A Recognizable Convergence of New Thought
The first three chapters of the Zander’s book, The Art of Possibility (2000), restate an idea that is resonant in recent psychology, neurology, social science, spiritualism, physics and education which is: We have constructed a left brained world, and our health and survival depends on our learning how to integrate the right side, and body as well. In psychology, it emerges as techniques to integrate our many intelligences with our experience. In Neurology it is the discovery of the true nature of knowledge and perception (Jensen, 2008). In Social Sciences it is the understanding that the scientist must interact with their test groups, because they cannot be isolated from them (Budiani, 2003). In Spiritualism, Eckhart Tolle (Tolle, 2005) and many others teach that the insanity around us can only be transformed through surrendering our ego (left brained construct) to the emergence of a larger consciousness (integrated brain, body, awareness). In physics, the understanding that observers are in measurable relationship to the outcome of particle collisions and that all matter and energy are in relation (Zukav, 1984) – pointing to the possibility of infinite number of universes (Stenger, 2000).
Zander’ and so many ‘convergence’ authors agree that many skills of competition strangle our creativity by constructing a reality built with limited sensory input into assumptive self-storymaking. This is basic modern psychology as well as ancient Eastern religious science. We only see and octave of light frequencies, missing a great deal around us. Our left brain creates a narrative out of disparate, unrelated sensory input that has been connected with our right brain’s pattern-making ability. The book’s premise is that understanding of the house of cards nature of our constructed experiences is crucial to our ability to break free from rat-race competitive, stressed-out lives and move into a more creative and engaged life.
I like witnessing this great convergence of science and spiritualism. Employing Zander’s ‘possibility’ in real life is good for everyone: in business, in our relationships and in our self-understanding. I created a similar mentor based, non-authoritative relationship to my classes teaching popular music history, as well. I explained to my students that music is their experience, not mine, to place a ‘now’ importance of our class meetings in perspective. I explained that my opinions about music were irrelevant, and that their awareness of the many styles of musical expression they had never heard to be a great gift. And, of the music itself – the fact that no music style is ‘better’ than another, and that every listener is attracted to their music according to their unique mix of intelligences, experiences and desires. That concept recognized their own personal passions for music, as well as their future audiences’.
But we have a ways to go. Engagement with the emerging concepts requires careful navigation in today’s world. Bringing such new techniques into the workplace or the classroom would bear fruit, but would first require a complete overhaul of our assessment system and governing values. Giving an A, for example, as described in “The Art of Possibility is a beautiful technique, but is not an assessment. An “A” is a measurement (old world), and as a measurement conveys how well the students met the goals of the class. The ‘Giving an A’ is rather a technique of providing each student ownership through their own creative self-visualization (new world). Inspiring students to the possibilities of the class outcome is quite brilliant, but itself is ‘out of the box’ in most education assessment methods. It may only work in music or physical education because they are demonstrative and imminently assessable. For example, either you can play a piece or not. Either you play that piece expressively or not. Either you can demonstrate 10 pull-ups or not. Musicians abilities are exposed. This cannot be said of most academic education where assessments are only made on specific objects (papers, projects, etc.) made for the purpose of assessment. There is no way to measure how much is retained after each assessed object. I do not believe that our society is yet ready, unfortunately. There are too many citizens who could not subscribe to subjecting their children to such life-changing concepts in public school, outside of their chosen religious, familial or political circles – and their voting voice is just as strong.
Budiani, D. (2003) personal interview regarding COFS
Jensen, E. (2008) Brain-based learning: the new paradigm of teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press
Stenger, V (2000) Timeless Reality: Symmetry, Simplicity, and Multiple Universes. New York: Prometheus Books
Tolle, Eckhart (2005) A new earth: Awakening to your life’s purpose, New York: Penguin Group, Inc.
Zander, B., & Zander-Stone, R., (2000) The art of possibilities: Transforming professional and personal life. London: Penguin Books.
Zukav, G (1984) The dancing wu-li masters: an overview of the new physics. NY Bantam Books