Category Archives: speculations

Liberating the Stars From Space & Time

©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. Oj?da

[The] principle the map is not the territory and name is not the thing named made famous by Alfred Korzybski, strikes at many levels. It reminds us in a general way that when we think of coconuts or pigs, there are no coconuts or pigs in the brain. But in a more abstract way, Korzybski’s statement asserts that in all thought or perception or communication about perception, there is a transformation, a coding, between the report and the thing reported, the Ding an sich. Above all, the relation between the report and that mysterious thing reported tends to have the nature of a classification, an assignment of the thing to a class. Naming is always classifying, and mapping is essentially the same as naming.

Korzybski was, on the whole, speaking as a philosopher, attempting to persuade people to discipline their manner of thinking. But he could not win. When we come to apply his dictum to the natural history of human mental process, the matter is not quite so simple. The distinction between the name and the thing named or the map and the territory is perhaps really made only by the dominant hemisphere of the brain. The symbolic and affective hemisphere, normally on the right-hand side, is probably unable to distinguish name from thing named. It is certainly not concerned with this sort of distinction. It therefore happens that certain nonrational types of behavior are necessarily present in human life. We do, in fact, have two hemispheres; and we cannot operate somewhat differently from the other, and we cannot get away from the tangles that that difference proposes. (Every Schoolboy Knows – Gregory Bateson, from Mind and Nature)

Part Two of Two

Part One: Imaginal Cybernetics, the Demonic Daemon, Deep Play

1. “I can’t explain it, really.”

In my life I’ve observed, even been thoroughly entangled, in very hard-to-explain, and, dare I say, magical, stuff. In the catalog of life experiences, there would need to be a chapter devoted to spectacular instances of truly strange occurrences.

However, apparently by my innate disposition, the grandest insight I’ve gained into any of the specific events was not an insight at all. It was a ‘grand meta,’ and so only it remains one of the several anchors to what I call my flatland.

Grand Meta One: Everything that is experienced earns at least one account.

Actually, every experience earns a first person account plus any number–stretching to an endless amount–of secondary accounts. Accounts are stretched between those of an uninhibited type or, at the other extreme, of the severely limited–qualified–kind. Accounts utilize any useful means. Such means are not required to meet any standard of commensurability. It is critical to recognize that the subject may not be able to access an account.

This brings us to Grand Meta Two: Any single account is always related to multiple possible ramifications.

However, I have in mind a synthetic definition of ramification. Ramification is a consequence that grows out of an account.

Out of our certainties, ramifications grow.

2.

astrological chart

It was in sometime in the mid 1980’s, maybe around 1985, that my first wife, thought it would be interesting to have a good friend of hers, an anthroposophical astrologer trained in the introspective tradition of Rudolph Steiner, do my birth chart. I was in my early thirties, a hippy, not really committed to anything much besides the stuff of our carefree life.

I read the fourteen pages of the astrologer’s decidedly psychological reading. It all rang true. I was unconcerned about any account for the reasons the accurate reading followed from a technique, the astro-geometric system of astrology. I asked Benson, the astrologer, why the reading seemed so well matched, he made a point to emphasize that this is the result of his contemplation on the chart more than it was the result of the content of the chart.

This chart and interpretation has always struck me as cogent and valuable. I’ve returned to it many times over thirty years. It is a canny statement of seeming astro-psychoanalysis. There’s a secondary account possible, itself a ramification grown from the stuff of my chart’s inception, that supposes the reading is a very keen parlor trick, along the lines of stringing common diagnostic abductions together after one learns something about the subject’s narrative.

That secondary account does not prevent the reading today from evoking my personal response. I tell you, it’s a good reading. It’s apt. Is it more apt than an arbitrary interpretation might be? Who knows? I can’t explain it.

3. Architectural Jello

Universes-two-kinds

4.

People have over millennia experienced that there is, to give it one over-arching heading, a world-behind-the-world. Obviously, then, there are countless primary accounts of: there being a world hidden beyond the world we can easily grasp. There are the differential meta accounts for how the grasp that is effective in one world is incapable in this other world-behind-the-world.

For the sake of keeping this very down-and-dirty meditation brisk, call the naturally material world the front world and this other world the back world. Clearly, one class of consequences that grows out of primary accounts of the back world, questions the existence of the back world. (In noting this, nevertheless, I understand that there are positive primary accounts. These, in referring to any object of experience, earns an account.) Still, we know nowadays the accountings for the back world are numerous and multivarious. Most such accounts are not compatible with each other.

For example, there are the secondary accounts ramified as a consequence of the experience of the back worlds given by the primary accounts of the Abrahamic religions. These secondary accounts constitute the various theisms made explicit in both the formal philosophizing and the folk philosophizing, and in the historical social-constructive norming, norming discoverable as consequential ramifications of social experience and its accountings. Narrow paths and deviations arise out of the prolix socialized accounts.

There are private accounts too.

When the Pope speaks of Angels, an account is earned. Possible ramifications tumble outward too. The Pope of course means real angelic beings existing where angels exist.

  • Angels are creatures made by God. They are pure spirits and personal beings. (Each angel is a person.) They are both powerful and intelligent. Note: Some people are inclined to think that the word “person” applies only to human beings. On the contrary, “person” applies to each of the three divine Persons of the Holy Trinity, to angels and to humans. (Catholic Teaching On Angels)

chain_of_being

No single theology or cosmology characterizes the New Age. Rather, the New Age is united in rejecting the dominant theology of western monotheism, most explicitly Christianity and Judaism, though implicitly Islam as well, through an emphasis on the individual rather than religious authority embodied in institutions. This attitude, a key trait of American metaphysical religion, stands in contrast to the cardinal tenets of the traditional Christian and Jewish theology: a single transcendent, omniscient, omnipotent deity as described in the Bible, alongside a view of the cosmos as created and sustained by such a deity.

The most common theologies within the New Age envision God as within each individual. Though New Agers tend to avoid categorizing themselves along traditional theological categories, scholars label such New Age beliefs monism, pantheism, and panentheism. Monism declares that the summation of the entire universe is the divine, and that each individual within the cosmos represents a small sliver of god. Pantheism upholds a similar position, that god is within all things. Panentheism postulates that all things are in god, but that god transcends the sum of all these things. All three philosophies lead their New Age adherents to envision the self as the seat of the divine. New Agers tend to envision god as impersonal and diffuse, part of all living things. Such a theology enables New Age practitioners to see the divine in humans, nature, the earth, and inanimate objects, though some New Agers limit god to living beings. Such a holistic approach to the divine helps explain the environmental ethos that also characterizes so much of the New Age movement.

