Monthly Archives: April 2016

Eternal Returns

FreePlay-April2416

(Me.) Just hit the ball to me for a change, bro, I mean hit it so I don’t have to move. Thanks, bro.

Mark Sr. showed up for the first time in several years, and in his first at-bat struck a line drive into the right center field gap, and loped around the bases for a legit home run. Welcome back.

Tom, our eldest elder, exacted a heavy price out of the left side outfielders, who had decided to cheat in a bit too much. His two run single was the hit of the game from this observer’s perspective.

Everybody worked to Make Free Softball League Great Again.

What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in experiential learning | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Chaotic Fringe

Stephen Calhoun, artist, Cleveland Heights Ohio

Musical Fugue State (2016) 24×15

The first piece for which it became clear to me that my preoccupation with turning complex disordered scenes into orderly presentations of overt and covert patterns could echo, in a striking way, the renaissance paintings of the Family Brueghel, was working through cuts of the photograph that became the basis for Paired Observations. This dates from June 2015.

The Battle of Carnival of Lent, Pieter Bruegel the Younger, is a favorite of mine.

The Battle of Carnival and Lent

Hustle and bustle unfolded in the streaming of life. . . Carnival v. Lent! Chaos v. Order!

The Bruegel Collection at
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

List of Pieter the Older/the Younger paintings:
(more…)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in art, artists, visual experiments, my art | Tagged | Leave a comment

World’s Whole Frame

The Wild Garden – NOWNESS from NOWNESS on Vimeo.

Another year rolls into spring. Time to get the hands dirty. I have a bohemian flower garden to tend to.

An Anatomy of the World
The First Anniversary
WHEN that rich soul which to her heaven is gone,
Whom all do celebrate, who know they’ve one
—For who is sure he hath a soul, unless
It see, and judge, and follow worthiness,
And by deeds praise it? he who doth not this,         5
May lodge an inmate soul, but ’tis not his—
When that queen ended here her progress time,
And, as to her standing house, to heaven did climb
Where, loth to make the saints attend her long,
She’s now a part both of the choir and song,         10
This world in that great earthquake languished;
For in a common bath of tears it bled,
Which drew the strongest vital spirits out.
But succour’d then with a perplexed doubt,
Whether the world did lose, or gain in this         15
—Because, since now no other way there is,
But goodness, to see her, whom all would see,
All must endeavour to be good as she—
This great consumption to a fever turn’d,
And so the world had fits; it joy’d, it mourn’d;         20
And as men think that agues physic are,
And th’ ague being spent, give over care;
So thou, sick world, mistakest thyself to be
Well, when, alas! thou’rt in a lethargy.
Her death did wound and tame thee then, and then         25
Thou might’st have better spared the sun, or man.
That wound was deep, but ’tis more misery,
That thou hast lost thy sense and memory.
’Twas heavy then to hear thy voice of moan,
But this is worse, that thou art speechless grown.         30
Thou hast forgot thy name thou hadst; thou wast
Nothing but she, and her thou hast o’erpast.
For, as a child kept from the fount, until
A prince, expected long, come to fulfil
The ceremonies, thou unnamed hadst laid,         35
Had not her coming thee her palace made.
Her name defined thee, gave thee form and frame,
And thou forget’st to celebrate thy name.
Some months she hath been dead—but being dead,
Measures of time are all determined—         40
But long she hath been away, long, long, yet none
Offers to tell us who it is that’s gone.
But as in states doubtful of future heirs,
When sickness without remedy impairs
The present prince, they’re loth it should be said,         45
The prince doth languish, or the prince is dead.
So mankind, feeling now a general thaw,
A strong example gone, equal to law,
The cement, which did faithfully compact
And glue all virtues, now resolved and slack’d,         50
Thought it some blasphemy to say she was dead,
Or that our weakness was discovered
In that confession; therefore spoke no more,
Than tongues, the soul being gone, the loss deplore.
But though it be too late to succour thee,         55
Sick world, yea dead, yea putrefied, since she,
Thy intrinsic balm and thy preservative,
Can never be renew’d, thou never live,
I—since no man can make thee live—will try
What we may gain by thy Anatomy.         60
Her death hath taught us dearly, that thou art
Corrupt and mortal in thy purest part.
Let no man say, the world itself being dead,
’Tis labour lost to have discovered
The world’s infirmities, since there is none         65
Alive to study this dissection;
For there’s a kind of world remaining still;
Though she, which did inanimate and fill
The world, be gone, yet in this last long night
Her ghost doth walk, that is, a glimmering light,         70
A faint weak love of virtue and of good
Reflects from her, on them which understood
Her worth; and though she have shut in all day,
The twilight of her memory doth stay;
Which, from the carcase of the old world free,         75
Creates a new world, and new creatures be
Produced; the matter and the stuff of this
Her virtue, and the form our practice is.
And, though to be thus elemented arm
These creatures from home-born intrinsic harm         80
—For all assumed unto this dignity
So many weedless paradises be,
Which of themselves produce no venomous sin,
Except some foreign serpent bring it in—
Yet because outward storms the strongest break,         85
And strength itself by confidence grows weak,
This new world may be safer, being told
The dangers and diseases of the old.
For with due temper men do then forego,
Or covet things, when they their true worth know.         90
There is no health; physicians say that we,
At best, enjoy but a neutrality.
And can there be worse sickness than to know
That we are never well, nor can be so?
We are born ruinous; poor mothers cry         95
That children come not right, nor orderly,
Except they headlong come and fall upon
An ominous precipitation.
How witty’s ruin, how importunate
Upon mankind! it labour’d to frustrate         100
Even God’s purpose, and made woman, sent
For man’s relief, cause of his languishment.
They were to good ends, and they are so still,
But accessory, and principal in ill;
For that first marriage was our funeral;         105
One woman, at one blow, then kill’d us all;
And singly, one by one, they kill us now.
We do delightfully ourselves allow
To that consumption; and, profusely blind,
We kill ourselves to propagate our kind.         110
And yet we do not that; we are not men;
There is not now that mankind which was then,
When as the sun and man did seem to strive
—Joint-tenants of the world—who should survive;
When stag, and raven, and the long-lived tree,         115
Compared with man, died in minority;
When if a slow-paced star had stolen away
From the observer’s marking, he might stay
