19 June 2004
Communicating thrival skills and insights
- / -
Much is made of the acquisition of the skills necessary for survival and success
in modern society. The skills on which emphasis is placed may include the full
range of technical skills that are explicitly valued by employers on a curriculum
vitae. They may include certain loosely defined qualities like leadership skills
for which particular forms of training are available. On the other hand the
emphasis may be placed on "experience" or "maturity".
The concern in what follows, however, is with the communication and acquisition
of "attitude" understood as a precursor of skill acquisition and an
essential quality in the successful use of any other kinds of skill. The focus
is on the nature of the attitude that tends to be fundamental to thrival --
often irrespective of the possession of more formally recognized skills, notably
those for which certificates can be acquired. These attitudinal skills may be
as significant to "success" in a conventional monetary and career
advancement sense as they are to thriving under the most modest conditions --
or those in which the recognition of others may be absent, or limited to the
simplest forms of appreciation.
"Right attitude" and "Wrong attitude": More generally,
and with few specifics, judgements may be made on people as to their possession
of the "right attitude" -- or the lack of it. Lack of the "right
attitude" may be aggravated by having whatever is understood as the "wrong
attitude". "Positive attitude" may be an alternative descriptor
for "right attitude".
"Bad attitude": This term is used in recognition of subtle
signals indicative of unacceptable behavior. It is notably used in relation
to situations where an expected level of respect is considered to be lacking.
It may be a trigger for violence between urban gangs, for example. or in settings
such as discos and bars where some may be "looking for a fight" citing
"bad attitude" in others as a justification. "Lack of respect"
is often a concern articulated by the older generation regarding the attitude
of younger people.
"Getting it": Many educational and training situations may
be associated with acquiring a form of understanding indicated by the term "getting
it". Failure to "get it" may effectively render the person unsuitable
for the challenge for which they are being trained -- even if they succeed in
fulfilling all formal requirements. Under certain conditions failure to "get
it" may be a determining factor in "failure" of the training
course however the reasons for such failure are labelled.
Indicative examples of "attitude"
Employment: Employers may be very sensitive to whether an employee has
the "right attitude for the job". However this attitude may be very
difficult to articulate, even when it is not a purely subjective and biased
judgement by the employer.
Work ethic: Whether employed by others or not, the attitude towards
work may be a vital factor in the acquisition and use of skills. This is most
often described in relation to employment as an appropriate "work ethic".
Employers may exhibit a natural bias in favour of employees from cultures in
which this ethic is valued (eg the "Protesatant work ethic"). Having
a work ethic may however also determine ability to engage in creative expression
or to develop a new skill -- most obviously seen in the application of kids
to acquiring skateboarding skills. However the attitude is clearly not the ability
to perform in the company of peers and for their admiration. The ethic in question
is more obvious in the assiduity with which individuals practice regularly,
or in private, and without such reinforcement -- as in the case of long distance
runners. Its appropriateness may also be questioned as in the case of workaholics.
Team membership: Successful membership of any team may be highly dependent
on some form of "attitude" that enables a potential member to "fit
in". In this case the emphasis is placed on being able to share an attitude
held by other members of the team -- or possibly complementary to the variety
of attitudes held by others, such as to enhance their expression and interplay.
"Street wise": Survival in urban environments may be dependent
on acquisition of an attitude often described as "street wise". This
is the ability to sense potential threats and to be vigilant, rather than naive,
in response to particular situations. The threats may be physical but they may
also be associated with any vulnerability to theft, confidence tricks, solicitation,
Military: Acquisition of the appropriate attitude is vital to the military
profession, whether as a team member or in relationship to leadership challenges.
It may be explicitly seen as vital to the survival of a team of soldiers in
a life threatening situation. A more extreme form of inappropriate attitude
is even subject to severe sanction as "dumb insolence" -- an attitude
that is much more difficult to sanction in other institutional settings.
Sport: Performance in sport may be recognized as highly dependent on
"having the right attitude". This may be applied either to attitudes
towards training, as with the long distance runner, or towards competition.
