Category Archives: my research

Spontaneous Dialectics In ‘Problem Depth’

Familiar Matrix series-blank

Problem-solving oriented version of a four-square matrix.

Familiar Matrix series 2

I’ve added (and overlaid,) two valence drivers–these are the typical pairing used to deploy evaluation of antipathy and sympathy, a basic starting point.

Familiar Matrix series 3

An intention for learning is articulated.

Two dichotomies are randomly drawn from the master set of 96 dichotomies, a part of the tool, Playing With the Opposites. These are next plotted, with Plot #1 placed first.


The obvious location of a dialectical tension first jumped out from the upper left quadrant.

Bring creative work to the world pushes away the mysterious element in the actual problem, yet, this antipathy is conjoined with a sympathetic mystery located in the setting.

The question for further wandering or exploration is to, I propose, locate the nature of the sympathetic mystery in the setting of the problem, in the art world. This mystery’s nature would be something deeply obscured yet attractive as a matter of what little is known about it.

The other drivers, familiarity/unfamiliarity might serve as kernals for winding up/down the dialectical reflection.

In each quadrant of the matrix there are two dialectical loops given by each pair of valences. For example, in the lower right quadrant are:

Problem / toward / inner masculine // (2) Setting / away from / inner masculine

Problem / familiar / inner masculine // (2) Setting / unfamiliar / inner masculine


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Thick Over Thin, Beyond the Need to Know, Deep Digging

Stephen Calhoun artist

twitter meme series via @sq1learning aiming to cause thinking/feeling

If one wants to get to the absolute bottom of something, presumably for many kinds of human somethings, the journey to reach the bottom will:

(1) take time
(Rule of thumb: if it seems like it will take too much time, you’re at the start of the right path)

[paradoxical dialectic #1]
(2) demand suspension of reactions
(3) cause encounters which elicit antipathy and sympathy

(4) require configuration of viable abductions at ‘ripe’ waystations (during the journey)

[paradoxical dialectic #2]
(5) be advantaged by one feeling through one’s self feeling through the subject
(6) be advantaged by enacted agency removed from the subject’s ideology/personal culture

(7) be advantaged by researcher’s understanding of the imposition provided by their own ideology

(8) be completed by the invocation and instantiation of negative capability

These dispositional elements support deliberate knowing (learning) and stand against the varieties of thin approaches, each of which is anchored in a singular routine to obtain, ‘not really needing to know much more than I can easily know without spending more time, and certainly not challenging myself to learn more–beyond where I habitually like to stop learning.’

(Substitute satisfyingly for habitually to capture the reflexive certainty, “know enough already, thank you!” Enough is equivalent to knowing all one needs to know.

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Pareto Trap


Years ago I offered to a musician I was working with (what struck me at the time) to be a commonsense insight: spend your time leveraging your fans who get it and much less time trying to convince every last person to like your music. We then discussed the powerful draw the unconverted have on the creative person’s aspiration to have their creations liked.

At the time, my sense of marketing music was attached to three ideas, (1) think globally, act locally, (2) thoroughly understand what any middleman does, and what is in it for them (3) Who gets it? Always be mindful of the 80/20 Rule.

The 80/20 Rule, the Pareto Efficiency, suggests that in any deployment of resources, such as personal time and energy, there are optimal, and, sub-optimal matchings. If one spends time on converting hard cases, that time is lost forever. But, it could be spent converting both easy cases and strong ‘leaners.’

(Although I don’t work in the music business anymore, I would add a fourth principle to my simple foundational set: (4) Any minute spent on “A” cannot be recovered to spend on [B]. Time is lost forever.)

A friend described the proliferation of dating dead ends and asked me how much a hard dating case should be indulged. She described a stereotypical kind of prospective romantic partner: afraid to diligently pursue deeper connection.

(her) When does one give up?

(me) As soon as you realize the person is combining fear and lack of self-awareness.

(her) This often pops up on the first date.

(me) Better you find out sooner, rather than later.

(her) Harsh suggestion!

(me) 80/20 Rule. After all, the optimal efficiency is realized when you are having a first date with a self-aware man who is fearless about partnering.

PARETO TRAP >my term :-)

The Pareto Trap, a construct of critical cognition, states that systemic feedback in some occasions of Pareto inefficiency will reinforce that the negative subject is all there is.

We only have customers with problems.

There are only scared man-child single men.

This follows from the inefficient deployment of cognitive resources that experientially accrue and come to bias the operative system self-awareness.

To break the Pareto Trap, in the dating example, means to spend less time with unlikely candidates; and, assuming such candidates represent a substantial majority, it may be most efficient to knock each out of contention for the sake of maximizing an encounter with a rarer, likely candidate.

(As several of my close friends know, at least this is an experiment one can do.)

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System Attractions – Seek simplicity, and distrust it. (A.N. Whitehead)

Complex Matrix

What follows is brief foray into a schematic phenomenology about what comes easy and what comes hard. Ha! Don’t bother googling schematic phenomenology!

