Neural Ergonomics – The Organics of Thought – Part 1 of 2

Let’s begin with a quick review of Ergonomics.

1: An applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely – also known as biotechnology, human engineering, human factors.
2: The study of the problems of people in adjusting to their environment; esp., the science that seeks to adapt work or working conditions to suit the worker.
3: The design characteristics of an object resulting especially from the application of the science of Ergonomics.

Specialists in Ergonomics study the mechanics of the human body to derive universal principles of design that support natural movement and thereby reduce forces that are harmful to the body. These principles are utilized in the design of working and living spaces and the myriad of tools, utensils, and appliances that the body interacts with every day. However, the design of environmental elements is only half of the equation. Everyone could significantly reduce their risk of injury and improve their overall health and well-being by learning to harmonize their body movement with Ergonomic principles.

Ergonomic training cultivates a highly refined sensory awareness of how the body interacts with the elements of its environment. Skilled observation of our own joint and muscle functioning is needed to anticipate and detect unnatural forces as they are encountered and automatically adjust our posture to gain the optimal mechanical advantage. Given time and regular practice, those that follow these principals experience profound physical changes. Consistent application of Ergonomic principles endows the practitioner with advanced motor skills and a new found feeling of comfort and confidence in physical performance.

Neural Ergonomics

Neural Ergonomics applies Ergonomic reasoning to support natural function of the internal mechanisms of the brain. Many harmful forces are generated, both internally and externally, that disrupt this natural function. There is in fact an optimal approach to thinking that can nullify these harmful forces while simultaneously removing the impediments to mental clarity. Everyone could significantly raise their overall level of awareness by learning to harmonize their thinking with Neural Ergonomic principles.

It may seem difficult to reconcile the concept of a universal “best” way to think (as if we should all think exactly the same) while allowing for the unique individuality of every person, but actually there is no conflict.

Ergonomics does not address WHAT activities the body engages in, it’s all about HOW to best utilize the body’s inherent mechanical design to maximize performance of any physical activity. Likewise, Neural Ergonomics is not about WHAT to think, it’s all about HOW to leverage the brain’s inherent functional design to maximize the performance of thinking itself – regardless of subject matter.

Practicing Neural Ergonomics develops a highly sensitized self-awareness of our own thinking, and awareness of the forces in the world outside the mind that influence our thinking. Acquiring a keen sense of awareness reveals the truth behind these forces that in turn empowers us with the means to discern the authenticity of our thoughts and deflect the forces that hinder the performance of thinking.

Universal Attributes of Mind & Body

Of course since the brain and body function together as one, it’s no surprise they share many attributes of design. After all, there is no denying they were both created by the same designer. Because most of us are more familiar with the workings of the body the simplest approach to understanding how brain function develops is to draw a parallel with how the body’s functioning develops.

The human body is composed of an intricate array of inter-dependent subsystems – each with their own balance of strengths and weaknesses. And, like the proverbial snowflake, no two human bodies are exactly alike. Yet even within this boundless diversity there is one important universal attribute all bodies have in common, which is found in their characteristic response to

The Response to Stimulus

Stimulus is the key factor that motivates development by acting as a catalyst to prompt a reaction. At the most rudimentary level, the body itself provides stimulus through our senses that motivates us to sustain life. The stimulus of hunger motivates us to eat. The stimulus of fatigue motivates us to rest and sleep. The stimulus of heat or cold motivates us into action to create a more favorable living environment.

Stimulus comes in many forms, both negative and positive, and is derived from many sources. Stimulus can occur spontaneously, triggered by the random whims of circumstance, or it can be deliberately designed and deployed to produce a desired effect. And, in either case, the stimulus can manifest from the world outside the mind, or it can be generated from within the mind itself.

Designed Stimulus

Designed stimulus, in the form of proper physical training, will cause the body to respond in a predictable manner. Body building employs stimulus which isolates the different muscle groups to enhance their definition. Calisthenics training employs stimulus that works all parts of the body together as a whole to enhance overall conditioning. A more complex stimulus is employed in
gymnastics to condition the body to perform extraordinary dynamic movement. Stimulus derived from playing sports endows the body with the increased speed, endurance, and agility needed to quickly respond to unpredictable circumstances.

