Free Play Futility and the solidarity of variability

Free Play May14

Free Play Softball League, a confrere open to anyone 16-96 who has the chops to enjoin a game that references an ethic, that a game may be literally played as an experiment in learning how to play the game itself, and, additionally, references the variability of human nature.

The affectual ecology of the latter comes to fault the enjoining ethic. That this ethic is referenced, rather than it is something to anchor to, was obvious in our third week of the new season.

A group of five elders, including myself, came to be convened prior to the second game so that we could figure out between ourselves how to dial back several behaviors that have become too woven into the game. The motivation to do this was to reset the game’s overly competitive mood for the sake of making the game more inviting for new players.

We established a protocol for transforming the way the game processes controversies. Such controversies are one of three grounds for negative behavior. (The other two are: disparaging other player’s actions, and, rooting against the opposing team.) Last Sunday the protocol, centered on eliminating arguing by situating the decision in only the judgment of the two team captains, got completely ignored in the one instance it was called for.

Actually, what happened was worse than this summary, although the argument itself was not terribly intense.

Transformation is difficult.

I violated the prohibition against disparagement when I became impatient at the plate, and beseeched the opposing pitcher.

patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue. (Ambrose Bierce)

Transformation is difficult.

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As If, a yoga of the practice of irony in a cosmos of contingency


A leading moral and political philosopher, Kwame Anthony Appiah is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. He explores the ideas of the philosopher Hans Vahinger, who argued that our theories of the world involved understanding things “as if” what is in fact false were true.

Vaihinger

via: http://gradlectures.berkeley.edu/lecture/

I had begun this article with reference to Hans Vaihinger’s examination of the two simple words, as-if, which he posits as a fictive device. Until I read his book I was completely unaware that I used them in daily life. Once I did, I couldn’t get as-if out of my mind. Not only that, I found it was fascinating to observe how other people used these words. When I asked if they were aware of the fact, invariably the answer was no. Nevertheless, once they did, they were delighted at finding a treasure right under their noses. From these observations I gathered that the various ways we employ as-if reflects a desire to step outside the routine of daily life, the easiest way being to entertain fanciful thoughts. Such thoughts aren’t to be dismissed outright as a waste of time. If we were asked about them, we’d respond that they constitute an important part of our lives, indeed, are essential to our psychic health. At the same time these thoughts have basis in reality–they arise from experiences in real life–and can reflect our deepest desires. excerpt Some Reflections on Hans Vaihinger (Richard McCambley)

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Teaching Cartoon: man unable to ‘splain

teaching cartoon
Man unable to ‘splain the argument for reducing desire.

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Legacy Artworks #12: Old Whole

photographer stephen calhoun

Old Whole (2009)

This is another installment in moving selected pre-2012 artworks to the blog. Here’s what has been moved so far, Legacy Art works 1993-2012.

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Opening Day, Free Play Softball League 2017

Free Play 4232017

Opening Day, Free Play Softball League 2017, first game in the age of Trumpism. It was a closely contested game if you forget the results of the first and last inning.

This season we’re hoping to attract new players to our league that is ideally described by elder Tom: “It’s a game that people of any skill level can come and play in and learn how to play.”

I convened some of our elders to find out if it growing the game was doable. Oh, and I suggested we’d have to dial back the game’s sometimes fractious, and, at times overly competitive atmosphere. We devised a series of guidances, responses, and contingent interventions, for the sake of recovering the founding ethos of our pick-up game, a game that aspired to be inviting to any gender, and any age between 16 and 96.

Caption, Please?

Think of a good caption —

What Gurdjieff calls ‘Objective science’ uses the musical analogy to depict a universe composed of a chain of energies that stretches from the lowest octave to the highest: each energy is transformed as it rises and falls, taking on a coarser or finer nature according to its place in the scale. At each specific level, an energy corresponds to a degree of intelligence, and it is consciousness itself, fluctuating within a wide range of vibrations, that determines human experience. (Peter Brook, in notes to his play, Gurdjieff)

Free Play 4232017

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Questioned, Again

Stephen Calhoun, cleveland ohio photographer artist

Oh Good Party has published this month an interview with yours truly, artist Stephen Calhoun.

