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Strategic Jousting through Poetic Wrestling


Strategic Jousting through Poetic Wrestling
Range of participants
Self-organization and self-regulation
Aesthetic criteria
Web-enhanced communication
Substantive and aesthetic integration
Enabling emergent aesthetic coherence

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Introduction to the joust

This is a response to the disconnect between noble efforts to elaborate "global plans" and their irrelevance as experienced at the grass roots level -- in contrast with the energy and enthusiasm evoked by popular engagement with traditional poetic wrestling and various forms of competitive sport. These are of course considered to be without relevance to the elaboration and implementation of the "global plans".

The possibility explored here is that both constitute a form of strategic jousting. However with respect to global plan elaboration, supposedly in the popular interest, the joust does not constitute a particularly attractive spectator sport -- whatever the local implications of the outcome. The associated debates are essentially boring -- if not quintessentially so. In the case of poetic wrestling -- whatever the ludic form -- its popular attractivity and comprehensibility are essential requirements.

The question explored here is whether there is any scope for interweaving these two styles -- or whether the game they together constitute is already in progress, as schemas competing for popular engagement. The focus here is on the possibilities suggested by "poetic wrestling" or "poetic jousting" as continues to be practiced in many traditions, possibly enhanced by musical accompaniment or taking sung form. Its potential relevance to major strategic issues has been explored in detail in Poetic Engagement with Afghanistan, Caucasus and Iran: an unexplored strategic opportunity? (2009). Given the parallel popular fascination with sport, epitomized by the recognition of "wrestling" and "jousting" as metaphors, the strategic implication of such sports is also considered.

The focus is on organization of gatherings, whether face-to-face or virtual, to enhance the strategic relevance of such engagement.