Social fields research is the study of how Social systems feel from the “inside”, and “Deeper Now” is looking at the deep patterns of the conscious and unconscious as they unfold. The working premise is that our actions in the world are tied with how to perceive and interpret our relational experiences as part of dynamic social beings, deeply woven to our story-based understanding of the world. We perceive a certain social field/social system depends on the play between our physical experiences and stories we tell or do not tell about those experiences.
This third part of the article has been the most elusive; how to speak of “source” or the core aspects of awareness using words on a virtual page? Nevertheless I will try and share my personal experience, understanding, and reflection on “deep” patterns of social awareness.
THE DRAMA CLASS
I am 7 aged, we are in a Drama class in a music room located in a bomb shelter situated at the southwestern part of Daliot, my elementary school in the Golan heights. I have been throughout my school years a quite shy and timid child. My status was both “smart” and “not very popular” throughout my school years, and I was not the “leading type”, at least not on school grounds. This memory is an exception, In which I am leading my classmates into an imaginary world of adventure.
The adventure takes us below and around the brown and grey metal tables and above the yellow plastic chairs. A world apart, yet no less real or alive than the thick concrete walls of the bomb shelter we are in, It is alive full of colours and smells. This memory of creating worlds as a liberating collective play is hardwired into my story of me, and it vibrates deeply into my very soul. I could ask my past elementary classmates if they recall that experience, but why risk that flickering memory of us playing, of hope.
When children play, they require no preparations or prior agreements to do that, they start playing, and all agreements are created through the playing. Free-form play is a continuous act of creativity in action, which occurs in the here and now. Young children are competent and skilled in doing that naturally, though the traditional post-industrial school system tends to “educate” that out of them/us. By the time of adolescence, free form play becomes quite rare.
I feel my work today is connected to a memory of the bomb shelter as a second-grader, to hold spaces of play, and where we collectively imagine and “dream” a new world into being. It is our playing and our experience of play which creates our future, in the same way, this past childhood memory keeps indicating and guiding me in my path towards the future, in the now.
This creation, of new worlds, I believe, does not confine itself to the area of play but rather radiates and ripples over space-time and is effectively creating, transforming and shaping social realities.
I was born in a small village north to the Sea of Galilee, an Israeli citizen to a Jewish family with German-Romanian roots in 1983. we could say that this information makes no difference to a baby, and yet to a young boy and a future man, it makes a world of difference. Being human means that your birth is not merely a physiological act it is a meta-poetic act which places the newborn in a larger story which overtime shapes the child’s way to perceive his experience of the world.
If I would have been born just a few meters or minutes apart as a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, or even as Jewish Russian roots, my life would have likely to turn out completely different, and so is my understanding of the world around me.
I am fascinated with how theatre can move and make visible the energies which move between people, space and time. It is a game in which the “real” and “not yet real” meet in the same room.
Stories and experiences can be roughly divided into stories of Me (personal lived experience and the stories we tell of it), Stories of We (the social group or social system experience of itself), Stories of the World/Myth (the experience and story of a larger social field in which both “Me” and “We” are one). Our sense-making process takes place in any given present moment, by “Looking Out” and “Looking In” (I am using the looking metaphor although much of this sensing goes through senses other than sight). “Looking Out” is a process of “locating” my personal awareness within and external social awareness, making sense through recognizing differences between what “I am have been told” and what ” I can see with my own eyes”.
Social Fields Research looks to identify how patterns and dynamics in social systems emerge. What leads us? Is it what we see? Is it what we feel? or Is the inner condition our inner source of awareness? There is a particular interest in “shifts” and how is that at a certain moment, the social system can see itself, moving from ego-awareness to an eco-awareness. The general tendency is to invite us to “look in”, in a way we can see ourselves “as part of an ecosystem” and notice the place “from which we operate”. It invites us to develop new organs of attention in ourselves, which enable us to see the whole picture. It is influenced by eastern philosophy and holistic awareness, or in other words, it sees the world as a whole unit, and human virtue or mission is to embody this wholeness.
ON the other hand, In critical theory, there is an interest in social structures of society and how they form and inform our subjective understanding of the world, and how they maintain oppressive social structures. The general tendency is to invite us to “lookout” analyze and understand the mechanisms of oppression (ours and that of others) and how we enact it in our daily lives. It is influenced by western philosophy and critical awareness. In other words, it sees the world as a struggle or process towards freedom, and human virtue or mission is to liberate itself and others.
I find myself as practice-based research very much in the position that wants to bridge that two approaches. To connect and complement both the “eastern and western” understanding of the world, Greek tales and philosophy and Buddhist traditions and wisdom to illustrate our world’s complex beauty.
My main medium has been art and in the video work Inbodied Memories I reflect on my life story, on the echos of my identity as it mirrors the political-social systems I have participated in. I have found theatre and arts open a portal that allows diving deep into the centre of the social field, it opens the door to the myth, to the invisible matter from which our stories and identities are made. It then allows humans to travel together, and experience the myth “deeper now” layer as an aesthetic and shared experience.
Archetypes and myth play an important part in how we construct our social realities with the words associated with William Shakespeare. I wish we could give us space to emerge from the other side of it, of this global turmoil which as hard as it might be for us all, can also be a great blessing, if we let it, teach us, about who we are, who we have been, and who we could be.
All the world’s a stage.
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
“Our society is created in a way that is focused on the outside world and not on inner experience and inner wisdom and potential. Looking outside you can be manipulated because you do not know who you are. So to turn back the camera on you is a brave act. It takes courage, trust and curiosity. In this time there are many groups, people, organizations sending out messages that might not be aligned with your intention. As long as you look out it is very hard to discover your inner wisdom. Internet Technology is important to find people and places that can remind you of your own wisdom, potential and purpose. – Alfred Tolle, The Wisdom Interviews*
*The Wisdom interviews are made as part of ongoing research towards an economy of wisdom.