General Interest > Thought Reform

The Macy Conferences:The Minds behind Mind Control

<< < (2/12) > >>


--- Quote ---After the War, the founding group of like-minded thinkers—Frank, Bateson, Mead, Rosenblueth, Wiener, and Bigelow—continued to meet with an expanded “core” of enthusiasts including: mathematicians John von Neumann and Walter Pitts, neurobiologists Warren McCulloch and W. Ross Ashby, and Viennese engineer Heinz von Foerster.
--- End quote ---
Dr. Strangelove himself? At the very least, he was one of a small handful of candidates for the title...

Excerpt from John von Neumann's Wikipedia entry:

Nuclear weapons

[/list]John von Neumann's wartime Los Alamos ID badge photo.[/list]
Beginning in the late 1930s, von Neumann began to take more of an interest in applied (as opposed to pure) mathematics. In particular, he developed an expertise in explosions—phenomena which are difficult to model mathematically. This led him to a large number of military consultancies, primarily for the Navy, which in turn led to his involvement in the Manhattan Project. The involvement included frequent trips by train to the project's secret research facilities in Los Alamos, New Mexico.[1]

Von Neumann's principal contribution to the atomic bomb itself was in the concept and design of the explosive lenses needed to compress the plutonium core of the Trinity test device and the "Fat Man" weapon that was later dropped on Nagasaki. While von Neumann did not originate the "implosion" concept, he was one of its most persistent proponents, encouraging its continued development against the instincts of many of his colleagues, who felt such a design to be unworkable. The lens shape design work was completed by July 1944.

In a visit to Los Alamos in September 1944, von Neumann showed that the pressure increase from explosion shock wave reflection from solid objects was greater than previously believed if the angle of incidence of the shock wave was between 90° and some limiting angle. As a result, it was determined that the effectiveness of an atomic bomb would be enhanced with detonation some kilometers above the target, rather than at ground level.[20]

Beginning in the spring of 1945, along with four other scientists and various military personnel, von Neumann was included in the target selection committee responsible for choosing the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the first targets of the atomic bomb. Von Neumann oversaw computations related to the expected size of the bomb blasts, estimated death tolls, and the distance above the ground at which the bombs should be detonated for optimum shock wave propagation and thus maximum effect.[21] The cultural capital Kyoto, which had been spared the firebombing inflicted upon militarily significant target cities like Tokyo in World War II, was von Neumann's first choice, a selection seconded by Manhattan Project leader General Leslie Groves. However, this target was dismissed by Secretary of War Henry Stimson.[22]

On July 16, 1945, with numerous other Los Alamos personnel, von Neumann was an eyewitness to the first atomic bomb blast, conducted as a test of the implosion method device, 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico. Based on his observation alone, von Neumann estimated the test had resulted in a blast equivalent to 5 kilotons of TNT, but Enrico Fermi produced a more accurate estimate of 10 kilotons by dropping scraps of torn-up paper as the shock wave passed his location and watching how far they scattered. The actual power of the explosion had been between 20 and 22 kilotons.[20]
After the war, Robert Oppenheimer remarked that the physicists involved in the Manhattan project had "known sin". Von Neumann's response was that "sometimes someone confesses a sin in order to take credit for it."

Von Neumann continued unperturbed in his work and became, along with Edward Teller, one of those who sustained the hydrogen bomb project. He then collaborated with Klaus Fuchs on further development of the bomb, and in 1946 the two filed a secret patent on "Improvement in Methods and Means for Utilizing Nuclear Energy", which outlined a scheme for using a fission bomb to compress fusion fuel to initiate a thermonuclear reaction.[23] The Fuchs-von Neumann patent used radiation implosion, but not in the same way as is used in what became the final hydrogen bomb design, the Teller-Ulam design. Their work was, however, incorporated into the "George" shot of Operation Greenhouse, which was instructive in testing out concepts that went into the final design. The Fuchs-von Neumann work was passed on, by Fuchs, to the USSR as part of his nuclear espionage, but it was not used in the Soviet's own, independent development of the Teller-Ulam design. The historian Jeremy Bernstein has pointed out that ironically, "John von Neumann and Klaus Fuchs, produced a brilliant invention in 1946 that could have changed the whole course of the development of the hydrogen bomb, but was not fully understood until after the bomb had been successfully made."[24][/size]

Years ago <I wound up in New Orleans.My neighbor hood bar was in the garden district, right on St Charles. My favorite bartender,(why she was abartender,was lost on me) wrote her masters thesis on Margret Mead.We spent many rainy afternoons discussin mind control,applied anthropology,and who wes Really at the helm of that ship. She seemed to think that private industry, ie Du Pont,and some various pharma intrests were really footing the bill for much of it.



I think what is most significant is that cybernetics became the explanation  for an interactional, communicational  model of human behavior.  What these conferences suggest is that this was a huge revelation in many, many fields. But it also represents a new approach to human behavior, and advances a particularly behaviorist view of the human organism as being based on the transfer of information.  (ex. If you kick a rock, it moves due to the transfer of energy from your foot. If you kick a dog, and then it bites you, it is not because of the energy from your foot. It is because the dog is responding to what is perceived as a threatening message.) Game theory is quantified by the notion that humans have an inherent cybernetic quality, which is reflected in games, like chess, or nuclear war, wherein the players success depends on predicting what is going on in his opponents mind in order to come up with a strategy for himself, to be able to see himself through the eyes of another in a way. This is relatable to the human capacity for sympathy and sensitivity. The idea that people’s outputs (logic, behaviors, personalities, emotions) can be analyzed in terms of games or learned strategies for self preservation becomes popular in psychotherapy, like transactional analysis.

