Category Archives: personal

Poetry Of the Tear

KW

Kenneth Warren (1953-2015)

To be in different states without a change
is not a possibility (Charles Olson)

I visited, with Dan Slife, the Saturday 9/3 event in Buffalo, A Celebration of Ken Warren. It was held in The Poetry Collection of the University of Buffalo, at Lockwood Library. The brutalist University architecture led to an initial ‘esoteric’ moment, as we tried to find the The Poetry Collection, and the room given over for an afternoon to the legacy of the great esotericist/American poetics/guardian of the punk hole/and master of the House Organ.

You see once in the Lockwood Library, the friendly fellow at the service desk had no idea where The Poetry center was located. We found a flyer and saw it was in Capen Hall, but we understood that Lockwood Library itself occupies Capen Hall. Luckily, for a moment, we noted it was in room 420, so we hopped into the elevator and took it to the fourth floor. No room 420.

We returned to the ground. A co-ed had stopped at the bottom of the stairs and we confessed our minor desperation and asked her if she knew where The Poetry Center was, or was room 420 in the very building this exchange was taking place within.

I have no clue about the poetry stuff, but room 420 is probably accessible by either the front elevator or the elevators down the corridor that reach another section of the fourth floor.

Dan and I gave each other a look. Sure enough the second set of elevators reached a corridor on the fourth floor that was inaccessible by way of the elevators facing the front doors.

Ken Celebration (1)

Cube O’ Olson

A probe generated by Stephen Calhoun April 13, 2014. I did two random rolls in series. This was submitted to House Organ in April 2015, six weeks before Ken Warren suddenly died of a heart attack.

Learning Intention:

Tell Charles Olson Something He Needed to know, But, Alas It Is Too late

submission to House Organ April 15, 2015 - unpublished

submission to House Organ April 15, 2015 – unpublished

Steve Lewandowski wondered if I would like to get in line and speak to Ken’s memory. As it happened I went last. In this very good spot I spoke a little bit of how Ken’s interests and my own overlapped, told a Sufi teaching story, and reminded everyone that Ken’s sincere interest in how you are doing often first met a fresh report with the temporary observation,

You’re fucked.

Parker and Beckett spoke, a high point, Dan played a song, and a long line up of poets and literary types brought some A Game to the afternoon’s delightful, and bittersweet proceedings.

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Roger’s Blues

Without wishing it, we human beings are placed in situations in which the great principles entangle us in something, and God leaves it to us to find a way out. C.G. Jung (Good and Evil In Analytical Psychology, Civilization In Transition)

My neighbor Roger Talbott recently retired from his post as a Methodist minister. I’m following his new blog Fear Not Online. At the moment he understands it will be concerned with the second half of life.

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Artist Stephen Calhoun

artiststephencalhoun

My new web site features my art, art based in symmetries and surprise. It’s live today!

ARTISTSTEPHENCALHOUN.COM

I’ll be highlighting some of its features over the next few days and on twitter.

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Artist’s Statement, Part II. & III.

Hat Thangka II (Stephen Calhoun 2016)

Hat Thangka II (Stephen Calhoun 2016)

Secondary and Tertiary Contexts and Multiplicities

ARTIST’S STATEMENT (middle section)

II.

I came to this as a matter of my lifelong drive to satisfy my curiosity. This mission demands that I wander, experience, explore, do experiments.

III.

To steep ourselves in a subject-matter we have first to plunge into it.— John Dewey

If you have not experienced a thing, it is not true!— Kabir

The goal of life is rapture. Art is the way we experience it. Art is the transforming experience.
— Joseph Campbell

Follow the perfume, not the tracks.— Shams of Tabriz

Commentary: My art isn’t post-modern. This doesn’t mean that a post-modern trip is impossible. All trips may be possible. From my personal outlook, there is a cybernetic reaction possible and so I’m doing the only thing I know how to do. What gets read into this counter-normativity my work supposes? Whatever it is, it is tertiary. It would interest me. There are some bridges which could be fashioned. These would join the secondary to the tertiary!

What’s the best explanation of what you are seeing? This is a very hard question.

I’m working a cybernetic formula too. It has three constituents. It would shock and delight me were anyone to figure this formula out from the reflection on experience, or, (easier,) from the background.

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A Year That Made Me

Roxboro-69-IMG_0093

Late during the event approximately half the attendees remained and got together for a memorable photo.

(Susan tells me, “Why would I want to attend a first grade reunion on a work night?”)

Last night I met up with some of my peeps from ninth grade. Jim Duffy reminded me he bought a Peter Frampton LP from the record store I worked at from 1970-1974. But, for everybody else, it was the first time I had encountered them since graduation day in June 1969. Forty-seven years!

Plus there were a few persons who had matriculated to Roxboro from Fairfax Elementary, and this means I first met them in 1960.

