What People Are Saying About TAI
 What I Learned from Norm and Sky Hirst
And How It Changed My Life

by Rodney Plimpton

Before I met Norm and Skye I had a pretty good handle on how Life worked, or so I thought.  I had a PhD in Social Psychology from Stanford, had studied Human Potential for Five years with Jean Houston, knew all about stimulus-response and something about cybernetics.  I didn’t consciously realize how much my model of life was based on a popular concoction Darwinism, materialism, elitism, and computer science.

But it all came down to this: the brain was in charge. (except maybe for those messy outbursts of emotion, or the unconscious power of the ID; but even that was a brain function; just a hidden one).  Whatever we did or experienced was noticed by the brain, consciously or unconsciously, and got written into little programs that told us what to do and what not to do to get what we wanted.  The rest of the body obeyed, unless it was sick or wounded.

If this was the model, then being SMART was good, and being SMARTER THAN OTHERS was evidence of being farther along on the evolutionary scale.  Having a heart and genuinely caring about others?  Yes, that was very important too; a sign of evolved consciousness; simply more evidence of being multi-dimensionally smart.

Then I met Norm and Skye at a small conference that I wasn’t even supposed to be at.  They were an odd couple for sure.  He had all the hallmarks of an out-on-a-limb academic, and she looked and talked and sang like someone who should have been headed for Hollywood or Broadway, instead of Bayview Avenue in Camden, Maine.  And to hear them talk!  According to them nobody else knew what they were talking about.  Our bodies weren’t anything like computers.  There were no programs inside of us.  Somebody named Hartman did something brilliant about values that was really important but it was hard to understand why or how.  So while that well-developed brain was saying “Maybe brilliant, but also maybe a nut case” my gut was saying, “there’s something there really worth understanding…dig deeper”…and the gut won.

I’m glad it did.  I read their papers, and tried to rewrite them so that they made sense to me.  I read on my own.  I thought about what they were saying and began to look at the world a little bit differently.  I particularly thought about their notions of autonomy and coherence.  And eventually I got it….sort of.

What I got was that yes, our brain was important;  you could lose a toenail and function better than if you lost your brain.  But it was only one part of some 70 trillion cells in our bodies.  And those cells were, to a surprising degree, making autonomous decisions about what to do, based on awareness of themselves, combined with awareness of what was going on throughout the whole body. And they were aiming for coherence; doing what would work for them but would also either work for the rest of the body, or at the very least, not interfere with letting all the other cells do what they needed to do for themselves and for the whole body.  The brain plays an important role on its own, for sure…but not in the command and control way that I previously thought.

It was a very short leap from there to a much larger understanding.  There are some 70 trillion cells in our bodies, getting along pretty well in a cooperative way that enables us to live and learn.  It took them some billions of years to get there from primeval slime, but every one of us is living proof of the accomplishment.

There are only about 7 billion of these collections of living cells walking around this planet at this time.  It ought to be easier for 7 billion big, smart cells to figure out how to get along together than for 70 trillion sub-human ones….but that is obviously not the case…yet.   But clearly that is where we need to go, even if it takes us another billion years to get there.

Now I can’t shake that notion as a fundamental insight.  When I am in a room full of very diverse people, I no longer look at the ones least like me and think “Wow, I’m glad I’m not them”   Instead I look at them and think “Gee, here we are, a bunch of different, seemingly individual cells, living in proximity to each other, and trying to figure out how we can get it together so it works for all of us.”  If you think that doesn’t lead to a change in attitude, and a change in your life, just try it.
Don’t forget the billion years part… it helps to keep from being too hard on yourself or others.

Now I’m not claiming that Norm and Skye have led me to the same understanding that they have…but they’ve led me someplace different from where I was, and I like living in the new place better.  Thanks Norm and Skye. Maybe in another billion years I’ll REALLY get it together.

A New England city Mayor, says...
With the help of Autognomics, I not only understand better what makes government processes work, I also know when something doesn’t work and why it hasn’t.

I know what to look for in proposals to know if the project will lead to “life-giving” solutions or “life-stopping” solutions. Having the Autognomics training has given me the confidence to invite wider participation to the governing process therefore including more of the voters in decision-making. As a result, the decisions we come to are lasting and satisfying to the greatest number.

A community organizer and pastoral counselor says...
The Autognomics Institute assists me in the continual research /process that supports a way to validate and voice what I’ve learned in living, training and multi-racial environments to generate a sense of unity and support. Using TAI discoveries, I am moving towards the creation of a new kind of living environment for homeless women with children in the Hartford area with the hope of expanding these living processes to communities throughout the country and internationally. What Autognomics provides is a far-reaching and inclusive understanding of a life that works for everyone. These are details I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.

A plant manager of a small manufacturing plant of 18 people has said...
What we learn through Autognomics is a respect for life, our own and others, a respect for the self, the uniqueness of each person we are gifted to meet or know.  When we discover how to breathe and listen to another person’s story we begin to hear their soul speaking, their struggles and conflicts, their joys and beliefs.  Autognomics has helped me immeasurably in creating a work environment where everyone loves to come to work including myself.  People who have previously not been able to hold down a job have been working with me for over 5 years successfully.  Our little company generates over 5 million dollars a year and people as well as the finances thrive here in our company.  We have used Autognomics processes to resolve conflicts and discover ways to turn around difficult challenges with production, morale, training, and delivery.