We Each Have a GPT4 Within Us

Powerful Mind Part 39
Created December 8, 2023

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No computer system before the current Large Language Models (LLMs) has been able to fool humans into thinking that the computer is human or the intellectual equal – which is the Turing test, proposed by one of the pioneers of modern computers, Alan Turing, in March 1946. What is amazing about the LLMs is how human their texts sound.

What is even more amazing is that all they are doing is a version of autocompletes – when your computer or smartphone fills in the next word or words you are going to key in. GPT4 and the other LLMs are gigantic versions of the same algorithm. The vast amount of training data is what makes them sound like us and be right so much of the time.

Unbeknownst to us, we have always had a similar function in our own brains. The reason it remained unknown to us for so long is that it passed the Turing test. We took it as our own words to ourself.

This function predicts what we will say next, based on what we have said in the past (which are the training data), and on what we just said to ourselves a moment ago (which is the prompt to be autocompleted).

On occasion, the robot (as I call the inner biological AI) might escalate what you just said to yourself (the prompt), using terms you had used in the past (training data) in association with that word you just used. “Escalate” means taking your prompt and making a more extreme statement as a follow-up. In this way, the inner AI may contribute to our recognized collective leanings into extremism throughout recorded history and never more so than today.

The problem is we take all of our thoughts at equal value. The ones we ourselves say to ourselves, and to the ones that are predictions by our robot. We didn’t know about this robot thing, so we presumed that any thought in our mind was propelled solely by our own free will. However, we find this to not be the case. There is another word source which accesses memory systems and – like today’s LLM chatbots – predicts/suggests what to say next.

Why is there such a system? Apparently pro-survival, it reminds the self how to promptly respond to incoming signals of each specific type. However, it will tend to self-past-consistency and so it will potentially underestimate where the self has evolved to at the current moment.

In Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP), otherwise known as the default network, these snuck-in inputs will be taken as the self’s own.

In Observer state, otherwise known as the executive control network, the self senses that it is now going off a bridge too far and pulls itself back.

However, even in Observer state, for the past few millennia we have not known that the human brain has these predictive abilities, and they are right now being discovered by science. Using introspection, I discovered the robot and wrote about it in my 1976 book Mind Magic.

From my own direct experience, I link the robot with Freud’s concept of the Ego. In Civilization and its Discontents he writes that the ego first arises when the baby feels needy and frustrated. It acts as the self, but it is actually a self-protective layer of mind on top of the id, the original self. In childhood I was able to understand my own actions through this lens of distinguishing the different voices in my mind.

Science is now confirming that the robot, as I wrote about it in Mind Magic, is a real thing, not just a metaphor. It’s as if a cosmic chunnel is being built from two ends, science and introspection, and they are actually connecting.

The verification for these psychotechnologies – the 12 Keys among others – by science is coming at just the right time. The upcoming generations feel handed a raw deal and fearful about their future, and they spend most of their time in EOP like the majority of us, ill-equipped for the likely challenges. Psychotechnology can achieve maturity of thought processes relatively quickly.

When Observer state is achieved it enables objective formal operational and systems thinking. One starts from understood and believed-in goals, then proceeds ethically and thoughtfully to achieve those goals. Each individual in this converted state is on a Mission with a known purpose. Having a Mission makes the individual less willing to give in to useless inner negativity and more self-disciplined about taking prompt but unhurried action aimed at carrying out the Mission.

The individual achieves meaning without the same constant dependency on media diversions. Moving toward of a future of one’s own shaping, life is exciting enough on its own. In Observer state, each challenge is a learning experience on the way to the goal.

Further psychotechnology balances this drive with resilient nonattachment to outcomes. Yerkes and Dodson proved that optimal arousal causes superior performance vs. maximal arousal. Czikszentmihalyi proved that there is a state above Observer state which he famously called Flow state. Yale’s Neuroscience Master Chun notes that the random chatter between lobes disappears in Flow state.

Spiritual psychotechnology opens up the individual to the possibility of cosmic connection, and how to recognize and work with it.

Worry and Fix

Two little words. And yet a philosophy can be built on them.

