I love Nora Bateson; but, I don’t know her so I have to be more precise.
Plus: it is complicated because as much as I do not know her, and as much as I deeply understand to love that which one does not know begs a profound question about what one intends to mean in using the active form of the word love, it is nevertheless by virtue of some shared concerns that this problem of deep feeling for is resolvable.
There is way to go into this, into the ‘this’ that is the flux of the meta-problem, to assert love, and, what I term the playful problem–the problem being played–that yields to the promise of precision.
Many years ago, I stood behind an attractive single woman in a line waiting to be served take-out. I was single at the time and I knew she was single because this all took place at a restaurant I worked at as a manager, and I had casually learned that one of the owners had chatted up this gal and teased out that she was single.
I am not intentionally a flirt, and tend to be shy around strangers. I am not in the least bit forward. Yet, standing there right behind her, she no doubt unintentionally dangled a hook.
“I love ice cream!” she said to no one in particular.
I said “Hmmmm,” loudly enough to cause her to turn around.
“Don’t you love ice cream?” She asked.
Several beats passed, as if a snare drummer was swishing brushes near us.
“Ice cream. I enjoy it very much. It’s just me and I’m peculiar on this point, but I reserve my love for people. At least in the main I try to do so.”
She gave me a two part look, the first part was a tilt of her head, and then she nodded in reflective affirmation of her original sentiment.
“I love ice cream!”
As it turned out, on another occasion I asked her out on a date and her response was memorable and droll.
“Stephen, I’d love to go out on a date but I have just begun seeing a gentlemen.”
Love is one of the most sifted through of the several primary objects of my contemplation and meditation over forty years. Moreover, I fiercely love: my partner, and my friends. Each instance of loving interpersonal relationship also constitutes a unique subject matter, field, opportunity for praxis, site for creation and collaboration, and opportunity for (in non-particular order,) play, demonstration, mystery. If I have loved someone once, I love them forever.
Of course there are the gradients which mediate the overarching gross classes: attraction, interrelationship, devotion, surrender. These windings comprise an ecology of love.
For example, Ms. Bateson is attractive on, at least, several crucial counts: smart, open to learning, optimistic, soulful. The other aspect in my Big Five is: kind. My guess is Nora is also kind. She looks like a kind person. At the lowest level my estimation here is deeply informed by my anima problem. At that level, this is the low level difference (making a difference,) too.
So, from all of this, the cut of precision recognizes that my love flows firstly along the partially unconscious line of this anima problem, and is motivated first energetically, and then, as a result of praxis, or learning.
There is no interrelationship or devotion or surrender involved. Call this Second Order Love. Other elements are subsumed by this second order, but these elements are essential too. These include the body of Ms. Bateson’s work, and the body of work of her father, Gregory Bateson.
I love Gregory Bateson too, but with him the attraction engages the Father Complex, engages Jupiter.
Nora and I share lots of concerns.I bet she’d dig my experiential tools! I playfully deconstruct, for example, social cybernetic systems, using very surgical methods rooted in various ecologies.
The ecology of love is just one of those ecologies.
Precisely then: I love Nora for distributing her soulful ideas and embodying with optimistic energy her mission to send such messages. In the system of my own loving, this is an extremely limited vector for my possible feeling, but it is much much deeper than my ‘like’ of coffee ice cream.
What is this place?
Muhammad leads our caravan.
It is lucky to start out
in such a fresh breeze.
Like ocean birds, human beings
come out of the ocean.
Do not expect to live inland.
We hear a surging inside our chests,
an agreement we made in eternity.
The wave of that agreement rolled in
and caulked the body’s boat.
Another wave will smash us.
Then the meeting we wanted will occur.
Tuesday’s presentation went smoothly. The discussion was lively. I was especially gratified that two of my closest friends from outside the experiential learning community showed up.
In preparing the presentation, I learned a bunch going back through Kolb’s writing about his theory, and then careening down a number of intellectual side streets, most of which concerned philosophizing about dialectics and polarities.
Also, I read some terrific scholarly work by Peter Ochs about C.S.Peirce.
During the presentation I introduced a very deep tool. The tool, The Cycle of David Kolb’s Cycle is both an experimental learning device and, by far, the most Batesonian and ‘biosemiotical’ tool I’ve, so far, conjured.
Going forward, the trick will be to successfully promote people trying the tool out. Many people just cannot get outside of their box/trance to try something wild, deconstructive and based in getting inside: symbols and a ‘semios.’
