Category Archives: adult learning

Teaching Cartoon: Desires

teaching cartoon



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Free Play Growth Ring

Free Play Softball David A. Kolb Cleveland

Nicole, action shot

I started playing Free Play Softball League in 2002. At the time, the game was co-ed to the magnitude of six female players, Alice, Laine, Angie, Amy, Linda, Mary. By 2009, the attrition of female players had reached its “negative zenith.” The game labored on and became more spiky, masculine, boyish, and, mildly less civilized. However, the boyish part reflects aging and regression, not an influx of many younger players.

This year it appears Free Play Softball League has developed two women players.

Skill is fine, and genius is splendid, but the right contacts are more valuable than either. (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

I have no idea how they found their way to our game. East siders. I know Nicole played softball in high school. She and Mia are feisty, and I suspect both see right through the antics and legacy patterns of the recent league.

As a group, we had our most civilized season in many years. Just sayin’, (and suggesting something about the relationship between an increase in wholeness and courtesy.)

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Once a Hawk

Hawken School Class of 1972 Reunion

library, Upper School, Hawken School

This past weekend I went to my forty-fifth high school reunion, for the Class of ’72. I have been to every single five year Class of ’72 Hawken School (Gates Mills, Ohio,) reunion. The first one was in 1977. I was living in Middlebury Vermont at the time.

This year the hallowed men’s circle that uniquely characterizes the class’s fraternal ritual was at an Upper School (grades 9-12) transformed by a luxurious new 21st century series of connected school buildings. As you can see, some of us took the tour. Almost nothing of our own experience ‘back in the day’ naturally translates to the new surroundings; and, I note as much while also regarding the addition of women to the upper school classes starting in 1974. The buck buck tree is still there. Several of the old building’s wings, with their fifties utilitarian cinder blocks, have remained connected to the new campus.

Each reunion presents a mini seminar in men, masculinity, adult development, families, and, the second law of thermodynamics. It’s a lovely group.

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this. (Henry David Thoreau)

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Teaching Cartoon: If It feels Good, Then What?

Teaching Cartoon Development

“For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced.” — Francis Bacon


Yuval Noah Harari, author of the glib but best-selling Sapiens and Homo Deus, reduces massive ideas with the efficiency of a clothes dryer fed a soaking wool sweater. For example, liberal humanism in his view simply erases all but the individual’s feeling and so it is literally for him the natural state of affairs that if something feels good one may just do it. He also asserts that, maybe, this is entirely to do to with implicitly ‘necessitarian’ algorithms.

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Slowly My Timing Improves

My own result hit close to the sweet spot. My self-evaluation about my time perspective recognizes that my hedonistic present anchors me and is also the imposition I have to work against. This is consistent with my Myers-Briggs XNXP, my Jungian puer aeternus complex, and my Big five extroverted, open to experience, and, non-neurotic personality type.


Take the survey:
Take the Time Perspective Inventory

Importance of having a balanced time-perspective profile

Zimbardo & Boyd show that each of the six perspectives may have benefits, some much more than others. They also show that the costs associated with any one perspective may rise sharply if it is held in excess, and/or if it is out of balance with others of the six. Many of the book’s examples involve disturbed persons (e.g., addicts). But it also offers valuable more-general observations too. Here’s one that caught my eye: In discussing the faults of some executives who’d been running risky mortgage businesses not long ago, the authors find that “lack of balance between present and future orientations in both business and government is a well-worn path to disaster.”

As a result, Zimbardo & Boyd urge their readers to develop an “optimally balanced time perspective”:
“The ideal we want you to develop is a balanced time perspective in place of a narrowly focused single time zone. A balanced time perspective will allow you to flexibly shift from past to present to future in response to the demands of the situation facing you so that you can make optimal decisions.” twotheories blog

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The four panel valence differentiator of Boston Consulting Group fame, (or what I term the four square matrix,) and the circular cycle used to show both a linear course of change and a completed course of development, are both the main forms for schemas which I collect.

Here are a bunch of such schemas. My aim here is to create a temporary counterpoint.










