Category Archives: personal

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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Friendship: A Schema for Depth and Learning

Mandala

I have been reflectingintuiting over the past six weeks on my relationship with Ken Warren, and, the nature of active creative sustained depth-full relationship. This has been, is, almost a prototype of grief framed by bittersweet finality. This is both a ‘hard’ thing and a very good thing.

As I grapple with a phenomenology of deep relationship, very little of what I have been shaping over the last few weeks is inflected by interactions brought up and out from an ongoing relationship. I have been focusing on the unique qualities of my relationship with Ken. The implicit irony given by conceptualizing without solidarity is not lost on me at all.

FRIENDSHIP-HIERARCHY

This schema depicts one view of generalizations oriented to a foundational perspective. In turn, it is taken from the most basic interpenetrating levels, levels identified and discussed by Ken and myself. This schema represents the hand of deep relationship oriented to co-creative exploration, taken from the unique fingerprint of our relationship. Every deep relationship expresses a unique fingerprint.

In my view, the hallmark of deep exploratory relationship is that it is relationship founded by the transformation of instrumental relations into core depth orientation and action. Deep relationship is noetic.

Deep relationship is ironic in several crucial senses. First, such relationships demand what I term ‘open time’ orientation for the sake of turning away utility, and turning toward exploration. This further means that deep exploratory relationships are not mainly normatively useful. Secondly, exploration itself requires ‘heuristical’ flex within the open time modality; and this is instigative of the negotiation and transit and transfer of meanings, and the recursive chatter which soon enough finds any granted perspective to be ‘ironic’ in the given relation to some other perspective.

Ken and I cycled through this second aspect precisely in the way that the, his, foreordained could encompass both traditionalism and naturalism whereas, my notional contingency would encompass both fortuity and emergent spontaneity. We discovered early on that the spirited verticality is entangled ironically with soulful horizontality. This crossing, so-to-speak, constituted the background frame to our wandering, experimentation, and exploration.

Third, the introduction of a profound ludic element to the core orientation is clearly ironically situated in the way playing around pulls time out of its linear contour, and, amplifies the timelessness of the first order intrinsic motive; which is to assert here how play is motivated by virtue of play being enjoyable for its own sake. This is a baroque way of describing the experience of combinatorial flow in our relationship.

“Wow, I can’t believe we’ve been hanging out for four hours!”

Stephen Calhoun, experiential toolmaker

Deep Relational Matrix per Warren/Calhoun

(email me if you want the Warren-Calhoun Matrix in pdf)

In my idiosyncratic and syncretic phenomenology of profound friendship,  essential qualities of deep relationship are placed in the order of this matrix. The matrix proposes that such relationships possess qualities and dispositions of these types. Those qualities and dispositions in the flux of relationship are dynamic, whereas the apparent square form of the matrix is stable.

Typology given by the functional primes: A(nalytical) | E(xperiential) | I(ntoxicating) | C(ombinatorial)

In noting this, a relationship may be broadly typified. For example, Ken and my relationship was in the main Combinatorial, and its type in order was much of the time, C(IEA) The subdominant quality is an inferior quality, so our Combinatorial relationship could be very impractical. Although I have yet to conceptualize the dialectical primes and secondary polarities given in the matrix, it seems readily apparent that the basic oppositions are given in the pairings, C<>A, and E<>I.

Additionally, right now the rough appearance suggests the typology of the Analytical Psychology T/F, N/S, unequivocally associates with the relational primes:

COMBINATORIAL <> INTUITION
INTOXICATING <> SENSATION
EXPERIENTIAL <>FEELING
ANALYTICAL <> THINKING

Alas, all this is worked out without my favorite colleague and friend and co-explorer’s contemporary contribution. Our inquiry had begun to stir  into these elements the liberated psychoastrology and the experiential learning theory of my colleague David A. Kolb.

