I learn a lot through osmosifying things. I'm rarely aware of *how* I learn certain tricks, techniques, pieces of information, and Chris will often ask me how I know something obscure; it's not that I've forgotten where I learnt it, I honestly can't imagine any situation where I would have learnt it, and neither can Chris, which is why he's asking in the first place. It's like children learning to walk, or talk, or interact with their environment as a baby. You just sort of pick things up. And it doesn't need to happen more than once; everyone knows you only need to say a swear word around a 4 year old and they'll be screaming it aloud all day long, even though you said it completely inconspicuously. But I learn a lot this way. I learn very well practically too; my revision technique is simply to write the information out a few times, its not the rereading it, or even the thinking about it, the simple process of writing it out 2-4 times works it into my head perfectly. I don't like to read instruction manuals; I can pick up new pieces of software, or new game controls very quickly, because I find what works. It took me about 3-4 years to work out where things are in Chris' parents' kitchen, simply because every time he asked me what I was looking for, rather than letting me open and close all the cupboards and drawers whereupon I would have learnt the entire layout in a few visits; I've mostly got there now, but even still I'm not 100% certain.
You know that whole concept of the minutiae of observation in the Dune universe for the Bene Gesserit. I'm fully of the opinion that can be real. Not the magic wierding voice level of it, but I really do believe there is so much we can/could learn, if only we knew how to look for the signs. It's all a matter of training, and conscious awareness, and then transferring that conscious awareness into a subconscious reaction. It's just an extension of survival techniques really. Example: I sleep very heavily, people have clogdanced outside my room (I shit you not), we've had firemen all over the house drinking cups of tea after the house next door almost burnt down, with sirens blaring still, and lights flashing, and I've slept through all of it. But the second someone opens my bedroom door, or even just sets foot inside the boundary of my room if I've left the door open, I wake up. Chris can be in the room whilst I'm sleeping and playing music or shooting things in games and wandering round and I'll be fine and undisturbed, but every time he goes to the bathroom, or to get a drink, I'll wake up, just slightly; enough for me to assess any threat and either get a jolt of adrenaline, or fall back to sleep if all is fine. Every. Single. Time. And it seems to me that this is a survival technique, inbuilt through evolution, or designed by god if you prefer, but its based on arbitrary boundary. A rocket can kill me in my sleep, you attempting to creep into my room, even making no noise, will not, or at least, not in my sleep, I'll be awake and expecting you. My body picks up on the slight noise, the change in air currents in the room, the slight shift in temperature as air starts to mix with the hallway; the minutiae of observation is there, it's instinct, it's designed to keep you alive. We just need to become aware of it, and make it a heightened awareness.
In fairness, I'm a big proponent of mind-over-matter theories. Stories of people trapped overriding their own bodies natural processes - cutting off limbs, eating through things; stories of incurable medical problems disappearing with no explanation, they fascinate me. Sure I know its not a frequent occurrence, and the evidence is debatable, but I believe there is enough evidence that it must be true to a decent extent, an extent worth investigating. Facing what it perceives to be a threatening situation, the brain initiates a chemical response in the body that increases your strength exponentially. In order to avoid emotional pain the brain will preferentially endure physical pain instead. And what the brain percieves to be a threatening situation can be very very interesting; consider that simply waking up late for work can initiate a flight-or-flight response in order to make you awaken that much quicker and get out the door running to the bus; this is modern day survival perhaps, but not evolutionary. Given an emotional or physical pain of an excessive quantity, the brain will simply turn off its reaction to it for a time. To the extreme of comatose in some cases. The mind is truly a powerful thing, and we don't understand so much of it. Trying to understand that an electrical impulse can promote a chemical reaction that is an emotion I call love, or fear, or doubt, or anticipation, or whatever makes the entire universe discombobulate in my head and its not pleasant. But I love the fact that with a hell of a lot of willpower, you can do so much, you can overcome instinct and natural impulse, you can throw yourself into a burning building to rescue a complete stranger, you can throw yourself to your death, you can push yourself to run that last mile. Psychological therapy can fix childhood traumas or provide relief from mental problems themselves. I met a therapist the other week, and he was explaining this fascinating technique of getting people into trance, and then getting them to conjure what's troubling them in one hand, and it might be a noise, it might be an image, anything sensory, and then in the other hand, he gets the person to conjure the part of the brain that has the solution, and his role in the therapy is that he gets these two parts of a person to talk to each other, and in doing so, he can solve problems. But he explained that what's beautiful about this technique, is a person doesn't need to be consciously aware of what's holding them back, from quitting smoking, from confidence issues, from a bad relationship with their mother, they don't need to know exactly what the underlying cause is, the brain already knows. And the person doesn't need to know consciously how to solve it either. It's all done on a subconscious level through clinical trance work. I think that kind of potential for mindworking is phenomenal. Mind-over-matter concepts are one of the reasons I love trance work, there's so much untapped potential in the mind and most people don't appreciate or even acknowledge the fact.
If someone was opened to these kind of things, mental conditioning techniques, acute observation of their environment, psychological training, from a young age, just as they learnt to walk, to talk, to understand and interpret that very environment, something great could occur. Possibly terrible, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be great. I think this is where the future of the human race lies in all honesty. Not the near future, but the 500-1000 year future, the future of genetic engineering, the future of designer babies, of VR worlds and implant technology, the future of Minority Report, and Dune, and Star Wars, that aren't entirely different from our own, just not realisable yet. But someday, I think a current lifetime's research work of mental processes will be part of the everyday upbringing of a child, and none of us will have the privilege of seeing it