Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two to tango, four to square dance

Excellent article in Slate that looks at creativity in partnerships and takes on the pervasive cultural myth of the lone genius.  Joshua Wolf Shenk even takes on the whole notion of a separate "self" - an idea that's been questioned by such paths as Buddhism and Advaita.  
Do we really exist outside of relationships?

I've always been annoyed by the phrase, "We're born alone, and we die alone."  I can't speak about the death part of it, but having given birth, I can say most emphatically that we're not born alone!  Some woman (and likely a whole bunch of other people) are on the scene and working very hard to make that birth happen.  And, as the article points out, babies are interrelating right from the start.

We Americans seem to be especially in love with what Shenk calls "the atomized person."  I can't help thinking that this notion is partly responsible for the polarization of the country today, and the apparent loss of the sense of the collective good.  If we saw harming our neighbor as actually harming ourselves, we might have a different view.  In the piece, John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago says:  "We're ready for a Copernican revolution in psychology." 

Which sets me to thinking about how what aspects of learning design may be based, unknowingly, on this underlying belief in individualism.  Are there ways to do it better?

At Workplace, we adore collaboration.  From the basic pair who run the company (Dan and Beverly Feldt, who are husband and wife); to our fabulous interactors; to our clients, whose great ideas are always incorporated in our "flight simulators"; to our focus groups and participants, whose grappling with the situations we present creates the learning - it's all glorious groups.  Could we be the wave of the future?

Yummy food for thought.  Maybe I'll go talk to Dan about it...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Good words

Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't as all. You can be discouraged by failure - or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you will find success. – Thomas J. Watson