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Rhythmicity: An Interview with Neurobiologist David Goodman

I’ve long been fascinated by the waves and cycles underlying human experience. For me, the interest arose around the time my dad changed my analog alarm clock for a new digital one. Were both of these devices describing the same sort of time? My circular clock face treated each second as portion of an hour, and each hour as a segment of a day. Each was a circle, with a beginning, middle and end. And each segment seemed to have a character or quality of its own. In digital time, each moment just hangs there, an eternal present, seemingly unrelated to the moment before and the moment after.

And this disconnection from the cycles that truly describe time, was just the latest step in journey into abstraction and disorientation. Whether it was written language (which locked down history while inventing a future) the clock (which monetized human labor), or digital time (which made all moments generic) we were a long way from any sense of the rhythms and cycles informing human biological experience.

I wrote my book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now, to sort through these issues and how they influence everything from consciousness to economics. I became particularly interested in day and moon cycles, and the four-phase calendar of Dr. Mark Filippi, who is now working on his own book about “Somatics.” And he’s the one who told me about David Goodman.

David Goodman is a neurology researcher who strayed outside the white lines to make some profound discoveries about people, neurochemistry, and biological clocks. He’s been relatively recluse for the past, well, thirty years, working to uncover everything he can about internally generated rhythms – from the inside out. His primary research database? His own and others’ dreams, which he’s been recording for the past thirty years. (He’s journaled over 36,000 of his own.)

While researchers are currently just scratching the surface on this form of study, Goodman’s emerged from the other end with a wealth of information, insights, and recommendations for how we can rediscover the rhythms underlying our realities.

Let’s start with the basics.  What were you originally doing in neurobiology?

My career in Biological Psychology (now subsumed by Neuroscience) began in 1960 when as a senior Psychology major at New York University, I was intrigued by the colors of the University of Chicago catalog — maroon and gray. In that catalog I found a major in Biological Psychology in the Biology department. Since Biology was a step up the scientific ladder from Psychology, I applied to Chicago. Two and a half years later I had a Master of Science in Biology enabling me to gain a position at Sloan-Kettering Institute doing research for another two-and-a-half years under Ernst L. Wynder.

Dr. Wynder encouraged me to pursue a doctorate in Biology majoring in Genetics. However, at an NYU fundraiser the speaker psychologist Larry Rosenzweig encouraged me to apply to graduate studies in Psychobiology at a new campus of the University of California, at Irvine. “You can surf on New Year’s Eve,” he said. Accepted at Irvine, I spent half my time there studying the evolutionary basis of the human unconscious. Paul D. MacLean believed that the reptilian brain structures formed the human subconscious. My decision under the guidance of Norman M. Weinberger  was to study the brain in salamanders whose behaviors could be reduced to algorithms providing insights into human moods, emotions and dreams.

Graduating from UC Irvine in 1969 with a doctorate in Psychobiology, I spent two years getting a feel for government and pharmaceutical research. Then I decided that my most beneficial future would be to remain an independent scientist. I prepared to set up a small laboratory to study the evolutionary basis for moods, emotions, dreams and mental states. My primary objective would be to recruit volunteers requesting that they record their mental and physical states for a minimum of 20 years. This would enable my group to detect the multiple rhythms believed to shape the human unconscious mind.  To colleagues, this decision indicated that I had lost my mind. Such a thin analogy on which to base a scientific career. Nonetheless, I persevered for decades until I did lose my mind, only to discover a new one.

So what happened? Why’d you jump ship?

The triggering incident to four decades of research originated in a grant application by my graduate adviser Norman M. Weinberger to study salamander brains and behavior. Based on the writings of C. J. Herrick, a famous comparative neurologist, Dr. Weinberger had encouraged me to assume that familiar salamanders like the mud puppy and the tiger salamander were evolutionary precursors to the human unconscious. If the reptilian brain as Paul D. MacLean claimed evolved into the human subconscious mind, then salamanders who arrived tens of millions of years earlier in evolution, could model the human unconscious mind.

