Let’s begin with a quick review of Ergonomics.
1: An applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely – also known as biotechnology, human engineering, human factors.
2: The study of the problems of people in adjusting to their environment; esp., the science that seeks to adapt work or working conditions to suit the worker.
3: The design characteristics of an object resulting especially from the application of the science of Ergonomics.
Specialists in Ergonomics study the mechanics of the human body to derive universal principles of design that support natural movement and thereby reduce forces that are harmful to the body. These principles are utilized in the design of working and living spaces and the myriad of tools, utensils, and appliances that the body interacts with every day. However, the design of environmental elements is only half of the equation. Everyone could significantly reduce their risk of injury and improve their overall health and well-being by learning to harmonize their body movement with Ergonomic principles.
Ergonomic training cultivates a highly refined sensory awareness of how the body interacts with the elements of its environment. Skilled observation of our own joint and muscle functioning is needed to anticipate and detect unnatural forces as they are encountered and automatically adjust our posture to gain the optimal mechanical advantage. Given time and regular practice, those that follow these principals experience profound physical changes. Consistent application of Ergonomic principles endows the practitioner with advanced motor skills and a new found feeling of comfort and confidence in physical performance.
Neural Ergonomics applies Ergonomic reasoning to support natural function of the internal mechanisms of the brain. Many harmful forces are generated, both internally and externally, that disrupt this natural function. There is in fact an optimal approach to thinking that can nullify these harmful forces while simultaneously removing the impediments to mental clarity. Everyone could significantly raise their overall level of awareness by learning to harmonize their thinking with Neural Ergonomic principles.
It may seem difficult to reconcile the concept of a universal “best” way to think (as if we should all think exactly the same) while allowing for the unique individuality of every person, but actually there is no conflict.
Ergonomics does not address WHAT activities the body engages in, it’s all about HOW to best utilize the body’s inherent mechanical design to maximize performance of any physical activity. Likewise, Neural Ergonomics is not about WHAT to think, it’s all about HOW to leverage the brain’s inherent functional design to maximize the performance of thinking itself – regardless of subject matter.
Practicing Neural Ergonomics develops a highly sensitized self-awareness of our own thinking, and awareness of the forces in the world outside the mind that influence our thinking. Acquiring a keen sense of awareness reveals the truth behind these forces that in turn empowers us with the means to discern the authenticity of our thoughts and deflect the forces that hinder the performance of thinking.
Universal Attributes of Mind & Body
Of course since the brain and body function together as one, it’s no surprise they share many attributes of design. After all, there is no denying they were both created by the same designer. Because most of us are more familiar with the workings of the body the simplest approach to understanding how brain function develops is to draw a parallel with how the body’s functioning develops.
The human body is composed of an intricate array of inter-dependent subsystems – each with their own balance of strengths and weaknesses. And, like the proverbial snowflake, no two human bodies are exactly alike. Yet even within this boundless diversity there is one important universal attribute all bodies have in common, which is found in their characteristic response to STIMULUS.
The Response to Stimulus
Stimulus is the key factor that motivates development by acting as a catalyst to prompt a reaction. At the most rudimentary level, the body itself provides stimulus through our senses that motivates us to sustain life. The stimulus of hunger motivates us to eat. The stimulus of fatigue motivates us to rest and sleep. The stimulus of heat or cold motivates us into action to create a more favorable living environment.
Stimulus comes in many forms, both negative and positive, and is derived from many sources. Stimulus can occur spontaneously, triggered by the random whims of circumstance, or it can be deliberately designed and deployed to produce a desired effect. And, in either case, the stimulus can manifest from the world outside the mind, or it can be generated from within the mind itself.
Designed stimulus, in the form of proper physical training, will cause the body to respond in a predictable manner. Body building employs stimulus which isolates the different muscle groups to enhance their definition. Calisthenics training employs stimulus that works all parts of the body together as a whole to enhance overall conditioning. A more complex stimulus is employed in gymnastics to condition the body to perform extraordinary dynamic movement. Stimulus derived from playing sports endows the body with the increased speed, endurance, and agility needed to quickly respond to unpredictable circumstances.