This tool is especially random and sharply aimed to whack through instrumentalities. It aims to liberate more soulful abductions with respect to learning.
If you want to try it out, email me: sc.calhoun at gmail.com
Ken and I tossed the ‘Probe before our staff development moment at Wadsworth Public Library. It identified some factors to consider before our program. For example, Ken and I discussed how to keep the group coloring within the lines of our process for the sake of both clarity and effectiveness. It was good head’s up.
As a procedural heuristic device, the Cube-O-Probe sets a sunny top three cubes and a lunar bottom three cubes, with the two X-axis cubes mediating both above and below.
The above toss, spilled out prior to this afternoon’s program, is welcome as it suggests it would be wise to think about over-theorizing–going too far–in the direction of the normative theory in this afternoon’s virtual program (for the Experiential Learning Community of Practice, Generating Paradox. Overt and Covert Polarities in David A. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle.
The other half of the lunar side carries a more ominous hint upon which to reflect.
Please join me for my presentation tomorrow at 3:45pm EST. I’ve made some changes in the original description.
Ha! I invented a new experiential learning tool, The Cycle of David A. Kolb’s Cycle. I originally figured I would give it a spin with colleagues and other interested persons at the same time I held down the presenter’s spot in the quarterly meeting of The Experiential Learning Community of Practice. This experiment was placed in the original description.
But, then I recalled I am an ENFP, and a Reflective Learner in Kolbian terms, and, I was able to withdraw the projection that suggested I could turn the self-selecting participants into ad hoc experimental subjects.
Not so fast, buster!
I’ve nevertheless opted for an energetic presentation, yet, I dialed the interactive aspect down so close to the null value that all that will be retained, interactively speaking, will be the discussion in the second half.
(Below are links to pdfs of the slides and the tool itself. These will be public for 72 hours.)
Download Links PDF via box.com:
for future use:
The Cycle of the Kolb Cycle Tool
This presentation is designed to be experiential. Participants may maximize the experience by taking notes of what is compelling.
Connect via Adobe Connect Meeting: (please use phone for audio)
Meeting Name: EL CoP Meeting
When: 03/12/2015 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM
Time Zone: (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Conference Number(s): 605 475 6006
Participant Code: 142480
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Where In the World? Workshop Series. Deploying Google Earth as a source of overhead urban images of sufficient complexity and character to further work via manipulative mirroring routines; and, also using Photoshop actions to further manipulate the look.
These three images, then, represent different experiments. My perspective is similar to that of the great jazz bassist Charles Mingus, who characterized his musical explorations as being “incomplete and unending workshops in sound and organization.”
These three experiments reflect screen captures of overhead views of a particular city that is known to me and would be a puzzle to resolve, for the viewer.
Symmetry experiments at symmetry-hypothesis@tumblr
Public Library Hierarchy of Care – Classes
IN4tuity ventured to a public library client on February 16. For a half day experiential learning program our design leveraged dialogical inquiry and conversational learning in the whole system of the staff to develop a Hierarchy of Care for the library.
My insight starts from the well-known Maslow pyramid:
Integrates the Spiral Dynamics in the background of Ken and my appreciative, constructivist, experiential and ‘critically conscious’ (P.Freire) precepts,
The staff went to work in interdepartmental teams and identified and dialogued about their concrete experiences and learnings about care. During a group inquiry, the captures were written to the appropriate class in the customized pyramid. We ended up with a very rich, and very subtle, organizational Hierarchy of Care. And, we also added a new proven tool to our kit.
Today I squinted and visualized IN4tuity‘s fundamental thrust: to help anchor the humane and loving support of knowledge-seeking and sensemaking in the ecology of public library-in-its-community.
V.S. Ramachandran (Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute)
– lecture begins at 3:10
Edward O. Wilson (Harvard Univ. Museum of Comparative Zoology Faculty Emeritus Pellegrino University Professor, Emeritus)
On the Relation Science and the Humanities – Nine Parts
Going Down – 14×11″, from a photograph, 2015, Stephen Calhoun – my symmetry experiments on tumblr
A caveman seeks revenge on a much larger competitor for the hand of a beautiful cavewoman.
Directed by Carl Gottlieb. Starring Ringo Starr, Dennis Quaid and Shelley Long.
If you step backward in time step by step, eventually every bright idea and every idea falls away.
