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Newsletter of Project Renaissance and Win Wenger
October 2004 (Best viewed with fixed-width font)
IN THIS ISSUE:
* Quote of the Month
* Events/News Items
* FEATURE ARTICLE:
"I Can't Think" by Jon Pearson
* Comments, Feedback
About Jon Pearson - Win Wenger
Adventures in Breathing - Lothar Jost
* Organizational Notes
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Like a tapestry in three dimensions
the patterns of our lives weave in and out,
among and between the threads of awareness,
softly hinting that within each thread
lies a galaxy of others.
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
in the online archives: http://www.winwenger.com/strmlist.htm
** LATEST NEWS **
LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER FOR THE PROJECT RENAISSANCE DOUBLE FESTIVAL 2004
- 13th Annual Conference on Creative Problem-Solving and Accelerated
Learning - November 12-14, 2004
Beyond-Einstein Training - November 12, 2004
Trainer Training - November 15-18, 2004
See further details in the EVENTS section below.
CREATIVITY CONFERENCE THEME
The Alden B. Dow Creativity Center is inviting our help in deciding the
theme for their next summer's event, the 16th Annual Conference on
Creativity in Colleges and Universities, to be held on the campus of
Northwood University (Midland, MI) on July 14-17, 2005.
Here are the themes from the past 6 Conferences:
1999 - "Creativity In a World of Challenge and Change"
2000 - "Exploring the Creativity Era Together"
2001 - "The Kaleidoscope of Creativity: Exploring the Many Colors of
2002 - "Uncovering Creativity: Discovering the Vitality of the Human
2003 - "Being a Creative Being: Our Infinite Potential"
2004 - "Celebrating Individual Creativity: From Inspiration to
Email your brilliant (or even nearly brilliant) suggestions to the
Executive Director, Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr.
SOMETHING OF INTEREST
In the September 2004 issue, we mentioned the work of Prof. Frithjof
Bergmann, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. It is called "New Work - New
Culture" and details a concept of work which proposes that people
- spend one third of their time in paid jobs as we know it,
- spend one third of their time doing something they really, really want
- and spend one third of their time to provide/supply themselves, e.g. by
growing food or working in simple assemblies which produce things that
are really needed (clothing, transport, etc.).
Here's an interview with Prof. Bergmann:
IN SPANISH! A Review of "The Einstein Factor"
For our Spanish readers, here's a treat:
Written by Project Renaissance member Claudia Ruiz, who has trained with
DOUBLE FESTIVAL 2004
13th Annual Conference on Creative Problem-Solving
and Accelerated Learning
November 12-14, 2004
Beyond-Einstein Training, November 12, 2004
Double Festival 2004, November 12-14, 2004
Trainer Training, November 15-18, 2004
Whether you are a teacher, parent, student, business owner or employee,
this conference is for you, because we live in a world of continuous
change that challenges us with the need for continuous learning and
The Double Festival is designed for a high level of involvement by all
the participants - content-rich lectures and participatory thinktanks.
The thinktank might be a discussion, brainstorming, creative problem-
solving exercise, Image-Streaming, or another of Project Renaissance's
Socratic techniques. The final 2 to 3 hours of the Festival are devoted
to a "Grand Panel of the Whole," with the participants and presenters
thinktanking together on the most significant issues from the conference.
With Win Wenger's facilitation and guidance, and through the use of
Project Renaissance's "Dynamic Format", participants feel comfortable in
expressing their thoughts and ideas, and all have a chance to be heard,
and thus they discover and unfold more of their individual genius.
To learn more about the work of Win Wenger and Project Renaissance, or
to prepare yourself to participate in greater depth during the Double
Festival, a one-day Beyond-Einstein Training Intensive will be held
preceding the start of the actual Double Festival, on Friday, November 12,
from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm for a tuition of only $295. When you enroll for
both the Beyond-Einstein Intensive Training and the Double Festival, you
If you already know Win Wenger's work and are inspired to teach it to
others, there will be Trainer Training workshops following on the Double
Festival, from Monday, November 15, through Thursday, November 18, 2004.
Tuition is just $200 per day or $700 if you enroll for all 4 days. That's
another $100 savings.
The greatest savings obtain when you enroll for the full series, all
three events, for $1250, saving $240. To encourage your family members
to attend, their registrations are at half-price. See the table of
The cozy private facility engaged will comfortably hold only about 65
participants. Our website's Events page will notify you if all spaces
get filled. As of October 20 there was still room and you are very
welcome to register with us.
Be part of this life-changing and world-changing event. Choose your
desired courses in the chart below and make your reservations by any of
the ways listed.
