The Creative Transformation Experiments:

A Do-It-Yourself Guide

The initial Creative Transformation experiment was described in Chapter 5. After this, a series of alternative experiments were done to see if persons could learn the Creative Transformation process and have similar subjective experiences without having to invest six days of their time. These were done by trial-and-error and intuition. They ranged from three-day seminars to no seminars or preparation at all. And from absolutely no screening of the participants to much more initial information and mutual evaluation for the participants than for the first group. After ten of these trial-and-error experiments we found what seemed to be an ideal compromise. We then did thirty more of these optimized experiments, thirteen between 1984 and 1986 plus seventeen more in 1987 and 1988. A different type of experimentation began in 1989 in other countries as well as the United States; it has not yet been fully evaluated, although it seems to support the previous findings.

We have evaluated the creative transformation experiments by the subjective reports of the participants, a context analysis of autopoiesis, by how long persons continued to participate in an octet after the weekend seminar, and by the objective creativity changes of those who have been in the process for two or more years. A proper long-term evaluation would, of course, involve measuring changes in objective creativity before and after beginning creative transformation as compared to statistically matched groups that have not engaged in creative transformation. More elaborate experiments would have to involve placebo control and random assignment of subjects to control and experimental groups. In the beginning it seemed to be a considerable success to be able to get an octet to continue autopoiesis and live up to the creative transformation contract.

There follows a statistical summary of the results on 260 creative transformation participants from August 27, 1984, to December, 1988, when the last experiment of this type ended. Since that time we have been working with established octets that grew out of and evolved from the initial experiments and doing new experiments along the lines recommended later in this Appendix. These bear out and support the following conclusions.

The initial creative transformation experiments have run their course; it is now clear how best to use this technology and what to expect from it. The creative transformation process is an amplifier. It can make the creative more creative but it can not reverse overall destructive behavior for unethical persons. Indeed, extremely fearful persons seem to be made even more fearful by the anticipation of autopoiesis. Autopoiesis itself causes serious discomfort apparently only in schizophrenics. A seriously disturbed paranoid schizophrenic thought she was going to die, although she was in no way harmed. A psychotherapist who claimed to be "schizoid" forced herself to engage in autopoiesis because her husband found it very worthwhile. Both she and her husband were professional psychotherapists. She quickly stopped the process and claimed it exacerbated her schizophrenic tendencies by lowering barriers between herself and others. She felt that, if she had not feared the schizophrenic tendencies in herself, she would not have found autopoiesis so disturbing. However she was in no way harmed by autopoiesis. Another woman who had had a "nervous breakdown" one year earlier had great anxiety before autopoiesis, but she reported a positive experience of autopoiesis after she tried it. Persons should have no problems with autopoiesis if they are healthy, but schizophrenics in general and paranoids in particular should avoid it. It is my best judgment that no one can be harmed by autopoiesis. Of the approximately 300 persons who have engaged in autopoiesis at least once, approximately 75% found it subjectively worthwhile while 25% found it a neutral experience. There were no other reported experiences. Approximately 50% of those who engaged in autopoiesis tried it two or more times, and approximately 25% tried it four or more times. Approximately 10% are still engaging in autopoiesis on some basis. For most persons the effects of autopoiesis will begin to diminish within a few trials. Many had expected quick economic returns, although no such promises were made, and were disappointed when these were not forthcoming. One group of eight, which was distilled in 1985 from five groups of eight, which were meeting on a regular basis, is still meeting today. However, some persons seem to get immersed in autopoiesis as a purely subjective experience and do nothing objectively creative with it. There are approximately twenty persons who are currently involved on a long-term basis with creative transformation for objectively creative purposes. Several inventions, patents, and other creations have been produced by a single octet, but for over ninety percent of the randomly selected participants there do not currently seem to be any lasting long-term benefits.

Of the eight who do meet most regularly, all but one claim a significant increase in creativity and a significant decrease in fear. The one exception in the group still finds the process extremely worthwhile in an emo-tional sense. He was and remains a highly creative person. It seems that each person in the group got out of it whatever she or he most needed. The one who got the least out of it needed the least but helped others. The ones who put most into the process get the most out of it. The more we give others, the more we receive from the process. If we give nothing, we receive nothing. Autopoiesis is of zero value to those who decline the Game of Life.

