"When I get new evidence I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes
- Nelson Mandela
- Teaching Cartoon: Two On ‘Timing’ & a Tale
- THE VOID (trailer)
- Humberto Maturana & Heinz von Foerster: Meta-Science, Reflection
- Visual Experiment: On the Trail (ARK)
- Teaching Cartoons: Instrumentality 1 & 2
- Mandorla: Trailer
- A Hidden ‘Meta’
- Who Are Your Luminaries?
- Everyone is going one place or the other, ‘cept corporations
- Kippie’s Ekaya
- Free Play Softball League: Ludic Aspirations & the Blue Men Group
- Symmetry Visual Experiment
- Teaching cartoon: Preparation
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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 Best and Worst of Agents of SHIELD, in One Clip December 11, 2013Check it out: In just one and a half minutes, here's everything that's working on Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, along with everything that's not. Just in time for the midseason break, which is a good moment to appraise this show's progress.Read more...
- Rudy Rucker's The Big Aha is a psychedelic futurist's dream come true December 11, 2013Rudy Rucker's latest novel, The Big Aha, is pure transreal Ruckeriana featuring extreme biological and quantum technologies, steamy techno-sex, nasty aliens from higher dimensions — and all soaked in the unique atmosphere of the magical 1960s. Read more...
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- A Nobel winner has declared a boycott of top science journals, including Nature, Cell, and Science. December 11, 2013A Nobel winner has declared a boycott of top science journals, including Nature, Cell, and Science. Biologist Randy Schekman says leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process, encouraging trendy research, and taking bribes. It's a "tyranny," he says, that must be broken. Read more...
- We who spoke LOLcat now speak Doge December 11, 2013In the internet meme war between cats and dogs, the dogs are currently winning. The "doge" meme features an image (often of an adorable shiba dog), annotated with distinctive phrases representing the thoughts of the dog — or the dragon, or whatever is being depicted. What has the internet gained in its move from LOLcats to doges?Read more...
- The Best and Worst of Agents of SHIELD, in One Clip December 11, 2013
- Join the NASA Space Program December 11, 2013
- Vote Now: Ultimate Maker Vehicle Challenge Ends Soon December 11, 2013
- Bring Outer Space to the Holidays With These Stellar Gift Ideas December 11, 2013
- How-To: The Lonely Christmas Tree December 11, 2013
- Top Ten Tips: Designing Models For 3D Printing December 11, 2013
Category Archives: adult learning
(I will be posting the two additional videos of Humberto and Heinz. Their brief engagements are very dense and rewarding. One of my favorite endeavors is to dive into dialogs. Thankfully these moments betwixt Maturana and von Foerster were captured so it is now possible to point to fine examples on youtube of deep diving dialog and conversational learning.)
Given the objectives of the Reduced Bateson Set, The second protocol of systems awareness, following from the first protocol of Intentional Reflection, is: “de-location and re-location.” This move is concerned with, in actual effect, jiggling–the/available/any–context(s.)
For now, after dealing with the above video, ramble with Heinz von Foerster.
shr: Do you not think that artificial intelligence is similarly implicit in other fields?
heinz von foerster: I do not think so. The founders and proponents of Artificial Intelligence were from the beginning very much motivated and extremely competent to go after highly specialized tasks as, for instance, how to build a robot which could rearrange an arrangement of blocks into another desired arrangement.
The performance of these machines are very impressive indeed, but I see them more as witnesses to the extraordinary natural intelligence of their designers, rather than cases of “artificial intelligence.”
The anthropomorphization of these machine functions I see insofar as dangerous, because one may be tempted to believe that when we say “this machine ‘thinks’” we know now how we think, for we know how the machine “thinks.”
