Working in partnership with Kenneth Warren, squareONE formulates a brain trust focused on supporting leadership and visionary goals in public libraries. We support leadership and ambitious organizational goals by helping build sustainable capacity in organizations.
Our approach can be distilled: we use deeply intentional experiential inquiries to help leaders and staff and stakeholders interrogate the core propositional bindings and history of the institution. Then, we work to help the leadership reinvigorate and reanimate, or reconfigure, both the necessary bindings at the core, and build sustainable new initiatives. IN4tuity‘s unique capabilities are the result of joining together Kenneth’s long expertise in daily, practical and humanistic institutional leadership in the public library, with Stephen’s innovative skills in guiding transformative learning.IN4tuity‘s developmental tools are not like those found in normative organizational and leadership development. Their fundamental thrust is directed toward instantiating self-awareness via praxis. Nothing ever gets pulled off any shelf. Everything is purpose-built and fit to address mundane and audacious objectives.
Because of the passing on of my dear friend, colleague, partner in IN4tuity, Ken Warren, on May 21, 2015, IN4tuity will not in the future be working in the areas of public library leadership development or strategy. IN4tuity has been subsumed by squareONE:experiential toolmakers. squareONE: experiential toolmakers, when aimed to support the mission of public libraries, provides experience-based staff development and assistance for serendipity-based and strategic curation.
(July 27, 2015) I have pulled the plug on the stand-alone IN4tuity. Its web name and web site expire on August 8.
This post captures the language of the project, etched onto the web site. IN4tuity lasted from February 2013 until May 2015. Ken and I spent probably something like 500+ hours discussing libraries over the past six years and especially between December 2012-and August 2014. Ken hoped to renew humanistic librarianship in the digital age, and, I hoped to assist him, and, inspire library staff to transform themselves into learning advocates. Hmmm, I guess this joined two revolutions!
Kenneth Warren is an ethical and innovative library professional, public intellectual, communicator, editor, scholar, and writer. From his beginning as a children’s librarian at the Waco-McLennan County Public Library in Waco, Texas to his twenty five year directorship at Lakewood Public Library in Lakewood Ohio, his extensive experience can deliver deep and pragmatic insight into the challenges of practice and service that face public libraries and their directors.
With an archetypal way of listening to communities and libraries, Warren is a cultivator of administrative judgment and an exegete of humanity’s typological inheritance. First and foremost, he believes that the director is authorized to strive for a better and deeper articulation of the community’s regard for the library through a planning process that carefully honors structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. He is convinced that memories and stories about library experience are important ways of passing on knowledge and sustaining the legacy of the library as a public good.
In his view, planning is an order of remembrance and story-telling that seeks to incorporate the people’s experiences into how the director understands the world and acts upon it to bring forth functional and generative service. Whether the call has been to amputate, conserve, extend, innovate, preserve, or restore what underpins the library, he will stress doing so with as much intelligence and respect for the community’s aspiration to care and know as possible.
His distinctive accomplishments span building programming and construction, children’s service innovations, psycho-demographic applications to community-building and collection positioning, staff development, public library outreach strategies for local knowledge-creation, place-making initiatives, and social capital formation. His sources in administration theory include: Larry Terry – Leadership of Public Bureaucracies: The Administrator as Conservator; John Giannini – Compass of the Soul: Archetypal Guides to a Fuller Life; Ralph Hummel – The Bureaucratic Experience; Frank Hern – Moral Order and Social Disorder.
Warren is the founder and editor of House Organ, a letter of poetry and prose. With Fred Whitehead, he co-edited and introduced The Whole Song: Selected Poems: Vincent Ferrini published by University of Illinois Press. BlazeVox recently published his selective history of American poetry: Captain Poetry’s Sucker Punch: A Guide to the Homeric Punkhole, 1980-2012.
An auto-didact learned and skilled in the fields of adult learning and development, experiential learning, social cybernetics, analytical psychology, neurophenomenology, and organizational anthropology, Stephen Calhoun is also, for over forty years, a hungry library rat.
Stephen is an innovative designer of experiential tools aimed to fuel questioning, exploration and discovery. His unique and often playful experiential tools are focused on deepening: inquiry, organizational learning and self-awareness. Because his approach to assessment and development is interdisciplinary, Stephen is also a keen analyst of human systems and resources.
As principal of squareONE:experiential toolmakers, he has been engaged with the field of adult development since 1995. In 2013, he was named one of the four global learning partners of LearningFromExperience, a consortium founded by David A. and Alice Kolb. He is a member of the Experiential Learning Community of Practice. He has created tools for, and worked with, consultants in leadership and organizational development.
(As a philosopher of lifelong and experiential learning, and an enactivist facilitator, Stephen’s outlook is primarily informed by the precedents of Gregory Bateson, William James, Carl Gustav Jung, Thelonious Monk, David A. Kolb, Paolo Freire, Jack Mezirow, Karl Weick, Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela, Kurt Lewin, Marian Woodman, and Franz Boas.)
Stephen’s scholarly research focus works to uncover and decipher the complexities of serendipity and pseudo-serendipity in adult development. He is, apparently, the only researcher who currently approaches this growing field from the perspective that conjoins cybernetics, phenomenology, and ethnography. There are, of course, important contentions about the power of serendipity in the space of the library.
I see the lifespace of the public library to be a complex, dynamic ecology of human interaction, noetic exchange, and heart-rending service and care.
A library provides helpful mediation for human aspiration. Libraries change lives forever. It is straightforward for me to understand that a library can be at its core the magnanimous humanitarian heart of a community. Its blood is interaction, learning and experience, is, in short Praxis.
Ken and Stephen partner to provide consulting and development capacity that is radically differentiated from the norm simply by virtue of their collective intelligence, deep mutual experience, and the powerful synthesis contained in their joined interdisciplinary skillfulness.
They founded IN4tuity to actively take a stand in support of the public library as a site of heart and soul, of eros and logos, of learning and human development. Their argument on behalf of the humanitarian library opposes the neoliberal idea that libraries are mainly information and service dispensaries. Their mission and IN4tuity’s potential for transformative impact is anchored to this argument.
IN4tuity’s effectiveness obtains an ideal and powerful match with like-minded leadership.
This photo from the game today shows a ball driven down the left field line by a batter, Pete, who is out of the frame, the left fielder chasing the ball, the shortstop to the left of the baserunner running from second moving to take the cut-off throw, the third baseman waiting, the pitcher contemplating, a 3rd base coach advising, and, what seems to me to be a lonely bat tossed to the front of the circle at home plate.
The game was very close until it became a last inning, and decisive, rout. The home team managed to hit its way out of deficits created by outbursts of its own shoddy fielding, but in the last inning this pattern was deposed by the defense of the visitors, who had earlier come to bat in the top of the seventh and scored eight runs.
From my spot, playing right field for the visiting team, there was a lot of interesting dynamics in the final inning, and some of my reflections could be captured by the idea, “What does a player contemplate within the live flow of the game?” This is unanswerable.
Ironically, today’s game was much closer than the score but it also was the worst rout of the season. The brightest spots were all the new 25th Anniversary swag distributed by Dave Kolb, and, for me, the great play by a rapidly improving player who is playing his first season’s worth of softball in over two decades. Will – you’re the man!
