Simon Lewis

Author, Writers Guild of America, west

This conversation is closed.

Conversation with Simon Lewis: How do we make the most of our Consciousness?

Due to enthusiastic responses we are keeping this conversation for two days!

My goal is to find ways to answer this most important question of our time, so others may find their inner selves. Everyone wants and needs maximum mental performance, yet school dropout rates attest to the size of the gap that our adolescents drop into. Why are these solutions a hidden secret? How can we develop an integrated approach to maximize our most precious resource on Earth — our collective consciousness — and nurture it in each of us? Why aren’t measurable repeatable approaches, to bridge the gap from potential mind toward actual mind, widely known and available to all from youth to old age, and how do we make this become a reality?
I hope you join me to discuss these and other questions,

Simon Lewis
More info about the speaker:

Closing Statement from Simon Lewis

I just finished reading all of your final comments and want to extend special thanks to TED for making this civil, thoughtful and remarkably global forum possible, as well as the INK organization who originally invited me to India in association with TED, and gave a first opportunity to share my ideas before an international audience.

And I want to thank each of you, who spoke or who listened, for it is your contribution that empowers all. I understand from TED that remarkable audience of some 2,000 participated online in our swiftly assembled colloquy, with over a hundred drawn to participate with comments from countries as far apart as the USA, India, South Korea and China.

I wish all of you of the happiness to be found in seeking the hidden path toward actual mind, and I thank you for showing me how much interest and concern there is, how many tangible ideas are offered, from around the world to help achieve this for all societies and ages.
Thank you, Simon Lewis

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    Sep 27 2011: To me this is a question of awareness. I'd say that the majority of us operate in a sort of in between state where we're not exactly awake and aware but also not asleep and dreaming. How many times have you gotten on the freeway after work and just sort of dreamed your way home with no real recollection of the journey? In fact I'd be willing to go so far as to say that there are (or have been) very few human beings that are truly self aware and fully conscious. Those would be people like Michaelanlelo, DaVinci etc. It also seems that perhaps there's a function in the modern world that is limiting our ability to be aware and fully conscious. Maybe it's an over abundance of information so we become overwhelmed and sort of shut down. Maybe we have to compartmentalize our world and our inputs and our brains aren't built to handle all that stimulus. Actually now that I think about it, the times that I'm most aware and fully conscious is when I'm out in nature and my stimulus is limited. This is wordy, sorry about that.
    • Sep 27 2011: Well said!
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      Sep 27 2011: Yes, Travis, At INK on TED I describe this transition from Potential Mind to Actual Mind, and how it's the most important issue we fact--how to bridge the gap.
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      Sep 27 2011: Bridging the gap between consciousness and unconsciousness has to be a sort of instantaneous epiphany in some regards, but also must be a moment long in the making. True consciousness is the awareness of ones position in or debt to a structure of power and the knowledge of what it takes to act on it.
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        Sep 27 2011: I find that I have moments of true awareness or consciousness but then the day to day takes over and I slip back into the routine and all that. I also agree that it usually is a sort of instantaneous epiphany but the problem is that in the grand scheme of things it is just that, instantaneous. I would like very much to carry that moment with me for longer than a moment. I'm not sure I follow the power statement though. Power and my relative position to it rarely if ever has anything to do with my awarenss. In fact I'd say that proximity to power can sometimes hinder self awareness...maybe...actually it depends because I've also been inspired by more powerful or impressive people which can increase my own consciousness.
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          Sep 28 2011: By awareness of one's position in a structure of power, I mean being aware of how privileged we are, socially, economically, politically, knowing how we are treated or viewed in society and how we treat and view others in society. Marx talks of a class-consciousness wherein the poor should be aware of their subjugation and work against it and where the rich should be aware of their privileges and be inspired to share it. Consciousness is a keen self-awareness that stimulates humility and inspires courage all at once.
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        Sep 27 2011: Yes, and consciousness is the work of our lifetime, always.
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      Sep 27 2011: Good observation.
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      Sep 28 2011: Travis, Your stimulus from the mundane modern world may be limited, but not your stimulus from nature. In fact, it would be most unwise to not be "most aware and fully conscious" when one is out in nature. It's a Darwinian thing, you know.
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    Sep 28 2011: "How do we make the most of our Consciousness?"

    I am not a neuroscientist--just a house wife and mother-- but I have noticed that certain behaviors increase my own self-awareness.

    Here is my Recipe:

    1. Good nutrition to promote balance in neurotransmitters

    2. Regular exercise (especially exercise which increases my heart rate) According to studies by Dr. Servan Schreiber this reconciles imbalances between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. (One such study demonstrated that running was more effective as a long term cure for depression than drugs. If you know someone who is depressed—become their running partner).

    3. Regular “mindfulness” practice, such as meditation or “down time observation”— (I call it “making my brain climb into my body”). This is just trying to listen, feel, smell and see simultaneously without reflecting on the stimuli.. I read that the frontal lobes have neural pathways to all other cortical areas and to the limbic system, so practicing these connections makes sense if you want to maximize self-awareness.

    4. Make time to day dream time and consider my life’s purpose and plan how to put it into practice.

    5. Just Do It--making my plans become actions

    What I would like to better understand is this: does consciousness have an evolutionary purpose or is it simply a byproduct or our neural complexity? Can consciousness be separated from the body?
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      Sep 28 2011: A very good recipe, and I suggest that it's no accident that as a wife and mother your focus is on the long-term health of consciousness for you and your family. There are many answers to the evolutionary purpose of consciousness, but think you demonstrate one so clearly: transmission of values, qualities, and ultimately survival through the thousands of generations that have brought us to here, and through your insights one can only hope will bring us through thousands more. I hope many more think and practice as you do, as well as turn to medicine and science where indicated as helpful toward actual mind, and healthy mindfulness.
  • Sep 27 2011: If you were to list 5 most important aspects to nurture our consciousness what would they be? I am a film maker working on a documentary titled the fully integrated human.
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      Sep 27 2011: I'm no expert but this is my list. It's also nowhere near exhaustive, nor is it in any particular order of importance.
      1. Live in the now
      2. Be healthy
      3. Be grateful
      4. Nurture creativity
      5. Practice balance in every aspect of life
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      Sep 29 2011: These are good answers, Stacy, and by definition there can be no order of importance since each person's consciousness is a unique expression of inner self. You use the term 'nurture' and at present four that interest me aree the four Cs of consciousness I term in my INK talk on TED and explore in Rise and Shine. To these I would add a fifth C: Cadence, for rhythm and its interpretation may be a critical first building element to the ability of our consciousness to learn.
      My web address is and I will watch your documentary with interest.
      • Sep 29 2011: Thank you Simon. The answers were from Travis.
        I purchased your book and am looking forward to reading it.
        I am just now in preprodcution on the film, but my other film REWIRED on neurotherapy and brain mapping will be out sooner.
        I sent in a request to have you speak at our annual fundraiser.
        Thank you for your reply.
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          Sep 29 2011: I hope you'll let me know, stacy, including your thoughts on my book and your two docus. Simon
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      Sep 29 2011: Stacy, I would say that the recognition of our interconnectedness with each other is an essential aspect to nurturing our consciousness. Your consciousness -- or mine -- does not exist in a vacuum; we are shaped, influenced, created in part by our environment, our friends, our family. TED is helping to shape our collective consciousness.

