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Workshop - I've Changed My Mind
Written by Alex   
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 00:31

10. Memory Editors (Enhancing & wiping memory)

(This technique is currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of PTSD in war veterans, trauma and disaster survivors.)

The reason we can hack memory a lot more easily these days is due to the recent discoveries about its storage methods. The way the brain goes about things often leaves great gaping holes for a hacker to stroll through and memory retrieval is one such hole.

Whenever we recall a memory, we update it according to our current ideas and beliefs and knowledge about things, then new protein synthesis is necessary to begin the chain reaction that restores it to LTP (long term potentiation) after use. If we block that protein synthesis, the memory cannot be restored. It has no way of getting back onto the hard drive. The best way to do this currently is chemically.

Playing with memory is quite surreal, often amusing and enlightening, always dangerous, and never predictable, except within very broad parameters. Memory associates things by allegory or analogy, in order to translate them, which means all kinds of connections of which you were not consciously aware can come tumbling out and surprise you. Working with memory can be a little bit like trying to stop water running downhill. Of necessity it is a multiple entry point operation because we can go in on any key memory, but one thing leads to another and if you are wiping you will sometimes lose the whole memory tree; not just the incident you focused on. You must make notes or recordings if you want to reprogram yourself, because you can't stop it happening when you are in a chain reaction that will block anything you try to store in long term memory until it wears off.

It can take a lot of focus and concentration to avoid losing stuff you didn't want to, so it's essential to plan beforehand what target memory or set of memories, scenarios and feelings you want to forget and make all efforts to concentrate on them and them alone, until the chemicals are no longer affecting you.

I really hope you are listening here because the price of incompetence is in this case amnesia so try to stay aware.

I'm going to go through LTP in detail now step by step because having a grasp of it really is fundamental to neurohacking. If you can control memory and emotion you can control perception and that means you can control the mind. Forgive me if it gets a little technical, but this is the single most important network for hacking, so we ought to know it in detail.

The brain's most abundant transmitter associated with learning, is glutamate. When input hits the presynaptic neuron, it releases glutamate. The more interested/emotionally moved we are, the more glutamate keeps coming, up to a point. The first wave of it slams into AMPA receptors on the postsynaptic neuron. The NMDA receptor can also pick up glutamate, but currently it's blocked by magnesium, spam detector of the neural net. (If you pay too much attention to too many trivial things, eat magnesium.) The NMDA receptor is a vital key in memory formation and endurance.R6

LTP occurs when 'coincidence' is detected; when different neurons fire in synchrony, the effect is amplified. NMDA receptors will only pop their magnesium corks if the cell membrane is slightly depolarized because of a previous input from another neuron. Thus each individual neuron can respond more intensely to input affecting one bunch of synapses, if it has just been stimulated by another bunch. It has the ability to associate different stimuli. Not only this, but in each future occurrence, neurons that have fired together before are more likely to fire together again, like sympathetic resonance, when only one associated group is stimulated. This is the core of memory formation (but not long-term storage).

AMPA increases the likelihood of an action potential, which may induce a cell to fire. Such firing removes the block on NMDA receptors as the memory goes, 'Yes! I will accept this email!' The magnesium removed, glutamate moves in and allows calcium to enter the cell. Calcium ions act as intracellular second messengers that trigger or regulate electro-chemical events.

...And here you are in the core of the mind. Let's make it a video...you've hacked your way into the inner sanctum, and lo; the security is negligible. Look around. Be careful what you touch...calcium ions effect enzyme regulation, muscle contraction, neurotransmitter release, and most importantly, synaptogenesis and gene expression. Alteration of the intracellular calcium level can happen in various ways, via voltage-gated calcium channels, release from intracellular stores, or ligand-gated ion channels (e.g., NMDA, or nicotine acetylcholine receptors). Once in the cell, calcium ions bind to protein kinases, the most important of which is probably Calmodulin (CaM). This starts a complex series of reactions, a part of which we'll zoom in on...eEF2-kinase...(also called CaM-kinase III...) busy phosphorylating (adding a phosphor group to).... Eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2)...a GTPase necessary for the elongation step in protein translation. Do you know what that means, to you and I? From a neurohacking point of view? It presents us with a calcium-dependent interruption of protein synthesis, which causes a rapid change in the nature of the mRNA translation.

CaM-kinase II...(CaMKII), is an enzyme with very tasty and unique properties...one being its ability to continue to self-phosphorylate after the supply of calcium ends; maintaining a transient 'memory' of neuronal activation, ...that's your memory doing it's thing...CaMKII is sensitive to both the duration and frequency of calcium transients, and has the capability of decoding the frequency of calcium spikes. It is the very heart of both synaptic plasticity and LTP and neurogenesis. It initiates gene transcription, the mother of all machines.

We are talking gene transcription factors here. Here is one, and it's one that turns our ability to remember on and off.

I hope you realize what this means.