Still, Ken was very jazzed by our recent inquiries coordinated by our mutual sense that some of the deep noetic structures of organizations, such as public libraries or suburbs, were literally secreted in the profound dyadic relationships of persons in those kinds of communities.

(My considerations here are surely novel in their relation to what is a very small normative literature about depth-in-relationships–found within the scholarship about management.)

One way to work with these ideas is to imagine a controller for your close relationships and then conjure how you sometimes manipulate its regulatory dials.

Intentional control regulates relational dynamics and core 'co-performance'

Intentional control regulates relational dynamics and core ‘co-performance’

Let me know what you discovered in playing around with the dials!

Magician

The Matrix itself could be larger, and more robust. Because our own relationship comprised our principle laboratory, in our collaborative deconstruction of my promethean puer, and of Ken’s anima problem,  over the last year or so, we discovered a lot of shadowy elementals, darkened aspects, impersonal inversions, and hidden unconscious facts. Ken termed these occulted aspects. Those aspects obviously figure into, and would augment, the organization of the fuller set of generalizations of the qualities and dispositions of deep relationship.

 

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Friendship: The Cut, and Combing the Matrices

Stephen Calhoun, fine artist

Archi for Kenneth Warren (S. Calhoun, 2010)

In the upper right hand section of this collage is a vertical white line. Actually, up close, it looks like somebody took a knife to the art work. This vertical line is very critical to the capture of an essential quality of Kenneth Warren, and it carries over to our friendship.

He and I had two interchangeable terms we employed to describe this essential conception: (1) the cut, (2) the amputation. The conception refers to what is taken away, plus, as a consequence, what then is the new result.

All amputations are revolutionary. -Ken Warren

MAtrix template-Warren-Calhoun #3 Love

Warren-Calhoun Matrix #3

One of the principal patterns Ken and I utilized when we workplayed together was for me to leverage whatever were his intense enthusiasms of the moment–and Ken fueled himself by combusting momentary enthusiasms–as seeds for what Ken called learning devices. This particular pattern is grounded in our combinatorial intuitions, in which Ken’s foreordained particular enthusiasms would be integrated with my intuitions focused on practical ways to evoke spontaneous learning/insight.

Ken smartly suggested my designer’s aesthetic was rooted in my fundamental frame for my collection of frames, Flatland. Flatland is neither complement or denigration. Flatland was shorthand; it encapsulates my social cybernetic outlook, my fallibilist daemon, and my insistent bias that stakes development in essential ways to ecstatic contingencies/novelties/serendipities. Flatland was what Ken surmised from my describing what I meant by ecstatic organization.

Ecstatic Organization–not a normative term–means human development for which human agency is not a first or second order predicate. This is another way of asserting development which takes place because the enactive agent has become a momentary subject of generative/chance operations. One does not command these operations, rather, the operations command–to a degree–you. In ecstatic organization, agency responds rather than initiates.

I had developed no shorthand term for Ken’s own collection of lenses. Nevertheless, we kept coming back around to “egregorics,” esoteric embeds, hermetic poetics, and the foreordained. There is this accessible differentiation between the two of us: I would articulate entanglements because an entanglement may be disentangled or unwoven, while Ken would articulate embeddedness, and so in this he would also articulate primal and prime structures and inevitable types of necessary relations.

The entanglements given by my Flatland are yang; the ’embeds’ of his foreordained outlook are yin. Entanglement is related to disentanglement, while Embed stands alone. Entanglement and Embed(dedness) comprise a dialectical pairing. Factors are entangled, features are embedded. With entanglement/disentanglement/embeddedness we have the imaginal three seeking for the imaginal transcendent fourth. By filling out the formula in this way, I have offered a short hand way to describe how Ken and I operated over the years.

This basic operational formula also was brought to near on IN4tuity‘s work in the public library space. For example, the physicality and traditional humane principles of the deep institutional public library bring forth the embedded elemental aspects, while it is the aspirational flux of the library’s human ecology that brings forth its entanglements. In essence, what IN4tuity does is support the restoration of the embedded, yin, foreordained structure for the sake of disentangling and reweaving the human aspirational ecology of the library.

