Monthly Archives: July 2005

LIFE IS A CARNIVAL

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. -Plato

Found on a page about: The Healing Carnival

The Healing Carnival is becoming: an evolutionary game, a multimedia arts ensemble an epic conspiracy, a garden of earthly delights, a sowing of seeds of harmony a new way of making love, a balm for troubled hearts, an endless pilgrimage, a culture sculptors’ colony, the moral equivalent of war, a clarion call in the midst of a storm, a path to wisdom, an exercise in applied cosmology, a bodhisattvas’ boot camp, a form of right livelihood, a festival of life, suitable for the entire family!

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Filed under experiential learning

THROUGH OUR UNDERSTANDING

The world before it is perceived is an infinite collection of qualities. It is up to the perceiver to use some of these qualities to differentiate one event from another. This process of differentiation is driven by desire (relevance, need, meaning…). Note that the perceiver does not “construct” reality itself; rather the perceiver constructs an understanding of reality, a model or theory which guides perception and behavior. Neither does reality alone determine perceptions and behaviors, but rather reality as experienced “through” our understanding.

PERSPECTIVES THEORY C. George Boeree Perspectives web Seven Perspectives

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Filed under psychology

I OPENING IN LAKEWOOD

Ed Morrison, whom I have never met, yet is a glowing spot on my radar screen, will be presenting a program in the land of The Lakewood Observer July 26.

I-Open Tuesday July 26, Lakewood Public Library, 6:00PM – 8:00PM
“Reviewing Initiatives & Making Networks Work: Designing Process”

His blog: EdPro

I-Open:

To move toward our vision, I-Open will develop tools to assist civic leaders in implementing Open Source Economic Development practices within neighborhoods, communities, and regions.

We will use Northeast Ohio as our test bed, our laboratory. To accomplish our vision, we want I-Open, I-Open Partners and Northeast Ohio to establish a global reputation for regional innovation.

We invite any person or organizataion to join us as we acccelerate the economic transformation that is now underway in Northeast Ohio.

It can be expected, should Observers show up, that this event might evoke an interesting meeting of the open source I-Open Economic Development model and the open source “Eye Open” Civic Development model, (the latter unfolding in Lakewood right now.)

I don’t know enough about Mr. Morrison’s work to comment smartly about this comparison. Still, from the Eye Open side, and in critical contravention of the materialistic worldview on economics, (economic man as predicate, matched with the ‘build it and they will come’ ethic; what I term the the medical model,) it is notable that the working assumptions of Eye Open civic development are: self, neighborhood, community knowledge without exclusion; and, development of the cognitive ‘chops’ which promote transformative intra/interpersonal and civic relationships.

Roughly the idea is to become smarter, more cognitively complex, more creative, and then to allow whatever economic development follows from this to be firstly ratcheted-up the evolutionary scale simply by its being nailed to a substantially more critical civic process.

If this sounds like the hidden agenda is to crucify economic man and redeem the innate truth in everyman…it’s not; it’s just a modest little inversion of the consensus paradigm.

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Filed under Kenneth Warren

SAPIENTIAL PERSPECTIVES

Wendy L. Freeman pops a killer koan at the head of this very good article by Chris Clark.

Not only do we know more about the universe, but our understanding is deeper, and the questions that we are asking are more profound. Still, our understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe has not yet caught up with what we know about it.

Chris Clark Ways of Knowing: Science and Mysticism Today

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Filed under science

THE ONLY THING IS ALL YOU NEED

Recently, I’m under the spell of goings on in the economic development flux of Cleveland and brewedfreshdaily has provided a stylish foil. (I do wish george would restore me to the blog roll.) This is in the context of a different version of open source development I’m involved with in Lakewood. There the keynote is cooperative civic development rather than economic development, so this difference also provides another kind of foil.

At BFD Don Iannone wrote,

A lot of it has to do with the distribution of power and wealth in communities. That is not an easy situation to change.