Much is now made of the ability of a competitor to think themselves into the
challenges of the competition -- often to the point of mentally rehearsing a
Physical challenges: Beyond the challenges of recognized sports, a particular
attitude is associated with the ability to take up, voluntarily, physical challenges
and hardships. These may include cross-country trekking and exploration. In
such cases, beyond the physical challenge, is the ability to stay the course.
Social challenges: Change agents of every kind require a particular
attitude to sustain their efforts in the face of every kind of discouragement
-- notably the labelling of their persistence as irrational obstinacy.
Religious practice: Many religions prescribe spiritual disciplines and
practices. The ability to engage in these on a long-term basis -- especially
in discouraging contexts and circumstances -- may be seen as associated with
an attitude essential to acquiring the insight they are designed to evoke. It
is such an attitude that sustains a person in a monastic environment or -- as
an extreme case -- in a hermitage.
Obligation: Individuals or groups may experience a sense of obligation
to another that transcends anything that can be adequately articulated. A sense
of obligation may be incurred in such a way as to have life-long implications
as with when one person saves the life, the career, or the status of another
(notably as in the Japanese concept of giri).
Environment: There is considerable expressed concern about the lack
of an appropriate attitude to the environment. At its simplest level this is
seen in littering habits -- in contrast with an attitude that automatically
seeks to protect the environment from casual degradation.
Neighbourhood consideration: Aside from such obvious forms of environmental
degradation as littering, neighbourhoods may be extremely concerned at the possibility
of their degradation by less tangible forms of pollution. A particular concern
may be noise pollution. The expectation is that in order to sustain the quality
of the life of a neighbourhood, those having the right attitude should be favoured
and, to the extent possible, those having any other attitude should be excluded.
Consumption patterns: Changing patterns of consumption has become a
major concern for those recognizing health issues and the environmental consequences
of certain food choices -- as encouraged by corporations seeking to shift people
to such preferences. The challenge is most evident in the case of obesity. The
question, as with other forms of addiction, has become how to change attitudes
to avoid over-consumption and inappropriate consumption -- and why some people
are only exceptionally tempted into such patterns. A unique household eco-team
program has been developed by Global
Action Plan in response to these challenges.
Research: The history of science is filled with examples of isolated
researchers who have persisted over years in their investigations of particular
phenomena -- without recognition or adequate resources. Such persistence is
indicative of an attitude that is especially valued by scientists. Even in well-resourced
environments, the ability to sustain engagement with a problem area, despite
discouraging results, is an essential feature of scientific discovery. It is
exemplified by research on intractable mathematical problems often known only
to the few.
Art: The challenges faced by isolated artists, creative writers and
poets are widely documented. The attitude that nevertheless sustains them in
their artistic endeavour is much more difficult to articulate.
Customer service: The service industry is especially attentive to the
competitive advantage associated with an appropriate attitude towards customers.
This may be articulated as going beyond the formal requirements of courtesy
and identifying with the needs of customers. It is the ability to project engagement
into the interaction with the customer that is highly valued -- provided the
customer experiences this as sincere rather than contrived.
Conventional approaches to communicating appropriate "attitude"
Apprenticeship: This is one of the oldest methods of communicating attitude
-- by example in a practical setting. The system of apprenticeship dates from
the days of medieval guilds and before. A boy would join the household of a
master craftsman, perform menial tasks and learn the trade. Eventually he might
reach a skill level where the relevant guild would recognise him as a journeyman.
Ultimately, after years of achievement, he could become a master himself. Universities
still echo apprenticeship schemes in their production of scholars: bachelors
are promoted to masters and then produce a thesis under the oversight of a supervisor
before the corporate body of the university recognises the reaching of the standard
of a doctorate. [more]
Discipleship: This is a specialized refinement of the apprenticeship
mode of communicating attitude. In its most classic form it is the relationship
between guru and chela. In Asia this is understood as a spiritual
relationship that is not frivolously established, that requires faithfulness
and commitment by both guru and chela to the common goal of raising the aspirant
to states of communion, mastery and liberation [more].
This may be understood somewhat differently from a New Age perspective, especially
the stages of disciplineship [more].