Syntactically, however, the distinction is clear, for when the machines “thinks” they do it between quotes: quote think unquote. Except for the name there is nothing in common between the functions “think” and think!
shr: This is somewhat reminiscent of some classical critiques of artificial intelligence, for example, Hubert Dreyfus’s critique. It seems that you are saying something along Dreyfus’s lines because you are saying that although artificial intelligence is claiming that they are working to solve the problem of intelligence at large, indeed they are working within a very narrow definition of cognition or intelligence, ignoring the larger background and context within which cognition operates. And it seems that your view of cybernetics, or your own work, strives to look at cognition the opposite direction, in its largest possible framework.
hvf: The way you put your question conjures up in my mind the image of the Roman god of the Beginnings, the Guardian of the Universe, the god Janus. He has a head with two faces that look in opposite directions. Now I see one face watching Aristotle’s way of synthesizing imitations of life: “bio-mimesis”; the other face attending to those who follow the Platonic of coming to grips with, as Bateson put it, “mind and Nature, a Necessary Unity.”
My sense is that we need to learn to look both ways, like the god Janus. Interview at SEHR; Stanford
Heinz vo Foerster: When I answered “I shall talk about Ethics and Second-Order Cybernetics,” almost all of them looked at me in bewilderment and asked “What is second-order cybernetics?” as if there were no questions about ethics.
I am relieved when people ask me about second-order cybernetics and not about ethics, because it is so much easier to talk about second-order cybernetics than it is to talk about ethics. In fact, it is impossible to talk about ethics. But let me explain that later, and let me now say a few words about cybernetics, and, of course, about cybernetics of cybernetics, or second-order cybernetics.
As you all know, cybernetics arises when effectors, say, a motor, an engine, our muscles, etc. are connected to a sensory organ which, in turn, acts with its signals upon the effectors.
It is this circular organization which sets cybernetic systems apart from others that are not so organized. Here is Norbert Wiener, who re-introduced the term “cybernetics” into scientific discourse. He observed:
The behavior of such systems may be interpreted as directed to the attainment of a goal.
That is, it looks as if these systems pursued a purpose! That sounds very bizarre indeed.
But let me give you other paraphrases of what cybernetics is all about by invoking the spirit of women and men who rightly could be considered the mamas and papas of cybernetic thought and action.
First, here is Margaret Mead, whose name is, I am sure, familiar to all of you. In one of her addresses to the American Society of Cybernetics she said:
As an anthropologist, I have been interested in the effects that the theories of cybernetics have within our society. I am not referring to computers or to the electronic evolution as a whole, or to the end of dependence on script for knowledge, or to the way that dress has succeeded the mimeographing machine as a form of communication among the dissenting young.
Let me repeat that:
I am not referring to the way that dress has succeeded the mimeographing machine as a form of communication among the dissenting young.
[And then she continues:]
I specifically want to consider the significance of the set of cross-disciplinary ideas which we first called ‘feed-back’ and then called ‘teleological mechanisms’ and then called ‘cybernetics’ — a form of cross-disciplinary thought which made it possible for members of many disciplines to communicate with each other easily in a language which all could understand.
And here is the voice of her third husband, the epistemologist, anthropologist, cybernetician, and, as some say, the papa of family therapy, Gregory Bateson:
Cybernetics is a branch of mathematics dealing with problems of control, recursiveness and information.
And here the organizational philosopher and managerial wizard Stafford Beer:
Cybernetics is the science of effective organization.
And, finally, here the poetic reflection of “Mister Cybernetics,” as we fondly call him, the cybernetician’s cybernetician, Gordon Pask:
Cybernetics is the science of defensible metaphors.
It seems that cybernetics is many different things to many different people, but this is because of the richness of its conceptual base. And this is, I believe, very good; otherwise, cybernetics would become a somewhat boring exercise. However, all of those perspectives arise from one central theme, and that is that of circularity.
When, perhaps a half century ago, the fecundity of this concept was seen, it was sheer euphoria to philosophize, epistemologize, and theorize about its consequences, its ramification into various fields, and its unifying power.
While this was going on, something strange evolved among the philosophers, the epistemologists and the theoreticians: they began to see themselves more and more as being themselves included in a larger circularity, maybe within the circularity of their family, or that of their society and culture, or being included in a circularity of even cosmic proportions.
What appears to us today most natural to see and to think, was then not only hard to see, it was even not allowed to think!
Because it would violate the basic principle of scientific discourse which demands the separation of the observer from the observed. It is the principle of objectivity: the properties of the observer shall not enter the description of his observations.
I gave this principle here in its most brutal form, to demonstrate its nonsensicality: if the properties of the observer, namely, to observe and to describe, are eliminated, there is nothing left: no observation, no description.
However, there was a justification for adhering to this principle, and this justification was fear. Fear that paradoxes would arise when the observers were allowed to enter the universe of their observations. And you know the threat of paradoxes: to steal their way into a theory is like having the cloven-hoofed foot of the Devil stuck in the door of orthodoxy.
Clearly, when cyberneticians were thinking of partnership in the circularity of observing and communicating, they were entering the forbidden land:
In the general case of circular closure, A implies B, B implies C, and — O! Horror! — C implies A!
Or in the reflexive case:
A implies B, and — O! Shock! — B implies A!
And now Devil’s cloven-hoofed foot in its purest form, in the form of self-reference:
A implies A.
l would like to invite you now to come with me into the land where it is not forbidden, but where one is even encouraged to speak about oneself (what else can one do anyway?).
This turn from looking at things out there to looking at looking itself, arose — I think — from significant advances in neurophysiology and neuropsychiatry. (H.v.Foerster, ethics and second order cybernetics; SEHR; Stanford)
Paper: On Constructing Reality (pdf)
I HAVE NO PARENTS;
I MAKE THE HEAVENS AND EARTH MY PARENTS.
I HAVE NO HOME;
I MAKE AWARENESS MY HOME
I HAVE NO LIFE OR DEATH;
I MAKE THE TIDES OF MY BREATHING MY LIFE AND DEATH.
I HAVE NO DIVINE POWER;
I MAKE HONESTY MY DIVINE POWER.
I HAVE NO MEANS;
I MAKE UNDERSTANDING MY MEANS.
I HAVE NO MAGIC SECRETS;
I MAKE CHARACTER MY MAGIC SECRET.
I HAVE NO BODY;
I MAKE ENDURANCE MY BODY.
I HAVE NO EYES;
I MAKE THE FLASH OF LIGHTNING MY EYES.
I HAVE NO EARS;
I MAKE SENSIBILITY MY EARS.
I HAVE NO LIMBS;
I MAKE PROMPTNESS MY LIMBS.
I HAVE NO STRATEGY;
I MAKE CLARITY MY STRATEGY.
I HAVE NO DESIGNS;
I MAKE INTUITION MY DESIGN.
I HAVE NO MIRACLES;
I MAKE RIGHT-ACTION MY MIRACLES.
I HAVE NO PRINCIPLES;
I MAKE NO-AVERSION MY PRINCIPLE.
I HAVE NO TACTICS;
I MAKE EMPTINESS AND FULLNESS MY TACTICS.
I HAVE NO TALENTS;
I MAKE READY WIT MY TALENT.
I HAVE NO FRIENDS;
I MAKE MY MIND MY FRIEND.
I HAVE NO ENEMY;
I MAKE CARELESSNESS MY ENEMY.
I HAVE NO ARMOR;
I MAKE BENEVOLENCE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS MY ARMOR.
I HAVE NO CASTLE;
I MAKE IMMOVABLE-MIND MY CASTLE.
I HAVE NO SWORD;
I MAKE ABSENCE OF SELF MY SWORD.
Once knowing is no longer understood as the search for an iconic representation of ontological reality but, instead, as a search for fitting ways of behaving and thinking, the traditional problem disappears. Knowledge can now be seen as something which the organism builds up in the attempt to order the as such amorphous flow of experience by establishing repeatable experiences and relatively reliable relations between them. The possibilities of constructing such an order are determined and perpetually constrained by the preceding steps in the construction. That means that the “real” world manifests itself exclusively there where our constructions break down. But since we can describe and explain these breakdowns only in the very concepts that we have used to build the failing structures, this process can never yield a picture of a world that we could hold responsible for their failure. An Introduction to Radical Constructivism, in: Paul Watzlawick (Hg.): The Invented Reality, 1984, p. 39.
Onset: Free Play Softball League winter blues.
