Syria, Remember Me

photo: Addison Independent

photo: Addison Independent

Deborah Felmeth married a Syrian man and lived a life with one foot in Vermont and another foot in Damascus, Syria. She taught music and movement and yoga in both places. Then, all hell broke loose. I don’t know the status of her husband’s family in Damascus three years into the terrible civil war.

A gifted photographer, she took pictures over the twenty or so years she lived in Syria half of every year. Her documentation provides an affirming gift of spirit amidst the tragedy of pride-induced violence, criminality, and nihilism.

Deborah’s video trailer (on Facebook) for the book is heart rending.

Syria, Remember Me (web site) | Facebook

Interview Coyote Network News

November 4, 2015 interview iTunes with Mike Smith (Vt. WDEV)

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Free Play Fan of the Year

David A. Kolb founder of Free Play Softball league

The votes are in: Dave’s mom wins the Free Play Softball League’s Fan of the Year Award for the first year in a row.

She is coming out to Field #11 late in the season to see us bolt together games with nine to twelve players. With the reduced forces, we play what we term ‘half field.’ Everybody gets a lot of plate appearances. Dave’s mom has seen it all by now. I wonder what she thinks?

The Free Play Softball League has been greatly advantaged by the new diamond and the fact that the conversion of the main Forest Hills open field to four diamonds has kept the pee wee footballers and soccer players off the turf. The weather has been great too: two rainouts, 27 games played, and only the specter of snow next Sunday threatening to keep Dave’s mom cozy in her home.

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DIFFUSION from Kouhei Nakama on Vimeo.

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.

version of Rumi by Coleman Barks

Years ago at a workshop South African composer and instrumentalist Abdullah Ibrahim asked the class,

What makes the music?

Nobody had a ready answer in a classroom full of musicians. Dr. Ibrahim went on to challenge the class about the nature of the so-called instrument. What is it, really?

I also recall Alan Watts asserting:

What the planet earth does is: people. It peoples.

For my own part, I’m all over the idea that what we do in making partial sense of what we are doing with where we are at, is neatly addressed by the conception of:

interfacing contexting

Stephen Nachmanovitch’s Youtube channel

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Learning to Dance In Bali from Fabio Peres on Vimeo.

heterogenistics | Professor Magoroh Maruyama

Endogeneous research::Research done by “objective” researchers coming from the outside suffers from several problem such as epistemological, cultural and social prejudices, misunderstanding due to different background and experiences etc. Endogeneous reseach on the other hand is research conducted by “people on the inside” i.e. people with an understanding of the social and cultural codes that exist in the community studied.

Mindscapes::A structure of reasoning, cognition, perception, conceptualization. design, planning, and decision making that may vary from one individual, profession, culture or social group to another.

Mindscapes (Epistemological Types)

H-type I-type S-type G-type
homogenist heterogenist heterogenist heterogenist
hierarchial independent interactive interactive
classificational random pattern-maintaining pattern-generating
copetitive uniquing cooperative cogenerative
zero-sum negative-sum positive-sum positive-sum
opposition separation absorbtion outbreeding
one truth subjective poly-ocular poly-ocular
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Transcendental Semiosis


“In many respects, this trinity agrees with the Christian trinity: indeed I am nor aware that there are many points of disagreement. The interpretant is evidently the Divine Logos or word; and if our former guess that a Reference to an interpretant is Paternity be right, this would also be the Son of God. The ground, being that partaking of which is requisite to any communication with the Symbol, corresponds in its function to the Holy Spirit.”

(C.S. Peirce, Lowell Lecture XI, 1866, 503, The Essential C.S. Peirce)

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Free Play Spears

Can Free Play Softball League outlast The World Series?

Can Free Play Softball League outlast The World Series?

But full of fire and greedy hardiment,
The youthfull knight could not for ought be staide,
But forth unto the darksome hole he went,
And looked in: his glistring armor made
A litle glooming light, much like a shade,
By which he saw the ugly monster plaine,
Halfe like a serpent horribly displaide,
But th’other halfe did womans shape retaine,
Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine.

excerpt, Spenser. The Faerie Queene Book 1

Larry, 78, brought (I think) his grandson, eight grader Spencer to join us today.

He flailed away in batting practice and in his first at bat. I suppose he discovered his hardball game didn’t automatically translate to our more mild field.

But when she saw the knight his speare advaunce, 120
She soone left off her mirth and wanton play,
And bade her knight addresse him to the fray:
His foe was nigh at hand.

Then he kept his head down, held his spear more lightly, and slew a bunch of dragons.

It still turned into another, yawn, one run game 13-12 for one of the teams, or the other team. Somebody won.