It was blast. It made me dizzy. We’re at the age where life brings on the bittersweet, but as more than a few told me, ‘At least I woke up on the right side of the dirt.’ The event occasioned my telling people that twin brother Tim has passed away in 1993. This elicited some moving and warm remembrances. It is amazing how quickly people reconnect and do so warmly and with vulnerability.

Nowadays, Facebook supports the generation of reconnections. Yet, nothing surpasses the fleshy, embodied connection! This is especially so because of the singular impact ninth grade made on me.

Ninth grade at Roxboro Junior High in Cleveland Heights began unfolding in September 1968. I had just turned fourteen. At the time I was a happy-go-lucky, shy, kid who didn’t get the striving thing.

School wasn’t an attractive way to spend time because, as I understood it back then, teachers would just tell you stuff without really telling you the good stuff, such as, how what they were telling you connected up with other stuff.

Ninth grade would end up the one school year (of not too many,) that is etched in my mind for its transformative import. The school was doing a pedigogical experiment called something like, the humanities program. Toward the end of September the head of the program, a rumpled, chain smoking english teacher, James McGuinness met with me in the teacher’s office suite. He sat me down, and brought in a first year teacher, Ron Palladino.

He told Mr. Palladino something similar to:

“Take Stephen under his wing and support in any way Stephen’s quest for knowledge while also helping Stephen organize particular presentations which will verify his learning.”

I don’t know what interactions in the first weeks of school moved Mr. McGuinness to assign to me a personal guide. What next transpired was the only terrific academic year I ever put together.

(Although, when I next attended the private school Hawken, I was a good, not stellar, student–except for cursed spanish class. Still, McGuinness and Palladino had raised the bar impossibly high.)

In retrospect, I recognize how McGuinness had completed a narcissistic circuit–a good thing–and so, ninth grade was my greatest school year.

I’ve had to conjure the equivalent of McGuinness and Palladino over the decades I’ve tenaciously continued to self-direct my learning, exploring, making connections, creating spider webs of knowledge. The moment in September 1968 I experienced support and affirmation for my aspiration about the satisfaction of curiosity was key.

It was also the year of a ferocious dual block set by Mike Baum and yours truly on a muddy field during the last minutes of the fourth quarter in the season’s last football game. This block collapsed the left side of the Wiley Junior High School defense, and allowed Tom Olmstead to scamper into the end zone. His touchdown were the first points Roxboro had scored in five football games. Nobody noticed the block at the time, except for me and Mike. High fives.

Ninth grade was the year Taj Mahal and Bonnie Raitt came to visit Roxboro, and hang around for most of a school day. It was the year my hormones overflowed while granting no great romantic triumphs. Our social clique was very influenced by our liberal parents; (and thanks for all the good times, Kate, Joan, Sarah, Sara, Greer, Kathe, Dave, David, Paul, my brother Tim, and others–no doubt.) I have sustained a friendship with Kate Kuper since the fall of 1966!

It is really close to impossible to fully explain and describe what it was like to be fourteen in an era easily marked by stretching it between the election of 1968 and the Woodstock Festival of August 1969. Or, alternately stretching the year between Coventry Village and Cedar-Fairmount.

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Inner Mounting Flames

NCL-Dennis-Sparling-quarry (source)

Back during my Middlebury Vermont chapter, Dennis Sparling and I spent some quality time naked at his family’s quarry in New Haven. This was over twenty-five years ago. Still, lying around naked and learning in the quiet way that being next to millions of cubic yards of clean, fresh water provides was glorious; and, retrospectively remains a bittersweet memory due to the loss of connections with such friends.

Dennis-Sparling

Nowadays, Dennis is on a mission.

“I see my responsibility after 45 years of intense struggles as an Artist; is to see and know the world as best I can; and pass on to those with fire in the belly, a way to survive life’s paradoxes and thrive with a great sense of humor and clarity of how to prosper as an artist and innovator; al-la Leonardo DaVinci’s mind and works.” D.S.

(If I tell you, ‘by all means’ I’m insisting,) please visit the Sparling Studio and watch the youtube video and read about his project.

Right before Dennis first hit the road, NPR in Vermont told his story.

Then last November, Louis Varricchio starts his article (in the Green Mountain Outlook) out with this fine summation:

It’s easy for those mythologically inclined to imagine how Vermont sculptor Dennis Sparling might have emerged in our universe via a fiery furnace from some other place in space and time—for all the molten, primordial elements comprising 10,000 years of human art, poetry, theater, science and engineering, which simmer just below the surface of the New Haven artist’s amazing corpus, have been sintered into one dazzling, clastic vision of the cosmos.

