Life is not about what you believe, it is about what you do. And doing thrives on optimism, with some hope as the sauce. It chokes on pessimism marinated in cynicism and doubt.
These thoughts come from the latest posting on creativity. The topic is still in the forefront of my mind because I am working on the two postings for March. These are about what happens as you go about being creative in any particular project or endeavour. They are lively and fun ideas and seem work well, so look out for it.
How do I get them to work? By doing a variety of strange things. These tricks only work for psychosocial reality, and have no correlate in conventional science that investigates physical reality. They also help me learn more, as well as checking that I am on the right track. One of these tricks is to work out how human elements unfold dialectically. You know: thesis-antithesis leading to a transcending synthesis, that is to say something new at a higher level. This goes on for the 7 levels and then synthesis at Level-7 takes you back to Level-1. Amazing really. But when it is worked out, it seems rather obvious and mirrors a lot of public debate. See an example from political life.
Some of the great philosophical conundrums turn out to be this sort of duality: mind-body is one of these dualities that can only be 'solved' by moving up a level. It turned up in the approaches to developing an identity: part of the Experience realm in THEE. See if you can work out what the synthesis is. I’ll post the answer in my next blog. (You’ll kick yourself if you don’t get it.)
Many more talk about dialectics than do it. I suppose, in part, because hierarchies evoke negative emotions and seem so last century, if not older. Anyway, because THEE is chock full of hierarchies, dialectic unfolding happens quite a lot. I’ve found it an invaluable tool, even if it is not one that is always easy to use. See what you make of the dialectic ambition v comfort-zone in organizational life.
In the Taxonomy, the thesis is always some sort of ground state that you can (or perhaps do, or should) take for granted, and the antithesis is always some developmental potential or catalyst for growth or force for change.
When it came to creativity, I was initially surprised to discover that the ground state is optimism.
Of course, I suppose it had to be. If you weren’t optimistic why would you get up in the morning, much less create? What seems to happen to provoke creativity is that your optimism gets confronted. How do you respond to that? Well, if you respond positively, you reach a new, higher level form of optimism, which is then confronted … &c. Did I tell you the system is cyclic … confrontation never ends. But then nor does optimism.
I personally find a lot of optimism off-putting: it seems so unrealistic and it can even make me pessimistic in reaction. However, in the duality, it is the response to confrontation that is crucial. So I guess that if you are of a pessimistic turn of mind, but regularly rise in a positive way to challenges, then you are optimistic without knowing it.
In any case, from this action perspective at least, optimism has rather little to do with living in the best of all possible worlds, as Voltaire rightly mocked in Candide. It has everything to do with creating the best of all possible worlds. And that is not to be mocked at.
About Warren Kinston