The Greatest Power in the Universe
by U. S. Anderson
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1. It will show you how to use the greatest power in the universe to develop your abilities and attain your desires.
2. It will teach you how to use the strongest structure in the universe to build better memory and accelerated mind-power.
3. It will show you how to use Inner Ecology to improve your health, increase your longevity, and restore your body to youthfulness.
4. It will teach you how to use the feedback signals of Outer Psychology to remove emotional charge from your memory bank and free your energies for success and achievement.
5. It will show you how to use the Ecology Diet to build up your vitality and increase your energy and free yourself from disease and malfunction.
6. It will teach you a simple new way to quit smoking, stop drinking, and rid yourself of excess weight.
7. It will show you how to open the door to your subconscious mind and use its forces to win love and happiness.
8. It will teach you how to establish contact with your Master Mind and use its powers to expand your consciousness and experience astral travel.
9. It will show you how to meet and know your Master Self—the spiritual guide who controls your destiny.
10. It will give you techniques for recalling your past lives and teach you how to become free of your karma.
11. It will show you how to see into the future, perceive things at a distance, read the thoughts of others.
12. It will reveal to you your spiritual destiny—show you how to claim that destiny now—place in your hands the keys to immortality and power.
The American Dream is the ancient dream of the prophets of Atlantis who sought union with God and thereby a measure of God's freedom and power.
Today, all that man remembers of Atlantis is “the gods who came out of the sea”—the glory of their golden ornaments, the transcendency of their wisdom, and the sanctity of their symbols. Wherever the Atlanteans roamed, they erected temples and pyramids patterned after the great sanctuary in their City of the Golden Gates, and so it was that they built the pyramids of Egypt, Mexico, and Central America.
In the midst of this program of colonization, the cataclysms began that sank Atlantis beneath the sea. The spiritually illumined withdrew from the doomed continent, carrying with them their Sacred Scrolls. Nearly all the cosmological myths that underlie the world's Great Religions are based on the Atlantean Sacred Scrolls, for they comprise the Great Way to spiritual illumination. There are many paths, but there is only one Great Way.
Now the cast of characters has assembled once again. Now the costumes and settings have been taken from memory's storage and refurbished anew. Now the orchestra strikes the first resounding chord of the overture. The curtain is about to go up. Atlantis is rising . . .
Discoveries of Cybernetics
Within a small and heavily wooded ravine in the Cascade Mountains on the Oregon coast nestles a tiny, jewel-like lake where human foot has seldom trod. In crystal depths swim giant trout, landlocked all the year except for spring when over-flowing waters carry them by creek down to the sea. Anglers greet this sudden bounty by renewing faith in the mysterious lake that not a single one has seen, though more than one has often searched. I, too, looked for the lake but never found it. I even wrote a story about a man and his son who looked. They didn't find it either. I realized then that the lake symbolized the Secret of Life.
I discovered that secret through cybernetics.
THE REAL AND THE UNREAL
The word was coined in 1948 by Norbert Wiener, a mathematics professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, when he published under that name a book describing the functioning of the automatic feedback control devices that were being used in steering ships and flying planes and in the new computing machines. He derived the word from the Greek, meaning steersman, and much of the book was devoted to drawing analogies between the feedback control devices of machines and the feedback control devices of the human nervous system. The brain, illustrated Wiener, might best be likened to a complex computing machine.
Since his book was published by M.I.T., it was distributed to a restricted audience, but computer developments over the next decade made Wiener's utterances so prophetic that John Wiley published a 1961 edition for the general public. A copy fell into my hands.
It is difficult to describe my excitement. After having traveled fully around the world in my search for the essence of man's mind, now for the first time, I felt I had found something concrete and material, something demonstrable and repeat-able, something I surely could learn to understand and control. Earlier I had published several books which developed the premise of an indwelling God, but mine was an intellectual vision only, and the full realization had eluded me.
Hard on the heels of the Wiley edition came a popularization of Wiener's work by the eminent plastic surgeon, Maxwell Maltz. His book, Psycho-Cybernetics, combined feedback control with positive thinking to provide a regime for self-improvement, and it became a best-seller. Overnight, thousands of Americans were introduced to the idea that the brain was a highly sophisticated machine. A few, like myself, were thus led to ask, "Who's operating it?"