I agree it’s hard to pry simoleons from tight grips, but I disagree with the degree of difficulty having to do with power. After all, what the heck is power?

Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.  (C.G. Jung. On the Psychology of the Unconscious:58)

What are we speaking of in the distribution of power in communities? People at the top of food chain-like hierarchies? What’s that about? is it about the ability to command resources, push your simoleons around, make people jump, get your inflated self-sense verified, get invited to all the best parties, etc?

For goodness sakes, powerful persons are powerful because of what mechanisms of group dynamics? Go look it up. (Alternately, see James Hillman; Kinds of Power). Short of this there is a consensus norm concerned with getting things done, which, in group-to-social contexts in a psychological sense and in a sociological sense, does have to do with a kind of mechanical power, a sort of provision for generation of impetus and influence.

But who would volunteer to be beholden to that at the same time they hold more enlightened values? I’ll give an easy-to-grok example. People say that their spiritual commitments are numero uno and then they yoke themselves to some narcissist  causing a lot of interpersonal and social harm for the sake of ‘making money’ and ‘gaining power’.

You might need somebody else’s money, but the only power worth a damn is your own power. And, if power is merely the ability to get things done, then we wouldn’t be talking about those other kinds of power, would we?

“Where love is lacking…” How about: where love is lacking in community development? See, this is heavy stuff when you drill down a bit. It has to be! The ol’ guy-thing drama is done for. We’re at the precipice. Right? You see it?

What interests me about people who are powerful in the normative, organizational sense? What their core values are; what they think the point of life and living is; what are we doing here, supposed to be doing here?

And, I ask ’em! The answers cut a number of ways. In fact, after years of conducting this kind of inquiry, I will reduce my rich findings to a blunt and commonsensical posit: when you ask a powerful person what life is all about you will learn whether all this power is chained to something shallow or is chained to something deep.

One thing I’ve learned is that a certain personality type is distributed among the powerful just as it is among the ‘ittle people. This is the type that assumes that what they think life is about is what everybody else should think life is about. But, often this is a frustrating insight because such persons often think about the ‘ittle people that ‘they can’t get it and, besides, they don’t have any power anyway’. There are lots of ways to characterize this kind of shallow cognition, but my favorite is to term it magical thinking. In other words, ‘magically enough, the world and the people in it correspond to my brilliant personal sense of things’. Another word for this is solipsism.

My opinion is that we’re at the end of the line of doing any kind of smart development from solipsistic dispositions; this goes for economic, personal, social, cultural, political, development. For instance, the war in Iraq can be viewed as the culmination of self-absorbed assumptions about the nature of reality. I could make a good case for this being a feature of this war’s clash of fundamentalisms. And the harm being done on all sides is giant, heart-rending, hideous. Anyway, it’s a rich example in my meta-psychological perspective.

Self-absorbed power is silly and it is often harmful. This is why I unfurl thought problems about kinds of intelligence, and character, and depth of soul, and, ability to unlearn and re-learn, and openness, and, receptivity.

Can economic development start to become concerned with depth and love? Can sustainability? Can education? Hey, I’m just cutting to the chase!

Yes, perhaps masculine, self-absorbed, silly, harmful power distributed in communities is hard to change. Why bother? Learn a martial art instead! Build a pool, dig out a deep end, learn to swim again.

My view is surely idiosyncratic, yet I offer the suggestion: playing stupid games in the shallows where the sharks flop around isn’t anywhere near as ‘powerful’ as playing smart games in the deep end where you might actually learn something, create something without causing a lot of harm, and get to be the deeply powerful, lovesome, spiritual being (ha! you already are!). You know – the one you might otherwise think can somehow survive in the shallows.

My experience: it (your heart!) cannot survive there. And, the whole point of the open source paradigm, (and the cooperative paradigm too,) is to do development from a deep place, sans the magical illusions, and do so in collaboration with people detrained from being shallow and stupid about money, power, and love. And why do this? How about: to serve your fellow human beings?