Complex Matrix 2

This schema is a picture of my general meaning-making relationship to two joined aspects of any system. This schema summarizes this relationship, so, it represents a Hard Simplicity itself. The schema is simple because it summarizes complexity and leaves out a lot of detail, it is hard because it isn’t in the least bit self-evident. If it needs explanation, it is to a degree, hard,

Imagine there is an axle at the intersection of the axis, and, so the matrix itself can revolve. The schema captures the usual starting configuration for me in the ecology of a human system. By way of explanation, more information is needed. So: I’m a very forceful intuitive and I tend throw myself right into such a human system. That this system is by definition complicated, and that the full grain of its complexity is not revocable, means, in summary, that, often, this complexity is hard for me to see. The negative habit is: I do not, literally, at the beginning, naturally care enough,  to see the fine grain of complexity. Bull, meet china shop.

At the same time, I have natural access to proven tools which allow me to discover and integrate systems elements, operations and data. This personal process operates on the continuum marked between Simple-Hard and Simple-Easy. Simple-Easy is the most accessible, is easiest for me. But, it isn’t satisfying, so I knock at the door of Complex-Easy.

What could be easier than that, right? And yet, maintaining simplicity is not only difficult, it is often ill-advised. In virtually any context—business planning, software development, pizza making—the immature simplicity associated with first drafts, early prototypes, and initial versions tends to be unsatisfyingly empty. Such partial solutions are necessary starting points but inadequate as final products because they lack the essential qualities found in more mature versions. Keeping things simple impedes progress, which is why we add things to our designs. We make them more complicated in order to make them better. It is only when we go too far that an epic level of complexity makes the final product unusable.

And this is where things can get a little tricky. Just because there is such a thing as too simple and such a thing as too complex does not mean the best solution sits in a mythical sweet spot between simplistic and complicated, as if the territory in question could be represented by a single straight line. Reality is more complicated than that, and straight lines seldom make for interesting journeys. There are bends in the road we need to be aware of. If we overlook them we’ll either end up following the road to a bad part of town or jumping off the tracks entirely. Dan Ward, The Simplicity Cycle: Soda, Swordsmen, and Road Maps | Simplicity Manifesto pdf

Attention and practice allow me to rotate the Hard-Complex into the realm where my proven tools are effective. Still, I’m not able to effectively drive my meaning-making and understanding of the Hard-Complex into the brightest light where, and at which point, my most positive and practiced tools for systems awareness are always a snap to access.

Rotation is not metaphoric in this respect: the polarities of the schema reflect that attention is largely deployed, and its focal point guided toward, the direction of the single poles of these basic classes. Where one side comes into greater resolution, the other side recedes.

There is a reflexive third order cybernetic aspect too: self-observation verifies that this blind spot exists when I turn my attention toward the deep grain of my own self-system.

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Yet, We Converse With Each Other

Hexagram 44
Your name or your person,
Which is dearer?
Your person or your goods,
Which is worth more?
Gain or loss,
Which is a greater bane?
That is why excessive meanness
Is sure to lead to great expense;
Too much store
Is sure to end in immense loss.
Know contentment
And you will suffer no disgrace;
Know when to stop
And you will meet with no danger.
You can then endure.


What is your personal ideology, and, how does it track back to its source in your personal culture?

Do we not construct somewhat congruent collections of best explanations?

Everybody lives in their own subjective world, or, not?


Every individual is dedicated in explicable and inexplicable ways to their favorite: dispositions, habits of thinking and feeling, heuristic tools, automatic responses, etc..

Individual comprehension of what are apparently objective features of the world are: variable, often warrantless, and, these comprehensions are, finally, usually subjective..

The common ground is not itself beyond the intersubjective field.

Each person over time develops, tests, refines, and deploys, their unique folk psychological ideology and toolset.

Often this bundle of suppositions and provisional abductions about, for example, how one’s own mind and other mind’s work, is utilized as the first->second order means to understand another person. It is deployed as if it is comprehensive and commensurate to the task of understanding this other person.

This normal attitude and approach is used by many people who are innocent of its origins (from within their personal culture, subjectivity.)

As a practical matter, eventually meeting the challenge posed by hoping to develop accurate interpersonal and intrapersonal construal requires the negotiation of each other’s self conception, self conception in contexts, language, concepts, suppositions, and, linkages and intrinsic networks, and, all the other potential features of subjective deep beingness. Hey, these considerations are truly, mine alone!

Hexagram 44. Don’t negate me bro for the sake of flattening me so that I may tumble along in your own 2D world. If I wanted to be in your world, I’d have to have been you.

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Eno On Cybernetics and Music Making

This video is new to me and it provided a big wallop.

In my framing of fortuity, contingency and fragility, I have only roughed out some of the implications for music making. B.E. helps move this forward during a really essential 15 minutes.

