Dec.12-2014 Program: Analytical Psychology Society of Western NY, Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears - myself, with Kenneth Warren
- A Debacle
- Sam Harris Solves the Problem of Islamic Faith
- Cat Vision
- Deeply 80th Birthday Abdullah Ibrahim
- Relishing the Friend
- Loosing My Cool in the Cool
- The Pen
- Titanic Ambitions
- Generative Alchemy
- Nice Guys Finish
- Around and Round, and Never Off the Surface
- Between Heaven and Hell
- Imaginal Cybernetics, the Demonic Daemon, Deep Play
- Creative Workflow – Cat Trying to Swallow Its Own Tail
- “The judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy. The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, a characteristic also of the child, and as such it appears inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. It is therefore short-sighted to treat fantasy, on account of its risky or unacceptable nature, as a thing of little worth.” The Psychology of Individuation, CG Jung
- Generative Alchemy
- Inside the Psychologist’s Studio With Albert Bandura
- Roots of My Urbanology (II.)
- Leave-taking is as necessary as the homecoming (I.)
- Nothing that might not happen in a universe of fortuity
Tagsa-ha! adult learning analytic psychology anthropology art biology buddhism charlatanry cognitive psychology consciousness critical culture critical thinking culture current events economics education experiential learning Freeplay Softball Gregory Bateson humor management music my casual art new paradigms organizational development phenomenology philosophy poetry politics pseudo-science psychology quotes religion resources Rumi science social psychology speculations sports sufism teaching cartoons teaching story transformative learning urbanology web media
- "It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious." - Alfred North Whitehead
- More email newsletters July 2, 2014
- new language annotation software June 25, 2014
- Software, Culture, and Political Economy in New Media Capitalism June 25, 2014
- ye olde net… June 25, 2014
- re the big data explosion June 10, 2014
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
- If, during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of their organization, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometric powers of increase of each species, at some age, season or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite variety in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each being’s own welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce offspring similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection. [Charles Darwin (1859) On the Origin of Species]
- “It is essential to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” James Madison
- All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it. -Benjamin Franklin
Thinking Outside the Agora
- The Cosmonaut's Heaven October 25, 2014While all of her classmates dreamed of being astronauts, the thought of space terrified Sonia. It wasn't the vastness of the black, but the idea that skeletons were somehow floating past the stars, their empty eyes staring out of their spacesuits.Read more...
- Never Come Between A Leprechaun And His Bong October 25, 2014That's a crucial lesson that you'll learn from the movie Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood. A lot of this movie is on Youtube thanks to MovieClips, and it actually looks worse than its criminally insane predecessor Leprechaun 5: In Tha Hood.Read more...
- On Vampire Diaries, The Worst Part Of Immortality: You Can't Start Over October 25, 2014Last night's Vampire Diaries had a pretty interesting set of metaphors for what it's like to be immortal and yet bound by the past. On the one hand, Stefan tries to explain to Elena the need to start a new life every 30 years. On the other, we see how badly Damon's attempt at a […]
- A Beautiful View Of Yesterday's Eclipse October 25, 2014A partial solar eclipse was visible from much of North America yesterday afternoon , resulting in a flood of gobstopping astrophotography. This shot comes from the folks at Joshua Tree National Park. For more, we recommend SpaceWeather.com and the eclipse hashtag on Twitter.Read more...
- A Google Executive Just Crushed Felix Baumgartner's Free Fall Record October 25, 2014Move aside, Felix Baumgartner. Alan Eustace, a senior vice president at Google, fell from the top of the stratosphere this morning, plummeting nearly 26 vertical miles in the span of about 15 minutes. In doing so, he has broken Baumgartner's 2012 record for world's highest-altitude free fall – and by a pretty sizable margin.Read more...
- The Cosmonaut's Heaven October 25, 2014
Category Archives: adult learning
Advise: click on the start triangle above for your momentary soundtrack. Thank you.
I wrote this fifteen years ago.
For over forty years people all over the world have received and been touched by the artistry and music of Dr. Abdullah Ibrahim. Not to stop there, however; the multitude of musical gifts of the African tradition, and, more generally, the gifts of the deeply abiding traditions of peoples’ musics and arts, are vital harmonizing mediums for the sensitive souls of people. Many people allow the artistry of such providers of joyful nutrition to make an essential, sympathetic impression on their own life and creative work.
