Systematics – Gathering V

May 14-17, 2004, Charles Town

A preliminary announcement

Systematics is a bridge between the realm of linear and verbal thinking and the realm of more highly connected and multi-channel ‘thinking’ that is associated with the unconscious and creativity. The sort of ‘counting’ going on in systematics is not quantitative but qualitative and it is a fair equation to relate quality with the spiritual and quantity with the material, or any such dichotomy one cares to adopt.

In the previous three Gatherings, we took as our theme ‘Globalization’, which served to focus our attention on very complex wholes in which we are not observers but, rather, embedded participants. Systematics should help us understand situations in which we participate rather than stand outside in judgement upon them. This produces a strange kind of ‘model’ in which we are an integral part of the model. True understanding puts oneself into the picture. In some ways, it is very similar to a dream, and the dream world often serves as an intimation of a deeper unconscious world in which everything is connected to everything else and there is no longer any distinction between inside and outside.

In Gathering V, we will seek to address the meeting of the unconscious creative realm with the more limited and yet essential realm of linear, causal and logical thought. The creative realm has its own causes and reasons but they can appear to us as strange and alien, unless we are able to make a place for them in our minds. The systems are such a place. They are conscious artifacts allied to images and metaphors and myths.

The program is intended to include:

” How the meaning of words is transformed and amplified by being embedded in systems
” How images can help us understand the inner dynamics of systems
” How meaning-grids are evident in many ancient traditions
” How meaning-games can help us dialogue
” How story-telling can elicit the progression of systems
” How perception can be organized by systems
” How dreaming can be a way of thinking
” How free association can guide us in making discoveries

The approach owes much to the work of Edith Wallace (and as developed by Karen Stefano), the ideas of Gordon Lawrence on social dreaming and to recent theoretical work on understanding the unconscious as ‘infinite sets’. The exercises will include many media and processes and should be most enjoyable. There will be a lot of play!

We will make use of ideas and methods generated in previous Gatherings. The report on Gathering IV will soon be available as a reference for ‘meaning-games’ amongst many other things.

Anthony Blake will lay out what he considers to be the basic methodology of systematics and we will explore how this can relate to our professional lines of work as well as to our personal quest for meaning. Systematics holds very great promise for helping us deal with the uncertainties of our lives, when traditional forms of authority with their ‘guarantees’ of truth are weakening everywhere. The presentation of a basic methodology is not to attempt to fix and limit what people do, but give our efforts a common point of departure and help us learn from each other in a productive way.

Please join us on this adventure into mind!