No. 48 (March 2001)
by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
I need your help with an experiment.
How can a wider range and number of human beings get to where they find that they can more effectively solve their own issues and problems, enrich their understanding, and build their own abilities?
One of the things inhibiting you from introducing others to this richer, more effective context is the awareness you have, consciously or unconsciously, that most other people don't have your high quality of attention and intention and interest.
We may have here a way to reach past such limitations. Below is a potential way to broaden mind-enhancement technology's range and reach. I need YOUR experimenting, though, to tell me if, in fact, the following will perform in the way that I think it will.
Also, in this first experiment with what I will call the Basic Associative Process BAP many people are, for whatever reasons, afraid of visual mental imagery, yet may not be beyond redemption. If BAP, a non-imagery procedure, works or can be made to work, a wider range of human beings can begin to benefit. So please experiment and let me know your results (email to Win Wenger).
Experiment No. 1: BASIC ASSOCIATIVE PROCESS
(You can say to your friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, or hapless innocent by-stander:)"Hi, I need your help with a little research. It's a little experiment which takes 5-6 minutes."
"I'd like to try out with you a solution-finding, answer-finding process which works for me, but a lot of problem-solving procedures work well for me these days and I need to find out how this one works for other people...."
"It's a basic process of mental association. It's NOT word association, but it's something like it. I need to compare ITS results with some other procedures which give very nice results. (* See more detailed explanation below.) It's one useful way to deal with the fact that part of your mind seems to know the best, most ingenious answer or understanding or idea way ahead of the part of your mind where you are conscious in words. Sometimes days or even years ahead."
* More detailed explanation:
"This little procedure takes just 5-6 minutes. OK to try this with you?"
(Elicit agreement, then read the following instructions to your friend ... with enough pause after each of the numbered instructions for your friend to get, and describe, some moments of his or her experience at that point, though not so long a pause as to let this procedure drag. Stay at a pace where both of you are comfortable, but your friend gets to develop and describe experiences in some detail and flow.)"ONCE A PROBLEM OR QUESTION COMES UP, we normally try to consciously figure it out, and some questions or problems DO resolve that way, that's good. But what's left are those which didn't resolve that way. In a minute I'll ask you to state a question or problem that you've made some effort before to figure out, but you haven't yet become consciously aware of a really good answer on it."
"IN THIS EXPERIMENT, we pick up on the fact that along with all our conscious associations on the matter, that almost immediately with the question SOMETHING or other comes to mind which seems totally unrelated to the question at issue. Because it SEEMS to have nothing to do with the matter, we usually ignore it and it goes away. In this experiment, though, instead of ignoring it, let's try to notice it when it happens, pick up on that seemingly unrelated thought or memory, and tell me some of the detail of that seemingly unrelated thought or memory."
"WHILE you are relating that, some OTHER seemingly unrelated thought or memory ALSO comes to mind. That, too, I will want you to notice, pick up on, and tell me some details about. And while that's happening, notice a third such seemingly unrelated thought or memory on which, once you've noticed it, you can give me some details."
"IT'S BETWEEN those three seemingly unrelated thoughts or memories that we'll find your ingenious answer. And this is why we'll need some detail on each of those three..."
"These are associations with the problem or question which are made at a deeper level in your brain. These associations reflect far more of your understanding and information than you hold in your conscious mind. There is SOMETHING about EACH of those seemingly unrelated free associations that will be the same when everything else is different. Whatever's the same, when all else is different and seemingly unrelated, holds the key to your ingenious answer."
"But it's when we note or describe enough DETAIL in each of these three seemingly unrelated thoughts or memories that we can SPOT what's the same between them when all else is different."
1. "OK, now please identify a question or problem which you'd really like to get a good answer to, but which has resisted thus far your efforts to get a good or ingenious answer to it...."
2. "Now please state that question or problem, but even as you start to state it: amidst all that stuff on it that's coming up for you, I'd like you to notice any thought or memory coming up that seems quite unrelated to the matter at hand. Please tell me the problem but as soon as that seemingly unrelated thought or memory comes up that you can catch, please tell me THAT...."
(After the first, most crucial-to-get "unrelated" starts to come up, doing your best nonetheless not to interrupt the descriptive flow of the person you are guiding in this experiment:)3. "Good, more on that but even while you're telling me, be alert for a second and even a third seemingly unrelated thought or memory, noticing and catching them and tell THEM also in some detail to me. So you can tell me as much as you can in just a minute or so about all three of these first three free-associations....."
4. "Good, now what do [this & that & that] have to do with one another? In what way or ways do these three [thoughts or memories] have something in common even when everything else is different, or how do these three seem to express a common theme?"
5. "Good. Now what was your original question or problem? In what ways could these aspects-in-common of those three free-associations conceivably bear upon or be the answer to your question or problem?"
(If needed, some of the further techniques for interpretation are given in Over-The-Wall and in High Thinktank in the "CPS Techniques" of this website. But chances are good these will not be needed, and following the above instructions will suffice.)
On future test rounds, it'd be a nice courtesy to tape-record such sessions and give the recording to the person whose experiences were thus recorded just as, if testing the procedure on yourself working alone beforehand, you would need a tape recorder to describe your own "unrelated" associated thoughts and memories in order to develop enough detail in them to spot the overlaps.
This shorter form of the same procedure is an alternative option for anyone whom you deem to be impatient of time or attention and not needing much in the way of explanation."Hi this is a little experiment in problem-solving I'd like to try with your permission..."
"It's a free-association way of finding great answers to problems or questions. It's not word-association, though it's something like it. It's that first thought or memory which comes up which SEEMS unrelated so we usually ignore it. Instead of ignoring it, let's notice it instead and see how it just might answer the question from a deeper level of your mind than you are used to using."
"Game to try it?" (Elicit agreement before proceeding.)
"It'll be actually the first THREE such free-associations which come to mind. While you are telling me one, another will pop into mind seemingly unrelated to the first thought or to the original question or problem, and while you're telling me that one, a third will come to mind."
"Success in this experiment rides on whether you can notice and identify these seemingly unrelated thoughts and memories when they happen, and whether you can relate enough detail about each of these that we can discover the points which one of these free-associations has in common with another. So much else about these three free-associated thoughts or memories is different, but if we can then discover the aspect or aspects which these three seemingly unrelated free associations have in common, we may find a great answer. Game for this?"
"Good while telling me your until-now unsolved question or problem, please be alert to and notice that first seemingly unrelated thought or memory when it appears, and develop that awareness by detailing it to me. Let's start now please describe to me what you've chosen on this occasion as your question or problem....."
(Similarly fish for the second and third such "unrelateds," find their elements-in-common, then how those common elements just MIGHT, in what ways, somehow relate to or answer the problem or question.)
Two Experiments, page 2 of 2|
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