The Activated/Non-Activated Brain
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THE ACTIVATED/NON-ACTIVATED BRAIN
Document: 64, March 31, 1983
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1983
If you took my drawing of the nervous system and sliced off the area of the brain that is above Line level, and turned it onto its side (as though it were three-dimensional), you would be gazing down at a cross-sectional view of the brain at Line level. This drawing demonstrates this new perspective.
Diagram # 018 illustration
The consciousness of everyone, at the ordinary level, is structured in a dual fashion. Ordinary consciousness is that portion of the brain which is naturally activated, represented by the shaded portion of the diagram. That portion is where “you” operate, where everything you regard as being the description of your “unique personality” exists. This part will be with you until you die. On the other side of the line dividing the diagram, is a non-activated, negative reflection of what you take as being “you”. It is the opposite of everything you know to be true, everything you feel to be proper. All that seems to culminate in the sensation of “you”, has an antithesis on this other side.
The trickery I use in This — my examples, rhetorical questions and apparent queries about aspects of Life — is to help you learn that internally, you have the potential to have been anyone. You must learn how to activate that potential in a particular way. Need I point out that you do not have to actually become a murderer; but you must begin to sense that such behavior is not foreign to you. If, for example, you read the headline, “MAN KILLS UNCLE OVER QUARTER BET,” the ordinary, naturally-wired, activated “you” will immediately denounce such behavior. “My oh my! This is shocking. This is absolutely unacceptable behavior.” At the speed of light, something in you will react, on the basis that what you see is unacceptably foreign to you. You will have a radical electrical, muscular, reaction to the dots of ink on the page of a newspaper.
You have got to find out for yourself, that regardless of what the activated portion says, you, too, could murder somebody over a quarter. It is not necessary to conjure up scenarios in your head, wherein you become a crazed killer on the loose. You simply begin to understand that the potential exists within your own wiring.
You may be a pacifist, you may cry over seeing a starving child. You may never have even considered killing someone. But you have got to be able to see beyond all of that. You have got to see that the accepted definition of “you” is neither good nor bad, but simply a particular activation of the nervous system. And simultaneously you realize, “I never understood how wonderful everyone is. I never realized that all the people I argue with and condemn, are me.” When you begin to see that, you are no longer limited to an imposed theory of it.
To get a glimpse above the ordinary level of consciousness, is to see how everything is connected, how there are Three Forces at work, and how every individual is simply a transformer for different kinds of energy, no more and no less. When you begin to glimpse the nature of man as an energy transformer, you do not look upon ordinary humanity as being inferior; because, you understand that you are part of the same flow.
You may be speaking to someone you normally dislike, and suddenly the whole picture you had of that person, and your relationship to him, changes. “Suddenly, I thought I was going to grin so much, they’d have me arrested. Every possible negative feeling I had toward that person seemed to have evaporated.” When that happens, part of this shaded, unactivated area depicted in my diagram, has been activated.
At the ordinary level of consciousness, everyone sees themselves as First force. Essentially, this thing which appears to be one’s personality is saying, “I am First force. I am creative and correct”, but you can never see anything as long as you persist with the feeling that “I” is at the center of everything; and this has nothing to do with any ordinary ideas of egoism.
At the horizontal level you cannot be aware of this situation; because you are the situation. You cannot see the bottom of your foot while you’re standing on it. You cannot understand this central position of “I”, this repetitive pulsation of energy at a certain spot, when you are the pulsation itself.
Prior to your exposure to This Thing, there was no possibility of your ever moving outside this sensation of “I”; and nothing available within the ordinary world of man would have aided you in doing so. Everything the Yellow circuit perceives to be new information, new ideas and new theories remains within this “I”, this activated portion of the brain. You will not expand your nervous system by adding new information to it, because the perceiver of this “new information”, is limited to that which it already knows. You will begin to sense that until you found This Thing, you were literally immobile, with no possibility of change. You were stuck in mud and didn’t know it. All you knew was the frustration resulting from the immobility.