The viability of any group depends on the members. A group can usually cope with one highly fearful person by helping that person to change or indirectly inducing the person to leave the group. Two or more highly fearful persons will usually lead to the group's disintegration, but the most creative members will reorganize themselves into another group. Once a group has passed the threshold where no one in the group is afraid of anyone else in the group, it begins to make rapid progress in its own integration. If the initial members are properly chosen, then it should take the group about one or two years to reach irreversible creative transformation. The single best initial screening technique for autopoietic groups is that they thoroughly understand this book and fully commit to play the Game of Life.

The groups-of-eight concept (octets) seems a valid and probably optimal way of organizing persons for any enterprise. If the enterprise requires more than eight persons to succeed, then a cooperative of several autonomous octets should be created. Autonomous organizations should not be much larger than four men and four women, if they are going to maximize creativity. However, much more detailed and controlled experimentation remains to be done on the process of creative transformation. The preliminary indications are that the theory is essentially correct and that it will work with persons who are screened by the process as given in this appendix. It will probably never work for persons who can not pass the the initial screening. Remember that the screened persons eliminate themselves. The process itself continues to screen persons out.

From the preceding experiments we have modified or restructured our experimental techniques and the seminar process itself. Persons who have read and understand this book are allowed to begin the seminar with no other preparation. Persons who have not read this book are invited to one of the four hour audio-visual presentations and then asked to read and understand this book. If they are then interested in participating in the seminar, they submit an application to attend. We try to match persons by compatibility and geography, then follow up with studies to see what kind of persons get the most out of the creative transformation process.

In two evenings and two days, everyone who passes the self-screening process is taken through the first four steps of creative transformation so that they can continue it on their own, usually in the same octet in which they participated during the weekend seminar. Persons who have read thisbook and wish to take the four hour audio-visual presentation prior to the weekend seminar are invited to the four hour audio-visual presentation after verifying by telephone that there is room. The following materials are currently sent to persons who inquire about our seminars or about working with SEE. They are similar to the materials sent to the original experiment participants.

Applicant Letter

Dear Applicant:

Thank you for your interest in participating in our creativity experiment. Briefly, the experiment consists of taking some experimental courses and laboratories in group creativity in groups of at least four men and four women but rarely more than sixteen men and sixteen women. The courses and laboratories will be given for two days at a private country home near Eugene. The courses begin at 8:00 PM on an evening of your choice and end within two days. You will be provided with room and board during this period but no salary. Participants who show high creativity and wish to join SEE may be offered positions with SEE plus the opportunity to be partners with SEE in enterprises financed entirely by SEE. One year work-study scholarships with SEE are also available. However, nothing is guaranteed or promised at this time.

Single persons will be provided with dormitory accommodations. Couples may have a room and bath to be shared with one other couple. The gardens, library, classical music room, shops, and other accommodations will be fully available to all participants.

The experiment consists of learning a generalized theory of evolution and ethics and how to apply it to solve practical problems. Problem-solving sessions will be held each day. The final exercise will focus on a very difficult problem that requires considerable creativity to solve. The participants will be thoroughly briefed and debriefed after each exercise. The entire two days should be a pleasant learning experience in a very agreeable surroundings for all participants. Each participant will at all times be made as comfortable as possible and treated with courtesy and respect. We request that you sign the preliminary contract for Creative Transformation (attached) before being invited to stay for the weekend.

The program is an experimental procedure for enhancing individual creativity within small groups of eight to sixteen persons. SEE cannot guarantee that every participant will have his or her creativity significantly enhanced. However, that is the purpose of the experiment. The minimum that SEE can guarantee you is that if you are selected to participate in this experimental program you will have a pleasant, interesting, and creative vacation in beautiful surroundings at no cost to you. At best you will have your creativity greatly enhanced so that you can be creative in entirely new dimensions of activity. Whatever happens, you will significantly contribute to your and humanity's understanding of the process by which we discover scientific laws, invent machines, create works of art, and help others to do the same.

If you wish to participate in the experiment, please fill out and return the enclosed form and contract. A prerequisite for participating in the experiment is that you read Creative Transformation by John David Garcia and take our four-hour course - Creativity, Ethics, and Evolution - at no cost to you. The course will be given at a time and in a location hopefully convenient for you. This four-hour course will give you a clear indication of how and why the experiment is being run and the theory behind it. You may buy or borrow Creative Transformation after taking the free course.