He mentions Stafford Beer. (He, along with Ralph Stacey, Gordon Pask, and Gregory Bateson, probably did the most to extend cybernetics to human domains in the first wave of cybernetic thinking. Largely from Beer and Stacey we gain the concept of soft systems, and from Beer we gain the Viable Systems Model (Trevor Hilder’s presentation – pdf).)

What Is Cybernetics?

Leonod Ototsky’s fond archive and research on Mr. Beer is a terrific old style web site.

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Holly’s Helping Hand

Stephen Calhoun, fine artist, Cleveland Heights, Oh

Holly’s Helping Hand, from a photograph – proof of concept too, in that its the first piece with a human participant embedded in it.


“Hey, Holly remember when I put you and Judith in a trance for a couple of days?”

(Indeed I did so, by mistake, via a soundtrack I created for a workshop presented by Judith Buerkel in March 1994.)

Holly has been my friend longer than anyone else among the group of people I became acquainted with when I returned to Cleveland in 1992. She and I met at a holiday party in late 1993, although the party itself is most notable for my encounter and subsequent mind meld with eventual squareONE co-founder Judith Buerkel.

Because I am oriented so strongly to doing the experiment of deep relationship, and because it is true for this that some are called, but fewer actually take the dive, Holly’s eager sustenance of our relationship over more than two decades simply is a gift that keeps on giving.

There is much I might say about my friend, yet, after a brief visit this week, the significant elements of her zesty and daring approach to being who she is were exemplified in her willingness to participate in my creative process, then, reshape this process into her own process, and go on to to experiment without guidance in my backyard studio.

I call this: going for it.

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Two New Learning Cycles


Recently I’ve been musing about how the learning cycle of David A. Kolb could be partially re-theorized in my novel social cybernetic terms.

Social Cybernetics: the system supposed by the engagement of enactive self-aware persons in relationship with one another, and, the system enabled for the purpose of making sense of the how and the what and the why–in this order–of intersubjective and intrasubjective knowledge creation, knowledge creation in turn in service to mutual construal and co-construal.

There are four sub-schemas depicted in the pretty pictures.


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Post-conventional predicates


A hallmark of sincere and authentic and audacious post-conventionality could be: daring.

This would go along with understanding that the call beyond conventions promotes radical, storming kinds of engagements with one’s own self, with the world, and with other people.

But, the “could be” is my hedging as against the conventions of the theorization of the post-conventional. Affirmative Post-Conventional themes are, in the main, elementally meta-cognitive predicates, and these themes also reflect a kind of instrumental positivism. Some lip service is paid to the varieties of deconstruction, although, there is no deconstructive literature to be found in the field’s small, (and revealingly tidy,) body of work.

The post-conventional move into epiphanic knowledge–which is somewhat covered under the fuzzy rubric given by Ken Wilber’s causal level, the so-called path of sages–is also the move into post Post-Conventional being. The other move is not found in Post-Conventional theory , (or Wilberian theory.) There are no lively treatments of anything functionally equivalent to ecstatic intuition, or equivalent to its applications.

Ecstatic Intuition is: spontaneous development due to spontaneous insight. Its most well-known application is given by the conception of synchronicity in the Analytic Psychology. squareONE’s applications similarly provide concrete enactive engagements with procedures which elevate novel data into the learner’s field for the purpose, instrumentally viewed, of spontaneous decodification and “instant self-discovery”

What I termed twenty years ago, ecstatic organization, shadows and inflects the problem of daring. Another feature of this problem (of daring,) is recovered by extracting the direct polarity: competency <—> ecstatic intuition from the array.

My sense is that the scientism implicit in the meta-cognitive bracket helps secure the means, and the developmental applications, which all aim to build practical post-conventional capabilities.  Whereas, what I term the meta-enactive bracket, (or what might be viewed as the interface, dissolves scientism, is spontaneous and oft spontaneously messy,  and is altogether forcefully disposed toward post developmental, or non developmental, modes of being and being-in-response. Ecstatic organization and ecstatic intuition is impractical, (and may even be anti-fragile per Nassim.)

If you, reader, are able to sense this bracket’s dynamic quotients of: the irrational, of eros, of soulmaking, of Bateson’s conception of mindedness, and, sense also its more direct route away from the neocortex and intentionality, you’ll also recognize I really meant it when I first spoke of daring.

Lastly, the scope of unlearning, of learning to unlearn, is discoverable in the daring foray to be made through the Coincidentia Oppositorum, into the Oppositorum. This means going in the direction away from what you know, how you know it, and, as dear Desse put it many years ago, also means going in the direction away from how you know it is that you know.

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Cubes Upon Cubes


Values for Archetypal Cubes – set #3 (2 cubes)


Values for Archetypal Cubes – set #4 (2 cubes)

The cubes of the Cube-O-Probe are color coded to make it easy to constitute different aggregates from the several sets.

The following is one cube set of dichotomies taken from what I term the Covert Pairs of the experiential learning theory of David A. Kolb.

set of dichotomies taken from what I term the Covert Pairs of the experiential learning theory of David A. Kolb

Tomorrow I’ll use the set to address a situation for learning.