Stimulus is by no means restricted to athletic pursuits, the same principles apply to activities that require highly refined physical performance such as playing a musical instrument or manipulating paint on canvas to produce a great masterpiece of art.
The Philosophy of Stimulus Training
When any type of regular training is performed, the body automatically responds by acquiring whatever attributes are needed to perform the training. As these attributes are gradually acquired and improved, the body becomes sensitized to the physical requirements of performing the activity. This amplified sensitivity expands our awareness of the changes taking place in the body and the higher level of performance these changes engender. These changes are the hallmark of sustained evolution in the mind and body. Along with our new found abilities comes the realization of new potential possibilities of movement.
Development proceeds in a cyclic manner. The heightened awareness we gain helps us to discover our strengths and weaknesses which enables us to refine the training to leverage the advantages of our strengths and bolster our weaknesses. Elevated training continues to hone our evolving skills and further enhances the awareness of how these new skills could be utilized. Heightened awareness also endows a progressively higher level of control over the process which brings a wider range of options in deploying our newly developed skills.
Development will continuously evolve in this manner for as long as we care to participate, and always in proportion to how vigorously we participate.
The Force of Willpower
Success in this cyclical process depends entirely on our resolve and willpower to exert the effort. The level of performance we ultimately attain is directly proportional to the amount of effort we exert in attaining it. Effort is a function of our force of free-will which is invariably a matter of choice.
We can choose to ignore or avoid stimulus from outside sources. We can also choose not to engage in designing our own stimulus. Living without stimulus, and the response it will surely incite, diminishes our sensitivity and awareness of the inner workings of our own body and any potential to benefit from the experience is lost. Without stimulus the body weakens and will eventually atrophy to a point barely capable of movement.
It is also worthy of note that we humans are creatures of habit, and so the amount of effort we exert has a tendency towards becoming habitual.
An in-depth exploration of the body’s intricate internal mechanisms responsible for physical development is far beyond the scope of this writing and not especially relevant to the topic at hand. However, there is a single basic concept that is very important to keep in mind.
The Wonder of Adaptation
The development of physical potential is possible because of the body’s innate propensity of adapting to stimulus by literally reconstructing its internal mechanisms to a more favorably balanced configuration. Stimulus is the force that induces this adaptation and the body will always respond in a manner that exactly opposes whatever effects these forces inflict upon us. You may recognize a basic universal principle at play here – “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.
To summarize what we have covered so far – Stimulus, along with the amount of effort we exert in responding to it, can produce the Olympic athlete, the concert violinist – or the consummate couch potato.
So how does all this relate to the mind?
The Brain’s Neuroplasticity
Like the body, the brain also possesses the ability of reacting to stimulus. The internal mechanisms involved in the process are far more complex but the basic functional principle is exactly the same. The brain is endowed with the remarkable ability to reorganize its own internal neural connections – literally able to reconstruct itself to become better at whatever it is called upon to do.
Transformation takes place automatically in response to stimulus generated by the effort of learning new things. Known as Neuroplasticity, this amazing life long adaptive ability is what ultimately defines the brain’s capacity to comprehend information and, perhaps more importantly, to utilize the power of imagination. The act of thinking itself is what determines the extent of the brain’s ability to perceive reality,
Principals of Neural Ergonomics
Given the above, Neural Ergonomics is predicated on three fundamental principles:
1 : That the mind is born with the innate ability to learn and a primal motivation to understand its perceptions.
2 : That every single mind that has ever existed is a one of a kind individual.
3 : That each mind is free to engage in its own evolution in accordance with its own unique individual nature.
The Organized Despair of Systems
These three principals are self-evident and yet it seems our true organic nature has been usurped in favor of the concept of systems. We have become a society of systems. We have systems of mathematics, systems of etiquette, systems of communication, systems of organization, business systems, travel systems, mechanical and electronic systems. In today’s world, only for the first few precious years of life are we relatively free to live in self-directed harmony with these fundamental principals before we are led astray by outside forces.
