Ecumenical Institute, Chicago
Research Station Meeting
November 30, 1971
THE DYNAMIC OF RESEARCH
1. One of the central dynamics in our life together is
the dynamic of research. It is one of the basic elements of who we are
a research, training and demonstration center both in our internal
organization and our external thrust. As we begin the shift to our next
twenty years the time has come to begin pulling together our wisdom in
terms of these three dynamics. This morning I want to talk through the
research dynamic under four rubrics:
I. PRINCIPLES OF RESEARCH
II. STRUCTURES OF RESEARCH
III. METHODS OF RESEARCH
IV. OPERATION OF RESEARCH
I. PRINCIPLES OF RESEARCH
2. The key to understanding what we mean by research is
to look at the RESEARCH PRINCIPLES in four arenas, the first being the
Contextual Principles of research. The first of these is the practical
mission. The chastity of our research is that it is only aimed at unblocking
our mission. Now research may be highly theoretical like the social triangles
but even that highly theoretical work was related to a practical missional
demand: providing a common theoretical construct for use in the summer.
3. Second, in the midst of that mission, research always
has a grassroots focus. Our presupposition is that we do not need experts,
for we are out to do research on behalf of the local man, or research that
the local man can do. Third, our research is radically secular. We see
the necessity of grounding research in your own life. Our research has
to do finally with looking down inside yourself and seeing yourself respond
at the deepest levels of being, to use Tillich's category, Even the books
and articles which we use all the time are only significant in that they
illuminate your own experience. Fourth, in any kind of research that we
do, we have structural concern. Again, that's cutting over against experts.
We are out ~o find the structure by which you do research. We're out after
finding the structures that solve problems in society, not the experts
to solve the problems.
4. We need also to look at four Methodological Principles. Whatever else we mean by methods of research, we mean corporate creativity. We mean sitting a group of people down around a table, just period. That table is probably a fundamental symbol of what we mean by research. We keep people sitting there stewing - and it's a mysterious process until they discover something. That is an element in every one of our methods. A key concern in terms of research is contextual definition. The key to solving any problem is grasping what that problem is, grasping where it is, grasping what it is in relation to, getting it in a larger perspective' getting the group's minds all going in the same direction.
5. Next, in doing research you always have to have a clear
mission in terms of a product. That does not necessarily mean that a product
is the answer to your question' but you have to have a clear mission in
terms of a product. For example, the goal is to produce a document at the
end of a PSU, to run a research assembly, to build a set of triangles.
You always have to have that concrete product at the end of your research
to allow your research to deal with the question you're asking. Another
key to research is tactical procedures. Research does not mean taking the
topic, "What is the new social vehicle?" and then just sitting
around and talking about ''What is the new social vehicle?" Research
is taking one little tactic which gives you a way to approach a problem,
doing that, and then seeing what that reveals about what the new social
vehicle is. Then you take another tactic, do that, and see that that reveals.
6. The four Spiritual Principles are the presuppositions
we make in regard to what is necessary in the spirit dimension if we are
to do research. The first is something like decisional fellowship or fellowhood.
Corporate research demands something radically beyond simply being willing
to show up together. There is a decision a group has to make, in order
to endure the pain of ramming up against the social situation.
7. The second spirit principle is something like in order
to do research you have to assume the posture of a man of faith. Research
means stepping out beyond the no longer to the not yet and finding out
about the future. One of my colleagues said in a speech the other day,
that we've always had to break loose a new spirit method when we went into
a new area of social research. You have to have some way to assume the
posture....That's the significance of "Little Big Man." That
was a crummy movie in some ways but the presence of that movie reminded
you of the posture of style. The Psalms did the same thing last summer.
They reminded you that you had to stand at the center, or that you had
to be the transestablishment, or that you had to be objective about your
enemies, that you had to stand only before the Mystery, that you had to
assume the posture.
8. Third, research depends in some way on the creation
of awe. Maybe you want to say the kind or research we do is always in a
relationship to the Mystery and when you stand before the Mystery awe breaks
loose. So research depends on the creation of awe. And forth, research
has to do with the discontinuous spirit: confronting the unknown is not
a simple stepbystep process. Where you have a simple process
to go through there's got. to be the discontinuous that reveals the unknown,
lets the unknown break in, demonstrates the relativity of your images,
and allows you to grasp new images and new patterns for the data.
9. The four Operational Principles are the operating presuppositions
of the research. The first is honor the past that means you keep
every scrap of paper boxes and boxes. It doesn't matter whether you
are sure you are going to use it or sure you are not going to use it. You
almost want to say that it's a symbol that every word gets taken down because
every word has got to do with that research. The second is, the fucure
is the only question in research. What is it we're out to get? Any question
or insight that gets raised when you're doing research only gets raised
in the context of "therefore." What is the implication of that
for our test? How is that insight relevant for what we're out to solve?
Any tangent only gets included in the research under the category of "therefore."
Unless you have that kind of chastity relative to solving the problem,
relative to seeing the next step, you cannot do research.
10. Third, the inclusive always decides the direction
of research, the expert never does. That's the only way you can free yourself
from deadened attrition. Once you create a model, you've got so much selfhood
invested in it that you have no way to grasp whether its going of in an
unhelpful direction. I don't know if we should give this example, but if
the permeation division had been given charge of building the summer program,
it would have been built on the new social vehicle charts. Now nobody in
the permeation division or in the Order to this day has been able to articulate
what those charts are for. Though unbelievable attachment to that creation
is still there, the inclusive always decides.
11. But in the midst of that, research frees the particular
to move. There was a certain kind of abandon in the research assembly this
past summer because they knew there was a Room E, a coordinating body.
Even if they weren't clear what was supposed to be happening it was clear
that there was an ecclesiola prior, and beyond him an "allknowing"
congregation prior who met with Room E. I could work all night on some
ridiculous assignment because if it was wrong someone would notice. It
was that kind or free abandon that frees up the particular.
II. STRUCTURES OF RESEARCH
12. THE RESEARCH STRUCYURES involve the Total Movement
in that the whole movement is the experiment. We are the guinea pigs on
behalf of the future of the world as to how it is possible to stand as
the Church in the 20th century. I say that in radical humility because
there is no simple answer to that question. But its not hat we do research
to answer that question, our whole lives are the experiment. We involve
the total movement through the research net. Everyone contributes feedback
to our research whether it be through the comments at the end of courses,
written statements or meetings of any movement structure. The task of the
research net is not only to gather these data but also carry out assignments
on behalf of the whole movement. This quarter each religious house has
research assignments in the areas of local church, new social vehicle,
and movemental order.
13. But none of the net an come off without a strong research
center. A body is needed that can concentrate a fair number of people in
an intensely corporate context over long periods of time to hold the who
e research thrust together and to forge the comprehensive models. Here
is where new courses, the academy curriculum, and the new religious mode
charts must be constructed.
14. The key to the total movement bringing off research
is a research polity. Everyone must have a similar vision of the task and
the research must be practically related to that mission. There was a movie
on television Sunday night, called "Earth Two" about a space
station that had been recognized as another nation. The Communist Chinese
shot an atomic bomb at them and they had a big struggle with it. One girl
tried to explode the bomb and send it to the sun, but ended up sending
it toward the earth, almost blowing up the earth. One of the closing key
lines was addressed to this girl after she messed everything up, and she
said, I'm sorry. The leader said, "Don't be sorry. You just forgot
that on Earth Two we don't act as individuals. We act together. Each man
has one vote." That's good, but we're beyond that. Our research polity
dynamic is something I call serial voting, or cumulative voting. The polity
of research means you keep going around the table with the vote until everybody's
vote comes out the same. It keeps changing but a consensus is created
and that is research.
15. Research demands a Corporate Research Network. Research
is an organic system in itself. In the context of the mission there is
created some symbol that relates the group to the task, such as the Fifth
City station moving to meeting in Room E. This creates a symbol that says
that this is the area of research. Or maybe its a speech in collegium stating
our research priorities.
16. The dynamic looks something like the chart on the
next page. There are the priors, there is Room E, and there is the research
net. This is not a clear drawing but it is a crucial drawing. The impact
of the group symbol primarily goes through to the network. The doing of
research does not depend on the Room E dynamic. It depends primarily on
the Research Leadership, that is on the priors. They are the Pattons, the
cries who go out and get the job done. And Room E is Eisenhower. The analogy
is a little different because in our case "Patton" can tell "Eisenhower"
what to do. However, Eisenhower makes the final recommendation and holds
the whole thing together.
17. This is the dynamic: the symbology goes through the
priors to the network where the research gets done. And that is also where
the research gets created. The job of Room E is to support those priors,
to give them the gasoline and the guns they need, to map out the terrain,
to suggest where the next battle is and send them procedures, to answer
their questions, to bracket their anxieties in order that they can focus
their intensity on getting the job done. Room E contexts the priors as
to where the issues are but the priors are the ones that give the orders.
If Room E says to march that way, and there's not a way to get over the
river there, they say, "shift." They call up Room E on the telephone
and say things will have to change in this direction. They're the ones
who give the orders and we finally decide.
18. It was a mystery to me at the beginning of the summer
(but it isn't now) that when we brought al1 the old hands in, they didn't
get sent to Room E, they got sent to the prior's position. That's where
the front line troops are. In Room E you only need one guru to keep things
going. In the position of prior you've got to have your topline men, who
know how to operate, to deal with a corporate group, and to enable a group
to keep moving step by step by step. These are the people who know how
to create spirit.
19. These are also the tacticians. In Summer '70 though
we didn't have an official Room E, my ecclesiola prior served as that dynamic
so wasn't there very often. Another prior did the tactic lectures and ran
the workshops. It seems to me that there was a great amount of life address
in this, but this prior would always get up and laugh and chuckle and tell
irrelevant stories. I used to get angry until it began to dawn on me that
the last thing people who were doing tactics needed was to have someone
get up there and lecture to address their lives. The address was built
in, and what they needed was a sort of tangential humor, a tactic that
allowed the research to go on. That kind of prowess is demanded also.
20. In the Research Enablement dynamic, Room E, there
are four kinds of dynamics going on. There is the one that holds the comprehensive,
the inclusive direction. This is the one who has to be the guru. He doesn't
have to understand everything that's going on but he has to know if its
going in the right direction. He has to be an old hand who has memory about
what we've done, of what Columbus did, of what Marx did, etc.
21. Then there are your experts, the minds who knew an
area and can just move. For example, once one of these men found out about
imbabanced triangles, he was unbelievable. He was drawing imbalanced triangles
on everything. He intuited every possible kind of imbalance triangle there
could be, what sort of revolution you'd have to have, how you'd deal with
it, what it means in terms of the social vehicle today, and where its manifest
in society today. That kind of mind, when it gets into an area, it can
just break loose. I call this: people getting hot. We'd be working and
then for a week or so one person would be hot. He'd work and it would take
the rest of us a week to catch up to where he was. Then someone else would
get hot and be drawing models on the board. Nobody would talk except him.
But the guru would always say, "What?" It was frustrating but
that was his response to a new idea. It was the comprehensive making sure
it wasn't one more of those little whiskers that was trying to get into
history but was an authentic insight. If you stopped when he said, "What?"
then you knew it was just a whisker. But if you pushed back again, he'd
say, "Now what does that mean? Say that again." You would say
it again and then he'd say, "That's wrong." You would collapse,
and sit down with your head down. But then he'd say, "Do that again,"
and you'd get up and do it again. In the midst of this we had a couple
of practical minds who would just scratch out the procedures. Right in
the midst of everyone else arguing they would write it up. That sort of
expertise is needed also.
22. Then you need the practical administration, those
who handle the practical context of the research, see to it that people
had celebrations planned, money for busses and food, and that sort of thing.
