, but Alice will consciously notice nothing.
Accepting that some people seem to have a sense that she doesn't is tantamount to Alice admitting there is 'something wrong with her brain', which no frontloader will easily tolerate because they value IQ or 'brains' above all else and usually believe they have one of the finest. On top of this, anxiety about not being society's ideal self has created the fear of anything stored in unconscious knowledge that has no counterpart in conscious awareness. The unconscious to many adults has become the unknown; indeed most frontloaders like to pretend it doesn't exist. Approaching aesthetics might, therefore, remind Alice she has an unconscious mind containing her real self that she was, once upon a time, connected to. And she wouldn't like that. Better to believe that all this stuff is just imaginary rubbish.
Alice has a morbid fear of poetry. What she actually fears is the lack of understanding in herself -the lack of congruity. -WHY are there all these things that don't make sense? That's the real reason for the anxiety- the unconscious knows it is several connections short of a six-pack, but the conscious mind loyally swallows its daily diet of counterfeit game distraction and denial. When our anxiety is based on a fear of being considered stupid by others, proof of error can seem like the ultimate insult to a frontloader because it implies (to them) a public assertion of cognitive deficiency. To someone who prides themselves on their cognitive efficiency, this is an impossible pill to swallow.
...Don't panic, btw, if 'Alice' describes your own experience of and conclusions about aesthetics. Your study of creativity and aesthetics from a scientific pov will help dispel the confusion, as long as you have control of anxiety. In fact if you are in this position right now you have the most to gain of all.
As we learned in previous tutorials, aesthetics is one of our senses, which just like our senses of smell, taste, vision or hearing can be strong, weak or entirely absent in any given individual. Those with a poor or absent aesthetic sense often also have a poor sense of smell, balance, and/or rhythm. However, these senses aren't absent because of any injury or dysfunction; they are dormant because they haven't had sufficient input to build strong connections yet. We simply haven't used them enough. Just as we can develop a finer sense of smell or more acute hearing with experiential practice, so we can develop our aesthetic sense, as long as we approach it with an open mind and genuine curiosity.
If we have spent most of our lives with others (parents, teachers, friends) who lack the same sense it can be difficult to imagine what it's like and even why it exists, and it may feel scary to start implementing it. In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man seems (in real life) to be a total weirdo -or a liar- from everyone else's experience. However the practical advantages to cognition of experiencing this extra sense for ourselves soon convinces us it is worthwhile to persevere, and scientific knowledge gives us a better understanding of why some may be wary or even afraid of it, given its prior false association with stuff like ESP and woo woo. Our sense of aesthetics has in fact mathematical, chemical and evolutionarily beneficial origins, and is congruous with our conscious awareness of such varied domains as geometry, symmetry, cymatics and musical harmony.
For now, if you think you have a poor or no aesthetic sense, try empathizing with 'Bob' in the following situation in a calm mood (imagining what 'another sense' might feel like in real life experience is the first step towards building a bridge of understanding):
Bob DOES 'get' aesthetics; indeed Bob has often tried to explain aesthetics to Alice, and can't understand why she doesn't get it, because Alice is normally really smart. Bob has a favorite color. He knows very well how all colors have different associations in each of our memories and that his favorite color is the one with the most good associations for him personally, but even explaining this doesn't satisfy Alice; she just becomes more anxious that her mind doesn't make these (or any) color associations; to her they are pointless and meaningless -so what Bob is saying 'means' nothing and doesn't make sense because there are not enough points of similarity with anything she knows to help her grasp the concept. Poor Bob seems like a weirdo, or deluded. If Bob starts presenting scientific proof of how different colors and patterns DO affect all our brains and minds, in either beneficial or harmful ways, whether we're conscious of it or not, in the worst case Alice will think he's mad, retreat in haste, or claim the evidence is pseudoscience.
...Were you able to imagine being Alice AND being Bob? Which was most difficult?
Aesthetics is a tool for the making of human meaning. It is about the way we weight experience and develop understanding. It is at our disposal should we choose to develop it, and if we do not, creativity (and understanding) will be limited accordingly.
Underneath the apparently simple ability of sensory association lies a heritage of ancient algorithms. They are the blueprints behind the overall human benefits from aesthetics, proportion, shape, color, size, brightness, sound and motion. They are the record of evolutionary success; those preferences that have been selected for our most beneficial path to emergence, and their opposites (because we have to know what to avoid in order to succeed, too). They are based on the mathematical relationships between things; frequencies, chemicals, biology and expression of the genome.
These are sensory archetypes, and in a purely biological sense they have provided us with a great system for successful evolution. We cannot tell consciously (without technology) for example, how healthy someone’s genome or mind might be and whether it would be a good idea to reproduce with them, but biology can read the signals in their appearance and behavior unconsciously and compute that for us. From generations of successful and unsuccessful pairings, biology has whittled down the correlatory signals of physical appearance, movement and behavior that accompany the most beneficial associations. Sensory archetypes are primal; they are about the smells, sounds, colors, shapes, textures associated with the types of behavior and abilities that correlated evolutionarily with genetic success or failure. They are ‘primal’, in that they affect our bodies physiologically and our minds unconsciously whether we notice them consciously or not. The taste of fresh food, the smell of mould, attract us and repel us unconsciously, before we even have time to think about it.
Experiments suggest that judgements of attractiveness depend on mental processing ease, or being "easy on the mind." This research follows up on earlier studies establishing that archetypal, prototypical images are rated as more beautiful or appealing than variations of the same thing. Like symmetry (another reliable predictor of attractiveness), prototypicality signals health and fitness. It is also well-known that archetypes are easy for the brain to process (as measured by the speed with which people are able to categorize what it is they're looking at). Critically, the less time it takes participants to classify a pattern, the more aesthetically attractive we judge it.
The psychological dimension: Creativity and our life stories
“All the world's a stage,
(W. Shakespeare; 'As You Like It', 1599)
(G. Lee; 'Limelight', 1974)
In Tutorial 11 we learned how on the psychological dimension the unconscious mind 'frames' reality as an interactive game where every 'scene' is represented as part of an overall 'plot' (which we call “what is going on”), and how we see ourselves as characters fulfilling roles in the ongoing stories of our lives.
The kind of neural algorithm used to encode frames is hierarchical metaphoric representation; we think unconsciously in terms of being in a game with a structured metaphoric frame that has three elements -Roles, Scenes, and an overall Plot. The ontology of the games we play/frames we use are physiologically realized in the neural architecture of our brains.
In our game, we assume shared meaning. We creatively anticipate future meaning by extrapolating from current meaning, and future possibility by extrapolating from current possibility.
The vast majority of this processing is going on in the unconscious, beneath the level of conscious awareness and because we are not aware of it, we don't realize it's going on. Our minds face an enormous challenge: predict the best story that can be constructed about what's going on between me and the outside world. We take our unconscious cues from whatever we pay attention to; both from the outside via senses and from the inside via memory, prediction and emotion.
We cannot change this unconscious game-playing behavior; we have a built-in biological drive and intent to do it; but we can change the input and so change the game, so that we are playing 'reality' or 'world of emergence' instead of a counterfeit game. We looked into this a little in the last tutorial, and will now expand on it here.
Consider: what happens when we 'invent a new game'? -When we reframe reality in terms of different roles, scenes and plots? Everything depends on whether the game is more congruous with reality and our biological needs than the current game (to the unconscious there is always a 'current game'). If it is, the new game will be beneficial. If it isn't, the new game will be harmful.
Researchers demonstrated this by accident in 1971 with a famous experiment  that ironically worked so well it had to be cancelled, yet its conclusions largely missed the point. The Stanford Prison Experiment was a scenario in which participants pretended to be either prisoners or guards in a suitably presented context. It resulted in mental distress and some serious psychological problems, as behavior deteriorated over time in a similar way to how it does in reality, even though all participants knew they were 'role playing'.
A repeat attempt took place in 2006 along the same lines, which broadcast events in the study in a documentary series. Their results and conclusions differed from the original but still missed the point; and the point was this: Participants simply became more like whatever they were surrounded by, even though it was already a known fantasy.
Setting the scene
What is shown in these experiments are the necessary and sufficient conditions to produce personality and behavioral changes in a direction generally considered more dysfunctional and unhealthy. In other words, if we frame scenes in an impoverished (counterfeit) environment with stereotypical roles and unequal power relations, and model dysfunctional behaviors, people's behavior and state of mind degrades even when they know they're only playing a game (imagine how much worse this can be when people don't know they're playing.) This happens to both those playing the 'guards' and those playing the prisoners.
This may seen obvious to students here, yet it still takes most people by surprise. What's ignored along with this missed conclusion is the possibility of using this knowledge to our benefit. If we select instead a genuine enriched environment and replace the stereotypes with archetypal roles and equal power relations, and replace dysfunctional behaviors with core conditions, we create 'The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change', which produces personality and behavioral changes in a direction generally considered more intelligent, cooperative, healthy and beneficial.
Metaphoric framing is creatively playing with reality. If we play with the wrong input, don't know what we're playing, or haven't learned the game rules, play can be harmful. This too may seem obvious in a conscious material context, but it is not so obvious in an unconscious mental one. Plenty of practice at healthy play is all that can equip us with flexibile responses, resilience against trauma, and the ability to interact creatively with our own perception.
DO IT NOW -Assess your input/output over time
As far as the unconscious is concerned, input all comes down to numbers, and it believes that numbers don't lie (which is in itself an evolutionary advantage). We can take advantage of this here:
Make a list of the basics of what you did yesterday and (roughly) at what times. Here is an example student's list:
07:30 woke up, bathroom etc,
08:00 tea, answered emails, other online stuff, research
10:00 had a bath
10:30 tea, breakfast etc, checked garden for slugs, wrote a letter
11:00 went out, got some new plants, picked blackberries
13:00 lunch, tea, talked to friends, did some washing
14:00 tidied up garden, put in new plants, made a bonsai frame for baby tree
15:00 made dinner & ate it, watched documentary about permaculture
15:30 watered garden, talked to friends, tea
18:30 watched another documentary
19:30 watched a sci fi movie
21.30 did some NH research, tea, munchies
23.00 audio books till asleep
Now assess how much (by time) you spent doing:
(a) definitely healthy behavior/input
(b) nothing much
(c) definitely wrong input
How much of your input (by hour) was definitely good for you?
How much of your behavior was definitely good for you?
Next see if you can correlate your healthy behaviors with healthy animal behaviors such as: self care/ seeking good input/ learning/ interacting with others/ being creative/ nurturing/ managing resources/ self assessment/ spirituality/ playing
Some of the things you did will be in two or more categories. How much time did you spend on each of these types of activities?
Look at the figures. This is what you did with your day. This is what is shaping the 'you' of tomorrow. Do the good activities take up more time than the periods of non-activity or wrong activity? If you did this for several days, Which direction on the whole do you think you would find you are going -towards the green zone or away from it?
the creative process
open mode, closed mode and the Zone
“Logic comes after the event. Before the event you have to be very silly.”
(Douglas Adams, on creativity; from: “The Salmon of Doubt”)
A useful metaphorization for studying two of the main stages of the creative process are the concepts of 'open mode' and 'closed mode'. If you are creative, you will recognize these as different states of mind.
First, relaxed attention pulls us out of mundane or repetitive thinking and we become aware of new possibilities as creativity; engaging 'open mode'. We are receptive, open-minded and accommodating to new ideas.
When we have received a creative insight or made a decision, however, and formed a creative plan (for how these new ideas should be expressed) we move into 'closed mode', focus attention, begin creative behavior, and creativity is channeled into working on the chosen idea, rather than thinking up more ideas.
A much easier way to remember this is:
Open mode is an input mode and closed mode is an output mode.
You may also have thought of a third creative 'mode' which seems to unify input and output modes. When it comes for a brief moment we call it, 'creative insight'. If it's maintained over a period of time this state is known as being in 'The Zone' or 'In The Flow'.
There are (as might be expected at this stage) six stages to the creative process. It always begins from 'open mode'; gathering together and considering input until a critical mass of good input brings about a direction or decision; we know what sort of thing we are looking for.
Once a creative plan is formed or idea formulated, we engage 'closed mode'. The 'stretch-relax' pattern alternates in supporting processors (N1, N2, N4, N5); between relaxing (N1, N4) and stretching (N2, N5).
The CPU (N3, N6) manages the main business of coordinating the creative process by putting together all relevant congruous input in memory and imagination; and taking away or dismissing anything that does not congruously associate. If it does this optimally, N3 gives us creative insight, and N6 enables us to hit 'The Zone'. Creative insight usually occurs after the first 'relax-stretch' and 'Zoning' after the second.
You'll notice the similarity of this pattern: “Relax-stretch-unify/separate x 2” to that of learning and making memories; because a lot of the same processes are taking place. The creative process is yet another variant of emergence, COMPVC, or whatever we choose to call this program of programs. A learning experience IS a creative play experience; a creative play experience IS a learning experience. The unconscious knows this, and for creativity to bloom it helps if the conscious mind is aware of it too.
Here are the stages in creativity:
1 open mode/synthesis. Assemble a critical mass of data/ideas/thoughts/materials.
2 closed mode/analysis. Planning. Go through it all and eliminate what's not usable or irrelevant.
3 uniting & separating: Weight it all, and decide what's best to follow up. Creative Insight may occur at this stage.
4 closed mode/synthesis. Carry out the necessary procedures to present and complete the creative project.
5 open mode/analysis. Assess progress and use feedback to improve results
6 uniting & separating: Present/perform the finished project. We may experience being in 'The Zone'.
Our behavior on the physical level is following the same process that is directing the behavior of our brain on the physiological level. When we consciously play on the outside, the unconscious plays on the inside -and all the 'work' gets done beneath the level of conscious awareness.
Rear networks have overall processing goals and one main goal is to achieve output behaviors that adapt us to better suit our contexts' needs. (An example of a function that helps us do this is sensorimotor embodiment via unconscious modeling, as explored in Tutorial 10). Front nets also have overall processing goals and one of their main goals is to achieve output behaviors that adapt our context to better suit our own needs. Creativity is one way we accomplish this.
“The brain is embodied and the body is embedded”
All of us alive today successfully made our first physical bond; it was established just after conception; a two-way relationship that allowed interaction via the placenta and provided our life-support system until we were ready to be born. In optimal development, this initial bond begins an unbroken expanding relationship between the developing human intelligence and the real world.
Bonding is nature’s primary survival system. Bonding means relationship, how we interpret and 'relate with' the real world. The first bond establishes the foundation for the next. If the first is full and compete, life assumes the second will be the same.
Our second bonds are with those who care for us -those who provide our early needs. We are here because somebody gave us food and shelter and kept us clean until we were big enough to do these things for ourselves.
Our third bond is with the real world, and cognitively, bonding is about creating shared meaning by mutual connections. Bonding and making connections, (or their absence) throughout our lives structures and restructures our dynamic minds to 'frame' (metaphorize) and interpret the real physical world and its relationships. To intelligence, life is all about interactive relationships. There is me, this dynamic intelligence with its needs and curiosity; and there is the cosmos, also dynamic, extending infinitely. What happens in the interactions between the two defines our life. Bonding 'means' understanding in the sense that it enables understanding. When we understand the real world sufficient to interact with it in successful ways (from not falling over and knowing we can eat fruit to manipulating tools and making new friends), the connections between N1, N2 and N3 are healthily in situ.
As N3 develops our constantly changing brains and bodies follow biology's intent to seek new and different interactions that shape the nature of neural connections wiring up inside. A developing brain nurtured by attuned appreciation, affectionate attitudes, and creative play (and related patterns appropriately expressed throughout life) connects up in ways that predicts open, inquisitive, trusting, egalitarian behaviors and relationships.
The same principle of bonding applies at all ages, stages and aspects of our physical, emotional and intellectual development. Life is indeed relationship and feeling connected, that we belong in the universe, know what we are doing here, are supported by and can trust our intelligence, means everything.
At first this feeling of belonging is expressed and experienced physically, through the senses and rapidly unfolding emotions. Next, imagination and symbols, and later words and stories help to define and confirm our belonging -everything makes sense, every step along the way.
What we perceive as ‘reality’ is always the result of our current associated beliefs and ideas about things in eidetic memory, superimposed on (and hopefully coordinating with) the natural world. If those beliefs and ideas do not align with the natural order of things, confusion at the incongruity results and life does not make sense.
In T10 we noted that humans modulate all perception with unconscious knowledge during processing in various ways to make it easier to interact with. An image passing through the lens of an eye is projected, in real life, upside-down on the retina. The unconscious knows it can get more accurate information out of an image aligned with our own somatosensory orientation, so the first command in visual processing is: 'flip image vertically' (and you get an extra biscuit if you thought, 'I bet mirror neurons are involved'). Without this flip, our conscious visual awareness would not correlate with input from other senses or our unconscious knowledge of reality (everything in our mind's eye would remain 'upside down'). We would have visual incongruity.
Stimulus-specific concept neurons in the medial temporal lobe follow our subjective perception -what we are paying attention to and what we recognize- as opposed to faithfully reporting the visual stimulus which the eyeball scans. Real world plus superimposed eidetics equals our reality experience, and biology expects no significant ‘checksum error’ between that reality experience and reality itself. If N3 does not connect with N4 coherently, however, there will be just such an error; the ‘warning light’ result is anxiety, but there are deeper unconscious results: a person with insufficient connections between these networks will find it difficult to develop their intelligence further.
The phase shift of development that enables full conscious intelligence is that which connects (or should) unconscious knowledge with conscious thought and prompts the blossoming of creativity. From then on, unconscious and conscious processing have access to each other.
This is more of an astonishing phase shift for intelligence than we ordinarily realize. We are not just integrating rear with frontal networks; the qualitative difference between the two modes of processing (conscious & unconscious, concrete and abstract) results in the emergence of new, altered states of consciousness presenting clearly different patterns of brainwave frequencies on EEG.
For example, REM sleep is an 'unconscious' state that is marked from infanthood by prefrontal inactivity  and is characterized by mentation that is largely void of prefrontal-dependent conscious cognition. Lucid dreaming, on the other hand is a state in which both conscious and unconscious thought are integrating. This is an altered state of consciousness which can be measured on EEG, and it is not possible without unconscious-conscious connections. It has been argued that daydreaming is also an altered state of consciousness attributable to prefrontal cortex downregulation, albeit not as profound as dreaming. But the issue is that in waking time as well as in dreamtime, unconscious-concious intergation has brought a new kind of ability that we did not have before -and it is something we can learn to direct. Just as in lucid dreaming we can deliberately use the conscious mind to manipulate unconscious game content, so during waking time we can deliberately use the unconscious mind to manipulate conscious game content (ie, reprogram ourselves or the game). Two methods of doing this are hypnosis and self suggestion, which we'll include examples of in the 'NHA Guide' section below.
Any experience of creative play, every time we run the creative process, enables bonding on some or many levels. It has to, because the creative process requires interaction between unconscious and conscious awareness in order to emerge. The unconscious-conscious relationship is (or at least, can be) one of the most fulfilling of our lives, it heralds the blossoming of maturity in intelligence as a creative power and brings appropriate self-esteem, clear self-knowledge and confidence in interacting with our world. With our unconscious-conscious bond in place intelligence loves and nurtures itself, and loving, nurturing, inspiring relationships are always the perfect context for further development.
Our conscious ontology is the result of our minds' creative attempts to make sense out of life. Unconscious-conscious connections unite experience with knowledge and emotion with rationality, forming an integrated and powerful intelligence with open-ended learning and creative capabilities.
Thinking without words
The main clear sign that unconscious-conscious bonding is taking place is awareness of the ability to experience reality consciously without thinking in words. We are fully aware of experience, but not translating it into an internal dialogue.
A similar shift took place in our childhood when we began being able to think in words; we no longer had to verbalize out loud when playing; we could now verbalize inside our own heads. Now we have developed still further and no longer need to think internally in words; we can start to cut straight to thinking without having to verbalize thought unless it needs to be communicated. This saves an enormous amount of energy for biology to use in further development.
We don't lose our ability to think in words, any more than we lost our ability to think in pictures when words became available; we simply gain access to yet another form of thinking. Increasing periods of silence from semantic internal 'chatter' indicate development is taking place to facilitate our movement from concrete operational thinking toward a purely abstract form of operational thinking. This is meant to occur during healthy development and if it fails to occur, that is a sign of anxiety-conditioning dominance (see below, in 'what happens if things go wrong').
As we learned in T11, the statement, “All we have to do is play” means relaxing the conscious mind and trusting intelligence to know what to do. Those who do meditation will recognize this 'wordless awareness' state as a 'successful' session and may develop this ability earlier than expected. Those who smoke marijuana, use biofeedback or are creative already may also find it easier to access this state at an earlier stage. Several other techniques and/or substances can increase our ability to access this state.
The nature and quality of our physical, emotional and symbolic metaphoric relationships with everything and everyone, the ebb and flow of each experience, translates into congruous meaning and this information provides the building blocks of our ongoing development. Who we are, what we experience and the meaning of each experience is defined by the nature and quality of our interactions. The richer and wider and more creative our interactions and relationships, the broader our perception and the more complex and interesting our world -and our own perception- become. The smaller or more narrow our ability to interact (relate), the smaller our universe seems, because it's viewed via limited perception. It's like the difference between high or low DPI in our overall 'picture' of reality; the more 'bits' we are able to perceive, the clearer and more understandable life seems. The more certainty we have about life, the more confident we are in interacting with new developments and changes (including the process of our own development).
Remember, the system requirements are the same for creativity, play, natural learning or development in general. All emergent entities need a safe platform (space for operations), all need energy and input, all use the same bonding process to 'build bridges'; conduit-making interactions where each side 'comes halfway'. In playing with information, that leads to learning and memory; the new 'unknown' stuff bonds with the 'known' body of knowledge. In creative play, the 'two sides' that must connect are unconscious knowledge (as metaphorization coupled to emotional weighting) and conscious awareness (as creative rationality, open dynamic intelligence, and flexible logic).
Creative Insight & The Zone
A number of researchers have pointed out that creative insights are marked by sudden realizations that tend to occur in a mental state that is characterized by defocused attention followed by a focus on one or more aspects or ideas. The notion of “disinhibition” or 'defocusing' of cognitive control mechanisms associated with creativity was first formulated as a “syndrome” in 1971,  with 'creative thought' (open mode) showing lower levels of frontal inhibition. This notion has great appeal, comports well with the data, and even corresponds well with most people's notions of the creative process (i.e., contemplation, peace and quiet, the warm bath of Archimedes, the long walks of Beethoven, the dream state of Kekulé, the drug taking (i.e., drinking of Hemingway, opium of Coleridge, LSD of Leary, etc.) that all serve to downregulate externally directed cognition and upregulate exploratory idea spaces.
The conditions conducive to deep creative (not to mention rational) thought have become increasingly rare in many people's lives, but they still work. Peace and quiet, a pleasant environment, inspiring ambient music, and 'time to stand and stare', are all helpful, the use of drugs to quieten the anxious mind has been used by many, but however we achieve it, success comes down to being free from anxiety sufficient to (a) relax freely without distraction for inspiration and (b) maintain tenacity of focus (staying power; the ability to keep going when it all seems like a long slog with no immediate rewards). Research tends to support the notion that brains performing better on standard creativity measures are more “disinhibited” in their organization, with anterior cingulate biochemistry tending to “gate” frontal information flow.
During the creative process, insight arises when the unconscious has received (or generated) a query to 'fill in' something missing from a pattern of given data. This 'something' is the required missing link, often in a collection of ideas. The pattern is not complete. This is true of any question we ask, btw; the unconscious will ordinarily respond by searching memory; but in a creative endeavor we understand ahead of time that the answer is not in existing memory -this is an 'I wonder' question; not a 'where in memory' question. Certainly the unconscious will still run memory retrieval, but the output from that search will not be returned to the conscious mind; rather it will be merged with current input and subjected to predictive pattern synthesis and analysis (unity & separation). This takes time; often a lot more time than straightforward memory retrieval. But thus, new ideas can be assembled unconsciously and then represented in working memory in their finished form.
'Creative insight', intuition, the 'aha!' moment, a 'creative vision', 'a bold hypothesis', a 'eureka experience', or 'a hunch it would work out', are all different ways of trying to describe what happens next. In reality the unconscious has done all the work for you and simply says 'Aha! Here is the answer you requested!'
It appears that both deliberate and spontaneous processing modes can give rise to creative thoughts, and they emerge from interaction between conscious and unconscious processing. Once a new idea has been generated, to turn it into a creative idea a value assessment by the prefrontal cortex is required. Thus, all sources of creativity share a “final common pathway,” regardless of the circuit that generated the novelty.
Creative insight has its origin in associative unconscious thinking. Due to the periodic downregulation of the frontal attentional system, such thinking is allowed to enter consciousness when it is spontaneously represented in working memory. The spontaneous processing mode is also the underlying mechanism for intuition, a concept closely related to insight and creativity. A large body of evidence from neuroscientific and psychological studies suggests that we are consciously aware of the product of unconscious neural computations but not what produces them. If intuition is “the ability to arrive at a solution without conscious reasoning” then intuition can be conceptualized as knowledge obtained in 'open mode' (while the frontal attentional system does not control the content of consciousness). Because there is no apparent effort or intention (work) associated with these intuitive insights, they are often described as 'coming out of nowhere' or even considered spooky, but when we are aware of the processes of unconscious thought as intrinsically responsive to conscious creative play, their 'sudden appearance' makes absolute sense.
To evaluate the appropriateness of a novel thought, one has to become conscious of it. Given the view that the working memory buffer of the prefrontal cortex holds the content of consciousness, a new idea becomes an 'insight' when it is represented in conscious working memory. Creative behavior is based on the unconscious-conscious integration that follows once unconscious new ideas become manifested in consciousness.
