Monthly Archives: January 2009

NOT THIS

I’m digging through old back-ups looking for something. Not this. Still; Harry Stapp, Tuscon 1996, from his talk, Science of Consciousness and the Hard Problem.

The “Hard Problem” has several aspects. From the perspective of science the
question “Why does consciousness exist?” can be compared to the question
“Why does the electromagnetic field exist?” A physicist can answer this
question by giving an account of the important function that the
electromagnetic field plays in workings of nature, as they are represented in
his physical theory. Of course, consciousness plays no role at all in the
classical mechanics account of nature, and hence no functional answer is
possible within the classical-mechanics conceptualization of nature. Since it
is unreasonable for nature to have such a nonefficacious component, the
question of `why consciousness exists’ becomes essentially a plea for a more
adequate conceptual understanding of nature, one in which consciousness plays
an essential role.

Two essential roles of consciousness in the quantum formulation are:

1. Our conscious experiencings are what both science in general and quantum
theory in particular are about. One cannot eliminate our experiences from
the theory without eliminating both the connection of the theory to science
and also the basic realities upon which the theory itself rests: experiences
are the basic realities that the more subtle `physical’ aspects of nature
are propensities for.

2. Technically, experiences are used to solve the so-called basis problem in
quantum theory. Within the physical domain itself there is no natural
foundation for deciding which special states are the ones into which the
quantum state can “collapse”. The core idea of Bohr is that these special
states correspond to our experiences, and this core idea is carried by the
von Neumann/Wigner formulation into equations (1) and (4). Intuitively, this
amounts to the idea that the body/brain processes generate possibilities
that are presented to the quantum selection process, which interprets them
in terms of possible experiences, and then selects, in accordance with the
basic quantum statistical rule, one of these possible experiences, and
actualizes it, and its body/brain counterpart. (Of course, this intuitive
interpretation of the formulas (1) and (4) is not actually needed: the
formulas themselves define the theory.) But this means that our experiences
are not only the basic realities of the theory, and the link to science, as
noted in 1, but also play a key in specifying the “set of allowed
possibilities” that enter into the causal chain of mind/brain events. These
allowed possibilities must be just the ones that correspond to our possible
experiences, at least for practical purposes, or the whole theory loses its
tight connection to science: the events in the theory would no longer
correspond to the experiential realities.

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APPLE OF MY EYE

I had no problem with the mouse.

Although I had thousands of hours ‘in’ on this mechanical word processor called a typewriter, when I first started using a computer it was 1984.
I recall that it was in September of 1984 that my friend Pilch hauled The Macintosh out of a closet and gave it to me. At the time it was about a $2,400 gift, and, in 1984 those many hundreds of dollars was an unimaginable sum for mw, Pilch’s slack-to-a-fault long haired pal. But he had no use for it. He was a programmer doing project work for Burroughs and I have no idea what he was using for a computer. Still, his setting the Mac 128k given to him aside soon enough became my unbelievable gain.

It’s hard for me to relate to what the original Mac platform offered–me–even though I used it for eight years. As a user you would stick the system floppy into it, load in the system into temporary memory and follow on with the program disc, do the same, do your work, and save to a third floppy. The 128k ram is one eighth of a megabyte, and the Mac floppy had a capacity of 400k. On this machine you could process words, draw, paint, play the first version of Sim City, and, a few years later, desktop publish on Adobe Pagemaker and print to a laser printer. One would shuffle floppies in and out with a satisfying click and whir and sound of the drive stylus.
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THE MIDDLE WAY

The inescapable conclusion from all this must surely be that our interdependence, bringing us together into a common equation, across the oceans and the continents, demands that we all combine to launch a global offensive for development, prosperity and human survival. Nelson Mandela January 31, 1991.
 

Download MP3 inaugural address

Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
I shall walk.

 
 

The trail is dusty
And my road it might be rough,
But the better roads are waiting
And boys it ain’t far off.

 

Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.

 

I walked down by the river,
I turned my head up high.
I saw that silver linin’
That was hangin’ in the sky.

 

Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.

 

The evenin’ dusk was rollin’,
I was walking down the track.
There was a one-way
wind a-blowin’
And it was blowin’ at my back.

 

Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.

 

The gravel road is bumpy,
It’s a hard road to ride,
But there’s a clearer
road a-waitin’
With the cinders on the side.

 

Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.

 

That evening train was rollin’,
The hummin’ of its wheels,
My eyes they saw a better day
As I looked across the fields.

 

Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.