A 50,000-foot view of what goes on in our minds is a mix of these two things. We’re always either worrying or fixing.

A great many people worry almost constantly. This appears to leave them little time for fixing.

A few of us have learned to minimize time spent worrying and maximize time spent fixing.

The two strategies are poles apart in terms of success rates. And inversely poles apart in terms of popular adoption.

But why would people choose to waste time worrying when they could be fixing?

People generally do not believe they have the power to make a difference in their own lives, let alone to change the world. They feel swept along by forces much stronger than themselves, some coming from the outside and some coming from the inside.

The traitorous thoughts coming from the inside are the ego, the aspect of self which resists community mindmeld; it is always in a cold war against the others perceived to be separate beings, essentially competitors, rivals. Everyone else is the potential rival.

Everyone else is also the threat vector coming at the ego from the outside. Inside and outside sources appear to agree on the dangerous nature of the others. Everyone else.

In higher states of consciousness – specifically Observer state and Flow state – these paranoid delusional biases are identified instantly by a person. In Observer state one is conscious of one’s own judgment swings and even fine tuning adjustments taking place from moment to moment.

In the higher states there is no worry because every challenge is accepted with valor and all time is spent on fixing, building, creating. Worries streak in, and last only fleeting minutes, while the focused mind dissects them, and establishes new rules of engagement (fixing).

The present environment is geared toward producing hyper-over-stimulation/distraction. This is the result of Acceleritis over the past six millennia. We became stimulation junkies and invented technodrugs to feed that addiction.

At one time not so very long ago, in the West we felt very confident and competent. In the East and South, where most of current growth has come from, there was great hope.

Now uncontrolled thoughts and feelings have stampeded the herd. This is all utterly unnecessary.

We have the skills and resources to fix everything, even at the advanced state of ruin we have already made of the planet and its species.

But not without working together.

If we continue to wallow in delusional hate fantasies while Rome burns, well. You know how that ends.

Can we all please wake up from the nonsense and get to cooperating to fix the mess we made?

Further methods of attaining inner clarity (Key #10) in the next post.


My best to all,

Ride the Psychic Foam

Powerful Mind Part 38
Created December 1, 2023

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Key #10 is about how to ride the bucking bronco that is your mind. Your mind, which is constantly throwing up inner words, feelings and impulses that – if allowed – can enslave your mood.

When my late partner Len Matthews, a wonderful human being, read my book Mind Magic, he initially disagreed with the idea that he should “dis-identify with the thought senate” (paraphrasing the title of Chapter 9). He said, “I’m proud of my ideas, I want to call them my own.”

I pointed out the subtitle of that chapter “Not Throwing Your Authority Behind Untested Head Spewings”. This, I explained, allowed for cases in which a person can take pride and ownership of ideas after having tested those ideas thoroughly enough, with which he agreed.

Therefore Key #10 is about how to test one’s inner drafts before adopting them as one’s own official policy.

Not viewing the situation that way, the vast majority of the human race throughout history, and perhaps more so today due to the Distraction Culture produced by Acceleritis, tend to assume that the inner soundtrack is one’s very own self expressing positions that have been fully ratified by all sides of oneself.

In Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP), the pandemic coping condition for information overload, most of the time the mind is operating in what neuroscientists call the Default Network. This is an idle stream of consciousness that keeps switching tracks based on associations, and includes daydreaming as well as commentary on what one is doing in the external world of consensual reality sometimes involving other people.

In the Observer state, neuroscientists say that the brain is operating from the Executive Control Network, and the mind is in a state of metacognition, able to observe with a degree of detachment what the inner wordstream is saying. It is that degree of detachment which Mind Magic Chapter 9 aimed to achieve in readers. By having that degree of detachment, one can inspect what one’s mind just said, to see if it is consistent with one’s general viewpoint, or if it appears to be an outlier, perhaps a remnant of who you used to be. Or just a first reflexive reaction of anger at someone in language you might have used as a child or as a teenager but would not normally use aloud today.

By helping children to learn these ways, they shall more quickly become able to be in control of their own impulses.

When I was a child, like all other children, I had a very hard time guessing which of my impulses to act upon and which ones to just let drift away. Perhaps I had more trouble with it than most children. Because on stage and in other rare moments I had experienced the Flow state, in which simply letting myself flow with all of my impulses seemed to work fantastically well. At the time this is what I muddily thought. It was only much later on that I realized that in Flow one does not always act on every impulse, in fact, in making that assumption I had caused myself to be taken out of Flow after very short periods of it. This took years to discover. In the meantime, I had absurd experiences of following impulses which turned out to be ridiculously wrong and impossible to defend afterward.

In that chapter of Mind Magic, one of the metaphors used is to consider the mind to be a vast senate of viewpoints, installed based on people you have met who may have impressed you in one way or another, which set up a robot simulating that person within one’s own mind, presumably mediated by a specific pattern of electrochemical flow among specific neurons. In a lifetime one may meet, or hear, speak, or read the words of, tens of thousands of people, including in media. Thousands of them may leave permanent impressions as biological “AI” outposts within one’s mind. This, then, is the senate.

The Executive Control Network may be viewed as the inner True Self, trying to sort through what may be conflicting impulses arising simultaneously like virtual particles in the quantum foam, within one’s own microcosm. The great physicist John Archibald Wheeler postulated that in nothingness before the Big Bang, there had always existed quantum foam, with virtual particles arising and disappearing. In my book A Theory of Everything Including Consciousness and “God” I posited that the quantum foam itself is consciousness, the original substrate of the universe. Whether or not this is true we might not as a species know for millennia, although as individuals some of us may decide to adopt it as a working hypothesis for life, as I do.

By installing Key #10 in one’s own mind, one gives oneself the psychic distance to edit one’s own headstream.

More than that, one can take the time to teach errant senators how to behave properly. For example, one day recently, I heard myself think something mean about a person I love. With Key #10, it’s not enough to just correct oneself and move on: you are advised to carry on an inner dialog with the senator who said that, and to find out how that part of you thinks and feels. Does the part of you who just said that mean thing not love this other person? Or was that just an old reflex from your childhood when you first started to use mean words like that? If the latter turns out to be the case, as it did, that senator (or neuron grouping) can learn that it’s no longer appropriate to use such language even to oneself, it’s no longer fitting within the person you have become. In this way the mind is eventually cleansed and impurities have been removed from it.

One of the inner signals that one learns to pay attention to is any trace of negativity. By now, using the other Keys 1-9, we have already changed our mental habits enough to realize that we prefer to be happy and to know how to quickly tune out of anything that makes us unhappy. Negativity is what makes us unhappy, therefore we have already started to learn how to tune away from negativity to positivity, to find one’s creativity interested and challenged by the “dare” of negativity to find creative solutions to remove all causes of negativity from one’s life as quickly as possible in each case.

More methods for riding one’s psychic froth in the next installment.

My best to all,

The Supreme Depression

Powerful Mind Part 37
Created November 17, 2023

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We call the economic depression of 1929-1939 “The Great Depression”. I call the psychological depression period we are now in “The Supreme Depression”.

From my readings, it appears to me that the current Supreme Depression is far more psychologically damaging to the human race than was The Great Depression. In The Emotional Life of The Great Depression, John Marsh (Oxford Press, 2019) describes the negative feelings evoked during The Great Depression as despair, fear, panic, righteousness, and anger, all of which had been chronicled by many historians. It was the righteousness and anger which Hitler and Mussolini manipulated to bring themselves to power.

However, Marsh also adds that there were positive feelings during that period, mostly after 1932, three years into the ten-year depression, as a result of the election of FDR, and they were hope, awe, and love. From our observations about our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, we know that the economic depression made us stronger in many ways.

Our current Supreme Depression is similar but different. The economic situation is cloudy and volatile, but there has been no market crash affecting the USA, our economy here is still standing, and many people’s incomes have kept steady with inflation, while many people keep getting richer, although it’s also edge city for many people in America. In the rest of the world, economic conditions are worse in many places and better in a few.