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Lin Batsheva Kahn – Attach and Leap

I met Lin at a party in 1999. It was one of those moments where a kind of mini mind-meld took place. She, like me, isn’t much for small talk, and, we both share the ability to small talk our way into more fascinating conversations. We did so.

We’ve been in dialog ever since, nowadays speaking every few weeks over Facetime. We discuss together psychology, creativity, and (what I term) the exigencies of moral relations.

She’s a great, deeply humanist, adjunct professor of dance at DePaul University. In 2014, Lin was named Jewish Chicagoan of the Year. She founded and is the director of the Tikvah Company, her dance outfit in Chicago.

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Hey, I Felt That!

23 Emotions People Feel But Can't Explain

At first, I didn’t check out the origins of this list. It is, for me, a curious collection of folk psychological notions. It includes radically non-normative associations between a conjured term, and, several varieties of explanatory material. I looked up the last term and discovered the source, a literary project roosting on Tumblr.

The definitions include many that are aspirational, and this echoes Antonio Damasio below, when he says: “…exercising that prerogative” and goes on to describe the focal consciousness of concentrated human performance.

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Free Play Cluster


WIll in the middle, showcasing the glow of a good game.


Sunday’s game featured a double strike out, an interference ‘collective call’ when a slow rolling grounder seemed to roll up a player’s leg, and, the piece d’ resistance, an eager runner moving to the passing lane between second and third, and passing the base runner ahead of him.

Another one run game was the result of these outliers and lots of excellent play.

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Today, You Called




Alan Watts


Kizzy, here she is.

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POMO Fast Food

I’ve been seeing mentions of the ‘world war’ between Apple, Google and Facebook with the goal of one of the companies taking over the internet. I suppose this means that when such hegemony is achieved the internet’s interface will remain slow, buggy, and expensive.

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Eno On Cybernetics and Music Making

This video is new to me and it provided a big wallop.

In my framing of fortuity, contingency and fragility, I have only roughed out some of the implications for music making. B.E. helps move this forward during a really essential 15 minutes.

He mentions Stafford Beer. (He, along with Ralph Stacey, Gordon Pask, and Gregory Bateson, probably did the most to extend cybernetics to human domains in the first wave of cybernetic thinking. Largely from Beer and Stacey we gain the concept of soft systems, and from Beer we gain the Viable Systems Model (Trevor Hilder’s presentation – pdf).)

What Is Cybernetics?

Leonod Ototsky’s fond archive and research on Mr. Beer is a terrific old style web site.

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Whales Under Northern Lights


bonus 2:

I would like someday to be a dolphin.

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Wit, Spiritual Technologies, Turning Away from thin brands


A note from Frank Visser*, who has used a graphic I created to head a reposting of an article, THE ‘SPIRIT OF EVOLUTION’ RECONSIDERED Relating Ken Wilber’s view of spiritual evolution to the current evolution debates, had me thinking for a moment about Wilber and Integralism.

This coincided with a minor bit of cultural synch, when the following video ended up in my Facebook news feed.

There is a lot more glorious cynicism and Zen slapping from JP.

Also, because of the guileless way youtube throws click bait on video pages, JP’s funny parodies lead to sidebars chock full of the didactic presentations of new age guru Teal Swan. She might as well claim the role of being the female Ken Wilber.

The problem is: after a little JP, her stuff comes across as parody. I laughed out loud. This is ironic, and doubly so because the Daily Evolver newsletter is similarly, mostly, humorless.



Robb Smith – July 29th, 2015

Said simply: TransTech helps people evolve. Meant literally.

If successful, it can help the species evolve. It’s what Google should really be doing but doesn’t know to. It’s what one of the most important companies in the world will be doing a decade from now; which company that will be is up for grabs. It’s what I’m doing now because no matter which domain I was working in, and over the past 20 years I’ve worked in a bunch—venture capital, university research, healthcare, corporate leadership development, metatheory, conscious capitalism, climate change, spiritual development, publishing, family development, etc.—they are all far less effective and authentic than they could be otherwise, if they had TransTech working right in the center of their disciplines.

Said simply, if we could liberate the world’s scientific knowledge of human transformation—all its wisdom, research and practices—into a real-time format available everywhere and always, and that helps people build mindfulness, skills and habits, than we can influence every known problem on the planet. It’s true that it’s a crazy vision. But it’s also true that there are only a few levers long enough to effect global transformation. And those are worth a lifetime of failure if there’s a possibility that even one succeeds.