This cosmology also explains why New Agers seek self-development and self-evolution. New Age practitioners generally agree that all individuals must focus on an ultimate goal of developing the god-aspect within themselves. The various practices of the movement, what some scholars have called spiritual technologies, aim to develop the self and bring it into awareness of its nature as divine. Such spiritual technologies-for example yoga, channeling, aura-reading, and crystal work-aim to assist the practitioner in self-development. *

A less popular theology within the New Age movement envisions a universe filled with multiple divinities. Scholars call such a position polytheism, though few New Agers would themselves use this characterization. Polytheism appears most frequently amongst New Age practitioners who also identify with Paganism, since the latter religious tradition assumes polytheism as a foundation. Some New Agers envision the world as filled with two deities, the cosmic ideals of male and female, whereas others believe in entire pantheons of divinities. However, like their coreligionists who accept pantheism or monism, New Agers who adopt a polytheistic theology reject the dominant western religious paradigm. Ultimate Reality and Divine Beings – Benjamin E. Zeller – Patheos

* [plus: astrology]

The New Age Cults

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Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George

used without permission

“We are unhealthy, middle-aged, dirty-minded, depressed, cynical, empty, tired-brained, seedy, rotten, dreaming, badly behaved, ill-mannered, arrogant, intellectual, self-pitying, honest, successful, hard-working, thoughtful, artistic, religious, fascistic, blood-thirsty, teasing, destructive, ambitious, colorful, damned, stubborn, perverted and good. We are artists.” — Gilbert & George, 1981 (Milestone Films)

British sculptors. Gilbert Proesch (b Dolomites, Italy, 17 Sept 1943) and George Passmore (b Plymouth, Devon, 8 Jan 1942) met in 1967 as students at St Martin’s School of Art in London. By 1969 they were reacting against approaches to sculpture then dominant at St Martin’s, which they regarded as elitist and poor at communicating outside an art context. Their strategy was to make themselves into sculpture, so sacrificing their separate identities to art and turning the notion of creativity on its head. To that end Gilbert and George became interchangeable cyphers and their surnames were dispensed with.
Although working in a variety of media, Gilbert and George referred to all their work as sculpture. (Oxford University Press)

Gilbert & George On Religion, Art, and Politics | WSJ

Gilbert & George – Gordon’s Makes Us Drunk (plus other videos)

The Secret Files of Gilbert & George / Hans Ulrich Obrist from issole on Vimeo.

Gilbert & George in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist from Serpentine Galleries on Vimeo.

Comment: Art forms are healthiest when a Charles Mingus, Isadora Duncan, or Gilbert and George come along.

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Justified Final


Justified ends, and it joins my dramatic one hour tv-in-heaven list.

1. Homicide: Life In the Streets
2. The West Wing
3. Battlestar Gallactica
4. The Sopranos
5. Justified
6. NYPD: Blue
7. Friday Night Lights
8. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
9. Firefly
10.MI-6
11. The Sarah Connor Chronicles

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Teaching Cartoon: Go With What You Know

EE2licenseplates21

Resourceful display from Zagara's Grocery

Resourceful display from Zagara’s Grocery

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Revisualizing the Experiential Learning Cycle of David A. Kolb (I.)

Nested Learning Cycle of Stephen Calhoun (after David A. Kolb)

This remix mashes typological ideas with a meta-schema based in nesting. (See note [A].)

I’ve been pondering the hidden polar dynamics of the learning cycle of my friend, colleague and softball teammate David Kolb. By definition those implicit yet ‘out of sight’ dynamics are anchored by various factors which instantiate or otherwise ramify dialectical, or dichotomous, or sensible polarities, or novel pairings.

These wanderings then approach the schema, of which there is a normative schema that shows the basic layout of pairings, and, as well, by way of exclusion, hides all the others. For example. there would be, in what would be a meta-schema, the crucial polarity of learner |- – – -|environment. This specific relation is dialectical in the broad context given by a, or any, constructivist model.

There’s no reason those hidden relations cannot be pinned to the normative schema. Heck, the views on offer here are of non-normative schemas, and so supplemental pairings may be pinned to these too!

Stephen Calhoun Transformative Learning Cycle

This remix suggests the learning cycle may be negotiated in micro phases. (See note [B])

This is why I have been thinking about this stuff:

Generating Paradox. Overt and Covert Polarities in Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle
Given the theoretical-conceptual architecture of Kolb’s Learning Cycle, fascinating yet obscured conceptual relations subsist within the dynamic move from the organismic systematic theory to its application as a theory-in-use/applied model.
This interactive, experiential presentation teases out some of those relations by leveraging both the explicit dialectical relations in the normative model, and co-existing, emergent, yet hidden polar relations discoverable elsewhere nearbye.
In this peeling away of layers of the conceptual ‘onion,’ two gains are anticipated: one, the active learner will experience reasons for de-reifying applied aspects of learning style, and, two, the learner may be inspired to expand his or her own experiential learning model’s practical reach.
This presentation is designed to be experiential and interactive. Participants may maximize the experience by having at hand five pieces of blank paper, scissors, and a fine marker or bold pen.
Stephen Calhoun is an independent researcher, experiential toolmaker, learning partner of Experience-based Learning Systems, and perpetual student.

Quarterly Virtual Presentation – The Experiential Learning Community of Practice
March 12, 2015 – 4:00pm EST


[Note A] In my model, taken from the Kolb model, Intentionality is necessarily the initial and initializing point of entry into learning. This intention holds Concrete Experience. Its import is imparted by the learner’s appropriation of a motive to learn for his or her own reasons, in his or her own context. This Intention is derived from the learner’s FEEL for what is right for him or her.

My model is in a critical relation with Dr. Kolb’s view. For me, Concrete Experience, is: present sensemaking contextualized by the learner’s motivating, evaluative Feeling.

[Note B] Negotiation in a micro phase means that a learner navigates the entire learning cycle in a background micro operation at different macro phases of the normative learning cycle. One benefit of this suggestion is that it supports a phenomenological entry for intuition into the macro cycle and does so in a particular sense by implying that the entire cycle might be navigated instantaneously, or, alternately, that the cycle might constitute something like a non-linear cascade (a) at this micro phase level.