(Oh Good Party is art advisory and art concierge providing services to their private group of asian collectors, some in Canada, most in China. They invited me to be the second American artist to join their roster of artists.)

On my own website there is an extensive Q&A too.

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Extreme Cases

cavepainting

NUMINOSUM

At the threshold of the divine, how to know
But indirectly, to hear the static as
Pattern, to hear the ragtag white noise as song—

No, not as song—but to intuit the song bird
Within the thorn thicket—safe, hidden there.
Every moment is not a time for song.

Or singing? Imagine a Buddha, handmade,
Four meters high of compacted ash, the ash
Remnants of joss sticks that incarnated prayer.

With each footfall, the Buddha crumbles. Ash shifts.
With each breath, the whole slowly disintegrates.
To face it, we efface it with our presence.

An infant will often turn away as if
Not to see is the same as not being seen.
There was fire, but God was not the fire.

Eric Pakey is the author of ten collections of poems, most recently Trace (Milkweed Editions 2013) and Dismantling the Angel (Free Verse Editions 2014). A new collection, Crow-Work, is due out from Milkweed Editions in 2015. He is the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University. Kenyon Review Fall 2011

Werner Herzog on Chickens from Tom Streithorst on Vimeo.

Since most categories are matters of degree (e.g., tall people), we also have
graded concepts characterizing degrees along some scale with norms of various
kinds for extreme cases, normal cases, not quite normal cases, and so on. Such
graded norms are described by what are called linguistic hedges (A4, Lakoff
1972), for example, very, pretty, kind of, barely, and so on. For the sake of imposing
sharp distinctions, we develop what might be called essence prototypes,
which conceptualize categories as if they were sharply defined and minimally
distinguished from one another.

When we conceptualize categories in this way, we often envision them using
a spatial metaphor, as if they were containers, with an interior, an exterior, and
a boundary. When we conceptualize categories as containers, we also impose
complex hierarchical systems on them, with some category-containers inside
other category-containers. Conceptualizing categories as containers hides a
great deal of category structure. It hides conceptual prototypes, the graded
structures of categories, and the fuzziness of category boundaries.
In short, we form extraordinarily rich conceptual structures for our categories
and reason about them in many ways that are crucial for our everyday
functioning. All of these conceptual structures are, of course, neural structures
in our brains. This makes them embodied in the trivial sense that any mental
construct is realized neurally. But there is a deeper and more important sense in
which our concepts are embodied. What makes concepts concepts is their inferential
capacity, their ability to be bound together in ways that yield inferences.
An embodied concept is a neural structure that is actually part of, or
makes use of, the sensorimotor system of our brains. Much of conceptual inference
is, therefore, sensorimotor inference. ( George Lakoff Philosophy in the Flesh )

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Three Into Four, Repeat. . .

zontalstainedglass

The shuttling to and fro of arguments and affects represents the transcendent function of opposites. The confrontation of the two positions generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third thing—not a logical stillbirth in accordance with the principle tertium non datur but a movement out of the suspension between the opposites, a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation. (C.G.Jung)

Four-Elements

see:

On the Importance of Numinous Experience in the Alchemy of Individuation Murray Stein, Ph.D.