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stephen calhoun

The idea that what one has long held of a person is apt to stop one’s eyes and ears. —Marcel Proust

FB-Dharma Throttle (2017) 16x16 Stephen Calhoun

The self is a metaphor. We can decide to limit it to our skin, our person, our family, our organization, or our species. We can select its boundaries in objective reality As the systems theorists see it, our consciousness illuminates a small arc in the wider currents and loops of knowing that interconnect us. It is just as plausible to conceive of mind as coexistent with these larger circuits, the entire “pattern that connects,” as Bateson said. Do not think that to broaden the construct of self this way involves an eclipse of one’s distinctiveness. Do not think that you will lose your identity like a drop in the ocean merging into the oneness of Brahma. From the systems perspective this interaction, creating larger wholes and patterns, allows for and even requires diversity. You become more yourself. Integration and differentiation go hand in hand. From: ‘World as Lover, world as Self’ — Joanna Macy

AFFORDABLE ART catalogue- hi-res

THE ELEVEN – catalogue – self-curated August 2017

DIRECT SALES – medium-large artworks

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Collaboration & Serendipity

Cleveland Ohio artist Stephen Calhoun

FORTUITY [f. L. fortu‹imacbreve›t-us, f. forte by chance, f. fors chance + -ous.]

That happens or is produced by fortune or chance; accidental, casual.

Between 2005-2012, when I was researching serendipity as a decisive aspect of adult development, I brought together a simple insight with the older language of Albert Bandura to formulate a central concept, strategic fortuity.

This concept describes the accidental event that changes everything, and so generates ensuing connective reconfigurations far into the future. But this is not linear at all, so the actual cascade of fortuity acts as a multiplier–as the singular event broadcasts potential and actual instantiations causally related to, but not necessarily in the same order, of the originating serendipitous event. This applies also to the conditions at the time of the eventuated fortuity because those conditions are themselves brought about by prior fortuities.

Example. You met your partner through a marvelous happenstance and soon enough this happenstance sets you on the doorstep of a new house and as it turned out this new dwelling came to you by accident. A strategic fortuity concretely synergizes other fortuities, fortuity fueling fortuity, contingency chained to contingency.

Once you know how strategic fortuity works as a kind of gating and connective circuit completing factor in a social cybernetic routine, there can be very few truly innocent (and naked of contingency,) arrivals of novel data, and, at the second order, of transformative experience, and, at the third order, of novel opportunity or exceptional possibility.

Artist Stephen Calhoun's studio

Amina and grandfather Roger

My studio in our house on a quiet inner ring suburban street on the east side of Cleveland is, during its summer season, split between the garage bay where an assembly line dedicated to sorting materials is located,  the front porch where most photographs are taken, an attic that houses the old recording studio and now is transformed into the computer-based image processing, printing, a framing center, and, the lower rear porch that is where materials are organized and stored and the still-lifes are set-up. This last location provides me with my own magical cabinet of curiosities. My art practice is centered in this room that overlooks the flower garden.

An inveterate collector of possibly useful materials and items, the set-up room inventories both the objects and the experience of obtaining each bit of stuff. Garage sales are prime sources. In 2015 I picked up a gaudy Chinese ceramic lamp and chatted up the owner, a new media curator at Oberlin. I told him how “you never know what you’ll find,” and he responded,

Of course all art is based in serendipity.

This surprised me. The normative supposition is that art reflects the masterful, thoroughgoing, control of the application of technique to materials, and these then are dynamically brought together to serve and realize an artistic vision. Because, at the time, I was clear about the odd element of serendipity, and, moreover, of underdetermination, in my own art practice, I was not prepared to embrace the man’s assertion, thinking I was a different kind of artist who was really using serendipity. Although it seemed to me that there might be a similar relation between fortuity and event in art-making as there is in scientific research, the confidently delivered ‘of course’ threw me; at the time.


stephen calhoun, cleveland ohio artist
Last year the neighbor’s granddaughter expressed the single best thought yet said to me about my own art. In response to being asked what her experience of Four Observers was, Zoe, eleven years old at the time, told me,

“I had to re-adjust my brain to see farther into your picture.”

