In 1979 Dr. Luis Alberto Machado was appointed the first cabinet level Minister for the Development of Intelligence of Venezuela. His task was to raise the level of intelligence of the entire population of his country, from birth to old age. This program under his leadership was in place for four years until a change of government occurred.
At first he was the laughing stock of his country, and the publication of his book, The Right To Be Intelligent was immediately followed by a lampoon, The Right To Be Stupid. Within a short time, however, the derision stopped. During the four years of the Intelligence Project, enormous change took place as children entered school with greater abilities, school children’s achievement improved, and workers benefited from on-going training in intelligence as part of their jobs. The success of the project has been documented in several reports published by Harvard University and Bolt, Beranek, and Newman of Cambridge, MA.
Since he left office, Dr. Machado has devoted himself to research and writing, consulting with many foreign goverments, and preparing to resume the project one day in Venezuela.
The following is excerpted from a speech given by Dr. Machado at the June 1987 New Horizons for Learning conference held at Pacific Lutheran University.
– Dee Dickinson
We have to go forward with all our love, our faith, and our hope. It can be done, and if it can be done, it must be done. We have to start a movement that will cover the whole earth. We have to be the pioneers of hope, pioneers of love, pioneers of faith for the benefit of humankind. Today we have an opportunity that never existed before; we are able to start the most important transformation of history.
In the last 50 years there has been more and more information each day about how to develop human capabilities, the genetic capacity of every man and every woman all over the world. Our first human right is the right to be the image of God. We have a genetic capacity, and we have the right to develop it to its utmost in accordance with the knowledge we have in each moment in history. Today we have an abundant knowledge that only a few people all over the world are using. What has happened to the rest? We have to go inside the universities, we have to take the books from the hands of the scientists, and with the help of the scientists, we have to put the content of those books in the hands of people, of everyone all over the world. For that we have to start a movement, a revolution, a peaceful revolution, a revolution for love, a revolution of hope, of faith in human beings. It can be done.
In the last 50,000 years at least the human brain hasn’t changed at all. We have the same brain as the human beings of the cave. Evolution from that moment to this world of ours in the 20th century is not a biological evolution, it is a cultural evolution. We have learned up to now how to use our brain, but just in a minimal part. The peculiarity of today is that we have the knowledge of how to increase that utilization. It can be done. And everyone has the right, it’s a human right, to use that knowledge. We have a duty to give that knowledge to everyone.
In addition, science has demonstrated that the more you live, the more intelligent you can be. It is not what we thought thirty years ago, when we thought there was a sort of decay of intelligence from the moment of twenty five years old on. That’s not true. The more experience you have, if you exercise intelligence, you can be more intelligent in time. So a person of 70 years old should be more intelligent than a person of 50 years old. So our golden age is in the future and not in the past. Using our intelligence more and more each day we can put into action what I think has to be the goal of every human being: to die young as late as possible.
It can be done. We have to implement ways to use all the knowledge we have and make connections with other people in the United States that have the same ideas, and we have to convince the leaders of society. We have to go to the owners of mass media to convince them about this, for their own benefit, even for their own economic benefit. If we, on the television networks, on the radios, convert this knowledge in spots of thirty seconds or one minute and broadcast them many times during the day, what is going to happen in this country ten years from now? If we motivate, if we illustrate, to all the adult population of this country that you can be more intelligent, you can have more capacity for loving, you can learn that it is possible to learn. It can be done and you can do it.
Give this knowledge away using the best knowledge of how to put a message in the hearts and the minds of people. Use all of the instruments of society, the trade unions, the associations of professionals, the enterprises. What’s the goal for the enterprises, of all the enterprises of this country? To instruct, to motivate, to give the knowledge of how to develop these skills to all executives and the workers as well. What would happen if we could sell the most important enterprises of this country on the idea, the aim, to give to all the workers, all of them, the methodologies we know for developing human capacity?
Convert this to a national goal. And if you do it here, then it is going to happen all over the world without any doubt because you are the leaders of the world. You have to be conscious of that. The best thing that you can give to all the people is not economic help or advice. No, not at all. What the third world needs, what three billion people need, is knowledge about how to develop their genetic capacity. This is something that goes beyond all races, beyond all differences of sex, of social difference. It can be done in all of the continents at all ages and for both sexes. I have been travelling all over the world with this message and I can say to you there are many people around the world motivated and even willing to give their lives for this idea.
What happens in this country if we transform the educational system just with this idea? The educational system today concerns every leader of society, in this country and in all the countries of the world. There is an increasing conscience that says to us that it has to be transformed; a very deep transformation of it is a necessity for all humanity. What are its characteristics? That in all parts of the world, we teach; a student doesn’t learn. The effort is in the teaching not in the learning. We instruct but really we don’t educate. The Latin word means, "to get from the inside to the outside," and all information by definition goes from the outside to the inside. The only thing that can go from the inside to the outside are the capabilities, the skills, that is what we are born with. What we have in the brain is the capability equivalent to five hundred billion of the most important electronic computers we know of today. That is the capacity of the brain of every student all over the world, and they have to transform and to know how to use that computer. And today, for the first time, we have the knowledge, the scientific knowledge, of how to do it. So it can be done.
