“Why have we become like gods as technologists and like devils as moral beings, supermen in science and idiots in aesthetics – idiots above all in the Greek sense of absolutely isolated individuals, incapable of communicating among themselves or understanding one another?” Lewis Mumford
- Luck and Creativity
- Teaching Cartoon: Go With What You Know
- Spontaneous Relationship “Be-crossed”
- Spontaneous Relationship
- Each Arrives With A Gift (World Poetry Day 2015)
- Visual Experiment: Character Mandala No. 1c
- Deepening the Ecology of Knowing
- Overt Pairs of the Experiential Learning Cycle of David Kolb
- Teaching Cartoon: Anachronism
- Pre-Probe – Generating Paradox
- Surprisingly: Hectic <--> Galumphing (Polarity)
- Views From Above, Mirrored
- Anchoring Humane and Loving Support of Knowledge Seeking and Sensemaking in the Public Library
- Brain and Culture
- Going Down, Going Deep
If you grow up, as we do, with a worship of the quantitative aspect and a minimal attention to the qualitative aspect, I believe you inevitably land yourself in the dilemmas of our civilization.
But I get back to the fact that the way we are going about things with this enormous emphasis upon the quantitative view and the minimal emphasis upon the patterned
view is, I believe, the easiest way of the descent into hell. The surest...
Gregory Bateson (1981)
- “The judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy. The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, a characteristic also of the child, and as such it appears inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. It is therefore short-sighted to treat fantasy, on account of its risky or unacceptable nature, as a thing of little worth.” The Psychology of Individuation, CG Jung
- Spontaneous Relationship “Be-crossed”
- Spontaneous Relationship
- Pre-Probe – Generating Paradox
- Coincidentally Fragile
- Maslow + Cube-O-Probe Mashup
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- "It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious." - Alfred North Whitehead
- More email newsletters July 2, 2014
- new language annotation software June 25, 2014
- Software, Culture, and Political Economy in New Media Capitalism June 25, 2014
- ye olde net… June 25, 2014
- re the big data explosion June 10, 2014
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
- If, during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of their organization, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometric powers of increase of each species, at some age, season or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite variety in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each being’s own welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce offspring similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection. [Charles Darwin (1859) On the Origin of Species]
- “It is essential to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” James Madison
- All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it. -Benjamin Franklin
Thinking Outside the Agora
- The Walking Dead spin-off has an official (dumb) name. March 27, 2015The Walking Dead spin-off has an official (dumb) name. Creator/producer Robert Kirkman tweeted it will be call Fear the Walking Dead, in case, you know, you thought it might be Annoy the Walking Dead, Hug the Walking Dead or even Be Ambivalent About the Walking Dead.Read more...
- The 12 Plot Ideas That Every Single Classic TV Show Did To Death March 27, 2015Making a TV show is a terrible grind — especially back in the day, when shows were entirely made up of standalone episodes. So it's no wonder that so many classic shows reached for the same handful of plots, over and over. Here are 12 storylines you'll find in every old science fiction and fantasy […]
- Listen To Every Single Musical Genre, Ever March 27, 2015If you've ever wanted to hear the difference between traditional funk and Memphis soul, or understand where they fit in the context of more than 1300 musical genres, you might want to clear your schedule. An interactive project called Every Noise at Once is about to devour the rest of your day.Read more...
- Kotaku Asks: The Lead Developers Of Dragon Age: Inquisition March 27, 2015Three top people from BioWare, one of the world's most acclaimed RPG studios, are here to answer your questions this afternoon.Read more...
- This Is Your New Star Wars Canon... So Far March 27, 2015With the Expanded Universe obliterated, the Star Wars canon is looking a little thin at the moment. Still not sure what goes where? Here's a new official infographic that shows you where the books, movies, and TV series all fall.Read more...
- The Walking Dead spin-off has an official (dumb) name. March 27, 2015
- Taulman3D Releases New, Super Strong Nylon Filament March 27, 2015
- Learn About PSoC and BLE in Upcoming Online Tutorials March 27, 2015
- 3D Printed Shoes and the Coolest Hello World Boards You’ve Ever Seen at Fab Academy March 27, 2015
- New Project: Battery Clip Transistor Tester March 27, 2015
- MakerCon Launch Pad Competition: Meet the Judges March 26, 2015
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Category Archives: adult learning
Intention to Learn: Suggest animated entryways to making sense of relationship forsaked.
(The above diagram melds together two transformative learning devices, The Cube-O-Probe, and Playing Opposites.)
People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds. Carl Rogers
One cost of my understanding that the most golden opportunity is being with/doing with people, is uncovered when I learn what the other’s perception is of this primary urge of mine. Additionally, I could catalog the rationales for other person’s disinterest, or, otherwise, for someone not wishing to step toward relationship.
Sometimes a person who has rebuffed my offer might wander back to where our two atmospheres and breath-making intersect, and this seems to offer the playing out of a beginning, grief, authenticity.
Writ to the scale of practice, questions about the varieties of relationship remain under-appreciated. Often considerations of relationship are subsumed by regard for communicative elements, yet this can come to filter such considerations, and do so to the point that understanding of communication comes at the expense of understanding relationship.
The definition of a relationship depends not merely upon the skeleton of events which make up the interaction but also upon the way the individuals concerned see and interpret these events. Thus seeing or interpreting can be regarded as the application of a set of propositions about the world or the self for whose validity depends upon the subject’s believe in them. The individuals are partially free to interpret their world according to the premises of the respective character structure, and the freedom to do this is still further increased by the phenomena of selective awareness and by the fact that the perceiving individual plays a part in creating the appropriate sequences of action by contributing his own his own action to the sequence. (Gregory Bateson, Juergen Ruesch, 1951, The Social matrix of Psychiatry)
In stepping back from most bare bones conceptions of relationship, the multiple operational loops of dynamic construal and “intra-enactive” responses come to be revealed. Who are you? It is the most penetrating question possible.
Please join me for my presentation tomorrow at 3:45pm EST. I’ve made some changes in the original description.
Ha! I invented a new experiential learning tool, The Cycle of David A. Kolb’s Cycle. I originally figured I would give it a spin with colleagues and other interested persons at the same time I held down the presenter’s spot in the quarterly meeting of The Experiential Learning Community of Practice. This experiment was placed in the original description.
But, then I recalled I am an ENFP, and a Reflective Learner in Kolbian terms, and, I was able to withdraw the projection that suggested I could turn the self-selecting participants into ad hoc experimental subjects.
Not so fast, buster!
I’ve nevertheless opted for an energetic presentation, yet, I dialed the interactive aspect down so close to the null value that all that will be retained, interactively speaking, will be the discussion in the second half.
(Below are links to pdfs of the slides and the tool itself. These will be public for 72 hours.)
Generating Paradox. Overt and Covert Polarities in David A. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle
Given the theoretical-conceptual architecture of Kolb’s Learning Cycle, fascinating yet obscured conceptual relations subsist within the dynamic move from the organismic systematic theory to its application as a theory-in-use/applied model.
This experiential presentation teases out some of those relations by leveraging both the explicit dialectical relations in the normative model, and co-existing, emergent, yet hidden polar relations discoverable elsewhere near bye.
In this peeling away of layers of the conceptual ‘onion,’ two gains are anticipated: one, the active learner will experience reasons for de-reifying applied aspects of learning style, and, two, the learner may be inspired to expand his or her own experiential learning model’s practical reach.
Expect 45 minutes of presentation and 45 minutes of discussion and comments and questions.
Download Links PDF via box.com:
for future use:
The Cycle of the Kolb Cycle Tool
This presentation is designed to be experiential. Participants may maximize the experience by taking notes of what is compelling.
Connect via Adobe Connect Meeting: (please use phone for audio)
Meeting Name: EL CoP Meeting
When: 03/12/2015 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM
Time Zone: (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Conference Number(s): 605 475 6006
Participant Code: 142480
To join the meeting:
You will need: Adobe Connect Add-On, Direct Download:
Adobe provides a client for iPad on the Apple App Store.
If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before:
Test your connection: https://meet54507615.adobcom/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htmeconnect.
Get a quick overview: http://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect.html
Adobe, the Adobe logo, Acrobat and Adobe Connect are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.
Public Library Hierarchy of Care – Classes
IN4tuity ventured to a public library client on February 16. For a half day experiential learning program our design leveraged dialogical inquiry and conversational learning in the whole system of the staff to develop a Hierarchy of Care for the library.
My insight starts from the well-known Maslow pyramid:
Integrates the Spiral Dynamics in the background of Ken and my appreciative, constructivist, experiential and ‘critically conscious’ (P.Freire) precepts,
The staff went to work in interdepartmental teams and identified and dialogued about their concrete experiences and learnings about care. During a group inquiry, the captures were written to the appropriate class in the customized pyramid. We ended up with a very rich, and very subtle, organizational Hierarchy of Care. And, we also added a new proven tool to our kit.
Today I squinted and visualized IN4tuity‘s fundamental thrust: to help anchor the humane and loving support of knowledge-seeking and sensemaking in the ecology of public library-in-its-community.
V.S. Ramachandran (Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute)
– lecture begins at 3:10
Edward O. Wilson (Harvard Univ. Museum of Comparative Zoology Faculty Emeritus Pellegrino University Professor, Emeritus)
On the Relation Science and the Humanities – Nine Parts
I’ve been pondering the hidden polar dynamics of the learning cycle of my friend, colleague and softball teammate David Kolb. By definition those implicit yet ‘out of sight’ dynamics are anchored by various factors which instantiate or otherwise ramify dialectical, or dichotomous, or sensible polarities, or novel pairings.
These wanderings then approach the schema, of which there is a normative schema that shows the basic layout of pairings, and, as well, by way of exclusion, hides all the others. For example. there would be, in what would be a meta-schema, the crucial polarity of learner |- – – -|environment. This specific relation is dialectical in the broad context given by a, or any, constructivist model.
There’s no reason those hidden relations cannot be pinned to the normative schema. Heck, the views on offer here are of non-normative schemas, and so supplemental pairings may be pinned to these too!This is why I have been thinking about this stuff:
This presentation is designed to be experiential and interactive. Participants may maximize the experience by having at hand five pieces of blank paper, scissors, and a fine marker or bold pen.
Quarterly Virtual Presentation – The Experiential Learning Community of Practice
March 12, 2015 – 4:00pm EST
[Note A] In my model, taken from the Kolb model, Intentionality is necessarily the initial and initializing point of entry into learning. This intention holds Concrete Experience. Its import is imparted by the learner’s appropriation of a motive to learn for his or her own reasons, in his or her own context. This Intention is derived from the learner’s FEEL for what is right for him or her.
