By Thomas Köplin and Dirk Dobiéy
Part 5: Ratio and resilience
A unique feature of artificial intelligence is that it knows no feeling. It works logically, although its logic is not always understandable for us humans. The reason may be that with us humans the feeling still comes first (even if we all feel it differently), followed by the slower mind, which arranges only in retrospect, judges, and legitimates. In some way, the mind organizes and clears after the feelings. From this perspective, it becomes clear in which way humans and machines are ahead of each other and in which way we can complement each other. Nowadays, sometimes things that you don’t have or of which you have too little, are more desirous and valued than those that you already have. This desire, in turn, is expressed in our longing for a rational approach, predictability, and calculability, which we want to implement with the help of intelligent machines. They make us what Mr. Spock sought in vain to hide: half Vulcan, half human. He embodies the symbiosis that some of us have in mind when thinking of the future human.
However, our pursuit of predictability leads quite casually to a devaluation of human perception, one’s senses, feelings, and subconscious. At the same time, there is a growing danger that the imagination, which relies above all on experience, will increasingly be disempowered, writes the author Manfred Osten and continues: “The consequence is that humans become less and less aware of the fatality of possible errors and mistakes in the implementation of planning theories into real actions. (…) with the rapid increase of knowledge without experience against the horizon of virtual worlds, man runs the risk of being increasingly overstrained by handling mistakes.” Ultimately, this means we are reducing our resilience rather than increasing it.
Artists are skilled in dealing with ambiguity and unpredictable events
In this context we can learn again from the artistic approach. After all, artists are well trained to consider feelings and subconsciousness in their work, to deal with ambiguity and unforeseeable events. They almost force their emergence, because they are the ones that make new things possible. Artists have developed an understanding that the considered downsides are essential if they want to be creative. They know the benefits of constant struggle for their work, of their beloved enmities, which connect them with criticism and dissent, mistakes and failures, doubts and crises. Any conflict with them strengthens their resilience. In this context, one can also present the performance, which for the artist is more of a question than an answer, which is to be understood as a perpetual nearness, as a letting go and not as a perfect final state, through which every artistic activity receives a tangible external reference.
Learning environment for profound experiences
In order for people in organizations to have a functional learning environment to build comparable resilience, they need to enable their employees to experience something similar and to feel more profound. Keeping them away from it makes little sense in the long run. Gerd Gigerenzer, a psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, sees this from a similar perspective: “In our society, we neglect the intuitive component, because, since the Enlightenment, we give priority to rationality rather than to intuition, and then we think that the actual inspirations and innovation come from reflection. But that is not always the case. We should not underestimate the source and importance of intuition here. (…) My point is to place head and gut on one level, thus, to show that decisions based on intuition instead of complex analysis are not always second-rate, but can often be better, too. “
If an organization wants to be agile, people must be able to be elastic and be deeply moved.
So it’s not about making organizations more resilient by trying to predict the future, to make the unpredictable plannable and avert looming vulnerability (which is usually attempted with the help of rules, instructions, or standards). It’s about empowering employees to develop individual resilience by making immediate experiences and contributing entirely as a person, including their intuition and sense. If an organization wants to be agile, people must be able to be elastic and be deeply moved.
 Osten, Manfred (2006). Die Kunst Fehler zu machen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.
 Gigerenzer, Gerd. (15.1.2010) Sind Erfindungen auch Resultate genialer Eingebungen? Available online at https://www.swr.de/blog/1000antworten/antwort/4889/sind-erfindungen-auch-resultate-genialer-eingebungen/. Last checked on 11.10.2017.
This essay is based on our research over the past four years. What makes our findings true-to-life and applicable is that we have conducted more than 100 interviews with artists of all genres to date, but also with scientists of various disciplines and with numerous business representatives. We report on this in detail in our book “Creative Company” (https://creativecompany.ageofartists.de).///
Image source: National Gallery of Art; Charles Caleb Ward; His First Appearance in Public