(Christians have a distinct understanding (see, for example, Discipleship
Resources, Introduction to the
discipleship Jesus taught, Kierkegaard
and Radical Discipleship, The
Cost of Discipleship). Again much of what may be communicated in this
mode may be lacking in specifics or rather more related to how coherence is
given to the specifics that are communicated.
Mentorship: Tutoring may be considered to be the more conventional educational
form of communicating attitude, although the subtler insights may be more closely
associated with mentoring. In the case of freemasonry, for example, it has been
common for a young man to have an older Masonic Mentor, maintaining contact
during the candidate's progress through the Degrees and assisting him in preparing
for each Degree (see, On
Being A Mentor). Carter McNamara introduces a selection web
resources on mentoring and its definition with the comment:
There are many perspectives on the definition of mentoring, especially since
the relatively recent popularity of personal and professional coaching. Traditionally,
mentoring might have been described as the activities conducted by a person
(the mentor) for another person (the mentee) in order to help that other person
to do a job more effectively and/or to progress in their career. The mentor
was probably someone who had "been there, done that" before. A mentor might
use a variety of approaches, eg, coaching, training, discussion, counseling,
etc. Today, there seems to be much ongoing discussion and debate about the
definitions and differences regarding coaching and mentoring.
Parenting: The mentoring role provided by parents in developing particular
attitudes in their children is well recognized [more].
Community groups: Groups such as "scouts" and "guides",
and the many other variants, have often been designed and promoted in order
to develop appropriate attitudes.
Education: Schools may be deliberately selected by parents because they
offer, beyond the formal curriculum, to instil an appropriate attitude in children.
However, although "education" can be extolled by its practitioners
and philosophers as the best and and most generic approach to the cultivation
of the attitude that is the focus of this argument, it is often the "attitude"
of students to the education offered that is far from being effectively addressed
by the educational process.
Bonding: Attitude may be closely associated with membership of a group
and acceptance by the group beyond more obvious formalities. The process of
becoming a member, especially in institutional environments (universities, military,
prison, etc) may be associated with some form of hazing ritual -- possibly involving
painful, humiliating or dangerous features. Appropriate attitude is perceived
to have been acquired if the neophyte can "take it" and in consequence
may be said to have "bought into" the attitude fundamental to the
coherence of the group.
Training camps: Possibly milder approaches to acquiring an appropriate
attitude may be offered in "summer camps" and other forms of training
camps. Independently of any specific skills acquired, the experiences offered
may be largely designed to elicit an appropriate attitude, however that is described,
understood or recognized. More rigorous experiences may be offered in "boot
camps" inspired by military discipline and training practices. Perhaps
in its most severe form, the boot camp approach may be applied to re-educating
convicted offenders in certain prison environments (through a "short, sharp
shock") -- particularly when offenders are perceived as having lacked the
opportunity to acquire any personal discipline to counteract the temptations
Physical punishment: A much used traditional approach, long practiced
by parents, is to ensure acquisition of the "right attitude" by simply
"beating it in" -- in response to every action that fails to recognize
Community work experience: Many community development programmes seek
additionally to provide individuals with the opportunity to develop particular
attitudes in their volunteers. Well-known international examples include the
UN Volunteers, US Peace Corps, the UK Voluntary
Service Overseas. Such activities are considered by employers as a valuable
additional to a curriculum vitae.
Alternative communities: Creation and membership of alternative communities
may provide unique environments in which individuals can elicit and sustain
attitudes distinct from those necessary for mainstream survival.
Publicizing exemplars and role models:
- Commerce: In a sales context this recognition of appropriate attitude
takes the form of awards for "Best Salesperson", or "Achiever
of the Month".
- Research: The Nobel Prize is awarded in recognition of outstanding
achievement in research, literature or in support of peace -- under conditions
that may well require an attitude that goes beyond any specifically identifiable
- Environment: Since 1980, Right Livelihood Foundation has developed
a pattern of publicizing individuals through a Right
Livelihood Award. Right livelihood is understood as an embodiment of the
principle that each person should follow an honest occupation which fully
respects other people and the natural world. The Award recognizes the personal
sacrifice that is often associated with facing up to powerful opposing social
- Medals: Traditionally medals are awarded for military achievement.
