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Newsletter of Project Renaissance and Win Wenger


October 2004                        (Best viewed with fixed-width font)






*  Quote of the Month

*  Announcements

*  Events/News Items


      "I Can't Think" by Jon Pearson

*  Comments, Feedback

      About Jon Pearson - Win Wenger

      Adventures in Breathing - Lothar Jost

*  Organizational Notes

*  Links






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.


         - Anon.









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: 







- 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.





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.





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

Win Wenger.








                       PROJECT RENAISSANCE

                       DOUBLE FESTIVAL 2004

         13th Annual Conference on Creative Problem-Solving

                     and Accelerated Learning


                       November 12-14, 2004

                        Pasadena, Maryland


             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

save $100.


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

options below.


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






*  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 -


Student Discount:  To register students at 30% discount from the listed

prices, contact Win Wenger directly - 






You may register for one or more or all of these events. You can

register by:


*  Phone to Win Wenger - 301-948-1122. If no answer, 410-437-2163.

*  Email to Win Wenger -  

*  Regular mail by printing out the Registration Form from the website:

( ) 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: . 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



Project Renaissance homepage:

Events Calendar:      

Upcoming Events:      

Double Festival:      






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:




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







Feature Article:


                              I CAN'T THINK


                              by Jon Pearson

                              Copyright 1992



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

thought smear.


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.






"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.



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.





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 ( )


[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:'tThink 

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









ABOUT JON PEARSON - Win Wenger ( )

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

and perceptions. 


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

and Hobbes".


This year's Double Festival ( ) 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.






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

mental clarity.


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

your arteries.


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 ( )




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