OF MENTAL IMAGES
from RADICAL SOFTWARE, Vol. 1, #5, 1972
reprinted in ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN PRIMER, 1973
It is often the inventions of which we are most
proud that are precisely the things most inhibiting our function and preventing
us from further growth and the gaining of meaningful insight into our condition.
The invention of language has frequently been credited with being the beginning of human civilization. What is left unsaid is that the necessity to invent a 'meaningful' means of communication reveals the most critical limitation of our biological structure in its adaptation to our environmental situation. Language has done very little toward removing that limitation.
In a benign environment we learn from an organism only what performance it is called upon to give; in a taxing environment we learn also something of its internal structure - specifically of those aspects instrumental in limiting its performance.
Our communication organs developed early in our evolution when we still lived in the oceans. Their adaptation to a more taxing functioning in air instead of water still remains quite unbalanced today. We can sense that both by our intuitive frustration of 'not being able to say our mind, to put our feelings into words, not being able to keep up with our thoughts, etc.' and also by a closer examination of how our communication mechanisms work.
In order to have balanced communication in respect to both our internal mechanisms and those of our environment, we must be able to communicate at the same rate that we need, receive, process and produce information. We also must be able to transmit it instantly, unhampered by distance, locale or selectivity, and in forms analogous to the nature of the raw information we receive and the forms by which we process it.
John C. Lilly's studies on communication in people and in dolphins reveal where some of our limitations are located. Our information input to our brain from one eye is at a rate of about 50,000,000 bits per second. Dolphins receive almost as much of their information through their ears as we do through our eyes. Ears and eyes together, the dolphin receives twice the information we do.
Our processing capacity can be assumed to be greater than our information inputs, at least in relation to the redundancy of the information which now makes up our inputs, or we would experience overload even without simulsensory experience. Its capacity in terms of different kinds of information processing and learned procedures and stimulation is probably considerably above what we experience today in our low-information environment.
On the output side, however, there are significant differences. The dolphin, through its various phonation apparatuses, sonar, etc., has an information transmission capacity of twenty times our's - a rate which matches its rate of receiving information. We, however, have a transmitting capacity ofonly one-tenth of our receiving rate.
Our visual input capacity has grown to take advantage of the nature of our gaseous world, but we've developed no comparable mechanism to transmit information! Opposed to the balanced world of acoustic images of the dolphin, we have not yet gone beyond a most primitive and unbalanced patchwork of visual inputs converted crudely to acoustic outputs which require quite ineffective acoustic input by the receiver.
75% of the information going into our brain is from our eyes, yet to communicate actively with one another we must depend upon a small portion of the remaining 25%.
Elimination of that imbalance would bring major change in our relationships and would permit us to make a magnitude leap in our communication ability.
Some fairly new devices such as television and
photography have begun to counteract that imbalance. They make a quantum
jump over speech and writing in that they are optically receivable, rapidly
transmittable, are non-linear in nature, and give a higher rate of data
extraction from our raw information. They still have a basic drawback in
mostly requiring environmental image sources with their problems of availability
and accessibility. A cumbersome, second-hand, time-consuming search for
conditions and situations which give images close to our thoughts does not
give our thought-images, and does not permit the open, uninhibited flows
of information necessary to balanced communication.
We know that on the operative level our brains process great quantities of information through visual images, and that visual and spatial forms are as much an integral part of mental and psychic structure of our universe as of its material and energetic structure. Yet we have not sought means to make these mental images directly communicable. Development of ways to tap into our mental images and communicate them can offer up to a ten-fold increase in our communication capacity and an order of magnitude increase in its effectiveness.
The ability to communicate directly and effectively between minds can begin to open a pathway towards integrating mankind into an effective super-organism that is now blocked by the difficulty and low relative speed of communication. The telepathic link-up of our minds can begin to move our information handling capacities by several orders of magnitude towards the theoretical potentials promised by information theory.
Although some of this development may be most effectively achieved through breakthroughs in telepathy, there is no way of knowing today how much that will be dependent upon external mechanisms and how much on more conscious control of our inner capabilities. Regardless of the potentials of telepathy in this area, an operative and valuable form of telepa-vision can undoubtedly be created today through development and application of present communications and information technology.
38755 Reed Rd.
Nehalem OR 97131 USA
© February 1972