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The Art of Mind-Hacking: Are There Innovative Ways to Improve Our Intelligence?

I have this really huge problem, and it’s literally getting bigger with each passing day. You see, I’m a book hound (and a knowledge-addict) so I tend to grab every book I can find that has to do with physics, philosophy, ufology, scientific method, and the like. The problem arises from the fact that, while my book collection grows larger by the day, the time I’m able to dedicate toward reading is vastly minimized by the speed at which life seems to be happening.

So how’s a guy supposed to learn anything new if there simply isn’t enough time to read? To try and resolve this, I’ve become more and more intrigued by the notion of “mind-hacking.” It’s a concept that has become synonymous within the pages of magazines like Wired and blogs like Geekology… and yet, despite all the ways we can change how our minds interpret and gain knowledge, I’m left with one curious conundrum: is it possible to change the speed at which that knowledge is gained also?

It seems that my target objective goes well beyond speed-reading here… but seriously, I’m sitting here looking at the stack of books next to me, which range from new additions (yet sometimes old copies) of Koestler’s Janus: A Summing Up and Vallee’s Dimensions (an absolute necessity for the serious Ufologist among us), to more recent publications like Stephen Law’s Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked Into an Intellectual Black Hole and journalist Leslie Kean’s UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On the Record. Whether it be insightful expansion of paranormal concepts like UFOs and other dimensions, or computer science systems that may literally merge with humanity at some point in the not-too-distant future, these are all subjects that are worthy of attention (and also subjects Mysterious Universe readers seek to understand, hence furthering my obligation to present insightful material related to them). Ideally I’d love to just sit down and read every one of the books I mentioned today in their entirety… but that just isn’t possible, right?

Maybe it is actually possible to take in knowledge in such ways… or at very least, maybe one day it will be. For answers to how this might occur, let’s begin by looking ahead a bit toward the future of information systems, and more importantly, how people like you or I will be able to interact with them.

According to guys like Ray Kurzweil, taking in such vast amounts of information in a single sitting may be as simple as downloading or streaming a song or movie from the Internet today. Remember in the Matrix films (I know, we’re all tired of the analogy, but bear with me) where Neo and the others could attach a cable to the back of their necks that would allow humans to “download” information much like a computer would do today? Well this may be a reality in the near future, thanks to incredible innovations expected to take place within the next few decades, which will inevitably change the way humans obtain, process, and store data.

Tying this in with UFOs for a moment, I’m reminded of how a friend recently expressed to me that innovations within the field of computer science will probably lend the most toward understanding anomalous objects seen in the skies, as well as the potential for things like extraterrestrial visitation. This will be achieved, in all likelihood, by the progressive growth of computer-based data storage and retrieval systems working in conjunction with advanced imagery networks that utilize satellite, motion detection, and other forms of visual data collection. Inevitably, the ways we will innovate visual and interpretive data systems in the coming years will put humans into a position of being able to observe the natural world around us in frighteningly innovative ways: if there are indeed strange flying objects buzzing around in the skies out there, before long they may literally have no place to hide.

But getting back to ways of “hacking” our own brains so we can cram lots of information into ourselves (and manage to do so really, really quickly), we begin to see that information systems around us are already shoveling tremendous amounts of information in all directions simultaneously; such data is able to be obtained by humans just as well as it is able to be stored in the growing “data cloud” that is the web. I wonder how long before there will be ways to incorporate the retrieval of this sort of data within biological systems (namely within ourselves), so that instead of downloading an eBook onto our computer and reading it, we could literally upload the information directly into our brains.

But there are ethical questions that arise from all this: knowing man’s thirst for power, could people in a future where knowledge could be obtained and processed within the human brain so easily also seek to benefit from such technology in unscrupulous ways? In other words, could it result in criminal masterminds that would seek to “game the system” to benefit of their own greed and power? To this, I must make the following observation: aren’t we faced with those types already in the present?

Arguably, the free exchange of knowledge on such an esoteric level (at least compared with the way we do things today) might present a few risks, but we might also become a greater, far more advanced society as a result. Additionally, the free exchange of knowledge and information in such ways may also result in a strange sort of “singularity” of it’s own (to borrow Kurzweil’s term again). Except here, rather than mankind merging with machines it builds, the information made accessible to us suddenly brings us together in terms of collective knowledge, and armed with wisdom and almost infinite access to knowledge in all areas, we may even come to understand our present biology, our political bickering, and a host of other “necessities” of today as what they really are: utterly inconsequential.

My brain hurts just from thinking about all this… and for the time being, it seems the best, most logical next step toward obtaining what I’ve outlined in my rambling above would be to try and incorporate natural focus-enhancement with speed-reading techniques, in an effort to be able to render, obtain, and comprehend knowledge in frighteningly fast ways. Hence, at this point I put it out the the ever-savvy and enlightened Mysterious Universe readers… have you ever stumbled onto a “trick” that has seemed to aid in your ability to focus on, comprehend, or retain information from reading (or otherwise)? If so, how did you manage to do it, or what other unique ideas can you come up with that point in that direction? If you manage to come up with anything amazing, by all means post it in the comments section below, and you can always email me just as well.

Good luck… we’re all counting on you to make the rest of us speed-reading geniuses!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJsHRltEVBc[/youtube]

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Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.
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