Commencement of our formal education marks the point we embark on our journey of system integration. Systems of formal education have always faced a dilemma in that the volume of students precludes giving each one individual attention. Resolving the dilemma would presumably entail discerning the unique character of each student and thereby formulate a basis to design course study and teaching methods that are optimized for the individual. Unfortunately this approach is hopelessly impractical.
Efficient production of graduates is the main criteria of this system, so instead of the system adapting to the student it is the student that must adapt to the system – adapt or face rejection. Systems have no tolerance for anything which does not conform to their constructs. Formal education has thereby been reduced to memorizing information that is presented to us as the standard curriculum of what must be learned.
Success in this system is measured by our ability to memorize and recite information that has been discovered, validated, and recorded by others. The brain’s internal mechanisms involved in simply memorizing information are very limited in scope, and as a result, this type of limited training and constrained focus develops the brain to an equally limited extent. Education utilizes only a small fraction the brain’s actual capabilities.
By the age of seven only ten percent of our children manage to retain their natural creativity. By the time they have finally completed their education a mere two percent of students emerge with their Right-Brain skills of creativity relatively intact. Many students of predominate Right-Brain inclination are robbed of their education by a system that rejects those with poor Left-Brain skills. Society as a whole is robbed of a precious resource that could otherwise be utilized to tremendous benefit.
Systems Have Their Place – But…
Although it may seem to the contrary, it is not the intention of this article to dispute the tremendous value of systems. Systems provide a very efficient means for us to learn and to work together for a common goal. There are certainly tremendous benefits to be gained by learning from information that has already been “proven”, but forcing an infinite mind to conform within the limits of a pre-configured system, and to do so motivated by an imposed need to succeed for fear of rejection, definitely has its dark side.
Incessant focus on memorizing existing information subliminally conditions the mind to blindly accept information just as it’s given, without questioning its truth, without exploring for new undiscovered possibilities, and without daring to challenge accepted traditional convention.
We endure this conditioning over so many years that the limited thinking it fosters becomes habitual – NORMAL. Students are left little time or motivation to work through the thinking processes involved in formulating their own unique opinions from their own unique perspectives.
The mind is thus distracted from its natural self-propelled evolution by systems that treat us as if we are all identical. Those that persist in expressing their unique individuality are most often attacked and ridiculed by those that have accepted system integration. And as we learn so do we teach our children, unwittingly indoctrinating them into the constructs of systems at the earliest age and thereby propagating system values throughout successive generations.
The Neuro-Organic Alternative
When learning is limited by the rules of a system, Neuroplasticity will inevitably respond by optimizing the brain’s capability to process information in accordance with imposed limitations. Retardation of the mind’s full creative potential is the unfortunate consequence. This brings to light a curious paradox. Systems do tend to retard creativity and yet at the pinnacle of any system it is precisely this same creativity which is most highly valued.
We must learn to question the agenda of our systems to maintain awareness of how we are affected by our blind acceptance and faithful participation. Most of us are not aware that anything has been lost. Why would we be? We are never informed about the brain’s natural potential of explosive idea generating creativity, certainly not directly trained in its use. And after all, understanding the world from the perspective of our systems serves us very well. Everything is provided to advance within the system and successfully navigate the challenges of life. Why bother with anything more?
Because there IS so very much more. To unite logic and imagination in a seamless interplay under complete, self-aware, control. To instantaneously understand and appreciate things from every conceivable point of view. To gain awareness of how ego and emotion can distort the perception of reality. To recognize the many obstacles that obscure the truth. To nurture the mind’s natural flexibility to generate any number of new innovative ideas at will, coupled with the capability to successfully marshal new ideas into productive and profitable action.
These are the attributes of wisdom that work together in concert to enrich the full spectrum experience of life and open the door to a whole new world of endless possibility.
Engaging in activities that cultivate these invaluable attributes triggers Neuroplasticity to respond in kind by further optimizing the brain’s capability of acquiring them. Children that grow up with Neural Ergonomic practice can still take full advantage of everything systems have to offer while never loosing perspective of their true organic nature. Contrary to what many believe, genius is not a mystical talent bestowed only upon the gifted few, but a viable skill that can be learned and mastered by everyone.
