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...raise people's IQs and to give them paranormal abilities by teaching them to think with their right brain hemisphere
According to notable author Arthur C. Clarke and former stage magician James Randi, the Silva method consists of the application of positive thinking, visualization meditation, and self hypnosis. Some, including Silva himself, believe that it can be used to develop paranormal abilities such as ESP, and that practicing it can allow you to tap into a higher consciousness. It has been criticized as pseudoscience.
The Silva Method is one of a number of therapeutic techniques sometimes grouped under the name Human Potential Movement.
HistoryJose Silva worked as an electric repairman who developed great interest for religion, psychology, and parapsychology. Jose Silva spent much time learning about hypnosis, attempting to increase his children's IQ. After experimenting and being convinced of his daughter's sudden clairvoyance, Jose decided to learn more about the development of psychic abilities. In 1944, Jose began developing his method, formerly known as Silva Mind Control, using it on his family members and friends, before launching it commercially in the 1960s. Silva has done a numerous amount of research on the brain based on Robert Sperry's split-brain theory to improve his method. However, because scientists have been modifying the subject since Sperry, modern studies have proven most of Silva's beliefs about the brain to be incorrect. Nonetheless, even though Jose Silva's beliefs about the brain were proven incorrect, somehow his method has still been useful to many. In that case, it is concluded that Silva probably connected on Sperry's split-brain theory after the Silva Method had been developed. The simplified explanation to why Silva's method produced effective results is that he is training left-brain minds to think with their right brain as well. 
Early Childhood in LaredoSilva began developing the method, formerly known as Silva Mind Control, in the 1940s before launching it commercially in the 1960s.
Jose Silva was born in 1914 from poor Mexican immigrant parents either in today's New Laredo, in the Mexican State of Tamaulipas or in Laredo, Texas, on the American side of the Rio Grande. He was orphaned in early childhood; his parents were murdered during an attack of bandits during the turbulent years of the Mexican revolutionary war.
Jose Silva began at age six to support his family. Although he couldn't receive a formal education, he learned to read and write on his own - in both English and Spanish.
Instead of going to school, Silva earned money for his family by selling newspapers on the streets of Laredo, shining shoes, and doing odd jobs.
Jose Silva quickly developed entrepreneur skills. By the time he became a teenager, he hired youngsters to work with him, going door to door selling merchandise he had purchased in San Antonio. The youngsters were earning as much money after school as their parents earned working full-time, and young Jose was earning as much every day as the typical adult in Laredo earned in a week.
Electronics Technical self distant educationThe claim that Mr Jose Silva was a completely uneducated person is not precise, for he received basic education indirectly from his own younger siblings whom, with his econonomic support, attended public schools in Laredo. Jose started to study electronics by reading technical books of correspondence courses in his free time. This distant self-education allowed him to become the owner of one of the first radio repair companies in the border. It is likely that he received a graduate certificate as an electronics technician as fruit of those studies.
This knowledge was proven to be a considerable factor in the build-up of the largest electronics repair company in southern Texas, in the 1940s. There is no evidence that he has ever pursued or achieved subsequent higher education in electronics or any other branch of science. Jose Silva's career in electronics started to focus on the maintenance of communication equipment; after a long peroid of time it switched to the maintenance of biomedical appliances, wherewith he developed vital research skills.
Electronics and clinical hypnosis were the fields that allowed Jose to gradually enter into autodidactic research on the potentials of the human mind. In that area the contribution of Jose Silva in key aspects is considered as original; for instance: the development of a scientific(?) method of mind training through meditation and visualization that induces thought at alpha frequency brain waves.
Commercial MethodSilva method was first time offered to the public in the second half of the 1960s. Initially was only known by the people of Laredo and its surroundings. In 1966 word of his activities soon spread beyond Laredo where he was teaching his method to more than 100 people every week. Soon after, he was asked to teach groups who were willing to pay him for his knowledge.
Thus at the age of 52 Silva began the work that would make him famous throughout the world. In fact, he has been called the most famous Laredo resident of all time. After a couple of years of teaching the method throughout Texas, Silva began to train other instructors to do the same throughout the world.
