Tag Archives: Acceleritis

Acceleritis Theory Validated

Created March 14, 2024
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

The amount of information being processed daily by the average human being has been accelerating ever since the invention/discovery of written language.

In my 1976 book Mind Magic I postulated that the amount of information being processed daily by the average human being has been accelerating ever since the invention/discovery of written language.

And I theorized that this was the cause of a mental/emotional state I called Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP). This is a state of consciousness in which questions are set aside, experiences are not assimilated, personal effectiveness is reduced, creativity is blocked, the awe and wonder of life is invisible, one subscribes to black vs. white thinking imposed by others, one has prerecorded responses used all the time, new learning and growth are stultified. One is coping but not mastering life. One is a conditioned robot.

In 2011, in this article, I started using the term “Acceleritis” to describe the condition of information overload acceleration over time.

Recently my wife Lalita gave me a birthday present of a new book called Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention—and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari. In this book, the author documents social scientists’ work, essentially proving that my theory is correct. Both the author and the scientists whose work he cites add greatly to the picture, and I highly recommend reading this book for that reason, and because it also is a great read.

We can regain the use of our individuality, solve our problems by focused attention, be happier, and give back more to others. We can accelerate our growth by slowing down and choosing what to do next based on real value.

Hari concludes that external forces have caused our inability to concentrate, rather than being caused by a lack of willpower on our part. He divides the book into chapters to review these external causes one by one. And he starts with the digital devices which are so obviously part of the problem. One citation is a 2016 study which found that we touch our phones an average of 2,617 times every 24 hours.

Interestingly, he also cites studies which use data from digital platforms to prove that acceleration is going on. For example, a 2019 paper in Nature Communications, “Accelerating Dynamics of Collective Attention”, studied the major digital platforms and found that over time, topics spiking in public interest last shorter and shorter times before wearing out. For example, trending hashtags in Twitter (now X) remained in the top 50 for 17.5 hours on average, but by 2016 that had dropped to 11.9 hours. Similar accelerations were found in Google and Reddit but not in Wikipedia. The appearance and disappearance of new phrases were analyzed across millions of books in Google Books published since 1880 and the pattern looked a lot like Twitter’s (now X).

(In a recent meeting I was asked if they should be worried because their ad recall scores appear to be dropping over a period of years. I explained that day-after TV ad recall scores averaged 26% when I first got into the business and were now 4%, so they shouldn’t take it personally.

I also mentioned that attention to ads and everything else has shortened dramatically during my tenure, and in our biggest media type today, digital, it is 1-2 seconds.

Since that meeting I’ve seen results of a neuro study where eye tracking showed that, out of hundreds of viewable social media ads, 90% of them got 1 second of attention or less – and this was in a laboratory forced viewing environment.)

Hari also interviewed Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the famous psychologist who coined the term Flow state, and had been an advisor to The Human Effectiveness Institute, and the author makes the connection between the state of distraction blocking Flow state, and advises slowing down, getting more sleep, staying off devices in much the way you’re used to reading in my posts here.

The amount of research covered in this book is impressive, and the writing is excellent. Where my own work is additive to this superb body of work lies in two main areas. (These may be addressed later in Hari’s book which I am not quite halfway through. I’ll let you know.)

One is the art and science of introspection. It’s important to spend as much time in Flow state and this is accomplished by first learning how to bring on the Observer state. Mind Magic and Powerful Mind are my two books on that subject. Powerful Mind was serialized in this blog last year and the book version will be out this year.

The other is our culture’s lack of an inspiring sense of mission for the vast majority of people. This is what causes the desire for distraction and the willingness to be led like sheep down any path that gives us a pleasant diversion from lives devoid of purpose and meaning. This is the source of the awful notion of killing time.

My recommendations as to how to develop an inspiring sense of mission are also included in the latter two books, and in my science-spirituality-synthesis nonfiction books A Theory of Everything Including Consciousness and “God” and You Are The Universe: Imagine That. The essence of my message: it is quite possible that we ourselves are part of a consciousness of such power that it earns the word “God”, and that if we watch for clues, we find we are being guided by events toward sharing our gifts with the world.

Because my view of reality is so different, I felt it would be necessary to also write fiction books which illustrate what I mean by getting into various characters’ heads. Hence Agents of Cosmic Intelligence, my series of four (so far) sci-fi/alternate history novels. In fact, Episode 1, The Great Being, was just published and became available on this site and Amazon yesterday.

We can regain the use of our individuality, solve our problems by focused attention, be happier, and give back more to others. We can accelerate our growth by slowing down and choosing what to do next based on real value.