Two or three hundred years to see it again,
And then make up his observation plain;         120
When, as the age was long, the size was great;
Man’s growth confess’d, and recompensed the meat;
So spacious and large, that every soul
Did a fair kingdom and large realm control;
And when the very stature, thus erect,         125
Did that soul a good way towards heaven direct.
Where is this mankind now? who lives to age
Fit to be made Methusalem his page?
Alas! we scarce live long enough to try
Whether a true-made clock run right, or lie.         130
Old grandsires talk of yesterday with sorrow;
And for our children we reserve to-morrow.
So short is life, that every peasant strives,
In a torn house, or field, to have three lives;
And as in lasting, so in length is man,         135
Contracted to an inch, who was a span.
For had a man at first in forests stray’d,
Or shipwreck’d in the sea, one would have laid
A wager, that an elephant or whale,
That met him, would not hastily assail         140
A thing so equal to him; now, alas!
The fairies and the pigmies well may pass
As credible; mankind decays so soon,
We’re scarce our fathers’ shadows cast at noon.
Only death adds to our length; nor are we grown         145
In stature to be men, till we are none.
But this were light, did our less volume hold
All the old text; or had we changed to gold
Their silver, or disposed into less glass
Spirits of virtue, which then scatter’d was.         150
But ’tis not so; we’re not retired, but damp’d;
And, as our bodies, so our minds are cramp’d.
’Tis shrinking, not close weaving that hath thus
In mind and body both bedwarfed us.
We seem ambitious God’s whole work to undo;         155
Of nothing He made us, and we strive too
To bring ourselves to nothing back; and we
Do what we can to do ’t so soon as He.
With new diseases on ourselves we war,
And with new physic, a worse engine far.         160
This man, this world’s vice-emperor, in whom
All faculties, all graces are at home
—And if in other creatures they appear,
They’re but man’s ministers and legates there,
To work on their rebellions, and reduce         165
Them to civility, and to man’s use—
This man, whom God did woo, and, loth to attend
Till man came up, did down to man descend;
This man so great, that all that is, is his,
O, what a trifle, and poor thing he is!         170
If man were anything, he’s nothing now.
Help, or at least some time to waste, allow
To his other wants, yet when he did depart
With her whom we lament, he lost his heart.
She, of whom th’ ancients seemed to prophesy,         175
When they called virtues by the name of she;
She, in whom virtue was so much refined,
That for allay unto so pure a mind
She took the weaker sex; she that could drive
The poisonous tincture, and the stain of Eve,         180
Out of her thoughts and deeds, and purify
All by a true religious alchemy;
She, she is dead; she’s dead; when thou know’st this
Thou know’st how poor a trifling thing man is,
And learn’st thus much by our Anatomy,         185
The heart being perish’d, no part can be free,
And that except thou feed, not banquet, on
The supernatural food, religion,
Thy better growth grows withered and scant;
Be more than man, or thou’rt less than an ant.         190
Then as mankind, so is the world’s whole frame,
Quite out of joint, almost created lame;
For before God had made up all the rest,
Corruption enter’d and depraved the best.
It seized the angels, and then first of all         195
The world did in her cradle take a fall,
And turn’d her brains, and took a general maim,
Wronging each joint of th’ universal frame.
The noblest part, man, felt it first; and then
Both beasts and plants, cursed in the curse of man.         200
So did the world from the first hour decay;
That evening was beginning of the day.
And now the springs and summers which we see,
Like sons of women after fifty be.
And new philosophy calls all in doubt;         205
The element of fire is quite put out;
The sun is lost, and th’ earth, and no man’s wit
Can well direct him where to look for it.
And freely men confess that this world’s spent,
When in the planets, and the firmament         210
They seek so many new; they see that this
Is crumbled out again to his atomies.
’Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone,
All just supply, and all relation.
Prince, subject, father, son, are things forgot,         215
For every man alone thinks he hath got
To be a phœnix, and that then can be
None of that kind of which he is, but he.
This is the world’s condition now, and now
She that should all parts to reunion bow;         220
She that had all magnetic force alone,
To draw and fasten sunder’d parts in one;
She whom wise nature had invented then,
When she observed that every sort of men
Did in their voyage in this world’s sea stray,         225
And needed a new compass for their way;
She that was best, and first original
Of all fair copies, and the general
Steward to fate; she whose rich eyes and breast
Gilt the West Indies, and perfumed the East;         230
Whose having breathed in this world did bestow
Spice on those isles, and bade them still smell so;
And that rich Indy, which doth gold inter,
Is but as single money coin’d from her;
She to whom this world must itself refer,         235
As suburbs, or the microcosm of her;
She, she is dead; she’s dead; when thou know’st this,

(more…)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in creative captures, nature, personal, poetry, Religion | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Make Free Play Great Again

FreePlay-April 17-2016

Free Play’s ethic, as I understand it since 2002, is to integrate a wide variety of motivations to participate in our ongoing experiment. This does include integrating those who are primarily concerned with winning, and concerned with their own performance, but this ethic is not congruent with imposing one’s own competitive ethic on one another. Everybody gets to play and do their own thing as long as this doesn’t poison the very ethic under which we successfully integrate this great jumble and mash-up of aspirations.

This game is in no way, primarily or secondarily, about winning/losing. Free Play Softball is about spontaneously self-organizing to provide a deeply human opportunity for PLAY and PLEASURE and big hearted, freely enjoined, FUN.

Blue-Cap-1080

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in adult learning, experiential learning | Tagged | Leave a comment

Heck of a Trip

heck 48x36" (2016)

Heck 48×36″ (2016)

Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights – interactive tour

Noah Charney’s Salon article, Why Bosch’s Hell feels so real: The answers lie in Freud, Jung and the humble cronut. On the 500th anniversary of the painter’s death, we examine why this specific vision of eternal damnation endures, is too much a jumble to be very sharp, especially given the subject matter, nevertheless, he presents much that is of interest.

As an artist with one foot in the psychedelic/surreal and the other in the phenomenology/psychology of experience, his most personally pertinent point is:

Liminal zones or beings occupy the narrow space between two opposites, a bit of both, wholly neither.

Or beings! For me, there is a lot of pointed, and necessary, wordplay wrapped up in what for Howard was likely an innocent comment.

Be in is the most prominent play. The meeting of being also comes to mind.

Charney:

What people most remember (so vividly that a toned-down version featured in a children’s book, “Pish Posh Said Hieronymus Bosch”) are his hybrid creatures in which he linked two animals, or an animal and a human: a fish with legs, a dog with an armadillo’s back, a leopard with a rhinoceros horn, a rabbit with porcupine quills. These figures, often peripheral to the main subject of the painting, are what ingrain in the mind: disturbing, haunting, but with a childlike macabre playfulness. They embody the uncanny, which is defined as “strange or mysterious, especially in an unsettling way.” They can make you smile and send a shiver down your spine. These are uncanny, liminal creatures.

Bosch’s universe strikes us that much more deeply because we recognize the otherworldly tableaux that he paints. It is the world of our dreams: part nightmare, part fantasy. Our dreams are, themselves, liminal (our mind is awake and wanders while our body sleeps) and are full of Freud’s unheimlich. Dreams can be fantastic (but feel real) or realistic with interjecting unreal fantasy elements. Thus the dream state, and its contents, are both liminal.

It is crucial to add: “embody the uncanny” is necessarily a two-way operation of consciousness. This ‘twoness’ engages the liminal dichotomy. This instantiates the fourness which reveals a crossing between the poles of the uncanny liminal opposites and the uncanny revelation provided by psyche becoming wed to its depiction outside of its embodied self.

Unfortunately, Charney makes a hash of the projective operations of psyche in his serial deployment of Freud, Jung, Klein, and Lacan, for the sake of psychologizing this, in my terms, fourness. Heck, Bosch existed in his own explicit context, a context prior to psychology yet completely enveloped by Christianity!

Bosch’s originality must be traced back to its own questions of “origins.” Bosch himself thematized creativity on the grisaille exterior (fig. 2) of the Garden of Earthly Delights triptych, where he shows the original creation ex nihilo, as described in Genesis, by the Creator himself. Those scholars, including myself, who see Bosch’s painted demons as an innovative watershed in the history of Netherlandish painting note that they remain his signal inventions, especially connected to his recurring novel visions of the afterlife.

Yet this particular originality of Bosch derives from ultimate origins: God’s Creation and the Garden of Eden. Bosch was motivated by the problem of evil, particularly the origins of evil in the world; therefore, in order to trace his own originality, we must go still farther back in time, even to the moment before the advent of humanity, Adam and then Eve, to examine his frequent fascination with the Fall of the Rebel Angels. For Bosch the problems of humanity began with the origin of evil, and his representations show clearly and consistently that evil already exists in the Garden of Eden, to provide temptation for Adam and Eve. Therefore, to get a proper sense of Bosch’s creative impetus, we must first look directly into the face of Satan, by tracing his own origin: his fall from grace and divine favor in heaven, transforming him from his former angelic identity as Lucifer (or light-bearer.) (2009) Larry Silver, Jheronimus Bosch and the Issue of Origins, Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art (v1.1)

The Esoteric Bosch – The Garden of Earthly Delights commentaries by Lee van Laer

One of my first series of visual experiments using mirror symmetries subjected Bosch and the Flemish Breughels to remixing.

garden-music

More recently, came a sort-of, hommage to Bosch.

