Superpsychology's Influence on Science, Religion, the Arts, and Culture

by superpsychologist Raymond Lane

Since Superpsychology's appearance on the Internet from 1997, it has influenced numerous areas of society.  Before detailing those influences, below is a refresher on Superpsychology's findings:


Generally over the years, Superpsychology has provided scholars with new directions for research, and their resultant works have been published in news releases, books, or popular science publications (such as New ScientistNature and Science Daily magazines).  Listed below are the fields where superpsychology's findings have had an influence, along with some contemporaneous developments:

Archaeology / Anthropology

Superpsychology's influence on archaeology and anthropology has led to some reanalysis of artifact collections, and new directions for research - as the following examples show.  A reanalysis of a prehistoric skull led to the discovery that eagles were a predator of early hominids.  A new anthropological study involves firing arrows at animal bones to help determine if cut marks on human bones - that were previously assumed to have been made by defleshing - may have been inflicted by weapons.  Some old burial sites have been uncovered with skeletons showing signs of violent deaths (including mass deaths).  In South America, one researcher concluded that the Inca Empire collapsed because the populace no longer believed that their kings were akin to gods.  Similar disillusionment with kings in Europe/the Mediterranean has been identified in superpsychology as a lead-up to the Classical Age in Antiquity.  There have also been at least two more archaeological finds reflecting familiar human fascinations: an ancient Thracian burial with artifacts that included bird figures; and a 3,000-year-old Chinese community with evidence of worship of birds and the sun.

Additionally in these fields there have been increased experimentation and observation of ape behaviours (especially social behaviours in chimpanzees) and bird behaviours (especially tool use in crows).  And there have also been numerous new theories put forward concerning the origins of the human species.  Although, one researcher has conceded that archaeology is unlikely to find the reasons for human evolution, as bones can only tell so much, and that the answer is more likely to come from cultural explanations.

Geology

One of the claims in superpsychology is that the dynamic environment of the African Great Rift Valley may have been instrumental in forging the human species.  Now a University of Utah geological team has come to a similar conclusion, but for different reasons.  The difference is that superpsychology sees the Valley's lakes, rivers, volcanoes, and earthquakes as prime sources of social trauma that set hominins on the path to intense social development.  Contrastingly, the Utah team believe that geological forces created the Valley's mountain ridge (from 7-2 million years ago), which blocked moisture from the ocean, thus changing forests to dryer, woodland environments conducive to hominins foraging bipedally on land.

Medical Science / Psychiatry

Due to the influence of reexperiencing-based therapies, like superpsychology, some scientists are beginning to recognise that past traumas have a detrimental effect on health.  One study, led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, found that most HIV sufferers have a history of traumas prior to infection.  Additionally, it found that those with traumas tended to die earlier than other sufferers, and, in fact, that the presence of past traumas has a similar prognosis for all diseases.

The UK Institute of Animal Technology has revealed that animal technologists suffer guilt and repression as a result of their work in animal experimentation. This mainly comes about from having to euthanise animals that they have cared for, while additional factors include the negative social attitude to their work, attacks from animal activists, and lack of recognition for their contribution to scientific research.  The members recognised that experiencing their grief helped them to integrate it, and that expressing their repressed feelings was cathartic.

A number of psychiatric studies have shown that therapy that involves reliving trauma helps to prevent the onset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD - i.e., chronic anxiety and tension). 

Biology

Exploring the human condition in superpsychology and other sciences has helped in the understanding of living organisms in nature.   

Entemology

The claim of a few scientists, as well as superpsychology, is that the human species is a superorganism (or superstructured entity).  As a consequence of this there has been a resurgence of interest in the superorganism phenomenon.  The term went out of fashion in the 1960s and was replaced by the term eusociality.  But now the term is back, with renewed comparisons being made between sociality in insects and in human society.  A new book called Superorganism - with these types of comparisons - was released in 2008 by E. O. Wilson and B. Holdberger. 