As it turned out, the gentle slope in the westward direction of Forest Hills (and its Field #8) allowed us to set up an impromptu diamond in the southeast corner and play in rather decent conditions for the last four weeks.
Last Sunday’s game may well have been our last of a season begun the SUnday after tax day. It was a notable Sunday for several reasons. First, for the second week in a row Jedi Matt launched a ball over 300 feet. This time I paced off the distance when I retrieved a second 300 foot shot into foul territory. Secondly, our cast of characters allowed us once again to play the minimum type of game with at least six to a side, a game in which we slice the outfield in half, give up the right fielder, a second baseman and some times a catcher, yet retain the first baseman to avoid the dreary game dubbed ‘pitcher’s mound.’ Finally, it was our fifth game in a row in which the home team had a chance to win in the bottom of the seventh.
Because I keep track of my own hitting, I can report we played 27 Sundays out of 30. We enjoyed this year the best weather and the most dynamic group relations of any season since I commenced my own participation in 2001.
Those features combine to knock out a data set about, this year and in a nutshell, ‘ludic aspirations, aging, and the interplay of masculinities.’ Ha!
I asked by email for twelve and twelve came.
There’s more to it than that. First: MONSTER SLAM BY JEDI MATT! Estimates as to length of home run varied from 375 feet to a parsec; still, a top five mash for sure.
My research focus is on serendipity and this also means that I am ensnared on a good day with the problem of contingency as it happens in causal chains of human action. I told Dave B. as we departed the parking lot on Sunday that it was his own email to me earlier in the morning that compelled me to bring the equipment and learn whether or not we would gather enough Free Players together for a November game.
Before his email I was ambivalent and leaning toward announcing by email that the field was too wet, the day too cold, and the season too aged, to play. Earlier in the week Francis, acting as our scout, reported the field would be playable on Sunday. Except this was in the middle of the week and Friday came a day-long, soaking, rain.
The Dave’s email arrived in my in-box. I leaned the other way and shot out an email and stated I would be doing my darn duty and hoping we could play with enough forces to have a first baseman for each team. And, my colleagues made it so.
A close game, the fourth in a row, unfolded on a day past the ending of the real world series. Mark us down for one of best seasons whenever we’re playing in November. We tucked our improvised diamond in the southeast corner of the park and except for scattered miniature ponds in left field, the field was in fairly decent shape.
The ball was leaping off the bat. Monster blast! It came down to the last at bat. With one out I laced a shop into the gap, Stacey zoomed and grabbed it, darn kid! It didn’t matter we came up short, but everybody won the day.
h/t The New Yorker
from Funny Times Presents the Best American Humor (pbk)
No matter the result, there’s always next week. The candids from last week do reflect how quickly the process of resetting follows on the outcome of our Sunday game.
On this blog, I’ve been going into my thought processes and expressing some of my analysis about the intersection of group desires with the format of a zero-sum kind of game, named Free Play Softball League.
With the support of longtime players, over decades we’ve tried to support a singular hope for competitive games, without triggering the Sunday softball game’s human thrust being mainly about one team winning. We were in the midst of a specific procedural experiment about how we pick-up and compose two different teams prior to play on Sunday mornings; ‘all this’ for the sake of reducing the number of hopeless routs, and mitigating the odd statistical outcome in which one particular player is on the winning team close to two-thirds of the time.
Now, it’s back to the drawing board. But, I will look forward to leaning into the my very smart mentors and discovering if there’s a new experiment we will embrace.
Bonus: attempt now to revise your prior knowledge. . .
now that it has been found to have been always erroneous.
Yesterday’s Free Play Softball game was epic. For starters, 27 players were on hand. Dave Kolb thought this set the record for turnout in September. It was the best turnout this season, and, the icing was the appearance of both new first timers and some returnees from past seasons. We ended up with my ideal outcome, a one run game.
When is it beneficial, or necessary, to make the effort to learn more about what each group member’s reflections are about their own experience of the group?