Matrix template-Warren-Calhoun #2

Warren-Calhoun Matrix #2

My limitations are much more severe than were Ken’s own limitations. This Matrix #2 makes this fact clear because it expresses a quadrant I could not enter into, the upper left quadrant.

Over the last two years Ken and I accomplished three major deconstructions. It could be said: we quested after something uncertain, and we ended up accomplishing three certain deconstructions. Note: deconstructions disentangle entanglements.

First, we deconstructed my puer aeternus complex, to reveal its Promethean, (or innately rebellious,) thrust. I’ll summarize this in a future post, Friendship: the Anima Problem. (In this deconstruction the analytic content was a series of dour big dreams of mine.)

Second, we deconstructed the Psychoastrology within the confined terms given by my limitations. Paradoxically, disentangling astrology from the stars came to liberate it for the purpose of developing an experiential learning device. So, this quest produced a powerful experiential learning device, the Cube-O-Probe.

Third, we ‘deconstructively’ applied the Paychoastrology to the Experiential Learning Model of David A. Kolb. This quest remains unfinished, yet some of the findings were also incorporated into the Cube-O-Probe.

Ken and I also spent a good chunk of quality time for the sake of preparing Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears, a program presented at The C.G. Jung Center of the Analytical Psychology Center of Western New York in December 2014. Those preparations laid the groundwork for our designing an experiential learning devise, the Heaven and Hell Archetypal Evaluation, testing it, and, in turn, this led us to the co-counseling moment given by the first deconstructive quest.

Matrix template - Warren-Calhoun#1

Warren-Calhoun Matrix #1

Matrix #1 puts Ken and I together in archetypal terms. It’s paired with a Psychoastrological Matrix that probably is drawn up in one of Ken’s notebooks.

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Friendship: Meta All of the Above, and Combinatorial Experience

Stephen Calhoun, fine artist

The Old Alchemist, (S.Calhoun 2012)

John M. Reisman wrote an amusing, and sometimes edifying, book about friendship, Anatomy of Friendship (1979.) At the beginning he provides a survey of luminaries, all men, with something to say about friendship. Reisman’s luminaries are: Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Montaigne, Emerson, James, Freud, Adler, Sullivan, Erikson, Lecky. The men of this list wander around friendship like the blind men hope to grasp the real elephant.

For friendship is nothing else than an accord in all things, human and divine, conjoined with mutual goodwill and affection, and I am inclined to think that, with the exception of wisdom, no better thing has been given to man by the immortal gods. Some prefer riches, some good health, some power, some public honours, and many even prefer sensual pleasures. This last is the highest aim of brutes; the others are fleeting and unstable things and dependent less upon human foresight than upon the fickleness of fortune. Again, there are those who place the “chief good” in virtue and that is really a noble view; but this very virtue is the parent and preserver of friendship and without virtue friendship cannot exist at all.
Laelius de_Amicitia – Cicero

(Even if I sustain Reisman’s masculinist prejudice, I could reel off a bunch of additional luminaries, guys such as Rumi & Shams, Shakespeare, Kant, Levinas, Jung, Carl Rogers, and contemporary thinkers such as Tversky and Kahneman and Christopher Bollas.)

To build the field of fields about friendship would tackle the odd structural contradictories: the masculine scholarship presents findings begun in ancient times, yet, because friendship is so able to be idealized and because it is almost the prototype for one-sided relationship–say, with respect to its good object relations–this same literature is–in the scheme of such bodies of work–modest, while friendship itself in important ways is a boring subject matter.

The latter point merely suggests middling aspects, friends are often taken for granted, and, friendships are often low risk relationships. As a subject friendship has been covered in philosophy as a subject of moral and ethical philosophy; in evolutionary biology as a subject attached to altruism; and within psychology, for example, there are instructive forays into a relational dyad’s journey from ‘Other’ to Forgiven.

