constructivist ideas in practice
ten meter tower

The theory of Personal Construct Psychology makes no particular distinction between thinking and feeling, believing that these things are not easily distinguished from each other, or from other processes such as intuiting, or sensing in the body. We talk of 'construing'.

'Ten Meter Tower' is a short documentary film showing people who have climbed the highest diving board for the first time. The filmmakers, Maximilien Van Aertryck and Axel Danielson, set out with the purpose of exploring the theme of doubt. They invited people who had never been on a 10-meter diving tower before to climb, and to jump. We see a series of volunteers on the platform, living through their moment of choice, and grappling with the meanings of jumping, or not.

Yes, there seems to be a lot of thinking going on here - calculation, deliberation, sizing things up - but this appears to be inextricably woven with strong feelings including fear, even terror, about the height and depth of the plunge, and we are aware of a powerful experience of the aloneness of the self on the platform.

The volunteers are anticipating what it might mean to jump or to back down, and it seems that core identity is at stake for many participants. Who are they, and who will they be, if they jump ... or if they don't jump? In their own eyes ... and in the eyes of others? A few of the volunteers climb in pairs, and the continuous disruption and reconfiguration of their construing in relation to each other is extraordinary to witness.

As each person arrives on the platform, we see the shiver and the tremble, hear the self-talk, the breathing and the knuckle-cracking. We are witnessing the physical, emotional, cognitive, imaginative, instinctive, gut-flipping moment. This is anticipation, and this is meaning-making. Processes such as thinking or feeling are impossible to isolate from each other. This is construing.

video: ten-meter-tower

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