My model is in a critical relation with Dr. Kolb’s view. For me, Concrete Experience, is: present sensemaking contextualized by the learner’s motivating, evaluative Feeling.
[Note B] Negotiation in a micro phase means that a learner navigates the entire learning cycle in a background micro operation at different macro phases of the normative learning cycle. One benefit of this suggestion is that it supports a phenomenological entry for intuition into the macro cycle and does so in a particular sense by implying that the entire cycle might be navigated instantaneously, or, alternately, that the cycle might constitute something like a non-linear cascade (a) at this micro phase level.
(a) Patricia Smith Churchland and Paul M. Churchland, “Neural Worlds and Real Worlds,” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 3
The clear bead at the center changes everything.
There are no edges to my loving now.
I’ve heard it said there’s a window that opens
from one mind to another,
but if there’s no wall, there’s no need
for fitting the window or the latch.
– Rumi, version by Coleman Barks
I recommend you take your hand home and take a look at it when you get there — very quietly, almost as part of meditation. And try to catch the difference between seeing it as a base for five parts and seeing it as constructed of a tangle of relationships. Not a tangle, a pattern of the interlocking of relationships that were determinants of its growth. And if you can really manage to see the hand in terms of the epistemology that I am offering you, I think you will find that your hand is much more recognizably beautiful as a product of relationships than as a composition of countable parts. In other words, I am suggesting to you, first, that language is very deceiving, and, second, that if you begin even without much knowledge to adventure into what it would be like to look at the world with a biological epistemology, you will come into contact with the concepts that the biologists don’t look at. You will meet with beauty and ugliness. These may be real components in the world that you as a living creature live in.
…Of course natural history can be taught as a dead subject. I know that, but I believe also that perhaps the monstrous atomistic pathology at the individual level, the national level, and the international level — the pathology of wrong thinking in which we all live — can only in the end be corrected by an enormous discovery of those relations in nature that make up the beauty of nature. Gregory Bateson
This is a deceptive juxtaposition. In noting as much, I would guess almost all my given juxtapositions have an element of deception concealed in my secret intention!
I finally took the Kolb Educator Role Profile.
This result, schematically presented above, is fuzzily right inasmuch as the KERP is able to capture some of the qualities of me–who in the normative sense of the term educator is not an educator–yet, is an educator-of-a-sort. What kind of sort?
This raises the question of how to get at the term for my sort. Perhaps, it’s best to ask the subjects of whatever it is that qualifies and names what I do. I do aid experience-based transformative learning. Yet, there isn’t a clear educator’s role in what I do, except, the learning relationship is certainly educative.
Here’s my Kolb LSi 4.0 “kite.” (My own sense is that it presents–something like–my genre of experiential learning style because as a visual and musical experimenter the kites which would correspond to those contexts would look radically different.)
In my one-on-one learning collaborations, I’m an intuitive, experienced re-worker.
Mindfulness exploits the fact that two key points of leverage in managing the unexpected are expectations and categories. People who persistently rework their categories and refine them, differentiate them, update them, and replace them notice more and catch unexpected events earlier in their development. That is the essence of mindfulness. – Karl Weick
Where is mindfulness located in the Experiential Learning Cycle of David A. Kolb?
David A. Kolb’s experiential learning cycle helps me channel my introspective sense of my role:
In the literature and movies of the American Frontier the scout is usually depicted as a roughly clad eccentric who leaves the safety of the settlement and reappears unpredictably, bringing a mixture of firsthand reports, rumors, and warnings about the wilderness ahead—together with a tantalizing collection of plant specimens, animal skins, and rock samples, not all of which are fool’s gold. At first the settlers find the scout’s help indispensable; but once their community begins to consolidate he becomes a figure of fun; and finally, after respectability has set in, he is a positive embarrassment. Yet their premature respectability is vulnerable. When the settlement is struck by drought, the scout’s nature lore leads the settlers to hidden springs of underground water, but once the crisis is past, respectability reemerges, and the scout is ridden out to the town line.Within the world of the American behavioral sciences, Gregory Bateson has always had the scout’s ambiguous status.
The Charm of the Scout Philosopher of science Stephen Toulmin reviewing Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity (Gregory Bateson) in The New York Review of Books, 1980 – also included in Rigor & Imagination: Essays from the Legacy of Gregory Bateson
It occurs to me my clearest educator’s role is instantiated as the central aspect of my self-education. Ironically, the KERP captures my autodidactic approach.
(I dislike the term coach.) I’m a bit of a guide and a scout. I told Ken, “I’m sort of a Virgil-like figure.”
Sort of a hybrid?
Week before last I had a marvelous dream. It was the first dream about my being in the Community of Practice of Experiential Learning practitioners. In the dream, several colleagues were personified as dream characters. The dream seemed to wrestle on my behalf with some fairly charged psychological aspects of my involvement over the past year and a half.
Because of the concrete personifications, I can’t offer as I usually do the unfettered dream. I have come up with an alternative that doesn’t replay the dream as much as recontextualize and remix it while versioning it as a tale about the wise fool of Middle Eastern folklore, Nasruddin. There was no donkey in the actual dream.
Nasruddin had been asked to present his “Theory of Yin & Yang” to a group of eager students.
