Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mary Catherine Bateson comments on creativity, life and improv

[26 June 2005 - Creative Education Foundation's Creative Problem Solving Institute] Anthropologist and author Mary Catherine Bateson wove a rich tapestry of themes about life as an improvisatory art. Her message included:
Practicing improvisation is not an oxymoron. Improvisation -- creativity of many kinds -- is something you learn to do. And it's a kind of coming full circles.

The world is changing so fast that we are all on stage without a script. And it isn't going to help to memorize a script. We're going to have to learn the skills of making it up as we go along.

If you view your life as continuities, you are likely to seek continuities and avoid change. If you look at the discontinuities, you may be likely to move on too quickly.

About fear and the failure of imagination ... you can't prevent something which you can't think about.

It's only when you move to multiple narratives that you begin to see possibilities and get away from thinking things are just going to go on the way they are. That's an essential element of creativity ... alternative ways of understanding; alternative ways of seeing.

Creativity is sparked when cultures meet -- when they meet with open imaginations and full curiosity.

With the demographic changes and the aging population ... there is a group of people who have not yet discovered in the changing currents of time the range of their possibilities.

Education is about making people think for themselves. ... What we tell our children while their minds are open and impressionable ought to be the key for the changes that need to be brought about, and I think at the moment we are moving in the wrong direction.

We all need to work very hard to reinforce those aspects of the educational system that make people open to differences, to alternatives that stretch their imagination.

What thoughts do these quotes spark for you? Or did you hear Bateson's keynote yourself at CPSI 2005? Click the "Post a comment" link below and share your reflections.

Read more reports online about Bateson's keynote and CPSI 2005 in general. Plus, if you missed CPSI 2005 and want to check out materials from some of the programs and sessions, you can do that on the CPSI Web site. Also, you can purchase books by CPSI keynoters and presenters - including Bateson's latest, Willing to Learn - in the online bookstore. Your purchases help support CEF.

1 comment:

  1. Consider:
    The missing element in every human 'solution' is
    an accurate definition of the creature.

    The way we define 'human' determines our view of self,
    others, relationships, institutions, life, and future. Many
    problems in human experience are the result of false
    and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
    in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

    Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
    developed, and sensitive perception of variety. Thus
    aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
    ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
    Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
    itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

    Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
    his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
    that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
    ence intent on the development of perceptive
    awareness and the following acts of decision and
    choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
    him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
    making process and include the cognition of self,
    the utility of experience, the development of value-
    measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
    ation of civilization.

    The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
    customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
    his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
    creative process, is a choice-making process. His
    articles, constructs, and commodities, however
    marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
    atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
    highest expression of the creative process.

    Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
    significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
    fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
    forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
    ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
    natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
    bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
    singular and plural brow.

    Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
    nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
    Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
    characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
    foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
    spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
    ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the

    - from The HUMAN PARADIGM