Zoe and her younger cousin Amina came to visit their grandparents a few weeks ago. When I learned the two girls were coming for a few weeks, I decided to hatch an experiment involving the two coming over to my studio to intuitively piece together set-up still-lifes. It seemed to me it was likely the girls would jump into playing around creatively in a medium not part of everyday artistic/kids’ routines. I thought I would then photograph what the two came up with and set the girls to discovering what manipulation of their own image each liked best. The bonus for me was an opportunity to do some informal, observational, qualitative research about how young people might approach a simple request to use stuff from the room full of dried plant material and objects to learn and build a, by definition, unique and personal still-life.

The experiment developed to the point I was able to capture photographs on my iPad and import the photos into iColorama, an application that provides an entire suite of manipulation routines. I showed the two how to create the mirror symmetries and other geometric recastings of the source image.

I asked the two to save favored images, as each took turns to use the iPad to manipulate the source images taken from their still life. Then each pointed out which manipulation was their single most favorite. (Those choices were later published to my timeline on Facebook.

A few days ago, while exporting photographs from my DSLR camera, I noted I had taken photographs of their set-up still-lifes! I had forgotten I had done this, and then recalled I took the raw set-ups outside to photograph right before I deconstructed the still-lifes.

The deconstruction process was one of the remarkable aspects of the experiment’s qualitative aspect. (I primed the girls’ agency right before setting each to the task by reviewing what it means to approach creativity and creating by using intuition, setting aside rules and ‘right ways,’ and, from their own sense, using the ability to ‘wing it,’ and ‘go for it.’) As I deconstructed each piece, I noted a whole slew of qualities, made especially clear by virtue of my understanding the difference between their fresh and inexperienced (with respect to my experience,) operation of the task, with how I tend to build a still-life.


For example, I noted both gravitated to larger objects. Both also seemed to realize a set-up that could stand on its own. I noted there were some concealed yet clear positional coherencies. Amina’s still life is more densely packed than that of cousin Zoe.  Were either girl trying to tell a story?

Yet, it wasn’t until I saw the high resolution images pulled off the camera that I was struck–and I gasped–that I was looking at two completely novel images that could not be obtained except through the realized agency of the two cousins, and, crucially, the images could be entered into my own creative process.

Both creative products were obviously consequentially serendipitous. And, anything I might produce by subjecting the images to my own experienced, (and less fresh!) ability to manipulate the images would represent in a singular way my own result being entirely contingent upon, anchored to, the outside creative product of the two cousins.

Any art I might create from the source material provided by others would denote a collaboration forged by means of starting from novel, and, (in my terms,) a “non-reflexive” starting point. Looking at the opportunity with my own eyes I soon saw how I could leverage each of the image’s distinctive compositional and ‘field’ qualities. The images possessed strengths I could not have intentionally brought forth on my own. The strengths were of a different sort than the ones I tend to realize.

By doing a series of manipulations, I generalized and greatly abstracted the objects and object relations of the two still-lifes. The result was this art work.

artist stephen calhoun

I’ve worked in this vein several times in the past. This bundle of approaches yields a curvy dancing psychedelic energy.

Next, returning to the originals, I spent time in trial-and-error mode, a mode itself networked via fortuity and possibly happy accidents. I played around with the integration of both of the cousins’ images in a single image for the sake of retaining their detail and some of their object, (or symbolic content.) Eventually, I came up with a circular mandala-like image that is tagged by several whimsical features, none more so than the lips originally found in the mask in Zoe’s image.

Unity for Zoe & Amina #1 (2017) 36x36a Stephen Calhoun

Unity for Zoe and Amina #1
 is, in my own judgment, a terrific art work. It is demonstrably so in my art practice’s given aspirational terms, in that it scaled up to a thirty-six inch diameter circular image able to realize what I am usually after: an overwhelming experience of intriguing detail and dynamic, visual, object relations. (The piece will go into my primary catalog and someday will be exhibited along with my best 36-48 inch diameter mandalas, mandala-like, and, what I call, unity, pieces.) This art work will always conceal its story of collaboration and serendipity.