I’ve been in the season of collecting desiccated Lily blossoms from the Lily patches in our yard and the yard of our neighbors, a retired couple. I walk over and show proofs and drafts of new pieces to ‘Mrs. Neighbor,’ when these involve stuff I’ve picked from the floor of their wonderful, large garden of perennials. The other day, I caught both of them and showed them the photo on the left, African Alchemy. Mrs. Neighbor always asks me to invert the image from the geometry I’ve decided upon. Once the photo was turned upside down–inverted–Mr. Neighbor almost immediately remarked that he liked the inversion better than the ‘pre-inversion.’
I like it better this way! (turned upside down)
I studied it. I nodded my head. I walked away wondering whether or not I could create a new piece out of the inversion, or, join the new pieces into a two panel, and new, piece. A new two panel piece could be immense, 74 inches wide by 54 inches in height.
As an artist of the sort of artist I happen to be, the feedback of a viewer which challenges me to pursue a specific experiment further is simply part of the territory my vision for my art and artistic life inhabits.
With respect to this transaction and response, my outlook intends for the transaction to admit a potential for recursion back into the unfinished project.
“Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried, As he landed his crew with care; Supporting each man on the top of the tide By a finger entwined in his hair.
“Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice: That alone should encourage the crew. Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.”
The Hunting of the Snark – Lewis Carroll
The predicate for the recursion is: uncertainty. There is no completed piece. My work obtains its imperfect goal by virtue of the engaged viewer. There is: the piece, the unaltered (abductive) experiential sense, the abductive experiential sense which requires an altered or alternate explanation. Three times true.
But then I discovered that the rule of three was not invented by Lewis Carroll. It is far older and used to be called nolo episcopari: I don’t want to be a bishop. The idea was that when somebody was appointed bishop it was a given that they would be too humble to accept the post: that’s what Christian humility means. So they would say nolo episcopari meaning “I don’t want to be a bishop”. They were meant to say this twice as a matter of etiquette. On the third request they were meant to surrender and take the mitre. If they did not, if they said nolo episcopari a third time, it was assumed that they were telling the truth and a new candidate was sought. To say something twice may be mere manners, Truth speaks thrice. – Mark Forsythe, author, The Inky Fool
Conclusion. Experts and consultants have told us many times over that the journey towards a learning organisation is one worth making….and as the as the Bellman in Carroll’s poem says: “What I tell you three times is true.” Nevertheless, the reality is that instances in which learning actually occurs tend to be more a consequence of accident than plan, and tend to be transient than lasting. Finally, and perhaps most important, the Snark may turn out to Boojum: people may end up learning truths that the organisation would rather remained hidden. And therein lies the paradox of the learning organisation.
See also, The Hunting of the Learning Organization. A Paradoxical Journey – Paul Tosey, Univ. of Surreypdf
This week I offered up a trick to the Experiential Learning Community of Practice Study group. We were talking about the active negotiation and navigation of opposites/polarities that are obscured but also resolvable in the schema of experiential learning styles given by the schema of David A. Kolb, et al.
My trick involves deconstructing the simple pairings of the oldest experiential learning schema, FEEL/WATCH/THINK/DO.
What changes from quadrant to quadrant?
What stays the same?
Feel & Watch
Think & Watch
Watch is retained
Feel transforms to Think
The list of ‘markers’ for my questions my trick from my position engages–a kind of note to self
open theoretical questions
where are the philosophically-minded theorists besides David and Alice?
style-based personality-oriented language vs. cognition-oriented dialectical, and conceptually lower order, operational language
folk psychological reification
what are we really saying globally?
what are we really saying locally?
what are we really saying enactively at the individual scale?
fine-grained phenomenological description
are we using same language?
consensus terms shorn of their rootedness in the dynamic, fragile, humanistic
Kolb’s original complex, dialectically anchored, synthesis
instrumentalization and nominalization by way of the efficacy of assessment regimes conquers the modal theory
the normal nominal problem: why is ‘this instant’ described as ‘being’ [A]?
And, does anybody actually need to know ‘why?’ before instantiating the [A]?)
unengaged problem of normativity and nominalism
re-secure the global modal dynamics
IS there an answer to this: what we really agree to signify and mean when we speak of transforming our learning by moving from feeling to thinking, or from reflection to conceptualization, or any such whathaveyou move to another phase
Behind the Button
If you could give up
trick and cleverness,
this would be the
Søren Brier, Professor of Culture and Communication Studies, Copenhagen Business School, gives a presentation as part of the University of Oregon Conference on Biosemiotics and Culture.
Professor Peter Ochs, UVa., has posted his terrific chapter from Founders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy: Peirce, James, Bergson, Whitehead, and Hartshorne (Authors: David Ray Griffin – John B. Cobb Jr. -Marcus P. Ford – A. Y. Gunter – Peter Ochs – SUNY series in Constructive Postmodern Thought articles about American Philosophy, 1992)
Social Cybernetics is my coinage. Social Cybernetics means:
Social Cybernetics: is the ecology given in interpersonal engagement for the purpose of two persons intending to know each other. This ecology intermixes two enactive systems, each broadly characterized as constituting separate systems of awareness able to be at once self-knowing and other-knowing.
The basic dispositional elements of a social cybernetic system are:
(1) FIRST ORDER: Automatic, ‘just so’ awareness
(2) SECOND ORDER: Habitual, normative awareness
(3) THIRD ORDER: Creative, transformative awareness
Combinations of the different orders of social cybernetic awareness suppose an optimal combination of two aware person-systems. This optimal social cybernetic ‘meta-order’ is instantiated when the two aware person-systems both are in Third Order relations, and, so, the interpersonal ecology is of the Third Order.
Furthermore, the sensemaking capacity of this ecology produces knowledge which can only be mainly referenced to Third Order, creative, repertorial(*), operations of awareness.
Transformative: the kinds of intentional awareness that are: not automatic, not normative, and, at the same time, are kinds that afford knowledge or sensemaking.
Transformative sensemaking is outside the boundedness of automatic awareness, and, its kinds are either coupled to normative awareness, or are uncoupled. Non-normative, counter-normative kinds of interpersonal awareness would likely strike a habitually aware person-system as being strange or alien.
(Various successful deployments of transformative awareness builds up a ‘Third Order repertoire.’)
If person-system A hopes to draw person-system B into Third Order Social Cybernetic ecology of mutual relations and mutual knowledge-making, then it would be the case that some sort of transitive and transformational negotiation or exploration of the (class of) dialectical polarities, NormativeNon-Normative, would be deployed by person-system A.
People’s experience of being drawn from the habitual ecology of relating and mutual knowledge-making/sense-making into Third Orders expresses a narrative about: sudden shifts, or surprising emergent productions of knowledge, or coaxing another or one another into novel modes of relating, or intuitive leaps and probative hunches, etc..
Third Order interpersonal knowledge-making supposes intentional, adventurous operations of co-construal.
FIRST ORDER: “Hi, how are you doing?”
SECOND ORDER: “What do you do for a living?”
THIRD ORDER: “Have you had any big dreams lately?”
(*) repertorial, from repertoire – having the sense of a collection of approaches, lenses, heuristic devices. In the Third Order, in the sense of having a repertoire, the means and method, or way of being, of approach ‘in awareness’ to knowledge-making, is chosen from this repertoire; as if choosing from a menu of possible ways of being.
There are also menu items in a Second Order repertoire. Those items are anchored to normative, or typical, ways of being, means, methods, approaches.
Recently I’ve been musing about how the learning cycle of David A. Kolb could be partially re-theorized in my novel social cybernetic terms.
