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            Newsletter of Project Renaissance and Win Wenger

     

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May 2003

 

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

 

*  Quote of the Month

*  Announcements

*  Events

*  FEATURE ARTICLE: "The Limbic Brain" (Part Two) - by Win Wenger

*  Comments & Feedback

*  Links - archives, back issues, homepage

*  Reader Questionnaire

 

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH

 

"The prevention of free inquiry is unavoidable so long as the

purpose of education is to produce belief rather than thought, to

compel the young to hold positive opinions on doubtful matters

rather than let them see the doubtfulness and be encouraged to

independence of mind. Education ought to foster the wish for the

truth, not the conviction that some particular creed is the truth."

  - Bertrand Russell

 

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

WELCOME to all new members who have joined us this month. We hope

to hear from you and to give you much food for thought. Back issues

are available upon request. Just add the month to the subject line:

<mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=BackIssues>

 

~~~

 

SUBSCRIBER OR MEMBER? If you currently only subscribe to The Stream,

you can upgrade your participation in Project Renaissance to full

membership, free. Membership in Project Renaissance entitles members

to additional benefits. If you're not yet a member, please register

now, here:  http://www.winwenger.com/regmem.htm - or from link on

the homepage, http://www.winwenger.com .

 

~~~

 

DUPLICATE MAILING? If you received two (or more?) copies of this

issue of The Stream, please let us know by replying to:

<mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=duplicate>

 

~~~

 

How you can participate...

 

* You can post messages on Project Renaissance's discussion board

about any Project Renaissance topic and join any ongoing

discussions. No log-in required. Please visit the homepage at

http://www.winwenger.com and click the Discussion Board link.

To post a message right now, click here:

http://bbs.cartserver.com/bbs/b/7733/#PostMessage

 

* The long-established, popular Image-Streaming egroup is here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/imagestream - requires Yahoo sign-in.

 

* Submit articles, comments or questions for possible inclusion in

The Stream: <mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=TotheEditor>

 

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EVENTS

 

Free monthly meetings of High Thinktank...Open to the public.

Upcounty Regional Services Center --

12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown, MD.

Next meeting:  Tuesday, June 10, 2003.

Topic: Beyond problem-solving.....Adventures in Discovery,

Invention, and Breakthrough Innovation.

Check the Project Renaissance website calendar

for details and directions, at

http://www.winwenger.com/events.htm

 

~~~

 

DOUBLE FESTIVAL XII - November 2003...

 

Plan now to treat yourself to 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 Pasadena, Maryland.

 

The theme is "Problem-Solving in the Global Village".

 

Watch the website, http://www.winwenger.com/upcoming.htm

for further details and for Call for Presentations.

 

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Feature Article:

 

                  BALANCING ACT - Part 2 of 2:

             Controlling Your Limbic Brain's Controls

                      on What You Can Do

                     by Win Wenger, Ph.D.

                President, Project Renaissance

        

 

 

In Part One (April 2003), we approached genius and giftedness as

functions of the physical appetite structures of the limbic brain.

That ability is widely distributed in the human population, but

genius and giftedness may also be viewed as matters of drive more

than ability.  We cited workshop training experiences where

seemingly ordinary people, examining their own early childhoods,

recalled episodes of suppressed genius or precocity, squelched and

forgotten. They had learned it was safer to run behind than to run

ahead.

 

    Would most of us be gifted had such early episodes not

extinguished our appetites for discovery? How do societies so

predictably extinguish their own brightest lights?

 

    In this issue we examine points related to limbic brain

functions where educational approaches could be changed.  Such

intervention and redirection could profoundly improve educational

and personal development.

 

 

         --- Part Two:  Some Intervention Points ----

 

    Institutions at all levels, like any other complex homeostatic

(self-stabilizing) system, seek to conserve energy by reducing the

range of variables with which they must contend.  Nearly always,

this requires people to behave predictably.  In some sectors such

predictability - as in driving on a designated side of the road

- aids survival. But in many other sectors little justifies it

beyond convenience for the institution itself.