They have to meet in Room E so that we could operate as one group with
a common context.
23. Also you have to have someone to deal with materials,
just seeing to it that everything got typed up, collated, and sent out
and that files were kept. That's an unbelievable job. It was crucial that
all of those people be in Room E, that all of them were operating in the
same context, while each one carried out his particular assignment. You
have to have the theoretical to the practical spread operating in order
to run research.
III. RESEARCH METHODS
24. It seems to me that the first research me nod is really
the only research method, Imaginal Concentration. That cave man in Eisley's
The Inheritors who had to put his hands to his head and then an image would
form used this method of research. Or for u what it means to do re<~arch
is to be assigned to a task and not a job. Then, in one sense, the Order
time design bcomes irrelevant. If you don't go to your ecclesiola
for three weeks because work has to be done on the convoy course, that's
the way it is. If you have to stay up all night, that's fine. You are assigned
a task and not a job.
25. But you have to be clear on the important issues and
the unimportant. When you're doing research you need to bracket many issues.
You cannot deal with political issues, you can not deal with personality
issues, you cannot deal with interesting issues or interesting problems
down the road. When you look at the comprehensive, you had to bracket everything
except the one key issue. You need to concentrate on the sing e priority.
Or research is a constant thinktank. One colleague was supposed to give
a lecture on transparent being near the end of the summer. He began to
prepare for that lecture much of the time. In the midst of any conversation,
he'd get up and walk over to the window and start giving his transparent
being lecture. We were trying to figure how to get at contradictions and
he'd start lecturing on transparent being. That kind of unceasing brooding
has to go on, the unending thinktank.
26. A second method is the Piddling Style. If, in the
midst of that concentration, you don't have diversion and discontinuity
to relax the mind, you don't do research, you just get a headache. In this
we're beyond procedures. Even if we have procedures, ,he real research
we're doing is beyond procedures. Although we have stepbystepbystep
procedures written out, research is the step beyond that. When you move
into the unknown, you propensity is always to quickly grab onto something
you know, or to grab the first answer and hold on to it. For instance,
what's the first thing you think about when you think about historic order?
In orders people wear funny clothes. So an issue is whether we should wear
garb. The clothes you wear are important, but in terms of a historic order,
or a movemental order that's only the first issue you thought of, not the
27. Another key dynamic I'd point to in piddling is waiting,
just having the nerve to wait. In summer '71 as we were brooding over the
time design for the research assembly I'd come in with one suggestion after
another which were slapped down. And finally on Saturday at the last meeting
we drew up the time design. There was only one day before the assembly
started. And then we revised it again the next morning! John D. Rockefeller
talked about that. He said, "When I have to make an important decision,
I sit down and analyze all the situation and go through all the considerations
until I'm clear what the decision is, and then I don't make the decision.
I wait until I feel the time is right to make the decision." A revolutionary
never commits himself before he has to. Last year the only decision we
had made the whole spring quarter was that by the time the priors came
in we'd be ready to catch them up on the basic thinking that had been on
the social process triangles, and on July 5th the research assembly would
begin. And that was it. We bracketed every other decision until the priors
came. We bracketed finishing the triangles until just before the assembly
when we couldn't put it off any longer.
28. The piddling style demands a tangential approach.
If you raise the question directly of creating a new social vehicle which
is going to care for 3 1/2 billion human beings, all you do is collapse.
You have nothing else to do but collapse. But you come at it this way,
that way, up and down, one tangent after another. This June, three weeks
before the assembly, someone said, "What would you think about having
a time design like this?" Than he immediately erased it, saying, "I
think its too soon to be thinking about this," and went off on one
tangent after another. Since in research you are out to discover something
you don't know, a direct approach may lead to some knowledge too soon and
you can never leap over that. There is no step by step way to what you
don't know. Discontinuity is key. Piddling is like a loose lightbulb in
a car bounding down a road going on and off, on and off.
