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Double Festival 2011

"Making Sense"—ways to figure situations out

Project Renaissance's 19th Annual Conference
on Creative Problem-Solving and
Enhanced/Accelerated Learning

May 19-25, 2011

Image courtesy of Elan Sun Star

Three very productive, very enjoyable events
at a private facility in Pasadena, Maryland,
during the loveliest month of the year
5 miles south of BWI Airport

Beyond-Einstein/Socratic Training
Thursday-Friday, May 19-20, 2011 — 8:30 am-4:30 pm

Double Festival 2011
with topnotch presenters

Friday, May 20, 2011 — 7:30 pm
through Sunday, May 22, 2011 — 4 pm

Trainer Training
Monday, May 23, 2011 — 9-5
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 — 9-5
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 — 9-4


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Overview

Project Renaissance's Double Festival is "Double" because it celebrates our discovery, some years ago, of the extraordinary 95% overlap between creative problem-solving and learning. Unbeknownst to the professional practitioners in either field, every creativity-evoking or problem-solving method can be used to create "Superlearning" effects and radically accelerate learning. Most "Superlearning" and accelerated-learning practices can be used to facilitate creative problem-solving.

There is also a strong overlap with the human development field, many methods bearing upon the enrichment and extension of human development; child development; human abilities; human performance levels; the quality of experience; human repair; human wholeness; and the adventure of open-ended human discovery.

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The Theme for 2011:
Making Sense—Ways to figure situations out

This is only one of many different available major questions possibly well worth your asking—and answering:

Ask your deeper faculties, and let them surprise you with their answer:

"What simple practice might best let you gain traction, building toward your best possible outcome?"

Why aim for surprise? If the answers you consciously hold for this question were that good, you would already long since have been building traction with them.

Or maybe these are that good, in which case the real question may be,

"How best can you bring yourself to be applying/implementing that answer?"

Different programs and disciplines have different approaches to answering that question. Others have arrived at answers they are convinced of, however various and however arrived at. A little of the variety of their answers, and of the variety of ways such answers were arrived at, in this Double Festival conference will help stimulate you toward finding your own, possibly unique answers to such a major question or to your best way forward.

Many good methods abound for finding great answers and solutions. The world-wide creativity revolution is six decades old. There are many problems, opportunities, difficulties and challenges all around us. Might it finally be high time to apply such methods to some of the problems most worth solving, in our lives and in our world?

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Figuring Things Out:

Know that hundreds of various effective methods for creatively innovating and ingeniously solving problems and challenges are in successful professional use around the world. Most of these are easily applied also as extremely powerful methods for better learning-with-understanding. In either instance, whether for opportunity-solving or for highly leveraged learning, some of these are great methods with which to figure things out.

Nearly all of these techniques have been tested in and are serving in the results-oriented arena of business and industry, where a certain Darwinian-style effect has ensured that only the techniques which have proven to be effective are the ones still in service. We are long overdue, however, at getting these methods into service of a much broader and more human range of interests beyond just the immediate, narrow-interests focus of most of the commercial world.

You can get a running head start on a little of this with some of the Project Renaissance methods which are provided to you free, step-by-specific-step, here on this website. Find these and with help from some descriptive comments sort through and work them freely with the Directory here.

The Double Festival also engages presenters from other programs and disciplines to share with you methods, techniques and answers that they are happiest about and find most meaningful.

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Ways to Make Sense:

Cultural anthropologists have long classified nearly all human societies as falling into three types. The long-term president of the American Sociological Association, Pitirim A. Sorokin, in his major study, Cultural and Social Dynamics, and his popular summary, The Crisis of Our Age, characterized these three types as to their underlying world view or philosophic assumption.

One type of society is oriented to the Intuitive, with the pervasive and almost unconscious belief that truth and value are best found through an inner knowing.

Another type of society, the Rational, holds to the pervasive and almost unconscious belief that truth and value are best found through what makes best sense in an argument, or in formal logic.

A third type, which our own EuroWestern world culture presently exemplifies, now that it has cycled through the other phases, is the Sensate, holding to the pervasive and almost unconscious belief that truth and value are best found through the physical senses.

Science, of course, until recently incorporated elements of both rationalism and sensate empiricism but, with physics and cosmology leading the way, currently appears to be leaving the rational behind and drifting into the intuitive. Each phase when first entered is highly creative but after a while goes degenerate, changing from saying and doing new things to just saying or doing the same-old, same-old, only louder and much louder!!! —until the society either falls apart or breaks through into the creative phase of the next phase.

We are now getting a mixed picture, either because we are closer to what is going on in our society (and in science) than the cultural anthropologists and Sorokin were to the cultures they were writing about. Or because our own society and science itself may be a mixed and muddled case and we're caught up in it.

Science appears to us now to be strung out along all three phases, our world culture likewise as it incorporated different chunks of the world in different phases at different times. The pain this costs is that right now our country and much of our world culture are in a state of anomie, no longer in agreement as to right or wrong, or as to what it is to be a man or a woman or a citizen or a human being.