Social Cybernetics: the system supposed by the engagement of enactive self-aware persons in relationship with one another, and, the system enabled for the purpose of making sense of the how and the what and the why–in this order–of intersubjective and intrasubjective knowledge creation, knowledge creation in turn in service to mutual construal and co-construal.
There are four sub-schemas depicted in the pretty pictures.
Reflecting on my own creative process means for me reflecting on visual creativity or musical creativity.
In doing so, I identify two different sets of dimensions, and, in doing so, I further identify the four superior dimensions for each modality, visual, audio.
AUDIO Superior Functions
VISUAL Superior Functions
What would be your four superior creative functions?
I drop into FLOW all the time while creating artistic experiments and art.
How Does It Feel to Be in Flow? (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)
Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
Knowing that the activity is doable – that skills are adequate to the task.
A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present, our sin to pass by in minutes.
Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.
The bold words express the shortest version of C.M.’s theory of Flow. Creativity sometimes demands systematic or conscious sensitivity to fortuitous potentials in the creative field. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory isn’t a field theory and it isn’t particularly constructivist, so, it is improved by its becoming much more ecological–for the sake of engaging the richer context of creative ‘acting.’
Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest. They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm. This suggests a superior physical endowment, a genetic advantage. Yet it is surprising how often individuals who in their seventies and eighties exude energy and health remember childhoods plagued by illness. It seems that their energy is internally generated, due more to their focused minds than to the superiority of their genes.This does not mean that creative people are hyperactive, always “on.” In fact, they rest often and sleep a lot. The important thing is that they control their energy; it’s not ruled by the calendar, the dock, an external schedule. When necessary, they can focus it like a laser beam; when not, creative types immediately recharge their batteries. They consider the rhythm of activity followed by idleness or reflection very important for the success of their work. This is not a bio-rhythm inherited with their genes; it was learned by trial and error as a strategy for achieving their goals.
One manifestation of energy is sexuality. Creative people are paradoxical in this respect also. They seem to have quite a strong dose of eros, or generalized libidinal energy, which some express directly into sexuality. At the same time, a certain spartan celibacy is also a part of their makeup; continence tends to accompany superior achievement. Without eros, it would be difficult to take life on with vigor; without restraint, the energy could easily dissipate.
Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time. How smart they actually are is open to question. It is probably true that what psychologists call the “g factor,” meaning a core of general intelligence, is high among people who make important creative contributions.The earliest longitudinal study of superior mental abilities, initiated at Stanford University by the psychologist Lewis Terman in 1921, shows rather conclusively that children with very high IQs do well in life, but after a certain point IQ does not seem to be correlated any longer with superior performance in real life. Later studies suggest that the cutoff point is around 120; it might be difficult to do creative work with a lower IQ, but an IQ beyond 120 does not necessarily imply higher creativity.
Another way of expressing this dialectic is the contrasting poles of wisdom and childishness. As Howard Gardner remarked in his study of the major creative geniuses of this century, a certain immaturity, both emotional and mental, can go hand in hand with deepest insights. Mozart comes immediately to mind.
Furthermore, people who bring about an acceptable novelty in a domain seem able to use well two opposite ways of thinking: the convergent and the divergent. Convergent thinking is measured by IQ tests, and it involves solving well-defined, rational problems that have one correct answer. Divergent thinking leads to no agreed-upon solution. It involves fluency, or the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas; flexibility, or the ability to switch from one perspective to another; and originality in picking unusual associations of ideas. These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure and that most workshops try to enhance.
Yet there remains the nagging suspicion that at the highest levels of creative achievement the generation of novelty is not the main issue. People often claimed to have had only two or three good ideas in their entire career, but each idea was so generative that it kept them busy for a lifetime of testing, filling out, elaborating, and applying.
Divergent thinking is not much use without the ability to tell a good idea from a bad one, and this selectivity involves convergent thinking.
Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. There is no question that a playfully light attitude is typical of creative individuals. But this playfulness doesn’t go very far without its antithesis, a quality of doggedness, endurance, perseverance.Nina Holton, whose playfully wild germs of ideas are the genesis of her sculpture, is very firm about the importance of hard work: “Tell anybody you’re a sculptor and they’ll say, ‘Oh, how exciting, how wonderful.’ And I tend to say, ‘What’s so wonderful?’ It’s like being a mason, or a carpenter, half the time. But they don’t wish to hear that because they really only imagine the first part, the exciting part. But, as Khrushchev once said, that doesn’t fry pancakes, you see. That germ of an idea does not make a sculpture which stands up. It just sits there. So the next stage is the hard work. Can you really translate it into a piece of sculpture?”
Jacob Rabinow, an electrical engineer, uses an interesting mental technique to slow himself down when work on an invention requires more endurance than intuition: “When I have a job that takes a lot of effort, slowly, I pretend I’m in jail. If I’m in jail, time is of no consequence. In other words, if it takes a week to cut this, it’ll take a week. What else have I got to do? I’m going to be here for twenty years. See? This is a kind of mental trick. Otherwise you say, ‘My God, it’s not working,’ and then you make mistakes. My way, you say time is of absolutely no consequence.”
Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not. Vasari wrote in 1550 that when Renaissance painter Paolo Uccello was working out the laws of visual perspective, he would walk back and forth all night, muttering to himself: “What a beautiful thing is this perspective!” while his wife called him back to bed with no success.
Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality. Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present. The rest of society often views these new ideas asfantasies without relevance to current reality. And they are right. But the whole point of art and science is to go beyond what we now consider real and create a new reality. At the same time, this “escape” is not into a never-never land. What makes a novel idea creative is that once we see it, sooner or later we recognize that, strange as it is, it is true.Most of us assume that artists—musicians, writers, poets, painters—are strong on the fantasy side, whereas scientists, politicians, and businesspeople are realists. This may be true in terms of day-to-day routine activities. But when a person begins to work creatively, all bets are off.
Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. We’re usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. In fact, in psychological research, extroversion andintroversion are considered the most stable personality traits that differentiate people from each other and that can be reliably measured. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.
Creative people are humble and proud at the same time. It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead. Yet there are good reasons why this should be so. These individuals are well aware that they stand, in Newton’s words, “on the shoulders of giants.” Their respect for the area in which they work makes them aware of the long line of previous contributions to it, putting their own in perspective. They’re also aware of the role that luck played in their own achievements. And they’re usually so focused on future projects and current challenges that past accomplishments, no matter how outstanding, are no longer very interesting to them. At the same time, they know that in comparison with others, they have accomplished a great deal. And this knowledge provides a sense of security, even pride.
Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping. When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.This tendency toward androgyny is sometimes understood in purely sexual terms, and therefore it gets confused with homosexuality. But psychological androgyny is a much wider concept referring to a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses. Creative individuals are more likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other one, too.
Creative people are both rebellious and conservative. It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic. Being only traditional leaves an area unchanged; constantly taking chances without regard to what has been valued in the past rarely leads to novelty that is accepted as an improvement. The artist Eva Zeisel, who says that the folk tradition in which she works is “her home,” nevertheless produces ceramics that were recognized by the Museum of Modern Art as masterpieces of contemporary design. This is what she says about innovation for its own sake:”This idea to create something is not my aim. To be different is a negative motive, and no creative thought or created thing grows out of a negative impulse. A negative impulse is always frustrating. And to be different means ‘not like this’ and ‘not like that.’ And the ‘not like’—that’s why postmodernism, with the prefix of ‘post,’ couldn’t work. No negative impulse can work, can produce any happy creation. Only a positive one.”
