Exploring feedback and self-recursion
by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Some background and definitions
"Creative Problem-Solving Institute," aka "CPSI" or "Sipsi" the annual world congress on creativity. It was created in 1954 by the originator of the creativity movement, Alex Osborn. Together with others also wishing to learn, the most creative people on the planet rally together each June on a university campus to celebrate and exchange. Together with the "house technology" or original Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem-Solving methodology centering in the "Springboard" program there, nearly all other systems and divergencies of creative method are represented in the "Extending Program" there, including the various programs of our own Project Renaissance.
Harvard's "Institute of Cognitive Studies" has continued to pioneer in discoveries about the formation and development of human mental processes long after the departure of the noted Jerome S. Bruner. In the study cited below, behind a puppet-theater-type stage set before infants only three months old, experimenters would pass 3 dolls behind a visual barrier and have but 2 emerge, in seemingly the same motion, or vice-versa. When the number emerging was the same as had disappeared, the infant paid little attention; but when there was discrepancy between the number of objects disappearing and the number emerging beyond the barrier, the infants would stare in apparent surprise. Thus, infants only months old were shown to have a sense of number or at least of quantity.
"Mandelbrot Set" the center of fractal geometry and chaos or complexity theory. It is the most complex and, one must say, the most gorgeously complex and the most gorgeous, mathematical figure ever discovered. One of its defining qualities and the one which interests us here is that of a complex and evolving system which takes in and incorporates into its ongoing evolution a portion of the feedback it receives upon its own activities. This makes possible an extraordinarily richly complex range and series of behaviors and phenomena ... and turns out to define the behavior of all living systems in a changing world.
From a Niteflite in June 1996
I need to hear what NLP has to say, and what you have to say, about "going meta" to one's own perceptions and thought processes. I have the feeling that together we might unearthe some key considerations regarding the origins and building of the conscious mind.
Consciousness is the Mandelbrotian window on infinity which emerges when we (as self-evolving systems incorporating a portion of our feedback into our ongoing evolution) start looking at perception and thinking about thought.
It goes without saying (?) that such Mandelbrotian evolving systems also incorporate something of themselves into their ongoing responses to the universe, rather than "being totally in the moment" a la amoeba, with no prior recorded experience remaining to interfere. We carry not only our biological history but our societal and our personal experiential history with us as part of ourselves we humans, as Korzybski put it, are time-binders.
Our continued selves, our expressive behavior, and our
feedbacks, all intermodulate into often incredible new orchestrations of
effect and must do so, if we are to continue to survive in a complexly changing
universe which often demands the extraordinary.
Two major elements in birthing a conscious mind, I believe, are
You reinforce the behavior of being perceptive (why all creativity programs desire that you carry around and use a "portable memory bank" such as notepad and pen to "capture ideas" in). And, if the perception you're thus reinforcing is initially subtle for you, so that it arises in regions of the mind at some distance from your verbal-conscious left temporal lobe, then
You cumulatively and permanently are reinforcing more onto line with that immediate conscious sector, those remote regions of the brain, together with their resources and intelligence.
The model thus emergent is that we all have immense quantities and qualities of intelligence scattered about the brain, but what's useful to us and what shows up on I.Q. tests is that which has gotten wired-enough into consciousness to be immediately engaged in what's going on.
The feedback we get from doing so (responding to our own perception), this time contains enough unexpected within it to raise questions, inducing us to start examining our own perceptions and thought processes as such, "going meta to them."
But in this model, that previous reinforcement, feedback on one's own expressed behavior responding to one's prior perception(s), may be an essential precondition, as it defines the main way of growth for any organic pattern.
This self-recursive element is the main Mandelbrotian precondition. It has also caught my attention in a host of other ways and contexts:
My theory on the matter used to be that, to create gifted children, we need to expose them early on to the great philosophic issues and questions matters general enough that broad sectors of subsequent incoming experience will organize themselves around them at intellectually useful, accessible levels instead of going tracklessly into the great underground, undermind, depot for storage. That may still be correct, merely inadequate. I think the self-recursive, "going meta" aspect is crucial, and that is where I'd like to hear your exposition from NLP's and your own perspectives.
I'm reminded also of some of the experiments of Harvard's Institute of Cognitive Studies, which shows 3-month-old babies with a number sense and expectation, drawing stares from the infant when that number conservation expectation is confounded. Perhaps that is the path toward creating super-super gifted? 3 months?
My own initial experience was mostly non-verbal, as I'm sure many or most are. Of course words, objectifying whatever they are referring to real, imaginary, subtle or loud help us become self-recursive on thought and perceptual matters.
Perhaps this is part of the magic-like takeoff of
thoughtfulness, articulateness, and apparent awareness and intelligence of
the young child when introduced to Image-Streaming, though Image-Streaming
hitherto has not been deliberately aimed at this self-recursive aspect.
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