Project Renaissance's Theory Capsule,
as of the Start of 1995

Whatever other arrangements/natural laws a universe may fall into: so long as there is time, and so long as there are differentiated levels of energy, the following descriptors tend to also have bearing.....

1. Tendency toward disorder - standard classical thermodynamics - structure and order are forms of energy and thus tend to break down. This tendency acts as a pruning selecting factor the other side of whose face is--

2. The equally universal tendency toward order. Even "pure random chaos" will clot itself up toward order. One description of how it does so is thus:
(A) the definition of systems: any interaction (which also means any event or set of events).
(B) In chaos, whatever factors are present are at least interacting, even if mostly only bumping into each other and bouncing away.
(C) By simple variance: some interactions last longer than do others and, sooner or later, some interactions--i.e., systems--last much longer than do others.
(D) These systems tend to exhibit one or more characteristics-- strategies, if you will--which are what enabled them to last longer.
(E) Over time the universe tends to accumulate more and more of the systems which exhibit these strategies, and increasingly those which exhibit these more effectively. Failed systems return their elements "to the soup" to become incorporated into more successful systems. Thus the very pruning influence of the universal tendency toward disorder, drives the universe equally universally toward higher forms of order.
(G) Historically in our particular universe--and perhaps more generally as well--the most successful strategies or features enabling systems to resist returning their elements to the soup, among others, are
(1) complex homeostasis, with all that this requires in terms of sensing and responding to changes internal and external;
(2) self-replication, which enriched enormously the context in which all this is happening by so increasing the "population" of systems that they now long since comprise each other's increasingly complexified environment;
(3) selection itself, including selection among behavioral alternatives which not only elaborates further # (1's) abilities to sense and respond to changes internal and external, but allow these to express increasingly rapidly and with less cost in terms of failed systems and system elements.

3. --Which, in turn, defines "reinforcement." By sensing which behaviors "work" and which don't "work," a system maintains itself. Because of increasingly complex changes in its environment (into which other successful systems increasingly wedge their way in to further elaborate complexity), nearly all successful systems must incorporate some of their external feedback into their own ongoing evolution, thus opening the way for their own elaboration a la Mandelbrot Set, by definition. Virtually all successful systems, to maintain themselves, need to orient more to those behaviors which are confirmed by feedback. --Which is why, among those successful systems which happen also to be living systems, among which living systems as happen also to be animal: behavioral scientists and psychologists have developed their "first law: You get more of what you reinforce." The same requirements, however, apply to other kinds of living system including vegetative, viral, and social, and to non-living physical systems as well. Thus behavior and psychology clearly are extensions of phenomena rendered intelligible in the context of the physical universe--i.e., we do exist in one universe, with one set of comprehensive descriptors or "natural laws." (That may not be all, but it is certainly at least a substantial part of the phenomena with which we must cope.) Seen from the other end: the most widely recognized "natural law" of (animal) behavior and psychology necessarily describes for all comprehensively complexly self-sustaining systems human, non-human, animal, vegetative, social, and non-living physical. From either end, this unity of domains under this descriptive law is a key aspect of our emerging general theory and model, just as the unity of domains of Earth and Heaven under common laws of gravity and mathematics became crucial to physics following Newton. The significance lies not only in that "law" applying to this range of domains. It applies as much in the factors which account for or "require" this law.

4. This universal law of "reinforcement," the confluence of factors requiring comprehensively self-sustaining systems to sense and respond to changes in internal and external environments; to orient such systems (and their further development) toward those behaviors which "work," incidentally account for the findings of such educators as Maria Montessori and sociologists/developmentalists such as Omar K. Moore and his "clarifying environments," and most notably the main finding of the father of neuroanatomy Santiago Ramon y Cajal, that learning and even the physical brain and nervous system per se develop most effectively in response to feedback from one's own activities, rather than from levels of stimulus or from genetics. This crucial finding of Cajal's has never been controverted, only overlooked or ignored. (Even our best neurophysiologists today, though standing on Cajal's shoulders, are still hung up on the idea that levels of stimulus determining the level of brain development, a serious error with profound and multifaceted consequences.)

