A few months ago, I had dinner with a friend from my time as an undergraduate. We had neither seen nor communicated with each other in the intervening decades.
But for the wear of years, he looked much the same. He said I did as well. As a Doctor of Psychology with a busy private practice, he expressed an interest in my research and writing as it relates to my visual work. And as his friend, the artist, I was fascinated by his first-hand involvement in cutting-edge paradigms of consciousness and behavior and the therapeutic praxes derived from them.
After catching up on the news and bringing each other up to date on the most recent developments in our respective disciplines, he mentioned some highly encouraging positive results his clients have been able to achieve by means of biofeedback and EEG neurofeedback training. My interest was piqued, as I had recently begun a new meditation technique and I had been reviewing other methodologies in the light of that practice.
We talked about the wave/particle nature of matter and energy as revealed by quantum physics, the electrical nature of the nervous system, and the powerful and revelatory advances in brain imaging. He told me about the history of biofeedback and neurofeedback technology and the famous case in which the impeccable brainwave research of Dr. Maurice B. Sterman made a significant contribution to NASA and the US Space Program. He spoke at length about the entire field of neuroimaging and the many opportunities it provides for understanding consciousness.
I was intrigued. I talked about the inspirations and the sources of my own work. He was aware of the philosophical and scientific disciplines that interest me because they are the same things that interested me as an undergraduate. We made a plan to work together. It has become a collaborative pursuit in creative evolution.
Now, after several months of working with neurofeedback training, I am reformulating many of the conceptual relationships that have nourished my life and work over the years. It is as if my ability to make these new connections and to see things in a different light is enhanced by the new paradigm and the new training. Brain plasticity is a wonderful thing!
I will be discussing this work and related topics in ensuing entries of ARTology. It has never seemed clearer to me than it does now, when we need them most, excellent tools of creative evolution are very real and very much within our grasp.
Image: self-portrait by Tullio DeSantis
YouTube Video on EEG Neurofeedback by Sue and Siegfried Othmer