Here’s a curious thought. In the past year I have been reflecting upon and gathering impressions having to do with, first, my being subjected to experiential learning, and, secondly, coming to understand how it is framed as a modality of constructive transformation in the West.
What I was subjected to for several years was not Western, but it was presumably outfitted for me, the American. Then, under the tutelage and mentorship of Judith Buerkel (1996,) and soon enough, after gaining some knowledge and understanding of the field, I began to reckon with the overlap between applications, learnings, and the means given by, in effect, Western psychology, to understand what it is for a person to experientially learn.
For example, there is some overlap of western theory with this thought:
“Inspiration is a stream of wonder and bewilderment. Music should be healing, music should uplift the soul, music should inspire. The thought attached to things is a life power. In order to define it, it may be called a vibratory power. There is a thought attached to all things made either by an individual or the multitude, and that thought will give results accordingly. The influence put into things is according to the intensity of the feeling, as a note resounds according to the intensity with which you strike it. So it is according to the medium that you take in striking vibrations that the effect is made. In all things there is God, but the object is the instrument, and man is life itself. Into the object a person puts life. When a certain thing is made, it is at that time that life is put into it which goes on and on like breath in a body.” Pir Hazrat Inayat Khan
At the same time, for me, there is a very large non-overlapping area. Question: what has music meant for you?
Abdullah Ibrahim reached 80 today. One thing hasn’t changed over the years, A.I. remains 241 months older than me per the way the calendar differentiates the distinction. Otherwise, comparably, I am a child. When I think of Ibrahim I think secondly of his music, and, firstly of his several lessons. One lesson: everything is always completely at stake.
(A sufi once, with nothing on his mind, was – without warning – struck at from behind. He turned and murmured, choking back the tears: “The man you hit has been dead for thirty years. He’s left this world!” The man who’d struck him said: “You talk a lot for someone who is dead! But talk’s not action – while you boast, you stray Further and further from the secret Way, And while a hair of you remains, your heart And Truth are still a hundred worlds apart.” Burn all you have, all that you thought and knew (Even your shroud must go; let that burn too); Then leap into the flames, and as you burn Your pride will falter, you’ll begin to learn. But keep one needle back and you will meet A hundred thieves who force you to retreat Think of that tiny needle which became The negligible cause of Jesus’ shame). As you approach this stage’s final veil, Kingdoms and wealth, substance and water fail; Withdraw into yourself, and one by one Give up the things you own – when this is done, Be still in selflessness and pass beyond All thoughts of good and evil; break this bond, And as it shatters you are worthy of Oblivion, the Nothingness of love.)
Lie down beside the flowing stream
and see Life passing by and know
That of the world’s transient nature
this one sign is enough for us
It’s a very hard lesson.
Over on the nogutsnoglory blog I am celebrating the artistry and ongoing vitality of Abdullah Ibrahim with a series of posts, all of which are restorations of archival posts from the defunct Mantra Modes blog. Should you begin with the first post from today MAGIC EIGHTY and work your way through to the last post, you will end up at the gateway of the opportunity to engage Abdullah Ibrahim’s musical artistry. Of course, this is possible only if you haven’t already engaged his artistry. Everybody with a sensitive soul would do well to engage his artistry.
I’ve provided an initial opportunity at the head of this post. Dr. Ibrahim is arguably among the the deepest musicians that the continent of Africa has so far produced. (The continent of Africa has been producing sonically creative persons for tens of thousands of years. Music was likely born in the Kalahari.) His ongoing international career began in 1964. Happy fiftieth birthday too!
As he told me, in the olden times, in the African village, children of exceptional musical talent became healers.