Stimulus is by no means restricted to athletic pursuits, the same principles apply to activities that require highly refined physical performance such as playing a musical instrument or manipulating paint on canvas to produce a great masterpiece of art.

The Philosophy of Stimulus Training

When any type of regular training is performed, the body automatically responds by acquiring whatever attributes are needed to perform the training. As these attributes are gradually acquired and improved, the body becomes sensitized to the physical requirements of performing the activity. This amplified sensitivity expands our awareness of the changes taking place in the body
and the higher level of performance these changes engender. These changes are the hallmark of sustained evolution in the mind and body. Along with our new found abilities comes the realization of new potential possibilities of movement.

Development proceeds in a cyclic manner. The heightened awareness we gain helps us to discover our strengths and weaknesses which enables us to refine the training to leverage the advantages of our strengths and bolster our weaknesses. Elevated training continues to hone our evolving skills and further enhances the awareness of how these new skills could be utilized. Heightened awareness also endows a progressively higher level of control over the process which brings a wider range of options in deploying our newly developed skills.

Development will continuously evolve in this manner for as long as we care to participate, and always in proportion to how vigorously we participate.

The Force of Willpower

Success in this cyclical process depends entirely on our resolve and willpower to exert the effort. The level of performance we ultimately attain is directly proportional to the amount of effort we exert in attaining it. Effort is a function of our force of free-will which is invariably a matter of choice.

We can choose to ignore or avoid stimulus from outside sources. We can also choose not to engage in designing our own stimulus. Living without stimulus, and the response it will surely incite, diminishes our sensitivity and awareness of the inner workings of our own body and any potential to benefit from the experience is lost. Without stimulus the body weakens and will eventually atrophy to a point barely capable of movement.

It is also worthy of note that we humans are creatures of habit, and so the amount of effort we exert has a tendency towards becoming habitual.

An in-depth exploration of the body’s intricate internal mechanisms responsible for physical development is far beyond the scope of this writing and not especially relevant to the topic at hand. However, there is a single basic concept that is very important to keep in mind.

The Wonder of Adaptation

The development of physical potential is possible because of the body’s innate propensity of adapting to stimulus by literally reconstructing its internal mechanisms to a more favorably balanced configuration. Stimulus is the force that induces this adaptation and the body will always respond in a manner that exactly opposes whatever effects these forces inflict upon us. You may recognize a basic universal principle at play here – “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

To summarize what we have covered so far – Stimulus, along with the amount of effort we exert in responding to it, can produce the Olympic athlete, the concert violinist – or the consummate couch potato.

So how does all this relate to the mind?

The Brain’s Neuroplasticity

Like the body, the brain also possesses the ability of reacting to stimulus. The internal mechanisms involved in the process are far more complex but the basic functional principle is exactly the same. The brain is endowed with the remarkable ability to reorganize its own internal neural connections – literally able to reconstruct itself to become better at whatever it is called upon to do.

Transformation takes place automatically in response to stimulus generated by the effort of learning new things. Known as Neuroplasticity, this amazing life long adaptive ability is what ultimately defines the brain’s capacity to comprehend information and, perhaps more importantly, to utilize the power of imagination. The act of thinking itself is what determines the extent of the brain’s ability to perceive reality, and .

Principals of Neural Ergonomics

Given the above, Neural Ergonomics is predicated on three fundamental principles:
1 : That the mind is born with the innate ability to learn and a primal motivation to understand its perceptions.
2 : That every single mind that has ever existed is a one of a kind individual.
3 : That each mind is free to engage in its own evolution in accordance with its own unique individual nature.

Next – Part 2

Milo Bono is the founder and lead developer of Promptoria – Software for Innovation and Creativity.

Promptoria is dedicated to helping people amplify their natural creativity and critical thinking skills.

Neural Ergonomics – Extended

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