Additionally, new research into bee colonies - and other creatures, like spiders and fish - has been undertaken from the new perspective of observing behaviours rather than just assuming genetic determination.  As a consequence of this, it is becoming recognised that the bee colony's queen and drones are not entirely genetically driven.  For bees and other creatures such research has indicated that they have (small scale) personalities and are able to make their own decisions.  One study that showed that bees given cocaine danced more agitatedly (i.e., communicated food sources more earnestly) has led the researchers to conclude that the study of bee social behaviours can have implications for human social behaviours like altruism.  And a further study has even found that the bee colony behaves like a brain, which confirms the finding in superpsychology that a superorganism also acts like a giant brain.    

New Theories of Evolution

The emerging field of epigenetics has led conventional science to get an inkling for a new theory of evolution.  The theory is similar to a Lamarkian-type evolution in which changes occur to individuals during their lifetime, with such changes potentially being passed on to the next generation.  Ironically, superpsychology has long had clues to a similar new Lamarkian-type theory of evolution.  Although these two theories are in competition to find an answer provable to science, what is interesting is that they are converging from opposite directions: conventional science from the side of genetics, and superpsychology from the side of life experiences.  The meeting ground of the two approaches is epigenetics.  

Sociology / Economics

Superpsychology identified bubbles as being significant in human society's structure - such as the "bubble economy", and has also described a recurring revolutionary cycle in human evolution.  These findings have generated further interest in the phenomena.  Journalist Daniel Gross wrote a book entitled Pop! Why Bubbles are Great for the Economy.  And two researchers from ETH Zurich (Switzerland) have identified the moon landing in 1969 and the dot-com boom of the turn-of-the-century as "technological bubbles".  They state that such bubbles can help to create a future robust economy.  They, and other researchers, also wonder whether the "bubble" approach might be applicable to trying to solve current world problems of alternative energy needs and water shortages.  Meanwhile,  two university theorists claim that they have developed a new theory of economic growth - and human history - that links evolutionary biology to economics.  In their view humans have alternated between periods of favouring quantity-children (large families) and stagnant economic growth, to favouring quality-children (small families) and sustained economic growth.  

Astronomy / Physics

Many astronomical institutions have visited the Superpsychology website, and superpsychology has achieved some influence on modern astronomical thinking.  It is now common for astronomers to talk of bubble-like structures in the universe, and of galaxies, solar systems, planets, and moons as living ecosystems.  In the 1990s, string theory was the dominant cosmological theory.  But its failure to continue to answer cosmological conundrums - along with superpsychology's new perspective on the universe - has helped lead to a plethora of new cosmological theories in the 2000s.  Trying to unite the microcosm (quantum physics) with the macrocosm (Newtonian physics) - in other words, searching for a Theory of Everything - has especially become an active area of research.  This includes a renewed interest amongst a few astronomers in the similarities in structure between the atom, solar system, and galaxy. 

Meanwhile, in Superpsychology the term superatom was coined to describe superstructures that are reflective of the atom - such as a solar system.  Now physicists are using the same term to describe atoms that display unusual properties as part of small atom groups chilled to low temperatures.

Religion

A number of things of note have occurred to religion in light of superpsychology's findings.  In response to the finding that exorcism was ancient humans' attempt at healing suffering, Pope Paul reaffirmed belief in the devil and the practice of exorcism.  Also, there was a rumour that the Catholic and Anglican Churches would reunite (they had split centuries earlier, thus ending the Holy Roman Empire).  This has since proved false, but a closer relationship between churches was being considered.  In television, the BBC documentary The Miracles of Jesus reexamined the life of Jesus and, like superpsychology, found that he was a revolutionary whose miracles were similar to those you might find in modern therapy.  But an interesting difference was that where superpsychology claims that Jesus' followers were confused over whether his role should be that of a king or a god, the documentary claimed that Jesus himself was confused over whether his role was as a god or the son of god.

