What is Resonant Input?

There seems to be a factor that is required for optimal psychological functioning of humans that is connected with the “engagingness” of stimuli they perceive. I call that factor “resonant input”. Input can be external, but it can also be internal in the form of recombined thoughts and ideas. The input consists of what we perceive of the world around us and ourselves.

Humans react to different kinds of input differently. Some forms of input can have a quite peculiar effect that I call “resonant”. The choice of this word comes from the physical effect of resonance in which two systems interact in a way that has massive effects over time. This typically happens when a physical body has a certain natural resonance frequency and is stimulated by something else that has about the same frequency. The result is that energy gets then pumped into the system at a maximum rate (and then it may accumulate more energy than it can handle without breaking down – examples for this are bridges collapsing during earthquakes and glasses of water bursting when hit by loud sound waves of a certain frequency).

But what is “resonant input” for humans? I’d love to know exactly what that is, so I can’t give an intrinsic definition. So let me try to define resonant input by the effects that it has:

  • It feels stimulating and energizing
  • It’s probably closely correlated with a strong release of dopamine
  • It can trigger “aha moments
  • It facilitates and sustains states of flow
  • It can have a deep changing effect on one’s thinking, challenge old ideas, and open up new perspectives
  • It inspires one to be more creative
  • It can encourage people to share the input
  • It often feels people engaged and wanting to interact with the source of the input

What kind of input can have these effects? It’s hard to say that in full generality, but input with a lot of the following attributes has a good chance at being resonant:

  • Novel input, especially new ideas, new questions, new approaches to certain problems
  • Personally emotionally relevant input, especially input that can help oneself to fulfil certain wants and needs better.
  • Correct or at least consistent input. Truth. Knowledge. Better ways to look at the world
  • Input that reveals a high level of creativity, intelligence, competence, or wisdom

This suggests that whether certain input is resonant is subjective and dependent on the time, experience, and mood of the person who perceives it. Everything else being equal, the same input just delivered twice will become much less resonant the second time, because it ceased to be novel. Resonant input needs to be relevant to the (emotional) interests of the receiver!

The requirement of novelty is a general problem, because it makes it harder for input to be resonant over the lifetime of a person, because as the persons learns more and more, less and less input will register as “novel”. The faster a person learns, the more severe the problem becomes!

Because humans are heuristic creatures, they often make the mistake of seeking resonant input in a certain area, because that area first triggered a strong resonance signal. But as that area is increasingly explored, the less it is able to generate novel inputs, so the most rational behaviour would be to explore new areas. However, humans are also afraid of venturing into completely new areas, because they may seem unfamiliar and dangerous. Also, there may be a lack of incentives to explore new areas, apart from sheer curiosity.

Whenever I delved into rather new areas I felt quire energized and felt like someone who is exploring a whole new universe. But of course that fascination waned over time for each area.

A lack of resonant input may create the feeling of boredom. Resonant input is “anti-boring”. I also have the suspicion that a too prolonged lack of resonant input can create anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure. This is probably due to a lack of dopamine release in certain areas of the brain.

Humans with the same interests and the same general level of IQ are relatively good at producing resonant input for each other, especially when they have different experiences and ideas that they want to share. When interests or IQ levels become to different, then it gets very hard for communication to contain resonant input. So, ideally, people should self-organize into circles with compatible interests and IQ levels – at least when the only thing that matters is the optimization of resonant communication inputs.

Direct communication can be resonant, but it doesn’t need to. Also, indirect communication tools like books or blogs or pieces of art can be very effective sources of resonant input.

These insights may be helpful for optimizing the intake of resonant input.
How would a good strategy for optimizing that look like?

Do you think this whole concept of resonant input makes sense?
Do you think it’s a fundamental psychological need?
Do you have favourite types of resonant input?

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three times yes. my favourite types are enlightened and enlightening texts, conversations and stories. this point :"Correct or at least consistent input. Truth. Knowledge. Better ways to look at the world " resonates mostly …so i want to interact :wink:
there is a kind of opposite…i would call it obedience- input. this kind of input could be transported
through texts and conversation as well. but it has different kinds of characteristics.
it demands from you to just believe what is said and not to question it. it is not made for aha
experiences, just to swallow it and to repeat it when asked. because there are no insights for yourself, the obedience-input needs a grading system from outside. though naturally energy-sapping you can
regain some energy through grades and praise from others.

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And some still believe transhumanists can’t engage in this areas.

Think in cycles. You have to start somewhere and like ouroboros, eat your own tail to stay on track, to be on the flow I mean. This way you will not fear of straying out and you can cope with small steps to an ever improving experience.

Yes, you might need to synthesize it and give more cues thou.

Looks like some principles in psychology, which are fundamental “drives”. Where we need particular patterns for our wellbeing, in the environment and even our own bodies.

I’m chaos personified, maybe only normal human constraints are what separate me from mayhem, so I guess not.

Do you know about “the hero’s journey”? Is more like a literary device but one can use it for multiple purposes. I mention this because to point ups and downs of resonance and to graph a scheme. Also you said in another post you like to write.


This is for making a point whether a cycle can be a device to maintain track of our lifestyle, and pretty much the “resonant” and its area of action can be made into a cycle for constructing a lifestyle.