Increasing Awareness and Intelligence–An Interview with Win Wenger, Ph.D.
A former college educator, Dr. Win Wenger is a pioneer in the fields of creativity and creative method, accelerated learning, brain and mind development, and the founder of Project Renaissance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing each person’s individual potential and accelerating the dawning of a new renaissance in human history. The author of 48 books, Dr. Wenger is also a world-renowned trainer, innovative problem-solver, and inventor, whose methodologies have been independently shown by university studies to produce I.Q. gains of 20 points or more in as little as 25 hours of practice.
Einstein stated that problems cannot be solved with the same thinking that led to their creation, an observation that is very applicable to the world’s current health care crisis. Though Dr. Wenger is not a healer, per se, his observations about learning and intelligence, and his approaches to creative problem-solving, if applied, could do much to resolve that crisis, and many others now before us. Moreover, since the ability to easily and effectively solve problems and resolve problems also results in reduced levels of stress (which is a principal cause of an estimated 85 percent of all illness), Dr. Wenger’s work holds great potential as a psychophysiological health aid.
In the following interview, he discusses what is wrong with our current model of conventional education, what can be done to solve the problem, and what the broadscale implications are of his work.
Based on your research, what are the factors in our current educational system that actually impede the learning process and intelligence?
Well, there are several. As with any bureaucracy, there’s very little if any connection between the quality of accomplishment and the rate of pay and reward. What relationship in fact exists is inverted. Since the Sputnik revolution in education back in the 50’s, the emergency aid to education at that time from the federal government kind of set the model that the worst job the school does of teaching, the more money and power are allocated into the system to compensate for that, and that constitutes a reward for very poor teaching. The latest headline as of a few days ago was in Virginia is allocating another $100 million to their worst schools, etc. and so it wasn’t just the federal government, but the federal government set the model back in 1957. So we have this perverse incentive running throughout our whole public school system wherein the worse you do, the better you get paid for it.
In addition to the bureaucratic structure, what other factors do you believe are contributing to the poor results that students are getting? And what are the differences between the model of learning that is part and parcel of the education that most of us in America have received compared to the tools and explorations that you’ve developed and are exploring?
Our teaching institutions are not, despite the language, learning institutions. They don’t learn from what’s going on. They don’t learn from outside suggestions. They don’t learn from their mistakes. We have to remember that the American public school system is really the school system that was developed by the Prussians over in Germany in the middle of the 19th century. That system was designed to provide obedient workers and to provide obedient cannon fodder, and higher learning took place despite that. There is an awful lot that could be said here, but just to kind of condense it, the basic, most effective learning system started in Western context in the last 3,000 years has been the Socratic method. And next to that would be the hands-on approach. The hands-on is still going reasonably well in the vocational education programs, but the Socratic got supplanted by the Prussian school system back in the 1860’s.
For the sake of readers who aren’t aware of what the Socratic method is, could you explain it?
Well you were just using a slim form of it by asking a question, in which I have to examine my awareness, at least to some extent, in order to respond. The Socratic method was usually performed by either a question, so that you hear the Socratic question, meaning the kind of question that causes one to dig a little bit, or by some sort of challenge, as in an argument. The method was used first used during the time of the late classical Greece period, and the second time it was used it was during the Renaissance in Europe. And each time it was used the schools were, per capita, something like ten million times per person more productive of world class genius than all of our school apparatus today with all its information systems and technological advantages. It’s disgraceful and ridiculous to see texts refer to the anomaly of those times producing so many world class geniuses as if they have no idea, or at least won’t express it, as to why that anomaly exists. And the reason is that the Socratic method forces one to dig into their own awarenesses, their own first hand perceptions, and in so doing you’re not only reinforcing a particular perception hereafter, but you’re reinforcing the behavior of being perceptive. And over and over again you build a pretty perceptive person in the use of the Socratic method. We abandoned that in the last part of the 19th century, in favor of the Prussian model because our factories wanted obedient workers in large numbers and our armies wanted obedient cannon fodder in large numbers.
The Prussian model is basically based on memorization or wrote learning, correct?
When you were talking earlier about the hands-on method, that was another way of actually describing learning by doing?
Now the people who are the most respected in education, don’t have that as a motive. They don’t look to produce cannon fodder and to stuff the factories full of workers. They’re consciously acting from other motives, but the system got tilted in that direction and has been going ever since.
So in other words, basically, we are approaching intelligence using the wrong tools.
Let’s talk about from your prospective and your research, what the tools are that can be used to enhance intelligence. In particular, I’d like you to discuss the theory and evolution of image streaming and how that works.
