Borrowed Genius
Excerpted from Beyond Teaching And Learning:
How to borrow some genius for
your own direct use
 
by Win Wenger, Ph.D. 

Of eight major types of accelerated/enhanced learning presented in the book, Beyond Teaching And Learning, we can give you at least a glimpse of one here. We call it "Periscopic Learning;" also "Borrowed Genius" and a few other things. You can read Chapter 1 of this book here online. A brief review of the book is in the Book Reviews section. 
How to learn through a periscopeWe had enrolled our 4-year-old daughter in a neighborhood swim team, not for the sake of competing but simply for safety reasons, to ensure she would be competent in the water. During one of the team's meets, in one heat a clerical error had her swim as the only small kid among 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds. To our amazement, she swam far faster than ever before and finished right in the middle of the pack. 
"How did you do that?!?" we asked her. Her reply: "I made-believe I was one of the big kids." 
In Camelot, Merlin was working with young King Arthur at a point where Arthur was imagining himself to be a hawk. Asked Merlin of Arthur: "What does the hawk know, that Arthur does not know?" 
Like projecting your view through a periscope: let some aspect or part of you "become" a whole, distinct person who happens to be the world's greatest genius in what you are trying to learn. Through that new vantage point cum periscope, see and understand easily what had been obscure to you before... 
...Just create such genius in the same sense that tribesmen of the Bear Clan wore the heads of bears to better understand the wilderness from which they made their living... 
...Or in the same sense that one young lad of our experience, about to "not make" his high school's baseball team, working with us during an hour of "putting on the heads" of his various baseball heroes, discovered through one of those "hero heads" how to get extra focus on the baseball by swinging, not at the baseball itself but at an imaginary flyspeck on that baseball. He made the team; his first ten games he batted 800; at season's end he was voted MVP by not only his team but by his school's entire league. 
...Or in the same sense that in our very first 1977 experiment which launched Project Renaissance, a secretary starting to take violin lessons leaped from raw beginner to advanced student in two lessons by our special way of "putting on the head" of great violinists. She came by to visit our second experiment three weeks later and gave us a very nice concert. (ALL of us were getting similar results in our chosen areas even before we perfected this method!) 
 
Each of the current 44 diverse methods for Periscopic Learning, through Project Renaissance's strategies of contextual projection and description, enables one to learn with understanding, or gain in skills, years' worth in only hours: truly "accelerated learning!" Periscopic Learning is only one of many types of accelerated learning method. 

Periscopic Learning for adults
Borrowed Genius, below, helps you define a context with whatever it is you want to deep-learn somewhere within it. We do give you a starting focus, the garden, but as soon as you can notice your imagery doing something different from what the book "calls for," follow that, your imagery, with your describing instead of the scripted steps, because: it's where your imagery shows you unexpected things that you are into payoff territory. 
An important region of our greater resource base, our pattern-recognizing right temporal lobe, is also the part of our system which perceives and responds to beauty. Hence, it is invaluable to design beauty into that first, easy-start, part of the context. For this we mostly use imagined gardens, parks, parkland, deep woodlands, mountain-tops, or other exquisitely lovely natural settings. 
The context forms an internal consistency if we let it, congruent with the perceptions or understandings or skills you are seeking. What that means is, if you were "supposed to" describe a lush garden and you find yourself looking at a desert, describe that desert and see where it leads to. Respond to and describe what you find, not what you expect. 
"Describe what comes up" in imagery, not just "what ought to be there." 

Beginning
As mentioned, begin with something easy and pleasant to describe, and beautiful. Describe it with eyes kept closed, as rapidly as you can and in as much exquisitely rich sensory detail as you can. Keep a rapid flow of richly detailed description going, and describe what actually emerges in your mind's eye rather than sticking with what you expected to see there. 
We have defined a few example contexts and spelled out some specific procedures for their use, to help you get started into effective use of these deep-access, high-leverage procedures. We provide the taping and/or group-teaching version of the main procedure first, as this version is done in more detail than the solo-use version which follows. Reading through that main procedure, even if you are working alone, will help you when you use the shorter, simpler, summarized second version. 
Following that shorter, simpler second version, in the new, year 2000 edition of the book, Beyond Teaching And Learning, we've added a special Chapter Appendix giving you another version altogether, a version to use with young children. 


 

Borrowed Genius
Page 3 of 3
13. "Listen closely while this genius points out something especially important in this experience, or tells you something you especially should know in this context. Listen intently, see what happens, for just a moment ..." 
(Five- to ten-second pause) "... and report what this special insight or perception was, to your listener beginning now . . ." 
(Same parenthetical instructions, two to four minutes. One "bing," three "bings," then say:) 
14. "Returning with full awareness to here and now, fully refreshed, coming fully present, and feeling pretty darn good! When you come back from the five-minute break, please be with a new partner for the most important part of this experience. When you return five minutes from now, please sit with a new partner. Thank you." 
(Or snap off the tape recorder at the point of "feeling pretty darn good" in that step. If working alone and from the tape as guide, your debriefing will need to be on paper see below.) 

