John G Bell
Reflective Practicum 1
Spring '04 - Hormann

Weekly – What is Creative Change?

People appropriate indignation in accord with their previous position. New mental models are exchanged for old, but the new model merely justifies a previous prejudice or position. Old prejudices are re-framed in more psychologically acceptable language. This isn't creative change. Moving to a new position, rhetorical frame or mental model that excludes the validity and humanity of the experience of another is not going to lead to creative change.

Creative change is a process of crossing the threshold toward the position, rhetorical frame or mental models of another beyond areas of comfort. The process of crossing thresholds of comfort open a new unexplored vista of ambiguity. One must not step so far into this ambiguity as to become lost, nor must one merely test the waters and not become transformed. However, crossing these thresholds is not a journey toward transformation into the other. This area of ambiguity is a space where the other can be invited to create a new positions, rhetorical frames and mental models. Crossing this threshold is the process of transforming both the self, the other and the world.

The world is desperately in need of more people that think in David Bohm's participatory awareness. There are subtle and non-obvious connections between all people and things. This is not exclusive of the kind of thinking that divides and categorizes. Many other's have similar ideas. DeBono calls these two modes vertical and horizontal thinking. LeShan calls these modes the way of the one and the way of the many. Rosenburg speaks of the jackal and the giraffe. In Myers-Briggs this is the tension between Thinking and Feeling. I've used the term disconnected and connected for these ideas. It's important to realize that both are essential to the human experience of the world and should be, although very often are not, held in that paradoxical space of creative tension or dynamic equilibrium. Creative change is change manifested while maintaining this creative tension, allowing neither to override and submerge the other, the self or the Other.

Crossing the threshold is a project of loving the enemy and becoming alienated from one's own community. The result is a new community and the creation of non-exclusive shared history and an open invitation to one's enemy and one's former community to join in the possibility for creative change.