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The Information Effect

by Mark Cammack    July 11, 2019

Picture of Barbara Eden as Jeannie and Larry Hagman as Tony Nelson the astronaut. They are seated across from each other on a sunny day on an island.

Publicity photo for the comedy I Dream Of Jeannie with Barbara Eden as Jeannie and Larry Hagman as astronaut Tony Nelson. Tony has unexpectedly arrived on an almost deserted island and suddenly meets someone with astonishing abilities. Is this mind-bender also a lifesaver?

The environment and its messages can alter us physically and chemically. Our functioning, health, happiness, and performance are impacted by The Information Effect.

While much has been written about lifestyle choices and how to succeed, a most important factor has been largely ignored: The malleable human brain is constantly being hammered by informational inputs from the environment. This can greatly help or hinder our best efforts.

Everything we sense in the form of sights and sounds, our world, is encountered through our senses. Today this is even an extended experience as televisions, smartphones, and computers allow for the global to become local. Many people are aware of what goes into their bodies in the form of foods. With the increasing interest in health and fitness, wise choices produce smart outcomes. Foods in given amounts can chemically and physically alter us. They may help us to improve at sports, academics, and build-up or slim-down. With this knowledge, we can be careful about what we eat. Our brains and bodies can be subject to the same principles in other ways. It is not just what we eat that changes us, but also what we experience.

The balance of the brain and body is in a dynamic equilibrium with itself and the external world. What we encounter from the surroundings can dramatically alter our physiology both immediately and long-term. All of this can be considered a form of information and a type of input to our nervous systems.

Imagine you just received sudden notice of a positive event. For a comical example we may visit the My Master, The Ghostbreaker episode of I Dream Of Jeannie. For those who may not be familiar with the 1965-1970 TV show, Tony Nelson is an astronaut who works for NASA in Florida. He found a lovely genie named Jeannie in an alluring bottle on a deserted island. This was during an emergency spacecraft landing. Jeannie's magical skills surpass other's understanding leading to awkwardly amusing situations. Her magic may be considered an advanced technology that the society she finds herself in does not grasp.

In our story Tony and Jeannie are at home in the living room at Cocoa Beach, Florida. He is reading his mail. One letter contains a curious bill from England regarding an estate. The doorbell rings. A finely attired and exuberant British lawyer Edward Ashley is at the door. As he walks in he confirms what is in the letter: Tony has inherited an estate from his uncle in England. Tony and Jeannie are elated simply by experiencing information. Their physiology changes based on what they see and hear.

They decide to travel to England to view what Tony received. They take along their supportive and funny friend Roger who is also an astronaut. At the eerie estate the trio are met by Ashley and oddish smiling Smedley the butler. The cobwebbed timeworn manor is in need of repair. To add to the strangeness, Ashley declares that the mansion is haunted. Humorous ghostly happenings occur with the rattling of chains, sounds of footsteps, shoeless shoeprints, eerie laughter and screams, and funny phantoms. They are spooked and we are entertained. The environment and information can alter physiology for the actors and audience. Laughter may be wonderfully healthy and restorative.

We are not isolated from what surrounds us, it becomes part of us. This occurs when we breathe air or take in experiences. Think of places you have visited recently. Are there memories in the form of sights and sounds? Do associated feelings or thoughts exist? The environment has become a part of you. It physically, chemically, and electrically exists in you as the outside information was taken in.

Everything can be considered a form of information. This includes anything we can sense and some things we do not. Our bodies are working 24 hours a day to keep us well. Worn cells are being replaced, the immune system deals with invaders, and oxygen is transported. We may not directly sense these things. They are all forms of informational processes that we can see and feel the results of. These are also part of our personal environments.

We have direct and indirect awareness and outcomes. The direct includes things we can clearly notice. The indirect involves processes and things that lead to changes. For example, someone may experience a shock in life such as the loss of a loved one, home, or career. Likewise, extremely positive events can occur. A person may marry their dream spouse, gain a fine home, or find themselves working in a wonderful place with good people. With both unhappy and happy events, the physiological state becomes part of the person. I am not implying that it is only a memory stored away. I am suggesting that the actual state at the time still exists. To put it another way from physics All time always exists. Information is an entity and it is potentially possible to change it. Reality in this way can be malleable.

With direct changes, secondary events may happen. As the information is retained, the rest of our system can experience the effects. These can include alterations in blood pressure, brain neurotransmitter balance for energy and happiness, immune functioning, stress hormones, muscle building hormones, ad infinitum. Our entire life may be impacted in good or not-so-good ways by environments and experiences. The results are physical and very real.

What we can strive to do is alter the positive to negative ratio. If the negative is dominant, a person may become destabilized in one or more ways. When the positive is dominant, an increase in abilities can occur. This is why the saying Success breeds success exists. We want to have as many helpful environments and experiences as possible so that life gets better and better.

Color picture of smiling Émile Coué in a brown and black coat and hat, and white shirt.

"Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better" - Émile Coué.

He was a pharmacist, psychologist, and altruist who understood information's effect on people, and used it to help others. The message can determine the outcome.

The Information Effect is crucial to understanding how we function in interactions and surroundings. It is not the same as the deceptive placebo practice where a person may be given an inert pill and told is is strong medicine. If genuine positive information is being perceived or held in consciousness, a few things may occur:

1. The signal strength of the message is increased.
2. It displaces or overrides negative information.
3. The brain is rewired for increased happiness and ability.
4. The entire system becomes better.

When we are in places and with people we might want to consider the messages, meanings, and effects being delivered. Water seeks its own level, even on an almost deserted island.

Works Consulted

Cammack, Mark. How To Double Brain And Body Power: A Remarkable Improvement Method., 2018.

Coué, Emile. My Method: Including American Impressions. London: William Heineman, 1923.

Cousins, Norman. Anatomy of an illness as perceived by the patient : reflections on healing and regeneration. New York: Norton, 1979.

Kaku, Michio. Physics of the Future : How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100. New York: Doubleday, 2011.

Macnaghten, Hugh. Emile Coué: The Man And His Work. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1922.

Scheuring, Richard A. Space Physiology and Operational Space Medicine. NASA-Johnson Space Center, 2009.


Images are © Copyright 2018-2019 Mark Cammack. All rights reserved.

I Dream of Jeannie publicity photo is a derived colorized work by author. It is based on the public domain work from Wikimedia Commons. The original black and white photo is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1924 and 1977 without a copyright notice.

Photo of Émile Coué is a derived colorized work by author. It is based on the public domain work from Wikimedia Commons.

© Copyright 2019 Mark Cammack. All rights reserved.