This tradition has been adapted to non-military recognition.
- Heroes: There is a more general awareness of the need to promote
recognition of heroes as exemplars of individual potential, whether dead [more]
or alive [more].
Re-education: Communism was especially attentive to the possibility
of "re-education" as a means of inculcating the right attitude --
even through the use of brain washing techniques. Many of these methods have
been adapted by intelligence services of every political persuasion in order
to facilitate processes of interrogation. Prisoners may be "softened up"
(as widely publicized with regard to US military intelligence operations in
Iraqi prisons) until they have the "right attitude" -- to collaborate
and provide required intelligence information, notably through denouncing their
colleagues and friends.
Research on "attitude"
Tacit knowledge: As explored primarily by philosophers and cognitive
scientists, this is a form of knowledge, given prominence by Michael Polanyi
(1958), that enters into the production of behaviours and/or the constitution
of mental states -- but is not ordinarily accessible to consciousness. It is
hard to verbalize because it is expressed through action-based skills and cannot
be reduced to rules and recipes. The distinction between tacit knowledge and
explicit knowledge has been expressed in terms of "knowing-how" as
opposed to "knowing-that", or in terms of a corresponding distinction
between embodied knowledge and theoretical knowledge. The acquisition of tacit
(silent) knowledge has been associated with "implicit learning" as
the capacity of a person not to know what they do know or have learned. Increasingly
however tacit knowledge is understood in a management context as the stock of
expertise within an organization which is not written down or even formally
expressed, but may nevertheless be essential to its effective operation. [more
Flow: Following the initial work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow:
The Psychology of Optimal Experience. 1990), athletes and executives seeking
peak performance and excellence have explored the concept of "flow". For athletes
it is referred to as being in "the Zone." Daniel Goleman identifies it as the
"neurobiology of excellence." Csikszentmihalyi defines flow as being completely
involved in an activity for its own sake. Every action, movement, and thought
follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. The whole being
is involved. Flow, whether in creative arts, athletic competition, engaging
work, or spiritual practice, is a deep and uniquely human motivation to excel,
exceed, and triumph over limitation.
Cultural creativity: Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson (The
Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, 2000)
distinguish a cluster of people, "cultural creatives", with characteristics
that overlap those indicated above in relation to "attitude". These
are people, identified by a number of surveys, who are concerned notably with
spiritual transformation, ecological sustainability, and the worth of the feminine
important distinction may however lie in the difference, if only in degree,
between being "concerned" with such values and the self-determined
ability to act out of them.
Self-efficacy: For Albert Bandura (Self-Efficacy in Changing Societies,
1997), as the founder of self-efficacy theory, this is the belief in one's capability
to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective
situations. Perceived self-efficacy is defined as people's beliefs about their
capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence
over events that affect their lives. Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people
feel, think, motivate themselves and behave. Such beliefs produce these diverse
effects through four major processes: cognitive, motivational, affective and
selection processes [more].
James Maddux and colleagues (Self-Efficacy, Adaptation, and Adjustment: Theory,
Research, and Application, 1995) provide a review of theory and research
on self-efficacy and its relationship to psychological adaptation and adjustment.
It focuses on applications of social cognition in clinical, counseling, and
Self-confidence and Self-esteem: The US National
Association for Self-esteem defines this as the experience of being capable
of meeting life's challenges and being worthy of happiness. According to Robert
True Meaning of Self-esteem): Educators, parents, business and government
leaders agree that we need to develop individuals with healthy or high self-esteem
characterized by tolerance and respect for others, individuals who accept responsibility
for their actions, have integrity, take pride in their accomplishments, who
are self-motivated, willing to take risks, capable of handling criticism, loving
and lovable, seek the challenge and stimulation of worthwhile and demanding
goals, and take command and control of their lives. There are extensive web
resources on building self-confidence and self-esteem, notably Caring About What's Beneath The Skin: Online Resources For Building Self Esteem. [more
Improvisation: Improvisation is an eclectic mix of ad-hockery and know-how.