But the willingness to take risks, to break with the safety of tradition, is also necessary. The economist George Stigler is very emphatic in this regard: “I’d say one of the most common failures of able people is a lack of nerve. They’ll play safe games. In innovation, you have to play a less safe game, if it’s going to be interesting. It’s not predictable that it’ll go well.”
Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well. Without the passion, we soon lose interest in a difficult task. Yet without being objective about it, our work is not very good and lacks credibility. Here is how the historian Natalie Davis puts it:”I think it is very important to find a way to be detached from what you write, so that you can’t be so identified with your work that you can’t accept criticism and response, and that is the danger of having as much affect as I do. But I am aware of that and of when I think it is particularly important to detach oneself from the work, and that is something where age really does help.”
Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment. Most would agree with Rabinow’s words: “Inventors have a low threshold of pain. Things bother them.” A badly designed machine causes pain to an inventive engineer, just as the creative writer is hurt when reading bad prose.Being alone at the forefront of a discipline also leaves you exposed and vulnerable. Eminence invites criticism and often vicious attacks. When an artist has invested years in making a sculpture, or a scientist in developing a theory, it is devastating if nobody cares.
Deep interest and involvement in obscure subjects often goes unrewarded, or even brings on ridicule. Divergent thinking is often perceived as deviant by the majority, and so the creative person may feel isolated and misunderstood.
Perhaps the most difficult thing for creative individuals to bear is the sense of loss and emptiness they experience when, for some reason, they cannot work. This is especially painful when a person feels his or her creativity drying out.
Yet when a person is working in the area of his of her expertise, worries and cares fall away, replaced by a sense of bliss. Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.
I likely was around the age of ten–1964–when my friends and I started playing kick ball on the asphalt diamond at Coventry School during the summer. This gave me the opportunity to be a self-assessor, and, also to step back a bit from process of making teams, to wonder why my above average performance never was reflected in where I was chosen in the picking of players. I asked my dad. I forgot what he told me.
A few years later, and for a few years, I played baseball on the long gone diamond at Fairfax School. Because I had a good arm, I played third base. But, I was a terrible hitter. I usually was picked in the first third of picks.
Eventually, one leaves the world of pick up ball behind. I played for Roxboro Junior High’s football team. Mike Baum and myself were the blocking fullbacks, opening holes for the storied Tom Olmstead and Victor Wong. We collapsed a Wiley Jr High team’s rushers in the last series of the last quarter of the 1968 season. This helped Olmstead score the team’s first touchdown of the soon-to-be realized 0-5 season. The coaches were idiots.
In high school, I proved mediocre at: football, cross-country*, and made one appearance as a side-arming reliever on the JV baseball team in the spring of 1970:
walked the first batter hit the second batter walked the third batter gave up a three run triple to the fourth batter
Infinite ERA, right? That’s something!
The next year a classmate Jonathan Bass created an intramural softball league (at Hawken School) and enlisted me to help organize it and promote it to my fellow juniors. Somehow he got the Head of the Upper School and Athletic Director to approve it as an alternative to playing a varsity sport or PE class. Participation skyrocketed diue to this late breaking development.
I played first and third base and because I was the team captain, batted myself in the top third of the order. I kept the statistics for the entire league. Somewhere is the record of my performance in every season I’ve played softball since the spring of 1971.
In 1975 I played with the Wizard of Oz team in Vermont. It was the team’s inaugural season. I know I batted ninth and played short outfield, and sometimes pitched, and sometimes played catcher. I was twenty and two years away from my first really enjoyable sportsman’s experience.
Many American men have a sense of what is a pecking order. It might be interesting to ask him how early in their athletic career did this sense begin to be developed.
*My senior year, I recollect that the cross country team had a record of 14-1. I was roughly the eighth or ninth runner on the team, and injured my self in a meet at University School. This led to the single mention of my athletic performance in the yearbook: Stephen Calhoun ran well with the cross country team until he got smart and broke his ankle.
Is the dark matter blowing in, or, out, wonders astronomer Stacy
I turned to Dave Kolb at the beginning of our at-bat in the top of the third inning, and because the score was 3-12, said to him,
“I knew the regression to the mean would come eventually.”
In response, Dave tells me,
“It depends whether or not you believe in probability!”
We tossed a few more musings back and forth.
We have a darn interesting inner free play softball game too. Anyway, I added the probability thingy to the long list of fascinating topics I’m motivated to some day, or in some lifetime, discuss.
The game ended 18-12. My wondrous handicapping streak is over. Probably it could start up again.
Al in the blue shorts, and his kids Brandon, AJ, (and Dave and Rick)
The intergenerational aspect to our Free Play Softball league was evident when Al and his sons showed up. If memory serves me, Al was playing in our game the same year I started, 2002. His kids are now in their teens. Kurt wasn’t there Sunday, but his son Max plays with us. Mark’s son Vincent is normally a regular, but he was riding dune buggies somewhere on this day.
The game wasn’t as close as the final score, or, alternately, it was closer after the visitors spotted the home team a 12-3 lead. I made a rare executive inter-game trade at the end of the third inning, and, well, as the kids say these days, ‘whatever!’
The team photo reflects me telling the group to look like they had some fun. Apparently, it was a grueling game for some of the players; albeit it transpired under perfect conditions on Field #11; except for the aforementioned handicapping.
I have been reflectingintuiting over the past six weeks on my relationship with Ken Warren, and, the nature of active creative sustained depth-full relationship. This has been, is, almost a prototype of grief framed by bittersweet finality. This is both a ‘hard’ thing and a very good thing.
As I grapple with a phenomenology of deep relationship, very little of what I have been shaping over the last few weeks is inflected by interactions brought up and out from an ongoing relationship. I have been focusing on the unique qualities of my relationship with Ken. The implicit irony given by conceptualizing without solidarity is not lost on me at all.
This schema depicts one view of generalizations oriented to a foundational perspective. In turn, it is taken from the most basic interpenetrating levels, levels identified and discussed by Ken and myself. This schema represents the hand of deep relationship oriented to co-creative exploration, taken from the unique fingerprint of our relationship. Every deep relationship expresses a unique fingerprint.
In my view, the hallmark of deep exploratory relationship is that it is relationship founded by the transformation of instrumental relations into core depth orientation and action. Deep relationship is noetic.
Deep relationship is ironic in several crucial senses. First, such relationships demand what I term ‘open time’ orientation for the sake of turning away utility, and turning toward exploration. This further means that deep exploratory relationships are not mainly normatively useful. Secondly, exploration itself requires ‘heuristical’ flex within the open time modality; and this is instigative of the negotiation and transit and transfer of meanings, and the recursive chatter which soon enough finds any granted perspective to be ‘ironic’ in the given relation to some other perspective.
Ken and I cycled through this second aspect precisely in the way that the, his, foreordained could encompass both traditionalism and naturalism whereas, my notional contingency would encompass both fortuity and emergent spontaneity. We discovered early on that the spirited verticality is entangled ironically with soulful horizontality. This crossing, so-to-speak, constituted the background frame to our wandering, experimentation, and exploration.
Third, the introduction of a profound ludic element to the core orientation is clearly ironically situated in the way playing around pulls time out of its linear contour, and, amplifies the timelessness of the first order intrinsic motive; which is to assert here how play is motivated by virtue of play being enjoyable for its own sake. This is a baroque way of describing the experience of combinatorial flow in our relationship.
