Snake Oil

There is a regular flow of comments/questions on forums regarding devices and content that claim remarkable results. In many cases the illusion is created by presenting well known phenomena and inferring significance in respect of the promoted purpose.

“Enlightenment” of some form or other, often confused with joy, ecstasy or other alluring concepts, is the easiest thing for the snake oil salesperson to promote – as there is no satisfactory definition, no way to prove or disprove its occurrence.

Many forms of enhancement of basic human functions and capabilities are also promoted, often citing obscure research or trials indicating the presence of forces outside of those detectable by the standard human senses and/or scientific instrumentation.

To keep it short. There are no shortcuts to development or evolution. Magical thinking in the face of reality is entirely counterproductive. There is sufficient scope for discovery and experience working with overt practices and stimuli. If we consistently used the faculties we have our performance would be of the order we hope to achieve with snake oil.

I will be the first to eat my words if I ever encounter any information whatsoever that clearly demonstrates otherwise, but my present position is that if you can’t sense it or measure its presence/effect then it’s not significant. Of course we are influenced by everything in our environment, in ways that may possibly be perceived by the sensitive, in ways that may be beneficial, detrimental or insignificant. We find, for example, those who irradiate their environment with particular electromagnetic frequencies to achieve some benefit, while others living in the vicinity of power lines and so on, creating similar radiation, find the experience detrimental, even to the extent of claiming carcinogenic properties.

AVS is effective and safe. We have well defined channels for dealing with sound and light. Sound and light have immediate and direct access to the brain. Sound and light (and tactile stimulation) will overwhelm any “subtle forces”. Ordinary environmental noise will overwhelm such forces. Of course there is a quantum basis to our existence – but it is entirely useless as a tool due, once again, to being completely overwhelmed by more immediate influences. I will comment here, however, that the precision targeting of neural needs attributed to much AVS content is nonsense – there are general principles relating physical/emotional state and neural activity, but causal relationship is not always clear, individual responses vary enormously and use is rarely in a controlled setting, meaning that the session or anything else going on could be the prime cause of any perceived change.  Biofeedback (EEG, GSR, HRV, etc.) is useful. There are measurable and predictable responses to certain stimuli and conditions, information that can be used as a basis for change.

I really don’t know how it comes to be that so many of the flakiest devices and concepts come from “doctors”. All I have to say on this score is that being a doctor doesn’t make a person honest or correct, and that assumes that the qualification is authentic. Mainstream pharmacology makes it pretty clear that doctors can get it wrong, in etiology and therapy.

The scariest thing about the time and money spent on wishful thinking is that it is time apart from the experiential reality of the world today. We’re all in this together – “divide and conquer” has always been a useful strategy, and while we’re goofing around with “alternative” ways to be better and feel better the world gets just a less pleasant every day. Our insecurity is very profitable.

A popular application for AVS is IQ enhancement. My understanding of this is well known – it works just fine if you have a substantial deficit. My recommendation for IQ enhancement is to use the brain – read new material (physics, chemistry, biology and neuroscience would be good choices for those who think they might like to explore “subtle forces”), do new things, learn new skills – IQ might not rise, IQ testing is an evil arising from a perverted education system, but the capacity of a standard mind/body well used is stunning.

I love AVS. It has provided an environment for some of my best thinking, contemplation and meditation. I am no longer seeking a secret.


Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Kike  On May 29, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Hey Craig , Have you tired the New ilightz II ?

  • Kike  On May 29, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I meaned Tried.

    • CraigT  On May 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Not as yet. I have had a good look at the website – it looks to me as though they are presenting an impressive entrant in the iOS-based Category I would have to have one in my hands before forming any more substantial opinion – the original iLightz was probably my least favorite device, partly due to poor build..

      There’s been a few new releases recently – must be the season. It would be worth waiting to see what they present as their takes on state-of-the-art AVS.


  • Kike  On May 29, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Thank you Craig . I think is an interesting device because of the price . I like mindlights too but is too much expensive . Is a pitty the ilightz dont play audiostrobe .

  • Derek  On September 2, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Hey Craig, I have a Ilightz2 and it kicks some serious butt IMO. This was the 1st machine I purchased before the Procyon, Laxman and mindlights over the last few months. The goggles are definitely Laxman inspired somewhat but nowhere close to the quality of the laxman goggles. That being said they are very comfortable and you can either wear them like regular sunglasses or take the arms off as I prefer and use them with the head strap that comes with them. I gotta say the overall performance is in my experience just AWESOME! I never used their old system goggles or anything by them before but from the looks of it I’m sure these blow the old goggles out of the water completely. I say that because you can use these for both open and closed eye sessions and either way the visuals are pretty spectacular and vivid. I’m pretty sure ILightz2 does also have more features than any other L&S machine currently available. The one thing it lacks however is full on custom session editor like the others have but I believe they told me it will be something that will be added not too long down the road in a future app update just like the recent addition of turbosonix/audiostrobe capability added in a recent update. It comes loaded with a ton of preset programs I have been more than happy with and the thing that is really cool aboout it is being able to use bluetooth headphones having only the wire from the glasses to deal with. For the money it is without question worth every penny and a device you should consider reviewing Craig. I did forget to mention that out of the box the product only works with Iphones / Ipads with the 30 pin connectors. which means if you have the Iphone5 or the latest generation Ipads with lightning connectors you will have to get the 30 pin to Lightning adapter. I hope they update the Ilightz2 adapter to avoid having to use 2 adapters cause its looksvery jury rigged and unprofessional looking for their image not to mention how susceptible to breakage it becomes using double adapters attached to the phone if dropped by accident or whatever else you can think of that might happen. One is no problem but 2 just is not the best Idea.
    – Derek

    • CraigT  On September 3, 2013 at 8:04 am

      Hi Derek,

      Thank you for your review. It would be good to have a play with the new iLights, but they don’t seem particularly interested in me and I’m certainly not going to buy one.

      On the feature front, depending on which features you value most, there is a device on the near horizon that is pretty much my idea of the perfect AVS device – to the extent that for my purposes I have no further interest in “new” devices.

      Again, thanks for your detailed comments.


  • Derek Bernier  On September 4, 2013 at 7:58 am

    So maybe I can send you mine sometime if your interested to check it out and do a real review as opposed to my primitive attempt LOL! Thanks for calling it a review though your too kind.

  • Derek Bernier  On September 4, 2013 at 8:33 am

    BTW I bet your idea of the perfect AVS begins with a K and ends with an A . Just sayin.:) 🙂


    • CraigT  On September 4, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Alphabets are funny things 🙂

      Thanks for the offer of a loan of your iLightz. I usually only review devices supplied by the vendor and remaining available to me for subsequent questions or consideration. Mentioning me to them again wouldn’t hurt.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: