The basic creative practice of perceiving

Presented a paper at EGOS 2009 sub-theme 37: “So what do you do?” The art of practice in the 21st century organization, Barcelona, Spain.

This was my first presentation at an academic conference. The stream was about creative practices, and the facilitators had asked for non-power point presentations. I took them up on this – noone else did. To create a starting point for a discussion on the creative practice of self-inquiry, I suggested that the stream participants turned to each other to briefly share their personal experience of moments in their life they had felt unusually present. One participant asked: ‘Do you mean present as in Heidegger or as in Sartre or…?’ I answered: ‘Present as in you, your personal experience of being present. Do you know what I mean?’ He answered: ‘No!’ This short conversation shocked me deeply. It seems to me to be an example of how the habit of striving for creating defendable arguments leads to devaluation of personal experience. Denying that personal experience is the raw material out of which all understanding is forged seems to me an anti-creative practice.

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