Describe the kinds of Free Play softball games that you enjoy the most.
phenomenological (and social-psychological/anthropological) reflections…
Working name for new squareONE tool is The Approach-a-tron. It’s named so because it could be used to jiggle and juggle around a person’s approach to something or another.
I found the spinning cubes at a garage sale last summer. This tool is a variation on the ‘classic’ squareONE tool model. It provides a randomly generated set of data points which start from a point of possessing zero relationship or meaningfulness to what the learner brings forth.
First step for squareONE tools and for my playful collaborative co-creation with a learner is to develop a powerful intention to learn about a crucial situation of the learner. The next step is for the learner to explore, then discover, possible relations and meaningfulness in the field betwixt his or her challenge, question, or problem. Finally, the last step for a learner is to highlight the most worthwhile relations and meaningfulness for the sake of further exploration or doing an active experiment based in any insight evoked by the worthwhile discovery, or taking advantage of such an insight in any other way.
I have not tested this new tool and I would be open to anybody volunteering to be a test subject. This can be brought about face-to-face or by Skype.
sc.calhoun (at) gmail.com
squareONE: experiential toolmakers is to receive some attention in the coming months. I will roll out a new web site. I will update the pitch and thrust of squareONE’s mission.
Nasruddin sometimes took people for trips in his boat.One day a fussy pedagogue hired him to ferry him across a very wide river.
As soon as they were afloat the scholar asked whether it was going to be rough.
“We’ll see.” said Nasruddin.
“Have you never studied grammar?” asked the scholar.
“No,” said the Mulla.
“In that case, half your life has been wasted.”
The Mulla said nothing.
Soon a terrible storm blew up. The Mulla’s shall0w boat was filling with water.
He leaned over towards his companion.
“Have you ever learnt to swim?”
“No,” said the pedant.
“In that case, schoolmaster, ALL your life is lost, for we are sinking.”
I maintain the Free Play Softball ‘league’ is enjoying the greatest string of great weather I’ve seen in the twelve years I’ve been playing; that is playing as we do every Sunday at Field #8, Forest Hills Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
In short, questions in biology of a ‘How?’ nature need more than genetics and frequently more than a reductionist approach. If nature is at all economical (and we have good reason to believe that this is usually so), we can expect that she will choose to create at least some complex forms not by laborious piece-by-piece construction but by utilizing some of the organizational and pattern-forming phenomena we see in the non-living world. If that is so, we can expect to see similarities in the forms and patterns of living and purely inorganic or physical systems, and we can expect too that the same ideas can be used to account for them both. Philip Ball, The Self-Made Tapestry, Pattern Formation in Nature
Subtle relationships between seemingly disparate materials–such as the two cartoons and the book excerpt–bring ‘upward’ potentials for learning not otherwise accessible in more straight forward treatments of the same discrete material. Comment.
4 divided by 2,789 = 0.0014342058 (via cracked.com’s iPad app)
Permanently attached to the sidebar of the explorations blog is a link to Cary Huang’s interactive graphic about the scale of the universe. It captures another, humbling, dimension and is described by your curator as essential for a reason–well worth a visit.
Besides the obvious cleverness, this cartoon supposes that sometimes a solution is easier than assumed, or, right in front of your face.
You can test its formula by trying it out on more difficult material.
Idries Shah is the source for the dialog (and exposition) in this comic, but it was necessary to shift the subject matter a bit to repurpose its ‘learning function’ and attach it to a contemporary situation.
The reader likely will need to work a bit to tease out the subtle didactic aim of the exposition. The situation of the GOP stands in for all similar situations for which the actual mechanics of leading and following are willfully obscured and substituted with, and here’s the first hint, an idealization about different mechanics.
The subject matter is: the psychological problem of following leaders. What follows are some clues and only clues.
(1) David Corn writes about Project Groundswell, a group of conservative thought leaders working together to lead thoughts and improve followers’ reasons for following.
(2) The Impostor Syndrome: is when the pressure of knowing directly about one’s own faults undermines the effort to present one’s relatively faultless self to others. “If those suckers who worship me only knew what I know!”
(3) The extension of the story, The Emperor With No Clothes; so: what happens next to the followers?