In terms of systems theory, the group dynamics for our first meeting with young people on May 4, 2013, has already begun. Isomorphy, often called parallel process, means that in a complex system there are similar organizing structures that operate beneath the diverse contents of any system. We are not just creating a video called “Group Dynamics and the New Heroism” but creating a movement–and that movement begins with the formation of many subgroups.
As the co-leader subgroup, Phil and I are working through our anxiety about leading a group that no one has ever led before and finding the funds to make the video. Our process anticipates the anxiety that our group members will surely experience as they form their subgroups of network support and face the uncertainty of how they can act nonviolently and courageously in the world and how much risk they are willing to take. As the production subgroup, my film director and I are working through the anxiety of taking on the difficult task of how best to capture images of our group members’ interaction on camera with limited resources. Our camera people and crew must form their own subgroup as well to meet the challenge of filming a spontaneous, unscripted group that is moving and shifting at will.
At each level, our subgroups face the essential work of the new heroism: Being willing to take calculated risks and spontaneously act in concert with others in situations they have never faced before. In this sense, our research is measuring the capacity of our subgroups to mitigate our fear of failure. It will be a test of our sophistication and humility as leaders and participants that we can persevere in the face of high uncertainty and low predictability.
In this sense, our group has already begun.