Patterns that connect: Three concepts of Space that support the Social process Theories of
A. Ross Milne Auckland University of Technology
To a “binary praxis of non-antagonistic reciprocity” (Martin, 2012)
“What pattern connects the crab to the oyster and the orchid to the primrose and all the four of them to me,
and me to you?” (Bateson, 1979, p. 8)
In opening this paper I would like to acknowledge you the reader first of all. In choosing to read
these words and this paper you have acted consciously and exercised your freedom. You have
accepted the responsibility and entered into the emergent relationship that literature makes
possible. The dialectical relationship exists between the writer and the reader, both free agents
but it is the reader in the concrete act of reading that brings the work itself into being (Sartre,
1950/2001). Thank you for doing so.
Over the past decade we have seen a spectacular increase in all areas of leadership
research. Despite this research the construct of leadership still “remains an elusive concept to
fully comprehend, let alone practise with confidence and consistency” (B. Jackson, 2012, p. 19).
Attempts to define the term have been numerous as has been the development of many flavours.
Gemmill and Oakley (1992) argued the possibility that leadership may even be a myth, socially
constructed to provide ideological support for the existing “natural order” of managerial
structures. Twenty years on have we addressed the conundrum? Yet if one observes the world
one does see acts of leading and being lead in everyday life. Something happens. Is that
Recent meta-review articles by Avolio, Walumbwa and Weber (2009), on leadership
research in general, and Gardner, Cogliser, Davis and Dickens (2011) on authentic leadership in
particular reinforced the need for research into leadership that took a holistic view and was more
integrative. In doing so the research focus has shifted towards ‘post-heroic’ notions of
leadership that explore social process theories that are relational, collaborative or shared
(Cunliffe, 2009; Cunliffe & Eriksen, 2011; Fairhurst & Uhl-Bien, 2012; Gagnon, Vough, &
Nickerson, 2012; Rost, 2008; Uhl-Bien & Marion, 2009)
In this paper a brief overview of some recent developments in the leadership literature are
described. From this, relevant related concepts by the French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre are
presented. If the idea that leadership is a relational construct that emerges from the relationship
between actors is accepted then this suggests that notions of place and possibility, or more
appropriately shared space, may be important considerations. In this context place and
possibility have both spatial and temporal dimensions. Three notions of space: Sartre's "we
relationship", the conditions for the possibility of authentic social relations; the Japanese concept
of ba, the shared space from which knowledge emerges; and the Māori concept of wā : the
temporal space in between are described. Wā and ba may be considered to be descriptions of
spaces that enable authentic “we” social relations to unfold. These concepts of space may well
be the necessary “existences” for the “essence” of leadership to emerge.
From this develops the important aspect of the direct experience of innovative social
process activities where the leadership phenomenon can be sensed. The example of the string
quartet is used to describe the role that artistic activity can play in experiencing this tacit
phenomenon especially that of collaborative improvisation.
Leadership as it is understood in today’s world is an essentially contested concept (Grint, 2005a,
p. 31). Grint suggested that leader, the noun, and leading, the verb, should be treated differently
from the construct leadership, the concept that is still very much open to interpretation and
development and is still highly subjective and contextual. Grint (2005b) in exploring this idea
Shifting the focus from noun to verb facilitates the reintroduction of the proactive role of
leadership in the construction of context, not in the sense that individual leaders are independent
agents, able to manipulate the world at will, as in Carlyle’s ‘Great Man’ theory, but in the sense
that the context is not independent of human agency, and cannot be objectively assessed in a
scientific form (pp. 1470-1471).