Moving from economics to psychology, however, the modern world has never seen such widespread doom and gloom thinking, hatred, cynicism, gullibility, and willingness to give up personal freedoms in exchange for perceived greater physical safety. The Great Depression was a walk in the park by comparison, and yet enabled so-called “strongmen” to almost take over the world. The Supreme Depression could enable the new crop of charismatic tyrants to enslave us. Many influential journalists and politicians worldwide assume that dystopia is here to stay and will soon be consolidating its grip everywhere, there are now new digital media that make it easy to have a screen and perhaps earpods washing one’s mind with negativity for nearly every waking minute.

Everyone knows that polls can be wrong, especially when they are taken a year ahead of the election they are trying to predict. Nevertheless, poll results are a guarantee of attention, because everyone is so attached to the political party propaganda war and frightened of the outcomes. What people say in surveys has a low degree of predictivity of their actual behavior. The response rate to polling surveys is generally under 10% and sometimes hits a high of as much as 13%, meaning that the random sample that was predesignated is not random anymore, 13% of us willing to take part in polls are (mis-) representing the other 87% of us. Even people in the research business who know these things are drawn as if by an addictive substance to reading the poll results.

Negativity is such a powerful influence that it doesn’t need absolutely continuous access to your mind in order to poison your attitude. Negativity even for only 10% of your waking minutes can ruin your day and your life, let alone the constant diet of negativity which has become our lives.

Chaim Oren reports that a rabbi once told him “Optimists and Pessimists are both right.” Meaning that the pessimist is going to experience exactly what he or she expects, and so is the optimist. We draw to ourselves whatever our mind projects onto the world. As I’ve pointed out here perhaps too many times, even the greatest physicists agree that our consciousness affects the probability waves of matter and energy around us and how that magma manifests as definite and concrete events in our timeline. Our mind sharpens possibilities into actualities that we experience. Allowing our minds to be constantly poisoned by negativity is absolutely self-defeating, not to mention unpleasant.

What can we do about this, once we have become serious about opening our minds to the greater possibilities of our own life?

It might seem like a hard pill to swallow, but we can actually turn off the negative noise. We don’t have to read or watch the negative news. We don’t have to stay on a social media page that offers no solutions only problems and invective. We don’t have to be hooked on downers for the rest of our lives. Paraphrasing Tim Leary, now would be an ideal time to “Tune In (to our true selves), Turn On (our subtle inner guidance systems), and Drop Out (of the negative media inputs that only weaken us).”

There is of course the fear of missing out. How can we be good conversationalists if we don’t know the latest events? Isn’t that burying our heads in the sand? If you enjoy the news then continue to tune into it at your usual times, but if you find yourself getting into a negative mood, be aware of it and of your freedom to switch away.

GPT4 and the other new LLM (Large Language Model) AIs can come in handy here. Ask your favorite AI to summarize the latest news events that might point to positive outcomes ahead. Ask what new solution ideas to world problems were announced today. You can stay well-informed and decide which articles to read based on using what I call a Hate Filter, that is, asking an AI the right questions, designed to keep you in the know and inspired by new discoveries and solution ideas, not trapped in a bubble of hopeless cynical negativity. If you are pessimistic about the world, that will not translate into your being able to make the most of your opportunities in life.

You don’t have to let everything in, you can let love and joy in without reservation, and filter everything else out, not allowed in, rise above it!

The way to take charge of your new life which starts right now is to stop allowing yourself to be given these daily injections of hypnotic suggestions that bring down your effectiveness and immune response. Use that time to contemplate and plan your new life, to meditate and apply metacognition to rule your mind castle, and to use media to find the ideas and knowledge and fun that relate to your purpose and meaning in life, to your gifts and passion work, to the dreams and aspirations that you used to have, the subjects that have always fascinated you, and to ideas that once inspired you that you have put aside. Not all of them may still be relevant to you, but some will be and will give you new surprises and whole new canvases to paint your life on.

We are still conveying the groundwork for Key #10. More to come in the next post on this Key to inner clarity.

May your Thanksgiving be bountiful with reasons to be grateful.
And let our lives be full of both thanks and giving.

My best to all,

If You Assume the Worst, You Yourself Will Bring It About

Powerful Mind Part 36
Created November 10, 2023

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The latest findings of neuroscience suggest that we as individual human beings interpret our own emotions as they happen. The physical signals we receive may suggest not only the degree to which our emotions are aroused, they may even suggest the valence as either being positive or negative emotion, but then there is a cognitive interpretation layer we impose to further characterize to ourselves the emotions we are feeling.

