|||||||||| T H E S T R E A M ||||||||||
Newsletter of Project Renaissance and Win Wenger
published formerly as Capital Ideasmiths
IN THIS ISSUE:
* Quote of the Month
* FEATURE ARTICLE:
"Breaking Horses" -
* Comments & Feedback
* Thinktank Report: "Water to Dowse Fires of War" - Win Wenger
* IAL Conference Report: "Some Positive Notes" - Win Wenger
* Links - archives, back issues, homepage
* Reader Questionnaire
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"Interaction" is a two-way exchange of energy, with an amplification
of the energy of each of the two forces. Ordinary "action" is a
one-way movement of energy toward or against something. When I chop
down a tree, I expend my energy without a corresponding exchange of
energy from the tree. Action usually brings about a reaction; the
tree falls, and I have to get out of the way. "Reaction" is a one-
way movement away from. No exchange and augmenting of energy takes
place in either acting or reacting, and we always tire when energy
flows out in this way. In true interaction, however, we never tire.
- Joseph Chilton Pearce, Magical Child [
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Meet Win in
I will be at a creativity conference in downtown
February 7-11, 2003, and would be pleased to meet with other
members of this Project Renaissance Society who happen to be in
the area. The best time to do that without incurring costs will
be Saturday evening, February 8, in the lobby of the Red Lion
message me ahead, 619-297-1101 at the hotel. Looking forward to
meeting some of you. — Win Wenger
Free monthly meetings of High Thinktank...
Check the Project Renaissance website calendar
for details and directions, at
February meeting: Feb. 25, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
See Win's report of the January 30 meeting below.
DOUBLE FESTIVAL XII - November 2003...
Mark your calendars now for Project Renaissance's annual double
conference on Creative Problem-Solving and Accelerated Learning:
Friday-Saturday-Sunday, November 14-16, 2003
followed by Trainer Training, November 17-18, 2003
at a private facility in
Watch the website, http://www.winwenger.com/upcoming.htm
for further details and for Call for Presentations.
Several years ago, a good friend and award-winning fourth grade
teacher got reassigned to first grade for a year. I asked her
one day how it was going.
"Great," she said. "But kinda sad too. They come in so eager
and bouncy and I have to get them shaped up to sit down and
follow the rules. It's like breaking horses."
She said she would be glad to get back to fourth grade.
That "breaking horses" comment has haunted me ever since.
Today, after Project Renaissance trainer training in November 2002,
my thoughts go back to that teacher and to a book I read in the
late 70s, "Magical Child" (1977), by Joseph Chilton Pearce. It says
around age seven and explains why fantasy and other kid behavior
may be necessary and important developmental activity. After some
background on "Magical Child," I will go through two ways I think
Win's methods harmonize with Pearce's idea for improving education
and retaining the magic that "breaking horses" probably removes.
According to Pearce, Piaget revolutionized the understanding and
valuing of child development, but his approach needed some fine-
tuning. Pearce said children grew in stages, in pendulum swings,
and that each stage filled out growing physical, neuro-logical,
and cognitive development as it built a matrix for the next stage
to fill out. But he said that Piaget and modern educators under-
valued the filling out of those stages and tended to hurry children
to levels they were not prepared for, warping the unfolding of
intricate, natural patterns.
He said educators operated on the assumption that children between
ages 7 and 12 or so needed to be pulled from their fantastic,
imaginative urges and redirected to realistic thinking and heavily
verbal instruction that they simply weren't ready for. Yet,
concerted efforts to suppress fantasy at that stage, to break
young, impulsive and inventive, action-powered spirits like so
many broncos, may block natural designs and stunt or twist future
development.[There's much more in the book I just can't go into,
and his cherry-picking of empirical support leaves something to be
But if Pearce's approach (or modern innovations based on this 1977
book) have something to offer today, I think of two ways Win's
techniques could be useful:
1. Train teachers in Image-Streaming and other creativity methods.
With age- and stage-sensitive curriculum, teachers could be trained
in Image-Streaming and other creative techniques, not to teach
them to the children necessarily, but to connect with their own
intuitive reserves. Training teachers in kinesthetic learning
approaches could enlighten teachers and help fill out students'
learning, too. Age-appropriate Socratic approaches to investigating,
exploring and processing experience with the natural world could
teach and also model future creative problem-solving.
2. Foster children's awareness and deliberate use of fantasy for
problem solving. Children, if they're as magical as I suspect and
Pearce proposes, probably have their own natural visualization.
