Reconnecting Severed Heads: a case for subjective-empiricism in systemic intervention

Louie Gardiner
22 October 2018

This will be an interactive workshop session.

I give first-person inquiry (critical self-reflection/reflexion) prominence alongside second and third person inquiry, and I express the emotional experience of being in a research process. I thus avoid the ‘severed head’ syndrome (abstracted rational thinking) advocated in the Academy, which demands the partial or total separation of the Self from the research process, and rational inquiry from the emotions – as if this were even possible. Instead, I take the stance that, without me (the active, reflective-reflexive agent) I could produce no research. Through my approach, I found my way to comprehending what I later discovered von Foerster conveyed through his analogy of the chicken, egg and rooster: when it comes to first, second and third-person inquiry, we need all three.

I embody this inclusive stance in my thesis, writing in four voices/dimensions which I call ‘state-waves’. These constitute ways of ‘being-expressing’ self-knowing. Each enriches my emergent narrative and research experience, contributing to my sense-making and a profusion of insights and novel contributions.