By Steve Hammons
Human perception is related to a broad range of important endeavors in fields like health, media, national defense and many other areas.
New developments in human perception and consciousness have the potential to help us make progress on these and other fronts.
Perception is personal and also social. It affects families, communities, countries and the international community. Our perception and understanding of ourselves are key in the areas noted above, and in many other ways.
We can take a look a few examples to see how human perception affects progress in various activities and areas of interest.
HEALTH, HOLLYWOOD, DEFENSE
In the area of health, when well-known health and wellness expert and author Andrew Weil, M.D., appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" show on Sept. 10, he tried to apply his concepts of "integrative medicine" to the current national debate about health care.
Weil is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. He also serves as a professor of medicine and public health.
Another example is the new movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats," starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges. This film takes a look at innovative exploration of human consciousness within the U.S. military.
Although the movie and the book upon which it is based are reportedly slanted toward ridicule, many of these actual military and intelligence programs turned out to be quite valid and valuable. People who see the movie might become curious about these important and leading-edge efforts behind the scenes and explore them further.
As Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently noted, the perception of the U.S. internationally is an area of concern, despite recent progress. "Strategic communication" is directly linked to human perception.
In fact, in a paper for the Marine Corps War College some years ago, a Navy SEAL officer studying there noted that "transcendent warfare" may be a useful concept that optimizes forward-leaning research and activities in human perception and consciousness.
Integrative perception possible in many ways
When Dr. Weil was discussing his views of health with King on CNN, he noted the idea of integrative medicine. The concept of integrative medicine is similar to "alternative medicine" or "complementary medicine."
Weil believes that leading-edge health and wellness methods can be successfully integrated with conventional Western medicine.
In his discussion with King, he suggested that Americans should take more responsibility for their own health and wellness through healthier eating habits, more exercise and other common-sense approaches.
He stated that the over-reliance, in his view, on high-tech and expensive technological and pharmacological methods to treat health problems is unsustainable and not always particularly successful medically.
Weil seemed to be saying that physicians and health care providers, government officials crafting health care proposals and all of us should consider "integrative" viewpoints and thinking about human health and the administration of health care services.
According to the Web site of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, "Since its inception, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine has focused its efforts on three domains: education, clinical care, and research—with the primary emphasis on education." The site notes that the "Defining Principles of Integrative Medicine" include the following:
1) Patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
2) All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including mind, spirit, and community, as well as the body.
3) Appropriate use of both conventional and alternative methods facilitates the body's innate healing response.
4) Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive should be used whenever possible.
5) Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.
6) Good medicine is based in good science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.
7) Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.
8) Practitioners of integrative medicine should exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.
MOVIES, MINDS, INTELLIGENCE
Related to Weil's views, we might wonder if this integrative perspective or integrative consciousness is applicable in other areas.
Although Weil is now best-known for his work in health, wellness, nutrition and integrative medicine, his 1972 book "The Natural Mind" focused on human consciousness.
This actually dovetails with the movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats" and the real-life activities by the U.S. defense and intelligence communities regarding human perception.
Discoveries in the last few decades about human perceptual abilities have found that our instincts, intuition, gut feelings, extrasensory perception (ESP) and "sixth sense" appear to be quite real and valid.
A longstanding effort by the U.S. defense and intelligence communities commonly referred to as Project STAR GATE found that humans have the capability to use "anomalous cognition" or unusual perception to gather intelligence. A specific protocol that was developed to do this came to be called "remote viewing."
As our understanding about human perception and consciousness improves, it may become apparent that anomalous cognition is really not so unusual after all. Like the study of the health concepts of alternative and complementary medicine, the terms "alternative cognition" and "complementary cognition" might be more appropriate.
In fact, taking note of Weil's perspectives, we might consider the term "integrative cognition" or "integrative perception" to describe using the full range perceptual abilities and capabilities of human consciousness.
This also brings us back to Adm. Mullen's concerns about important defense challenges in understanding our own internal and external national behavior and how this is perceived overseas.
By examining some of these innovative areas, we can surely make significant progress in many important fields to deal with challenges facing us today.