Well, the Socratic method is a good place to start. You examine your own inner awarenesses, and your own awarenesses wherever they are, and your own first hand perceptions and try to respond from those awarenesses. And the very fact of reinforcement gives us another place to start from because the fundamental law of behavior is the law of effect. You get more of what you reinforce. In the schoolroom, as taught, we reinforce student passivity and silent rebellion — as long as it is silent — and looking attentive. And in fact, as long as they can make students attentive instead of reflective of what they are learning, that’s another drawback there. If you’re reflective of what you’re learning, your eyes aren’t always straight to the front. They may be directed to the window or somewhere else. But we reinforce to pay attention to the front of the room. At best, you get memorization from this, but you don’t get reflectivity and understanding.
The law of effect — you get more of what you reinforce — is the most fundamental of natural laws and the behavior other than the survival itself, and in fact is part of the law of survival. Because any organism or complex system in a changing world has to be aware of and adapt to how the world around it is responding to its presence. What it does in response to what the organism or system does. And then hence feedback. Hence reinforcement. Any complex system that did not have the law of effect as part of its way of dealing with things, didn’t get to last very long. We and the things that we’re comprised of and the systems that we comprise in turn — all these complex systems are subject to the law of effect. Meaning, when we reinforce a behavior or trait we tend to get more of it. And this is the whole reason for punishment as a form of reinforcement. We tend to get more of what we punish for. We get a temporary deterrent, but there is a higher likelihood that that behavior trait will be repeated later. And we repeat this complexity of lying in the direction of our system of justice. It’s not only our schools that are screwed up.
One of the evidences that we have this problem in this free country of ours, is that we now have more than a million people behind bars and we apparently have another three million people, quote-unquote, needing to be behind bars. That’s not exactly my idea of a free country. But those are two of the systems that are screwed up because they have not taken into account the law of effect. And perhaps one of the reasons we have not taken the law of effect into very much account, is that when the Behaviorists first got ahold of that — Watson at the start of the 20th century and then B.F. Skinner — they kind of ran one particular area of it into the ground and felt that nothing else was really worth considering — that all of psychology was just a matter of reinforcement schedules. But obviously other laws are also at work, which they ignored. So they kind of ran it into the ground, and people stopped looking at it, but it is still, like the law of gravity, one of the most fundamental of things. We can look at any situation and evaluate what’s getting reinforced and what’s not getting reinforced, and it’s an eye-opener. Go into an ordinary classroom and sit in on it and watch what is getting reinforced and what’s not getting reinforced. If you do, you will get an encyclopedia’s worth of informationas to why students aren’t performing.
So let’s talk a little bit about the alternative, which are the methods and techniques that let to the origin of image streaming.
Okay. One of the subtler effects — well, first let me say that the subtler an awareness or perception is that gets brought into full conscious focus of awareness, the better connection you build between remote parts of the brain not normally involved with focus conscious verbal thinking. As it turns out, only a couple of percent of the cells of the brain are involved in our conscious mind. Only a couple of percent of our brain’s processes is in words, but nearly all of our consciousness is invested in words because word thinking is so loud, so conveniently focused. In fact, it’s part of our instrument for bringing awarenesses into focus. When we use for that, we are in good shape. But when we don’t use our language primarily to bring awarenesses into focus we get in trouble. And our schools, of course, have been trying to use language exclusively for putting information in, and they’ve created a totally different dynamic than the one where learning takes place.
The subtler the awareness, the more offline the particular region of the brain is from where we’re conscious. So if we can reinforce portions of the brain that are offline on the consciousness, we’ve brought ourselves in contact with more of our own intelligence. Now how much intelligence? Well, some 90 percent of the brain processes is in images. In sensory images, not words. And only two percent of our brain processes are in words. That means that if we’re limited to words and our consciousness and what we will accept into consciousness, then we’re using a very, very tiny portion indeed of our available intelligence. As it happens, the over 90 percent of the brain that is not processing in words, is all the time associating in this enormous data storage of ours, associating experiences in images and casting up the most relevant associations, i.e., insights, i.e., understanding, in connection with what’s going on at the time. And this process is happening very rapidly. Whereas the part of our brain that thinks in words has been trained by our language to think at the speed of language, the rest of the cortex processes information 10,000 times more rapidly than does the word part. And below the cortex — the rest of the brain, including the limbic brain, where most of the real action is — that is some 10,000 times faster than the cortex. So, for most of the brain operating in sensory images and association and thinking things through, is some 10 million times faster than from where we do our word thinking from. And what is the material available to do that sensory associating from? Any awareness that you have ever experienced is still there in your memory. Even if it may be remote from consciousness, it’s still shaping what you’re doing, the choices you make, the coloring, and the experiences that you’re having currently. It’s part of that associative process. If you look at the floor under your feet, let’s say your right foot — that portion of the floor, wherever you are, that’s under your right foot represents the part of the brain that thinks in words. The part of your brain with which you’re mainly conscious. Now look at the rest of the floor, all around you. That represents the rest of the resources that you have available to you.
