[MD] Sounds familiarrrrrr

Michael R. Brown mrb at fuguewriter.com
Sun Dec 23 16:58:42 PST 2012

He explained to me later that he had begun his career as a medical 
student at the Kiev Medical Institute, but was expelled for distributing 
"provocative literature" on campus. In the late sixties, the K.G.B. 
labelled him "politically unreliable," and sent him to prison for two 
years. When he got out, he switched to biology, and eventually became a 
psychologist. In the nineteen-eighties, despite his history of 
radicalism, he ended up working for the Soviet government on a project 
to develop a set of stress-management techniques for cosmonauts, 
soldiers, and other individuals in states of psychological extremis. 
Those techniques form the basis of psychonetics, a quasi-mystical, 
quasi-philosophical self-help movement whose goal is to develop 
"technologies of human consciousness."

After I asked several times for a demonstration of these technologies, 
Bakhtiyarov pulled up a piece of software on his laptop. Half a dozen 
colored circles were slowly bouncing around the screen like billiard 
balls, shooting off in new directions as they collided with each other. 
Bakhtiyarov instructed us to try to look at the screen as a unified 
gestalt, instead of focussing on any individual ball. "***Your attention 
creates subjects and objects*** as it filters a stream of data," he 
said. "With deconcentration, we have no objects, just a feeling of 
everything in a single integrated whole." After a few moments, the balls 
all went black, and we were supposed to keep track of their original 
colors as they continued to bounce around the screen. It was, of course, 
impossible. But, according to Bakhtiyarov, it is through exercises like 
this that a psychoneticist can begin to access deeper layers of 
intuition about the world.

- http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/12/24/121224fa_fact_foer 


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