Here is a fascinating trend: experienced, learned, counter-culturally-inclined, and fired-up baby-boomers, realize that he or she has something to teach, something to transmit. This is their body of transferable understanding. And, this desire to transmit is congruent with their deep sense that the conjunction of western schooling and post-capitalism is failing the human spirit.

This capacity to go beyond the factors of conditioning is one of the obvious advantages of the human person. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

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Hunch a Bunch

BobbyZ9_

“Instinct paints my pictures and guides me to my next subject. It’s the voice that says it’s not here, it’s over there.”
– Tasmanian artist Bobby-Z Lambert

A few days ago my cell phone rang and a voice with a British-like accent just started in, and, after a minute or so I disrupted the caller simply to learn with whom i was engaged with! He introduced himself as a fellow artist, calling from Tasmania, calling from fourteen time zones away at 10:45am in my time zone, calling because he had a hunch ‘we had a bunch in common.’

Bobby-Z had discovered my artwork and then made his way over to this blog. He read enoguh to suggest common interests and possible shared affinities.

This sense of his was revealed to be accurate–after we had spoke for forty-five minutes.

How much respect do I have for persons willing to jump right into the opportunity of relations with complete strangers based on a hunch? I have nothing but respect for such audacious acts.

Who is Bobby-Z?

Bobby-z … and the Miners of Potosi

Bobby-Z Interview Gallery Salamanca

. . .kindred soul.

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World’s Whole Frame

The Wild Garden – NOWNESS from NOWNESS on Vimeo.

Another year rolls into spring. Time to get the hands dirty. I have a bohemian flower garden to tend to.

