Defining Transformation

Play is not solely a form of entertainment; it can also be a way for people to transform themselves. What is it like to have a transformation?

Dr. Suzy Ross explains that transformation is about two main things: autopoiesis (the process of an entity recreating itself) and structure building.

Nick: One thing you've touched on, which is very important, in relation to the ikigai concept is transformation. And you write about play being a way for us to transform ourselves. But I think we need to define transformation. So how would you define transformation?

Suzy: Okay, so yeah, defining transformation is no small thing, right? I feel like I've been working on defining transformation for about a decade. And I'm actually just in the final touches of finally writing an article where I'm operationally defining it. 

I'm hoping to publish it next year. But I did a concept analysis, it's called transformation to be able to analyze about 15 different disciplines, probably more actually, because transformation is in almost every discipline.

Because transformation is a phenomenon of the universe. So of course, all these different various diverse disciplines have their angle about transformation. And I think that right now, getting it down to its very essence, transformation is about two main things.

I'll get very technical here. The first part is about autopoiesis, and autopoiesis is the process of an entity recreating itself. So yes, it's a very amazing phenomena. And so we are entities that recreate ourselves.

And then the other major part of transformation is about structure building. So if you think about it, when we transform, if you think about the quintessential example transformation as a butterfly: you got to go from a caterpillar to a butterfly to entirely different beings. 

And that's what transformation is right? It really is, isn't just feeling different. It's not an aha moment. It's not just like, wow, I've had this really unbelievable experience, whether it was really wonderful or awful. And now I'm a different person. 

It's so much more of a longer process than that, and in order to bring us to become an entirely different human being. And so what transformation requires is that our structure rearranges, and that we come out with a new structure. 

So what's a human structure? Human structures are a different study that I did, identified that we have three human structures that transform, one is the ego, one is the mind, and one is the body. 

And they go in that order, that our first transformation in life is transforming our ego. The second transformation is our mind. And the third transformation is our body. If we're lucky, many of us, you know, might not have that many transformations in one lifetime. But if we're lucky, we do. And so there's that.