Yeah, ‘where love rules…’ Economic development from there.

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Filed under Cleveland, sociology

NOT ON BROADWAY

Sorry, comments are in fact turned on. The In-Box broils a bit due to my my earlier controversial post. Accused of not knowing the other side or anything about Weatherhead internal politics, I admit t’is so. I also note better information didn’t tag along with the accusation.

When I returned to Cleveland in 1992, skinned a bit during a spell of music biz fear and loathing in West L.A., I networked through the non-profit arts community. Unable to elevate smarts over being a nobody, I received many lectures. None were memorable. Being a tracker, since that time I’ve listened to complaints about gatekeeping, who sits at the table, the sound of one hand clapping the speaker’s back, deaf calling card pushers, etc.. Sometimes like this: encounter. It’s all very funny and “Cleveland”.

(13 years later) Cleveland is the poorest large city in the U.S. Might I add too: Cleveland is a paragon of segregation, white flight, paranoia, and, pardon me, efacement. This motivates me to make a similar suggestion to the one I pose to Republican loyalists. Lessee, Nixon, Ford 1968-1976; Reagan, Bush, 1980-1992; Bush II 2000-2005. 25 of 37 years in executive power and what have you to show for it? Incomes at the median stagnant for three decades, executives making 100+ times the average salary of the workers who actually produce the products; and a savage neoliberalism riding quarterly profits -these days- based in aggregate returns accrued in the majority to capital holders rather than workers for the first time since good stats began being kept post world war 2.

Oh, the suggestion: the purported best and the brightest locally have achieved exactly what to benefit us all over their long reign? The bankers, tycoons, real estate emperors, foundations, sr.academics? Follow the money? It hasn’t landed on Broadway in decades.

How to spot revolutionary intelligences? I don’t spend great gobs of time out hobnobbing and networking so my spottings tend to be few in number, but, the approach scales so I assume Cleveland has a lot of revolutionary intelligence. The rich intelligence, (I know of,) isn’t, in fact could not, be thinking about, for example, casinos, convention centers, and new ‘university commons’.

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Filed under Cleveland, current events

HEADS ROLL TO A BETTER BODY

I’ve been following the local controversy over the canning of Ed Morrison at CWRU-Weatherhead’s REI. I’ve never met Mr. Morrison, and have few contacts with the homie smart mob for whom Morrison was a central figure and maven. Yet, thank goodness! Now his open source economic development model will find a much better home than fading fast CWRU. Call it the silver lining.

George Nemeth is the tracker on all this: BrewedFreshDaily

Ed Morrison’s Blog, EdPro

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Filed under Kenneth Warren, sociology

LAKEWOOD LIBERATES ITSELF

Meanwhile…over Lakewood way, I’m involved as advisor, facilitator, and writer in the Lakewood Observer project. As an east sider with one foot planted in Lakewood, I like to believe myself to be the observer of the Observer. The crew of characters has been uniquely open and have welcomed my involvement and the wild stuffs I bring with me, stuffs stuffed into the ol’ toolbox. Gracias — you know who you are.

The model of the project is open source to a large extent. This means that ideas, conversations, documentation, planning, is shared freely, and, overwhelmingly, the project’s internal works and generativity do not attach themselves to particular persons over time. This means the project, in effect, owns the creative capital. Crucially, the LO project is necessarily fueled by volunteers vitalized by the collaborative and cooperative ethic.

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Filed under Cleveland, Kenneth Warren, sociology

500 PERSON TUBA CHORUS

Wow. Value Based Management.net is a goldmine. Almost every resource is linked internally to pithy descriptions of conceptual and methodological frameworks. The amount of material is overwhelming. The search engine allows me to note important omissions, such as no no mention of Appreciative Inquiry, but, with a jungle so amazonian, so what?

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Filed under social psychology, organizational development