The Double Festival's education topics will include, among others:
* The Art of Mentoring and Coyote Teaching
* Real World Learning
* Teaching Creativity in our Schools
* Optimal Growth and Productivity in Organizations
* Focus on Learning, not on Teaching
COURSES AND TUITIONS
* 1-day Beyond Einstein Intensive, $295
* Double Festival, Fri. PM-Sunday PM, $495
* Beyond Einstein/Double Festival ($100 discount), $690
* Beyond Einstein/Double Festival alumni, $590
* One day Trainer Training, $200
* Two days Trainer Training, $400
* Three days Trainer Training, $600
* All 4 days Trainer Training, $700
* The Works, all 3 events in full, $1250
Family Plan: To register accompanying family members at half price,
please email Win Wenger directly - email@example.com
Student Discount: To register students at 30% discount from the listed
prices, contact Win Wenger directly - firstname.lastname@example.org
You may register for one or more or all of these events. You can
* Phone to Win Wenger - 301-948-1122. If no answer, 410-437-2163.
* Email to Win Wenger - email@example.com
* Regular mail by printing out the Registration Form from the website:
( http://www.winwenger.com/df13reg.htm ) and sending it with your check or
money order, or your credit card number and expiration date, to Project
Renaissance, PO Box 332, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-0332.
* Online via credit card on the Project Renaissance website. Visit this
special page: http://www.winwenger.com/df13.htm . Please choose and
click the appropriate Register buttons. Choose as many as you need. Our
secure ordering system will prompt you step by step to fill out the
order form. Select "Registration" in the order form menu to keep it from
adding sales tax and shipping costs. ...........
The Double Festival concludes at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 14th. To
insure that we continue the momentum and energy from the conference,
Project Renaissance offers a next steps discussion for the participants
and presenters to determine how best to continue the work that was
Discount rates of only $79 a day for lodging at the Ramada Inn in Hanover,
MD, have been negotiated for Double Festival attendees. Reserve by October
31 by calling 410-712-4300. Pick-up at BWI airport is available for arrivals
from out of town. Driving directions and full information on the website -
see links below.
Harman Benda, Chairman
Double Festival 2004
Project Renaissance homepage: http://www.winwenger.com
Events Calendar: http://www.winwenger.com/events.htm
Upcoming Events: http://www.winwenger.com/upcoming.htm
Double Festival: http://www.winwenger.com/df13.htm
IAL CONFERENCE CALL SERIES
The International Alliance for Learning will host a series of conference
calls with leaders in the field of Accelerated Learning, Accelerative
Learning and other areas of human development - leading up to the 2005
IAL International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, January 13-16, 2005.
Further information is available from Chuck Bubar: mailto:CBubar@aol.com
Win Wenger is delivering a further UNIQUE TRAINER TRAINING in London, UK
Due to the incredible success of the first-ever Project Renaissance
Trainer Training in London, UK, we are offering a further opportunity for
trainers to attend Module 1 and 2 of Win's unique programme.
Module 1: February 24-26, 2005
Module 2: February 28-March 1, 2005
Venue - The October Gallery, Hoborn, London, UK
Places are very limited and special discounted rates are available until
November 30, 2004. Contact Cora Robinson for further information and
I CAN'T THINK
by Jon Pearson
I remember being eight years old and sitting in Mrs. Blaisdell's class
trying to think what to write. In the pictures of me in third grade I
was always wearing this striped T-shirt so I guess I was sitting there
in my striped T-shirt trying to think what to write. I'd be looking down
at my hand. The paper was blank as a plate and I'd watch my hand. I'd
sometimes have a little "talk" with it. My hand got so familiar-looking
it started looking strange and I'd wonder, "Whose hands ARE these?" and
"What am I doing with THESE hands?"
I'd sometimes think how young and small my hands were compared to Mrs.
Blaisdell's. Mrs. Blasidell had old hands and I sometimes imagined she
had young hands inside them moving them around like gloves.
When I'd think "What am I doing with THESE hands?" I'd suddenly be aware
of my whole body. I'd squirm my toes in my shoes to make sure my feet
were still there and they were MY feet. I'd sit up real straight and
lean slowly one way and the other, operating my whole self to make sure
I was me. By then I would wonder what I was thinking about in the first
place to imagine for a moment these weren't my hands.
I still couldn't think what to WRITE. And time was pouring by. Mrs.
Blaisdell was sitting at the big wood desk at the front of the room and
everyone around me was writing up a storm. CAN'T THINK!
Just then, I thought of the word "smell." I always liked the word
"smell." It never reminded me of what it reminded most people, apparently.
I always got the same thought: first I'd see the color light blue, then
I'd imagine the insides of my nose. The word "nose" always made me think
of macaroni: "NOSE" and then I'd think macaroni. Anyway, words to me are
like little houses full of different things. "Smell", the word goes on
and on... First, I see the blue, then think of the walls of my nose, then
I almost always think of the zoo and this orangutan I saw once. He was
looking at me with his nose. It was all black like rubber with small dots
on top and wet inside the little nose holes. His nostrils seemed to be
THINKING. I thought he was thinking about me and how he didn't like me
very much. "Smelllllllllll" and all that comes to mind in one, long
I kept looking down at my hands and saying the word "smell" to myself
for no reason at all and squirming my toes like mad now, because I knew
Mrs. Blaisdell would be angry because I couldn't THINK what to write and
it was good to know my feet, at least, were all mine.
