Category Archives: adult learning

Its quaint events were hammered out

Dave Kolb

Dave delivering the yellow pill

Mike

Mike pulls a single out of the hat

Rick swallows the yellow pill

Rick swallows the yellow pill

FreePlayJuly20-2014DSC01325

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

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The McGurk Effect

Communications Cache | Videos


On my own behalf, I did hear the utterance correctly.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Talking

Talking S Calhoun

Talking No. 4 (photograph + manipulation; S.Calhoun 2014)

African parable: A hunter went into the bush and found a human skull. The hunter asked, “What brought you here?” The skull replied, “Talking brought me here.”

Overwhelmed with his find, the hunter ran to tell the king. When the king heard the story he said, “Never in my life have I heard of a talking skull.” He summoned his wise men and asked them about this oddity. But none of them had heard of a talking skull, either.

So the king summoned one of his guards and said, “Go with this hunter into the bush. Find the skull. If it talks, bring it back to me. If the hunter is lying, kill him.”

The hunter and the guard went into the bush and found the skull. The hunter said, “What brought you here, skull?” But the skull was silent. So the guard killed the hunter on the spot.

After the guard departed, the skull opened its mouth and asked the dead hunter, “What brought you here?”

“Talking brought me here,” the hunter replied.

Candles in the Dark A Treasury of the World’s Most Inspiring Parables compiled by Todd Outcalt

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Close & Almost Error Free, But Never Perfect

naming

The good life is a process, not a state of being. -Carl Rogers

Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen

StacyHR-Juen-1

Stacy. The ball is headed toward the right center hinterlands of Field #8 “B.”

DickFPSB-June-1

Dick has one of the shortest, smoothest swings of any of our crew. It is a thing of beauty.

FreePlay-June-1

7-5 final score. One of the best defensive battles ever, even if it the perfect weather conditions were somewhat balanced by the uncut, five inch+ long grass.

What Is So Rare As A Day in June

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there’s never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature’s palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
‘Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer’s lowing,-
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
‘Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,-
‘Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season’s youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep ‘neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.
=James Russell Lowell

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100 trillion * 100 trillion

Jesus and science

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Teaching Cartoons: You Have to Have Faith. . .

Good Shape

(After all, the underlying social motivations haven’t changed at all.)

rationality

(Better safe than sorry.)

 

Bonus reading: Tradition in a Free Society: The Fideism of Michael Polanyi and the Rationalism of Karl Popper
by Struan Jacobs (pdf)

 

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Calvinist Influences on Conceptions of Happiness

three types of happiness

(This is from my collection of weird graphics purloined from google image searches.)

Never mind the apparent category error given a time scale of one sort and a positional reference–’time flies’–to a time scale of a different sort, this graphic offers a principled reduction in its second order, and, then offers an ethical injunction in its third order.

Another happy dog

What connects happiness with another ethical injunction, one that could be implied by my new version of the graphic.  The injunction is attributed to Gautama Buddha: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

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Dance A Round

Sema'a No. 1

Sema No. 1 – from a photograph (2014, S.Calhoun)

Paradox

Paradoxes: best wakefulness in sleep, wealth in having
nothing, a pearl necklace

fastened around an iron collar. Fire contained in boiling
water. Revenues growing from

funds flowing out. Giving is gainful employment. It brings in
money. Taking time for

ritual prayer and meditation saves time. Sweet fruit hide in
leaves. Dung becomes food

for the ground and generative power in trees. Nonexistence
contains existence. Love

encloses beauty. Brown flint and gray steel have orange
candlelight in them. Inside

fear, safety. In the black pupil of the eye, many
brilliancies. Inside

the body-cow, a handsome prince.

Rumi, version by Coleman Barks

 

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Rabbit Holes

Enactivist Grid - a form for a heuristic inquiry

Enactivist Grid – a form for a heuristic inquiry

I’ve been reviewing current so-called Integral literature over the last few weeks, but it was Ken who had much earlier got me going back toward that development dynamic when I toppled over ‘into it’ in the intellectual sense from our discussing Giegerich’s critique of classical Analytical Psychology.

