Noted on July 4, 2015…

The Constitution changes thanks to its amendments. The consciousness of the citizenry changes over time, leading to new amendments. The Constitution as a structure allows the consciousness of the people to change it.

At the core of the Constitution lies the issue of balancing collective obligations with individual rights. That remains an ongoing, universal concern. The Constitution doesn’t provide us with definitive answers as to what that balance should be; instead it provides a structure permitting a discussion to unfold on that topic generation after generation.

Gestalt theory and practice can be traced to several books authored by Fritz Perls and his teaching. At the core of Gestalt lies a phenomenological, wholistic approach to reality. If Gestaltists see reality as an infinity of hidden worlds waiting to be seen, then inclusivity becomes an integral part of the evolution of Gestalt.

Current Gestalt practice no longer resembles the Gestalt of the sixties and seventies precisely because it has followed its own core value of inclusiveness.

Awareness and taking responsibility (being choiceful) were major tenets of sixties and seventies Gestalt. There were many good reasons for that, and I believe an outstanding one was this: Awareness is a prerequisite for choice, and you cannot choose to impact an aspect of reality unless you are aware of it.

Awareness and choice allow us to influence and shape aspects of human reality, including the relational; socio-political; somatic; and artistic. Both the U. S. Constitution and early Gestalt theory and practice can be seen as structures enabling change. Both can be approached in a literalist, fundamentalist manner which belies their spirit. However, their respective founders saw human beings as deserving of choice and becoming increasingly inclusive in their choices. It is that empowering spirit that characterizes both the U.S. Constitution and Gestalt.

Frank Rubenfeld, Ph.D. is a BAGI Trainer and Faculty Member. For more, go to