During the rise of Muslim extremism over the last decade - calling for the old phenomenon of jihad - superpsychology was one of the first to suggest that religious scriptures be updated to a modern outlook, since they were written 2,000 years ago when times were more violent.  And at least one priest has acknowledged this by believing that Church views should also be updated.  In line with this - and in an effort to match the phenomena of individual pain and social pain - the Vatican has recently suggested a doubling of the Seven Deadly (individual) Sins by adding seven social sins.  And its official astronomer has declared that extraterrestrial species probably exist and that the universe probably began via the Big Bang. 

Overall, in light of world events and new discoveries, religion is feeling a need to update its theories and practices. 

Ambidexterity

There has always been a rare few ambidextrous people in different fields: as artists, chefs, musicians, soldiers, writers, etc.  But ambidexterity is slowly increasing in society from a mix of several sources: the above rare type, from competitive social pressures, and inspired from psychoemotional healing.  The following are some examples:  

Art

Since this author began developing Ambi Art and discussing ambidextrous art on the Internet from 1999, a number of people have begun experimenting with drawing and/or painting with both or alternate hands.  And with the advent of Internet social networking sites, some people have been experimenting with ambidexterity in broader areas of life besides art, such as writing, sport, and music. 

Music

In music most instruments already require the use of both hands to play, so there is not a lot of scope for further ambidexterity.  The exception are stringed instruments, which are played in a one-sided manner.  At least two guitarists - Michael Angelo Batio and Sonny Lombardozzi - have specialised in playing guitars ambidextrously.  The models that they use include double and quad guitars (i.e., two or four guitars joined at the bodies) that allow for easy switching from left to right-handed playing, or simultaneous playing (shred style).  Ambidexterity in music offers a new avenue for entertainment in a competitive field where there are thousands of musicians who already play their instruments in a standard way.  

Sport

In sport some varieties are ambidextrous - such as swimming and cycling - while ball sports in particular require one-sided dexterity.  But over the last few decades some ambidextrous skills have made their way into ball sports.  In tennis the double-handed backhand and, later, forehand were introduced in the 1970s-80s, by players like Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors.  They were predominantly left and right handed shots respectively for right-handers, and vice-versa for left-handers.  These shots facilitated the hitting of the ball as hard as possible.  In today's game, the double-handed backhand has become commonplace.  Interestingly, Maria Sharapova not only uses this shot, but can also play shots equally well with either hand.  In soccer, ambidexterity is employed in a fake move used by some players, like Roberto Baggio.  One foot is quickly moved over the ball to fake a kick in the foot's direction, which sends the defender off that way.  The player then kicks the ball in the other direction with the other foot - thus shaking off the defender. In rugby league and union, some playmakers have learnt to kick with either foot in general play.  This helps to maintain the pace of attack (instead of having to prop and then kick with the favoured foot); it also helps to disguise a kick, or to suddenly switch the direction of play.  In cricket - especially in the limited-over varieties - a number of developments have occurred.  Some fielders have learnt to throw the ball at the stumps with their less-favoured arm (instead of swapping the ball to their stronger arm first) to try to run out batsmen.  The batsman's "reverse sweep" shot has also become increasingly common.  This is where the batsman suddenly changes shot from right-handed to left-handed (or vice-versa for left-handers) and sweeps the ball instead of cutting it.  More recently, Kevin Pieterson introduced the revolutionary "switch-hit" shot where he suddenly changes stance, grip, and shot (from right-handed to left-handed in his case) to slog the ball over cover.  The necessity for ambidexterity in sports is due to the need for players' actions to keep pace with the faster and more competitive modern games, to stay one skill ahead of opponents, and to provide broader capabilities for scoring points. 

Entertainment

Various types of entertainment have included ideas from superpsycholgy, or have contemperanious themes.  The following are some examples:  

Movies

A type of ambidextrous drawing was depicted being performed by a human-like robot in the 2004 movie I,ROBOT.  Meanwhile, the 2008 movie Wanted features ambidextrous weapon use, which is common in comic-book / superhero genre films. 

