John Fenderson and Adam Gorightly – Perception, Magick, and the “Missing Fundamental”

Gorightly messaged me a few weeks ago asking if I knew anything about the phenomenon known as the “Missing Fundamental,” which is a strange effect produced by the human hearing system. I said no, but did he want to do a show about it? He said he knew just the guy to bring along.

Gorightly’s buddy John Fenderson is a sharp and eclectic dude. He’s interested in perception and consciousness, and his view that as a pattern-recognizing species, that much of our thinking and delusions flow from this. It’s good for survival, but not for the evolution of ideas. “Schizophrenia is pattern-matching gone out of control,” says Fenderson.

Many years ago, Fenderson and some friends built a few of those plastic bag/ candles  hot-air thingies and let them float high over their town. He says that everyone reported seeing the same thing, but interpreted it based on their predispositions. How to quiet the mind and try to iron out some of these fixed beliefs? Some people try isolation tanks. Others meditate or seek answers in psychedelics.

The Missing Fundamental is a phenomenon where the mind fills in a missing harmonic tone and makes us think we are hearing a third singer, instrument or oscillation that is not there. Fenderson says this fact is used in the design of high-end headphones. The effect can actually be “shaped” into a perceived space by the subtle adjustment of frequencies.

The human visual system changes what is seen before we are consciously aware of it. “Most of what you’re seeing, you are actually imagining” says Fenderson. “You’re filling it in based on patterns you expect. When something happens that you don’t expect, very often you won’t see it at all.”

Because of our rationalizing minds, subjectivity and objectivity have soft and fuzzy definitions. Nobody’s life is a straight narrative, we just edit and change our memories to make it sound like one.

The occultist and the scientist and how they are going about achieving their goals in pretty much the same way, even though they seem completely different. As an example of the similarity, we can change our behavior to change life into something we want. This has been experimentally proven.

At his Discordian-themed site Singlenesia, Fenderson published a lock-picking manual that was authored by a group of MIT students and says that it is a metaphor for his whole philosophy of being aware how to hack yourself and your environment. Hacking yourself begins by re-imaging your reality to conform to what you want or want to do.

All these subjects and many more were covered in this very enjoyable program. Many thanks to Adam Gorightly for introducing me to his friend and helping to steer the show.

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