Insights are only one more step in converting novel combinations of information into creative work. Once an insight occurs, the prefrontal cortex can bring to bear the full arsenal of higher cognitive functions to the problem, including central executive processes such as directing and sustaining attention, retrieving relevant memories, buffering that information and ordering it in
space–time, as well as thinking abstractly and considering impact and appropriateness.
The prefrontal cortex must then direct the expression of the insight; orchestrating behavior in accordance with internal goals, such as aesthetic or scientific goals.
Once we know how the creative process works, recognize when it's running and learn to trust it, unconscious-conscious bonding increases manifold and our insights become more finely-tuned and accurate. The unconscious and conscious can work together, for example alternating consciously focusing on the question with deliberate times of relaxed daydreaming, play or sleep can speed it up.
The Zone experience happens when the flow of input & output becomes circular and essentially set up a ring of synchronized feedback via which ability amplifies itself.
The experience of spontaneously generated emotional information entering consciousness is likely to have a profound effect that engenders a distinct phenomenological state. In short, being in the Zone makes us feel high, and releases neurotransmitters that produce joyful, some would say 'spiritual' emotions which are intensely rewarding.
Since emotions signify biologically salient events, neural activation in emotional structures tags input as 'more important', attaching neurochemical signals that are designed to enter consciousness and direct the attention of the organism. Not surprisingly, intense emotional experiences create a strong need for creative expression, which inspires further output -which feeds back as part of input...and so on up to current optimal processing performance.
Waveform propagation is induced; not with one section in lockstep (which is what happens in epilepsy) but across the brain, coordinated via N3 and N6. In effect we are 'flying the ship by the seat of our pants' but joyfully aware that we are absolutely competent to do so. In the Zone we are aware of being superb at the same time as performing superbly, yet there is no danger of arrogance; in fact humility (and sometimes astonishment) at what our intelligence can do is paramount; it is an awe-inspiring experience. We can perceive the unity going on as a participator at the same time as being aware of perceiving it as an observer (which can lead to out of body experiences whilst Zoning if there is insufficient embodiment or rear nets are weak. Such experiences are usually pleasant, but they can drop us out of the Zone if attention is distracted by them. We'll discuss how to get past them in the NHA guide below.)
Some personal descriptions of Zoning:
“Like suddenly being possessed by your real self... and finding out with ever-growing delight that your real self is really fucking awesome! Then you realize you're experiencing growth firsthand, and that's even more awesome. No wonder you get high.”
“Like having all trivia swept away by the brilliance of your intelligence, and as long as you stay out of its way the experience goes on and on...it's joyous.”
“You're just channeling pure intelligence, unimpeded”.
“Like you've gotten used to your mind being like driving a slow, steady, reliable, sensible car attentively down a difficult road, then suddenly it turned into the Batmobile and did all these amazing stunts and you're sorta astonished that it seems to be you driving, but really enjoying the ride.”
“It's like enjoying all the main neurotransmitters in growth mode at once.”
The cognitive dimension: creativity in problem solving & cognition
A large brain-growth spurt occurs when each of our networks begins to develop. Network 4 is no exception, and in this case our brain is establishing the unconscious-to-conscious connections. When this happens, our 'like/dislike' system gets an upgrade. Using the same criteria we use for sensory aesthetics, when N4 develops we narrow our interests down to what we enjoy doing the most and start practicing to do some things really well, rather than continuing to try out lots of new things (which is N2's style of going about life). Incorporating N4's procedural ideas, and with sufficient previous exploration experience, we start to focus on what sort of things we really want to do.
At the same time, creativity is stretching its wings and encouraging us to explore. This would seem to present a dilemma, but intelligence is smarter than that. We take into account both 'focus' and 'explore' variables and our explorations narrow themselves down to creative ones. At this point, we begin to be able to think about life in an entirely new way -as potential creators, programmers amid a selection of endless possibilities with regard to materials & methods. On the physiological dimension, procedural learning & memory increase their density with every creative interaction.
The brain growth spurt during a network's development (at any age) can continue for over a year, and this massive rewiring best takes place on all dimensions at once when we play creatively on the surface while learning takes place naturally; below the level of our conscious awareness.
With the completion of rear nets we have all the functions we need to adapt ourselves to our environment sufficiently to start manipulating it. On the cognitive dimension the development of N4 heralds the beginning of what is officially known as our mind's 'concrete operational stage'.
Several new processing abilities now become available to us:
Seriation -the ability to sort objects in an order according to size, shape, or any other characteristic for association (for example, if given different-shaded objects we may make a color gradient).
Transitivity -the ability to recognize logical relationships among elements in a serial order, and perform 'transitive inferences' (for example, If A is taller than B, and B is taller than C, then A must be taller than C).
Classification/categorization—the ability to name and identify sets of objects according to appearance, size or other characteristic, including the idea that one set of objects can include another.
Decentering—where we can take into account multiple aspects of a situation to understand it (for example, we can understand that an exceptionally wide but short container can contain the same as a narrow, very tall container).
Reversibility -we understand that numbers or objects can be changed, then returned to their original state (for example, we are able to determine that if 4+4 equals t, t−4 will equal 4).
Conservation -understanding that quantity, length or number of items is unrelated to the arrangement or appearance of objects or items.
Metaphorization (as discussed in tutorial 10).
Theory of Mind/Projective Empathy -the ability to imagine things from another's perspective (even if we are misinformed -for example, show us a cartoon in which Jane puts a ball under a box, leaves the room, and then Melissa moves the ball to a drawer, and Jane comes back. In the concrete operational stage of development we can predict that Jane will still think it's under the box even though WE know it is in the drawer).
To imagine a possibility, we must be able to interact with it. That ability depends on our openness to new ideas, which requires as mentioned above freedom from anxiety about the unknown, a sufficient number of points of similarity between the conscious idea presented and our unconscious structure of knowledge, clear communication between the two, and the flexibility of logic sufficient to restructure the dissimilarities (take them into account), which is gained through practice and the congruous coordination of conscious thought (ideas) with unconscious knowledge & responses.
At this stage in development we (should) have all the basics of our knowledge of the real world firmly embedded in a nicely-balanced set of rear networks, and we are ready to start filling in the details (like, what the reality of world + mind can mean.) New unconscious conceptual processes begin to take place and we fully experience ourselves (or should) as an individual character with creative (programming) abilities 'within the game'. We can now take a step beyond modeling what is given and seek out (and even invent) our own role models and construct theoretical models for further development; we can design our own surroundings; the beginning of independent input control. Things are no longer simply 'like or dislike'; we begin to have 'favorites'; in colors, shapes, designs, materials. Our aesthetic sense is fine-tuned by budding creativity.
Within a congruous map of reality, creative relations can now take place not just between our minds and the world or ourselves and each other, but also between unconscious knowledge and conscious awareness. The conscious mind can now look objectively at both the world and its own unconscious processes and relate to (interact with) both creatively, producing results way beyond the possibilities of either system alone.
To us, this is all part of creative play or 'creativity'. To Piaget it was all part of 'concrete operational thinking'. 'Concrete' has its usual meaning; the dimension of the material, tangible, physical world and its properties, forces and processes. Operational means 'performing operations on'; as in processing. This is not limited to thinking, because this stage of development employs concrete operational behavior as well as thinking (but nobody knew that when Piaget constructed his developmental framework).
The grounding of all cognition in sensorimotor cellular responses via metaphorization is the reason operational thinking is 'concrete' at first. Creative logic can only organize input available to it, and at first that input is the concrete concepts of the actual real world we have used and understood so far. The mind can't assimilate anything that doesn't have sufficient points of similarity with concepts in our 'known' body of knowledge (the information in our memory). So at first, operational thinking can only operate on and make transformations of its incoming sensory information as long as that input is concrete, and throughout childhood, concepts (and indeed, our whole body of knowledge so far) have been constructed from our sensorimotor interactions with the world.
Embodiment on concrete & abstract levels
Embodiment is one of those words (like 'network') that is unfortunately used to mean various things in neuroscience. On the concrete level, embodiment is simple sensorimotor inner-model-adaptation; in which feedback information takes into account our interaction with other agents and represents them in brain cells modulating network connections, increasing our dexterity and moderating proprioception. This type of embodiment is needed for automation of procedures, for example if we use a tool regularly the brain begins to take it into account and imagines it as an extension of our own body schema; and we looked at this in previous tutorials.
The term 'embodiment' is also used in another way when describing abstraction and its relation to concrete sensorimotor processing in the context of the 'Embodied Cognition Hypothesis'. As we learned in Tutorial 11, a concept based on an idea rather than on something material is an abstraction, and all our abstractions extrapolate from our available material concepts for their input. The Embodied Cognition Hypothesis states that neural pathways related to cognition, and more specifically to conceptual thought and creative problem solving, are closely related to those related to sensorimotor interaction. This is also the meaning of 'embodiment' in the context of abstraction by metaphorization; in transforming concrete to abstract concepts.
This does NOT mean that we embody ideas by imagining them like physical tools that are extensions of our body; the process of metaphorization is referred to as 'embodiment' because we can only imagine abstract cognitive concepts through metaphorization from concrete sensorimotor ones we already understand. It simply means that our ability to understand abstractions is based on our knowledge and experience of sensorimotor interactions with the physics of matter in motion through space. Abstract ideas thus 'embody' concrete ideas and this shows up mostly in our language, which always refers back to material concepts (for examples, 'grasping' an idea; 'seeing' meaning understanding). The same pathways used when we were two, for 'grasping this object and getting it into this container' are now recruited for the abstract cognitive task of 'grasping this concept and getting it into this memory database'. In both cases, interaction constructs the conduit; the connection; the bridge between already-known and not-yet-known. Alice (our conscious mind) is guided safely through the Rabbit Hole (into our unconscious mind) via the White Rabbit (the archetypal 'guide' of N3).
If you have difficulty grasping the concept of metaphorization as embodiment you can see more at this reference:
The big picture: Creativity and emergence
Although there is no denying in logic that the process of emergence, and its observable result (which we call, 'nature'), is creative, emergence itself is not the process of creativity as we experience it. From the perspective of the cognitive dimension emergence, technically speaking, created all life on this planet, but on the psychological dimension we are also aware that this creativity is not conscious; it takes place through automatic unconscious self-organization. -Programs have to respond to programs, molecular polarity ensures inevitable molecular bonding, crystals emerge from minerals during fluid evaporation, not because emergence thought they would be a good idea or might look pretty, but because they have to. This is automatic creation; not creativity. Emergence is certainly a creative process (and indeed, creating new things is one of the main things evolution does best) but it is not creativity in the conscious sense of the word that we normally mean; it is in no way 'deliberate'.
Nor is it 'directed' by anything other than the laws of physics and biochemistry. birds build nests automatically in response to hormones, which themselves are responding to environmental seasonal changes. These behaviors aren't directed by anything other than unconscious instinct. This is not to say birds don't also consciously want to build nests, or comprehend the purpose of a nest for raising young, it is to say that no bird ever learns how to build nests by watching or copying another bird; nest-building is hard wired in as an ability that emerges in response to breeding hormones. (Most creatures have many more hardwired responses than we do, which is what makes our minds so adaptable while at the same time so vulnerable to gullibility.)
There is a line to be drawn, then, between 'automatic' stimulus-response creation and cognitive, conscious creativity. A bower bird making an aesthetic display to attract a partner is not thinking 'Ooh, these blueberries will help me chat her up for certain!” He's probably just overcome by the 'urge' to make patterns with colorful objects; he doesn't know why (certainly not the first time). He certainly doesn't know consciously that colorful patterns affect the female neurochemically in a way that 'switches on' mating behavior. All he may know even after the whole experience is, 'IF I do this, THEN this happens'.
The line is not to be drawn between humans and other animals, because humans also experience this kind of automatic, unconscious creativity in times of sudden crisis (unless anxious). We find ourselves coming up with all sorts of amazing ideas to get ourselves out of trouble on the spur of the moment; only thinking afterwards, “I wonder however I thought of that?”
When there are problems to solve with an obvious reward, we can assess whether an animal is being consciously creative, and some animals certainly are. But most mammals can get creative on purpose when there is no crisis and no problem to solve and no reward except the joy of the creative task itself. The state is called play.
Deliberate conscious creativity, improvisation and innovation don’t exist in an automatic system. The line between unconscious and conscious creativity is the line between unconscious automation (where all the work goes on) and free will (play).
As far as we are able to tell, then, the first place creativity becomes both deliberate and consciously directed is in mammalian brains at play. The nature of the play depends on the level of intelligence (the ability to interact), and we humans are able to interact with a much larger selection of things than many other mammals; for example our own ideas, technology, information, learning, memories and plans for the future. We 'play with ideas' and through the function of play on the surface, the work takes place underneath.
We'll look into creative play in depth later in this tutorial.
The development of conscious awareness
Once upon a time, the only way we could understand and represent reality consciously was through stories and acting. This was humanity's Dreamtime. Our ancestors were able to recognize patterns and make creative art and music long before they were able to speak, never mind read or write.
The unconscious can accurately be termed 'intelligocentric'; it is mind-centered (it views everything in terms of relation to itself as an embodied mind in an interactive game), in other words it has a 'first person view' of reality from inside its 'avatar' that is our body.
Life is driven from within by the evolutionary intent to adapt via understanding; and to both learn from, and increase, the 'body of knowledge' we inherit. We are further programmed (or conditioned) by experience but always unconsciously motivated (driven) by biology's intent to survive and thrive and strive for entelechy. As we 'play the game' of life and continue to develop; our mental perspective and awareness shift from stage to stage in sync with physical brain growth spurts triggered by experience of the relevant epigenetic input, and stage by stage we gain an ever-clearer perspective on and deeper understanding of reality.
Each stage affords new levels of awareness, and greater awareness brings broader perspective and greater control. The development of each network allows us access to different levels of awareness and control within different constructs, all the way up to 'game direction' (fully conscious, autonomous creative control).
In network 1 the construct we learned to interact with and control was our own physical body. When Network 1 gets a critical mass of the relevant sensorimotor input, we have enough experience to become aware of our body in relation to ourselves (the unconscious considers 'ourselves' to be our mind). Our experience is that of embodiment as a 'being' with a material physical presence and sensors, and this allows us to experience what our body does, to interact (play) with it, and to learn physiological control over our body's functions to some degree and vitally, unconscious awareness of its current stage of development. We need this awareness because it is the infant, not the mother, who begins the cascade of hormones initiating birth (our first context shift).
Network 2 enables us to view our close allies and our home as constructs in relation to ourselves and our own behavior; we are aware of being 'part of something' (usually a group or family) that plays WITH us and gives us the critical mass of physical, spatial experience-as-input that triggers enhancement of the physical mobility and manipulative skills necessary to navigate us through this context. We learn to control our own physiology and through this our behavior -motion in space.
As network 3 builds up its critical mass of environmental and emotional experience through interaction with the natural world and with others, we become aware of the world; of nature, other people and creatures as constructs in relation to ourselves as individual emotional, responsible (able to respond; response-able) beings; allowing imagination, empathy, and theory of mind to develop. We are designed to learn about emotion and master emotional control for navigating through this context.
Up until this stage the greater part of our awareness is unconscious even though we can exert some conscious control. When N4 achieves a critical mass of cultural experience-as-input (stories, games, music, arts & sciences), we gain cultural awareness and the ability to view human culture in relation to ourselves.
Two of N4's processes are (a) evaluating how we currently 'fit in' with our culture and (b) developing our abilities to change and develop it; to initiate cultural progress (which the unconscious sees simply as another stage of 'progress in developing intelligence' -another level of the game). In developing N4 we should on the one hand be practicing complex interaction techniques like diplomacy, rectitude, propriety, politeness, nurturing, skill-sharing, tenacity and focus. On the other hand we should be practicing creative skills because this is what bonds us to our culture on the complex-behavioral (procedural) level; while N3 bonds to N4 on the physiological level. The more practice we get, the denser network 4 -and its connections- grow.
The development of network 4 itself is tied to cultural interaction, and in response to interaction with the correct input its physical growth in volume goes through a spurt which can last up to four years (and with consistent use its density can increase throughout life).
Although the earliest this can happen is around age seven, most of us don't get enough modeling of cultural skills to grasp them before our teens (and some never grasp them at all). This lack of ability lands us in all sorts of trouble via miscommunication and misunderstanding.
One of N4's main tasks is to integrate us into our culture, which becomes our matrix for growth over the next phase of development, and that integration is not just about interactions in relationships or adapting and changing ourselves; it also concerns developing the ability that adapts and changes our culture more than any other except imagination -creativity.
The whole continuum of culture we have experienced compared against our own personal interests and disinterests, likes and dislikes, gives us the perspective on 'where we fit in' to the ongoing story of our species; offering creative direction, personal control, and much greater choice about our own behavior, lifestyle and surroundings as intelligence matures. The cultural skills of etiquette, propriety, diplomacy and aesthetics are added to our mental toolkit for navigating through the cultural context, as are focus and tenacity for fine-tuning emotional and physical control; both for creative purposes and other complex (including abstract) behaviors. After enough experimentation, our minds begin to see the roles we would like to play in life, the things we would most enjoy doing, the plot we would most like our life-movie to follow, and we begin to aim towards our interests now with conscious as well as unconscious determination and ever-growing confidence; like a tall ship with a bright star to guide her.
Not until N4 and N5 develop enough connections are we consciously self-aware as an intelligent mind, and even then we are nowhere near the limits of our intelligence. Full conscious/unconscious awareness comes with full development. Conscious awareness yields information (real facts) about the big picture that we can add to unconscious knowledge and use to predict more accurately what will probably take place and what could take place. Conscious creativity brings control within a state of play; life is a game and intelligence knows how to reprogram the game.
“I hear their passionate music
I watch their images flicker
(excerpts from 'Mission'; Neil Peart, Rush)
When most people think of creativity in humans, we see the products of human creativity; the 'things' humans create; like statues and libraries, orchestras and symphonies, technology and poems; and the innovative ideas humans come up with, from 'hey...what if we could carry fire about?' to 'hey...what if we could go to the moon?' This vast creative territory spans all of art/science and forms the body of our culture.
Yet behind all the great works of science and art lie the equally innovative ideas, designs and concepts, without which none of this productivity could arise. These are innovative predictions from a higher level of perception than usual and it is what most of us feel we are doing when 'being creative'.
Sometimes ideas come up into conscious awareness seemingly 'out of the blue' in fact the unconscious has been working them out for some time and they are presented as output for the conscious mind only when all the basics are complete. This is the sort of inconvenient idea that wakes us in the night demanding to be written down. Other times ideas come during conscious manipulation of input (we 'mess about' with the relevant medium until we find something that 'gives us' an idea.) Both can lead to that 'eureka' moment.
Creativity, just like curiosity, is a big factor in any healthy mind. Our natural intent motivates us to seek new input every time the 'known' limitations become boring and the mind begins rating itself as 'underemployed'. We seek input for ourselves automatically.
Input creates ideas, and the sorts of ideas we get will depend strongly on our choices of input, which is why input control is so powerful a game-changer. Beneficial input leads to beneficial output, and erroneous input data leads to erroneous conclusions.
Ideas emerge (often initially unconsciously) from new combinations of known concepts (such as gravity and birds) in memory; and imaginary concepts (such as 'but wouldn't it be great if WE could fly?') leading to prediction (speculating how humans flying could be practically achieved).
This is creativity viewed from the bottom-up; playing with input (including self-input) and learning naturally all the time; sometimes by trial and error, sometimes by practiced and accurate prediction. We use the 'known' to predict the meaning of the 'unknown' and use feedback to fine-tune our accuracy. We have examined in earlier tutorials how this process of emergence underlies our mental processes for learning (COMPVC), the making of memory, and perception. They are all different ways of running the same process, fine-tuned to each individual circumstantial need. We run one variation of the process, long term memory emerges; another slightly different version allows perception to emerge; another variation enables learning, another results in emergent physical network growth; but the important thing to grasp is that these are not 'different programs' so much as 'variations on the same program'; the process of intelligence emergence is just a variant of the process of the emergence of life on earth. We cannot speculate here as to whether 'the many have emerged from the one' in terms of evolutionary biology, but we do not need to know this in order to make good use of the nature of this program in neurohacking.
We have now taken a multidimensional view of creativity from many perspectives, and can reframe our 'big picture': Creativity is a process that occurs along a continuum. It ranges from simple everyday acts of perception to deliberate interactions occurring at the highest levels of executive function.
Creativity is a normal, natural part of healthy development and we all have it; it is not reserved for 'special' types of humans with 'divine gifts' or genetic mutations. Our minds are able to achieve synthesis as well as analysis; we just alternate them very very fast.
Research on insightful problem solving, creative cognition, and expertise acquisition, as well as historic case studies of individuals with exceptional creative accomplishments have replaced the view that the creative act is a mysterious or even mystical event. Creativity is grounded in ordinary mental processes.
Creativity is essential for effective learning and optimal development, and as a function used in metaphorization underlies all executive function including language and formal reasoning. If we provide the system requirements for creativity and follow the process, creativity will emerge.
What happens if things go wrong?
If a separation forms between our concrete unconscious understanding/experience of reality and our abstract conscious ideas about the world, full creative interaction between our unconscious-conscious mind, as well as full interaction with the world (reality) -and consequently further development- is prevented.
This may seem an astonishing thing to claim, partly because until recently proof for different types of learning; implicit and explicit (unconscious & conscious) was sparse. The evidence is now very strong that intelligence uses multiple category-learning systems—in particular, the explicit (conscious and available to introspection); and the implicit (unconscious procedural) system; with which we can perceive, categorize, and conceptualize reality. Researchers have even begun exploring whereabouts in cognitive evolution the roots of the conscious explicit system arose; tested experimentally by blocking implicit (unconscious) learning.
...You probably expect us to say that the two ways things can go wrong with bonding unconscious to conscious are wrong input and lack of input. And you're right; we are. In this particular case it's often both, as a surfeit of wrong input (conditioning) leaves too little time for good input (development).
We are born with an open intelligence yet can become a reactive, anxious, controlled automaton if offered only the conditioning input of counterfeit games. Conditioning results in either a failure to bond unconscious to conscious awareness, and/or a severing of previous bonds. The obstacle that puts the division between unconscious and conscious awareness is conditioning, leading to our abandoning genuine self-awareness and metaphorically framing ourselves as 'society's ideal self' -a counterfeit self image.
how conditioning works
Conditioning works by overwriting developmental bonding programs with adherence (dependence) programs, and ensuring that unconscious and conscious pathways separate by framing the conscious mind as 'society's ideal self' while metaphorizing the real self as a 'savage' stereotype -without the civilization of society, we are told, we would just be 'unconscious, primitive and violent'; running around shouting 'ugg' and killing and raping each other all the time.
There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for such tendencies in healthy minds and as we have learned, quite a bit of evidence against it. While humans ARE hardwired for 'necessary' violence (such as killing our dinner or defending our young), we are not naturally an 'unnecessarily' violent species; that sort of behavior wastes far too much of biology's valuable energy. All available evidence points to healthy humans being, as Rogers claimed, 'basically good' and when we remain healthy we strive for cooperation and mutual improvement.
Healthy experiences; interactions; create patterns of connection (bonding), trust, freedom (autonomy), open curiosity and dynamism. Unhealthy conditioning creates adherence, alienation from our real selves (and those of others), suspicion, fear, anxiety, competition and stasis; and these patterns impact how we define ourselves, what we experience, how we interpret new experiences, what we learn and remember, our strengths and our limitations, our needs, vulnerabilities and resilience, and the quality of our perception (literally like dpi count). Every experience counts; that's why we use input control.
If we don't use input control, we can rest assured lots of anxious people will thrust their input at our attention at every opportunity. Being driven by conditioning which has taken the form of our 'society's ideal self' image, do what I say or else, we are blind to the actual fact that in this state, obsessed with molding ourselves to fit that counterfeit image and likeness, we fail to see ahead of time that there is no room in that 'ideal' image for our minds' original wonder, curiosity, awareness, empathy, affection, flexibility or creativity. These are things society doesn't want going on in its 'ideal selves', as they threaten society's stasis.
The biological blueprint for our development provides that we should proceed step by step to take over responsibility for ourselves and our lives. Learning to adeptly use the body, feed ourselves and take care of our own hygiene are the earliest steps towards this, along with locomotion and talking. Imaginative and creative play furnish us with the mental tools for concrete operational thinking and lay the foundations for creativity and intellect to blossom in their turn. At the same time, we start to take part (or should) in the behaviors that help to keep us all alive; collecting, growing, hunting for and preparing food; designing and building; maintenance, cleaning and repair; medicinal and first aid knowledge, and as the Buddhists put it, 'fetching wood and carrying water'. This gives us personal survival independence because we know how to take care of ourselves and are learning how to take care of each other. We can begin to take more responsibility for our own survival, and self confidence and pride in ourselves rises with every new ability and all new knowledge mastered.
Our culture provides the context for the phase of growth in which we pursue our creative and intellectual interests and skills. The ideal situation is to seek out those who are already good at what we are interested in and use them as our models for improving skills. Eventually we become self-sufficient in creativity and start to forge our own new ideas and implementations. The student becomes the master.
A great deal of this development relies on natural learning; getting a 'cultural education' and using that information to further develop ourselves. Natural autonomy unfolds out of the logic of differentiation between 'self' and 'other', and give us an awareness of personal individuality and independence; while the motivation to learn and the inspiration to create remain intact.
When things go wrong (and they often do) instead of learning about the real world we are conditioned to believe a load of nonsense that has nothing to do with real life or survival. We are taught how to play 'society's idea self' and conditioned to believe that there is no other choice; that taking any other path will devolve us to the state of 'unconscious, primitive and violent'. (Social opinion links lack of schooling with violent behavior and rape, blithely ignoring the fact that pretty much all the violent rapists we encounter went to school.)