Then there are the implications given by reflexive folk psychology. Indeed, how do we step back from a relationship for the sake of evaluating what really happens in the friendly meeting, engagement, and interpsychic penetration of minds?

Folk Psychology intrigues me because the mediation of minds provided by friendship is, theoretically speaking, worked out by the praxis implicated at some higher order in a theory theory, or simulation, or phenomenological reckoning; or, to bring this closer to my own sense, such a praxis embodies enaction that encompasses whatever works and plays in the relational moment of mediation.

Confucius said, “There are three friendships which are advantageous, and three which are injurious. Friendship with the uplight; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the man of much observation:-these are advantageous. Friendship with the man of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued:-these are injurious.” Analects 16

As I have come to view it, the most local intersubjectivity is that through which two persons share: the perception, the fact, the conceptual apprehension, the dream, the hope, and, the fear, the anger, the sorrowful. From these mutualized offerings, also, the two (now) subjects, may step back.

Additionally, as Ken and I came to together understand, this stepping back returns the single, or individual subject, into his or her home frameworks (Stephen,) or collection of lens (Ken.) For our local intersubjectivity, its meta-content was both object and action. We didn’t usually spend much time at all explaining our frameworks/lens.

Stephen Calhoun, fine artist, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

The Unity of Entanglement (S.Calhoun, 2015)

Our mutual receptivity was subtle.

Years ago, while networking at a meeting, I got into some matter at hand, and the first response from the person I was talking with, was:

What you have just told me is so abstract!

I replied.

What is abstract to you, is completely concrete to me.

This never came up in Ken and my dialogues. We never talked about why it was how easily we could access being in phase with each other. Although, I suspect in our conversations through which we came to put a lot of pressure on the overly-structural personality typology of C.G. Jung/John Beebe/J.L. Giannini, we touched upon possible reasons for subtle typological alignment, and, the varieties of (what I term) phase alignment that exemplified our not needing to explain background concepts and frames to each other.

We joined my social cybernetic classes with our deconstruction of Analytical typology, and with his astropsychology.

For example, we might analyze the entanglement (my term) or embeddedness (Ken’s term,) of the Nf (intuitive feeling,) and implicit thinking sensation of the “conceptually apprehending” or sorrowful mental function (my term,) and, likewise, “conceptually apprehending” or sorrowful consciousness, (his term.) The distinctions given by different mutual terms would be, in effect, translated once or twice

We seemed often over the last three years to be most of time in a sweet Emersonian spot.

Yet, there would be no reason to review the “masculinist” perspectives on friendship with a view toward differentiating and nailing down the particulars of our quest-filled friendship. Ken and my friendship was: all of the above. We would put our selves together, select our instrument, and then play.

What was most thrilling was the topline: Ken and I partnered so as to make exploratory investigations, and the principal alchemical property of our quests is easy to characterize:

Our intuitions–my ENF and his INF–came together in deeply compelling brushwork that was all about setting to the canvas of instantaneous learning our combinatorial intuiting, where we would discover insights both as discerning paired subjects, and, at the very same time, as a unified investigator.

Forward processing, on the other hand was very different for Ken and me. He journaled and took detailed notes and enthusiastically worked our findings over. Whereas I captured short notes and cues, and went onto to other external possibilities.

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Friendship: the Heart of a Matter

The Human Race (2011-Stephen Calhoun)

The Human Race (2011-Stephen Calhoun)

(My aim is to write a bit about my friendship with Ken Warren, and these thoughts are additionally targeted to capture some resonant musings about the nature of friends, friendship, and, other related topics.)

My close friend from Vermont, Bob Buckeye, told me during a phone call in 1992, ‘Since you’re stuck in Cleveland for the moment you should look up Ken Warren, the director of the Lakewood Public Library.’