29. Also crucial is the whole category of spinning. A
key dynamic in research is the spirit dimension, or your own internal spring,
the montage that you have inside of you. Its the road that your imagination
takes that you cannot rationally articulate. Often it goes off in the wrong
direction but often it breaks open new patterns and new directions.
30. The first consideration in Methods Dynamics (see diagram
on next page) is that the kind of research we do is ontological research,
that is, it is ''being" research. We don't do rational research, we
do only spirit research. Now on the other side of saying that, we can look
at the methods in forms categories: intellectual development, including
model building or course development, pedagogy, and study; social change,
including social analysis or dynamical sociology, tactical systems, and
actional laboratories, such as Fifth City; and spirit prowess, including
space/time, relations or style, and religions. Whenever you do research
you do all three of those. It is not correct to say that in order to work
on the new social vehicle you've got to take some time away to sustain
yourself with the spirit. You can't do what we mean by social research
unless at the same time you weren't struggling with spirit prowess. We
could not do social research, if we were not doing intellectual development.
31. Intellectual development has to do with the dynamic
of rationality, while social change has to do with practicality. This has
to do with the dynamical process categories and spirit prowess has to do
with the dynamic of radicality or exposing radical depth humanness.
32. Looking at the dynamics of this, the methods of social
change research create spirit prowess in demanding repentance. Whenever
you look at society, you see that you've been acting wrong and have to
change. It limits the research experimentation by raising the why or the
"therefore." It sustains spirit prowess by forcing engagement
in that you are forced to deal with the radicality of life.
CHART NEEDS TO BE SCANNED
33. In terms of the relationship of spirit prowess to
social change, the spirit prowess creates the dynamic of research in social
change by enabling detachment, by talking about life and death9 giving
you a way to look at the world. It limits the experiment in social change
by demanding authenticity. Back in '68 we were clear that there was something
going on that we didn't understand in terms of our naive decision to reform
the world. We were driver to the spirit to ,Jet ahold of the depths of
life in order to get a place in which to stand and move out into society.
Spirit prowess sustains research in social change by enabling the posture,
pushing the spirit edge that makes you grasp yourself as the transestablishment,
that makes you grasp yourself as the revolutionary daring to predict the
future of society.
34. In terms of the relationship of spirit prowess and
intellectual development, research in the spirit edges creates intellectual
development by revealing the mystery. It shoves you into the unknown, takes
you down to the center and asks you what you see. It just forces intellectual
development. It forces you to stretch your mind. It limits by reminding
you of your contingency. You grasp in the midst of a spirit conversation
you are really involved in the inadequacy of all your rationality to comprehend,
to grasp the mystery of all of life. It sustains intellectual development
by opening creativity, throwing you over against the mystery in which you
sense that your life is radical creativity, giving you permission to use
35. The intellectual development creates research in the
spirit prowess by forcing creativity. When you begin to build 6level
triangles that make sense, don't overlap, and are consistent, you've been
thrown over against the mystery. You find yourself journeying into regions
that you have not had any idea of, struggling for weeks, then, suddenly
discovering that this is something you know all along. It limits spirit
prowess by demanding intentionality. Those psalms, contexts and suggested
conversation questions, they have nothing to do with the Psalms, but rational
development demands that you be intentional with how you deal with the
spirit. You have to be clear on what you've out to have happen, in the
midst of not knowing what you're out to have happen. Intellectual development
sustains spirit prowess by objectifying the deeps. There's no other way
you can begin to get your mind around the mystery, than with the religious
mode charts or whatever intellectual tool allows you to move on, to explore
the deeps in a new way.
36. In terms of the relationship between intellectual
development and social change, intellectual development creates social
change by revealing the comprehensive, by exploring the historylong
and worldwide dynamic. It limits by bracketing your passion. It reminds
you of the seriousness and the complexity of what you are about and demands
that you not simply operate out of your passion. It sustains research in
social change by sorting the complexity, giving a way to get your mind
around the Complexity.
