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Aspects of Creative Life (2022)

Four possible books for knowledge creators

On Nov 2, 2022, I wrote a short post and introduced the series of “”. This post is an updated version.

The Path of Creative Life

My primary interest is located in the intersection between , , and . I roughly use Creative Life to name this focus.

It’s clear that I don’t want to develop a general framework about adult development for everyone. I only consider Knowledge Workers and Creators as my target audience.

The diagram below was developed on August 30, 2021. You can find more details in .

Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to the above diagram too much last year because I was busy developing the Life-as-Project approach which belongs to the field of Activity Theory.

However, I re-discovered the value of the above diagram recently from other perspectives.

Six months ago, I contact Ping-keung Lui who is a theoretical sociological theorist. Lui aims to build a brand new theoretical sociology as a candidate for the paradigm of sociology. According to Lui, “There are three kinds of theories in sociology, namely, social theory, sociological theory, and theoretical sociology. ”

In the past several months, I read his books and papers and learn about his approach to theoretical sociology. Finally, I realized that the above Creative Life diagram echoes his approach. You can find more details about Ping Keung Lui’s idea in this blog post: .

In 2007, Lui published a book titled in which he presented his account of theoretical sociology. The fundamental starting point of his approach is an Ontology of action, which was inspired by Saint Augustine (354–430), Martin Heidegger (1889–1976), and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961). See the statement below:

According to Lui, “This moment is Augustinian, it comprises at the same time the Present of the Past, the Present of the Present, and the Present of the Future. The actor Remembers in the present of the past, Pays Attention in the present of the present, Expects in the present of the future.” (p.235–236, 2010, )

Now we can look at the Path of Creative Life diagram again. I realized that the diagram is similar to Lui’s notion of the fleeting moment.

  • Reflection: Remembers in the present of the past
  • Emergence: Pays Attention in the present of the present
  • Anticipation: Expects in the present of the future

The connection between the Path of Creative Life and Lui’s ontology of action encouraged me to rethink the value of the path of creative life.

Two Semiotic System Diagrams of Creative Life

Eventually, I used some ideas from Ping-keung Lui’s Theoretical Sociology to curate three theoretical approaches and four frameworks together for understanding Creative Life.

The result is a semiotic system. See the diagram below. You can find more details in .

  • The blue part refers to the Project Engagement approach.
  • The green part refers to the Anticipatory Activity System (AAS) framework.
  • The pink part refers to the Creative Life Curation framework.

I also developed a Semiotic System Diagram for the pink part. See the diagram below.

You can find a large-size picture in .

Four Possible Books

In the past 12 months, I developed a new structure of units of analysis:

1. Creative Actions
2. Creative Projects
3. Creative Journey
4. Creative Life

I also mentioned these four units of analysis in the following possible books:

1. > Creative Actions
2. > Creative Projects
3. > Creative Journeys
4. > Creative Life

Each book also introduces a theoretical framework.

1. > The Lifesystem Framework
2. > The Developmental Project Model
3. > The Creative Life Curation Framework
4. > The Anticipatory Activity System (AAS) Framework

These four books are developed for different purposes. Now I curate them together as a new meaningful whole!

Ecological Practice Design > Creative Actions

was edited on May 17, 2022. It collected my articles about the Lifesystem framework and the Ecological Practice approach.

I started developing the Ecological Practice Approach in 2019 and the Lifesystem framework was born in Oct 2020. In the past four years, I wrote several books (in drafts) about the approach:

Each year I write a book and each book establishes an important theoretical concept for the Ecological Practice approach. introduces the concept of Curativity and develops the toolkit version of the approach. introduces the concept of Attachance and develops the germ-cell version of the approach. introduces the concept of Supportance.

highlights the Lifesystem framework which is an application of the Ecological Practice approach. It offers a way of connecting the approach and empirical research.

The book has five parts. Part 5 focuses on Everyday Life Innovation. I collected my articles about Creative Actions and Possible Practices and defined a new concept of “Everyday Life Innovation”.

You can find more details in .

Project Engagement > Creative Projects

is a 116-page thesis. Though the thesis was written in Chinese. You can find most ideas in my English articles.

I also wrote a long introduction to the thesis and edited a TOC for a possible book on August 2, 2022. You can find more details in .

Initially, I used the term “Project Engagement” to name the second part of my 2020/2021 book which introduces Andy Blunden’s “project as a unit of analysis of activity” to Activity Theory.

From Jan 2022 to June 2022, I worked on testing Project Engagement (v1.0) and realized that I should expand it to the “Project — Project” relationship. Later, I also developed some new ideas about the approach.

introduces the Project Engagement approach (v2.1) which is a major update of the original Project Engagement approach.

Creative Life Curation > Creative Journeys

is a possible book about the Creative Life Curation framework.

The framework adopts Curativity Theory to study Life Curation and developed the following five units of analysis:

  • Creative Actions
  • Creative Projects
  • Creative Journey
  • Creative Landscape
  • Creative Lifescope

The framework also highlights the following three types of “Curativity”:

  • Curativity 1: Turning pieces of Projects into a Journey as a meaningful whole
  • Curativity 2: Turning pieces of Projects into a Landscape as a meaningful whole
  • Curativity 3: Turning pieces of Actions and Projects into a Lifescope as a meaningful whole

You can find more details in .

Advanced Life Strategy > Creative Life

The fourth book is the outcome of the Life Strategy project. aims toapply the Anticipatory Activity System (AAS) framework to study Life Strategy.

In August 2021, I joined an adult development program as an advisor. The program was initiated by a young girl who is a friend of mine. The program was designed with three components: 1) Life Purpose Awareness, 2) Personal OKR Practice, and 3) Peer Review and Feedback. My friend also adopted the Building In Public approach to sharing her goals, challenges, progress, and discussions with others on social media platforms.

I have been discussing various themes about the program with her for three weeks. On August 17, 2021, I realized it is possible to develop a framework for reflecting on her project and our conversation.

I adopted the Anticipatory System Theory as the primary theoretical resource and used a meta-diagram to develop the early version of the AAS framework. From August 2021 to August 2022, I worked on different abstract levels of the AAS framework. You can find more details in

In the past four months, I took the ten move which is located at “Meta-theory”. The outcome is a new systematic approach to life strategy for knowledge creators.

The new possible book collects my articles about Life Strategy, Life Discovery, and the Anticipatory Activity System framework.

You can find more details in a short introduction:

If you want to read a long introduction and find original links to my articles, you can visit .

Happy New Year! I wish you a creative 2023!

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Oliver Ding

Founder of CALL(Creative Action Learning Lab), information architect, knowledge curator.