Please call or write if you wish to explore further your participation in SEE's experimental program for enhancing creativity. When we receive your completed application, we will invite you to attend the first course that is convenient for you.

School of Experimental Ecology
P.O. Box 10851, Eugene, Oregon 97440

Information for Creative Transformation

A Two-Day Experimental Course and Workshop
Designed To Help You Achieve a New Dimension in Creativity
by JOHN DAVID GARCIA, Inventor and Author

The course is given at the School of Experimental Ecology (SEE) at its country home in Fall Creek, Oregon, beginning on an evening of your choice and ending two days later at 5:00 P.M.

Admission is by pre-enrollment only. Although the course is for a general audience, it is recommended that applicants read and understand Creative Transformation before taking the four-hour introductory course, Creativity, Ethics and Evolution, which is given by SEE periodically in the afternoons at 1:00 P.M. at the SEE country home in Fall Creek, OR, prior to the workshop. Applicants are admitted to the workshop only after understanding Creative Transformation and taking Creativity, Ethics and Evolution.

The workshop will teach participants how to apply the principles of Creative Transformation to their own personal lives and to the lives of persons with whom they interact in such a way that their own creativity and that of others is maximized. All participants will be provided with transportation between Fall Creek and the Eugene, Oregon airport, plus points in between.

The first teaching session consists of discussing Creativity, Ethics and Evolution, which all participants will have previously studied. When the Session is over, the participants arrange themselves into one or two teams of four couples each. There will be at least four men and four women but not more than sixteen men and sixteen women participating in the course. Part of what is taught is how men and women complement each other in the creative process.

Three creativity exercises will be performed. The first two exercises will apply creative ethics to solving a whole gamut of problems that persons may encounter in their lives, focusing on education, economics and other social problems. The third exercise will illustrate and use a technique for integrating four couples into a creative, collective intelligence capable of solving problems that none of the individuals can solve alone.

All three exercises will be thoroughly discussed and analyzed by all the participants before and after each exercise. The exercises themselves are structured as applications of Creative Transformation.

The two-days will be spent at SEE's country home, a pleasant 10-room, 3T-bath, 3,100 square foot home with a large garden, library, music room, and many other amenities. All facilities of SEE are available to all course participants. The home itself is located on a creek in a beautiful, quiet, secluded river valley in the midst of hills, Douglas fir forests, and fields. Walking tours of the gardens and creek will be held each day for those who wish to take them. Participants should bring comfortable, casual clothes for two days and two nights. Bring rubber boots during the rainy season if you wish to take walks. Persons wishing to swim in the creek (summer only) should bring a swim suit. All instruction, room, board, facilities, and transportation are free to persons participating in the experiment.

If the experiment is successful, you will become significantly more creative, and SEE will learn how to better educate its students. After further discussions and interviews, successful participants may be offered positions or affiliations with SEE. However, nothing is guaranteed.

Application for Admission

The following application is for the two-day experimental course, Creative Transformation, given by the School of Experimental Ecology at its country home in Fall Creek, Oregon. Filling out this form and meeting the prerequisites are not guarantees of admission. You will be interviewed by a member of the SEE staff to see if you can be integrated into a group beginning on your preferred dates.

Last Name 
First Name 
Middle Name 
Health Excellent --- Good --- Poor
Are you applying as a: Single --- Couple --- Group

If you are applying as a couple or group, each person must complete an application. Please attach them together and submit.