Nasruddin, standing in front of the group, waits for the cue to begin his presentation. But, something is wrong. His donkey has not arrived with important books and materials.
A student raises her hand, and interrupts to tell Nasruddin:
“Sir, we’ve already been talking about this because your donkey was last seen walking around the reflective pool by the museum.”
Nasruddin asks her, “Did the donkey have the books?”
“Yes, the donkey had the books. But, I know the donkey will be late too because she got half way around the pond, stopped, and dove right in and made a bee line toward pure experience.
NAsruddin is taken back and starts to feel confused. But, at that moment, the donkey walks in, dry, and happy to see Nasruddin.
The donkey walks up to Nasruddin.
He leans over and whispers to the donkey “Did you really dive in?”
The donkey shakes her head, “No.”
Nasruddin asks her, “Do you have the books?”
The donkey whispers back, “What books?”
There are things we can change and others not:
Let us accept what is our written fate.
In God’s Compassion we will find no spot;
And we should know that Being’s inmost sound Is sheer Beatitude.
And faith will wait; For faith means patience.
Happy is the man Who Mercy’s Mystery and way has found —
Who with his love and in his very core
Becomes a Wave that leads to Allah’s Shore.
[Above: random Cube-O-Probe “roll” nailed to the Heaven & Hell Mandala. In this form for interpretation, the Heavenly opportunities are betwixt the cubes in the upper right quadrant, and the Hellish obstacles are between the cubes in the lower left quadrant. These two conventions are explicit conceptual anchors given to the heuristic means of the tool. Less explicit would be what Ken and I call the flickering aspects in the other two quadrants.]
I invented, with assistance from Kenneth Warren, two new squareONE tools over the last several months. Both have applications in discovery-based self-knowledge. Additionally, the Cube-O-Probe has already been given a trial run as a method for adducing insight about organizational development. As it turns out, the Cube-O-Probe is organically integrated with the earlier tool, Calhoun/Warren Heaven & Hell Archetypal Assessment Mandala because the form of the Mandala provides a very sharp interpretive format for the roll of the cubes.
The ‘Archetypal Assessment Mandala,’ as this is being written, is being beta tested by intrepid volunteers. It was rolled out to participants at Ken and my program Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears, that we presented at the Analytical Psychology Society of Western New York December 12th.
I am working on a post to explain how I came to liberate astrology from the confines of space and time, and also free astrology from its deterministic meta-theories. In doing so, I could add on additional cubes to the new tool the Cube-O-Probe. Those add-on cubes increase the original set of cubes based in masculine, feminine, mythological archetypes, and psychodynamic polarities (or dichotomies,) and, the explicit so-called oppositions of the typological constructs taken from Dr. Jung and variously identified by John Beebe and John Giannini.
These new cubes, based in a matrix devised from the basic developmental psychological positions given by the twelve houses and twelve signs–think of the signs as a Y axis, and the houses as a X axis–implicate those positions and also the polarities given in the astro-psychology to be food for reflection/exploration/self-discovery.
The Cube-O-Probe is anchored to my theoretical wondering about the role of generative inducements for praxis using polarities in personal meaning-making. In turn, this has to do with freeing practical means for self-knowledge from linear and stage-based regimens of self-seeking. Both these ‘second orders’ of experiential learning aim at providing spontaneous ‘third order’ methods for self-recognition and self-development, or, alternately, for synchronic (insight-based,) individuation.
A precarious process is such that, whatever the complex configuration of enabling conditions, if the dependencies on the operationally closed network are removed, the process necessarily stops. In other words, it is not possible for a precarious process in an operationally closed network to exist on its own in the circumstances created by the absence of the network.
A precarious, operationally closed system is literally self-enabling, and thus it sustains itself in time partially due to the activity of its own constituent processes. Moreover, because these processes are precarious, the system is always decaying. The “natural tendency” for each constituent process is to stop, a fate the activity of the other processes prevents. The network is constructed on a double negation. The impermanence of each individual process tends to affect the network negatively if sustained unchecked for a sufficient time. It is only the effect of other processes that curb these negative tendencies. This dynamic contrasts with the way we typically conceive of organic processes as contributing positively to sustaining life; if any of these processes were to run unchecked, it would kill the organism. Thus, a precarious, operationally closed system is inherently restless, and in order to sustain its intrinsic tendencies towards internal imbalance, it requires energy, matter, and relations with the outside world. Hence, the system is not only self-enabling, but also shows spontaneity in its interactions due to a constitutive need to constantly “buy time” against the negative tendencies of its own parts.
The simultaneous requirement of operational closure and precariousness are the defining properties of autonomy for enactivism. It is this concept of autonomy that answers the opening question in this section about the individuation of the body. A body is understood as such an autonomous system, an understanding that allows for the possibility that any given body need not be constituted exclusively by its biochemical or physiological processes (Thompson and Stapleton 2009; Kyselo and Di Paolo, under review).
The Enactive Approach (pdf) Ezequiel Di Paolo and Evan Thompson
Biology . . . shows us that we can expand our cognitive domain. This arises through a novel experience brought forth through reasoning, through the encounter with a stranger, or, more directly, through an expression of a biological interpersonal congruence that lets us see the other person and open up for him room for existence beside us. This act is called love, or, if we prefer a milder expression, the acceptance of the other person beside us in our daily living. This is the biological foundation of social phenomena: without love, without acceptance of others living beside us there is no social process and, therefore, no humanness. Anything that undermines the acceptance of others, from competency to the possession of truth and on to ideolog- ic certainty, undermines the social process because it undermines the biologic process that generates it. (Maturana & Varela, The Tree of Knowledge, 1992, p. 246)
So it came about many many years after reading The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light by William Irwin Thompson that I noted his son Evan is an important shaper of the enactivist frame.
Nora Bateson with her father
I. Ding an Sich
Perhaps the largest question in epistemology is: How can we know anything if we cannot know the Ding an sich, the thing-in-itself? Or, another way of putting it: If we cannot know the Ding an sich, do we know the natural world at all?
Gregory tended to say that we know images of the world, not the world itself. An epistemology of mediate realism says that we do not know our images of the world, but we know the world itself through our images of it. Gregory cannot come to an epistemology of mediate realism because he has no developed theory of refer- ence, no theory of intentionality or ‘aboutness.’
Let’s parse this problem more finely than Gregory did. The notion of the Ding an sich goes back to the scholastic philosophers of the 13th century who used the phrase in se vs. quoad nos, a pair of philosophical jargon terms that are understood in relation to each other. Any being or entity that is understood quoad nos is under- stood as it relates to us. We might say that the sun is a disk, quoad nos, as far as we are concerned, i.e., from our point of view. But the sun is a sphere in se, in itself, i.e., not relative to any particular observer.
But there is a subtlety here that must be examined.
When we use the phrase ‘in itself’, in se, an sich, we seem to mean the object or event without its relationships to other things. But the question is, is any object or event real without its relationships to other things?
Of course there is a difference between the relationship to a perceiver, i.e., the causal relationships that trigger perceptions, and the relationships that a thing has altogether, the sum of its relationships to everything (as Kant and Bateson point out). But, is it not the case that we organisms perceive objects and events by means of the relationships that the objects and events have to other things?
The white egret is seen at dusk by virtue of the characteristic way light relates to the molecular patterns of its feathers. The crow is harder to see at dusk and may be missed entirely – because of the characteristic way its feathers absorb rather than reflect streams of photons. We perceive the mass of a paperweight by holding it in our hand. This perception is possible due to the attraction, the relationship, between the paperweight and the mass of the earth. Our perception of the mass of the object is due to the intrinsic gravitational relationship between it and the earth.
It is due to their relationships with other things that objects are able to be per-ceived by organisms with senses. But the fact that material objects have relation- ships to each other: reflectivity, resistance, momentum, gravitational mass, chemical reactivity, vibratory speed, resonance, etc, is not extrinsic to them. It is intrinsic. To think any other way is to imagine an essence, as in the Aristotelian/scholastic tradi- tion, an essence which is different from and mentally separable from the perceiva- ble ‘accidents,’ color, texture, shape, reflectivity, etc. This philosophy of essentialism has been left behind, undermined by scientific evidence during the 20th century.
Therefore, any thing in itself is a thing with its relationships. The idea of a thing without its relationships to other things is clearly just an idea. Such a thing cannot exist in the real world. It is an abstraction of the mind. So, we must conclude that the thing in itself, the Ding and sich, has relationships. And it is precisely through (by means of) these relationships that the perception and thus cognition of the object occurs. Therefore, we can know/perceive the thing-in-itself, but of course, indirectly, through the medium of the senses and central nervous system.
The philosophical texts that have for centuries claimed that the thing in itself cannot be known are the result of a trick of words, a subtle assumption that the real things out there are somehow stripped of their relationality. As we have seen, a little reflection shows that this is absurd. The relationality of things in the world is intrin- sic to what they are in themselves. Therefore, any Ding an sich that cannot be known only exists in our minds. The Ding an sich that cannot be known is precisely not a real thing in the world, but a mental construct, a figment of the conceiving mind. All Dinge an sich in the concrete world can in principle be known. Yes, known as Dinge an sich, as things in themselves.
However, they cannot be known directly, i.e., immediately, because nothing can be known without the mediation of the nervous system. But still they can be known in themselves, that is in their intrinsic relationships, through relationships that are inseparable from their intrinsic qualities, characteristics.
There were a few linked issues that are both relevant to his work and linked to each other that Gregory did not address, amidst the very large number that he did. Along with aboutness and reference which he did not work on, there was action. At an informal seminar not long before his death I asked him to speak to a philosophy of action. He responded, ‘Well, you know I have never been much for action.’ I suggested, then, that he might speak to a philosophy of non-action. He looked at me, and remained silent.
These issues of intentionality and action go together. As I have pointed out, his blind spot about action led him to miss the role of the direct access the hands have to the territory. In describing the man with the axe, he focused on the circuit of dif- ferences, i.e., the creatural aspect, not the ability of the pleromic axehead to directly change the territory.
We know the territory is there beyond our maps because it resists us. It resists our efforts to do things and our efforts to know things. But it does not resist absolutely.
The interaction of hand work and mind work has given us virtually all the under- standings of nature that the sciences have offered. Each year, each decade we know more – not just a little more, but much more. Although it is true that the interaction of the pleromic hand and creatural mind brings our images into a closer fit with the territory only asymptotically, the clear evidence of continually improved and improving knowledge due to their interaction is the ultimate warrant for realism.
Chapter 3 What Connects the Map to the Territory?
