Mental Literacy

All these trends reflect the increasing Literacy, defined thus:

international drive towards Mental

As a knowledge of the alphabet and its permutations and combinations is to traditional literacy, and as a knowledge of numbers and their permutations and combinations is to mathematics, so a knowledge of the biological and conceptual alphabets of the brain and its apparently infinite permutations and combinations is to Mental Literacy.

The Mind Map Book3 with its emphasis on the radiant biological and conceptual architecture of the brain, is an introduction to Mental Literacy, a concept which we hope will have profoundly positive effects on the individual, the family, the organisation, societies, and civilisation in general.

1 The Mentally Literate individual

In our historically 'mentally illiterate state', the mind of the individual is imprisoned in a relatively small conceptual framework, without the use of even the most primary Mental Literacy tools with which to help expand this conceptual framework. Even traditionally 'well-educated' and literate individuals are significantly restricted by the fact that they are able to use a fraction of the biological and conceptual thinking tools which are available.

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Illustrations Conceptual Framework
Illustration showing relative sizes of the 'mental screens' of the illiterate, linear and radiantly thinking minds. The radiant thinker's automatic self-enhancingfeedback loop allows the screen the possibility of becoming infinitely large. (See below.)

Cognitive amplification

The Mentally Literate human is capable of turning on the radiant synergetic thinking engines, and creating conceptual frameworks and new paradigms of limitless possibility. The illustration above shows the 'mental screens' of the illiterate, the linear, and the Radiant Thinking mind. It can be seen that this last screen, by the nature of the intellectual machinery which drives it, continues to grow with an infinite possibility for size and dimension. It is the Radiant Thinker's automatic self-enhancing feedback loop which allows this massive intellectual freedom, and which reflects the inherent ability of each individual's brain - a formidable powerhouse, compact, efficient and beautiful, with potentially limitless horizons.

Applying Radiant Thinking principles to the brain enables you to range more freely among the major intellectual activities of making choices, remembering and creative thinking. Knowing the architecture of your thinking allows you to make choices and decisions using not only your conscious mental processes, but also your paraconscious - those vast continents, planets, galaxies and mental universes waiting to be explored by those who are Mentally Literate.

The Mentally Literate individual is also able to see the vital powerhouses of memory and creative thinking for what they really are: virtually identical mental processes that simply occupy different places in time. Memory is the re-creation in the present, of the past. Creativity is the projection, from the present, into the future, of a similar mental construct. The conscious development of memory or creativity through the use of Mind Maps automatically increases the strength of both.

The most effective way for the individual to develop Mental Literacy skills, and to amplify the cognitive screen, is to follow the Radiant Thinking guidelines outlined in Chapter 10. The guidelines are a training ground for the development of mental skills such as those used by the 'Great Brains' (see Chapter 2 and pages 295-304). Indeed Leonardo da Vinci, arguably the greatest all-round user of mental abilities, devised a four-part formula for the development of a well-rounded brain that reflects these guidelines perfectly.

Leonardo da Vinci's Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind

1 Study the science of art.

2 Study the art of science.

3 Develop your senses - especially learn how to see.

4 Realise that everything connects to everything else.

In modern Mind Mapping terms, da Vinci was saying to the individual:

'Develop all your cortical skills, develop the entire range of your brain's receiving mechanisms, and realise that your brain operates synergetically and is an infinite and radiant association machine in a radiant universe.'

By applying the Mind Map guiding principles and da Vinci's laws, the brain can develop its own uniquely individual expressions, exploring hitherto undreamed of domains. As Professor Petr Anokhin continued, after the quote on page 31:

'There is no human being alive or who has ever lived who has even remotely explored the full potential of the brain. We therefore accept no restrictive limitations on the potential of the human brain - it is infinite!'

Am The Mentally Literate family

In a Mentally Literate family, the emphasis will be on growth, communication, learning, creativity and love, in a context in which each family member realises and cherishes the miraculous, radiant and indescribably complex individuals who are the other members of that same family. As John Rader Piatt has said:

'If this property of complexity could somehow be transformed into visible brightness so that it would stand forth more clearly to our senses, the biological world would become a walking field of light compared to the physical world. The sun with its great eruptions would fade to a pale simplicity compared to a rose bush, an earthworm would be a beacon, a dog would be a city of light, and human beings would stand out like blazing suns of complexity, flashing bursts of meaning to each other through the dull night of the physical world between. We would hurt each other's eyes. Look at the haloed heads of your rare and complex companions.

%J The Mentally Literate organisation

In the future, we hope the Mentally Literate organisation, whether it be a club, a school, a university or a business, will be seen in the context of an extended family, guided by the same principles, understandings and visions.

We have already, in the early 1990s, begun to see the first dramatic signs. The Brain Club, an international charity for anyone who wishes to learn how to use their brain, has established 'cells' in eight different countries, and publishes a magazine called Synapsia, the international Brain Club Journal.

In schools, a growing number of teachers and students are becoming involved in Mental Literacy, and at Eton, the famous English public school, the school's Brain Club has, in its first year, 300 members! (See page 290.)