It means, finally, that we can take control of our own neurochemistry at the gene expression level and literally engineer our personalities. We can suddenly 'just say no'; refuse to fall victim to the petty, the puerile, and the downright dangerous. We can free ourselves from dependencies on drugs, drink and stupid habits. We can decide what we want to encourage in our minds and ourselves, and we can put it there. And we can wipe all the stuff that harms us or slows us down as we're going along. We can do all this, because we can turn the learning/remembering process itself on and off.

There is often confusion when I talk about this because people think I am implying we can somehow non-intrusively redesign our own genome! I'm not suggesting that at all. I'm suggesting we can, as we figure out how to turn gene transcription factors on an off, control the expression of our given genome to enhance our own intelligence. Genes themselves are switched on and off by transcription factors binding to their promoter sequences. As these are identified and their agonists/antagonists determined, we can pop a pill, jack in (as opposed to up), and use tech and chemicals to alter the duration of a gene's activity/inactivity. Since gene transcription factors are involved so fundamentally in learning, we have a neat opportunity, combining drugs, biofeedback and TMS, with all the information we have on optimal timing and NMP, to enhance our learning/memory potential and speed.

...Everything we need...

Chemicals are traveling across gaps between synapses throughout our brains and in this instance the synaptic gap, the point of communication between neurons, is our entry point. To prevent a connection being made we can either stop a presynaptic chemical from being released, or prevent the receptors on the postsynaptic neuron from receiving it. In this case it's better to block the receptors because that has fewer unwanted side effects than working from the presynaptic.

Certain receptors are vital to maintaining a memory, and amongst them is a particular sort of cannabinoid receptor called CB1.

Painkillers often work by blocking the pain receptors on postsynaptic neurons. In this case, the receptors we want to use are the CB1 and NMDA (to prevent refiling). You want to focus on things that preferably won't affect any other type of receptor or other aspects of brain function. Suggestions...Anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (the best IMHO) for CB1, for NMDA, Dextrorphan tartrate, Dextromethorphan hydrobromide monohydrate ('delete with wiping'), very carefully.R31 Don't use ketamine. Repeat after me, 'I will not use ketamine'. Unless you want to feel like you're dying. And forget marijuana for CB1; it's too all pervasive in its effect on receptors everywhere.R29

Dosage: regardless of what's recommended in clinical prescription I start with a quarter of that and work up, getting there by trial and error. I've often found that chemicals are effective –or have different effects- in smaller doses than normally prescribed, so it's wise to start small and work up, until you find what's best for you.

Admin: Whatever method you feel most comfortable with. Wherever possible I like to work with chemicals I can swallow. IM is acceptable, but I detest mainlining anything, and anybody who thinks they can do an intrathecal to themselves on their own had best glue their forehead to the table before attempting it, because you can't use anesthetic and unless you have sufficient imaging tech to see exactly what you're doing, you have to be able to feel everything acutely enough to know what you are poking sharp bits of steel into. Having once watched the DIY Trepanning Society practicing with hand drills on plant pots at the tender age of seventeen, and having had plenty of time since then to find out what some of these procedures feel like without anesthetic, I would definitely suggest avoiding them as far as possible as a policy for all except the terminally kinky.

Snorting stuff is particularly not recommended here, as you need a while before the onset to concentrate on what you want to get rid of.

Regardless of what you decide to take and how you decide to take it, the first hour or however long it takes will need your concentration, because that's where you've got to pull up all the files you want to delete. If you're organized you'll have a list based on one subject or one feeling and experiences connected with that. If you have very traumatic experiences in mind you're best dealing with them one at a time.

Be aware that what you are wiping here is not semantic or sensory motor memory. What you are wiping is the link (association) between eidetic memories (imagery) and the sentiments connected with that imagery.

The ideal timing for a memory-wipe session is to do the recalling just before the drug takes effect. That way, you call up the memory and then block the chemical reaction required to refile it. It really is that simple.

Some people claim they'd never work alone doing this sort of thing in case they had a really bad trip and ended up screaming, or whatever. I prefer to work alone, for exactly the same reasons.

Blocking NMDA and CB1 receptors will prevent fear-reconditioning in the amygdala (another part of the midbrain, which controls defensive responses to threat), and will interfere with the formation of long term memory for fear-conditioning without affecting short term memory. NMDA is involved in all forms of aversion learning. Blocking it will prevent the fear/shock response associated with a memory from being refiled. If you can focus your attention on the memories you wish to lose, and if you able to avoid thinking about them for a few days afterwards, you will find you are no longer able to recall them clearly. After enough sessions, they will be gone. I can say this with 100% certainty.

... It must be obvious to ask, how do you know it's worked? How do you know you've forgotten anything if you can't remember it?