(a) Patricia Smith Churchland and Paul M. Churchland, “Neural Worlds and Real Worlds,” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 3
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Having It All – Meshwork’s Ultimate Cha-Ching

Ken Wilber's cash register

Received a marketing piece from Ken Wilber:

Supermind is the epitome of freedom and responsibility. You, and in the deepest sense you alone, become responsible for the entire planet and all of its beings. Immanuel Kant beautifully defined a “cosmopolitan” as one who feels that, “when anyone anywhere suffers, I suffer” — a profound world-centric awareness. And the ultimate cosmopolitanism is when one feels that, when anyone or anything anywhere suffers, I suffer, because I am them.

Supermind is that type of all-inclusive, all-pervading, all-embracing responsibility. And it starts with being able to hold the entire Kosmos in your awareness without shutting out so much as a single item. Absolutely everything entering your field of awareness, with no exceptions whatsoever, is fully and totally embraced, saturated with love, radiating from the infinity of your own heart-space, streaming from the radical fullness of your very own being, and reaching out to each and every thing and event, in each and every direction in the known ends of the Kosmos itself. There is simply nothing anywhere, at any time, on the outside of this awareness. It is “one without a second.” And having no outside, it has no inside either, but simply is.

To contract at all in the face of this undivided wholeness awareness, this total painting of all that is existing in this timeless all-inclusive present, is to set in motion the self-contraction, the separate self-sense that latches onto the relative, finite, conventional small self — a necessary functional entity for this manifest world created by the True Self itself, along with the rest of creation — but latches onto that small self, or “I”, as if it were itself the True Self, or “I-I”, thus setting in motion the entire train of events known as ignorance, illusion, Maya, deception, the fallen world, the world of the lie. This is transmitted in each and every lower structure present, and the radically enlightened nature of Supermind becomes lost and obscured in wave after wave of avoidance.

And that avoidance rests on this, what we might call “primordial avoidance” — the very first subtle looking away. If we go back to the single, indivisible, total painting notion, there is some element, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that for whatever reason I don’t want to look at, to be aware of, to notice, to allow into my awareness — that single, primary turning away, looking away, moving away. That primordial avoidance sets in motion the events that are, at this level, the dominant cause of the world of Maya, illusion, ignorance, deception. And every level, top to bottom, is infected with this delusion.

—Ken Wilber, Supermind and the Primordial Avoidance

FULL TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE FOR PREMIUM MEMBERS.

I–for the life of me–cannot determine whether Ken Wilber’s desire to steward into existence the final-by-definition religion represents the apotheosis of the New Age or of Neo-Liberalism. His terrible writing style doesn’t help me figure it out.

(Alternately, I am unwilling to ante up and get my hands ‘integral dirty'; although I did so, for years.)

Consider this description of the highest level of Spiral Dynamics development:

Turquoise: A “grand unification” is possible in theory and in actuality. Sometimes involves the emergence of a new spirituality as a meshwork of all existence. Turquoise thinking uses the entire Spiral; see multiple levels of interaction; detects harmonics; the mystical forces, and the pervasive flow-states that permeate any organization. 0.1% of the population, 1% of the power. -Mark Michael Lewis

Do we know anyone who has gotten to the following optimal kosmic perch?

“And it starts with being able to hold the entire Kosmos in your awareness without shutting out so much as a single item. Absolutely everything entering your field of awareness, with no exceptions whatsoever, is fully and totally embraced, saturated with love, radiating from the infinity of your own heart-space, streaming from the radical fullness of your very own being”

This also strikes me as being a ripe example of the PRE/TRANS fallacy. Plus: there’s a total erasure of irony!

from Craig Thompson's Space Dumplins (used without permission)

from Craig Thompson’s Space Dumplins (used without permission)

Is Ken Wilber thinking about his assets and retirement? Certainly, if you wish to develop to become a part of this different kind of elite one percent, it will cost you.

Order-right-now

(I added the pitch for the free app because I couldn’t help but think of a TV infomercial.)

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Realism Unwired

Ralph Stacey Complexity and Creativity in Organizations – Amazon

bonus: Bill McKelvey, Transcendental Foresight: Using Complexity Science to Foster Distributed Seeing (pdf)

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Basics

Four Elements

Four personal findings coordinate my global sensemaking. Each is not taken to be a fact, rather each is taken as a fact. Each is the result of prior revisions.

Number One: As one steps conceptually steps back through human history each human abstraction and every human idealism falls away.

(Take that “information scientist” Dr. Gitt!)

God's Baking

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Cat Vision

What cats see

This is my favorite cartoon from B.Kliban’s iconic book from 1975, Cats.

Why Cats Paint

From Why Cats Paint.

Why cats Paint

Preface-Why CatsPaint

Great book that is half tongue-in-cheek, and, half a showcase for spontaneous cat painting.

Kizzie

Kizzie, laying about the studio amid guitars

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In the Whole of the River

E Middlebury River

The gash of the East Middlebury River between E. Middlebury and Ripton, Vermont

E. Middlebury River

Roughly, my two favorite swimming holes on the East Middlebury River. There are several good swimming spots by pull-offs from the road, but the best spots are deep in the narrow canyon and involve hiking and scrambling down the river’s boulder fields. The most magical swimming holes are mildly dangerous to get to, and the swimmer has to be smart about risky spots in the river’s course.

At one point on the river, (I recall from twenty-five years ago,) for about 50 yards the canyon narrows to less than twenty feet wide and this causes about a fifty foot high gash, at the beginning of which is a small waterfall, then comes a deep pool, and, then comes a deceptively dynamic breakout into a huge undercut boulder. It’s very dangerous because the pool is beautiful but it channels a lot of volume into a very risky situation.

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You’ve Been Warned

problemofthefeminine

Kali

Kali was first manifested when the Goddess Parvati knitted her brows in fury when the demon, Daruka, threatened the Gods. It was then that the three-eyed Kali first sprang forth from Parvati, fully armed, and immediately putting an end to Daruka. It is for this reason that Kali is considered an aspect of Parvati.

Other stories tell of how Kali fought and killed two demons. It was then, celebrating Her victory, that She drained the blood from their bodies and, drunk from the slaughter, She began to dance. Kali became overjoyed with the feel of their dead flesh under Her feet, and She continued to keep dancing, more and more wildly, until She finally realized that Her husband, Shiva, was underneath Her, and that She was dancing him to death.

Realizing this, Kali’s wildness did slow down, but only for a short while; it is believed that She will eventually continue Her dance and that when she does, it will bring an end to the world. Yet, her followers still believe that once faced and understood, Kali has the ability to free Her worshippers from all their fears. Once this occurs, then Kali metamorphasizes into another aspect, that of a loving and comforting Mother.