The imperative of being open to unusual and original instances of source material is a pragmatic consequence of understanding that one of the only ways to assure novelty is to network and collaborate with definitively external human agencies and their unique capacities. In the case discussed here it matters very little that the capacities are naive because it matters greatly that the capacities would nevertheless support the distinctive production of materials unable to be realized any other way.

Agents like this, collaborators like this, bring unique potentialities to the table. The threads of serendipity are structurally most obvious in setting to a task people about which little is known, or, are in practice, strangers, unpracticed, inexperienced, outside the norm, or, even, randomly selected.

The over-arching conditioning of new collaborative potentials are also constructed out of all the hidden and obscure factors which, were these concretized and examined, would showcase all the accidental developmental relations which arrived to produce the actualization of exact contingent conjunctions of agency in time and space. You knock on the wrong door, I invite you in anyway!

The shorter idea about this concerns what had to happen to bring the collaborators together in the instance for which collaboration is possible. The example described here possesses critical ‘priors’ which set my studio down across the street from Roger and his granddaughters. These necessary fortuities are, as I like to put it, innumerably prolix.

The promise of novel heuristics was clarified in the experiment and its later ramifications in my art practice. It is worth supposing that there could be a possibly worthwhile problem-solving routine that involves running the problem by, for example, your children. The point of doing so has to do with networking potentially fruitful resources that are by definition possibly powerful precisely because the steward of the external resource, the outside agent, is going to come up with provisional discoveries and findings which may only be sourced in the agent’s unique flux of experience, global and local aspirations, resourcefulness, and, as it is described, fresh eyes.


Grandpa Roger’s blog, Fear Not, Living the Second Half of Life Unafraid, is superb.

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In the Range of Perfection


The world is run as much by folly as by wisdom, as much by order as by chaos, but–and this “but” is huge–these accidents may still intend something interesting.—James Hillman


Nicole joined us for the first time. Mia came back. There are several additional first year players. This year has seen the return of second and third year players.

To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness. – John Dewey


Hyakujo, the Chinese Zen master, used to labor with his pupils even at the age of eighty, trimming the gardens, cleaning the grounds, and pruning the trees.

The pupils felt sorry to see the old teacher working so hard, but they knew he would not listen to their advice to stop, so they hid away his tools.

That day the master did not eat. The next day he did not eat, nor the next. “He may be angry because we have hidden his tools,” the pupils surmised. “We had better put them back.”

The day they did, the teacher worked and ate the same as before. In the evening he instructed them: “No work, no food.”

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Live From the Well

The idea that what one has long held of a person is apt to stop one’s eyes and ears. —Marcel Proust

Elders from GLEN MILNER on Vimeo.

The self is a metaphor. We can decide to limit it to our skin, our person, our family, our organization, or our species. We can select its boundaries in objective reality As the systems theorists see it, our consciousness illuminates a small arc in the wider currents and loops of knowing that interconnect us. It is just as plausible to conceive of mind as coexistent with these larger circuits, the entire “pattern that connects,” as Bateson said. Do not think that to broaden the construct of self this way involves an eclipse of one’s distinctiveness. Do not think that you will lose your identity like a drop in the ocean merging into the oneness of Brahma. From the systems perspective this interaction, creating larger wholes and patterns, allows for and even requires diversity. You become more yourself. Integration and differentiation go hand in hand. From: ‘World as Lover, world as Self’ — Joanna Macy

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.
(Rumi, version by Coleman Barks)

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Sound and Sense

Music of the Spheres from Emic Films on Vimeo.

I say we are obviously as nature around us is. So that is also how our music is. But then our music must also be as we are (if two magnitudes both equal a third . . .). But then from our nature alone can I deduce how our music is (bolder men would say “how the cosmos is”). Arnold Scho?nberg

When I began, I had a very weak voice although with some melodic quality. I did not feel at all in touch with my body.

