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Multistate Theory and Tools for Mind Design

Foreword by James Fadiman
Published by Park Street Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

An exploration of “mind design” technologies and practices--mindapps--that boost intellectual capacity and enable new ways of thought and action

• Reveals how mindapps transform the patterns of our mind-body complex and help generate new ideas by enabling access to new mind states

• Examines the singlestate fallacy--the myth that useful thinking only occurs in our ordinary awake mental state

• Explores a wealth of mindapp practices and techniques, including microdosing with psychedelics, yoga and martial arts, hypnosis, breathing techniques, lucid dreaming, rites of passage, biofeedback and neurofeedback, and transcranial brain stimulation

Just as we can write and install apps in our electronic devices, we can construct “mindapps” and install them in our brain-mind complex, and as just as digital apps add capabilities to our devices, mindapps can expand our mental powers and creative abilities, allowing us to intentionally redesign our minds.

Using psychedelics as the prime example, Thomas B. Roberts explores the many different kinds of mindapps, including meditation, other psychoactive plants and chemicals, sensory overload and deprivation, biofeedback and neurofeedback, hypnosis and suggestion, sleep and lucid dreaming, creative imagery, transcranial brain stimulation and optical brain stimulation, rites of passage, martial arts and exercise routines, yoga, breathing techniques, and contemplative prayer. He also looks at the future of mindapps, the potential for new mindapps yet to be invented, and how installing multiple mindapps can produce new, yet to be explored mind states. Drawing on decades of research, he shows how psychedelics in particular are “ideagens”--powerful tools for generating new ideas and new ways of thinking.

Uniting the many forms of mindapps into one overall Multistate Mind Theory, Roberts examines the singlestate fallacy--the myth that useful thinking only occurs in our ordinary awake mental state--and demonstrates the many mind-body states we are capable of. He shows how mindapps not only allow us to design and redesign our own minds but also offer benefits for artistic performance, mystical and spiritual experience, and scientific research by improving creativity, open-mindedness, problem solving, and inner-brain connections. Reformulating how we think about the human mind, Mindapps unveils the new multistate landscape of the mind and how we can each enter the world of mind design.


Chapter 2. Augmenting Human Intellect with Mindapps

From a period of describing, prescribing, and augmenting the human mind in our ordinary default state (awake), we are advancing to a new era of mind design. Briefly, we can increase the repertoire of our mental processes--sensory and cognitive, physiological and mental, conscious and unconscious--by installing a large and constantly increasing number of what I call mindapps in our brain-mind system. This advance produces new research questions and paradigms, refreshes approaches to standard scientific and humanistic topics, and broadens the wider intellectual world by opening the door to our minds’ greater futures. Because they are receiving so much scientific, professional, and media attention and because psychedelics are the most dramatic common family of mindapps, this book uses them to exemplify the wider field of mindapps and to illustrate the fruitfulness of the Multistate Theory.

Basic Ideas in the Multistate Theory

Recognizing that psychedelics stimulate ideas, I coined ideagento use when they do so. Ideagenis not a synonym for psychedelic. It refers to psychedelics only when they produce ideas. When other mindapps produce ideas, they qualify as ideagens then too.

What other ideas have I come up with? Therest of this chapter elaborates on them.

Briefly for now:

1. Because of the ambiguity of the word consciousness, in the Multistate Theory the word mindbody replaces consciousness when it refers to overall patterns of mind plus body functioning at any onetime, and mindbody state replaces state of consciousness.

2. Mindapps.Mindapps are methods of altering overall patterns of biological, behavioral, and cognitive processes, and just as we can write digital apps and install them in our electronic devices, we can create bio-information mindapps and install them in our brain-mind complex.

3. When we ask if there are other mindapps besides psychedelic ones, we recognize many other mindapp families, thus generating Multistate Theory.

4. Residenceis the recognition that all behavior and experience reside in (are expressions of) their respective mindbody states, and its Central Multistate Question promotes new hypotheses, research agendas, questions, and methods.

5. Mind design--recipes for combining several mindapps will produce new, previously never-experienced, “artificial” mindbody states.

6. MindappAI will extend the human brain-mind complex and contain previously unknown human experiences and capabilities. If systematically pursued, this founds a new intellectual activity.