      If our representatives in Congress and our government were truly conscious and aware of the widespread impact of their actions, we wouldn't have half the problems we are having today.
      • Sep 29 2011: I believe they are aware Linda, I think their agenda's are self serving and therefore limit their willingness to concern themselves with the widespread impact. That requires a shift in consciousness.
  • Sep 27 2011: Their isn't an existing program to teach this in school before teaching regular classes.
    I have advocated starting a program and contacted a company that designs such programming EFFECTIVELY and trains people to deliver the content. It works in about 90% of participants .
    I delivered this in person to a public education institution board president over two hours including a Q & A session, and the response was, "It sounds great, but, our bloated budget is in question and though this doesn't really make a dent in that, with the dunderheads that are in charge on the board, it will be a bone of contention and politicized rather than implemented.".
    Very predictable.
    There is no will to deliver this sort of content that would actually unlock the secret to self actualizing students and great school scores among the administrations of public schools in America.
    That's a huge reason why it isn't widespread, because our traditional and institutional methods of knowledge transmission are not concerned with the quality of knowledge transmitted by them as much as "looking god" and "trying" as a play for funding, no emphasis on results or quality of process.
    As far as some kind of "God Consciousness"
    I think God is the concept "that there is something that works and something that doesn't work" and that you as a singular entity may know the difference and experience a universe where that is so rather than universal entropy. Seen as a whole, the universe may appear as entropy with pockets of order, those pockets allow consciousness to exist in them as a byproduct of the existence of order. That doesn't mean we exist as any accident, it doesn't mean anything at all. However, here we are, and we may as well invent and live a life worth living in the present since we exist on a razor's edge of the illusion of time. How that works with the talk, anything is possible, even recovery from this traumatic injury.
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      Sep 28 2011: You make good points borne of experience. I hope that it is parents who will show the way for they are the repository of the long term perspective that fills Rise and Shine, my INK talk on TED and my profile in The Atavist. When Actual Mind is our lifetime goal, quarterly income statements and annual school budgets are barriers to overcome. To your discussion of the universe, I suggest that the universe is conscious and that we are at the dawn of understanding it--witness neutrinos thought now to exceed the speed of light--but that is a conversation for a different time. Thank you for your contribution, and let us hope these ideas can make a difference in the schools, to help so many children and adults, and so many tomorrows.
      • Sep 28 2011: Thank you for your very generous contribution to our consciousness.
        I'd like to introduce you to a friend whose foundation is about this very issue that you bring to our consciousness. He can be found at :
        Thank you again, I hope you may both benefit each other in this work and bring this even more to light. It really needs to be a much more public and heard conversation.
  • Sep 27 2011: I had an experience during which I integrated into the divine. Here's what I learned, if you care:

    The divine is grateful that a piece of it (us) is conscious to experience this world. Our correct mental posture is some mix of "THANK YOU" and "YOU'RE WELCOME."

    As far as what you're asking about "developing an integrated approach..." etc. Here's my idea:

    Dissolve boundaries and continue dissolving boundaries. Cultural, educational, social, relationship, emotional, physical, political, spiritual. All tension has its source in some kind of separation.
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      Sep 28 2011: I do care, Mike, and thank you. There are many separations that prevent problems of consciousness and learning to reach their potential solutions. INK, TED and this conversation Ihope over time wilt help overcome.
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    Sep 27 2011: Thank you everyone for this good conversation and to TED for making it possible. I will check in for comments for the next two days. Best wishes, Simon
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    Sep 27 2011: QUOTE: "It also seems that perhaps there's a function in the modern world that is limiting our ability to be aware and fully conscious."

    I think there are several factors that make it challenging to make the most of our consciousness. They include:

    1) We think it is difficult to do; and;
    2) We assume there are external barriers (as cited in the quote.)
    3) It's not important to many of us (In which case, 1 and 2 would not apply.)


    In my experience, it's easy; and it's a choice.
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      Sep 27 2011: The techniques are profound and thoughtful, as you say and the reasons for inaction many.
  • Sep 27 2011: In my opinion, and that is getting more and more confirmed by my own experience... As you say we are talking of "collective" consciousness. Our western cultures are teaching us how to focus more and more on our selves. How can you get to something collective if you serve only yourself ? I think that the buddhist ideals have a lot to give to change this (I am not saying everyone should be bouddhist) I am saying that everyone should care more about the others than about itself, and understand that in fine the well being of others makes us happy. But here I am only telling things much better said by matthieu ricard in his ted talk (the habits of happiness).
    If we don t stop thinking of ourselves there will be no collective consciousness, and many profit driven companies and organizations will fool us and do whatever they want with us and our planet.
  • Sep 27 2011: And I want to thank all the other people involved here in this conversation!! This is beautiful example of unification. Blessings to you all.
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      Sep 28 2011: Yes, Niesha, as I read Brandon and Teddia, there's a universal pattern within the infinite individual expressions of consciousness, and how to influence personal growth of the inner self. I'm honored to share with this group that today Deepak Chopra on his website is now reading Rise and Shine:
  • Sep 27 2011: I think this thread/conversation is a great example of the pros and cons of consciousness. I feel that with the current state of speed, connectivity, and exposure to it all, it gets overwhelming... and fast. As someone who is pushing himself to amount to even half of his idols in film, art, entertainment, philosophy and more... having the ability to connect and learn about so many other cool things that aren't your own can be quite diminishing. Our current culture is bent of exposing what everyone ELSE has, making people devalue their own things. I know I ebb and flow with the current state of social media, YouTube and entertainment, heck even TED is FILLED with vast volumes of knowledge and opinions, but it all boils down to time. With the current state of attention, I feel that taking time to fully enjoy things keeps me away from 'something better'. A real 'grass is greener' mentality. I tell myself it will be better once I obtain something: a finished project, a new job, the weekend, etc, but the angst of missing out or falling behind is overwhelming. Do you think to be the case as a result of collective consciousness? Am I just supposed to keep my nose to the grindstone and play my part? In the end, I love asking questions and have created a bunch on YouTube content to reflect my current interests and desires. You never know what's 'going to work'.
  • Sep 27 2011: Hello Simon. As a long time practitioner of meditation and other ancient wisdom traditions I have noticed a similarity between side effects of these practices and brain injuries in individuals such as yourself, the artist Jon Sarkin and the author of Stroke of Insight. I consider these effects gifts to be explored. Have you found any advantages to your "disabilities"?
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    Sep 27 2011: Simon - Forgive me for not having followed the thread. I was at Rokeby or King's College School (Wimbledon) with you. I don't remember which (my excuse is my brain has worn out). But I wanted to wave across the thousands of miles and say hi. I've only skim read your extraordinary story and will delve deeper. I'm a big fan of the TED talks and delighted to have stumbled across this chat particularly.
    - Simon Treves
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      Sep 27 2011: Simon! How nice to span 50 years or so and see you! Look forward to hearing what you think of my book and to seeing you one day in UK or US..
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    Sep 27 2011: "Modern academia is teaching politicians without politics"

    Modern education systems are teaching facts, figures, preexisting theories and philosophies. But it does not teach "critical thinking". It does not teach how to handle information, claims, and overall knowledge.

    The "actual" mind is a loose phrase to me, because in neurology the mind is a machine, in psychology the mind is a series of patterns, and philosophy the mind is a vigorously open-ended platform. Truly and "actually" it's all three, and more. What works for one, may not work for another.

    Trial and error constantly is needed to teach different kids different things with different tools.

    Trying to put a 1, 2, 3 step on helping others achieve "enlightenment" "awareness" of "wisdom" is how you create hypocritical educational systems. Look at the forefathers of philosophy, they state two major humanistic philosophies. "Know thyself" and "I don't claim to know "that", but I think it is something like "this", what do you think about "this" and "that"?" (very roughly - I don't think I know).

    They inspired questioning, for everyone, especially the educators!

