Monthly Archives: January 2011

Question the Mission

book cover

It took a while at the Business Book Title generator to come up with something worthwhile. I was able to end my mission with this one. I did augment the austere stock presentation by adding a graphic.

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Tinywrld

tinywrld

A mosaic of the world made out of tilt-shifted videos of cities around the world.

Hayaku: A Time Lapse Journey Through Japan from Brad Kremer on Vimeo.


Crazy good public art. Maybe somebody in the ‘wood will get on it.

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Teaching Cartoon: The Smallest Thing

Chaung Tzu - smallest thing

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The impossibility of education

Classroom
Once, the villagers invited Mulla Nasruddin to deliver a lecture on spiritual matters.

When he got on the pulpit, he found the audience was not very enthusiastic, so he asked “Do you know what I am going to say?”

The audience replied “No”, so he announced “I have no desire to speak to people who don’t even know what I will be talking about” and he left.

The people felt embarrassed and called him back again the next day.

Once again he asked the same question – “Do you know what I am going to say?”

This time when he asked the same question, the people replied “Yes” So Mullah Nasruddin said, “Well, since you already know what I am going to say, I won’t waste any more of your time” and he left.

Now the people were really perplexed. They decided to try one more time and once again invited the Mullah to speak the following week.

Once again he asked the same question – “Do you know what I am going to say?”

Now the people were prepared and so half of them answered “Yes” while the other half replied “No”. So Mullah Nasruddin said “The half who know what I am going to say, tell it to the other half” and he left!


(Carried over from Transformative Tools blog; part of the process of transitioning its content to squareONE explorations.

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Planet of the Snake-Oil Loving Apes

Lowland-Wilber.jpg

David Lane takes Ken Wilber to task, Frisky Dirt, Why Ken Wilber’s New Creationism
is Pseudo-Science
, for reprising his odd views on evolution. Those views can be encapsulated in quotes from The Guru and the Pandit. Eros, Buddha, and the Spectrum of Love, from the new issue of Andrew Cohen’s magazine EnlightenmentNext.

It’s evidence of a force that is pushing against randomness in the universe.

The fact that such a thing can happen is a miracle. It’s just unbelievable.

All of this, without exception, is driven by love.

Lane’s takedown of Wilber’s ‘esotericistic’ intelligent design is okay, but let’s face it, all the varieties of intelligent design and creationism present low hanging fruit. The abstract for the article is telling:

Love is a hot topic in the world of progressive spirituality, but you haven’t heard anyone discuss it like the Guru and the Pandit. Distinguishing between love’s personal, cultural, and cosmic dimensions, they explore how this primordial force gives rise to every new emergence in the evolutionary process.

Wilber has spelled out what he means by speaking of love’s primordial force. This can be put differently without error, and on offer then is the context, a context many times more interesting than Wilber’s new age creationism.

Love works from the beginning to organize greater complexity and greater consciousness, ending up for our moment in “Ken Wilber.”

Or, ending up in the Centauric Integral, another term for “Ken Wilber.”

This developmental outcome is very ironic if you’re aware of Wilber’s antipathy toward baby boomer solipsism.

As a thinker and quasi-philosopher, Wilber’s development peaked fifteen years ago. At the time he had sketched out an interesting, even compelling, albeit rudimentary, transdisciplinary methodology. It required proponents to get down to the brass tacks of formulating a sharp critical culture.

In 2001, he told Jordan Gruber,

>E.com: In the meantime, though, the grants that people could write to I-I for, none of that’s happening?

KW: No, what’s happening right now is that one of the main things we wanted to do with the original one hundred million dollars was to get it to as many people as possible doing work in this field, the general field of integral studies and integral endeavors. That’s one of the reasons that I started Integral Institute, to act as a funding source for people doing this kind of work because the marketplace doesn’t reward truly integral studies as all. It rewards New Age approaches to it, it rewards the experiential workshop approach, as it were, it rewards the green meme and the purple meme and everything in between, but it does not reward truly integral studies.

So, the only way we’re going to get real work done in this field is, frankly, if we have funding agencies that will do it. And once the real work is done, and the research is done, and we start producing really solid texts, and presentations, and articles, and research, then we can create a market off of that. That’s going to be probably three years from now.

So, what we’ve done at Integral Institute … the biggest change in our orientation happened not because of the market, but quite independent of that, a change we would have made whether the market went up or down. And that is, we went from being a kind of community of some four hundred founding members to focusing more on producing what we call “integral product,” actual books, texts, academic material in each of the ten branches. So we’re working on books in, for example, What is Integral Politics? What is Integral Business? Integral Medicine? Integral Law? Because what we found was that there were no really strong statements about an integral approach to any of these fields.

E.com: Which is one of the reasons academia can ignore it completely.

KW: It can ignore it completely, and the other things we found is that most people with very very good intentions would simply take what they’re doing and call it integral when it really wasn’t. They were leaving out certain aspects of the human condition that ought not to be left out. We could demonstrate that to them, and they would say, “OK, I guess what I’m doing is not integral.”

So before we can build community, or create a market, or have a web presence, or have conferences, we have to produce specific texts in each of these ten branches, put together by one of our core teams of recognized scholars and researchers, saying “This is our best shot as an opening statement about what integral business is, integral politics, integral education, integral medicine, integral law, integral psychology, integral spirituality, and so on.”

Actually, what happened was this was inverted. Wilber created a community, a web presence, conferences, and, crucially, a market. Wilber’s Integral has been regressing ever since. Only The Integral Leadership Review, (itself mostly off the Wilberian reservation,) regularly publishes something like scholarship. Elsewhere there isn’t a body of Integral scholarship in those other nine branches, where the scholarship works to, as the Wilberian principle goes, keep the good and throw out the bad. So, without having enabled a keen critical culture to negotiate disciplinary fields using a robust and sophisticated Integral criteria, the Integral methodology was sunk.

Wilber’s creationism is interesting because its context is not Integral biology, but rather its context (and purpose) is the yoking of Wilber’s product lines to the biggest, most fantastic, view of that which can be the reward for buying Wilber’s spiritual technologies. This value-added idea is simple:

Love works from the beginning to organize greater complexity and greater consciousness, ending up for our moment in your ability to realize your cosmic integral love-vitalized high consciousness nature.

One has to buy a ticket, or otherwise pony up.

As for biology and science, Wilber has time and time again, in interviews with Larry Dossy, and other new age thought leaders, proposed that what is bad about science, methodological materialism, needs to be reformed and revolutionized, and, he’s implied, transformed into something altogether more ‘integral-mystical.’ (Magical!) Needless to say there aren’t any cogent Integral philosophers of science. Nor is there–as far as I know–any scholarly Integral biology, Integral physics, Integral anthropology, etc.. Also, the varieties of integral-like interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scholarship found in some fields is not under review by Integral scholars.

No, there is only the facile spiritualizing of the Wilberian spiritual technology put up for sale. ‘Adeptitude’ has taken over; sadly. The strange, anti-intellectual case is that as much as this high-minded technology harps on getting right with The Shadow, science itself is smack dab in the middle of Wilber’s own shadow. I suspect love is stuck there too because the self-agrandizing, primordial move is too easy, compared, say, to the necessarily unsparing, perspective of Rilke.

To reconfigure Carl Jung’s famous insight,

…where power marketing predominates, love is lacking.

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Periodic Table of Visualization, and more



click to enlarge

Visit the following link to access the pop-up examples for each of the Periodic Table of Visualizations‘ cells.

I’m fond of graphical ways of showing relationships between concepts and domains.

Here’s a few more depictions from my own archive of helpful visuals.

Powers of ten

Scales on pseudo-symmetrical \’U\’

Arthur S. Young\’s two fundamental developmental \’turns\’

Fourfold (Anthony Judge)click to enlarge

Spiral Dynamics-AQAL Collage


click to enlarge

Warren Matrix

DrPuck's problem matrix

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Teaching Cartoon: What’s Good For You



click for large version

Fast Freddie’s cat stands in for Nasruddin here. This falls into the class of teaching stories in which the person doesn’t know any better.

(Gilbert Shelton of course, from The Further Adventures of Those Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Issue #2)

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Stop Boxing

Ralph Waldo Emerson om experience

When I’m working playfully in my squareONE transformative learning mode, I’m always doing a version of the following experiment, here defined as its hypothesis:

Given experiential engagement of a novel process and its novel set of data, the learner will be moved to discover insights as a matter of his or her exploration within the field of this unusual process and its unique data.

There is a ‘meta’ hypothesis, surrounding this too: that such insights are not easily derived from other “non-novel” varieties of engaged learning.

My hypothesis has been proved in one-on-one work just about every time; maybe 90% of the time. In groups, where the facilitator–me–cannot apply experienced guidance evenly, the successful demonstration of the validity of the hypothesis approaches 50%. I’d estimate in groups of six or less, the success rate is around 75%.

What is being proved is that novelty is a powerful source for transformative learning. There is a third instance of novelty: the learner’s approach. I understand this to be the learner’s ability to move beyond their most naturally familiar and often habitual approach.

My guidance is fit to the challenge of gently compelling the learner’s shifting their approach to a novel one. I could go on and on about the various obstacles in the way between a learner’s familiar approach and something innovative. Likewise I could describe the facilitator’s skills!