Creativity and the Acquisition of Knowledge
The great Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Truer words have never been spoken, and he is definitely one that would know. Although skilled in the disciplines of physics and mathematics, it was not the knowledge of these subjects that led to his groundbreaking formulas. Rather, it was his self-developed skill in properly UTILIZING his imagination that empowered him to discover new knowledge, literally dreamed into reality from nothing, that began to unlock the hidden secrets of the universe. Only after his imagination brought his theories to light could he begin to interpret this new knowledge in the languages of science.
Imagination is regarded by many as mere fantasy, as if nothing imagined could ever be real. Fantasy is certainly a product of imagination, but, as Einstein has well proven, imagination is capable of producing a great deal more. The discovery and realization of knowledge always precedes any possibility of understanding or explaining knowledge. The Logic of scientific disciplines cannot attempt to explain a hypothesis until after the imagination conceives a
hypothesis. Without imagination science is meaningless, in fact without imagination science could never exist.
When we close our eyes, and thereby draw a curtain over the world outside the mind, we dwell in a space that at once seems localized inside of our head and yet, when viewed from inside, has no discernible boundaries. An infinite inner universe where we have complete freedom to create whatever we wish. Absolutely nothing exists in this space except that which we ourselves manifest. In this regard we all exist as the supreme being of this inner universe where the only limits of creation are those we impose on ourselves.
Neural Ergonomics empowers practitioners to seek mastery over their inner space and to expand its limits and applications far beyond any borders to infinity.
A Complimentary Approach
This article began with an explanation of Ergonomics as having two distinct and complimentary methods of application. One method pertains to designing tools and environments that harmonize with our natural body mechanics. The other method pertains to training the body itself to interact within its environment in harmony with its own natural mechanics. Thus the ultimate aim of Ergonomics is to achieve a Utopian state of perfect harmony between the body and its
Neural Ergonomics embraces the same overriding philosophy and also utilizes a similar complimentary approach. However, a change of context from the Ergonomic paradigm shifts emphasis to achieving harmony between the mind and its environment. In this new context the mind is defined as the pure energy our thought or being, and the environment now encompasses the brain, the body, and the world outside, together as one.
One approach of Neural Ergonomic method introduces environmental elements designed with the aim of stimulating the mind to induce favorable Neuroplastic response. The complimentary method depends on the practitioner learning to utilize the stimulus to maximum advantage and thereby amplify Neuroplastic response to its greatest effect and practical realization.
Down to Earth
As mentioned earlier the mind and body share many attributes of design because they were both created by the same designer. Notice there was no mention regarding the nature of the designer. This subject could spark endless debate about the nature of the mind, its relationship to the body, questions of religious dogma, and the very nature of life itself. Neither the rigors of science nor blind faith of religion has yet to resolve these issues. Neural Ergonomics does not profess sublime hidden knowledge or attempt to explore or explain the mysteries of life.
The fact that we humans are self-aware, coupled with the fact that our self-awareness of our own consciousness is all that we truly know, behooves us to understand the nature of this awareness. We may never discover the truth about the nature of our existence or the force that brings us into being. But even though we don’t know exactly what this force is, we do know something about its behaviors, and we can utilize this knowledge to significant advantage.
Neural Ergonomics studies these behaviors to better understand the nature of the interactions between the mind and its environment. The aim of Neural Ergonomics is to develop principals of design and methods of application to empower the mind in its journey of self-propelled discovery.
Neural Ergonomics is focused on producing practical results by working to stimulate, revive, and amplify the brain’s primordial ability to think for itself. Neural Ergonomic training is designed to work directly with the brain’s Neuroplasticity to greatly extend the brain’s capabilities which in turn
expands the mind to ever higher levels of awareness. Practitioners of Neural Ergonomics reap tremendous benefits with respect to mental health and well-being, and quality of life in all aspects. Over time, regular practice can produce phenomenal results.
Neural Ergonomic methods empower the individual to reclaim and amplify their inherent organic potential of brilliant creativity blended with the decisive deductive reasoning of critical thinking. Neural Ergonomics embodies a philosophy in stark contrast to the prevailing culture fostered by an education system that merely presents us with information to assimilate, instead of fulfilling its more noble calling of teaching us how to think for ourselves.