Two years of studies on mud puppy behavior suggested strongly that this biological model of the human unconscious was remarkably rhythmic — breathing, heartbeat, walking, swimming, activity cycles initiated at sunrise, and many other rhythms — convinced me to search for multiple rhythms in the human unconscious comprising moods, emotions, dreams and mental states. Indeed, the familiar Fourier theorem teaches that complicated behaviors can be decomposed into multiplexed simpler rhythms. In other words, moods, emotions, dreams and mental states (Basic MEDS) although complicated to the casual observer might be subsequently reduced to multiple interacting rhythms. Something like the human EEG except on a much longer time span.

This laid the groundwork from the next four decades of my life. If volunteers could be convinced of the importance of an emerging new bioscience of the human unconscious mind, then they might record their physical, mental and emotional outputs daily for months and years without interruption. They might volunteer to keep daily records of weight, blood pressure, performance, ideas, intellect, moods, emotions, sleep and dreams. At some later date these data could then be correlated, if possible, to hourly, tidal, circadian, weekly, monthly, seasonal, annual and decadal rhythms. These results would permit reverse-engineering the rhythmic data at a later date to discover what kind of biological (Fourier?) machine existed in the regions of the brain responsible for the Basic MEDS.

Thus did the small Basic (MEDS) research group named the Newport Neuroscience Center launch its pioneering efforts that began on January 1, 1977.

Sounds cool. What did this look like? People lived their lives at home, and recorded all this stuff in books? Did you gather together? Did people stay with it? How long? Eventually it became just you, right?

Yes Douglas, it was cool to leave the research laboratory in order to spend decades gathering normative data. To forgo the traditional career of research and teaching at a university might be unsatisfying to most graduates, but I sensed — based on the research and writings of Hersey, Halberg and Luce — that I would not fail. We would detect multiple rhythms especially a monthly emotional rhythm of men in our proposed research. Then we scientists would need a research facility to collect and analyze normative data. To achieve this, four of us, including two physicists, a professor of sociology at UC Irvine and I, established the Newport Neuroscience Center. It was intended to serve both as a source for original research and as a clearinghouse to collate normative data from hundreds of volunteer subjects.

This operations plan had been laid out in depth by Luce in Body Time. She established how mental life comprised multiple rhythms, and that a new era in medicine could likely emerge when a curious minority of citizens decided to record daily personal undulations in mood, energy, symptoms, weight, blood pressure, sleep and performance. The value of time-tracking might prove of inestimable in medicine. The preferred outcome after data had been collected on hundreds of volunteer subjects would be new science and technology capable of detecting incipient mental and physical disorders and then through knowledge of the genome to treat them before they became chronic. With a little imagination, Luce’s vision could then become central to research performed over decades by innovative researchers entering the mainstream.

For this reason it would be noteworthy to report on how volunteers flocked to the NN Center to contribute their personal records. The actual results were valuable contributions from friends who recorded their rhythms for from one to six months. Better data came from other sources such as published data in journals and books, recorded tapes, and downloads from the Internet. Best among these data sets was a male subject recording critical data daily for almost three years. Excellent data were also contributed by Harvard’s J. Alan Hobson who thoughtfully mailed us “Engine Man,” the intellectual who results on how he felt and his dreams for months were reported in The Dreaming Brain. Hobson’s journal and six others today comprise the basic data sets  that in addition to my own recordings daily for thirty-seven years contribute the core information relevant to the anticipated launch of mental chronomics during 2014 .

So, what were your main findings? I learned from Mark Filippi that each week of the lunar cycle seems to be associated with one of the four main neurotransmitters. Was this one of your observations?  

Your question requires two answers. One related to my main findings and the second is Mark’s interpretation of what he believes I found. What I found is that my devotion to what Gay Gaer Luce wrote in Body Time (1971) was well-placed. It has proven enormously valuable to devote half my life (age 37 to 74) to test Luce’s provocative hypothesis when she wrote: “A calendar survey of the symptoms of healthy normal people will probably disclose that an astounding number of us show regular undulations in weight, vitality, optimum work output, pessimism, appetite, sleep, undulations in vibrancy and dullness, endeavor and apathy, moodiness and imperturbability, malaise and robust well-being” (pg. 251).