So that’s what we have to work with – this enormous expanse of resources that are yours by birth, by God-given right, however you want to phrase it. They’re yours, butt you’ve been trained into their use. And now we have to train into some partial use, some practical use, at least. And when we get the results we do, they are so far ahead of the normal set of expectations that we run into in this culture of ours that people don’t believe it. They think something must be wrong with the data or something.
What is image streaming specifically, and how does it tie into what you’re saying?
Image streaming involves making yourself conscious of at least the upper tip end of the associative process in sensory images we’ve been discussing. By looking at the images that are coming into your mind – not the ones that you direct to come into your mind from your conscious mind, but those that are there already the s0-called called spontaneous imagery, or spontaneous image association.
The other element that is that is very, very important with that, is to be to describing aloud to a listener the images that you see in the back of your mind’s eye. That describing aloud is the principle vehicle for letting you reinforce those areas of awareness, and to reinforce some portion of that imaging associative process in regions of the brain underlying your conscious mind, the conscious part of your brain. It has to be describe aloud to a listener, or it can be to a tape recorder representing a potential listener, but it has to be to a listener, and it’s much better with a live listener. What that does is pull these awarenesses, these associations, into conscious focus, where you can bring all your conscious faculties to bear on what’s being said, and you can make sense of it.
In this process, what is the listener doing?
He is mainly there to listen. Or, if he wants to get more involved, maybe taking notes. Or, if he wants to be still more involved, he can be imaging and describing his images to you while you’re imaging describing your images to him. And both of you could be deep in the process.
Typically, how long does this process need to go on before results start to be noticeable?
The rate of the increase in measured intelligence runs at a full point of I.Q. for each eighty minutes of image streaming. And even ten to twenty points of I.Q. gain is a fantastic difference compared to what’s typically available to a person in his life career, and his life experiences, and so forth. And we don’t see any tailing off of that process. It seems to be not only a permanent gain, but can be pushed to thirty, forty, fifty points or more; we don’t know the upper limits because the research so far has been limited. But it is a shockingly easy way to increase one’s most fundamental capacities, and very pleasant, very easy to proceed.
We recommend a succession of series instead of doing it all in one session for thrity-six hours or something like that, because your body has other needs, as well. We recommend a session of anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes once or twice a day, and just keep that up for awhile, or maybe permanently, because we don’t find any point yet where the gains start to taper off. Not all the gains are going to show up in an I.Q. measurement, because, for one thing, I.Q. measurement is only a tiny part of the intelligence that is there to work with and getting reinforcement. And, two, the higher up you go in the I.Q. test scales, the less accuracy and the harder it is to measure what’s going on. The upper ranges of I.Q. test are, shall we say, kind of misleading because all they’re doing mostly is measuring your abilities to work on word puzzles, instead of how you’re figuring out major and real problems and issues, and how you deal with them. But never the less, even there, you’ll show some improvement.
What would be some of the other areas of gain that occur, in addition to I.Q.?
Well, we are seeing some improvments in the area of multiple intelligences, not just the type of intelligence that is typically measured by I.Q. testing. And, actually, instead of six or eight multiple types of intelligences, in some classification systems, people have identified 267 different intelligences, and so forth. It’s a classification issue, really. But it is true that only a tiny portion of whatever intelligence is there is what’s measured on an I.Q. test, which measures verbal competence and modification and not much else. Human social intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, musical intelligence, kinesthetictic intelligences such as an athletic ability and so forth — all of these, apparently, get boosted by exercising this simple process of bringing subtler awarenesses into conscious focus and reinforcing them, and reinforcing with that the portions of the brain that have those subtler awarenesses.
In the beginning of your book, The Einstein Factor, you share an anecdote about a participant named Bob who, while practicing image streaming, kept getting the image of the old worn out tire, which originally he was resisting discussing. And when he finally did discuss it, all of a sudden he felt an urgent need to call a family member and it turned out that his fiancée’s car had a tire that was in danger of potentially blowing out. Would this mean that, as people practice image streaming, they are typically also increasing the faculty that is often referred to as intuition?
Oh, very much so. And you can see from that example, that intuition doesn’t have to be anything psychic. Now, maybe there is something psychic, and maybe there isn’t, but there is so much information available to us all the time on normal sensory channels that we can go a long way to account for what happened just in those terms. And image streaming is a primary vehicle for being able to tune into your own intuition and use it.
How does image streaming relate to what in the last couple of decades has been referred to as “left brain, right brain” functioning?