We are so out of agreement on our basic values that our society tries to maintain its order through and do everything through an increasingly cumbersome set of formal laws instead. This might nonetheless actually be a good thing, not bad, in that we aren't all at once at the same time smashing into the wall between the three phases. Some of us might actually make it through into the next phase, sooner or later.

Or, better still, this may be our unique positive chance to resolve, in a way never before possible, this clash between value systems and the likelihood that each phase, by itself, was too narrow to sustain its basic creativity and so, all too soon, had to flip over into the ultimately fatal degenerate stage. We are already scattered around all three phases of this cycling cultural wheel.

There is much to justify each one of these three pervasive value systems and philosophic views. Over the centuries all three of these phases seem about equally justified. Perhaps that is our cue to seek out and weave together the more beneficial and "truer" elements of each into a higher system with a broader basis—one so broadly based that it no longer has to go degenerate... One that can draw upon the creative aspects of all three phases, perhaps for a very long time to come.

Maybe, if we liked ourselves better, we could like one another better, and this would make it easier to draw upon and reinforce the best and/or most useful in each other and in each other's world view. In you, there is much to like, and for good reason.

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The Role of Science:

Science is certainly imperfect. Many of us recognize something of how much is being lost in science's continuing failure to live up to its own standards, generally and in regard to its refusal to investigate some of the more important issues and matters.

Science has also been horribly politicized, to such a point that in certain key issues, such as global climate change, most of us no longer can trust the findings of either side. But:  more than any other field of human endeavor, science is self-correcting. Sooner or later, it seeks out and corrects its mistakes. For all its flaws, practice of science is nonetheless one of the best things we have going for us on this planet.

Because of its essentially self-correcting nature, on the whole somewhat greater confidence can be placed upon the various scientific findings than on the beliefs and opinions of other human endeavors which are less self-correcting and/or which depend more on forcing particular held opinions through.

Moreover, as much as any human endeavor, science seeks to make sense of the whole world, of the whole universe—and, in some aspects, of ourselves. The Holy Grail of science's quest is a unified general theory of our whole universe and of everything in it.

Though we are a very long, long way away from achieving such a theory, at this Double Festival we shall ourselves seek to make sense of some of what's going on in and around us, especially in matters well worth examining. It seems therefore suitable that we at least draw upon some of the relevant findings of science, alongside some of the apparent wisdom and technique drawn from other sources. There is much richness to be drawn upon, both within and beyond present-day science.

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Making Use:

We have been told, many times and at many levels of authoritative discourse and publication, that our self-correcting scientific knowledge about the human mind and brain doubles every decade. To the extent that that is literally true, our present knowledge about the human mind and brain is more than a thousand times greater than what we knew a century ago!

Yet in our classrooms, our training programs, our institutions, our institutional practices, our ways (except for the IT revolution) we are dealing with one another and with ourselves, we have been using almost entirely just the same practices as those we were stumbling through a century and more ago.

  • The bad news is — we have so very much room for improvement.
  • The good news is — we have so very much room for improvement.

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Part of the Plan —

We will facilitate several special experiential methods for problem-solving, on the above and related fundamental questions.

We will feature presenters of other programs and disciplines who will share with us experience in yet different methods.

We will also feature or review several of the answers that have been proposed from elsewhere, to help us get started in figuring out our own best answers.

We will also engage other unique features of these Double Festivals in order to optimally engage every participant and ensure fuller understanding. These features include a few minutes of thinktank processing at the conclusion of any formal presentations which aren't already experiential, and our Grand Panel of the Whole, which further develops the main issue to have emerged during the course of the weekend's proceedings.

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Origins:

Much of this began in 1967 in the context of problem-solving when Win Wenger proposed that, if one had a way to solve problems, one of its best uses is ON the problem of how to create BETTER methods for solving problems... And that one of the best uses of such better methods is on the problem of how to create even better such methods! Thus was born the simple principle of re-investing one's best methods into creating even better methods, a process which Project Renaissance has carried forward to this day.

This series of what became our annual Double Festivals began in 1981 as a celebration of the discovery that creativity and learning are truly almost the same thing. Besides the few dozen creative problem-solving methods which Project Renaissance has published, there are literally hundreds of effective such techniques in professional use today. Each of these can also serve as a profoundly accelerative learning method; thus there are literally hundreds of methods for profoundly improving and accelerating learning, especially learning-with-understanding.

Of course—both sets of techniques are methods for figuring things out. Most of these methods also spill over into being ways to improve human performance, abilities, and quality of experience.

As early as in the 1980s, we had made the decision that our Double Festival was not going to be just a showcase for Project Renaissance, but a true intersection and meeting point for multiple disciplines, approaches and programs to meet and exchange and co-discover, a practice we continue to this day and seek to extend.

We also made the decision to walk our talk, designing and redesigning our conference format to ensure every participant the richest possible involvement in and understanding of what is presented, and to ensure every presenter the richest and most positively helpful feedback discussions and thinktank activities on their own issues, so that everyone gains. See Formats for some of our ways to make conferences into the extraordinary mutual growth and explosion into further discoveries that they can and should be.

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