 

    Conversely, creativity, giftedness and genius behave unpredict-

ably, and they generate unpredictable conditions. The pain of that

inconvenience, in turn, is visited upon the perpetrator, even when

the institution's own survival may depend upon that gifted but

unpredicted act.

 

    At best, then, gifted behavior usually goes unreinforced. At

worst it becomes painfully punished. Such phenomena may be so wide-

spread that without such extinctions nearly everyone reading this

report would rank among the "exceptionally gifted."

 

 

THE EXTREME FORM OF EXTINCTION OF GENIUS:

IN OUR SCHOOLS

 

    For decades, a peculiar provision of U.S. Federal and state

aid to education has rewarded no teacher or administrator with

money or power if Junior learns BETTER than others (except at

graduate school levels, where different dynamics apply). However,

if Junior learns worse, the system supplies more money and power

for compensatory efforts. This system inadvertently rewards poor

teaching, poor curriculum content, and poor methods.

 

    During the European Renaissance the Socratic method was a

principal feature of schools and education. Under the Socratic

method, the teacher asked a pupil acutely thought-provoking

questions. The student was forced, in seeking to answer them, to

examine his internal and external perceptions and to describe

what he discovered. Exercising the Socratic method enriched each

student's mind. This approach consistently produced genius in the

populations where it was used.

 

    In the mid- to late-19th century, most countries, including

the USA, adopted the Prussian school model for mass education.

They aimed to produce national power by training citizens to

perform as cogs in the early industrial machine and as obedient

soldiers for cannon fodder.

 

    Schools abandoned "educating" when they substituted the didac-

tic teaching of the Prussian model. They adopted a model of pouring

information and skills into "tabula rasa," the virtually "empty

slates" of students' minds. Their system assessed progress in terms

of the degree of failure of students to retain this poured-in

information.

 

    In Socratic method, human learners were cultivated around their

strengths. They became, so to speak, Sequoia trees. In the "tabula

rasa" Prussian model prevailing today, educators' attention trains

on where the student "doesn't measure up."  Instead of proceeding

from strengths, students are mainly attuned to their shortfalls.

We have nearly all been convinced, coming through such experiences,

that we're not really all that good. We've been cultivated around

our weaknesses and perceived shortcomings, instead of around our

strengths, enroute to becoming little privet hedges instead of

Sequoias.

 

 

"VERIFICATION" OF LEARNING METHODS

 

    All human learning arrives in context.  Something has meaning

only in context of how it relates to other things, and/or how a

change in one bears upon what happens in the other. Virtually all

current educationally approved practices were validated by

procedures devoid of context. Empty schooling has no relevance to

human learning!

 

 

MORE ON THE ROLE OF THE LIMBIC BRAIN

 

    The limbic brain, assessing the readiness of the system to

handle a given stimulus, tells the cortex how to handle that

stimulus - whether to run with and explore it in some manner

("there's gold in them thar hills - go for it!"), or whether to

just "bury it under a rug somewhere and forget about it."  Some of

that context is the individual's own physical attitude within the

body. Some of it is the "second plane of awareness" context of

classroom, teacher manner, etc., in ways well addressed by Dr.

Georgi Lozanov and his Suggestopedic method.

 

                          *   *   *

(Mini-demonstration:)

    An example, Dear Reader, of the power of the physical

attitudes of the body in determining what the limbic tells the

cortex to do with a stimulus, is this simple demonstration. Please

stand now, with feet about two feet apart, slump-shouldered. Gaze

slack-jawed at the ceiling, and say (or try to say) crisply, "I'm

a brilliant genius!!!"

 

    Now pull your feet together, straighten into a much more alert

and crisp physical posture, and say that again.

(End of demo.)