These enrich our fund of ideas. As the next chapter proposes, mindapps, both psychedelic and non-psychedelic, can be combined to form new, artificial mindbody states in the brain-mind complex: thus, the future of the human mind is unlimited. As Part 2 of this book shows, reconceiving drug studies supports new adventures in scientific, humanistic, religious, educational, and cultural thinking. In chapter 10 I show how the Multistate Theory meets 7 of the 8 criteria of a paradigm shift, and as a consequence of revolutionarydrug studies, drug laws and drug policies will need to be updated too. The singlestate fallacyis the major theoretical impediment to the Multistate Theory.

The Singlestate Fallacy

What I call “the singlestate fallacy” is the hegemonic assumption that all worthwhile thinking takes place only in our ordinary, default mindbody state. It assumes that other mindbody states contain no knowledge, have no practical uses, and are epistematically empty.

The so-called “singlestatefallacy” meets Kuhn’s observation that an existing dominant paradigm “can insulate a community from those socially important problems that are not reducible” to their usual way of thinking. The singlestate fallacy’s insulation still continues in spite of “the plethora of new studies and published papers in the scientific press,” and “multiple pilot studies demonstrating their efficacy and safety” wrote Dr. Ben Sessa, a psychiatrist and medical author from Bristol, England. He added, “Other impediments include a prevailing attitude of pseudoscience and rigidity from within the non-scientific community itself.”

Thanks to a rapidly filling reservoir of evidence, though, psychedelic research breaks through that isolation and destroys the singlestate fallacy.

The Multistate Theory--Toward a Complete View of the Human Mind

In contrast to the singlestate fallacy, the Multistate Theory recognizes that the ability to produce and use a variety of mindbody states is a significant human trait, and multistate phenomena, deserve their place in our studies of the human mind. This is not to denigrate our knowledge of our ordinary, default state. Far from discarding existing information, a new paradigm “must promise to preservea relatively large part of the concrete problem-solving ability that has accrued to science through its predecessors”. The Multistate Theory encompasses our ordinary state and especially values it as the mindbody state that has been most thoroughly studied. Existing singlestate findings contribute toa whole multistate map of our minds, and established research on our usual, default state sets high standards for methods, questions, and topics that the nascent studies of other states might emulate.

Mindbody states are overall patterns of cognitive andbodily functioning at any one time. They are composed of body plus mind considered as one unified whole, not as different things closely interacting. Thus, the hyphen in mind-body is dropped.

A Mindapp Population Boom

Usually when we think of technologies, we think of electronic, biological, or mechanical technologies. Mindappsinstall mindbody states. They are currently an under-recognized class of biotechnologies. Among mindapps are families of selected exercise routines, meditation, psychoactive plantsand chemicals, yoga and the martial arts, sensory overload and sensory deprivation, hypnosis and receptive relaxation, sleep and sleep deprivation, chanting, dream work, breathing techniques, biofeedback and neurofeedback, transcranial magnetic stimulation, biohacking, CRISPER and other genetic techniques, contemplative prayer, vision quests, selected practices in Eastern and indigenous religions, drumming, and many (perhaps thousands) more. Furthermore, each of those listed here is not just one, lone mindapp, but a whole family of related mindapps, such as the many types of meditation and contemplative prayer. They all contribute to the Multistate Theory.

About The Author

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D., is professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University and a former visiting scientist at Johns Hopkins. The coeditor of Psychedelic Medicine and the author of Psychedelic Horizons, he has spoken at international conferences on psychedelics, consciousness, and psychedelic science. He lives in Sycamore, Illinois.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Park Street Press (June 18, 2019)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781620558195

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Raves and Reviews

"In this book, Roberts explores a new paradigm for how we see the human mind, and the tools we use as ideagens, or idea generators. This novel approach to how we can approach ideas is an enlightening and enjoyable journey to read."