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Cutting to Pairs

One needs the correct tool for the job of cutting into the fabric of conceptualization.

One needs the correct tool for the job of cutting into the fabric of conceptualization.

Toward the end of Formal, Transcendental, & Dialectical Thinking Errol E. Harris, writes:

(2) The ultimate character of the universal whole

Development of the last topic would naturally lead into reflection upon the second question raised for discussion. Is the universal totality merely a logical schema? Is it a spatiotemporal or a taxonomic structure? Or is it at once all these things and more besides – a living, self-conscious, special being? Of course the first two descriptions must be readily admitted, but they cannot be exhaustive. No dialectical system such as I’ve posited can be limited to a mere logical schema, or even to an evolutionary series extended in space and time. The dialectical relations require that the prior phases be retained sublated in their successors, even though they are superseded by them. Equally, the only complete, the only full reality which the prior phases enjoy is the realized actuality of their potentialities in the higher forms. (Harris, 1987)

Harris identifies at least two pairs in this paragraph. His intention is not to pair the aspects, rather he is working toward the inherent self-specification of the universal reality. Yet, the pairs are specified once the cutter operates on the conception.

squareONE learning

There are two ‘matrical’ operations that enable two four-fold relationships.

squareone learning

squareone learning

How would you characterize the crucial differences, or otherwise differentiate the effects, of the two forms?

Also see: The Quadralectic Archtecture, The Theory of Quadralectic Architecture Marten Kuilman, 2013


The “squaring of the circle” is one of the many archetypal motifs which form the basic patterns of our dreams and fantasies. But it is distinguished by the fact that it is one of the most important of them from the functional point of view. Indeed, it could even be called the archetype of wholeness. (C. G. Jung. Mandalas, 1955)

Hevajra deity

Hevajra deity

squareone learning

Kufic Azif – The meeting of the Old Ones and the Hidden  Ones


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Generating Paradox – Glimpsing Some Pre-work


Experiential Learning Cycle (David. A. Kolb et al)


Once again my generous colleagues in the Experiential Learning Community of Practice
(LinkedIn news and discussion feed) have invited me to present to members and anybody else who can find their way to quarterly virtual meeting. It takes place on March 12, 2015 at 4:00pm EST, but I don’t yet know the link that will provide access.

Here is the précis.

Generating Paradox. Overt and Covert Polarities in Kolb’s Learning Cycle

Given the theoretical-conceptual architecture of Kolb’s Learning Cycle, fascinating yet obscured conceptual relations subsist within the dynamic move from the organic systematic theory and its application as a theory-in-use and as an applied model. This presentation teases some of those relations out by leveraging both the explicit dialectical relations in the model-proper, and co-existing, yet tacit, polar relations.

In this peeling away of layer’s of the conceptual ‘onion,’ two gains are anticipated: one, the learner will experience reasons for de-reifying aspects of learning style, and, two, the learner may be inspired to expand the model’s practical reach.

This presentation is programmed 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.



My presentations to this particular group, and this will be my second one, are designed to be experiential, and in turn are by-design, applications for experiential learning both in the moment of the presentation and afterward.

Although I suppose I could just layout a bunch of philosophizing about the matters this program will be focused on, I prefer to do the philosophizing before the program. What I will layout is a process that results in an application participants can then use/re-use to explore the fascinating dichotomies hidden within the dynamics of the learning theory and model of David A. Kolb et al.

Concealed within the above summary is the promise of the application: the learner will have the means to de-reify aspects of learning style, and, have the means to expand the model’s practical reach. However, my goal is to point the participants in the direction of doing so, and, then giving them a tool to help them do so.

I like to lead people to where he or she might drink the water.

social-cybernetic stack

[Background] This schema depicts one of the versions of a human systems stack. This is a heuristic tool I use to get a handle of the dependencies in an environmental situation of learning. Its classes are general and presumed to be global, discoverable as layers in all situations of learning.

(Socio-psyche is my shorthand for the particularized social psychological and cultural context.)

From this I next contemplate the critical aspects which may require a two-fold differential description, or what I term a critical pair. The schema itself marks and makes explicit many such pairs: learner/environment, leaner/context, learner/opportunity, and, in this set also fall more subtle pairs, such as: environment/opportunity.

The stack reflects that the dependencies are inclusive from above and below.

The gist of my interest in these discoverable pairs, is inflected with a very ironic aspect. I use Kolb’s model procedurally, whereas almost all the practitioners I know use the model instrumentally–as the anchor to assessment (of learning style) and development of management of style. So, going into my exploration, I already know, for example, where there is assessment, there are paradoxes of assessment!

Plus: there is much more of great interest to me. After all, I’m using my procedural model, drawn directly from the Kolbian Cycle, to enactively–by virtue of my first person contemplation–interrogate the normative developmental model as a matter of how it the model is used!

Of great interest to me is the processing of the individual assessment between the practitioner and their assessed subject. My interest here is in how experience is shaped in the encounter with the practitioner and her theory/model-in-use with the assessed subject and his own folk psychological theories/models-in-use.

