The Playful Kasina

Never before has technology provided the opportunity to convincingly deliver so much nonsense. Page after page of new this and new that, brilliant new techniques, stunning results. Yeah, maybe. Most consumer technologies don’t work. The best of them will provide a purpose-conducive environment, will facilitate, or will amuse while nature takes its course. Of all of the marvelous gizmos out there the only class of devices that I have time for is that which involves direct stimulus by perceptible means, via standard human senses. That comes down to audio, visual or tactile stimulation (CES is an example of the latter). Even then “spectacular results” will be extremely individual/session dependent.

That is not to say that much cannot be obtained by trying these things. If you believe in them, there’s a good chance that you will be able to claim results. Often the technology leads to thought, research and/or creativity – all of which are particularly good for the brain/mind. Products like “Lumosity” make me really sad. Do we really need “neuroscience-based” games to exercise our brains – has everything else we do with our minds become so pointless?

There are more effective ways to do everything that consumer technologies purport to deliver. All require more physical or mental effort than the shortcuts implied by advertising and commercial presentation of research.

Personally, I have had results with some of the masked “best practice” therapeutic AVS protocols. The underlying principles are sound, even if their meaning tends to be overstated. Masking with non-stimulus and irrelevant sounds makes the session palatable.

The “purpose” for which I have found AVS most valuable is personal discovery supported by alpha/theta stimulation. Other than that, AVS has provided the reason for me to study a whole bunch of really interesting things and to experiment with all manner of hardware and software. AVS as a creative outlet suits me perfectly. Writing hundreds (thousands?) of sessions, along with the requisite test listening, has been what has kept me interested for the years I’ve been interested.

Finally, to the point. Kasina is the most playful device on the market. It can be programmed in a multitude of ways, it’s range of sound/light expression is unsurpassed. It can make enhanced use of any existing content.

The best use the average person can make of consumer technology is to play with it. Purpose defined as what you can make the machine do as opposed to what the machine might do to/for you is much more likely to be fulfilled and the process will certainly be a lot more rewarding irrespective of outcome. Creativity and discovery, to the very limits of your individual potential, are the very best things you can invest in – time and resources.

Lots of the sessions I write use “best practice” protocols and they’ve got as high a probability of “working” as anyone else’s. The sessions I enjoy writing are those which may or may not have a distinct beat but that provide a sandbox for my mind to play in. This idea is often promoted as trance, meditation, visualization, etc. Language necessitates such pigeon-holing even if it is pretty much new-age babble. I dislike the whole idea of beta focus, study, energize sessions – they all imply that something undesirable is to be done requiring that the mind be forced into the state that it should naturally settle into once the task is being properly performed except, possibly, in the case of clinical ADHD (as opposed to the self-diagnosed excuse or education-imposed brutality). Not everyone can do everything – we’re all working with a different mix of the raw materials. There’s a lot of stuff being put together with the primary intent of cramming everyone into efficient and easily managed worker-units.

Purpose oriented software, such as Mind Workstation, has its place. It is great for learning AVS and consumer neuroscience. Lot’s of people are making money using it to provide purpose-based content or services. Such software is completely superfluous for the creation of functional sessions – the multitude of unproven stimuli and effects available will almost certainly lead to sessions that won’t “work” as well as the best practice protocol should. I know that I write functional sessions that are less effective than they could be – apparently no one will listen to the stimuli usually used for the underlying research… simple beeps/clicks and flashes. Learning how to use any major piece of software, AVS related or not, will probably be more worthwhile than anything output.

Relaxation is unique among the AVS “purposes”. It just works. So does appropriate music. Just close your eyes and keep reasonably still and you will be well on the way. AVS supports relaxation superbly. Relaxation is the only functional application for which I recommend AVS.

Personal exploration sessions, with or without functional components, have no need for concern about theoretical support for the techniques used. A good understanding of mind and brain will help, but just the broadest understanding of the bands of brain activity will fully suffice to enable some awesome sessions. 

Unless someone comes up with something truly unanticipated – a genuine new idea – I can’t see any reason why the Kasina couldn’t be the last AVS device. It does the business as a serious AVS tool. It has all the toys – even free creative software (MuLab).

Fun, play and self-guided learning/development are universally valuable. They will consistently and reliably improve quality of life. They are independent and free.

Grab yourself a Kasina and have some fun!

Cheers,
Craig

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