Saturday, February 1, 2014

Reverse Speech & Microexpressions

The truth is a funny thing, isn't it??  Firstly it's quite colorful & warm as we're always splitting it into degrees, (of honesty) as well as various shades of grey.  Next we want to reserve it for only the select self-chosen ones, and if that doesn't work; then we protect & defend the truth, with a ring of lies.  Everybody lies, just ask anybody!  Here again we have a kind of color code for our lies:  little white lies are the ones we allow ourselves when sparing another's feelings is of equal importance as our keeping a secret.  The other end of the spectrum would then be the black hearted lie when the liar takes perverse pleasure in the deception of others.  Those who most often and flagrantly lie to us, demand total honesty from us when it is largely absent in society, business & politics.  It is perhaps the worst of the double standards which society prefers to ignore rather than remedy.

Lying is something we all do all the time, if not every day, in every conversation; but I'm getting to that.  The thing here is that lying is supposed a big no-no if you put credibility into the Top 10 (commandments.)
I grant you it is rather low on the list, and does seem to condemn bearing false witness against thy neighbor, while being rather obscure regards the fellow across town.  What's the use of having such Holy commandments from the creator if we can arbitrarily just hold ourselves and others somehow immune from them as it suits our will?  Good question, huh?  What is worse, are all the pantomimes everyone goes thru pretending that society actually honors truth.  Don't you think it's getting pretty grotesque?

There are the lies we tell others, and then there are the lies we tell ourselves; and in both instances, the reason why is always the better story.  Sometimes the reasons even make a kind of sense.   We tell ourselves that, so as to better hide our shame.  We lie to our children generation after generation, encouraging their belief in Santa & the tooth fairy; then wonder why as adults they no longer believe us about much of anything.  

Before I retired; I spent a couple decades as a professional counselor.  I started out as one of two counselors at a Vietnam Veteran Outreach Center in Alaska.  Five years of working with traumatized souls taught me many things, but the most important was to treat the soul on the etheric level, not the meatsack in 3D!  When our center's five year grant expired we closed the doors, each of us taking what we'd learned forward into the future with us.  Although there were no more vets to work with; I'd found my calling, and figured I'd find a surplus of clients in the civilian population to help.  I mention this because by far the number one killer of relationships, is the lie that becomes a pattern of deception nobody will acknowledge. 

 As a holistic practitioner I was usually open to new methods which produced interesting results, adding them to my tools & skill set whenever I could.  One of these tools is something called Reverse Speech; discovered in 1983 by Australian linguistic researcher David Oates.  When back masking tapes of human speech, or playing them backwards; Oates discovered that within the garbled, unintelligible backwards audio, there very often are clearly heard phrases, spoken normally!  David Oates first book, ["Beyond Backward Masking"] and media attention came in 1987, and a couple of years later he moved to the United States to promote and advance his groundbreaking research in what he calls Reverse Speech.

People began paying attention and taking it seriously when Oates appeared on the Art Bell radio show, coast to coast in 1996, a year after his second book was published ["Reverse Speech: voices from the unconscious"].  Oates soon became a popular guest as he always brought a nice selection of reverse speech examples, usually from the politicians and newsmakers of the day.  The one presidential reversal which got a lot of attention was when George W. Bush was speaking about the war on terror, but in reverse he says "We'll rule the world, dad."  Just one of many very revealing & truly spooky reversals from the smirking chimp president.  Not only did this new emerging technology interest me in general, I also saw what I thought would be a perfect application, in personal counseling & therapy.  I purchased the books, a study course, and a reversing machine which is a slightly modified portable cassette recorder; altered to allow for playing the tape backwards.  Right away I realized there were some potential issues around using this new technology, primarily informed consent and non-infringement; as well as getting to really comprehend the things you are hearing & what they represent. 

"The Truth Points to Itself"

It didn't take very long for me to appreciate how very powerful reverse speech can be.  I'd had the equipment for a few weeks, still learning how to properly use it in hopes of folding it into my counseling practice.   A friend of mine who is a professional audio technician was visiting from San Francisco one Saturday afternoon, and when he asked what new stuff I was into, I pulled out the recorder and explained the basics of reverse speech to him.  My friend was intrigued, and wanted to try it just for fun.  So it was we agreed to just carry on our visit with the recorder on, and my friend began talking about all the things he had planned for the week.  About fifteen minutes later we realized we'd both kinda ignored the tape recorder while focusing on the conversation.  With the tape ready to hear in reverse, we waited with anticipation to see what, if anything we would hear.  We didn't have to wait very long at all: there, amid the unintelligible gibberish of language played backwards we both heard it clear as a bell, it was my friends voice saying "I'm so lonely."   My friend looked at me as if I had just committed the greatest possible betrayal of his very soul.  I could see the anguish on his face, he was devastated; and angrily gathering his things to take his leave.  He made it quite clear that he thought I had set him up with a fake tape; never even considering it was his voice, or that he'd showed up unannounced.  My friend stormed out of my place, and I haven't seen or heard from him in the ten years since.  Powerful stuff!