Well, the verbal part, the describing aloud in words, is essentially a function of the left temporal lobe, which has in it the vocal speech area, the left brain temporalis, and a few other organs, which have all been classified together as the left temporal lobe, and that’s where we do most of our word processing. Much of the rest of the cortex does other things. The right temporal lobe is specialized almost the same way that the left temporal lobe is, but its function primarily is to make sense of things on a global basis, whereas the left temporal lobe specializes in making sense of things on a point to point linear basis. There’s been a good deal of discussion about how much you want to do with your left lobe, and how much you want to do with the right lobe. You don’t want to lose the trees for the forest, but you don’t want to miss the forest for the trees either, that kind of an issue. And people have been much concerned in some quarters about getting a proper balance between these two sides of the brain. Our concern, however, is not so much balance, as it is integration. If you have sufficient integration going on, and sufficient communication to each of the temporal lobes, you’ll be able to make sense of things at all levels. And that is part of what you’re after. Then, of course, there are all the other functions scattered through the brain.
Simply bringing your brain into better communication with itself, and bringing more of your natural intelligence on line with where your conscious from, increases one’s here and now intelligence. It’s straightforward and simple, it’s the law of effect, and it’s pretty hard to miss. We don’t have to make anything very complicated about it.
Based on your experience and the research that’s been followed up on the work that you’re doing, what are some of the psychophysiological benefits that commonly occur that as people start to practice these techniques and, as a result start, to have more of a whole brain functioning?
Let me preface that by observation of the effects where successful repair of brain damage has been performed for some decades in Philadelphia, and in a few clinics around the world who were using the methods developed by Glenn Doman from Philadelphia. My concern is primarily neurophysiological, the sensory motor system, but it was pretty clear that children with brain damage had a relatively short actuarial expectancy, his life expectancy, health expectancy, and so forth. When their brains becomes more functional again under the treatment programs which were organized in Philadelphia, but carried out wherever parents happened to be of those children, the children’s health improved and over the years it also became apparent that their life expectancy greatly improved. So at that level, where we’re dealing with overt brain damage issues, it’s pretty clear that the better organized the brain becomes, that the better the health and the better the life expectancy. Now, we’ve not been running our processes long enough to see that the same effect occurs with our kinds of brain integration, but we certainly are having improved well-being and generally improved health, and we expect that the life expectancy is also increased, but it will take a long time to find out. It makes sense that the better working order the brain is in, the better the brain will run the body.
I would image, too, that as one becomes more proficient, as it were, in their thinking process, that they’re actually experiencing a decreased level of stress and tension, and that would be one of the physiological and psychological benefits that would also accrue.
Yes. You don’t have to go on emergency mode to get at your further reaches of resources, which is what some people do. Remember, Mozart had a very one-sided kind of intelligence and he didn’t live enough of a balanced life to take care of the rest of himself and he died young. So did so many other geniuses that our culture got the wrong idea about it. The person that has that inspired stroke of genius under great stress, wants to repeat that genius, and sooner or later he keeps putting himself back into stress until he can get at that inspired genius stroke again. Such a person experiences for a long time, in a lot of instances, stress and that tends to burn him out and put him under at an early age.
Conversely, if we manage to access and use our own resources easily, instead of having to go into an emergency mode to get to them — well, adrenaline is fun once in a while, but you don’t want to make a lifetime habit of adrenaline as opposed to just being able to draw on your sources of inspiration directly and comfortably, and make them a useful item.
One of the other areas that you’ve been exploring that intrigues me is what you call it “the oxygen factor,” meaning the relationship between respiration rates and methods of breathing and how these relate to intelligence and overall functioning. Could you expound on that?
Well, if in this conversation I paused for about two minutes, you would be holding your breath waiting for me to speak. What’s happening there, of course, is that you tend to hold your breath while paying attention to a stimulant or waiting for the stimulant to happen. And when you breathe you’re already moving your attention to something else. So your breath acts as a pacemaker for your attention span.
Now, the longer your attention span, the wider and richer your attention field is, and the more time you have to associate consciously, and marginally consciously, the several things perceived in the consciousness field at a given time. The shorter your breathing span, the less time you have for such association. People with the shortest breathing span don’t get to do any of the human kinds of thinking in association; it’s not in their experience. You see hyperactive people, for insatnce. They start to respond to one stimulant, and with their next breath they are already somewhere attending to another stimulant. There is no connection between what they were doing one moment to what they are doing the next. They are all over the place and that drives any normal person up a wall.
