Dec 14, 2008

Bruce Lee and New Paradigms for Community Work

I haven't been writing much lately, but I've been thinking a lot and using dead trees to capture some of the thoughts. The problem with blog posting, at least for me, is that I tend to be more of a perfectionist (couldn't guess, oh intrepid reader?) and I edit, edit, edit before I post. That's not the case on paper: I don't mind scrawling it out like freeverse and taking it from there.

My thinking lately has been about this work, particularly as I enter community-based work in a much more meaningful way than I've ever done, but with a law degree instead of just good intentions. And there are a lot of lawyers out there, doing all kinds of things: many of them good, some of them not. So I'm trying to see what kind of a "community lawyer" I want to be - in hopes that I don't fall into the ego/"anyone can be an organizer!" mentality that I see folks fall into. I don't think you're automatically disqualified from being an organizer if you have a law degree, but you gotta ask yourself, "why am I doing this, and can someone be more effective?"

Anyway - I'm also looking for new models of thinking about community-based work, strategy, and forms that break the molds and patterns that I've seen repeated again and again. Interestingly, my quest to figure out some things is leading me into unexpected directions. I think I'll be picking up at least one collection of Bruce Lee's writings about Jeet Kune Do, the martial art technique that he developed that broke dramatically from the rigid forms that came before, while integrating many techniques. His "way of the intercepting fist" also involved a lot of thinking about broken rhythm as a way of keeping yourself from falling into patterns and losing the freshness and innovation that comes from constantly challenging yourself to think outside of the box.

I'm hoping that his writing about the philosophy behind his radical break from much of martial arts training may illuminate new paths for me in my work. If people use Sun Tzu's Art of War for their corporate biz'ness, why can't we use non-canonical sources to guide us to reinvent in the new year, and with the new Administration? I'm just saying.

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