1. You keep notes of subject matter and compare them afterwards to what you remember. For example, one of mine says 'Extremely unpleasant experience in Durrus' (plus details)...now I know I lived in a place called Durrus and I know the brief details I wrote down happened, I remember them, but I cannot remember the experience in terms of feeling no matter how I try. It's as though the events on the notes happened to somebody else; I can read something and have a value judgment on it and think, wow, that happened, how horrid...but it means nothing personally, at all.

2. Sometimes a whole lot more goes than just the emotions. I sometimes mentally come up against a 'blank' where a memory used to be accessible. It's a similar feeling to that which you get when you suddenly have 'stage fright' public speaking or whatever; the mind goes blank and absolutely nothing can be accessed about the lecture (or whatever) in hand. In stage fright this is only temporary and the memory is accessible later, when the attention is off the stress. When you have a few memory wipes under your belt however and you are asked a question, for example, that would originally have led to a set of memories you no longer have, it's as though you go looking for them and there's nothing there, where somehow you know something 'should' be. If this happens with someone who knows me I can explain; 'I'm sorry I appear to have deleted that'. To strangers I often pretend I have a dreadful memory, because one can hardly say that sort of thing to just anybody.

One important thing to remember when doing a wipe is that blocking NMDA receptors will also affect your spatial memory during the time you are doing it. Don't try to go anywhere new during the experience, or you could have real problems figuring out how to navigate. I mean this in the literal, physical sense; don't travel.

The strangest thing about memory, and the one that takes most people by surprise, is the fact that the basic mechanics of memory formation in humans are really not very different at all from those in quite 'lowly' creatures; snails, for example. Basic networks are often pretty similar in very different animals; the important differences are in the complexity of those networks and their flexibility.

There is nothing like losing a whole bit or bits of memory to bring home to you two facts. One is that neurohacking is for real. If you were ambivalent or agnostic about it up to this very point, now you both believe and have an opinion. Two, is that memory is so much of what we are. ...Let's dive into the mechanisms of memory for a short trip and take a closer look at what exactly we are doing, because messing with memory is one of the cornerstones of neurohacking (the other three would have to be input control, messing with emotion, and imagination).

There are two main sorts of memory; these days called 'declarative' and 'non-declarative'. These break down into (non declarative) sensory motor memory or 'procedural' memory (like riding a bike); eidetic or image memory (like remembering a video of past events in your life, or imagining possible outcomes of a future one); (also non declarative) and 'nominative' (declarative) memory, (Who was the last president of the USA? Your answer accesses declarative memory.) Different brain systems are involved in all kinds.

The easiest use of memory to explain (everybody gets it) is working memory. Working memory is like a RAM cache. It's the kind of memory that allows you to smarmily recite what the lecturer was just saying, right after you're accused of not paying attention in class. It's vital for things like arithmetic, syntax, following a described route, and explaining things to people. Like every good computer system should, the brain re-uses the space used for any given operation as soon as that operation is over; it does not keep the same items permanently there. Working memory largely ignores the hippocampus, flitting about over the cortex; it is a dedicated follower of fashion.

In a sense most other memory storage could be called 'hard drive', because it can be temporarily or permanently (barring damage) stored, and this analogy becomes rather interesting when we know that recalling these memories does not always access the same places, and people start to wonder just where, if anywhere, the location of this 'hard drive' might be. We know that the hippocampus is involved with the act of storing, via LTP, all long-term memories...where does it send them? Many arguments have raged about this for a long time, and most researchers have come to an uncomfortable but tentative agreement that they are 'all over the cortex, sort of thing'. This, coupled with the words 'enormous database' (which it truly is), has caused some consternation, if not actual hand to hand combat, between neuroscientists. It seems not feasible that such a vast quantity of data should be scattered about apparently randomly and not even consistently between recollections. But in fact there are good reasons for this, and I suggest that they can best be explored via experience, as well as theory. The clue to memory storage and recall lies with the ACG...but more of that later.

The most difficult kind of memory to dislodge is procedural memory, and it is probably the most basic kind of memory available to mammals. It covers actions, abilities and habits that are learned purely by patterning and repetition. Examples are how to play the piano, or how to walk, ski, ride a bike, catch a ball, etc.) The hippocampus is not involved in procedural memory except very briefly during its original formation. The cerebellum is involved, and our sense of rhythm and timing form part of the encoding of such memories. They are a kind of full body knowledge and we rarely, if ever, forget them by accident, and it's very hard to do so on purpose. Even someone who could remove your memory to the extent that you didn't remember who you were, would still be unlikely to make you forget how to sing your favorite song, unfortunately in some cases.

Short-term memory is handy for immediate issues, but very limited in its capacity for storage. A part of the permanence of memory depends upon our ability to move memories into long term storage, which involves the process called long term potentiation (LTP). LTP's success depends partly upon a bit of the mid brain networks which is enjoying quite a lot of popularity at the moment, the hippocampus. It's a part of the brain we know quite a lot about, in comparison to other parts, and it's got quite famous lately because it's the first part (if you don't include the outer sensory equipment.) to be copied artificially with tech. But the hippocampus has always been very popular amongst neurohackers, because it allows you, quite simply, to do some very heavy messing.