Tyrone Cashman – A Legacy for Living Systems Gregory Bateson as Precursor to Biosemiotics Springer, Jesper Hoffmeyer Editor) – fulltext pdf
Cashman, one of the moving forces behind wind energy in California, in the full essay provides one of the most singularly coherent advances of Bateson’s incomplete epistemology.
h/t The Wizard of Id (used without permission)
“The fixity of the milieu supposes a perfection of the
organism such that the external variations are at each
instant compensated for and equilibrated…. All of the vital
mechanisms, however varied they may be, have always
one goal, to maintain the uniformity of the conditions of
life in the internal environment …. The stability of the
internal environment is the condition for the free
and independent life.” *
* Claude Bernard, from Lectures on the Phenomena Common to Animals and
Plants, 1978. Quoted in C Gross, “Claude Bernard and the constancy of the internal
environment”, The Neuroscientist, 4:380-5 1998
Bernard introduced the concept of the milieu intérieur – the regulatory function that the nervous system applies to the stability of internal secretions and tissues. It anticipated the notion of homeostasis, introduced by Walter Cannon (1871-1945) in 1932, which has been at the heart of many psychological theories of learning and motivation.
The range of Bernard’s experimental research was vast, being concerned initially with digestion and its nervous control, and extending to the whole of experimental physiology and its philosophical underpinnings. His influence on physiology, both through his teaching and his many textbooks, was far-reaching. His studies of control mechanisms in the vascular system led him to propose a more holistic view of physiology: he stated that “Systems do not exist in Nature, but only in men’s minds”. Bernard rejected the prevalent approach of comparative physiologists who emphasised species differences, proposing a general physiology which “does not seek to grasp the differences that separate beings, but the common points that unite them”. He was also skeptical about the use of averages in the study of complex systems, favoring the presentation of results from the “most perfect experiment” as a reflection of the true state of affairs. source: Portraits of European Neuroscientists
For three years I have been creatively launching visual experiments at a rapid pace. Although my sense of what this is about is theorized to a lesser degree than it would be if I was working a great or robust theory, nevertheless, I do comprehend what is a creative impulse when this impulse is about the artistic intention being overwhelmed by generative routine and stochastic disruptions.
Especially this summer my experiments have been gripped by the procedures for mirroring photographs and the work of Peter Brueghel and Tibetan Tangkas. (See public artworks: symmetry-hypotheses@tumblr)
The question I pose to myself about this weird form of channeling of the fragile random into a moment in which I finally decide to capture and etch a selection is: why has this been compelling me?
My creative preoccupations are in some relation with my investigations into serendipity in adult development, and I have been exploring day in and day out, as against becoming sunk again into the thin, question-less titanisms of the workaday world. Ken and I have been working on a folk neuroscientific, phenomenographic form for self-evaluation that captures its data in the mandala of a four quradrant matrix, (or Johari Window.) My production of symmetry oriented kitsch is related to that too.
- Contemporary Western consciousness may not be able to experience the mythic world as the ancients did, but simply to engage with it may be the beginning of that remembering which the undying deities demand. The intellect may be drawn not to ego’s greedy colonizing—”gods and goddesses in everyone” as both description of and justification for known states—but to a meeting with the symbolic. Those old tales, with their impossible metamorphoses, their incomprehensible plotlines, their evocations of terror and of bliss, can act as a series of Rorschach tests. Which is the moment in the tale, which is the image, that seizes me? Who is the character with whom I identify, whom would I hiss off the stage? At which moment do I burst out “But it’s not fair!”’ and have to remem- ber once more that in these just-so stories, that’s simply the way it is? Thus I learn again about myself, and in doing so may also learn about others, as I am recalled to that dream image, this fantasy, that unexpected affect, which has entered the consulting room from an ancient place.As Jung (1968) emphasized, this is far from being a parlor game: “When archetypal contents assume grotesque and horrible forms and lead to fears of madness, it is absolutely necessary to supply these fantastic images that rise up so strange and threatening before the mind’s eye with some kind of context, so as to make them more intelligible. Experience has shown that the best way to do this is by means of comparative mythological material” (para. 38). And as well as “calm- ing and clarifying a consciousness that is all at sea” (ibid.), attention to the myth- ical may help both therapists and those with whom they work to reach a deeper understanding of what it is to be human. Donald Kalsched (1995) expresses this eloquently in writing of his own approach to psychotherapy:
We must remember that mythology is where the psyche “was” before psychology made it an object of scientific investigation. By drawing attention to the parallels between the findings of clinical psycho- analysis and ancient religious ideation we demonstrate how the psychological struggle of contemporary patients (and those of us trying to help them) runs rather deeper into the symbolic phe- nomenology of the human soul than recent psychoanalytic dis- cussions of trauma or the “dissociative disorders” are inclined to acknowledge. Not everyone is helped by an understanding of these parallels, but some people are, and for them, this “binocu- lar” way of viewing, simultaneously, the psychological and reli- gious phenomena is equivalent to finding a deeper meaning to their suffering, and this in itself can be healing. (p. 6, his italics)
On the Making of Myths:Mythology in Training
Ann Shearer -Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice V6 NO. 2 2004
PATIENT: Doctor, doctor, I’ve lost my memory?
DOCTOR: When did it happen?
PATIENT: When did what happen?
(Ahlberg and Ahlberg, 1982: 90)
Gregory Bateson: Epistemology, Language, Play and the Double Bind
Edmond Wright (Anthropoetics 14, no. 1 (Summer 2008)
Advise: click on the start triangle above for your momentary soundtrack. Thank you.