(Bob Buckeye was from Lakewood and, in fact, had been a football star at Lakewood High School in the late fifties. I met him after moving to Middlebury in 1976. He was the Abernathy Special Collections librarian at Middlebury College. Yet his connection with Ken was mostly established by both men being in the community of scholars and poets and publishers gathered around: the projective verse of poet Charles Olson, the Black Mountain ideal, Gloucester poetics, and the post-romantic sweep of New England literary experiments, pragmatics, and a distinctive American mythopoetics.)

A Heart of the Matter

I first walked into the Lakewood Public Library sometime in 1993. My twin brother, Timothy, a poet, had ended his own life in early March. At the time, I was helping manage a coffee house, and I warded off my depression by spending almost all my free time in the many libraries in northeastern Ohio.

As a library rat, I would evaluate a library’s usefulness as a matter of closely checking out its collection of music, philosophy, psychology, religion, science, history, biography, and, then go further by also checking out whether anthropology and sociology had been given a coherent location. One acid test I used was to learn if the local cataloging was enslaved by the Library of Congress’s sometimes mistaken descriptions captured in their controlling master record.

Lakewood Public Library was the most intoxicating library I ever walked into. Its collection was full of unusual volumes. I spoke to Bob Buckeye about this and he simply told me, “It is Ken’s collection.”

I did not meet Ken until the fall of 2004. I do not know why I didn’t look him up. Actually, it would have been commonsense at anytime between 2000-2004 to send him a letter and a resume. I did not do so. Bob Buckeye called me up and asked me if I would like to come over to Lakewood and have drinks with Ken and him.

We had drinks at an Irish pub a block away from the library. As we walked toward it, Bob told me ‘Ken really knows his Jung.’

I leaned toward Ken, and told him, “Know me as Jamesian.”

I have during the course of my life twice spontaneously engaged a stranger in what Star Trek describes as a mind meld. This was one of those times. Ken and I basically shut Bob out as we discovered our shared affinity for the Analytical Psychology, and, the phenomenological turn in anthropology. Plus, there was at Ken’s hand a practical opportunity; and so he explained to us his vision for his library playing a much more intentional and active role in supporting what he called new transmissions for the sake of enriching civic experience.

At the time, Judith Buerkel, my original partner in squareONE: experiential toolmakers, was in the last phase of her terminal illness. We had closed down our working partnership in 1999. Nevertheless, I had maintained the squareONE web site. After our initial meeting, and over the next few weeks, Ken began to send me emails about what he was reading on my web site. He may the only person who read my entire web site.

Judith Buerkel, great friend, squareONE partner

Judith Buerkel (1941-2007), great friend, squareONE partner, diverger “who through stuff from the future back to me the converger in the present”

Our relationship took off over the matter of The Lakewood Observer project, although over the next year or so, I only recall meeting with him one-on-one a handful of times. Yet, we met one on one in an amazingly prolix manner by way of email. Not only were there the copious project emails shared among the small group of advisors, but there were tens of emails sent back and forth between the two of us, for the purpose of sustaining our unique circuit, (his terms.)

(Coincidentally, my scholarly interest in serendipity was inspired by my designing a “Boasian” style survey and training ‘street anthropologists’ to survey the community as it presented itself in its natural flow. The singular question the survey was designed to address was: What brought you to Lakewood? )

In late 2005, Ken hired me to work in the technology department at LPL. He told me to work with my supervisor to use my chops to carry forward (something like) an active anthropological thrust and use it to implicate experience, community, and civic knowledge. (Italics are Ken’s terms.) To this I would fold in action learning. As well, I was given close to free reign to program and present experiential learning in the library and do so under its auspices. He and I both knew we were onto a new vision of experience and the library.

By July, eight months into the best job I ever had, my little engine that could jumped the tracks. I resigned in August. The precipitating drama and aftermath led to a falling out between us. Later, Ken retired from LPL at the end of 2008.

