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Concerns

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Togetherbound: a gathering of the mad
Context of the event
Number of participants
Location
Finances
Planning and financial risk management
Legal arrangements
Towards a Pattern Language for Participants
Conclusion
Maturing Meetings
The 'Court' Jester and 'Foolishness'
Patterns
Concerns

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Report of a brainstorming meeting (Stuttgart, 1981) on the possible design of large-scale, high-risk / high-return, creative events for social transformation. Printed in Transnational Associations, 1982, 1, pp. 29-33 [PDF version]


Introduction

Why: The time has come for an ambitious large-scale event which calls upon all the personal skills and energies we can collectively bring into focus. The challenge is simple: ourselves together- in the form of a wide range of concerned people of every perspective, whatever the degree of opposition or harmony, rationality or irrationality. The processes will be carefully designed to facilitate the expression and weaving together of these contrasting modes of operation: discovering the subtle pattern which connects what we each consider vital.

We intend to create an empty central space into which the unexpected can be born. But this is essentially a self-organizing event, despite the careful attention which will be given to processes. Much will be left to the responsibility of participants acting in the light of the spontaneous inspiration of the moment. This is a high-risk creative experience for those who believe this to be the price of real collective breakthrough.

The event should be the most exciting and testing you have ever attended: part work, part fair, with joy and despair, drama and paradox - truly a healing dance of life in its deepest and most ambiguous sense. For those committed to change, it could be the most significant. The event will not only be a catalyst for change, it will be an expression of it. Things will not be the same afterwards - especially for those who participate.

Why not: The past decades have given rise to many collective events quickly forgotten. People have gathered under every banner, in search of solutions to every problem. Achievements have been minimal and essentially cosmetic - little has been learnt from past failures. Proposed conventional gatherings and campaigns are now viewed with weary suspicion - creative people avoid them in despair.

A new approach is required which harnesses and transmutes the very energies which have distorted and underminded the processes and outcomes of past events- bland exercises in cautious rationalism or emotionalism. It is not enough to rely on personal transformation, exercises in group consciousness or on the passive belief that 'all will be well'.

We have roles to play. But our very fear of action prevents us from learning how to rise beyond the polarities by which we are frustrated, trapped and rendered impotent. The times call for inspired actions of a new kind that bring us face-to-face with all dimensions of our fear of change. In our ignorance, we must be collectively challenged before we can sense the dimensions and rhythms of the unfolding drama in which we can find roles to play.

Unless an event is collectively daring, it cannot avoid the superficial and evoke the energies for significant change and tangible outcomes - it becomes merely another charming celebration of impotence.


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