What is the highest educational level you have achieved?
What were (are?) your principal areas of study, formal and informal:
List your three favorite books, and briefly state why:
List the last three books you have read with dates:
Have you read Creative Transformation? (yes or no)
Do you thoroughly understand Creative Transformation? (yes or no)
List your three favorite musical compositions or composers:
List your three favorite works of art or artists:
List the three most important achievements of your life:
List the three things you would most like to achieve in the future:
List your hobbies and non-professional interests:
What is your current profession? Attach resume, if available.
What are the three most important kinds of work you have done outside your profession?
Do you have children? If yes, please give ages:
Briefly summarize your lifetime creative achievement to date and your hopes for the future; add more sheets if necessary:
Do you wish additional help to understand Creative Transformation? (yes or no)
Preferred dates of attendance for Creativity, Ethics & Evolution:
Preferred dates of attendance for Creative Transformation:

Information About SEE

The School of Experimental Ecology (SEE) is a research and development organization dedicated to maximizing creativity. Creativity is, among other things, the process by which we discover scientific laws, invent new machines, produce works of art, or help others do the same. The most creative thing one can do is help maximize the creativity of another. In the process we maximize our own creativity. SEE accomplishes its purpose through education and the development of new technologies. The objective is to discover, through experimentation, how to optimize personal creativity by modifying the ecology or total environment - physical, biological, and psychosocial - of each person, so as to maximize that person's creativity. SEE offers the following programs and activities for the benefit of its members and the public:

SEE is entirely self-financing through the creativity of its members. No fees are sought or accepted for SEE's services. Instead SEE works in a cooperative manner with its members and associates to create works of art,start new enterprises, and develop new inventions. SEE's sole income comes from sharing in these creations and from anonymous, unsolicited contributions.

SEE was started in 1981 and is still headed by John David Garcia, an author and a successful scientist-inventor of many new technologies and devices. Enterprises started and inventions created by John David Garcia have had sales in excess of one billion dollars. Yet profitability is neither a goal nor a constraint on SEE's activities. SEE's sole goal is to maximize creativity.

Creativity is the basis of all wealth. But wealth is regarded by SEE as an essentially trivial side effect of creativity. The only reason to associate with SEE is to increase creativity. SEE considers neither wealth nor security in its decisions.

If you wish to know more about SEE, you should read books by John David Garcia, particularly Creative Transformation, which are available in many libraries, through Whitmore Publishing Company in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, or through SEE itself. You are also invited to apply for admission to any of SEE's free seminars or workshops. Only persons who have taken the free seminars and workshops, read SEE's materials, then thoroughly understand and share SEE's goals, purposes and methods are invited to become members and associates. There are no other prerequisites.

School of Experimental Ecology
P.O. Box 10851, Eugene, Oregon 97440


A Four-Hour Audio-Visual Presentation
on Creative Transformation
by John David Garcia, Inventor and Author

Seminar Outline and Agenda


A. The Evolution of Matter
  • 1. The Origin of the Universe
  • 2. The Evolution of the Galaxies
  • 3. The Evolution of the Stars
  • 4. The Evolution of the Planets
  • 5. Entropy and Evolution
  • 6. Chemical Evolution
  • 7. Self-Reproducing Molecules
  • 8. Autopoiesis
B. The Evolution of Life
  • 1. The Cellular Synthesis
  • 2. Specialization & Generalization
  • 3. Natural Selection
  • 4. Punctuated Equilibrium
  • 5. Embryological Recapitulation
  • 6. The Fossil Record
  • 7. The Neural Primacy
  • 8. Brain Evolution
C. The Evolution of Intelligence
  • 1. What Is Intelligence?
  • 2. Intelligence and Natural Selection
  • 3. Human Versus Animal Intelligence
  • 4. Computers and the Brain
  • 5. The Components of Intelligence
  • 6. Imagination and Creativity
  • 7. Ethical Intelligence
  • 8. The Problem of Creativity
D. Discussion and Recess


A. The Evolution of Mind

  • 1. Mind and Intelligence
  • 2. Mind/Body Problem
  • 3. Autopoiesis and Consciousness
  • 4. Creativity and Consciousness
  • 5. Creativity and Ethics
  • 6. Mind and Evolution
  • 7. Creativity and Evolution
  • 8. The Game of Life

B. The Evolution of Ethics

  • 1. Survival, Ethics and Evolution
  • 2. Subjective Ethics
  • 3. Objective Ethics
  • 4. The History of Ethics
  • 5. Ethical Singularity--6th Century B.C.
  • 6. The Christian Synthesis
  • 7. Religion and Entropy
  • 8. Spinoza and Moral Science
C. Discussion and Recess