River Dharma 46x46

RIVER DHARMA (2017) Stephen Calhoun

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Just Sayin’ – once again

Talk Origins – central counter-creationist resource

CounterEvolution

12. Nobody has ever seen a new species evolve.
Speciation is probably fairly rare and in many cases might take centuries. Furthermore, recognizing a new species during a formative stage can be difficult, because biologists sometimes disagree about how best to define a species. The most widely used definition, Mayr’s Biological Species Concept, recognizes a species as a distinct community of reproductively isolated populations–sets of organisms that normally do not or cannot breed outside their community. In practice, this standard can be difficult to apply to organisms isolated by distance or terrain or to plants (and, of course, fossils do not breed). Biologists therefore usually use organisms’ physical and behavioral traits as clues to their species membership.
Nevertheless, the scientific literature does contain reports of apparent speciation events in plants, insects and worms. In most of these experiments, researchers subjected organisms to various types of selection–for anatomical differences, mating behaviors, habitat preferences and other traits–and found that they had created populations of organisms that did not breed with outsiders. For example, William R. Rice of the University of New Mexico and George W. Salt of the University of California at Davis demonstrated that if they sorted a group of fruit flies by their preference for certain environments and bred those flies separately over 35 generations, the resulting flies would refuse to breed with those from a very different environment. 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense

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Compare and Conjoin

creativity

Cube-O-Probe – Locate Creativity?

creativity probe

  • From the symbolic potency of the solar system, which generates the sense of depth suggested by McGilchrist, astrology offers us what in neuroscience is called environmental enrichment, in other words, stimulation of the brain by its physical and social surroundings. As an enriched environment for imagining incoming archetypal energies that can feed bio-dynamic entities such as ourselves, astrology stimulates the brain through its imagination of electrical, chemical, and network charges, arousing us to satisfy our needs for: 1) attachment; 2) control; 3) self identity; 4) pleasure. With astrology these needs can be met on the cosmic and personal scale of an imagination that transforms presumably random events into the narrative of a soul’s journey through the space/time of earth. (Kenneth Warren)
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Outside, Looking Outside

In his pamphlet, Asphyxiante culture, a classic statement of an anti-cultural attitude, the artist Jean Dubuffet relates an instructive anecdote to illustrate the degree to which cultural preconceptions can completely stifle the proper apprehension of anything that resists accepted ideas about art. It concerns a conversation he had with a teacher to whom he tried to expound the hypothesis that throughout history there have always been forms of art alien to established culture and which ipso facto have been neglected and finally lost without a trace. The teacher expressed his conviction that if such works had been assessed by contemporary experts and deemed unworthy of preservation, it was to be concluded that they could not have been of comparable value to the works of their time that had survived. To support this view, he cited the example of some German paintings he had seen in an exhibition. Though these had been executed at precisely the time the impressionist school was directing art into new channels, they bore no traces of that influence. After submitting these forgotten works to a thorough and objective perusal, the teacher felt obliged to admit that they were aesthetically inferior to the work of the impressionists; art criticism had accordingly been perfectly justified in preferring the latter.

Dubuffet points out the stupidity of this sort of reasoning, based as it is on a notion of objective value that betrays the worst kind of cultural myopia: where respected critics have testified their approval, there can be no dissension; bad marks in art can never be forgiven, at least not by layman. Dubuffet stresses the futility of the man’s ‘objective’ certainty, and suggests that it is only as a result of a particular education, of a particular cultural formation that the teacher made the judgement he did. His aesthetic preference was totally determined by these factors. A difference in his background or a difference in the opinion of the experts might well have led to a completely different assessment of the paintings concerned. Instead, the teacher bowed before the prevailing wind emitted by the Establishment, and could consent to find objective beauty only in the place marked out by a superior order. Roger Cardinal, “Cultural Conditioning,” Outsider Art (1972) excerpt | hat tip Petullo Art Collection

Cardinal’s essay bookends, for me, Clement Greenberg’s The Historical Context of the Avant-garde and Kitsch. I’m nominally an outsider artist, not much at all a naive artist, surely am an untrained artist, and in all ways a self-trained artist. Most art is created by self-trained artists; like 99%.

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Fronting Front

Rock stars seems to be an odd metaphor for art, given the state of the world of rock music, and, even more so, given the difference between the scarcity model of high art that underlines art world status, and, the popularization model–based in hits and reach–of pop music. There isn’t a good way to bridge Justin Bieber with Al Wu Wei, or Adele with Damien Hirst. Anyway, I wonder about this–while Mr. Bidwell’s sense does, once again, moves me to consider the similarities and disparities betwixt the art and music markets.