Back in 1994, in the momentous meeting that kicked off my relation ship with my mentor, Judith Buerkel, we both learned our fundamental, influential shared affinity, was the work of Gregory Bateson. But, she was heavily into Ken Wilber, and I, by then, was no longer a Wilberian.’ (Albeit, I had been following Wilber’s work since Up From Eden was published in 1981.) By contrast, I was a student of the Analytical Psychology founded by Carl Jung, whereas she was not, and, Judith wasn’t so to the extent that she would sometimes ask me not to make everything ‘a Jungian moment.’

I came to respect her wish, while her referencing Wilber a bit too much for my sensibility also came back to pinch her as she came to understand that I silently thought Wilber to be far from ‘the smartest man in the world,’ and the ‘Twentieth Century’s greatest philosopher.’ For me, both characterizations qualify as ludicrous misestimations of Wilber and the heft of his body of work.

Then, as the 20th century ended, the arc of Wilber’s vision bent away from his hoping to bring his Integral Philosophy into the academy, and curved toward developing his philosophy into a spiritual technology. This caused his philosophy to also severely bend away from contact with: various core scholarly disciplines, meta-sociologies, inter-disciplinarities and transdisciplinarities given by the contemporary developmental courses of the crucial disciplines of the social and psychological sciences, and, philosophy. Although I wasn’t in the academy, I had hoped Wilber’s Integral philosophy would, as it were, ‘pro-create’ with the related academic disciplines, and then bubble up my way.

(It also bent away from ever daring to come close to (my own ground) of outlying fields General Systems Theory, 2nd Order Cybernetics, 3rd Order Social Cybernetics, Systems-ordinated Constructivism, Biosemiotics, Enactivist Neurophenomenology, and, conventional Experiential Learning Theories. Oh well.)

My own view today is that WIlber, the Wilberians, and the Integral Communities most associated with Wilberian ‘normativity,’ have mostly managed to turn the post-conventional thrust of ‘Integralism’ back into a conventional brand of new age transpersonalism focused on practices aimed to support positive adult development. PAy your entry and coursework fees, and Integral practices apparently capably support advanced development of consciousness and of the personality.

But, is there also a kind of masculinist Saturnian Messianic flavor to the thrust of the Wilberian spiritual technology that accompanies all this cha-ching?

Said simply, if we could liberate the world’s scientific knowledge of human transformation—all its wisdom, research and practices—into a real-time format available everywhere and always, and that helps people build mindfulness, skills and habits, than we can influence every known problem on the planet.

This is to say that the philosophical position of Integralism, having divorced itself from any messy entanglement with mainstream fields of study and scholarship, and with multi-disciplinarity, came to focus its normative system on developmental applications. And, so, it misses completely–nowadays–any opportunity for it undergoing ‘Kuhnian’ or theoretical, revolutions due to the radical imposition upon it of other perspectives and theories. My own sense is that this provides for a defense against the Wilberian Integral developing into anything which might attenuate its stable potential to generate profitable product lines.

Hey, I’m cynical too! The unironic spiritualization of the Integral probably requires the Wilberian Integral ‘system’ to morph into just another shelf full of stuff to buy, check out, identify with, and, realize all the other steps which come to my cynical mind.

I have greatly reduced my contact point to the Wilberian community down to a single email newsletter The Daily Evolver. Every now and then it leads me to other short engagements. So, caveat emptor; although I can hope for JP to have his way with “Wilber World’ someday.

*Frank Visser, is a post-Wilberian Integral Thinker, intellctual biographer of Ken Wilber, and, builder of Integral World, an outpost for post-Wilberian thought.


Mr. Visser in November 2014 added REACHING OUT TO THE WORLD Years of Application and Assessment A New Online Chapter ofKen Wilber: Thought as Passion. This brings the intellectual biography begun in his book Thought As Passion, up to 2014. It is an excellent piece.

On the other hand, I personally have no time for discussions of scientism v. eros. From my perspective, it is fine to locate eros in biological mindedness and per force in high order consciousness; and then grant this meta-field of differentiating beingness its dynamic extension outward through the world, through the cosmos, maybe even through the multiplicity of universes. If you see what I am doing here you won’t need to be told I am forging a ‘sense’ from my ‘belief’ that my, yours, our, his, her, various projections from our interiority outward is enough qualification of the aspect of eros. Heck, it qualifies logos, too.

The bottom line is: differential economy, that is the ontologically real, (and existentially phenomenal,) cost of difference. My post-Integral musing is predicated on there being no free lunch! Yet, probably, I’m wrong all the way up through all the turtles!

note — I would suggest there are no worthwhile fields-of-study that are stable only because the discipline’s essential canon is largely the work of a single person and his or her social experience. The downfall of Wilberian Integral’s effective engagement with other disciplines has already come about due to this insularity and a kind of intellectual solipsism–for lack of a better term. Except, now I read Joe Perez, where he writes as part of his multipart response to Visser,

It is through construction and extension and expansion and embodiment that integralists are offering their boldest critiques of Integral Theory.