As a “healthy normal” scientist I noted how I seemed to show undulations in optimum  work output, pessimism, vibrancy and dullness, endeavor and apathy, moodiness and imperturbability, malaise and robust well-being. I definitely had weeks when I was an extroverted writer and other weeks of being introverted. Looking at different chapters I wrote, they seemed to have different authors. I knew I wasn’t manic and depressive since I never went on mad shopping sprees, and never stayed in bed with the covers pulled over my head. Yet I definitely experienced mood shifts.Therefore I bought a journal and kept track of undulations in weight, appetite, sleep, dreams, intellect and emotions as well as mood shifts. I know their precise shape because since January 1, 1989, I have not missed a day or night recording the relevant data series.

My main observation from data gathering daily and nightly for a quarter century and evident in every other subject examined is that in all of them regardless of age, sex, or self-diagnosis exhibit four sub-personalities following each other in an invariant sequence. They show four natural emotional shifts. These I have reported since 1996 as passive “up”, active “up,” passive “down” and active ‘down.” When people — men and women — are in the “up” phases they invariably report, “This is the real me.” When they are in the “down” phases they believe they need to fix their “disorder.” This is when certain men drink alcohol, get on drugs, raid health food stores, swim fifty laps, etc. because they perceive the “down” mood as abnormal. I believe that this is their widespread self-deception.

Indeed, Nature seems to have programmed an “astounding number of us” at different times of the month to expect the best of times and then the worst of times. We have genes that enable us to imagine best-case and worst-case scenarios following each other. This, I believe, holds the key to improving our chances of survival. The mood shifts may comprise an unsung genius of the human brain about which more to follow….

Do we all go through the cycle at approximately the same time? Is my wife, my boss, and my customer in “active up” at the same time as me? I have tended to think of these four phases of behavior as something that ancient people were aware of. They organized their work and relaxation schedules around it, anyway.

Emotional cycles are unique to each individual at a particular time in their life.  If your wife, boss and customer had precisely the same cycle length, then detecting the frequency of their cycle would be a simple matter. In reality, each individual on a given day appears to be driven by a modulator rhythm that can be called one’s Own Drummer’s Drum. ODD, for short. Emotional cycles can differ in many ways. They can be linked to phases of the moon or not. They can vary in frequency and amplitude, therefore stability. For example, your wife may experience a 29-day cycle of moderate intensity. Your boss may be driven by a 33-day cycle that is so mild that it can be detected only in his dream reports. Your customer may be on a drug like hashish that exaggerates the amplitude of his mood shifts sufficiently to interfere with self-image and therefore interpersonal relations.

Granted these differences, all of the people who have shared their mood data and dreams with my group experience the same fixed series of moods. In the simplest model, they feel calm, energetic, sluggish and tense during successive weeks of the month. This brings to mind the feminine reproductive cycle beginning with the cessation of menstrual flow. This finding of four successive states in adult women visible in their mood and dream records has been researched since the 1930s. To students of female reproductive physiology, the cycle suggests that during successive weeks there is dominance by serotonin helping them remain to calm; dopamine, energetic; acetylcholine, sluggish; and then norepinephrine, tense. For many who seek confirmation in ancient teachings, there has since the twelfth century been reports of four phases to the emotional cycle; consider the medieval belief in the astrological and the kabbala that posits the predictable sequence of elements beginning with air, then water, then earth, then fire. Four mood states originated as four humors first described in Roman times, being phlegmatic (calm), sanguine (energetic), melancholic (sluggish), and choleric (tense).