I wrote this fifteen years ago.
For over forty years people all over the world have received and been touched by the artistry and music of Dr. Abdullah Ibrahim. Not to stop there, however; the multitude of musical gifts of the African tradition, and, more generally, the gifts of the deeply abiding traditions of peoples’ musics and arts, are vital harmonizing mediums for the sensitive souls of people. Many people allow the artistry of such providers of joyful nutrition to make an essential, sympathetic impression on their own life and creative work.
Here’s a curious thought. In the past year I have been reflecting upon and gathering impressions having to do with, first, my being subjected to experiential learning, and, secondly, coming to understand how it is framed as a modality of constructive transformation in the West.
What I was subjected to for several years was not Western, but it was presumably outfitted for me, the American. Then, under the tutelage and mentorship of Judith Buerkel (1996,) and soon enough, after gaining some knowledge and understanding of the field, I began to reckon with the overlap between applications, learnings, and the means given by, in effect, Western psychology, to understand what it is for a person to experientially learn.
For example, there is some overlap of western theory with this thought:
“Inspiration is a stream of wonder and bewilderment. Music should be healing, music should uplift the soul, music should inspire. The thought attached to things is a life power. In order to define it, it may be called a vibratory power. There is a thought attached to all things made either by an individual or the multitude, and that thought will give results accordingly. The influence put into things is according to the intensity of the feeling, as a note resounds according to the intensity with which you strike it. So it is according to the medium that you take in striking vibrations that the effect is made. In all things there is God, but the object is the instrument, and man is life itself. Into the object a person puts life. When a certain thing is made, it is at that time that life is put into it which goes on and on like breath in a body.” Pir Hazrat Inayat Khan
At the same time, for me, there is a very large non-overlapping area. Question: what has music meant for you?
Abdullah Ibrahim reached 80 today. One thing hasn’t changed over the years, A.I. remains 241 months older than me per the way the calendar differentiates the distinction. Otherwise, comparably, I am a child. When I think of Ibrahim I think secondly of his music, and, firstly of his several lessons. One lesson: everything is always completely at stake.
(A sufi once, with nothing on his mind, was – without warning – struck at from behind. He turned and murmured, choking back the tears: “The man you hit has been dead for thirty years. He’s left this world!” The man who’d struck him said: “You talk a lot for someone who is dead! But talk’s not action – while you boast, you stray Further and further from the secret Way, And while a hair of you remains, your heart And Truth are still a hundred worlds apart.” Burn all you have, all that you thought and knew (Even your shroud must go; let that burn too); Then leap into the flames, and as you burn Your pride will falter, you’ll begin to learn. But keep one needle back and you will meet A hundred thieves who force you to retreat Think of that tiny needle which became The negligible cause of Jesus’ shame). As you approach this stage’s final veil, Kingdoms and wealth, substance and water fail; Withdraw into yourself, and one by one Give up the things you own – when this is done, Be still in selflessness and pass beyond All thoughts of good and evil; break this bond, And as it shatters you are worthy of Oblivion, the Nothingness of love.)
Lie down beside the flowing stream
and see Life passing by and know
That of the world’s transient nature
this one sign is enough for us
It’s a very hard lesson.
Over on the nogutsnoglory blog I am celebrating the artistry and ongoing vitality of Abdullah Ibrahim with a series of posts, all of which are restorations of archival posts from the defunct Mantra Modes blog. Should you begin with the first post from today MAGIC EIGHTY and work your way through to the last post, you will end up at the gateway of the opportunity to engage Abdullah Ibrahim’s musical artistry. Of course, this is possible only if you haven’t already engaged his artistry. Everybody with a sensitive soul would do well to engage his artistry.
I’ve provided an initial opportunity at the head of this post. Dr. Ibrahim is arguably among the the deepest musicians that the continent of Africa has so far produced. (The continent of Africa has been producing sonically creative persons for tens of thousands of years. Music was likely born in the Kalahari.) His ongoing international career began in 1964. Happy fiftieth birthday too!
As he told me, in the olden times, in the African village, children of exceptional musical talent became healers.
Ah! Death! Life! Our communication is on a completely different level. See, if we talk about music (Ibrahim plays a few notes on the piano), we are dealing with the unseen. We are fortunate that in Africa we have old people who understand the dynamic of the unseen. We study with them. Music is dealing in the realm of the unseen. It is much deeper as people think when they “see us play some notes”. It is a deeply spiritual practice. But look at jazz musicians now, everything in modern society is misplaced. I mean you are interviewing me with a tape recorder. Now, that is misplaced – not that I want to put you down – but you are supposed to use other means of communication. In some ways this is stupid. It is the same with musicians, we are supposed to be entertainers, but in traditional societies we were priests. In any traditional societiy, anybody that shows musical implanation was immediately drafted into medicine. My great grandfather was a healer. He tought us everything about herbs, plants and flowers and what you are supposed to do wit them. We as musicians living in this modern urban society … All my family were religious practioners. They came from traditional practice and when the white people came they went into the church. I was the first one that became a musician and became muslim. It has all to do with healing and spiritual practices. (interview with Abdullah Ibrahim)
(2001) Abdullah Ibrahim, born in South Africa in 1934, remembering hearing traditional African songs, religious music and jazz as a child – all of which are reflected in his music. He received his first piano lessons in 1941 and became a professional musician in 1949 (Tuxedo Slickers, Willie Max Big Band). In 1959 he met alto saxophone player Kippi Moeketsi who convinced him to devote his life to music. He meets and soon marries South African jazz vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin in 1965.