The most fundamental issues of how we perceive are think are caught up in this; it’s not just a matter of timing. Tthe timing issue is a critical one for language function, but if your attention span isn’t long enough to take in somebody’s sentence. Whether it’s a sentence you’re reading, or somebody speaking, you breathe and it breaks up the meaning for you. So you don’t get the meaning of the sentence. You don’t get the meaning of what you’re reading. You don’t get the meaning of what the teacher is saying, and so on. It’s so easy to fix by building your breathing span. But, instead, they have these remedial courses that do anything but address the fundamental cause. When students fail to respond to these remediations, somehow it’s the student’s fault, instead of the fault of the school, which hasn’t looked further into the causes and potential remedies. But there are so many different ways that can be used to address this. In fact, there a couple of things that schools do by accident that work, so maybe we shouldn’t mention them, or they might stop it (laughs). But students who play in the band, for example, especially if they play a wind instrument — they may have had a reading problem and it might have started with an apparent learning deficiency in one way or another, but for a year or more of palying their insytrument that deficiency often disappears somehow. The fact that is does is usually credited to normal maturation. The fellow must be a late bloomer or something. Likewise, people who have sung in the school chorus or the church choir on a regular basis — I’m going to say for a year or more — their problems also tend to disappear, and again it’s credited to maturation or just that they are late bloomers.
There are a number of activities, such as prana yoga, for example, that are excellent ways to lengthen the breathing span. An even more excellent way, though, is what we recommend, because of several other factors that are also brought into play, and that is held-breath, underwater swimming. The held-breath practice is one way of lengthening the breathing span, but in addition to that, the act of being under water expands more circulation to the brain physically. It’s part of the mammalian diving response. All mammals have it. If they go under water, they get more circulation to the brain, and it’s part of the survival mechanism. This reinforces an effect all ready underway if you have held-breath, period, and that is the carbon dioxide effect, which expands the carotid arteries which are supplying oxygen to your brain. The more carbon dioxide you have in the blood stream at a given time, the wider your carotid arteriess open to make sure that the oxygen supply is kept up to the brain. If you do that over a fairly compact, intense period, the carotids don’t have time to go all the way back to where they were before. This results in an instrumental stretching of the carotid so that you get a permanent increase of circulation of oxygen to the brain. So that’s why we recommend the held-breath under water swimming.
In addition to that permanent increase, will the respiratory rate automatically start to adjust itself, as well?
Of course. Anybody who follows our recommended held-breath underwater swimming program finds that in a week their chest circumference has increased about an inch, and then by another inch the following week. Anyone that goes through our recommended program for held-breath underwater swimming, logging in a half hour to an hour of accumulated time under water a day for two or three weeks is going to gain approximately an inch per week around their chest circumference. Of course, this looks good cosmetically speaking, it looks physically good, so maybe some people might be motivated to do it for that reason, if they aren’t smart enough to figure that it would be advantageous to improving their intelligence.
I’d like to wrap the interview up with a discussion of two areas. One, I’d like you to talk about Project Renaissance and what your aims and goals are for it, including a bit about its history, and what it actually offers. And, then I’d like you to discuss the potential implications and benefits that you think will occur globally as your methods and trainings start to reach a wider audience.
Well, let’s see if I can come at this from the scenic route. When I was a kid I got into the study of civilization theory. I was reading Toynbee and some of the other good guys from early on, and as a result, both professionally and personally, for at least fifty some odd years, I’ve been pursuing the subject of why civilizations rise and fall and do the strange things that they do. Ours is one of them, of course, and the thing of concern has been that nearly every civilization has literally done itself in. And often by a processes that resemble somewhat what we have going around us today. There is some basis for concern. I’ve written my own books on the civilization theory, and books on systems theory, which extends some of that work, and so on. There are a lot of theories and some of them are pretty good as to why civilizations do this. But there turn out, at a very naive level, let’s say, a simple way of describing what happens. Which is that with each civilization people let problems pile up faster than they were solving them, until the whole civilization goes under. That sounds terribly naive, and it is, but correspondingly, if somehow you can improve people’s ability to deal with the problems that are around, then you would improve the prognosis for the particular situation or civilization.
In addition to my ongoing interest in civilization theory, for the last thirty years or so I’ve been very much interested in techniques of problem solving, and as it turns out a lot of work that we do in terms of intelligence building also relates to the work we do, or is actually an aspect of the work we do, in terms of improving the ability to solve problems. There are hundreds of systems and techniques for solving problems effectively, and we’ve developed an overview of what makes them work and we use that to generate still more and still better techniques for solving problems and for getting at our own inner resources, which is pretty much where all of this has come from. The theme, the thesis, the theory behind Project Renaissance is that, if we can get enough different people on top of their own situations, so that they are more able to solve their own problems or the problems they find around them, this will increase over time the chances that the problems of general concern will also get solved. The more we can enable people to improve their own situations and solve the problems around them, the better off all of us will become.