In acknowledging these different constructs the design of developmental activities have
shifted away from a focus on the skillset of leaders towards a mindset for leadership (Kennedy,
Carroll, & Francoeur, 2013). Suggested methods for how to develop the mindset have been
“based on constructionist ontological and epistemological assumptions, whereby leadership,
leaders, processes are seen as constructed in social interaction.” (Crevani, Lindgren, &
Packendorff, 2010, p. 79). Wood (2005) called for the leadership development activities to be
based in a process ontology, that is, leadership is best understood as a process rather than a
property or thing. Haslam, Reicher and Platow (2011) in exploring the psychology of the we of
leadership suggested that
… rather than seeing leadership as something that derives from leaders’ psychological
uniqueness, we argue the very opposite: that effective leadership is grounded in leaders’ capacity
to embody and promote a psychology that they share with others. Stated most baldly, we argue
for a new psychology that sees leadership as the product of an individual’s “we-ness” rather than
of his or her “I-ness.”
. . . this perspective forces us to see leadership not as a process that revolves around individuals
acting and thinking in isolation, but as a group process in which leaders and followers are joined
together – and perceive themselves to be joined together— in shared endeavour. (p. 1-2)
Reicher, Haslam and Hopkins (2005) noted that leaders and followers are tied together by their
mutual involvement in a social category, that is, interpreting what it means to be ‘us’ in a given
context. This notion of us in contrast to we is of significance and will be revisited later. What is
of importance to note here is there is a moral dimension to consider for as Kerwin (2012)
. . . a leader has no more, but no less, moral responsibility than anyone else. But that
responsibility is enormous and unrelenting. To the extent leaders foster thoughtlessness –
conditions inimical to rigorous thinking about moral concerns – they are culpable. To the extent
followers unthinkingly assent to harm, they too are culpable. (p. 511)
Reicher, Haslam and Rath (2008) provided evidence to support their claim that those who
commit great wrongs knowingly choose to act as they do because they believe that what they are
doing is right. The us and them aspects of the developed social identity allow a Manichean view
of the world to be created for the us represent good and they represent evil thus eliminating them
is considered virtuous, an act of doing good. Leadership as a shared process that addresses
mutuality does not absolve the participants from the responsibility to “think for oneself and judge
from the point of view of humanity.”(Kerwin, p. 513).
Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski and Flowers (2005) in their conversation on exploring profound
change presented a chapter entitled “Leadership: Becoming a Human Being” (Senge, et al.,
2005, pp. 177-186). They concluded that “when models of leadership shift from organisational
hierarchies with leaders at the top to more distributed, shared networks, a lot changes,” and thus
“becoming a ‘real human being,’ really is the primary leadership issue of our time, but on a scale
never required before. It’s a very old idea that may actually hold the key to a new age of ‘global
democracy’” (Senge, et al., 2005, p. 186). So what does it mean and what are the implications
for leadership development of this requirement to become a real human being?
It would seem that this contested concept of leadership is about a moral mindset based on a
process ontology of becoming a we. In this synthesis we come face-to-face with the question,
that of the meaning of existence itself, a question that existentialism has attempted to address and
a question that dominates the writings of the French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980).
In coming to Sartre expecting to be indulged in one’s existential crisis one finds oneself being
told instead to take responsibility for the whole world (Bernasconi, 2006, p. 4). Furthermore,
Sartre wrote at a time when mainstream philosophy seemed to have completely lost touch with the
kind of questions about our responsibilities and about the meaning of life that ordinary people
expect it to address. Sartre more than anybody kept those ancient questions alive. (Bernasconi,
2006, p. 5).
In a consumerist world in which mainstream philosophy seems to again to have lost touch,
and in which a Manichean perspective seems to be growing, revisiting Sartre provides
opportunity to explore these issues for “to do evil is to make someone else suffer”(Ricoeur,
2004, p. 66). As Gandhi so profoundly stated:
When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end
they always fall. Think of it—always (Attenborough, 1982).