There is yet another version of Kali’s manifestation. The Gods were not able to kill the demon, Raktabija. Each drop of his blood that touched the ground turned into another Raktabija. Thus, every time he was struck, millions of his duplicates appeared all over the battlefield.

At this point the Gods were totally desperate, and they then turned to Shiva for help. Shiva, though, was so deep in meditation that he could not be reached. The Gods then turned to Shiva’s consort Parvati for help. The Goddess Parvati immediately set out to do battle with the demon, and it was then that She took the form of Kali.

Kali then appeared, with Her red eyes, dark complexion, gaunt features, hair unbound, and Her teeth as sharp as fangs. She rode into the midst of the battle on a lion, and it was only then that the demon Raktabija first began to experience fear.

Kali then ordered the Gods to attack Raktabija, while She spread Her tongue over the battlefield, covering it completely, and preventing even one drop of the demon’s blood from falling. In doing this, Kali prevented Raktabija from reproducing himself again, and the Gods were then victorious. Dolls of India

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Rabbit Holes

Enactivist Grid - a form for a heuristic inquiry

Enactivist Grid – a form for a heuristic inquiry

I’ve been reviewing current so-called Integral literature over the last few weeks, but it was Ken who had much earlier got me going back toward that development dynamic when I toppled over ‘into it’ in the intellectual sense from our discussing Giegerich’s critique of classical Analytical Psychology.

I’m not an Integralist.  Understanding in a meta-systems sense that the best and the lesser are sometimes necessarily retained, and, transcend-and-include turns out to be an arbitrary imposition if it then, at times, results in the baby following promptly the bathwater, highlights the fundamental points of distinction between my messy/rigorous viewing site and the seemingly reductive AQAL territories.

I note as much when I peruse the neatly reductive diagrams that have been recently multiplying; and most strike me initially to be graphical, intellectual kitsch. But then I get out my scraper.

Vision-Logic

 

I’d be very interested in scratching beneath the surface of the presumably poetical ” ‘live eros,’ springing forth from chaos.”

What a human system apparently is (to a degree mediated by a, or several, or all domains,) is what he or she entails, and what he or she can possibly entertain, and, so, what I and you feel, and, that which I and you may create from the, my/your, our, current entailment, and, also, how future potentials are foresight worthy. In a nutshell, this is a (my own,) provisional perspective that, at least and as far as I do foresee, is able to encompass just about any ol’ additional perspective which could be tossed toward it, at it, into it, or, even land neatly and dynamically as a tangent, and with enough energy in such a circuit to cause further differentiation and a foundation for adaptation or sudden evolution.

Development is often non-linear.

Horizon is the root of horizontal.

We, you and I, are able to discuss the future. (Maybe this is among the most singular human features.)

The Map never gets close, and that it gets closer is an illusion provided by what I term the sunk perspective. In noting this, at the same time, all sorts of adventurous turns may tumble out of the dynamical interplay caused by being gripped and enthused by the current sunk perspective! Such perspectives then become relativized–and this is may be much different than being transcended and included.

Someday my squaring of radical empiricism and human (or social,) cybernetics will fall down the hole too.

If you should speak and try a hundred ways to express it,
‘Tis useless; the mystery becomes no clearer. …
A horse of wood is useless on dry land,
It is the special conveyance of voyagers by sea.
Silence is this horse of wood,
Silence is the guide and support of men at sea.
This Silence which causes you annoyance
Is uttering cries of love audible to the spiritual. (Rumi)

THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL FALLACY by Wolfgang Giegerich

One conception of the psyche that one can get from studying Jung’s work, above all the work of early Jung, is that the psyche has a clear- cut orderly structure that can be presented in the geometric forms of concentric circles (the ego as the center, surrounded first by the realm of consciousness, then of the personal unconscious and finally of the collective unconscious) or of a cone (with different layers, the deepest of which would be that of the collective unconscious whereas the tip would represent the ego) as well as in the imaginal form of personified figures (ego, persona, shadow, anima/animus, self). To this conception, Jung’s psychological typology with its compass-like representation of the four orientation functions fits very neatly. The crux of this conception is that it starts out from the human person. The human being is here the container or vessel of the soul and accordingly also the horizon of psychology A psychology based on this fantasy clearly operates with the division between man and world, subject and object, inner and outer, psychology and physics and feels competent for only half of this divided whole.

Psychology’s belonging to one side manifests for example in the concept of “extraversion” and in the “object-level” method of dream interpretation. Psychology is here what goes on inside the human person, which is why I speak of the anthropological fallacy. This fallacy is of course by no means a specialty of (the early) C. G. Jung. It is, and has been, the generally accepted, conventional idea about psychology ever since there has been a scientific discipline by this name, an idea that seemed so natural, so self-evident that it was not felt to be in need of any argumentative justification.

In depth psychology the anthropological fallacy had the practical consequence that the individual was urged to turn inwards and, in the case of Jungian analysis, to develop his or her self and to strive for his or her wholeness. Not only the “individuation process,” but Jung’s adamant emphasis on the individual as “the measure of all things” (CW 10, par.523) and “the makeweight that tips the scales” (par. 586) affirmed and highlighted this concentration on the person. It is true, Jung repeatedly insisted that “individuation” and his psychological stance in general does not exclude, but include, the world. But such a semantic statement does not undo the underlying structure or syntax of this thinking, namely that it irrevocably starts out from a human being who has the world (“external reality”) outside and vis-a?-vis himself. Even synchronicity as the meaningful coincidence of an inner and an outer event still has the anthropological conception of psychology as its background and precisely by trying to overcome the opposition of psychology and physics in the direction of the idea of unus mundus once more confirms the anthropological stance.

A serious consequence of this methodological standpoint is that the soul is logically relegated to second rank, as much as it may be prioritized, semantically and emotionally. The human being is here the substrate or actual substance and the psyche is merely one of the attributes of this substrate.

But the human being as the substrate personality is not itself the topic of psychology. It lies outside psychology’s field of vision. Psychology’s topic is the soul, is psychic life (which, however, often manifests in people). The moment psychic life is defined as being the life of the substrate personality, psychology has the task of exploring something (namely, psychic life), whose actual substantial reality (namely, the human being) is pre-supposed as lying outside (“pre-”) its own precincts of competence and responsibility…. The soul, not the person, is what I have to focus on.