Failure to develop the creative and intellectual tools biology intended for survival leads to anxiety; just as failure to bond with the environment and other people leads to anxiety. At this point it is nature's design to bond unconscious and conscious processing and enable creative relationships and personal freedom, but for the conditioned person adherence and anxiety just deepen. We fail to develop our genetically given tools for survival & development because we turn and adhere to anxiety systems (counterfeit games) we are conditioned to believe are necessary for survival instead.
Conditioning is not just the domain of schooling; it is a lifetime threat. We are designed to adapt; to 'fit in' with our context but school and work are the only options offered to most of us as a context for 'fitting in to'; full of the false hopes and empty promises that the tools for survival will somehow magically appear if we just become society's ideal self and serve its idea-systems.
Biology 'expects' other humans (parents, friends) to be intelligent, and when they are not we are caught up in a situation where the blind are teaching the sighted how to be blind. Innocent an gullible, we fall for the fantasy because everyone and everything around us reinforces it.
Conditioning does two things: first, it breaks up our natural bonding to the real world and culture (which should begin to consolidate at this time) and enforces instead adherence to society. The counterfeit game becomes a surrogate context, presented to us as the only safe space and source of strength and possibility (which of course, only the real world actually is).
Second, this counterfeit game interprets 'learning' as instruction in the tools and behaviors of that game; both the physical tools like money & material goods, and the mental tools like deception, greed, domination, miserliness, duplicity, dishonesty, artifice and guile; sufficient to acquire the physical tools (which can only be acquired in the game, incidentally, by taking them away from someone else). Former allies are now competitors in the game for possession of the tools; trust and friendship bonds are doubted and falter.
Money and actual survival & thriving as a healthy human being have no more in common than society and culture have. Failure to develop as intended leads to anxiety, anxiety leads to mental dysfunction, and the conditioned person is then locked into sustaining and perpetuating the counterfeit game itself, which can only be sustained by blocking the natural capacity for development and by maintaining anxiety-based false beliefs.
At the root of every counterfeit game lies anxiety and fear of abandonment. Most conditioning, as Certain Intelligence Agencies are well aware, proceeds by threatening people and then offering to sell them escape from the threats in exchange for work, money or information. Because what is offered is proclaimed the only option by everyone around us, and because there is a system of reward and punishment written in for compliance or rejection of it, many of us are given no apparent choice but to fall in line. We treat each other as rudely as we treat domestic 'pets'. You only get a biscuit if you lie down and roll over.
To opt out of this nonsense is to (apparently) face abandonment by parents and society, 'not fit in', and 'have no place to turn to'; this is not an easy illusion to break, for an anxious person who has no bonds with allies, world or culture and who has been treated with 'conditional regard' ('we'll only love you if you do what we say').
Conditioning takes place below the level of conscious awareness. No sane person would deliberately join in a game where everything around them is the enemy including their own unconscious intelligence, leaving them with the pitifully inadequate shallow surface personalities we see every day in those anxiety-ridden, wannabe 'ideal selves'. The result of conditioning is a functional separation within the brain accomplished entirely without surgery. The conscious mind is playing against unconscious awareness, against real life, against other people, against our own biology, even against our own body -these are all things that must be dominated and suppressed in the counterfeit game, rather than be allowed to develop as intended.
We can never grasp the depth of our own conditioning until we are able to step out of it into a real life perspective. We can use reason to deduce that it might have happened to us, but we can only know how much it has changed us by reverting to our real selves and continuing natural development. If attempts at conditioning haven't changed us much, there won't seem to be much difference, if they have, we may be in for a real surprise; but all that matters is that we have the experience, find out, and take it from there. As with everything else, some of us will have more work to do in some areas than others.
Fortunately, we do not have to worry about 'deconditioning', 'unconditioning', or 'reconditioning' ourselves in order to resume development as intended. That is work for the unconscious brain, and it will go on all by itself as long as we now provide the correct input for continuing healthy development -which as we know at this stage is cultural input.
We'll explore other aspects of programming ourselves in the NHA guide section below, but one of the first things to do is employ methods of keeping our attention under control and avoiding any further conditioning whenever we find ourselves in potentially conditioning contexts.
Some people are deliberately trained to avoid conditioning; notably intelligence operatives and special forces. The following is an excerpt from “resisting brainwashing techniques”,  a training manual for people with occupations in intelligence or military work:
Conditioning induces blindness to reality by superimposing an artificial reality or beliefs on the subject and blocking any behaviors that might reveal its artificiality.
All conditioning needs is repetition and the subject's attention. In coercion, conditioning uses either threats or rewards (or promises of threats/rewards) to control behaviors and suggest ideas by repetition until they become habitual (automatic). Doing this is much easier if the subject has poor awareness and high anxiety, so preparation may include sleep deprivation or interruption, poor or no food diet, dehydration, physical strain etc.
A short-term method of preventing conditioning is to 'drown it out' with either a literal (ie, out loud) or an internal repetitive song. For as long as attention can be focused on the song, conditioning remains ineffective. If the song is overtly deriding the conditioning attempt so much the better: a prime example of this was British Army POWs in WWII singing 'Run Rabbit Run' or 'Hitler has only got one ball', during Nazi propaganda broadcasts in concentration camps.
For its time, that was pretty astute neurohacking via input control. Conditioning does indeed rely on grabbing and holding our attention, and anyone attempting to condition us will try to grab our attention at every opportunity. This is why we need tenacity sufficient to keep control of our attention for long enough to retrain it to recognize what sort of thing to ignore, and what to concentrate on.
It's difficult to ignore conditioning when bored, so we must make sure we never are. Always carry some method of doing something interesting, whether it be pencil and paper, a good book, music and earphones, playing cards, mental games, or a crossword.
If you have problems with attention-control, or are held hostage and forced to remain in a conditioning context (such as in our case school or work) or coerced into appearing to pay attention to conditioning material, a suitable LTP (memory) blocker such as strong alcohol, cannabis, opium or benzodiazepines before you next sleep will weaken the weighting on any conditioning and help prevent it from taking hold long-term. Alternatively sleep deprivation can assist, but this renders us more susceptible to conditioning on the next day so is best used as a last resort.
If N1 & 2 are healthy, well balanced and have had lots of sensorimotor input, creativity problems may lie with lack of input for N3 itself. The best source for usable input is still stories. If no suitable signals are given to N3 or if the wrong input is given, a very sparse imaginative network forms and we have a ‘poor imagination’. Without the ability to create internal imagery, we remain limited to sensorimotor and spatial memory and creativity will not develop much further until more eidetic associations are made and more imaginative ability is gained.
Anthropologists have noted that storytelling persisted in human culture because it promotes social cohesion among groups and serves as a valuable method for passing on knowledge to future generations. Psychologists are now starting to understand that stories have an important effect on individuals of the same generation as well—the imaginary world serves as a proving ground for vital cultural skills.
Preliminary research suggests that stories act as “flight simulators” for real life relationships. Some early studies have shown us a connection between the enjoyment of stories and better cultural skills; students who have had more exposure to fiction tend to perform better on cultural ability and empathy tests. Also in support for the idea that stories act as practice for real life are imaging studies that reveal similar brain activity during viewings of real people and animated characters.
Not doing things in the right order
One reason for getting stuck/giving up at this stage is failure to follow this golden rule. When doing things in the right order here, what should occur is the following:
A) Maintaining anxiety awareness and control, we get more deeply involved with our culture, reaffirm healthy friendships, and get into doing things that we love doing, even if it's just as a hobby or in moments of spare time. Plan how we could get more time doing the things we love doing and being with the people we like best (including ourselves).
B) To make more time for this good stuff, we start to withdraw from the less-healthy pursuits; for example if we watch TV seven nights a week, we cut it to six. On the seventh day, we replace it with a cultural pursuit, pastime or hobby that we really like instead. We implement changes slowly, one at a time, moving always in the direction away from the counterfeit game and towards culture. The important thing is always taking on the new, good input BEFORE giving up the old, unhealthy input.
C) We start self-programming exercises or activities (see NHA guide and Hacks/Exercises sections below).
Mind the gap
If we don't do things in the right order, we may find ourselves with a 'gap', between pulling out of harmful pursuits in counterfeit games and taking up healthy pursuits in real life. A lot of people dive into change the wrong way because they clearly see what they don't want to do, but may not yet see what they DO want to do. If we do things this way round, reality can seem like 'The Desert of the Real'. There's nothing to do any more, it's easy to get bored; and conscious boredom invites anxiety. We start to feel we are 'waiting for something to happen that never comes', failing to see that we ourselves are the potential creators who right now need practice at giving life meaning, via creative play and interaction. Some students consciously 'give up waiting', going back to the comfortable 'old familiar' behaviors and habits.
This is clearly not the fastest way to go about developing, but if you find yourself stuck there don't worry; you can help it to pass by implementing input control. Stop 'waiting' and start interacting -increase your healthy input of any kind for network 4 BEFORE changing anything else.
We have to 'fill the gap' that will be left in a network pathway which an unhealthy habit or bad input was using; if we leave it with no input, the bad habit can very easily creep right back in automatically. We need to take over the newly-unemployed pathways by practicing the new habit; experiencing the new input. So follow the 'right order' from now on and start getting into doing more of the things you love -and exploring new things- before making any further changes. Who are your favorite people? How could you spend more time with them? Think about things you have always been interested in but never had time to get into. Now is the time to get into them, even if you currently only have a short time to do what you really like, it is better than none at all, and it's the crucial step that will facilitate faster development and start increasing natural motivation.
At the same time, think ahead. Start planning what sort of activities you will take up to replace other bad habits BEFORE you drop the other bad habits. You'll soon get back into sync.
Maybe some of us get into this space because we feel our brains 'needed a rest' after recently escaping a counterfeit game and all its attendant hassle -maybe the game even brought us to burnout or breakdown, and we need to sit back and relax -that's great- but we must beware of going over the top and inducing boredom, or getting apathetic and sitting around smoking and drinking all day. -Why not read a book while we sit and have a beer, or do a relaxing pastime with creative opportunities, like gardening or music? Instead of asking 'why', a creative mind thinks playfully; 'why not?'
We should also beware of 'stepping out of the frying pan into the fire' -it's no use giving up work and believing we've escaped society and freed our minds if we then spend all our time sitting about eating junk and gawping at that same society's input on TV -that's not escaping. In counterfeit games, observers are still participators. Walking out of work or home to join a religion or cult isn't an answer either -all of this is just stepping from one counterfeit game onto another. To bond unconscious to conscious, we need to step right out of the counterfeit game into real life.
There is a tendency of those in 'creative' occupations to assume that because they do something creative for a job, that's a safer option for development, however associating creativity with paid 'work' will usually cause reactance, especially if quantity is favored at the expense of the quality of our work.
We are not always naturally 'in the mood' for a particular type of creativity at a particular time every day unless we are naturally motivated to pursue a creative project. When our autonomy is threatened, we unconsciously feel constrained by our lack of choices and often rebel against the source of the constraints. Psychologists call this “reactance”; a motivational repulsion to orders, persons, rules, or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms. Reactance occurs when we unconsciously feel that we are being coerced -when someone or something is taking away our choices or restricting the range of alternatives or retarding our development.
A good test for reactance is to consider how we view our daily behavior in terms of reality. We need to be thinking in terms of 'I choose to' instead of 'I have to' or 'I ought to'. We need to become more aware of the reality of our free choice before we can start to effectively use it. Saying (or thinking) something like, 'I choose to go to work today because I can't currently imagine any other way to get sufficient resources to maintain my current lifestyle', is a good step in the right direction, it is honest and clear plus it prompts questions and thoughts about how to creatively change that equation and what issues to address right away.
Seeing the truth is the first step to freedom. We have to start telling the truth to ourselves, seeing the real picture, framing events in beneficial metaphors, and not shying away from reality. We have to do this enough to make this method of looking at things habitual; focus our attention in the clear light of reality instead of seeing things 'through a glass darkly'. -What did you choose to do today?
This deliberate shift of framing towards the truth draws a clear line between things we want and choose to do and the things we (currently believe we) 'have to' or 'ought to' do. It is the unconscious difference between play and work, freedom and slavery, autonomy and dependence, free will and control from outside, natural response or conditioning. In counterfeit games, there is NO 'choose to' -it is replaced by 'have to' or 'ought to'. There is no play -it is replaced by work.
Looking at creativity as 'work' will usually cause reactance and a reduction of creativity. When the unconscious hears 'have to' it is primed to be a mindless slave. When the unconscious hears 'choose to' it is primed for self-direction and creative independence, confidence is boosted, and self-esteem improved, and neurotransmission reflects this. Take up this habit of honestly explaining to yourself why you choose to do what you currently do, and watch your self esteem rise.
Attempting to create entirely new habits of behavior or ways of thinking can be difficult at first, because unfamiliar interactions (like practicing creative skills, or getting good input, or doing anxiety reduction,) often feel like they 'have to' or 'ought to' be done; like unwanted bland diets or boring schoolwork. Reactance kicks in, which if we're not well-balanced can cause a rise in anxiety, and selective memory then 'forgets' the new behaviors. Incorporating creativity into our lives and taking responsibility for directing our own game may therefore take perseverance and determination, but the good news is, these are the very functions of the networks we are developing. If you feel you are experiencing reactance, the thing to do is take a break, but make it clear to yourself that you are choosing to improve your mind and that it will require practice. Taking a break reassures the unconscious that it is free to withdraw at anytime it chooses, and should only proceed because it wants to improve things.
Reactance can only be avoided by the availability of genuine choice (ie, operating from a position of freedom from anxiety). In society's attempt to counter reactance, 'the illusion of choice' is a frequent counterfeit game trick; -with 400,000 crappy pointless jobs, cockroach-infested apartments, indigestible processed dinners or mindless TV channels to choose from, the unwary fail to detect that they're ALL crap. Everybody kids themselves that they 'just choose the best ones'. There is NO 'best sort' of bad input.
Fact and fiction anti-aliasing
This means the line is blurry between real and counterfeit game domains in our awareness and understanding of the difference is not yet clear. This is a state of being sometimes referred to as, 'eyes open, but stuck in The Matrix'; meaning we are aware of being probably stuck in a counterfeit game, but uncertain of the difference between what is part of that counterfeit game and what is legitimately part of healthy real life games. We cannot 'draw the line' clearly between the two. Or we can, but it's sorta pixellated on the details. This is usually solved with more practice at reviewing the facts.
Accurate perception and observation depend on our underlying understanding of the way in which the world functions, (our paradigms, world views, ontologies and theoretical constructs).
If our ontology is false (ie not a very accurate map of reality), the hypotheses and theories within it are likely to also be false, but the facts discovered are not necessarily false. We can sometimes come to the right conclusions within a false ontology; for example we could hypothesize that the great goddess Wetty makes water from hydrogen and oxygen. The ontology is false, the hypothesis is wrong, but the fact that water consists of these two gases is true.
Some things that most people hold to be true are not. A logical truth (also called an analytic truth or a necessary truth) is a statement which is true in all possible worlds or under all possible interpretations, as contrasted to a synthetic claim (within a synthetic construct -see tutorial 11) which is only 'meaningful' in context of a particular parochial/societal counterfeit game as it has historically unfolded.
Synthetic claims can be contrasted with absolute truths. Absolute truth is asserted by universalism. Believers in absolute truth hold that 2+2=4 everywhere in the universe forever; likewise, if A implies B and B implies C, then A implies C for every entity, at every time, at any place.
Synthetic claims are statements or propositions that are ‘true’ only relative to some artificial construct, standard, convention, or point of view, such as those of one's own society. Synthetic claims are not universal. For examples; the economies, religions, politics, fashion, litigation, etiquette, tradition and so on all differ from society to society, because each has designed its own according to its own necessity. It is a notable bad habit of westerners to assume that the rest of reality conforms to its own synthetic claims and assume these claims or 'laws' to be universal ‘facts’. They are not.
An example of synthetic claims is 'the social legislation of Australia in the 20th century'; an example of natural laws is ‘the second law of thermodynamics’.
Of course, those in a religious game who believe that god/s wrote the laws will tend to treat gods' laws as reality. If you are reading this you are more likely to believe that people, rather than gods, made up synthetic laws. If we mistake society for reality and synthetic claims for facts we are in big trouble, not least because we restrict our perception of 'what is going on out there' to the confines of the false paradigm (and then get totally baffled when other people drop bombs on us for no apparent reason). We end up living in the artificial dream world portrayed by TV and we have no idea what is going on in the real world because we are not living in it; we are living in a fiction.
Maintaining an overview, a clear perspective of reality is vital for effective cognition without bias. If you still have a negative reaction to the word, “fictional” being applied to things like marriage, laws, curricula and commandments, consider why. (If you have no such reaction, consider why some people might find this derogatory.)
You’ll probably come up with something like “well, ‘fictional’ seems somehow derogatory if it's used to name something we consider real”. -And that’s just hunted down some truth for you about what you really believe.
Everywhere we look in our societies, ‘fiction’ is associated with falsehood and lies. “fantasizing” is imagining things, and therefore not reality; stories are ‘made up’ and are therefore not true. At best fiction is ‘entertainment’; it’s a bit of a laugh; we have to “suspend disbelief” in order to play with it.
Yet in exactly the same way, synthetic constructs are clearly the products of someone's imagination. What circumstances or reasons can you think of for someone feeling a need to invent them? Try browsing the web to see when some of them were first used in different places. See if you can find conflicting synthetic claims (for example, in some places pornography is considered wrong and abnormal, in others it is considered fine and normal. But nowhere is there any useful truth in either claim about pornography based on actual research about how this kind of input affects us.) From speculation without proof, someone made these rules up. And others believe them blindly and use them as guides to live by.
...Who's inventing your reality today?
DO IT NOW -fact or fiction?
We are used to society’s categorizations of fact and fiction being based on its own colloquial paradigm of what is 'real' or 'true' and what is not. Imagine you helping a friend clear out an old house; some books are being thrown out and your friend directs you simply to “save anything that's true, but throw away anything that's not true”.
The books are:
Astrology for Beginners
A Study of 20th Century Science Fiction
Why Scientology is for You
The Encyclopedia of Mythology
Healing with Magic Elf Crystals
My Alien Abduction
Poems for my True Love
Programming Virtual Reality Environments
A Compendium of Jokes About Cats
Spiritualism -Talks with the Dead
The Story of My Life -an Autobiography
...What do you throw away?
Notes at end of tutorial
If a categorization system fails to achieve universality of criteria within the same supposedly 'factual' category, this is a sign that its governing paradigm is incongruous. It relies on 'everyone knowing' the unwritten rules, such as: 'Astrology and religious texts get filed under non-fiction and those of us who don't believe they're true just ignore this discrepancy'.
What we don't realize is every time we do this sort of thing, we forget the discrepancy exists. Eventually the situation becomes, 'publicly everyone says X is true' even when privately everyone knows X isn't. By consciously agreeing with incongruous opinions of others or society (that don't make sense as parts of reality), we lose connections (literally) with the unconscious database of experiential knowledge inside our own mind, where all things must make sense or they can't be associated. Connections between front and rear networks (major parts of the CPU) do not form, and conscious awareness has only low-level access to unconscious knowledge, sometimes deliberately canceling associations because reality 'disagrees' with what we are told we should believe or do. Development of free will is shut down for the same reason.
We then allow our bodies, brains and lives to be controlled by others in a fictional system and believe we're 'not normal' if we don't 'fit in'. As Carl Rogers puts it, “we have in a very real basic way divorced ourselves from ourselves”. It's a sad way to live for those who don't know they're doing it, and a pathetic way to live for those who do.
Fact/fiction anti-aliasing or 'blurring' is a biggie in NH; to the extent that most people will not ‘get it’. This is the problem we have to crack: Most of us have adopted an insufficient paradigm to describe the reality of the difference between fact and fiction. We cannot achieve optimal intelligence unless we can drop the false beliefs and grasp the archetypal mode of categorization that aligns with actual reality. We hope to help as many students as possible to ‘get it’ because when you do, it can give you access to some very enjoyable mental abilities.
We are all free to form our own opinions, define our own theories or hypotheses, and invent our own creative fictional constructs. We are not, however, free to form, define or invent our own facts. Living in a fantasy world that avoids real facts and coerces others into joining in is a recipe for disaster, both personally and generally.
From a programmers perspective on unconscious-conscious merging, understanding how players pass from one level in the game to another is a useful analogy: Development 'levels' proceed from the concrete to the abstract. Success in physical development brings a complete enough competence in moving about and talking to allow these skills to become automatic and free up intelligence for more abstract issues like emotional experience and control. And success in physical development also means development of the necessary brain networks, not just for unconscious locomotive competence and dexterity now, but also for mental competence in concrete operational thinking and conscious creativity later.
Biology is designed to bond the developing unconscious mind to our growing creative and intellectual consciousness as we engage with our culture, and we should at this stage begin to 'find our place'; focusing on our main interests and pursuing the activities we love. Instead, most of us were introduced to a counterfeit game which is attempting to replace culture; a fictional idea system inherited from previous fictional idea systems in the distant past; a synthetic abstraction built on top of other fictional abstractions; with no relation to reality other than the parochial 'reality' it invents; an imaginary world with artificial rules. In short, a fictional construct built from words in which conditioning replaces education and anxiety and adherence are 'normal'.
This is why many of us find this particular developmental 'level-shift' difficult. Without cultural bonding, our sense of physical wellbeing and personal security in the real world hasn't been fully established; and the unconscious-conscious bond cannot fully form (conscious networks are way too busy trying to work out how to pacify anxiety within the context of the counterfeit game. The unconscious knows that the danger to development and source of the anxiety is the counterfeit game itself wasting development time, but can't see how to communicate this.) This can become lifelong anxiety in which any development of creativity will be subverted to serve only anxious concerns -instead of a two way exchange of information between unconscious and conscious, as in bonding, there will be a one-way flow from network 4 serving rear networks, and a danger of adherence behaviors. Creativity will be most often used for deception, independence will be misinterpreted as isolation and abandonment.
Counterfeit games are about as wrong as wrong input can get, but it's hardly our fault if we found ourselves stuck with them. What we now need to recognize consciously is that counterfeit games offer no methods or techniques at all for our independent survival and thriving in real life; in fact they avoid that sort of knowledge at all costs. We must, however, not dwell on this bummer because it is not important as long as we remember that the solution is to increase our healthy cultural interaction and input. The more we progress culturally the more clearly we will see counterfeit gaming for the shallow and unfulfilling sham that it is AND move more securely into our culture, where further development awaits.
the sign of four
...This is a common experience in creative endeavors, named after a Sherlock Holmes investigation. If at any time our practice seems more like hard work and/or boring, or we feel somehow 'stuck' or 'blocked' in the creative process, this is the 'sign of four' (network 4). It indicates that we have stopped learning naturally from the bottom up and are now inadvertently trying to force it in from the top down (which makes it much harder to achieve accurate long term memory, and N4 is literally getting 'blocked').
This usually happens when we are either tired, hungry, or in too much of a hurry, and the solution is to take a break and go do something totally different; eat, chill out and watch movies, or just sleep, while N4 'catches up' as memory defrags itself. We will find on resuming the creative activity, things seem easier and we once again have more clarity and inspiration to move forward. The sign of four also heralds a good time to do anxiety reduction, as consciously we can become anxious about how long it might take us to get back 'in the mood', which state creates the closed-loop bug (or 'vicious circle') of not being able to be creative due to worrying about not being able to be creative!
Some people have difficulty believing that taking a break or having a sleep will renew inspiration until they try it, so the best way to find out is to try it yourself. Give yourself the experience.
Not being honest about what we really like doing
Another reason people fail in NH progress at this stage is through not being honest with themselves, but instead trying to continue to mentally position themselves towards 'society's ideal self'. This is a bit like wannabe-famous people with fake smiles who say in interviews they love 'giving to charity, caring for the disabled and helping world hunger'; when what they really seem to love to do (as revealed by their behavior) is to socially outdo each other, screw, or get pissed.
Well, self-assessment is not an interview for Society's Ideal Self. NH practice is as private as you choose it to be, and nobody will ever know the contents of your 'what I really love to do' list except you, so we should do ourselves the favor of being our real selves in self assessment; otherwise, it's only us we are holding back. Those with a realistic and honest list of things they love to do -such as “playing the guitar, drinking, eating chocolate, masturbating”; or, “drawing animals, dancing, growing fruit, getting drunk and laughing my head off” are far more likely to succeed than those with a 'sounds good' list such as “helping older people, giving to charities, being employee of the month” etc.
If it's not what you REALLY love doing, it doesn't go on the list.
Our real self is of course aware of what we really love, but the conscious mind has to agree with the unconscious in order to be free to be honest. Only our real selves can bond.
Another reason for people giving up NH at this stage is getting distractedly caught up in trying to make sense out of competing points of view coming in from different sources as they start spending time in and out of counterfeit games without quite noticing the changeover.
At first our awareness and experience of what is and what is not part of a counterfeit game can be hazy. We can find ourselves with conflicting input from several sources and we're not sure which one/s to take seriously. Large ideological dilemmas may appear to arise; for example:
Your counterfeit game tells you: “The best way to take care of your children is to make loads of money (otherwise they might abandon you for someone with more!)”.
Your biology, your partner and your children tell you: “The best way to take care of your children is to be here to literally take care of your children.”
This sets our real self up as the enemy of ideal self, in two competing frames. In context of different games, each statement individually seems to make sense. Mixed together they make no sense; and sensible decision-making becomes impossible. Whenever this happens, we can be sure that there is data missing -data which can only be computed by creative adaptation and flexible logic. To access these abilities, our unconscious and conscious need to work together, which is not possible in a game context where they are portrayed as enemies.
We'll explore how to get around this sort of dilemma by making a 'higher level decision' in 'programming ourselves'; later in the NHA guide to Methods & Tech.