Follow for a moment the behaviorist ‘black box’ concept of the human organism  (please take a brief look at the illustration on the link) . Behaviorism has taken a view of the human mind as being a black box of which the inner workings can’t be ‘opened up’ and known, one can never truly experience another’s consciousness. However this ‘black box’ can be examined as an input/ output mechanism, communication goes in, and there is a resulting communication/ behavior that comes out (all behavior can be taken as communication and vice versa).  But what Bateson  illustrates in the diagram you’ll find here  (scroll down to the related diagram) is the evolution of this black box concept to incorporate the idea of circular causality, as a principle of cybernetics. To put it plainly, what happens if you take what comes out of the output, and put it back into it? This is the notion of feedback, and the idea that humans rely on the ability to perceive feedback from our environment to orient ourselves is key to predicting how humans behave, organize and operate within a system, or environment.  ( If you consider a pyramid scheme, or multi-level marketing scheme it can be understood how a system can be designed in which human nature can be used against the individual to favor the organization, and relies on keeping people unaware of it.) Now I find I must recall that these ideas were the result of trying to understand how the phenomenon of hypnosis occurs, and how humans can manipulate each other covertly. And so as not to get too far ahead of the content of the thread, I’ll leave this that may at least contribute some historical significance pertaining to hypnosis and the Macy Conferences.

This is by Lawrence Kubie, who was part of the core group. I didn’t find many resources on Kubie, but I found this portion of a paper he did in 1944 on his view of the process of hypnosis. I think it is interesting,   …although, Kubie is a mere grain of sand on a beach in the field of hypnosis compared to Milton Erickson, guest speaker at the 1942 Cerebral Inhibition meeting. Here is Lawrence S. Kubie’s paper : (This is offered as an abstract, but it is also the articles summary)

1 The New York Neurological Institute of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York. - ... /100/5/611

1. The process of inducing hypnosis and the fully developed hypnotic state are a continuum which can be studied satisfactorily only in the novice, and which under such circumstances consists of three stages which shade from one into the next.

2. In the initiation of the process there is a progressive elimination of all channels of sensori-motor communication between the subject and the outside world, with the exception of the channels of communication between the subject and the hypnotist. As a consequence, during this phase the hypnotist becomes temporarily the sole representative of and contact with the outside world.

3. In this essential characteristic, the induction phase parallels the sensori-motor relationships of the infant to the outside world during the earliest phase of infancy, during which the parents play in the psychology of the infant a rôle almost identical to that of the hypnotist in the mental life of the subject.

4. The onset of the hypnotic state consists of a partial sleep in which active sensorimotor channels are restricted to those between the subject and the hypnotist.

5. This reduction of sensori-motor channels obliterates the Ego boundaries of the subject and constricts them, which makes inevitable a psychological fusion between hypnotist and subject.

6. This constitutes the second phase in the process, one in which a fusion of subject and hypnotist is achieved, with the result that to the subject the words of the hypnotist become indistinguishable from his own thoughts. It is this in turn which makes possible all of the phenomena of apparent passive suggestibility.

7. At the same time, this same restriction of sensori-motor relationships induces and makes possible states of hypnagogic revery in which vivid sensory memories and images are released. These images and memories include olfactory, gustatory, tactile, and kinæsthetic modalities of sensation which are not ordinarily easily recalled or vividly imagined.

8. The sensory vividness of these reveries in turn opens the way to buried memories, and particularly to the buried affects which are related to such sensory memories.

9. Physiologically the hypnotic process is shown to be an extension of the processes of normal attention, the result of the creation in the central nervous system of a concentrated focus of excitation with the surrounding areas of inhibition (in the descriptive Pavlovian sense).

10. In turn, this is dependent physiologically upon:

(a) Relative immobilization through the immobilization of the head or eye.

(b) The influence of monotony.

11. Initiation of monotony depends upon sensory adaptation, which in turn is in part dependent upon rhythm.

12. Psychologically the creation of the hypnotic state, with its focus of excitation within limited areas, depends upon a diminution of alertness through allaying anxiety and other defenses, a process which is a necessary prerequisite to the suppression of sensory warning signals.

13. The shift to the fully developed final phase of the hypnotic state involves:

(a) A partial re-expansion of ego boundaries.

(b) An incorporation of a fragmentary image of the hypnotist within the expanded boundaries of the subject's Ego.

14. In this final phase the compliance of the subject to the hypnotist's commands is again more apparent than real, in that the incorporated image of the hypnotist which echoes the hypnotist's voice has for the time being become a part of the subject's temporary Ego.

15. It is obvious that the final phase in the hypnotic process, which occurs with the full development of the hypnotic state, parallels precisely that phase in the development of the infant's Ego in which its boundaries gradually expand, with the retention of parental images as unconscious incorporated components of the developing Ego of the infant. The incorporated image of the hypnotist plays the same rôle in the hypnotic subject as does the incorporated and unconscious image of the parental figure in the child or adult. Hypnosis thus is seen to be an experimental reproduction of a natural developmental process.

16. The use of hypnosis in some form may conceivably be necessary, therefore, for the complete therapeutic displacement of disturbing superego figures which are retained out of childhood.

17. In the hypnotic process mechanisms are at work identical with those seen in the dream (such as transference, displacement, condensation, etc.). Much has been made of these in the literature; but they are not the essence either of the process or of the state itself.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version