Fast-Track to Building Your Perceptions

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Winsights No. 97 (May/June 2007)

Photograph courtesy of Elan Sun Star

The strongest, fastest way to build your perceptions of anything, whether an external object or an internal awareness, is to describe it aloud to a meaningful listener.

Closely related principle:  the strongest, fastest way to build your skills and powers of language is to attempt to meaningfully convey, to a listener, a series of experiences which increasingly challenge your ability to describe. Improving your language, in turn, also further improves your perceptiveness (and quality of thought).

Two centuries of scientific inquiry have given us understanding of the law of effect, and of how all of life is led to “obey” that natural law, seeking to find what works and thence to occupy it. Nothing lives — human, animal, vegetation, bacterium, virus — nothing lives which doesn’t shape its actions by what it finds to be working in its surroundings. Improve your perceptions, improve your perceptivity, and you improve your ability to survive and cope.

Comparing first-hand perception and second-hand knowledge:

Important things happen with your own, first-hand perceptions and awarenesses that do not happen with second-hand knowledge. Each time you make a specific response to your own first-hand awareness, you reinforce that particular awareness. More important, though, is that you reinforce the trait, the behavior of being aware. And —

Even more important, if the perception and awareness that you are responding from are initially subtle for you, this reinforces your ability to handle subtle matters.

The arts, creativity, creative problem-solving, invention and discovery, innovation, and self-discovery, among other fields, each usually has one delving into first-hand perceptions and experiences which initially are subtle.

Immediacy is a very key factor:

One of the contributions rendered by Project Renaissance has been to have people describe to one another, usually in pairs, their perceptions and awarenesses, as soon as possible after they notice them or pick up on having them. That description is, of course, a specific response to that perception or awareness, reinforcing it and reinforcing the behavior of being aware.

One aspect of the law of effect is that the more immediate the reinforcement, the stronger its effect upon subsequent behavior. So for most Project Renaissance procedures, we’ve gone that extra measure:  describing what we are perceiving WHILE we are observing it. It is now a clear principle that to describe something aloud, to a live listener, in detail, WHILE you are examining it, leads you to discover more and more and more about it, whether an external object or an internal awareness.

Various ways to obtain such benefits:

Recording observations and ideas in a journal accomplishes some of this effect and has some advantage in that the information so recorded can be made readily retrievable. Recording observations, ideas and perceptions, especially these awarenesses at each step of a step-by-step procedure of experiences meant to show you something, in an audio recorder also affords you some of these benefits.

However, for most experiential procedures, and for most of the above-cited domains of exploration and pursuit, by far the strongest development of an awareness, an area of awareness, an ability to handle subtle matters, or any of the abilities which are built through building perceptiveness and awareness, is when you describe in detail, step by step, what you are experiencing and examining, to a live listener.

Developing both sides of the loop:

In the article, Feeding the Loop, we show the function of how we develop an awareness by describing it or making some kind of specific response to it. That response creates sensory feedback for us, not only from the environment, but directly from our own output. We demonstrate that our main learning and even our main growth and development of the brain come at the point where we are taking back in part of what we have been putting out.

In that article we found that we could ask of that model a number of questions and get back many and intriguing answers.

We can ask, to increase growth and development at that point where we are taking back in part of what we’ve been putting out, how to increase output — and get a great many answers which typically increase one’s output several times or several dozen times.

We can ask how to improve the feedback we receive from the environment, and get quite a few useful answers which likewise improve the traffic at our main point of growth and development.

We can ask how to improve the feedback we receive from our own responses, and get remarkably useful answers there also, one of which we will cite below.

Bottom Lines

Bottom line, though, with this output and feedback, is that having a meaningful live listener improves your output. You detail much better your descriptions (and therefore see much better further such detail). You don’t take the short-cuts in describing that you ordinarily would when simply recording without expectation that others will hear your observations — and therefore you don’t experience the short-cuts in perception that mask so much of our world from us.

Further bottom line:  you hear yourself differently, and this also impacts upon the development of your awareness. So having a live and meaningful listener improves your output, and improves your intake, rendering much more effective both sides of your input-output loop through which you are developing your perceptions and awarenesses.

Further bottom line: if you can bring yourself to experiment with different listeners, you will find that each different listener will cause you to observe somewhat different aspects and details of whatever it is that you are describing to them. Imagine describing the same perception to your father, to your wife, to a perfect stranger — you know that your descriptions will be different and the further-developed perceptions you derive from the process will be correspondingly different.

It’s all one thing, all one phenomenon

I see this phenomenon as being the same as we’ve observed in DEAM (Double-Entry Aha Method) and Evoked Sidebands, where our writing in different handwritings evokes different observations, perceptions and ideas from us.

I see it also in the different sounds of different musical instruments, or in different instrumental settings on a given electronic keyboard, evoking from an improvitaper different types of music. Any actor, any stage performer, will tell you how his performance is controlled in quality and direction by his audience, from night to night.

The fastest, most powerful method

For most processes, then, having a live, quality listener while you detail to him or her your perceptions, while you are examining something, is by far the strongest and fastest way to improve your perception and quality of experience, your perceptivity and levels of awareness.

And then there is one more arrangement that is even more productive of these benefits: — combine having such a listener with: — a good stereo headset, stereo microphone, stereo recorder or pre-amplifier. Speak closely into the mike, to get the fastest possible feedback from the sound of your own voice. Have volume up slightly, and have the treble up moderately (since the higher frequencies of the voice convey by far the greater part of the information).

Talking into this setup speeds and clarifies not only speech but thought and perception, and the effects last for hours afterward. When using a recorder in this arrangement, together with a quality meaningful live listener, you get the benefits of having a meaningful live listener; you get the clarification of speech, thought and perception resulting from this augmented recording process; and you get information stored in retrievable form.

This combination makes by far the strongest and fastest way yet known to build perception, perceptivity and awareness, especially when engaged with most of the procedures given you elsewhere in this website.