If you have questions, please feel free to have a conversation with my Soopra AI.

Love,
Bill

Mind Discipline

Created March 1, 2024
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Intellectual knowing is not the same as embodying
that knowledge in one’s actions.

Today there is fortunately an outpouring of articles and books on the subjects which a half century ago were rarely discussed outside of the kinds of books which were carried only by so-called metaphysical bookstores back then.

People with vast curiosity tend to study a wide spectrum of subjects. That describes me starting around age 4 when I fell in love with reading and writing. That also describes many people I know who have read many of the same esoteric books that I have, and some who have learned many things from the same writers. And many people whose reading has been far more inclusive than mine.

In conversations, I have noted that some of my great friends can quote wisdom but often are unaware that their actions do not conform to the bits of wisdom which they quote.

In some cases, this can be analyzed as intellectual versus emotional learning. The rational mind can be aware of important principles of how to live the good life, and yet on an emotional level, they are leaning away from those principles even as they espouse them.

Take a simple example: “There is no use crying over spilt milk.” Like all aphorisms, we tend to underestimate the amount of wisdom this aphorism contains. This is because familiarity breeds contempt. I know at least one person who can teach this to others but always lets disappointing news disturb her.

I know a man who has studied vast amounts of wisdom literature and understands all of it fully, yet his attitudes override the levels of tolerance which all wisdom literature teaches.

I know another man who is a walking encyclopedia of the history of applied psychology who does not pick up on his audience’s reactions.

Clearly there is a gap in the mind between knowing something and believing it to be true and valuable, yet not being able to “carry it off” in reality.

This gap is where discipline needs to be applied.

The reason that self-discipline is needed is that our day-to-day, moment-to-moment life is practiced with a mix of automatic and “manually overridden” (conscious, on-purpose, granularly formed) responses to external events.

Because we are used to that mix and never think much about it, we tend to overlook automatic responses which slip through despite the fact that they disagree with principles we espouse. Besides, “who has the time?” The Acceleritis culture is driving us all at top speed by giving us too many stimuli at practically all times. In moments when all media are turned off, we are not really escaping because that’s when the backed-up cognitive load dumps into our consciousness with unanswered questions and unassimilated half-learning, stuff we noticed but didn’t have time to think about why we noticed it, what it was saying to us that stuck so much in our minds.

My old friend Daniel Goleman has written many books about emotional intelligence, a phrase he coined long ago to describe the quality of a consciousness to integrate intellectual learning with emotional signals from inside and outside, and to perfect one’s actions taken, illuminated by this higher order of inner integrity.

Today I wish to emphasize another aspect of gaining emotional intelligence: self-discipline. Mental and emotional, intuitive and perceptual self-discipline.

The logical way to approach this topic is to start with the desired end state. First one ought to discern the ultimate goal of one’s own life, what you are here to do. The way the game is set up—this is not easy—and many people give up and let their game piece be pushed around by external forces. This is the first important place to apply mental and emotional, intuitive and perceptual self-discipline. You have to make the time to select the dream vision you wish to make come true over the course of your life. What your gift to the world shall be, your body of work you will leave behind to benefit posterity.

A guess is better than not having a targeted end state.

Discipline then has to be applied that respects yourself, you have set a goal, now you have to make it come true, you have to believe in it, you can’t be wishy-washy about it, that is a denial of self-respect.

You can’t allow yourself to waste time. To waste time is to waste your life. Time is a precious limited quantity. You must make best use of each second. Otherwise, you are admitting to yourself that you are not really laser-focused on your mission, you are programming yourself for failure to achieve your mission, you obviously do not take yourself seriously.

That’s why you can’t allow yourself to cry over split milk. Because not only is it a waste of time, it negatively programs you and the others around you. You are causing negative effects, and harming yourself and your mission, by giving in to the automatic reaction of the amygdala. This takes enormous self-discipline which can be gained by practice, and by never taking your eye off your mission.

At the same time, you can’t rush past noticing the cascade effects inside yourself, you must pay the time and attention to see your own automatic reactions that slipped through and screwed something up, so you can figure out what clues to look for next time, so you stop that particular automatic reaction from slipping through again.

One exercise is clearing the mind of all emotions. Any psychologist will tell you that emotions are the physical body manifestations that are connected with the inner feelings you have – so as you discipline away all the emotional clutter you have just been experiencing, it will happen in your body as well as in your mind – it will change your breathing, your heart rate, skin moisture, pupil aperture, and many other things. But you start with an inner act of will to cancel all inner events and return to a state of complete neutrality and emptiness. Starting over. Rebooting. I find that for me this is most effective when I walk into our meditation room, get down on the floor, breathe deeply, empty whatever is in me, and start my life over with a blank slate.