 In fact, reverse speech is so powerful in revealing the truth, that the white house devised techniques to try to defeat it; teaching the president to alter his cadence of speech to try breaking up the reversals before they occur.  This has met with limited success though, as the condemning reversals just keep popping up whenever a politician is talking.  Reminds me of the one about how to tell if a politician is lying - his lips will be moving!  I continued working with reverse speech after that initial disaster but was unsure of how to use it as a counseling aide, or if I should even try as I was discovering some interesting facts along the way.  If they are hearing reversals from the president or some movie celebrity people are just fine with reverse speech, until they are the one being recorded; then it becomes something else altogether.  I discovered that the vast majority of people simply don't want to know what their own speech reversals are saying about them.  They don't want to know, and they don't want anyone else knowing either.  Kinda limits it's use as a tool for therapy or self-improvement.
There exist several credible applications for this technology, beyond personal growth.  Reverse speech is being used in business partnerships & transactions; as well as by homeland security, the police, and private investigation companies.  The world of reverse speech is filled with metaphors such as Eagle, Wolf, Whirlwind and many others, each with their own unique meaning and interpretation.  Recognizing, and understanding these metaphors is key to properly using the technology.  Furthermore, there are two basic types of speech reversals which commonly occur; Incongruent reversals are saying the opposite of what is actually being said; and Complimentary Reversals are those which agree with and give added weight to what is being said.  In it's most basic form then, reverse speech serves as a most excellent lie detector which is so efficient that it even reveals the lies we tell ourselves without realizing it.  Reverse speech reveals the truth of the matter because it by-passes all known human defense mechanisms and gets right to the very heart of the matter.  It can be a very blunt and brutal awakening to truth; one that the majority of us are not yet ready to embrace. 

"Ain't no way to hide your lying eyes"~ The Eagles

Another intriguing new technology was discovered some years back by Dr. Paul Ekman, an expert in non-verbal communication & body language who pioneered the science of face reading; the fascinating world of Microexpressions.  Dr. Ekman has compiled an "Atlas of Emotions" comprised of over ten thousand unique facial expressions, and is known as the human lie detector.  His seminal work is on specific biological correlates of specific emotions, demonstrating the universality and discreetness of emotions, using the Darwinian approach.  Similar to reverse speech, these very brief facial microexpressions reveal the truth of our emotions despite what our words are saying.  Lasting fractions of a second, these microexpressions are usually as invisible to the eye as speech reversals are to the ear.  While nobody has learned to actually hear speech reversals in real time (to my knowledge), it's a different story with microexpressions; as one can learn to spot a great many of them, and know just what they mean.

With reverse speech its all about the metaphors, but with face reading its the telltale manipulators that give us away when we're lying, like touching the face, lips, or ear.  A wrinkle of the nose or snarling of the lip lasting perhaps a fifteenth of a second denotes disdain and contempt.  We've always heard it said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and if you know what to look for, the eyes will also reveal if someone is lying to you.  Most usually if someone looks you directly in the eye when answering a question, they are lying, repeating a practiced performance of deception, and they are looking in your eyes to gauge the success of their lie. If a persons eyes move or shift to the left when answering a question they are accessing the memory part of the brain, and speaking the truth from memory.  However, if their eyes shift to the right, it means they are accessing the part of the brain that builds and constructs narrative, and lying to you!  As I said, most usually!

In yet another case of art imitating life, Dr. Ekman's work with body language & microexpressions was turned into a TV series, "Lie to Me" (2009-2011) starring Tim Roth; which served to bring the subject to public awareness, as a kind of extension of the study of body language in general.  When someone you're speaking with suddenly crosses their arms over their chest; its an involuntary defensive mechanism meaning they feel threatened or insecure, and don't want to engage the subject matter for whatever reason.  Microexpressions present at the same time can give added insight into a persons mindset; if you know what to look for.  In every case, these subconscious "tells" give us away whenever we are in conflict; revealing things we don't want others to know:

A sudden, brief flare of the nostrils denotes apprehension or agitation.
'Crows feet' around the eyes with pushed up cheeks denotes happiness.
Eyebrows down & together with glaring eyes denotes anger.
Eyebrows raised & together with raised upper eyelids denotes fear.
Drooping upper eyelids with lip corners turned down denotes sadness.
Lip corner tightened and raised on one side only denotes contempt.
A brief wrinkling of the nose denotes disgust or disdain.
Both corners of mouth turned sharply downward denotes arrogant disgust & contempt.
Oblique eyebrows with the mouth slightly open denotes surprise.

