Author Archives: Stephen Calhoun

Stephen Calhoun

About Stephen Calhoun

Outsider researcher, experiential guide, naive musician and artist. "My beliefs are unbelievable!" (P.Krassner) "Follow the perfume, not the tracks." (Shams)

Chiara Lubich Reformulated for Public Libraries

Chiara_Lubich-LG

“And the answer to the learning vocation is above all an act of brotherhood. Indeed, one does not enter this field only to solve a problem, but if it acts on behalf of the interest of the community, wishing her well as if it were his own. This way of living allows the librarian to deeply listen to the citizens, who know their needs and resources. This helps to understand the history of the city itself, to enhance the cultural and community heritage. Accordingly, he can understand, little by little , the true vocation of the city and looking at her safely help to chart its way.

The function of the love of reading and seeking knowledge and deepening understanding, in fact, are to create and protect the conditions that give all other loves the opportunity to flourish: the love of young people, who want to get married and need a home and a job, the love of one who wants to study and needs of schools and books, the love of one who is engaged in the enterprise itself and needs roads and railways …

Knowledge is the love of loves, it collects in the unity of a common project, the wealth of individuals and groups, each consenting to perform freely their vocation. But knowledge also raises collaboration, making needs to interact with the resources, the demands with offers, infusing confidence in each other. The public library can be compared to the stem of a flower, which sustains and nourishes the blooming petals of the community.”

A version inspired by Chiara Lubich from Essential Writings: Spirituality Dialogue Culture.

Economy of Communion web site

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Eyes Have It

Rumi quatrain

O dear friend, I am bound to you through friendship.

Wherever you may step, I am the ground for you.

In the creed of loverhood it is never allowed

That I should see the world through you and not see you.

I am joyous, because I am free from worldly joy.

I am drunk, because even though I don’t drink wine, I am elated.

I don’t have a need to be concerned about anyone else’s state.

May this secret glory [continue to] be a blessing for me.

May the heart of love never gaze at this base world!

What is there to gaze upon except Love?

I will reject my eyes on the day of my death

If they forsake love due to gazing at this life.

How long will I [need to] experience colors and smells from the world of time?

It’s time for me to meet that one of exquisite character.

When I look at him, I’ll see my own image.

And when I look at myself, I’ll see his image.

Translation by Rawan Farhadi and Ibraham Gamard (src)

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You’ve Been Warned

problemofthefeminine

Kali

Kali was first manifested when the Goddess Parvati knitted her brows in fury when the demon, Daruka, threatened the Gods. It was then that the three-eyed Kali first sprang forth from Parvati, fully armed, and immediately putting an end to Daruka. It is for this reason that Kali is considered an aspect of Parvati.

Other stories tell of how Kali fought and killed two demons. It was then, celebrating Her victory, that She drained the blood from their bodies and, drunk from the slaughter, She began to dance. Kali became overjoyed with the feel of their dead flesh under Her feet, and She continued to keep dancing, more and more wildly, until She finally realized that Her husband, Shiva, was underneath Her, and that She was dancing him to death.

Realizing this, Kali’s wildness did slow down, but only for a short while; it is believed that She will eventually continue Her dance and that when she does, it will bring an end to the world. Yet, her followers still believe that once faced and understood, Kali has the ability to free Her worshippers from all their fears. Once this occurs, then Kali metamorphasizes into another aspect, that of a loving and comforting Mother.

There is yet another version of Kali’s manifestation. The Gods were not able to kill the demon, Raktabija. Each drop of his blood that touched the ground turned into another Raktabija. Thus, every time he was struck, millions of his duplicates appeared all over the battlefield.

At this point the Gods were totally desperate, and they then turned to Shiva for help. Shiva, though, was so deep in meditation that he could not be reached. The Gods then turned to Shiva’s consort Parvati for help. The Goddess Parvati immediately set out to do battle with the demon, and it was then that She took the form of Kali.

Kali then appeared, with Her red eyes, dark complexion, gaunt features, hair unbound, and Her teeth as sharp as fangs. She rode into the midst of the battle on a lion, and it was only then that the demon Raktabija first began to experience fear.

Kali then ordered the Gods to attack Raktabija, while She spread Her tongue over the battlefield, covering it completely, and preventing even one drop of the demon’s blood from falling. In doing this, Kali prevented Raktabija from reproducing himself again, and the Gods were then victorious. Dolls of India

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Refraction

Refraction

Refraction-description

Beyond Reflection Through an Academic Lens: Refraction and International Experiential Education
Monica Pagano, Loyola Marymount University, Laura Roselle Elon University [ERIC]

We introduce “refraction” as the transformative learning process that helps students understand and identify the intermediate processes of learning that aid the development of critical thinking skills. Refraction centers learning by integrating and elaborating the experience, the academic subject matter, and the context by examining assumptions and biases.

comment:

Another avenue is to be more rigorous about reflecting about reflecting. A conception of Second Order Reflection is not in general circulation in theory-making in experiential learning. Because I would be able to deploy my own complementary structural analytic means–the Reduced Bateson Set–it is possible to go further and amplify refraction as being related to a Third Order Reflection. In that regard, the analytic aim would be to organize and logically type the conceptions underlying the cognitive instrumentality of reflection; to propose reasons for starting at one point and not another in beginning to reflect on reflection; and, to suppose the reflecting subject brings identifiable particularities into, and expresses a phenomenology about, their specific reflecting on reflection. Those particularities would include assumptions and biases.

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Teaching Cartoon: Destiny

Sticks

“There is no such thing as an omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise or too cruel for that.” Oscar Wilde

A Story about Choice and Fate or Destiny — or choosing one fate for another
The King had been obsessed with fate and death for as long as he could remember. He didn’t know precisely when his intense preoccupation with these intertwined realities had begun, but begun it had, and, gradually, they had come to consume nearly every waking moment.

Some children had a favorite toy which played a central role in their early lives. Other children had an imaginary friend who kept them company through difficult times. As a boy, during adolescence, and into young adulthood, the King’s constant companions had been thoughts of fate and death.

Perhaps, the triggering events which helped precipitate his condition were the many wars that had been fought during his childhood, with so many of the Kingdom’s families losing father’s, sons, and brothers. Or, maybe, the terrible plagues which had swept through the lands, taking the lives of numerous men women and children, somehow had planted a deadly seed of another kind deep within his subconscious.

Undoubtedly, the foregoing sort of factors played contributing roles, but the King suspected that the real source of his anxieties and fears started with the mysterious stranger he had encountered one day in his room. The King had not been sure whether what took place that night was a dream or something else, but the experience had stayed with him.

Whenever he permitted his thoughts to drift in that direction, the whole scene would occupy his consciousness, like an invading force. The experience was just as vivid now as it had been some three decades ago when it first occurred.

As young boys are wont to do, he had been lying in bed, listening to the sounds of the night, thinking about the events of the day, planning what he would do tomorrow, when he heard a noise of some sort – like someone clearing his or her throat. The noise had come from the corner of his room which was always in shadows at night — even when the full moon shone through his window, as it did that evening.

All his attention was drawn to that portion of the room. He peered into the darkness of the corner, and although he couldn’t see anything, nonetheless, he felt a presence of some sort. He knew, with certainty, he was not alone.

A strange fear descended on him. He became paralyzed. (remainder of tale) h/t Bill Whitehouse.

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Thinking About Tomorrow

The Umbrella

The Umbrella

As Nasrudin and a friend walked, it suddenly began raining hard. The friend noticed that Nasrudin was carrying an umbrella, and said,

“Open your umbrella to prevent us from getting soaked.”

“No,” said Nasrudin, “that won’t do us much good. This umbrella is full of holes.”

“So then why did you bring it?” the friend curiously asked.

“Well,” explained Nasrudin, “I didn’t really think it would rain today.”

 

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Typological Shifting

ENTP

I recently did a short version free MBTI. It showed by Feeling function slipping into Thinking by 1%. In addition, my Extroversion was barely captured–so it would seem. However, I am an extroverted feeling type.

The tendency to separate the opposites as much as possible and to strive for singleness of meaning is absolutely necessary for clarity of consciousness, since discrimination is of its essence. But when the separation is carried so far that the complementary opposite is lost sight of, and the blackness of the whiteness, the evil of the good, the depth of the heights, and so on, is no longer seen, the result is one-sidedness, which is then compensated from the unconscious without our help. C.G. Jung Mysterium Coniunctionis (1955). CW 14: 470

The closeness of the E/I and F/T in my typology (close to) paradoxically reflects much greater differentiation of their functions in my psyche. For me the transformation from ENFP to, in actuality, something like XNXP is hard won.

Bonus:

BigFive-July2014

My short version Big Five never changes much; I’ve been more agreeable and less introverted at times. I wish it captured realistic/unrealistic and, in doing so, could gain-say deeper neuroticism.

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Mirroring NASA Galactic Photos

Carina Nebula

Carina Nebula

symmetry Carina Nebula

Vertical symmetry. I recently had reason to do a lot of searching in PD image resources. Because I have a good idea of what makes for good source material for adding to my symmetry series of visual experiments, I knew this Hubble photo from NASA would be a likely fruitful source. Yup.

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Tumblr Site for Symmetry Series

Symmetry-Hypothesis

 

I created a tumblr for my symmetry and mirroring visual experiments, Symmetry-hypothesis.

The main gallery of experiments my naive art will receive the best of my symmetry and other visual experiments, while the tumblr will receive symmetry-focused rejects, works-in-progress, amusing failures, and the good stuff. Be sure to click on the icons to see the full view.

Symmetry-hypothesis

 

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Bambino Communicates

Free Play June 29

Our foray into animating mostly aging bodies for the purpose of continuing the autopoietic experiment set course on a perfect June day.

Last week featured a walk-off comeback, but Sunday’s game echoed the game two weeks before, the bottom of the order of the visitors–the visiting team being the team I place Mark Jr. on–came through again with lots of seeing-eye hits. To make the self-organization of the mismatch possible, Jedi Matt arrived late, after Pete, “shirtless, above average first baseman,” and automatically was placed at the bottom of the home team’s line-up.

Bambino!

Bambino!

Driving away after the game, I slowed down to complement Jedi Matt on his five hits in five at-bats day–including a homerun, and he in his modest way, reminded me he is over two weeks, ten-for-ten. I have to emphasize modest too: for the twelve years I have been playing Free Play Softball Matt has not once become entangled in any drama, any vaunting of any outcome, and, even his reminder about his performance carried with it no inflection of self-aggrandizement. Yes, Jedis are like this!

Katz, the greatest junk ball hitter of all time.

Katz, the greatest junk ball hitter of all time.

Where is this ball headed?

I tease Katz, asking him when he arrives,

Which Katz is showing up today?

The effortless fielder and crafty hitter has been showing up recently.

3-autopoietic-systems

Niklas Luhmann suggests new framework for understanding society that society is an autopoietic system, in other word, society is the nexus of communication. He insists that the element of the society is communication, not actor nor action.

Purloined from Naruse, Iba; Ecosystem as an Autopoietic System Considering Relationship between Ecology and Society based on Luhmann’s Theory [pdf].

(Being a cybernetics kind-of-dude, any event that constitutes a difference making the difference is communicative; this includes all such events in the closed system of a softball game. Example: a hit or a catch encapsulates the embodied psychic intention; so a hit or a catch enacts the communication in the physically permeable agentic structure of the game’s social system. A game structures the possibilities for emergent instances of communication and so a game instantiates events that reflect, and briefly ‘incarnate,’ the foamy, non-substantial, psychic intentions.)

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Degrees of Becoming

It is not down in any map; true places never are.

God keep me from ever completing anything.

Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!

(Herman Melville)

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Explorer 2

A portrait of Eliane Radigue, produced by the Austrian IMA (Institute for Media Archeology), which observes Eliane in her workspace, operating the ARP and talking about the process of composing and recording.

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Explorer 1

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Inside the Psychologist’s Studio With Albert Bandura

Dr. Bandura wrote one of the few and most important papers on serendipity in adult development; except the paper, Exploration of Fortuitous Determinants of Life Paths (pdf), traffics in fortuity rather than serendipity!

“Perceptions are guided by preconceptions. Observers’ cognitive competencies and perceptual sets dispose them to look for some things but not others. Their expectations not only channel what they look for but partly affect what features they extract from observations and how they interpret what they see and hear.” ~ Albert Bandura, Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, 1986

This quote provides more than an echo of William James. Bandura occupies an important spot in the Jamesian ideational lineage.

He’ll turn ninety next year.

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chaosmosis: the emergence of order from chaos, engendering new autopoietic entities

Aesthetic paradigm
1. In Guattari’s work, as opposed to scientific paradigms, paradigms that are schizoanalytic, rhizomatic, and chaosmic, involving processes rather than structures.

psychoanalysis, which claimed to affirm itself as scientific, [...] has everything to gain from putting itself under the aegis of this new type of aesthetic processual paradigm. [CM 106 CM=Chaosmosis]

2. A schizoanalytic approach to clinical treatment which, instead of describing the psyche in terms of structures or stages, views the production of subjectivity as a creative process.

Grafts of transference [...] [issue] from a creation which itself indicates a kind of aesthetic paradigm. One creates new modalities of subjectivity in the same way that an artist creates new forms from the palette. [CM 7]

3. The creative capacity of chaosmosis, the emergence of order from chaos, engendering new autopoietic entities; this ontological process is exemplified by but not limited to artistic creation.

art [...] engenders unprecedented, unforeseen and unthinkable qualities of being. The decisive threshold constituting this new aesthetic paradigm lies in the aptitude of these processes of creation to auto-affirm themselves as existential nuclei, autopoietic machines. [CM 106; see also 112] – J. W.

The Deleuze and Guattari Dictionary


Tu v dome:
Ladislav Durko – piano
Ali Kobzova – voice, violin
Bronka Schragge – cello
Ozo Guttler – drums
Martin Sutovec – banjo
_______________________________
text original:
The Heart asks Pleasure – first -
And then – Excuse from Pain -
And then – those little Anodyness
That deaden suffering –
And then – to go to sleep –
And then – if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor
The privilege to die –
Emily Dickinson 1830 — 1886

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Some Days You Eat the Bear, and Some Days. . .

Free Play Softball

Except for the inveterate rebels, everybody took off their hat to let the sun light up their face

Buddha softball

Life is like heady wine.
Everyone reads the label on the bottle. Hardly anyone tastes the wine.
Buddha once pointed to a flower and asked each of his disciples to say something about it.

One pronounced a lecture.
Another a poem.
Yet another a parable.
Each outdid the other in depth and erudition.
Label-makers!
Mahakashyap smiled and held his tongue. (Only he had seen the flower.)

If I could only taste a bird, a flower,
a tree,
a human face!
But, alas, I have no time.
My energy is spent deciphering the label.

(h/t Anthony DeMello)

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Fathers

Crede Calhoun

Stephen, Crede C. Calhoun, cousin Crede Merchant-Prashkar, Crede H. Calhoun

One of the few photographs in existence–with myself and my father in it as adults.

My dad loved to skipper and race Highlander sailboats.

Highlander Crede Calhoun

Ol’ 954

I did not like to do so, and would not after the summer of 1967; the summer I turned 14. On the other hand, the summer before, his strong hand grabbed my arm and plucked me from my spot sleeping in the bow on the spinnaker just as the boat buried its port rails and capsized on a brisk late June racing day. Thanks, man!

I inherited his almost perfect nose. We were about the same size too. And, many have remarked over the years that my dad and I share a ribald sense of humor. I suppose I got some of his very big brain. Among many differences is a singular one: psychology terrified my father in about the same huge portion that it fascinates me.

The photo above was taken at his 75th birthday party in 1999. I learned a lot about my dad’s influence on young lawyers, sailors, and, witnessed his movie star’s charm in action too. It was very moving. After returning in 1992, by 1993 I got to spend quality time with him on occasion. Susan, myself, his third wonderful wife Joanne, and pops, would get together for dinner. Joanne inspired him to really make an effort to reconnect with his sons and my mom in the aftermath of his eldest son’s and our brother Tim’s, death in early 1993. She worked magic. This led to many memorable holiday seasons.

I’m a deep diver, and Crede my dad was a sailor. His comment to me on one face-to-face in his home office in 2000, the year before he drowned in a sailing accident, was, “Hey, as long as you’re happy, and you should be–because Susan is great!”

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Poet Tim Calhoun

Tim Calhoun

My fraternal (duh!) twin brother Tim the day of his college graduation in, I think, 1986. He is father to my nephews Jesse and Nathan. He’s the only Calhoun son to graduate from college, which is statistically surprising because our parents reflect a Haverford/Bryn Mawr romance. (I once was told I look like a college professor!) Tim was a poet and he loved his kids with all his might and mighty heart.

Crede my brother, Crede my dad, Jesse my nephew

Crede my brother, Crede my dad, Jesse my nephew

Three generations of Calhoun male folk. My younger brother Crede–yeah, lots of credes–and his wife Carol McMahon Calhoun are parents of daughter Caleigh. She’ll be 14 soon.

Crede Calhoun

Grandfather Crede holding Caleigh, September 2000

Great dad and mom–brother Crede and sister-in-law Carol–and spitfire daughter, make for a fantastic future legacy: my parents had three sons and so Cails has a big job to help individuate the family’s deep feminine future.

Stepfather

Yesterday a stranger in a parking lot told me, “Happy father’s day.”

“Thank you.”

Susan’s son is my step son but I have never ever played the role of surrogate father. He’s got a great dad, and Matt is a terrific man.

I did on one occasion give Matt advice. I told him, and did so trying to frighten him, that “if you fool around too much you’ll end up like me.”

He gave me a horrified look.

advice. . . seemed to have done the trick!

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Experience, Chance, Discovery, Insight, (and Amputation.)

2-SLIDE(Slide #2)

Experience, Chance, Discovery, Insight

An interactive presentation and group exploration of the element of serendipity and novelty in programmed experiential learning, centered on a learning experience and discussion about the interplay of fortuity, learning style, sympathy/antipathy, deep meaningfulness, and, symbolic cognition.

This is the heart of “transformative learning”
the breaking in of another view,
over which we have no control,
of which we understand little,
but which asks us questions
and puts us in a position of listening.
adapted from Martin Palmer

“Masters in the Art of Living draw no distinction between their work and their play, their labor and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation. They simply pursue their vision of excellence in whatever they are doing and leave it to others to decide whether they are working or playing. To themselves they are always doing both.” James Michener

1-SLIDE (Slide #1)

3-SLIDE (Slide #3)

The Experiential Learning Community of Practice (EL-COP) held their annual symposium yesterday. I participated and presented.

My presentation was an experiment in pulling a room full of learners through a very compressed phase of generating novel data, then forming an intention, then, instead of facilitation, taking questions and impressions, while offering to do the facilitation one-on-one.

As my colleague Ken Warren would put it, I implemented an amputation (of the facilitation.) I did this intentionally simply because I wanted participants to at least have acquired the set of data and developed their individual intention to learn. Hopefully somebody will take me up on my offer; although I will make some effort to compel closer colleagues to do so!

I spent several weeks back in February pondering whether I should: present research; do a mini demonstration, or, give the participants a shot at truly transformative learning by bringing them through half the usual squareONE process, and then offering to guide individuals through the entire process. I knew I couldn’t do a full group process in one hour; almost always it requires a minimum three hours.

Design Elements:

create an assembly of data
develop a personal focus
develop a charged intention-to-learn
explore a field of data
discover; then realize an objective; then propose a developmental action

(My presentation was the day’s capper. The whole Powerpoint moment was sucked into technological follies. I use Apple, I convert to Microsoft Powerpoint (from OpenOffice,) and stuck it on the USB thumb drive I assume can be read by a Windows laptop. Ooops, forgot to format the thumb drive for Windows. Plan B: use another participant’s MacBook, except it didn’t have the facility to import a Powerpoint. The result was I had to use the OpenOffice word processing document and couldn’t project the slides. Okay, here they are–all three of ‘em.)

squareONE experiential toolmakers – home base

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The Primacy of Experience

The body of research undertaken to date is compatible with the position that the “feeling of authorship” is a conscious sensation that is, in principle, no different from the feeling of seeing the color red or smelling a rose. What are its neuronal correlates? What are the functional and neuroanatomical links between the brain centers that initiate action and those networks that generate the feeling of authorship? Would such a neuronal mechanism, if understood, resolve the apparent conflict between the hypothesis that the universe is causally closed and a psychological sense of freedom (“I am the author of my own actions”)? To what extent might bottom-up accounts of causation for such actions within the brain and nervous system be modified by top-down influences, for instance, expectations? How can higher levels of integration and personal volition—the subject’s beliefs, hopes, purposes, and desires—be said to initiate action? And, more generally, how might physicalist frameworks for top-down causation be conceptualized in the first place?

Furthermore: How can convictions about the possibility for self-actualization be squared with ideas of ‘causal closure’? Are such philosophical or scientific ideas based on compelling interpretations of the implications of physical science? Were there to be no such thing as actual libertarian free will, can there be actual, philosophically coherent, moral responsibility? Can non-reductive physicalism, affirming both the reality of the mind and the thesis that every physical event has a physical cause, break the logjam philosophically and possibly point towards fruitful new research agendas in neuroscience? How does contemporary philosophical theology engage with this area of inquiry in the neurosciences and in the philosophy of mind? What is the status and shape of active contemporary debates in philosophical theology that pertain to questions of volition and causation? Top Down Coordination and Volition – Templeton.org

Evan Thompson

embodied-Mindbetween-ourselves
Cornerstones

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Symmetry Series – The Dowser

The Dowser  - series

The Dowser — series – symmetry sketches from a photograph – S.Calhoun 2014

The source photograph, taken with an iPhone 4s, ProCamera app, is at the top. The manipulations were all done using the excellent stand-alone application (for Apple devices,) FX Photo Studio Pro 2.7.

I do not know if there is a keeper in this series. Still, the series reflects the fascinating metamorphosis of feel that simple alterations generate. The black and white bottom item looks like an old illustration in a children’s book.

Above it is one that might be worth doing manipulations within Photoshop.

 

 

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