An Anatomy of the World
The First Anniversary
WHEN that rich soul which to her heaven is gone,
Whom all do celebrate, who know they’ve one
—For who is sure he hath a soul, unless
It see, and judge, and follow worthiness,
And by deeds praise it? he who doth not this,         5
May lodge an inmate soul, but ’tis not his—
When that queen ended here her progress time,
And, as to her standing house, to heaven did climb
Where, loth to make the saints attend her long,
She’s now a part both of the choir and song,         10
This world in that great earthquake languished;
For in a common bath of tears it bled,
Which drew the strongest vital spirits out.
But succour’d then with a perplexed doubt,
Whether the world did lose, or gain in this         15
—Because, since now no other way there is,
But goodness, to see her, whom all would see,
All must endeavour to be good as she—
This great consumption to a fever turn’d,
And so the world had fits; it joy’d, it mourn’d;         20
And as men think that agues physic are,
And th’ ague being spent, give over care;
So thou, sick world, mistakest thyself to be
Well, when, alas! thou’rt in a lethargy.
Her death did wound and tame thee then, and then         25
Thou might’st have better spared the sun, or man.
That wound was deep, but ’tis more misery,
That thou hast lost thy sense and memory.
’Twas heavy then to hear thy voice of moan,
But this is worse, that thou art speechless grown.         30
Thou hast forgot thy name thou hadst; thou wast
Nothing but she, and her thou hast o’erpast.
For, as a child kept from the fount, until
A prince, expected long, come to fulfil
The ceremonies, thou unnamed hadst laid,         35
Had not her coming thee her palace made.
Her name defined thee, gave thee form and frame,
And thou forget’st to celebrate thy name.
Some months she hath been dead—but being dead,
Measures of time are all determined—         40
But long she hath been away, long, long, yet none
Offers to tell us who it is that’s gone.
But as in states doubtful of future heirs,
When sickness without remedy impairs
The present prince, they’re loth it should be said,         45
The prince doth languish, or the prince is dead.
So mankind, feeling now a general thaw,
A strong example gone, equal to law,
The cement, which did faithfully compact
And glue all virtues, now resolved and slack’d,         50
Thought it some blasphemy to say she was dead,
Or that our weakness was discovered
In that confession; therefore spoke no more,
Than tongues, the soul being gone, the loss deplore.
But though it be too late to succour thee,         55
Sick world, yea dead, yea putrefied, since she,
Thy intrinsic balm and thy preservative,
Can never be renew’d, thou never live,
I—since no man can make thee live—will try
What we may gain by thy Anatomy.         60
Her death hath taught us dearly, that thou art
Corrupt and mortal in thy purest part.
Let no man say, the world itself being dead,
’Tis labour lost to have discovered
The world’s infirmities, since there is none         65
Alive to study this dissection;
For there’s a kind of world remaining still;
Though she, which did inanimate and fill
The world, be gone, yet in this last long night
Her ghost doth walk, that is, a glimmering light,         70
A faint weak love of virtue and of good
Reflects from her, on them which understood
Her worth; and though she have shut in all day,
The twilight of her memory doth stay;
Which, from the carcase of the old world free,         75
Creates a new world, and new creatures be
Produced; the matter and the stuff of this
Her virtue, and the form our practice is.
And, though to be thus elemented arm
These creatures from home-born intrinsic harm         80
—For all assumed unto this dignity
So many weedless paradises be,
Which of themselves produce no venomous sin,
Except some foreign serpent bring it in—
Yet because outward storms the strongest break,         85
And strength itself by confidence grows weak,
This new world may be safer, being told
The dangers and diseases of the old.
For with due temper men do then forego,
Or covet things, when they their true worth know.         90
There is no health; physicians say that we,
At best, enjoy but a neutrality.
And can there be worse sickness than to know
That we are never well, nor can be so?
We are born ruinous; poor mothers cry         95
That children come not right, nor orderly,
Except they headlong come and fall upon
An ominous precipitation.
How witty’s ruin, how importunate
Upon mankind! it labour’d to frustrate         100
Even God’s purpose, and made woman, sent
For man’s relief, cause of his languishment.
They were to good ends, and they are so still,
But accessory, and principal in ill;
For that first marriage was our funeral;         105
One woman, at one blow, then kill’d us all;
And singly, one by one, they kill us now.
We do delightfully ourselves allow
To that consumption; and, profusely blind,
We kill ourselves to propagate our kind.         110
And yet we do not that; we are not men;
There is not now that mankind which was then,
When as the sun and man did seem to strive
—Joint-tenants of the world—who should survive;
When stag, and raven, and the long-lived tree,         115
Compared with man, died in minority;
When if a slow-paced star had stolen away
From the observer’s marking, he might stay
Two or three hundred years to see it again,
And then make up his observation plain;         120
When, as the age was long, the size was great;
Man’s growth confess’d, and recompensed the meat;
So spacious and large, that every soul
Did a fair kingdom and large realm control;
And when the very stature, thus erect,         125
Did that soul a good way towards heaven direct.
Where is this mankind now? who lives to age
Fit to be made Methusalem his page?
Alas! we scarce live long enough to try
Whether a true-made clock run right, or lie.         130
Old grandsires talk of yesterday with sorrow;
And for our children we reserve to-morrow.
So short is life, that every peasant strives,
In a torn house, or field, to have three lives;
And as in lasting, so in length is man,         135
Contracted to an inch, who was a span.
For had a man at first in forests stray’d,
Or shipwreck’d in the sea, one would have laid
A wager, that an elephant or whale,
That met him, would not hastily assail         140
A thing so equal to him; now, alas!
The fairies and the pigmies well may pass
As credible; mankind decays so soon,
We’re scarce our fathers’ shadows cast at noon.
Only death adds to our length; nor are we grown         145
In stature to be men, till we are none.
But this were light, did our less volume hold
All the old text; or had we changed to gold
Their silver, or disposed into less glass
Spirits of virtue, which then scatter’d was.         150
But ’tis not so; we’re not retired, but damp’d;
And, as our bodies, so our minds are cramp’d.
’Tis shrinking, not close weaving that hath thus
In mind and body both bedwarfed us.
We seem ambitious God’s whole work to undo;         155
Of nothing He made us, and we strive too
To bring ourselves to nothing back; and we
Do what we can to do ’t so soon as He.
With new diseases on ourselves we war,
And with new physic, a worse engine far.         160
This man, this world’s vice-emperor, in whom
All faculties, all graces are at home
—And if in other creatures they appear,
They’re but man’s ministers and legates there,
To work on their rebellions, and reduce         165
Them to civility, and to man’s use—
This man, whom God did woo, and, loth to attend
Till man came up, did down to man descend;
This man so great, that all that is, is his,
O, what a trifle, and poor thing he is!         170
If man were anything, he’s nothing now.
Help, or at least some time to waste, allow
To his other wants, yet when he did depart
With her whom we lament, he lost his heart.
She, of whom th’ ancients seemed to prophesy,         175
When they called virtues by the name of she;
She, in whom virtue was so much refined,
That for allay unto so pure a mind
She took the weaker sex; she that could drive
The poisonous tincture, and the stain of Eve,         180
Out of her thoughts and deeds, and purify
All by a true religious alchemy;
She, she is dead; she’s dead; when thou know’st this
Thou know’st how poor a trifling thing man is,
And learn’st thus much by our Anatomy,         185
The heart being perish’d, no part can be free,
And that except thou feed, not banquet, on
The supernatural food, religion,
Thy better growth grows withered and scant;
Be more than man, or thou’rt less than an ant.         190
Then as mankind, so is the world’s whole frame,
Quite out of joint, almost created lame;
For before God had made up all the rest,
Corruption enter’d and depraved the best.
It seized the angels, and then first of all         195
The world did in her cradle take a fall,
And turn’d her brains, and took a general maim,
Wronging each joint of th’ universal frame.
The noblest part, man, felt it first; and then
Both beasts and plants, cursed in the curse of man.         200
So did the world from the first hour decay;
That evening was beginning of the day.
And now the springs and summers which we see,
Like sons of women after fifty be.
And new philosophy calls all in doubt;         205
The element of fire is quite put out;
The sun is lost, and th’ earth, and no man’s wit
Can well direct him where to look for it.
And freely men confess that this world’s spent,
When in the planets, and the firmament         210
They seek so many new; they see that this
Is crumbled out again to his atomies.
’Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone,
All just supply, and all relation.
Prince, subject, father, son, are things forgot,         215
For every man alone thinks he hath got
To be a phœnix, and that then can be
None of that kind of which he is, but he.
This is the world’s condition now, and now
She that should all parts to reunion bow;         220
She that had all magnetic force alone,
To draw and fasten sunder’d parts in one;
She whom wise nature had invented then,
When she observed that every sort of men
Did in their voyage in this world’s sea stray,         225
And needed a new compass for their way;
She that was best, and first original
Of all fair copies, and the general
Steward to fate; she whose rich eyes and breast
Gilt the West Indies, and perfumed the East;         230
Whose having breathed in this world did bestow
Spice on those isles, and bade them still smell so;
And that rich Indy, which doth gold inter,
Is but as single money coin’d from her;
She to whom this world must itself refer,         235
As suburbs, or the microcosm of her;
She, she is dead; she’s dead; when thou know’st this,

