December 17th, 2001

What is the Synergic Mode of Thinking?

N. Arthur Coulter, MD

There is available to every human mind a state of advanced consciousness and well-being that is exciting, vigorous and incredibly beautiful. It is characterized by an expansion of awareness, by an enhancement of rationality and by a remarkable phenomenon called think-feel synergy. This state is called the synergic mode of function.

The word “synergy” means, literally, “working together.” In medicine, it has long been used to denote the working together of two or more drugs, or of two or more muscles acting about a joint. Applied to the human mind, “synergy” denotes the working together of the enormous variety of functions that comprise the mind, producing a new whole that is greater than the mere sum of its parts.

When the synergic mode turns on, the mind lights up. Perceptions grow more vivid and acute, with “flash-grasp” of complex situations a not infrequent occurrence. Thinking becomes faster, more accurate and remarkably clear. Often thought-trains race along several tracks at once. Actions become more apt and multipurposed, with a high gain-to-effort ratio. Emotional tone ranges from cheerfulness to enthusiasm, with a harmonious blending of thought and emotion that is highly exhilarating. Abilities long dormant or even unsuspected are activated as the wave of synergy surges into the hidden depths of the mind.

So much goes on so fast that it is impossible to describe it adequately; the concrete experience is so vivid and multifaceted that it evades all efforts to define it in words. But there is one remarkable feature of the synergic mode that stands out above all others and that bodes well for the future of humanity: it is literally and logically impossible for a person operating in the synergic mode to perform an unethical act.

The reason for this is easy to see. Synergy involves the working together of the parts of any complex system; and each person is not only an individual, but a part of the various groups and organizations to which he belongs, and to society as a whole. In the synergic mode, a human being acts naturally so as not only to achieve his own goals, but also, wherever feasible, to promote the goals of others, with least impedance to anyone. The Golden Rule–“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”–becomes not a moral commandment to be obeyed, but a natural and logical consequence of his mode of being, as natural as breathing, sleeping or sexual activity.

The prevailing outlook of a synergic being may be described as one of synergic altruism. He is not selfish, as this is commonly understood, but always considerate of the needs and interests of others, and ever ready to engage in cooperative enterprise. On the other hand, he is not selfless, sacrificing himself needlessly for others; he selects his own goals and pursues them vigorously, overcoming obstacles in his way.

The synergic mode of function has been experienced by many people in the course of history; doubtless many readers have felt it turn on at one time or another, without identifying it as synergy. But most would agree that it is not characteristic of the average person today. When I first experienced the synergic mode, early in 1952, I wondered about this. And I was disappointed that the state did not last. This led to the concept of a science of synergy–namely, synergetics.

The above passage is from Arthur Coulter’s Synergetics: An Adventure in Human Development. It will be published on the internet early in 2002 by the Time-binding Trust.

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