In this, for example, I’ve long wondered about the practical mediation of attribution at the point at which an assessment in a direct sense delivers a description and warrants (for its attribution,) to an assessed subject. Even if the delivery is naive, nevertheless, behind the mediation are the practitioner’s choices, and, in front of the mediation, are lots of embodied features of the assessed subject, including the aforementioned personally-grasped theories and models.

The encounter between practitioner and subject is complicated. Our of this typical flux spill out all kinds of pairs, dichotomies, polarities, dialectics, and paradoxes.

In my musing about the practical use of Kolb’s model, for the sake of smoking out compelling pairs, I made four circumambulations; first was about the above problem of assessment.

(1) Problem of the Theory-In-Use – the paradox of the difference between the infinite theory and the truncated applied theory. (By infinite theory I mean the unending theory applicable to all future situations of experiential learning; following here the suggestion of C.S. Peirce, or Von Foerster, that this prospect is illimitable and so the organismic theory is itself subject to, in effect, unlearning and relearning its own theoretical ‘self.’ )

(2) Problem of Assessment – the assessed subject, and the operation and mediation between the practicing system and the learner-system.

qnd #2 is coupled to:

(3) Problem of Reification – reflexive determinations linked to the subject’s sense of identity, self-attribution, and aspiration given the developmental context of the KLSI (Kolb Experiential Learning Style Inventory)

and #3 is coupled to:

(4) Problem of Actual Dynamics – how are explicit conflicts, synergistic transactions, adaptations, knowledge creation, implicit knowledge destruction, actual dialectical operations, given to the the learner’s phenomenological knowing and self-sensemaking?

I left alone a fifth move, that of the particular context-for-learning. In contemplating the above fields, my goal was to first deepen my understanding of their instance in the system of (Kolbian) experiential learning, and, second to figure out what were the pairs right ‘at hand.’

The program does not get into any of this in any significant way at all! The program is designed to reveal some of the pairs, pairs which are the distillate of my wandering around these five fields of interest.

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Coincidentally Fragile


via Tom Woolley, Samson University


Confusions about probability cause probable errors. A possible conjunction supposes a chance of eventuation and has a chance of happening, yet after it has happened its chances of happening collapse to unity by virtue of the happening having occurred.

When Jesus is Lord of your life, there are no coincidences. Dick Luchtenberg, Journey to Freedom

“There are no coincidences in life.” Glenn Beck

“It is my purpose to show that it is logically impossible to ascribe any power to chance whatever… If chance exists in its frailest possible form, God is finished… If chance exists in any size, shape or form, God cannot exist.” R.C. Sproul. 1994. Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology

“If one likes one could ascribe this randomness to God, but it would be a very strange kind of intervention: there is no evidence that it was directed toward any purpose. Indeed if it were, it would, by definition not be random.” Stephen Hawking

Time to consult the Cube-O-Probe. Probe, in what direction might fruitful territory be discovered for further investigation of the aspects of coincidence and a priori requisite in the quiddity of eventuation?


Comment: The Probe suggests an obvious investigatory dialectical vector between the practical consideration of the marriage of the apparently opposite chance and foreordained, with the completely knotty problem of seeking essential morality within this same interplay. Here also is the ping-ponging between theological and Newtonian determinism, and maybe this could give into finding dual forms for morality. Once again the Cube-O-Probe charts the way!




Doxastic commitment, or “soul in the game”: You can only believe predictions and opinions by those who committed themselves to a certain belief, and had something to lose, in a way to pay a cost in being wrong. Nassim Taleb (from the Anti-Fragile Glossary)

“The general principle of antifragility, it is much better to do things you cannot explain than explain things you cannot do.” – Nassim Taleb

coincidence (OED)

[a. F. coïncidence, L. type *coincidentia: see coincident and -ence.]

1. a.1.a The fact or condition of being coincident; the occupation of the same place or part of space.

1626 Bacon Sylva (1677) §224 There can be no Coincidence in the eye, or Visual Point.    1715 Cheyne Philos. Prin. Relig. (J.), The coincidence of the planes of this rotation with one another, and with the plane of the ecliptick.    1831 Brewster Newton I. x. 222 The singleness of the picture arises from the coincidence of the two pictures.    1870 R. M. Ferguson Electr. 33 This want of coincidence of the points of vertical dip and of maximum intensity.

fig. or transf.    1650 Fuller Pisgah v ii. §5 By a casuall coincidence some straggling words of the Athenians may meet in the mouths of the veriest Barbarians.    1847 Emerson Repr. Men, Plato Wks. I. 304 The rare coincidence, in one ugly body, of the droll and the martyr.

b.1.b (with pl.) A case of coincidence.

1837 Whewell Hist. Induc. Sci. (1857) I. 153 The method of making visual coincidences.    1880 Adams in Times 28 Dec. 10/2 The new line-spectra, the real basic lines of those substances which show coincidences.