Bosch In the Orient (2016) 16x16

Bosch In the Orient (2016) 16×16

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in art, artists, psychology, visual experiments, my art | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pareto Trap

Pareto-Trap

Years ago I offered to a musician I was working with (what struck me at the time) to be a commonsense insight: spend your time leveraging your fans who get it and much less time trying to convince every last person to like your music. We then discussed the powerful draw the unconverted have on the creative person’s aspiration to have their creations liked.

At the time, my sense of marketing music was attached to three ideas, (1) think globally, act locally, (2) thoroughly understand what any middleman does, and what is in it for them (3) Who gets it? Always be mindful of the 80/20 Rule.

The 80/20 Rule, the Pareto Efficiency, suggests that in any deployment of resources, such as personal time and energy, there are optimal, and, sub-optimal matchings. If one spends time on converting hard cases, that time is lost forever. But, it could be spent converting both easy cases and strong ‘leaners.’

(Although I don’t work in the music business anymore, I would add a fourth principle to my simple foundational set: (4) Any minute spent on “A” cannot be recovered to spend on [B]. Time is lost forever.)

A friend described the proliferation of dating dead ends and asked me how much a hard dating case should be indulged. She described a stereotypical kind of prospective romantic partner: afraid to diligently pursue deeper connection.

(her) When does one give up?

(me) As soon as you realize the person is combining fear and lack of self-awareness.

(her) This often pops up on the first date.

(me) Better you find out sooner, rather than later.

(her) Harsh suggestion!

(me) 80/20 Rule. After all, the optimal efficiency is realized when you are having a first date with a self-aware man who is fearless about partnering.

PARETO TRAP >my term :-)

The Pareto Trap, a construct of critical cognition, states that systemic feedback in some occasions of Pareto inefficiency will reinforce that the negative subject is all there is.

We only have customers with problems.

There are only scared man-child single men.

This follows from the inefficient deployment of cognitive resources that experientially accrue and come to bias the operative system self-awareness.

To break the Pareto Trap, in the dating example, means to spend less time with unlikely candidates; and, assuming such candidates represent a substantial majority, it may be most efficient to knock each out of contention for the sake of maximizing an encounter with a rarer, likely candidate.

(As several of my close friends know, at least this is an experiment one can do.)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in adult learning, my research, psychology, social psychology, organizational development | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Buzzing Pareidolia Part One

Caged Bird (2014) Stephen Calhoun 7x5"

Caged Bird (2014) Stephen Calhoun 7×5″

Today, my research is centered on creating images which evoke pareidolia, and, secondarily, on the understanding of serendipity in adult experience and development.

Pareidolia is not a well-known term despite one expert’s calling it a buzzword. But, pareidolia doesn’t even attach itself to a normative definition. Nor does it attach to a definition stripped of question-begging. Yet, from the vagaries of its treatment arise estimations of why there is pareidolia.

Google: definition | pareidolia

Pareidolia (/pær??do?li?/ parr-i-DOH-lee-?) is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists.

perceives a familiar pattern of something Really, how much more vague and circular can you get?

Dictionary.com

the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features This goes right into the weeds. (Weeds may suggest a familiar pattern of something–pay this no mind!)

Wikipedia

is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists Question begged here through the roping of psychological phenomenon in to the mix.

Rorschach ink blot

Rorschach ink blot

The Rational Wiki is droll, and, its revealing point of emphasis is highlighted.

Pareidolia is the phenomenon of recognizing patterns, shapes, and familiar objects in a vague and sometimes random stimulus. It’s the result of your brain trying to “make sense” of input that really has no sense to find in it. This is seen often in inkblot tests, where random splatters of ink suggest different images to different people (look, it’s a conspiracy: they’re all deliberately made to look like vaginas!) but also in cases of people seeing visions, ghosts, and other likenesses in what are actually just random patterns that happen to look like those things.

Read this again, and address the follow-up question.

result of your brain trying to “make sense” of input that really has no sense to find in it

Where is making sense located?