I’m not an Integralist.  Understanding in a meta-systems sense that the best and the lesser are sometimes necessarily retained, and, transcend-and-include turns out to be an arbitrary imposition if it then, at times, results in the baby following promptly the bathwater, highlights the fundamental points of distinction between my messy/rigorous viewing site and the seemingly reductive AQAL territories.

I note as much when I peruse the neatly reductive diagrams that have been recently multiplying; and most strike me initially to be graphical, intellectual kitsch. But then I get out my scraper.

Vision-Logic

 

I’d be very interested in scratching beneath the surface of the presumably poetical ” ‘live eros,’ springing forth from chaos.”

What a human system apparently is (to a degree mediated by a, or several, or all domains,) is what he or she entails, and what he or she can possibly entertain, and, so, what I and you feel, and, that which I and you may create from the, my/your, our, current entailment, and, also, how future potentials are foresight worthy. In a nutshell, this is a (my own,) provisional perspective that, at least and as far as I do foresee, is able to encompass just about any ol’ additional perspective which could be tossed toward it, at it, into it, or, even land neatly and dynamically as a tangent, and with enough energy in such a circuit to cause further differentiation and a foundation for adaptation or sudden evolution.

Development is often non-linear.

Horizon is the root of horizontal.

We, you and I, are able to discuss the future. (Maybe this is among the most singular human features.)

The Map never gets close, and that it gets closer is an illusion provided by what I term the sunk perspective. In noting this, at the same time, all sorts of adventurous turns may tumble out of the dynamical interplay caused by being gripped and enthused by the current sunk perspective! Such perspectives then become relativized–and this is may be much different than being transcended and included.

Someday my squaring of radical empiricism and human (or social,) cybernetics will fall down the hole too.

If you should speak and try a hundred ways to express it,
‘Tis useless; the mystery becomes no clearer. …
A horse of wood is useless on dry land,
It is the special conveyance of voyagers by sea.
Silence is this horse of wood,
Silence is the guide and support of men at sea.
This Silence which causes you annoyance
Is uttering cries of love audible to the spiritual. (Rumi)

THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL FALLACY by Wolfgang Giegerich

One conception of the psyche that one can get from studying Jung’s work, above all the work of early Jung, is that the psyche has a clear- cut orderly structure that can be presented in the geometric forms of concentric circles (the ego as the center, surrounded first by the realm of consciousness, then of the personal unconscious and finally of the collective unconscious) or of a cone (with different layers, the deepest of which would be that of the collective unconscious whereas the tip would represent the ego) as well as in the imaginal form of personified figures (ego, persona, shadow, anima/animus, self). To this conception, Jung’s psychological typology with its compass-like representation of the four orientation functions fits very neatly. The crux of this conception is that it starts out from the human person. The human being is here the container or vessel of the soul and accordingly also the horizon of psychology A psychology based on this fantasy clearly operates with the division between man and world, subject and object, inner and outer, psychology and physics and feels competent for only half of this divided whole.

Psychology’s belonging to one side manifests for example in the concept of “extraversion” and in the “object-level” method of dream interpretation. Psychology is here what goes on inside the human person, which is why I speak of the anthropological fallacy. This fallacy is of course by no means a specialty of (the early) C. G. Jung. It is, and has been, the generally accepted, conventional idea about psychology ever since there has been a scientific discipline by this name, an idea that seemed so natural, so self-evident that it was not felt to be in need of any argumentative justification.

In depth psychology the anthropological fallacy had the practical consequence that the individual was urged to turn inwards and, in the case of Jungian analysis, to develop his or her self and to strive for his or her wholeness. Not only the “individuation process,” but Jung’s adamant emphasis on the individual as “the measure of all things” (CW 10, par.523) and “the makeweight that tips the scales” (par. 586) affirmed and highlighted this concentration on the person. It is true, Jung repeatedly insisted that “individuation” and his psychological stance in general does not exclude, but include, the world. But such a semantic statement does not undo the underlying structure or syntax of this thinking, namely that it irrevocably starts out from a human being who has the world (“external reality”) outside and vis-a?-vis himself. Even synchronicity as the meaningful coincidence of an inner and an outer event still has the anthropological conception of psychology as its background and precisely by trying to overcome the opposition of psychology and physics in the direction of the idea of unus mundus once more confirms the anthropological stance.