 

The trail is dusty,
The road it might be rough,
But the good road is a-waitin’
And boys it ain’t far off.

 

Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk

 

Bob Dylan

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WHY ARE WE HAPPENING TOGETHER RIGHT NOW?r

Sitting at the local coffee shop, waiting for a business partner to arrive so that we could discuss a project, I decided to kill time by opening my laptop to check my email. In my email was a post from a friend and in his email was a link to a youtube video of a Congolese musician.

A few minutes into the video, I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder. A stranger interrupts me to ask about the video I’m watching and listening to on ear buds. This person saw the video playing on my screen from their spot at an adjacent table.
As it turns out the stranger is interested in the african dancers that are part of the video. Inviting the stranger to join me, I share a replay of the video with her.

We strike up a conversation. It ranges over our shared interest in music and the arts. After telling her I have collected a wide variety of music resources over many years, she mentions that she is an artist for whom music and dance is a key source of inspiration. We set up a future engagement to audition media resources and to continue getting to know each other. Perhaps we will become friends.

In fact, a friendship develops and it eventually alters the course of both of our lives. There will come a time when both the once-a-stranger, and myself, having become colleagues and having undertaken together and separately further life changing projects, travels, and learning, realize almost all of what unfolded was contingent upon the pivot provided by the original encounter in the coffee shop.

What would you, the researcher have to know to determine what was necessary to have happened in the lives of both parties to this encounter in the coffee shop prior to its occurrence, so as to guarantee its occurrence?
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HEROIC SENSEMAKING

A bit of synch yesterday: I’m listening to the audio book of Malcolm Galdwell’s Outliers and had reached the section in which the author digs underneath the tragic safety record of Korean Airlines for a spell of 10 years. His basic hypothesis is that cultural factors reinforced an overly deferential, hierarchical flight deck attitude. This in turn set up the potential for cascades of human error to impose fatal results on airliners.

One of Gladwell’s main points is concerned with behaviors on the flight deck which undermine real time judgment, communication between flight crew members, and, objectivity and interpretation of circumstances.

When I turned on the TV and happened upon the unfolding story of US Airways flight 1549, it became clear right away that the flight crew on the Airbus 320 were also outliers, having ditched a heavy airliner in the Hudson River without serious injuries.

At the same time I noted the gathering heroic interpretation of what was presumed to have happened in under four minutes between take-off and watery landing. The details of what actually happened will soon be known, but I’d like to highlight the role of flight engineer and co-pilot Jeff Skiles. I would be shocked to learn, especially after Gladwell’s account, that he didn’t play an equally saving role to that of the instantly legendary, pilot and air crew captain, Chesley Sully Sullenberger.

The work of Karl Weick, one of my main guys, comes to mind too. Sullenberger has a sideline company, Safety Reliability Methods, Inc. On the about page is this:

Safety Reliability Methods, Inc. (SRM) was created to apply the latest advances in safety and high performance and high reliability processes to organizations in a variety of fields.

Many of these advances have their genesis in the ultra-safe world of commercial aviation. Others have been developed as a result of studies of high-risk, high performance environments such as aircraft carrier flight deck operations and the energy industry.

When these techniques are applied on an organizational and individual basis, they create a robust, error-trapping system that significantly benefits the bottom line.

Weick invented the discipline of sensemaking in social psychology. One of his books is titled, Managing the Unexpected. I’ll look forward to Dr. Weick’s weighing in on the elegant case of flight 1549. A lot had to go right and the management of all the vectors of event, sense, decision, and response, no doubt, was a two person affair in the cockpit, and a collaboration elsewhere on the jet as it came to a rest south of East 40th street.

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ANCIENT HUNT


click to enlarge

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YEAR OF THE OX

In two weeks the Chinese calendar will flip to The Year of the Ox. What a fine archetype–of sorts–for our world of trouble, a world where carrying the burden and ox-like tenacity might realize ‘heavy duty’ changes. The ox in the ten Ox herding stages transforms from the regenerate instinctual beast to the white beast of burden. The latter is patient and a hard worker, is tamed and able to channel its wild instinct into the task at hand, err, at hoof.

Here on explorations I have drafts to fine tune. For example I’ll be taking up the interesting fact of integral research which occurs outside the hermetic confines of the Wilberian in-group. two different transformational learning tools are close to being baked in the squareONE oven. One of them requires video documentation and so my readers can expect moving pictures.

Stay tuned.

