YOU ARE BRIGHTER THAN YOU THINK!
by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
You are, indeed, much brighter than you think!--far more so, in fact, than you have ever imagined! We now understand much about what has prevented so much of your high intelligence from finding expression--and a number of remarkably easy ways to bring back on-line much of your truly remarkable set of resources for immediate use and for many forms of highly rewarding experience.
While our combination of effects is new, most of its component elements are quite ancient in scientific and historical terms, for example Socratic Method dating back at least 2200 years. The century-old "First Law" of psychology largely accounts for why the various forms of Socratic Method are so effective. Combine Socratic Method with the also historically potent system of Einsteinian "Deep Thought Experiments," and this gives rise in turn to Post-Einsteinian Discovery Technique far beyond most systems or sets of effects which have gone before. This new combination, of systems of technique whose power has long been historically demonstrated, opens many paths to your own high heritage of resources.
Two systems of thought and perception, historically have been associated with human intellect functioning at its finest. These are: Einsteinian "Deep Thought" technique, and Socratic Method. In most of the Project Renaissance program, trainings, consulting methods and publications, these two systems are combined into a far more powerful and reliably productive whole which, however, is far easier to use than is either method separately.
By some researcher accounts, most of the major discoveries of the past two centuries were made by means of visual thinking. Examples: Kekule's doze-dream, about intertwined snakes swallowing their own tails in his fireplace, taught him the structure of the benzene ring, basis of all organic chemistry. Elias Howe's nightmare of cannibals attacking, whose spears happened to have holes in their heads, gave him his a-ha! for the sewing machine he had been laboring for so long to invent. Niccola Tesla's in-head visual predictions gave us our electric power system and a major part of the electronics industry and way of life. Einstein's "train ride on a beam of light" taught him--and us--his theories of relativity which remade the whole of physics and helped remake the whole of science.
Albert Einstein did not invent, but extensively practiced and popularized the method, now known as the Einsteinian technique of "Deep Thought" or "Thought Experiments," of setting a visualization running and observing it closely to see what one can discover from it. The traditional "Einsteinian" technique was, however, too directed to be productive of much beyond relativity, and moreover required a personal discipline which is beyond the immediate reach of most people. It was by removing part of its overt direction and by adding another system that we correct the shortcomings and present a hugely productive investigative technique which, in addition and remarkably, is well within everyone's easy reach to use effectively.
XXIV times XXXVII = ???
History records the effects of another comparable improvement in one type of thinking method. From Renaissance European times the West has found it not only convenient but absolutely essential to its pursuit of mathematics and arithmetic operations, to switch from Roman numerals to the Arabic numerals we use today, and adopt with that the concept and number zero. (Until then it was a major feat of high genius just to be able to multiply, say, XXIV times XXXVII!) This difference is comparable to the greater convenience and ease which our revised Einsteinian visual thinking system is providing in all areas of life and work, not only math.
The historic system we added to Einsteinian technique to create this new tool, aid and convenience to all areas of intellectual operation, comparable to the effects in math and arithmetic of changing from Roman to Arabic numbers, is 2200-year-old Socratic Method.
Socratic method is any technique which induces the learner to examine his/her internal and external perceptions and to describe in detail what s/he discovers there--
1. "Principle of Description:" to describe anything in detail while you are examining it- especially to describe it aloud, to a listener, whether a live listener or to the potential listener represented by a tape recorder. Describe in detail what you are perceiving and you discover more and more and more about what you are describing. The very floor you are on at this moment, familiar as that may be to you--if you were on the phone with a friend who was trying to sketch that floor from your description of it for whatever reason, as you described one feature another would come into your attention for you to describe and as you described that yet other aspects would emerge for you--wouldn't you soon know far more about that floor, as simple and as concrete as that is, than you ever wanted to know about it?
2. This "principle of description" is the operating instruction for how to realize Walt Whitman's dictum, that if you observe closely enough even an ordinary blade of grass (or as William Blake stated, even an ordinary grain of sand), you will discover the entire universe there. Anything you describe in close detail to listener or recorder while you are observing it closely, you discover more and more and more about.
We will from time to time refer to this expansion-of-perception effect, of describing one's own perception, this Principle of Description, as the "Whitman/Blake Effect."
3. As significant as the effect on the particular perception is the effect of such describing on the behavior of perceiving, and on the perceiver himself. A method popular in Europe for training ordinary people into being sophisticated, sensitive winetasters or perfume testers, is: to provide that person a sample, and he is to describe rapid-fire everything that comes into mind, for some minutes. Then another sample, and again describing rapid-fire for some minutes everything that comes to mind or awareness. Then a third sample .... Three days of this activity, sustained, and that ordinary person has developed the sensitivities of a professional perfume tester or wine taster!