5. Incorporating feedback into one's behavior and development generally, as we systems of various stripes all must; and in particular the Mandelbrotian definition of evolving systems incorporating some portion of feedback into their ongoing evolution; necessarily means by definition--

--means the intermodulation of ongoing system (or organism, or person) behavior with the feedbacks upon that behavior. That in turn means this aspect, of ourselves and of our universe, in our particular universe at least if not more generally, corresponds--

--corresponds to the descriptions or "natural laws" or regularities observed in our two intermodulation sciences, interference-pattern physics, and fractile chaos theory. In both sciences, such intermodulation necessarily gives rise to enormously more complex and sophisticated orders of phenomena.

A. Interference-pattern physics, including holography, first arose in the study of acoustics. Closely similar tones intermodulate into a beat frequency third and subsequent tones and harmonics. Even the slightest change in one of those input tones creates enormous differences in these tonal and harmonic outputs--but in orderly, predictable ways, creating enormous room for information-handling. Closely similar, parallel and coherent beams of light, including split-beam holographic photography, demonstrate the same dynamic of richer information-handling but in visual terms. Any closely parallel, more or less continuous streams of event, allowed to intermodulate, give rise to immensely complex sophisticated orders of phenomena.

B. Chaos theory subsumes interference-pattern physics: there, intermodulation produces huge differences in outcome from slight changes in input, but in many different kinds of orderly, as-yet unpredictable, way.

C. In either instance, intermodulation produces extraordinarily complex, sophisticated high forms of order, and articulates that order into a very large and varied series of alternative iterations.

D. These iterations from intermodulative outcomes, and iterations from complex relationships generally, "entrap" more and more of the substance of the universe, one dimension of the universal tendency toward higher order.

E. Entropic selection driving toward systems superior in their resistance to dispersal, and this entrapment of the "stuff of the universe" into successive complexes of iterative complex relationships, account for why so very much of the phenomena surrounding us and engulfing us and comprising us corresponds to these very descriptions or "natural laws."

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6. In narrower focus, many other important "natural laws" appear to collapse back on or be derivative from the above. For example, the two most widely-acknowledged "laws" of neurophysiological development can be seen to be particular examples of the first behavioral law--that you "get more of what you reinforce."

A. "First find what is working. Go to the boundaries of what's working and practice to greater degrees of refinement from there." "Working" means that relevant feedback is perceived and acts as "reinforcement." Getting greater degrees of refinement means to sophisticate the range and detail over which feedbacks can be perceived and can serve as reinforcement. Without behavior's "first law," this "first law" of neurophysiological development could not pertain or would be meaningless.

B. "First awareness, then the ability to act through that awareness." Without perceived feedback (i.e., reinforcement) to guide, no action can proceed very far or with skill. Even where skills pre-existed, as in a cramped leg which has "gone to sleep," skill falls apart until "awareness can be gotten back into" that leg - i.e., until feedbacks can again be perceived and can serve again as reinforcement.

C. Combinations of these two derivative laws, with each other and with the original law of reinforcement, appear to be highly productive of an enormous range of potential human benefits, ranging from radical improvements in learning (one of Project Renaissance's programs is developing a way to develop Mozart-like musical skills in preschoolers within a few pleasant days or weeks; another is to develop full mastery and comprehension of the first dozen or so years of school math, in preschoolers, within a few pleasant days or weeks)--

--from such improvements in learning, to human development and the building of intelligence; to human repair. Example: from these three simple principles has now been defined a program of proposed treatment which should enable full restoration and normalization of even the virtually brain-dead, long-term comatose whose outcomes historically have virtually always been death at best, prolonged vegetative status leading to death otherwise. These and other unconventional results stem from simple application of these three simple principles in varying combinations. (No secret here: the obvious instructions are freely provided for this effect, from Project Renaissance at the address below.