As neurohackers, we can look on memory as a dynamic perception record/storage system. Memory is your only clue as to who you are...Remember 'Total Recall'? ...Need I say more?

Read that again. Realize what you are messing about with before you mess!

When I first started messing about with memory, it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, in the olden days before we had MRI and stuff. We used to do those tests where, for example, you show people some pictures and they see if they can tell them apart from others they have not seen...this was supposed to test visual recognition memory. Or you test 'verbal recall' by reading out a list of words and seeing if people can remember them...

One thing of value that came from these basic methods was the discovery that 'working memory' could, in most people, hold only about 7 'bits' (this is one thing we can increase with neurohacking...but still to only about 10). We also learned that 'first' and 'last' items were more easily remembered, and that if we organize the information it becomes easier to recall.

The most wonderful thing that ever happened in the study of memory was the event of decent scanning. With fMRI we can actually 'see' memory working in real time. For many, this was where the confusion began...long-term memory did not seem to have a single static location. This happens for several reasons: Firstly, memory is not static. It is dynamic. Your recall of an incident now and those networks you access to recall it, will not be the same as your recall of the same incident in five year's time, or possibly even five minutes. Second, memory is made up of many sub-memories, that work together to use a sense of the past to create our present and imagine the future

In 1973, researchers Tim Bliss and Terje Lomo published a groundbreaking paper on LTP.R30 They had electrically stimulated the input pathway to the hippocampus, and stuck a recording electrode in the hippocampus itself. They discovered they could increase the synaptic response with repeated stimulation, and that this increase lasted for several hours. They had found the process that turns electrical signals generated by input into long-lasting changes in synaptic activity; the method of recording and storing information about the environment.

As regards the location of the phenomenon, LTP has since been observed in many parts of the nervous system including the spinal cord. It can now be observed in just a slice of hippocampus sitting on its own in saline, with electrodes stuck in the relevant bits, or in the brain of a fruit fly. There is no longer any doubt; neural plasticity is not only occurring all the time in every human on the planet, it is controllable.

LTP is specific to the stimulated pathway; it does not change all the synapses or postsynaptic neurons, it changes only the synapses that are stimulated. So a neuron can store many different patterns of experience depending upon which combinations of synapses are stimulated.R6

'Cooperation' kicks in when two pathways are stimulated simultaneously. Even if the stimuli are weak, they will combine, if simultaneous, to induce LTP in both pathways. This means association between inputs can occur, which is a baseline for any kind of learning in any intelligence. It also shows us that association is one of the specifics of plasticity. If a weak stimulus occurs coincident to a strong one, association is made and after a short time the weak stimulus alone will cause an action potential all by itself.

'Hebbian plasticity' is the name for this phenomenon and it is named after Hebb, whose immortal words 'Cells that fire together, wire together' are a basic tenet of neurohacking, almost as famous as 'Use it or lose it'. This is literally meant in both cases because the more networks fire, the more they grow, and they grow in the areas used most.

Around 1985, at the same time as the original experiments behind this book, came the discovery that LTP could be prevented, without interfering with synaptic transmission, by blocking glutamate receptors on the post-synaptic neuron.R31 This prevents calcium increasing in the post-synaptic cell, which prevents the release of several kinases which do not therefore activate the gene transcription factor CREB which makes the proteins that strengthen the synapses that enable LTP. Did you follow that? Don't worry, we'll look at it again later on. It is very like The House that Jack Built...it's a chain reaction, and you can hack into it at any point. The easiest way is to block the post-synaptic glutamate receptors and CB1 as described earlier.

We now know that there are two forms of LTP, dubbed 'early' and 'late', and they can be thought of as short- and long-term memory (although strictly speaking there is a further distinction between short and long term memory, i.e. their chemical needs). Blocking the glutamate receptors will not affect early LTP, but can completely prevent late LTP. This is what you are doing when you prevent the refiling of emotional memories in a wipe. The process by which the brain renews a memory (and which blocking the pathways prevents) is what you are taking advantage of. Without renewal, we cannot continue to remember.

Whilst you might think it would be absolutely marvelous for, say, war veterans or disaster survivors to be freed from intelligence-crippling flashbacks and so on, the same question they must consider will be yours to consider when you start doing this. You know that you will have based some of your personality formation upon those memories; nasty though they might have been, and you will have gained from the experiences they hold. How much will you personality change without them? In some cases, old traumas may be your last links to sentiment. Am I really advocating and facilitating not just a memory wipe here, but also a genuine permanent personality change?