Creativity is born from curiosity, and an essential requirement for its development is interaction time between unconscious & conscious; 'playtime', if you like. If the conscious mind is cluttered with ideological dilemmas and worries, there is little time for play, and realistically we have only so much interaction time. Internal conflict is an action/reaction loop and just wastes time that could be spent interacting.
Wrong metaphoric frame for change
A not-so-common reason for failure which can happen to those with a strong N2/N5 axis or dominant N5: Intellectually this person can see that NH is a good idea and they do want to improve themselves keenly. They adopt the metaphoric frame:
“Anxiety is the enemy I must fight for control of my own mind”.
In this framework, every success is a battle won and leads to manic celebration and the danger of arrogance, while every failure is a battle lost and leads to guilt and the danger of snapback and depression.
We cannot get far in merging unconscious with conscious awareness with this ontology, because it's not true. The unconscious knows from experience that failures as well as successes improve our development! If we never fell over we would never know how to walk. The ontology needs a more accurate metaphor for the truth; something like:
“anxiety is like a virus that I become vulnerable to only if I slip out of the green zone for mental wellbeing.”
If we practice mindfulness of staying in the green zone, anxiety can never hold us back for long. The difficulty here is maintaining self-awareness over time. We can all focus on our own development in the context of, say, doing a Functional Assessment, but incorporating real NH practice into our daily lives is what many claim becomes 'too complicated'. What is really being said is 'it becomes too real'; too big a part of real life, and this reveals a classic underlying fear of change.
What people who claim this are really communicating is that they believe they are too caught up in adherence to the past (automatic anxious responses) to make any progress in the future. This may be due to lack of understanding about how anxiety operates (see below), and/or a fear of the unknown, and it's usually disguised with a conscious predictive prejudgment (prejudiced belief) that 'the effort won't be worth the returns'. This is an anxiety-based lie to get us to retreat from further development, and it's a wimp-mode strategy. If it happens to you, return to anxiety-reduction practice until things change. Be patient with yourself. We can choose to learn more whenever we wish to do so, and the only good reason to do so is genuine desire.
Lack of understanding & snapback
Another popular difficulty for students is grasping the idea of survival and thriving being possible without having an ordinary 'job' or 'school'. It's not much use pointing out, 'All other life on earth survives without these things and we're supposed to be even smarter', because people will respond quite reasonably that they don't want to live their lives like, say, a squirrel; because from our pov that's a very limited life.
However, squirrels don't lead limited lives because they are unemployed and can't afford to get online or buy washing machines. Other creatures lead limited lives because they don't have anything like the mental potential for creativity and intellect that we do (or any pressing need to develop them). Squirrels will never build computers; but that's not because they are not paid enough or didn't go to school. If we gave squirrels unlimited amounts of cash they would most likely chew it up and make nests out of it. Their 'limited life' is due to lack of aspects of mind, not lack of ready cash. What we see as a limited life is all they need to thrive in a specific context.
Humans lead more complex lives in more complex and varied cultural contexts than squirrels, and dealing with that complexity requires aspects of an adaptive, ever-increasing intelligence, not an ever-increasing financial balance. (If intelligence did require cash, those with the most money would be both the happiest and the most intelligent. Need I say more?)
Intelligence can replace both cash and bureaucracy. For example there are two ways to attempt to get into any field you choose: one is via school, qualifications and work and the other is via real life cultural interaction, experience and play. Most of the 'greats' in our culture took the latter route. Consequently if we want to learn or do anything new the best option is to find someone who does it already and interact with them, or teach ourselves enough to start getting real life practice.
If, for example we wanted to learn to fly, the first thing to do is start hanging around small airfields and getting to know people who already fly, learning about planes and helping them out for free. Programs have to respond to programs, and inside every master of any skill is a program that encourages skill-sharing wherever it is met by genuine enthusiasm. Enthusiasm and genuine interest puts us in the right state of mind in the right place at the right time. Plus there is nothing like experience to let us know if we've made a mistake when deciding what we really wanted to do. It's of no use to pursue a career just because it impresses other people or stops them from hassling us. That's still dependence. The only thing we should depend on is ourselves and reality. Intelligence can be trusted to work out the path to success as surely as reality can be trusted to conform to its own laws.
Another difficult thing for many students to grasp is how the unconscious views all life as a game and thus as far as their own unconscious minds are concerned, people are ALL already playing. The unconscious can't work in any other way. The important point is, most people do not know they are playing, let alone what game their conditioning is busy making them automatically act out.
As far as everyone's unconscious is concerned; we're in a game, period. Unless we take conscious control, the unconscious will simply carry on running counterfeit game programs regardless of whether we consciously notice we are acting out conditioned behaviors or not.
Without clear understanding of how counterfeit games operate and how to program ourselves out of conditioning, we may experience snapbacks to past states of 'eyes-shut' counterfeit gaming in ourselves. -For example, have you ever wondered, 'Whyever did I say/do that? It's not what I meant to say/do!' Have you ever had to say to someone, 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean it!' to which they quite reasonably reply, -'Well why did you say/do it then?'
...'I was not myself'...?
This sort of confusion is very upsetting to anyone who normally considers themselves sensible, well balanced, and in control of their own behavior; yet it takes a lot of people by surprise. When it happens to a neurohacker we recognize it as a snapback event (temporarily reverting to old, habitual paths of anxious behavior during a 'low mindfulness' moment or temporary imbalance.) It is, as Pink Floyd put it, “A momentary lapse of reason.” We know that it will pass, the very moment we reemploy the new beneficial habits; so at this stage in NH although an occasional nuisance, we are familiar enough with snapback to recognize that it is no barrier to merging unconscious and conscious awareness as long as we deal with it promptly.
Leaving 'The Matrix' & snapback
Switching from conditioning input/output to self-directed input/output is an essential goal in self-programming and one which most students are keen to pursue; partly because when it comes down to it, we feel creepy about finding out that conditioning subroutines have been running in our mind without our awareness -after all its OUR mind; and partly for logical reasons -without unconscious/conscious connections our development (now aiming for creativity and intellect, not to mention free will) can progress no further; we will be restricted to concrete operational thinking, vulnerable to conditioning and decline. We know where that road leads, and nobody wants to go there.
The basics of self programming are straightforward; directing control of our attention & awareness toward reality and away from false frames/games is the key to creative change via brain plasticity; but counterfeit games (and, incidentally, anxiety), would prefer nothing to change; things staying the same permanently in rigidity and stasis seems much safer; that's how you play the game, tow the line, don't rock the boat, conform to the daily grind, or go on 'banging your head against some mad buggers wall'. Creativity is considered dangerous by the anxious precisely because it causes change.
The idea of consciously taking part in creatively directing our own future selves and lives via changing mental processing may therefore seem scary to some. To develop creativity we have to face unknowns, in the neurohackers' case also knowing ahead of time that whatever we interact with and/or create will also change ourselves. As we perform creative behaviors we are rewiring ourselves, adding previously unknown links within our own brains and corresponding links within human culture.
Returning to the game that biology intended can bring a great feeling of relief, but can also for some bring fears of the unknown, and some really bad cases of snapback. Suddenly getting a perspective as being in creative control of one's own life can be alarming; we may realize we fear responsibility or fear what others might think. Yet we have to ask ourselves; are the games we currently play going anywhere? Are they helping us to develop relationships that bring joy and fulfilment, and exciting, rewarding experiences? Or are they just wasting away the time of our lives, causing early decline, and denying us the relationships and experiences essential for full development?
Three main things can break us out of conditioning, convince us that change is both necessary and desirable, and make us want to 'leave The Matrix': distress, boredom, and knowledge. These are often the same reasons we take up NH in the first place!
Distress comes when we have had enough of feeling sick, sad or dysfunctional and going around the same unrewarding circles that we were promised would be so rewarding. Get a good job and pay off your debts has become desperately hang on to any job and acquire even more debts. Find someone to love and settle down has become find someone you can tolerate being around for a bare minimum of time before the inevitable anxious hassle begins. Life seems full of complaints and aggression and is devoid of real love, affection, comfort, and peace of mind. The road ahead leads to burnout. For development to recommence, we need to feel free of coercion and be our real selves, dropping all the automatic artifice. It's essential to break out of false-framing restrictions and follow our own interests; to stop being programmed by others and start programming ourselves.
Boredom happens when we are tired of crappy, repetitive input that makes us think, 'so what?' (these days, so aptly verbalized as, 'whatever'.) Relationships are shallow and insincere. Life is boring, predictable and devoid of any interest, fascination, excitement or fun. Most people we know and their lives and conversations are mind-shatteringly boring. We feel stuck, the road ahead leads ...nowhere but to the same old same old, inducing apathy and atrophy.
Yet somewhere we feel sure that there must be more to life than this, that we could be more than this; that life still somehow holds promise. (This is the situation portrayed by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars 'A New Hope'.) Once a frame for a counterfeit game is set in place and we operate within it, we usually cannot think outside its boundaries or beyond its borders. Many of us get stuck with the games that our society has handed us as a given, and thinking within a conditioned context allows us only to see certain limited aspects of reality ('That's your uncle talking'). Counterfeit games avoid at all cost the 'big picture' perspective (because then of course we're stepping outside the 'allowed' window of experience within the frame -in effect, the equivalent of 'breaking the fourth wall'; stepping out of the illusory context into reality and perceiving the illusion for the tiny limited construct that it is. (This is the 'big picture' perspective; also portrayed in 'The Matrix' movie by Mr Anderson/Neo, and in 'Lord of the Rings' when it's pointed out to Pippin that if they just give up their quest to thwart the baddies and just go back to the Shire, sooner or later there won't BE a Shire.)
Knowledge is always helpful. If we understand what is going on, anxiety is reduced. Poor Neo is thrown into his big picture experience with very little knowledge, and it's a nasty shock. Knowledge inspires us to change when we learn enough to realize that further development is not only provably possible but essential to pursue, if we are to experience a full intelligence (or avoid mental decline). Society's ontology probably tried to condition us to believe our intelligence is predetermined, fixed in genes, god-given, determined by IQ, or somehow otherwise bestowed in a permanent, static state impervious to further improvement and heading for inevitable decline, but once we realize this is complete nonsense and see the limitations most people place upon themselves by believing it, knowledge produces excitement about new possibilities which lead to further inquiry and a growing desire to change.
When we begin to truly understand that there is indeed another way to live, the inspiration to learn, change and develop rekindles and comes as naturally as it did in childhood. When our experience reveals the often absurd limitations of counterfeit game rules; at that moment there is the possibility of creative insight; or what some might call deep personal innovation. It is an intense moment of clarity about reality; like a sudden 'flash' of the same sort of awareness we have in 'The Zone'.
Knowing what it's like 'on the other side' can be helpful too. Seeing through the illusion of counterfeit games, one is left with a completely new set of values, not those shallow rules imposed by various societies, but something deeper with universal meaning for all humanity. The boundary-frame of our previous world-view (the counterfeit, virtual-reality game frame) is broken, and we step through the crack in the screen into a much bigger reality.
Society, and other people, are no longer the directors of our life; we are. The frames, including the borders and boundaries of the game, become natural ones that make sense, and imposing rules from the top down becomes unnecessary. Real laws cannot be broken (although it would be quite funny to invent laws such as, 'breathing through your ears is strictly forbidden', or, 'it is illegal to fall upwards', it would also be pointless).
It occurs to some in retrospect that counterfeit games fulfil the criteria for 'cults', whose distinguishing qualities include:
behavioral and personality changes toward the dysfunctional
loss of personal identity and establishment of a false persona
cessation of learning activities outside those recommended by the cult
estrangement from family and friends
disinterest in culture
pronounced mental control and enslavement by cult leaders.
Yet we fail to see the similarity when we're stuck in there, because almost everyone around us is a member of the cult.
Others have noted the similarity of 'Society's Ideal Self' to 'The Duchess Game' (from Alice in Wonderland); in which:
The life process of play becomes an act of work in service to society.
We are ashamed of childhood's gifts, stripped of natural survival mechanisms.
We live the illusion that the more you have means the less I have.
We become addicted to contest or competition as a way of life.
Play's love is replaced by work's fear.
Self-defense becomes the organizing principle of action.
The feeling of belonging is replaced by membership. Inclusive play is replaced with exclusive play. We have no models that sustain the experience of kindness. Mastery is replaced with technical expertise. Our relationships are governed by revenge, scores, winning & losing, cheating, self-defense and taking sides.
...Remember the story of the Emperor's New Clothes? We need to see in just the same way that counterfeit games are fakes; that all the pomp and social status is fictional and arbitrary, means nothing real, and that behind all this nonsense we are connected with a reality that runs infinitely deeper than any anxiety-based, social-conditioning game. All the social categories, the labels, the authorities, celebrity status, political status, financial status, marital status, fashion, is a masquerade; a set of mental concepts made up by other human beings with a range of mental problems from chronic anxiety to megalomania. They are not worthy of our attention. Real life is.
This is the step we must take in order to 'go halfway' in directing our own story; turn our attention back into creative play in the real game of life and leave the counterfeit games aside. In real life, creativity is not a miracle or divine/genetic gift; it is an ordinary process of our healthy human intelligence, essential for a lot of what we do and responsible for all the arts; inventions, science, and technology around us.
Problems with creative innovation
There are four main kinds of problem with creative innovation; Design fixation, Functional fixedness, Narrow verb associations, and assumption blindness. All are solvable. These are discussed below, and their solutions are explained in the NHA guide to methods & tech section.
Conditioning halts development
In order to bond, the unconscious and conscious must agree with each other about reality and our place within it as an intelligent being. In short, they must both be playing the same game. When the unconscious and conscious start playing different games, inner conflict results. With enough of this conflict, the unconscious and conscious fail to communicate. This sets up the conscious mind as vulnerable to conditioning ('brainwashing'), which is what society needs; an ongoing supply chain of new players to keep the game going.
Understanding that this causes development problems is not enough. The issue is that a great deal of our everyday energy and resources (and some people's whole lives) are wasted in indecisive inner conflict and difficulty making decisions. People say, 'I keep going over and over the same issues'. Intelligence has reached the limit of its sights without further development and cannot overcome the difficulties without congruity.
What human intelligence needs at this stage to develop further is unconscious-conscious integration, and knowing this, our position is clear: we need to program our good habits ourselves, to release the conscious mind from its conditioning and embrace mental unity. Without this step we will get no further, so stop reading here if you're not fully prepared to address this, you are free to come back whenever you are.
It's time to step out of The Matrix; or to quote another famous movie line; 'This shit just got real'. How do we go about this? -By exercising those inexperienced networks; using the power of creative play in our lives, programming ourselves to make conditioning obsolete; initiating creative change so that we make genuine (rather than conditioned) responses.
We'll be looking further into self programming techniques below in the NHA guide.
DO IT NOW -psychological input control practice
Grab your Captain's Log.
Imagine you are a master of some skill (anything you like) and you have recently found the best student ever. Write a short but glowing report in your Log as though you were writing TO THE STUDENT about their great performance. If you can't think how, here's an example:
“Dude, your progress is excellent! It seems as though we have empathy like a light being turned on -everything that I explain is just grasped; everything I demonstrate is very well modeled. You have a creative intellect and a flexible logic, and ever increasing ability to interact. You are tolerant of mistakes and learn from them, and you are able to apply yourself with patience and tenacity during practice. I know this is based on good emotional stability and attention skills -you are not easily distracted from your goals. It is a real joy to see a mind developing so fast, and I have great expectations for and no doubts about your future potential.”
Read your version ALOUD to yourself once before sleep each night and see what happens to your confidence and amiability (or your serotonin & oxytocin levels, or just your mood) within three weeks. You don't even have to think about it; just read the words aloud like it's a game, and let the brain do all the work by itself.
The secret behind this exercise is that whenever the unconscious mind hears the word 'you', it assumes it personally is being addressed. It's much more effective therefore to refer to ourselves as 'you' rather than 'I' in suggestion work.
We have frequently discussed play in these tutorials because it is one of the most difficult concepts NHers need to grasp. Everybody thinks they know what play means, but few of us really do.
Research tells us: “Play is essential to development as it contributes to cognitive, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing”. Play is so important to optimal development that it has been ordained by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as 'a right of every child'. Sadly, this legislation is neither implemented nor is it inclusive of adults; which facts account for many of our current ills.
Play needs intense study because the nature of play is badly misunderstood by most adults; society treats play as time-wasting nonsense that gets in the way of school and work, so it is discouraged and denigrated as 'childish', immature and something 'society's ideal person' should on the whole avoid. If we look at the ways society punishes (and these days, drugs) children, almost all of the 'transgressions' adults are 'trying to put right' are behaviors in which children fail to behave like society's ideal adults and try to play. To be considered a healthy kid these days you basically have to behave like a robot. You sit at your desk and look at the teacher and don't move, and you're Society's Ideal Child; you jump up and down on your desk and laugh and look out the window and its Detention or Ritalin for you.
Society's prejudice against play as 'immature' is a deep indoctrination in many of us, and some students experience feelings of guilt or shame when indulging in play for long periods of time, consciously worried that others will see this as 'wasting time' or 'being childish'. When developing (and often, when using) creativity we will also encounter criticism along these lines too, because one of the main rules of the 'Society's Ideal Self' game is: play is 'just messing about wasting time' (unless of course it is earning you money, such as winning at a sport or selling music or paintings.) Within this metaphorical framing, messing about wasting time to develop your own mind sounds like a load of selfish, narcissistic nonsense. And we all too easily forget that this framing is a synthetic one, and that in reality the only way to achieve a full intelligence is to allow it to mess about -and that far from 'wasting time', this is the most sensible, sane use of our time possible. Counterfeit games are the biggest waste of human time there is, since no further development can take place while we're playing them.
Here's a recap on what we know already about play:
Play is seen in all higher species. As we said way back in Tutorial 4, the ideal state of mind for growth, development and learning is that of creative play; an attitude that is childlike rather than childish. Biology never wastes energy, and the immense amount of energy that goes into play serves a vital biological purpose -our physical & mental development both rely on play becoming our main and most important behavior.
Our physical development needs motion-based play to develop muscle tone and ergonomic movement; to build a flexible organism with fine-tuned responses. Our mental development needs imaginative and creative play to build 'muscular-mindedness'; the ability to think in new and creative ways, solve problems, frame concepts, make decisions, understand patterns and strategies. To build an intelligent mind at all, we need to learn, and at root play is learning.
Even in perception, we basically play with concepts and try to choose the most applicable ones to interpret percepts. We know the rules of the 'perception game' and if we follow them our conclusions are usually correct. Even our failures to compute reality correctly -as experienced in optical and other illusions- are fun to play with, and we exploit the nature of our perception with movies that fool us into seeing an 'ongoing story' simply by presenting our eyeballs with still pictures at a relevant rate per second; exactly as perception does with real input.
ALL development relies on learning. Intelligence grows when we encounter some new information or experience, assimilate this into our conceptual system, and make congruous associations to that event. Congruous association means structuring new conceptual patterns and new connections in the brain to account for the dissimilarities between the new experience and known experience. Previous patterns become more flexible through associations, giving us a greater ability to understand and interact with the new and unknown.
In Tutorial 5 we said, “We learn avidly about whatever we love and are interested in, and biology has designed it that way.” Motivation is a signal of potential benefit to intelligence, for as long as we are healthy. If we follow biology's intent and play avidly with whatever we love, we will develop our intelligence optimally. When the intent within is met halfway by the correct content from without (correct input), motivation is automatic and learning is easy and fast.
We come into this world so eager to play because we are eager to learn -eager to develop- and biology knows play is the fastest route to learning. There are two main types of childhood play: they are fantasy (playing with new concepts) and imitation (playing with known concepts).
Imitative play involves modeling, and its purpose is to empathize with and experience the abilities of whatever is imitated. The game is to empathize with the model by accommodating our own behavior to that of the model. Here we are practicing the process for our rear networks' overall goal -creatively changing the individual to better suit the context. That goal includes creatively changing unconscious thought formats to better suit conscious thought formats (by metaphorization).
Fantasy play involves metaphorization; that is, an object may become symbolic of another real item. For example, the cardboard box we pretend is the pirate ship, while the floor is the ocean and cushions are sharks. This spoon tied to a piece of string is really a fierce harpoon. -Will the pirates be skilled enough to shoot the sharks? Or will the sharks eat the pirates?
What is going on unconsciously here? The pirates are the goodies in this scene; successfully developing conscious minds, incorporating tool use and strategy into their physical performance. To develop further, they need to avoid imbalance. The sea is the unconscious, the ship is the green zone; if we fall out we drop into an ocean of potential unconscious dangers, but a brave and fearless pirate who can swim well and fight valiantly can often get heroically back into the ship.
The sharks are potential food (benefits) and dangerous predators (hazards). The task for the pirates (conscious minds) is to get the benefits without the hazards via perfecting our spoon- (sorry, harpoon)-throwing (higher level processing, conscious, autonomous) skills. But metaphorically the sharks also represent automatic unconscious processes. They present the danger of 'being eaten' -isolated unconscious anxiety mindlessly destroying conscious awareness; if their needs are not met and they are not controlled, so the sharks could harm us, especially if we fall out of the green zone. The shark (an automatic, unconscious process) is not dangerous unless it is afraid or hungry -if its needs are not being met.
If it is dangerous, 'shooting the shark' connects the unconscious unknown to the conscious known; it forms a conduit that connects the pirates (conscious) with the shark (unconscious) physically, but in a context where the conscious pirates are able to practice controlling the autonomous system. This process is exactly and literally what is intended for our own development. 'Catching the shark' means we will eat it -process and digest it; transforming the material from what was once just an automatic unconscious intelligence into part of a conscious autonomous intelligence, thereby removing the danger of an uncontrolled shark (isolated unconscious). This is what we are unconsciously learning through such games -they give us constant metaphoric examples of how to successfully develop our minds. This game tells us, 'if there is a shark -an isolated unconscious process hungry for development- we must get into a position where we can connect with it in ways that enable us to control it. Then it is a great benefit, without the hazard.'
In a slightly different (but still archetypal) version of the game, the pirates meet an injured or trapped young shark and help it out. When it grows up it arrives unexpectedly one day in a crisis and helps the pirates out of a bad fix at the last moment. Alternatively they make friends with the shark and it accompanies them on raids like a mascot. Having a friendly shark on their side is obviously a benefit, but what is being taught here (and in all similar 'help the wounded animal' stories are the various benefits of making unconscious-conscious connections despite fear on original approach. There are literally thousands of stories employing this theme. Alice in Wonderland is Alice in 'Underland' -the unconscious, down the rabbit hole conduit. 'Hurry', says the white rabbit, -'you'll be late!' ...NOW is the optimal time for Alice to make those unconscious-conscious connections.
In fantasy play (and creative fiction) we use the creative process to allow the unconscious to give us clues about our mind's development and how to successfully achieve it. We take in input but creatively choose to translate it through a different framework -to give it different meaning- in order to explore the learning experiences that may be had interacting within that framework, without having to really risk getting eaten or losing control of our own unconscious. We are here practicing the process for our front networks' overall goal -creatively changing the context to better suit the individual. That goal includes creatively changing conscious thought formats to better suit unconscious thought formats (analogization).
These two abilities; to creatively adapt both ourselves and our context, are hallmarks of higher processing development and underlie all of our later executive abilities. We 'bridge' the perceptual gap between what is and what might be by shifting conceptual frameworks to ignore dissimilarities and use similarities, allowing ourselves to flexibly interact with abstract concepts, thoughts and ideas as N4 develops, just as adeptly as we learned to flexibly interact with material objects, containers and conduits as N2 developed. We learn to use control of ourselves and our context by playing 'as though' we already had that control -in a safe sandbox of playful imagination where nothing can really harm us, but where we can still learn the required skills for real life. Game over = New game?
In Tutorial 7 we described play as the freedom for intelligence to explore what it wants when it wants and how it wants, without having any value judgment placed upon experience. This is learning by play, and it's the only way to develop the brain. To the mind, play is always training that enables work to get done and further development to take place. Play is a process of re-creation in one format of what is going on in another.
What is recreation? -Before you answer this, let us frame the question with two contexts: if I said to you, “We're filming a drama in a castle and we want to recreate the atmosphere of medieval times,” you would understand 'recreate' as meaning, 'reproduce'. If however we met in a park and I said, 'Where is the recreation area?' you would assume I meant a playground; not a photocopy room. We don't write 're-create' when we mean copy, yet both words are from exactly the same root; “recreātus” (to create again; to revive).
Recreation is play and modeling, and it is one type of creativity; for example when we pretend an empty box is a boat, we 'recreate' the boat in imagination and play as though we were in the real boat. This sort of recreation is a supportive skill for the actual creation of real things by extrapolation from pure abstract ideas later on. It is the root of all innovation and invention. The same creative process we use to transfer meaning from the 'pirate ship' concept to the 'cardboard' box concept in childhood play will later enable us to transfer meaning from the idea or design concept to the creation of actual events or items in the real world; such as a book, a house, a program, a spaceship, or a surprise birthday party. Later still, we'll learn to use the same process to transfer meaning between abstract ideas and other abstract ideas in even higher level processing such as theoretical physics or pure mathematics.
Why there is no spoon
Reversibility thinking is worth paying further attention to here, because it underlies a lot of high-level processing programs including creativity.
Piaget called reversibility thinking 'the highest act of human intelligence but, sadly, the rarest.' According to Piaget, Reversibility thinking is 'the ability of the mind to entertain any state in a continuum of states as equally valid, and return to the point from where the operation of mind begins'. That's a bit of a frontloader-ish description and Chilton-Pearce later attempts a simplification in 'Magical Child': 'Reversibility thinking is the ability to consider any possibility within a continuum of possibilities as true, knowing that you can come back to where you start from.' This is somewhat clearer, but actual examples of reversibility thinking help a lot:
We practice reversibility thinking through play. Imagining that a cardboard box is a Pirate ship IS 'entertaining a possibility from a particular continuum as valid'. Getting to the end of the game and seeing the box once again as just a box IS 'coming back to the point from where the operations of mind began'.