Such non-verbal communication is going on all the time, we just don't see it because these expressions are so brief in nature; still with practice, they can be learned.  Research indicates that a very small percentage of the population, around 5%, are Naturals, meaning that they can see and understand the language of microexpressions without training - human lie detectors.  I can imagine that being one of these naturals would be a blessing wrapped in a curse, because basic human nature seems to orbit the death star of don't ask - don't tell when it comes down to keeping secrets from each other.                                                                                            

Reverse speech, body language and microexpressions are natural reactions to imbalanced energy within us.  these things are the body-mind's way of telling on us when we're involved in a conflict of truth.  Being in harmony is the desired (remembered) state of being we all secretly strive for and desire.  Without such harmony of body-mind-spirit, the incongruent energy must manifest in some way, so it comes out as involuntary subconscious speech reversals body language and microexpressions; clues to the observant that something is amiss.  Unfortunately the vast majority of us tend to ignore such messages from our corporeal form rather than take action to correct the imbalance.  Oh, we tell ourselves we'll get around to fixing this or that little chink in our armor, in order to consciously justify putting it off; but then we seldom follow thru on the hollow intention.  Somewhere deep inside, in the silence at the heart of things, we know we're really lying to ourselves, which in turn can trigger still more defense mechanisms and neuroses.  It turns out that the old saying has basis in fact: Honesty is the best policy.

"History records no struggle more noble or long enduring than that of humanity against the truth"
                                                                                                                                                 ~Brendan Gill~

We ignore and gloss over our own little self deceptions, which I suppose makes it easier to overlook the everyday little deceptions of those we deal with in our various entangled relationships.  For example, when two people first meet and are attracted to each other they often begin the dating process: in which each person does everything they can to show themselves in the best light possible; while simultaneously hiding and concealing their faults and shortcomings.  We've all done it, but isn't it really like starting a relationship based on deception?  Are we so afraid of loneliness & rejection that we prefer toxic relationships with other wounded souls.  Maybe its also true that misery loves company, but it just seems like such a waste to me, wasteful and kind of pointless. 

Whenever we base & begin (romantic) relationships for any reason other than the right one such liaisons  often leave a small spark of resentment in both people, which in time can rage into a nightmare full of all the nasty things resentment breeds.  Sir Walter Scott had it right; "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."   The other really cool aspect to honesty is that you never have to remember what you said! 

To one degree or another society has always worn a set of blinders when it comes to the honesty of our politicians, but these days it has morphed into a full-on blindfold we give ourselves; because we just really don't want to know how deep the rabbit hole goes, kind of like my friend from a decade ago, we will reject even the boldest of truths just to keep our illusions and deceptions in place.  In other words, it is an act of insanity to be well adjusted to an insane world!  

Until Next Time ~ Be Good to Each Other
Related Augureye Posts: 

Other Voices:
What is reverse speech?


  1. Grrrreat article. So many facets to your life. So intriguing!
    During WW2 as a teenager my mother was arrested by the Gestapo at a demonstration in Berlin. She was terrified, of course, and as she was being led away she asked one of her older male co-demonstartors "What should I do?". His response was: "Tell the truth each and every time they ask you a question".
    Later, when she was released (due to a well connected daddy), she asked this man why he recommended truth telling when it could have incriminated her and others. His answer, of course, was: "That way they can never catch you lying".
    So stick with the truth, if you know it. Or say nothing.

    1. Unknown @ 6:17AM
      What a great moment in life story from another era! Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately these days just knowing the truth can be dangerous, let alone speaking it out loud! Time to raise our voices, in unison.

  2. The idea that really got me was Lying to keep a secret. It is the perfect gateway lie to teach a person to rationalize lying. Furthermore, all religions are based on secrets; and these secrets are maintained by those who lie the best. Then there are personal secrets that people do not want to share, workplace secrets, etc. Add white lies into the mix-- ah man! It is almost as though it forces a type of schizophrenia on a person to develop a separate agent for all their lies. I wouldn't be surprised if a person does create a separate personality via neural networks in the mind, which creates a separate reality for the lies.So that when a person engages in a lie, the brain switches over to the other personality (similar to multiple personality disorder).Cool ideas.
    Chris Dangwillo

  3. When I became a therapist, I came across a book about the 'minefield' of facial and physical expressions unique to other cultures. Some of the expressions that English speakers prize as truthful can be, in another culture, off-putting and antisocial. It may be that our parents and society teach us our expressions. A baby may not understand language but sure does understand facial expressions. Who doesn't wrinkle their nose up when changing a poopy diaper. Does the baby register the expression to mean the parent rejects them or the smell?

    1. I guess I've always considered myself as either a healer, or practitioner because of the negative visual connotation of 'therapist' in the mind's eye. Especially in holistic and alternative healing methods, it is very important to not intentionally or unknowingly, plant seeds of distrust in the minds of those seeking help. If what you do is healing, or teaching others to heal, then you are a healer! I've never understood why we westerners have such a problem with accepting that mantle when it fits...especially with so many claiming to be, who are not. The language we use is important, even on subliminal levels!

