A graduate of Harvard Medical School and Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Dr. N. Arthur Coulter is a synergic science pioneer. He began searching for a better way for humanity over 50 years ago. The Time-binding Trust is pleased to announce the availability of the new Revised Internet Edition of his classic: Human Synergetics. The following is from a new appendix added to that edition.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
N. Arthur Coulter, Jr., MD
To prevent nuclear war, it is necessary to abolish war itself.
To abolish war, a synergic cultural evolution is necessary.
The ability to function in the Synergic Modeis a key to such a change.
The purpose of the Synergetics program is to enable as many people as possible to function in the Synergic Mode as much as possible.
The Synergetics Program
To achieve this purpose, a 57 page Appendix called Stabilization Procedure was provided in my book, Synergetics (1976). While this works, it requires a sustained effort and is very time consuming.
Meanwhile, research continued and an alternative to Stabilization Procedure has been developed. Called Starmaker, it is much simpler, faster, and more reliable.
We began with the observation that a new mode of thinking called Tracking sometimes turned on the Synergic Mode. Tracking is defined as as Self-programmed thinking, with an Information Source orientation, for the purpose of producing Synergy and preventing Dysergy.
A large and growing number of different Tracking Sessions have been developed. In a typical session, the Tracker executes the following programs:
A goal is selected by a Consider, Evaluate, Define, Act Sequence (CEDA Sequence).
The Value or Values of achieving the Goal is estimated.
A Program for achieving the Goal is formulated.
The Program is usually incomplete and emerges in the process of executing the Program. This “engages” the mind and heart of the Tracker, and basically distinguishes Tracking from other procedures like executing a computer program.
The Tracking Session continues until the Tracker, by a CEDA, ends the Session. This is followed by a Session Review.
Experience in Tracking soon disclosed that Tracking is much more effective if the Tracker keeps a notebook, called the Tracker’s Log, in which he writes down ideas, describes images and feelings (emotions), and makes notes on other events that occur.
A single Tracking Session, carried out with”loving precision”, is usually very productive. But we soon learned that Tracking is far more effective when a series of Tracking Sessions—once a day or several times a week—are executed.
A long term process, called a macro-process, emerges. The Synergic Mode may turn on, and does so more and more frequently and with greater intensity.
We naturally predicted that if Tracking were done continuously, or almost continuously, the Tracker would, for all practical purposes, stabilize in the Synergic Mode—function in the Synergic Mode most of the time.
But this prediction was not borne out by experience. We observed that it is simply not feasible, in the world today, to Track in most situations we encounter. Talking with friends, performing a simple task, driving in traffic, etc. etc. make demands on our attention, interrupt the Tracking effort and dominate our minds and feelings, etc.
Something more is needed—simple programs which we can execute while carrying out the processes of everyday life.
Tracking on this problem, we observed that situations were sometimes encountered in which other synergetic programs could be used. Such programs produced synergy and prevented dysergy in the particular kind of situation being addressed, with little effort. Three such programs are:
Star Vision— a special way of looking and seeing, when the Tracker is observing a scene.
The Stardrive— multipurposed action in the synergic mode, when the Tracker is doing something, focused on action.
The Dysergy Converters— when dysergy is encountered, one of these converts the dysergy into a synergy producing process.
Let us now examine these special programs in turn.
Star Vision was inspired by lines from a play by George Bernard Shaw:
“You see things as they are, and ask, ‘Why’?
“I see things that never were, and ask ‘Why Not’?”
Seeing things as they are means observing with ruthless selfhonest, no matter how it hurts, overcoming the natural tendency to wishful thinking.
Seeing things as they might be means focussing on the tremendous synergic potential implicit in the scene, which can emerge by creating new and unique things.
Star Vision means doing both at the same time!
This is easier done than said. Everyone has the ability to look self-honestly, and we can do this for awhile. But everyone also has the ability to imagine, to create, and we can do this for awhile. Then, look both ways at once, without saying anything!
Star Vision is appropriate in situations where thinking is not needed, and in which purposive action is pointless. When these conditions are met, Star Vision may produce synergy and prevent dysergy.
The Stardrive is the action analog of Star Vision. The Tracker heeds a call to action by creating a goal and pursuing it vigorously. This burst of action generates a second goal, and another, and another. Overdrive turns on! This is fun.
But the situation must be ripe for the Stardrive to work well. Marching like robots in close order drill, or listening passively to advertising and propaganda, induces a trance-like state which drags us down and holds us back. Efforts to start the Stardrive only stall the engine. Repeatedly.
These three basic programs—Tracking,Star Vision, and The Stardrive, provide a much greater domain of action. When Tracking is not feasible, The Stardrive may work surprisingly well. When The Stardrive stalls, Star Vision may produce remarkably clear vistas. But if Star Vision isn’t working, a Tracking Session may explain why. with experience, synergy between basic program and the situation tends more and more to emerge.
But even this may not be enough. We need more basic programs, and we find them, already described in my book: the Dysergy Converters.
There are potentially a very large number of these, and every Star may select his/her own set. I’ll consider these five:
Information Source means to regard the situation or other focal point as an opportunity to learn something new, to view things in a different light, etc. The world is full of things we do not know, or think we know when actually we do not. Infosource leads us to some of these.
Mutation Source means to learn a new ability, like playing simple tunes on a piano, executing a computer program, or learning the rules of chess. We not only are informed; we change.
Hidden Advantage means that no matter how unpleasant or difficult a situation may appear to be, there may be one or more hidden advantages which are being overlooked.
Unique Focus means searching for what is new and different, or what is original but unrecognized. We frame the events that happen, the better to understand them, without realizing that the frame itself blocks parts of them from view.
Buckmaster means our current effort may be making matters worse, that a different approach might be tried. Butting one’s head repeatedly against a stone wall might be replaced by searching for a way around the wall.
These four basic programs – the Dysergy Converters, Star Vision, The Stardrive, and Tracking – provide us with a relatively comprehensive set of programs which cover a large range of behavior. Any one of these should produce synergy and/or prevent dysergy, when the context is ripe. My hope is that Stars who use them will function in the synergic mode most of the time. But this means trial by others.