Joshua J. Peabody: Michael, There seems to be a swirling controversy
building about your claim to inventing a form of “subliminal metaphor” as
you call it, that addresses the human mind on a primordial level. Would you
tell us something about that?
Michael P. Sakowski: I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what I
have stated about it. What would you like to know?
JJP: Is it dangerous?
MPS: (Laughs) You mean can it be used to subvert one’s will? No, it can’t,
not at all. Just as someone can’t be made to do things against their will while
in a hypnotic trance, one can’t be led to do things that aren’t in their inherent
character using subliminal metaphor techniques. One can be led astray, or
given some very bad advice, but that can be done without subliminal
techniques. There’s no substitute for common sense.
JJP: Then what’s the point?
MPS: The point is that it’s a more efficient means of communication in many
respects. If you can touch someone on an emotional, subliminal level, it’s like
touching his or her soul. Just as hypnotism addresses the mind while in an
altered state of awareness, subliminal metaphor speaks to the mind on an
emotional level. Direct communication with the subconscious mind is possible.
JJP: How did you discover this phenomenon?
MPS: I was always fascinated with the
speeches of Hitler, and I had done a
lot of research while at University of Maryland on hypnotism. At the time,
I was mainly interested in sentient dreaming, where one learns to control
the direction of their dreams. My idea was to investigate techniques of mind
control, in the hopes of increasing my learning abilities. I knew that if I
could even come close to my dream state concentration levels that I could
double or triple my IQ. Along the way, I studied transcendental meditation
and a few other techniques. Nothing really came of it, and life moved me to
new adventures, but I always wanted to return to experiments with sentient
dreaming and altered states of awareness.
JJP: Should we mention that you weren’t a psyche major?
MPS: (Laughs) Yes. I was far from it. I took a dual degree program in
electrical engineering and physics. I think most of psychology is farcical.
Lots of mumbo jumbo, just to try to legitimize a very primitive effort. The
human mind is so complex that it defies self-analysis. My electronics
background, and experience with the EEG had already taught me that there
were a lot of scanning processes going on within the brain. Just as today’s
computers are running many programs and subroutines in the background as
they work upon a primary task, the human mind is constantly working on
things at a subconscious level. Brain waves, as recorded on an EEG are
representative of some of these processes. It’s been shown that certain
groups of brainwaves are common to certain moods and certain states of
awareness, but almost nothing is known about the actual scanning processes
or the mathematics of the brain. The mind processes information much as
supercomputers process vast quantities of data by running many
microprocessors in parallel. Only the mind is far more sophisticated than the
world’s most powerful computers. Thus far, science has little understanding
about the human mind. We’ve made significant breakthroughs in brain
chemistry, and surgery, but little else. The physical processes of the mind
have always intrigued me.
I left university and was sidetracked by business ventures, but I continued to
be fascinated by the subject. Over the years, as I became interested in
writing. I studied a lot of the techniques of authors, who I thought had well-
developed styles that hit the reader at another level, beyond rational thought.
Sometimes they used metaphor; sometimes prose style or a combination of
both. But I never read any analysis that addressed the true depth of what
they were doing.
JJP: Please give us some examples.
MPS: Sure. Writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson for wit through metaphor in
some of his essays like
“Compensation”. (He smiles and opens a book on the
table and reads:)
“Crime and punishment grow out of one stem. Punishment is a fruit that
unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure that concealed it. Cause
and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect
already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the
(Laughs) I could have recited that from memory, but didn’t want to chance
misquoting him. It’s too perfect to paraphrase. Emerson mixed reason with
emotion, while still maintaining a consistent rationale. Compare that to
political sound bites, which use emotion to twist reason into an “emotionale”,
where rational thought is distorted by emotions. Emerson’s points were put
across logically with metaphor. He was a great writer, way ahead of his
time. He also had an innate understanding of word rhythms, which are key
to accessing the subconscious.
Hemingway uses a type of subliminal metaphor in parts of
“The Old Man
and the Sea”, when he dissects the protagonist’s character by telling us his
vocalized thoughts. He also reaches us on an emotional level, albeit implicitly.
Raymond Chandler was fantastic for what I term “nested metaphor”,
where he strings two different sensory processes together to evoke a
response. For instance, Philip Marlowe walks into a bar off a noisy street,
and it’s so quiet he can “hear the temperature drop.” Obviously one doesn’t
hear the temperature drop, but you might have experienced coming off a
noisy street on a hot day, into an air-conditioned store which is very quiet.
The simultaneous cool of the air conditioning combined with the quieter
location plays with the senses, and it does almost seem like one can “hear the
temperature drop”. But the biggest talent of Chandler is the way he could
control the cadence and meter of his prose. His machine gun style prose had
an emotional appeal at a subliminal level. The repetitive beat, the measured
cadence and timing. It’s irresistible to the subconscious mind. (Sakowski
opens another book and reads: )
“He was a gray man, all gray, except for his polished black shoes and two
scarlet diamonds in his gray satin tie that looked like the diamonds on roulette
layouts. His shirt was gray and his double-breasted suit of soft, beautifully
cut flannel. Seeing Carmen he took a gray hat off and his hair underneath it
was gray and as fine as if it had been sifted through gauze. His thick gray
eyebrows had that indefinably sporty look. He had a long chin, a nose with a
hook to it, thoughtful gray eyes that had a slanted look because the fold of
skin over his upper lid came down over the corner of the lid itself.”
