Individualism as Social

The Group as Big I

To help people see how important--and how culturally volatile--mapping can be, I introduce an exercise that I developed for/with the help of classes in Computer Documentation and Technical Writing.

The mapping exercise encourages students to think of creativity not in terms of bringing forth some concrete product out of their individual (or even group) genius. (I consider many types of collaboration to be of the latter rather than the former kind: successful collaborative groups and collaborative theorists often resort to the idea of a sort of group mind, a gestalt in which creativity springs from this new source.) Nor does the exersise attempt to make them critique the accuracy of maps; accuracy is another matter entirely.

Rather, this exercise tries to help them think of creativity as the selection and arrangement of fragmented elements in new, useful ways.

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