Through the use of the various sound practices, I occasionally developed a vague sense of being enlivened and having more energy, but this sensation came and went. About one year after beginning, in a group musical practice, I experienced feeling as though sound were coming, not from my vocal box, from my a place in the middle of my chest, near the pulmonary center. At the same time, I heard a ringing sound above the musical notes. These, I later found, were called overtones. I also felt a warm, expanding feeling from the heart and a kind of emotional release of joy.

This condition came and went for another 6 months. Then I had another “heart-opening” experience, which was felt as both massive pain and release of tension around the heart; I cried uncontrollably and felt I was coming apart.

Following this, I began to use the primary sound/music practice of finding a note that resonated in the heart, and singing that note every day for 15-20 minutes, using various mantric sounds. At the end of about 8 months, I could always find my way to this sound. At the same time, any catches in my throat, voice or breath that came up I began to re-experience as inhibitions and old memories that prevented me from intoning a natural sound (that is, saying who I was). report of a client of Dr. Klotz; The Key in the Dark: Self and Soul Transformation in the Sufi Tradition Neil Douglas-Klotz

A Beethoven string-quartet is truly . . . a scraping of horses’ tails on cats’ bowels, and may be exhaustively described in such terms; but the application of this description in no way precludes the simultaneous applicability of an entirely different description. -William James

Rana Gorgani – Sufi dance – Auditorium Musée Guimet – Paris from Rana Gorgani Official on Vimeo.

What we call music in our everyday language is only a miniature from that music or harmony of the whole universe which is working behind everything, and which is the source and origin of nature. It is because of this that the wise of all ages have considered music to be a sacred art. For in music the seer can see the picture of the whole universe. (Pir H.I. Khan)

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Objectively, There Are, Sometimes, Adjustments

david a kolb

Objectivity, no matter what it is in practice, or within technique, or in philosophical specification, lands always as a sort of brutish given. It is a species of truth claim that is paradoxically about the independent nature of the so-called real object, and also is reliant, even dependent, on a subject having derived this truth claim from perception, mechanical observation, or from all the methods of grasping. Still, objectivity is not an interpretation; oh, it is said to not be so!

The potential for discrepancies between features of the subject’s perceptual impressions and the real qualities of the perceived object generates philosophical questions. There are also philosophical questions regarding the nature of objective reality and the nature of our so-called subjective reality. Consequently, we have various uses of the terms “objective” and “subjective” and their cognates to express possible differences between objective reality and subjective impressions. Philosophers refer to perceptual impressions themselves as being subjective or objective. Consequent judgments are objective or subjective to varying degrees, and we divide reality into objective reality and subjective reality. Thus, it is important to distinguish the various uses of the terms “objective” and “subjective.” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Objectivity)

(see also: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Scientific Objectivity)

I remember as a thirty-something man–so, sometime ago–Ayer’s Language, Truth and Logic moved me to tears one lunchtime while contemplating the nature of nature from the sun-warmed bank of the Otter Creek, Middlebury, Vermont. The other learning at the time was to finish the book before investing in the emotional reaction!

Soon enough I would find my way to the practicalities of William James. Yet, A.J. Ayer of course goes all the way around his circle too.

Evidently, there is no general answer to the question what constitutes a
meaningful life. A life lived in one culture at a given social and economic level
which satisfies one person might well fail to satisfy another who dwelt in a
different or even in the same environment. Treating the question subjectively one
can say, platitudinously, that it is a matter of the degree to which one achieves self
fulfilment. Treating it objectively, it is a matter of one’s standing in one’s society
and the historical influence, if any, that one exerts. We have seen that the results
of these different viewpoints need not coincide either with each other or with
what we humane and liberal persons would regard as morally commendable. (A.J. Ayer, The Meaning of Life)


Since everything is an apparition, "perfect" in being what it is, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may as well burst out in laughter. (Longchenpa)

Since everything is an apparition, “perfect” in being what it is, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may as well burst out in laughter. (Longchenpa)

In common, folk, practice, with respect to the social sphere, objectivity is pragmatically the non-confounding ‘just so’ of commonsense comprehension of the ecology of human objects, structures, regulatory features, and so is graspable as being constituted by the clear description, the sensible abduction (or explanation,) the operational model (or map) of mechanical interrelationships, and, at the extreme where objectivity quickly fades into intersubjectivity, the shared truths or norms. These latter elements also reflect a hypostasis of collective interpretation, and churn the just so into the good enough. Not everybody need be in agreement on these, now, subjective, matters.

