Incrreasing Intelligence

David Musick (
Sun, 29 Sep 96 23:03:09 UT

I mentioned that I have been working on changing the ways I think and take in
information over the past few years, and that I have been making myself
several times more intelligent in the process. Suresh Naidu responded:

"Really. Could give me some of the techniques you have been using. I would
certainly appreciate any methods of making myself more intelligent.
How do you alter your ways of taking in information? More diverse media? How
do you improve your observational and thinking skills. I just wrote a
programming competition today, and I watched as I was stumped on one problem,
a couple of people were burning up the score rankings. What makes a person
have insights?"

My efforts to consciously increase my intelligence and my perceptual abilities
were inspired a few years ago by reading Frank Herbert's wonderful book, Dune.
The main characters in the book were trained to be very perceptive and pay
close attention to subtle details. This was something that interested me very
much; to increase the clarity of my perceptions, to see more detail. So I
began working on sensory training.

I started looking at things more intently, trying to see more detail, paying
attention to notice everything I could about what I saw. I go for walks quite
often, and I try to pay attention to the exact details of things, not
necessarily to remember the details, but to at least notice them. I look at
the trees as I'm walking past and try to see the bark in as much detail as I
can, for example, and I try to do this with everything. I notice all the cars
driving by, all the birds flying, all the people walking around, the leaves
fluttering on the trees, the way the clouds look in the sky, that piece of
garbage being blown by the wind and the exact way it tumbles around; I try to
notice everything I can. I have taught myself to enjoy seeing things in great
detail, and so I actively seek to see more and more detail, and this gives me
great pleasure, so I keep trying to increase the resolution, increase the
bandwidth. I've learned to use all of my eyes' visual fields instead of just
the center of them. I have increased the amount of detail I see with my
peripherial vision, as well as the amount of detail I see in the center of my
eyes, so it has had the effect of widening my visual field, since I'm now make
active use of all of it.

I've done the same type of thing to my other senses as well. I have made it
extremely pleasurable to hear things in great detail, to hear and distinguish
all of the many sounds going on all around me at the same time. I have
trained myself to find great pleasure in feeling the exact textures of the
things I touch. When I eat, I pay great attention to the exact way the food
feels in all parts of my mouth, exactly how it tastes, how it smells,
everything. I try to pay close attention to the "exactness" of everything. I
have made this my goal, and when I acheive my goal each moment, I experience
pleasure, and so I try to experience things even more exactly, and I
experience even greater pleasure.

Basically, it's a matter of focusing one's attention on the details of the
present moment. And when the mind drifts off into its habitual thinking, I
refocus it on the exactness of my present experience. I keep reminding
myself, Pay Attention, Pay Attention. At first, it was very difficult to pay
attention to things, but it becomes easier with practice. The things I was
working on a few months ago, I now do automatically, and it takes no effort to
experience the degree of detail I struggled so hard to perceive earlier. And
now I still have many perceptual challenges, and I'm still working on
increasing my observational abilities, and one day, these challenges will seem
easy to me, and I will have still more refinement to make to my perceptual
abilities. There's just too much information to take ALL of it in, but I keep
working to increase the amount I do take in.

So, my first interest was in increasing the amount of detail I experienced.
Then I started applying the same techniques to my thoughts and feelings, and
I've worked very hard to pay close attention to what goes on in my mind. I
always try to know my thoughts more clearly, to be aware more exactly what I'm
thinking. When I react to things, I try to keep track of exactly what I was
thinking and feeling and what memories were brought up and what associations
were made. I keep working on experiencing my thoughts in greater detail. I
look for patterns in my thinking and explore why I think the way I do. When I
experience emotions, I go into them as deeply as I can and try to feel the
exactness of what I'm feeling. I watch all the memories that the emotions
bring up, and I try to keep track of what thoughts and experiences seemed to
trigger the emotions.