When “monthly” cycles were reported in men during the 1930s, individuals were told they were moody, . These were times when society did not demand that all of us feel “high” all day, every day. The modern discoverer of the “monthly” emotional cycle in  males, Dr. Rexford B. Hersey, beginning in the early 1930s until the early 1950s.advised businessmen to hold meetings when feeling calm. Energetic times were superb for closing sales. Sluggish times were best spent reading in the library. And tense times meant challenging adversaries. For these reasons, educated individuals who read Hersey’s articles in popular magazines chose to organize their work and relaxation accordingly.  Things remained this way until the era of psychotropic drugs arose in the mid-1950s, leading rapidly to the diagnostic rise in bipolar disorder during the 1960s, and then by the early 1970s moodiness itself became defined as moodswing, a disorder requiring millions of men to take daily medication.

Of great interest now to educated individuals is the claim that the monthly emotional cycle in men and women has risen in importance to become second in importance only to the circadian or daily cycle. And attempts to abolish this vital rhythm of moods, emotions, dreams and states using chemicals may be ill-advised. This conclusion becomes obvious when we investigate how cycles of dreams recorded weeks and months apart provide us with a ingenious way to anticipate and solve problems.

So, in theory, you could be your dopamine phase while I’m in my acetylcholine one, and Ken is in his serotonin one. And the only way to really know is for us to track our own rhythms for a while to get a sense of our personal cycles? What it makes me wonder is if there are four-phase rhythms within each cycle, each hour, even each moment? Is one’s inhale/exhale itself a four-phase rhythm? Also, you mention both hashish and chemicals, above. Do you think basically all mind-altering chemical use – from pot and wine to LSD and mushrooms is a bad idea for the way it disrupts the rhythms?

When drug use became popular in the mid-1960s and 1970s, proponents tried to explain why when a drug like LSD was taken one day, it was a good trip; on another there was a bad trip. The best minds postulated a state variable to account for the resulting good and bad trips. This state variable as you know I integrated into the term Basic MEDS where there is moods, emotions, dreams and states. In order to understand this state variable I plunged into Stan Grof’s Realms of the Human Unconscious (1975). And would you believe, Grof reports on just four trips possible, and it looks like they occur in the familiar sequence. Adding this observation supplied the capstone to my hypothesis on four modulated states appearing predictably. It is this state dimension that drug researchers tend to overlook when they try to explain individual differences in drug effects.

When you ask about the value of this state variable, consider the businessman who feels blah, interprets that this means that he is depressed, so he visits his Park Avenue psychiatrist. The result based on dialogue only is a prescription for an anti-depressive drug, often one that elevates brain serotonin levels . What happens next? The answer can be little or nothing for the first two weeks or so. This lag known for decades prods some drug researchers to return to their drawing boards to produce an anti-depressant adjunct that hurries the onset of the SSRI. Given the model we have been discussing, the businessman in the simplest case has two “up” weeks followed by two “down” weeks. He visits the psychiatrist when he feels “down.” Then two weeks later when he would be in his “up” phase, both he and his physician agree that the drug has kicked in. However before we give this story a happy ending, we must deal with Goodman’s Law.

Goodman’s Law, delivered with tongue in cheek claims, “All drugs work in the short run; none work in the long run.” While a humorous oversimplification, this adage simply confirms that in a normal brain, a modulator passes continually through the basic four states.  A drug like lithium carbonate ingested daily causes the body to marshal defenses to nullify the destruction of its healthy rhythm.  Peter Breggin has written extensively on the nature of these biochemical and physiological defenses. The success of these defenses means that the drug stops working. At this time, the psychiatrist doubles the dose, replaces the drug, or adds a second drug to the mix. Better for the sake of medicine that the  researchers explore the nature of the state modulator and its mechanisms and then its genetic basis. This can lead to an effective mathematical model to understand and predict positive outcomes in truly sick patients. Certainly this is an improvement over the present system when too many physicians raise a wet finger in the air to gauge the direction that the chemotherapeutic wind is blowing.