I started thinking I was in a time box: a box of time, all empty pressing
in on me. "WRITE SOMETHING," the empty time was saying, looking at me
from all around and closing in. It reminded me of the time my grandmother
wanted me to set the table and I didn't want to, so I took about an hour
and a half to do it. She was squeaking all over the kitchen floor in her
shoes. And in the dining room I could FEEL her WANTING me to hurry up but
I pretended that I had been given a serum by aliens and was in slow motion
and the air, the space in the room, was thick like invisible pancake batter
and I could barely move. I heard my father coming down the haIl and I
forgot about the "pancake batter" and the aliens and finished the table
in about five seconds - the spoon here, the fork there, this way, that
way, the knife facing all in on the napkin. I always felt sorry for the
napkins. They always looked so lonely and neglected. People would either
forget them or wipe their big, strange mouths on them and then twist them
all up and they'd be scraped into the garbage. I felt more sorry for
napkins, in fact, than I did for most people, most of the time. Grown-ups
could, at least, take care of themselves. But napkins, they were just
there, little folded-over "beds" where the silverware rested; I started
feeling for the silverware.
Anyway, I still couldn't think what to write. I started feeling like a
napkin, myself. Mrs. Blaisdell was getting up out of her desk right then.
OH NO... I thought she'd be coming right toward me, like that shark in
Jaws. She was wandering, thank goodness, on the other side of the room,
going down the aisles, looking at other people's papers.
I suddenly realized how square-shaped paper looked, how pure the corners
were. The paper looked naked sitting there with nothing on it. WRITE
‘WE GOT A CAT YESTERDAY." We didn't get a cat yesterday, but I had to
write something. I had to get going. Mrs. Blaisdell would be all over
my desk in a minute, eyeballing everything and breathing all over me.
I'd be eaten alive by her look.
"LILLY WAS HER NAME. SHE IS A NICE CAT." "Lilly" - what a dumb name for
a cat, but I couldn't erase it, it would take too long.
"WE FEED IT EVERYDAY." "It?" It's a she. Oh well, it's an animal. I wish I
knew the names of different kinds of cats. I could feel myself breathing
from the stomach out, my belt going up and down. STUPID! WRITE!
I looked over and there was Bonnie Strayhan with about two pages written
full out. I wished for a moment I WAS Bonnie Strayhan, but only for a
moment, just until the end of the period, anyway. She had this fabulous
handwriting. My handwriting looked like a bank robbery note: letters all
different sizes slanting wrongwise. Hurry. Stupid!
"KITTY IS FUN TO FLAY WITH. SHE LIKES MILK." (It likes milk?) It would
help if I had a cat. I hate cats. I should have written about a dog. I'd
have more to write. I started thinking about what I'd be doing in twenty
years. I'd be all grown up. For a second I thought it would be fun being
a gangster. I saw myself in a pin-striped suit. I wouldn't have to write
papers or even SPEAK good English. I'd have these terrific white and black
shoes, "wing tips" my father calls them, like golf shoes - very expensive.
Why do they call them "wing tips"? What do they have to do with "wings" or
"tips"...finger tips, tips of fingers.
That's it! I'd be a safe cracker, known far and wide as simply "Fingers."
My name and occupation would be one. There would be an aura around me. "HEY
FINGUS." The guys I worked with would never say "fingERS", just "fingus",
and it would be a special feeling. People wouldn't talk much around me but
they'd respect my fingers. I'd be like church. I'd wear gloves so no one
could ever actually SEE my hands, they'd be buried in my coat, a total
secret. I'd develop an amazing friendship with them, a language. I'd
have special gloves with little embroidered lines on the backs.
Oh, no. I can see the toes of Mrs. Blaisadell's shoes coming toward me.
"KITTY IS FUN. WE FLAY WITH KITTY EVERY DAY. I COULD WATCH KITTY ALL
DAY. MY BROTHER AND I FEED KITTY ON SEPARATE DAYS. KITTY LIKES MILK
AND CAT FOOD."
"CAT FOOD" - there's a "house of thought." I once opened a can of cat
food. "KeL-Can," it was called, in the yellow can. The worst kind is
chicken liver. It's like whitish-gray paste. I tasted a sliver out of
the can. It went off in my brain like a gunshot - UCKK. You want to
throw up. It's as if you swallowed bad music. It gave me a headache.
The fish kind isn't as bad. It's all stinky when you get the lid off,
fills up the room like a thought.
