asocial group dynamics
© 2003-2016 by Antero Alli
While working together in
an asocial climate, a unique group unity can unfold from each person's
heightened commitment to their own internal sources while sharing that
Presence with others -- while being acted on by the Presence of others.
The term "asocial" refers to a creative atmosphere (in Paratheatre group dynamics) that is neither antisocial nor social that starts with realizing a kind of nonresponsibility to others. This means relaxing the socially-accepted behaviors of seeking approval, support, and acceptance from others. In doing so, our attention is free to turn inward to internal (or vertical) sources of energy in the body itself in the training and application of Paratheatre trigger methods. With enough commitment to our inner sources, a way of relating with others can evolve more from a place of giving, or offering of self, than of taking or getting or seeking energy from others.
Asocial interplay is not the same as improvisation as we know it in theatre and dance -- this process wants nothing from anybody nor does it depend on external cues to sustain interaction. Asocial interaction is sustained by each individual's deepening commitment to an internal source of energy, or stimulus, that eventually blossoms - as if by itself - in an offering of presence, sound, gesture, and action. Asocial interplay is never forced nor is it encounter-based. In high levels of asocial interplay, we are acted on and influenced by the presence, actions, and sounds of each other, while remaining loyal to the internal source we are consciously serving. In this way, asocial interaction demonstrates much higher levels of individual integrity, autonomy, and creativity while relating with others than what we have become accustomed to in our socially sanctioned behaviors and relationship contracts (friendship, partnership, romance, etc).
An asocial climate can be amplified by any action that increases spatial awareness. One way this can happen is through the Paratheatre method of "space-forming", an adjustment that starts with finding ways to get your attention off of yourself and onto the space around, below, and above you: the actual space of the setting, not the things or people in that space. Once our attention is redirected onto the space itself as a value, the next step is moving through that space while physically expressing your relationship with the space itself, moment to moment, as you go. By directing our attention onto the space itself -- rather than on yourself or the things or the people in the space -- spatial awareness naturally expands. The practice of spatial awareness increases awareness and the respect shown for everyone's personal space, the immediate area around each body. In this climate of mutual respect, we are more likely to open up to more authentic impulses and responses, free of the compulsions to seek external acceptance or approval, the crimping habits of self-consciousness and other inhibiting social considerations.
An asocial approach to group dynamics exalts individual integrity and autonomy above the satisfaction of consensus social agendas, such as the social needs for approval, belonging, status, courtship, friendship, community, etc. Though social needs are important, they can also inhibit spontaneity and a more honest and creative expression of ourselves when interacting with others. This is also why participation in ParaTheatrical ReSearch Labs requires an active social life outside the workspace. Though this work occurs in groups, much of what we do is nonverbal and solitary in nature, where significant periods of self-work precedes interaction with others. Group interplay eventually occurs after the inner and outer actions of this medium are learned and integrated -- a process that usually requires about fourteen sessions (two 7-week Zero Labs).
THIS PAGE UPDATED: 9/15/2016
Other Writings on Paratheatre
by Antero and others
Paratheatre Trigger Methods: Inner and Outer Actions
Ritual Actions: Advanced Paratheatre Work
State of Emergence: A Paratheatre Manifesto