I hope you will refocus on your own mission and try this rebooting exercise whenever needed, and let me know how it goes.

Love to all,
Bill

Inner Visibility: See Your BioAI, See Your Muse

Powerful Mind Part 44
Created January 12, 2024

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
Read Powerful Mind 43

You may say “That’s easier said than done,” wherever in my writings you come across my exhortations to light up your inside, pay more attention to what’s going on inside you, and other phrases of that ilk. I agree. One cannot simply decide to have more inner visibility, one needs specific mental methods to bring that about.

We’ve already discussed some of these methods. Parking the body in a comfortable position where in time it can disappear from your radar. With your eyes closed, watching to see the very beginning of a feeling or thought arising. Being aware of procrastination and going in circles. Daily Alone Space. Mindquiet, thinking without words. Last thoughts before sleep. Conducting your own inner orchestra. And many methods so far in this book Powerful Mind being serialized here.

A visual image – kind of a mind map – is another type of method. Imagine that you are in bed, in an especially comfortable position, nothing about your body feels uncomfortable to you. Your eyes are closed and your breaths are slow and deep. Your mind appears to you in a visual image. In that visual image, you can see that you are composed of an outer bubble, containing two side-by-side inner bubbles, one in front of you on the left, and one in front of you on the right. The essence of who you are, The Experiencer, is what is seeing this, so it itself is not seen in the picture. You look out from your position as The Experiencer.

The bounds of the outer bubble are unknown. The outer bubble when your eyes are open extends as far as your eyes can see, your ears can hear, your nose can smell. The outer bubble is your entire consciousness, and for all you know, may be coexistent with the entire consciousness of the universe, as your present sensory abilities may not tell the whole story.
The bubble ahead of you within the outer bubble on your left is your BioAI, what we have called the robot. It is constantly making suggestions based on calculations, predictions based on all prior stored experiences.

The bubble ahead of you within the outer bubble on the right is your Muse or Master voice, the place from which comes your revelations, inspirations, moments of extreme clarity, mental Flow state, Eureka moments, Aha! moments, the ideas that suddenly pop in and startle you by their insight and their ring of truth.

This image can help remind you to be aware of the provenance of each thought, feeling, and impulse arising within you – is this more imitative babble from the BioAI or is this the Muse.

Alas, at the beginning of such a journey, if you are to be real with yourself – the journey is pointless if you are not going to be real with yourself – you will experience that most of what you allow your most precious asset, your mind, to spend its time on, is babble from the BioAI. The good news is that over time the methods will shift your time allocation substantially over to receiving from the Muse, with a great reduction of time spent and actions taken based on the forecasts of the BioAI.

You may ask, what is the Muse? Is it your own subconscious, or is it actually some helpful invisible being, or is it The One Being that is the entire conscious Universe? Science is not yet able to answer that with high confidence. Someday (my personal conviction) science shall be able to establish what the true answer is. Until then, one must accept not knowing the answer, while still obtaining the pragmatic benefits of receiving suggestions from the Muse and giving them the proper respect and cautious trial in external world interactions.

This image is a tool to be used but is not intended to depict reality itself. In reality, there will be many useful thoughts you think which are not readily classifiable into BioAI or Muse, and in fact, trying to reduce all experiences to two pigeonholes is itself robotic oversimplification – the dodge the BioAI uses to deal with excess complexity – reductionistic oversimplification and dichotomania. What we have called Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP).

Instead, this visualization tool is aimed at noticing evidence of the presence of one or the other of these extreme cases – robotic impulses or flashes of brilliance.

The BioAI, thousands of years ago when the world was far simpler for human beings to deal with, was undoubtedly a very valuable “extra sense” to have. In the complicated civilization rocketing ahead with new changes day to day, the BioAI adapted as best it could, but was outclassed by the challenge slope, as it has moved from climbing a one-degree slope, toward a practically vertical one.

Acceleration of complexity is not the only aspect of our civilization which has strained the BioAI. The type of civilization we have evolved is hierarchical, competitive, and disadvantageous to most Earth homo sapient natives, advantageous to a lucky few. Some of us resonate with the idea of leveling the playing field, and some of us resonate with the game as it has been played for millennia. These philosophical differences have always been manipulated to serve the self-interest of powerful individuals and groups. As a result of complexity acceleration (“Acceleritis”) and these other conditions, the new individual entering this world is likely to experience one or more traumas early in life. These traumas can alter the functioning of the BioAI, predisposing it into an assumed permanent defensive posture which is so ever-present as to become invisible to that person.