I’ve learned a lot about what characterizes the elite learner in this kind of process. These kinds of learners combine, in different measures, the qualities of openness, playfulness, creativity, and, its clear to me such learners often have some prior experience with inhabiting a different perspective.

As well, negotiating innovative approaches can seem to be easeful where the learner possesses a deep, personal culture. The consequential effect of this is that the learner has some prior experience with, and has practiced their own flexible, (third order,) capabilities. Another way to describe these kinds of capabilities is to say the adept exploratory learner uses a practiced, diverse, repertoire able to be used to explore in novel ways a novel process and its novel data.

In my ‘soft’ theorizing, from observing such learners, it is apparent they can bring to bear on experiential learning what I term, g>a doubled-double loop learning; (the third order referenced above.) This is a style of engagement in which a third, or meta order, comes into play. Not only can the learner re-adapt their approach in the real time circumstance of the process, the learner also can navigate a variety of means for doing this, so, the adaptation found in the so-called double loop is itself subject to a further selection from an overarching ‘meta-loop,’ or, in my terms, diverse repertoire.

An example of this is when the learner uses symbolic data discovered in the novel data set to modify their approach to the data. This secondary data is used to alter their scheme in manipulating, etc., the primary data.

It is possible to point out, or cue, some of these possibilities to less practiced learners. This move goes like this: instead of suggesting ‘Have you ever looked at this other way?’ the suggestion is, “Have you ever looked at how you look, when you’re looking to look, at it another way?” But, this is would be a very unusual move for me to make. (I do not risk pulling the learner into my world, so-to-speak.)

From my perspective, the point is not to get outside the box, it’s to get outside of boxes.

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Dispersal. Wind Over Water

Hexagram 59

Hexagram 59

In dispersal there is development. The king comes to have a shrine. It is beneficial to cross great rivers. It is beneficial to be correct.
EXPLANATION Dispersal means disorganization and disorder. In the body of the hexagram, below is water in which one yang is hidden between two yins, yang being trapped by yin; above is wind in which one yin enters under two yangs, yang being damaged by yin. Yin and yang do not interact, essence and sense are separated; so it is called dispersal.

This hexagram represents yin and yang being lost in confusion, then reordered; it follows on the previous hexagram wind. Wind involves gradually entering true eternity; because yin and yang are disordered, one progresses harmoniously to balance them. Once people’s yin and yang are disordered, and essence and sense have shifted, the mind of Tao is obscured and the human mentality arises, the true sane energy is damaged and the false aberrant energy grows. This is like the one yang in the middle of water trapped by yin energy; the primordial is concealed inside ac- quired conditioning. Once the primordial is concealed, its vast energy is inhibited, and yin energy takes over affairs, insufficient to do good, excessive in doing evil, inevitably leading to total loss of natural innocence. This is like the one yin of wind —insidiously rising under pure yang, subtly dispersing yang. This is why dispersal is so called.

However, even after dispersal, sages have a way to resolve dispersal, which is able to reorder that which is dispersed. What is the way to resolve dispersal? It is none other than the path of progress through obedience: The only distinction is that if you go one way, obeying invading conditioning, you disperse yang, while if you go the other way, obeying the primordial energy, you foster yang. If you can reverse obedience from acquired conditioning back to the primordial, gradually progressing, without hurrying or lagging, stopping falsehood and preserving truthfulness, master-ing yourself and returning to appropriate order, that which is scattered can be assembled, that which is disorderly can be ordered, so that you can return to your original being. First dispersed, ending up not dispersed, there is thus paradoxically a way of development in dispersal.

Those who develop this have no danger in their hearts even when there is danger in events, are not imperiled inwardly even when there is outward peril; they make use of the path of flexibility to travel the path of firmness, and use positive energy to transmute negative energy. This is like a king coming to have a shrine, using sincerity to summon the spirit, so the spirit can be summoned. It is also like wood following the nature of water, “beneficial to cross great rivers,” so that danger can be solved.

When people’s yin and yang are scattered, it is always because of using the human mentality and abandoning the mind of Tao; every act, every step, is on dangerous ground. But if you use the mind of Tao and dismiss the human mentality, you can seek the jewel of life in a tiger’s lair, search out the pearl of illumination in a dragon’s abyss, progressing harmoniously in danger and getting through danger. With proper control according to events, whether agreeable or disagreeable, the mind of Tao is ever present, the human mentality passes away; the five elements aggregate, the four signs combine—what dispersal is there?

However, in the path of resolving dispersal, there is a process, there is a course of work, there is intensification and relaxation, there is stopping at sufficiency. The slightest deviation and you go far astray. It is only beneficial if you are correct. Accomplishing the work correctly, hastening and relaxing methodically, advancing and withdrawing at the proper times, there will surely be development and benefit. (The Taoist I Ching – John Cleary)

5:08am. New year. awake.

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