Jens Hoffman asserts “real creativity doesn’t necessarily happen anymore in LA or NY.” Is not the objective truth that real creativity has always happened most everywhere? The validation of artistry supplied by the entanglement of capitalism with the sociology of normative artistic practice provides a rather thin warrant for speaking of necessity, as Hoffman does so.

I’m being charitable. NY and LA are art centers because of the scale of capitalism and culture, and laws of institutional attraction that unfolded in the two largest American cities. From my idiosyncratic perspective, real creativity and the sites of its happening is not a question resolved by affirming the obvious, that L.A. and NYC are America’s principle art centers. First order creativity does happen where it does happen, and this would tend to disrupt the facile tautology that reduces to: city A is an art center because it is a center for art.

It will be fascinating to observe both ideas become joined by the outcome of the curatorial process which will unfold for the sake of shaping a Triennial roster of international art stars and their local counterparts.

In music, the democratization inherent in the self-organizing operations of the internet have led the mainstream music business to counter this an solidify a global cartel; and then affirm by its reach a mostly reactionary (as against an avant-garde,) “pop music.”

bonus:

FB-Sixteen-Faeiries-(2017)46x21-Stephen-Calhoun

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Manual Rotation

artist Stephen Calhoun

What can you discern about your reflection in the archetypal ensemble?

Contact – Mystery
Code – Gnosis
Action – Love

How might you overcome your isolation by gauging yourself in universal modes of polarities?

Ken Warren (from notes to a presentation, Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears, given by Ken Warren and Stephen Calhoun at The Analytical Psychology Society of Western New York, December 12, 2014)

Proverbs 3:16 tells us: “Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left her riches and honour.”

Stage One: Survivor/Transitional-Object
Stage Two: Truster/Trickster
Stage Three: Unscrupulous Competitor/Hero
Stage Four: the Virtuous/the Shadow
Stage Five: Materialistic Analyst of Things/Anim(a/us)
Stage Six: Empathizer with Every Person/Wise One
Stage Six needs desperately its unconscious complement, the Archetype of Meaning, a voice of wisdom from the depths.
The Sequence of Archetypes in Individuation, James Whitlark


Alan Watts

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Water and Animals and Humans

Ganesha_Wallpaper

The self is a metaphor. We can decide to limit it to our skin, our person, our family, our organization, or our species. We can select its boundaries in objective reality As the systems theorists see it, our consciousness illuminates a small arc in the wider currents and loops of knowing that interconnect us. It is just as plausible to conceive of mind as coexistent with these larger circuits, the entire “pattern that connects,” as Bateson said. Do not think that to broaden the construct of self this way involves an eclipse of one’s distinctiveness. Do not think that you will lose your identity like a drop in the ocean merging into the oneness of Brahma. From the systems perspective this interaction, creating larger wholes and patterns, allows for and even requires diversity. You become more yourself. Integration and differentiation go hand in hand. From: ‘World as Lover, world as Self’ Joanna Macy


earth-water-distribution-bar
56ca59f3c72b793dfcc839b6f5070378

urban-water-cycle

“I like the rain, because I know it will always end.” [Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh]

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360 degree Longing For Wilderness + Evidence of Existance

Longing for Wilderness from EpicScapes on Vimeo.

Watch on tablet. Retina iPad is spectacular. The point of this new technology is the user can use the touchscreen to move around the image frame. Browser kludge allow for this navigation too if your desktop system is up-to-date. Negs on Safari.

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One Life to Live

artist Stephen Calhoun

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.

by Mary Oliver

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peak: FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

In 2018 Cleveland will be the site of its first art triennial, FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. This video captures the initial public meeting at Transformer Station. Fred Bidwell is the executive director. He has put together a stellar team. This video is full of interesting hints and some very fast paced exposition and contextualization.

