Intro -- Rich DiNapoli LO9713
Tue, 3 Sep 1996 11:21:41 -0400

I'm a heretofore sometime lurker on this list and in the field of
organizational change, learning, etc. I have been variously impressed and
overwhelmed (and too shy to respond) with the quality and quantity of
activity on this list.

My day job is performing psychotherapy in the guise of a clinical
psychologist. My primary clincal training is in family systems and
psychodrama. I was pushed out of my lurking posture by some of what
Phillip Capper wrote in reference to The Unlearning Organization(and maybe
also by the end of summer/new september energy) Specifically, " my belief
is what some here call 'unlearning' is in fact this process of accessing
deeper level understandings in order to produce new solutions to novel
situations (my italics)." This bears a striking resemblance to
Moreno's(founder of Psychodrama) definition of his core concept of
spontaneity: "It is the ability to perform an old task in a new way or a
new task adequately."

Jonathan Fox, who developed Playback Theater, connects Moreno's
spontaneity to some of Bateson's thinking re: Mind. Fox says, "
Spontaneity means more than quickness of action. It means choice of
action. This concept describes humankind dealing with a phenomenologically
dynamic social universe which our need for meaning motivates us to
understand. Faced with this condition, the human mind, or what Bateson
refers to as Mind, has a remarkable ability for adaption and invention. It
is connected to our capacity for play, but calls upon our highest
intelligence. Improvisational performance highlights this form of genius,
reminding us publicly that spontaneity, in the fullest sense, is the
inheritance of us all."

The reference to Improvisational Performance is a key for me. It is my
belief and experience that individuals can be 'trained' or provided an
experiential context within which there inherent capacity for spontaneity
can be developed. One of these contexts is the arena of improvisational,
non-scripted theater-based training. I wonder/theorize that if people
could be given the opportunity to regain the skill of
spontaneity/improvisation, then any demand situation will be more
effectively met. Also, improvisation training seems to provide an
underpinning for other sought-after states, e.g., creativity and
collaboration. I could go on, but I'm wondering if there is any resonance
out there to what may seem like a rather loose association. I'm going to
be brave/spontaneous and push the 'send' button momentarily.

Rich DiNapoli


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