We can look at the object, separate it temporarily from the 'box' concept and perform creative functions on it. A box on its own can only ever be a box -but a piece of cardboard currently playing the role of a box plus our mind can become any number of useful things to play with or (if ignored) nothing at all.
This is how we begin reversibility thinking. And we need sufficient practice (several years of this sort of play) to develop sufficient connections to shift into the next phase, which is concrete (in-real-life) operational thinking and requires those dense connections between network 3 and network 4; between unconscious and conscious.
A 'continuum' in this context is a logical grouping of 'those possibilities that fit'. For example, a box and a ship have enough points of similarity for the mind to 'bridge the gap' between the two for fantasy purposes. A box (to the unconscious, 'container of objects'), would make quite a good car, a ship or a treasure chest, but it would not make a very good teapot, harpoon, or trampoline. Every object has its own continuum of possibilities, just as every idea does later on.
A mind at this stage of development already has an accurate conceptual view of reality (our ontology), and we are playing continually, exploring how we can change that reality. Our experience is an interactive mixture of these two; creative imagination and flexible logic. Through formal logic, of course we know that a spoon is just a spoon (and a cardboard box is just a cardboard box), -but Spoon plus Creative mind equals a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. In this context there is no spoon -there is a piece of shiny metal currently shaped like a spoon, plus a creative imagination; and in the vicinity of mind, the spoon becomes 'a continuum of possibility' -data for reversibility thinking to operate on.
We imagine it could make a very good garden gate-latch. There are 'enough points of similarity' between the spoon and the required gate-latch, if we bent it just so...or maybe it could be part of a catapult...We can look at the object, separate it temporarily from the 'spoon' concept, and perform creative functions on it. At that point there is no spoon. A spoon on its own can only ever be a spoon, and a mind on its own cannot operate reversibility thinking with no input, -but a piece of metal currently playing the role of a spoon plus our mind suddenly has the potential to become any number of useful things or (if we pay no attention to it) nothing at all.
Creativity is exactly this capacity -for seeing one thing in something else, associating similarities and discounting dissimilarities. This ability in play becomes an ability in real life only if given the proper input to develop those all-important neural connections -creative, imaginative play. These same connections developed through such play will be used for abstract creative thought just as they are used for concrete creative thought; via reversibility thinking.
While rear networks are still keeping attention busy structuring their 'body of knowledge', imagination cannot become conceptual and the mind cannot accommodate to fantasy ideas. Here the 'always do things in the right order' rule is again literal -the mind obviously can't effectively use programs whose supporting database hasn't fully loaded into memory yet. At two years old, there was not enough supporting data for us to imagine a cardboard box was a pirate ship (and some people never can). At six years old, we still didn't transform the literal box in a way that would convey to others that it was a pirate ship; the box remained a box and the world did not change in any way because of our fantasy, nor did we expect it to. Imagination simply negated all dissimilarities and provided a 'play-reality' experience that left the real laws of physics and the real concrete world strictly alone.
But with N4's processes becoming available, adult play and full creativity become possible. The mind can now construct concepts out of abstract imaginative ideas and possibilities that can be applied to material reality, and the method of processing these concepts functions exactly as it did for ordinary concrete concepts: the brain puts together sensory information with imagination.
For an adult play is not just physical; it is intellectual and creative, the explorations of an open intelligence and flexible logic, able to reflect on created images and change their nature (perform engineering operations on them) from within. At this stage 'play' is not just a fantasy reality overlaid on the surface of material concepts. An abstract concept based on an idea about something can now moderate the input coming from that thing. We can imagine what the spoon would look like if it were bent into a different shape, just as clearly as we can imagine (perceive) the actual spoon. Abstract processes can now interact with input according to our ideas about it, rather than only with its actual structure. This is how operational thinking 'operates' on its input data. With creativity, a cycle of interactive processing between reality and the mind is coming into being. The world has always been able to affect the mind, but now the mind can take up its power to interact with and affect the world in a growing number of different ways. We are becoming what we are meant to be; dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers. Creators in our own right.
The state of play
Our minds and the real world are, of course, not isolated entities -both are a part of overall 'universal' reality obviously; it's just that our minds are THE part of reality most adept at altering both themselves and the rest of reality. That's quite a powerful thing to be carrying around between our ears.
Playing is not 'performing'; it requires that we be our real selves within the game context at all times, although the concept of what 'ourselves' IS will expand and clarify with experience.
Nor is play a 'special state', but one of life's fundamental principals; as basic and necessary as sleep, vitamins and dreams. Play serves as the grounding core of learning and as the "attractor" or organizing pattern which helps shape the developing nervous systems of mammals. Through play humans build their basic framework for reality which bridges all that is symbolic, metaphoric, mythical and imaginative. Play is absolutely necessary for the development of empathy, altruism and other cultural abilities needed for resilience against stress.
Play signals are recognized across species lines, and play signals, such as a relaxed open mouth expression, (the "play face") can be seen in both mammals and birds and is understood by both to mean - no harm will come to you - what follows is play. Thus play, anciently and slowly established during evolution, has established a language which forms the basis for trust of and cooperation with others for mutual benefit and forms an interaction pattern of coherent integrity. Play signals and languages are powerful, and can override more stereotyped communications (such as those which frequently precede a fight). We learn to utilize these languages via practice in our daily dealings with each other.
Play also reduces the social distance between individuals and assists in the development of more intricate intimate bonds. It provides a repertoire of behaviors to alleviate stress and helps the player cope with ambiguity.
Play and games are necessary for the development of community which requires mutual trust, cooperation and common goal setting. They are necessary to develop a sense of future optimism and perseverance. For humans, play is also surprisingly influential in the shaping of one's own inner sense of self, and thus is directly related to mental health and plasticity. It is also the means by which we shape a model of our world. Thus it serves as a fulcrum to whatever takes on meaning.
We can't have real learning unless we are playing. Real playing is how real learning takes place. We can have conditioning like a Pavlovian conditioning of his dogs, or behavior modification through other means which involve coercion, arbitrary rewards and punishments, but it's still conditioning.
Biologically we are never intended to grow into the dull, conditioned, petty, prejudiced, miserable adults many become. We are designed by nature to retain our playful, childlike countenance lifelong.
Play on the surface, and all the work goes on underneath.
No young creature can be consciously aware that it is learning survival and development techniques as it plays with its parents, friends, or siblings. Even we have no idea that our mind & brain are busily working to structure our knowledge of reality unconsciously as we play. But our unconscious minds are occupied playing 'world of emergence' as hard as they can and at every opportunity they gets, knowing as they do so that this play is preparing us for functions which become fully operative much later on.
We have evolved to play with the world; experiencing both concrete reality and our play reality. The reality played with is the real world filtered through perception and our processes of creative play. In our conscious awareness, there is play; and unconsciously, the work of practice at every process for structuring a world-view is furnished by play.
We arrive here with a biological intent that drives us to do three things: make, maintain and strengthen our bonds, explore reality, and play; that's about it on the behavioral preprogramming front. When this intent can express itself freely, no incongruity arises between these programs. While we consciously play on the surface, all the critical work is done automatically underneath, by the unconscious. This is what is meant by 'natural learning' through interaction.
Interaction is play, but action and reaction are work. Healthy development is thwarted when we replace the former with the latter. To approach learning consciously from the top down with the intention of 'working hard' is suggesting a biological impossibility. All that can be achieved is a mindless memory full of endless facts, with no ability to use them creatively or apply the processes of logic or reason.
Regulatory feedback, conceptual construction, learning by experience and mistakes, modeling, embodiment, sync, bonding; all the procedures of learning from the bottom up, are unconscious processes. Awareness, ability, knowledge, understanding and confidence are the end results; the 'outputs' of the learning process. When our conscious intentions are congruous with our unconscious intent, we learn quickly and joyfully.
We are hard wired to approach life as playing a game or series of games simply because this approach has led to our species' greater success in surviving and thriving. All play is in the service of development; not just physical survival play (such as mock combat, hunting or hiding) but also imaginative play. Playing at fantasy, imagining things not currently available to the senses, we are practising imagination; hacking ourselves to conform to our context, we are practicing metaphorization; hacking our context to conform to our desires, we are practising analogization; taking some real-life object and transforming it in our minds, we are practising creativity; imitating the hero's behavior and so experiencing what it feels like to think like a hero and have a hero's power within the world, we are practicing modeling; these very processes lie beneath our power to later literally hack reality according to our desires -to interact and to create. They enable our open intelligence and flexible logic to predict and project, to judge, decide and strategize; not just in order to create but also, vitally, to reason.
The play on the surface and the work going on underneath are supposed to merge; as our unconscious and conscious awareness themselves merge and synchronize during N4's development. Intelligence embraces its imagined transformations of ourselves and the world; they are fascinating ways of creatively playing with reality; we focus attention on fantasy and reality becomes play. We enter 'the zone', where mindfulness is never at issue; the time is now, the place is here, the interaction is me. In this space there is no distraction, there is only the world; the very real world in which and with which we play. We are not playing AT life; play IS life. The unconscious and conscious parts of our minds are here working in perfect synchrony. Intelligence is blossoming.
Transformation -via modeling, analogization, projected empathy and metaphorization is the process that is rehearsed; imposing an inner imaginary construct on an actual concrete item of material reality, in order to adapt the context or adapt ourselves. The blossoming of the mature mind occurs when the surface play and unconscious work merge. From then on, our conceptual structuring will no longer distinguish between the two when transformation programs run. Unconscious knowledge is bonded to conscious awareness.
At no point should there be a division or loss of sync between the fantasy play of childhood and the application of that play through our unfolding creative logic.
Research has revealed how tribal children play at adult reality throughout childhood, and adults play with children in their learning until one day, quite easily and naturally, the child's playing merges with theirs and they move in to the adult levels of the game. We can extend this analogically into all development; for example students play at being masters, and masters play with their students in their learning. And one day, quite easily and naturally, the student's play merges with the master's (the modeler's play merges with the model's.)
Play is the state in which optimum learning (including learning creative procedures) takes place naturally. The prerequisite for authentic play is a mind's basic trust in its physical and psychological safety, and we do it best in a bonded, open context. Place anyone in a threatening environment, where they are being judged, measured, hassled, coerced, compared; or an impoverished environment, where there is no access to natural input and attempts to communicate are ignored, and we have no possibility of true play with its experience of coherent, complete attention, wonder, curiosity, flexibility, open-mindedness, engagement, humor and willingness to excitedly face the unknown.
Society's anxiety-based conditioning separates learning from play, and in forcing this mind-split created work (and this “normal” way of looking at learning as 'hard work' is so entrenched in our society that it can make the connection between development and creative play difficult for us to grasp at first).
Our task, then, for this next part of development, is to reunite the concepts of development, further learning and creative play in our minds (and consequently the connections between unconscious & conscious networks). 'Work' then becomes beneficial instead of harmful, because it is in the service of our development. It is a game we play.
We don't make this change by thinking about it. We enable change by doing it. People believing they're not creative while not understanding what creativity really is are unknowingly holding themselves back from developing further. We all have the potential for high level creative thinking once our unconscious and conscious connections are installed as intended.
DO IT NOW -make up the rest of this poem:
There are no 'right' or 'wrong' solutions; just play with it. (If you find this easy, see if you can write three or four versions.)
There was a young …...............
Who went for a swim …................
A man in ….......... stuck an oar …...............
And said, …............................................
There was a young girl from my town,
Who went for a swim with a clown,
A man in the corner stuck an oar out to warn her
And said, 'if you don't laugh you'll drown'
other examples at end of tutorial
NHA guide to Methods & Tech
Programming ourselves - Changing your mind
What is meant by programming ourselves is taking responsibility for our own current state and ongoing development, as biology's blueprint provides, and making ongoing beneficial changes to current wiring and processing. In other words, directing our own development by running (and in some cases designing & writing) beneficial processes.
This is NOT like programming a computer, although experience at doing that can help us to understand the logic behind what is going on in complex small networks on a biological platform. In living minds, software reconfigures hardware to adapt to more powerful software, AND vice versa, which is why concrete or abstract hacks work equally well (and why both a tickle and a joke can make us laugh). We achieve this 'bootstrapping' effect using the same processes we use to adapt ourselves to our context and our context to ourselves. Each side (in this case hardware and software) comes halfway. A good analogy would be a robot whose software could modify its hardware via nanobots to access and run more powerful software that could modify its hardware via nanobots to access and run more powerful software that...etc. But where the robot is limited to accessing already-existing more powerful software, we are able to write our own.
We have said before in these tutorials that hardware becomes software when code is given meaning. All thought, even totally abstract thought, has immediate concrete consequences in the dimensions of our senses, our neurotransmission, and consequently the quality and quantity of our neural wiring. So we cannot think of human software (or 'wetware' if you like) as totally separate from hardware, and must also remember that each network has its own appropriate type of code, memory format and processes. In this instance we are using the creative process and metaphoric framing applications for programming, because that is what we need to develop unconscious-conscious connections. (see 'guidelines' below).
Self programming includes procedures such as priming, directing attention, memory editing, scripting, self suggestion, control of neurotransmission, plot control, plot direction and using new decision procedures based on higher processing functions from a big picture perspective.
All these procedures can help in replacing conditioning with independent thinking, rationality and understanding; in promoting further development of creativity and intellect; and in enhancing free will, self esteem and confidence.
We know enough about how our wetware works at this stage to interact with it in these beneficial ways, and we trust all NH students at this stage will have practiced at least some of these procedures already. Below we examine some techniques and methods that are useful in self programming.
Stay on target: Always know and state your main goal & reasons: in this case 'Connecting unconscious and conscious pathways; because to continue development it's necessary to replace unhealthy conditioning with healthy independent thought & interaction.'
Do not try to bend the spoon. That's impossible: We never try to 'make something happen' or 'will' something to happen in self-programming; that would be as daft as demanding a sensible output or wishing fervently for one without providing any data or applying any processing (like, expecting an answer without asking a question).
Instead, only try to realize the truth: we set up the conditions for new learning to happen by providing the relevant context (enriched environment) data (healthy input) and allowing the self-evolving software to get practice runtime (healthy interaction).
Never send a human to do a machine's job: We can never 'teach' the mind from the top down; we can only 'assist it to teach itself' from the bottom up.
Your mind makes it real: Our tasks as programmers are to control which software is allowed to run, neutralize viral programs, and do everything we can to augment performance.
Get the 'airmiles'; a critical mass of practice: Think of healthy habits and behaviors like creative play as 'processes for repair & development'. We develop these programs by running them -our healthy creativity software is still ok; it just needs using!
Get the background knowledge: It is useful to understand consciously how change is possible and the details of exactly how what we are doing works; which is part of what we have been learning in these tutorials. It's of no use to approach self programming if we are held back by conditioned beliefs that tell us such change is not possible.
We learned about unconscious priming and its effects on neurotransmission in Tutorial 9. Now we are ready to do some. Priming (strictly speaking, 'Positive Context Priming') is an unconscious (implicit) memory effect in which exposure to a chosen stimulus influences our response to other stimuli. Basically we make associations -and connections- faster when they come in an 'expected' context because we are predictively prepared to access certain networks. A Positive prime increases processing speed, and Context priming works by using an associated context to speed up processing for stimuli that are likely to occur in that context.
We can help set up the conditions for rapid creative change by consciously using a priming context that enables such change. If you are experienced you may want to create your own; for the rest of us there is a simple contextual model that can provide these benefits. Those familiar with the work of Eric Berne  may recall his version of Interactional Analysis ('Transactional Analysis') and the book, 'Games People Play'; which presented everyday examples of the ways in which most human beings are caught up in counterfeit games. Berne's description of subject positioning was ahead of its time -it is excellent; straightforward and very clear, so we use it here.
Berne gives four 'subject positions' or points of view as contexts from which people operate in daily life. They are:
1. I'm Not OK, You're OK
2. I'm Not OK, You're Not OK
3. I'm OK, You're Not OK
4. I'm OK, You're OK
This model can be used in Interactional Analysis and Scripting, and we'll show you how to use it that way in 'Scripting' below. But a working knowledge of these subject positions right from the start can be very useful in self programming, because we can use this same model for all sorts of programming tasks.
These 'subject positions' are more than conditioned responses; they are concept sets of conclusions and decisions about what we currently see and expect as reality following data processing. They prime us. They are program controllers; the psychological (software) equivalent of epigenetic transcription factors. Taking up these positions as a framing context provides people with perspectives, behavioral attitudes to life, and contributes to their ontologies or 'world views'. In our minds our subject positions (we are the 'subjects' adopting these positions) are seen as the context -like 'the universe the story is set in'; they create processing boundaries that determine limits on our behavior, expectations, what sort of stories are possible and what types of scenes can take place within the story. They prime us for their associated behaviors, characters or caricatures, archetypes or stereotypes, bonding or adherence, emotion or sentiment; and for unconscious-conscious integration or separation.
The first and third options involve unequal power relations; a sure sign of leaving the green zone. The second permits no receptivity to change (and it sets up a context that can keep people stuck for a long time). Only the fourth option is healthy and promotes integration, and we can use this subject position as a Positive Context Primer.
Doing this primes us for development, speeds up processing, and at the same time blocks counterfeit game scripts because they rely on our being conditioned into one of the first three positions in order to run.
We can see how the first one describes a Wimp Mode perspective in the role of 'Victim'; Someone in this position is anxious, insecure and constantly seeks reassurance or others' approval. They proceed to live out a story in the stereotypical victim role which use scripts, thoughts and selective memory to confirm the 'not ok'. The stereotypical story may be one of isolation or victimization; the underlying plot is, 'I will get attention and comfort through clinging or whining'.
The second position sees us all as victims in a hopeless situation; and this is the hardest position to break out of. Assuming 'humans are all just assholes, it's our nature', does not allow for any change or for valuing real input (for example proof against) any more than counterfeit input. The stereotypical story is 'Apocalypse 101 -Life's a bitch and then you die', and the underlying plot is, 'We're all screwed'.
The third position is the perspective embraced when in bully mode; those who hold it long term have become unable to look inward. Any problem is always 'someone else's fault'. Someone in this position is also anxious, insecure and constantly seeks others' approval, but they are in denial. Their defense position is preemptively offensive, arrogant, and selectively blocks any input that might imply others are ok. The stereotypical story is 'Try to take over the world (for its own good)!', the underlying plot is, 'I am the superior. I will get attention and comfort through domination and control.'
The healthy stories of real life metaphorize our own successful development. That's 'the main plot'; 'the Hero's journey' if you prefer; that is the work the unconscious must pursue, while we consciously play our games with reality and provide it with its currently-needed input. The plot of development; 'World of Emergence', is open-ended (like, a game with the provision for an ever-increasing stack of levels.) It requires archetypal characters based on real life, and congruous subject positioning based on current input, emotional stability, and reason. 'I'm ok, you're ok' is the Hero's subject position.
The first three 'positions' above are based on anxiety and sentiment, have unequal power relations, and result in action/reaction relationships and communication. The fourth is based on current input, emotional stability, and reason; and results in interactive relationships and communication. Only the fourth position meets core conditions -as long as we remember it is our Real Selves we are discussing (ie, our intelligence).
That is to say, the pov, 'I'm ok, you're ok' in a priming context does not imply that we believe others and ourselves to be 100% mentally healthy. In adopting this position we are not deluded; we are clearly aware that most people are currently not perfectly ok as far as mental health goes. The pov rather describes our attitude towards our own unconscious and (like 'respect' in core conditions), refers to the actual nature rather than the current state of, intelligence; our real selves. Only by adopting the habit of operating from this point of view (by 'behaving as though') can we step out of automatic counterfeit actions and reactions.
What we are affirming with 'I'm ok, you're ok' is the reality that there is possibility for change because our original biological blueprint for development is not wiped by conditioning; it is merely postponed; put into stasis, (or in the original meaning of the word, 'retarded' -held back or slowed down). That blueprint and our healthy software IS still 'ok' -it just needs to be reinitialized in a development-dedicated system.
The unconscious mind knows it's ok until someone erroneously programs (conditions) it to believe that it isn't (wrong input means wrong database-content). A classic example of this is the fact that all mammals can swim automatically and instinctively from babyhood -unless they panic (anxiety shuts off access to procedural software). Humans who have been conditioned to believe they will drown in water unless they've 'had swimming lessons' do panic -and most certainly do drown.
Counterfeit games recruit the conscious mind to do the job of convincing the unconscious that it's not ok. As explained above, people are thus conditioned to be the enemies of their own selves; to think of their own unconscious 'natural' selves as primitive, violent, and dangerous; as some feral 'mad' part of us that 'needs to be controlled', or preferably, completely avoided. This is a long way from actual evidence, which more closely supports Rogers' view of the healthy individual as basically good and striving to always improve itself.
From the evidence, it in fact appears to be our conscious mind and false conscious ideas that can lead us -as it is led- away from healthy interaction and into anxiety and danger. Our unconscious does not need to be quarantined, trained and controlled by 'professionals' or 'institutions' from the outside -it needs integration with conscious awareness so that we can exercise our own control from the inside. We are not designed to go through life being told what to do and how to behave at every turn; and living in such a counterfeit reality is missing out on development, independence, creativity, competence, and the confidence (not to mention pleasure) that comes with them. Counterfeit games rely on our being dependent on the game to keep us trapped in stasis. In effect conditioning trains us to behave like lobotomized domesticated workhorses by halting our own development, and to be convinced that is a good thing.
In self programming we are working to reinitialize development by integrating our unconscious and conscious mind, and we can use the 'I'm ok, you're ok' position to prime the relationship between them. (Remember, whenever the unconscious mind hears the word 'you', it thinks it personally is being addressed.) With 'I'm ok, you're ok' we are sending the unconscious the message, 'conditions are now ok for further development', or if you like, 'we are now working together and we are go for launch'. This primes the system to expect development.
This subject position and the attitude that goes with it are tools to promote development. With a context based on real life, adopting the position, 'I'm OK, You're OK' puts us into a safe mental space for open minded mode where interaction with core conditions is possible, development can proceed as intended, and the creative process can run unhindered.
There is also a tool for self assessment here: if we find we can describe our current pov with any of the other three 'positions', we will know we have veered off course back into conditioned thinking, and no progress will be made until we shift perspective back into the pov conducive to further development.
Our power for creative change in any situation starts with the deliberate direction of our attention. Attention-direction gives real time control of input.
To allow creative innovation in the stories of our own lives, we need to be able to pay (or withhold) attention at will. We only ever need to go halfway by paying attention to good input with conscious awareness -unconscious knowledge will come the rest of the way to meet us.
The biological, physiological, and psychological processes involved in our forming our ontology or 'world view', along with the attendant attitudes and behaviors, are no longer a mystery. The study of epigenetics has shown that our interactions with the input we pay attention to provides the sensory stimulation; the taste, touch, smell, sight, sound, and the pleasant or anxious sensations that trigger the genetic and synaptic changes associated with these sensations that literally shape our minds and brains and further prime our psychology for 'what to expect'.
In everyday life, attention and awareness appear tightly interwoven. However, research has recently revealed that they are fundamentally different processes. We now have the first experimental evidence that the primary visual cortex, the entrance stage to cortical visual processing, is modulated only by attention and not by awareness. This finding supports the hypothesis that attention and awareness differentially affect nerve cells. Paying attention to the target almost doubles the processing activity in the visual cortex, while sheer visibility of the target has almost no effect.
This shows us the power of controlling our attention as opposed to being a passive observer. We can still be fully aware of what is going on in counterfeit games without allowing them to affect us; in fact being fully aware is precisely what prevents their affecting us. The key to successful input control is control of attention, for a skilfully-directed attention can edit 'what we are surrounded by' as we please. Without attention control, we can be in the most enriched environment possible yet without our paying attention to and interacting with it, it cannot benefit us. When we have attention control, we can be in the most boring contexts imaginable and still have plenty of fun things to do and think about.
Ever been really high, or in love? You know why things seem brighter? They are! All those beneficial transmitters and processes and sensors are hotting up not just because we're paying attention to something we genuinely choose to, but because in doing so we've withdrawn our attention from all the crap! Good input has automatically replaced bad -and that's our exact aim in self programming. The more time we spend paying attention to what we love, the more the brain balances itself, -all by itself- and the more our development proceeds automatically.
If most of the input we pay attention to FROM NOW ON is pleasurable, nurturing, exciting and fulfilling, we will develop and maintain an open-minded world view and establish a congruous view of our lives that aligns with actual facts about reality. Using this model, we will successfully navigate through life's natural ups and downs with a natural resilience against stressors and harmful input; just as a fit healthy body can cope with more stress (stretching) before becoming strained, and a fit, healthy immune system can prevent a larger variety of infections, so a fit, healthy mind can cope with more mental stressors without becoming anxious. When anxiety-free we can really stretch ourselves, accelerating our own progress.
If most of the input we pay attention to from now on is hostile, painful, violent and anxious, we will maintain an anxious, closed-minded world view and set up via adherence a counterfeit game ontology that does not align with actual facts about reality. This creates an inaccurate model that does not reflect what is going on in real life (instead it reflects what is going on in the counterfeit game). Without a congruous model we have low resilience against mental stressors (and not incidentally poor physical immunity), we will have more difficulty coping with change or anything new, and any challenge will seem like a danger. The more anxious, uncertain and paranoid we become, the more our attention is distracted, rendering us less capable of perceiving and embodying the truth.