WRITE SOMETHING! In a minute Mrs. Blaisdell will be all over the desk,
beating down on me with those heat lamp eyes of hers. I'll be trapped.
There'll be this long silence. I'll feel like a dog dish. "Why haven't
you..." her mouth will start saying.
I'll say, "I can't think what to write." CAN'T THINK what to write. I'm always saying I "CANNNNNN'T think." Sound like a sheep. Maybe
if I lay all over my desk she won't be able to see how much I haven't
written. Or if I look like I'm thinking real hard, or maybe like I'm
sick and CAN'T think and it's not my fault.
"THE CAT FOOD IS STINKY BUT KITTY LIKES IT." I' m glad I'M not a cat.
I've filled up half the page, at least. Sometimes that's enough. The
teacher won't jump all over you if you've been trying. "Applying"
yourself is what she says. What am I, toothpaste? I JUST CAN'T THINK.
Mrs. Blaisdell is always reading things with her whole face. Her eyes
spread out and her nose gets longer and she has this very grown-up looking mouth.
Her teeth look like they went to college.
Wish my HANDS could think and I could just write what they said, like
a piano player playing the piano - Bonnie Strayhan at the keyboard.
She just goes, ‘zif she had brains in her hands. Doesn't have to think
at all, just writes and writes. I HATE my feet. My shoes are too round.
Writing is junk. I feel worse after I do it.
"AND CATS ARE GOOD PETS BECAUSE THEY DON'T MAKE A LOT OF NOISE. WE LOVE
OUR CAT AND IT (IT?) LOVES US."
How do I know if the cat loves us? I don't have a cat and I hate cats.
Writing is like pushing a bicycle backwards up a hill. Why bother? If
only I could make it come out of my hands. I've applied myself, anyway,
and I'm at the bottom of the page.
I m writing "THE END", fancy, like in the Declaration of Independence.
I wonder if I should have put something in about the cat in a hot air
balloon or something. I can never think within the time.
Well, at least, Mrs. Blaisdell didn't get to read it before I turned it
in. She didn't breathe all over it next to my desk. I know I'm not
creative like the teacher says Bonnie Strayhan is, but I can't get too
low a grade. I filled the whole page and wrote about how nice cats are.
What more do they want?
- Jon Pearson ( mailto:PEARSONJON@AOL.com )
[Editor's note: John Pearson has an absolute copyright on this story,
published here by permission. It will eventually be included in a book
he is preparing. Please respect our guest author's rights by not copying
or otherwise reproducing this article in any form. Thank you.]
To send feedback privately to the author, email him at:
To send your comments about this interview to The Stream, write to:
To post your feedback or promote a discussion of this topic:
COMMENTS and FEEDBACK
ABOUT JON PEARSON - Win Wenger ( mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org )
Jon Pearson is an absolutely brilliant humorist and stage personality.
His most important work has been "entertaining" hundreds of thousands of
California children by teaching them an easy form of art, called "Moogie
art," which makes it far easier for them to express their thoughts, ideas
This self-expression is crucial, especially for marginally verbal children.
Here we have a child, his mind filled with all kinds of thoughts, almost
any of which would have been great for his writing into Mrs. Blaisdell's
assignment - and none of which it occurred to him TO write. His rich
inner landscape recalls the inspired cartoons of Bill Watterson's "Calvin
This year's Double Festival ( http://www.winwenger.com/df13.htm ) focuses
on the theory and practice of education. Jon Pearson's tale frames the
theme: the need to revolutionize public educational philosophy to allow
our children's minds to flourish. [More in the November 2004 issue of The
Stream.] If you have a personal and professional interest in educational
issues, I encourage you to attend this year's Double Festival.
ADVENTURES IN BREATHING...- Lothar Jost ( mailto:email@example.com )
Anyone who has experimented with their breath knows that different
kinds of breathing differently affect their state of mind; in
particular, breathing deeply for some minutes has immediate effects on
Win has observed how breath, attention span and reading skills are
related. From reading, this can be generalized to any cognitive
activity... most contents entering consciousness seem to interrupt any
natural, rhythmic and deep way of breathing.
I think these effects occur only to the degree we are identified with
thoughts and emotions; but since only few of us are Zen monks or have a
sufficiently 'meditative' state of mind to be outside of these
mechanisms, my point is that, since we have some cognitive activity
going all the time, we never have a natural and deep breathing pattern
for even a minute. That is, throughout most of the day the brain is
undersupplied with oxygen. That seems to indicate that MUCH can be done
with respect to supplying the brain with oxygen this side of widening
In light of this, your practice of breathing on a regular basis should
have powerful effects, not only by its depth but also by restoring the
pattern to at least some normality even without making it deeper.
Happy breathing :-)
- Lothar Jost ( mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org )
To send your comments to The Stream for possible publication here, write
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