From the beginning of my renewed relationship with Paul Bach-y-Rita, fifty two years after we’d last seen each other at our high school graduation ceremonies, it was quite clear that in addition to our lives having taken separate paths, we had also developed our own perspectives on how the the brain, the mind, and even thought and the thinking process itself functioned in living beings. Furthermore (I’ve mentioned this bad metaphor before, but it bears repeating)… whereas Paul’s interests were more inclined toward the ” brain’s hardware” – my interests focused on its “software”. What began to coalesce the two approaches together for us happened on the first night we spoke on the phone, when I mentioned that”thought is a material process”.
Nevertheless, I was so overwhelmed when I saw what the device he’d invented could do, my approach to my own inquiry regarding its operation was at least consciously informed by what I was told by Paul and his associates about how Perception itself takes place in us. But I was still carrying what I had learned before with me as well.
This is an interview that was conducted by a well-known documentary film maker from Germany– Marie B.– whose career had come to an end when she contracted Meningitis. She’d seen our website and asked if she could come and try the device on her own lingering dysfunction. After a week or so of using the device and seeing the changes that were taking place (more about that later) , one day I literally thrust my video camera into her hands and told her it was time for her to go back to work. She would eventually create an entire 1 1/2 hour documentary about her journey back to recovery.
This was one of her first steps back to recovery. It gives the viewer a pretty clear picture of where I stood a few months into my working on a full-time basis with Paul:
At about the same time, an extremely significant event took place quite unexpectedly. I decided to ask the two participants in our BRAINPORT explorations–Marie B. and Cheryl Schiltz to try explaining what was happening to them when they used the device… even though the effects only lasted for – at most an hour or so – before they went back to their previous dysfunctional states.
Marie had only just arrived, and had been using the device for four days when I asked her to talk about it on camera… But Cheryl had just (literally) experienced something quite exciting. This 9-minute clip begins with Marie’s response and continues with Cheryl. S’s. The event turned to be a watershed moment in our inquiry into the potential of Paul Bach-y-Rita’s invention… That is, if we could figure out what was behind that potential which showed itself so vividly that day.
Note: As I was setting up to videotape Marie B., i inadvertently and unknowingly changed the settings on my video cam. So the initial scenes are overexposed, which I tried to not-so-successfully fix in post-production. However what the two women had to say was so unusual, that I felt it was important that you see the video in spite of its marginal quality at the very beginning of the clip. So, it’s not your computer that’s at fault.
The revelations continued on the following day – but in two different ways… When I initially thrust my video camera into documentarian Marie B.’s hands, she’d been so traumatized by the Meningitis which had taken over life, she was literally afraid to try using a video camera again…. Yet, just a few days later, she had not only overcome her fears, but her vision and balance had improved to the degree that she asked if she could try using the camera herself that day….
It’s important to note again here, that the so-called “residual” or “therapeutic” effect which occurred after the subject had disengaged from the BRAINPORT device varied in the time it lasted, as well as the “depth” it might be felt… and could sometimes go beyond the sense of balance and even the “oscillopsia” or bouncing vision that plagued subjects in their dysfunctional state…
In this 9-minute clip we have Marie wielding the camera and Cheryl explaining — in detail — how the intensity of the residual effect continues to increase. And that’s when the next unexpected “ahah!” moment takes place….
Note: Apropos of the mention of “choiceless awareness” in the video posted yesterday, this was received as today’s daily quote (June 29, 2012) from JKONLINE:
Aware without any choice, to observe, to learn
“There are various schools, in India and further East, where they teach methods of meditation -it is really most appalling. It means training the mind mechanically; it therefore ceases to be free and does not understand the problem.So when we use the word ‘meditation’ we do not mean something that is practiced. We have no method. Meditation means awareness: to be aware of what you are doing, what you are thinking, what you are feeling, aware without any choice, to observe, to learn. Meditation is to be aware of one’s conditioning, how one is conditioned by the society in which one lives, in which one has been brought up, by the religious propaganda -aware without any choice, without distortion, without wishing it were different. Out of this awareness comes attention, the capacity to be completely attentive. Then there is freedom to see things as they actually are, without distortion. The mind becomes unconfused, clear, sensitive. Such meditation brings about a quality of mind that is completely silent of which quality one can go on talking, but it will have no meaning unless it exists.” – Beyond Violence,80
As a Coda to this Chapter (Four) I now add the note that I received after posting these last three videos, from the person you’ve already met, Cheryl Schiltz.
In addition to being the device’s original “Test Pilot”, Cheryl has also been using my friend Paul Bach-y-Rita’s invention — as well as its most recent modifications — for almost 10 years, now. In fact, she’s undergone such unique changes, she no longer feels the need to use it on a daily basis any more. You’ll hear more about those changes directly from her in future Chapters… But for now, here’s the (verbatim) note I received from her … (Capitalization hers):
“Nicely done Bill – seeing the videos and reading your words make my heart leap with joy. It is all a beautiful reminder of how amazing life has become for me. It overwhelms me…. thank you.
“After seeing your last addition this is what my heart felt:
IT JUST HAPPENED…
ONE DAY I COULD NOT WALK WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF ANOTHER PERSON, A CANE OR USING TOUCHPOINTS AS I MANEUVERED WITHIN MY ENVIRONMENT. THEN ONE DAY, THE ENVIRONMENT EMBRACED ME, IT AND I BECAME ONE WITH TIES SO CLOSE THAT I FEEL IT’S STRENGTH UNDER MY FEET, AROUND MY BODY, IN MY HEART AND THROUGHOUT MY BEING. THERE IS NO MORE THINKING ABOUT “IT”. “IT’S” ARE A MANIFESTATION OF THOUGHTS WHICH OBSCURE SEEING THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE. A WAY THAT IS VOID OF NOISE INFLICTED UPON US THROUGH SOCIETIES WHO HAVE MADE UP THOUGHT, CONFUSION, GREED, CARELESSNESS AND AN AWARENESS INJECTED BY HOW ENTITIES WISH FOR US TO MAKE CHOICES. AWARENESS SHOULD BE CHOICELESS. AWARENESS IS WITHOUT THOUGHT AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WITHOUT CAUSE BY ANOTHER. AWARENESS IS SIMPLICITY. IT IS PURE, GRACEFUL, CONNECTED WITHOUT CAUSE AND BEAUTIFUL BEYOND WORDS.”
Cheryl Schiltz—June 30, 2012