Attempt to activate the resistance within you. Technically, the unactivated portion is alive, and blood is flowing to it, but unless it is willfully activated through your own efforts, it remains but a negative reflection of what you already are. When you say “true”, it says, “false”, when you say, “yes”, it says, “no”. All the raging battles, — physical, political, economic, racial, and sexual — are reflected in the area below Line-level consciousness. Even if you hold the most unassailably humanitarian, and religious view in the world, there is a part of you that would say just the opposite if it could speak. But it does not speak. That silent portion is there within you, but you are not aware of it, because it is unactivated. And it is unactivated because it is not necessary for it to be activated.
All of the apparent conflicts occurring in ordinary Life are reflected in what I am describing to you. There is no flaw in your “personality”, if you have prejudicial feelings toward certain races, religions, or political groups. You may think, “Well, my parents did not give me a good upbringing. I grew up in a very prejudicial family, a very unsophisticated family. That is why I am the way I am.” To the ordinary, that would be a quite valid explanation or excuse; but I’m telling you — on the horizontal level, there are no explanations. Even if everyone in your family had had Ph.D.’s by the age of ten, you would still have these unexplainable, prejudicial views.
The only way that Line-level consciousness can delineate that which is “proper behavior, correct views, and good action”, is by comparison to the apparent opposites of those things: i.e. people living on the dark side of the moon, people of ill intent, evil people, and prejudiced people with limited vision. To be engaged with those apparent, external opposites is sufficient for the vast majority of humanity; but if you are attempting to expand the nervous system, you must See that it all exists within you.
The old religious truism, “Treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself,” is a reflection of something real; but those who repeat such truisms, are looking in the wrong place. Your neighbor lives in you. He is as close as that shaded, unactivated portion of your own consciousness. You may say, “I’d like to help my neighbor;” but the only reason you wish to help him is because you hate him. He is the Second force within your consciousness: he is your unactivated, resisting portion. You must do everything possible to stop the ordinary flow of external criticism, the continual arguments you have with other people. You have to See that you ARE the other people. The potential to be them is within you, but unactivated.
Remember that the purpose of these descriptions is not to point out flaws in the ordinary state of affairs. If the dividing line in my diagram, which represents a reality within every human, could be removed, everything would explode: the structure of humanity’s existence would collapse. Either everyone’s head would explode or they’d lie down and die, very quickly and quietly. But this division within consciousness is necessary, and you must See that it is not the enemy.
Alcohol and drugs have a peculiar effect on consciousness that lies beyond ordinary knowledge. They act as a chemical carrier, facilitating the electrical activation of normally inactive areas of the brain. This is why they are so attractive to ordinary people. They are an artificial means of allowing energy to jump across that dividing line. This effect is continually expressed by people, such as, “You know, so-and-so gets a few drinks and he is not that same, dull accountant you see at the office. You ought to see him at the bar with us after work. Give him a couple of beers and he’s a different guy. He’s so much fun. He knows all kinds of jokes.” That, of course, is exactly why a “dull accountant” would go down to the bar after work.
Drugs and alcohol do not simply chemically affect the brain; but they act as a carrier for electrical energy to normally unactivated areas. Once the drug is gone, however, the affect ceases, and that which is artificially activated goes back to sleep. There is no simple, artificial way to expand the nervous system. There is no easy trick. Part of the “struggle” of doing This Thing is learning to activate this unseen side of consciousness, turning the light on that which is unknown to you. Learning to do this is intimately connected to the fact that you cannot be a critic of Life. You can not keep anything apart because you think, “In my heart of hearts, I know it is not right.” Any time you feel any sort of criticism, you are ordinary. You are operating at the minimum level required by Life.
Ordinarily, it would be your part-time job to work on Life’s great newspaper. Everyone has been drafted to be a critic, so that the unactivated portion can act as Second force. The newspaper hasn’t limited you to reviewing and criticizing the theatre or ballet — not someone of your credentials and talent. Your job is to criticize the whole world.
In order to expand your nervous system above the Line, you must simultaneously activate the unused portion below the Line. There is no escape from this fact: the expansion cannot proceed in a lopsided fashion. Such lopsided expansion occurs, to a very limited extent, in ordinary Life, and it is usually referred to as fanaticism. When this mechanical, lopsided expansion happens to someone, they no longer simply feel that they are right; they KNOW they are right. In fact, they know they are ABSOLUTELY right.
From an ordinary viewpoint, it seems inexplicable that fanatics can attain positions of power in Life. But it is not inexplicable: all of the one-sidedness of a particular culture becomes magnified in one person at a particular time. One side, the activated side, of this person’s consciousness is pushed above the Line a tiny amount; and when that happens it’s “Hero Time”. Such episodes in history are described by others as insanity. But if you are ordinary, the only reason you didn’t go along with that reigning fanatic is because you weren’t there.
Once you begin to see what I am describing to you, once you begin to become conscious throughout the lateral spectrum, you start noticing that, “Something is missing. Has the world gotten better?” It will strike you, “I am less generally angered by the world, by Life.” I am understating it, because when you Understand, you become everybody. All those ideas of “there but for the grace of god go I” are not quite right. Such speech really means: “Were it not for the grace of god keeping me at this level of consciousness I would see that there go I. But I can feel sympathetic because I would have been just like him had my circumstances been different.” That’s just wrong, because the truth is, you ARE him. Beyond all theoretical ideas, you Understand, “If there is drunken bum in the world, I am one. If there is a madman in the world, I am one.” And you simultaneously Understand that there is no longer anybody to identify. You See that there ARE no drunken bums, madmen, pushy people or evil people.
Remember: Everything that moves must have resistance. This system you call “I” cannot recognize that it carries its own resistance. You cannot have a belief without a simultaneous non-belief, a thought without the same non-thought. If I could cut out the activated part of your system, you would cease to be. You would be a two-circuited creature, but you would no longer be human. I would have removed your “demon”; but you most certainly would not be able to thank me.
There is something I want you to consider about what ordinary people call “moods”: you can physically feel where consciousness is centered. As soon as you wake in the morning you can feel that you are in “a mood”; but I want you to attempt to feel a specific, physical, internal axis, where it is centered, how it is tilted to produce this “mood”. “Moods” are not something that are simply introduced to your system from the outside. Everything is connected to everything else, so there is no cause to look for. Just attempt to physically feel the tilt in the axis of consciousness whenever you are in a “mood”. What you call a mood is your nervous system being within a specific pattern of activation. And everyone has a very small repertoire. For some people two tilts will get them through Life nicely: “I’m pissed,” and, “I’m really pissed.” For others of course these tilts include so-called positive feelings. Never describe yourself as being in a mood.
Another way to describe the reality of expanding this nervous system above the Line, is that one becomes willfully conscious. Of course, the whole of ordinary humanity claims to be willfully conscious. People carry on, “No, that was a boring book, I put it down.” They have to believe they make decisions, carry out plans. But their behavior is simply an electrical, chemical process, a stability that is temporarily tilted one way and then another. Ordinary consciousness is not only not willful: it is not even consciousness.
There is a center stability that makes an ordinary person identifiable: it is a stability based upon the resistance I have been describing. The only way you can define “who you are” is by that which you resist; and that which you resist, exists simultaneously within you. There is a certain stability, and everything in Life is arranged to keep you within that stability. To expand beyond that is willful, because YOU have to do it.
When you begin to pull your consciousness, your simple awareness of being alive, outside the ordinary flow, you discover a different kind of memory. When you forget something there are only two possible reasons: you either had no interest in it, or you were simply operating at Line level. But if you begin to move beyond the ordinary flow, to any degree, you immediately discover that doing so affects the way memory functions. You will find that you can be having certain thoughts and then simply leave them, as though they were laid out on the floor, and come back hours later, leisurely picking up where you left off. Sometimes you have a great idea, but you can’t get your hands on a pencil to write it down. You go for hours, maybe days, thinking, “What was it — it was almost a totally enlightening flash, it was just a sentence, and now its gone.” In case you need a piece of objective humility, when you feel you’re so good it’s getting scary, think, “How’s your memory?”