Meanwhile, students at Durham University, led by James Lee, have formed a club devoted to the promotion of Mental Literacy, and established a network throughout the entire English university system.

In the business world too, the trend towards Mental Literacy is accelerating. In addition to the numerous examples given in Chapters 25, 26 and 27, both professional business writers and thinkers are reaching the same conclusions. Peter Drucker, in his book Innovation and Entrepreneur ship, predicted that 'the manager of the future will simply be a learning guide', while John Naisbitt, in to vO O

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Mind Map by Jonathan Montagu of Eton College, outlining seminar weekend (seepage 289).

Metatrend Zivilisation Heute

Megatrends 2000, summarised ten trends for the human race as it approaches the millennium by identifying the metatrend underlying all the megatrends: 'Learning how to learn is what it's all about'.

Almost identically, Alvin Toffler (the author of Future Shock) in his new book Power Shift says, 'The illiterate of the future will no longer be the individual who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn how to learn.'

T The Mentally Literate society

With increasing numbers of Mentally Literate individuals, families and organisations, we will soon see the dawning of Mentally Literate societies.

Realising the importance of this trend and its implications, the United States Senate recently declared the 1990s the 'Decade of the Brain', stating:

'Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of The United States of America in Congress assembled, that the decade beginning January 1, 1990, hereby is designated the "Decade of the Brain", and the President of The United States is authorised and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon all public officials and the people of The United States to observe such decade with appropriate programs and activities'

This initiative has already had considerable effect. Apart from encouraging further research and exploration into the brain, companies such as EDS have initiated 'Education Outreach' programmes promoting Mental Literacy. We have also seen the launch of the Education 2000 programme, searching for new ways of understanding the brain's ability to learn, establishing life-long learning programmes throughout the country, and researching the future needs of schools. In addition an intellectual climate has been created in which the brain increasingly features on radio and television programmes and in the general media.

Societies are considering both the general impetus of the 'Decade of the Brain', as well as such specific initiatives as that of the Venezuelans in creating a 'Minister for the Development of Human Intelligence'.

The Mind Map on page 291, done by Sheikh Talib the Arabian philosopher and thinker, outlines a plan for the development of a Mentally Literate society. Demonstrating its pan-linguistic nature, the Mind Map covers the stabilising roots of education, economy and politics, and includes the other major factors of agriculture, services, operating mechanisms, industry, communication and marketing.

On the right-hand side of the Map, 'Information Technology' is emphasised because it is becoming more and more important in the way modern societies communicate and conduct business. On the left-hand side of the Map, the 'Education' branch shows two eyes with hats on them facing each other. As Sheikh Talib says:

'This is a strong depiction for the need to educate the educators. This task has been neglected by many countries who fail to see the enormous importance of it. A good plan can only be successful if modifications can be applied at any stage. Therefore, the plan should be flexible and dynamic; it must be alive/

One of the interesting things about this particular Mind Map is that, during the early stages, a young waitress took a quick look at it, and when asked what she thought she saw, replied: 'It's a picture about making a better world.' She did not read the Arabic language, nor did she know beforehand what the subject was. This is a clear and vivid example of the success of the Mind Map as a basic communication tool, and of the importance of the application of research on how a human brain works.

mJ A Mentally Literate civilisation

From the development of a literate society it is only a single step to the development of a Mentally Literate civilisation. With the explosion of Radiant Thinking through the computer, satellite and media networks, we are taking the first steps towards a global information structure that begins to mimic that of an embryonic brain. It thus becomes increasingly possible to envision a planet in which communication and understanding become faster and more complex while simultaneously becoming more accessible and understandable. We are beginning to move towards the realisation of the philosopher Olaf Stapledon's vision, in Star Maker, of a global brain some four million years hence:

Tn the true racial experience the system of radiation which embraces the whole planet, and includes the million million brains of the race, becomes the physical basis of a racial self. The individual discovers himself to be embodied in all the bodies of the race. He savours in a single intuition all bodily contacts, including the mutual embraces of all lovers. Through the myriad feet of all men and women he enfolds his world in a single grasp. He sees with all eyes, and comprehends in a single vision all visual fields. Thus he perceives at once and as a continuous, variegated sphere, the whole surface of the planet. But not only so.

He now stands above the group-minds as they above the individuals. He watches them as one might study the living cells of his own brain; but also with the aloof interest of one observing an ant hill; and yet again as one enthralled by the strange and diverse ways of his fellow-men; yet chiefly as the artist who has no thought but for his vision and its embodiment.

In the racial mode a human apprehends all things astronomically. Through all eyes and all the observatories, he beholds his voyaging world, and peers outward into space. Regarding the solar system simultaneously from both limbs of his world, he perceives the planets and the sun stereoscopically, as though in binocular vision. Further, his perceived "now" embraces not a moment but a vast age.'

Is it possible for us to even begin to approach such a Mentally Literate future? The Mind Map Book suggests that it is.

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The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.

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  • Spencer
    What is a radiant thinker?
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