As far as your other questions, yes I can accept the idea that a number of rhythms comprise a ‘fractal’ fine structure of waves within waves. I am not sure I would include inhale/exhale, but who knows? As far as charting moods, our friend Dr. Hersey at the University of Pennsylvania hospital with a physiologist spent many years seeking a bio-marker to determine emotional phase in men. They sought a drop of blood or an electrical signal that would disclose in a minute or two the exact phase of the cycle. As far as we know, the researchers through 1953 made little progress to find a universal indicator, but now sixty years later, it almost certainly can be found at the leading-edge of Oriental or Western medicine.

So given the fact that we each have our own rhythm, and can move completely out of synch with others in our life, it appears incumbent upon us to learn about ourselves. If we start with the knowledge that we’re all having this four-phase cycle you described, what’s the best way for people to gain a sense of their cycle? Just keep a journal? What would one put in there? It’s going to take a while to figure things out since there are many external factors that influence our moods and energy states….

What’s your practical advice about getting started in this exploration?

Just to make sure we are all on the same page. 45 years ago I performed behavioral analysis of the salamander which is driven by the four familiar neuromodulators — serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine and norepinephrine. In the simplest language I compared these to calm, ready, fearful and aggressive states. When Paul MacLean posited reptiles as models for the human subconscious, I realized that the amphibia can model the human unconscious.

In my life, I noted that I had shifting moods during the month – maybe more than the average person. When I decided to keep a journal of shifting moods, I detected how during a 28-day period a complete cycle comprised four phases that were similar to the salamander’s four states. I also noted that they occurred in the same sequence as the feminine monthly cycle. Soon after I discovered that the four states follow one another in reports of LSD trips.

Thus began a folder on the four-ness of nature including human nature. History records more than forty examples carefully archived, and often the sequence of states matched the sequence I observed especially in the adult male in his cycle of moods and dreams. In women including those beyond menopause, the modulated sequence of four moods, emotions, dreams and states was also carefully noted.

I was also intrigued when I was able to perform a fine-structural analysis of the cycle that each of the four phases divided into 13 sub-phases. These 52 sub-phases in a predictable sequence have been identified dozens of times in my dream records during the past 3 years. Since I awaken 4-6 times a night  and time each dream occurs, I can compare the emotional tone and content of dreams 75-90 minutes apart .The sequence of 52 dream themes seems to repeat endlessly.

What this probably means is the existence of say 52 storage files in the cerebral cortex and adjacent subcortex where new information can be stored. It is during dreaming that new information can be copied and moved between storage files. I have noticed dozens of times a yearly how within the same month in dreams there are at least four different ways to cope with a difficult future problem.

For example, I lived for eight years on a 244-acre ranch where since it was rural San Diego rattlesnakes abounded. After the first exposure to a slithering creature, four dreams contexts supplied solutions on how to deal with the intruder next time. CALM: ingenious devise painlessly captures snake; ENERGETIC: Benign gent grabs snake by neck and tosses it over fence; SLUGGISH (FEARFUL): Gent runs like hell; TENSE: shovel used to sever its head.

The reason I send this email now is to point out how there are no good or bad moods in keeping with evolutionary thought. There are just different ways of coping. In the snake example, during sleep the brain seems to create four ways to cope with the next rattlesnake encountered. The gent can invent a snake trap, handle it confidently, run like hell, or kill it. The best case scenarios can be to capture it and to handle it; the worst case scenarios can be to run from it, and to kill it.

I trust that this scenario approach to the unconscious places us on the same page so that now I can now examine the universal four-phase cycle as it applies to solving larger problems.

Personally, I might challenge the individualistic approach to chronobiology – as if these clocks are almost entirely internal and predetermined, rather than environmentally and socially regulated. I know that my day/night cycle is influenced by light and dark. I would think the other cycles are at least influenced environmentally.

Your own studies were done in near total isolation from others, so they might have tended to emphasize internally generated rhythms over environmentally and socially generated ones. So while I agree that the DNA itself might suggest a personal rhythm for each being, my sense – and what I’ve gathered from other researchers – is that there are also environmental factors at play (day/night, moon phase, seasons) that are less corruptive of some internal program than they are coordinated with them. These are the regulators of many of the biological clocks we know about, anyway.

