Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Principles of Action Explorations

Originally posted on May 1, 2013

In a sense, this is a bit of a personal mission statement: I have been fortunate to encounter a goodly number of tools that I think can help humanity evolve in their consciousness. I plan to develop and promote these ideas and complexes of ideas, together and separately:

1. The goals of living become more associated with personal and collective creativity instead of carrying forward what was thought to be valuable and true from the past. The other tools to be noted make this more possible.

2. The way to be more creative involves exploring, improvising, trying out things.

3. But this requires an attitude of mind associated with the phenomenon of spontaneity. That which supports this attitude supports creativity.

4. Not all creative efforts are successful; the process requires patience and the freedom and willingness to experiment repeatedly.

5. An attitude of playfulness helps. Activities that develop this attitude, games, recreational forms, both enhance the quality of life and support the process of becoming more creative.

6. Playfulness in turn involves the development of a capacity to be both involved and at the same time a little non-involved. One is engaged in the game, the play, but one also knows it to be “only” play and therefore there is more freedom to explore creative alternatives.

7. The metaphor of drama informs this: One is both the role played in the drama and to some extent the actor playing the role who is also beyond the role. This allows the actor to take direction from the director. In a more life-as-drama set, one is the co-director and co-playwright, as well as the co-actor. That is to say, I create and revise the parts I play in life; I am the composer and conductor of the symphony as well as the player of the various instruments. I am the gardener as well as the flowers. And if I “fail,” well, that didn’t work, so I try something else. I am thus liberated to take stock of my life and revise it again and again. This is what I consider to be true maturation. There are hundreds of component issues here, such as, for example, my propensity to be fooled or taken in by certain norms or beliefs or political propaganda, and my growing (I hope) capacity to notice how I am fooled. Sometimes this involves my discovering the mistake a little too late, but on the other hand, life goes on, so the mistake and consequences reinforces the lessons for growing.
In other words, I am wise to the extent that I have learned from my experiences, some of which involve the consequences of my having been foolish.

8. Tools that allow me to role play, experiment with life, try on different approaches, all are part of the play.

9. “Role” is a useful term, and associated terms constitute a kind of user-friendly language for coping with life. It’s better than most words deriving from 20th century psychology.

10. Psychodrama and sociodrama constitute a wealth of methods for exploring more creative ways to approach problems, or to analyze and revise my own attitude system.

11. It helps to have some others to help think things through. The mind is a social organ. We fool ourselves too readily in thinking that we can think about things alone. While there have been occasional and widely celebrated breakthroughs from individual thought, there are innumerable examples of self-defeating illusions that compound people’s folly, collectively and individually. It’s better to collaborate creatively and invite and be open to criticism. (Groups in which the “leaders” are defensive and effectively suppress criticism fail in making use of the best of group dynamics. Also, groups in which participants are trying to compete in showing how clever they are. The real goal is a truly mutually supportive process of collaboration, teamwork, feedback.)

12. Play and drama allow for an experiment, a role play, a pretend action. The makes improvised drama in the service of exploration—role play—the psycho-social equivalent of a laboratory for more material or physical experiments (i.e., chemistry, biology, physics). People can do this informally in their own home to explore their own attitudes, but some others who really know the underlying principles are usually needed to be present to give feedback.

13. Having others witness and note what is played is helpful to affirm what has been expressed, to register what has been confessed. Otherwise, the mind is a surprisingly subtle and self-deceptive phenomenon that can undo, deny, and dilute what has been said—unless there’s someone who has heard it said, and one knows that someone has heard it. A small degree of performance thus adds to the power of the process.

,,, enough for now. Commentary expanding o many of these points are in many papers on my website. In another blog posting I’ll note some of the more specific techniques that build on the aforementioned. The point, in sum, is that there are ways of thinking, techniques as basic as counting and addition in arithmetic, that can improve the way we think and create together.

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