The attitude basic to this technique mixes together a fresh way of doing things
with lessons previously learned. According to P Berliner (Thinking in Jazz:
The Infinite Art of Improvisation,1994), improvisation involves reworking
precomposed material and designs in relation to unanticipated ideas conceived,
shaped and transformed under the special conditions of performance, thereby
adding unique features to every creation. Interest in the enhanced function
of various kinds of team has been highlighted by the special relationship amongst
a group of musicians, especially jazz musicians engaged in extended improvisation
(Ingrid Monson. Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction,
1996), or in a theatre group with actors engaged in improvisaation (Viola Spolin.
Improvisation for the theater; a handbook of teaching and directing techniques,
1963). Howard Becker has endeavoured to generalize from such situations (The
Etiquette of Improvisation, 2000). As a jazz pianist, John Kao uses
the idea of a "jam session" as a metaphor to explain the process of
human creativity and the methods that can be used to stimulate and manage that
creativity. He defines "jam" as taking a theme, a question, a notion,
a whim, an idea, pass it around, break it up, put it together, turn it over,
run it backward, fly with it as far as possible. If jazz is used as a metaphor
for creativity, a jamming session encourages strategic insight, inventiveness,
and strategic fit. For Marie Jasinski, although the concept of improvisation
is perhaps more familiar in the contexts of theatre and jazz than in instructional
design and online learning, "Yet the fluid, fast, irregular, spontaneous
and unpredictable online world is undoubtedly an expressive medium and lends
itself to the creative, responsive, nimble and spontaneous approaches associated
with improvisatio" (E-games:
Improvisation through open platform design). Improvisation can be explored
as an approach to organizational analysis (see K Weick. Improvisation as
a Mindset for Organizational Analysis, 1998).
Entrepreneurial attitude: This specific and widely recognized ability
is much valued as the key to continuing economic growth and development. There
are many resources and training courses concerned with its development. For
example, Chad Simmons (The Anonymous Entrepreneur: 12 Steps to Build the
Entrepreneurial Attitude, 1998) argues that: "The entrepreneurial attitude
includes three things: vision, excitement and performance. The people who go
out and take action have a vision. They can articulate that vision in such a
way as to inspire themselves and others. And they're willing to go out and do
what it takes to make it happen. The people who don't [have it] just haven't
gotten there yet. It doesn't mean they won't." [more
| more]. Entrepreneurial
educators continuously seek innovative teaching methods. For example, J. Donald
is the Moment: a metaphorically interactive student learning approach for entrepreneurial
educators. 2003) summarizes the benefits of metaphors, with particular
emphasis on musical lyrics examines an anatomical case study on the process
of playing music to encourage interactive student learning.
Dedication of efficiency: According to R K Srivastava (Swadhyaya:
A Movement Experience, 2003), the Swadhyaya movement makes particular
use of individual and community "efficiency" through a process of
dedicating it to God in order to sustain community and its development. Members
are encouraged to talk to villagers about whatever they are efficient in and
through this create a "we feeling". Emphasis is placed on using personal efficiency
and time as a devotional offering, generating, what is called, apaurusheya
laxmi ("impersonal wealth") that is redistributed n response to
communal needs. These insights are used to generate and sustain self-esteem
and counteract conventional ills (alcoholism, domestic violence, practice of
untouchability, gambling, petty crime, ethnic violence, etc). [more]
Operacy: The term "operacy" has been defined by Edward
de Bono as deriving from "operate" and "operational"
and thus indicates "the skill needed for doing". He believes that
operacy should rank alongside literacy and numeracy as a major aim of education.
"We need to change our conceptions about thinking and action. To effect
this change we need a concept such as operacy which gives status to the thinking
involved in doing. We need to appreciate effectiveness and not just intellectual
games". (De Bono's Thinking Course, 1985). [schematic]
De Bono has also associated "operacy" with an earlier thinking innovation
using a new term "PO" -- now to be understood as "Provocative
In the light of the many pointers above, the question remains as to whether
individuals currently have access to appropriate processes through which to
acquire attitudes vital to their thrival in the turbulent conditions predicted
for the 21st century [more].