    Take their ancient lessons of "critical thinking" educations, and modernize it with technology to keep interest levels high! That is my best advice. Oh, and stop relaying on others to inspire the children you are able to educate. Make education interesting young, make them life long learners. Be a parent creatively, be better than a parent, be a "path" setter.
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      Sep 27 2011: I really appreciate "Take their ancient lessons of "critical thinking" educations, and modernize it with technology to keep interest levels high!"
      Do you have any helpful resources to recommend? I enjoy the challenge of modernizing the material to engage current learners with pretty short attention spans.
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        Sep 27 2011: I heard about education programs that promote twitter.But, really no, this is still all theory to me as well.Just trial and error, trying to and going to take that advice most. In every perspective that goes into the question "what is an education" and this proves problematic to me too. Since technically EVERYTHING is an education; involves a philosophy and an artistic approach to conquer. So I'm looking in the directions of trying to teach how to "critical think" existentially. It proves maddening.

        If you so find a modern philosophical school of education, I would enjoy a link.
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      Sep 27 2011: Agreed!! Well put. Although if someone were to find a way to be truly conscious and they put it in a 1, 2, 3 step process, it couldn't hurt to learn their process in order to find your own way. If nothing else it would give you a starting point perhaps.
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        Sep 27 2011: Many 1, 2, 3 steps are fine, but a select few is limiting to everything wanted here.
  • Sep 27 2011: Whats Ur way of thinking Simon ? How would u suggest people to use there couciousness more ?
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      Sep 27 2011: My way of thinking is a combination of flat time and blindsight as I describe in my book and is explored in The Atavist and on KCRW in the interviews. I've come to understand how our sub processes of consciousness know only the present.

      That is my way of thinking and it maximizes every moment of the present. For others, I recommend all steps that increase cognitive awareness through natural processes. I hope this brief summary helps with what is a complex process that defines who we are each day we open our eyes and transition from Potential Mind to Actual Mind.
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    Sep 27 2011: I truly believe, and I think Karl Marx, Franz Fanon, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, and Adam Smith would agree, that collective consciousness is instigated, inspired, and ignited by a common struggle, hardship, or purpose. When the poor class in France were subjected to absolute poverty, their class consciousness was powerful enough to inspire a revolution. When man's self-interest overwhelms his need of others to survive, he will sacrifice his trivial self-interests for the sake of his most essential asset - social relationships. When you place the individual in such a desperate situation when his or her own hands and feet cannot solve the problem, the human with outstretched arms will admit defeat before the world and accept collectivity as the foundation of a surviving humanity.

    In our current conditions of complacency in the West, we function at a high level of political life, enjoying the fruits of one of the most complex political economies in the world and yet voter turn-out is at its all times lowest, except for those countries with incentive programs. It took a great amount of collective consciousness to bring about a highly functioning democracy and to continually include those who were excluded, but once we feel as though we've arrive, we cease to be engaged. In this way 2 things must take place: 1) the subjugation and poverty which takes place in our own country and around the world must be magnified and publicized to heighten awareness about the ails of the other and the imperfection of our system in connection to those troubling situations should not go unnoticed. 2) there needs to be a renewal in the importance of civil society which is the foundation of political life - religion, culture, moral community. The power of collectives, organizations, and movements unites ordinary individuals and gives them extraordinary potential. The same collective consciousness which brought us to this point in history will allow our progress to go undone.
  • Sep 29 2011: Open forum public schools. Seating for hundreds, just like the ancient schools. Passing true knowledge from generation to generation. Not industrial knowledge, but, fundamental earth based knowledge. Keep your universities and colleges, as well as creating new open forum institutions. The school system could cater to like wise motivated individuals who will pave their own path through education based on their interests. Giving students hands on approach to learning, increases motivation to learn more about it. Open forum gives access to passersby, and those with the thought to stop and listen.

    Bringing education to groups of thirty in the community. Active educational networks to ease the cost of materials and supplies. Open source digital educational interface for alternative access (OLPC). Dedicated national funding and resources on priority listing. Backing the system by purchasing a number of neglected buildings. Reclaiming the buildings, and putting it to good use.

    This would allow small groups of neighborhood kids to learn life long skills in a more natural and inclusive way. Maybe, think of it as an educational franchise. Thus enabling people to work their way through management, to ownership. Giving rise to autonomous employment and skill acquisition. Self funding education, in essence, for everyone, to learn anything. Making sure resources are unlimited, would allow for the best educated populace in the world.

    To cut public funding costs, and reallocate funding from food programs currently active, to teaching the urban populace to grow their own organic produce, and raise livestock and poultry. By franchising, corporation sponsorship incentives spur economic growth by alleviating long term investments, and increasing long term ROI. Thus, providing basic necessities and allowing productivity, morale, health and economic standing to increase.
  • Sep 28 2011: Hi Simon
    I have schizophrenia and live in the present, it's a way of thinking or percieving time and space. People consider me disabled but I don't, I simply don' think like everyone else. I once took a psychological test and the person giving it to me said that was faster and more accurate than my supervisor could do it. I'm well employed and spend much of my spare time in the forest where I feel connected to nature. MRIs and CT scans show a lack of grey matter, but something is clearly working well, any ideas on what that might be?

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      Sep 29 2011: Many ideas and possibilities , James, within within your many billions of nerve cells and their constant search for possible neural pathways and workarounds. It's interesting you spend time in the forest. The reporter for The Atavist describes how I spend hours tree-gazing, looking at the Canary Island palms in my back yard. I feel the air stir my hair, hear the sounds of birds and watch the light and shadows play on the cones and needles. There may be pathways to your mind that are more accessible to you in this visual and auditory (and olfactory) environment.

      Congratulations for finding such good ways to live within time and space that works for you.
      • Sep 29 2011: Thank you for the reply Simon, have you ever noticed how the wind shapes the way our vegatation grows? This is especialy clear on high mountains or places that get heavy wind gusts on a regular basis. By the way, you inspire me to know I can do anything that I want to do if I put my mind to it.
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    Sep 27 2011: To make the most of your conscience you must rest your mind and free your soul. The rest takes care of itself. Live in the present and embody truth. The strength to do this is in Love. You must realize that you are not in control that love is. Do not fight it or deny for that will lead to pain and suffering. If you can embody love and truth you will have infinite strength. As corny or cheesy as that may sound. My friend Love is simply Truth. Truth never dies; love never dies. Many people in this world mistake God for a deity(or multiple). God most simply put is: truth. Know Truth; free your soul and rest your mind. Something cant come from nothing unless everything is nothing and nothing is everything. Only that which is, exists; only truth is exists. Three principles govern all of creation: that which is, that which is not, and that which is nothing. Nothing is the empty vessel which truth fills. It is the very same principal that determines your ability to read my text. The contrast of black and white shows you the text. One cannot exist without the other. People ask which came first the egg or the chicken. The only true answer is they are one in the same. Because, how can one exist without the other True or false? The entire relationship of reality is love. Please read the website below if you wish to understand more my friend. There is no limit to love. Peace and love be with you.
    • Sep 27 2011: Depends completely on YOUR definition of truth, and I think if you defined you definition of truth your explanation would make perfect sense to many more people.
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        Sep 28 2011: Truth is simply the present. Live in it, embrace it, and love it. The good times and the bad; make the two one. Be aware of everything in your present even pain. The present is all we have and the only thing we can know for a fact. Practice this and you will see a definite positive change .
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      Sep 28 2011: Brennan,
      Love is all powerful, yes. At the same time, the research shows up to 30% of children have learning difficulties that are not self-correcting with love alone, and that with screening and detection and targeted therapy and stimulation it is possible to avoid academic failure and maximize children's future. I hope your definition of love might expand to include a society that loves its future by using science to nurture the consciousness of all. This is something more than love and caring; it is love accompanied by effective intervention and action.
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        Sep 28 2011: My definition of truth is: that which is. Truth is fact. What is the one thing we all can know for a fact to be true? Why the most obvious answer is the present. You can see it, you can smell it, you can taste it, and you can hear it. Simon i completely agree science is one of the answers. For what is science? It is merely the collection of data from the present. The most raw and uncensored form of truth. I used to be an atheist and i believed science held every answer. I now know science is a big part of the answer but not the whole answer. To be a good scientist one must ask the right questions some times asking the right questions is very difficult without a little inspiration from the observation of the present. The most simple and condensed form of my message is: to live in the present love it all, even the times that are more bitter than sweet. If one does this inspiration and life will flood one in a way that one could never have imagined.
  • Sep 27 2011: I think we can also consider Maslow's hierachy of need theory. The majority of individuals are content to have achieved the first 3 levels either through personal effort or social support. As humans our basic physical and emotional needs are more of a focus than our mental agility or our ability of to "reach our full potential". A futher subset of individuals will strive for the 4th and 5th level because that is part of their nature, and its the natural order of life to want more. The ability to have a mind that strives for more knowledge, and or better use of waking consciousness is a nutured trait taught by whoever is responsible for our formative years. We learn the ability to maximise time through experiences we gained in our youth. By the time we reach adulthood, the distractions of today's society, and our need to just have the basic physical, emotional and social requirement catered for, can leave even the most brilliant mind fatigued and inept to reach for conscious growth.
    • Sep 27 2011: Maslow's theory figures very highly in this sort of work BUT it's not a complete course. I still love it though.
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      Sep 28 2011: I think the question is where the true balance lies between nature and nurture. To take the four Cs of Consciousness I raise in INK on TED, my goal is some long term population studies and see the outcome. Not simply accept that some limp in their learning and accept the first 3 levels of Maslow's hierarchy, but understand the sub processes of consciousness and see how far each mind can then rise toward Actual Mind.
  • Sep 27 2011: What specifically do you mean by 'maximise our consciousness'? That phrase could be understood in many different ways - the mind has many different faculties. Are you talking about maximising concentration, memory, alertness, complexity of thought, awareness, self-discipline, joy, compassion, intuition, or what? Without answering this question, I think a focused discussion is impossible.