But they can get more aware of how they operate and of their
unconscious intelligence and ways they can deliberately use it
better. Certainly having lots of labs and action activity would
build unconscious experiential reserves. In class, they could
predict outcomes by drawing or even guessing a graph line. They
could use their fantasy to develop a myth about a natural phenomenon
and then do a lab to see how it really works and how scientists
explain it today. They could learn creative ways to remember and
integrate ideas, experience, and facts. And they could use some
Wenger and other creative techniques to do group problem solving
and brainstorming. Rather than learn didactically through language,
they could learn how they learn and practice creative problem-
There may be interesting ways to test and update Pearce's ideas
today, as parents, educators, and society search for innovations in
education and improved problem-solving. For example, American
children were known in the 1990s, in studies of mathematics skills
and problem-solving compared internationally, to score at the top in
math problem solving but near the bottom in solving story problems.
Could it be that emphasizing experiential math with manipulatives,
abacus, etc., and tapping into fantasy as problem solving in those
middle childhood years could feed intuitive mathematical wisdom,
match the child's present stage of development and discovery, and
build a matrix for future use of math in real-world problem solving?
Project Renaissance does not need to train youngsters to do what
comes naturally, but fantasy can raise their awareness of how their
intelligence works and how they learn. Teachers who have connected
with their own intuitive and unconscious intelligence through Image-
Streaming, Socratics, thinktank and other Wenger and similar
creativity skills, may relate better to their magical young pupils.
And if, as Pearce proposes, human development selects for survival,
and naturally follows a preparatory drunkard's path into adulthood
from one pendulum swing to the next, educators could go with that
flow in curriculum and classroom style. Far from breaking horses,
they could nourish children's natural drives and celebrate their
part in a growth process that can't be rushed.
I have had the privilege of helping adult Image Streamers connect to
their unconscious intelligence, even momentarily. I've co-experienced
their thrill of discovery. Yet, if and when a natural developmental
stage has passed, an adult has to patch invention back into a frame-
work of "practicalities" and habits that got adopted instead. Imagine
what adult life could be for children-turned-adults who never had to
lose the wholeness we now so eagerly seek.
To send feedback privately to the author, email to Carmen Clark at
To send your comments about this article to
To post your feedback or promote a discussion of this topic:
ADDENDUM by Win Wenger
1) Because appropriate feedback is perhaps the greatest human
nutrition, special problems are posed for the exceptionally gifted
child. By his or her exceptionality, it is hardest for people
around to respond appropriately to his or her interests, initia-
tives, projects and so on. The exceptionally gifted are by far the
population most likely to be deprived of this fundamental human
nutrition. Consequent maladaptation to this very matter can be
observed in almost every Mensa meeting.
2) My work here, Luiz Machado's work in Brasil, and perhaps a few
others, point to giftedness as being not a function of intelligence
but a function of the physical appetite structures of the (limbic)
brain. I've quite a case for this and will write it up soon.
COMMENTS & FEEDBACK
I have a little feedback for Win, about his excellent comments on
exceptionally gifted children. I think he did not mention "negative"
feedback, often from people (adult and children) feeling threatened
by the excep-gifted child's talents. I think the negative feedback
can do tremendous damage, since kids want to belong - and peers,
teachers, neighbors, adults from other walks, etc., all potentially
get their digs in. I don't claim exceptional gifts, but, if I might
empathize with that situation from my own experience, my family said
I would respond by dummying down and seeking security in under-
achieving when others seemed poised to pounce on my every mistake
as "proof" I wasn't as smart as I seemed. I also recall mean-ole
epithets that I may be smart but won't be able to love, fight,
charm, etc., my way out of a paper bag compared to those who really
have "street smarts" or "social intelligence" or whatever. Kind of
mean prophecy that as a sensitive child I sometimes internalized.
As for the limbic appetite, that seems just AMAZING. Of course I
want to hear all about that right away. Out with the notes!
Grown-ups can be so thoughtlessly cruel. My mother would often say,
"Go to the train station, see if your brains have arrived yet." (It
sounds more insulting in Hungarian.) I really feel for you, Carmen.
There seems to be a connection between giftedness and sensitivity.
My heart aches for your and my little girl selves - and other gifted
children - for what we had to endure. We can just hope to convert
the experience into greater wisdom and empathy now. And I hope
you realize it was not a prophecy, just meanness, and that by now
you've got rid of whatever negatives you may have internalized then.
Report on High Thinktank Meeting
held January 30, 2003
WATER TO DOWSE THE FIRES OF WAR
by Win Wenger
Preface: Yesterday (Thursday, Jan 30) morning, public radio news
featured a new seawater desalination plant going online as a
major part of the water supply of
such plant already on the drawing boards. This was newsworthy
because it reflects a recent drastic decrease in the cost of water
desalination technology. At the time, this was just an item heard
Last night, our monthly D.C.-area thinktank met again in
This session, as have several others, featured use of our "signature
process," the "High Thinktank Method," on several questions of wider
general interest. This process presents questions to answerers in
such a way that only one's subtler faculties know what question is
being asked - the verbal-conscious "left brain" hasn't a clue, and
so does not know which way to bias the mental images coming in
response as answers in order to fit them to its expectations.