2.2 Occurrence or existence at the same time; simultaneous occurrence or existence.

1650 Fuller Pisgah iii. iii. §8 There might be a casuall coincidence of this feast and his presence at Jerusalem.    1681 More Expos. Daniel 257 There is a Coincidence, at least of time.    1722 Susanna Wesley in Eliza Clarke Life (1886) 130 There hardly ever was a greater coincidence of unprosperous events in one family.    1837 H. Martineau Soc. Amer. III. 297 A happy coincidence of outward plenty with liberal institutions.    1878 Huxley Physiogr. xx. 342 The coincidence of twelve by the clock with noon by the sun-dial?is exact only four times in the year.

3. a.3.a Exact agreement or correspondence in substance, nature, character, etc.

1605 Bacon Adv. Learn. ii. v. §3 Is there not a true coincidence between commutative and distributive justice, and arithmetical and geometrical proportion?    a?1716 South Serm. VII. v. (R.), Those who discourse metaphysically of the nature of truth?affirm a perfect coincidence between truth and goodness.    1831 Brewster Newton (1855) II. xxiv. 352 The coincidence of the religious views of Sir Isaac Newton with those of John Locke.    1876 Grote Eth. Fragm. iii. 58 These two ends of action are sometimes found in conflict, but more frequently in coincidence.

b.3.b (with pl.) An instance of such agreement or correspondence.

a?1661 Fuller Worthies (1840) I. 201 A local coincidence, which?cannot be paralleled.    1736 Butler Anal. ii. vii. 356 Evidence arising from various coincidences.    1790 Paley Horæ Paul. Rom. ii. 13 Such coincidences may fairly be stated as undesigned.    1867 Freeman Norm. Conq. (1876) I. App. 724 A remarkable series of undesigned coincidences in favour of the belief.

4.4 A notable concurrence of events or circumstances having no apparent causal connexion.

a?1682 Sir T. Browne Let. to Friend (Camelot ed.) 185 That he should also take King Francis prisoner upon that day [of his nativity], was an unexpected coincidence.    1821 De Quincey Confess. Wks. 1863 I. 96, I felt it at the time?as a singular coincidence, that twice, etc.    1823 Byron Juan vi. lxxviii, A ‘strange coincidence,’ to use a phrase By which such things are settled now-a-days.    1829 Scott Guy M. Introd., The fact, if truly reported, is one of those singular coincidences which occasionally appear.    1865 Livingstone Zambesi xix. 378 It might be only a coincidence.

5.5 Of persons: Agreement or concurrence (in opinion or sentiment).

1795 Hull Advertiser 28 Nov. 3/1 Mr. Sturt?expressed his co-incidence with the sentiments of [the Petition].    1800 Wellington in Owen Disp. 647 You are already apprized of my entire coincidence in your opinion.    1800 Syd. Smith Six Serm. 60 A modest coincidence with received opinions above our faculties.

†6.6 Falling together, conjunction blending. Obs.

c?1645 Howell Lett. (1650) II. 88 The Latine tongue, with the coincidence of the Goths language and other northern peeple.

7. a.7.a Physics. The indication of the occurrence of ionizing particles in two or more detectors simultaneously (see quot. 1958). Also attrib. Cf. anti-coincidence.

1930 Physical Rev. XXXV. 651/2 Enormously increased resolving power can be obtained by the requirement of multiple instead of paired coincidences. The attainment of very great freedom from accidental coincidences is of greatest importance [etc.].    Ibid. 652/1 Automatic recording of the amount of the penetrating radiation coming from particular areas of the sky, using two tube-counters and a special ‘coincidence circuit’.    1938 R. W. Lawson tr. Hevesy & Paneth’s Man. Radioactivity (ed. 2) xxv. 280 Insertion of sheets of lead between the counters only slightly diminishes the number of simultaneous discharges (coincidences), and this proves that we are here confronted?with cosmic rays.    1940, etc. [see anti-coincidence].    1958 Van Nostrand’s Sci. Encycl. (ed. 3) 369/1 A true coincidence is one that is due to the detection of a single particle or of several genetically related particles. An accidental, chance, or random coincidence is one that is due to the fortuitous occurrence of unrelated counts in the separate detectors.

b.7.b Computers. Equivalent signals received simultaneously in an electronic circuit; the reception of such signals. Also attrib.

1947 Rev. Sci. Instruments XVIII. 907/1 In order to reduce chance coincidences to a minimum, it is necessary to use a coincidence circuit.    1948 Ibid. XIX. 565/2 Methods can be found for modulating one of the E.M.T.’s?so that the E.M.T.’s themselves form a coincidence or anticoincidence system.    1950 C. B. Tompkins et al. High-Speed Computing Devices iv. 37 An electronic gate is a circuit with a single output and two (or more) inputs so designed that an output signal is produced when, and only when, input signals are received on both (or on a particular set of) input leads. Such circuits are variously known as gates, coincidence circuits, Rossi circuits, or logical and circuits.    1953 A. D. & K. H. V. Booth Automatic Digital Calculators xi. 111 Coincidence sensers. In computing machine design it is frequently necessary to have available means for ascertaining the identity of two quantities.    1964 M. J. Pedelty in Tou & Wilcox Computer Sci. x. 248 The essence of the system?is that signals are ‘broadcast’ on a ‘to-whom-it-may-concern’ basis. Coincidence gates and delays can then be used to detect certain pulse patterns from the ‘broadcast alphabet’.