                          *   *   *

 

    Now let us examine, from that small demonstration, the power

of context working against you and for you.  In that first

instance, you could FEEL the commands relayed by the limbic, from

the physical attitudes of the body, fighting even your ability to

say a simple sentence! Far subtler perceptions, intellectualiza-

tions and behaviors are infinitely more susceptible to physical

attitudes of the body (especially habituated "body language"), to

say nothing of Lozanov's "second plane contexts,” which also

operate as controlling factors in the process.

 

    These, then, are main elements of the emerging model in which

the limbic brain dominates human learning and teaching, intellect

and giftedness. In turn, we can expand on these few elements where

the model indicates that intervention. There, changes in methods

of educating and cultivating personal growth can open new frontiers

in desirable outcomes.

 

 

WAYS TO IMPROVE

 

    In no particular order, we list a few possible intervention

points:

 

    1.  Improve POSTURE while learning; improve posture in the

classroom.  Modify furniture to induce more appropriate physical

attitudes.  Research, discover, and explore contrast between the

physical attitudes of genius and one's own physical attitudes, as

in "Borrowed Genius"  ( http://www.winwenger.com/borrow1.htm ).

 

    2.  Use contexts from which you - or students - may "search

and describe" inner and outer perceptions, without the direction

of Socratically acute questions. (Half of the Project Renaissance

methods at http://www.winwenger.com introduce such design

contexts.)

 

    3.  Reintroduce EMOTION, the language of the limbic, into

lesson content. (Emotion and controversy have been stripped from

education by competing public pressures.)

 

    4.  Adopt procedures and programs that lead students (and

teachers) to discover or rediscover their own genius. Address

the feelings experienced when their/our prior precocities were

being extinguished.  Cultivate appetites and gusto for learning.

 

    5.  Determine ways to relate, or even to sublimate-in, intel-

lectual and aesthetic drives to the physical appetite structures

of the brain, to an even greater extent than now. How? Possibly,

as with thousands of various "disciplines," using fasting or other

manipulations of physical appetite to heighten mental performance.

At the very least, to defend instances of high intellectual

endowment from such threats as appetite suppressants and against

times of physiological appetite change.

 

    6.  Carefully destabilize contexts, classrooms, students,

teachers, administrators, or parents (!) in ways that elicit extra

efforts and challenges to recover intellectual balance. Let ample

and free discussion follow.

 

    7.  Restore Socratic,  or at least perceptual "search-and-

describe", procedures as a preferred method of "education", 

working with - rather than despite - individual, societal, and

group contexts.

 

    8.  Amygdalal and hippocanthal functions, not addressed here,

suggest among other things a careful positive reinforcement of

some of the component behaviors which come together to express

gifted behavior and/or giftedness in relating to physical appetite

brain structures. This is not so much learning behavior per

behaviorism as extrinsic reward systems.

 

    9.  Establish a learning context in which selected spontaneous

behaviors of the learner are reinforced for persistence, rather

than interrupted and squelched.  Much of the original Montessori

Method was based upon this. That takes on added meaning in relation

to the common finding that highly gifted adults and commonly

regarded "creative geniuses" generally reflect high levels of

"compulsiveness" in their psychological profiles. And that their

high contributions historically come mostly through persistence

in the face of discouragement and punishment.

 

    10.  Develop and enrich a vocabulary and language of feelings. 

Feelings are a primary processing language of the limbic. This can

bring into better reach of our conscious mind and intent the true

core of where our actual choices and decisions are made. In con-

trast, our conscious choices and decisions are usually overridden,

unawares, by those made in our limbic.

 

    These are but a few of the points where intervention could lead

to greatly improved outcome, in education and career and also in

general. As we understand more of the role of the limbic brain in

its equilibriating and directing of the intellect, and as we grasp

the implications of understandings at which we have already arrived,

other key points of positive transformation should follow.