(Genealogy Of Religion) Aside from the usual concerns about over interpretation, some wondered whether there was any justification for assuming that Paleolithic people had an essentially modern aesthetic category which might be called “art.” If they didn’t, it would follow that artistic interpretations of the cave paintings were just that and shed little light on Paleolithic minds.
Frustrated by the sense that we weren’t getting any closer to understanding Paleolithic symbols, some began searching for alternatives. One of the more compelling came from cognitive archaeologist David Lewis-Williams. Having studied rock art around the world, Lewis-Williams noticed that certain kinds of symbols regularly appeared across time and space. This was an enigma, given that the peoples producing these recurring symbols had not been in contact with one another. These symbols were not, in other words, the result of cultural diffusion. Lewis-Williams calls these symbols “entoptic forms”:
Excerpt from Opening Trunks, The Chuang Tzu, Chuangtse
Translated by Yutang Lin [source]
But nowadays any one can make the people strain their necks and stand on tiptoes by saying, “In such and such a place there is a Sage.” Immediately they put together a few provisions and hurry off, neglecting their parents at home and their masters’ business abroad, going on foot through the territories of the Princes, and riding to hundreds of miles away. Such is the evil effect of the rulers’ desire for knowledge When the rulers desire knowledge and neglect Tao, the empire is overwhelmed with confusion.
How can this be shown? When the knowledge of bows and cross-bows and hand-nets and tailed arrows increases, then they carry confusion among the birds of the air. When the knowledge of hooks and bait and nets and traps increases, then they carry confusion among the fishes of the deep. When the knowledge of fences and nets and snares increases, then they carry confusion among the beasts of the field. When cunning and deceit and flippancy and the sophistries of the “hard” and white’ and identities and differences increase in number and variety, then they overwhelm the world with logic.
Therefore it is that there is often chaos in the world, and the love of knowledge is ever at the bottom of it. For all men strive to grasp what they do not know, while none strive to grasp what they already know; and all strive to discredit what they do not excel in, while none strive to discredit what they do excel in. That is why there is chaos. Thus, above, the splendor of the heavenly bodies is dimmed; below, the power of land and water is burned up, while in between the influence of the four seasons is upset. There is not one tiny worm that moves on earth or insect that flies in the air but has lost its original nature. Such indeed is the world chaos caused by the desire for knowledge! Ever since the time of the Three Dynasties downwards, it has been like this. The simple and the guileless have been set aside; the specious and the cunning have been exalted. Tranquil inaction has given place to love of disputation; and disputation alone is enough to bring chaos upon the world.
This evoked thoughts of Buckminster Fuller.
pdf of 1972 Playboy Interview with Buckminster Fuller
Once again my generous colleagues in the Experiential Learning Community of Practice
(LinkedIn news and discussion feed) have invited me to present to members and anybody else who can find their way to quarterly virtual meeting. It takes place on March 12, 2015 at 4:00pm EST, but I don’t yet know the link that will provide access.
Here is the précis.
My presentations to this particular group, and this will be my second one, are designed to be experiential, and in turn are by-design, applications for experiential learning both in the moment of the presentation and afterward.
Although I suppose I could just layout a bunch of philosophizing about the matters this program will be focused on, I prefer to do the philosophizing before the program. What I will layout is a process that results in an application participants can then use/re-use to explore the fascinating dichotomies hidden within the dynamics of the learning theory and model of David A. Kolb et al.
Concealed within the above summary is the promise of the application: the learner will have the means to de-reify aspects of learning style, and, have the means to expand the model’s practical reach. However, my goal is to point the participants in the direction of doing so, and, then giving them a tool to help them do so.
I like to lead people to where he or she might drink the water.
[Background] This schema depicts one of the versions of a human systems stack. This is a heuristic tool I use to get a handle of the dependencies in an environmental situation of learning. Its classes are general and presumed to be global, discoverable as layers in all situations of learning.
(Socio-psyche is my shorthand for the particularized social psychological and cultural context.)
From this I next contemplate the critical aspects which may require a two-fold differential description, or what I term a critical pair. The schema itself marks and makes explicit many such pairs: learner/environment, leaner/context, learner/opportunity, and, in this set also fall more subtle pairs, such as: environment/opportunity.
The stack reflects that the dependencies are inclusive from above and below.
The gist of my interest in these discoverable pairs, is inflected with a very ironic aspect. I use Kolb’s model procedurally, whereas almost all the practitioners I know use the model instrumentally–as the anchor to assessment (of learning style) and development of management of style. So, going into my exploration, I already know, for example, where there is assessment, there are paradoxes of assessment!