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As Below, So Above


My essay, Liberating the Stars From Space & Timewhen completed. will complete the narrative concerned with how I came to necessarily etch a limit to my philosophical ability, and, in doing so, squish thousands of years of astrology into tools able to exist in my flatland.

These tools do not either make predictions or anchor person and possibility to a priori requisites. On the other hand, in future experimental philosophical research, I will attempt to show to some greater degree how these flatlander’s astro-psychological tools connect up with other over-arching concerns of mine, serendipity in adult development, the praxis of polarity and paradox, and the ‘action’ pragmatics given in the third order human/social cybernetics.

Until this essay is ready-to-roll, there’s a new page here that skates over the surface of my promethean poke, Cybernetic Liberation of Astrology.


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The Fate of Public Libraries


The fate of public libraries is unknown. However, perhaps a random delivery from the Cube-O-Probe set to the Heaven & Hell four square format could induce compelling intuitions and predictive  abductions.

This capture might benefit from facilitation.

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New squareONE Tool: Cube-O-Probe


Intention: What are clues to the positive and negative aspects of using the Cube-O-Probe?



[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.



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Fall of the Rebel Angels

4x Fall of the Rebel Angels

4xFall of the Rebel Angels (S.Calhoun, 2014 remix of Peter Breughel)

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

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Generative Alchemy

Brueghel - The Alchemist

Brueghel: The Alchemist

Calhoun Generative Art
The Alchemy of Symmetry – Excerpt from Brueghel’s The Alchemist
S.Calhoun (2014) 10×10″

This piece is part of a large series that will likely be presented in a short film. The film is intended to show the interplay of manipulations and recursions involved in generating different pieces.

I dedicate this new series to Ms. Uidhi. (I may be one of a handful of artists, or pseudo-artists, focusing on creative luckiness in the context of a post-academic post-scholarly focus on the situation of serendipity in adult development. This could include meandering into philosophical swamps.

IP LAF Forum: Christy Mag Uidhi on Artistic Serendipity vs. Artistic Luck, 25 Sept

Tuesday 23 September 2014


Thurs 25 September 2014, 4.00pm
IP London Aesthetics Forum: Room G34, Senate House, WC1
Artistic Serendipity vs. Artistic Luck
Christy Mag Uidhi (Houston)
Supported by the British Society of Aesthetics

It is standardly thought that artworks may gain and lose art-relevant properties over time (and thereby may also admit of similar gains and losses in artistic value). From this it follows that insofar as such gains and losses may be well outside the control of the artist, we ought to expect any minimally adequate theory of art and its value as such to come with (or at least be amenable to) some minimal notion of artistic luck and artistic achievement (such that ascriptions of the one undermine ascriptions of the other). In this talk, I’ll sketch what I take to be uncontroversial minimal accounts of both artistic luck and artistic achievement. From these I show it to follow that if artworks must be products of intentional action, then there can be no such thing as artistic luck (either descriptively or evaluatively). I claim the only formative role luck might play in our understanding of art and its value as such is to provide the means by which we may productively carve out an informative sub-class of artistic achievement: specifically that of artistic serendipity.


[My bold.] Intention, serendipity. Intentional serendipity is pseudo-serendipity. It is a kind of search routine. I don’t subscribe to the idea that intentionality is properly monolithic or exclusionary. But, I concede that psychologizing the artist’s creative process may take my own considerations and sensemaking out of and away from a proper philosophy of aesthetics.

Nor do I know what Ms. Mag Uidhi has in mind to flesh out the intriguing precis.

For my own part, there is so much in my creative process that permits creative intention-up-to-the-point of pulling the curtains away, and, thus includes less discrete combinations of intention and, fundamentally, hope about the unknown!

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New Music From Kamelmauz – Apparently


My music making alter ego is: Kamelmauz. He does sonic experiments and lets me produce and issue them on Duty Free Records. Finally, these records are issued on Bandcamp, in one of two locations.

Got it? There today exist fourteen different audio productions. Each can be downloaded or auditioned at Bandcamp.

The vein of music I create is variously reduced to categories–experimental/avant-agarde/ambient/industrial/dark ambient–which miss the personal point of my efforts. Oh well. ‘we’ make music for the sake of my enjoyment of the process of making music, and, to actively support my enthusiasm for learning, novelty, and experience.

Full length: Kamelmauz.bandcamp
EP’s and single tracks: Kamelmauz-soundz.bandcamp

As you should know by now, my musical activities and interests are documented on the blog of noguts noglory studios.

no guts no glory

I go meta about my creativity. Meta means: I make stuff and I reflect on making stuff.

