Responsibility for Safe Experiments


Offering safe experiments to do on-line can be risky.  You, my reader, are distant from one another. There is no organised consultation unless you fix it. I make myself ‘available’ throughout this website but I still asserting you can promote change in your life without professional advice.

Am I encouraging you to do risky things? Yes. My aspiration is to offer possibilities when it comes to navigating your own scenic route. I’d like you to become a ‘Master’, in the way Picasso spoke about his ambitions. He is reputed to have said:

‘Good artists borrow, great artists steal’

I’m inviting you to borrow or steal, as your need emerges. In therapy, like art, it is crucial to learn from past ‘masters’. This website is contains some practical suggestions of those past ‘masters’, as well as some history commenting on what some of them did.

OK, I may say the past is ‘for information only’, but the people populating our past have much to offer us.

These statements raise an important question about responsibility for the design of safe experiments and the consequences that arise when a small, safe experiment is implemented.

Here are my thoughts

I want them to have a practical intention. Will I be able to explain it clearly and intelligently? Please advise me by email:

If it helps, use the familiar 1 – 10 measure: where 1 = rubbish clarity and 10 = brilliantly clear/couldn’t be clearer.

With anything below 8, do let me know what’s needing more attention. As ever, let me have your questions and thoughts and, particularly important to me, do let me have your examples of small safe experiments you design and implement.

So I can pinch them, in my turn! If you want a credit, just ask, but no client is named on this website. Most have to be anonymous for obvious reasons.

Einstein, AND Picasso!

No I am going to take liberties with a saying that emerges from modern physics, namely:

Matter shapes space and space tell matter where to go;  or put it another way   …..

Our planet shapes the space in our solar system, and that space tells our planet where to go: or to put it another way  …..

I shape the space in my small world, and yet my small world can still tell me where to go (it often does!).

As you’d expect, it’s rather more complicated but the key thing is that our planet, is not sitting in an empty space – Earth is shaping that space. At the same time, that ‘shape’ plays a key part in ‘telling’ the planet how to move. The gravity of Earth is not the same as gravity on the moon or any other planets in our solar system.

The speed our Earth travels, and the trajectory it follows around our Sun conforms to rules, but it is a unique. The things our Earth does depend on many things  – such as mass of earth and its ‘place’ away from the sun, moon and other celestial bodies.

Now what’s this to do with psychology, therapy and the strange world of small, safe experiments I am describing on this web site?

My place in Space and Time

Well, as I say above, I occupy a ‘space’ and I fit into something like my  own ‘solar system’– my community, my family and my body. I give a more personal account of this ‘solar system on a separate page.

My understanding of Dan Siegel’s work, as summarised on this website, is that our bodies are shaping the space in which we live, but those surroundings are ‘telling’ us which way we go. Often, we are not fully aware of this process but shape us, it does.

Dan Siegel and the notion of Mind

In effect, Dan Siegel is reminding us that the notion of Mind is not well defined and even less well understood. For him, however, ‘Mind’ emerges from:

* our bodies,

* the space and place that body occupies and, just as important,

* the relationships we develop around us, and

* during the time in which those relationships are being made. If I had been born ten years later, I would not be ‘me’.

The Mind is not simply the brain, and all its 80 billion neurons connecting together. It is the connection of my body, and its 80 billion neurons, to all the other people surrounding me – as well as the animals, plants, buildings and cultures etc within the world we inhabit at any one time.

So what does this complexity tell us about responsibility for safe experiments?

What are the practical implications?  Consider the following; the contradictions are deliberate:

1. When you are designing an experiment, you are not the centre of the solar system or, indeed, the universe.  What other people do you need to take into account?

2. When you design an experiment you are the centre of the universe as no-one can see it as you do. Unless it works for you – makes sense to you – then useful results are going to be difficult to find.

3. Ecograms and Road Maps provide a useful start because they are maps of the territory in which you are working. They describe your place in this world even if you occupy only a small neighbourhood. Bear in mind that our whole solar system occupies a small place in the suburbs of our galaxy, the Milky Way. As I understand it, we’d have a rather more troubled existence if we occupied a position in the middle of our galaxy.

4. You are responsiblity for everything and nothing;

EVERYTHING, because the way you see things is unique. The actions you take will be reflect the way you see and hear things.

NOTHING, because you are a complicated outcome from a number of events and processes – impacted by many other people who set out to intentionally and unintentionally shape you to their ways of things.

This website is part of that process if it influences you at all; however, it is but one of many such influences.

5. You shape yourself, and any small experiments, with a number of your own intended and unintended actions and thoughts.

6. It is difficult to think of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ here. There is so much we can blame upon ourselves.  Every time I move, I could regard myself to ‘blame’ for my actions.  The law takes a very particular view on ‘responsibility’ once we are adults. In another view,  I am personally to ‘blame’  for very little; others helped me be not in my right Mind.

7. So, if outcomes are difficult to label as right or wrong. I suggest actions that have a helpful outcome are small victories. Actions that have a less helpful outcome, even if unintended, are small defeats.

7. Small Victories and Small Defeats will arise from any small safe experiment and the issues of note is whether you notice them and record them.  Only with this information is it feasible to design the next response to each victory and defeat.

Can you help others work with you to shape your Right Mind?

Do let me know your own views on the contact forms dotted throughout this website.

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Other leads to consider

What is a nudge?

how to design safe experiments

Actions that might qualify as safe experiments

Actions along your scenic route

But Action is not all you will need

An index of all pages on Your Nudge