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Rites of Spring

Roses 2013 Ohio

Rose burst-Spring 2013

Last spring, our first in our new house–built in 1915–provided a parade of flowers in our small and narrow back yard. I didn’t do anything but observe the upwelling pulchritude inherited from the previous owner. Yes, I knew we might get some roses blooming on the spindly, reedy unkempt five rose bushes. As it happened, it was a spectacular bloom.

Then came the major cuts this spring

roses cut back

Roses cut back, and mulched

Fortunately, although there are all sorts of bad things you can do to harm your roses, drastically cutting them back isn’t one of them.

closeup rose

Looking good!

staging pots

I learned a great deal last year. Our small lot faces north/south with a giant buckeye tree on the south end and a really large tulip and buckeye tree in the front. The neighbors have a stand of spruce, including a magnificent 100+ foot granddaddy. This results in partial-shade being the predominant condition. I love hanging pots, so Impatiens and fuschia are my go-to flowers.

But, I love petunias too, so these have to be staged in the only ‘full light’ patch of property I can deploy for their sake. My great experiment this years involves growing the super and wave petunias in the staging area, and then moving them to the front of the house into less-than-optimal conditions.

ilovespring

Sonny lovin’ spring’s sproing.

five spot

It’s a rare occurrence to get all the kids in the same frame, and the best bet to do so is when the window goes up for the first time after a long winter. (Sonny-Kippie-Sassy-Kizzy-Glori)

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The Strong Voice

Anne Baring The Dream of the Cosmos: online | Amazon

The Real Challenge of Our Times:
The Need for a New Worldview

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles; else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles and both are preserved. Matt. 9:17

To reclaim the sacred nature of the cosmos – and of planet Earth in particular – is one of the outstanding spiritual challenges of our time. Diarmuid O’Murchu, Quantum Theology

The threat of global warming, the urgent need to free ourselves from dependency on oil and the current financial crisis could be the triple catalyst that offers us the opportunity of bringing about a profound shift in our values, relinquishing an old story and defining a new one. Our lives and well-being depend upon the fertility and resources of the earth, yet in relation to the earth, it would seem that we have been autistic for centuries. Now, instead of treating our planetary home as the endless supplier of all our needs, without consideration for its needs, we could rethink beliefs and attitudes which have influenced our behaviour for millennia.
Because of those beliefs we have come to look upon nature as something separate from ourselves, something we could master, control and manipulate to obtain specific benefits for our species alone because ours, we were taught, has been given dominion over all others and over the earth itself. It has come as a bit of a shock to realise that our lives are intimately bound up with the fragile organism of planetary life and the inter-dependence of all species. If we destroy our habitat, whether inadvertently or deliberately by continuing on our present path, we may risk destroying ourselves. We have developed a formidable intellect, a formidable science, a formidable technology but all rest on the premise of our alienation from and mastery of nature, where nature was treated as object with ourselves as controlling subject.
Yet now, the foundation that seemed so secure is disintegrating: old structures and beliefs are breaking down. It is as if mortal danger is forcing us to take a great leap in our evolution that we might never have made were we not driven to it by the extremity of circumstance. Many people are defining a new kind of relationship with the earth, based not on dominance but on respect, responsibility and conscious service. Because our capacity for destruction, both military and ecological, is so much greater today than it was even fifty years ago, and will be still greater tomorrow, we have only decades in which to change our thinking and respond to the challenge of this evolutionary leap.
There is a second problematic legacy from the past: the image of God shared by the three Abrahamic religions. This has presented God as a transcendent creator, separate and distinct from the created order and from ourselves. Western civilisation, despite its phenomenal achievements, developed on the foundation of this fundamental split between spirit and nature—between creator and creation. Only now are we brought face to face with the disastrous effects of this split.
Once again, as in the early centuries of the Christian era, it seems as if new bottles are needed to hold the wine of a new revelation, a new understanding of reality which could heal this split. But how do we create the vessel which can assimilate the wine of a new vision of reality and a different image of God or Spirit? How do we relinquish the dogmatic beliefs and certainties which have, over the millennia of the patriarchal era, caused indescribable and quite unnecessary suffering and the sacrifice of so many millions of lives?
I cannot answer these questions. But I do know that as the new understanding, the new wine comes into being, we have to hold the balance and the tension between the old and the new without destroying the old or rejecting the new. It must have been like this two thousand years ago when the disciples of Jesus tried to assimilate what he was telling them, something so utterly different from the belief-system and the brutal values which governed the world of their time. Even today, the revolutionary teachings and the different values he taught have barely touched the consciousness that governs the world of our time, however much political and religious leaders proclaim allegiance to them. What would Jesus have thought of WMD, depleted uranium and cluster bombs, and the massacre of helpless civilians in war, let alone the destruction of vast swathes of the earth’s forests to supply crops for biofuels? What would he have thought of the fact that colossal sums of money are spent on the military when 17,000 children die every day from hunger and disease?.
The need for a more conscious relationship with both nature and spirit, bringing them closer together, is intrinsic to the creativity of the life-impulse itself—urging us to go beyond the boundaries of the known, to break through the concepts and beliefs, whether religious, scientific or political, which currently govern our culture and constrict the expansion of our understanding and our compassion.
What is the emerging vision of our time which could offer a template for a new civilization? the remainder of the essay

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Virgin Galactic Shot No. 3

Meanwhile…”NASA-funded R&D engineers are working on plans for future spaceships to enter orbit around Mars using a doughnut shaped, steerable balloon-chute to slow down by flying through the Red Planet’s atmosphere.”

DoughnutSpaceship

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American Oyster

education

 

2012 Presidential election. Thank you foxbusiness.com.

Of course: lies and damn statistics — ignorance may exist anywhere and obviously a college degree isn’t an arbiter. For example, we have persons educated as medical doctors serving in the US Congress who believe in young earth creationism. Sure, they represent red states, still. . .

Alan Keyes, graduate of Cornell and Harvard: When they came to lead, the children of the generation that fought World War II allowed the focus of American education to shift decisively away from a serious regard for the seminal documents that convey the logic of America’s liberty. This is the key to the elitist apostasy from America’s creed. On account of this apostasy, a more and more organized, self-consciously elitist faction has matured. It rejects the moral egalitarianism that undergirds America’s creed of liberty. Therefore, it works to overthrow the form of constitutional self-government that respects the sovereignty of the people. Informed by socialist totalitarian ideologies, this elitist clique is endowed by the materialist, authoritarian corporatism of the money powers now largely in control of America’s financial institutions, its so-called mainstream media and both the Democrat and Republican parties.