The theme of the triennial is: Cleveland. An American City. Something like 30+ international artists and 50+ artists from our region, NEO, will be presenting art in whatever mediums the curators choose to represent the theme; or, better to say, front the theme.

This event is literally a game-changer in a region. Cleveland, itself an art-filled city, and the region, have upwards–I guess–of 500+ working artists. Fortunately, others are already working to organize artists not admitted (through its curation process) into the triennial to exhibit in a kind of shadow triennial, FRINGE. The total amount of ‘art action’ to be unfolded in 2018 is unknowable today, yet, I have a glorious feeling Front International is going to turn out to be one of 2018’s signal art events in the world.

It’s going to be a lot of fun and a learning experience to take it all in.

Soteria Vir (Stephen Calhoun, 2016)

Soteria Vir (Stephen Calhoun, 2016)

As for my own aspirations, I don’t have any. Cleveland has lots of great artists! And my own art is rigorously out-of-step. (What formally trained artist–I’m self-trained–in their right mind would intentionally aim to cause visual epiphanies for all ages?) I hope I get to help peddle t-shirts, or do something useful.

(However, now that I reflect on these matters, my art does literally recycle bits of Cleveland that I pick up off the ground or buy from local garage sales, so, in fact, much of my art is full of, made up of, this American city. So, there’s that!)

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Synchronicity and Wheels

Monday, February 13, I was driving to Wadsworth, listening to a CD, thinking about my livelihood as an artist–such as it is–and a tune started up from my single most favored rock record of all time, The Gilded Palace of Sin, by The Flying Burrito Brothers.

The song was Wheels.

We’ve all got wheels to take ourselves away
We’ve got the telephones to say what we can’t say
We all got higher and higher every day
Come on wheels take this boy away
We’re not afraid to ride
We’re not afraid to die come on wheels take me home today
So come on wheels take this boy away

And when I feel my time is almost up
And destiny is in my right hand
I’ll turn to him who made my faith so strong
Come on wheels make this boy a man
We’re not afraid to ride
We’re not afraid to die come on wheels take me home today
So come on wheels take this boy away
Come on wheels take this boy away

The record was released February 11, 1969. I would hear it for the first time at the Amazing Dynamo Man’s house, draped over his bed, in September 1970. He, Jamie Cohen, and I, had just met, just begun tenth grade as first year sophomores at Hawken School in Cleveland. We fell into each other like rain drops into the ocean.

Me, Hoon, atop the Amazing Dynamo Man

Me, Hoon, atop the Amazing Dynamo Man, 1972

Forty eight years later, I’m reflecting on art matters having to do with commerce, Wheels comes on, I glance out my car’s driver-side window, and see a flatbed truck passing me on I71.

It’s badged with this logo:

arts-way3col

I chuckle, then laugh heartily. The moment was not just a gilded moment of synchronicity, it was a text book synchronicity!

Shit.

“We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel; But it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the wheel depends. We turn clay to make a vessel; But it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the vessel depends. We pierce doors and windows to make a house; And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the utility of the house depends. Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the utility of what is not.” ? C.G. Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle

Kabir's Sobriety #2(16x16base)

Kabir’s Sobriety 2016 Stephen Calhoun

A synchronicity worthy of the term is required to be deeply disturbing, or deeply disruptive, or deeply derailing. What I have to offer are my happy delusions! I’ve been revisiting Kabir. #326 of his Bijak:

No customers for the word:
the price is high.
Without paying you can’t get it,
so move on by.

In January I had a very simple dream–simple as far as its arc.

(1) I’m on the side porch of a gothic church. It’s a fall day, and the church’s porch is the scene of a rummage sale. I’m picking little costume jewelry pieces up and putting each one back down. I notice some nice oak chairs and old brass floor lamps. I say to the lady, “You have some nice stuff.” She answers back, “I see you’re not in a buying mood, but the prices are right.”

