These last few weeks have been my all-time, fastest–deepest, learning experience (apart from the time I almost died in hospital).
The result of these events is that I needed to think and re-think about why it is we do what we do. If you had been following this blog, you will have seen that there have been a few posts on the philosophical foundations of Stretch Therapy. But it’s not just philosophical foundations: it’s the ethical ones too, and most people who have not studied philosophy as deeply as I have will not be aware, perhaps, that ethics is an area of inquiry all by itself in philosophy-land. Whether or not there is any ethical basis to the doing of what we do is connected to the individual who is doing the doing. This is entirely dependent on what kind of human being they are; their values; and the morality based on these.
As an ex academic (philosophy of science, relevant logic, human ecology), my main concern over ten years of post-grad. research was the limits to scientific understanding (and, not coincidentally, this refocused my interest in traditional Buddhism and meditation). As JimP commented the other day, academic research is conducted in a relatively very open environment (except for Big Pharma’s research): academics present their findings in open seminars; we publish our work explicitly to invite criticism and commentary; we engage with colleagues expressly to both share and to further the enterprise. Publishing means your work is ‘out in the open‘: anyone can access this information and use it any way they like. In academia, all one is required to do is to acknowledge one’s sources.
The general point is that knowledge cannot be controlled: as soon as you publish, in whatever form this occurs, you must let it go. This is what publishing is: the deliberate dissemination of the thing you have created, for criticism and potential up-taking/inclusion in other bodies of work. In our work, we don’t just ‘permit’ this: we encourage it explicitly, and the repayments have been magnificent: everyone involved in our work feeds back their insights to us, and the system grows. As I have observed recently, we have learned more in the last 3–4 years than the previous 20 for this reason alone. In reality, I have become the collator for ST, rather than its originator—and I am delighted with this development. ST is, explicitly, a collective enterprise.
Our intention is to share the info. that we have at the lowest cost to the user that lets us continue, and we want to learn from our students which is why we run our forums, and the manner in which we run our workshops. They are workshops in the deep-meaning sense: interactive, creative, where everyone can have a voice if they want—definitely not a lecture from an ‘expert’. All this is why our system works: it has been tested by many tens of thousands of people just like us. We incorporate feedback quickly and dispassionately, and are happy to acknowledge when something proposed by someone else—perhaps not in the system—works better than what we are using. Anything that does not work is ruthlessly cut. This is because we have a passion for an impersonal objective: more closely understanding Reality in its myriad forms, as this applies to movement, flexibility, and our objective, “grace and ease in the body”.
The genie is already out of the bottle, and it cannot be put back. Let’s hang on to her robes, and enjoy the ride! Let’s see where this can go. Let’s have some fun, do some good, and make some money, in that order.
In our endeavours, we have had extraordinary support from our students and Forum members; and many people have made themselves known to us of the express purpose of offering assistance. Thank you, everyone.