December 8th, 2010

2021 год
  • ailev

Психотехники для программистов

Сегодня мы обедали с Олегом Бахтияровым, и обсуждали необходимость перехода от традиционных для психопрактик "телесных чудес" (боевые искусства, сверхглубокие ныряния, танцы, песни и т.д.) к "чудесам интеллектуальным" -- психотехникам, помогающим решать инженерные задачи, программировать компьютеры, осваивать формальные языки и т.д.

Увы, я не слишком много знаю "психотехнологий интеллектуальности", от которых можно было бы оттолкнуться при создании подобной практики. Но один пример -- сомнительный! но ровно про то, что нужно -- я могу привести. Alan Carter (да-да, тот самый, который соавтор культового Programmer Stone) пишет про свой личный опыт решения программистских задач (

Gurdjieff describes four states of consciousness possible for man. The first is sleep. The second is the full M0 linear dyadic state, although there the modal dyadic and linear monadic states could be seen as another two states. Gurdjieff does not differentiate these components. The third is the normal modal monadic state. The fourth is shamanic or shapeshifter consciousness. It can be reached by an extension of the Mapping techniques discussed in the Programmers' Stone, but it isn't a beginner's exercise. This is because even if a beginner gets there, he or she won't be able to do anything with it - probably won't even remember it.

Normal mapper problem solving might be described like this:

Take the elements of the problem, perhaps taken from a software requirements specification, and set them up in your head, like croquet hoops put on a lawn at random. Then fly your awareness like a model aeroplane through the loops. Fly the plane round and round and round, and as you do so, notice ways to make the flight path simpler while still flying through all the hoops. As you do this, move the hoops around to effect the simpler flight path, and grow some hoops so that groups of smaller hoops can sit in front of them. The big hoops might be things like "Accept, Fill, Ship, Invoice, Remit" in a goods inventory system, while the smaller hoops might be "Stock call-off", "Telephone order" and so on. Straight Object Orientation really. Bring in other hoops from the body of software engineering, and spot the ones that weren't in the specification but must be there for the universe to make sense. Achieve problem quakes and type in the program.

For C4, it's done slightly differently. Instead of focussing awareness with the model plane, keep it spread over the whole lawn. Don't move the croquet hoops, just leave them where they are, and leave them all, at all levels of abstraction, the same size. Keep adding croquet hoops and keep awareness spread all over them. When I do this, I get a tense feeling, like my head is being stretched, in two regions in my head. The regions are symmetrical, and found by drawing a line 45 degrees up and forwards from my ears, at the point where my skull becomes round and not vertical. Getting/creating this tension seems to be a really good feedback technique for getting the desired effect.

As you do this, you should find a mood of pensive tension building - a bit like being worried or distracted. Eventually you should get a very peculiar sensation, which I call "the full place". To describe this, think of the cutaway drawings of the human arm in "Gray's Anatomy". The arm is completely full. There are no holes. The arm has got bones, muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, lymph vessels and even some connective tissue. Yet for all its fullness, the arm is completely free to move. You can twist your lower arm by more than 180 degrees and all of the distinct things in there move past each other in perfect synchrony - yet always ensuring that your arm is completely full at all times. Considering how hard it is to design a single constant volume joint for a pressure suit it is astonishing. When you reach the full place, it's like all the croquet hoops suddenly jump up into the third dimension and fit together to become full yet completely free to move, just like your arm. Again, the sensation is unmistakable when it happens. The trouble is, when this happens you lose linear, individual awareness. Everything is there, but you can't even remember that you came for something!

The way around this is to bounce along, forming, losing and re-forming the C4 state, and try to sneak peeks at the transition. It seems to help to have some music running, and use the sound of the music to remind yourself that you have an objective. Music can also make it easier to reach the state. Some kinds of music will work better that others. House music (interestingly picked out for special mention in the UK Criminal Justice Act) is best for me, but I expect other kinds would be better for some people. Similarly, nervous pacing (I have found myself pausing in mid-pace for several seconds - at least) enhances the state and reminds me that I came for something.

When you can sneak peeks, all you have to do is bear in mind what you want to know, and the connection between the elements of the problem will become apparent in the topology of the full place. Like, it shines. You can get anything you can understand. Fix on the exposed relationship, and leave the state. It is very important to keep telling yourself the fact you have discovered as you return to C3. This will seem like a very silly thing to do, because it will be a point of the most banal obviousness. Nevertheless you must treasure it. I think that what happens is that your whole brain gets used as an analogue computer that simulates with a small but perfectly formed authentic model (not a simulation) of the All. When you return to C3 focussing on the exposed relationship, you distort your whole Map so that the new idea really is obvious to inspection. Over the next two or three days your Map returns to normal, and the obvious fact becomes pointless, then meaningless, and if you keep revisiting it, it will suddenly become so profound that you can consciously re-order your normal C3 Map in terms of it. You'll have a job putting the new insight into words however. C4 is an endless toyshop of paradigm shifts. One concept obtained from C4 can change the world.