How might the various approaches indicated above be integrated into a coherent
approach to the cultivation or entrainment of such an attitude?
One approach might be to conclude that no single approach to eliciting such
an attitude is adequate. A case could be made for considering a set of complementary
approaches that together entrained the emergence of such an attitude. It is
possible that any one approach may only bias any elicited attitude such as to
make it non-viable in other contexts. This point has been explored elsewhere
in the light of a metaphor based on the quenching of plasma in nuclear fusion
University: Again it might be argued that exposing an individual in
some such way is the fundamental preoccupation of a university education --
as an education in "universality". Whilst the array of university
faculties may indeed point to this possibility through a curriculum, and the
architecture of a university may symbolize such a function, the many controversies
associated with university education suggest that it is far from achieving any
such objective or even aspiring to it in practice. Such education notably lacks,
and may even implicitly disparage, the insights to be obtained from praxis of
any kind, as well as those associated with tacit knowledge..
Community: At its best, a community does indeed provide a setting in
which an adequate variety of influences are brought to bear upon the individual
to elicit the emergence of a fruitful attitude. But clearly if certain qualities
of influence are inadequately represented in the community, or totally absent,
or present in their negative form, then the process will not be as successful.
An alternative metaphor might be to foresee the need for the co-presence of
"cultural vitamins" in a community, as suggested by others (cf Alberto
E. Fresina. The Laws of Psyche, 1999). In such a case the metaphor suggests
a concern for possible "vitaimin deficiency".
Pantheons and temples: Such a context may be understood as modelled
symbolically by pantheons and mythologies that hold the variety of psycho-cultural
influences. These are especially valuable because of the articulated dynamics
between these influences as described in popular myth. These may well be brought
to a focus in the design of temples of which many are, for example, characterized
by 12 paired pillars each representative of such an influence. In this sense
12 distinct influences is an indication of the requisite variety recognized
in a range of cultures. Celebrants meet in the sacred space created by the array
of such pillars.
"Entrainment contexts": This perspective also suggests the
possibility of attitude entrainment contexts in which an individual is exposed
to the co-presence of 12 mentoring individuals (as role models) representing
quite different insights, perhaps typical of the extreme variants noted above.
Suggestive pointers are to be obtained from extremely different cases :
- Christianity is for example based on the influences of the 12 apostles of
Jesus -- variously cited in the education and inspiration of Christians
- One of the most creative innovators in management cybernetics, Stafford
Beer (Beyond Dispute: The Invention of Team Syntegrity, 1994), envisioned
a syntegration process through which 12 disparate topics are integrated [more].
Syntegration is a socio-technology for managing complex issues with multiple
stakeholders . It builds alignment and commitment. The cybernetics of the
shape create an interactive context that enables 90% of the relevant information
to be exchanged in 3 iterations of 12 groups (nodes). Its design principles
emphasize self-organisation, transparency, equality, and community. It has
been used in over 2000 applications with large corporations, government agencies,
community groups, and public conferences. (see also J Truss, C Cullen and
A Leonard. The
Coherent Architecture of Team Syntegrity)
But such examples tend to obscure the nature of the complementary tacit understandings
to be acquired. In the light of the wide range of experience in organizing a
variety of training courses and conferences, the question is then how best to
design an interface through which to expose an individual to a variety of influences.