My contact point is exceedingly thin, then, in light of advancements about which I am unaware. Again, caveat emptor.

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Free Play Follow Through


The Free Play Softball League‘s man-boys of autumn Sunday games will parallel the big league’s playoffs, and, then, those playoffs are concluded by the World Series, whereas the Free Players keep playing! Our extended season is both test and testament. During my fourteen year tenure, we once played in December, and have taken the season past October a number of times!

This week the pick-up squads collaborated on one of the best played games of the season. It was a real gem highlighted by two double plays, both of which I (sadly) initiated from the batter’s box with grounders to the infield. There were stellar defensive plays, and these supported a tense, low scoring one run game.


With the fall sun shining in the batter’s eyes, hitting becomes more challenging.


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Up And Down


Our focus on the person is at once a great accomplishment and a significant risk. It is a great accomplishment because it signifies our recognition of every human being’s free participation in transcendent truth and goodness. Yet, it is also a risk because focusing so intensely on ourselves invites existential derailment in so many ways. We are likely to misunderstand ourselves. We might try to turn away from the insecurity or responsibility of personal existence. And prone as we are to self-love, is it prudent for us to articulate transcendent truth and goodness through a celebration of ourselves? The empirical evidence is not always encouraging. Surveying what has become of our articulation of the person, we cannot help but ask: is the modern turn to the subject a deepening of the Christian insight into the transcendent meaning of existence, or is it a Promethean revolt against God and the order of being? – Steven McGuire, Voeglin View

Is the modern turn to the subject a deepening of the Christian insight into the transcendent meaning of existence, or is it a Promethean revolt against God and the order of being?

Both, and moreover a revolt evoked from the flux of the order of being too; so: both/and.

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Ugly Beauty, again.

Stephen Calhoun, artist

Dave’s Third Grasp – final version (3)

Per the previous post, here’s the fix for the ugly fleshy protuberance situated in the original photograph.

This piece will end being printed to aluminum and enlarged to 32 x 54 inches; thus will be four-and-a-half feet in height.

My art is posted online at the main gallery, My Naive Art, and, on Symmetry-Hypothesis at Tumblr.

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Ugly Beauty?

Dave Goldthwait helping the artist realize a dark vision in the journey from disorder to pattern.

Dave G. helping the artist realize a dark vision in the journey from disorder to pattern.

The question is. . .



Is this too grotesque?

Dave and I mused together about how the reality of his beat-up thumb and its fleshy coloring stick out amidst the surreal scenery of the photograph. My own sense is that the photograph is powerful, it looks wonderful printed to metallic paper, but, it is very grotesque, and this quality literally sticks out like a sore thumb!

Yet, I can fix this problem and amputate the thumb.



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See the Ball, Hit the Ball


Wait for the low pitch, keep watching, try not to maim the pitcher. (I handed Andre my camera and he managed to capture a sequence of ol’ Cap himself plotting and releasing a single up the middle.) I have been a singles hitter since my first serious softball game in the spring of 1970. Because I am probably at least half as fast as I was when I was 15, I have to be twice as crafty.


We followed a 22-21 nailbiter 9/13 with a 19-19 tie this week. Kiss your sister, lads.


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Who Knew?


Peter Honey and Alan Mumford’s revision of the learning typology of David Kolb substitutes Activist for concrete experience, Pragmatist for active experimentation, Theorist for abstract conceptualization, and Reflector for reflective observation. Their theory seems to me to mix a more tangible conception of acting in light of cognition, in learning.

Dialectical differentiation:

  • Activist = Accommodating
  • Reflector = Diverging
  • Theorist = Assimilating
  • Pragmatist = Converging

I found the self-scoring forty question H&M assessment hanging out there on the internet. I filled it out and scored myself.

