Thursday, July 14, 2005

How to Use More of Your Brain

How to use more of your brain?

You --really_want_to-- know?

It's not easy.

Okay, that scared off all the lazies.

It's not complex.

Alright, that angered the self-reflexive tortured artists.

It's not popular.

Good, that alienated the mediocre.

It's not normal.

Yes, there go the cowards.

10 Simple Steps
to Using More of
Your Brain...

All you have to do is \stretch/ your brain.

All one need do is /focus\ the mind.

Law of Brain Expansion

Unused areas of the brain

are activated

by perceiving, thinking

and doing new things.

Your instructors will be:

the New

the Different

the Bizarre

the Difficult

the Uncomfortable

the Scary

and the Unknown.

Your classroom will be
The Universe and All It Contains,
including mysterious laws and
regions of your own psyche.

1. Think more.

Reduce passive, brain dead soaking up of entertainment, gamesplaying, gossip, mindless trash culture, Hollywood shenanigans, who-dunnit murder mysteries.

Avoid dumbed down entertainment, sponsored sports, broadcast news, popular culture, established traditions, mainstream trends, peer-pressured opinions.

Seek the innovative, controversial, ground-breaking, emergent, radical.

Ask yourself questions. Conduct a silent self-interview. Auto-encapsulate yourself.

Wonder about things you've never stopped to consider.

Why is the universe so vast?

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Is nothingness possible, perhaps 589 trillions years into the future, once the human race learns how to wipe out the entire cosmos?

What are your goals? Priorities? Spiritual beliefs? Favorite films?

2. Read difficult books.

Derrida, Blanchot, Lacan, Levi-Strauss, Mallarme, Rilke, Proust, Hegel, Bible, Koran, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Galileo, Hawking, Einstein.

3. Have stranger adventures.

Go to a restaurant in a part of town you've never been in, in a different economic class or ethnic mix.

Stop doing the same things in the same places with the same people.

Deliberately take a new route, visit a new blog, try writing a poem, take homemade chocolate chip cookies to a neighbor you don't know yet.

4. Learn a new skill.


Buy a graphics program (PhotoShop, Poser, Paint Shop Pro) and start creating photo manipulations or digital art.

Start a blog. Upload photos or art to your blog. Take swimming or diving lessons. Plant a garden. Join a bird-watcher group. Discover how to deconstruct a text. Become an email message writing expert.

5. Look at art.

Something happens in the brain chemically and electronically when viewing art.

Find the best, wildest, most exciting art on the web or in galleries, books, or magazines (Art Forum, Art in America, Flash)...and stare at it.

Try to figure out how it was done. Note your emotional response. Try to do something similar or as a reaction against it.

6. Discuss deep subjects.

Ask your friends, family, neighbors what their opinions are on infinity, eternity, heaven, hell, karma, angels, dreams, animal intelligence, nuclear power, herbal remedies, meditation for stress relief, human evolution, cloning, terrorism, nationalism, mind control cults, unethical business practices.

7. Respect other opinions.

Encourage others to think for themselves, form their own judgments, and speak their minds.

Ask your friends questions you've never asked them, about subjects you have no idea what their opinions could be.

Listen. Notice if opposing viewpoints have any redeeming qualities. Are you sure your opinions have no serious challengers?

Most people change certain aspects of, or entire, belief systems multiple times during their lives. No adult believes all they believed when they were a child or a teenager.

8. Make friends with aliens.

Are all your friends in your racial, economic, religious, political, vocational, gender, or professional class?

That's horrible then. You have no new stimulation intellectually, except random distortions via media.

Become close friends with aliens from other cultures, age groups, physical disabilities, mental handicaps, industries, spiritual orientations, nationalities, politics, philosophies.

9. Understand what you hate.

Take something that bothers you, angers you, or you have zero interest in. Try to discover first: why you don't like it. Then: what good qualities reside in it. Also: what you can gain from it or contribute to it.

Everybody hates something. That's what business is built on. You hate work, so you buy labor saving devices. You hate boredom, so you purchase home entertainment systems, or read blogs.

Force yourself to be controversial to your own self: investigate your "opposing party" or "antagonist", your polar opposite.

Not horrid evil, perversions, criminal acts, or sinister cults. Just a lifestyle or skill or belief you dislike or are bored by.

Enthusiasm, or at least more intelligent understanding, will result.

10. Ponder opposites & possibilities.

Interrogate items. What if this were much bigger? Super small? Round instead of square (like a web site or computer monitor). Why aren't books triangular? What if water wasn't wet? What if the universe is illusory, and all that exists is thought?

What would an ice phone be like? Good for spys? What could be made of ice but isn't? Can you mold steam into transitory art forms? Could I be the first steam artist?

What if I were black (white, Asian, Eskimo, Native American, Canadian)? How would I be different?

Is there a fire that can stop a fire? Can water be wetter? Can reading replace speaking? What if we all lived forever in indestructible bodies or as spirits?

What could I do to my blog that is totally different from what I'm now doing?

Could I try posting a ridiculously weird or super personal or oddly scholarly essay?

Post an image with no text?

Follow this path to increased brain power.

These simple tasks

E-X-P-A-N-D the brain.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



Chris Ritke said...


Your instructors will be:

the New

the Different

the Bizarre

the Difficult

the Uncomfortable

the Scary

and the Unknown.

Exactly! I realize now that this has been a driving force in my life - now I will embrace this even more, especially for my podcast at 49media... where I should focus more on talking to the people that fall into the categories listed above. I just have to remind myself of this every morning - thanks for reminding me today, and especially for writing it down so clearly.

steven edward streight said...

You will expand and focus your mind super-simultaneously in macrocosmic mannerisms tending to de-fossilze the bogged down blog-ZER0-sphere.

The blog-ZERO-sphere will run for cover of transparent camouflage for end time scenario roses of returnity.

steven edward streight said...

Make that de-vascillate or de-cloud, not the the non-existent word "de-fossilze" which apparently meant to be "de-fossilize" but wasn't.

Hans said...

Thank you for your sharp ideas.

steven edward streight said...

You are welcome.

When I think of something really art smart to say at your blog, I'll post a comment.


Thor said...

i have a better idea: throw out the rules and don't tell anyone what you're doing.

steven edward streight said...

Who said anything about rules?

I'm talking about universal truths, not piddly little "rules".

Rules seek obedience. Truth seeks nothing, it's self-existent.

carrie said...

do you have a blogpost about how to not be smart? i need one of those.

steven edward streight said...

You mischievous little angel.

Now I think I will do a "How To Dumb Yourself Down in 12 Easy Steps".

Another sarcasm post for all the sensitive sallies and thin-skinned sams out there.

Universal Health Care Cantaora said...

Many thanks for this post. Good points all. I still think it's most important to try to use more parts of all of the brain AT the SAME TIME. We certainly do use all of our brains, but not all at once, and not in conjunction to solve problems, usually. It's the combined use of both sides and multiple parts of the brain (so I've read) at the same time, or on a single problem, that we don't generallly accomplish. This is the act, I believe, of looking at problems from a different level to that on which the problems were originally created, to paraphrase Einstein.

Yonas said...

Intriguing article and definately enlightening. I think you've hit home on all the aspects to focus on that would allow for the nurturing environment of mind growth in a positive direction. Productivity, challenging your mind and saturating the mind with new and positive knowledge and experiences is the key. I truly enjoyed the article!