In political terms, these elitist faction forces come against the U.S. Constitution from left and right. Whatever the rhetoric of their verbal professions, in their actions they unanimously reject the premise that there is one benevolent and superintendent Deity whose spirit, will and judgment created human nature and ultimately rule over human affairs. This rejection of God’s authority is the daily proven fact that belies the specious opposition that is supposed to divide one of the elitist faction’s wings from the other. Whatever they say, the resultant of their supposedly adversarial interaction has for more than a lifetime consistently undermined this central pillar of American self-government, without which its other supports are like branches of a tree, forced to bear a weight they cannot stand. [excerpt] Defending the American Way, WorldNetDaily, June 2013

Slavery and sexism in the founder’s era kills your point concerning ‘moral egalitarianism that undergirds America’s creed of liberty,’ Dr. Keyes. Kill as I use it here is unqualified, so obviously and plain as day there was no moral egalitarianism back in the olden, golden, and beloved day.

The ignorance Keyes is apparently proud of did not come from his lack of education. But, from the perspective of my own being badly educated–in the normative-institutional sense–does his scree exemplify ignorance? What is ignorance and is it valid to assert that ignorance is supported by a particular individual nature–in the sense of finding what causes it?

The escape claus goes like this: what one knows is not such a big deal, what is a big deal is whether or not one ever got the message cum transmission.

If Remi Brague is correct in saying that it is the Judeo-Christian faith in a transcendent God, not only separate from the life of a particular tribe or political community but outside human history, that ultimately grounds the classical culture of emulation; and if Benedict XVI is correct in discerning that, at least in comparison with Europe, America remains a profoundly Christian nation with a strong tradition of independent, church-supported liberal education; what are we to make of the mainlines of the history of American higher education? That story as it has been told for two hundred years, whether in celebration or in lamentation, has been the story of unremitting secularization.

Even Henry Adams’s Education, his great memoir-style protest against the secularization of the American university in his life-time and thus the loss of the very character of university–despite being a protest–seemed only to further establish the main storyline ofthe field. “If Harvard or Yale had been less foolish in their origins and had held onto the Church, we should have probably kept a base on which to build some real scholarship; but when our ancestors cutoff the limb that made us a part ofthe tree, we naturally tumbled off. I do not suppose we ever produced a graduate who would have known how to sacrifice a bull to Jupiter.”‘(10) He argues that powerful as the literary and political tradition was in America, in the Boston of his youth, at Harvard, it was devoid of any religious underpinnings:

“Of all the conditions of his youth which afterwards puzzled the grown-up man, this disappearance of religion puzzled him most. The boy went to church twice every Sunday; he was taught to read his Bible, and he learned religious poetry by heart; he believed in a mild deism; he prayed; he went through all the forms; but neither to him nor to his brothers or sisters was religion real. Even the mild discipline of the Unitarian Church was so irksome that they all threw it off at the first possible moment, and never afterwards entered a church. The religious instinct had vanished, and could not be revived, although one made in later life many efforts to recover it. That the most powerful emotion of man, next to the sexual, should disappear, might be a personal defect of his own; but that the most intelligent society, led by the most intelligent clergy, in the most moral conditions he ever knew, should have solved all the problems of the universe so thoroughly as to have quite ceased making itself anxious about past or future, and should have persuaded itself that all the problems which had convulsed human thought from earliest recorded time, were not worth discussing, seemed to him the most curious social phenomenon he had to account for in a long life.”

His memoir of his later years, after his wife’s suicide, and the insanity and death of his close friend Clarence King who he had once thought represented the perfection of the frontier American, becomes an agonized, strained search for faith–he spends his final years touring the French countryside in his new motor car, trying to catch some whiff of faith from the power of the Virgin, which he acknowledges still retains its force at Lourdes. But his own failure and the triumph of secularization was never Henry Adams’ point–rather, as he argues repeatedly, “eccentricity is strength,” and American history, like human history, gives up its prophetic ghost to those who are willing to read it in silence, to those who will listen rather than forever reciting their own variety of pseudo-religious experiences. Adams is a believer. He believes that Americans who flew into the wilderness in 1620, in 1776, in 1845, in 1892–who knew that the only way to save their nation was to leave it behind–carrying their household gods on their backs, have not been defeated. Henry Adams realized that the restraints of a fixed religious, cultural, familial, or political tradition were only superficially a “handicap.” He repeatedly compared himself, “American of Americans, with Heaven knew how many Puritans and Patriots behind him and an education that had cost a civil war,” with a sort of pride and arrogant relish, to a “Polish Jew fresh from Warsaw or Cracow . . . a furtive Yacoob or Ysaac still reeking of the ghetto, snarling in weird Yiddish.” In tl1e “races of the twentieth-century,” the race to abandon all restraints of past or nature, to strip oneself of all prejudicial identity and submit oneself, the naked servant and worshipper of the dynamo, he asserted (strangely enough!) that the American cultural tradition would prove as resistant to the worship of the twentieth-century Alexanders, Pharaohs, and Caesars, as the Jewish cultural tradition had ever proven. It is a breath-taking claim-the claim that American eccentricity can survive 600-pages worth of experiential learning and never lose its old illusions about liberty, virtue, or wisdom!

What then are we to make of this narrative of the liberationist effects of the American frontier on the old-world traditions imported from Europe; what are we to make of the story of the tabula rasa, the erasure, the secularization, the oblivion of the past and its lessons, prejudices and constraints? Henry Adams’s assertion invites us to look again at the meaning of the history of American higher education:

“Harvard was founded to help the Puritans escape Anglican Oxford and Cambridge, and Yale appeared in 1701 when a group of New Haven ministers, influenced in part by distrust of the liberal heresies that were to dominate Harvard, established a competing college to preserve the old social and religious order in Connecticut. Again, the Congregationalists who founded Amherst were in part moved by the objections to the Unitarianism that shook Harvard in the early l9th century, and the Yankee Methodists who set up Boston University at the time of the Civil War felt that Harvard’s classical curriculum and aristocratic values were destroying the ethos of pious dissent. The same era also saw the Jesuits establish Boston College, to help the new Boston-Irish community maintain its religious and social integrity. (Riesman in Sanford, 89)

From this history can we say that it is secularization or the perennial escape to eccentric orthodoxy that is the core “American” dynamic of the history higher education in this country? Is the declension of Harvard from Puritan seminary to Unitarian classical college to secular multiversity the inner dynamic of American higher education, or has the original eccentric dynamic of Harvard’s Christian orthodoxy simply metastasized in hundreds of small Bible colleges and Christian liberal arts colleges across the country? Are not these small Christian liberal arts colleges the truly American-the most distinctively American-contribution to the idea of the university in the modern world?(11) Whatever one thinks of such quaint neo-medieval, neo-classical flora and fauna sprouting in the American frontier–whether one considers them the hope for the future of Westem Civilization or embarrassing windows into the reactionary mind of middle America, it can hardly be denied that they, and not the anonymous, mega-state-universities of the great cities, are the peculiarly American features of the modern educational landscape.