    "Why aren’t measurable repeatable approaches, to bridge the gap from potential mind toward actual mind, widely known and available to all from youth to old age, and how do we make this become a reality?"
    That is an interesting question. One possible answer is that mainstream Western culture has looked down upon the consciousness and thought it less valid than the material world. The scientific method led to a worldview in which all that exists is matter and the mind is an unreliable, irrational instrument to be overcome. If this is your worldview, then you neglect training your consciousness, and instead focus on rearranging the physical world around you. This Western, scientistic worldview has been extraordinarily successful at rearranging the physical world according to human whim and - I think few will deny - has been equally unsuccessful at cultivating happy and high states of consciousness.
    This trend is already reversing. People are taking more and more interest in their consciousness and in all kinds of mental training. Maybe one reason is that scientific theories (specifically Einstein's) started to include the observer's consciousness about 100 years ago; common sense seems to catch up with science after about 100 years. Another reason is that with neuroscience, faculties of consciousness like concentration, compassion, or whatever, now have physical correlates, which make them more valid to materialist worldviews.
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    Sep 27 2011: The ultimate potential of consciousness can be fulfilled when an individual strives to resolve the ultimate question of his self-awareness and his identity. One has to look at all his identifications, and question if one is defined by that. Most of the wisdom traditions recognize meditation to be an integral part of such a deepening process. Wanted to bring this idea of different meditation upon self-awareness in order to deepen and enhance it .. :)
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    Sep 27 2011: I believe the reason why this might be so difficult to answer is because it has no single answer. Everybody has their own personal consciousness, their own personalities. Unlocking your full mental potential is a very personal journey everyone must go on. Some lose there way and it may be a longer path for others, some may never make it. But I believe it's a path you must take on your own.
    Only you know how to unlock your full potential. I believe it can be achieved through philosophical thought about your own mind, personality and actions in which you discover all the things that hold you down, and let them go. Reaching some sort of intellectual nirvana.
    • Sep 28 2011: Agree. And also different country, different world has different levels of consciousness. How do they interact under their systems and how do different systems interact with each other plays a role in person's life. Hope more and more people realize and recognize this is not luxury to seek the answer, and at some point or the other human is destined to face the challenge.
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    Sep 27 2011: I find myself thinking about "Bridging the gap" and also finding a balance. I think that it would be exhausting to be truly conscious all the time, in fact I have trouble sleeping because of an over abundance of consciousness. But to be completely unconscious all the time would also seem to suck the life out of life (as it were). Perhaps the real goal should be to allow unconsciousness when it's advantageous but know how and when to apply consciousness in order to get more out of life.
  • Sep 27 2011: One last thing; since part of the challenge we face in integrating as human beings is the overwhelming amount of varied distractions, I have found something that always seems to cut through those and raises my consciousness: If I notice or bring myself to notice synchronicity in my current surroundings, that type of awareness has a domino and multiplying effect and it is as simple as seeing or noticing a synchronistic occurrence once and focusing on it intently, and then it appears everywhere. Then all things slowly become related and a certain magic and flow reveals itself. EVERYTHING IS A MIRACLE. That's the idea that pulls the veil off our eyes one fold at a time. Even the veil of "time" can lift this way. This is the portal door: Notice an occurrence (large or small) that could not be a coincidence,or that seems to fall out of the laws of reason---> focus on that thing or occurrence and the connecting occurrences---> pull in more and more focus to that connection---> feel the focus and energy of that improbability begin to integrate within you---> lock in your intention of focus on that incident of synchronicity into a unified place within---> hold the focus---> feel it--->look around and notice that all physical matter is a display of this synchronicity at play---> pull that intent inward---> see that it is YOU---> see that you are magic--->become a container of the magic that you are by constantly noticing the impossibility and magic of every single thing around you--> repeat. YOU ARE EVERYTHING, YOU ARE LOVE
  • Sep 27 2011: Simon, I want to acknowledge, thank you, and honor your efforts here and prior to raise consciousness about consciousness. I believe this discussion and activity is precisely one of the ways to effect the transformations you are speaking about, and to bridge the gaps. I am learning more and more that by raising one's own consciousness WITHIN, the collective consciousness is integrated, raised, and subsequently deepened. The devotion to change and deepen the dialogue one has with the soul, is the action that appears to create interconnectedness of a higher frequency between all other beings, and thus creates a profound movement towards the sustainment of all "homes" like our bodies and the planet at large, and eventually the Universe and beyond.
  • Sep 27 2011: In your TED talk that I watched recently, you touched on a number of what I will call "threats" to consciousness. The one that resonates with me is depression, because I suffer from it personally and it is quite debilitating. Is your book some kind of self help book that can help me find ways to cope with depression?
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      Sep 27 2011: It's not a self help book, but readers find great insights and also great inspiration. I hope it is helpful..

      Sonny, an EDIT of my first answer:

      I thought more about your question, Sonny. I think my next book will contain exercises, but that will take me time to develop and write. Ahead of that, I will tell you that Rise and Shine has had a very profound effect on its readers. Some read it in one sitting, until the dawn and they see the sun again Rise and Shine. Many are are moved to tears, to reflection, and yes to action that is the best kind of self-help, when based on knowledge. If we think of depression as a separation between Potential Mind and Actual Mind, and my book is an exploration of specific tools that in my case enable me to bridge some of that gap and strive toward Actual Mind, then perhaps it might give you some ideas for you to explore. For these experiences bring me to my mental state today, where I know with metaphysical certainty that I am the luckiest person I know, to have this second chance of consciousness.

