#KOKPAR Meaningful Life, Flow-Happiness in Kazakh Fine Art

Conference Presentation delivered at the 2023 CEEMAN Annual Conference, held at Almaty Management University ALMAU, September 2023.

Author: Zoltan Buzady, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

Abstract: We present the core elements of the Flow phenomenon, which is a central concept of positive psychology and a possible answer to what makes modern life meaningful. We explore how the characteristics are portrayed in pertinent masterpieces of Kazakh Fine art, displayed in the Ablikhan Kasteyev Museum in Almaty. 

Keywords: positive psychology, fine art, meaningful life, flow, happiness, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Kokpar horse polo, leadership training, management education, tradition 

The science of positive psychology was co-founded by the Hungarian-American psychologist Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He is the founder of happiness studies and creativity. As a serial global bestselling author he identified in extensive empirical research the optimal experience a person can have during the course of a day: the mental state of Flow.   

What about Kazakh Art?
Traditionally Kazakhstan was nomadic. Thus, most of their art is Applied Art (jewelry, decoration of practical objects, patterned horse harnesses). Tradition was conveyed through carpet weaving, pottery, and leatherwork. Nowadays, the Art of Kazakhstan means unique architecture, fine arts, and sculptures. 

Q: What about Fine Art in Kazakhstan?
In Kazakhstan, Fine Art in the classical sense has its origins in the 19th century and the influence of Russian artists, who traveled in Central Asia and had a particular influence on the development of the local school of painting. The most famous is Abilkhan Kasteyev, the name given to the State Museum of Art of Kazakhstan.
The Kazakh school of art was fully formed by the 1940’s with painters, trained under the unified Soviet system of artist education, often using national motifs. An avant-garde movement in the late 1980s, aimed to find fresh ideas and protests against established ‘Soviet’ Art. Thus their works exemplify a revival of interest in the Kazakh folklore and ornamental style of a range of historical, regional and cultural traditions.

Q: What constitutes a ‘Meaningful Life’? 
This most fundamental question of life can be approached by various alternatives. They range from religion, family & friendship, science, fame or power, wealth or health, embeddedness, and friends, beauty & art to education and political impact.

Q: What is Kokpar game? 
Kokpar (Goat Pulling) is the traditional national sport of Central Asians.  Two horse-mounted player teams (tribes) attempt to place a beheaded goat beyond the opponents’ goal line.  It requires mastery, fitness, creativity & team spirit, and much resilience. Kokpar is the perfect embodiment of the  ‘Individual, Team & Organizational FLOW’.

Q: What drives people to play this dangerous game?
What really motivates the participants is to ‘be part of the game competition’.  Winning the game award is ‘just an excuse’, performance is driven by the inner urge to feel the FLOW, thus being part of the whole. 

Q: How to recognize the Flow State?

There a universal characteristics of Flow: 1) Loss of Ego; 2) Alteration of sense of time passing by; 3) Feeling of being in control of your actions; 4) Only the present moment matters, not the past nor the future; 5) Feeling of everything is just perfect.

Q: How to ‘Find Flow?’ How to ‘Get into the Zone’?
There are 4 universal prerequisites for Flow: 1) Set a clear goal, 2) Get immediate feedback from your activity, 3) Find the balance between your skills and the challenge at hand, and 4) Focus on the activity.

Q: So, What are the Key Takeaways for Leadership Training and Management Education?
FLOW is not about being passive. It is a type of happiness when we are active. Creates meaning in life. 
FLOW is not ‘mystic’. FLOW can be measured & reproduced on a scientific basis. FLOW is in all human creativity and art.
FLOW leads to top performance and productivity.FLOW brings innovations to the work process.
FLOW creates ‘Psychological Capital’, needed for team success & org’l growth.

Q: What is the benefit of FLIGBY, Csikszentmihalyi’s Serious Game (www.fligby.com):

1. Trains ‘Flow-Leadership Practice’,
2. Enhances 29 Leadership Skills &
3. Builds  ‘Good Business’ Values. 

Full text of all our academic publications, free teaching & research resources: https://flowleadership.org/publications/

Full LINK here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14zQADpwpx5I0vmdhmI9PxaYnmHG9WYxo/view?usp=sharing

FLIGBY: The Serious Game Harnessing Flow Experience for Leadership Development, Book chapter: Risley, K., Buzady, Z. (2022). FLIGBY: The Serious Game Harnessing Flow Experience for Leadership Development. In: Kiili, K., Antti, K., de Rosa, F., Dindar, M., Kickmeier-Rust, M., Bellotti, F. (eds) Games and Learning Alliance. GALA 2022. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 13647. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-22124-8_6 Exploring flow-promoting management and leadership skills via serious gaming By Zoltan Buzady, Agnes Wimmer, Anita Csesznak & Peter Szentesi at Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary In Interactive Learning Environments Scopus cite score: 7.2, (Q1)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2022.2098775Intuitive and analytical decision-making skills analyzed through a flow developing serious game By Agnes Wimmer, Zoltan Buzady, Anita Csesznak & Peter Szentesi at Corvinus University of Budapest In: Journal of Decision Systems Scopus cite score: 2.5, (Scimago rating: Q1) Í
DOI: 10.1080/12460125.2022.2073863Development of Soft Skills Competencies Through the Use of FLIGBY By Fernando Almeida, Zoltan Buzady In: Technology, Pedagogy and Education (Scimago rating: Q1), March 2022. This journal is indexed in WoS (Core: 2.529) Scopus (Q1). https://doi.org/10.1080/1475939X.2022.2058600An East-Versus-West Update: The Non-Intrusive Measurement and Global Benchmarking of 29 Management and Leadership Skills via FLIGBY in Central Europe, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan (2019 Update)  – Conference Presentation By: Zoltan Buzady Published in CEEMAN Conf. ProceedingsMissing Link Discovered – Integrating Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory into Management and Leadership Practice by using FLIGBY –  the Official Leadership Flow Game. With a special essay contribution by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 1st edition 2016, 2nd edition: 2019
By: Buzády, Z., Marer, P., Vecsey, Z. Publisher: ALEAS Inc., Los Angeles & ALEAS Hungary Kft., Hungary. ISBN 978963-12-5491-4  164. pages www.flowleadership.org
See our Slides!
FULL-SIZE Poster: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14zQADpwpx5I0vmdhmI9PxaYnmHG9WYxo/view?usp=sharing

FULL Size Poster here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14zQADpwpx5I0vmdhmI9PxaYnmHG9WYxo/view?usp=sharing