THE GHOST IN THE SKULL
Dean Wooldridge thought that nobody was. The wealthy co-founder of Ramo-Wooldridge resigned his company position in 1962 to devote himself to scientific pursuits and to writing, and in 1963 he published The Machinery of the Brain, a scholarly compendium of correspondences between brain and computer functioning, an area which he felt offered unparalleled opportunity for scientific advancement.
Several other books carried the same theme. Among them were J. von Neumann's The Computer and the Brain, D. O. Hebb's The Organization of Behavior, and Brain Mechanisms and Learning, a compendium of papers edited by Fessard, Gerard, Konorski and Delafresnaye. Though I refused to concede the argument of the materialists and give up the idea of a "ghost" in the skull, nevertheless I had to admit that most behavior seemed automatic. The human machine had enormous potential, but it had to be trained to develop it. Training was "conditioning," a term used by Ivan Pavlov to describe the process by which he produced automatic reaction in dogs.
On a sultry afternoon in mid-August, I received a long distance phone call from a vice-president of a national firm, requesting that I run a series of training programs for his sales force. I had received such invitations before and had always declined since my primary concern was man's spiritual quest rather than his financial aspirations, and I simply felt that my brand of philosophy was not particularly suited to the rough-and-tumble world of competitive capitalism. But this time my caller was insistent. He had read three of my books, he said, and he knew that I was the man to do the job. He was positive that what his sales force needed was a spiritual anchor. The upshot was that I agreed to take on the task.
A SESSION WITH GOD
The first session was held in a resort hotel in upstate Illinois. One hundred salesmen were in attendance, together with their wives, and they had won this privilege with their sales records, so they were affluent and gregarious and hardnosed and fond of alcoholic beverages. The first time I mentioned the word "God" I could feel my audience stir, and after a bit a tall man with a large Adam's apple and wearing spectacles raised his hand and I called on him. He stood, removed his spectacles, polished them carefully with a handkerchief, placed them back on his nose, stared around at the audience, then fixed me with his gaze.
"G-O-D," he said, "spells dog backwards." He sat down amid strained laughter.
I glanced at the vice-president who was on the stage with me. Beads of perspiration were popping on his forehead, but he managed a sickly grin. Well, I hadn't survived four and a half decades by persisting in unrewarding efforts. If my audience didn't want God, I'd give them cybernetics.
"Apparently we have a champion speller in the audience," I said. "Since he has demonstrated his proficiency with three letter words, perhaps he would like to try something longer. Would the gentleman please stand up?"
Tall and bespectacled, he arose from his seat, a confident smile on his face.
"Try cybernetics," I said.
He stared. "What?"
"Cybernetics. It's a new science of improving human performance by feedback control."
"Never heard of it."
"Take a crack at it anyway. Cybernetics."
"S-I-B-U-R-N-E-T-I-C-S," he spelled hesitantly.
I spelled it correctly on the blackboard, then said, "So, you see, we've both learned something. I learned how to spell dog backwards, and you learned that things are not always what they seem. Now we both can get down to learning something about improving our performance through feedback control. That way we'll make more money."
The subsequent three days were a roaring success.
THE INGREDIENTS OF GENIUS
I had to wing it, of course—make up much of it on the spot—but my head was crammed so full of the stuff that it just seemed to be there when I needed it, and fortunately somebody had a tape recorder turned on, so I emerged from the session with a complete new course for improving human performance. I called it Success Cybernetics.
I like to think that it was not simply a parroting of things I'd read, but rather a genuine creative effort, that all I'd learned about cybernetics was filtered through my experience in athletics, business, and writing, my years of study in philosophy and comparative religions, to produce something different from anything that had been done to that time. For fundamental to my understanding of cybernetics was awareness of the power of a well-drawn plan to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This kind of control of the future was something that seers and soothsayers had been after for years without notable success, and I found myself excited about being on the verge of a breakthrough in mental power.
The automatic feedback control devices in the human nervous system were easy enough for most people to grasp. They could understand that you could never become a good automobile driver, a good typist, a good piano player, until you were able to perform all the necessary movements automatically, without thinking, responding to signals in much the same way as an electronic computer responds to signals. Nearly everyone had had the experience of driving five or ten miles to the office through heavily congested traffic, making all the appropriate moves, with his mind on something else, so that when he arrived at the office he couldn't remember a single event that had transpired en route. Thus nearly everyone understood that the nervous system usually performed automatically. The obvious corollary of this understanding was the principle that to achieve skills you must practice. And practice. And practice. Until the skills were ingrained in the nervous system and functioned automatically.
To most people this realization came as a shock. They had thought that Heifitz just walked out there and played the violin, that Bob Hope was born with that timing, that Einstein popped out of the womb clutching the Theory of Relativity. For a person by dint of sweat and diligence to be able to train himself to genius seemed heresy.
HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENT
Was environment more important than heredity then? Or was heredity more important than environment?
I couldn't help thinking that the question was much like the one that had plagued me from the start. Was materialism more important than spirituality?
For example, among people who practiced the same amount, some would perform better than others. And among the people who practiced the least would be someone who could perform better than somebody who practiced the most.
So there was a mystical factor.
But was heredity so mystical? Hadn't we isolated the genetic structure? Didn't it carry a coded signal to other cells to tell them what kinds of cells to be, just like the master program of an electronic computer?
Oh, that coded signal could tell those cells what to be, all right, but could it tell them what to do?
It could not tell them what to do. It could only tell them what to be. They would have to learn what to do.
So in the seminars we concentrated on goals—all the things we wanted to get done or see done sometime in the future, whether it was two hours from now or twenty years from now. You can't imagine the consternation this produced. People sat for hours with lead pencils to their tongues. It turned out that the cause of this paralysis was their feeling that they were being required to predict the future rather than make it up. That anyone could possibly make it up was foreign to their thinking. When it was pointed out that a writer made up a story, and an artist made up a painting, and a composer made up a song, they thought that the comparison was unfair because they were being asked to make up something that was real.
"The future isn't real yet," I objected. "It has to be made up."
"But that isn't always true," they complained. "The future isn't always what we think it is going to be. It's usually a surprise."
The only people who are surprised by the future are the people who don't make it up.
That got us into goal achievement. We were able to understand that the only way a person could learn a skill was to get a mental picture of himself performing that skill. That was a goal. The goal gave him a means of disciplining his actions. After he had practiced enough to learn the skill, he didn't need the mental picture anymore, because the appropriate reactions had been trained into his nervous system. That was cybernetics.
Goals and automatic reactions—what you wanted to accomplish and the steps that would accomplish it—practicing the steps, getting good at them, doing them, reaching the goal—a nice little system for getting things done. It used both the mind and body, but there seemed no place for the soul. I missed the soul, but apparently nobody else did. The program won immediate acceptance.
Soon people were acting as if they had mastered all the secrets. "It's really so simple!" they exclaimed. That worried me. But as time passed and more and more people embraced the program enthusiastically, I gradually put my fears aside. After all, the proof of a thing was in its performance, and everybody who took to getting things done the cybernetics way was getting things done better and faster. Demands on my time, however, began to accelerate, so it eventually occurred to me to put the course in book form, thus it could be taught by sales managers and personnel directors and athletic coaches and military officers and business executives and school teachers and whoever else had a stake in improving human performance.
About this time, a disconcerting thing happened. One of my prize pupils, a super-achiever, was stricken with a heart attack. A relatively young man of 42, he was forced into a life of semi-retirement, being told by his doctor that he had strained his resources beyond the breaking point and would need much time and rest to repair the damage. To the credit of my stricken friend, he never once suggested that his cybernetics program might have brought on his heart attack, but I couldn't help toying with the possibility myself, and I didn't much like what I saw.
After some prompting, his wife revealed how he had set a goal to be president of his company and how he had worked day and night to achieve it. She confirmed that the resultant seven-day-a-week, 16-hour-a-day schedule had been too much for him. So, for the time being at least, his goal had been defeated.