(more…)

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Riding With Hair Duce

7458355404_e6bc18f776_b
64 Cadillac Fleetwood via photopin (license)

It was bound to happen some night and it happened last night. I had a dream with Donald J. Trump in it. As a longtime dream keeper and dream analyst, the dream with respect to psyche was transparent.

Scene 1

I climb the stairs of a house in an Frisco neighborhood. I’m on the way to help a friend with a rock band she is promoting.

16102744042_c34e169870_m
photo credit:  via photopin (license)

I find her hanging out with the band in a bedroom. She’s sitting on the bed. The band of four hippie guys in their twenties is spread between a couch and a chair. I sit on the bed with her. She and the band are discussing ideas for a video.

“We have this great ’64 caddy. Maybe just shoot a video with us singing and playing as we drive around?”

She thinks for a moment, looks at me, turns back to the band and suggests,

“Good, but I can top it all off.”

“How so?” I ask her.

“I know Donald Trump. He can be the driver.”

Turning my head toward my friend, the bright and darkly pretty gal on the bed next to me, I raise my eyebrows in a silent, ‘You do?’

“Should I call him, see if he is available?”

The band collectively chuckles, and nods their assent.

After a few minutes on the phone, she ends the call, and announces, “He’ll be right over.”

(Surprise is the feeling tone.)

Scene 2

We all get up and file out down the narrow front stairs. A big maroon 1964 hard top Cadillac sits in the driveway, parked head first.

As the group gets to the car, a black limousine pulls up to the curb, a drive gets out, walks to the rear passenger door, and opens the door for Donald J Trump. He is dressed in a blue suit with a bright red tie.

We hail him, and I move toward the driver’s side of the caddy. Trump has walked briskly and his tiny hand reaches the door handle before my own (ummm, large,) hand does.

“I got this,” he tells me.

We pile into the car, with the band taking over the back seat, and me between my lady friend, and, behind the wheel, Trump. I have the best view as Trump takes the keys from one of the lads and tries to figure out where the key needs to be inserted to start the car.

Leaning toward him, he backs me off,

“I got this.”

He eventually finds the ignition slot and starts the car. He gingerly backs the car out of the driveway onto the street. I think to myself, that Trump seems a bit nervous, seems like he hasn’t driven a car recently. The car slowly backs up until the rear wheels crunch against the opposite curb. Trump looks at me and glares.

He manages to get the caddy faced in the correct lane of the street, and slowly he drives away. Reaching a cross street, he turns right.

Scene 3

(The scene changes. The street we’ve turned onto is a circular cul de sac, but now it is winter, and there is a little bit of snow on the ground and on the road.)

Trump is obviously nervous now and being careful. The caddy skids for a moment and bumps the curb. Now, I give him a look.

“I got this.”

But, the caddy gets sideways. Although it isn’t stuck because of the snow, the curve of the street is such that there isn’t enough room to maneuver, so Trump steers the car up and over a curb and attempts to turn it around.

I turn toward the band in the back seat. One of the hippies gives me a thumb’s up. I turn toward Trump,

“Do you need some help?” With this appeal, I am sure he hasn’t driven a car in a long long time.

A bit frustrated, Trump glances toward me,

“I got this!”

nukeem

Conscious capacity for one-sidedness is a sign of the highest culture, but involuntary one-sidedness, i.e., inability to be anything but one-sided, is a sign of barbarism. (C.G. Jung, Psychological Types)

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Healthy Solipsism II.