 

    It is also clear that our understandings of the CORTEX now must

address and include the limbic which directs that cortex. The limbic

brain’s seeking of homeostasis through more and more complex living

circumstances created that cortex.  Already, the similarities and

differences between the remarkably specialized left and right

temporal lobes of the cortex begin to make greater sense than

before the limbic model emerged.

 

    Many more researchers are needed to explore this field.

Opportunities abound for original discovery and for major improve-

ments to educational practice. Such discoveries can be productive

for professional and career advancement. The opportunities for such

discoveries are so numerous that they are easy to find. We urge

further attention, whether by researchers or laymen, to what the

limbic brain means and can mean to what's important in your

experience. Educational implications follow.

 

 

POSTSCRIPT

    Now that you've read this article, you are cordially invited to

discover ten times more meaning and content from it than you are

aware of right now.  Please turn to keyboard, pen and paper, or a

tape recorder, and, following the procedures either of Freenoting

( http://www.winwenger.com/freenote.htm ) or of Windtunnel

( http://www.winwenger.com/part55.htm ), for some sustained rapid-

flow torrential minutes record absolutely everything that comes to

mind in this context, faster than you can think about or judge. Be

willing to discard (afterward) a first few nonsense paragraphs to

get through to some insights which will surprise you greatly.

 

- Win Wenger <mailto:wwenger101@aol.com>

 

~~~

 

To read an extended version of this article in the Mindfields

section of the Project Renaissance website, see:

http://www.winwenger.com/limbic1.htm

 

To send feedback privately to the author, email to Win Wenger at

<mailto:wwenger101@aol.com?subject=LimbicBrain>

 

To send your comments about this article to The Stream, write to:

<mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=LimbicBrain>

 

To post your feedback or promote a discussion of this topic:

http://bbs.cartserver.com/bbs/b/7733/#PostMessage

 

..................................................................

 

COMMENTS & FEEDBACK

 

In the April 2003 edition of The Stream, we published a question by

Jacob <mailto:yerex@sympatico.ca> about an increase in the amount

of energy being used during audio feedback.

 

In reply, Chris Benson <mailto:Chris-B@audioeditions.com> writes:

The power required to produce a certain increase in sound volume is

a simple logarithmic curve, where each doubling of the perceived

loudness (yes, perceived by a human - if Werner Heisenberg isn't

in the forest when the tree falls, can we be certain that there

really was a tree?) requires 10 time the energy in terms of kinetic

energy. I'd be really surprised (shocked and sickened, actually) if

this didn't apply to feedback squeals as well.

 

Basically, feedback occurs through the process of escalating

reinforcement. A sound is being produced that resonates with the

environment in some way, in either the room or the electronics,

much the same as a note is produced when you blow across a bottle.

Some form of amplification is required to provide the escalation

of the resonance, but as long as the amplifier and other elements

of the system can provide greater output, the escalation should

follow the typical dB power curve, the same as turning up the

volume on a non-resonant sound.

 

Where it gets interesting is when the limitations of the devices or

the characteristics of the environment cause the feedback resonance

frequency or character to change as the power escalates.

 

Resonance is a strange beast, and another thing entirely. If you

can determine the resonance of an object, a space, a device, a

person, etc., it's not exactly what I would call feedback, but

vibrations can become self-reinforcing due to the correspondence

of coinciding wavefronts.

 

I'm now thinking specifically of a story regarding Nikola Tesla

when he was immersed in resonance studies where he invented a

mechanical reciprocating device to provide a small hammer blow at

regular intervals, calculated the resonant frequency of a large

building in New York, and placed the device on the corner of the

building. According to this anecdote, it worked so well that the

building began to sway and he ended up shattering the device with

a large sledgehammer and breaking the resonance to prevent it from

toppling.

 

Whether or not this story is true, SELF-reinforcing systems are

subject to runaway escalation with very little additional power

input because they become chaotic in nature and it takes only 'a

minimal change in the input variable' to provide a 'catastrophic

change' in the resulting output, by forcing the system to another

area of a strange attractor that represents the available states

in phase space. This is a lot of scientific-sounding mumbo-jumbo

for the last straw on the camel, or Ella Fitzgerald breaking the

wine glass on the old 'Is it live or is it Memorex?' commercials.

 

This is also how lasers work. And metaphorical thinkers can see

that this has ramifications for socio-political power, resonance,

and feedback as well.

 

- Chris Benson ( http://www.audioeditions.com )

 