Yes, I am, and I want you to be fully aware of that. I'm suggesting, in fact, a change of personality so fundamental that you might as well, currently, deliberately opt to change species. The ability to be changed by experience is common to many systems in the brain. If you break the connections you will create a 'hole' in the web of your knowledge and experience that will only patch together slowly over time depending on how hard you work at it. So it is worth considering which memories it might be better to hang on to and give yourself a chance to see in the new perspective of lucid emotion you will be adopting. Only if something is really troublesome to our progress should we consider its annihilation.

If anything is not actually harming intelligence, and shows no sign of the likelihood of doing so, then we should leave it alone. It may be an unknown, but it must be treated as 'innocent' until we know more. There is also a strong case for keeping anything that has not yet been resolved. Reinterpreted under the light of a shifted perspective, some of the things that have happened to us may change from traumatic memories to gifts of awareness.

The thing I want to stress is, you are going to think very differently even without wiping much memory at all, and you are going to have to deal with the way people will react to that. Right in the middle of a massive personal change, you may think it's a bit much to slap that on your plate as well, but if you don't expect it you could be totally baffled, so I feel it prudent to give warning. Blocking transmitter signaling has such far-reaching effects. The control of whole networks is possible often because they depend on signals from key areas to function at all (for example, networks in the prefrontal cortex sending connections to the nucleus accumbens cannot fire at all unless there is synaptic activity in the hippocampus or amygdala).

I have already said that you are going to be thinking in a way that might, if you try to communicate it too soon without the sufficient protocol, upset people rather a lot. The communication problem at first can really be bad. It's good to stay in touch with a supportive person or group throughout this time. Most people never find out what effect the personality of a free range intelligence has on others, and the whole complex web of deceit people build their lives on can look very fragile when faced with the truth. There is something about operating from hyperreality that makes other people somehow aware, when faced with it, that something is terribly wrong somewhere, and since facing the fact that it might be something wrong with themselves is too anxiety-causing to contemplate, usually they will project the problem onto you. In order that you're not too surprised if this happens to you, I'll give you one real-life example; the names have been changed to maintain the confidentiality of those concerned...

Some years ago, I worked in a live-in health center with several other people. A couple there, let's call them Mary and Joe, had just had a baby (at the center, born with just the assistance of a midwife and no complications so no tech needed), and a promising little intelligence it was too. Joe's sister, an actor, whom we shall call Suzie, came to visit. She had a two-year-old, (apparently, although it wasn't with her.) She consulted me in private because she was worried about Mary & Joe's baby. 'It's hands aren't clenched into fists', she said. -Did I think it might be mentally retarded, she asked.... I (in my innocence) explained the reasons for this usual after-delivery behavior were in fact damage, and far from being a sign of retardation, a child with open hands at birth was relaxed and free of stress hormones and, basically, ready to learn. I explained that this was why Mary and Joe had wanted their child born at the center, and because she showed further interest I showed her the first draft for the section of this book about factors of damage in childbirth. She appeared interested and rational throughout, and an hour or so later she went home.

The following day Mary and Joe seemed somewhat peculiar with me. Eventually I asked if there was a problem. It turned out they had had a phone call, in the middle of the night, from Suzie, who had told them in absolute hysterical terror that they 'Had to get out of there', that I was an 'evil doctor death' who was trying to 'do things' to their baby and themselves, that I was 'in league with Satan', that they must leave and get on a plane at once and go to her place, before I slaughtered them all in some ritual sacrifice or turned their baby into a Frankenstinian monster... She was screaming and crying and going on about calling the priest, apparently in a total panic, but she would not tell them why she was saying these things, when Mary and Joe tried to question her further. She merely implied that there was a reason too terrible to be spoken of, and they should just trust her and get out of there. Not that surprisingly, they left. They put their trust in someone they had known for many years as a pretty stable person and a relative, and, although they didn't take up her kind offer of refuge from the devil, they did go back to their own home way before schedule. They were baffled and concerned at the strength of the reaction in Suzie and thought something really serious must have happened. They just didn't know what to think. They couldn't imagine what had happened. I expect they thought she would explain further after they left, but she never did. (Largely because she didn't know herself.)

What had happened was that Suzie had just discovered the truth that her own child was subnormal because of the way it had been treated at birth. The guilt (because she was an intelligent woman and she knew she was looking at the truth) had caused so much anxiety she had to go into denial and project it. I was the one who had showed her this truth, so the only way she could live with herself was to make herself believe that the truth was lies and I was evil. Reduced by her sentiment-ridden perception's warping of the feelings caused by confronting the truth, to superstition, fear and prejudice, shutting off rational thought and operating only from the midbrain, fight/flight response pumping out hormones, still panicking but now honestly believing she was worried for them because I was so evil, she made her phone call. When faced by Joe's rational questioning she was unable to explain logically what the problem was because she couldn't accept it, and all they could get was the strength of her fear coupled with the message 'I just know something's wrong, it's just intuition, that guy is the antichrist, get out of there, please trust me'.