But that’s something we’ll find out as thousands of people begin keeping mood and dream diaries. There could end up being both personal and collective rhythms.

So yes, let’s look at the four-phases, and how we can use them and our continuing discovery of their presence in our temporal landscapes, to approach real-world personal and bigger challenges.

Many men are blinded by the myriad ways the environment seems to control them. This includes in the internal, moods and in the external, other people. These two environments control how we think, feel and act. Regarding the internal environment, most people lacking self awareness become a calm person then energetic, sluggish and tense during consecutive weeks of the month. They are four people during the month without realizing it. They are the people who call some of their mood states the real me, and during other mood states to claim, ” I am just not myself.” These people are most likely to go clinical and who are unlikely to believe what is continually taking place as neuromodulators and associated molecular chemicals jostle each other attaining dominance during weeks of the month.

For those men seeking knowledge on how to live a better life, they seek optimal health and to live the good life. They know how they can gain a great deal by accepting that four mood phases originate in their brain stem. Yet despite the mood cycle, they can still be whoever they want to be. They can choose to immerse themselves the cycle phase they prefer, or they can exercise frontal lobe dominance to override the prevailing mood state. They can via frontal lobe executive function chose to be a calm person every day by meditating. Should they chose to be a tense person, they can plunge headlong into a high-stress corporate life for as long as they live. Their third option is to slow-down and choose to be cautious, becoming more empathic and altruistic since they now are more likely to respect the feelings of others. The fourth choice can be to live confident and upbeat energetic lives amid happy family members.

Of course there are always enemies of healthy frontal lobes lurking, and in one way or another they weaken the power of the frontal lobes to regulate how you feel, and the person you have become.  You know how living in an artificial environment can disrupt your circadian cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Frontal lobe disruption can arise in a number of ways, such as when you  ingest mind-active drugs frequently in multiples, habitually engage in supernumerary intake of sugars and “bad” fats that can disrupt the cycle, as can being surrounded all day and night by electronic sources for chronic stress. Hormonal deficiencies or surpluses too can create an imbalance driving the mood cycle haywire. All of these environmental disrupts, as well poor choice of friends and associates whose behavior you mirror can reduce your frontal lobe executive function. As a neuroscientist, I cannot emphasize enough how the four-phase cycling unconscious emerged early in human evolution, a time when rural living protected men from the routine sensory and cognitive overloads that afflict 85-95 percent of urban dwellers today.

The solution therefore is for men to seek natural as often as they can, and by all means to accept that natural cycles in humans are programmed in their genes. If the cycles weren’t, we might go to sleep and stop breathing meaning that asphyxia and cardiac arrest might strongly disrupt  of lives. Live with cycles and honestly enjoy them.

Okay, so let’s look at the “bigger challenges” question. How can we apply this knowledge to the great challenges of our society?

Few intellectuals doubt that this is the decade for the BRAIN Initiative proposed and funded to the tune of $110 million by President Obama. Interest grows daily in the university community to promote optimism for the future of the human brain. The head of NIH, Francis Collins of genomics’ fame, can be expected to advocate the role of DNA research in the future of the human civilization. When we accept this positive bias, it stands to reason that potential “clock’ gene research in chronomics can rise to elevated importance. This positive point of view was stated in a 2003 editorial appearing in Science magazine.

Today the stellar challenge must be to anticipate how chronomics can be introduced to the world marketplace. The best chance for success likely will be to target areas of perplexity in the contemporary world while offering credible solutions. The most perceptive researchers anomalies can note anomalies that are ignored because of lack of interest at the corporate level. If we keep this in mind, three areas emerge that may be of particular interest to neuroscience planners and innovators. One is the creation of jobs for the torrent of new graduates; the second is in optimizing human performance; and the third targets the next generation of mentally active drugs. Together these can provide a powerful push towards the societal acceptance of chronomics.