Ironically, given the source, result of your brain trying to “make sense” of input that really has no sense to find in it, locates the answer to the question in two places at once. Contradiction!

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in art, artists, experiential learning, folk psychology, psychology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Impossibly Pretentious Academic Titles From the Basement

Chakras-of-the-Post-Implicate-Soul-Ecstacy-Narcissism-Intuition
New edition forthcoming, ?
(obviously published by the POST-ACADEMIC PRESS)

soundtrack:

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in creative captures, dada, friends, humor | Leave a comment

Riding With Hair Duce

7458355404_e6bc18f776_b
64 Cadillac Fleetwood via photopin (license)

It was bound to happen some night and it happened last night. I had a dream with Donald J. Trump in it. As a longtime dream keeper and dream analyst, the dream with respect to psyche was transparent.

Scene 1

I climb the stairs of a house in an Frisco neighborhood. I’m on the way to help a friend with a rock band she is promoting.

16102744042_c34e169870_m
photo credit:  via photopin (license)

I find her hanging out with the band in a bedroom. She’s sitting on the bed. The band of four hippie guys in their twenties is spread between a couch and a chair. I sit on the bed with her. She and the band are discussing ideas for a video.

“We have this great ’64 caddy. Maybe just shoot a video with us singing and playing as we drive around?”

She thinks for a moment, looks at me, turns back to the band and suggests,

“Good, but I can top it all off.”

“How so?” I ask her.

“I know Donald Trump. He can be the driver.”

Turning my head toward my friend, the bright and darkly pretty gal on the bed next to me, I raise my eyebrows in a silent, ‘You do?’

“Should I call him, see if he is available?”

The band collectively chuckles, and nods their assent.

After a few minutes on the phone, she ends the call, and announces, “He’ll be right over.”

(Surprise is the feeling tone.)

Scene 2

We all get up and file out down the narrow front stairs. A big maroon 1964 hard top Cadillac sits in the driveway, parked head first.

As the group gets to the car, a black limousine pulls up to the curb, a drive gets out, walks to the rear passenger door, and opens the door for Donald J Trump. He is dressed in a blue suit with a bright red tie.

We hail him, and I move toward the driver’s side of the caddy. Trump has walked briskly and his tiny hand reaches the door handle before my own (ummm, large,) hand does.

“I got this,” he tells me.

We pile into the car, with the band taking over the back seat, and me between my lady friend, and, behind the wheel, Trump. I have the best view as Trump takes the keys from one of the lads and tries to figure out where the key needs to be inserted to start the car.

Leaning toward him, he backs me off,

“I got this.”

He eventually finds the ignition slot and starts the car. He gingerly backs the car out of the driveway onto the street. I think to myself, that Trump seems a bit nervous, seems like he hasn’t driven a car recently. The car slowly backs up until the rear wheels crunch against the opposite curb. Trump looks at me and glares.

He manages to get the caddy faced in the correct lane of the street, and slowly he drives away. Reaching a cross street, he turns right.

Scene 3

(The scene changes. The street we’ve turned onto is a circular cul de sac, but now it is winter, and there is a little bit of snow on the ground and on the road.)

Trump is obviously nervous now and being careful. The caddy skids for a moment and bumps the curb. Now, I give him a look.

“I got this.”

But, the caddy gets sideways. Although it isn’t stuck because of the snow, the curve of the street is such that there isn’t enough room to maneuver, so Trump steers the car up and over a curb and attempts to turn it around.

I turn toward the band in the back seat. One of the hippies gives me a thumb’s up. I turn toward Trump,

“Do you need some help?” With this appeal, I am sure he hasn’t driven a car in a long long time.

A bit frustrated, Trump glances toward me,

“I got this!”

nukeem

Conscious capacity for one-sidedness is a sign of the highest culture, but involuntary one-sidedness, i.e., inability to be anything but one-sided, is a sign of barbarism. (C.G. Jung, Psychological Types)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in analytic(al) psychology, personal | Tagged , | Leave a comment