– Rick Doblin, PhD, founder and executive director of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic St

“Thomas Roberts is a lot of things: a writer, an inspiration for people entering the world of psychedelic research, a trickster, and a wizard. But above all, he is an educator. He has been in the game a long time, and his ideas and hypotheses are always worth listening to. In Mindapps, Tom takes us once again into a world of creative hypotheses and unique narratives that force the reader to sit up and take notice. The concept of the mindapp as a new paradigm--something to replace the outdated concept of consciousness itself--is exactly the kind of approach that our contemporary tech-savvy society is in need of. I highly recommend this book. Read it. Then, years from now--when this is the stuff of mainstream scientific and cultural knowledge--you can say you were alongside the early pioneers of a new way of thinking about brain states, mind states, and psychedelics.”

– Dr. Ben Sessa, psychiatrist, researcher, writer, and cofounder and chair of Breaking Convention

“In Mindapps, Thomas Roberts masterfully explores the various practices and techniques available to us, be they ancient, chemical, or technological. He looks at the potential development of fresh new mindapps and the potential of producing novel mind states through the synergy of using multiple mindapps at the same time. A case is passionately made for the value of altered and alternative states of consciousness and how these can not only yield new ideas but also improve creativity, open-mindedness, problem-solving and inner-brain connections. The information presented in Mindapps should be of great interest to thinkers and explorers of consciousness. I gladly recommend it.”

– Amanda Feilding, founder and director of the Beckley Foundation

“I found Thomas Roberts’s book Mindapps to be very engaging and thoughtprovoking proof that the psychedelic renaissance is maturing and that psychedelics can be ideagens.”

– Robert “Tim” Scully, creator of Orange Sunshine

“Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University, has been an organizing force in the global psychedelic movement. His new book is itself a history of the psychedelic revolution. He argues convincingly that apps are to devices as mindapps are to the mindbody. Whether the mindapp is psychotherapy, meditation, near-death experiences, or psychedelics, they can expand our mental powers, creative abilities, and generate new ideas and ways of thinking.”

– Allan Badiner, editor of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics

“As psychedelic substances increasingly become integrated into our culture in responsible ways as facilitators of mental health, spiritual development, and new knowledge in a variety of academic disciplines, this carefully researched and visionary book contributes innovative language and concepts to support, challenge, and guide us on the path forward.”

– William A. Richards, S.T.M., Ph.D., and author of Sacred Knowledge

“Mirroring its central thesis that the mind is multiple and its states of consciousness at once vast, ecstatic, and creative, this book is so many things all at once--a psychedelic autobiography; an education in human potential; a plea to revise the sciences and save the humanities through new psychedelic approaches to neuroscience, art, literature, music, and philosophy; a call for new mental technologies to literally and definitively ‘change our minds’; and a who’s who of the American psychedelic intellectual landscape from the 1970s to today. Here is a perfect entry point into a whole series of glistening subjects that have yet to see their full day.”

– Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Secret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions

“An important resource for anyone interested in psychedelics and the mind. Professor Roberts has an intimate and encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, having taught it to undergraduates for 32 years. Mindapps brings ancient practices and techniques together with contemporary science of the mind to produce ‘ideagens’--new ideas and new ways of thinking.”

– Malcolm Dean, research affiliate in the Brain Research Institute and Human Complex Systems Group at

"MindApps explores a simple analogy -- as apps are to smart devices, ‘mindapps’ are to the brain–mind complex. Therefore, any agent of psychological change (both drug and non-drug) that produces a mindbody state can be considered a mindapp. Different kinds of mindapp, of which psychedelics are perhaps the most potent, ultimately produce disparate mindbody states. Consequently, Roberts challenges the reader to consider a new age of ‘mind design’, where mindapps are used in combinations to investigate mindbody states, create new ones and uncover the full extent of the human mind. As transhumanist and transpersonal perspectives begin to intersect, could it be possible to design minds that far surpass the functions and capabilities of our current ones?"

– © Adam G. Van Hagen 2019 BJPsychiatry Bulletin

MindApps is an encouragingly speedy read that is chronologically, conceptually, and thematically sectioned out chapter by chapter. Roberts begins with a brief autobiographical account of his journey through the academic world, his discovery of the psychedelic and transpersonal realms, as well as his early encounters with ‘greats’ in the field such as Stanislav Grof and Huston Smith…An invigorating, quick and clear read--upload MindApps to the brain’s linguistic centers and let the words embed neural networks with new meaning, altering one’s operative conceptual frameworks.”

– Elin Ahlstrand, Mind Nomad

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