Mental chronomics, my group’s specialty, is a soft science compared to biopharma. Two generations of women have been conditioned to turn to the  doctor’s prescription pad to improve their children’s lives. Pharma therefore has become one of the most powerful industries on the planet. Yet recent industry growth targets diseases in children that were marginal or did not exist when their grandparents attended medical schools. This simple fact opens the door to women who recently graduated from professional schools and who someday aspire to become mothers. Chronomics builds on their interest in the natural mind and body awareness. Chronomics is holistic science emphasizing the healthy body and mind. Women familiar with cycles in themselves likely will find chronomics attractive — especially since the new science assumes that even dominant men experience a type of monthly cycle.

A second expected growth area for chronomics can be among males paid hundreds of millions of dollars over a lifetime in reward for their anticipated high levels of performance. An obvious growth area for executives is alerting them to the ubiquitous of cycles in their external environment and in themselves. These if they are CEOs may believe that they can abolish economic cycles, and through their robust efforts abolish cycles in themselves. These attempts can appear impressive, yet consider what happens when they pay male athletes tens of millions of dollars to perform. Who can deny how in baseball the millionaire clean-up hitter can strike out a dozen times or more during certain weeks, and will smash the ball against and over the outfield wall the next? Here is one growth area for chronomics  when men using apps chart their monthly rhythms to detect their best days to figuratively rip the cover off the ball.

The greatest growth area must be designing of next-generation drugs. Which planner in biopharma can resist a return to the laboratory to understand better how clusters of genes coding for RNA messengers synthesizing protein enzymes then through neuromodulators (formerly called neurotransmitters) alter internal states perceived subjectively? Which of them after careful study can deny how often the present generation of mood-altering drugs function as xenobiotics, defined as synthetic molecules? Natural feelings can be blunted by these drugs, if one be allowed to use an uncommon analogy, a substance made of plastic can blunt sexual pleasure. How much more exciting to engage in research to determine natural cycles and their roles in maintaining normal productive lives. We can imagine gene-based drugs that can autocorrect mutations in mood sequences leading to exaggerated mental states.

Clearly there can be future markets in chronomics for reducing disease, moods analysis and next-generation drug design.

Finally, then, at least for this interview, what do you think this all might portend for humanity? How might a newfound interest in chronomics, as well as our increasing sensitivity to these cycles, help humanity transcend our tragic insistence on riding roughshod over the patterns underlying our reality? Beyond the practical applications of chronomics, do you think your discovery and our adoption of this more cyclic approach to life and to time could fundamentally change our relationship to our world and one another?

Rhythmicity is the basis for all you are and all you hope to be. Understanding the influence of multiple integrated and coordinated cycles can vastly increase your self-knowledge. Yet like most people you often blame external events and those around you for the troubles in your life. Too many of you blame other people for how your feel without bothering to seek the source of your discontent in the periodicity of your inner cycles. Therefore you stand to gain a great deal as the reach of chronobiology and chronomics likely enter into your conscious awareness during the next six years.

You can imagine how your awareness of periodicities in your life will increase in three discrete steps. The first step begins now and lasts through 2016 is based on the growing awareness of physicians in circadian rhythms regulating your lives. The Internet forms a marvelous source for information on how daily cycles regulate much of what you think and do. Among these is the cycle of blood pressure evident day and night when recorded outside of the physician’s office for at least two weeks. Researchers now utilize this knowledge to predict who with great accuracy who are at the greatest risk to die within six years. The causes of obesity too can be detected depending on when the largest meal is ingested, and the cyclic action of gut bacteria. Chronic depression may represent little more than the displacement of your circadian sleep-wakefulness cycle.

The second step centers on an increase in awareness when the media discover mentalchronomics, the new bioscience that can sweep society. The key to understanding is your four-phase cycle called “monthly” that is shared by men and women including those beyond menopause. This Basic MEDS cycle forms the modulator of the human unconscious and serves as source for moods, emotions, dreams and states. All that is required is you keep a journal or diary or use cellphone apps to first to detect and then to graph the modulatory cycle holding the key for human survival. The result of publicity for this new brand of knowledge is the new-found ability to predict future moods at particular times of the day, week and month. As an added bonus, discovery of the modulator enables astute individuals to employ fuzzy logic in order to make estimates of the emotional tone, elements and scripting of dreams days before they occur.

