Prologue — A Keynote Address

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
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Given by Dr. Win Wenger at the Annual Conference of the Society for Effective/Affective Learning, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden—May 17, 1984

The following remarks led into a demonstration experience in spontaneous visual imaging, or Image Streaming.

We ourselves are “information,” and take on meaning, value, definition to the degree that we express, articulate, and report or record from our own first-hand observations. As we do so, we not only draw upon more knowledge than we thought we knew, but upon the very same taproots from which sprung nearly all the contributions to human civilization and culture worth mentioning.

Especially do we draw upon these wellsprings of genius, for a number of reasons, when we practice expressing, articulating and recording our necessarily first-hand observations of our own semi-unconscious, undirected, ongoing visual mental imagery which runs on in each of us at this very moment.

Who and what are you – as educators and as human beings? Certainly not just your bodies now sitting there, because: every seven years, physicians tell us, all the substance of your body has cycled out and new substance cycled in, some of it many times over. Hardly a particle remains in you of your body from seven years ago, when you were you then also…..

What remains, what is precious, what is you, is the pattern, the information.

Your measure as a person, your meaning as a human being, is not the meat and substance of your body but your enduring pattern, your information, your definition.

You acquire value as a person, you add meaning, to at least some extent as your information takes on definition.

My information, my definition, takes on meaning as I talk with you. My information takes on definition as I express it to you.

Ostensibly I am here to present to you or teach you new things. In truth I teach only myself. For these few moments of lecture I am using you as an instrument to develop and focus my perception, to add definition to my information, to take on meaning.

This was the function of schools – it’s in the very name of “education.” The Latin root word: “educare – to draw forth.”

Schools existed as “education” in this sense two ways:

Students were there as the listening instrument through which scholars and thinkers could develop their own definition, perception, meaning.

In return, students were sometimes served by the Socratic Method. Just as scholars were given their chance to develop their own definition through discourse, in fair exchange students were guided by extremely adroit questioning to discover themselves and their world, in their efforts to answer such questions through introspection and personal observation.

Socrates, Plato, other great ones knew that knowledge is in and of us and all around us.

That knowledge becomes us, we take on definition and value as human beings, in large part as we articulate that knowledge into our own full consciousness, to listeners or readers, from our own ongoing first-hand observations.

What is strange about this is that you know this already, long since, though it just didn’t seem to be very relevant to what you and your colleagues are doing in education.

What is also strange about this is that it sounds strange and philosophical to you instead of a matter-of-fact everyday reality – so completely and for so long have schools forgotten and moved away from their main purposes and strategy of being.

We take on meaning and definition, in large part as we express and expose to feedback, with listeners an/or readers, our own personal first-hand observations.

Indeed, one of the best, most immediate ways we know of to become a more potent human being is: to begin making your own first-hand observations, expressing, articulating and recording those observations. As you do so your observations, perceptions and ideas will come unstuck and will evolve.

The Scientific Revolution historically did not come to us because of the “Scientific Method.” The “scientific method” is a way to pull weeds of error and that is good – but that did not bring us the Scientific Revolution. What brought us the Scientific Revolution was a few individuals, later to become known as great scientists, who got into the practice of making their own observations and systematically recording them.

The fastest, most direct way we know of to change the world for the better, we believe, is to get many people at large (beginning with each other and with your students!) into the practice of making their own first-hand observations, expressing, articulating and recording those observations. As they do so their observations, perceptions, thoughts and ideas will come unstuck and will evolve.

How much of what goes on today could continue if many people at large were into the practice of exercising and recording and expressing their own powers of independent observation? How much of what so desperately needs doing today would in fact be addressed if many, many people around had their own eyes with which to see? We have begun to think of this – and hope that you will come to share this sense with us – as a well-nigh “sacred mission:” to practice, and to foster and spread the practice, of making one’s own first-hand observations, articulating, expressing and recording those observations!

  1. Innate to any sensory sorting principle is the response of then discerning some sort of relationship(s) between those differentiated perceptions. Those relationships are what defines “making sense” of a situation.
  2. The romance over left- and right-brain functions and qualities has far outstripped the actual available neurological data…..and has done so precisely because it is so very useful as a metaphor. It is so very useful as a metaphor precisely because it then serves as a perceptual sorting system in a large realm of crucial meaning. It is through the relationships we discover between “left and right poles of consciousness,” pole-bridging between these “opposite” clusters of traits, that will enable us not only to make sense of things but of ourselves.

At this time the apparent best, easiest, most direct way to train or develop the practice of making one’s own first-hand observations, is the spontaneous-imaging, “Image Streaming,” experience we are about to share together here. (Ed. note—as of December 2008: this experience is similar to the one for which instructions are provided beginning at Image Streaming and overviewed at Welcome to Image Streaming, and detailed comprehensively in Charles Roman’s book, Win Wenger’s Image Streaming. We encourage you to examine your experience of this approach to fostering and training the powers of such independent observation, and/or to find or to create your own way to do so. We believe that few things could be more urgent or important.