By watching my own thinking so closely, I notice thinking errors more easily
and those errors get discontinued very quickly. Also, as I learn to pay
attention to more information, I am more aware of the background "noise" in my
mind; all the loose ends and the thinking that usually trails off and doesn't
go anywhere because it doesn't get paid attention to and followed up on. I am
aware of more of these random thoughts and associations going on, and I follow
up on many more ideas than I used to and evaluate many more ideas than I used
to. Now it seems like my mind is in a perpetual brainstorming session. I see
all these ideas springing up and dying out. The interesting ones get more
attention and develop further, and the other ones just go away. Because I am
aware of more of my thinking, I am more aware of the random good ideas which
spring up, and I am now almost constanly in a state of insight. This gives me
great pleasure, and it encourages me to pay even more attention to my
thinking. Also, exposing myself to diverse media (reading lots of books,
seeing lots of movies, surfing the Internet, reading lots of magazines,
looking at lots of art, listening to lots of music, etc.) helps refine my
thinking even more, since I see examples of other people's actions and
reasoning and can incorporate the good ideas into my own way of doing things
and thinking.

One powerful technique I use to develop my reasoning skills and to clarify my
thinking is to carry on imaginary conversations constantly in my mind. I have
many different models of thinking and different personalities that I've
developed in my mind, and I have these different personalities discuss ideas
with each other and explain things to each other. Having to translate my
ideas into many different personality and belief structures helps me clarify
them and spot errors in them, and many of the different personalities are
quick to point out each others' errors. Also, when I'm learning something
new, I imagine that I'm explaining it to someone else, and I imagine what
questions they might ask, and I think how I would answer them, and if I don't
have a good answer, then I seek out that information. The internal discussion
is an excellent way to test out ideas, and as I learn to pay more attention to
the inner workings of my mind, I am able to develop more complex personalities
and thinking styles and able to be aware of more elaborate conversations going
on inside myself. Most of the personalities I've developed come from
simulating people I know, in my mind, by creating a mini-society in my own
mind, based on real people in my life and people I see in movies or read about
in books.

But my main technique for increasing my intelligence is to pay intense
attention to all aspects of my experience and to continually work on
increasing the level of my attention. This takes a great deal of dedication
and personal discipline. I try to make it as enjoyable as possible so that I
am more motivated to continue my work. I also have trained myself to feel
pleasure at accomplishing my goals. I go outside for a walk, and everything
looks so vibrant and clear, I hear all the sounds of the neighborhood all
around me, I feel the patterns of air moving across my face and arms and my
clothes rubbing gently on my skin as I move, and I feel elated, and I want to
experience even more. It has taken a while to build up this response, but it
keeps getting stronger the more I work on it. Also, the more attention I pay
to things, the faster I learn them.

Another strategy I use to increase my ability to pay close attention to things
is to engage in activities which are pleasurable anyway and then pay close
attention to everything I'm experiencing while engaging in that activity.
Eating and masturbation can be excellent activities for training the mind, if
they're approached that way. As funny as it may seem, fantasizing about
sexual encounters can be an excellent way to develop a powerful imagination,
if you keep trying to increase the vividness of the fantasy. Sexual fantasy
is very pleasurable, and the more vivid it seems, the more pleasurable it is,
so there is a great motivation to increase the power of the imagination.
Then, you can use your more powerful imagination for other things besides
sexual fantasies, perhaps inventing some wonderful new machine, or thinking up
a beautiful new artwork to create. But the basic idea is to provide yourself
with strong motivation to increase your ability to pay attention to things in
great detail. This ability can be applied to many aspects of your life, and I
have used it to increase the level of my intelligence several times over, in
the past few years. It's been a lot of hard work, but it's been very
enjoyable, because I've made it that way. And it keeps getting easier to
raise my intelligence even more, the more I learn and the more intelligent I

Also, my sense of time has gotten pretty warped because of my work. Now, a
single day can seem as long as several weeks used to seem. My thinking has
speeded up considerably, along with the amount of information I process in a
given amount of time.

When I would take acid a few years ago, I thought it was really cool, but the
thing I didn't like is that it would wear off and the effects would go away.
Now, because of my work, my ordinary experiences are more intense and
wonderful than anything I ever experienced on acid. It feels like I'm on acid
all the time even though I'm not, but I don't seem to be coming down from the
trip; I just keep going up, and things just keep getting more interesting, so
very, very fascinating.

- David Musick