I was so happy the day that the
Eastside Institute introduced me to
Lev Vygotsky, the Russian psychologist, And what he talked about in the
Zones of Proximal Development. And I knew our hospital was a
zone of proximal development. My understanding of what he thought,
and certainly my projection of
what I think about it is that: In a loving environment, even grumpy, nasty people become loving. If there’s enthusiasm here it brushes off in this corner of people discussing something very heavy. And our hospital had, I’m sure there were times when there were 50 zones of proximal development. Here an important discussion on human rights,
here the garden needs weeding and you’ve got
eight people out there weeding, And one starts to sing and then the others
are singing, and then no one wants to
leave because they’re having fun singing. It’s one of the great instruments of
socialization that I that I know, and
I’ve not stopped talking about it
really since I heard about him. Because I already knew this idea. It’s why the six quality is getting back to happy, funny, loving, cooperative, creative, and thoughtful. You make an environment like that, and nobody’s got a chance. Even a grump, I mean in that kind of thing, the happy funny loving people say: “Okay, it’s grump time,” and everyone get on a roll *grumble, grumble, grumble* And the grumpy person would be laughing
because we’re making fun of something. And so, in a way, if you want something, and
you want it in a non-hierarchical way, and you
would like it with enthusiasm, you be enthusiasm! And you be the qualities you want the environment to have. And, I tell you it will happen. The more outrageous, the easier that will happen.
I’ve used this 54 years and I’m dangerous. I’ll give it one example: I was asked in Trinidad
to clown for five men who were hung
the next day for capital crimes.
They had been committed murder. So, the courts had decided that they’ll be killed. One can wonder, why invite a clown to men who are all thinking about being hung next morning? Four of them loved it. So you have to ask yourself:
If this is my last night,
I’m going to be hung tomorrow,
do I want to have fun or not? So in a way, the clown is that
zone of proximal development. Even if you don’t like clowns, even if you react nastily, that becomes a funny thing. Thank you Vygotsky, for giving it
a name and naming my purpose.

7 thoughts on “Patch Adams Presents: “Zones of Proximal Development””

  1. Patch thanks for your continuing support for healing and compassion around the world!

    Small political interlude, I noticed your 2016 endorsement of Bernie. If you are still feeling the Bern for 2020, I am one degree from many on his social media team and could share your endorsement far and wide.

  2. Hi Mr.Adams
    I'm a girl 18 years old from Turkey.I want to be a doctor like you,a doctor wil make a revolution like you.You had lightened my way.Thank you for try to make world better😊
    I hope that someday I can meet you
    If you reply me I would be very happy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *