Critical creativity

I received a strange (but interestingly pleasant) parcel through the post today. It was from a fellow researcher abroad, showing me some examples of the things she is experimenting with, looking into self-deliverance methods and saying, “what if . . . “.

This often happens at our Exit workshops as well: people come along after reading the book – sometimes several books – quite thoroughly. They’re consequently very well versed in the subject, have made numerous ‘dress-rehearsals’, and refined it to their own particular tastes and circumstances. Sometimes hey have had a glaring insight that all the researchers around the world have missed. One example was the T-connector to combine the tubes from two tanks of helium. Why not just have two tubes? A bit of experimentation, finding the good points and downsides, and it became a great option that was picked up by other right to die societies worldwide.

Of course, it’s all to do with critical creativity. The ideas that someone comes up with after in-depth study of known data are usually very different to the flashes of inspiration in an untutored mind. But the idea is to get away from a purely didactic approach, a recipe, a “do it like this” and “one size fits all” approach. Examining the ideas in the workshops with feedback from other members and an experienced facilitator allows many good ideas to be validated (or near-validated) on the spot. Where complex physiology or pharmacology is involved, generally much more research is required. But closing our minds to new input is a surefire way to prevent further progress.

I am reminded of the well-known Zen parable. A blind man goes to supper at a friend’s house. As the man is about to leave, his host, almost automatically, offers him a lantern to find his way home in the dark. The man laughs. “To a blind man, light and dark are the same!”

Of course, he knew the way very well. But he followed his route using entirely different sense-data to you or I. He probably knew things about the path that most people would miss (rather like a car-driver missing the smell of fresh grass).

All the methods of self-deliverance are under constant review at the Exit office. Large files going back nearly thirty-five years for each drug, each method, each bright idea (as well as crazy ones). And all frequently updated as new findings are published in the medical journals or new information comes to light in the field.

Keep sending your news! For experienced readers, familiar with the compression method, can you guess what the researcher would be doing with the everyday items in the picture?

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