37. Back the other way, social change creates research
in intellectual development by providing raw data. By daring to move into
society and ask the question of what do I, you are forced over against
the unbelievable chaos and the unbelievable demand. It limits intellectual
development by demanding a critical eye. In raising the question of social
change, you grasp who needs to be studied, who doesn't need to be studied,
what models are helpful, what models are not helpful. It sustains intellectual
development by revealing the necessity of that dynamic, by just demonstrating
to you that your study is inadequate, even your mind is inadequate.
38. All this sort of dynamic has to be built in four different
Research Phases. First, there's the phase of the problem and the presuppositions
of the research, where you're just out to figure out what the problem is.
In the New Social Vehicle research last spring, we had PSU's and didn't
know what we were doing. But they were just out to get clear on what our
presuppositions were. In building the triangles, they were beginning to
get clear on what they wanted those triangles to reveal, what presuppositions
they had about what they needed or what problem they were trying to handle
in dealing with those triangles. In that kind of research, the key is to
have a small group working for a long time. Finally we just shut down the
weekend PSU's on building the social triangles and turned it over to a
small group because we were articulating the basic model. The key was tactical
thinking or the tangential approach, having one way after another of coming
at the same thing 15 million workshops until the whole thing began
to take shape.
39. Then there's the second stage systematic analysis.
Once you have your basic model together, you can use the masses of people
to do your cross checking. Here is for me your research assembly, where
you take a thousand people, shove them up against those basic models, and
have them pull their experience through it. When you've done that sort
of systematic analysis, its crucial to do corporate writing, to hold people's
insights in written form.
40. The third phase of research is refining and cleaning.
Here again you need a small group to keep an eye on what's going on. When
cleaning, you don't change ideas because the research is done. This is
where we are in the new social vehicle research, refining the material.
If you've got another idea, great, write it down on another sheet of paper
and turn it into the post. The post has the job of continuing to refine
and clean in the midst of the comprehensive stance.
41. The fourth is the phase of disseminating and testing.
After the research has been pulled together you need to shove that out
to the masses in order to test it. And here again, you need the numbers
of people, and you want feedback. That's why you do workshops when the
priors are in. That's why we read every bit of mail that comes in, relative
to our work. You are after feedback on what you're doing.
IV. RESEARCH OPERATION
42. Now I want to report what we found about the Research
operation is in two research assemblies and from the Room E experiment.
It seems to me that in terms of being the research station the first stance
you have to make is that the Room E dynamic is the Visible Center of the
research. You cannot see unit 25a cleaning a proposal but you can see Room
E. They're the ones who have to symbolize the task, to maintain its single
direction. This body cannot afford to get trapped in nitty gritty details.
They've got to see that the comprehensive direction is held, that the work
is pulled together, that the research isn't going in a dead end. They are
the nonbureaucratic servants. They're not the ones who decide about
the research getting done or about what research gets done. They are the
ones who enable the research that whole order has decided is to be done.
At the same time as they serve they are held accountable
by their service. They're the ones who stand as a symbol of having to complete
that job. When one of these ecclesiolas in Summer 72 got a day and a half
behind in their work, that prior was taken apart in Room C. A week later
when Room E had taken a wrong direction, that prior came and screamed.
Room E jumped when he screamed and did what he demanded. This is a dual
dynamic which has the basic aim of intensifying the local task.
43. The Internal Stance of research includes four areas.
The first is that you are operating over against raw creativity. The job
is to figure out what the problem is and then discern a method for getting
at the problem. The research network takes that problem and works through
44. Room E demands a style of detached anxiety. The responsibility
of standing in that Room E dynamic is overwhelming. There are a thousand
people here, there are 500 people across the globe, and you've given them
that job. You get overwhelmed with the pain of it and overwhelmed with
the guilt of having to decide. You stand right there in the open having
to decide. You stayed up all night to write some procedures and then someone
calls you up on the phone and tells you they're all bad. You respond, "What
suggestions do you have?" and you mean it. Your job is to see that
research gets done, and whenever there's any problem it comes back to you.