~~~

 

Kate: <mailto:kate@gamepuzzles.com>

One could extrapolate the process to politics, accounting for the

engineered bipolarity of political parties to counterbalance each

other, and for the deliberate destabilizing of foreign governments.

 

Self-reinforcing systems - aren't we all. And the obsessive-

compulsives among us merely lack a self-balancing subroutine to do

the Tesla shattering in cases of excess. Ah, free will.

 

~~~

 

In Part One of the feature article, "Balancing Act,"  (The Stream,

April 2003), Win Wenger wrote,

"Near-, far- or astigmatic-sightedness is a function of how the

brain defines resting-point or equilibrium for the eyes. Correct

the brain's definition of equilibrium and correct your eyesight."

 

Linda Teuling <mailto:LindaTeuling@aol.com>:  How is this done?

 

Win Wenger <mailto:wwenger101@aol.com> responds:

Linda, the way I did it worked for me and for three other people

out of about thirty I tried it on. Evidently the technique isn't

strong and reliable enough to publish as one of our ways of working

effects.  Actually, it is a combination of techniques, several of

which are wholly reliable in their own right and one of which is

published in our "Winsights" articles Nos. 28-29 (see

http://www.winwenger.com/part28.htm and

http://www.winwenger.com/part29.htm ) as (extensive practice, over

some months, of) "noise-removal breathing."  I mention that because

if you want to try the procedure as an experiment, that component

of what would be the experiment has the longest "lead time," and

by the time you had done several months of daily practice, 1 or 2

sessions daily, 5-15 minutes of "noise-removal breathing," I expect

to publish the whole eyesight-correcting procedure - as an experi-

ment if people want to try it, not as one of our procedures for

working effects.

 

We like for our actual published procedures to be as close to 100%

reliable as possible, and this experimental combination works only

about 10% of the time, hence this careful distinction. I wouldn't

be putting this procedure up at all except that there has been so

much interest in it. But since I will be, I hope that various

people in fact trying it out can develop data for us - or for

someone - that will lead to a more reliable technique, and maybe

for a lot more than just eyesight.

 

Thank you for asking.

- Win Wenger <mailto:wwenger101@aol.com?subject=Eyesight>

 

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LINKS

 

*  Back issues of THE STREAM by email upon request from

   <mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=BackIssues>

 

*  Archived copies of Capital Ideasmiths are here:

   http://www.debateit.net/projren/newsletter/index.htm

 

*  Project Renaissance homepage:  http://www.winwenger.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

UNSUBSCRIBE:  If you do not wish to continue receiving this

newsletter from Project Renaissance, please send an email to

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                         PROJECT RENAISSANCE

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READER QUESTIONNAIRE

 

1. Project Renaissance is planning to set up local High Thinktank

groups or clubs to explore and use Win Wenger's techniques. We're

looking for a catchy, distinctive, fairly short name for this High

Thinktank Network. What is your suggestion?

 

     

           

__________________________________________                                                                                                     

             

2. In what other languages would you like to read the Project

Renaissance website? Please suggest three.

 

       ______________       ______________       ______________

 

 

3. What keywords or search terms would you use to find the kind of

mind-improving material offered by the Project Renaissance website?

For example, "Accelerated Learning", "Creative Problem Solving",

"Increased Intelligence", "Image-Streaming". Please name at least

four others, or as many as you like.

 

       ______________       ______________       ______________

 

       ______________       ______________       ______________   

 

 

To return this questionnaire, simply reply to this email, deleting all

but the questionnaire portion.

 

 

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