In 1975 Jose Silva began his world famous career as lecturer to export his method internationally traveling to Mexico city. He taught his first instructors in that country in seminars at the prestigious Association of Jesuit Alumni in the traditional neighborhood of St Maria La Rivera, home of many important figures of the intellectual life of the Mexican Capital. One of his first Mexican graduates was the physician Dr Ignacio Becerra, President of the Center.
In 1980, Silva met Burt Goldman, and in 1989, they co-wrote the book The Silva Mind Control Method of Mental Dynamics.
Silva Method Publication StatisticsAccording with statistics published in the official website of the Silva method organization, The Program first taught to the public in 1966. At present, the method is being taught in over 30 languages in 111 countries, At last count, over 13 million people have graduated and benefited from the Program.
Jose served as Chairman of the Board of The Silva Method until his death in 1999. His legacy remains spread in the teaching activities of five different corporations that he founded and that are now managed by his sons and relatives.
Currently, there are more than 1,000 licensed Silva Method Lecturers throughout the U.S. and in more than 100 foreign countries. The Silva Method is offered in 29 different languages in the following countries. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Borneo, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Czech Republic Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Eritrea, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Mayotte, L’Reunion, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua N. Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Lesotho, Republic of Mauritius, Russia, Santa Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, & Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Al Ain, Falaj-Al-Moalia, Fujairah, Ras-Al-Kahaimah, Sharjah, Umm-Al-Quwain), United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zambia Zimbabwe.
TechniqueThe technique aims to reach and sustain a state of mental functioning, called alpha state, where brainwave frequency is seven to fourteen Hz.:p19-20 Daydreaming and the transition to sleeping are alpha states.:p19-20
José Silva, founder of the Silva Method, claimed to have developed a program that trained people use to enter certain brain states of enhanced awareness. He also claimed to have developed several systematic mental processes to use while in these states allowing a person to mentally project with a specific intent. According to Silva, once the mind is projected, a person can allegedly view distant objects or locations and connect with higher intelligence for guidance. The information received by the projected mind is then said to be perceived as thoughts, images, feelings, smells, taste and sound by the mind. The information obtained in this manner can be acted upon to solve problems.
CapabilitiesThe Silva Method teaches people to listen to and control parts of the mind-body that many Westerners have not yet learned to access. In this way, it is similar to a few advanced yogas. Silva also uses touch patterns to anchor mind states, in a manner similar to NLP, Anthony Robbins's teachings, and Japanese ninjitsu. Skills Silva teaches include:
- Scientifically verifiable skills
- Deep relaxation, including both body and mind
- Meditating immediately, with eyes closed or open
- Cure for insomnia--voluntary going-to-sleep in one minute
- Pain control--Silva practitioners are able to not mind intermediate pain, and can get cavities filled or receive colonoscopies without any anaesthetics
- Blood flow control, leading to primitive temperature control--"send heat" to hands or places in the body. At advanced levels, this can also be used to lessen blood flow to moderate cuts.
- Self-diagnosis of mental and emotional challenges
- Memory replay of past events (useful for finding dropped keys, etc.)
- Intuitive understanding of subconscious sides of self (useful for overcoming blockages)
- Intuitive understanding of subconscious sides of others
- Brainstorming and idea formation
- Energy level control
- Skills that have not been scientifically verified yet
- Self-diagnosis of physical challenges
- Increasing healing rates in self, through visualization and laying-on of hands
- Increasing healing rates in others
- Increasing healing rates in others remotely
- Remote viewing
- Empathic Telepathy
ControversyIn her book "The Beautiful Side of Evil", Johanna Michaelsen describes her negative experience with the technique.
- Carroll, Robert Todd (2003) "The Skeptic's Dictionary", Wiley, ISBN 0-471-27242-6
- Randi, James (1995)"An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural", St. Martin's Griffin, ISBN 0-312-15119-5
- "Review of The Silva Mind Control Method of Mental Dynamics on Brian Johnson's Philosophers' Notes". [dead link]
- Silva, Jose (1977). the Silva Mind Control Method. New York, New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-671-73989-8.
- Michaelsen, Johanna (1982). The Beautiful Side of Evil. Oregon: Harvest House Publisher. pp. 76, 78, 96.