On December 2, 2009, after we had had no contact for a little over three years, I received the following email:

Dr. Puck:

I read your Palin post.

I would suggest the paranoia you notice in Palin and around her is a
pathology of the feeling function, wildly amplified through both her
own extraversion and the media. The coincidentia oppositorum hinges on
her hustle bump feel with the brainy Obama.

Love,

Ken

Love is the only word that mattered in this reconnecting email, busted into my in-box from out of nowhere. This email restarted our friendship. It turned out his wanting me to know about an impression of his–evoked by my blog post–was a simple key, and it was a key able to turn the lock and open back the door.

I responded in kind. We dove back into each other. In this final phase of our friendship, it soon became exponentially expanded by our mutual willingness to sustain and deepen it based in the most essential simple glorious fact of our communion, that the high communion worth being drawn through, and becoming devoted to, is the one founded in love.

Ken and I never explicitly noted this core basis for our befriending togetherness beyond simple shared affirmations and confirmations. Yet, it was the prime script. The closest we ever came to acknowledging it by way of discussing it took place early on in the first year after we had met one another, when we discussed the flux of narcissistic aspiration, woundedness, healing grace, love, and, love as action, while we worked over a book we both had read, Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization by A. H. Almaas.

In early 2010, we forgave each other without reanalyzing and endorsing any narrative about the messy events of the summer of 2006. We knew without speaking of it about the reparative function of our communion.

All the sundry details of our Emersonian dialogs are absolutely secondary to the fact of our befriending communion. We both happen to base our relations in love. What followed was merely the dance set in motion as the response to our reed song.

A thin, bright
reed song.

If it fades,
we fade.

Coleman Barks, version of Rumi

We both were anchored to this essential beingdoing. And, as it was with Ken, and as it remains with me, this is the foundational rock of our relationships. and of our relating. In Ken’s case, this informed tens of relationships.

This love basis is mediated by its contexts, duties, unknowns, and its aspects which are shadowed, if not completely hidden..

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My Main Soul Bro, Kenneth Warren 1953-2015

lower left, Kenneth Warren, my friend and colleague, at Wadsworth Public Library

lower left, Kenneth Warren, my friend and colleague, at Wadsworth Public Library

He can celebrate his very real strengths–for instance, strong religious feeling, or a great capacity for friendship, whch often, according to Jung, “creates astonishing tenderness between men and may even rescue friendship between the sexes from the limbo of the impossible.” Marion Woodman, The Pregnant Virgin (pg.157)

My closest male friend, and the closest friend I ever had, Ken Warren, passed away suddenly yesterday in NYC, at his parent’s house. Ken and I intentionally brought into detailed resolution over eleven years many highly developed senses of male friendship.

I spoke to him for three hours on Tuesday, and last saw him May 6th where we, as it turned out, for the last time, dove into our collaborative exploration for five hours, first at a tiny Mid-East restaurant, and then sitting on a bench at the public park off of Madison in Lakewood.

Ken and I in 2009 investigating. (Lakewood Observer photo)

Ken and Stephen in 2009 investigating. (Lakewood Observer photo)

Obviously, there is a lot I might say. Yet, today, I’m just wrestled to the ground. For now, it is simple: he and I succeeded at our deep embrace, and we loved putting the time in with each other over eleven years.

And, we proved you have to put the time in to honor the soul that must be freed. We both brought a lot of chops and vulnerability and honesty to the matter of our mutual inquiry and co-creative artistry, so to be together with Ken was to know each other, and to be known.

Love came and said
that I should only be with it,
that I should avoid being sensible, steady, intellectual.

So love and I kept visiting,
back and forth, until now,
I did not go home.

I live here now, inside
this new annihilation.

version of Rumi by Coleman Barks, from Soul Fury, Rumi and Shams Tabriz and Friendship

The last Cube-O-Probe shared with Ken on May 19.

The last Cube-O-Probe shared with Ken on May 19.

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