INABOX

My working assumption is that when I’m learning about another person, I am learning about their personal culture and their sense of their identity and about their narrative and about all the weaving and stitching which provides the sensible and explanatory interconnects between culture/identity/story. However, I have introduced here my own terms, terms popular on planet Stephen C.C., but not in anyway presumptively are these same terms popular on your own planet.

And, even if some of the terms are in use on your own planet, the terms might not mean the same to you as the terms mean to me.

It would be much better for me to start out learning what are your terms, what are the terms commonly used on your planet; you know, the planet you live on.

If you and me are beginning the task of knowing one another, of engaging an interpersonal process of mutual construal, how do we collaborate to do the initial sorting? On my planet, one can also meta-sort; how about on your planet?

Here’s a mundane example. Take the developmentally normative imperatives given by the Experiential Learning Theory of David A. Kolb. These norms are the lingua franca of the community of practice. Three such norms are: flexibility, balance, and resilience. Each of us comes (away) from our unique planet to speak in common terms–and we have worked to cause such terms to be common and shared.

Yet, at the same time, (from the perspective of what my colleague Kenneth Warren termed “your promethean thrust,”) come counter-normative theoretical imperatives, conceptions, or injunctions. With respect to Kolb’s ELT, among these are: intuition, serendipity, enantiodromia, poetics, energetics, polarization, antipathy, inversion, paradox, abduction, and autopoiesis.

These ideas are part of the background, part of my background. For example, the force of enantiodromia–conversion into the opposite–may countermand balance.

The assumption that the use of a common language is not differentially connected to the hidden “it is just so” of personal culture (etc.) is an incorrect assumption–and is so even if such differentials are smoothed over by a presumption of solidarity.

That we are not trapped in our subjective cosmos is obvious enough. However, the ability to stand outside of one’s own cosmos means of course that something personal comes along for the ride! The intentional act of relational intermediation carries with it the possibility of also being a wise enaction of intermediation, where we step outside, and also step into, the common ground knowing fully what aspects of our self-system remain with our self.

In the cybernetic sense, interpersonal intermediation requires reconfiguration which is configurable by choice or by choiceless feedback.

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Unhealthy Solipsism

Tourist-In-Your-Head

“What you do not seem to recognize is that I am telling you about what has long interested me and what I did about being interested in this way. It seems to me you want to wave it all away because this story I’m telling you cannot be realized by you to be the ‘it is just so,’ about me.”

I was recently reminded how useless a single rotten assumption can be in the context of relationship.

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Yet, We Converse With Each Other

Hexagram44
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.

QUESTIONS

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?

PROVISIONS

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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Cube-O-Probe: How to Work With a New Team

Cube-O-Probe

Classic four square CoP roll. The so-called heavenly quadrants are above the center, and the hellish quadrants are below.

This is a very clear and direct roll of the Cube-O-Probe, framed by the intention,

Give me crucial hints about working with the new team.

My reflections on it clarified for me the necessity of allowing the wise ones to have their say and impact, trusting their wisdom for the sake of my own development, understanding that the project aims for my own stability–but that it is not yet an obvious possibility–and, my sense that I need to mediate my own inquisitiveness.

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Eat or Be Eaten

World Surf League Pe’ahi Challenge

These waves are over 25 feet, with most of them in the 30-40 foot range. If you wipe out and end up under the break, you can be driven 30+ feet under the surface. Big wave surfing is, it is said, at once extremely dangerous and exhilarating.

The two summers I surfed, first in 1968 (mostly off Honolulu Oahu, or Barber’s Point,) Hawaii, and the next summer, 1969, in South Carolina and Virginia, the biggest wave I tried to ride was a 10+ piece of hurricane surf off of Hilton Head. I crashed and was so impressed by the burn that I swam to shore, waited for my big old Hobie board to wash ashore, and, literally, called it a summer. Oddly, the closest call I ever had was on a tender little five footer at a spot off of Honolulu called Ones and Twos. A soldier on R&R from Viet Nam, who had rented a board probably to go surf for the first time, kicked it my way while missing his take off. I spotted it zeroing in on my head, dove away and crashed into the coral reef.

My pal Teddy had already warned me that there were a lot of servicemen out on the breaks convinced surfing wasn’t so hard that it couldn’t be mastered in a day.

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Devotion Rewarded

Joanne & Crede Calhoun

Joanne & Crede Calhoun

This photograph of my father and his wife Joanne is my favorite photo taken of my dad. Why? He’s smiling. He’s seated next to the love of his life. Joanne was the huge hearted gal who not only was devoted to my father during their brief years together before he drowned in a sailing accident, but was the women who fully accepted his devotion to her.