Resilience against anxiety is largely based on control of what we pay attention to. Input that would harm an anxious mind will no longer affect us, and there will be no more need to take such care to avoid it (as we told you back in early tutorials, avoiding all input that raises anxiety is only a temporary measure) since we are now able to detect it and deliberately focus our attention elsewhere. With 'muscular-mindedness' we'll find it easy to adapt to new or unknown things, and will be keen to follow new interests even if they are a challenge.
When we turn our attention to something, we are sending a message to our mind to concentrate on it. Most input contains a mixture of benefits and hazards; like a plant that contains both nutritious and toxic parts. We have now learned enough to screen input for benefits and 'only pay attention to the good parts', leaving anything dodgy out of our attention. We are now therefore capable of picking out the good useful parts of any input and ignoring all else as irrelevant.
Our input is rooted in our primary sensory environment and experienced in interactional relationships. That's why so many of us have a warped world-view when childhood brought less-than-optimal input. But we are not children now, and are responsible for our own input and what to direct our attention to. NH students are also empowered by our knowledge of what good input IS for each and every network, plus we are aware that the realization of peaceful and harmonious behaviors at the individual, relationship and cultural level can only be obtained with a neurointegrative brain (where unconscious and conscious awareness are congruous) and not with a neurodissociative brain (where they are not).
Practicing conscious control of attention will inspire and motivate us to continue learning through genuine interest, just as a good story should leave us wanting more after every chapter (hands up all those who once stayed up all night to get to the end of some beloved bit of input?)
When we start paying attention to the truth in real time, we are priming ourselves for interaction. Assessing what we do with our time (as in the do it now exercise above) also helps keep our attention in the here and now.
Mindfulness means being mindful of (attentive to) what is really going on, in real life, behind all the facade and false game scenes. It enables us to begin to understand the position of games within the big picture, and to be fully aware of the real life story we are currently in, which is the first step towards being in a better story.
Many have found mindfulness meditation a good remedy for chronic distraction or poor concentration, and the effectiveness of meditation in general in rewiring the brain have been abundantly demonstrated. Meditation training variously enhances creative incubation and illumination via transcendence and integration, neuropsychological mechanisms common to both processes. Transcendence surpasses informational limits; integration transforms informational boundaries.
Mindfulness can help prevent formation of automatic habits (which occurs through implicit (unconscious) learning—because a mindful person is aware of what they are doing. It is therefore good preparation for focus and the closed mode of creativity (relaxation meditation being more appropriate for inducing open mode.)
EEG biofeedback & the creative process
If you use EEG for biofeedback, here is how to interpret the results:
Increased low-alpha power reflects reduced cortical activity and detached witnessing of multimodal information processing (open mode); beta indicates closed mode; theta indicates an implicit affect-based orientation toward satisfaction and encoding of new information, and may occur during insight events; delta reflects neural silence and signal matching, and gamma indicates heightened awareness, mindfulness, temporal-spatial binding, and salience. Gamma power over frontal midline areas reflects DMN activity and also occurs when 'in the Zone'.
enriched environments & input control
We already know that our context plays a critical role in how we think and behave. There is a real, measurable cognitive advantage to be realized if we spend time truly immersed in a natural setting.
Higher order cognitive functions including selective attention, problem solving, inhibition, and multitasking are all heavily utilized in creativity. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests that exposure to nature can restore or improve prefrontal cortex-mediated executive processes such as these. Consistent with ART, exposure to natural settings seems to replenish some, lower-level modules of the executive attentional system. Research has now shown that just four days of immersion in nature (and the corresponding disconnection from multimedia, TV and other technology), increases performance on a creative problem-solving task by a full 50% in a group of average people.
Laboratory-based studies have also reported that simply viewing slides of nature improved sustained attention and the suppression of distracting information. Exposure to nature may also engage the Default Mode (Imagination) Network.
Enriched environments promote compensatory mechanisms in cortical regions implicated in the regulation of cultural and emotional behavior; specifically the Amygdala. That is to say, when the environment is enriched, there is a switch in amygdala function and connectivity with other brain regions, particularly the prefrontal cortex, and the Amy takes an active part in reducing anxiety hormones.
Memories of old conditioned habits are not erased by simply coming to a decision that 'we're ok' in the here and now. Memory editing starts for most of us with both reweighting of wrongly-weighted memories (this sort of editing is kinda like correcting old categories to reflect current upgraded awareness) while at the same time building up a collection of input (adding new memories) which show ok outcomes through interactions.
If you have needed to do any reweighting via core counseling or similar you will be pleased to hear that memory-reweighting work is a good preparation for creative self programming, because it helps build up our experience of using new abilities to resolve old difficulties, brings congruous order out of incongruous chaos, and helps us get a perspective on how anxiety overrates or underrates the importance of things in memory.
We can also shortcut the process of LTP by enhancing memories of good new input to increase processing (and consequently learning) speed. Recent research revealed that new memory accuracy and strength can be manipulated during sleep. We'll give you the details of how to do this in the Hacks & exercises section below.
Scripting & relationships
The term 'scripting' is yet another word which has several meanings in psychology. There is Hypnotic scripting, which we have encountered in past tutorials; Self suggestion scripting, (such as we used in the 'do it now' exercise above in which we wrote a letter of praise to the student); and Behavioral scripting (behavioral scripts are a sequence of expected behaviors within a given framework, and are sometimes called 'schemas'). Behavioral scripting is the term for how people in counterfeit games automatically 'follow a script' when communication goes on, largely without thinking about it; and changing the script usually causes them anxiety. However, we can also use also Behavioral scripting in self programming, as it enables us to 'change the script' in real time by opening up the option within the counterfeit script for stepping out of it.
Doing this successfully relies on making real life truthful responses from the 'I'm ok, you're ok' position without seeming rude or coming across like Mr Spock. This is the technique we shall look at here; because it can first enable us to avoid getting caught up in counterfeit game scripts, then later (with practice) it can enable us to stop counterfeit game scripts running altogether and start to 'direct' them into healthy interaction.
In a counterfeit game, a behavioral script is an ongoing series of verbal exchanges with ulterior intentions progressing to a predictable and expected outcome (usually a harmful one). They are like a series of moves with a feature or 'concluder'. Every counterfeit script is basically dishonest; these are what Berne called 'games'; in fact they are much more like automatic preset screenplays for particular types of scenes within a counterfeit game. The ulterior intention is the hidden agenda.
To interact beneficially within counterfeit game scripts we first have to be able to recognize them, so that calls for some discourse analysis practice:
Do it now -guess the subject positions
Some scripts are instantly recognizable from just their names and a brief description, shown here below. Can you guess which of Berne's subject positions each script is based on? (clue: none of them is going to be 'I'm ok, you're ok', because these are counterfeit game scripts)
1 Awful, isn't it? (two or more players agree on how awful it all is, whatever it is)
2 Why don't you -yes, but- (one person who states a problem is 'it'. The other/s suggest solutions. Every suggestion is met with 'yes, but' -and a reason why the solution is impossible)
3 Mine is better than yours (more important, more impressive, more powerful, more urgent, or just bigger)
4 Mine is worse that yours (we used to DREAM of living in a cardboard box)
5 If it weren't for you/them, I could... (one blames other/s for holding them back)
6 Let's get you and them to fight (one or more stirs up deliberate trouble between others)
7 Look what you made me do (A blames B for own mistakes)
8 Uproar (when bullies clash)
9 I'm only trying to help you (it's for your own good)
Answers at end of tutorial
Most counterfeit scripts cause trouble, wreck relationships and create misery, yet they are repeated again and again habitually. They are defense devices to shield individuals from the anxiety of having to face being in the 'not ok' position. It is not safe to remove these defenses in ourselves or others without first reducing anxiety, but with scripting we can coax them into alternative, more interactive scripts that can help us and others break out of the artifice.
We can usually tell which position we (or others) are operating from simply by stopping and asking ourselves -is this wimp behavior, bully behavior, or anxiety-free behavior? Am I doing/ thinking this because of anxiety, sentiment, or for sensible reasons? If it seems to be sensible reasons, where's the proof for that?
A healthy relationship of intimacy between people is based on the acceptance by all involved of the 'I'm ok, you're ok' position. It relies on an anxiety-free love where counterfeit games are not present as there is no insecurity. Giving, receiving and sharing are spontaneous and bring joy rather than preset 'correct' responses to socially programmed rituals. Real friendship is a real life relationship; goals are not ulterior because we all know that healthy relationships are good for everyone. When behavior is congruous, what best serves ourselves is also what best serves us all. Freeing the mind from counterfeit games enables a stuck relationship to proceed once more.
Intimacy is enabled where good input in the absence of anxiety makes full interaction possible.
Ulterior motives block intimacy; it is through freeing our minds from habitual repetition of nonsense that we shall create the conditions required for its occurrence. Successful relationships are those in which we are non-anxious equals; conscious minds mature but not static; unconscious minds childlike but not childish. Creative, spontaneous, curious, aware; independent yet bonded, separate yet united.
Scripting can help communication in relationships. Those who wish to make use of it must have a collaborative understanding of counterfeit scripts and of how running anxious preset scripts stops us from being our real selves and blocks real communication. We may already have that understanding intuitively, but it has to be brought into conscious awareness in order to be addressed effectively. We need to practice making interactive responses to action/reaction scripts and changing those scripts. Because they run automatically, an unexpected creative response 'lifts' the counterfeit conversation into the closest-matching real-life dialogue.
Because counterfeit scripts follow an automatic, repetitive format we can predict what sort of thing is likely to be said and make every response an opportunity to change the script.
Here's an example of a counterfeit game script called 'Awful, isn't it?':
Alice and Bob are working on adjacent desks, both in wimp mode, with a background ontology of 'I'm not ok, you're not ok'. We can see a slow progress bar for some task on Alice's screen.
Alice: (looks at the screen, mumbles, catches Bob's eye, sighs wearily).
Bob: (sighs back, shifts uncomfortably, looks at his screen).
Alice: “Looks like Windows is on go slow again.”
Bob: “No change there then.”
Alice: “Does it ever do anything right?”
Bob: “Doesn't seem to.”
Alice: “Windows is awful these days.”
Alice: “And more and more expensive, you can bet on that.”
These exchanges go on without any reference to reality, are asserting error without proof or solution, and were probably said in some soap opera episode a couple of weeks ago on TV. The script is for 'Awful, isn't it?' and these two are comforting themselves/confirming their beliefs by playing it out. You can hear examples of 'Awful isn't it' everywhere you go in public, the details vary (the weather, economics, health care, crime, politics, food quality, young people today) but the basics remain the same -the script follows the same process in every case. Complaints have replaced ideas as concepts which bring people together through a common experience, even as research indicates that being a regular complainer – or hanging around them – is not good for our brain or overall physical condition and can wreak havoc on our personal life.
Here is a re-scripting of the same situation; this time Alice remains the same but Bob is in a healthy state of mind with a background ontology of 'I'm ok, you're ok':
Alice: (looks at her screen, mumbles, catches Bob's eye, sighs wearily).
Bob: (gives her a simple friendly smile).
Alice: “Looks like Windows is on go slow again.”
Bob: “It usually gets there in the end.”
Alice: “Does it ever do anything right?”
Bob: “I don't know, but I don't always use Windows.”
Alice: “Windows is awful these days.”
Bob: “Well it's making progress -let's have our break while it completes.”
Bob's responses are plain, simple and honest and they break out of the preset script into real life. At this point, one of three things can happen, depending on how anxious Alice is. She could either make no change -ignore him and go on with the script; she could move away from reality -stop communicating, or she could move towards reality -realize she was being a bit of a moaner and jump out of the script with Bob at which point a real interaction will begin, outside the counterfeit game.
Conversely, if we go along with a counterfeit game script, we will be drawn in to the game. In times of danger, it is sometimes more sensible to go along with the script to avoid raising others' anxiety. However in ordinary life it is empowering to speak the truth, always bearing in mind core conditions.
How not to do it: Two common mistakes when learning scripting
1 The programmer employs honesty but without the other core conditions (requirements for interaction). We get the 'Mr. Spock' or 'AI effect', as follows:
Alice: “Looks like Windows is on go slow again.”
Spock: “Has it been on go slow before?”
Alice: “Does it ever do anything right?”
Alice: “Windows is awful these days.”
Spock: “I have no reason for complaint.”
As you can imagine, these two don't get along very well. Spock is being absolutely honest but his replies sound rude. There is insufficient empathy here.
2 The programmer is not in 'I'm ok, you're ok' position and the script is steered into another counterfeit script through action/reaction instead of interaction. For example Bob below is in bully mode:
Alice: “Looks like Windows is on go slow again.”
Bob: “You're just impatient”
Alice: “Does it ever do anything right?”
Bob: “A bad worker always blames their tools.”
Alice: “Windows is awful these days.”
Bob: “Stop moaning! You're always moaning!”
Alice: “Fuck you!” (the script has now become 'uproar', as Alice shifts from wimp to bully mode)
Scripting is not just about manipulating discourse; it also involves being aware of all possibilities within a situation. Obviously it takes time to learn the best responses; here are two more short examples of successful scripting:
a) Alice = wimp, Bob = healthy:
Alice: 'I can't cope!'
Bob: 'Sure you can cope, as long as you don't let anxiety get in your way. You're good at this.' (here Bob invokes the big picture in which he 'subject-positions' Alice as competent and respected.)
b) Alice = bully, Bob = healthy:
Alice: 'God you're so disorganized! Where did you hide the coffee?'
Bob: 'I hid it next to the teabags this week' (here Bob uses humor to raise awareness in Alice that she's becoming anxious.)
We include exercises for scripting practice in the Hacks & exercises section below.
Self suggestion & self hypnosis
Self suggestion is not always done with hypnosis; self priming is a good example of self suggestion without hypnosis (see above). But together they are powerful programming tools for enabling change. Hypnosis works by modulating increased functional connectivity and synchronization between the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (part of the 'task positive network' or 'executive-control' pathway of the brain), and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (part of the 'salience network' which plays a role in focusing our attention, while the the 'default mode network' (imagination) pathways are also active, (see anatomy & physiology section, above).
We have included self hypnosis practice in the Hacks & Exercises section below.
control of neurotransmission
There are plenty of medications and there is plenty of tech for assisting control of neurotransmission, and we have examined several in past tutorials. Here we consider the uses of creative play to achieve this goal. The benefits are obvious -no side effects, no batteries required, it's available at any time and it's absolutely free. It's also very powerful in conjunction with hypnosis.
We can all control our own neurotransmission with creative imagination already. (Without touching your body, close your eyes and think erotic thoughts... -see? -That desire thing; that's your thoughts sending out triggers for dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin...)
Direction of our attention, as we've just experienced, is our main method in exerting neurotransmission control. Note that during a brief erotic fantasy such as that above, we have not changed our external environment in any way -all that has changed is our thoughts. Yet the body's responses -and neurotransmission- went along with wherever the mind went -not where the body remained.
The mind makes it real. Programs have to respond to programs. Neurotransmission occurs in the context of procedures; if we alter the process we alter the neurotransmission, and vice versa.
With practice, we can 'summon a mood' by focusing our attention on an archetypal role or role model and creatively interpreting their experience as an actor would portray it. Remember, archetypal roles and their associated behaviors prime the release of sets of transmitters associated with the predicted roles and scenes and behaviors required, so we are priming ourselves for congruous interaction within a situation.
Obviously our knowledge of archetypal roles must be sufficient to make clear choices. Once we see our role in a scene, then we employ both the behaviors associated with that role and the neurotransmission associated with those behaviors.
We can also use imagined roles for perspectives -for example in a problem, we could consider what role each archetype would play in the solution. Example:
Run the scene in your imagination: A friend is unwell and having a rough time. Their place is a mess, their washing and washing up is everywhere, they have unpaid bills and unopened mail, there is very little food, they are not sure why their stomach is so bad, they are finding it hard to get out of bed let alone make decisions and have asked for your help.
What would the faithful servant do?
What would the young seeker do?
What would the shaman do?
What would the wise master do?
What would the benefactor do?
What would the power of the universe do?
If you prefer to use your favorite movie characters, ask yourself things like, 'What would Batman's butler do?' or, 'what would Captain Picard do?' etc. (To refamiliarize yourself with archetypes, see Tutorial 11).
You might not be able to answer all these, that doesn't matter. For the ones you can answer, these are the best roles for interacting in ways that can help your friend.
Now consider: if it were you who were unwell and in this situation, how could you use these roles to help yourself? If we are unable to think clearly, these roles can remind us what needs to be done and what decisions taken. There are two ways to do this; two perspectives we can take. Examples:
If I were Batman's butler and I were ill, I would:
If I were Captain Picard, and I were ill, I would:
etc. (insert your own role models for each archetype throughout)
If I asked Batman's butler for help, he would:
If I asked Captain Picard for help, he would:
The power of archetypal role play for controlling neurotransmission and directing healthy behavior is limited only by our own imagination. It is a very useful exercise for helping to bond unconscious-conscious.
We'll give more examples for neurotransmission control in the hacks & exercises section below.
Plot control can 'get us into the right story'. For effective plot control we need to know (a) what story the unconscious thinks we are in now and (b) what archetypal plot we need to shift into.
As always, in order to make sense there must be sufficient points of similarity between the 'now' story and the 'future' story (which is why it's funny when there are not -for example when a timid accountant suddenly wants to be a lion tamer). Classic stereotypical counterfeit games always have their healthy alternatives (as stereotypical characters have their archetypal alternatives; and knowing what character we are currently portraying and the closest healthy archetype is also very useful in plot control).
We must enter the new plot at the same stage of plot development (for that is the stage of current network upgrading). For example if we are currently stuck in a stereotypical victim or an apathetic wimp mode, we should be playing the faithful servant (taking care of ourselves) and developing attention and concentration skills. If we find ourselves cast in the role of stereotypical physical bully or aggressor we should be playing the young seeker, noble defender or gentle giant, and developing observation skills. If we find ourselves playing the new age cosmic woo woo merchant, we should be playing the shaman or guide and developing modeling skills, and those who get stuck in stereotypical repetitive conditioned behaviors like mindless robot slaves, Mr Anderson, should be playing the programmer; Neo, and developing the creative skills of the wise master.
If you don't know enough about archetypes yet to grasp these connections, there is a shortcut (less accurate, but still effective). Consider the main archetypal roles. Which one 'fits best' into your current circumstances? Which is most likely to enable interaction? What roles are already filled by others in the situation? It may be helpful to review Tutorial 11 once more to remind yourself about archetypes and stereotypes.
At first, many of us do find ourselves stuck in a stereotypical role in a counterfeit game (after all, society encourages this from day one) and it's usually some version of 'Society's ideal self'. To help work out what game you are in and what role you are playing, consider whose opinions about you matter most to you. Do you care more about what your parents, partner or kids think of you, believe about you or say about you, or are you most worried about what the neighbors think, what your friends think, what strangers think, or what your boss or workmates think? -Or do none of these matter as long as you think well of yourself?
If we are running our life around what other people think, we are not being our real self and we are stuck in a counterfeit game.
To control the plot, we need to change our role to a healthy one (see Tutorial 11 -'Change the Roles'-) and ascertain what skills we will need to develop in order to take part in the healthier game. We must actually start learning/practicing them. Behave as though we are already in the genuine game; remind ourself frequently of its ontology and of our new priorities.
It is no more difficult to do this than it is to adapt to starting a new occupation or moving to a new location; we learn the new way of doing things as required, never doubting our ability to cope, because what we were doing before had enough points of similarity to stuff we are doing now, and because once we allow our natural development to recommence by playing this game, all the real work (our neural rewiring) will go on underneath.
Once we have the ability to choose which plot we are in, then we can fully escape counterfeit games and begin to direct the plot within the healthy game.
'World of Emergence' is the only real game; the one we are designed to play in order to develop. Within the game there are constant challenges that facilitate that development. By directing the plot we can to some extent choose what sort of challenges will feature in our own personal version of the game. When we control the basics (ie, the underlying programs), the details take care of themselves.
Plot direction requires free will, and it cannot be accomplished if we are still stuck worrying about what others or society will think of us. In order to stop being a slave, we have to stop being a slave to anxiety. Otherwise whatever we do, wherever we go, we will still find ourselves playing the same part of slave. The characters we are a slave to may change, but the plot remains the same. In reality, we are a slave to anxiety.
Likewise with stuck relationships. Changing partners will not solve anyone's lack of ability to interact; the same basic pattern will repeat itself regardless of the details, unless we take control and start to direct our own lives.
Directing a healthy plot is a matter of adjusting the details; the basics must remain inviolate because they underlie our program of development and will unfold in the correct order. Details are things such as what we do with our time, what our personal interests are, where we get our stress and relaxation, who we hang out with, and so on. We adapt the details to fit the plot -not the other way round. The more archetypal and congruous the variables are, the easier it is to predict outcomes. Remember as far as the unconscious is concerned the game is to get as much of the required input for our current stage of development to shift to the next stage. We can either direct the plot (consciously seek out and use such input, working with biology to make the most of this opportunity to improve ourselves), or we can allow others to drag us into their own plots as extras, scapegoats, stooges or servants and forget about development.
We are designed by biology to develop through stretching ourselves. For guidance -what gets us excited? What makes us laugh? What fascinates us? What inspires us? What is a worthy challenge? These are the areas we should explore for healthy stress. They may require learning -that is part of how we stretch ourselves- but stretching will now replace straining and we will choose how far to push ourselves in any area.
In plot direction we must bear in mind the basics, as the levels of the game must still proceed in the correct order. Every healthy scene will always develop into its 'next stage' healthy scene one level further on; for example if you are currently playing the faithful servant, expect to either continue in this role until the one/s you serve complete this game level, or to move into playing the young seeker as circumstances require. The archetypes always play out in the same order, as that is the program for development, but each incorporates those before it (for example while playing the young seeker you are already proficient at being you own 'faithful servant'). A good shaman/guide is good because they have ALREADY been a good seeker AND know how to take care of themselves. A complete mind should have the skills & abilities of all the archetypes and be able to take on their roles flexibly whenever circumstances demand it. We do not simply change from one archetype to the other -we become capable of merging both.
We do not go through this plot once only in a lifetime; it is repetitive for every phase of growth in every field. We go through the learning cycle (the same plot) for everything we learn. Plots are 'nested' and we often get 'a game within the game' on several different levels. Several different subplots may be going on at the same time in different stages. But plots always follow archetypal programs; real plots will always start with the ability to care for ourselves (the faithful servant) in any given situation and they will always end with new information or abilities learned, gained or assimilated (enlightenment/the superhero).
Knowing this, we can plan ahead for the next natural stage of our development from any scene and facilitate its emergence, achieving faster learning and augmented development. However, our brains are awesome at running sub plots in parallel (for example we can be only just learning to play the flute, but already great at tennis and proficient at bike-riding). So we must recognize the scenes from different sub plots in the overall story to understand where the plot has 'got to' in each. We are also required to play different roles in different scenes, so may be developing several areas at the same time. We can usually assess whereabouts in the plot we have reached in each area, for example: Our personal health, our relationships, what sort of occupation we enjoy, how we manage our resources and so on. These are the different sub plots or sub-games within the game. Some sub-games will just be starting (for example whenever we meet someone new, a new relationship sub plot opens up) and some sub-games will be coming to a close (for example, whenever we move home, we inevitably lose touch with some people). So plot direction is far from simple; it is a challenge, and like most challenges serves optimal development.
We include exercises for programming plot direction in the Hacks & Exercises section below.
Enabling Creative Innovation
When there is only a spoon
As mentioned above, there are four well known cognitive obstacles to creative innovation: design fixation; functional fixedness; narrow verb associations; and assumption blindness.
Any of these habits can leave us with 'only a spoon'. However, innovation-enhancing techniques can overcome all of these.
The Obscure Features Hypothesis (OFH) states that almost all innovative solutions follow two steps; first, noticing an infrequently-seen, obscure feature and second, building a solution based on that feature. Research shows that at some point in the innovation process an obscure feature of the problem is often noticed and then used as the basis of a novel solution. In general, the more obscure features we can uncover about the problem, the higher the probability of uncovering the key obscure feature that a solution is based upon.
Innovators need to see the obscure feature types available for new designs/ideas as well as the feature types that previous solutions have been built upon. Design Fixation is the tendency to fixate on the features of known solutions when trying to create novel solutions. This restricts imagination to copying what has already been done or focusing on one design feature only, which leaves no room for creativity. When somebody else solves the problem, it looks like the solution was 'staring us in the face'.
A good anecdotal example of design fixation in problem-solving was seen in the antics of a man who needed to get his car out of his driveway but the gates had been welded together during the night with an arc welder. He spent several hours trying all sorts of methods to break the weld, failing all the while to notice that the gates had open top hinges and he could have simply lifted them off as one unit, and driven away.
To alleviate this fixation, we need to become more aware of possible types of features. Of course, there are dozens of features any given problem can have, but the good news is that research has already narrowed it down; revealing that the key obscure features needed for a solution almost always falls into one of 32 types. This category system of feature types contains obvious features to consider (e.g., shape, size, and material composition) as well as many less obvious feature types such as mechanical properties (the physical properties of an object that are traditionally defined by classical mechanics.)
We list 37 types of feature for each problem-solving situation (concrete/abstract) in the hacks & exercises section below.
Psychologists use the term "functional fixedness" to describe the inability to engage reversibility thinking. Low-attention 'closed-mode' perception tends to see things in a single fixed context (like, a spoon is just a spoon). By contrast a healthy brain sits in 'Default mode' (Imagination Mode) or 'open mode' most of its waking time (the very name, 'default mode' gives the game away that imagination and prediction are core ongoing processes for intelligence because we spend most of our time doing them).