Plus: there is much more of great interest to me. After all, I’m using my procedural model, drawn directly from the Kolbian Cycle, to enactively–by virtue of my first person contemplation–interrogate the normative developmental model as a matter of how it the model is used!
Of great interest to me is the processing of the individual assessment between the practitioner and their assessed subject. My interest here is in how experience is shaped in the encounter with the practitioner and her theory/model-in-use with the assessed subject and his own folk psychological theories/models-in-use.
In this, for example, I’ve long wondered about the practical mediation of attribution at the point at which an assessment in a direct sense delivers a description and warrants (for its attribution,) to an assessed subject. Even if the delivery is naive, nevertheless, behind the mediation are the practitioner’s choices, and, in front of the mediation, are lots of embodied features of the assessed subject, including the aforementioned personally-grasped theories and models.
The encounter between practitioner and subject is complicated. Our of this typical flux spill out all kinds of pairs, dichotomies, polarities, dialectics, and paradoxes.
In my musing about the practical use of Kolb’s model, for the sake of smoking out compelling pairs, I made four circumambulations; first was about the above problem of assessment.
(1) Problem of the Theory-In-Use – the paradox of the difference between the infinite theory and the truncated applied theory. (By infinite theory I mean the unending theory applicable to all future situations of experiential learning; following here the suggestion of C.S. Peirce, or Von Foerster, that this prospect is illimitable and so the organismic theory is itself subject to, in effect, unlearning and relearning its own theoretical ‘self.’ )
(2) Problem of Assessment – the assessed subject, and the operation and mediation between the practicing system and the learner-system.
qnd #2 is coupled to:
(3) Problem of Reification – reflexive determinations linked to the subject’s sense of identity, self-attribution, and aspiration given the developmental context of the KLSI (Kolb Experiential Learning Style Inventory)
and #3 is coupled to:
(4) Problem of Actual Dynamics – how are explicit conflicts, synergistic transactions, adaptations, knowledge creation, implicit knowledge destruction, actual dialectical operations, given to the the learner’s phenomenological knowing and self-sensemaking?
I left alone a fifth move, that of the particular context-for-learning. In contemplating the above fields, my goal was to first deepen my understanding of their instance in the system of (Kolbian) experiential learning, and, second to figure out what were the pairs right ‘at hand.’
The program does not get into any of this in any significant way at all! The program is designed to reveal some of the pairs, pairs which are the distillate of my wandering around these five fields of interest.
I make it hard to interact with the blog and myself. You have to register to comment, and next your comment will await my moderation. I will allow any comment that is sincere.
Very rarely does someone not comment on the blog, but, instead comments by email. This has happened, perhaps, three times in ten years.
It happened today.
Ouch! …except, despite being weakly educated and of middling intelligence, I’m also the son of a college English professor, so, my personal attempt for something like being literate does cover spelling. Yet, I figured Mr. Stanfield had run across typos that reflect my sometimes rushed proofreading. I also pondered the behavioral economics behind his being so motivated to email me his impressions.
I checked the link he supplied. I checked the thirty-nine pages of text under the ECONOMICS tag. There were no spelling errors except for the pile-up discoverable on the top most, and most recent so-tagged post.
Okay! John Donne was either a very bad speller in 1624, or. . .
This blog turned ten years old on February 5. The first post was: From the Hermetica. I am a dogged blogger, semi-literate, and a fairly competent speller.
Some years ago, being with a camping party in the mountains, I returned from a solitary ramble to find everyone engaged in a ferocious metaphysical dispute, The corpus of the dispute was a squirrel -a live squirrel supposed to be clinging to one side of a tree-trunk; while over against the tree’s opposite side a human being was imagined to stand. This human witness tries to get sight of the squirrel by moving rapidly round the tree, but no matter how fast he goes, the squirrel moves as fast in the opposite direction, and always keeps the tree between himself and the man, so that never a glimpse of him is caught. The resultant metaphysical problem now is this: Does the man go round the squirrel or not? He goes round the tree, sure enough, and the squirrel is on the tree; but does he go round the squirrel?