“Wow, I can’t believe we’ve been hanging out for four hours!”
(email me if you want the Warren-Calhoun Matrix in pdf)
In my idiosyncratic and syncretic phenomenology of profound friendship, essential qualities of deep relationship are placed in the order of this matrix. The matrix proposes that such relationships possess qualities and dispositions of these types. Those qualities and dispositions in the flux of relationship are dynamic, whereas the apparent square form of the matrix is stable.
Typology given by the functional primes: A(nalytical) | E(xperiential) | I(ntoxicating) | C(ombinatorial)
In noting this, a relationship may be broadly typified. For example, Ken and my relationship was in the main Combinatorial, and its type in order was much of the time, C(IEA) The subdominant quality is an inferior quality, so our Combinatorial relationship could be very impractical. Although I have yet to conceptualize the dialectical primes and secondary polarities given in the matrix, it seems readily apparent that the basic oppositions are given in the pairings, C<>A, and E<>I.
Additionally, right now the rough appearance suggests the typology of the Analytical Psychology T/F, N/S, unequivocally associates with the relational primes:
Alas, all this is worked out without my favorite colleague and friend and co-explorer’s contemporary contribution. Our inquiry had begun to stir into these elements the liberated psychoastrology and the experiential learning theory of my colleague David A. Kolb.
Still, Ken was very jazzed by our recent inquiries coordinated by our mutual sense that some of the deep noetic structures of organizations, such as public libraries or suburbs, were literally secreted in the profound dyadic relationships of persons in those kinds of communities.
(My considerations here are surely novel in their relation to what is a very small normative literature about depth-in-relationships–found within the scholarship about management.)
One way to work with these ideas is to imagine a controller for your close relationships and then conjure how you sometimes manipulate its regulatory dials.
Intentional control regulates relational dynamics and core ‘co-performance’
Let me know what you discovered in playing around with the dials!
The Matrix itself could be larger, and more robust. Because our own relationship comprised our principle laboratory, in our collaborative deconstruction of my promethean puer, and of Ken’s anima problem, over the last year or so, we discovered a lot of shadowy elementals, darkened aspects, impersonal inversions, and hidden unconscious facts. Ken termed these occulted aspects. Those aspects obviously figure into, and would augment, the organization of the fuller set of generalizations of the qualities and dispositions of deep relationship.
All Hail the Center Pieces (S. Calhoun, 2015, 24x48h”)
Over the past few years I have not combined a vertical with a ‘flipped’ horizontal symmetry so as to synthesize the above stack.
Presumably, there is a transcendent function hidden in my (a) intention, or, (2) unconscious urge, because it goes from the two via the processual three to the whole four.
Two, plus two, next four.
odis tamquam fures et homicidas, tamquam specula celesti fulgore micantia mirare cogeris et amare.46
(you hate them as robbers and murderers; you love and worship them as mirrors reflecting a celestial light) dialog of Ficino
My artistic sensibility admits as much, so, not surprisingly, the visual result is completed by the viewer, and, as well, the dialectical stasis captured in the moment of the viewer’s experience is also ‘half’ in the sensibility of the viewer. I term this: diastasis. The basic formulation could be enumerated, one, two, three, four; so this is most simply: creation, field, experience, engagement. The hidden bridge in the (social) cybernetic sense is the viewer’s abduction, which is the means for the viewer ‘reason-experiencing’ to the best explanation of their experience of the forms hidden in plain sight.
As the creator, I do not code those abductions into the visual field (piece.) Rather, their animation is contingent on the four-fold, as is this ‘adding up’ to: mirrors reflecting a celestial light.
This is, from certain perspectives, a very serious business!
(I would use different terms than Adorno, yet it is self-evident to me that the viewer completes the engaging experience with her own cultural conditioning. Because my aesthetic is intentionally underdetermined as a matter of the constitutive generativity underlying both creative process and artistic product, my aesthetic also greatly underdetermines the programmatic encoding. I like to think this lack of masterful coding sets the piece free from being only a simple message.)
A young man decided to move his family, his wife and two daughters, to a set of small rooms in a building in Isfahan. His family’s new home was located a short walk away from the Sufi school the young man wished to join.
The man had just finished his regular studies and now hoped to support his spiritual aspirations. A small dowry and his wife’s support were his only practical foundation. Yet, the young man did not decide to move until he had received a letter of assurance from the school, stating it could modestly employ him.
With this letter in hand, and his family moved in, the young man walked to the school, stepped into the stone doorway, and gently knocked. After a moment, the door opened to reveal a very old man. The old man held the door half way open.
“I have come from the district of Lake Urmia to apply to your school. I have this letter in support of a small stipend.”
The old man didn’t budge, and told him, “We’ve been expecting you. The Pir has requested I grant you a job only in the light of following these instructions.”
“I am humbled.” responded the young man.
The old man stepped into the archway and closed the door behind him. Standing face to face with the young man, he reached into his robe and pulled out a leather bound book.
“Your job is simple: come to the school every day at 11am and sweep the doorway and then sit here, the man pointed to a bench cut out of the archway’s support, and greet visitors. If the visitor is holding a book like the one I am about to loan to you, summon me with four knocks and admit them into the inner hallway. After prayers, come back and go around to the rear of the building and sweep the entrance to the rear doorway. There is a bench there too.”
The man held the book in front of him with both hands.
“Nobody enters the school through the rear door. People leave the school through the read door. When you are doing your job there, the extra courtesy is necessary as someone departs the school through the rear door, ‘God be thanked.’ At 1 in the afternoon, come back to the front, sweep the exterior entryway, and, spend the remainder of the hour sitting here on the bench and helping visitors.
Extending the book so that the young man could grasp it, the young man slowly brought the book into his possession.
“The book you have now is blank. On its pages you are to write your reason for hoping to join our school.”
Clutching the book, the young man bowed and lifting his head, told the old man,
“I will review my reasons and summon the single most excellent one and inscribe it on the first page of the book.”
The old man bowed, “I will see you tomorrow at 11 in the morning.”
The young man waited until the old man had gone back into the building and shut the door. He heard the snap of the latch, and turned and walked to his new home.
The next day, the young man began his new job, and, he also hoped, he had begun to transit a short term before his being admitted into the school. On his first day he admitted two young men. Nobody left through the back door. He went home at 2pm.
On the second day, he admitted no one, and no one left, but, at the very end of the day, the old man from whom he received the book, stepped out onto the front entryway just as the young man stood up from bench to go home.
After greeting the young man, the elder asked, “Have you entertained and inscribed your reasons for joining us?”
Thrilling to hear the question, the young man lifted his book and gently opened it to the first page, turned it around, and with a graceful thrust, supported it while showing the page to the old man.
The old man looked down, read what the young man had penned, looked up, and told the man,
“I am not the judge of reasons. Nevertheless, I know that there are more reasons than this single one. Please write down all the reasons and do not omit a single one.”
The young man heard this beseeching request and bowed, turned the book back around, and closed it and lowered it. Again, waiting until he heard the snap of the latch, he left and walked back home.
So it was began a long sequence of days. Every now and then he would admit a young man through the front door, and, much less frequently, he would greet a departing elderly man as he left the building through the rear doorway.
Late every evening, the young man would contemplate his reasons, and enter new ones into pages in the succession of pages of the book.
Every day, at the end of his work day, the old man would read the new entries and return the book to the young man, and always remark,
“Surely, you know of more reasons?”