So that’s our objective in Project Renaissance — to equip more and more people with better access to their own resources, and with better and better ability to get on top of their situations and resolve their issues and problems, and to understand whatever situation are going on around them that they find themselves involved with. That’s the focus of Project Renaissance.
What are the specific offerings that Project Renaissance makes available to people and organizations?
Well, I think I’m going to put at top of the list two sections that we are constructing on our website, http://www.winwenger.com. One section will contain 101 of the world’s best problem-solving techniques. We already have a dozen of them up. These are spelled out in step-by-step, easy to follow, specific directions, and this section of the website will ultimately offer a wide variety of techniques which have been shown to consistently and effectively enable anyone to discover ingenious solutions to whatever kinds of problems they may be faced with. Right now, as I said, the first dozen of these are up on the site under the CPS (creative problem-solving) techniques section.
The second will offer 101 of the world’s best ways to improve teaching and learning. And we’ve already got a dozen or more that are scattered over a few sites now that we’re going to place either winwinger.com, or at http://www.innovationcentral.org, which right now is posting perhaps the majority of our accelerated techniques on the Web. These resources are free and available to anybody who can get to the Internet and wants to deal with their own situations, and are intended to become world resources, as well. In addition, developers of other programs who are willing to participate can have their best methods reviewed by us and, if they qualify, we will put up links back to those programs from this online world reference center. I think this is a service on several levels, and is a little beyond what people expect at the present. And I think it may have some significance as more people find out about this and start using these procedures that are so freely available.
The, of course, are all the books that we’ve put out, which allow explore some of the methods and some of the systems of methods in much greater detail and depth. We are also starting a new cycle of producing audio tapes and CD’s. With Nightingale-Conant, we’ve just released a new system of audio tapes based on The Einstein Factor, and we are currently working with Learning Strategies to produce a new course that combines their set of technologies with those of Project Renaissance. The working title of that is The Genius Code, and it will probably be out next spring. And now that we’ve steered in that direction again, we’ve got a whole bunch of other tapes we plan also to be making in the next year or so.
Then we have our professional training courses and an increasing number of trainers who provide these courses. And we’ve just devised a new program that will be easy to teach. We’ve always been pushing the limits and it’s been kind of hard for trainers to pick up on the things that we’re doing and actually deliver the resources we’ve been pressing for, so I devised now a program that will be very easy for trainers to teach. We’ll still have quality control. We want to train the trainers and see how they’re doing it, but it’ll be much easier for them to handle and deliver an extremely high quality result. So I’m are very happy to have this.
Thus far, give me a sense of what strata of society has partaken in the course offerings of Project Renaissance.
Well, possibly because of their personal proclivity, a fairly high incidence of our participants have been professionals and educated people — educators, students, clinicians of one sort or another, businessmen, and so forth. We want to broaden our outreach and include a lot more of those people who seem to be needing it more.
What about where it’s probably most needed, the educational system itself; what sort of receptivity are you getting from that sector?
That, unfortunately, is not very aggressive. The same pressures that got the school system so dysfunctional in the first place are still there. The structure of the school system can accept window dressing type of changes, which everybody can get excited over, but which don’t do much. But it can’t accept any really fundamental improvements, at least have the debate. The system, in fact, has gone to rather extraordinary lengths from time to time to prevent research from being done that would demonstrate where significant changes could be made. I’ve seen doctoral dissertations radically changed or scrapped at the very last minute that dealt some of that. I’ve had direct experience myself with this. Not with the doctoral dissertation, of course, which is long behind me, but I had a study set up with George Washington University here in the D.C. area where we were going to process a bunch of people through workshop. We planned to take I.Q. measurements before and after, and it was already being set up to be in their communtiy extension program. But elsewhere in the University, tremendous pressure was brought to bear by parties I won’t name who threatened the entire community extension educational system of the University with shut downs if they persisted in having such a study. The quote that came back to me was, “You can’t increase human intelligence, and furthermore you can’t do it here.”
So basically what you’re facing is bureaucracies protecting their fiefdom.
Absolutely, and it’s not going to be easy to overcome right now, but is about to be overcome anyway. As you know, distance learning has gotten popular in some quarters, but it has certain drawbacks. Only a very few people finish the courses they started on in distance learning, and they have limited usefulness from what they learned in the distance learning, and the reasons for that primarily are that the screen and keyboard are way too narrow a contact. You learn in that context, if it’s too narrow a bandwidth in that context, it’s very hard to transfer learning over to where it will be useful in other situations. What has been observed by some of the purveyors of distance learning for the last thirty years, at least, is that where you have a couple of students together at the same terminal, even though it’s not supposed to be that way, their scores go up, their performance goes up, and they are much more likely to complete the course and go on.