In recent times the philosophical works of Sartre have been explored within the leadership
and organisational studies literature (Ashman, 2007; Ashman & Winstanley, 2006a, 2006b;
Cunliffe, 2009; Dion, 2011, 2012; Grint, 2010; Jackson, 2005, 2010; K. Jackson, 2012; Lawler,
2005; Lawler & Ashman, 2012; MacMillan, Yue, & Mills, 2012; Solomon, 2008; Yue & Mills,
2008). Many of these articles relate to Sartre’s writings on being and personal responsibility and
the related construct of authenticity and the development of a leadership ethic (Lawler &
“If you seek authenticity for authenticity’s sake, you are no longer authentic.”(Sartre, 1992, p. 4)
Authenticity has been a much discussed concept. In referencing Sartre’s writing on
authenticity many authors’ cite his philosophical tome Being and Nothingness (BN) as the main
source of his description of authenticity. This is in fact far from the case. Being and
Nothingness is sub-titled an essay on phenomenological ontology in which Sartre attempts to
describe the nature of human existence, that is, the pursuit of being. This work is what
Crittenden (2009) refers to as Sartre’s “ontology before ethics”. In this work Sartre places
freedom at the centre of what it means to be human and Sartre identified an object/subject
dualism, this concept of ‘being’ as:
divided by Sartre into two types, roughly speaking subjective being and objective being, which he
labels ‘l’être-pour-soi (‘being-for-itself’) and ‘l’être-en-soi (‘being-in-itself’). This neo-Hegelian
distinction is between the active existing of a free conscious human individual, and the passive
being of inert human reality (Priest, 2001, pp. 13-14).
Sartre suggests that the default human project is a synthesis of being, a fusion of being-in-it-self-
for-itself; and in doing so pursuing the project of an ens causa sui,
. . . the best way to conceive of the fundamental project of human reality is to say that man is the
being whose project is to be God. [ . . . ] God, value and supreme end of transcendence,
represents the permanent limit in terms of which man makes known to himself what he is. To be
man means to reach towards being God. Or if you prefer, man fundamentally is the desire to be
God. (BN p. 566)
If one reflects on this quote one can see within this desire the associated construct of narcissism,
a phenomenon that is also topical. Sartre does however suggest that this project is doomed to
failure and is ‘mauvaise foi’, literally translated as bad faith. What is my understanding of the
Sartrean construct of bad faith. In attempting to address this I have decided that bad faith cannot
be discussed without addressing freedom for it is now apparent that bad faith is inexplicably
linked with the notion of freedom. In this then one identifies that “fear” and “hope” are also
inexplicably linked for;
fear will hold you prisoner, hope will set your free.
At this point in time for me “bad faith” it is not strictly “self-deception”. For if one is truly
conscious both from a nervous system response point of view and from a “consciousness”
awareness of self perspective then one can never deny what they have chosen not to choose and
hence ignore. Thus one is condemned to be free, one must choose, yet in any complex situation
we can choose to avoid choosing, to place the situation to one side and thus avoid “going there”.
Thus as suggested this is a “meta stable” situation for in choosing to ignore the need to choose,
the possibility remains that this denial of choice will reappear and we will come face to face with
our failure to choose, our “bad faith”. Our freedom is linked to the fact that we can never escape
from our awareness of ourselves.
Sartre’s ontological analysis of bad faith (mauvaise foi) does suggest the possibility of self-
recovery or conversion , that is, ‘authenticity’ (Sartre, 1957, p. 94). It is now acknowledged that
Being and Nothingness taken as a whole, is well understood as a treatise largely on bad faith
(Eshleman, 2008; Perna, 2003). Sartre intended a later work in which he would describe an ethic
of authenticity, a single work that was not published in his lifetime, but which he pursued
throughout his life. Posthumous publications of his notebooks and other writings provide an
insight into his intent.
Heter (1992) noted in addition to awareness and responsibility Sartre identified a third
condition of authenticity , that of respecting others. For
. . . we do not grasp the freedom of others except through its goal. But there are different ways of
grasping the goal: if I simply transcend it on the way toward my own goal, it becomes a thing. It is
absurd and contingent. But the contemplation of the work of art allows us to grasp how I can
apprehend the Other’s goal: the work of art presents itself to me as an absolute end, a demand, a
call. It addresses itself to my pure freedom and in this way reveals to me the pure freedom of the
Other. (Sartre, 1992, p. 500)
Being and Nothingness as a phenomenological description of the human condition also describes
the important aspect of “being-for-others”; the dialectic of being-for-itself. While Sartre holds
that consciousness is a free subjectivity that lives an objective situation, as described above, the
consciousness in bad faith fails to understand this. It either privileges its subjective freedom over
its objective situation or privileges its objective situation over its subjective freedom (BN p.79).