7. Narrowing focus still further still leaves us with enormous ranges of phenomena and outcome implications to account for. For example:

A. Each time one expresses, records or otherwise acts upon a perception, he or she reinforces--

(1) That particular perception. Hence our Principle of Description, from the earliest days of Project Renaissance: the more you describe something which you are observing, while you are observing or examining it, the more you will discover about it. (Especially if you describe it aloud to a live or potential listener.)

(2) The behavior of being perceptive, which is more significant than any particular perception. (If you do not express, record, describe or otherwise act upon to reinforce a perception when it happens, you are reinforcing the behavior of being unperceptive!) Example: every program of systematic creative method or CPS teaches the practice of carrying around a notepad or other recording device and using that to "capture your ideas" when they happen. As pedestrian and unglamorous as such a practice might seem, every CPS method has found it to be hugely important to building and sustaining creativity, whether or not any use is made of those notes afterward. It's the act of making those notes or recordings which is reinforcing.

(3) To the extent that some perceptions thus reinforced are at first subtle, they arise in regions of the brain which are mostly or wholly offline from where we are verbally conscious. To reinforce such subtle perceptions, reinforces onto line with verbal consciousness those offline regions of the brain, cumulatively bringing those regions--and their resources, and their intelligence--more immediately online and available for use.

(A) There seems to be no apparent limit to available gains by this process, at least on any scale wherein we now measure "intelligence" by whatever definition though most of the effects appear to be of a numinous kind which are presently unmeasured and mostly even unspecified.

(B) Into this point of the discussion, integrates the whole of the accompanying paper, "Next Step in Evolution?"--the reinforcive role of speech as the magnifying lens for perception, drove the expansion of the brain as the most distinguishing and possibly earliest characterizeably human step in the emergence of our species. --And appears to be fully capable of at least as much further evolution, once appropriately engaged.

8. One simple, generalized application out of all the above, is that to the extent that we conform our behaviors to the Mandelbrotian condition--sustaining a flow of expressive events such as describing--under conditions of (reinforcive) feedback, incorporating some portion of that feedback into our ongoing flow: we evoke intermodulation and open the way to extraordinarily higher orders of phenomena and perception.

9. Other applications as powerful may derive both from the above constructs, and from other constructs resulting from efforts to collapse systems of natural law back upon their most comprehensive, simplest root elements.

10. Our series of Double-Festivals, an annual conference held one weekend each November in the Washington, D.C. area. This festival engages theory at various levels, presenters and participants together in the unique configuration and intellectual reverberation system of "Dynamic Format." Each festival is a further step in the process of attempting greater clarifications, simplifications, and useful applications for both #'s 8 & 9. Much of this grand clarification and integration was accomplished in 1995's extraordinary Double-Festival V, and much more at the recent Double-Festival VI. We approach culmination in Double-Festival VII this November 13-15, 1998 at the Holiday Inn in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

What else is unique about the November weekend series of Double-Festival Conferences, on Creative Method and Enhanced/Accelerated Learning Method?

1. The unified theory models already developed, from which the series is working further. The scope and perspective brought immediately into clear view are tremendous.

2. Its search for strong theory presentations before so mixed a nonetheless high quality audience,

3. --rendering such theory not only intelligible for lay elements of the audience but productive for that audience's involvement,

4. --through converting the last third of each formal presentation into a highly interactive thinktank a la "Dynamic Format," presenter and participants together questing further development of the main issue of that session.

5. The high levels of audience understanding and contribution which result from this format of involvement.
6. This particular form in which we rig conditions of feedback to revive the ancient Greek School tradition, enabling leading thinkers and perceivers to develop their perceptions further by describing them to a quality audience. Conditions in this regard are matched only by the annual Creative Problem-Solving Institute in Buffalo and, on occasion, by the annual conference of the International Alliance of Learning, and then through somewhat different dynamics. Each of those two annual events enjoy a unique history and situation. The effects and procedures of the annual Double-Festival are easily replicated, so that this may serve as a model for many other conferences and symposia in future.