At first, that there were more reasons surprised the young man. Soon enough, the young man came to both reason or conjure new reasons effortlessly. He’d go to the school, do his job, let a few men in and honor the fewer old men departing, and, he’d end each day with his presentation and the old man’s, by now, ritual injunction.
The young man’s efforts to discover his additional reasons became more difficult as time wore on. Along with this, for the first time, that other young man were entering the school, and that each entrant carried their own book, began to test the young man’s resolve.
He persevered even as his nightly contemplations became woven with doubts. His biggest doubt was this: ‘where in this book full of reasons is the one reason?’
He wrote this down in the book. He followed it with a passage,
‘I have no more reasons. There are no more reasons.’
The next day, the fortieth since the young man had arrived for the first time at the front door of the school, the young man opened the front door for two young men, and, he honored a single very elderly old man departing from the rear door.
At the end of the day, the old man stepped out into the entryway and extended his hand with the palms faced upwards to receive the young man’s book. The young man set the open book on the old man’s palms. The old man lowered his head and read the three most recent passages.
Raising his head slowly, the old man waited for the young man to raise his eyes to meet his own. The old man’s palms, now empty. remained turn heavenward.
“Young man, would you please follow me?”
He opened the door. The young man, in a state of shock, stepped through the front doorway. Both men were in a small hallway. The old man opened the inner door. He swung the door to his chest and softly told the young man,
“On the other side of this door is a library. You will not have to search for the single half filled shelf. Please place your book on that shelf. Next, proceed to go through door at the very rear of the library.”
The young man calmed himself, took a deep breath, silently thanked God, and stepped through the inner doorway. He came into an immense illuminated room. To his left and right stood from floor to ceiling many tiered book shelves filled with books. The books were bound the same as his own book was bound. The young man slowly walked down the single aisle that ran between the library’s left and right book collections.
He walked almost to the end of the room and its shelves of books before he spotted on his right a low shelf. The shelf was partially filled with books, and below it was, apparently, the last empty shelf in the entire, immense library. He placed his book on the shelf. He turned in a complete circle to take in the entire library. Then he turned toward the second door, opposite the door he had come in through at the other end of the long aisle.
He walked up to the door, placed his right hand on the knob and turned it, opening the door. He stepped through the door and discovered he was standing in the rear doorway he knew so well. A young man reached out and gently held his right elbow.
“God be thanked.” The young man dropped his head, let his hand down, and bowed. He then sat down on the bench.
“There is only God to be thanked.” He told the seated young man. With that, the man walked back around the building toward the street. As he turned down the street to go home, he mused to himself, ‘This has been a day like no other.’
When he got to his house, he suddenly felt elated. Turning the door knob, he swing the door open. A very young girl he did not know greeted him,
David A. Kolb, second from left, was the main founder of Free Play Softball, now in the middle of its 25th season. He was doing brisk business getting players to make pre-orders of 25th anniversary swag. Will, all the way to the right, hit a critical triple–with an error providing homerun-like experience–as we all collaborated on a seventh consecutive close game.
If you are ambulatory and between the ages of 12 and 112, join us Sunday mornings at 10am, Forest Hills Park, Cleveland Heights, Field #11. We have extra gloves.
Venn diagram for the sake of showing our overlap from the meta-perspective
From the perspective of my own vulnerability and woundedness, my friendship with Ken served my adult healing process. It is exactingly fit to the description: my being profoundly recognized and known. How would Ken describe the ramification of our friendship from the point of view given by his own core narcissistic needs? Although I knew Ken and knew him well, the only aspect I’m able to certify is that he benefitted from my not ever personally criticizing him. Our relationship was much more confessional in the direction of me explaining my personal stuff to him.
The currents of personal exchange, predicated by our sincere and daring submission to the beingness of vulnerability and openness seem to me to provide the foundation for what our relationship mainly was concerned with: wide-ranging inquiry and intuitive exploration. He thought we were doing shamanic collaboration, whereas I thought–from my flatland viewpoint–that we were experientially joined for the purpose of co-creating actual impressions out of contingencies. You can see his esoteric view doesn’t require any penetrating conceptualization because the foreordained is the ultimate ‘just so.’
The time requirement is, paradoxically, the essential requisite for the invocation of co-creative spontaneous learning of the sort able to escape time. Cutting hunches often seems to arrive from outer inner space. Each seems to be the result non-linear processes, and each is of unknowable origin. Ken and I didn’t spend anytime at all aligning our vastly different personal cultures even as we granted the fundamental distinction between the foreordination of the vertical worlds and the contingencies of the life worlds. Yet both higher/lower and life worlds are esoterically dimensioned.
We casually termed this last year, synchronic learning. The regular definition, Synchronic: concerned with events existing in a limited time period and ignoring historical antecedents, doesn’t suppose the same stuff Ken and I were supposing, because we supposed something closer to synchronistic learning.
(Ken’s repurposed my social cybernetic domains and set these to a schema. In turn his schema draws on The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Fabrication of the Western World, by Iain McGilchrist.)
This schema figured into our co-creation of The Heaven and Hell Archetypal Evaluation.
I never had to remind Ken that I was developmentally underdetermined. On the other hand, every now and then he would remind me that he wasn’t overdetermined, (or fixed in his beliefs.)
Just so you know I am not pushing belief in any constellation, cluster of interests, causal narrative, etc. – The booty once stored on my Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria has been emptied of all but the monkey. Like I suggested months ago in my basic neo-Taoist twinkie feast (see Chi A Neo-Taoist Approach to Life by R.G.H. Siu) we circumambulate the light downloaded into chi processed in the living organism evolving into the higher chi order of human twinkie canisters spinning off virtual presences, energy forms, phantoms into which human belief is hooked. Conspiracy theorists etc. drop anchor or go postal in this great cultic transfer site where abides superego/gregores. What I love abt. El Cristo Rey (a royal god image) and the Peasant brigade vid, so palpable you can taste mezcal’s worm turing in the soul’s secret sharer.
In the threads generally or tweets, it seems, we are in a state of madly accelerated contra-naturum Ahrimanic phantom-making. Each tweet a virtual presence of misplaced, poorly harvested, badly circulated human chi. No real grip on the real, the empty (the foreordained out and back), the nameless, the name of the actor, the causal. No bead on the effect and the compounding. Out of Tao. All affects with everyman aglow on a brain ripped on causal phantom of himself – certitude the superego defense of the ass-kicked ego. (Recall the civic phantom scarier than the PD in the LO Hyper-local dojo OP). The virtual is all the virtuous and vice-drenched representative phantoms launched from human twinkies and fed by uncooked and undercooked baked goods over time, now mechanically accelerated in the digital age.
I am an afficiando of culture wars. I’ve been hip to Martin for a long time, because I love to read traditional Roman Catholic sites. Another wizard of Oz, a psy-operator in the virtual machinery that breeds phantons and hijacks chi for the entropic grinder/apocalyptic binder. Again the question I have is the gatekeepers, how effective or lax, what slips through, what gets blocked. Again, one never know for sure. But one does know however inept, or subject to variance, breakdown, or fake-out, the gate-keeping and framing of influence, redaction, propaganda, etc, in support of the phantoms that juice power – imagined and authorized by law or voices or angels what have you – is an human actual operation. (KW Aug-29,2014)
During the period last year, that ended up with the liberation of psychoastrology and the development of the Cube-O-Probe, we rolled through and over the historical variety of explanatory regimes underlying the asymmetric/yang traditions of normative, top-down, astrology. Then he took the Cube-O-Probe cubes and beta tested them with astrologers and friends and nieces.