The reasons why we believe that Image Streaming has to be such a valuable way to practice and build independent powers of observation, are:

  1. The contents of such observation are most completely yours – not the ideas, beliefs, expectations, laws, “scientific laws,” or dogma of anyone else (including any baggage of mine!).
  2. In pressing toward best, most reinforcing, results, your describing has to be sensory detail – directly and honestly and immediately descriptive of the spontaneous perceptions you are describing – however analytic, understanding or abstract you may get with that image content after you’ve established it. What makes this Image Streaming most rewardingly effective for you, just happens also to be what most honestly and forthrightly and freely builds your objective powers of observation whatever the context.
  3. Building powers of language (through surmounting the challenge of sometimes having to describe the indescribable), intelligence and creativity – by building bridges of communication between east and west poles of your consciousness, so to speak – are bound also to make you an even more potent person than before. – This aside from the specific visual-thinking and solution-finding skills ensuing from this Image Streaming practice. These latter skills, of course, make all of this practical by turning the contents of your Image Stream into practical, solid information, a-ha!’s and specific solutions to specific problems and questions. (Ed. note—as of December 2008: see, for example, Over the Wall or High Thinktank.)
  4. Image Streaming is so obviously a direct link with the same source or kind of source as has been demonstrated by every one of those few geniuses who have made virtually every major contribution to human culture and civilization. You and Leonardo and Bucky Fuller have this one same resource in common. (Ed. note—As described by Catherine Cox, nearly every major contribution was contributed from among but a tiny handful of individuals. “The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses,” in Genetic Studies of Genius, Lewis M. Terman, editor, Vol. II, Stanford University Press, 1926.)

What has any of this notion of making first-hand observations,and of the idea of expressing and articulating such perceptions into focus – what has any of this to do with Suggestopedia or Dr. Lozanov’s work? (Ed. note: the breakthrough pioneering work of the Bulgarian psychiatrist Dr. Georgi Lozanov was a main topic and source of inspiration to the Superlearning/accelerated-learning movement in Europe, just as it was early on in the United States. This was the common frame of reference with the audience in which Win was speaking.)

Lozanov is the first great one in our time to really remind some of us that there are other dimensions to the learner than that of merely a passive, grossly imperfect recipient of knowledge or even an active consumer of knowledge. – And that some of these other dimensions are profoundly significant in intellectual and educational regards.

The details of Lozanov’s strategy may differ from the strategies we share here today and tomorrow, but Lozanov’s first concern, as is ours, is with the learner and not with the information imparted to the learner. (Indeed, his system arose as a therapy and only then became a system of teaching!) Despite the general focus of attention on such matters as active and passive concert séances, pattern- and rhythm-meshing relaxation, orchestrated subliminal suggestive cues and so on – despite these things, much of his method is also strategies for inducing the learner to flow freely from unconscious knowledge, for the learner to himself perceive and articulate the information to which the class is addressed. That aspect of similarity of course has been in part disguised by the need of any foreign language class to teach the arts of speaking in that language.

At first blush, the Project Renaissance approach appears to differ greatly from the Suggestopaedic, not only because of the specific methods but because, instead of memorizationProject Renaissance orients on building understandings – intellectual and aesthetic understandings – and physically involved skills.

Yet that one key difference – better memorization in the Suggestopaedic, versus better understanding and skills in the Project Renaissance approach – is one of the most obvious things rendering these two approaches usefully complementary. Both of these systems remarkably accelerate and enrich learning – but in no way do they “compete for the same ecological niche” even though both are forms of highly accelerated learning. Each strengthens the other, each reaches areas the other is not yet ready to address fully well.

As we begin to explore and define differences in method, we shall find not only further complementarities but new synergies, and new perceptions, upon our common role of building the learner as a meaningful, educated human being.

Tomorrow we will experience together some of the specific ways Project Renaissance works to build specific understandings and skills. Today, I wish to go straight to the core of the matter. I wish to share with you today one strategy for adding meaning and definition to human lives and to our own lives – through a practice of articulating to an external focus, ongoing first-hand personal observations. The form of that practice we’ll do here is “Image Streaming.”

First, one more thought: the old version of the Socratic Method required such skill and attention of the teacher that “education” in any truly meaningful sense was only for a small elite, a very favored few. Today, “education” in the fully, humanly meaningful, sense, can be made readily available to everyone, because of new methods available today and because everyone today has or can obtain at least simple audio recorders as their listeners. Meanwhile here and now, we here in this Conference have, not just audio recorders but one another, as listeners.

By being, in effect, each other’s audio recorders, you can immediately begin to add meaning, value, definition, and “education” to one another’s lives.

(The session then went into a hands-on experience of Image Streaming, in which everyone had rich opportunity and experience in discerning, articulating, and reporting or recording their own, first-hand, perceptions and observations.)

A quarter century later, the above basic premises still hold, even though it is since then that we have found out by far the greater part of what we now know about Image Streaming, and about related phenomena. For further key parts of how we now understand the effects of Image Streaming, and of Socratic Method, please see the article which begins at Feeding the Loop.

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