Working predisciplinarily

Hildegard Kurt

While in social and political fields the focus usually lies on the “what” of themes and contents, predisciplinary work focuses on the “how”, which - most often unconsciously - determines all subject matter. Every “what” is fundamentally characterised by the “how”: by the underlying ways of seeing, hearing, thinking, encountering and communicating.

Proposing precisciplinarity does not seek to detract from the relevance of individual disciplines and their autonomy, nor from the approaches of inter- or transdisciplinarity. Instead, it opens up an additional realm of knowledge that resides prior to the separation of theory and practice. The Greek origin of the word "theory" – théa, meaning “to behold” – points to this realm where insight and knowledge emerge from a heightened sense of being that in turn enables an enlivened practice of perceiving.

Since the advent of quantum physics that sphere has become empirically detectable as primordial, creative aliveness.

Although the findings of new physics date almost a century back, there are still very few research methodologies that equal to this aliveness. The distancing, power driven modes of mere rationality are hardly appropriate to match this aliveness. Predisciplinarity integrates the knowledge of new physics by practicing more transparent, open, creative ways of gaining insight.

Working predisciplinarily begins with `de-automatising´ one´s state of being in the world. It is a process of gaining knowledge and insight through inner self-activation, through becoming present and bringing more awareness to one´s perception, and thereby into the quality of ensuing thoughts, communication and actions.

In this way, predisciplinarity explores an expanded understanding of both science and art. For everybody is free to step out of the spell of the dominant mode of perception that reifies and deadens. We can all search in our own field of work and our daily life for qualities of perceiving, thinking and communicating that allow to connect with what keeps the world alive. As German artist Joseph Beuys suggests: »To reshape the old form (Gestalt), that has died or rigidified, into a living, pulsing, life-enhancing, soul-enhancing, spirit-enhancing form - this is the expanded concept of art«.