Step three occurs by 2020 when leadership realizes how chronobiology and chronomics offer multitudinous benefits to humanity. By increasing public sensitivity to the sea of cycles inside and outside the human body unsuspected dividends can result. Detection of monthly rhythms saves governments money otherwise spent to pay for lifetime medication for otherwise healthy individuals. More even than the Feminist movement, the discovery of four-phase emotional cycles in men and women likely fills the halls of Congress with less violent, more social-minded, drug-free legislators and congress persons who realize that being competitive is just one mind set. Beyond this, Oriental medicine based on cycles, yin-yang and activated meridians now enters the mainstream. Most importantly, computers and robots educators teach youth how the unconscious mind works, and how by learning the relatively simple principles they can achieve self-mastery.byknowing how the brain works to generates their moods, emotions and dreams.

The conclusion is that in the near-term future when you people begin to discover and to track the time structure of your lives, then what it means to be human can change dramatically. When you become more self-aware and embrace your periodicities, you know how ordinances from the heavens are within you and govern your lives. You even gain one-third more to your creative life when you capture the meanings of your dreams. When this small sample of the power of chronomics to change society is studied and accepted, the possibility arises that educated citizens in 2020 will look back on popular medicine today the same way that post-Copernicans familiar with the  Earth revolves around the sun think about the earlier model of Ptolemy that tried to explain everything and yet in retrospect failed to answer the essential questions about the movement of heavenly bodies.

Well then, just one more question. You’re suggesting that society itself goes through larger cycles? Collective, social rhythms?

Cyclic history is thought to originate in the four seasons of life in nature. Each season follows predictably: Spring, summer, fall and winter. The seasons follow the sequence of growth, maturation, decline and destruction. In human nature as well we identify four phases of being calm, then being energetic, sluggish and tense. Our inner nature drives us to create new ideas, energetically to pursue them, to lose traction and then to fight for what has been built. (This suggests a new design for the business plan as it now exists).

William Strauss and Neil Howe (1997) superbly remind us of the four phases to historical cycles, each phase lasting about 20 years. This has been the pattern observed for centuries in European and American history.Without exception, each phase follows its predecessor. First, the upbeat phase encouraging growth of a  new civic order. Then a phase of upheaval signaling the arrival of a new values regime. The third phase sets free individualism to strengthen the grasp on the new values. In the final phase enormous concern is shown for preserving the existing social structure.

In America, according to the authors, the most recent first phase was begun in 1946, marked by social stability and an outpouring of investment in the creation of new science. This era through1964 represented the high water point for reputable academic science and also religious faith. Then came 1964 when new attitudes about chemically altering the mind and expanding brain power exploded on the scene. These attitudes grew and grew through the Orwellian year of 1984. Then came an era for poly-drugging requiring huge growth through 2005 to cope with the human results of a generation of changes in the fabric of society.

Strauss and Howe writing in 1997 then predicted that following 2005 there would arrive the crisis of crises, the coming of a new society when personal contacts and eternal certainties would disappear to be replaced by a new authoritarian, militaristic society. This era bringing to mind the Orwellian future would generate widespread apocalyptic thought. During this time of crisis there would grow an imperative for a new leadership accepting the cyclicity of nature and human nature, and the difficulty if not impossibility of attempting to flatten cycles and to endless increasing institutional power to control nature and human nature.

The future especially following the elections of November 2014 might belong to proponents of the cyclic view of history. Strauss and Howe claim that those who believe in four-phase cycles more likely can prosper. It will be new leaders who take a long second (and third) look at the changes in America since the era of Presidents Truman (1945-1952), Eisenhower (1952-1960) and Kennedy (1960-1963). Then life was dominated by strong social ties, acceptance of traditional religious teachings, and belief in progress  from supporting science along the leading edge. The most successful proponents for a coming heroic era likely will be compensated well for inventing better strategies than devising new ways to bail out the Titanic.

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