But this wasn’t where the purveyors were looking. Because, for one thing, they feel it’s easier if it’s only one learner per terminal because that means more terminals. At least that’s their way of thinking. But it’s obvious that if you have multiple students per terminal, and you gear your instruction so that it allow the students to interact in pairs or buzz groups at point to point within the instruction, you broaden that learning context and you get most of the benefits of good classroom instruction. Sooner or later this is going to be discovered by major purveyors of distance learning. What will happen at that point is being foreshadowed by the moves we are already seeing to create a free Internet university, meaning that the best that’s available anywhere will be available everywhere for free. $100 million has already been poured into the system that is supposed to be being built for that. But what it doesn’t have yet, of course, is what I just mentioned, which is the set up of multiple students per terminal or station, and cueing their interaction as part of the instruction. But sooner or later, and I think sooner, that’s going to happen. And when it happens, who is going to pay tuition, and who is going to pay taxes for a school system, that’s doing what it is doing now, when they can have the best that’s available anywhere in the world for free? That’s what’s facing schools, and when it does hit, it’s going to be considerably dislocative I’ve put up on my website instructions for how schools and individual teachers can survive this and actually to build to advantage when the time comes. It’s called The Future of Education and is available on winwinger.com. But I don’t know if many educators are going to see it before the crunch actually hits. But how are the schools and teachers going to survive on anything like the present basis when the best learning and teaching that is available anywhere in the world becomes available on the Internet for free? Whether it’s a matter of months of a few years — I won’t speculate as to an exact date — eventually this is going to occur, and at that point schools that have not started making substantial improvements are going to be in severe trouble.
The levels that will be in the most trouble will be the high schools and the undergraduate colleges. The graduate schools are under somewhat different circumstances, and in elementary schools kids require so some supervision that it’s probably something the Internet won’t able to provide for perhaps another thirty or forty years. What will also be appreciative will be the huge employment opportunity that will opened up when this distance learning makes that connection vis-a-vis multiple students per terminal or station, and cued interaction within the buzz groups. Because there will be an enormous demand for this type of instruction and a huge employment opportunity which will last maybe two or three years. And people who have done something with it will be in great shape. And the people who tried to hang on to the old ways are going to have to find something else to do.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention that we haven’t touched on?
Yes, and that is that Image Streaming is only one of many, many, many possible ways to engender the basic human dynamic of picking up several awarenesses and responding to your own awarenesses, and thereby reinforcing both of those particular awarenesses and reinforcing those other parts of the brain where those awarenesses arose into where you’re conscious from. And it’s also only one of many, many ways of bridging different regions of the brain together so that the intelligence from one area is available to the functions of the others and vice versa. In fact, Image Streaming is only one of the ways of working with imagery to get some of these effects, although it is probably going to remain among our top recommendations for a long time to come because whatever areas of the brain need to find expression and linking into the conscious will in fact do so if allowed to do so through undirected image streaming, whereas, with images directed or targeted exclusively at problem-solving or some form of accelerated learning, other areas of the brain that are not included in that particular pattern and therefore might not find expression.
But my most heartfelt observation to the world during these interesting times would be: Hear one another out. Draw each other out. And when it’s your turn to be speaking, pay far more attention to what you are actually perceiving than to what you know. And don’t repeat yourself much. The universe is infinite, and by attending your own perceptions, you too are infinite. So is that person you are drawing out. Even the least of us is a window on God, whatever your definition.
This is more than just a sentiment. It is more than just Project Renaissance’s belief that this marks the main path to a more fully human future. Its case is substantially made by the Feed-the-Loop-Theory and model the Mutual Lives/Scoratic thesis which can be found on our website. [www.winwenger.com/feed1.htm and http://www.winwenger.com/part33.htm, respectively.]
Imaging Streaming: A Powerful Technique for Discovering Answers, Increasing Awareness, and Raising IQ
“The process of Image Streaming draws on the deeper, subconscious powers of the mind to solve problems, increase creativity, and enhance understanding,” Dr. Wenger explains. “The greater part of our information and experiences is stored in our brain, not in words but in sensory images. In fact, eighty percent of the brain is involved with handling these richer, more immediate visual responses. It is your ability to receive and interpret these visual insights that provides your best available, ingenious, most creative answers.
“Image Streaming relies on an inner reflex that sorts through all the visual, sensory data in our unconscious and relates it, seemingly instantly, to whatever is going on with us at any given moment (our ‘context’). Using Image Streaming techniques we capture and focus these data. Then, by interpreting and
integrating such image-response data with our conscious thoughts, we build balance, improve our intellectual and observational strengths, and tap into creative problem-solving. These images are always there, every time. And Image Streaming provides immediate, reliable inspiration.”