A. Collective Intelligence

  • 1. Supermetazoan Intelligence
  • 2. Human Organizations
  • 3. Ethics and Organization
  • 4. Creative Organization
  • 5. Bureaucracy and Entropy
  • 6. Optimization of Organizations
  • 7. The Problems To Be Solved
  • 8. How To Begin
B. Collective Creativity
  • 1. Personal Transformation
  • 2. Ethical Dynamics
  • 3. Fear and Love
  • 4. Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness
  • 5. Science and Mysticism
  • 6. Evolution by Complementary Pairs
  • 7. Human Autopoiesis
  • 8. The Moral Society
C. Discussion and Recess

D. Open-Ended Discussion

NOTE: The audio-visual presentation takes exactly four hours. Discussions and Recesses will add a variable amount of time to the presentation which may be in excess of one hour. Persons with questions should write to SEE or call 415/876-5239.

Preliminary Contract for Creative Transformation

(Used only in some later experiments after January, 1988)

For the next forty-eight hours I promise to do the following to the best of my ability:

In return for my promise to abide by the above eight conditions, I will receive free room, board, and instruction at SEE during the next 48 hours, while being taught the Creative Transformation Process as a gift for me to keep, use, and modify as I see fit, except that if I modify it in any way, I will no longer call the process "Creative Transformation," which is a process invented by John David Garcia.

I further agree that if I violate any of the eight commitments above, I may be asked, politely, to leave SEE by the Creative Transformation instructor, who may be the sole judge of whether my behavior is violating the terms of this contract. If I am asked to leave, I will do so promptly, causing minimal disruption to those still participating in the process. At that time this contract will be null and void. Therefore, this contract may be unilaterally abrogated at any time by either party by giving notice to the other party as indicated and giving the reasons for the abrogation. The agenda for the next 48 hours is approximately as follows:

I certify that I have never been under the care of a psychiatrist, nor had any professional or authoritative recommendation that I have psychiatric care, nor ever had any experiences that might have required psychiatric care. I am to the best of my knowledge mentally and physically healthy. I am not under the regular care of any health professional at this time nor am I using any kind of medication, drugs, or medical diet.

If I cannot attest fully to the veracity of the previous paragraph, I hereby submit a certificate of my eligibility to participate in the Creative Transformation process that has been signed by a licensed health professional claiming to be competent in this matter. I understand fully and accept that although the Creative Transformation process seems to be harmless and unstressful for almost all fully healthy persons, it may produce stress and even distress in some persons who are not in full mental or physical health and possibly in others. I fully understand and accept that Creative Transformation is still an experimental process whose side effects are not fully understood. I have been informed as follows:

"Of over three hundred persons who have gone through the Creative Transformation process, only one showed extreme emotional and possibly physical distress; that person appeared to be a seriously disturbed paranoid schizophrenic, whose symptoms did not show in the beginning. Three other persons did not show distress but showed some stress. One claimed to be a schizophrenic. Another claimed to have had a `nervous breakdown' a year earlier. The third appeared to be a healthy woman who had a lot of job-related stress in her life; when she recovered from her stress, about five months after the workshop, she asked to make a full commitment to work with SEE. Such highly vulnerable persons should not participate in the process without full informed consent. All other participants in the Creative Transformation process report only positive experiences. If you are emotionally or physically fragile, you should not participate."

I promise to hold the School of Experimental Ecology and all its associates blameless for any harm that may befall me as a consequence of events of the next 48 hours. I finally promise to leave any facilities I use during the next 48 hours as I found them.

Printed Name

Signature and Date

School of Experimental Ecology
P.O. Box 10851 Eugene, OR 97440 Tel. 415/876-5239

How To Repeat the Experiments

Before I wrote this book, participants in the Creative Transformation experiments, in addition to always taking the four-hour course, were often required to read The Moral Society, occasionally also Psychofraud and Ethical Therapy, and always a set of notes, similar to the last half of the Introduction to this book, before or during the Creative Transformation weekend seminar. Although the four-hour course, the other books, and the notes have their own value, this book is a better preparation for the Creative Transformation weekend seminar than all the other publications combined. The best way to screen participants is with this book.

You should now have a good idea about how the original experiments were performed. I hope that you and others will repeat them and verify them. You should get very similar results if you follow the following outline, which is a recommended approach reflecting SEE's experiences; feel free to improvise on it and change it to what you think is best.

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John David Garcia, 1991, All rights Reserved.