Three points of caution:

  1. During the two or three days after the excursion to C4 you may be in physical danger (although I'm not sure of this) due to your Map having been distorted without your being aware of it. I think it's possible to make some very silly mistakes in this period. There's a story of Isaac Newton that I think may have something to do with this. He had a cat in his rooms at Cambridge, and he cut a hole in the bottom of the door for it to come and go. When it had kittens, he cut a second, smaller hole, for the kittens to come and go as well! To me, this reeks of something that might happen after having twisted my Map about like this. Think what you might do with hot liquids!

  2. You can lose a great deal of heat in C4. Make sure that you are able to wrap up and get warm, or else you might find yourself shivering and blue with cold in a hot room full of hot, sweaty people.

  3. You can get more than you bargained for. It doesn't matter if you prefer to think of this as getting a bigger problem quake (stochastic cooling) than you expected, or if you prefer to think of it as making your own mind equivalent to the All and sending a transponder signal with your question so you volunteer yourself as a target for data which really needs to get down here (that's the way magicians traditionally see it). Either way, you can find yourself unable to get your head out of the C4 state. You're sat there in C3 knowing that there's all this stuff going on below the threshold of your awareness, losing heat like crazy, and quite unable to do anything about it. Magicians are the universe's taxi drivers - they don't choose where they go. Even weirder is the sensation that the incoming stuff is building it's own subconscious motivational structure and processing capabilities. While this is no different to what always happens with all impressions, the speed of it can make what you know is down there feel distinct from what you usually think of as "you".

Gurdjieff calls C4 "to see things as they are". It is possible to spend extended periods on the edge of C4, skipping in and out. I spent most of summer 1998 in this state, fitting the clues of Reciprocality together. The song "Solid Air" by John Martyn is very suggestive of the experience.

Конечно, нужно понимать, что сам Картер не спец имено в психотехнологиях, и относит все наблюдаемые эффекты к "допаминовому отравлению", а "медитации" считает просто антистрессовыми упражнениями (наряду с вечерними прогулками). Понятно, что он рассказывает это в терминах, введенных им в своих книгах. Тем не менее, это хороший пример для начала моделирования "психотехнологий программирования" (не нужно забывать, что сам Алан Картер вполне себе состоявшийся программист).

Больше ссылок не буду давать, сами раскапывайте (замечу, что там есть некоторое сообщество последователей Картера, и они примерно с месяц назад переселились в группу на Facebook -- там "тусуется" и сам Алан Картер. Но он больше про необходимость программировать в бесстрессовом состоянии рассказывает сейчас, нежели о собственно психотехнологиях и их программистских применениях).

Я могу предложить простой тест на полезность психотехнологий для программирования: уменьшение времени освоения какого-нибудь функционального языка программирования (например, тот же Хаскел). Ежели станет понятно, что выполнение каких-то психопрактик существенно влияет на время подстройки думалки на какую-то очередную программисткую парадигму (акторское программирование тоже подойдет, или объект-ориентированное в стиле Смоллток, а не Ява, или переход к какой-либо экзотике типа Factor),то это и будет переход от "цирковых психотехник" (повышающих шансы на выступления в цирке -- акробатика, капоэйра, силовые упражнения, задержки дыхания) на "интеллектуальные психотехники" (которые дают шанс вместо книги рекордов Гиннеса попасть в энциклопедию -- за какие-то умственные достижения).

Моделирование (и демонстрация результатов) могут быть выполнены методами НЛП, психонетики, какой-то другой психотехнологической школы -- это без разницы. Главное, что это не про психотерапию или телесные практики. При этом я особо не различаю программирование, онтологизирование, моделирование (моделирование тут в общем смысле этого слова, а не в специальном -- то есть не столько "моделирование человеческого экселленса", сколько "моделирование на языках моделирования и легкость ума в трансформациях моделей").

При этом я художественное творчество (композиторство, стихосложение, романописание и т.д.) не считаю за интеллектуальную деятельность. Критерий у меня простой: после забористой травки мозги могут выдать особо забористый мотивчик или сюжетик для текста. А вот особо забористый алгоритм или понимание ClassOfClassOfIndividual в ISO 15926 забористая травка только дестимулируют. Иначе бы все великие программисты и математики жевали пейотль и чтили аяхуаску, как это пытаются делать все великие музыканты и поэты. Но такого не наблюдается. Тем я интеллектуальную работу от художественного выражения и отличаю.