We recognize that objectivity-proper doesn’t need to come up much. Our sight and cognition is fairly dependable once it is well understood what interpretation tends to cloth perception “in.”

For example, it could be observed that the Free Play Softball League meets around 10am on Sunday. A dude looks over the roster of players who have showed up and starts to design line-ups on a piece of notebook paper. Thinking  of a more particular recent instance, this same dude could be observed to have made an adjustment to the line-ups midway through the game.

(I suppose we’ll have to make an inquiry to learn why the dude did so.)

Still, such goings-on are clearly and objectively aspects of the game. Such goings-on may be observed, described, explained, as objective parts of the game.

The dude last Sunday was very pleased, and this was observable, at the conclusion of the game. It reflected a tally of runs. Dude liked the tie score. He could be seen to be smiling.

A 1-2-0-7-0-5--15
H 2-0-3-6-3-1--15



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Sitting On a Porch, but not any porch

david kolb

Dave Kolb and I enjoyed the longest conversation we ever managed to conduct over the fifteen years we’ve been friends and something like, but not really exactly like, colleagues. Our shared interest is the experiential learning theory* he helped conceptualize in the late seventies. He is its principal conceptualizer over the past thirty-three years, a span that began with the publication of the cornerstone presentation of this theory, Experiential Learning, Experience As the Source of Learning and Development(revised 2015).

When Dave signed the copy of the revised edition he gave me, he named us fellow travelers. I like it. Our paths have crossed in conferences and symposia, in workshops and, especially on the softball field on Sundays in Cleveland Heights, at 10am. I encountered Dave and Alice Kolb, his wife and most essential collaborator, back in 2002 when I ventured out to thie softball field for the first time, believing at the time that I was going to assist a documentary filmmaker who wanted to make a short about the Free Play Softball League the Kolbs started as an experiment in open system and experiential learning on the old Adelbert quad.

Yet, the three hour dialog we built together this week was the longest sustained chewing session we ever attempted or accomplished. This moment was favored by dave and Alice being between book writing projects, or, otherwise freed from the usual bearing down of their research agenda. I know this from their presentation at the June conference, a presentation offloaded into a nicely organic collaborative discussion about several of their current interests.

In our dialog, after we covered sundry subjects of interest to aging men and softball teammates, we latched onto one of several subjects that interest me as an independent scholar an fellow traveler. As it turned out, this subject, where is the ongoing theory-making in experiential learning theory happening right now, had come up between Dave and Alice on their morning walk the day Dave and I settled into our chairs on his spacious front porch. After we noted that there aren’t many scholars besides the Kolbs that you can point to, we started to ideate together on shaping (just the beginning) of what the extension and further elaboration of experiential learning theory might grapple with.

This is a big subject. We touched on examples from our different interests that bend the theory-in-use a bit differently than the most secure current conception of the theory supposes is phenomenally the case. This is not a disruptive tangent to the theory because one of the enhancements of the theory would, were it to begin to be formulated, configure the theory to flex more to particular contexts. For example, my creative process does not align with the cyclical or spiral process of the current theory, rather it oscillates between concrete experience and (what I would term,) spontaneous revision, a quality of active experimentation.

We made our beginning in any case. It would be really fascinating to continue and especially to put the handful of inspired (by theory!) persons in our community or out there in the wild together, to do some chewing.

Nowadays, almost all the action in ELT is rooted to its use in consulting, pedagogical, and coaching practices. This usefulness has put evaluative and assessment tools close to the center of those activities. The biggest impact extensive new theory-making could have on current day practice would result from theorizing context-dependent, and therefor distinct differentiations according to context pressures, of the theory-in-practice. This could be given by, for example, idiographic or qualitative difference-making that is focused on particular situations and their particularities. Certainly, from the several ways I may contextualize my own practice as an experiential learning endeavor, I’m able to lightly suggest that enactive, or social cybernetic, or, negative-capable, or, neurophenomenological, or ecological, perspectives, each create different and cogent and positive pressures when these outlooks are used to describe particularities given in specific situations.

Dave and I have noted that the enactive perspective is very sharply appropriate to elaborating a bit more about the instantaneous presence involved in reacting in an embodied and learning ‘full’ way in response to being thrown a pitched ball while acting as a batter.

The triangle at the bottom of the ELT schema reflects a kind of liminal or boundary condition for holding theorization away from its being made practical. Theorizing is begun as an impractical matter.

*Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory is a theory of learning, not a theory of learning-by-doing. It would pose itself as a meta-theory of learning-by-doing were learning-by-doing ever to be rigorously theorized.

(h/t to Mai P. Trinh for first entertaining my sense that ‘where are the theorists?’ was an interesting question.)

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Six days I stray, on number seven I try to be a little better

freeplay 2017 July 2_DSC0122

Here And Now
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Here, in the heart of the world,
Here, in the noise and the din,
Here, where our spirits were hurled
To battle with sorrow and sin,
This is the place and the spot
For knowledge of infinite things;
This is the kingdom where Thought
Can conquer the prowess of kings.

Wait for no heavenly life,
Seek for no temple alone;
Here, in the midst of the strife,
Know what the sages have known.

See what the Perfect Ones saw-
God in the depth of each soul,
God as the light and the law,
God as beginning and goal.

Earth is one chamber of Heaven,
Death is no grander than birth.

Joy in the life that was given,
Strive for perfection on earth.

Here, in the turmoil and roar,
Show what it is to be calm;
Show how the spirit can soar
And bring back its healing and balm.

Stand not aloof nor apart,
Plunge in the thick of the fight.

There in the street and the mart,
That is the place to do right.

Not in some cloister or cave,
Not in some kingdom above,
Here, on this side of the grave,
Here, should we labor and love.

freeplay 2017 July 2_DSC0112

freeplay 2017 July 2_DSC0113

freeplay 2017 July 2_DSC0114

The Choice
by William Butler Yeats

The intellect of man is forced to choose
perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.

When all that story’s finished, what’s the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day’s vanity, the night’s remorse.

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by Robert William Service

If I could practice what I preach,
Of fellows there would few be finer;
If I were true to what I teach
My life would be a lot diviner.

If I would act the way I speak,
Of halo I might be a winner:
The spirit wills, the flesh is weak,–
I’m just a simple sinner.

Six days I stray,–on number seven
I try to be a little better,
And stake a tiny claim on Heaven
By clinging close to gospel letter.

My pew I occupy on Sunday,
And though I draw the line at snoring,
I must admit I long for Monday,
And find the sermon boring.

Although from godly grace I fall,
For sensed with sin my every act is,
‘Twere better not to preach at all,
Then I would have no need to practice.

So Sabbath day I’ll sneak away,
And though the Church grieve my defection,
In sunny woodland I will pray:
“God save us from Perfection!”

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Whirling Around World Events

Whirling Dervishes Istanbul from John Cummins on Vimeo.

All the saints and sages have said evil deeds
become a dark hole which encloses the evil doer.
The worse the doer’s deed, the darker is the hole.
You may intend to snare someone else,
but you’re digging that pit for yourself to fall down.
Watch out! Don’t dig too deep.
Be soft earth so that you may sprout folwers of many colors.
You’ve been a jagged rock for years.
Just once–as an experiment–be earth!


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Free Play Futility and the solidarity of variability

Free Play May14

Free Play Softball League, a confrere open to anyone 16-96 who has the chops to enjoin a game that references an ethic, that a game may be literally played as an experiment in learning how to play the game itself, and, additionally, references the variability of human nature.