This sudden, totally unexpected leap of a rational person into acute paranoia and violent reaction, is something you should get used to or you will be freaked out when it happens to you. It is also something you can learn to prevent, or at least not cause. Most of these people are not ready to face reality. They are stuck in a matrix and if you are unable to get someone out of a cage, the last thing you want to do is rattle the bars. If information alone can send a person crazy, (and it can), then you ought to be responsible with it even if only for your own safety.

So, welcome to some of intelligence's morals...Freaking people out is not interaction, as a rule. If you don't feel guilt and fear, it is easy to forget that other people do. Lack of empathy should not be lack of awareness. You'd be careful of someone's broken arm even though you can't personally feel the pain at all, so take care not to be hard on people's minds. There is a tendency in the novice neurohacker to get over excited and want to share the heady air of freedom. Newborn fans of life, with some resemblance to an exuberant tiger cub, totally unaware of its own size, innocent, happy and treading in everything, off we go to play and celebrate and bounce up and down, and whoops, we damage things. So you must remind yourself not to. Remember that you cannot explain to a bull why it should get off the railway line, and if you push it you will get well and truly butted up the ass. Always engage brain before putting mouth into gear.

When you lose empathy with sentiment you will begin to be misunderstood. If you are operating from the morality of intelligence you will be very misunderstood, and you will hurt a lot of people if you do not learn to keep your ideas to yourself. And that's against the rules, of course, making people feel anxious. So stop it.

Let's hack.

Let's rewrite our memories of our history according to reality, and adjust our self-esteem.

...You can do this in real-time, if you like, but I recommend reading through this first and then doing it whilst reading through again. That way it's not quite so unknown.

...What you are aiming for pre-hack is a playful, imaginative mood, free of anxiety. Achieve that how you will (but not, like, to the extent of being comatose, because I want you to be able to keep reading). Now, you are going to rewrite your past, how it really is, according to intelligence. We can alter our personality/self esteem by altering memories, from the false or unprovable to the true and provable...and more importantly, to align with reality as it really is.

So I don't mean fooling yourself into believing your first car was red, when in fact it was blue; forming false memories is pretty easy to do but quite useless here.

What we do is take our current memories and rewrite them from a hyperreality point of view. We look at the truth and we work outwards from there. We can rewrite our true past, and our personality will sit atop those memories, exactly where it belongs. Pretending nothing, assuming nothing, secure in its own autonomy and primed to interact. It deserves this.

So, that's the only rule: It has to be true. But true from a hyperreality, matrix-free space, interpreted from intelligence's point of view.

Consequently it is pretty useful to be able to run COMP for this; it really is. But don't worry of you're not sure; I'm going to go through it with you and give a few clues, so you should get the hang of what sort of thing you are looking for. Here's one; consider this:

The first time someone asks you out for a drink, your mind makes a video of the scenario as it goes on in real time. You may think they want to make friends with you, or they are bored, or they think you are lonely and feel sorry for you, or perhaps they are going to ask you for a favor soon... you might think any of these things, depending upon your mood and your self esteem...

The second or third time, you may become aware that they are in fact trying to get into your pants. Once you realize this, you'll review that original memory of the first time, and you'll see it in a different light. You'll see different meanings in things that were said, now you know more of the truth. It will not be the same memory as it was.

If, later, things develop into a romantic relationship with this person, you'll rewrite all those memories again, glamorizing them, tinting the past with the groovy feelings you are having now and the happy sparkle of being in a relationship. Later still, if the relationship fails you, you'll rewrite again, perhaps seeing how badly you misunderstood things or how you missed information...how you were fooled, you might think, by the other person, although in fact it's your own mind that's doing the fooling.

Two facts about memory: Our memories form our inner assessment of ourselves unconsciously, and that controls our degree of self-esteem. If you think you've behaved like an asshole or an idiot, your self-esteem usually drops. If you're proud of your achievements, it rises. When we put our memories in the context of the truth, in hyperreality, our self-esteem will inevitably rise. You will see why, as you get on with it.

Our memories of events and experiences are dynamic; they are dependent big time on our current mood, current beliefs and values, and how afraid we are. That's why different parts of the cortex light up at different moments of recalling the same event.

So how can you get an 'accurate' memory of your history? You can base it on known, accurate facts, from intelligence's point of view.

To edit memory you need a highly creative, relaxed, attentive state. At the very least you need to be able to turn down the amygdala enough to see what is most likely to be true (so that even if it scares you, you can take it on board).

I say 'scares you'; because finding out how cool they really are usually scares people. Or rather, realizing what their priorities actually should be scares people. Physiologically, the emotions the exercise causes are what people find scary. So chill out first, okay?

We edit memory by replacing old information in more or less a 'cut and paste' manner. You can also 'preview' memory and if you don't like it, you can wipe the changes in the same session, and start again. (You can't start again in the same session though).

Equipment: The drugs of your choice (see above) plus wire yourself up with biofeedback to read EEG only.