The social relations of consciousnesses in Bad Faith conform to this either/or subject/object
binary opposition: each consciousness tries to objectify the Other to maintain its privileged
subjective freedom. For this reason, the social relations of consciousnesses that exist as a mode
of being that is in Bad Faith are inherently alienating and conflictual. But Sartre notes that it is
possible for consciousness to experience a social relation with the Other in which both
consciousnesses are subjects.
In the section of the work on concrete relations with others Sartre develops the concepts of
the “us” and the “we relationship” the latter being the possibility of “authentic social relations”
(Rae, 2009, p. 70; Sartre, 1943/2003, pp. 434-452). Sartre identified two modes of group
belongingness; we-as-subject “we” and we-as-object “us”. For group members to see themselves
as we, the group is focused on a shared task and through this experience interdependence and
internal cohesion. Us by contrast is when cohesion is achieved as a result of an external agent or
Other frequently invoked as a real or imagined enemy(Erickson, 1995). We-hood is authentic,
us-hood is not and may be considered collective “mauvaise foi”. Schönwälder-Kuntze (2011)
developed an argument for congruency in Sartre’s philosophical theory and in citing Sartre noted
“Morality must be choosing the world, not oneself.” The other no longer appears dangerous
because of his “objectifying gaze,” but as a gain; the world appears as that which is to be changed
for the better, and the other as a potential collaborator in this task. [ . . . ] Thus, the Sartrean appeal
has two goals: to change the economic conditions in the world, and to make it possible for each and
every person to choose authentically. (p. 71)
Sartre considered oppression in any form to be mauvaise foi.
In we relationships there is sense of shared equivalence. Authentic social relations require
some sort of “tension” (Sartre, 1983/1992, p. 415). It is the tension that creates the possibility.
These relationships may be considered the pattern that connects.
Over the last two decades, the Japanese notion of ba has come to prominence in
management theory, mostly through the work of Ikujiro Nonaka and his colleagues. The concept
of ba, originally proposed by the Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro and defined by Hiroshi
Shimizu (1995), can be thought of as “shared space for emerging relationships” (Nonaka &
Konno, 1998, p. 40). The notion of Ba was introduced by Shimizu by extending the notion of
Basho (place, topos) introduced by Nishida the founder of the Kyoto school of philosophy. Ba is
related to the “co-existential” aspects of individuals, while Basho is only related to the existential
aspects of a “sole” individual. Ba is thus the relationship between the objects, both of which are
subjects of that relationship-object. This is very similar to Sartre’s interpretation of the “we”.
This space can be mental, physical or virtual or any combination thereof. What is more
important is that ba is a dynamic context with implicit meaning and as such is a shared space
from which knowledge emerges (Nonaka, Toyama, & Konno, 2000). This dynamism has
interesting implications for leadership development practices which are based on ontologically
static assumptions (Graupe & Nonaka, 2010).
In Japanese management practice the concept of gemba is commonplace. Gemba is a word
that reflects the combination of gem and ba to create a word that means real place or the place
where real action takes place. In business the value adding activities that satisfy the customer
happen in gemba. Often associated with gemba in Japanese industry is the word kaizen or as it is
translated continuous improvement. Gemba and kaizen are subjects of importance to Japanese
managers (Imai, 1997). Not all business activities are gemba; most are activities that support
gemba; but it is in gemba that we-relationships are most desired.
Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945) was a major influence in the “Kyoto School” of philosophy,
the Japanese existentialists. What is little known is that a professorial colleague of Nishida, Kuki
Shuzo, whilst studying in Europe, had weekly discussions with a young Jean-Paul Sartre
(Elwood, 1994). These conversations on modern French philosophy took place in 1928. It
would seem that the elder Kuki may have played a role in introducing Sartre to the work of
Husserl and Heidegger whose ideas were to influence Sartre’s thinking. Patterns that connect?
Within the first migratory communities to inhabit Aotearoa New Zealand the concept of wā
is acknowledged. This word refers to the Māori notion of the temporal space in between. This
space, “the is” or “the being in the world” allows for meaningful social interaction to take place
and meaning to emerge.
Wā is a complex concept and in a general sense Te Wā is described as meaning ‘time’,
‘stages in time’ or ‘goal’ (Tate, 2010). When using the indefinite article ‘He’ then ‘He Wā’ can
be translated as ‘a time for’ rather than ‘the time for.’ Thus as Tate notes
he wā can be used to denote a stage, or series of stages by which te wā is achieved. He wā’ is a
stage whilst te wā is the goal. (p. 237).
Wā is a much deeper construct within Māori consciousness and language usage and has many
other associations and uses. Of particular importance is the related term wātea, literally
to be free to do or not to do something, to go or not to go somewhere. It refers not just to
freedom in time to do and to go. It also refers to freedom of space in which to do and to go. (p.
In attempting to describe this complex fundamental Tate constructs the following definition;
Te Wā is the culmination (tūtakitanga) and fulfilment (tutukitanga) of a stage, and a series of
stages, put in place at specific moments in time by kaiwhakakapi tūranga (Atua or tangata),
enlightened and guided in their roles and decision making by the principles of pono, tika and
aroha, and who exercise their mana to achieve the goal of addressing, enhancing and restoring
tapu and mana. (p. 241).
From this definition we sense that Te Wā is very much a stage on which the project or goal is played out,
much like how ba is the space where co-existence manifests value, where shared knowledge emerges,
both potential environments for genuine “we-ness” to present; each being a pattern that connects. What
contribution can these notions contribute to leadership development?
Implications for Leadership Development
Hafford-Letchfield and Harper (2013) identified that Lewin (1951) “ understood that little
substantive learning takes place without feeling emotions about concepts and translating these
into action.” (p. 11). Lewin proposed the notion of “hodological space” as the psychological
feeling of space in the behaviour of individuals. Sartre recognised this concept of Lewin
explicitly in Being and Nothingness noting that the “real space of the world is the space that
Lewin calls hodological” (Mirvish, 1996). This space that connects. How might such a shared
space be facilitated, enabled and felt?
Greenleaf (1977) in his chapter on servant responsibility in a bureaucratic society, which is
the text of his 1966 convocation address at the University of Redlands, suggested that the word
spirit has been overused and proposed the word lifestyle as an alternative. To reflect the
importance of the need to prepare them selves Greenleaf suggested to the graduating students
that they are obliged to develop a lifestyle that will enable them to cope with the bureaucratic life
ahead. One gets a lifestyle whilst one is young. Greenleaf proposes five words, beauty,
momentaneity, openness, humour and tolerance that reflect the dimensions of a necessary
lifestyle (p. 311). These dimensions may be considered a possible mindset for leadership
development. It is his description of beauty that is of particular relevance for what follows. In
discussing what he considers beauty Greenleaf suggests that “one needs a lifestyle that keeps one
in touch with “the unsearchable and secret aims of nature”
” (p.312). As Greenleaf noted:
Greenleaf is quoting the poet Robert Bridges’s “Beauty being the best of all we know/Sums up the unsearchable
and secret aims of nature.” From his work The Growth of Love, Sonnet 8.