A serious consequence of this methodological standpoint is that the soul is logically relegated to second rank, as much as it may be prioritized, semantically and emotionally. The human being is here the substrate or actual substance and the psyche is merely one of the attributes of this substrate.

But the human being as the substrate personality is not itself the topic of psychology. It lies outside psychology’s field of vision. Psychology’s topic is the soul, is psychic life (which, however, often manifests in people). The moment psychic life is defined as being the life of the substrate personality, psychology has the task of exploring something (namely, psychic life), whose actual substantial reality (namely, the human being) is pre-supposed as lying outside (“pre-”) its own precincts of competence and responsibility…. The soul, not the person, is what I have to focus on.

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Fun By Design

free play with friends

I started playing Free Play Softball in Cleveland Heights in 2002. It brought me back to left field for the first time in eighteen years. (I had spent the interim playing the only team sport I was ever really good at, volleyball and grass doubles volleyball.) Taking up softball again brought back memories of having previously formulated two-thirds of a lockdown outfield with Bob Buckeye as member of the Abernathy Special Collections Library ‘challenge’ team at Middlebury Collegebetween 1976-1984.

What changed for me between the ages of thirty and forty-eight? Slower. The hand-eye coordination always was my ace capability, but you have to get to the ball first. I never was a terrific hitter, although the scratch stats I’ve been keeping ever since the Hawken School intramural league (in 1971-1972,) indicate, at least, consistency. Yet, last year I figured out a missing piece of the craft of hitting and reeled off the hottest eight weeks of singles hitting ever, at the age of 58!

Today, opening day, I mention these personal tidbits because in ensuing recaps, as is usually the case, I will focus on being one of the key organizational developers of the weekly game. This is the oblique way of putting the following: I carry the equipment in my trunk, I store it over the winter, and, since 2004 I have been making out the line-ups with an eye on creating the conditions for equitable play. With all those tasks comes awesome obligations and presumptions of ritual and instrumental power. These features have long gone to my head, and to, especially my big now old Scots’ heart.

Everybody wins is my goal.

the odds

Learning to Play, Playing to Learn
A Case Study of a Ludic Learning Space

Alice and David A. Kolb
In this paper we propose an experiential learning framework for understanding how play can potentially create a unique ludic learning space conducive to deep learning. (full paper pdf)

excerpt:

History of the [Free Play Softball] league
In the mid 1970’s, Case Western Reserve University organized an intramural softball league from different departments and fraternity groups which have been competing ever since on a regular basis. The Organizational Behavior Department organized its own team made up of faculty, staff, students and family members. Overtime, the games became increasingly competitive and aggressive, and the OB team, which was much more inclusive when it came to its member composition (composed of men, women, and physically disabled individuals with varying skill levels) found itself at disadvantage playing against highly skilled, competitive, intramural teams.

Born out of this experience was the desire to create a league independent from the competitive intramural league, where anyone would come together to play just for the fun of the game. David, one of the founders of the game, remembers his motivation to start a different kind of league because “softball was too much fun to be left only to those who could play well.” In essence, those words summarized the vision for the pick up softball game and so the league was born in 1991. The league met every Sunday morning from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the baseball field of the University campus. The season began on the first Sunday after tax day in April and ended at the first snow in November. David provided the softball equipment and took it on himself to haul the balls, bats, gloves and bases and set up the field every Sunday morning. In the early years the term “league” may have been a bit grandiose for the game. The participation was random and sparse, not enough to make up two teams. Regardless of who or how many showed up, members played catch, hit balls, practiced fielding. Those for whom softball was a new experience learned the rules of the game as they played along. There was no designated coach or manager, or team captain for that matter; those who knew how to play helped those who were new to the game. As membership grew, and the converts regularly showed up, two teams were made up, sometimes five on each side, other times seven. Only after several years was the full complement of ten players on a side reached, and then only occasionally in the middle of the summer.

In 1995, the game was moved to a new softball field within a neighborhood park close to the University campus. Following the move to the new field membership began to grow not only in its size, but also in its diversity by gender, age, ethnicity, socio- economical background, and softball skill level. What had started out as a fairly homogeneous population of OB faculty, students, families and friends, began increasingly attracting local residents who found out about the game from different people and sources. Over time, new players joined from other counties, some of them taking a forty five minute bus ride to the ball field. Guided by the league’s founding vision, “fun softball for all,” everyone was welcome. In the fifteenth year of its existence, the league adopted “Free Play Softball League” as its official name, celebrating the special occasion with anniversary shirts and hats.

The Free Play ball field was in a grass park next to the city baseball fields. Unlike the impeccably manicured city league fields, the Free Play field was poorly maintained with no score board, lights or dugouts. The home plate area was particularly a mess, with weeds growing behind the base and the deep indentations in the batter’s box. The backstop was old and torn at the bottom. It was almost as if the Free Play league existed in the shadow of the city league, unnoticed by the city, or by the neighborhood community. The “league up on the hill,” as the Free Play members used to call the city league, was a highly competitive softball league, with die hard aggressive players pushing each other to their limits to win the game. As Lebron would say, pointing to the city fields, “over there, you get out there every single time to kick ass and beat the other team. It is not like our league.” In the Free Play league, we played a different kind of game.

Old-School-free-play

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The Strong Voice

Anne Baring The Dream of the Cosmos: online | Amazon

The Real Challenge of Our Times:
The Need for a New Worldview

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles; else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles and both are preserved. Matt. 9:17

To reclaim the sacred nature of the cosmos – and of planet Earth in particular – is one of the outstanding spiritual challenges of our time. Diarmuid O’Murchu, Quantum Theology

The threat of global warming, the urgent need to free ourselves from dependency on oil and the current financial crisis could be the triple catalyst that offers us the opportunity of bringing about a profound shift in our values, relinquishing an old story and defining a new one. Our lives and well-being depend upon the fertility and resources of the earth, yet in relation to the earth, it would seem that we have been autistic for centuries. Now, instead of treating our planetary home as the endless supplier of all our needs, without consideration for its needs, we could rethink beliefs and attitudes which have influenced our behaviour for millennia.
Because of those beliefs we have come to look upon nature as something separate from ourselves, something we could master, control and manipulate to obtain specific benefits for our species alone because ours, we were taught, has been given dominion over all others and over the earth itself. It has come as a bit of a shock to realise that our lives are intimately bound up with the fragile organism of planetary life and the inter-dependence of all species. If we destroy our habitat, whether inadvertently or deliberately by continuing on our present path, we may risk destroying ourselves. We have developed a formidable intellect, a formidable science, a formidable technology but all rest on the premise of our alienation from and mastery of nature, where nature was treated as object with ourselves as controlling subject.
Yet now, the foundation that seemed so secure is disintegrating: old structures and beliefs are breaking down. It is as if mortal danger is forcing us to take a great leap in our evolution that we might never have made were we not driven to it by the extremity of circumstance. Many people are defining a new kind of relationship with the earth, based not on dominance but on respect, responsibility and conscious service. Because our capacity for destruction, both military and ecological, is so much greater today than it was even fifty years ago, and will be still greater tomorrow, we have only decades in which to change our thinking and respond to the challenge of this evolutionary leap.
There is a second problematic legacy from the past: the image of God shared by the three Abrahamic religions. This has presented God as a transcendent creator, separate and distinct from the created order and from ourselves. Western civilisation, despite its phenomenal achievements, developed on the foundation of this fundamental split between spirit and nature—between creator and creation. Only now are we brought face to face with the disastrous effects of this split.
Once again, as in the early centuries of the Christian era, it seems as if new bottles are needed to hold the wine of a new revelation, a new understanding of reality which could heal this split. But how do we create the vessel which can assimilate the wine of a new vision of reality and a different image of God or Spirit? How do we relinquish the dogmatic beliefs and certainties which have, over the millennia of the patriarchal era, caused indescribable and quite unnecessary suffering and the sacrifice of so many millions of lives?
I cannot answer these questions. But I do know that as the new understanding, the new wine comes into being, we have to hold the balance and the tension between the old and the new without destroying the old or rejecting the new. It must have been like this two thousand years ago when the disciples of Jesus tried to assimilate what he was telling them, something so utterly different from the belief-system and the brutal values which governed the world of their time. Even today, the revolutionary teachings and the different values he taught have barely touched the consciousness that governs the world of our time, however much political and religious leaders proclaim allegiance to them. What would Jesus have thought of WMD, depleted uranium and cluster bombs, and the massacre of helpless civilians in war, let alone the destruction of vast swathes of the earth’s forests to supply crops for biofuels? What would he have thought of the fact that colossal sums of money are spent on the military when 17,000 children die every day from hunger and disease?.
The need for a more conscious relationship with both nature and spirit, bringing them closer together, is intrinsic to the creativity of the life-impulse itself—urging us to go beyond the boundaries of the known, to break through the concepts and beliefs, whether religious, scientific or political, which currently govern our culture and constrict the expansion of our understanding and our compassion.
What is the emerging vision of our time which could offer a template for a new civilization? the remainder of the essay