A crash course in EEG interpretation:

The area you usually wish to work with in memory control is between 7.5 and 12.5Hz. Its called Alpha.

Lower than that, you'll start slipping into dream state. That's Theta (Deep sleep is Delta). Higher than that, you'll be slightly too speedy to be creative. That's Beta, and it's what most people use, most of the time.

When you're working with dream states, you want 3.5 to 7.5 (Theta)

When you have to do a lot of calculating, you want 14 to 30. (Beta)

Easy, innit? So for this, set your biofeedback to round about 10. You'll tune in and find your favorite frequency 'spot' by yourself, with practice.

Eat your chemicals and relax until your brain matches the model, then off we go...

Don't try to do it all at once. One section per session is best. Start at the beginning...answer this question: Where were you born?

...Now you might think something like 'In Detroit', or 'In Paris', or 'In America'.... Or you might think, 'In hospital'...None of this is hyperreality. Likewise, when were you born? The answers '1985' or '1969' or '1977' are not hyperreality answers because they're not part of reality as it truly is. All these answers use society's answers, not reality's. Consequently, if you are a Muslim you were born in a different year than if you are a Christian, and if you are part of an illiterate tribe you don't have a name for the year at all. If you were born in Czechoslovakia, where has your birthplace gone? The names are artificial constructs. The truth, is something like this...

...You were born into the middle of one of the most exciting human generations in history, in the century they called the 21st, on a continent in the high-tech Western world, with all its blessings and it's banes. Because most of us had pretty nasty births, unless you were very lucky your intelligence spent its first bit of life fighting for survival. It won. It wasn't one of the silent 'cot deaths', it wasn't one of the growing number of child schizophrenics, autistics, depressives, or suicides. It didn't fall prey to bipolar disorder or ADHD.

It learned things. Just as it was getting its act together, it probably had school thrown at it. It survived. Not only that, it survived intact enough for you to be this intelligent now. Against all odds, here you are, really quite a groovy smartass. That's not going to be recognized by most people because they don't know enough to see it, but you know.

...Start noticing how rare you really are. And what potential you really have. Because it is not true that we all have equal potential, just as it is not true that we all have an equal number of brain connections. And neither is it true that we cannot change our level of intelligence. It all depends, like anything else, on how much effort we are prepared to put into that.

When you first start looking at your past and reviewing it, you will come across a number of recurring themes, things that made you afraid or angry, both in your own behavior and that of others, that were caused by sentiment or stupidity. Some popular ones are: blame/negative criticism, conforming/not conforming, being left out, exile, exclusion, antagonistic competition, disillusion or disappointment, dominance, bullying or emotional blackmail, injustice, and misunderstanding.

Fear of, or even paying any attention to, any of those things can be overwritten. You'll understand why they happened now, what was happening to your brain, and that changes rather a lot. You can perhaps see how, in the past, you sometimes tried to help others but just ended up pacifying their anxieties for a little while...

As you recall portions of your past, this new information you now know is being added through the directional loop of the hippocampus, edited by the circumstances of the here and now. This is an absolutely natural process. Every day, people recall scenes from the past and -unknowingly- edit them to seem better or worse, depending on how they feel at the time. All we are doing is taking control of the process; instead of allowing our past to be edited inaccurately and at random according to mood, we can pick out the real facts and cast them in the light of our understanding right now, making them a clear part of the known. We can apply the perception of hyperreality and then draw on memory's content without altering its accuracy. We can reclaim the genuine version of our past and don't allow it to be eroded by misperception. And we need to do this in a nice, cool state in order not to weight the memories falsely by letting the emotions and their associated hormones change us too much. This is not a search for justification of our actions or excuses; it is a cold hard look at the truth.

So summon up all those memories and say goodbye to them. You will need to stay awake for as long as possible after this hack, and distract yourself, so get a few good positive movies in or some favorite music, and when you think you've had enough of remembering things you want to forget, relax and enjoy yourself instead (cannabis is good for this stage, if you live somewhere you're allowed to smoke it. It will help prevent the possibility of recall in dreams.)

The second part of this hack lies in consolidating the truth, so when you've learned a bit more, you'll come back to this exercise and complete it, this time enhancing your learning and making it easier to remember. (You'll learn how to do that in a future chapter.)

When doing that, it's still best to work with as flat an emotional profile as possible to start, and then go with what happens. We do need emotion, of course, in order to value our memories at all, but what might surprise you is the main emotions raised during the second part of this hack (rewriting the past) turned out for me to be only surprise, relief, and not a little awe at the incredible flexibility of intelligence. I had really messed up in some places in the past but I could see exactly why, and was not at all surprised at how confused I had been. Under the circumstances, there was a perfectly good reason for any human to be confused, as indeed most are.