7. The extent to which presenters "get to pick the brains of their participants," on the issues and topics most important to them and crucial in their work.

8. Our newest conference feature "implosion sessions" in which related presentations are conducted together in panel and then thinktanked together.

9. Nearly unique, seen in only a few other events besides these Double-Festivals, is the concluding Grand Panel of the Whole, where most of the various presenters interact with each other and with the audience on topics and issues of general concern and common interest. Fully unique to these Double Festivals is our use of other processes besides discussion for discovering consensus and solution and fresh insights, in interactive group procedures as part of this Grand Panel.
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Please get your presentation proposal(s) in as soon as possible toward Double-Festival VII, at which a strong unified theory sub-theme or theme, at least, will be continuing. The sooner these inputs are in the more opportunity we'll have to orchestrate further synchronies of effect. We are seeking hard to go up to "another level" in all regards in Double-Festival VI, far above even what has transpired to date. We intend to make this the kind of historic event that you will be extraordinarily pleased, even twenty years later, that you were part of it.

We are looking for well-founded theory, noting three different kinds of foundation for "truth" are empirical (evidence of the senses, usually taken to mean experimental data); reason or strength of logical argument (an issue in relationships); self-evident or intuitive. Before a theory can be considered a "paradigm," it should have substantial concurrence from at least two of those three legs of the piano stool. Before an hypothesis can be considered a theory, there must be found at least some formal support for it from among these piano stool legs. We are happy also to entertain hypotheses which have not yet gotten such support, so long as we can find a way toward testing it.

We also seek relations between theories and between models. For example, mapping geophysics and especially plate tectonics onto social and civilizational phenomena, is very productive of further understandings in the field of sociotectonics. Even better, that ultimate relationship structure which descends and integrates from some comprehensive "unified field theory," the single descriptive statement from which all else derives.
For the sake of the laymen in our audience, note Jerome S. Bruner's famous statement: any idea or theory can be taught in intellectually respectable form to any child at any age level, so long as this is done in his own cognitive vocabulary. Note also that if you seek to explain your own theory to children, you will understand it better.

What you present doesn't have to be already proven, but should be at least well supportable by evidence empirical, argument or in other regards self-evident. Its dismissal by the establishment does not disqualify it, obviously, but in and of itself that does not automatically qualify it either. Remember the dictum, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" -- also the feature of science wherein you can never really prove a thesis, only support it until such time as it gets disproved.

We also seek strikingly useful applications of such theory to practical human benefit. While "nothing is more practical than good theory," at some point the theory has to be able to give us a handle on making things happen more the way we desire in the "real world." While the prospective benefits may indeed be the cause of resistance from people and systems reflexively more comfortable with what's been sitting for so long in their rear view mirrors, its those benefits in prospect which justify the whole enterprise and render this to be something more than just an exercise in intellectual or mental self-indulgence. Once we find ways to step around such resistance--including the status-quo-seeking resistance in our very selves--most of you receiving this brief know that towering positive human miracles of many kinds are now in immediate easy reach. Our pursuit together in context of the Double-Festivals will go a long way to bringing some of these various positive miracles into immediate focus.

Coming the other way: if you have a strikingly effective technique to present, especially for improving the human condition, human performance level, the quality of human experience - even if you haven't a clue as to what makes it work, it just does, bring it in. Chances are that in this dynamic a setting, we - and you - will understand what makes it work before the Conference is done!

Please reply at your VERY earliest convenience to: Win Wenger c/o Project Renaissance, 301/948-1122 or Box 332, Gaithersburg, MD 20884-0332, Thank you.

Copyright 1995, 1998 by Win Wenger. You may freely, however, copy this document for friends, in whole, including this notice, but not in part.

©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 acknowledgement 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.

To reach Win Wenger, please visit his website at Project Renaissance

This version originally published on Anakin's Brain (now Genius By Design)

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