This design question is significantly different from the conventional challenge
of organizing an array of speakers or panelists. In that case the emphasis is
on fitting in recognized specialists and/or ensuring coverage of a topic in
an effort to ensure communication of explicit rather than tacit knowledge. Here,
however, the challenge is to recognize the need for a requisite variety of influences
and to ensure appropriate exposure to them. Possibilities can be tentatively
ordered as in the following table.
||Planned / Organized Interaction
(with 12 exemplars)
|Haphazard / Spontaneous Interaction
(with 12 exemplars)
|Attitude entrainment of:
|A. Single individual
||One individual exposed sequentially
to 12 (one-on-one)
||One individual exposed simultaneously
to 12 ("immersion")
||One individual exposed sequentially
to 12 (one-on-one)
||One individual exposed simultaneously
to 12 ("immersion")
|B. Small group
||Small group exposed sequentially
||Small group exposed simultaneously
||Small group exposed sequentially
||Small group exposed simultaneously
|C. Larger group
||Large group exposed sequentially
to 12 (conventional conference model)
||Large group exposed simultaneously
to 12 (conventional panel model)
||Large group exposed sequentially
||Large group exposed simultaneously
Comments on table:
- The "planned / organized interaction" is naturally easier to "organize".
The "haphazard / spontaneous interaction" would involve skills more
typical of dramaturgy and the paradoxes of "organizing" surprises
and improvisation (as noted earlier, and John Heilpern's Conference
of the Birds: Story of Peter Brook in Africa, describing Peter Brook's
preparations for the dramatization of the Conference
of the Birds by Farid al-Din Attar)
- C.1 and C.2 are typical of conventional conferences.
- C.3 (and B.3) would be dependent on spontaneous intervention of any of the
12 in response to the evolving group dynamic (as in improvised theatre)
- C.4 (and B.4) would be dependent on "embedding" ("planting")
the 12 in the group.
- B.4 becomes especially interesting when the "small group" is understood
as composed of the 12 exemplars, making the 12 the basis for a self-organizing
process of mutual attitude entrainment. This dynamic has been explored
to some degree in the sessions of the International
School of Ignorance) [more]
- B.1 is typical of intensive group courses with a succession of intervening
"faculty" members (or "resource people")
- B.2 would involve mixing the small group with faculty (whether overtly or
covertly as "plants") and might be difficult to distinguish from
B.4 and its possibilities
- A.1 is typical of a traditional, and highly personalized, approach to the
tutoring of a member of an elite
- A.2 (and possibly A.4) is best known through its more dubious and limited
form of community "love
bombing" of a neophyte. More simply it occurs with any newcomer to
a group. Key distinctions would depend on the intention of the group of 12,
the degree to which they had a shared agenda, and its match with the agenda
of the individual.
- A.3 is typical of an archetypal journey with a succession of encounters
as experienced to different degrees by long distance trekkers and hitch hikers
The various types of interaction can be usefully considered in the light of:
- exposure to an archetypal set of Knights of the Roundtable (for example,
Edward Matchett and George Trevelyan. Twelve Seats at the Round Table,
- the dynamics of such a Roundtable in its own right as a self-organizing
group for mutual attitude entrainment (Pattern
of Meeting Participant Roles: Shadowy 'roundtable' hidden within every meeting.
- the embedding of such Knights within another group (overtly or as "plants").
The challenging issue of the gender balance of the "Knights" would
of course need to be meaningfully addressed. Of great interest, in reviewing
the table, is the converse process in which it is a single individual -- possibly
as a charismatic leader -- who entrains a diversity of distinct others (say
"Attitude" is necessarily subtle and difficult to pinpoint. However
many of the examples given point to a common set of complementary qualities
that may be essential to thrival. It is also the case that some actions, that
such a common attitude may sustain, may well be far from being widely appreciated.
As an extreme example, it may be argued that some of these qualities are as
valuable to a fanatical terrorist as they are to the team of "special forces"
called upon to act against them. A different example might be cases where there
is total appreciation for what is said or done, but fundamental disagreement
for why it is done. Speculating on the potential traps of dialogue with "aliens"
-- whether terrestrial or extraterrestrial -- also suggests a need to consider
the attitudes sustaining their mode of thrival (Communicating
with Aliens: the Psychological Dimension of Dialogue, 2000).
J. S. Atherton. Learning and Teaching: Tacit knowledge and implicit learning.
G. Ball, D. Ling, D. Kurlander, J. Miller, D. Pugh, T. Skelly, A. Stankosky, D. Thiel,
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at Microsoft Research. In J. M. Bradshaw (Ed.), Software Agents. Cambridge,
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