The stark black and white quality ofembedded in some of the questions in the short form H&M typological assessment seem to shout out their context-free ground. #32-It is best to look before you leap. #36-I’m usually the ‘life and soul’ of the party. (Yes/No)

The descriptions below strike me as being so idealized as to tilt toward the ridiculous. The characteristics of the four learning styles (Honey, P. & Mumford, A. (1982) Manual of Learning Styles):

Learning style Attributes Activities
Activist Activists are those people who learn by doing. Activists need to get their hands dirty, to dive in with both feet first. Have an open-minded approach to learning, involving themselves fully and without bias in new experiences.
  • brainstorming
  • problem solving
  • group discussion
  • puzzles
  • competitions
  • role-play
Theorist These learners like to understand the theory behind the actions. They need models, concepts and facts in order to engage in the learning process. Prefer to analyse and synthesise, drawing new information into a systematic and logical ‘theory’.
  • models
  • statistics
  • stories
  • quotes
  • background information
  • applying theories
Pragmatist These people need to be able to see how to put the learning into practice in the real world. Abstract concepts and games are of limited use unless they can see a way to put the ideas into action in their lives. Experimenters, trying out new ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work.
  • time to think about how to apply learning in reality
  • case studies
  • problem solving
  • discussion
Reflector These people learn by observing and thinking about what happened. They may avoid leaping in and prefer to watch from the sidelines.  Prefer to stand back and view experiences from a number of different perspectives, collecting data and taking the time to work towards an appropriate conclusion.
  • paired discussions
  • self analysis questionnaires
  • personality questionnaires
  • time out
  • observing activities
  • feedback from others
  • coaching
  • interviews

Original definitions

Honey and Mumford’s original definitions are as follows.

Learning style Honey and Mumford definition
Activist Activists involve themselves fully and without bias in new experiences. They enjoy the here and now, and are happy to be dominated by immediate experiences. They are open-minded, not sceptical, and this tends to make them enthusiastic about anything new. Their philosophy is: “I’ll try anything once”. They tend to act first and consider the consequences afterwards. Their days are filled with activity. They tackle problems by brainstorming. As soon as the excitement from one activity has died down they are busy looking for the next. They tend to thrive on the challenge of new experiences but are bored with implementation and longer term consolidation. They are gregarious people constantly involving themselves with others but, in doing so, they seek to centre all activities around themselves.
Theorist Theorists adapt and integrate observations into complex but logically sound theories. They think problems through in a vertical, step-by-step logical way. They assimilate disparate facts into coherent theories. They tend to be perfectionists who won’t rest easy until things are tidy and fit into a rational scheme. They like to analyse and synthesize. They are keen on basic assumptions, principles, theories models and systems thinking. Their philosophy prizes rationality and logic. “If its logical its good.” Questions they frequently ask are: “Does it make sense?” “How does this fit with that?” “What are the basic assumptions?” They tend to be detached, analytical and dedicated to rational objectivity rather than anything subjective or ambiguous. Their approach to problems is consistently logical. This is their ‘mental set’ and they rigidly reject anything that doesn’t fit with it. They prefer to maximise certainty and feel uncomfortable with subjective judgements, lateral thinking and anything flippant.
Pragmatist Pragmatists are keen on trying out ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work in practice. They positively search out new ideas and take the first opportunity to experiment with applications. They are the sort of people who return from courses brimming with new ideas that they want to try out in practice. They like to get on with things and act quickly and confidently on ideas that attract them. They tend to be impatient with ruminating and open-ended discussions. They are essentially practical, down to earth people who like making practical decisions and solving problems. They respond to problems and opportunities ‘as a challenge’. Their philosophy is “There is always a better way” and “If it works it’s good”.
Reflector Reflectors like to stand back to ponder experiences and observe them from many different perspectives. They collect data, both first hand and from others, and prefer to think about it thoroughly before coming to a conclusion. The thorough collection and analysis of data about experiences and events is what counts so they tend to postpone reaching definitive conclusions for as long as possible. Their philosophy is to be cautious. They are thoughtful people who like to consider all possible angles and implications before making a move. They prefer to take a back seat in meetings and discussions. They enjoy observing other people in action. They listen to others and get the drift of the discussion before making their own points. They tend to adopt a low profile and have a slightly distant, tolerant unruffled air about them. When they act it is part of a wide picture which includes the past as well as the present and others’ observations as well as their own.


My typological result is interesting to me because it captures the activist aspect that comes to the fore in my creative work, inasmuch as there exists a kind of elemental creative processing which seems to oscillate between reflection and experiencing. But, this typological result is not very accurate in my other learning realms, and this echoes in reverse the inaccuracy of the result shown by my Kolb learning Style Inventory, that captures accurately my style in expressly cognitive learning, yet completely misses the mark set by my learning style as a creative actor/agent.

Where the embodied and contextualized ‘agentic’ act fits, exemplified by committing to and instantiating a second order choice, remains under-conceptualized in both Kolb and Honey and Mumford’s related theories. Honey and Mumford were more on this case of deconstructing the element of embodied agency within experience back in 1982. Thirty plus years later the lack of the body, and thus the lack of an embodied mind, remains one of several weak spots in Kolbian theorizing about learning. Another weak spot is the inability of both instruments to flex for the sake of being able to encompass different modal learning contexts.

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