There’s a video for the new ep, Apparently There’s More.

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Roots of My Urbanology (II.)

Lakewood Totem
Totem For Lakewood; 2010 S.Calhoun

II. Roots of (My) Urbanology (part two of three parts)

In 1972, my mother suggested that I might find Lewis Mumford interesting. Although I was mostly concerned with–in 1972–squeezing through various doors of perception, I managed to wander through Mumford’s The Conduct of Life, along with Huxley and Laing and Watts. The Conduct of Life was written in 1951. (I suppose hardly anybody reads Mumford anymore.) A few years after returning to Cleveland in 1992, I remember revisiting Mumford in a series of conversations with my mother about Cleveland, cities, the de-industrialization of the Mid West, and, the curse of Ronald Reagan. She insisted I read The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. (1961!) I did so. I re-read Mumford’s The City in History. I explained to my dear mother what I meant when I described Mumford to be a constructionist mystic.

In the fall of 2005, again due to the result of a remarkable fortuity, I met the Director of the Lakewood Public Library, Kenneth Warren; (to myself I noted: heck, a constructionist mystic!) I learned of the Visionary Alignment, the Lakewood Observer Project, and soon enough–even though I was a wash-a-shore–was in the thick of it. At the outset, among the suggestions I introduced to the Observer crew was a ripe and dangerous speculative question:

What would it be like to live in a city devoted to knowing itself better than any other city ever has known itself?

I didn’t really get at the time that I was both implying a name for the practical learning process of the project being unfolded by a handful of intrepid Lakewoodites and Observers, and, idealizing a highly charged constellation of conflicting fantasies about what is the very stuff of civic knowledge-seeking and civic knowing. The name/process is simple: civic self-knowledge, but the charging of the civic constellation is altogether complex, entangled, and, as we soon enough came to understand, is plain difficult.

Community, know thyself? Really? Plug into the circuit and call forth shadow, and every variety of impossible dream, and quixotic obstacle?

LAkewood prism
Lakewood Prism (demographic analysis schema)

(from a presentation by Kenneth Warren, – Lakewood Future Tools – Understanding Lakewood: Communities and Memes; March 2005) See also the pdf, Community Capacity.

(Lakewood Ohio) Place-Making with Good Neighbors on the Lake
· Flow =Quality of Life
· Increase the flow states in the community.
· Refresh the conventional sense of local living in Lakewood by engaging good neighbors.
· Cultivate the habit of good neighbors listening to one another.
· Activate through the Lake a sense of the liminal among good neighbors, that is, the threshold of physiological or psychological response to the unique energy that permeates the people and place.
· Make Lakewood permeable to new experience, ideas, mechanisms and structures among good neighbors
who are joining society to economy, conscience to knowledge.
· Obtain commitments from good neighbors to act on projects that will stretch beyond circular, selfjustified egocentric gated communities.
· Know there is a beginning point and ending point to each good neighborhood.
· Realize that a commitment to sustainability is shift in consciousness; it is not about constructing a pretty
· Understand that places and institutions can get high-jacked by interests that lie outside the particular community, i.e. absentee landlords, absentee corporations and absentee public employees.
· Construct IEDs – Improvised Economic Devises
Ken Warren, Lakewood Visionary Alignment

During the summer of 2006 I happened upon my current research focus, serendipity in adult development. Under the auspices of The Lakewood Observer and Lakewood Public Library, I devised a small project. I would quickly teach street anthropologists to conduct a survey, and then from their gathering of this data set, build out with them a very constrained ethnography focused on a single question, What brought you, [the subject,] to live in Lakewood?

For two weekends a dozen or so of us fanned out through Lakewood and conducted this survey. We then spent an afternoon debriefing the results. We never assembled the final work product, but, in reviewing the surveys on my own time, I realized an amazing quality threaded itself through many of the survey results.

I can capture this quality in one of the answers to the signal question.

My husband and I came to live in Lakewood because he had just taken a job at the hospital in Fairview Park and we were in a very temporary sublet in Rocky River. One day, at the grocery store there, I asked the gal at the cash register if she knew of any good resources for tracking down nice rentals in Rocky River. Before she could answer a woman standing behind me in the checkout line tapped me on the shoulder and told me that her sister had a first floor, two bedroom apartment available in her Lakewood house. I jotted her sister’s number down and we moved in the very next month.

Not only were the surveys littered with similar narratives, but having my nose pushed close to such stories compelled me to consider my own.

So: I had to reckon with the robber in 1974 who made it all possible by trying to kill me.

In other words, I discovered my interest in the problem of serendipity in adult development by reflecting on my apparently fortuitous encounter with a robber in 1974. This reflection itself was inspired by asking residents of Lakewood what was it that brought them to Lakewood to live.

Keynote: communities collect the results of serendipity.

(Technically speaking: communities aggregate the product of intricate conjunctions of agentic, environmental, and temporal fortuities.)

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