Evoked Sidebands

An adventure in building understanding

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
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Photograph courtesy of Elan Sun Star

A method of understanding and of problem-solving as simple and easy as Evoked Sidebands can be used to good effect by many people across a very wide range of abilities. Please help spread the word so more people will get to know about it.

We discovered the Evoked Sidebands method in 2005, but it’s way too good for us to hold it back from people while trying to pursue proprietary advantage. I’m hoping you will try this out yourself and will like the results so very much that you won’t want to hold it back, either.

In keeping with the conditions stated at the end of this article, we welcome your re-publishing this set of instructions for Evoked Sidebands in listgroups and on bulletin boards, and even as a guest article in your own website. You can also email a link to this page to everyone you think may benefit from it — just click on File>Send>Link by E-Mail…

Could so simple an action as this resolve some of the world’s difficulties? Let’s find out.

Origins of the method

  1. My habit is to work to exhaustion, then plop down in front of the TV for news, a sci-fi program, or some “educational” program. On one such occasion in 2005, I found myself being disappointed by an educational program on string theory which was too dumbed down to convey any useful information. I was too tired to get up and change the channel. I discovered that, merely by holding before my eyes some of the basic elements of string theory, the topic itself was triggering all sorts of ideas and thoughts just outside my usual focus of perception. Some of these were of a quality which leaves me desirous of discussing them with a string theorist — matters could turn out to be very interesting. I realized that the perceptual phenomenon I had just encountered reflected a much more general situation than just this one occasion.
  2. As a long-term and sometime student of history, I remembered that, since the European Renaissance and possibly even earlier, some of the leading thinkers would write out the matter they were trying to figure out or understand, then stare at what they had written, trying to see if that could somehow trigger any useful thoughts.
  3. For some years we in Project Renaissance had been well aware that far more goes on outside of the focus of our attention than within it, not only in the physical brain but in the mind. We had been working to retrieve some of the information from these processes, and had found one of our best tools to be that of simply noticing what we are perceiving at some given moment, then developing what we had begun to notice by describing it in some detail.

Focus of Awareness

Please indulge me in one simple action:  hold your index finger up at arm’s length distance, stare at it without moving your eyes from it for a minute or so. Notice how much of the rest of the space around you you can see and understand, without moving your eyes from your finger.

Your focus of awareness is about as wide, metaphorically speaking, as your visual focus, which in fact is about as wide as your index finger held up at arm’s length distance. Over a lifetime you’ve accumulated a habitual strategy for what you include in that focus and what you exclude from it.

Much of the time that strategy serves you well enough, but some of the time what you’ve excluded from the focus of your attention is much more valuable to you than what you’ve included. Each time you are stuck on a question or problem, you can pretty well bet that is the case. Likewise for whenever you’ve been unable to fully grasp something that you’ve been trying to understand. Evoked Sidebands is an easy, direct way to bring into focus some of your best thinking and perceiving.

The Method Itself Is Simple

You need at least two sheets of paper to write on, or one sheet and an audio recorder, or one sheet and a live listener.

With the intention and expectation of noticing thoughts and perceptions as they occur just beyond the focus of your attention…..

  1. Decide upon and write out, in one, two or three short sentences, the matter you wish to understand better or the problem you’d very much like to get good answer or solution to.
    • While you are writing the matter, question or problem-statement out in that short sentence or so, be alert to other things occurring to you besides what you are writing. AS they occur, either write them on the second sheet of paper, report them into your audio recorder, or report them to your listener.
  2. Write out the same sentences again, even the same words, and this time not in your handwriting but rather in block print.
    • While you are writing that matter out in block print, notice new things occurring to you besides what you are writing and besides what occurred to you before. As they occur, write them on the second sheet of paper, or report them to recorder or listener.
  3. Write out the same sentences again in the same words, but this time in an exotic handwriting — if you sloped forward before, slope backward; if sparse before, flowery now — whatever will contrast greatly with your usual handwriting.
    • While you are writing that matter out in exotic handwriting, notice new things occurring to you besides what you are writing, and besides what occurred to you before. AS they occur, write them on the second sheet of paper, or report them to recorder or listener.
  4. Stare for 3-4 minutes at the one handwritten version; notice and report or record still more things occurring to you, still more secondary awarenesses and associations, which may or may not have much to do with the topic, but you are reporting them anyway.
    Stare for 3-4 minutes at the second handwritten version, and report or record still more things occurring to you — perhaps these secondary awarenesses and associations evoked for you will have a difference in style from those evoked with the first version.
    Then stare for 3-4 minutes at the third version, report or record still more things occurring to you. How would you compare the style of the things occurring to you with this version with the style of those occurring to you with the second version and with the first version?

— As simple as that! A powerful idea-generating device; often pointing to a complete effective solution; a power tool for building your understanding about anything. A power tool whose practice also makes you more and more aware of your own higher intellectual processes and perceptions. You are indeed brighter than you think!


What I still find remarkable is how sensitive the style of those evoked sideband awarenesses is to even those slight differences in the stimulus, the different handwriting samples. If you do this same process on a computer screen, you can easily vary the font and size instead of your handwriting and still get the same effect. You can also get further differences in style by changing the color of the printing, or of the background. Get even further differences if you print out the different versions of the problem-statements on different kinds of paper.

When the stimulus not only generates so many secondary awarenesses for us, but such slight variations in that stimulus will produce such major differences in those secondary awarenesses — that has to tell us that we have huge streams of secondary awarenesses going on in us at all times. All we need is to pay attention, be alert to noticing these as they bob up, and have a tool like this to help us do so.

You are, indeed, a lot brighter than you think. With the right tools, you can be more than a match for almost any problem or opportunity. Evoked Sidebands is an awareness-developer and an idea-generating device which often also acts to find effective solutions to problems.

There are more than four hundred different effective problem-solving methods now in professional use around the world; Evoked Sidebands is but the newest.

See also Double-Entry A-Ha! Method

Invitation: It is my hope that you will test out this remarkably simple method in your own experience — and that you will like the results so well that you will want to share them with people whom you care about. … And that you do have people whom you care about. If they in turn also like their results well enough, it is possible that the simple act of making these instructions further available may just help improve things more generally. Worth the experiment?

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