In our work as partners, IN4tuity, in the library space, our entwined esotericism was background to our coming back into the ‘timefullness’ of psychodynamic evaluation, abductive analysis, and sensemaking. Yet the implicit ‘fourth’ blade (in our chop shop) remained: (now timely or timed,) intuition.
Emotion and Intuition and Feeling seem to be crucial domain that we are working in a course correction to stamped-out, dried out metrics and objectifications and their “environmental impacts” on the life-flow, human experiences and vital organs in the library – sensitizing director, staff, board to the human asset and helping them to align together as caring stewards of the ethos.
Might you be able to normalize any of this material that points to my deeper sources:
Here’s a response I wote some time ago to John Giannini in response to an early draft of a book on intuition he was writing:
In providing a reading, one always tries to pull the writing in one’s one own cognitive direction. I hope this provides more insight than confusion.
1 Basic Assumption/Primary Paradigm/Intentionality of the Function
Drop a few tight propositions about Intuition to claim your primary paradigm for the book.
I think the reader’s understanding would be better served if you nail a few more choice statements of your own about Intuition that will then ramify through the statements of Maslow and, Pagels and Kafka.
What I am suggesting are a few choice formulations/hypotheses with hooks on Intuition. These provocations will hook not only into the Maslow and Pagels and Kafka statements but also press thematically into the material that you will later supply.
In other words, present the provocative scaffolding that will open a strategic position for your own authorship in advance of your citation of others. In short, put your convictions about Intuition before your connections to Intuition.
I’ll toss a few examples from my notebooks that may not be tested or true statements about intuition but I offer them here, simply to convey a broad sense of tactic (not necessarily the language or terms) to be used in your intro:
Intuition is the intentionality of the not yet known; it redounds from the flux of things into symbolic experience to make the flow of information from the unconscious more intelligible to the ego.
Intuition is the divisible faculty that persists through the process and premise of indivisibility.
Intuition is an open and indefinite unity (Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s ontological dimension), an original drawdown from an inexhaustible reservoir that supports improvisation and novelty.
Intuition is the surplus presence of life moving in patterns of meaning that cannot be touched directly.
Intuition offers a momentary return to self-organizing experience at a preverbal, existential level.
Intuition is the darkness where the gods dwell; it is the force of the religious complex; it is the numinous meaning schema of the divine.
Intuition is the ground of complex and heightened experience; it reveals through a flash of interacting activities a personal connection to a place of novelty (Whitehead’s process philosophy?) in the cosmic order.
Intuition generates personal convictions about anomalous, other-worldly, supersensible and uncanny realms.
2 Divine and Saphire
A small amplification and definition of “the divine” as a meaning schema in your theological model seems needed. As the intro stands now, you drop the term “divine” onto Sapphire’s “intuitive unconscious process.” It seems sudden and exaggerated to such a loaded term so suddenly with any set-up.
Parsing the meaning schema in your theological and psychological registers would bring a tighter measure of clarity.
Is intuition the divine affect that moves one to a felt sense of presence that unwinds from the object/information flow of universe to shock one’s previous verbalization/narrative of one’s life and to encourage the perception of an alternative intentionality?
3 Asymmetrical and the Symmetrical
My initial reading suggests that you might ponder a little further how the asymmetrical (Yang?) and the symmetrical (Yin?) aspects might be featured in your model.
Does the Intuition “emerge” from the complex interaction between the asymmetrical (Yang?) and the symmetrical (Yin?) archetypal impulses that contain in it any aspects might be featured in your model.
I read your move in Compass of the Soul to the Coupling of types as a symmetrical move.
Is your Coupling move a Yin feminizing qualification of the Yang asymmetrical emphasis of Cambry? If so you might be able to mark your intention in the context of the Tao.
Intuition is the energy that binds/returns the asymmetrical leading edge of experience to the symmetrical circumference.
Our partnership joined Ken’s left hand with my right hand, just as it negotiated insight from the time-bound beforehand asymmetry to the instantaneous psycho-transmogrification posed by the synchronic emergence of symmetry.
Intention: what now without my friend Ken? Cube-O-Probe cuts through and then there is the WATER ELEMENT turned upside down!
It’s been three years since Warren left his post at Lakewood Public Library. He now lives near Lake Ontario, 15 miles east of Niagara Falls. He’s proud of his tenure at the library. He oversaw the $16 million dollar remake. But there’s something else of which he’s even more proud.
“The development of the collection,” he said over the phone recently. “That’s what makes it a temple of knowledge. It’s heaven sitting on top of Lakewood.”
Four Legs of the Problem (S.Calhoun, 2015)
Follow the perfume, not the tracks. -Shams, ra, of Tabriz
Loss of a person, of a close frriend or of a family member, presents a challenging process which won’t let go as it impels me through its requisite travail.
At the same time, the outward conventions of concern and courtesy basically allow for a restoration of human contact in the collective terms of concern and courtesy, and, sure, in the terms of grief and mourning.
These expressions are helpful, even as the expressed kindnesses and concerns seem to me to reach around the really bare, and profoundly forward-pitched facts. Of course, I would do the same thing, in approaching somebody’s loss, in approaching a ‘death in the family.’ Except, at the same time, I would be always holding back my usual, or my habitual, curiosity.
I would reign in my researcher’s soul.
What is actually going on?
I previously mentioned, or I think I did so, that in the weeks between meeting Ken for the first time and our second meeting, he reported to me that he had read my entire web site and blog. At the time he made this report, I didn’t know really what kind of ‘reader’ was Ken. Still, I was very impressed because he had begun what we came to call, ‘the forensics;’ and I had begun the same process. Furthermore, apparently, we shared this similarity, we both knew more data is better than both a little data, and, the thin positive capability through which a little data and bad guesswork are joined together.
Gone! Okay, what is actually going on with you Stephen? This is the question that can be addressed to me.
I do bring in, and try to warmly receive, the heartfelt substitutions for this non-obvious question. Oh, it was not a non-obvious question to Ken. When my mother passed away in early 2012, he asked me,
“What is going on?”
And, he kept asking. I’ll miss his researcher’s tenacity! If somebody doesn’t ask me this question, he or she is missing the boat. I’m not missing it, I’m in it.
I have put much of the actual goings on ‘with me’ in the aftermath of my loss, ‘out there,’ here, on my blog. (This blog is iteration number three, begun five months after meeting Ken in the fall of 2004.)
2. the LOVE BASIS
3. COMBINATORIAL questing
4. active DECONSTRUCTION
5. the ANIMA PROBLEM
6. interlude: what you don’t know, give into
7. interlude: process and reality
8. NEGATIVE CAPABILITY, Irony
Ken would have appreciated why the number of posts is eight. Hey, I’m throwing out clues here!
He and I agreed on a great great deal, although as I have tried to make clear, Ken was entangled by his enthusiasms, whereas I am mostly afraid of my own; (so, I trained myself to be a fallibilist.)
Also, I feel as if I need to be careful. But, it isn’t also true that anybody should feel he or she is to be a second fiddle. Heck, go for it. Life is unpredictable. And, you’re unlikely to figure out in advance when your last breath is steaming down the tracks.
Close relations are my second highest value–and are so for reasons I’m able to express. Ask me. Go for it.