One can cultivate beauty. If music speaks to you, get a good recording of Beethoven’s C Sharp
Minor Quartet Opus 131. Listen and listen and listen. There is a story behind this work, now
regarded by some musicologists as the greatest piece of music ever written. This is one of the
“later” quartets. Most of the music upon which Beethoven’s reputation as a contemporary
composer was built had already been written. According to this legend, when he began to write
this series of quartets, a close friend said to Beethoven, “Ludwig, what has happened? We don’t
understand you any more.” Beethoven is reported to have replied, “I have said all I have to say to
my contemporaries; now I am speaking to the future.” Whether true or not, this story checks with
history. A century went by before this particular part of Beethoven’s music was appreciated and
then only by a few. Perhaps those who would be moved by beauty must constantly strive to
cultivate the uncertain ground by reaching for a response to that which is not yet generally
appreciated—or understood (p. 312-313).
Let us explore this link to music further, firstly to the string quartet generally and then to the
particular performance of the Opus 131 itself. In doing so one can experience the space that
The String Quartet as an example of the shared space concept.
The string quartet is a classical chamber ensemble that consists of two violinists, a viola
player and a cellist. Performances by such ensembles can be some of the most aesthetic of
experiences as Greenleaf has noted . Frimodt-Møller (2011) identifies that music ensembles are
a form of community and as such general observations about individual attitude towards caring
Whilst preparing this paper the motion picture Performance (A Late Quartet is the Northern Hemisphere
alternative title) opened and I was able to attend a viewing. This movie is about a celebrated string quartet as they
prepare to celebrate their 25th anniversary with a performance of Beethoven’s Opus 131 at Carnegie Hall. The film
provides many examples of the concepts being presented here.
for the community an individual belongs to are relevant in connection with such groups. As
Frimodt-Møller notes that
if the musician cares about creating a performance that is aesthetically satisfying as a whole, he
should be caring about how he is part of this whole along with every other member of the
ensemble. (p. 38)
What is of even more importance in this is that if we focus on the decision-making process of the
individual musician the ensemble analogy provides a deeper insight to the notion of shared space
of leadership as collaborative rather than a leader and follower exchange. In any ensemble there
will often be one or two players who ‘take control’ over the situation and through their confident
presence they influence the other players to follow what they do. This is our classic
understanding of the leader/follower construct. When performing complex pieces such as the
Opus 131 coordination problems will inevitably occur. When such situations happen these
‘mistakes’ can cause momentary confusion. What happens next depends on the how the players
respond. As Frimodt-Møller (2011) observed, “the ensembles who are able to solve them are
those where the musicians are still able to think for themselves, when the authorities fail” (p. 35).
In doing so each player is attempting to make decisions that will enable the whole to recover and
complete the desired performance. As such the ensemble
highlights that the dedication a person can show towards his activities and his personal intentions
for the whole he is part of is actually something that is worth promoting, as long as this
dedication is balanced against a sensitivity to the decisions of the other persons who are part of
the whole. In a workplace context, this revised ensemble analogy may also entail that the
personal freedom (in the sense of self-organisation) that the employee can be trusted with is
dependent on the degree of responsibility he or she shows towards the community of other
employees . . .
(and) the fact that . . . ensembles . . . entail a prior agreement on some set of goals for the
workplace does not cancel the general importance of individual planning with the entire group in
mind. Rather, it is precisely the strong consciousness of goals for the joint output that makes
music ensembles well-suited for exemplifying the role of this consciousness. (p. 39)
Turner (2004) compared recordings of thirty-two different performances of Beethoven’s
String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, the Opus 131 and concluded that the aspects of
performance style studied offered no support for theories of national style or the influence of
teaching. His evidence as a whole suggested a wide diversity of performance style at all periods
and this contrasts with the conclusions of previous studies in other musical genres including solo
instrumental and orchestral. Turner concluded that
Consideration of this evidence against the background of performance philosophy and some
sociological studies of string quartets leads to the conclusion that the string quartet ensemble is
uniquely constituted to encourage a searching, co-operative and innovative approach to the
development of a performance-oriented interpretation and to discourage the thoughtless
ossification of a handed-down performance template
This conclusion is consistent with the notion of shared space. Now what of performing the Opus
131 itself? From the notes accompanying the Gewandhaus-Quartett Set of recordings of
Beethoven’s String Quartets one reads
The seven movements proceed without a break – Beethoven “appears to have lost no sleep over
the listener’s ability to concentrate, not to mention the emotional and physical demands placed on
the performers. (p. 65).
