Archive for May, 2010

Wanted – a Synergator! (I think there’s one in Barcelona…)

May 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Villager: If he’s the best with the gun and the knife, with whom does he compete?
Chris: Himself.”

Last Friday afternoon, overtaken by an entire week’s exhaustion, while randomly switching between different channels on the TV, I found myself watching “The Magnificent Seven” – a film from 1960 which I saw as a teenager, and which I never got to watch since despite having been left with a unique “aftertaste”. If someone would have asked what I knew about the film, I’d probably mention the unusual casting of several outstanding movie “legends” as a single group and recall a few memorable action-packed scenes. The accidental re-watching brought me to surprisingly reflect that the thing which captured my attention back then, in the first viewing, so many years ago, connects perfectly with the subject fueling my interests nowadays: The “Network of Personal Pathways”.

A group of radical individuals, so different in their traits, looks and life-stories. Men of little speech but of professional action, finding themselves cooperating in the face of life-threatening danger, with no obvious commander or leader, but with a deep and meaningful partnership. Their paths cross in a dilemma of morality and fear. Each with his own story and journey. Even the bad guy has a “story” of his own, which makes him a real, whole, human character – not just another cardboard figure.

How does it feel?

In the first post I referred to a growing and progressing disharmony. On one hand the frictions and clashes of modern life, generated by the strengthening expression of personal diversity, by the quickening pace of modern life and by the globalization of the geographical space. On the other – the disintegration and dilution of the life-arranging grand narratives. In my second post, I looked at different modes of human coordination, and especially the novelty of the “flash-mob” phenomenon and other intensive cooperation-junctions which are the result of advanced technological abilities combined with a thirst for authentic and effective human coordination in today’s “each doth that which is right in his own eyes” atmosphere.

Where is this all going? In my attempts at observation, I suddenly felt a desire to be able to leap ahead and get a taste of “the next thing”, just before it becomes apparent and obvious. The “Network of Personal Pathways” – how does it feel?

Multiple-Storyline creations

Admittedly, I have a weakness for films which start out in an incomprehensible confusion and unclarity, then end in a revelation that solves and unravels everything. A certain genre of such is Multiple-Storyline films. Several plots progress simultaneously on independent tracks, entwining and crossing each other on certain occasions – and you leave the movie with either a feeling of catharsis or that of profound understanding of life and its meanings. Unlike simply summing up decades of life experience, the accelerated experience of watching the movie or reading a book connects you to some deep transcendental truth. Examples for such films are: “Pulp Fiction”, “Sin City”, “Magnolia”, “Babel”, “Crash” and “The Hours”.

These works of literature and visual arts bare some similarity to how life feels, with many things taking place in the same time, leading us to sometimes question – “What’s the connection?”, “What does all this signify and mean for us?”. There’s nothing like the feeling of revelation and enlightment we experience when many separate things suddenly “click together” and we “realize” how all the pieces of the puzzle come together. This style which simulates real life encourages us to reach a higher and wider perspective, with the deep understandings and excitement that follow it. It is my genuine belief that the techniques for writing, producing and directing multiple-storyline works are something that should be taught and exercised from the youngest ages in all formal and informal educational frameworks.

The following quotes are taken from – an online guide to script writing:

“The overall story should have a theme, a message to the audience. This is yet another way to bind each story together. It can be a lot easier to show the audience what the theme of the movie is when you use parallel storylines as the theme is seen from a number of different perspectives”

“Pay attention to character development. Using parallel storylines will mean that each main character will generally get less screen time than in a typical screenplay. This doesn’t mean you can get lazy when it comes to character development. Each character still needs motivation, room to grow, a backstory, an attitude, etc”

Yes. We mustn’t be lazy and treat the characters we encounter with a shallow light-headedness, or else – with no “Force Major” to dictate certain modes of action – it would be impossible to reach a meaningful connection with them, and the cooperation (synchronization) we strive for, needed to generate a stronger life-force, simply won’t occur.

Take Pep:

I’ve already mentioned my affection for soccer. Considering the qualities of our local football league, I choose to currently direct my preference (“fandom” would be an over-demanding term for me now) to Barcelona’s football club.