The Green Man (Stephen Calhoun
Ken and I spent a lot of time deconstructing what to us–to maybe only us–was the single most bloody problem in the ‘scape of modernity, (that:) the fundamental problem is relational incapacity, not deficits in rationality or critical thinking.
Note, the structure goes from Shock to Negative Capability. It goes from oh no, shit! to soul!
Yes, it was terrific and quite medicinal, perhaps even karmically medicinal, to feel really extremely thoroughly known by Ken, yet, I’ve mapped out the foundation to be: going from the LOVE BASIS to the COMBINATORIAL. Ken and I were sensemakers, this is what we did over many thousands of hours. Why?
What is actually going on?
Why? …such a good question. We never discussed explicitly dialogical recognition (Charles Taylor,) yet when we together took up the cause of the noetic public library we sorted out a deep congruence about the micro problems come to coalesce around the macro problems of–within the pragmatics of praxis in a library–reification, instrumentalism, objectification, dehumanization, and, well, how it is, apparently, easy to rip the fucking heart of a library out of its cavity, and place in this cavity a bunch of 3D printers.
Similarly, most societal problems at the scale of the kind of civics citizens actually can effectively practice, are initiated in the first order by the atrophy of the human ability to actively know one other. Ken and I understood our diagnosis would deconstruct this order of knowing. Then, for the sake of reanimating the civic heart and civic capacity for making sense, we worked over how in a city or in a library how citizens might collaborate on a new, deeper (3rd) order of interpersonal and intrapersonal knowing cum relationship.
In the light of the ideal of authenticity, it would seem that having merely instrumental relationships is to act in a self-stultifying way. The notion that one can pursue one’s fulfilment in this way seems illusory, in somewhat the same way as the idea that one can choose oneself without recognizing a horizon of significance beyond choice. Authenticity a picture of what a better or higher mode of life would be, where better and higher are defined not in terms of what we happen to desire or need, but offer a standard of what we ought to desire. (Charles Taylor)
Ken and I spent zero time slapping each other on the back when we discovered, for example, we both were familiar with Paolo Freire. It was all matter-of-fact because it is who you are, not what you know, and, so, study for the love of the quest. Train first! Deploy, drill down, together stick our hands in the muck.
What is actually going on?
When we turned this around, our critical chops came to meld Ken’s learned Saturnian thrust with my edge-seeking Promethean swing. Ken possessed this aspect, one that was like the boy with a hammer, the boy who would swing his hammer at everything; and, I, an actual complexed puer, possessed a kind of penetrating Apollonian cynicism, and, also I, a Batesonian, was able to stand back a bit. (Well, I didn’t want to get accidentally rapped by the hammer.) Yet, when we got going. . .
we’d cover stuff very very quickly. ‘Marx was not even a horrible psychologist, yet Russell was on the money in noting Marx was a Christian heretic.’ ‘Jung only had an inkling that he had birthed a psychology and its daughters from his lapsed Lutheran brow, and that his psychology’s wider applications were somewhat covertly undermined by this creation story.’ ‘There are short paragraphs in the Tibetan Canon, or the best haiku, which could right now replace and improve every word Ken Wilber has ever scribbled.’
‘cover’ doesn’t mean getting it correct.
Ken, by the way, fulfilled the demands of authentic relationship with many many people. He and I were in a synergistic profoundly complementary relationship, and spent no time gratuitously or otherwise aggrandizing how great was our relationship, except we did once briefly consider some of the contingencies and fortuities and errors which had to slowly collapse, like a holy wave function organizing its effective reality, or ‘reality,’ and do so over two lifetimes, all for the sake of being able to efficiently and cleanly deploy together the practical and/or explosive tools our dialectical instigations, spontaneous poetics, and channeled intuitions, came to evoke and muster.
Did it help our effort that we happened to have both traveled through some of the same ideational and metaphysical lands? See: Interlude #3 tomorrow.
Nevertheless, our learned congruency was like a picture pasted to the jig pieces of a puzzle. With time, and it still is going to take time no matter what, two people working together can piece the puzzle together without having to refer to the ‘parted’ picture on the surface of each piece.
What Ken and I disagreed about: particular ramifications. For example, the ramifications implicitly of this perspective:
Ken, you should just give up trying to trick me.
Ken respected where I could not go. I had occasion to remind him earlier this year that “such respect then leads irrevocably to my Promethean liberation of Astrology and Psycho-astrology,” (and how I came to amputate various fixities from their thin causal relations.)
I had planned to take him (this summer) through The Reduced Bateson Set. (Oh well.) We had begun to recast some of the developmental fixations in learning theorizing and in specific theories, like the theory of my friend, David Kolb. Obviously, to where the action learning of our entwined dialectical picking and drumming would have led to, is about as unknowable as an unknown could be.
I had submitted a Cube-O-Probe, as a visual poem, to House Organ. Ken rarely specified the ways in which our workplay was influencing his numerous other projects. But, he was a boy with a hammer! He took his set #2 of Cubes and fearlessly interpreted their message on behalf of astrologers, poets, and nieces.
One deep congruency we arrived at, we came to right at the beginning. Love basis.
Another lesser, and vital congruency, brought forth one of the essential fundamentals able to support our mindful and creative travels: as it happens, an exquisitely sensitive humane esotericist breaks bread with a mercurial edge-seeking flatlander because the whole cause of inverting assumptions and sometimes having to mulch them is shared and equally served by two radically different sensibilities–except for, as Rumi noted, our “fleshy hearts.”
We traveled and never went anywhere. We made a road trip to the Target in North Olmsted for the sake of a veteran who had just rented a crib in Lakewood but didn’t have a bed.
h/t Lakewood Observer
We made a bunch of trips to Wadsworth in support of our fellow traveler, Daniel and his public library.
“Ken, would you please try to keep at least one hand on the wheel?”
When I had reason to remind Ken that I am, by disposition, a “deep ironicist,” he told me this assertion perplexed him. I told him,
“Come on Ken, you’re the one who titled me, Dr. Puck.”
Then, I explained to him what imperatives are driven by chops, negative capability, good/bad fortune, large collections of devices and heuristics, multitudes of perspectives, plus the ability to rappel down to the “meta,” and, I went on,
“then there are also all those just-in-time intuitions blowing into your scheme like neutrinos stream through the material world, except you and me grab at ’em and we bring the intuition back alive, from wherever was its ‘wild,’ and you stick ’em to your wall, They always seem to stick.”
“Why have we become like gods as technologists and like devils as moral beings, supermen in science and idiots in aesthetics – idiots above all in the Greek sense of absolutely isolated individuals, incapable of communicating among themselves or understanding one another?” Lewis Mumford
If you grow up, as we do, with a worship of the quantitative aspect and a minimal attention to the qualitative aspect, I believe you inevitably land yourself in the dilemmas of our civilization.
But I get back to the fact that the way we are going about things with this enormous emphasis upon the quantitative view and the minimal emphasis upon the patterned
view is, I believe, the easiest way of the descent into hell. The surest...
Gregory Bateson (1981)
“The judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy. The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, a characteristic also of the child, and as such it appears inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. It is therefore short-sighted to treat fantasy, on account of its risky or unacceptable nature, as a thing of little worth.” The Psychology of Individuation, CG Jung
If, during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of their organization, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometric powers of increase of each species, at some age, season or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite variety in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each being’s own welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce offspring similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection. [Charles Darwin (1859) On the Origin of Species]
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“It is essential to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” James Madison
All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it. -Benjamin Franklin
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