In the unlimited leisure of the wilderness, discussion had been worn threadbare. Everyone had taken sides, and was obstinate; and the numbers on both sides were even. Each side, when I appeared, therefore appealed to me to make it a majority. Mindful of the scholastic adage that whenever you meet a contradiction you must make a distinction, I immediately sought and found one, as follows: “Which party is right,” I said, “depends on what you practically mean by ‘going round’ the squirrel. If you mean passing from the north of him to the east, then to the south, then to the west, and then to the north of him again, obviously the man does go round him, for he occupies these successive positions. But if on the contrary you mean being first in front of him, then on the right of him then behind him, then on his left, and finally in front again, it is quite as obvious that the man fails to go round him, for by the compensating movements the squirrel makes, he keeps his belly turned towards the man all the time, and his back turned away. Make the distinction, and there is no occasion for any farther dispute. You are both right and both wrong according as you conceive the verb ‘to go round’ in one practical fashion or the other.”
William James, excerpt from What Pragmatism Means, hat tip to the Mead Project
The really vital question for us all is, What is this world going to be? What is life eventually to make of itself? [src]
Our intelligence cannot wall itself up alive, like a pupa in its chrysalis. It must at any cost keep on speaking terms with the universe that engendered it. William James
I give the name of radical empiricism to my Weltanschauung. Empiricism is known as the opposite of rationalism. Rationalism tends to emphasize universals and to make wholes prior to parts in the order of logic as well as in that of being. Empiricism, on the contrary, lays the explanatory stress upon the part, the element, the individual, and treats the whole as a collection and the universal as an abstraction. My description of things, accordingly, starts with the parts and makes of the whole a being of the second order. It is essentially a mosaic philosophy, a philosophy of plural facts, like that of Hume and his descendants, who refer these facts neither to Substances in which they inhere nor to an Absolute Mind that creates them as its objects. But it differs from the Humian type of empiricism in one particular which makes me add the epithet radical.
To be radical, an empiricism must neither admit into its constructions any element that is not directly experienced, nor exclude from them any element that is directly experienced. For such a philosophy, the relations that connect experiences must themselves be experienced relations, and any kind of relation experienced must be accounted as real as anything else in the system. Elements may indeed be redistributed, the original placing of things getting corrected, but a real place must be found for every kind of thing experienced, whether term or relation, in the final philosophic arrangement.
Now, ordinary empiricism, in spite of the fact that conjunctive and disjunctive relations present themselves as being fully co-ordinate parts of experience, has always shown a tendency to do away with the connections of things, and to insist most on the disjunctions. Berkeley’s nominalism, Hume’s statement that whatever things we distinguish are as loose and separate as if they had no manner of connection. James Mill’s denial that similars have anything really in common, the resolution of the causal tie into habitual sequence, John Mill’s account of both physical things and selves as composed of discontinuous possibilities, and the general pulverization of all Experience by association and the mind-dust theory, are examples of what I mean.
The natural result of such a world-picture has been the efforts of rationalism to correct its incoherencies by the addition of trans- experiential agents of unification, substances, intellectual categories and powers, or Selves; whereas, if empiricism had only been radical and taken everything that comes without disfavor, conjunction as well as separation, each at its face value, the results would have called for no such artificial correction. Radical empiricism, as I understand it, does full justice to conjunctive relations, without, however, treating them as rationalism always tends to treat them, as being true in some supernal way, as if the unity of things and their variety belonged to different orders of truth and vitality altogether.
Pluralism, Pragmatism, and Instrumental Truth – William James
James’s Application of Peirce (N.W. Williams)
Just as you can’t set out to make something beautiful, you can’t set out to make something spiritual. What you can do is recognise that it may be there. It normally has something to do with not having too much to say. There seems to be space for the viewer, and is sometimes something we identify as being spiritual. And it is all about space. Anish Kapoor
I received the following email:
(As was Mr. Kapoor, I was born in 1954, and, as is Mr. Kapoor, I am an artist. I’m a philosopher too, but not a philosopher of art.)
Our late mother Jean emphasized for decades that she believed Cuba would make a fine candidate for statehood, were we just to open up our relations all the way.
I’ve always wanted to write this poem.
I loved her but was afraid to die.
Sitting on the balcony she told me: Butterflies live for one day.
One single day of radiance and then they die.
(Marcelo Morales; translated by: Kristin Dykstra)
The studio on the third floor of our century home is rarely the warmest location in the house, but, whereas the first floor had settled in at 56–as our gas furnace just couldn’t keep up–the studio in the attic was at 66 degrees!
I worked on some music, then worked on a remix of the famous Nile mosaic.
Egyptian Mandala Version #1 (2015, S.Calhoun) remix of the Nile Mosaic