Yet it is to the players themselves that much can be learnt from their lived experience. Krzysztof
Chorzelski of the Belcea Quartet wrote on his blog
As our journey through all the Beethoven quartets reaches its middle point, we are tackling
perhaps the most demanding and the greatest of all the string quartets written to this day - the
monumental op.131. Playing it is a particularly thrilling experience for us, which is why I chose
to focus on this work alone today. Certainly for some of us in the Belcea Quartet it was hearing
this piece early on in our lives that marked us with our passion for playing string quartets.
Performing the op. 131 is an exceptional challenge for any quartet. Forty five minutes of music
unfolding continuously without the slightest break - a veritable musical odyssey.
Mark Steinberg of the Brentano string quartet suggested that
Here Beethoven, rather than aiming for consolation, shows only the reflection of the heavens in
the eyes of the man whose feet are firmly planted on the earth, strong and proud in his humanity,
holding an equally vast universe within.
Blum (1986) included statements from the musicians he interviewed directly after they had
finished the performance of the Opus 131 but before they had time to put their instruments down.
This is what he heard from the four players of the Guarneri quartet:
Soyer: “It’s savage, utterly savage – the culmination of the entire work.”;
Dalley: “Grotesque and wild! It has invincible energy.”;
Tree: “A relentless dance, a demonic dance – and yet, what wonderfully tender moments, what an
enormous emotional range.”;
Steinhardt: “He’s shaking his fist at destiny, It’s terrifying - but suddenly everything is released
and it overflows with joy, with ecstasy.”; and
Dalley again: “You want to bark like a dog.” (p. 230).
And the reaction from the audience
There’s no neat classicism here, with four or five easily definable movements. No. 14 has seven
parts, but they’re not separable. Beethoven was totally deaf when he wrote this–yet he put in so
much sound that it is hard to believe that a mere four stringed instruments make it all. He
completed it in 1826, a year before his death–but it sounds almost modern (pre-minimalism
modern), as well as tortured, transcendent and capital R Romantic. It takes up your soul,
bellowing and grappling, and wraps it like Ulysses wrapped the bag of winds. Then, with a few
swift final chords, the cords are slashed and the spirit rises roaring.
No encore is possible after this, or even desirable. The musicians could barely stand to
bow, and after the third curtain call, we all staggered out, replete with music.
But what is most interesting about this piece is what the director of the recently released motion
picture “Performance” noted in an interview. The 131 is required to be played without breaks
between movements. Normally quartet players use these breaks to retune their instruments. In
the 131 the players do not get such a respite and thus must adapt their playing as their
instruments lose their tuning. Thus not only must the player be in harmony with their own
instrument they must also adapt to the other players as they adapt. Thus the players must be in
constant awareness of the shared space they operate collectively in and improvise. In short, a
sense of community in the quartet is crucial. In such a state could the ensemble be an example
of a Sartrean “fused group”, that is, a “totalisation without a totaliser”?
In this paper I have briefly presented three different constructs of space yet each is related
to the same phenomenon a phenomenon that was illustrated through an artistic frame. This
frame explored just one possible dimension of a possible “mindset”. In developing leadership
mindsets that are collaborative the dynamic ontology of being in the world may possibly only be
Once again I would like to thank you the reader for exercising your freedom to engage in
this space and to complete the journey to this point. In the spirit of ubuntu and many other
collective-centric communities; I see you, I see you, we are here.
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Ashman, I., & Winstanley, D. (2006b). The ethics of organizational commitment. Business Ethics: A
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Attenborough, R. (Writer). (1982). Gandhi. United States: Columbia Pictures.
Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: Current theories, research, and future
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