45. The Room E dynamic is a sign of an emerging polity,
highly crucial, in terms of : the high complexity we're dealing with. Its
a polity dynamic, not of "everything is under control," but of
"somebody is dealing with it." I can go to sleep tonight because
I know that by morning Room E will have procedures done. They'll stay up
all night and all the next night if necessary until they get it figured
out. This sort of polity allows the local a chance to participate in the
inclusive direction at the same time that they are relieved of the necessity
of thinking everything through.
46. Also the corporate hassle and the individual pulltogether
are part of the basic research dynamic. It is sitting around the table,
breaking loose an area, getting an insight into how to move, getting a
sense after what the future is, and then you make individual assignments
to write. Then it is staying up all night building a model and taking it
in the next morning and having it torn apart. I mean, they told you to
build a set of triangles on something and you built them, and you come
in, and they tell you, it was the wrong assignment. And you go right on.
47. The research dynamic is unbelievable Corporate Discipline.
That's the only possibility to enable, i research to go on. Its not like
there are fits of depression and arches of joy. Its more a lowgrade
fear day after day after day. Are we really dealing with the right issue?
Is the movemental order really going in the right direction? Doesn't the
new social vehicle know what its doing? What are we going to do with the
i.e.? that is research anyway? Research is that kind of day after day,
gnawing lowgrade fear with no ups or downs.
48. In the midst of that, being research you have no time
to deal with people's spirit problem. I mean if somebody decides they are
going to stay in bed, you just let them stay in bed because you've no time
for them, no time to nurture them, and care for them. If you're not disciplined
you might just as well leave because we don't have time for that, I'm just
there every day, every day It's almost as if someone died in their .sleep
at night we would take a stretcher, go to their room, get the corpse and
prop it up in the chair. That's the sort of almost foolish corporate discipline
and that's been symbolized in the Room E dynamic.
49. Why is that sort of dedication necessary? You just
sit and sit and sit. You get antsy, you get hot, you figure you must have
to go to the bathroom, you figure you must go do the laundry but what it
requires is just to sit there and brood. Your insights that you've been
building for two months get just crushed. You just collapse and you just
sit there and all of a sudden you're back in there going. The symbolism
of that 7:30 am meeting is the sign of a task and not a show. You almost
want to say to yourself, I'll get here at 7.25 to symbolize the fact of
the discipline, to remind yourself that what it means to be a sign to research
is to stand, to be there, to operate out of discipline, and to stay late,
to stay up all night. I thought that was foolish for the local church research
post when they never did a thing, and then they stayed up four nights straight
getting out some manual. I was sure if they had been disciplined they wouldn't
have had to stay up. up. But doing research requires the discipline to
have the capacity to stay up all night when that's necessary. That's the
way it was the whole month, that kind of intensity of the decision to participate.
50. Research is a kind of fellowship. To say the research
section is a group that has come together because they have a task is right,
but the corporateness that's demanded is far beyond that. It has to do
with the decision that I will sit in the room and like it, enjoy it, and
think I'm gifted to have been given this wonderful assignment,
51. The key to that is what I call the Spirit Envelope.
To do research you have to live in another world. You cannot live in this
world and do the kind of research that we do. That means that the spirit
is the key. When you do research you do not have a task and a group of
people, you only have a group of people. The procedures do not come up
with the answers. It's the PSU. The problem solving unit has the problem
but it is a body of people and the morale is key. The work sustains you.
You do not read psalms, you do not sing songs in order to sustain yourself.
The work sustains you and the key is setting the kind of pace that is appropriate
to the struggle. One of my colleagues uses the religious mode charts. When
he sees a group that's over on the pole of obedience, then he shoves them
at detachment. When he sees a group caught up in their own freedom, then
he shoves them over against meditation. He knows when a group is running
into a concrete wall and his shifting and moving lets his group do fantastic
research. The work his ecclesiola has done is unbelievable, but it isn't
because he understands those proposals at all. Its because he has the ability
to move a group at a pace appropriate to their struggle. Thus research
is a spirit decision.