The fixed-function view is clouded by focusing only on an object's typical context and function. A spoon is a spoon, a cup is a cup, and can only ever be viewed as a spoon or a cup. For example, someone with functional fixedness finding honey on their paperwork would just be offended; -'Who got fecking honey on my case notes?' -while a more creative perception might think, 'Wow this is REALLY sticky...and I happen to know it's anti-bacterial...hey, I wonder if it could be put into lickable adhesives to improve them...?' Minds like this learn something from or are inspired by every experience in the here and now. Two different people are getting totally different input from the same circumstances -all we have added is creativity, all we have removed in order to get it is anxiety.
To overcome functional fixedness, we need to reinterpret (get a new perspective on) known information about common objects. Fortunately, this requires considering obscure members of only four feature types: parts, shape, size, and material. We include this process in the hacks & exercises section below.
Narrow verb associations
The words we use to describe a problem are important, as goal verbs often restrict solutions. For example, if we were told there was a need to 'transfer' A to B we may take a different creative approach than if told there was a need to 'carry' A to B, to 'move' A to B or to 'send' A to B. Colloquial semantics (describing things from a limited vocabulary) can limit creativity just as parochial metaphorization (framing issues from a narrow pov) can limit imagination.
We include a very simple hack for this problem in the hacks & exercises section below.
Linguistics can present other problems that limit creative solutions; for example each verb hides many assumptions about the features that a solution using that verb would possess. For example: if we were asked to connect two things together, what would be our assumptions for the verb 'connect'? We may assume that a physical process was to be used (type of energy), that only two things are being connected together (number) and that the two things will need to be in physical contact (spatial relations), These are assumptions that may not necessarily be true.
We include a hack for this problem in the hacks & exercises section below.
Creative problem solving
Research suggests that there is a variety of methods to increase creative problem-solving skills, as follows:
Assume up front that there is an answer to what you are trying to solve. People give up too easily. You need confidence that a solution is waiting to be discovered and you must persist in thinking about the problem for an extended period of time.
Let your mind wander. You need to give your brain the time and space to discover the solution. Finding a solution to a problem is literally finding a pattern in the world, or a stored pattern in your cortex that is analogous to the problem you are working on. If you are stuck on a problem, the memory-prediction model of intelligence suggests that you should find different ways to look at it to increase the likelihood of seeing an analogy with a past experience. If you just sit there and stare at it over and over, you won’t get very far. Try taking parts of your problem and rearranging them in different ways – literally and figuratively.
One common method to overcome impasses is known as incubation, which “refers to the process of removing a problem from conscious awareness temporarily as a means of gaining new perspectives on how to solve it”. It is plausible that incubation is successful because it leads to the spontaneous processing mode, and/or because it allows the brain extra defragging and association time.
If you get stuck on a problem, go away for a little while. Do something else. Then start again, rephrasing the problem anew. If you do this enough times something will click sooner or later. It may take days or weeks, but eventually it will happen. The goal is to find an analogous situation somewhere in your past or present experience. To succeed you must ponder the problem often but also do other, non-mentally-taxing things (play) so the process itself will have the opportunity to find an analogous memory. Give your unconscious mind enough time to do the work for you.
Some have found induced altered states of consciousness to be useful (drug-induced states, hypnosis, meditation, music, distance running) for enhancing or inducing 'open mode'. These pursuits temporarily decrease prefrontal activity in some areas, so would not be useful for 'closed mode'.
NHers might also make use of the fact that emotion influences cognitive processes. For in-
stance, positive mood and attitude improve performance on a variety of cognitive tests. This typically involves input control, eg exposure to a short film clip or song that evokes a positive mood. Humor is especially good; via neurochemical messages the unconscious knows all is well and gets on with its work in optimal conditions.
The quality of our creative insights depends on unconscious-conscious bonding, past input, and expertise. We are not going to have a novel idea about synapses, for example, if we have never heard of them. Memory and imagination support and limit the scope of all higher processes.
Resolving inner conflict by making a 'higher level decision'
In the section on inner conflict above, we used the following example:
Your counterfeit game tells you: “The best way to take care of your children is to make loads of money”.
Your biology, your partner and your children tell you: “The best way to take care of your children is to be here to literally take care of your children.”
As we said above, whenever this sort of ideological dilemma happens, we can be sure that there is data missing which can only be accessed by creative interaction. Usually this sort of dilemma leads into a script of 'why don't you -yes, but-' (and in inner conflict we can even run these scripts as an internal dialogue with ourselves!)
We can use creative logic to make a 'higher level decision' that includes the missing data. We first step back and look objectively at both these statements from a big picture perspective.
As they stand, at root they are simply opinions. We could have any number of them, for example, 'The best way to take care of your children is to pray for them every day'; or 'The best way to take care of your children is to provide everything your partner needs and stay out of the way.' Opinions are all based on personal beliefs -what's missing -vitally- is any proof in support of any of these assertions, or any information about the validity of their sources.
Both statements ARE assuming a lot -who says there IS 'a best way' (or only one 'best way') to take care of children? What if everyone is different, so there are lots of 'best ways'? What if there IS a best way but it's none of these? What if 'best' depends on the context where you grow up and live?
In real life we need hard facts, not opinions, to guide sensible behaviors. The higher level decision controlling our access to facts is our attitude -whether we think the issue is important enough to be worth bothering finding out the facts or not. An even higher level decision is, how important is the issue really? In the big picture, what really matters most to me? Once we can (truthfully) answer this one, most lower-level problems are easily solvable.
This is higher-level processing -creative interaction with a problem. Take a decision at the highest level you can. That will give the clearest answers for the decisions you make all the way down the hierarchy back to the one you began with.
Inner conflict always signifies missing data. Once we have the facts, the dilemma does not magically go away, but the awareness we then have of the issue enables plans to be made (such as, what do I need to learn in order to make this decision from a well-informed position?) and allows practical creative ideas to arise (such as -could I/we work from home, could each of us work part time, could we reduce our consuming, could we work in a field where kids can be with us at work, could we live somewhere else, could we try self sufficiency, could we live with others, and so on). Instead of sinking into helplessly into anxiety in inner conflict, we are having real, practical, creative ideas which could indeed solve this dilemma.
out of body experiences whilst Zoning
Out of body experiences (OOBEs) can occur whilst Zoning if there is insufficient embodiment or rear nets are weak. To interrupt them, any sensorimotor technique will do including clenching muscles, humming, chewing, drinking, swaying or (with assistant) shoulder massage. However all these run the risk of breaking concentration so prevention is better than cure.
To help prevent them, work on rear nets, using sensorimotor techniques. Swimming, martial arts or gardening will be helpful. Include contact with nature in your daily routine (even if it's just sitting in a green space for lunch). Use input control to ground yourself in natural surroundings (pictures will do).
Drugs such as marijuana, LSD, or magic mushrooms can make OOBEs more likely to happen but, paradoxically, easier to get a perspective on, and some argue that OOBEs are both 'normal' in the Zone and beneficial to inducing Zone space, providing a deeply spiritual experience. However, we are so far unable to locate any proof for this assertion, and others have had unpleasant experiences involving OOBEs.
hacking anxiety with VR
VR research has found that a mind/body approach which includes the relaxation response can be learned via a virtual environment. This is a great method for those who have to work alone.
Three-dimensional virtual reality games in which users interact by means of online avatars that can communicate basic body language and emotional states is also now used for psychotherapy. Several patient support groups, for example, have established Second Life communities to share information and experiences.
Using these methods obviously requires first gaining experience in the virtual environment, but evidence is growing that processes such as modeling, sync and bonding can also be achieved in a VR context.
Considering the number of romantic relationships that begin online, psychologists should really have seen this one coming. Virtual reality (VR) is a powerful technique that uses computer representations to transform people's sense of presence, so that they feel themselves to be in a virtual environment rather their current one. This presence-transforming function enables people's environments to be precisely manipulated in a way that is not possible in the psychological laboratory or the everyday world.
Research into the possibility of using VR in a mental health setting has previously tended to concentrate upon its application to problems such as fear of heights, fear of flying and fear of spiders.  Results from early trials suggested that subjects did indeed experience a wide range of physical anxiety symptoms consistent with their being present in a threatening situation involving heights. Not only was the affect generated by the experience of the right kind, subjects also reported a subsequent reduction in anxiety in real life situations and were less inclined to avoid heights.
Current research in this field aims to further develop the VR application to social anxiety in a series of pilot studies which will provide a more comprehensive validation of the procedure as an analogue of feared social situations and develop the technology to allow virtual reality to be used as a sophisticated instrument for assessing information processing biases and enhancing treatment effects. It is now being regarded as a natural extension of the systematic exposure component of cognitive-behaviour therapy. 
Body to brain: “I'm ok, you're ok'
Brain to body: “I'm ok, you're ok...so why is nothing happening?'
Brain to mind: “I'm ok, you're ok'
Mind to brain: “I'm ok, you're ok'
Conscious to unconscious: “I'm ok, you're ok'
Unconscious to conscious: “I'm ok, you're ok...woh, dude, what's happening?''
Intelligence to emergence: “I'm ok, you're ok'
Emergence to intelligence: 'I AM you, you daft bugger; of COURSE we're ok -don't blame me for the temporary separation -you downloaded me.'
Thought for the day: the material source of you and everything around you was created inside exploding stars.
Summary -Most important bits to remember
Creativity plays a critically important role in our everyday existence and ordinary thought processes. Creativity contributes to normal healthy human functioning. Because creativity is a useful and effective response to evolutionary changes, its benefits are not limited to the individual but also clearly extend to environment and culture.
Creativity is a process that occurs along a continuum. It ranges from simple everyday acts of perception to deliberate interactions occurring at the highest levels of executive function.
Creativity is a normal, natural part of healthy development and we all have it; it is not reserved for 'special' types of humans with 'divine gifts', mental disorders or genetic mutations. All our minds are able to achieve synthesis as well as analysis.
Creativity is essential for effective learning and optimal development, and as a function used in metaphorization underlies all executive function including language and formal reasoning.
Play, creativity, learning, and overall development itself all rely heavily on the processes of embodiment and bonding.
Adherence limits creativity development by its prevention of bonding unconscious knowledge to conscious awareness, by exacerbating neurochemical imbalance and feelings of personal insecurity, and by prompting the investment of large amounts of our time and energy on unnecessary defensive or pointless repetitive action/reaction behaviors, rather than in interactive, useful and creative behaviors. There is a correlation across all dimensions between adherence and OCD / chronic addictive as well as manic-depressive behaviors.
Our power for creative change in any game starts with the deliberate direction of our attention.
This is our final intermediate tutorial. At its start, we said that after reading it you should be up to date with all the latest research on creativity and the creative process, understand how to use creativity to augment overall intelligence, recognize the difference between 'adherence' and bonding in relationships, and know how to construct multi-dimensional views for easier learning, planning, decision-making and problem-solving.
Do you? If not, review the material again until you grasp these factors. Reviewing T11 may also be helpful. Extra material is also available in the reference section at the end. Please use the forum for any questions.
HACKS & EXERCISES
hexagon motor training game for creativity & alpha coherence (game, hack, exercise)
Researchers have found enhanced inter-hemispheric and intra-hemispheric alpha coherence, and increased ideational flexibility, following spatial motor training, adding to the growing data on the positive effect of whole-body training on cognition. Results are consistent with the embodied-cognition hypothesis. 
Our method is similar to the 'Quadrato' training used in clinical experiments to determine these results. Findings indicate that it is the combination of the motor and cognitive aspects embedded in the exercise that provides the underlying mediating neuronal mechanism for movement-induced cognitive change; therefore we have slightly increased the complexity.
How to do it:
You will need the ability to record a message and play it back OR an assistant (you can use a text to speech program as assistant if it's good enough). You will also need a marker pen and a square meter of white cloth or strong paper/cardboard/mat etc. It must be strong enough to withstand being stood on a lot, and pale colored enough for figures on it to be clearly seen.
You mark it up as follows:
Now you need to either read out and record the directing words, or give your assistant access to it and tell them what to do (see below).
You begin by standing on the 'X' circle in the hexagon and following the spoken instructions as best as you are able; stepping with both feet to the area indicated while listening for the next direction. Do not stop if you make a mistake; just follow the next direction.
Example: if you begin on 'X', 'four' means you must step completely from 'X' to '4' with both feet (ie, do not leave one foot on 'X').
The directing words should be read out at roughly one word per second with no gap between; try to keep the pace even or use a watch with a second hand to record them. The whole lot should take about one minute:
one, two, one, three, one, two, three, two, one, two, three, four, three, two, one, three, four, three, five, three, two, one, three, five, three, two, one, two, three, four, five, three, two, one, three, four, five, six, five, four, three, two, one, two, three, five, six, four, six, five, four, three, two, one, two, three, four, five, six.
If you find this easy and make no mistakes, speed up the reading of the words.
This exercise/game/hack works for everyone, regardless of how 'creative' they think they currently are. It is best done before creative endeavors because it increases ideational flexibility, speeds up response time and induces a significant increase in intra-hemispheric alpha coherence. Simple motor training or verbal training alone do not produce this result; it is the combination of cognitive and motor interaction that achieves the hack, adding strong evidence to the embodied cognition hypothesis.
This type of whole-body cognitive training has been compared in its effects to body-based meditations. These mainly include increased body perception, sense of lucidity and increased attention.
hack to enhance memories of good new input
To set up new memory with a boost, we include a coincidental 'ambient' input with the original input experience (background music or a particular scent are very effective), which you then replay during sleep (for example the same music we listened to when first entering the input should be played again when we are next sleeping, or the same scents (for example flowers, incense or a lavender pillow) placed in the room. You can arrange music with a timer and recording, or ask an assistant to turn the ambient factor/s on; around an hour and a half after you fall asleep (the effect is strongest during slow-wave sleep).
Alternatively if we use tech, we can record our brainwave pattern during a good input experience, and replay that in the same manner (this does currently mean sleeping in a headset though -and keeping ears clear if there is audio ambient).
The more details of the original ambient conditions can be reproduced in sleep, the better this works (so using music AND scent is more effective than just one or the other. If you're working with a partner you could also include a sensory ambient, such as stroking -but choose an area which (a) is possible to reach when sleeping and (b) will not cause distraction. Masseurs be aware: light pressure is stimulating, firm pressure is relaxing.
hacks for creative innovation problems
Hacking Design fixation
solution: PROPERTIES LIST:
For creative innovation involving physical, concrete, material issues, consider the following features:
matter-related features: composition, solidity, parts, texture, taste, temperature.
spatial-related features: shape, size, motion, location, color, sound.
density-related features: density, chemistry, weight, odor, gradient, quantity.
temporal-related features: order, symmetry, repetition, pattern, aesthetics, change.
energy-related features: ergonomics, electromagnetics, sustainability, thermal properties, stability, resource value, kinetics.
power-related features: importance, relevance, quality, interactive potential, emergent properties, causation.
For mental, abstract, psychological issues, consider the following features:
Ideas: facts, theory, hypothesis, questions, proofs, discoveries, problems, puzzles.
Context: field, area of study, situation, relationship, game, conditions, goals, rules.
Input: data, information, variables, interaction, emotional weighting, ethics.
Processes: research, development, experiments, methods, tech.
Progress: feedback, assessment, admin, progress reports, discussion.
Output: coordination, communication of ideas, results, conclusions, outcome.
Hacking functional fixedness
solution: GPT: To help people notice the overlooked parts, material, shape, and size, researchers devised the Generic Parts Technique (GPT), in which a participant creates a 'parts tree' for an object in the following manner: for each description created for a part, a participant should ask, “Can this be decomposed further?” If so, they should break that part into its sub-parts and create another level of the hierarchy for the sub-parts. The second question to ask is “Does this description imply a use?” If so, they should create a more generic description based on material and shape. The result of this procedure is a tree diagram in which the description in each leaf should not imply a use but involves the parts, material, size and shape of the item under consideration.
Doing this exercise helps people to notice things consciously that they might not otherwise see, and remain open to the possibilities. Noticing (attention) is one thing, and building on it or connecting it to other things is then the next step. This technique, somewhat similar to mind maps, has proves very successful in enhancing creative thought.
hacking narrow verb associations
solution: use a THESAURUS: If problem solvers can list out the many specific versions of the goal verb then they can think of many more creative possibilities. A list of verb hyponyms (thesaurus) can be used by problem solvers to help consider the many ways to enact a verb.
Hacking Assumption blindness
solution: CHALLENGE ASSUMPTIONS: Navigating through a verb hierarchy may be insufficient at times to helping innovators find the verb that best expresses a possible solution. In the example above where we were asked to connect two things together, Negating our assumptions for the verb 'connect' opens more creative possibilities (such as a wireless connection, or a third entity (such as a magnet) as connector.)
exercise to prevent fact & fiction anti-aliasing
Cognitive methods and hard logical reasoning coupled with discourse analysis and scripting practice are a good combination to help clarify the line between fact and fiction. We will be exploring cognitive methods further in advanced tutorials, but here is a helpful exercise to prevent anti-aliasing which will also provide a gentle introduction to cognitive methods:
1 Find out what 'provable' means and what kinds of proof are most reliable 
2 Researching online, try to find some provable facts about any of the following:
a Your body and biology
b The geology, flora & fauna of the area where you live
c Your favorite movie
d A game you have never played before or a hobby you have never tried
e The Standard Model of Physics
f This solar system
3 Think like Sherlock Holmes -How did you get your proof? Does your belief that something is true rely on trusting someone else to be correct? What if someone equally qualified said the opposite? What if the 'experts' got it wrong? -How can you be sure it is true?
If you think this exercise seems like too much trouble to do, you need to ask yourself why you don't believe that it would improve your intelligence. Evidence implies that it does -but we can do this experiment to prove it for ourselves.
controlling neurotransmission creatively
(exercises that help to bond unconscious-conscious & improve creativity)
Snapping out of it
We can alter neurotransmission as part of plot direction, changing the game or changing the script.
Consider, if you're watching your favorite movie, you're all caught up in the plot and you've "suspended disbelief" because that's what entertainment is all about, and suddenly there's a loud knock on the door.
Physically you'll jump, and mentally you 'snap out' of the reality of the movie and pay attention to who the fuck that could be at this time of night...
In doing this you accomplished quite a processing feat. You very abruptly changed how you perceived reality. You changed where you chose to believe you were and what you chose to believe was true.
In exactly the same way, we can use this same trick to 'snap out of' a sentiment, state of mind or even a counterfeit game.
Remember, as far as the unconscious is concerned we exist 'in a movie' that we partly construct ourselves all the time, either based on reality or a counterfeit game. The 'snap out of it' technique can be used in exactly the same way we use it when watching movies -we literally stop thinking about anything to do with the 'movie reality' any more and put all our concentration and attention on the new thing that's now going on in this reality. Input really does control neurotransmission, but only if we pay attention to it.
When directing our own movie, we can choose to cast everyone as potential allies if we want to, make all scenes opportunities to learn if we want to, make all problems surmountable because intelligence is more powerful than anxiety in this movie, play ourselves as amazing beings surrounded by amazing things to learn, think about and play with. And whenever we want to, we can snap into that reality. Behave as though we're in that movie.
What would x do?
Choose your favorite archetypes from books or movies, one for each main archetype. They don't all have to be in the same movie (so you might have for example Gandalf for the wise master and Luke Skywalker for the Young Seeker). Consult tutorial 11 'Change the roles' for a list of beneficial roles if you cannot remember.
Address the following issues from the pov of each of your chosen archetypes -what would their attitude, thoughts and behavior be if:
1 They wanted to feel more comfortable?
2 They were seeking something important?
3 They wanted to make friends with someone interesting?
4 They wanted to share their skills?
5 They wanted to give someone a gift?
6 They were genuinely enjoying themselves?
Playing out these issues via archetypal roles in our imagination can strongly affect neurotransmission because programs have to respond to programs and their images cause inevitable chemical change. They can also help with perspectives in creative problem-solving, but more on that below:
using archetypes for creative problem solving
Using the same archetypes from the exercise above, consider what each of your favorites would do if:
1 They realized they had overoptimistically misjudged someone, got into a sexual relationship with them, later discovered that person was a bit dodgy or adherent, and now wanted to withdraw from that relationship?
2 They realized they had been fooled into believing something false, but now knew the truth?
3 They woke up in your body and had to deal with the same issues you currently do?
4 They had just moved to your local area, lived by themselves and didn't yet have any local allies?
5 Nothing much was going on in their lives for a month or two?
6 Everything they owned just got blown away and they found themselves penniless?
7 They had to make a list of their own life priorities? -would there be any item all of the characters' lists had in common?
self hypnosis practice
The Staircase Induction
During the last three tutorials we have learned the basics about hypnotic language patterns, have read hypnotic scripts and have grasped how they are used to create a hypnotic experience. We are now going to start using them to creatively compose our own trance scripts using a 'structured' induction - that is, a 'scene' for the script.
The 'Staircase Induction' helps with unconscious-conscious bonding. Extremely simple, but within its structure the only restrictions are the limits of your own imagination. The scene goes like this:
1) You imagine a staircase (you cannot at first see what is at the bottom)
2) You start walking down the staircase
3) As you walk down, the bottom becomes visible and you can see that it leads to a beautiful and relaxing place
4) You enter that relaxing place and enjoy being there
5) When you're done, you come back up the stairs
We can construct an hypnotic script for this scenario using our hypnotic language patterns. If necessary revise past tutorials to see how you could incorporate each:
(T9) Universal Nominalizations (UN), Embedded 'commands' (EC)
(T1O) Illusory choice algorithms (ICA), Adjunctive suggestions (AS)
(T11) Metaphor and analogy formats (M/A), Presupposition algorithms (PA)
Here is an example of the first part of such a script created from editing our example in tutorial 11:
KEY: Underlined = embedded suggestion
BOLD CAPITALS = Illusory choice
Bold = presupposition
BIG CAPITALS = nominalization
Italic = Dependent suggestion
You can go down the stairs at whatever speed you like, but it may well be more COMFORTABLE to take it easy, one step at a time right now. And the interesting thing is that as you walk down you begin to relax deeply.
You step down in a very QUIET, EVEN way as you begin to RELAX.
Now after a few steps, the bottom of the stairs become visible so just pause on the steps to see that at the bottom is a BEAUTIFUL, WELCOMING, SAFE, PEACEFUL and RELAXING place. 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 you will be at the bottom of the stairs and you can just allow the process of stepping down to take you more and more into that place, noticing the things you can see and hear, taste or smell and just being aware of once being in that SPECIAL RELAXING
And now you can imagine yourself walking down to that place WALKING OR JUST DRIFTING THROUGH to that place, that’s it. RELAXING deeper ...and you know the more you experience GOOD INPUT in your everyday life, the more clearly the mind can work in certain ways.
And you know when you go into hypnosis, the mind wanders inward the same way that it does when you go down these stairs and you become open to creativity
...You should know enough to compose the rest yourself. Try out several versions and see which works best.
Programming ourselves -exercises for plot direction
1 spotting what plots are running in the story
Consider people whom you know or have known. Have you witnessed any of the following plots occurring in their lives?:
A The character (a goodie) is in poor circumstances, yet knows they are capable of being more and doing more.
B The character is being held back/ led astray by the baddies.
C The character has everything they previously thought they wanted, but something is wrong...
D The character feels they have hit a blank wall in seeking what they want.
E The character feels underrated and is treated with a lack of respect.
F The character has been deceived or betrayed by a baddie whom they thought was a goodie at first.
G The character is lost in a dark place and doesn't know which way to go.
H The character knows someone inspiring, whom they admire, but is anxious at making contact.
I The character has discovered or experienced something amazing, but nobody will believe them.
J The character wants to do X, but is scared of what other/s might think.
K The character feels stuck in a boring routine, and wants a more adventurous life but is scared of spontaneity and change.
L The character feels they have fucked everything up too badly via bad mistakes and life currently seems pointless.
It's likely that most of us have experienced several of these during our own lives, and can easily think of others who have too.
Now consider your own current circumstances -are they running according to any of the plots above? If not, can you summarize your current plot in the same form?
For help with this, imagine your current circumstances in terms of a plot synopsis of an episode from a TV series; your task is to tell someone who 'missed the latest episode' what happened. Write in the third person (for example 'The main character has recently ...')
...What sort of an episode do you end up with? Is it one of those boring ones where nothing much happened, a bit of a crazy one where lots of things broke down or went wrong, or something completely different from normal where the character did something new, met someone new or learned something new?
How long has this particular series been going on? Is it better than the previous series? As a writer, how would you develop this plot during future episodes to give the characters' roles a more interesting and beneficial experience?
2 Adding full dimensionality to your story
Summarizing our current 'episode' is a useful way to get into programming plot direction. To successfully program in our intended changes, we need to 'fill out' any missing association categories in order to get the big picture.
For example, in the exercise above, one student came up with:
'The main character is sick to death of hassle and just wants to get on with having a good life'.
...So let's take that and get creative with it; first re-presenting the circumstances in archetypal metaphoric form:
'Our hero, oppressed by the evil empire, still has a strong desire to do good'.
Key for unlocking the code:
'our hero' = the optimal you; the intelligence you are capable of being
'evil empire' = anxiety, or anything that is deleterious to intelligence & life
'do good' = pursue entelechy; fulfil their development
Our student was quite surprised to see their predicament framed in this positive way, and from this perspective was able to predict the next most likely beneficial changes in the plot and work towards achieving them.
For help with this, consider how a graphic novelist might portray your own circumstances in terms if goodies, baddies, obstacles and resources. Where would they 'send' the plot next, in order for the goodies to thrive?
2a Alice and Bob it
A different approach is to cast Alice and Bob etc as the characters in our story plot, allowing them to represent ourselves and our friends/ partners/ adversaries/ associates.
