February 21, 2019

Social Field Research and the mystery of the now.


I am in my journey back to Italy, after the Social Presencing Theatre Research gathering and  writing retreat I attended in Norre Snede, Denmark, January-February 2020. During the retreat I was “hovering” over my research questions (trying to figure out what they were) drawing diagrams, taking notes and feeling the buzzing energy of all the deep sense-making and writing process in temporary “research village” around me.

From the writing retreat in Norre Snede


We stand in a very particular time in the story of the evolution of human consciousness and social structures. Never before we had such complex and advanced tools to measure and observe the phenomenons of the natural world, scientific observation giving us “a view” of both the micro to the macro aspects of the universe. Still at the very same time, never before we encounter such complex challenges, ones which require such deep and rapid changes to our behaviour patterns. Climate Change and other catalytic risks, such as Nuclear weapons, require us not only gain new knowledge but rather change how we frame it, to reinvent our knowing, to reshape our science.

I believe, that to respond to challenges we face, we are called to become more aware, on a personal, social and system levels. Iterating our emerging identity of global citizens of this good earth. Collectively invited to shift from “Ego to Eco”, and undergo a “Great Turning” towards a sustainable and resilient culture working in cooperation with thriving life.

Social Field Research is to become more aware of the complex multi-layered design which shapes our reality at each moment. A design which might never fully understand, but we could still choose to cooperate with. An “unthinking approach”, in which  we integrate the ancient and modern frameworks to recreate the intelligence of mind-heart-body, of wholeness.

I am interested in how the arts can allow us to connect and make visible this design, articulating and developing new tools to connect our knowledge with our actions. Furthermore how performing arts and theatre can reveal the deep patterns of the conscious and unconscious as it unfolds, in the now. Bringing us insights and the felt experiences of “A Deeper Now”.

“The main challenge that I can see is that human beings seem convinced that it is possible to know everything about a thriving life. An ancient culture thinks, that in all probability, we would not know all that there is to know about thriving life. When your science begins in the premise we can know everything there is to know, you will tend to find conclusions that are very anthropocentric, than finding harmony with thriving life will be a great challenge. When your science begins with the premise, that we cannot know everything there is to know about thriving life, it allows for possibilities and functions that are far outside from human capability or understanding. This permits the cultivating of awareness and wisdom of non-human sources, in a way that is not considered anecdotal, a myth, folklore. This is allowing a decision process that can bring us closer to being in cooperation with thriving life.”

Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining) – an extract from the Wisdom Interviews**

Walking the labyrnith under the tree

Below you will find a few links to resources that inspired and relate to the themes of “A Deeper Now”.

What thoughts and new insights on Social Field Research and “A Deeper Now”  emerge for you? How we might be able to reinvent or science and knowing in cooperation with thriving life?  

Looking forward to your feedback and thoughts in the comments,


*Deep gratitude to Arawana Hayashi, a senior Shambala teacher and founder of Social Presencing Theatre, and all the other researchers and SPT practitioners SPT that have inspired my writing. I which I am drawing from my experience as a facilitator practice-based research of theatre for personal and social transformation from the last 10 years and from the many teachers, mentors and friends I meet in this unwinding pathless path.

**The Wisdom interviews are made as part of ongoing research towards an economy of wisdom.

Sources and links to explore further:

Arawana Hayashi and Social Presencing Theatre



Theory U and the Ego to Eco Framework


Joanna Macy and the 3 Pillars of the Great Turning



Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining) and “Thriving Life”



What is Ecopsychology


Theory U and Social Field Research


Social Presencing Theatre and Social Fields Research


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