Throughout our all-too-impressionable lives we are subjected to some truly disgraceful behavior and very few examples of genuine intelligence. It is no great wonder that we are confused, annoyed, and quite frankly often utterly baffled. Humanity does not make sense, to intelligence, or even to basic decency.

So when we finally take a deep breath and look at the truth, it can be traumatic but it can be relieving. We are these amazing minds, these irrepressible personalities that fight for their own survival and growth, striving towards ever increasing intelligence. We have been through an incredible amount of crap, and may have occasionally felt like the universe owes us one. Now, however, we start to know how we are to be rewarded...in freedom.

Knowledge of the truth of the matter gives us the ability to forgive and also to absolutely justify any stupid deed we have committed in the past. Past stupidity is totally justifiable considering the circumstances.

You might think you behaved like an idiot sometimes in the past and you're probably correct. But you did not do it on purpose and it was certainly not your fault. An incredibly large number of factors more than likely misaligned your neurochemistry years ago. If you look at the truth, you'll realize that you've done amazingly well to get this far and still be relatively sane. Many others haven't made it. (And there, but for the grace of your intelligence, go you).

Now, however, is a different matter. Aha. With knowledge comes responsibility, and in this case it's your responsibility for you own mind. (...You don't believe in any of that fate crap, remember? You're in control of your own life). From now on, the only excuses you have for being stupid are (a) you were trying really hard not to be, but you made a mistake, or (b) you are allowing yourself to be stupid on purpose because you prefer it that way or you can't be bothered changing it. If the answer is (b) then you are wasting your time reading this book.

If the answer is (a), that's pretty perfect. Making mistakes is important. They give us the extra information we need in order to learn. Mistakes are why we can walk effectively now without falling over all the time. Also, sometimes things we think are mistakes in fact turn out for the best. Hell, mistakes are why champagne happened. As intelligence evolves it tries out new problems -all evolution does that. Some of them will fail and will not be repeated. The interactions that do succeed will be repeated and refined. Polished and fine-tuned to achieve its optimal potential.

This art of actualizing the optimal potential in anything is called entelechy. And entelechy is the neurohacker's aim for intelligence.

Editing memory is a long-term project and takes many sessions. Sometimes you have to treat yourself like you had amnesia and 'remember' the past you are constructing as you go along; making sure it is the correct version (preview) before committing it to long-term memory. (If we don't like the result or it proves inaccurate, we can wipe it by repeating the first part of this hack.)

When we are first learning this sort of thing, we have to learn it explicitly. That means we have to build up and reinforce the correct concepts and disregard the incorrect ones. This may seem a pain at first, keep having to remind yourself...no, it wasn't really like that...it was really like this... but after a while such learning becomes implicit. And once a memory becomes implicit it becomes automatic. (That's how we get stuck with false memories in the first place.)

When I say 'false' I don't mean the incident never happened, I mean the incident we originally thought happened probably did not, but something else really happened instead.

An example: We think Alice left Bob because he slept with Eve. What really happened was this: Alice and Bob had been living together for some years. Bob met Eve and had sex with her. (Using protection, of course, they had a firewall). Then he went home and had sex with Alice. He liked having sex with Alice. Alice liked having sex with him. He also liked having sex with Eve.

Bob told Alice he'd had sex with Eve. Alice (unconsciously) realized several things: When people found out, she was going to look either boring or weak (for not being able to keep her partner 'faithful'). If she said she didn't mind, people would think she didn't love Bob because she was not jealous. She would lose status among her friends...She had always claimed to love Bob, but now she found herself not feeling jealous! Even Bob might think she didn't love him! So Alice pretended to be jealous, and left Bob, keeping her status both by proving herself to be absolutely normal to all her friends, and reassuring them that their behavior was normal, too. (Bob learned, at this stage, that telling the truth gets you abandoned and/or punished).

Alice reacted, because of fear, instead of interacting. But what really happened is not what we saw at all. What we saw, was a masquerade of people pretending to feel things. A few days later we might have seen Alice return and 'forgive' Bob...(what's really happening is that Alice cannot handle being on her own because she's too insecure, and Bob is better than nothing.) (Eve ran off with a cryptoanalyst to Barbados). People use each other as things, as anxiety-pacifiers, and cast them away without a second thought when something more pacifying comes along. There is hardly any real emotion, between people, in practice, anymore. Nobody is able to feel it; nobody's been taught. Which is not the best breeding ground for self-esteem.

If you can cultivate the habit of seeing what is really going on, you'll come to see your past as the evolution of your own intelligence. Most of our histories are personal heroic struggles from that point of view. And on top of that, many of us have been searching for their answers far and wide, and have never given up doing so. This is why, with the truth, comes self-esteem, awareness of our own competence and pride in it, which is how a healthy human should feel, as opposed to over-estimation (arrogance) or under-estimation (nervousness). When you get this balance right, it's important to recognize it. Once you recognize it, you can copy it; you can do it again and again. Just like you did when you learned to walk.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 August 2009 00:32