We define defensive ego behavior as a predispositional wound syndrome of the BioAI. In many people, the BioAI acts as if that individual is coming from behind, and in one way or another, seeks to catch up. This might involve calling attention to one’s accomplishments or best qualities, taking offense at not being properly credited, chronic envy causing dislike, racing always to get more things done faster, which can cause bodily tensions the individual is so used to they are almost invisible to the conscious mind.

In that latter category, check your body right now, and from time to time throughout each day, to find where you are holding yourself tight and to focus on relaxing those places. Let your shoulders relax down and out, stop causing your breath to be shallow. You are not in a race against the clock (most of the time) so let yourself slow down to enjoy whatever puzzle it is you are in the midst of solving. Put distracting ideas on notes and put them off to the side to thoroughly engage with one thing at a time and enjoy perfecting that one thing. Then organize and schedule the notes for consideration, being very conservative about how much you plan to accomplish in any one day. Leave room for all the surprise requirements that show up on the average day. And for frequent breaks which increase the probability of Flow state (merging with the Muse).

Studying myself through the lens of these mental methods, I find that my original traumatic wound to my BioAI was early heartbreak at my own incompetence at almost everything. My BioAI adjusted to this by doubting myself, even after achieving competency at some things. This insight was obtained through the use of the bubbles imagery outlined above.

The scientistic mood of the present culture is part of the EOP reductionism. Because we don’t “need” God to explain the things we see and measure around us, this permits us to bias our studies toward assumption of materialistic accidentalism. We may not “need” to explain the universe as a single consciousness, but that does not mean that the universe might not in reality be a single consciousness.

It’s best to be open-minded about things that have not been proven yet one way or the other. That includes the possibility that you are a point of view of the universe – “nobly born” as put in the Egyptian Book of Emerging Into the Light, also known as the Egyptian Book of The Dead.

It includes remaining open-minded about what powers of mind you might have – hunches (intuition, precognition) – the ability to receive inspiration – telepathy. Allow yourself to receive. Study the received content and see how it relates to the experiences you are having. Does the content have the ring of truth? When you act upon the received advice, are the results positive or negative? Don’t become hung up on where are the messages coming from – that might not be answerable yet – but that doesn’t mean that one should ignore all such content – better to cautiously test it in your day-to-day life.

Don’t leave out the soul of life – things like wonder and awe, Flow state, spiritual experiences, these peak experiences as Maslow called them have always been tied up with the works of great artists, musicians, thinkers, poets, people who have made life even more wonderful and precious – remain open to those experiences happening to you more often.

Here’s another exercise – try it on for size. Put your preferred hand on your heart and say to yourself:

  • Evidence suggests to some philosophers – Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism, Berkeley, Harvey, and others – a parental field of consciousness within which the Universe is happening
  • If this field does not perceive you, you do not exist
  • I am a point of view of that Universe consciousness – regarding Itself from many points of view

That may only be a mind-stretching exercise, or it may be the truth. All of the science we have today can fit even more neatly in that framework than it does in the dominant Earth first-world human culture bias framework of materialistic accidentalism.

Key #11:

Inner Visibility: See Your BioAI, See Your Muse

Love to all,
Bill

Noia

Powerful Mind Part 42
Created December 29, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
Read Powerful Mind 41

In the 1970s I coined the term “Noia” as the opposite of paranoia when I discovered that the prefix “para” derives from the Greek meaning of “beside”. What is beside paranoia, I asked myself. Paranoia is the unhealthy fear that someone/everyone is out to get you. I decided that “noia” then might be the healthy suspicion the someone is out to help you.

The reason I was thinking this way is that by the 1970s I had noticed that often information was coming to me seemingly by accident that was unusually relevant to my current life situation at the time. I would be trying to solve some problem, for example, and since I almost always have music on, a line in a song would come along at just the right moment to bear an uncanny resemblance to my line of thought.

This can be easily explained as random coincidence aided by priming effect and being observant. Priming effect is the increase in saliency of a stimulus to a person caused by a prior stimulus.

However, it did not seem like random coincidence to me because it occurred too often. It seemed more like someone who could read my thoughts and feelings was trying to help me reach my goals. Since my goals have always been to leave the world a better place than I found it, perhaps the universe is trying to help me because I am trying to help the universe, I thought.