We can use any character for ourselves. Thus if we decide to be Alice, and start off with the current plot (for example): 'Alice currently feels she is stuck in a bad relationship but wants to help Bob out until he gets his head together'
Now apply the archetypal metaphorization:
'Our hero faces the dragon to try to save the victim'
Key for unlocking the code:
'our hero' = the optimal you; the intelligence you are capable of being
'the dragon' = anxiety, or anything that is deleterious to intelligence & life
'the victim' = one who has fallen into illness
Seeing things from this perspective might cause 'Alice' to ask some deeper questions for plot direction; such as, 'is Bob really a victim?' or, 'what circumstance is Alice encouraging with her current behavior -Bob's growing independence, or Bob's growing dependence?' 'What is Bob currently doing to help himself', and so on.
3 'Tree & Flea' Coding exercise (advanced NH)
to improve archetypal association & programming skills
Given two apparently unrelated items, we use archetypal code to include them in a very short story. We must also write the key for unlocking the code as given in '2' above, and try to give a 'message of the story' (explain what information is being conveyed; see example).
Here is an example (in fact it's the best student's example we've seen so far, so don't expect to be this good first time.):
Given: 'A tree and a cat flea', our example student wrote the following:
'Once upon a time there was a tree. It was an apple tree and had many apples on it. One day a flea came along and sat on one of the apples. “Hi, who are you?” said the apple, surprising the flea cos she didn't know apples could talk. “I'm a flea”, she said, “and I'm looking for my parent, the cat.” The apple laughed, “Your parent is not a cat you stupid flea, another flea is your parent.”
“Not so,” said the flea. “You, the apple, are the offspring of this tree. I however sprang off a cat just this morning, and so must be the offspring of a cat!”
And so they sat in silence, because apples don't understand abstract humor.'
Key for unlocking the code:
'the apple' = our unconscious mind
'the flea” = our conscious mind
'the tree' = the tree of life/ humanity
'the cat' = the flea's former supporting context or matrix
Message of the story: sometimes interaction fails because some people can only access the unconscious mind and it doesn't understand abstract humor such as formal word-play, so misunderstanding results. The apple, rudely calling the flea 'stupid', has no unconscious-conscious connection, no empathy and no respect. The flea, a more complex life form, has access to conscious awareness. The lack of response to her joke tells her the apple is not very smart (the apple now thinks the flea is just dumb).
Here are some items for your own stories:
a horse and a Star Trek movie
a gardener and a green pill
a wooden chest and a rat
an ant and a pair of moccasins
a computer and a moose
a newt and a bottle of vodka
if you want to make up your own pairs, first use one living creature and one inanimate object. Then try two living creatures (eg, the ant and the antelope)
exercises for scripting practice:
The following game gives good scripting practice and can be played alone or with other/s:
Given a line from a counterfeit script, we have to try to work out
(a) what script it is
(b) what the related subject position is
(c) what would be a good response from the healthy subject position 'I'm ok, you're ok'?
If you are playing with other/s take turns to provide the script line. If you are playing alone, there is a list of lines from various counterfeit scripts in the tutorials section of the library, called 'Scripting game - counterfeit script lines'. Please note there are NO answers to these -it is up to you to work them out, and in some cases there is more than one possibility.
Change the Game -game direction exercises
Be here now, directing attention
We are a participator in the real life game -not an observer. We are each Captains of our own ship and director of our own course through life. As the current goal is to promote more creativity and innovation then each of us must embody and model creativity and innovation as a state of being every day of our lives. Model it: be the change we want to see.
Doing this means we need to bring more attention and observation to the present moment, at least enough to break out of the habits created by mechanical reflexes. If we are directed by automatic action/reactions there is no possibility for creativity and innovation. These potentials only exist when we increase the attention we bring to the present moment – at least enough to rise above our habits- and decrease the attention paid to distractions. Mindfulness practice can help this, but the relaxed attention that occurs naturally in the state of authentic play is the key to creative personal, organizational and relational transformation. Relaxing and playing (with things or ideas) is the best way to speed this transformation.
Role playing & psychological gaming
If you have practiced Role Playing games or Psychological Gaming (PG) you will have an advantage; as you are already accustomed to thinking 'within the frames' of a game and shifting between different games. The type of character you like to play will give you clues about possible roles in the real world.
The mind is designed to play; that is, to learn. Real learning which always takes place in the state of play demands complete attention, and game-players will likely also have had more practice at controlling, concentrating and focusing their attention. Role playing in pretend games is a great way to train up attention-control for real life.
Turn your attention to culture
There a supporting culture for this stage of our development -human culture- and for this stage our culture should provide your input. It offers a vast (real) choice of interesting stuff to play with, learn about and experience. Let your curiosity blossom creatively when you explore it -look for things you are interested in but do not yet know much about, as well as stuff you already know.
Because our culture shares its communications media with society, we must be strategic -we don't want to waste time or memory space on nonsense, so take responsibility -confirm sources of information and make sure conclusions make sense to you personally before choosing to believe them.
Embrace the fun of planning and adapting
Most plans go wrong because they are designed for static circumstances and reality is a dynamic circumstance. Creative problem solving techniques To solve a creative problem, try solving it for someone else. Research shows that we're more capable of mental novelty when thinking on behalf of strangers than for ourselves. This is just the latest extension of research into construal level theory, an intriguing concept that suggests various aspects of psychological distance can affect our thinking style. It's already been shown that we're more likely to solve a problem if we imagine being confronted by it in a far-off place and/or at a future time. Now we know that our creative performance improves if we imagine ourselves solving a problem for someone else. This works in all kinds of contexts; some of the examples given by researchers were: participants drew more original aliens for a story to be written by someone else than for a story they were to write themselves; participants thought of more original gift ideas for an unknown student completely unrelated to themselves, as opposed to one who they were told shared their same birth month; participants were more likely to solve an escape-from-tower problem if they imagined someone else trapped in the tower, rather than themselves (a 66 vs. 48 per cent success rate). We have already used this sort of technique in Interactional Analysis (by abstracting the characters in a problem to 'Alice' and 'Bob'.) This research shows Alice and Bob can help creative problem solving too.
To take this a stage further, imagining we are doing something or solving problems for various favorite archetypes can further augment performance. Those with strong imagination may already have practiced this sort of thing as a kid -you get bored cleaning your boots, you pretend they're Batmans boots, or Cinderellas slippers. Boy do they come out clean!
Hot news: it still works just as well for grownups.
Invent something new
The new thing can be functional or it can be purely for fun. Don't take your results too seriously at first... do it for a laugh. The majority of 'inventions' are actually fairly silly things so don't worry if your first attempts are quite ridiculous.
Two types of invention may be usefully differentiated; The first is the open ended creative design such as a ridiculous-looking new animal, a mysterious monument, sculpture or entrancing garden; in which we use our life experience to produce something original and unique.
The second type of invention has very particular goals and usually a very specific function. e.g. a new tool for peeling potatoes, a device for frightening off burglars, making beds or washing dishes.
Invent new ways of doing things in real life; this will maximize your time and save wasted effort.
The SCAMPER technique
SCAMPER is an acronym for “substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to other uses, eliminate and reverse”. SCAMPER is normally used to guide people in creatively improving something that has previously been done, by posing questions to them such as, “what can I substitute?” and “What may I do instead?” This technique can be applied to any number of objects or situations.
Creative Thinking Quickies:
Look out the window and choose an object at random. Try to think of the greatest possible benefits and biggest possible dangers from it.
Outline a problem in your mind before going to sleep, and ask your unconscious verbally to sort it out.
Ask your unconscious to keep working on a problem while you are doing other things.
Write down a problem. Then find another way to express it and write that down. Continue doing this until you run out of ways to explain it. How would you explain it to a friendly alien? Sometimes we get stuck with a problem because we've misunderstood what the actual problem IS.
Pick any concept at random (eg, a sheep, laughter). Imagine a reality where it didn't exist. What might happen differently? This is speculation without proof, or philosophy. It is a good hobby for creative thinkers, and can be much fun at parties.
Footnotes, references & further reading
1 Michael Mendizza, The Intelligence of Play, www.ttfuture.org
3 Arne Dietrich and Riam Kanso; “A Review of EEG, ERP, and Neuroimaging Studies of Creativity and Insight”, American Psychological Association Psychological Bulletin 2010, Vol. 136, No. 5, 822– 848 DOI: 10.1037/a0019749
4 "Researchers show how lost sleep leads to lost neurons." March 18th, 2014 in Neuroscience. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-03-lost-neurons.html
AND "Negative effects of sleep restriction may linger after one night of recovery sleep." August 1st, 2010. www.physorg.com/news199888645.html
5 "Changes in London taxi drivers' brains driven by acquiring 'the Knowledge', study shows." December 8th, 2011 in Neuroscience. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-12-london-taxi-drivers-brains-driven.html
AND "Music Builds Bridges in the Brain"; Greg Miller; Science 16 April 2008
6 Study shows new brain connections form rapidly during motor learning; November 29th, 2009 in Medicine & Health / Neuroscience; Source: University of California - Santa Cruz http://www.physorg.com/news178725126.html
8 Carl Sagan; The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1997), 429
11 Marcus DuSautoy, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v3IWGiThKA
12 Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2001
13 Thomas A Harris http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/134353.I_m_OK_You_re_OK
14 e.g., Gardner, 1993; Simonton, 2003.
15 Dietrich, 2007; http://www.textjournal.com.au/speciss/issue13/Dietrich.pdf
16 More information: "Parvalbumin-expressing basket-cell network plasticity induced by experience regulates adult learning." Flavio Donato, Santiago Belluco Rompani & Pico Caroni. Nature 504, 272–276 (12 December 2013) DOI: 10.1038/nature12866 "Switching learning on.” http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-12-switching-learning-on.html
17 Yes, we know many of you creative dudes discovered that hack decades ago, and indeed I am doing that very hack as I construct this tutorial -but it's nice to have proof apart from personal experience.) Also, researchers might now come up with new, interesting substances to do it with, as the ability to reversibly induce basket cell network states that modulate learning and memory formation might well have many other useful applications apart from enabling creativity (such as, preventing dementia).
18 Cabeza & Nyberg, 2000; Damasio, 2001; Duncan & Owen, 2000
24 "The structure of creative cognition in the human brain”, R Jung et al; Front. Hum. Neurosci., 07 July 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00330
25 "Recent findings force scientists to rethink the rules of neuroimaging." July 10th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-07-scientists-rethink-neuroimaging.html
AND Bruce Miller http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6txK8LXg1o
26 http://www.nesca-news.com/2012/08/childrens-brains-change-as-they-learn.html + TED talk on same page.
28 Silani, G. et al. Right Supramarginal Gyrus Is Crucial to Overcome Emotional Egocentricity Bias in Social Judgements, The Journal of Neuroscience, 25 September 2013. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1488-13.2013
AND "I'm ok, you're not ok: The right supramarginal gyrus plays an important role in empathy." October 10th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-10-im-youre-supramarginal-gyrus-important.html
30 Feb. 27 issue of the journal Public Library of Science. http://www.plosone. org/article/ fetchArticle. action?articleUR I=info:doi/ 10.1371/journal. pone.0001679 Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (2008, February 28). “This Is Your Brain On Jazz: Researchers Use MRI To Study Spontaneity, Creativity.” ScienceDaily. February 29, 2008, from http://www.scienced aily.com/ releases/ 2008/02/08022621 3431.htm
31 Pressing J (1988) Improvisation: Methods and models. In JA Sloboda, Generative processes in music. New York: Oxford University Press. (pp. 129–178).
32 “The improvising brain: Getting to the neural roots of the musical riff”, February 6th, 2009 in Medicine & Health / Research Provided by Harvard University http://www.physorg.com/news153147695.html
AND “Brains on Jazz Feel the Music” http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/05/brains-on-jazz-feel-the-music.html?ref=hp
Test your ear for improvisation: http://news.sciencemag.org/2011/05/brains-jazz-feel-music?ref=hp
33 A. Engel, P. E. Keller: The perception of musical spontaneity in improvised and imitated jazz performances. Frontiers in Psychology 2:83. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00083 "Study of jazz musicians reveals how the brain processes improvisations." April 29th, 2011. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-04-jazz-musicians-reveals-brain.html
37 Abraham A. 2007. Can a neural system geared to bring about rapid, predictive, and efficient function explain creativity? Creat. Res. J. 19:19–24
AND Cai D. J., Mednick S. A., Harrison E. M., Kanady J. C., Mednick S. C. (2009). "REM, not incubation, improves creativity by priming associative networks". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106 (25): 10130–10134. doi:10.1073/pnas.0900271106. PMC 2700890. PMID 19506253
38 Walker MP, Liston C, Hobson JA, Stickgold R (November 2002). "Cognitive flexibility across the sleep-wake cycle: REM-sleep enhancement of anagram problem solving". Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 14 (3): 317–24. doi:10.1016/S0926-6410(02)00134-9. PMID 12421655
41 Cowan, 2001; as presented in The cognitive neuroscience of creativity; Arne Dietrich http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/163/art%253A10.3758%252FBF03196731.pdf?auth66=1408530180_1a3dc183d94ace61414acf44ce597ab3&ext=.pdf
42 Posner, 1994; Sarter et al., 2001 as presented in The cognitive neuroscience of creativity
43 Broadbent, 1958; Cowan, 2001; Kane, Bleckley, Conway, & Engle, 2001 as presented in The cognitive neuroscience of creativity
44 Cowan, 1995; Posner, 1994 as presented in The cognitive neuroscience of creativity
45 Martindale, 1999 as presented in The cognitive neuroscience of creativity
46 Wellcome Trust; http://www.eurekale rt.org/pub_ releases/ 2006-11/wt- tot112406. Php
48 'ode to spot'; http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Ode_to_Spot
49 Jeff Hawkins; http://www.onintelligence.org/
50 “Cause and affect: Emotions can be unconsciously and subliminally evoked, study shows” Source: Association for Psychological Science; http://www.physorg. com/news12861954 3.html
51 Coauthors Jamin Halberstadt, Tedra Fazendeiro and Steve Catty. Source: University of California - San Diego; Oct 2006 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060926171101.htm
52 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaMeGdrKnEE mark johnson on The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding
54 called The Experiment
55 Carl Rogers, http://www.simplypsychology.org/client-centred-therapy.html
56 John Cleese, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmY4-RMB0YY
57 J Chilton-Pearce; http://ttfuture.org/jcp/front
58 "Neurons see what we tell them to see." September 26th, 2014. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-09-neurons.html
59 Braun et al., 1997
60 Hobson, Pace-Schott, & Stickhold, 2000
61 Dietrich, 2003
62 what Pearce calls 'roof-brain' chatter (The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Pearce, 1982)
63 Bransford & Stein, 1984; Eysenck, 1995; Martindale, 1999
66 Front. Hum. Neurosci., 07 July 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00330 ; “The structure of creative cognition in the human brain”; Rex E. Jung, Brittany S. Mead, Jessica Carrasco and Ranee A. Flores
68 Gazzaniga et al., 1998
69 Shirley & Langan-Fox, 1996, p. 564
70 E. K. Miller & Cohen, 2001
71 Torrance, 1988
73 Connell L, Lynott D, Dreyer F (2012) A functional role for modality-specific perceptual systems in conceptual representations. PLoS One 7: e33321. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033321
AND Lungarella M, Sporns O (2006) Mapping information flow in sensorimotor networks. PLoS Comput Biol 2: e144. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.0020144
74 April 23rd, 2013 in Neuroscience; "Brain biology tied to social reorientation during entry to adolescence." http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-04-brain-biology-tied-social-reorientation.html )
75 Jeff Hawkins, “On Intelligence”, 2004 http://www.onintelligence.org/
76 Simonton, 2000
77 M. A. Boden, 1998; Ward et al., 1999; Weisberg, 1993
78 J. David Smith, Joseph Boomer, Alexandria C. Zakrzewski, Jessica L. Roeder, Barbara A. Church, and F. Gregory Ashby. "Deferred Feedback Sharply Dissociates Implicit and Explicit Category Learning." Psychological Science 0956797613509112, first published on December 13, 2013 DOI: 10.1177/0956797613509112 "Cognitive scientists able to isolate implicit from explicit learning processes." March 17th, 2014. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-03-cognitive-scientists-isolate-implicit-explicit.html
79 hacked by Umbadingi Wartflap, second hut on the right, Burundi. -What, you expected a real reference here?! LOL
83 Dr. Zablocki, Benjamin  Paper presented to a conference, Cults: Theory and Treatment Issues, 31 May 1997 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
84 paraphrased from O. Fred Donaldson, Ph.D.; Original Play In A Contest Culture
85 Dolcos, S., & Albarracin, D. (2014). The inner speech of behavioral regulation: Intentions and task performance strengthen when you talk to yourself as a You European Journal of Social Psychology DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.2048 ; Self-motivation: How "You can do it!" beats "I can do it!"
86 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a new report entitled The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. http://www.aap.org/stress
87 Chilton-Pearce, J. "Magical Child"; ISBN 0-525-15035-8
88 paraphrased excerpt from Stuart L. Brown, MD; 'Play - Evolutionary, Universal & Essential'
89 paraphrased from Joseph Chilton Pearce; 'On The Intelligence of Play'
90 "Growing Young," Ashley Montagu; http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/869557.Growing_Young
91 paraphrased from J. Chilton-Pearce; Magical Child, ISBN 0 586 08304 9 Paladin Books p143
92 J. Chilton-Pearce; paraphrased from “The Intelligence of Play.” http://ttfuture.org/jcp/front
93 Reisberg, Daniel: Cognition: Exploring the Science of the Mind (2007), page 255, 517.
95 James W. Prescott, PhD. has spent fifty years articulating the sensory systems affected by this betrayal of the real self and the problems that it produces. http://vimeo.com/51030681
96 Masataka Watanabe; Kang Cheng, Yusuke Murayama, Kenichi Ueno, Takeshi Asamizuya, Keiji Tanaka, Nikos Logothetis, Attention but not Awareness Modulates the BOLD Signal in Human V1 During Binocular Suppression, Science, Nov. 11 2011. "Attention and awareness uncoupled in brain imaging experiments." November 10th, 2011. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-11-attention-awareness-uncoupled-brain-imaging.html
97 The Neuropsychological Connection Between Creativity and Meditation; Creativity Research Journal Volume 21, Issue 2-3, 2009; http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10400410902858691
98 "Mindfulness inhibits implicit learning—the wellspring of bad habits." November 12th, 2013 in Neuroscience; http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-11-mindfulness-inhibits-implicit-learningthe-wellspring.html
99 http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0051474 Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings AND Nature nurtures creativity: Hikers more inspired on tests after four days unplugged, December 12th, 2012 in Psychology & Psychiatry; http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-12-nature-nurtures-creativity-hikers-days.html
100 Berto R (2005) Exposure to restorative environments helps restore attentional capacity. Journal of Environmental Psychology 25(3): 249–259. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2005.07.001
101 Berman MG, Jonides J, Kaplan S (2008) The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science 19(12): 1207. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02225.x
102 Immordino-Yang MH, Christodoulou JA, Singh V (2012) Rest Is Not Idleness. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(4), 352–364
103 Journal of Neuroscience, www.jneurosci.org/content/34/34/11452.short "Maturing brain flips function of amygdala in regulating stress hormones." August 20th, 2014. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-08-maturing-brain-flips-function-amygdala.html
104 "Memory accuracy and strength can be manipulated during sleep." April 8th, 2014. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-04-memory-accuracy-strength.html
105 Barnett, D.W. et al. (2006). Preschool Intervention Scripts: Lessons from 20 years of Research and Practice. Journal of Speech Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, 2(2), 158–181 ISSN 1932-4731
107 "Complaining in everyday conversations." October 8th, 2014. http://phys.org/news/2014-10-everyday-conversations.html
108 Source: Archives of General Psychiatry; Oct. 5, 2012; WorldScience; http://www.world-science.net/othernews/121005_hypnosis
109 Jansson & Smith, 1991
110 Duncker, 1945
111 Hirtz, Stone, McAdams, Szykman, and Wood (2002)
113 Anonymous, M. & Anonymous, G.; “How to deal with a persistent baddie”; as related by Anonymous, D. in the Garibaldi pub; St. Albans, 1982.
114 McCaffrey, 2012
115 Finke, 1996, p. 389
116 Dietrich, 2004
117 Ashby et al., 1999
118 -Anyone out there experimenting in this field, please share your data!
119 "Study supports using virtual environment to teach mind/body techniques." March 30th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-03-virtual-environment-mindbody-techniques.html
120 Rothbaum, Hodges, Kooper, Opdyke, Williford & North 1995
123 Hillman CH, Erickson KI, Kramer AF (2008) Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nat Rev Neurosci 9: 58–65. doi: 10.1038/nrn2298
Observational Learning of New Movement Sequences Is Reflected in Fronto-Parietal Coherence; Jurjen van der Helden, Hein T. van Schie, Christiaan Rombouts; Published: December 31, 2010
125 Gibson JJ (1977) The theory of affordances. In: Shaw R, Bransford J, editors. Perceiving, acting and knowing: towards an ecological psychology. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
AND Lakoff G, Johnson M (1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
AND Sartori L, Straulino E, Castiello U (2011) How objects are grasped: the interplay between affordances and end-goals. PLoS One 6: e25203. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025203
126 Tart CT (1969) Editor. Altered states of consciousness: a book of readings. New York: John Wiley & Sons
127 "Anyone can learn to be more inventive, cognitive researcher says." February 9th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-02-cognitive.html February 9th, 2012 in Psychology & Psychiatry; http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/3/215.abstract
128 'myth busting', 'where do you get your ideas from' and 'information veracity', Basics section NHA Library
129 Polman E, and Emich KJ (2011). Decisions for Others Are More Creative Than Decisions for the Self. Personality and social psychology bulletin PMID: 21317316; Author weblink: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/faculty/facultyindex.cgi?id=597 Further reading. Physical distance boosts the success of computer-based negotiation. http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2010/01/physical-distance-boosts-success-of.html
Answers to DO IT NOWs
notes for DO IT NOW, list 6 things you couldn't live without:
If your list included stuff like food, water, oxygen, companionship, energy, a body, metabolism, growth, a universe etc, well done you. It's a good thing to believe we need these things, because we do. Also, you answered the actual question, that means your attention is working just fine.
If your list included television, washing machines, coffee, a job, computers, mobile phones, my current partner, alcohol, cars etc, woops! -you're actually lying. We already KNOW that humans can live without any of these things; our ancestors managed without them, otherwise, we wouldn't exist, right? Doubtless you have spent some of your life without most of them too!
If you answered this way, you probably didn't pay attention to what the actual question was. We asked what you believe you need in order to stay alive.
Answers to Do it Now -guess the subject positions
1 Awful, isn't it? (I'm not ok, you're not ok)
2 Why don't you -yes, but- (I'm not ok, you're ok)
3 Mine is better than yours (I'm ok, you're not ok)
4 Mine is worse that yours (I'm not ok, you're ok)
5 If it weren't for you/them, I could... (I'm ok, you're not ok)
6 Lets get you and them to fight (I'm ok, you're not ok)
7 Look what you made me do (I'm ok, you're not ok)
8 Uproar (I'm ok, you're not ok)
9 I'm only trying to help you (I'm ok, you're not ok)
answers to do it now -recognizing incongruous subject positioning
the exact same stereotypical associations ('They're inferior') have also been aimed at disabled people, children, the elderly, tribal peoples, the mentally ill, members of other faiths/political persuasions/nations/races, criminals, the homeless, travellers, those with low IQ.
In some of these areas, stereotypes are going out of fashion; for example racism, sexism and homophobia are now officially discouraged in many societies. In other areas stereotyping still remains; most western counterfeit games are still notably ageist and financial class-ist.
Suggestions for 'DO IT NOW -sounds like...'
Gruppety: an attitude of constant grumbling, moaning & complaining / Sarnblurth: The disgusting filler on cheap sandwiches that seems to be made of lumpy sawdust & carpenters paste / Wimpleton: Ancient proper noun now abbreviated to 'wimps'. In olden times a coward was called 'a wimpleton' (from 'wimple-top' -a wimple being a headdress for hysterical, mindless bimbos.) / Wikidister: A webpage that claims it can be edited by the public but in fact can't; and just relays you endlessly round a series of pages when you click the edit links / Frarm: The uncertainty and hesitation you feel about sharing something that you really should tell someone about but if you do, more shit will probably happen / Ramsden: Where all the Rams hang out at weekends to drink, smoke and tell derogatory jokes about farmers.
Lewis Carroll: our own attempts at 'translation'.:
slithy -descriptive word about the 'toves'; sounds like slimy or slippery, but could mean fast-moving, sleek, slithery, or sneaky, covert, fawning, unpredictable?
toves -the subjects of the sentence; may be plants, animals, people, or objects
gyre & gimble -some sort of motion is suggested; may be related to 'gyrate' and 'gambol'
wabe -the location of the toves -could mean 'wave'; ie the sea, but could be any sort of landscape, this sounds like their spatial context.
Notes for 'DO IT NOW -fact or fiction'
How you categorize most of these books as 'true' or 'not true' depends on your personal beliefs given this type of directive, and may raise ideological dilemmas where unconscious knowledge of reality tells you something is 'not true' but conscious awareness (of society's values for 'fiction' and 'non fiction') tells you it's true. If you assume your friend means 'society's idea of fact or fiction' the task will be easy but the results will be incongruous. If you take your friend literally you'll place them differently depending on what you view as factual. The congruity of results now depends on how good you are at detecting truth. You are making logical decisions on each book instead of just blindly following someone else's criteria. You are trusting your intelligence to detect truth.
Get used to it.
examples for 'Do it now -make up the rest of this poem':
There was a young dude from LA
Who went for a swim one fine day
A man in a boat stuck an oar down his throat
And said, you just got in my way
There was a young alien called Bee
Who went for a swim in the sea
A man in black clothes stuck an oar up his nose
And said, FBI, come with me
There was a young lady from Bude
Who went for a swim in the nude
A man in a punt stuck an oar in [censored]
And said, you can't do that, it's rude
|Last Updated on Friday, 12 February 2016 21:34|