      I hope this longer answer is helpful to you. I think online you can read the Introduction and see if you think my tone and the book's reviews give you a sense of this. Thankyou for sharing your personal question, Simon
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      Sep 27 2011: 1) Inspiring TED talk by Dr. Sherwin Nuland, who suffered from depression before drugs were avail.

      2) I learnt some interesting and helpful methods from Kathy Freston, who is a self-help author and wellness counselor; she specializes in a body/mind/spirit approach for bringing about health and happiness. Freston has worked with people healing from cancer, addiction, and depression as well as those who simply want to live consciously and healthfully.

      Hope you find your path to recovery Sonny!
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    Sep 27 2011: Also, I feel that ultimately this is what will have to happen .. that the individuals step up to the plate to raise his or her own consciousness .. To fulfill his or her own potential ... I feel that used to be the system in place in ancient cultures, and especially wisdom traditions .. That is being lost by the materialism and emphasis on the physical side of things present in our modern lives .. The individual needs to have raising his consciousness as his ultimate objective .. Not just for his benefit alone, but for the benefit of the collective .. It must be SEEN that how lowering of one's consciousness by decreasing awareness of our own actions and its corresponding consequences is disastrous for the collective .. That must happen at the individual level .. What happens then is the flowering of the true potential of the individual ..

    The other day I was reading about how Einstein considered intuition ( emerging out of his creativie side of the violin )as a superior faculty to actual scientific thinking .. The most creative thinkers in our history have always nourished their creativiity and have allowed that consciousness to expand upon the science aspect .. However the present education system is currently not encouraging any kind of creativity within the child , and forcing the child to limit his or her potential .. At times I wonder what the whole point of such a mediocre school system is at all if potential within all the children aren't awakened ?

    Ultimately it all comes down to one's identity .. What does one identify as themselves ? Do they identify what the world is telling them to be ? Or will they grow up to identify themselves as another pearl of the collective potential that can shine forth the brightest light through their lives ? It is the nourishment that is lacking .. It is the hard look at themselves that is lacking .. It is the paradigm shift that is lacking .. Hopefully the new generation holds some promise ..
  • Sep 27 2011: I feel that before we can look at collective consciousness we need to take a step back and look at self-awareness. When I was a kid and in my teens and 20s I had no self-awareness whatsoever. Didn't know such an animal existed! Would have loved to have been exposed to that in school.

    Once we are self-aware I think the natural progression is towards a collective consciousness... seeking like-minded, curious people. That awareness and curiosity needs to be sparked and nurtured at an early age.
  • Sep 27 2011: I think there may be critical assumption in the framing of the question:

    "Everyone WANTS and needs maximum mental performance..."

    The assumption that everyone wants maximum mental performance indicates one of the serious problems with why the development of our collective consciousness may not be occurring (or at least not at a rate some people desire); it is quite possible that people actually do NOT want this - it may simply not be a consideration for them, perhaps because they don't have a sense of the NEED, or non-"necessary" benefits, of it.

    If this may be the case, then it would raise a number of questions as to WHY someone may not care about developing their mental performance / consciousness. I feel that, here in America, this may be because many of our systems, be they institutional, social-cultural, etc, are not exactly promoting the sort of attitudes and behaviors that view "consciousness development" or "intellectual growth" as positive and worthy of time-investment.

    Unfortunately, there may even be institutions, attitudes, or individuals that almost oppose such development (writing it off as "too intellectual" or "too academic" or simply "stupid" or "pointless").
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      Sep 28 2011: Bad attitudes do lower IQ. I personally believe every one of us has a genius within themselves that wants to break out of its subconscious prison. The key is to not listen to the nos and realize it can be done by everyone.
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      Sep 29 2011: Yes, and to Kevin Taylor's point that cultural bias may impede solutions, I see drift in institutions in the West and N.America where excellence is praised too little and political leaders limit ideas to talking points and extreme rhetoric for their base of support. In my INK talk on TED, I touch on where we will find the will--the collective consciousness--to address issues such as climate change, so that the Human Channel can stay on the air as the universe's most fascinating reality show.
  • Ryan T

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    Sep 27 2011: Hi Simon, have watched your TED talk a number of times (and passed it on to a number of friends) as well as read Rise and Shine. Thanks for putting your story out there for us to learn from.

    I'm wondering if you can expand on how you were able to raise your IQ during the period of years following your accident? I know you mention in the book you take a number of vitamin/supplements and have gone through different forms of cognitive therapy. I think any other information you can provide could be very helpful to those of us on a path towards expanding our consciousness.
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      Sep 29 2011: I have had success with Ginko and Gotu Kola. Don't waste your money on the little containers of capsules. I go through that much in under a week. Instead, buy it online in one pound bags. Other herbs help too, such as Basil and Sage. Your brain is mostly fat, so stay away from low fat diets. Eat avocados, olives and the oil, coconuts and the oil, and nuts like walnuts, pecans, and brazil nuts.

      A word of caution. Taking Ginko and other brain herbs is like upgrading your computer. They do nothing in the way of making you think better or smarter. They just makes you think faster, whether your thoughts are good, bad, positive or negative. It is up to you to program and reprogram the software of your mind to achieve the best thinking results.
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      Sep 29 2011: Yes Ryan, so many people ask for more details that I plan to write a book to include example cognitive exercises, a map of the sub processes of consciousness and illustrations of approaches to various elements of the mind and body.

      Rise and Shine gives an overview of my specific program in hopes that readers will use these hints, the terminology in my book's Glossary and Index, in my INK talk on TED (and there is more at my book website

      Thank you for watching my INK talk on TED a few times: it is multi-layered, I know, and that people watch more than once tells me that it is communicating on several levels of the mind.

      With apologies, more details of my approach must wait on a carefully researched and presented book that is powerful to read and maintains the accuracy I sought in Rise and Shine, in my talk at INK on TED, on, and also in my KCRW interviews and The Atavist profile, for which I supplied the images and interviews. I hope you understand: these elements are part of a large canvas that take me years to assemble in order that they may both inform and inspire.

      Thank you, Simon
  • Sep 27 2011: Hello Simon Lewis, I registered on this TED site a few minutes ago. I did this to listen to a live webcam event about consciousness only to realize that I had to put my mind on a question and to write it down. How does forming a question help to make the most of our consciousness? I have many questions as of late, so I feel that this may be a big leap. Thank you. Tara

    P.S. I don't mean to confuse the brain with consciousness.
  • Sep 27 2011: I must say I am a bit skeptical as to our prospects on this front. Though I would agree wholeheartedly that there is more to be done to bring our youth into a socially interested way of being (be it politically or otherwise). I have a hard time seeing how this can be done in a social/economic system that is constantly firing information at our youth that appeals merely to things in their own material interest. In essence, I think our kids are generally "plugged-in" to the wrong stuff.

    It almost seems like a better bet would be to try and initiate the proper growth in a place where the people are not already inundated by technology. This is of course a strange suggestion because in principal technology ought to be able to bring us closer together.

    I wish I had something more constructive to offer...
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      Sep 27 2011: You touch on something very constructive--that digital technology alone is not alone going to rebuild minds that are, I believe, quantum and analogue in structure. That there are systems that work repeatably and measurably is cause of optimism, and why I wrote Rise and Shine, why The Atavist profiled me with links to rich multimedia resources, and I was invited to speak at INK on TED and KCRW Radio interviewed me. The demand for information will see this this through to action, I hope.
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    Sep 27 2011: HI SIMON and everyone around the world!!! I just dragged myself up from sleep and Its 1:30am here. :)

    1. What kind of mega super sonic cognitive training did you go through (that could help others)
    Cos it must have been pretty impressive!! Lois helped u in the book.