This makes "High Thinktanking" an especially accurate process for
questions of general importance and current interest, questions on
which people consciously have already staked out their positions
and garnered expectations which normally would not leave room for
them to do any original thinking on those matters. In much more
complete form, instructions on one method of High Thinktanking
can be seen, step by easy step, for free in the "CPS Techniques"
section of the Project Renaissance website:
Last night, because of a shorter meeting time, we limited ourselves
to two questions. The results of one of them we are following up
elsewhere and in other ways. The results of the other one are the
subject of this advisory.
The question: "What would be the best resolution now of the
Most participants did not consciously know what question they were
answering, until after they had recorded the image-impressions they
had gotten in answer to it and sorted out the elements-in-common
among those answers. (Several participants, misunderstanding the
instructions, did see the question before answering it but never-
theless got results in line with the other answers.) Strikingly,
water and waters were a major feature in each image generated in
answer to the above question.
Putting two and two together to come up with at least three: not
For one-twentieth of the cost to the
desalination plants to irrigate the entire
Which would make more change in the
Americans would like to see: such a major desalination/water-
supply/irrigation project, or another Gulf War?
Watering the Middle East would also begin to "dry up" the sources
of terrorism. Extreme money and extreme poverty so closely side-
by-side in those ruined lands can generate innumerable terrorists
until doomsday. Turning the
contribution, if you will, to Allah's Garden, would transform that
whole situation into much more favorable directions. Even the
prospect, in advance of the reality, if we announced a project of
such vision and scope, could well be enough to quickly turn the
Iraqi situation without a war.
Factored in and shrugged off, demonstrations and petitions aren't
going to make a difference. This might. As of the writing of this,
the week or so is critical as to whether or not we go to war with
Mention this idea to at least 2-3 other people, that with the new
inexpensive water desalination technology as exemplified
Bay, ten to twenty billion dollars can accomplish many times more
and better than can another Gulf War at the cost of 100,000 lives
and $100 billion. If this idea can spread strongly enough and
rapidly enough that policy makers will actually take a look at it,
we might actually be looking soon at a much better world than the
one we are currently living in.
Please mention this idea to 2-3 others today.
- Win Wenger
Report on IAL Conference
held January 16-19, 2003
SOME POSITIVE NOTES
by Win Wenger
Many of you reading this know of my concerns for the International
Alliance of Learning ( http://www.ialearn.org ). You may have
sensed that, heading into their annual conference this January
in Alexandria, VA, I had gotten very pessimistic about the chances
for survival of the one professional membership organization in
this country whose avowed purpose is the pursuit of better methods
of teaching and learning. I'm happy to report that I'm now quite
The conference itself was excellent; this function has always
attracted dynamite programs and presenters. The two hundred who
attended, though the smallest number in quite awhile, were somewhat
above expectations. My own presentation session was, again, very
well received and attended. Several of us haunted the corridors
and sessions, pressing Socratic packets into various hands,
proposing research as a key way to propel the organization forward,
and some of that appeared to "take."
A major positive at the Conference was the Town Meeting hosted by
Charles Bubar (who is a long-time friend and has been to our
Thinktank). The event wasn't on the official schedule, but was
attended by 45, including our own Gerald Hawkins, who made some
excellent representations there, and of course yours truly. The
IAL Board now inescapably knows that our concerns, and some of
our proposed solutions, are very widely shared by the membership,
and that these have some solid bases. Many members made excellent
points at this session, which may have been the turning point for
this whole organization.
Two additional positive notes - both much to my pleased surprise.
1) Several complete sets of the old SALT (Society for Accelerative
Learning and Teaching, IAL's former name) Journal exist, so that
some excellent research, done in the old days, can and reportedly
will be scanned quickly and put up at the IAL website for easy
reference for members to point to in justifying their own efforts.
(2) One professor in Australia has a number of doctoral students
performing dissertation research on accelerated learning, I hope
to be able to tell you more about this soon. So research on
accelerated learning will shortly be up from several quarters,
where individual members wanting to try out one or another AL
technique in their own classroom, and measure the results, can
readily get to it and refer to it.
A new local chapter is in process of formation for the DC region.
That is an excellent idea if it can be brought off - all action is
local, and there is a huge need right here.
Lastly: follow-ups have been made. Normally, IAL has an exciting
conference, there're about 3 days of enthusiasm, then the whole
thing disappears until it's time to revv up for the next annual
conference. Promises have been exchanged, and already I've gotten
in articles to both the new Journal of Accelerated Learning &
Teaching (Lyelle Palmer, ed.) and the IAL Newsletter (our own
Elliott Ryan, ed.), and when I get back from San Diego I'll be
doing additional follow-ups to make sure that our efforts do
indeed bear fruit. The environment in which Project Renaissance
works is much better for us if a viable IAL is there active in it.
Work in progress......
- Win Wenger
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