In my own introspections I had also come to that same conclusion long ago, that my mind had the ability to clarify the emotions I was experiencing. In some cases I felt overwhelming arousal and initially took that to be fear and panic, but then applying Observer state (metacognition) I was able to refine that classification into positive excitement and anticipation rather than negative fear. This was the way I learned to deal with stage fright when my showbiz parents put me on stage at age 4.

The general reason why it is important to be able to bring emotional self-interpretation into play is to avoid making things worse.

There is a proven feedback loop between our expectations and the results we get. If we fear failure, it increases our probability of failure.

This goes beyond psychology. In physics the greatest theorists including Einstein, Wheeler, and Hawking have postulated what Wheeler called the Anthropic Participatory Principle, the ability of consciousness to collapse probability waves into concrete objects. Einstein did not go quite as far but could not describe relativity without including an observer (consciousness) in his equations.

Knowing that our inner emotional content has significant impact on the outcomes in our lives, and that we have the interpretation layer at our disposal in order to clarify exactly which emotions we are feeling, we face the choice of either:

A. Continuing to relinquish control over how we interpret our emotions, leaving that up to our brain’s default network to settle that as it will, and accepting the consequences.
B. Exercising our will power to focus our minds on self-observation and clarifying our emotions based on the pragmatic principle that outcomes will be better to the degree that we classify our emotions more positively.

The ideal mental framework if we choose the “B” option is (1) gratitude for being alive and for the life we have been given, despite perceived imperfections (2) resolute confidence that we shall attain our dreams someday so long as we stay positive toward ourself and toward everyone else.

That’s the gratitude attitude that gives you the greatest chance of success at whatever you do. The word “someday” implies that we ought not be impatient or overly attached to the experience of success, but instead should enjoy the passage of time, the journey rather than the destination. This total package of attitudinal viewpoints is the master cocktail for maximizing success.

The implication is that in any given moment, if you sense your own emotions, the interpretation of those emotions should be the priority. If you are also besieged by your own tumble of thoughts and questions in your mind about various subjects, you might write down the fewest possible trigger words which will serve to remind you of those questions so that you can tackle them later on.

When I was very young, I took a very different path. I greatly esteemed thinking over feeling, for a very long time, and so I paid priority attention to my thoughts and questions of an intellectual and rational nature. I considered my emotions more as animal instincts to be conquered than as valuable signals. I was in my late teens by the time I realized that many of my intellectual questions reduced to aesthetic preferences, i.e. feelings.

My undervaluing of feelings led me to take on a general preference for melancholy in the form of “glamorous cynicism”. I actually felt most comfortable being in a negative mood. Later on this became a hard to break habit but one which I eventually overcame. I had to see the way the negative mindset had ruined a number of great opportunities before I could wake up to, and bring in, the feeling side of the game to my self-recommended life systems (“psychotechnology”).

As we begin the description of Key #10 here, we are entering into the complexities of what goes on in the mind, from the subjective viewpoint of you, the experiencer. In this environment every instant is besieged by qualia (subjective inner phenomena) some of which purport to describe the “outside” world (perceptions) and some of which report signals from the “inner” world (thinking, feelings, intuition, memories, imaginings, images). Operating according to the current norm for homo sapiens on Earth, all of this washes over you and what you pay attention to and do about it all, seems to do itself without much help from you, even when some of it is stuff that you do consciously but automatically, like saying thank you. But some of it riles you up and you over-react negatively and some of it peps you up and you possibly over-react positively… all of it feeling fairly out of control, but you’re used to it, so it doesn’t induce panic most of the time.

Key #10 is completing the granular dissection of Observer state so that you are more fully prepared to deal with life with a far greater degree of conscious control.

We started with the feelings because they are the most powerful and least controllable qualia we experience. Remember the Gratitude Attitude in order to not be overtaken by your feelings, but to leverage your feelings so that you may channel their energies in the directions of your ultimate dreams.

Best to all,