    2. Did you recollect much material you read prior to the accident or you had to re-read alot of material?
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      Sep 27 2011: Hi Dianna,
      Thank you for joining us at 1:30!! I summarize the cognitive training of Dr. Lois Provda in Rise and Shine, and how I experienced them. She was taking me through the Sub Processes of Learning one by one. These involve the Reading Processes (Reception and Expression of Language, Auditory Processing, Visual Processing and Neurologic/Psychologic Correlation) as well as Word Recognition, Meaning, Fluency and Appreciation. The key for her was to find ways to maximize the processes of my thinking, reasoning, judgment, memory and visual/spatial abilities, etc. That's why Rise and Shine became a full memoir as I explored my mind with the help of clinicians such as Dr. Provda, and found answers that helped rebuild my mind.

      To answer your second question, I was designated a non-reader when I was discharged, so had to rebuild memory of texts.
  • Sep 29 2011: I am so appreciative of this stimulus for a meditation. I've been listening to the dozens of topics that have arisen, as possible launches for a contribution I could make. I am new to your work, Simon, and deeply touched by what I've seen. I've been working on this how-to topic for a long time, and may be near finishing my novel about it. The idea I would add here, in this blessed exchange, is a concept of depression that may be useful: experiencing it as gridlock -- a shutdown induced by collisions between what the deep true self Knows, and all the conflicting cultural memes of ought-to and compelled-to and what's-true. No smoothly functioning identity and sense of coherent motion (including thought and feeling) can arise from such a contradictory traffic jam. Unsnarling this means questioning some memes that are very important to significant portions of culture, which is one of the reasons the how-to approaches are a little sparse (and the depression label is pasted on top of otherwise inexplicable inner phenomena, which do produce biochemical artifacts, which are frequently called the cause, in what is actually a self-reinforcing feedback loop). The personal gridlock emanates out into social and cultural conflict. I'm working on reinterpreting some of the memes in a more empathetic light, so that oppositional energies don't squash people any more than we are already squashed. Maybe the epidemic *labeling* of depression is a good sign that true selves are waking up -- even if the first encounter is with the walls of falseness that used to be considered signals of validation, worthiness, success, or love.

    Thank you for your willingness to move through all that you have, so that this moment, right now, and the wonderful way I feel in connecting here, could happen.
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    Sep 29 2011: 'Why are these solutions [to making "the most of our consciousness"] a hidden secret?'

    There are several reasons for this. I have found that if you pose this question to 100 so called thinking experts, they will give you more than 100 answers. All of these answers will be incomplete, few will describe the actual thinking processes, which will also be incomplete, and all answers will be needlessly complicated and difficult to understand for all but the highly educated, which are the ones who need to improve their thinking abilities the least.

    "How can we develop an integrated approach to maximize our most precious resource on Earth — our collective consciousness — and nurture it in each of us?"

    This is a problem I have been working on for the past several years. The answer can be found in the way we define the method of communication between the participants in a collective consciousness endeavor.

    If we allow complete freedom of communication, the conversation usually devolves quickly into illogical thinking and angry uncivil behavior towards other participants. Conversely, if we are overly restrictive, such as a town hall meeting conducted under 'Robert's Rules of Order', many of the participants will feel alienated and frustrated by a cumbersome and complicated process that they believe serves to stifle their input. Also, many people enter a problem solving discussion with a hidden agenda, and because of that, they take sides and take ownership of ideas that have not been fully explored. Like a high school debate, their goal is to win the argument, and not to collaborate with one another to find the the best possible solutions with the greatest consensus.

    These issues, among others that serve only to limit effective communication between the participants and to stifle collaboration, can be eliminated by using the right system. I explain one possible solution here:

    Feel free to respond by using the feedback form at the bottom of the page
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    Sep 29 2011: "Consciousness is the key, consciousness is the means, consciousness is the end" Sri Aurobindo

    "There is enough for every man's need, but not for every man's greed" Gandhi

    However the most damaging aspect of our collective denial revolves around our thinking that the environment is a subset of our economy, instead of the other way around.

    Will the last humanoid please turn off the lights.
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    Sep 29 2011: A distinction must be made between what is and what we perceive. The numerous material appearances we observe are attributes of the conscience, but the conscience itself is not reserved only to humans. The conscience is much more than that. It is a universal power which penetrates through the whole reality and transcends all human attributes. The human is one of the many manifestations of the conscience, just like everything that surrounds it, although a human is a special manifestation because it has thinking capacities. Thinking is a specific development of the conscience, valuable and useful without doubt, but it is also extremely one–sided and possibly dangerous, because it has the tendency to develop its own theories and to isolate itself from the real conscience. Man isn’t privileged just because it is the only being aware of reality, but in the fact it is privileged thanks to its potential of reflection, able to reach the consciousness from which everything emanates.
  • Sep 29 2011: Consciousness seems to be based on perception. Collective consciousness seems to be a thought shared by many people. If thoughts are generated by inducing synaptic response, perhaps, collective consciousness is a harmonic resonance created by the amplification or transfer of tuned synaptic aparati.
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    Sep 29 2011: Consciousness is also a gradient thing, with people being basically consciousness or very consciousness. We all experience some form of "Darwinian" survival consciousness in our nature....
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    Sep 29 2011: There's no evidence that the human race as a whole has ever done anything except sleep, eat, breathe, etc. There have been great and incredible displays of consciousness to which the rest of us can aspire. But I don't see the point of your comment. Maybe you could explain it a little more?
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    Sep 29 2011: Hello Tara. Forming questions is central to consciousnees, hence the wise adage to follow those who have questions and seek the truth, and run from those who say they have all the answers and know the truth. I think you may find very interesting my INK talk on TED which is at:

    If my talk does interest you, then my book Rise and Shine is essentially an exploration of my consciousness in a very moving story. On Amazon and Barnes& Noble you can read some reader reviews and the first two chapters of the Kindle, I think for free, or order the hardcover, etc.

    And the two radio interviews this week also give a chance to hear me speak about consciousness within my life:



    I don't want you to think of this as a burden, and simply suggest you explore some of these links and see if they give you good interesting questions that brighten your day.

    Thank you, Simon
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    Sep 28 2011: Thank you Simon for your response. It was very helpful.

    Good luck with your book.

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    Sep 28 2011: For one thing, our society wastes highly intelligent apes on stupid, absolutely stupid labour. I don't know if things could be otherwise, but I'm sure our industrial division of tasks is the worst thing that happened since the invention of agriculture.
    We've got the best brains in the animal kingdom, yet the vast majority of us are living like ants, boring ourselves to death with ridiculously dumb jobs, having consumerism as our only painkiller.
    Hiring someone to sit in a bank for 30 years should be considered a crime against humanity.
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    Sep 28 2011: United our consciousness in a common understanding. hehe.
  • Sep 28 2011: Time spent in-taking the breadth of information this generation needs may preclude the depth of thought needed for true understanding. The rate at which information is being provided and learned is very fast relative to prior generations. Does this promote superficial understanding? There use to be more energy expended trying to get answers, so they perhaps then they were more precious. Now, you’re a wiki away from almost anything, and it is effortless. Thinking, learning, and study all take work. Where is the work ethic learned? The path of least resistance is to sit at home and watch TV (now 24/7 with hundreds of channels), play video games, play on the computer.
    One observation is that we are no longer focused by adversity. Generations back, man against nature was more of a concern than it is today. Food, wars, predators, and weather were all potential threats. Fear from these circumstances is less of a threat. Concern for survival is less of an issue today. Fear as a motivator is diminished. A few generations back, immigrants with no education told children stories of how lucky they were to go to school and have a real chance to get ahead in life by parents who may not have made it through high school. Kids watched their parents struggle and decide they wanted something different, so they were motivated by observation of a struggle. Perhaps the struggle has changed. Kids might be de-motivated by watching their parents struggle with marriage or the constant barrage of negative media, creating feelings of hopelessness and apathy. Kids might be de-motivated by the thought that success through academic achievement is less certain now, as the quality of their lives will on average not match that of their parents. Then there is college debt, and possibly a degree that that has no more earning potential than a high school diploma. These are de-motivational circumstances facing kids today.
    The fix is to change the de-motivating circumstances.
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    Sep 27 2011: What do you mean with "increase cognitive awareness through natural processes". I mean, what do you consider as not being natural? Do I have to think about being natural while living my now right now?