Television

The episode "Planet of the Ood" of the TV series Doctor Who features a humanoid-like alien species called the Ood.  They have tentacles emerging from their faces, carry their hind brain in one hand (but still connected via a tube through the mouth), and are telepathically connected by a giant brain (nested in a warehouse).  The Ood's history, though, involves firery-eyed possession, enslavement to a company, working in a collective manner, their hind brains reduced to translation spheres (akin to lobotomisation), and an inablity to sing.  But with the Doctor's help they are eventually freed from their overlords, and they then regain the full use of their hind brain, become more individualistic and aware, and are able to sing.  The Ood species is the most accurate allegorical depiction to date of what a superorganism is all about: it is many individuals who live subservient lives - and collectively act like one giant individual - under the governance of a brain-like section.  The inclusion of possession, unconscious-type collective behaviour, rebellion, freedom, and singing makes it clear that the Ood's social troubles allegorically represent those of our own species.

In the "Giuseppi's" episode of the reality TV show Kitchen Nightmares USA, chef Gordon Ramsay addresses the family working relationships instead of offering his usual advice to improve restaurant skills.  He asks father and (chef) son to write a letter to each other - and mother to write a letter to both - to express their heartfelt feelings and to state what they each want from their work.  At the program's end the family read out their letters to each other in what becomes an emotional and moving resolution to some of the restaurant's interfamily problems.  Such letter-writing is a technique used in modern therapy to help people to express repressed feelings.  Its use in a popular TV show not only indicates how modern therapy is influencing society, but how useful its techniques could be in resolving interpersonal problems if they were made a part of everyday family and work life.  

Children's Television

Animalia is a CGI-animated cartoon series from Australia.  Although based on the alphabet book of the same name, the series has also clearly been influenced by superpsychology.  Animalia is a parallel animal world that is linked to the human world via portals in a shared library.  The Animalia world is populated by animals who have evolved from their wild state to be intelligent and civilised, to communicate via spoken language, and to wear clothing.  The animals are governed by a giant core (colourful crystal) that is located in the library.  The core houses the animals' Bill of Rights in the form of spores (smaller crystals) that embody animal qualities.  From time-to-time the core can become disrupted and eject spores into the atmosphere, which causes the animals to lose certain qualities and/or develop behavioural problems.  However, with the help of two human children the animals can find the ejected spores where they land, solve any associated puzzles, and replace the spores inside the core to fix any problems and/or lost qualities.  Example themes include regression to a wilder state, travelling back in time, getting stuck in a particular behaviour pattern, dealing with ancestors, or dealing with evolution - with the term "retro" being commonly used.  Animalia teaches a young audience about resolving problems by working with the past.  In essence, it is both an allegory for the human species (as a society governed by a central entity) and for living an exfeeling way of life (to resolve problems and regain lost natural qualities).  

Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist is a new cartoon series from Canada that includes some aspects of superpsychology.  Typical themes include insects, swarms, personal will versus genetics, and regression to earlier developmental forms.  Additionally, the main villain - Cyrus - can transform himself into (and from) a superorganism of flying insects to escape certain situations.  This program is helping to bring an expanded perception of nature to a young audience.  

Advertising

Some aspects of superpsychology have influenced advertising.  Coca-Cola Amatil has employed the same theme for both its 2007-8 (Taste the Summer of Us) and 2008-9 (Share the Summer) TV ad campaigns. In it, the picture pans out while showing humans enclosed within bubbles: first individuals and couples, then larger groups, and finally the Earth - all within a coke bottle full of bubbles (representing the universe), and performed to the song We're all in this Together.  Cadbury Schweppes' 2008 advertising campaign included a billboard ad that read: Wash down some Feelings, SOLO: the drink for man kind.  Unilever used a superstructured-type theme in its 2008 TV ad campaign for Vaseline skin cream, by employing many people to play the role of "skin cells" in the demonstration of various attributes of skin.  And in its 2008 Unworry TV ad campain, the NRMA showed a person changing handedness several times when using an eggbeater (to avoid overstraining one hand), while the voiceover announced, "There's an easier way to do things these days ...".  Essentially, it was linking ambidexterity to a state of unworriedness to promote its insurance products.  (Note that these are all just new advertising angles - the products and services themselves are unrelated to a healing revolution.)  