Alasdair Maclntyre, in the now famous final paragraph of his work After Virtue, prescribed another round of that excellent habit of running away:

“It is always dangerous to draw too precise parallels between one historical period and another; and among the most misleading of such parallels are those which have been drawn between our own age in Europe and North America and the epoch in which the Roman empire declined into the Dark Ages. Nonetheless certain parallels there are. A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman Imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that Imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead–often not realizing what fully what they were doing–was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time, however, the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another–doubtless quite different–St. Benedict.”

‘Tis sure to be an immortal paragraph. But (dare I say that) Alasdair Maclntyre, like Christopher Dawson, indeed like Edward Gibbon, imagines that this “construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral lite can be sustained” is a “turning aside from the task of shoring up the Roman Imperium.” Yet these Britishers never fully grasp that this English, Scottish, Irish, Jewish, Polish, Italian habit of running away with their traditions on their backs is actual pietas to the founders of the imperium. Eccentricity is a very American virtue.

Indeed George Washington himself knew the value of a strategic retreat that might keep one’s ragtag army intact–to fight another day . . _ or at any rate to hold out until one can find an ally with a navy.” (12) [excerpted from Chapter 5, Eccentric Education – The American Way, Susan E. Hanssen, The Idea of the American University (Bradley C.S. Watson, editor)]

[full chapter-pdf] See also Ms. Hanssen’s “‘English in spirit': G. K. Chesterton and the debate over church and state in the 1906 Education Act,” The Catholic Social Science Review (2007).

Whatever are the virtues of institutionalizing orthodox centralities in the periphery, I tend to view the eccentricity–that (unbeknownst to Keyes) could still smartly inform his own argument–to itself cast off further eccentricities so that, eventually, the operating quality is, as Ms. Hanssen puts it, institutional peculiarity-more than any other quality. 

To weigh the gross generalization, secularizing and neo-liberal and post-modern Blue does correlate with degree of education and everyman traditionalism does correlate with deficits of learning and Red. For both Blue and Red, there is a lot of sub-set or sub-cultural eccentricity, and, let’s call, ‘eccentrification.’

American religiosity is extremely variable with respect to the straightened ordinates of classic Christian commitment, and, it would seem the employees of the governed are nowadays so energetically variable that the straightest Constitutionalism is spun away off to some radical precinct.

There’s no reason to refuse the challenge of orbiting cloisters. The neo-liberal order wants able workers to be ejected from schools. This represents another turn on the secularizing gyre, following from Taylorite pieces and Fordist machinists, and, now (and newly minted,) inchoate collections of human post-capital detritus. Denouement!

This is where both Mr. Keyes’ ideological ‘eccentrics’ and Ms. Hanssen’s historically minded supposition roll back to the natural law tree and beg for me a question about personality and the nature of personality and cognition. Surely it matters how the societal and spiritual conditionals work to instantiate particular human ends. Intentionality is not subsumed in the mystic chord even if it comes to be modified. There haven’t been, nor are there any utopian Natural Law states or political entities that have escaped doing lots of harm.

Certain rearguard’s aspirations–and eccentricity is presumably also defined to be a rearguard–are cast outward in comprehensive, oft times in totalizing terms, with there being no room to quibble over either ‘their being no God, but God alone,’ or the actualities of a Thomist heaven and hell,  or the cosmos set in place necessary to the Pauline ‘only possible true church.’ This latter eccentricity is such that its closing circle (and argument) encompasses the entire universe. This is the same presumption naming eventuations happening “outside human history.”

Keyes is arch and forthright in framing his eliminativist perspective. As much as he could have padded its bluntness with a portion of Henry Adamsian ‘depressive,’ his position isn’t for him able to be cast off, and, it takes no prisoners, and, its educational precepts are staked to analytic compliance. What’s true for him is to be true for you.

St. Benedictine?

Of the Virtuous Zeal Which the Monks Ought to Have

As there is a harsh and evil zeal which separateth from God and leadeth to hell, so there is a virtuous zeal which separateth from vice and leadeth to God and life everlasting.

Let the monks, therefore, practice this zeal with most ardent love; namely, that in honor they forerun one another (cf Rom 12:10). Let them bear their infirmities, whether of body or mind, with the utmost patience; let them vie with one another in obedience. Let no one follow what he thinketh useful to himself, but rather to another. Let them practice fraternal charity with a chaste love.

Let them fear God and love their Abbot with sincere and humble affection; let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and my He lead us all together to life everlasting.

In America, that the above is voluntary with no other respect otherwise given, might be the simple phenomenal element forceful enough to cast the sturdy outward and into eccentricity. What isn’t voluntary is attainment within the eccentric order. I doubt theocratic designs will bring forth any pearls.

 

 

 

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Mandorla: Trailer

Mandorla – working trailer – CA from Roberto Miller on Vimeo.

Mandorla Movement

>>via Robert Rich Facebook; Robert is doing the music.

comment:

Life is a system of ‘now you see it,’ and ‘now you don’t.” Alan Watts

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Interesting Times

MArginal

“Buying and Selling is an Art, whereby people endeavour to cheat one another of the Land…….and true Religion is, To let every one enjoy it.”
Gerrard Winstanley A New-yeers Gift for the Parliament and Armie 1650

(I’d be a Bernie Sanders Democrat if Bernie was a member of the Democratic Party. So, I’m a Winstanley Democrat, because the triangulation of George Fox, Eugene Debs and Thomas Paine somehow incarnated by Winstanley in the late 17th century is about right.)

Charles S. Pierce: In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress — or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress — a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court, a law that does nothing more than extend the possibility of health insurance to the millions of Americans who do not presently have it, a law based on a proposal from a conservative think-tank and taken out on the test track in Massachusetts by a Republican governor who also happens to have been the party’s 2012 nominee for president of the United States. (Charles S. Pierce blogs at Esquire, in a devastating manner about politics–so I don’t have to do so myself, as much.)

plutoPledgeofAllegiance1

President Barack Obama:”They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.”