My proposition is this; it is to include in the educational system a new subject, from kindergarten to college, one hour daily from Monday to Friday, in which the students learn how to think, how to love, how to create, how to live, how to learn, how to develop their genetic capacity. Of course we have to include all of these methods in the natural and traditional subjects. It can be done. But in addition to that, we have to have an additional subject in which they learn how to think, how to transfer to the other subjects this knowledge about how to develop their capabilities, and how to transfer this to the solution of the problems of normal life for everyone. Everything that we teach in the classroom has to have the goal of the happiness of human beings. Intelligence is an instrument in the service of love. And love means happiness. That is why St. Augustine said, "Love and do whatever you like." If you really love, all that you are going to do is going to be in accordance with love, so it’s going to be honest and good, is going to be wonderful, and is going to be right. All that you can learn is for that purpose, for life. So we have to teach how to live and that means how to love, how to be happy, and for that we have to have that specific subject. I think that in this consists the most important transformation in the educational system that we can imagine.
In addition, we have to go to the very beginning of life; we have to go to the moment of birth and even before. A person can start his or her education even before birth. It can be done, and it has been done. There is a lot of scientific experience about this. A child can develop its intelligence and its capacity in a very dramatic way yet it’s the most easy way that we can imagine. Just with love, love, love. We just say to the mother and to the father, you have to hug your child as frequently as you can. You have to touch him as much as you can, from the very moment of birth, and you have to do it systematically. It’s not random. You have to take each finger and do it three times a day on the body, and that child is going to be more intelligent all his life because he received that stimulation, because from the skin to the brain there will be an electrical impulse which provokes a connection between the neurons.
Then we have to say to the mother, the father and the others around that child, please speak, talk to your child from the very beginning of life, not only after birth, but before birth. You have to talk to him more and more and you have to permit him to listen to music, music all the day. And different sounds and then you have to stimulate the brain to the sense of touching and you have to put their fingers in different temperatures. Do that systematically with all the five senses. There are a lot of books, thousands of books that say how to do it systematically. What to do in the first month, in the second month, in the third month, and so on. So in the same way that we teach teachers about how to teach, we can teach parents about how to stimulate the brain, and the genetic capacity of the children.
Those first six years are the most important ones, the most important of all, so I have this proposition as well: to translate the importance of the school to the homes because until today the main structure in the educational system is instruction. I think that this is an error. The main structure of the educational system is the home because that is the most important age of the child. We have to be conscious of this.
That’s all; it’s very easy to do. Very easy to start in a systematic, scientific way. We have a lot of knowledge about this; we have to use it. I think that it is a crime that we have that knowledge in all universities of the world and we don’t give it to all parents. How many mothers know about this here in the United States? A million, two million, three million, five million. And what happened to the rest? How many mothers all over the world? One million more and what happened to all the rest? We are five billion souls all over the world, what happened with all of them? What happened with all the children that are born each day, today?
Can we just remain quiet without doing anything? Can we permit some children with better brains than other children because some mothers know how to do this and others don’t… when it’s very easy to do it for all of them? We have to democratize that knowledge. We have to go inside universities take that knowledge and put it in the hands, and in the brain and heart, of all mothers and all fathers. Parents are going to be happier because to love more and to see the increase in the capacity of that child makes them happier.
We have to learn how to love each day and to increase our capacity for loving each day, and we have to learn how to utilize our body in relation with our brain and our heart and our mind. We have to learn that at all ages, so we have to start from the moment of birth and even before. It is a family project. Converting families is the most important cell of the social transformation that we need all over the world.
So we can give this knowledge to the adult populations, to the educational systems, and to families. It can be done. I want to cover all of these programs with the mass media massively. And we have to convert this into a national model here in the United States. We have already done this in Venezuela, but it’s not enough. So I came here to say to you that we have to go forward with all our hearts, with all our hopes, with faith in ourselves, with faith in human beings, with faith in every people of the world. And mainly with great, great, great love. Love for ourselves, love for God, love for humanity, love for the future, love for everyone, because it can be done, and it can be done with love, with faith, with hope.
Inspired by the Venezuelan Intelligence Project, New Horizons for Learning has produced a parenting program currently being used throughout the United States and in many foreign countries. Day One: A Positive Beginning for Parents and Their Infants, is a 30-minute videotape, with an accompanying training program for volunteers or staff. It focuses on helping parents to learn ways to lay the foundations for the fuller development of their children, intellectually, emotionally, and physically, and is based on leading edge research in neonatal education in the United States. The program has won an award for excellence from the National Council of Family Relations.
It is being used in hospital maternity units, parenting programs in community centers and colleges, and in school Health Education classes. As a head start in parent education, it is also being used in elementary school classrooms where many children have new brothers or sisters at home.
For a brochure or further information, write or call New Horizons for Learning, 4649 Sunnyside North, Seattle, WA 98103. (206) 547 7936.