Two Experiments

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Winsights No. 48 (March 2001)

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.


(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:

“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 those of the Einsteinian-type procedures I’ve been working with, which are excellent. Einsteinian Discovery Technique works with visual mental images; this present technique for experiment works without such images.Both the Einsteinian-type procedures (such as Image Streaming), and this Basic Associative Process or BAP, which works without attention to mental imagery, appear to work because part of your mind seems to know the best, most ingenious answer or idea or understanding for a question or situation immediately, even though the conscious, word-focused mind might not become aware of that answer for days, months, or even years.”

“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.”

The answer is contained within the overlap area of the three sets of images.

(You might want to show our three partly-overlapped circles of experience, representing our inductive inference procedure as detailed in the portion of “Quick Question/Answer” in High Thinktank in the “CPS Techniques” section of this website.)

“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….”

“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:)

“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…..”

“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?”

“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.

Short Form of BAP

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.)

Experiment No. 2:  AFTERMATH

and/or link to a basic Einsteinian procedure you can also experiment with

The basic free-association process occurs at many levels throughout the brain and mind, drawing upon many, many times more resources than the conscious mind can ever get to directly.

The point of this experiment, which I’d very much like to hear back from you on, is if the conceptual and memory-association level draws on enough such resources to compare in power and accuracy with the results we’ve come to expect from Einsteinian, sensory-mental-imagery levels such as with Image Streaming and High Thinktank.

After experimenting with yourself, and with a live partner or so (or friend, co-worker, neighbor, or other innocent by-stander!), to make this comparison, note that after concluding a BAP, people are more apt to be able to learn and undertake the imagery-based procedures as well.

As we’ve been casting about for ways to broaden the outreach of this self-help technology to more human beings — including some who present a greater variety in terms of the quality of attention and intention which they can currently bring to bear — we’ve come up with a simple counterpart to Over-the-Wall.

We still like “Wall” because, for most of us, it is easier to get a running start with visualizing and describing a beautiful garden. But “Wall” also takes longer because it has to be frontloaded with information and explanations.

Three Doors, below, has little of that and is tighter and more specific. What I need to learn from you and your experimentation, in this instance, is whether those advantages outweigh the advantages of starting with a garden. Also, by the time one is through both BAP and Three Doors, one is well on the way to learning in this entire wonderfully productive context, and can go on to the other, stronger or wider-ranging procedures…


(Read to your hapless bystander:)

“You know how two eyes can see better than just one. How, if you’ve got both eyes functioning together reasonably well, it’s easy to see in three dimensions, to discern what’s near and far and in-between.”

“Well, here’s a little problem-solving technique to try with the mind’s eye that’s somewhat similar. — And that is also somewhat different.”

(Elicit agreement to proceed.)

1.   “Please identify a problem or question that you’d really like an answer to, but which so far you’ve not consciously found a really great or satisfying answer for.”

2.   “Now please imagine a hallway with three closed doors. Each of those doors, when opened, gives on a view in which, somehow, the truly great answer may be discovered. Each of these three views seems totally different from each other, and each of these three views at first seem totally unrelated to the problem or question. Yet when we put these three different views together in enough detail, you’ll discover your answer. So let’s take this step-by-step. Ready?”

3.   “Good. Put the question or problem aside for now. Richer, deeper parts of your mind already have a great, truly ingenious answer — all you consciously have to do is relax and let that be shown to you. But we can help that along this way:”

4.   “Please imagine that hallway, with three different doors. These three doors for now are closed. Please describe the hallway to me, in some detail.”

5.   “Good, thank you. Now let’s go up to that first door. Don’t open it yet, don’t “sneak a peek” yet as to what’s behind that door, just gather impressions. Tell me as much as you can about this hallway, and about this first closed door.”

6.   “Good. Thank you. Now let’s go up to the second door. Don’t open this one either, yet, don’t sneak a peek yet as to what’s behind that door, just gather impressions. Tell me as much as you can about this second door.”

7.   “Good. Thank you. Now let’s go up to the third door and likewise gather impressions without sneaking any peeks yet. Tell me as much detail as you can about this third door….”

8.   “Good, thank you. Don’t sneak any peeks yet, when the time comes to open the door and go through, we want to catch by surprise our first impression of what’s beyond that door in answer to your question. So we’ll want to go through suddenly to catch that first impression, WHATEVER it is. Meanwhile, here we are on this side of your closed third door — open it suddenly!!! — (lightly rap table or thump floor) — jump through that opened door, land on your feet, what are you wearing on your feet? ….. What surface are you standing on? ….. Starting with what’s directly in front of you and then looking around and further, tell me in detail what the scene is here beyond this third door…..”

9.   “Good, thank you. Behind each of the other two doors are what at first seem to be entirely different scenes, but somehow each of these different scenes also contains the same great answer to the same question, even though at first everything appears to be different. Let’s come back to the hallway now and come back to Door #2. Don’t sneak a peek yet except there is a color to the light that’s coming under the door, can you name that color? — Thank you. Now we want to catch by surprise whatever impression or scene holds somehow your great answer to your question. That answer somehow is beyond this Door #2 also, so open the door suddenly NOW!!! — (thump) — What’s directly in front of you, first impression?….”

10.   “Good. Now please come back to the hallway and turn attention to what was originally Door #1. Don’t sneak a peek yet, but when you’re ready, please as suddenly as you can then open that door abruptly and catch by surprise whatever your first impression is on the other side of it. Whenever you feel like it, but do it suddenly for the surprise. OK….. tell me what you are doing…”

(If your partner hasn’t jumped through in 2-3 minutes, mildly encourage him or her to do so. If he/she still holds back from doing so, then elicit the reasons or excuses for not doing so, make a written record of his/her stated reason or excuses as reasons, and leave him/her that written record as the product of this experiment. Most people will, however, willingly enough charge on through in a minute or so, and go on to discover a grand answer.)

11.   “Now: each of these three scenes is seemingly different, yet it somehow contains the same great answer to the same original question you had. For now, let’s just find some element or elements, some aspect in all this detail about one scene — which in some way is like an aspect or detail in one of the other scenes….”

(Encourage your partner to find elements-in-common between two or even three of the scenes.)

12.   “Good. Thank you. Now in what pssible way or ways might this element-in-common (or common theme) conceivably bear upon your original question or problem?”

Final note:  all additional persons who are enabled to better solve the problems, opportunities and difficulties they find around them, increase in some measure the chances that some of the great problems of common concern will, sooner or later, also get solved.