    2. ...and a fantastic question about the dirty diapers; I suspect the answer may explain why so many are anal retentive throughout their life! I think you are onto something.

  4. Hi Chautauqua,

    Interesting article, thank you! Lots of things I've never heard of before I'm discovering here at The Express and I appreciate it. It should be mandatory that every political candidate be required to take a Reverse Speech test. I'm sorry your friend fled as a result of "I'm so lonely". So many of us run when we're lonely when perhaps the best thing to do is to sit quietly and figure out if being lonely is personally okay or not okay. As far as 'the truth' is concerned, well, I have to ask, what is the truth? Do we really know? If I say I believe in such-and-such and someone else doesn't, am I lying? Words are weapons or comfort zones. All I can say is that having been on the spiritual path for (far) too long, my truth has become almost silent. Now some would say, well, you've got to get out there and tell people what you 'think you know', but why would I do that when what I think I know is going to change after a good night's sleep?! So I come back to, what is 'The Truth'? That's what makes the world so very interesting, because as of this particular Now moment, regardless of the topic (except for Unconditional Love) no one really knows. Love, Althea

    1. Hi Althea`
      If folks like yourself are finding new and interesting things here then I must be doing something right, as that was the original intention for the blog.

      Our politicians are taking a reverse speech test every time they speak! I still sometimes use my RS equipment, just to see what reversals I can catch. Additionally, there is new software available for the digital age that replaces the need for a reversing tape machine, so for those with sufficient passion for it, finding speech reversals is easier than ever. It would also be helpful if the law required politicians to wear the logo decals of their financial sponsors, like race cars & such!

      There is a truth for every moment in time, and for all human interactions with one another and the planet.
      Truth is not a 'one truth fits all' kinda thing, it comes down to the truth in our hearts, regardless of the issue or question. While being honest & truthful is the preferred way to be human; these days that is an increasingly more difficult road. The truth always points to itself; it's human interpretation of it that seems to cause all the problems.

  5. Ah, Chautauqua, it is this very dichotomy that is..... well, the dichotomy. Caught between a rock and a hard place, the old 'catch 22':

    "There is a truth for every moment in time..... Truth is not a 'one truth fits all' kinda thing, it comes down to the truth in our hearts, regardless of the issue or question. While being honest & truthful is the preferred way to be human; these days that is an increasingly more difficult road. The truth always points to itself; it's human interpretation of it that seems to cause all the problems."

    When I read the first line, then I say, good, your truth is my truth in this particular moment. But tomorrow it will depend on your last line, the human interpretation. Thus, the collective becomes more difficult to accommodate.

    I am definitely not promoting one size fits all, just some basic things would be so good, like no more cruelty, no more war, no more of hurting one another. Do I ask too much? And if that should happen, would I need to learn a whole new truth?

    In this one article, you have given me so much to think about especially as I read today that God/Source doesn't really care how we get there, it's not in our attempts to go home that count, it's in our ability to love as we do it. Love, Althea

    1. Althea~ Philosophically, many volumes have been written regards the general concept of truth, including the small corner of it this post tried to shed some light upon. Wasn't really going for the deep philosophical meat of the subject, but since you have I must say you bring up some very interesting questions and observations; to which I can only add, truth must therefore be an aspect of love, but not necessarily vice versa. In a world of such delusion and illusion, truth may prove to be the most elusive commodity on the planet.

  6. I wonder when Barry is going to invoke an executive order extending his tenure ?

    1. He has only to invoke MARTIAL LAW across the land.

      Once martial law is in effect there are a couple of provisions we should all be aware of and concerned about.

      1. Martial law remains in effect until revoked by the president.
      2. No national elections can be held while martial law is in effect.

      There are a couple of extremely possible scenarios right now that could 'compel' him to invoke martial law.

      1. Massive civilian protest to the daily killings of unarmed black people.
      2. If either presidential candidate were taken down; either by violence or health issues.

      Keep in mind the news over the last 2 weeks has been "salted" with numerous stories about both the rumored attempts to assassinate Trump, and Hillary's purported health crisis. Hmmmmm

      Got your 'bug out bag' all packed, do ya?

    2. I'm in Canada, like that matters,Trudeau is as big a mind fuck as Barry, a Jesuit mind fuck at that. This is where he and his dad went to school ...
      What's the deal with this site being ".ca" ?

    3. You good folks up north may well get a flood of ex-pat Americans fleeing this country, regardless of who "wins."

      ".ca" must be some kind of Canadian re-designation or something, as it does not show up here at all. I really don't pay much attention to that side of the web. Don't care how it works as long as it works.