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SPACE DEEP AND IMAGINARY

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buffer needs 30 seconds:total video length is 30 minutes

I’ve assembled two versions of my latest ‘learning curve’ experiment with iMovie. This is the classical version, Serene Alleluias, (title taken from Messiaen’s Serene Alleluias of a Soul Desiring Heaven of a Soul Desiring Heaven, that closes the music track,) and the jazz version, In a Silent Way, is posted over on nogutsnoglory and a lo-fi version on transformative tools. These versions in flash at 15fps don’t do the 24fps HD production justice, so if you want something more deluxe track me down.

I’d like to start making my ‘world hed music’ in mixed-media formats. The assembled two voyages, authored under my design pseudonym Hippie Goat, exceeded my expectations.

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BLUE SHADOW

*Fool, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscient, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude, and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught nations war–founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine, and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government. He is from everlasting to everlasting–such as creation’s dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existance headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand has warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man’s evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization. – Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

coyote

One day Coyote noticed it was very quiet. “I wonder where all the animals have gone,” he thought. “I think I’ll go look for them.” He searched for his friends every-where, in the mountains, theforest, and near the rivers, but no one was around. Tired andready to give up, Coyote sat down to rest.

“Lima, lima, lima,”shrieked a voice from below him.It was Meadowlark. Because Coyote hadn’t been paying attention, he had sat down upon the poor bird and broken her leg. She was very angry, but Coyote made her a deal to calm her down.

“I will make you a new strong leg out of wood if you tell me where everyone went.”

The Meadowlark agreed.“Everybody has been swallowed up by a ferocious monster,” she said and then she gave Coyote directions to where the beast was last seen. After fixing the bird’s leg, Coyote packed his fire-making supplies and some knives and setout to find the monster. When he arrived where Meadowlark had directed him, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Before him was a gigantic monster lying on his belly. The creature was so big that his back reached as high as the nearby mountains. Coyote approached the great beast fearlessly, hoping it would open its giant mouth and swallow him up. But the monster just lay there and looked at him suspiciously. Coyote had a reputation as a troublemaker and the monster didn’t want to be tricked.

Coyote tried a different plan. He walked up to the fearsome creature with a sad look on his face.

“Help me,” he asked the beast. “I am lonely. You have swallowed all the animals and now I have no one to talk with. Please eat me too, so I can be with my friends.”

Coyote was so sincere that he convinced themonster that he was telling the truth. The beast opened up his mouth and sucked Coyote down his cavernous throat.

Once inside, Coyote set immediately to work. He called for all the animals who were trapped inside to help him start afire and then he began to cut away at the monster’s heart. When thebeast saw the smoke coming from his belly and felt the great pain in his chest, he knew that Coyote had tricked him, but by then, it was too late. Coyote finished slicing out the monster’s heart and all of the animals were free. In celebration of the escape, Coyote carved up the body of the great monster. Whenever he sliced off a piece, he would throw it far away in a different direction. Wherever these pieces landed, they turned into the human tribes that inhabit the Earth today.

When Coyote was satisfied that he was finished, he turned to the other animals to show them what he had done. Everyone was very thankful of Coyote’s rescue, but Fox noticed a problem.

“Friend Coyote,” he said. “You have done a good job making humans, but you have created all these people far away from here. You forgot to make a tribe where we are standing.”

Fox was right. Coyote thought hard and then came up with an idea. He washed the monster’s blood from his hands and let the drops sprinkle on the ground. This blood turned into the Nez Perce tribe.

from idahohistory.net

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HAPPY NOUS YEAR

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On youtube there is a series of videos, apparently excerpted from a longer documentary, that features the renowned-in-his-time counter-cultural figure, self-proclaimed Sufi, misterioso teacher, charlatan, Idries Shah. I joined the ten parts and present it here; 49 worthwhile minutes beckon. Pay attention!

My string of adjectives is not intended to underplay Shah’s reputation, such as it has been able to be sustained. He was a walking library of Sufic esoteric material, yet, he also brought these traditional secrets to proto-new age stages in the sixties. He walked a weird razor’s edge in maintaining that these materials could retain their power even when stripped of their context, as long as the context of the user was precisely calibrated to these bare-of-context materials!

Speaking of post-modern Sufis, I recommend the volume by Ian Almond, Sufism and Deconstruction. A comparative study of Derrida and Ibn ‘Arabi, (2004:Routledge.) A rigorous mysticism, moved toward the subject drilling deeply beyond it’s (his or her,) self, cannot be about fixing identity.

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