RE: [unrev-II] Outpost Communities

From: Bill Bearden (
Date: Mon Feb 07 2000 - 15:01:08 PST

From: "Bill Bearden" <>

I realize now that I was too hung up on the word "spirituality". I made a
bigger deal of it that I should have.

As far as applicability goes, I know of no way, with current technology, to
use anything related to the Alexander Technique in information systems
design. We will need really(!) immersive systems with biofeedback sensors
and other stuff that isn't practical today.

On the other hand, I believe that some of Flow might be applicable today.

Some of the elements of a flow experience are (from chapter 3):
1. Challenge and skill level must be well matched (Douglas' multiple skill
levels in the UI come to mind here)
2. We must be allowed to concentrate - I believe this leads us to more
immersive UI technologies (this reminds me of Douglas' story about turning
off the email system to get everyone to participate in the Augment/NLS
discussion - He was forcing people into the "Augment/NLS world")
3. The activity should have goals (Deming says no quotas (point #11 of the
14) so I suggest user or team settable goals)
4. The activity should provide immediate feedback (on-screen scoreboards)
5. The activity provides an "alternate reality" - this isn't anything fancy,
it just means there are definite, somewhat artificial rules like in a game

Thinking a little down the road, consider the method that Csikszentmihalyi
pioneered in his studies: ESM. It stands for Experience Sampling Method.
Basically the subjects in his studies carried pagers that went off at random
times during the day. When the pager went off, the subject would fill out a
questionnaire on what they were doing and their state of mind and mood at
the time. This data was used to try and understand the activities people
find most enjoyable.

In my opinion, this heralds what will be possible (and to some scary) with
truly immersive UIs. Think about the TQM value of the data we will be able
to gather about our processes when we know what people are really doing.
When they are "in the system", people will be able to rate activities and
how motivating they were. This data can then be used to improve management
practices and the designs of the activities themselves.

I could go on about why I think Psychology is the next the science that
humankind is poised to conquer and what that might mean (Asimov's
Psychohistory?), but that would be off'er the subject than I currently am.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jeff Miller []
> Sent: Monday, February 07, 2000 3:54 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [unrev-II] Outpost Communities
> From: Jeff Miller <>
> On Mon, Feb 07, 2000 at 12:45:54PM -0600, Bill Bearden wrote:
> > I mentioned Csikszentmihalyi's Flow and the Alexander Technique
> because I
> > believed they didn't have a spiritual component. Perhaps my
> understanding of
> > what is meant by "spirituality" is too limited. Maybe I don't understand
> > your words "spiritually uplifting".
> "Spirtuality" and similar word are just a bit too hit and miss these days.
> Some people find a walk in the park spiritual, others associate it only
> with churches. I'd I've to say, in the general sense, it's anything that
> allows reflection.
> > For me, Flow is about human motivation, one of the most
> powerful forces we
> > know. And certainly the harnessing of this force would be a
> capability (to
> > use Douglas' words) that would improve many other of our capabilities.
> >
> > F. M. Alexander's "Technique" is a method of teaching people
> improved "Use
> > of Self". Alexander's goal was to overcome habit. Our bad
> habits constrain
> > us. The capability to overcome habit would also possibly benefit other
> > capabilities.
> I'll have to take a look into this sometime.
> But assumming it's suitable for what we wish to do here. How can we apply
> it to software? It would be best if the user didn't have to know anything
> about the techniques and, in fact, did realise they were using them.
> Jeff.

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