Joanne peacefully passed away August 25. She told me the last time I visited with her, five days earlier, that she was looking forward to being rejoined with my father. For the last time, she told me “You are an angel.” I lay my head down and she stroked my hair.

I remember meeting Joanne for the first time in the fall of 1994, when my dad had invited Susan and me to dinner at his apartment. (First impression? Tall, vital, glamorous, warm.) She took me aside and told me she was working on my dad to step up and “be a father again.” I was forty years old at the time, and welcomed her effort–and it proved so successful that we shared a Christmas the next year with the newly married Joanne and Crede, and, with my mother Jean, and with Joanne’s sons and their families, and with my brother and his family, and my own family .

It was the first time my divorced parents had celebrated a holiday in the same room in over twenty years. Likewise, it was the first time I had celebrated a holiday family style in over twenty years. My mother Jean thought Joanne had, literally, “worked a miracle.”

My mother loved her ex-husband’s third wife, and she thought Joanne was an angel too.

Joanne ‘s devotion to my father, friends, and her family simply and also directly expressed her deep nature.

Her attitude echoed Meister Eckhardt, ‘One must not always think so much about what one should do; but rather what one should be,’ yet maybe goes farther because she was naturally devoted and didn’t have to think about it.

. . .an angel.

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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.

DSC06281-TWO-TWINS

“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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The Flux of Serendipity

Kate, her sister Holly, my wife Susan, with custom pizzas each designed

Kate, her sister Holly, my wife Susan, with custom pizzas each designed

I told my new friend David, ‘last night the Kuper sisters came over for dinner.’

Kate has been a friend of mine since around the summer of 1967, and I met her the first time in the early weeks of seventh grade. At some unknown point during that same time I met her older sister Holly and her younger brother Peter. By the time ninth grade started in the fall of 1968, Kate and her two girlfriends Joan and Sarah were pretty much my closest friends. And, I spent a lot of time at the Kuper’s house because the Kupers were a simply joyful, creative and cool bunch.

Fifty years later, Kate lives with her family in Illinois, and Holly lives with her family outside Dallas. Earlier yesterday I met Kate and Holly, along with some family friends, who came together at the tree planted in memory of their wonderful parents. There I met Mrs. Johnson, who was both a Kuper family friend, a friend of my late mother’s, and, a teacher at Hawken School at the same time I was there as a member of the class of 1972.

After I told my new friend David, ‘last night the Kuper sisters came over for dinner,’ he told me how he would have liked to have been there because he knew the Kupers too, and, in fact, Buzz and Ginger ran in the same activist circles David’s own parents ran in from the sixties onward.

This is not an example of a dramatic coincidence. Over my years of thinking about serendipity, I have come to recognize how stable is the web of local potentials and contingencies when the location of persons is close by one another, and they share preoccupations, and, in effect, the channels for binding relationships are readily accessible.

However, there are hidden features too that make the total contemporary arrangement the result of very fragile arrays of realized contingencies. I am a new friend of David’s because I ventured into his garage sale a year ago, and he responded to his sense that I looked familiar by asking what was my name. In fact, we figured out that although we were not even acquaintances during our one shared school year, that it was likely sometime at the end of the 1972 school year we last caught sight of one another.

I was in a position to go to the garage sale by virtue of a huge array of realized contingencies, and one of the first order ones concerned my high school spanish teacher Mr. Carter, who gave me three “D’s” rather than flunking me–when I had earned the F. A first term F in Spanish would have shaken up my deck a bit, and, it probably was the case that when David remembered me from spanish class he was remembering me retaking my second year of spanish. In any case, the three D’s thankfully destroyed my grade-point average. In turn I did not do well enough to go to Haverford, the college David matriculated to two years after my senior class graduated.

But, there was yesterday Mrs. Johnson who shared an office with Mr. Carter, as both were foreign language teachers together. Had this same Mr. Carter treated me more realistically I might have missed out on being shot by a holdup man while working in a record store the summer of 1974. Moreover, David doesn’t learn the Kuper sisters are visiting Cleveland Heights from distant homes because I wouldn’t likely be back in Cleveland because the family crisis that precipitated by return to my hometown in late 1992 may well have not have taken place had my own life path gone even a little bit differently.

Whether or not the web of contingency and causality extends to the Kuper sisters is, at once, a seeming kind of hard problem, or, is itself mixed in with my actual relations with Kate in the two years I remained in Cleveland, prior to being shot in June 1974, because we reconnected in the fall of 1973, after she returned from a long trip abroad.

At the same time, we’re having dinner together last night in one respect because of the serendipitous reconfiguration instantiated by the hold-up man who walked into Music Madness on Lee Road on a Thursday, forty one years earlier in June 1974, took all the cash the store had earned that day, had me lay down on the floor of the backroom office, and, finally shot meat point blank range in the back. Thank goodness.

