Our Values & Philosophy
The Transformational Power of Creativity
Poiesis in philosophy from Ancient Greek is defined as “the activity in which a person brings something into being that did not exist before.” According to Martin Heidegger, a great German philosopher, Poiesis refers to a ‘bringing-forth’ (physis as emergence); a moment of ecstasis when something moves away from its standing as one thing to become another, like the coming-out of a butterfly from a cocoon. During this process of becoming, something has changed and been transformed, the butterfly may still live in the same body of the caterpillar, but its physical strength and capacity, way of living, consciousness, and even spirit have gone through transcendent experiences which have permanently changed its life path.
This change or transformation process is the essence of creativity: to let go of the old (deconstruct) and to let in the new (recreate). Everything is changing constantly including ourselves, so we need the ability to recognize what is not working and has to let go of, what is working and has to be further developed. Since this type of awareness is vital to our adaptation to the physical and social environment as well as to our own well-being, it is important for each of us to develop creative skills in order to build confidence and resources that are needed when facing changes and challenges.
An Alternative Learning Experience
Creativity also plays an important role in our learning process; it is an essential skill that enables us to build the life that we want. Mundane things like light bulbs, cooking pots, and ice cream, etc., they were all invented by human creative power that ultimately promotes social and economic development. When we learn knowledge in school, we are not copy machines try to memorize everything as the way they are presented in textbooks; we have to reconstruct the knowledge from the past into new insights, which make sense to us and are meaningful in current situations. By only sitting in the training courses listening to great talks, even though we may find the teaching is inspirational, without the process of recreating knowledge to fit into our own perceptual reality, the power to make changes in one’s mind and behavior would be almost impossible.
In addition, effective learning is based on a highly engaged process. In order to elicit engagement, the chosen topic has to be interesting and relevant to the learners, the process also has to be fun, which is an important factor that has often been ignored. We all know in order to get children’s attention to learn, we have to make it fun and interesting. Same for adults, we also become more encouraged and open-minded when we have fun and are connected with others through playfulness. Thus, only provide people interactive tasks perhaps is not the most effective way to create engaged learning, but if we make these tasks playful and meaningful to learners, can we direct their attention to learning materials which they would be able to make sense and translate into their own knowledge and skills.
Our motto “learning through making” exemplifies the importance of creativity in one’s learning and development. Through the process of doing and making, we embody the learning experience that gives us valuable insights with a clearer vision, and leads us to keep moving forward in the process of becoming (Poiesis).
An Aesthetic Way of Living
In the section of Essential Elements in Our Work, the importance and functions of Art have already been discussed. Art can be used as an effective language to communicate our emotions to others, it also enables us to look deep into our own emotionality and find out what our inner needs and longings are. Although the functionality of each individual is critical in today’s pragmatic world, emotionality on the other hand is one of the dominant forces that guide our thoughts and behaviors. In order to be efficient and productive, we need more than just functional skills; motivations, psychological safety, belongingness, etc., all have an impact on our state of mind and overall performance. But how do we take care of our emotionality? One way in our approach is to use aesthetics to help people find out what nourish and empower their inner beings. Instead of focusing on the problems and challenges, we use the appreciation with the nature and connection with aesthetics to transform their perception and awareness when coming up with solutions. In this way, people are not trapped in the past and their blind spots; they would be empowered by their own lived experience with beauty, internal and external resources, new visions and possibilities that they were not aware of previously.
Art and beauty can open up a new channel in our perception that enables us to see a whole different world.
The concept of ‘Salutogenesis’ by Aaron Antonovsky, an American medical sociologist, is a medical approach focusing on factors that support human health and well-being, rather than on factors that cause disease (pathogenesis). We believe art and creativity can be used as an effective way to uncover and sustain health potential factors that promote human well-being. There are a number of academic researches on the topic of art and emotional healing; yoga and mindfulness practices have also been recognized as powerful ways for stress relief. Thus, in combination of art, yoga, and mindful breathing exercises, we aim to use a holistic approach to improve human health and well-being.
Individuality as A Resource
Huangdi Neijing, or the Esoteric Scripture of the Yellow Emperor, is an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia. There was one concept proposed in the scripture: “各从其欲，皆得所愿”, which refers to a way of living that follows one’s own innate potential and callings rather than comparing with others and conforming to the majority. Each individual should recognize and respect his or her own individuality, and to cultivate his or her own inner potentials in order to live a fulfilling and satisfying life.
In our work, we emphasize the value of individual differences. We focus on uncovering and developing each individual’s inner potentials, more importantly, to let them appreciate their individual capacity and live more authentically. The world is beautiful because of diversity and differences, a team or an organization grows stronger if it respects and empowers its people to pursuit their own individual talents and desires.