4. The first schools in Western cultural tradition were those of classical and early post classical Greece. Those schools were not for the purpose of benefitting students--and even to promulgate a particular "school of thought" was secondary. Their main purpose was to provide quality audiences to whom the leading thinkers and perceivers could describe their perceptions, in order to develop further those perceptions. Some of the "nicer guys" among these, the Sophists especially and Socrates in particular, would return the favor and draw out their listeners in turn. Their doing so, and the various ways they did so, became known as "Socratic Method."
5. For 2200 years, classical Socratic Method induced the learner to examine
his/her internal and external perceptions and to describe what s/he discovered
there. Historically, this practice was so often accompanied by such huge leaps
of perception, understanding and growth that all its most noted practitioners
became convinced that all knowledge and understanding are already within each
learner and need merely be "drawn forth." This "Socratic miracle" phenomenon was
frequent enough for this "drawing-forth" theory to have such currency for that
2200 years, "education" itself became named after that concept--"educate"
meaning, "to draw forth."
6. During those 2200 Socratic years: from a population base of but a few thousandcitizens most of whom soldiered or sold olives or politicked or followed other interests and pursuits, classical Greece produced more cultural giants and geniuses than has all of Earth's 5-1/2 billion people during this past half-century, where we are no longer on Socratic education but on didactic teaching, with the results which we see all around US. Likewise, from a population base of but a few hundred thousand citizens allowed access to culture-related ways of living, Renaissance Europe radically outproduced our 5-1/2 billion in geniuses and cultural giants.
7. Classical Socratic method--acute questioning of 1-2 students at a time, or fierce argument with maybe a half-dozen at a time--could in fact be practiced only with a few at a time while the remainder of a large group or class grew restless (except in law schools where sheer terror is used to keep attention focussed--"Know that half of you won't be here next week!"). However, any procedure which has people to examine their perceptions and to describe at length, in detail, what they discover there, creates the Socratic Miracle Effect. Unlike the ancient and law school versions, many of the modern versions of Socratic Method work better the more students or participants there are at a time in a group. (School budget people please note!) Moreover, Project Renaissance's books are now full of many ways any individual who can read and follow specific instructions can evoke Socratic Miracle Effects for himself or herself.
combination of Einsteinian and Socratic Methods--
Einstein' s original method of "Deep Thought" required regular disciplined practice. Even with that disciplined practice, Einstein had to hold a rock in either hand to keep himself from nodding off in mid-ponder (the rock falling from his relaxing hand as he dozed off would alert him back to the task). Except for the accidental instances such as Kekule's and Howe's, one pretty well had "to be an Einstein" to use that approach very well--though there were beneficial effects from its repeated use: by all reports Einstein himself "was no Einstein" and was mildly retarded during his first few years, before beginning practice of his method of observing his own visual thinking!
--Not rocks but a Socratic audience!--
In this modern combination of methods, we perform Einstein like "Deep Thought" experiments but describe our perceptions aloud, in detail, a la Socrates, while we are observing them, and this simple act brings a wealth of further detail and perception that often lead to fresh discoveries even upon first use of the method. The act of describing aloud to a listener also provides the alertness even a disciplined Einstein often lacked, so that we no longer need to hold rocks! Further differences:
We deliberately program for the unexpected, the surprise to happen in these experiences. This improves accuracy by helping us move beyond the "ought-to-bell expectations which stand between us and the fresh perceptions we need for ingenious, creative answers. Deliberate non interference with the imagery contents lets our subtler, richer faculties show US--which is the whole point of such an exercise in the first place. The whole point of either Einsteinian or Socratic technique is to enable our subtler, richer faculties to show us what we ordinarily would fail to see and which is the answer to our quest, question or line of investigation.
Concurrent describing while observing this ongoing, seemingly self -directed imagery not only helps us keep alert and on task, but develops and strengthens our conscious perception of our inner subtleties in a way no other procedure can.
In this combination of Socratic and Einsteinian Discovery Methods: the Einsteinian "thought experiment" defines the context, frame or focus within which you've oriented your perceptions (and imagery) . Modern Socratic Method simply has you describing aloud, to live listener or to potential listener a la tape recorder, in detail, everything you can observe in that context while you are observing it--and again, afterward, in different settings and contexts (which provide different feedbacks), until you've made full sense of what you've observed.