The basic step-by-step way to use Image Streaming is as follows:
1. The Question: Ask yourself a question.
2. Start the Image Stream: Have a live listener or tape recorder with you. Sit back, relax, close your eyes, and describe aloud whatever images suggest themselves. Go with your first, immediate impressions and describe them aloud, rapid-flow, in sensory detail. More free images will then emerge. Notice when the scene changes or other images emerge, and describe these, as well.
It’s important to describe aloud, to bring the mind’s images into conscious awareness, no matter how unrelated the images may at first appear. This process helps bridge the separate regions of the brain.
“Let yourself be surprised by what your images reveal to you,” Dr. Wenger advises. “The more surprising, the more likely that you’re getting fresh input from your subtler, more comprehensive and more accurate faculties.”
3. Feature-Questioning: Pick out some one feature-a wall, a tree or bush, whatever’s there. Imagine laying a hand on that feature and studying its feel (and describing that feel), to strengthen your contact with the experience. Ask that rock or bush or wall “Why are you here as part of my answer?” See if the imagery changes when you ask that question. Describe the changes.
4. Inductive Inference: Once you’ve run out of a set of images, thank your Image Streaming faculties for showing you this answer. Ask their help in understanding the messages in your images. They are often symbolic.
Do it this way: Image-Stream again, with entirely different images which nonetheless somehow are still giving you the same answer to the same question. After two or three minutes of this new imagery, repeat this step to get a third set of images, each different, yet each showing you the same answer in a different way.
5. What’s the Same? Examine whatever’s the same among the several sets of images when all else is different. These themes or elements-in-common are your core answer or message.
6. Relate: Go back to your original question and determine in what way or ways these core elements are the answer to your question.
7. Debrief: Summarize this whole experience either to another person (directly or by telephone) or to a notebook or computer. This change of medium, and change of feedbacks, should add further to your understanding.
You might want to verify your responses with questions such as these:
“How can I make sure that I’m on the right track with this understanding of the question?” (You should get back either a way to test and verify, or a reminder of real-time data or experiences which demonstrate that this is the right answer to be working with.)
“What more do I need to know in this context?”
“What’s a good, practical, concrete first step to acting upon this understanding?”
Enhancing Your Imaging
“Many of us, told by parents or teachers to ‘stop daydreaming,’
pushed our visualization abilities out of sight, but they’re still there, and can be called up by easy and fun techniques,” Dr. Wenger says. “These techniques have been proven to work for virtually everyone who gave them an honest effort.
They work best if you have a helper, or listener, who can watch your ‘attention cues,’ such as changes in your breathing patterns or eye movement beneath closed lids, and prompt you to describe what you see.”
Examples of these techniques include:
After-Imaging: Stare at a bright (but not blinding) light for half a minute, then close your eyes. Describe that after-image. Continue describing it as it begins to change.
Worth Describing: Even if you don’t get clear images, you may get blobs of color, lines or patterns. Describe those, rapidly and in detail. If this does not lead to images, look beyond the colors, patterns, etc., as if they were a screen, and describe whatever impressions you receive.
Phosphenes: Gently rub your closed eyes like a sleepy child. Leave them closed, and describe the light-and-color blips which result. Keep on describing as they change.
Door: Imagine you are before a closed door. Tell how this door looks, then how it feels to your hand when you touch it. Then suddenly fling open the door to catch by surprise whatever is behind it. Describe immediately your first impression of what is or might have been behind the door. “This technique is excellent for finding the answer to a question,” Dr. Wenger says. “While standing before the closed door, pose your question. The more unexpected the content of the imagery, the better your chances of getting sensitive, fresh new perspectives and insights.
Regardless of which specific technique you choose, the key element is to observe closely your subtlest, most sensitive perceptions and, while examining them, to develop those perceptions fully into focus by describing them aloud to someone.
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The Innovation Center
The Innovation Center is an online community overseen by a group of people, including Dr. Wenger, who desire to share new ideas, approaches, results, and creatively expand possibilities and innovation, and who are committed to key foundational principles that honor the human spirit.
By Dr. Wenger
(Note: a complete list of Dr. Wenger’s books and tapes can be found at http://www.winwenger.com.)
Beyond O.K.: Psychogenic Tools Relating to Health of Body and Mind. (Psychogenic Press, 1979).
The Einstein Factor: A Proven New Method for Increasing Your Intelligence (Prima Publishing, 1996) (With Richard Poe)
The Einstein Factor (tape set) (Nightingale-Conant, 2000)
Beyond Teaching and Learning, 2nd Edition (Psychogenics Press, 1986)
Discovering the Obvious (Psychogenics Press, 1999)
E-books (both available for free at http://www.winwenger.com)
You Are Brighter Than You Think
Two Guaranteed Ways to Profoundly Improve your Intelligence