52. Its got to do with cultivating detachment. You've
got to stand up, put your hands in your pockets, flip your hands around,
and say, "Well, should we get started or not?" You can never
do research if you have a minute by minute time design and yet in the midst
of that loose structure there is a deep intentionality. It is only disciplined
people that can do research. You need a simple rhythm. Looking back at
the summer, the only thing we decided about structuring our time was that
on June 1st we'd be ready to host the priors, and on July 4th we'd be ready
to start the program. And the rest of the time we just sat and went through
that simple kind of rhythm, that freedom to brood, to stew, to deal with
the problem, to confront the ambiguity of the.` situation without having
alot of other anxieties to dea1 with. To overcome your anxieties you have
to always be doing something. You have to have symbolic power. I mean you
are something. What that does is allows you to have detachment. You'd say,
I'm not doing things like everybody else is. This doesn't seem right. Some
afternoons you'd leave, some days during the research assembly we'd go
take a nap while everybody else was working. I can't do this, everybody
else is working. But you see yourself as the setaside people, high
symbolic power that lets you have that detachment. Without that detachment,
you were paralyzed. That also has to do with discontinuity starting
with a poem, doing the canonical hours every hour on the hour, somebody
bringing in a special treat. This discontinuity creates the tension which
reminds you of tension that is really crucial.
53. The guru dynamic is always in research' as research
only goes on in an aweful climate, an awe$111ed climate. It has taken two
years to create the awe of the Room E, the geographic location upstairs.
For three quarters I was afraid to go in that room, I mean I was sure something
was going to happen to me. You wouldn't dare mess up. Imagine if something
happened to the altar. That has to do with the awe. You don't need an intelligent
human being. You don't need a man. You need a guru to allow that to go
on. And that's got to do with detachment. It has to do with gossip. We'd
go on for an awfully long time talking about one person, then another.
For two weeks everyone who came in, we'd ask them how'd they enjoy their
bath, to see the results. Just that sort of detached humor creates distance,
allows the group to shift its mind. A number of times we acted out scenes
from "Little Big Man." That dynamic of art was crucial
a picture of a black African woman on a background of red, or an iron or
poetry. But research is an art form. Its like creating a painting. I have
already talked about tangential conversations. The key to the leadership
of research is having the guru who is discontinuous and obviously in charge,
and who carries the symbolic. He's detached. He can stand up in the midst
of a conversation and talk about something else. He can get up in the middle
and go home. Discontinuity makes the group turn around and shift a very
54. And finally in the symbolic practice, I cannot emphasize
enough the importance of those 7:30 meetings. Sitting and talking about
the words of Jesus, then there's the altar sitting in the midst of that
classroom, kept just absolutely the same. To keep that in the midst of
unbelievable chaos, throws you over against the mystery It creates in your
mind the possibility of form. That altar is just crucial in what it does
to the creation of research. And the room. I use, to get angry with one
colleague who worked with us. About 3:00 or so I'd go out of the room and
I'd come back and all my stuff would have disappeared. All my notes and
everything gone. And there she would be, sweeping the room. I'd say, don't
you know there's research going on and here you are sweeping the room.
She'd be dusting and polishing off the table and blowing the ashes off
and everything. When she was assigned somewhere else and that sweeping
dynamic stopped, I realized that the research dynamic was the care
of the room. We could never create the room E dynamic in this room, unless
you set up each morning. No room E is possible with empty tables sitting
around and pictures up. They're not bad but they're not research. We may
have to find another room to meet in. And then the blackboard. In RSI
you erase it real nice after every session not in research. That
board represents your major art form, your major decor. And when you've
got an idea you put it up on the board, not on a little piece of paper,
so you can look at it a hundred times a day. It just stays there. When
somebody has a great idea, instead of erasing the whole board they erase
a little corner and put it up right in the middle of something. It becomes
an art form, a montage, it brainwashes you. The room demonstrates the awe,
demonstrates that there is something important going on in that room, it
has to be straight, it has to be clean. It's a great symbol that each of
the research offices decided to create their office when they moved into
it. That sort of thing seems absolutely crucial.