Importance of context: Context "sets the computer menu" through which and determining how you currently process information. For example, look around your office for a minute with the eyes of a competitor or rival, see what it is that you notice. Now look around your office with the eyes of a tax assessor, see what it is now that catches your attention. Now with the eyes of a client .... A subordinate .... the eyes of the U.S. President..... The subtler and/or further ranging the information set with which you are dealing, as compared to the easy concrete specifics of what's visible around your office, the more susceptible by far is your handling of it to various contexts- an area almost wholly overlooked thus far by most areas of both creative problem solving method and learning method, among other fields.
Problem-Solving by means of Post-Einsteinian Discovery Technique, this combination of methods: note that the problems which we have left around us are the ones which did not solve based upon what we know about them. There, what we "know" has become the problem by standing between us and the fresh perceptions needed. The various systems of creative problem solving now in world use succeed mainly to the extent that they somehow move us beyond what we "know" and into those fresh perceptions. The sooner and stronger you move into perception on some issue, the better your chances of finding good answer.
Einsteinian or post-Einsteinian type imagery is a great way to move immediately into perception in the context of the problem or issue--yet there are also some other, additional ways, some of which are actively in the Project Renaissance program.
Expanding upon the above point: it does indeed seem natural to try to solve issues and problems based upon what we "know" about the problem situation, but it is the problems which did not solve that way that we have left, all around us. Further, when we mull a problem over and over examining what we "know," we engender neuronal habituation--the tendency of nerve cells, circuits and the nervous system itself to go to sleep on a constant signal, wake up on a changing signal. When we continue to mull over a situation, we put most of our intelligence to sleep in that context.
Getting Beyond 'Stuck-Point:' This "neuronal habituation" is the term used by biologists to describe the phenomenon that with a constant signal, nerves and brain tend to go to sleep. They wake up on a changing signal. An example was in experiments at Berkeley, where tiny slide projectors were mounted on contact lenses so that the same image would remain in place whatever way the eye turned. Within moments, the entire visual field turns blank. Normally, a micro-tremor of the eyes enables mammals to see details; otherwise the experience would be like that of frogs, who can only see motion--i.e., change in the signal. One can override this visual micro-tremor just a bit by staring fixedly at a single point--as some meditators do at a mandala. As one does so details "grey out" and become indistinct. The same principle, with other forms of meditation, is with repeat of a verbal mantra until the loud, chatterbox, conscious verbal mind is lulled into doze and presumably subtler signals from the unconscious have some opportunity to reach conscious awareness. A very few creative solution-finding procedures have this effect in order to obtain answers from the unconscious, but by far the majority of them go the opposite direction--
--Because the "stuck" problem itself has had this neuronal habituating effect on the brain of the person puzzling over it, and often just "changing the signal" on that particular stimulus will have the effect of unleashing floodgates of new ideas and perceptions and answers about the problem. Going into uncustomary perceptual modes is one highly productive way of "changing the signal", so that the brain "wakes up" in that context and gets off its "stuck point."So also are some of the "force-fitting" procedures where one imagines the problem to have all sorts of odd characteristics, or "force-fits" it as having relationship or similarity to other objects or contexts, as a way of "seeing the problem in a new light.î
Returning to Post-Einsteinian Discovery Technique, wherein we've combined Einsteinian and Socratic procedures: as you might already have guessed from the above remarks, such procedures apply to far more than "merely" solving problems and making fresh discoveries and inventions. For example, such methods are invaluable for predicting trends and for predicting the outcomes of decisions, executive and otherwise. Even if you programmed your office computer with 500 simultaneous variables, it still cannot take into account even l%. of what your in-built, between your-ears PC automatically, reflexively, seemingly instantaneously, takes into account. Why that seems to be so instantaneous?--Most of the conscious part of our thought and perception take place in the parts of our brain which use verbal language, and so is paced by the speed of the language we customarily use, one word at a time. Electroprobe measurements show the right cerebral cortex to operate some ten thousand times more rapidly than does the verbal conscious part of the left- and the underlying limbic brain, which runs the whole affair, operates some ten thousand times more rapidly than does even the right cortex! No wonder these "unconscious" responses sort out at "computer speed," to the plodding verbal conscious seeming to be instantaneous!
We have taken this combination of methods also back into "education"itself, finding this modern version of Socratic technique to achieve everything that traditional Socratic miracles did and then some, and that it strengthens virtually every aspect of learning.Our recent book Beyond Teaching And Learning(1) explores this area in some detail and enables its readers to proceed Socratically through whatever skill or intellectual topic area(s) they wish to learn in, regardless of the teaching methods used by schools at hand. The recent huge loss of employment of scientists and technicians following end of the Cold War, and the popularly reported fact that the average adult American will change career 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 times during his working life, may render this literally "educative" application to be very interesting, both personally and professionally, to some readers of this present brief.