I thought over this problem for a long time but could see no solution. Eventually, I shrugged it off as just one of those things—the exception, perhaps, that proved the rule—and turned again to happier areas where things were working fine.
Then another unusual thing happened. A young man who had set a goal of making a great deal of money had made over two million dollars during a hectic nine week period on the commodity market. Everybody who visited him brought back a strange report. He appeared downcast, not at all elated. Some even reported him despondent. That observation was apparently close to the point, for within a few weeks he attempted suicide, and his death was narrowly averted. His friends prevailed upon me to call on him, which I did with misgivings. One does not easily face up to the fact that his antagonist is death.
I found him tucked into a lounge chair on the balcony outside his apartment. Though it was a pleasant day, he was bundled up in blankets, and his face was pale and drawn. The autumn sun cast shadows on the street below, and in the distance, the shimmering haze of the ocean could be seen. He apologized for not rising to receive me, and explained that he had been overcome by such lethargy that the simplest movements were beyond him. I tried to bring the conversation around to the money he had made, but he seemed not to hear me, staring into the distance in a manner which made me uncomfortable. Finally I tried talking about all the things he could do with the money, all the places he could go, the things he could see, but this made no impression either. At last I arrived at my wit's end, and we sat on the balcony in silence.
rose to go, his liquid eyes stared at me. "Call me Mr. Midas," he
A STRANGE MEETING
The interview had depressed me, and I felt like being alone, so I let the car have its head and before long discovered that I was driving south from Santa Monica along the Southern California coast. Eventually, I reached a deserted beach where a jetty jutted into the sea. On impulse, I decided to park and walk out on the pier, there to look upon the ocean and feel the breeze and reflect upon my afternoon visit.
The night had settled down chill, and by the time I found a parking place, I was thankful that I had a sweater in the car. Donning it, I hiked across the sands and made my way out on the pier. Along the horizon hung a faint reddish glow from the starboard running lights of a ship. The sky was overcast. Not a star was to be seen. Breaking seas ran beneath the jetty with an exaggerated whoosh and roar.
I wandered out onto the pier, staring unseeingly at the sea and night. Thus it was that I suddenly came upon a man sitting on a small bench toward the seaward end of the jetty. His presence startled me. Doubly so, his appearance.
He wore a violet jacket of old-fashioned cut, a white ruffled shirt, dark striped trousers, square-toed boots, and he rested his hands on a gold-crested walking stick. His hair was long, dark and abundant, and he wore a full mustache and neatly trimmed beard. Clear blue eyes were fixed on me quizzically, and he looked so elegant sitting there that I wondered if I was suffering an hallucination.
"You look like an educated man," he said. "Do you know Faust?"
The question took me aback, but I managed to admit that I was familiar with Goethe's work.
He nodded his head, as if in affirmation. "One must pay, of course. That is what makes a bargain."
I suppose that at any other time the obliqueness of the conversation would have irritated me and I would have demanded to know at once what was meant, but there was something so sophisticated about his appearance that I found myself weighing the various meanings that might be intended. My mind was drawn at once to the situation of Mr. Midas.
THE FANTASTIC BARGAIN
"Can one truly have anything in the world if he gives up his immortal soul?" I asked.
"That is apparently what Goethe was trying to say," answered my companion.
"Why would Goethe occupy himself with such a question?"
The walking stick was raised then thumped against the planking of the pier. Its owner gave vent to a melodious laugh and said in high good humor, "Tell me, truly now, is there anything else for man to be concerned with?"
"Assuming he has a soul, I suppose not."
"Do you assume that he has no soul?"
"It is a question to which I have been addressing myself most seriously. For a long time, I felt that man had a soul and I made every effort to discover it, but at last it seemed mere vanity, so I turned away from the abstract to the concrete, which has proven a great deal more useful to both myself and others."
"Then you've made the Faustian bargain."
"How do you mean?"
"You've given up the abstract for the concrete, which simply means that you've given up your soul in order to have things."
I stared at him. "I should not like to think that the bargain was irreversible."