(2) Walking down the steps, with the front of the church rising to my right, I cross a lawn and walk toward an old Chevy station wagon. I walk to the driver’s side and their is a man with a hat, and his wife is to his right, and his son and daughter are in the back seat. The rear has suitcases. I think to myself, ‘It’s an all American family.’ The man asks if I will help him get unstuck. I put my shoulder to the frame of his window to push, and, without much effort I push and feel his car rise a bit and become unstuck.

(3) The car gathers speed and then veers slightly across the front lawn of the church. It crashes into the wall of the sanctuary. I run toward it, but am halted when I see a bloodied brown panther or mountain lion, seemingly crushed between the grill and limestone wall, pull itself out of its predicament and jump over the hood. It stands on the grass and shakes its head once vertically, runs off.

Yes.

The-Guilded-Palace-of-Sin

My favorite track from my favorite record.

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PSA: Bias

venn-taxonomy-of-logical-fallicies-and-cognitive-errors

For my own purposes I make the following differentiations netween operational modalities of ordinary language argument.

Fallacies 18x12

(1) OBJECTIVE arguments based in facts and positive propositions and deduction
(2) ABDUCTIVE arguments based in explanation drawn from repeated experiences and inductions from these experiences
(3) IDEOLOGICAL arguments based in alignment or misalignment with first principles
(4) PERFORMATIVE arguments based in attracting and persuading support, without reference to objectivity or explanatory abductions

Explanation, or description may be substituted for argument. There can be formal or informal mixtures of the four modalities.

Cognitive Bias Codex 2016

 

None of the above help with a Performative Argument. A Performative Argument is insulated from the deconstructive power posed by an evaluation of its biases, deficits of logic, and its loose couplings to the ideological/abductive/objective.

From this, it follows that a lie is best rendered in a performative argument because this setting gives the lie the best chance to be optimally convincing. The hallmark of performative argument is its implicit perception management.

All conspiracy theories which propose, and are contingent on, successful hidden structures, secret coordination, and occulted intent, are always performative theories. I don’t know of any exceptions.

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Pure Experience

http://artiststephencalhoun.com

Organized Detritus (2017) Stephen Calhoun

What is left of experience if from it are erased feeling it, thinking it, feeling about it, thinking about it?

I’ve been reflecting on the paradox of mindfulness. Mindfulness, over the last several years, is among the hottest trends in management and organizational “self-improvement.”

It seem to me partly counter-intuitive in that mindfulness’s site is individual consciousness, whereas both managers and organizations tend to strongly focus their collective consciousness on some master plan given by holistic “master” assumptions.

Yet, there is the lower level paradox found in the second/third order appreciation of mindfulness, which is: to speak of it is not to be it.


Carl Manchester reads Chapter 2 A World of Pure Experience, from:

William James: Essays In Radical Empiricism (download via archive.org)

Pure experience is the centerpiece of a larger, radical empiricism, one that rejects the assumptions that created the epistemic gap between experience and reality in the first place. This gap is predicated on “an artificial conception of the relations between knower and known,” James says, and this fake problem is his first target. The history of philosophy has shown that all sort of theories have been invented to overcome this gap, he says. Some theories put a mental representation into the gap, common-sense theories left the gap untouched, believing that our minds could just make the leap and, he tells us, and the Transcendentalists brought their Absolute in to perform this epic task. James and Pirsig, on the other hand, say that subjects and objects are not the conditions that make experience possible. Instead, they have been carved out. As James puts it, inner and outer are just names for the way we sort experience. They are linguistic affairs, products of reflection, concepts derived from experience. To supposed that these terms mirror Nature’s own divisions or otherwise correspond to pre-existing ontological categories is to reify these concepts. Under our radical empiricists, subjects and objects are stripped of their metaphysical, ontological status and otherwise demoted to the rank of mere concept – thereby eliminating Cartesian dualism and replacing it with an experiential monism. For the radical empiricist, experience and reality amount to the same thing. This is the context in which James and Pirsig make their claims about pure experience or the pre-intellectual cutting edge of experience. Pure Experience and Dynamic Quality February 16, 2012 by David Buchanan partiallyexaminedlife.com

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