Looking back at my life through that lens as a way of further studying the phenomenon, it appeared that I had been given the most open-minded and compassionate parents possible, and gifted with an independence of thought, and lucky in so many ways. I also saw that my love of science had blinded me to consider that there might be a germ of truth in religion and/or in other superstitious behaviors, as I thought of magic, reincarnation, and so many other things.

Having the label of “noia” to slap on things was useful to me in prying open my mind to pay closer attention and not to filter or bias what I perceived by having strong preconceived notions. I started to notice how frequently each day I experienced noiac events.

That led to my noticing what I noticed, and asking myself “Why did I notice that?” In the bulk of cases this unearthed insights helpful to me in whatever I was doing during that period of my life. It was as if another entity with my interests at heart was causing me to notice things that contained or stimulated pathways of thought that would take me to places I needed to go.

You might say that this helpful entity was my own subconscious. But then, what was my subconscious? Could it be the part of my consciousness that is common to all of us and all things? Jung had thoughts like these and also had many other notions that had been of significant utilitarian value to me, so maybe there was something in it. In the 70s I became aware that my affection for science had gone too far and I was myself being unscientific by ruling things out prematurely, and that I ought to go back to the roots of empiricism rather than stay in the current herd culture of scientism which allows scientists to carve out a large chunk of human experience as being superstition without conclusive proof supporting that negation position.

The next step after open-mindedness in this expanded empirical outlook is the control of attention.

In the Acceleritis-dominated culture we live in, taking control of your own attention is one of the hardest possible things to do. There are all of these distractions taking you away from moment to moment. Unfortunately, this environment captures young people from the get-go. They have almost no chance to escape it because it hits them very early on. It’s the ocean around the fish which the fish takes for granted. As if life could not even exist without perpetual distraction.

Young people in the age of smartphones build their lives around this device, and no age group is immune to its hypnotic power. Before June 2007 it was the television set that took us away, and now the norm is to have both devices on at all possible times.

Nevertheless, each and every one of us has the potential to retake our castle. Concentration, meditation, contemplation are the training grounds that build a controllable attention. Twenty minutes a day of practicing these three things can become a 24/7 lifestyle that is far more beneficial than we expect it to be.

One experiment that is worth doing over and over again in the daily alone space – and in other opportune moments – is to get away from devices (soft music without lyrics in the background is fine), put your body in a comfortable position that it can remain in for a long time without discomfort, close your eyes, and simply pay all of your attention to what is transpiring in your mind.

As you get better at this, you will see that you are gaining the ability to watch the arising of a thought or feeling. Focus your attention on being able to see a thought or feeling or other qualia (subjective experience) such as an image, or even a momentary smell, any experience that occurs in your psyche.

Separate the part of you that is the pure experiencer from the part of you that is expressing itself in displaying that thought or feeling to you. If you like baseball, you might picture these two aspects of yourself as the pitcher and the batter.

Sometimes you will experience qualia that teaches you something that you are grateful to learn and you fear you might forget. It’s good to have something to write with and write on right next to you so you can put down one or a few words that will help you recapture the sense of the message. Best to use the exact words that triggered your sense of valuable information.

Often the pitcher will be your ego pitching something at you that is negative, tied to an attachment of yours, and that matches your notion of Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP), the reductionistic state into which people are forced by Acceleritis. This ego is a biological AI whipping up a compote of memories and tossing them at you in a fastball.

Under normal conditions you might swing and miss but with your eyes closed and in a meditative space it will be easier to observe these qualia dispassionately without being caught up in it the way you would normally be taken over by it.

The more you play ball with your robot (ego bio-AI) the more you will notice about its behaviors. You will begin to sense that the robot contains many different programs that I have previously referred to as “senators”. These are all points of view you have experienced, mostly coming from other people you have met or watched or listened to on devices.

The game is made more difficult by the fact that sometimes the robot is right. Sometimes the oversimplified lesson extracted from prior experience is accurately predictive. You sense your own immediate aversion to a person who has not yet done anything counter to you – you suspect it might be because they remind you of someone who has done you dirty in the past – and it turns out that this person is actually trying to take advantage of you. You wonder whether it was the robot who gave you the good inner advice or if the Noia was the benefactor who gave you that precognitive hunch. It could be either. The robot is not always wrong in the net advice it is giving you, but it’s undependable and it tends toward negativity and extremism. Both negativity and extremism are life poisons. They aren’t helpful. Discriminating among your mental and emotional arisings is the only game in town and it can be won against all odds.

Increasing internal visibility is an important aspect of Key #11. More to come.

My best to all,
Bill