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Master and Emissary

Iain McGilchrist

The last two paragraphs from Iain McGilchrist’s Introduction [pdf] to his book The Master and the Emissary

There is a story in Nietzsche that goes something like this. There was once a
wise spiritual master, who was the ruler of a small but prosperous domain, and
who was known for his sel?ess devotion to his people. As his people ?ourished
and grew in number, the bounds of this small domain spread; and with it the need
to trust implicitly the emissaries he sent to ensure the safety of its ever more
distant parts. It was not just that it was impossible for him personally to order all
that needed to be dealt with: as he wisely saw, he needed to keep his distance from,
and remain ignorant of, such concerns. And so he nurtured and trained carefully
his emissaries, in order that they could be trusted. Eventually, however, his
cleverest and most ambitious vizier, the one he most trusted to do his work, began
to see himself as the master, and used his position to advance his own wealth and
in?uence. He saw his master’s temperance and forbearance as weakness, not
wisdom, and on his missions on the master’s behalf, adopted his mantle as his
own – the emissary became contemptuous of his master. And so it came about
that the master was usurped, the people were duped, the domain became a
tyranny; and eventually it collapsed in ruins.

The meaning of this story is as old as humanity, and resonates far from the
sphere of political history. I believe, in fact, that it helps us understand something
taking place inside ourselves, inside our very brains, and played out in the cultural
history of the West, particularly over the last 500 years or so. Why I believe so
forms the subject of this book. I hold that, like the Master and his emissary in the
story, though the cerebral hemispheres should co-operate, they have for some
time been in a state of con?ict. The subsequent battles between them are recorded
in the history of philosophy, and played out in the seismic shifts that characterise
the history of Western culture. At present the domain – our civilisation – ?nds
itself in the hands of the vizier, who, however gifted, is effectively an ambitious
regional bureaucrat with his own interests at heart. Meanwhile the Master, the one
whose wisdom gave the people peace and security, is led away in chains. The
Master is betrayed by his emissary.

(SC) My associate Kenneth Warren brought McGilchrist’s work to my attention. One of the first so-called turns a new publicized model goes through is for it to be stripped down and reattached to the folk estimations (or constructs,) which emerge when a representation of domain-specific research is loosed into the public source. Put differently: the representational concepts transform into hypotheses, and then people deploy these possible explanations in new, and untested areas and experiences.

This ad hoc meta-abduction pulls experiences and situations and potential matches and mappings back toward the explanation; and explanation held by human awareness. This entanglement could describe aspects of a social complex. It’s important to comprehend that it is first embodied, next emboldened, then reembodied; and that there is a parallel biosemiotic operation. A sense given by this view is that the transformation of domain-dependent concepts into something else altogether–where the concepts are made to visit new domains–is more complicated than the transforms caused by concepts being metaphoric or analogues.

A practical possibility, then, is that, for example, an ecological space such as a room or building, may be designed with the model in the designer’s mind.

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