Want to learn Kung Fu in seconds like Neo did in the famous Matrix trilogy? How about learning to speak a foreign language in seconds? Or knowing how to fix a combustion engine? Imagine what it would be like if you could “upload” this kind of knowledge to your brain?
A flurry of Internet articles points to a study that suggests that super learning can be done – Matrix style – with transhumanist accouterments like nano-sized implants of computer chips and electrodes. However, ancient philosophies like yoga have been “downloading” information and accelerated learning from the cosmos for centuries with practices like yoga-nidra and meditation.
Which way of achieving super learning is best, and what are the drawbacks of relying on an AI learning model?
First, the Study Suggesting Super Learning is Possible
The study in question, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, found that subjects who received brain stimulation via electrode-embedded head caps improved their piloting abilities and learned flying tasks 33 percent better than a placebo group, but they didn’t get hardwired with an ability to speak German or suddenly understand how to navigate a plane if they never knew how before.
Discover says, “we can’t upload information to your brain,” but there are other studies with similar transhumanist themes along these lines, including this study that implanted electrodes meant for machine learning for myoelectric control right into an arm or hand, and this one detailing a diamond-based electrode that is implanted in the brain to detect neurochemicals, with the intent of giving a stimulus to alter them remotely. The overarching goal seems to be able to do exactly that – upload information straight into the brain.
Dr. Matthew Phillips, who headed the study said, “Our system is one of the first of its kind. It’s a brain stimulation system.”
While it sounds sci-fi, and “the first of its kind” it simply isn’t.
While the researchers were able to target a specific task – piloting an aircraft – which requires both motor skills and cognitive skill, nothing was downloaded or uploaded into the brain – they just improved the function of the brain to tap into its intelligence reserves.
The scientists conducting the study admit as much when they wrote,
“When you learn something, your brain physically changes. Connections are made and strengthened in a process called neuro-plasticity.
“It turns out that certain functions of the brain, like speech and memory, are located in very specific regions of the brain, about the size of your pinky.”
Dr. Phillip’s intends for brain stimulation to eventually be applied to learning tasks like driving, exam preparation, and language learning.
“What our system does is it actually targets those changes to specific regions of the brain as you learn,” he added.
“The method itself is actually quite old. In fact, the ancient Egyptians 4000 years ago used electric fish to stimulate and reduce pain.”
Hold onto that last comment about the ancient Egyptians, because we’re going to return to it momentarily.
Transhumanism vs. the Elevation of Consciousness
Transhumanists believe that superintelligence must be achieved via the addition of machine-learning or AI. While they know the human mind is capable of amazing things, transhumanists believe that we can’t achieve our true potential without computer and mechanical science.
This is one leg of the transhumanist stool with super longevity and super health being the other two.
Each of these is also arrived at with genetic manipulation, or the complete alteration of the human form, a la Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator. We would all eventually become part machine, part human, or just machine-learned AI bots.
One could argue that transhumanism is an offshoot of the mechanistic worldview promulgated by Newtonian purists. It is based on a reductionist view of the human race, with a materialist, reflection-correspondence view of all things.
Essentially, everything can be broken down into smaller machine-like parts like nuts and bolts (or the human genome), and be built and taken apart without any concern for the elements of human nature of which we know little about – i.e., subtle energy, the emerging field of epigenetics, and cosmological intelligence, notwithstanding.
Even mainstream news has published articles asking if the Universe is conscious, which would imply vast intelligence.
Authors like Rupert Sheldrake have expounded on the pitfalls of materialism in science and suggest that there are layers of interaction between seemingly simplistic parts which we are only just beginning to understand.
Some call this God, or consciousness, (Sheldrake calls it the morphogenetic field) but even the scientists will agree, something is going on that we can’t name or even study with the scientific method. The best we can do is postulate with thought experiments.
All this aside there is a massive rush to develop brain-to-computer tech with inventors like Elon Musk even promoting neurotechnology as a means to improve the human race.
Musk mentions the possibility of curing Alzheimer’s or giving soldiers special skills in wartime, but also brings up the elephant in the room, like the ethical ramifications of his tech Neuralink, a high bandwidth interface that connects humans with computers.
At some point, you’ve got to ask, “Who is controlling the interface?”
This is the big question surrounding super learning with artificial intelligence or computer enhanced neuroscience.
Yoga-nidra and Meditation Instead?
On the flip side, there are ancient practices (remember that ancient Egypt reference) as well as yoga-nidra and meditation that both allows you to achieve greater neuroplasticity and brain priming for both creative skills, and even highly detailed and analytical ones. This particular route doesn’t give away your sovereign power to decide what to upload or download into your consciousness.
Accelerated learning has been documented with these practices, and they just so happen to lower your bad cholesterol, improve your bad back, and boost your mood, without putting you into the hands of an evil AI overlord.
One study published on yoga-nidra, for example, proves that specific brain regions are affected with its practice, just as Dr. Phillip’s found in his study with an implanted electrode.
This particular yoga-nidra study also found that the erythrocyte sedimentation rate was lowered with just 30 minutes of practice – the ESR being the rate at which red blood cells sediment in a period of one hour, and used as a non-specific measure of inflammation. Brain inflammation is currently one of the biggest inhibitors of high cognitive function.
Moreover, mindfulness studies abound that its practice alters the brain’s grey matter, and even increases it, while also changing brain wave patterns which are associated with not only superior materialist learning but higher levels of consciousness which many describe as allowing them to tap into Universal or Cosmic consciousness and intelligence.
For example, meditation practices cause greater theta waves are good for studying new things, and deeper brainwave states can reduce cortisol which also inhibits learning.
Alpha brainwave states are correlative with super learning in and of themselves, but there are also brain wave states that have barely been recorded because so few human beings have been able to achieve them consistently, like Lambda and Epsilon states associated with super consciousness.
Hack Your Brain
The reigning World Memory Champion, Alex Mullen, can memorize the order of a deck of cards in 17 seconds. We don’t know how he does it, but if you need an example that super learning is possible without succumbing to the transhumanist agenda, try reading about yogic siddhis.
There are well-documented cases of Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Taoist, and Islamic saints and mystics who obtained super learning or obtained “special powers” called siddhis.
The great yogic master Patanjali himself said in 3.37 of the Yoga Sutras,
“These powers are accomplishments for the mind that is outgoing but obstacles to samadhi.”
His argument was that without ridding our minds of superfluous stuff we can’t attain the highest goal which isn’t to know 10 languages or five forms of marital arts to fight our foes on the battle field, but to experience spiritual Nirvana.
But if you still want super learning the non-AI way, check this guy out.
Dean Radin explains in his new book, “Supernormal: Science, Yoga and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities,”
“The essential goal of yoga was to achieve states of insight that revealed the true nature of Reality.” This rarefied plane of consciousness offers many spiritual rewards, some of which we’re familiar with–deep focus, empathy, enlightenment–and some of which sound more like the paranormal weaponry of the X-Men.”
By clearing their minds of static and attachments, and perfecting bare focus and attention, Radin suggests, yogis of previous eras could transcend their intellectual and bodily confinements to commune with—and alter—the world around them. Radin continues,
“After thousands of years of exploration, refinement, and discussion about [yoga] techniques, advanced yoga practitioners may have advanced far beyond what science is currently capable of confirming.”
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