In 1962 the Dollar Brand Trio (with Johnny Gertze on bass, Makaya Ntshoko on drums) tours Europe. Duke Ellington listens in at Zurich’s Africana Club and sets a recording session for Reprise Records: Duke Ellington presents the Dollar Brand Trio. 1963/64 sees the trio at major European festivals, including TV shows and radio performances.
In 1965 Dollar Brand plays the Newport Jazz Festival followed by a first tour through the United States. In 1966 he leads the Duke Ellington Orchestra: ›I did five dates substituting for him. It was exciting, but very scary, I could hardly play.‹ Other than six months playing with the Elvin Jones Quartet Abdullah Ibrahim (who changed his name after his conversion to Islam in the late 1960s) has been a band leader ever since. 1968 sees a solo piano tour. From then on he has continuously playing concerts and clubs throughout the US, Europe and Japan with appearances at the major music festivals of the world (e.g. Montreux, North Sea, Berlin, Paris, Montreal etc.). A world traveller since 1962, Ibrahim went back to South Africa in the mid- 1970s but found conditions so oppressive that he went back to New York in 1976.
In 1988 Ibrahim wrote the award-winning sound track for the film ›Chocolat‹ (released on ENJ-50732 ›Mindif‹) which was followed by further endeavors in film music the latest being the sound track to ›No Fear, No Die‹ (TIP-888815 2).
An eloquent spokesman and deeply religious, Abdullah Ibrahim’s beliefs and experiences are reflected in his music. ›The recent changes in South Africa are of course very welcome, it has been so long in coming. We would like a total dismantling of apartheid and the adoption of a democratic non-racist society: it seems to be on the way.‹ In 1990, Ibrahim returned to South Africa to live there but keeps up his New York residence as well. Several tours took him around the globe featuring his groups and also doing much acclaimed solo piano recitals. 1997 saw the beginning of a duet cooperation with the dean of jazz drums, Max Roach.
Later projects (1997 and 1998) are of a large scale nature. Swiss composer Daniel Schnyder arranged Abdullah Ibrahim’s compositions for a 22 piece string orchestra (members of the Youth Orchestra of the European Community) for a CD recording and a Swiss Television SF-DRS production and also for the full size Munich Radio Philharmonic Orchestra again for CD production and for concert performances featuring the Abdullah Ibrahim Trio.
The world premiere of the symphonic piece was at the renowned Herkules Saal in Munich, Germany on January 18th 1998, under the direction of Barbara Yahr and the Zuricher Kammerorchester premiered the string orchestra version at Zurich’s Tonhalle in February 1998. The string orchestra version was released in September 1998 (›African Suite‹, TIP-8888322) and met widest critical acclaim from the worlds of both jazz and classical music. The symphonic version (›African Symphony‹) has been released in 2001 in a double CD set which also features Abdullah Ibrahim with the NDR Big Band giving the full scope of his large format music.
Another highlight was the premiere of ›Cape Town Traveller‹, a multimedia produc- tion at the Leipzig music festival in 1999. A one hour performance featured A.I. and the Ekaya Sextet, a vocal group, filmmaterial from the early days in South Africa and the European years, electronic sounds ranging from impressionism to drum and bass – a great experience. One of the newest albums is ›Revesited‹ (TIP-88888362), recorded live in Cape Town. The piano of A.I. is featured with Marcus McLaurine (b) and Georg Gray (dr) and added is the fiery trumpet of South African Feya Faku on several tracks.
A great honor has been bestowed on Abdullah Ibrahim when the renowned Greham College in London invited him to give several lectures and concerts (beginning in October 2000 at Canary Wharf). Among his predecessors at the famed institution which looks back at a history of 500 years are John Cage, Luciano Berio, Xenakis. (from the press kit for Abdullah Ibrahim, A Struggle for Love, A film by Ciro Cappellari)
“Children who are respected learn respect. Children who are cared for learn to care for those weaker than themselves. Children who are loved for what they are cannot learn intolerance. In an environment such as this, they will develop their own ideals, which can be nothing other than humane, since they grew out of the experience of love.” – Alice Miller
The Spruce Goose.The Hercules was a monumental undertaking. It is the largest aircraft ever built. It is over five stories tall with a wingspan longer than a football field. That’s more than a city block. On 2 November 1947, a series of taxi tests was begun with Hughes at the controls. His crew included Dave Grant as co-pilot, and a crew of two flight engineers, 16 mechanics and two other flight crew. In addition, the H-4 carried seven invited guests from the press corps plus an additional seven industry representatives, for a total of 32 on board.
After the first two uneventful taxi runs, four reporters left to file stories but the remaining press stayed for the final test run of the day. After picking up speed on the channel facing Cabrillo Beach near Long Beach, the Hercules lifted off, remaining airborne 70 feet (21 m) off the water at a speed of 135 mph (217 km/h or 117 knots) for around a mile (1.6 km). At this altitude, the aircraft was still experiencing ground effect.
Hughes had answered his critics and the hearings ended. The aircraft never flew again. It was carefully maintained in flying condition until Hughes’ death in 1976.