The timing is flawless, and beats out a pattern that appeals to the
subconscious. Simultaneously, we are processing the visual information,
which we now stand ready to receive.
JJP: You mentioned this beat pattern when we spoke previously. Please
MPS: Beats and cadences are very important to us due to our primate
heritage. They appeal to us psychosexually and are arousal tools. Apes
sometimes use branches to beat on trees to whip their brethren into frenzy,
and their repeated hoots are again reminiscent of the sex act, the repetitive
pulsing and pounding.
For years, I knew that I recognized something special that certain writers
were doing, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. They apparently were
not aware of their own techniques consciously, and they just attributed their
success to having found their own voices. While this was true, I sensed
something different too, and certain patterns arose in the best writings,
almost as if there were secret codes. Then in the late eighties I studied the
researches of Julian Jaynes, in particular, his theories in “The Origin Of
Consciousness In the Breakdown Of the Bicameral Mind”. I framed my
first hypotheses concerning the metered verses of the Oracles at Delphi,
and of schizophrenics who hallucinated voices. It suddenly hit me that there
might be a tie-in to some of the scanning sequences that are always
occurring in the brain. Suddenly, music, poetry and metered verse took on a
whole new perspective, and I began analyzing patterns hidden in the art,
which we so hungrily crave. Everything from Robert Frost to
started to reveal itself to me in new ways. I saw secret codes in the rhythms
of words and music. Codes that were gateways to the subconscious mind.
JJP: Was it mostly about sex?
MPS: (Laughs) Well, when you are talking about the primitive, preconscious
mind, yes, a lot of it is about sex. The main message is procreate. But the
subconscious mind is very “conscious” in and of itself; it just doesn’t act
rationally as our conscious mind tries to do. That doesn’t mean it’s a lesser
intellect, far from it. In fact, the subconscious mind might be a link to
infinite intelligence, but let’s not go there. We are only concerned here, with
how to get the mind to stand up and take notice at another level of
understanding. How to explain hidden codes that are part of our minds?
JJP: The Sakowski codes?
MPS: (Laughing) You said that, I didn’t. I prefer to think of them as god
codes, hidden codes of creation impressed on our overall psyche. Just as
sophisticated computer languages can be reduced to a machine language of
zeroes and ones, our brain’s hard-wired structure creates consequences that
are related to the underlying scanning processes which are always
occurring. The codes are there, and they are real. Correlating them to actual
processes, and trying to utilize their sequencing presents the challenge.
Certainly, it’s beyond the scope of a brief interview, or even an entire book
to do justice to the topic. To the best of my knowledge, it hasn’t been
researched significantly in the current context. That’s part of my quest.
JJP: So which would you rate higher, Hitler’s speeches or Eminem?
MPS: I think Eminem is a lot more enjoyable, and less dangerous.
JJP: What do you have to say to the psychologists who decry your
theories? Or those that are saying you’re trying to capitalize unethically; like
a theater owner flashing a frame or two of hot dogs and cokes during a
MPS: I don’t expect someone to understand immediately a mechanism that I
have studied for over twenty years, so it doesn’t upset me very much. But
to ban my books and research, or compare me to Hitler or Rasputin would
be a mistake. There are no subversive messages in my writings. I don’t tell
people to go out and do bad things.
JJP: And the sex angle? Does reading your writing make one want to have
MPS: (Laughs) You can’t seem to get past that part, Joshua, why? Does
listening to Eminem make you want to have sex?
JJP: Not with him. But maybe I listened to the wrong song.
MPS: Procreation is so deeply instilled in us that it’s impossible to escape.
There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging its power over our lives. In
fact, it could be argued that almost every human endeavor is in one form or
another, a transmutation of sexual energy. However, that’s tangential to our
subject. The main point I’d want to make to anyone who might be interested
in this subject is that the god codes are real. I didn’t invent them. They are
just a consequence of the physical construction and electrochemical
processes of our minds. Just as epileptics can be thrown into seizures by a
pulsating light, the subconscious mind can be accessed through the
application of god codes. Much of our art has aesthetic appeal to us for that
Julian Jaynes opened my mind to the possibility that people longed to return
to a preconscious mind, and that was what constituted much of the
loneliness of mankind. They were longing for the hallucinated voices of a
simpler time. He theorized that religion satisfies man’s longing for the god
voice that he no longer hallucinates.
JJP: When I read The Enterprise Zone, I wasn’t cognizant of any artificial
construct. How do you make the god code interface seamlessly with the
MPS: That, is a book in itself. It’s like asking, how do you write well? And
further, what constitutes good writing? There is no clear-cut objective
answer. Since everyone is different, results will vary from one individual to
another. To not seem evasive, there are templates that I mentally apply, and
these are used in the editing process. Just as a poet writes a metered phrase,
an author composes using his own techniques. The writing isn’t stilted by
the codes, but is instead guided by them. What sounds best, what evokes
better, what catalyzes visualizations. It’s all about the story. If god codes
help tell it better, than they’re welcome. It’s like adding color to a black and
white photo. Sometimes it helps.
JJP: How do you want people to be affected by your writing?
MPS: Why does a person even write? To share; to offer a view of reality
through another’s eyes? For me personally, as a reader, I hope to be
enlarged in some way when I read a novel. I like novels that take me to
another place, or help me see my world through a different set of filters. I
don’t want to control anyone’s thoughts, but I would like to touch them. If
an author does that, I think he or she is happy.
JJP: Thank you, Michael, and welcome to Baltimore Books.
MPS: Thanks very much, Joshua.