There is a locale where instead of thoughts appearing to run through time, passing you by, it’s as though you can leave them at any point and come back to them some time later. But as long as you are at the ordinary level, everything passes you by, everything flows through you, everything goes “Bye-Bye.”
By attempting to activate the currently unused, negative reflection that exists within the brain, you are draining off energy that would normally be running the Circuits; and you can use that energy for expansion.
If your job in Life is to take in certain energies and transform them into hostility, or to take hostility and transform it into fear, every day you do it just the proper amount. You get just mad enough or fearful enough, so that at the end of the day, all of the energy is used. But the “end of the day” happens every second: all of the energy is being used up constantly. You get just as mad, fearful, hurt, or sick as you are supposed to, and then there is nothing left.
When you stop using all your energy in the way Life intended for you to use it, you begin to have energy to spare. And you find that, although the lower Circuits are getting barely enough energy to keep them going, they run better and more efficiently than ever.
Humanity often speaks of “individual will”, but it does not exist at the horizontal level. I could tell you that instead of an individual using his “will”, circumstances make things happen. I could tell you that circumstances are the Third force, which resolves any apparent stalemate or quandary. An ordinary person would say, “I was facing a deadline for a report, and I was in a quandary. I kept putting it off, spent a weekend getting drunk, but the night before — I knew I’d be fired unless I produced it — I stayed up all night writing the report, and boy, the boss loved it!” This is not will. This is the Forces at work. There is First force — the person; there is it’s resistance, Second force. Third force is everything else, and it all turns in such a way that the job got done. Things get done, and sometimes it seems to happen in a miraculous manner.
It is possible for this Third Factor, necessary for action, to be will. Those involved in this struggle must operate under the F.A.T. theorem. “Well, all right, fuck all that”, and you just do what must be done. But for the ordinary, and that includes all of you when you’re operating at Line level, circumstances are the Third force.
You should Neuralize the way in which the Circuits interrelate. For instance, one Circuit can apparently decide to do something. I’m not going to label the Circuits but you should be able to guess what I’m describing. One of the Circuits, which in contemporary man seems to have a great deal of control, typically obligates itself to do something. And if it’s something another circuit has no interest in, the result can be anything from stress to serious injury or illness. When this last happens, a third Circuit has gotten involved, but nobody ever knows what happened.
Writing serves a particular function within the context of This Struggle. Under proper conditions, writing as a means of expression can provide a glimpse that the way the Yellow circuit seems to operate at an ordinary level is radically different from what you can put on paper. To see something you have written performed by others can show you that what you can write on paper is almost not you.
You can sit in your room alone and seem to be doing something, even if it’s just daydreaming, having important thoughts. You just seem to be an unnoticed something. If somebody else, one other person walks in, everything is different. Believe it or not, this phenomenon is part of what underlies the distinction between Yellow circuit mentation and written expression.
The initial sensations of being above Line-level consciousness seem inexplicable. The reason for these experiences is everything that went before.
The pictures or ideas of an old man in a lotus position who lets snow or rain fall on him without concern has a childish appeal to everyone looking for external magic. But the picture is a reflection of something real. In a sense, all your imaginations of reading minds and so forth is true. Someone actually in that state knows exactly what’s going on in a way you would not believe. Remember, there is a difference between actually being conscious above the ordinary level, and the fun, the sensation of the struggle.
One final note, which you should remember: This Thing is no expedition in which we all are seekers. I know exactly what I’m doing. I am not leading you up to an edge, only to push you off and see what happens. I know what is out there, and that is why This Thing works. This Thing is not a search because, I know where it goes and what it does. In a dangerous way, I know how to make it happen faster and faster. No one is going into the unknown by doing This: it’s only unknown to you.
Make your own non-verbal, open-ended considering dictionary.