His gaze seemed to discern my innermost thoughts. "The fact that you are here is proof that the bargain is not yet irreversible." He banged his stick against the pier in emphasis. "Not yet, at least." Then he stood and threw a cloak about him. "Well, I must be going. It has been an interesting chat." He started off along the pier and immediately disappeared from view. A light fog had risen, and I was left in the isolation of my thoughts.
A strange sensation of vertigo seized me, as if there was no place solid to stand. I felt that I was immersed in a dream, trying desperately to awaken. Staggering along the pier toward the shoreline, it seemed that I must walk this narrow way forever. Finally I reached the sand then found the car and managed to drive home. When I went to bed, my dreams were haunted by an elegant figure in a violet jacket, and I knew that some great change was about to enter my life.
TREADING THE FAUSTIAN LINE
In the morning, I arrived at a decision. I would postpone my teaching. An invisible weight disappeared from my shoulders, and I sang boisterously in the shower. I hadn't felt so good for months. Now I understood that I had only half the truth, and until I had much more, I had best confine myself to being a student rather than a teacher.
The question was, how best to start? Should I circle again the perimeter of man's philosophical and religious thought, hoping to discern something that had escaped me the first time? Or should I pick up my search among the axioms and formulas of science, an area that at least had produced cybernetics? I was persuaded at once, because of the little I knew of science, that whatever was missing from my complete understanding existed in the area where I understood the least. I resolved to carry on my subsequent investigations in the area of science.
In high school and college, I had a terrible time with mathematics. It seemed to me that numbers were a waste of time because there were no ideas in them. Five years later I woke to the fact that not only were there ideas in them, but those ideas were permanent. In other words, they were laws. The way I came to see this was I became navigating officer of my ship during World War II. They gave me some tables so I could correlate my star sight (height above the horizon, compass direction and time) with my ship's position on the face of the ocean. I got to wondering how all this was done, and that launched me into spherical trigonometry. When I started drawing in my mind those great triangles of balancing pressures that extend throughout the universe, when I actually started seeing that those triangles existed evermore, when I began realizing that the relationship between them was immutable and unchanging, for the first time I felt I had touched the eternal heart of God.
Now, I was treading the Faustian line. Because, to really get into something, one had to get into it exclusively. To get into science exclusively, I had to exclude mysticism. That meant I had to become one-sided. That meant I must adopt a hard-headed, materialistic, show-me, I'm-from-Missouri type of practical realism about everything that crossed my path.
Oh, I could play the role. What, after all, is an actor but his quest? And I knew I could save myself from being permanently cast in the role. What, after all, is strong enough to stand against growth? And the objective was intriguing, indeed. What is the meaning of man's life? Or was there a meaning? And if so, where was that meaning to be found?
THE MIND CONTROLS EVERYTHING
When one takes on an area of knowledge as broad as science itself, and an arena as large as the universe, he is likely to find himself in the position of not knowing where to start. In such cases, the winds carry their own boding, and leaning ladders, and black cats, and most of all, well-meaning friends. Thus it was, on a Saturday night, in the midst of a party that was "high" if not drunken, a friendly fellow who had known me in college told me that he was now a professor at U.C.L.A. Though I didn't remember him, I acknowledged the past, then politely inquired what he taught. "Brain Sciences," he answered, and for the rest of the evening, he educated me.
It turned out that the University of California at Los Angeles had a Brain Research Laboratory that was doing extraordinary work in lifting the mystery that surrounded the working of the human brain. W. S. Adey had come up with some remarkable findings that indicated how little was known and understood about how the brain really functioned.
I acknowledged that I had heard of Dr. Adey.
"Brainwaves!" cried the professor. "That's the thing of the future! Adey is discovering all sorts of things. For example, right now I know you're in beta. You'd feel better if you were in alpha. You'd get better ideas if you were in theta. Well, whatever, somewhere along the way we're going to discover that the mind controls everything."
"Are you an M.D.?" I asked.
"Everything is chemical," he replied.
"Where do I find out about these brainwaves?""Try the Biomedical Library at U.C.L.A."