The affectual ecology of the latter comes to fault the enjoining ethic. That this ethic is referenced, rather than it is something to anchor to, was obvious in our third week of the new season.

A group of five elders, including myself, came to be convened prior to the second game so that we could figure out between ourselves how to dial back several behaviors that have become too woven into the game. The motivation to do this was to reset the game’s overly competitive mood for the sake of making the game more inviting for new players.

We established a protocol for transforming the way the game processes controversies. Such controversies are one of three grounds for negative behavior. (The other two are: disparaging other player’s actions, and, rooting against the opposing team.) Last Sunday the protocol, centered on eliminating arguing by situating the decision in only the judgment of the two team captains, got completely ignored in the one instance it was called for.

Actually, what happened was worse than this summary, although the argument itself was not terribly intense.

Transformation is difficult.

I violated the prohibition against disparagement when I became impatient at the plate, and beseeched the opposing pitcher.

patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue. (Ambrose Bierce)

Transformation is difficult.

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Teaching Cartoon: man unable to ‘splain

teaching cartoon
Man unable to ‘splain the argument for reducing desire.

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Opening Day, Free Play Softball League 2017

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Opening Day, Free Play Softball League 2017, first game in the age of Trumpism. It was a closely contested game if you forget the results of the first and last inning.

This season we’re hoping to attract new players to our league that is ideally described by elder Tom: “It’s a game that people of any skill level can come and play in and learn how to play.”

I convened some of our elders to find out if it growing the game was doable. Oh, and I suggested we’d have to dial back the game’s sometimes fractious, and, at times overly competitive atmosphere. We devised a series of guidances, responses, and contingent interventions, for the sake of recovering the founding ethos of our pick-up game, a game that aspired to be inviting to any gender, and any age between 16 and 96.

Caption, Please?

Think of a good caption —

What Gurdjieff calls ‘Objective science’ uses the musical analogy to depict a universe composed of a chain of energies that stretches from the lowest octave to the highest: each energy is transformed as it rises and falls, taking on a coarser or finer nature according to its place in the scale. At each specific level, an energy corresponds to a degree of intelligence, and it is consciousness itself, fluctuating within a wide range of vibrations, that determines human experience. (Peter Brook, in notes to his play, Gurdjieff)

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Compare and Conjoin


Cube-O-Probe – Locate Creativity?

creativity probe

  • From the symbolic potency of the solar system, which generates the sense of depth suggested by McGilchrist, astrology offers us what in neuroscience is called environmental enrichment, in other words, stimulation of the brain by its physical and social surroundings. As an enriched environment for imagining incoming archetypal energies that can feed bio-dynamic entities such as ourselves, astrology stimulates the brain through its imagination of electrical, chemical, and network charges, arousing us to satisfy our needs for: 1) attachment; 2) control; 3) self identity; 4) pleasure. With astrology these needs can be met on the cosmic and personal scale of an imagination that transforms presumably random events into the narrative of a soul’s journey through the space/time of earth. (Kenneth Warren)
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Manual Rotation

artist Stephen Calhoun

What can you discern about your reflection in the archetypal ensemble?

Contact – Mystery
Code – Gnosis
Action – Love

How might you overcome your isolation by gauging yourself in universal modes of polarities?

Ken Warren (from notes to a presentation, Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears, given by Ken Warren and Stephen Calhoun at The Analytical Psychology Society of Western New York, December 12, 2014)

Proverbs 3:16 tells us: “Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left her riches and honour.”

Stage One: Survivor/Transitional-Object
Stage Two: Truster/Trickster
Stage Three: Unscrupulous Competitor/Hero
Stage Four: the Virtuous/the Shadow
Stage Five: Materialistic Analyst of Things/Anim(a/us)
Stage Six: Empathizer with Every Person/Wise One
Stage Six needs desperately its unconscious complement, the Archetype of Meaning, a voice of wisdom from the depths.
The Sequence of Archetypes in Individuation, James Whitlark

Alan Watts

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