Performance Art

In the field of dancing, the Australian Dance Theatre has created a couple of pertinent performances exploring the human condition, in Devolution, and The Age of Unbeauty.

Summary

In the early stages of the Twenty-first Century society is changing.  Society's cutting edge of science is beginning to look at our species' evolution in a new way, and accepting that violence has been one of its important features.  It is also beginning to recognise that trauma is an underlying ingredient to suffering.  New theories are emerging on sociality in biology, social behaviour in economics, the universe in astronomy, and there are new converging theories of evolution.  The cutting edge of culture is adding knowledge of emerging discoveries to its exploration of human existence and/or to new creative skills and activities.  In terms of recognising change, the Catholic Church is opening up and moving forward, by accepting new knowledge and wanting to work more closely with science.  A psychiatric research team has successfully tested the effectiveness of reexperiencing-based therapy, and noted its growing use.  Additionally, more researchers are employing superpsychology-related information to help them in their own work, and aspects of superpsychology are being introduced to current and following generations via television.  Added to all this is the fact that the competitive side of society has discovered a forced kind of ambidexterity at the same time as the healing side of society has discovered natural ambidexterity.  Due to all these occurances, 2008 can be marked as the official beginning of the social-wide revolution to heal psychoemotional suffering in the human species.  

Superpsychology is an integral part of this cutting edge of development.  (In fact, it was the restoration of natural ambidexterity - proving rewiring of the brain - that finally sparked off the revolution.)  The influence of Superpsychology's suite of sciences spans many fields (and it is helping to bridge the gap between religion and science).  It may be exactly what the human species needs to progress into the future, and avoid destroying the planet's environment, other species, and possibly even itself.  As we do head into the future, and superpsychology-based therapy becomes more widely practised, we should see more natural ambidextrous skills being developed, and encouraged in schools.  People will also be less restless and competitve,  and be more relaxed and easy-going.  This is because natural ambidexterity and lower-than-average vital sign/s (producing a calm disposition) are the physical results of good psychoemotional health.  

Progress of Revolution around the World

The revolution of a new understanding of human nature and of healing psychoemotional suffering is initially involving variations of religious and scientific debate that is spreading to different countries, as described below: 

USA and Hong Kong

In the USA and Hong Kong the debate concerns Intelligent Design versus the Theory of Evolution.  
Hong Kong religion-science debate

England, Spain, and Europe

In England and Spain - and expected to spread further within Europe - the religious debate involves freedom of belief.  This is not unusual since most European countries have been at some time in history overun by another culture and/or ideology.    
Spain religious debate

Mexico

The Mexican underground culture (of criminals, prostitutes, homosexuals, etc.) has rejected the Catholic religion (brought to the country by Spanish colonisers) and developed their own religious cult of worshipping (the female) Saint Death.  This is a return to elements of the ancient Mayan death-focused nature religion.  Although it sounds macabre, it has some logic to it: death treats everyone the same - rich or poor, good or bad, since they all have to deal with it at some time.  Whereas in Catholicism only the good achieve salvation after death.  So a death-based religion caters for societies outcasts.  

Turkey

In Turkey the debate is between Islamic Creationism and the Theory of Evolution.  
Turkey religion-science debate

England and Globally

Science is also having its own dilemma (especially in England where numerous documentaries are made, and where science is publicly promoted as part of government policy).  Sciences - especially the humanities - are increasingly using superpsychologically-derived knowledge to provide more information in their own (more traditional) work.  Yet they are refusing to accept that the human species is a superorganism - which is the very discovery/source of that new knowledge from which they are benefitting.  This is a conundrum that at some point must come to a head.  

last updated March 2009.


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