    Also, to be considered natural should not be reasonable to be some kind of symmetric process such as: "From Potential Minds to Actual Minds, and from Actual Minds to Potential Minds"? Or is this another individualistic line of thought?

    What is collective consciousness? If it is really consciousness, should not the collective actually realize that? Or perhaps you just realized that we have some kind of collective inconsciousness, and then just called it collective consciousness?

    So I guess, I will put the same simple question as you did: Is it possible to unleash the unbounded energy of the self and multiply it in a global common goal, so that when divided by everyone can recover each one's energy loss with immense joy and fulfillment?

    Yes, because after all, we are just tourists here...
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      Sep 28 2011: Good questions, Bruno. By "natural processes" I mean to exclude psychoactive or psychotropic substances that cross the blood–brain barrier to affect brain function, perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior. My experience, repeated across published research, suggest that there is so much--so many unbounded energies of the mind --that is untapped, leaving depression as the WHO's leading world disease, that may be tapped with natural interventions, i.e. targeted therapies without broad psychoactive therapies.
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    Sep 27 2011: That is such a good question! i have actually been asking myself about this a lot the last three days. there needs to be a more fully realized model of this to show the people who would be unlikely or unwilling to read about or respond to dramatic change. something that shows these people a glimpse of what our potential could be if we had the technology to provide unlimited information in the best package possible. Also, funding in biological nanotechnoligy could help a lot. :)
  • Sep 27 2011: The answer may involve a failure to realize the importance of physical health's effect on mental performance. I often contemplate the interrelation of mind, body, spirit, social elements of human being. The answer would likely include a balance between these elements.

    The internet is an obvious medium for making "measurable repeatable approaches" available to everyone, but the internet is heavily mind-social (arguably spiritual). How are people motivated to physically engage in bridging the gap? I think about the many unwatched workout videos sitting on my shelf at home.

    Is there a difference between ambient consciousness and what you are talking about?
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      Sep 28 2011: I'm not sure I understand your term ambient consciousness, but mind body and spirit are interrelated. The role of the Internet on consciousness is both positive and negative. Expansive in access to knowledge, but contractive as I describe at INK on TED: short bursts of information undermine focus. Philosophers suggest that as distance disappears our isolation may increase. The more we turn to online learning the less students socialize and share eye contact. Hence depression in adolescents as I describe.To answer your question of motivation, I suggest first through knowledge, which is why I write Rise and Shine, interview with The Atavist, travel to India to speak at INK and type these words to you for TD Conversations.
  • Sep 27 2011: Hello all! Personally I feel if we are going to "make the most of our consciousness" it would be ideal to facilitate the expansion of consciousness. Old world concepts such as College/University education systems and the like do not facilitate a persons access to information and exposure to that information. Most of the information available in today’s world is coming about digitally through the internet in the form of online-classes/education where the need for tuitions etc aren't as justified. The educational system all together has a conflict of interest with what its supposed to be doing (educating/teaching/enlightening) and what it is doing (running a business) and those agendas conflict and the outcome is unfavorable for the expansion of "consciousness".

    It instead leads to a series of "jumping through hoops" for the "carrot on the end of the stick" in which the only thing people truly learn is... how to jump through hoops for a carrot on the end of a stick and they duplicate this in everything they do there after. Also the WAY in which information is disseminated in school systems college/university/public/charter is outdate obsolete and very one-dimensional. Its been known for a while that not everyone learns the same way but this continues to be the expectation of students in almost all venues.

    The educational systems “regulations” and “systems” hinder the ability to effectively disseminate information multidimensional to a varying array of students who all learn differently. Basically the "lecture" based teaching structure is FAILING. NOT the students.

    Also there are several taboo topics that deal with the expansion of consciousness that are fought tooth and nail societially as unacceptable. Namely natural halucinogenics such as DMT and Ayahuasca. If you are going to expand your consciousness, you have to first expand WHAT you want to be conscious of, and your internal and external definiton of what consciousness is...
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      Sep 27 2011: Can you be more clear Ed?
      Human Ego and Truth, those things don't go together, or am I wrong?
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    Sep 27 2011: Simon - you talk in the book about how the training was tiring and I find following *this* challenging. :) Good luck!!

    After hearing your INK (TED) talk

    I was inspired at the end as it seemed like you were talking about healing consciousness challenges that the world is experiencing at large - depression, migraines, headaches, Alzheimer's, stroke and a whole lot more.

    It feels like you're talking about helping each other and tapping more of our human potential!

    What are things we can DO to help?!

    Here are some of the ideas I have:

    1) Do our part to curb depression and loneliness by connecting, broadening and nurturing our social circles
    2) Teaching and giving brain gym to everyone including patients recovering from stroke
    (About brain gym:
    3) Teaching Accelerated Learning & Motivating kids ( My career )
    4) Help kids get off computer addictions
    5) Volunteer and old folks some brain stimulation ( I was moved when I walked past the Alzheimer's Association and saw the old folks in an empty and quiet room. :/ Empty room. Empty mind )

    What is something we can do to help?

    What are you most involved in right now Simon?
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    Sep 27 2011: I wonder if you would describe the difference between potential and actual mind? Is this a difference in levels of focus, understanding, performance of some kind? What makes you believe that potential / higher mind possible?
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      Sep 28 2011: I plan a book to explore this separation and how to bridge it, for there are many interrelated elements to the sub processes of consciousness.. I think of actual mind as the maximum interconnectedness of the physical consciousness (this is broader than the brain and central nervous system) of which a given individual is capable. Potential mind is what I illustrate with the dense array EEG/MRI in my INK talk on TED and explore experientially from within my coma and cognitive recovery in my book. It includes everything our multibillion interconnections do, in each and every moment of life, to seek to do more and be more. It is our ultimate human expression of mind potential. Your second question is much easier: higher mind is possible both because as a mature adult my FSIQ rose from 89 to 150+ which medically is not supposed to occur in mature adults, and because I have already researched other cases, two of which I presented at INK on TED, which show that these are not anomalous results.

      I hope to work with a medical school to develop a long term study to show how far these benefits may be attained in a randomized study; effects on school, sense of inner sense and life well being, and on Full Scale IQ. Hope this is helpful.
  • Sep 27 2011: I believe we make it everyday, everytime with all the ideas we get. But mostly while we sleep, because while we are sleeping is the moment that we explore te most of our consciousness.Also i believe that while we are not sleeping, when we use our imagination, we make more of our consciousness than concentrating at reality. I hope you can asnwer it and tell me your opinion about it.

    Thank You. Sorry i do not have a picture.
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      Sep 27 2011: I've practiced for a while conscious dreaming. That gives a lot of insights yet I wont recommand it.
      Autistic savants give prove of some potential of consciousness.
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    Sep 27 2011: Hi Simon,

    There has been a lot of words written about the varying "levels consciousness" that argue, in essence, that people can be trained up into higher levels of conscious awareness if exposed to the right info / method. What do you make of the notion of individuals operating at higher and or lower levels of consciousness? Is there a way to "level up" that suits all people, everywhere?


