Bringing more innovation to your school or classroom requires a shift from thinking to doing. Part III focuses on taking action—a hallmark of innovators. First, we’ll meet some educators who use their networks to help good ideas grow. In the last chapter, we’ll suggest action steps that may be appropriate now or in the near future. Why such an emphasis on action? Let’s trust the advice of legendary innovator Leonardo da Vinci: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
Spreading Good Ideas
As we’ve heard throughout this book, innovators know how to take good ideas to scale. Their efforts may start small, but game-changing ideas need to engage a wide audience if they are going to take hold and make a lasting difference. In this chapter, we hear how educators use their professional networks to extend and improve upon effective strategies.
I was very impressed by Lasch’s book The Culture of Narcissism (1979) as a Jeremiad for our times. I wanted to introduce the ideas to a Gestalt audience. Part of the idea, which I believe psychotherapists need to consider, is that the things put in place to try to solve the problems of our society, including therapy, are part of the problem and participate in the same blind spots as the problems they are trying to solve.
Even when therapists speak of the need for “meaning” and “love”, they define love and meaning simply as the fulfillment of the patient’s emotional requirements. It hardly occurs to them – nor is there any reason why it should, given the nature of the therapeutic enterprise – to encourage the subject to subordinate his needs and interests to those of others, to someone or some cause or tradition outside himself. “Love” as self-sacrifice or self-abasement, “meaning” as submission to a higher loyalty – these sublimations strike the therapeutic sensibility as intolerably oppressive, offensive to common sense and injurious to personal health and well-being. To liberate humanity from such outmoded ideas of love and duty has become the mission of the post-Freudian therapies and particularly of their converts and popularizers, for whom mental health means the overthrow of inhibitions and the immediate gratification of every impulse. (Lasch, 1979, p. 13)