How old are these findings? Most of the specific findings we've cited about the brain are anywhere from 20 years to a full century old. Einsteinian technique, in its traditional forms at least, is centuries old and indissolubly intertwined with the scientific, technological and intellectual progress of the Western world the past several centuries. Socratic Method goes back, as we noted, some 2200 years. All of this work revolves around Psychology's First Law," 150 years or so old in our scientific understanding, familiarly stated as, "You get more of what you reinforce.,,
Taking further this matter of behavioral reinforcement: to describe a perception in detail while examining it, as we saw above, reinforces that particular perception. --And it also reinforces the behavior of being perceptive. If the perception is initially subtle, less immediately conscious: to describe it reinforces more onto line with consciousness the part of the brain which provided that perception together with that part Is resources and intelligence. Post-Einsteinian Discovery Technique cum Socratic Method necessarily works with initially subtle perceptions. Small wonder that frequent practice of the method is associated with 20 points' "I.Q." gain for 25 hours of easy practice; 40 points' gain for 50 hours' practice, as consistently measured in a series of independently conducted university studies!(2)
We will definitely return, in some detail, to this topic when discussing the phenomenon, a few pages below, of "Sidebands of Thought and Perception."
Overall: we have combined two major methods historically associated with human intellect functioning at high levels: Socratic, and the type of visual thinking now popularly referred to as 'Einsteinian.' The confluence of these two powerful systems has resulted in a system of even greater power, and wider range of applications including personal benefits to the practitioner. The new, combination discovery system is also far easier to use than were either of its predecessors, to the point where we have even successfully conducted EMR's (Educable Mentally Retarded persons) productively through it--one indeed no longer has to "be an Einstein" to function at high levels, however much it might help! No one need be left behind who doesn't want to be left behind.
Summary of the
two historic systems:
THE COMBINATION--of Socratic and Einsteinian systems, each of which historically was associated with high levels of mental performance: this synergy is far more powerful and productive, and astonishingly easy to perform. What is the combination?--
1. Concurrent describing while exploring the "Deep Thought Experiment.î This describing aloud not only keeps you alert instead of nodding off, but develops the perception. EASIER by far to use and more productive: "you no longer need to be an 'Einstein' to cope with, resolve and understand any issue!
2. Deliberately allow, even encourage, the contents of the "Deep Thought Experiment" to SURPRISE you and run counter to your expectations. The more surprising the contents of the experience, the likelier you are to be engaging your richer, subtler, more comprehensive resources from far beyond your conventional verbal consciousness.
Eight different types of combination, of Einsteinian and Socratic systems, and strategies of their application, define the eight different families of profoundly enhanced and accelerated learning method specifically self-taught in our recent book Beyond Teaching And Learning.(3)
Other key strategies of combination and application of these two systems, are taught in the BEYOND EINSTEIN training programs from Project Renaissance. Some of these are also self taught in the book so well-liked by Success Magazine, titled A Method For Personal Growth and Development.(4)
Another source of advanced Einsteinian methods, to which you can apply your own Socratic combinations, is the book Visionizing, by arguably the world's best-known leader in creative method, Sidney J. Parnes.(5)
By themselves, Socratic and Einsteinian systems were difficult enough to practice that relatively few have done so. Taken together, the two systems are not only far more reliably productive, but are so easy to practice that out of the last few thousand people worked with, not one was unable to perform it and thus to begin obtaining its benefits. We don't have to leave anyone behind who doesn't want to be! --And there seems to be no limit to how far ahead one can fly with this synergy.
Before examining some Einsteinian methods in this context, let us examine several of the simplest ways to engage Socratic dynamics in the task of enriching our conscious awareness from deeper-than-conscious levels of our own minds and brains.
©1998 by Project Renaissance (regarding this internet version only, other copyrights may apply). While we encourage the free distribution of this article (complete text only, including this notice and acknowledgment of source), we do require that expressed permission be granted by Project Renaissance for any major republication. For minor printing and sharing, we only request that you notify us.
You may reach Win Wenger via email at Project Renaissance
You may reach Win via telephone at (301)948-1122
You may reach Project Renaissance via groundmail at Box 332, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-0332 USA
This version originally published by Matthew Turco at Anakin's Brain (sorry, website temporarily offline). Adapted for access via Project Renaissance's website, October 30, 2000.