Indeed – these are both tough days (the loss to Inter in the Champion’s Cup) and critical day (competing over Spain’s championship against Real Madrid). I’m not an expert who can pose a professional opinion, so I’ll refer only to my own musings while watching the team play in their successes and losses. Barca’s game has something intoxicating: By himself, each player is a tremendous talent, caring, determined and incredibly fit. Obviously, there are many other able players on the market and on other teams, but when Barca’s players play together, they become something else – a uniquely special unit. All the players “feel” their teammates on an heightened level of gameplay. It feels like they aren’t just following the strict orders of their coach, but are playing in a creative and flexible manner, which is apparent in their joyful conduct on the field and fills the audience with pleasure and youthful delight.

For the past two seasons, the team’s coach is Joseph (Pep) Guardiola. His appearance is mostly reserved and noble, but sometimes allows for emotional bodily expressions. I think of Guardiola as a “Synergator” (like Yul Brynner in “The Magnificent Seven”) – one who makes each player become “more” on a personal level, without it being on the expense of any of the others. Despite his young age, I believe there are certain aspects of his character which seasoned leaders and dominant key-position holders should adopt. Taking one of his sayings in a critical time for the team:


And this incident after having the team reach its sixth title in one season (including the Spanish league’s championship and the European Champion’s Cup)…

I don’t want to keep prodding and over-praising the group and its performance, but out of a keen wish to define this unique motion I see, here are a few quotes taken from the blog of another, English, football club.

Arsenal column –

“The players are very good, but Guardiola made them into a magnificent team. That is the point about Barcelona: they may have the world’s most talented individual in Leo Messi, and three or four more of the top 10, but the game they play is the one it was supposed to be when it was invented: not just football; association football.

“The team has the quality of a perfectly co-ordinated living organism, all the parts moving with one purpose, seemingly organised by a single controlling mind. In possession, they fan out in all directions, offering each other clear and varied passing options; lacking possession, they pursue the ball like a swarm of very determined bees.”

” with a manifest respect for his players, whom he treats ….. as adults….. he has created at Barcelona ……..a tremendous solidarity between the players, a team spirit which subordinates individual brilliance to the team cause.”

Many as one in their loneliness, or many different together?

I choose to begin this section from a direction opposing that of the synergy of personal routes: A precise and amazing uniformity of a very large group of people – all performing the exact same movements. We must admit that it’s an exhilarating human experience. Exhilarating to the point of losing almost all personal uniqueness in while completely merging into a collective super-will.

Another such example would be the opening and closing ceremonies for the last Olympic Games in Beijing. I’m extremely curious to see what the character of the next ones in London 2012 will be like.

A classical-music concert demonstrates a combination of groups of people playing identical pieces on the same instruments, and others playing different notes on different instruments. Here, too, there’s an external imposing force at work. In a concert – the coordination is generated by the composer of the played piece and the single conductor. In a jazz jam-session, however, the spontaneous personal expression plays an important role in the performance, which is carried out without the organized and strict preparations of the classical concerto.

The next clip demonstrates a collaboration and incorporation of generally diverse, non-uniform motions into the creation of a single piece.

And lastly, a demonstration where a talented synergator, Ophir Kutiel (aka “Kuti”, “Kutiman”), manages to bring together people who probably don’t know each other and play at different times and places – to create a piece with its own uniqueness and quality: to connect different activities and combine them into something which is more than the sum of its separate parts.


n. pl. syn·er·gies

1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

2. Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.

Connecting Differents in Synergy

We are different individuals who meet at the family table, on the street, at class, at work and in every community and interest group. Each with his own individual course of motion. Our lives are fulfilled via the other, the different and the environment. I encounter more and more expressions of the movement to “integrate stories”, in various areas of living. I feel that the aspiration propelling the new forms of human coordination is to achieve more harmony, not only in temporary “real” time “peaks”, but over prolonged periods and in regular daily life, with less dramatization (the ergonomic and environmental advantages are obvious…). “Synergy” can be an extremely relevant approach, and thus being a “Synergtor” – a fascinating adventure.

What do you think?

Categories: Uncategorized