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      Sep 28 2011: Hi Dennis,

      My research so far suggests that a comprehensive approach that bases itself on individualized assessment of each person's level of learning is effective to understand if there are issues and optimize so as to prevent academic failure and maximize the inner self. My hope is to develop long-term population studies through a foundation or medical school and publish results so that the approaches and benefits are better understood and become widely available.
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    Sep 27 2011: As to the critiques of social media as well, this is actually becoming the age of information. Focus is becoming reduced but regardless of one's capabilities to pay attention, WHAT one chooses to pay attention to has to do with the things that one value's and those things which inspire the individual. In North Africa and throughout the Middle East, during the recent wave of democratization known as the "Arab Uprisings", Twitter, a fast paced social media space, aided the diffusion of political ideas in a quick and digestible fashion. Social media can serve the same functions as "pamphleting" in those social and cultural revolutions that predate the internet. Social media also has the power to make a local problem into a concern of the international communities. Media-centric society is not necessarily the problem, it is the things that we want to see and communicate which have drowned out matters of importance. The renewal of consciousness will most importantly rely on the realization that unconsciousness is dangerous and deadly to society and that society is most important to our survival.
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      Sep 29 2011: I see no evidence that the collective human race has ever been conscious. Our present awakening could be the very first time.
      Oops! Someone hit the snooze bar, again.
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    Sep 27 2011: Hi
    I think the question a little difficult.
    Who is we?
    I know some that expand their consciousness and I know that don't.
    Don't you think that life itself isn't the motor to get this going?
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    Sep 27 2011: very interesting Simon. I guess we still don't know enough about the capabilities of our Brain . about maximizing our consciousness.. I believe a step forward is to think and contemplate 'how we think'..which is sort of recursive loop..a brain trying to assess how itself(brain) functions..
    watching your ted talk I am curious about you heightened consciousness. that experience of the Actual mind , the perception of time.. where these experiences temporary? or do you still perceive time differently than othesr?
    and what implications does that have on cognition that can be helpful further for neuroscience.
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      Sep 28 2011: Thank you vaibhav. Yes, we are at the dawn not the dusk of understanding our minds and capabilities of our brain. To answer your question, the shift in time and space is for me is something I explore each day, as discussed in my book1, and this week here on KCRW Santa Monica National Public Radio:



      And as you say, I've sometime termed one of my goals to encourage us to think about thinking processes. though recursive, it is not an infinite loop: my book shows how measured scientific intervention and therapies raised my thinking from 89 to 150+ as measured by Full Scale IQ, returned my gait to average through the device shown at INK on TED, and so forth.
  • Sep 27 2011: I guess the problem is in most cases getting every thing easily ... If we dont have to work for it , its makes stuff soo much easier ... Dont have to use our brains much, Our parents play a vital role here...

    Some parents give some dont give :-
    The Parents who give have to give most of the time , becouse there is no end to needs..
    The Parents who dont give , dont give proper reasoning on why they are not giving them every thing they want ... What could be the best way would be telling them they need to work hard for it (Setting rules and Tasks) , that would make our kids think more and ask more questions which in most cases is a good thing for there mental development .. The concept of every thing does not come easy should be interduced to them early in life ...
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    Sep 27 2011: For this to be accomplished, I believe there needs to be a fundamental paradigm shift from the preserving of certain social structures such as corporations or other hierarchical structures present within the scientific community towards one in which collective consciousness is given fundamental importance. That is my fundamental argument. The present social structure of government isn't really doing its job in any country , and have allowed very few individuals to prosper at the cost of many... in some cases, it has allowed some corporations such as BP to even kill the ocean ... How can a child in Africa get the basic needs when the person with all the wealth isn't sharing it for the benefit of the collective and instead focusing on the limited self-consciousness..

    Unless it is scientifically proven that there is a collective consciousness that is at play ( through enhanced application and ingenuity of crowd-sourcing for example ) , will the need for developing the collective come forth. At that point, everyone will feel the need to enhance everyone around for everybody's benefit ..

    There are definitely some science out there that points to the reality of collective consciousness. But certain social structures, such as main-stream media with political and upper-class bias simply intends to dumb down the collective ... It's as simple as that .... This is where I feel the individual needs to step up ... For ultimately society is composed of individuals, and each individual should strive to raise his own consciousness ..
  • Sep 27 2011: I'm in my first semester of college, and I just made the decision to change my major from film to psychology. As someone with a fresh perspective, is there anything I should pay attention to specifically?
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      Sep 27 2011: I believe that neurology has become one of the most significant areas of discovery and fresh perspectives on what makes us who we are, so you might want to include that within your reading of psychology, as in neuropsychology. Good luck in your new major.
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    Sep 27 2011: How can we develop an integrated approach to maximize our most precious resource on Earth — our collective consciousness — and nurture it in each of us?

    - I think the web is a perfect example of a place where our collective conciousness is nurtured and surfaced. Take TED as an example; an idea that once manifested itself in the mind of one person, has now gone on to transform the lives of millions of people around the world. TED is like a collective brain and it's website is the portal into it. I think we should have more places like TED; places which connect people, drive innovation and give people a very real and grand sense of well-being.

    Why aren’t measurable repeatable approaches, to bridge the gap from potential mind toward actual mind, widely...?

    - I think that's a very interesting question and certainly not an easy one to answer. My twenty or so years of life experience tell me that variety holds up well against a lot of things. Trying different things, trying new things, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and being encouraged to do so, really helps you to unlock your own potential and give you a feeling of wanting to share it. As science and technology continues to develop, I think our understanding of our connectomes and the universal properties of concious mind will be uncovered. Once they are uncovered, we can explore the differences between those individuals who maximise the use of their conciousness and teach/ train others to exploit it. Until that time arrises, I think it would be sensible to suggest simply sharing our thoughts. In order to unlock the tools and share them ubiquitously amongst the worlds pupulation, you need to create a central hub; somewhere that ideas and thought can be explored and tuned into. This is where the internet comes into play and is one of the ways in which it's revolutionsing our planet. The web should house the global conciousness; and I think it already does, it's just sometimes hard to filter through.
  • Sep 27 2011: Sabhanaz , I think desensitizing is not the peoblem on my end its being too sensitive to situations ... That does harm my mental ability to work on other things which might be more Important as a specific time...
  • Sep 27 2011: We have to accept that our current desires reside in the present and we should train ourselves to be motivated by reason instead.
  • Sep 27 2011: Hi. For a second there, I thought this was live video, but apparently it's just a text conversation? Am I right about that?
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    Sep 27 2011: I think we can develop our collective consciousness by simply being honest. Our media plays a crucial role in desensitizing us, and if only we can transform those attributes or media content towards sensitizing us, our consciousness will be aroused. This may seem too easy an answer, and by no means it is an answer - but in my opinion, that's where we can begin the process.
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      Sep 27 2011: Yes, use of media devices and short bursts of information is shown to reduce focus, so that is one part of the challenges to consciousness and an element of the solution. Thank you.
  • Sep 27 2011: When you say measurable repeatable approaches... What are you referring to?

    The book "Your Brain at Work" by David Rock is a remarkable work on using what we know of brain science and applying it to real life. Are you familiar with this work and is this along the line of what you are referring to? Or something else?
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      Sep 27 2011: Many elements of my recovery of consciousness as I describe in my INK talk on TED and in more detail in Rise and Shine. They include Neurobehavioral Status Exams to assess individuals and then work on the Sub Processes of Learning according to the individual's level.. I hope to work with a medical school to implement a long term population study to demonstrate incidence and ability to influence the mind to higher levels

      There's much to say, and at INK on TED I touched on the four Cs of Consciousness..
      • Sep 27 2011: Great! I will delve into that too!
  • Sep 27 2011: Hi
    I ask the same question to myself , that why is it that i cant give the maximum of my mental performance ...
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