Ah! Death! Life! Our communication is on a completely different level. See, if we talk about music (Ibrahim plays a few notes on the piano), we are dealing with the unseen. We are fortunate that in Africa we have old people who understand the dynamic of the unseen. We study with them. Music is dealing in the realm of the unseen. It is much deeper as people think when they “see us play some notes”. It is a deeply spiritual practice. But look at jazz musicians now, everything in modern society is misplaced. I mean you are interviewing me with a tape recorder. Now, that is misplaced – not that I want to put you down – but you are supposed to use other means of communication. In some ways this is stupid. It is the same with musicians, we are supposed to be entertainers, but in traditional societies we were priests. In any traditional societiy, anybody that shows musical implanation was immediately drafted into medicine. My great grandfather was a healer. He tought us everything about herbs, plants and flowers and what you are supposed to do wit them. We as musicians living in this modern urban society … All my family were religious practioners. They came from traditional practice and when the white people came they went into the church. I was the first one that became a musician and became muslim. It has all to do with healing and spiritual practices. (interview with Abdullah Ibrahim)
(2001) Abdullah Ibrahim, born in South Africa in 1934, remembering hearing traditional African songs, religious music and jazz as a child – all of which are reflected in his music. He received his first piano lessons in 1941 and became a professional musician in 1949 (Tuxedo Slickers, Willie Max Big Band). In 1959 he met alto saxophone player Kippi Moeketsi who convinced him to devote his life to music. He meets and soon marries South African jazz vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin in 1965.
In 1962 the Dollar Brand Trio (with Johnny Gertze on bass, Makaya Ntshoko on drums) tours Europe. Duke Ellington listens in at Zurich’s Africana Club and sets a recording session for Reprise Records: Duke Ellington presents the Dollar Brand Trio. 1963/64 sees the trio at major European festivals, including TV shows and radio performances.
In 1965 Dollar Brand plays the Newport Jazz Festival followed by a first tour through the United States. In 1966 he leads the Duke Ellington Orchestra: ›I did five dates substituting for him. It was exciting, but very scary, I could hardly play.‹ Other than six months playing with the Elvin Jones Quartet Abdullah Ibrahim (who changed his name after his conversion to Islam in the late 1960s) has been a band leader ever since. 1968 sees a solo piano tour. From then on he has continuously playing concerts and clubs throughout the US, Europe and Japan with appearances at the major music festivals of the world (e.g. Montreux, North Sea, Berlin, Paris, Montreal etc.). A world traveller since 1962, Ibrahim went back to South Africa in the mid- 1970s but found conditions so oppressive that he went back to New York in 1976.
In 1988 Ibrahim wrote the award-winning sound track for the film ›Chocolat‹ (released on ENJ-50732 ›Mindif‹) which was followed by further endeavors in film music the latest being the sound track to ›No Fear, No Die‹ (TIP-888815 2).
An eloquent spokesman and deeply religious, Abdullah Ibrahim’s beliefs and experiences are reflected in his music. ›The recent changes in South Africa are of course very welcome, it has been so long in coming. We would like a total dismantling of apartheid and the adoption of a democratic non-racist society: it seems to be on the way.‹ In 1990, Ibrahim returned to South Africa to live there but keeps up his New York residence as well. Several tours took him around the globe featuring his groups and also doing much acclaimed solo piano recitals. 1997 saw the beginning of a duet cooperation with the dean of jazz drums, Max Roach.
Later projects (1997 and 1998) are of a large scale nature. Swiss composer Daniel Schnyder arranged Abdullah Ibrahim’s compositions for a 22 piece string orchestra (members of the Youth Orchestra of the European Community) for a CD recording and a Swiss Television SF-DRS production and also for the full size Munich Radio Philharmonic Orchestra again for CD production and for concert performances featuring the Abdullah Ibrahim Trio.
The world premiere of the symphonic piece was at the renowned Herkules Saal in Munich, Germany on January 18th 1998, under the direction of Barbara Yahr and the Zuricher Kammerorchester premiered the string orchestra version at Zurich’s Tonhalle in February 1998. The string orchestra version was released in September 1998 (›African Suite‹, TIP-8888322) and met widest critical acclaim from the worlds of both jazz and classical music. The symphonic version (›African Symphony‹) has been released in 2001 in a double CD set which also features Abdullah Ibrahim with the NDR Big Band giving the full scope of his large format music.
Another highlight was the premiere of ›Cape Town Traveller‹, a multimedia produc- tion at the Leipzig music festival in 1999. A one hour performance featured A.I. and the Ekaya Sextet, a vocal group, filmmaterial from the early days in South Africa and the European years, electronic sounds ranging from impressionism to drum and bass – a great experience. One of the newest albums is ›Revesited‹ (TIP-88888362), recorded live in Cape Town. The piano of A.I. is featured with Marcus McLaurine (b) and Georg Gray (dr) and added is the fiery trumpet of South African Feya Faku on several tracks.
A great honor has been bestowed on Abdullah Ibrahim when the renowned Greham College in London invited him to give several lectures and concerts (beginning in October 2000 at Canary Wharf). Among his predecessors at the famed institution which looks back at a history of 500 years are John Cage, Luciano Berio, Xenakis. (from the press kit for Abdullah Ibrahim, A Struggle for Love, A film by Ciro Cappellari)
“Children who are respected learn respect. Children who are cared for learn to care for those weaker than themselves. Children who are loved for what they are cannot learn intolerance. In an environment such as this, they will develop their own ideals, which can be nothing other than humane, since they grew out of the experience of love.” – Alice Miller
The Spruce Goose.The Hercules was a monumental undertaking. It is the largest aircraft ever built. It is over five stories tall with a wingspan longer than a football field. That’s more than a city block. On 2 November 1947, a series of taxi tests was begun with Hughes at the controls. His crew included Dave Grant as co-pilot, and a crew of two flight engineers, 16 mechanics and two other flight crew. In addition, the H-4 carried seven invited guests from the press corps plus an additional seven industry representatives, for a total of 32 on board.
After the first two uneventful taxi runs, four reporters left to file stories but the remaining press stayed for the final test run of the day. After picking up speed on the channel facing Cabrillo Beach near Long Beach, the Hercules lifted off, remaining airborne 70 feet (21 m) off the water at a speed of 135 mph (217 km/h or 117 knots) for around a mile (1.6 km). At this altitude, the aircraft was still experiencing ground effect.
Hughes had answered his critics and the hearings ended. The aircraft never flew again. It was carefully maintained in flying condition until Hughes’ death in 1976.
I have finally found myself compelled to give up the logic, fairly, squarely, and irrevocably. It has an imperishable use in human life, but that use is not to make us theoretically acquainted with the essential nature of reality. Reality, life, expedience, concreteness, immediacy, use what words you will, exceeds our logic, overflows and surrounds it. -William James
The central teaching of the Karma Kagyu is the doctrine of Mahamudra, also known as the “Great Seal”. This doctrine focuses on four principal stages of meditative practice (the Four Yogas of Mahamudra):
The development of single-pointedness of mind,
The transcendence of all conceptual elaboration,
The cultivation of the perspective that all phenomena are of a “single taste”,
The fruition of the path, which is beyond any contrived acts of meditation.
The “ambiguity” in the sense of the indeterminacy or vagueness that permeates our existence in the world derives from the “ambiguity” of our embodied being in the sense of its irreducibility either to the transparency of self-consciousness or the inertia of matter. – Nabuo Kazashi
Highly recommended: The Social Self in Zen and American Pragmatism. By Steve Odin. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.)
by the same author: Whitehead & Ethics in the Contemporary World (pdf)
Philosophy of Nothingness and Process Theology – Yutaka Tanaka (pdf)
quotes from secondary source:
The Varieties of Pure Experience: William James and Kitaro Nishida on Consciousness and Embodiment
Joel W. Krueger
There once lived a great warrior. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him.
One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit any weakness in an opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted with him in a match beyond the first move.
Much against the advice of his concerned students, the old master gladly accepted the young warrior’s challenge. As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old master. He threw dirt and spit in his face. For hours he verbally assaulted him with every curse and insult known to mankind. But the old warrior merely stood there motionless and calm. Finally, the young warrior exhausted himself. Knowing he was defeated, he left feeling shamed.
Somewhat disappointed that he did not fight the insolent youth, the students gathered around the old master and questioned him. “How could you endure such an indignity? How did you drive him away?”
“If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it,” the master replied, “to whom does the gift belong?”
from: Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors
Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast–
And half believe it true.
And ever, as the story drained
The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
To put the subject by,
“The rest next time”–“It is next time!”
The happy voices cry.
Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out–
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.
Alice! a childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined
In Memory’s mystic band,
Like pilgrim’s withered wreath of flowers
Plucked in a far-off land.
excerpt from All In the Golden Afternoon / Lewis Carroll
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)
“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.
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.”
It is not down in any map; true places never are.
God keep me from ever completing anything.
Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!
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.
Mahakashyap smiled and held his tongue. (Only he had seen the flower.)
If I could only taste a bird, a flower,
a human face!
But, alas, I have no time.
My energy is spent deciphering the label.
(h/t Anthony DeMello)
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
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.
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.)