(De-briefing) 
15. "Like an astronaut returning to Mission Control from a mission to a far world, tell your new partner everything you've experienced on this mission as if your new partner were Mission Control. Tell everything that happened, and in rich detail, but in just a minute or two. We'll take turns on this one after two minutes I'll sound the chime and your partner will get to de-brief to you. 
16. "In debriefing, please keep eyes open this time, and if you can stay in the present tense, so much the better telling it like it's happening now instead of having just happened. Instead of, I was walking down this path,' say more like I'm walking down this path, it's all bricks with moss over, grass with dew sparkling to either side ...' and so on, and try to stay in present tense if you can. So, in present tense, eyes open, please tell your new partner everything you experienced, especially from the part where you became the genius and saw surprising differences between the way the genius saw the garden and the way you'd seen it earlier. So please begin describing now . . ." 
(Two to four minutes later, with first lull in buzz-murmur, gently "bing" three times, saying gently ...) 
17. "Even at some risk of incompletion, please now make sure your partner also has air time. You can finish your present sentence, and then it's time to let your partner begin describing now . . ." 
(Optional, if you feel this session has been going really well, you may elect to include this Step 17-A next. Otherwise, skip on to Step 18.) 
[17-A. "Now for a minute or so, not only describe your genius to your partner, show your genius to your partner. The expressions on your genius's face; the way that genius sits, stands, moves about; your genius's characteristic posture and patterns of gesture and movement please show these to your partner and vice-versa."] 
(Two to four minutes later, half-minute single "bing" and then a half minute later, three "bings," saying:) 
18. "On your own, with blank tape and a tape recorder, you can go back to this or any garden, to this or any genius, as often as you please, first on this one skill or subject until you've fully mastered it and then on as many others as you like." 
19. "The main thing is to go back and forth between this kind of experience at genius level understanding and skill, and real-time practice and conventional learning at that same understanding or skill. If you've never touched a keyboard but had Rachmaninoff for your genius this time, then as soon as you can, go over to a real piano in real time and try some plink-plunk.' Then go back to Rachmaninoff and be that genius again, then back to the piano in real-time again, back and forth like that if possible 2 to 4 times per day for several days, 10 to 30 minutes each way each time. All of a sudden, it'll come together and you'll be that genius and playing the piano well in real time, and all that skill and perception will be yours. And so on for whatever skills or subjects you please, hours of this combined inner and outer experiencing accomplishing what years of conventional effort could be." 
20. "For now, please return to this space here, fully refreshed, and determine how, as soon as possible or in the next 12 hours, you can get in some real-time learning or practice of the same skill or subject you've just been a genius at. Soon as you can, begin that alternation and drive your own skills, within a day or so, all the way up to where that genius was and then beyond. Thank you for making this experience happen." 

The foregoing was a very detailed "recipe for an experience," but note how simple as A-B-C it really is: 
A. The more you describe something while examining it, the more you will perceive. 
B. Design a context and plunk into it a chunk of the understandings or skills you want to bring conscious. 
C. Start at an easy, non-confrontational point in that context and describe the dickens out of that context until everything in that context has been drawn thereby into the focus of consciousness.

Working with tape recorder
Now that you've read through the detailed, group form of the "Model Method" (or "inside story of genius"), and referred it back to the three simple key principles, please set up your tape recorder. 
Here are two ways to work with your tape recorder: 
  • Record the foregoing group instructions on tape, with the appropriate pauses. Then on playback, follow that tape's directions and, in those pauses, "answer back to the voice on the tape," describing your perceptions at that point. Your descriptions can also be onto blank tape in a second tape recorder, operating with stop/go functions for convenience, controlled by a hand-held mike with thumb switch, or with a (sound volume) voice-controlled mike switch. The extra focus, of recording your excursion experience onto blank tape, lends extra acuity to your developing perceptions and focusing. 
Or, 
In either case, remember to stay as sensory-based as possible in your descriptions, until virtually the end of the excursion where, once the perceptions have become well developed, you can afford to give some attention to the intellectual understandings focused through the genius. It's important to let those understandings follow the sensory-based experience. If you bring those understandings in early, they tend to cut you off from experience and throw you back into your intellectualizing left brain before you've brought in data from your wider reaches. 
In either case, decide now what skill or subject you're going to build by High Leverage technique this time. Stick with that skill or subject, through this and/or subsequent procedures and through that alternating between various inner "genius" experiences and outer "real-time," conventional-level experiences and learning efforts until you've built your actual high proficiencies therein. Time enough afterward to pick up other skills, other subject learnings. Complete what it takes to build genuine real-time personal proficiency in the one first, to "legitimize" for you that continuing on to as many others as you please will be a personal-growth investment and not just an indulgence in whimsy. 

Instruction summary
Here, then, is the "do-it-yourself" capsule of summarized instructions for the "Model Method" of Deep Recall, High Leverage, Learning: 
  1. Imagine and describe being in an exquisitely beautiful garden. 
  2. Have join you, there in that garden, someone or something who for this round is a genius in the skill or area of understanding you've chosen. 
  3. Imagine wafting yourself forward INTO this genius, becoming this genius. Look through and with the eyes and senses of this genius, at this same garden. Notice and describe the differences in the way this genius sees/perceives this garden and the way you were perceiving it before. 
  4. Move into whatever it is that this genius is a genius AT. With special attention to feelings in the body of the genius, characteristic postures, gestures, patterns of movement and body english, describe every sensory detail you can about HOW this genius experiences when being a genius. 
  5. Seek out and experience a moment during the lifetime of this genius when this genius experienced a very special moment of a-ha! or illumination, when everything came together to make tremendous sense. Describe everything you can about that moment and about the feeling of that moment in the body of your genius. 
  6. Return your genius's head to his/her/its own shoulders. Exchange thanks and receive that miniature pocket phone so you can continue to draw upon genius-level resources even when doing other things than this experience. 
  7. Allow your genius to point out to you a key point in this experience, or even tell you the most important thing you've yet to realize about it. Listen and look intently, and report your impressions regardless of whether at first they seem to make sense to you. 
  8. Return. De-brief your experience onto notepad.
 
One of the ways you, yourself, can discover new techniques of your own for accelerated learning, and fresh skills, is to use the above from time to time on yourself, "putting on the head" of teachers, real or imaginary, who are extraordinarily good at just that ... teaching!