September 14, 2008
Does this sound a bit like purposive drift?
"Life in a complex world, and a life which reflects and values the complexity of both self and world, requires the ability to improvise--to deal with, and indeed to create, the unforeseen, the surprise. Interestingly, the Latin root of improvisation is improvisus, or unforeseen. Increasingly, it seems, life in or out of organizations requires of us the ability to both react appropriately to unforeseen events, and actually generate those events--to act creatively and innovatively. Football players have to react to surprising moves from the opposition, and also generate moves that catch opposing players off guard. They have to feed off the opposition’s mistakes, the contingency of the bouncing ball, and the condition of the pitch. A jazz musician both generates novelty, by making rhythmic, harmonic, or melodic choices that are surprising, and reacts to the novelty generated by his or her fellow band-members. A piano player might place an unusual chord behind a soloist in what would normally be a predictable harmonic progression. This creates a slightly different context, a surprise, which can lead the experienced improvising soloist to find new ways to navigate a song. This kind of creative dialogue is at the heart of much of what makes jazz a unique art form....Creativity and improvisation might be said to serve at least a dual role, therefore. They allow us to adapt in our own way to complex environments, and they allow us to express our own (inner) complexity through the performance of our interaction with the world. The concept of improvisation is, I believe, crucial to the existential reality of complexity."Posted by richard at September 14, 2008 9:39 AM