In the combination of the more stable ecology of local contingent ‘webs’ and the less stable non-local ecologies–when persons leave their family of origin he or she lands in a non-local ecology–the fragility of realized conjunction and potential conjunctions becomes many times more complex, dynamic and, where dynamical complexity increases so does fragility.

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Depth & Learning in Close Relationships

The Dao of Ken

The Dao of Ken

The recent series of posts about my friendship with the late Ken Warren are brought together in order on this new page here on the Explorations blog.

Tomorrow’s post on Social Cybernetics is helpful material, and it will be archived under the Reduced Bateson Set page.

Ken Warren remembered at The Poetry Foundation.

Ken Warren remembered by poet Peter Anastas.

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Old Music Renewed for the Adventurous Listener

Glori-selects-some-sounds-of-Kamelmauz

My most accessible musical work, compiled into easy listening medleys; aimed at friends, the neophyte, the intrepid, and the unsuspecting.
Plus: FREE DOWNLOAD genre: slow music, experimental, ambient

Medley I.
1 (2001) Ancient Sanabad 4:29
2 (2009) Heldonsket 6:10
3 (2011) Come Over 2:12
4 (2011) And Over 2:15

Medley II.
5 (2012) Wunderbare Momente 8:30
6 (2000) Turquoise 5:06
7 (2009) Moon Cave 5:38

Medley III.
8 d (2013) Although Others Weigh In 3:41
9 d (2013) Still Not Final 4:36
10 c (2010) Poor-City 9:58

11 a (2001) No One Knows the Weaver’s Dreams (excerpt 2014) 11:47

Kamelmauz: compositions, improvisations, sound design pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar, synthesizers, keyboards, percussion, sampler, small instruments

This recording is dedicated to Kenneth Warren, 1953-2015
“Kamelmauz is sounding the audible id of Lake Erie’s depths and surroundings.”

COme Over /and Over is dedicated to Roger McGuinn | Poor City is for Ken
Know One Knows the Weaver’s Dreams is for Deborah

Producer: Stephen Calhoun
Produced at noguts noglory studios, Cleveland Heights, Ohio | Cover Design: Hippie Goat

hat tip to Apple Computer, Native Instruments, Leo Fender, Gestrument, Moog Synthesizers,
and all the other audio design toolmakers – KAMELMAUZ.BANDCAMP.COM
special thanks to, as always, Susan

Sampler is free until September 1, 2015.

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Pecking Order

creepygirls-baseball-cartoon

I likely was around the age of ten–1964–when my friends and I started playing kick ball on the asphalt diamond at Coventry School during the summer. This gave me the opportunity to be a self-assessor, and, also to step back a bit from process of making teams, to wonder why my above average performance never was reflected in where I was chosen in the picking of players. I asked my dad. I forgot what he told me.

A few years later, and for a few years, I played baseball on the long gone diamond at Fairfax School. Because I had a good arm, I played third base. But, I was a terrible hitter. I usually was picked in the first third of picks.

Eventually, one leaves the world of pick up ball behind. I played for Roxboro Junior High’s football team. Mike Baum and myself were the blocking fullbacks, opening holes for the storied Tom Olmstead and Victor Wong. We collapsed a Wiley Jr High team’s rushers in the last series of the last quarter of the 1968 season. This helped Olmstead score the team’s first touchdown of the soon-to-be realized 0-5 season. The coaches were idiots.

In high school, I proved mediocre at: football, cross-country*, and made one appearance as a side-arming reliever on the JV baseball team in the spring of 1970:

walked the first batter
hit the second batter
walked the third batter
gave up a three run triple to the fourth batter

Infinite ERA, right? That’s something!

The next year a classmate Jonathan Bass created an intramural softball league (at Hawken School) and enlisted me to help organize it and promote it to my fellow juniors. Somehow he got the Head of the Upper School and Athletic Director to approve it as an alternative to playing a varsity sport or PE class. Participation skyrocketed diue to this late breaking development.

I played first and third base and because I was the team captain, batted myself in the top third of the order. I kept the statistics for the entire league. Somewhere is the record of my performance in every season I’ve played softball since the spring of 1971.

In 1975 I played with the Wizard of Oz team in Vermont. It was the team’s inaugural season. I know I batted ninth and played short outfield, and sometimes pitched, and sometimes played catcher. I was twenty and two years away from my first really enjoyable sportsman’s experience.

Many American men have a sense of what is a pecking order. It might be interesting to ask him how early in their athletic career did this sense begin to be developed.

*My senior year, I recollect that the cross country team had a record of 14-1. I was roughly the eighth or ninth runner on the team, and injured my self in a meet at University School. This led to the single mention of my athletic performance in the yearbook: Stephen Calhoun ran well with the cross country team until he got smart and broke his ankle.

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