I find Conservatism in its Reaganesque revision to be abject and might as well throw into the compactor the Tea Party and Libertarianism* and everything to do with the whiny ethos of the “Makers;’ itself a position of bathos first scribbled out in post-Burkean form in the, alas, enduring circular banalities of Ayn Rand.

In the last week I wandered through comment threads expressly etched to pry apart the paradox of Ted Cruz’s high IQ and ivy league credentials and his having before the Supreme Court. (Clarence Thomas!!!)

(But I wasn’t doing so to contribute or be a voyeur. I did so because the problem posed by a public personage triggering a public inquiry about his or her ‘intelligence’ provides a great portal through which to witness the sweep of folk sociology and folk psychology as-practice in discussion about the nature of intelligence. This particular topic happens to interest me a great deal.)

Cruz apparently was indoctrinated into his father’s belief system as a teenager and has used his great mind for purposes other than shifting away a half iota or more from that 25+ year old teenage belief system. Speaking to David Gregory this weekend, Senator Cruz made a number of comments that indicate he has forgotten, or is unaware of very large, important chunks of the U.S. Constitution. Oh, well, I guess that part of his reputation is undeserved and is now in the toilet!

(Meanwhile, Cruz’s father reminds us all, Obama is a Muslim!)

Still, I can inhabit the devil’s advocate enough to understand that as far as ‘getting one’s way,’ politics is a hard ball game played by more than a few crusty white men and, so, right at the beginning of the day, many such men understand that, for example, ‘the Constitution isn’t a suicide pact,’ and ‘one’s deepest beliefs shouldn’t be sacrificed in the a pyre fueled by the anti-royalist dreams of the founding fathers.’ At the end of the day, for those men, taking an entire economy of the USA hostage for the sake of rolling back the healthcare of many African-Americans is just a day’s labor in the second Civil War.

Although it does take a mountain of chutzpah to then blame the hostage’s family for killing the hostage, after the kidnappers’ insane demands weren’t met. 

It is a historical fact that at times corporate collectivists and plutocrats both ensnare populist resentment, and, re-deploy it for purposes dreamed up in 1% fan club think tanks. But, if, like Paul Ryan, you deeply adhere to the entwined ideas that it is (#1) government that makes it impossible for the one percenters to (#2) exhale and fill the sails of the fleet of swamped middle class dinghies, then you, I’m afraid are stupid about economics, as is Paul Ryan. and, just as evidently, as are the entirety of Tea Party reactionaries, Ron/Rand Paultards, and the other hand children to the upper echelon of the corporate and financial classes–you know, the one’s who think “Tea Party” on their way to their offshore bank’s web site, and guffaw, ‘what suckers!.’

GOP is said now to be run by their nihilistic wing. Better: they’re being run by a mob of autistic teenagers.

absurd capitalism


Falsification of Libertarianism: I enjoy both liberty and freedom today in portions that exceed anything that would be possible were you to give the world over to any persons and to any ideology supposed to be libertarian. This is true despite any argument you could devise to try to prove my statement of fact to be not true.  (And, I mean: little ol’ me is free.)

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Scrappers Edge Freeplayers 6-5!

Babe Ruth

April 28. Day Two of season twenty-seven. 9:45am, Field #8, Forest Hills Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio? Drizzling.

Then a busload of 9-11 year old boys and their minders unload and inform us they have a permit for the hallowed field for this day.

We count our numbers and seems their are eight, and we will commence to practice the game of softball. We make our way over the the fenced in softball fields. Another team is practicing on the northwest diamond–no doubt for the opening week of league play–and Dave asks of them if they will engage us in a friendly game.

“No.”

Later, with a light rain falling, a second inquiry is made and this other team agrees to a game. As it turns out, our spontaneous opponent is a co-ed team in the co-ed league. (We’d be co-ed too; alas…) They inform us in the league they are in the men bat on their ‘off batting side.’ However, for the purpose of what amounts to a scrimmage-type game, they decide not to do so.

We play four innings, and the line score looks like this at the end:

Scrappers score

What fun was had! After the game, the two teams collided in gratitude and high fives and hand shakes. We mentioned anybody is welcome to join us on Sunday mornings. We told the Scrappers,

We’ve been playing pick up games for decades here on Sunday mornings.

April 21. Opening day and we have eleven, then Pete shows up and we’re twelve. It was a crisp day. The metal bats could transfer quite a pointed zing at times.


Freeplay Softball league

Sunday mornings 9:30; game time 10:00am
Open to participants 16-116 years of age; any gender; any background

We try to keep an accurate score.

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Gods of the Abstract Social

Hydra

Several years ago I heard an introductory presentation by a retired sociologist. He spent a half hour presenting basics so he could frame a further argument about politics in a small city. The problem of introducing sociology is impressive to me–there was no mention of problems in this introductory presentation. Sociology sets off to abstract social functionalities in various ways and the ‘meta’ in relation to each such way is abstracted too; conundrums of self-reference and subjectivity and multiple subjectivities,  are abstracted, so forth, on and on, etcetera.

The sociological project often ventures away from the sensible matter of considering and studying the practical sociological experience and learned informal social means of the (so-called) folk. What of a field of inquiry termed Folk Sociology? I will need to google it!

Excerpt via N+1.

Too Much Sociology N+1 Magazine – The Editors – This spread of sociological thinking has led to sociological living?—?ways of thinking and seeing that are constructed in order to carry out, yet somehow escape, the relentless demystification sociology requires. Seeing art as a product, mere stuff, rather than a work, has become a sign of a good liberal (as opposed to bad elitist) state of mind. This is why you must support upper-middlebrow Terrence Malick one day, and the next spuriously shock everyone with a loud defense of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Too often, being on the left tasks you with a vigilant daily quest to avoid being tagged with snobbery. In sociological living, we place value on those works or groups that seem most likely to force a reevaluation of an exclusive or oppressive order, or an order felt to be oppressive simply because exclusive. And yet despite this perpetual reevaluation of all values, the underlying social order seems unchanged; the sense of it all being a game not only persists, but hardens.

The initial demystifying shock of the sociology of culture in the academy partly accounts for its popularity. Thanks to the dead ends of certain kinds of European hermeneutics the realization that repeated analyses of Balzac novellas might not shake the foundations of the subject, let alone those of capitalism?—?it became more promising to ask why certain classes of people might be interested (and other classes not interested) in Balzac at all. No more appeals to the inexplicable nature of genius. Seen from the longue durée of social change, individual authors or works were less important than collectives or status groups, cities or systems. Like latter-day Northrop Fryes, armed with data, the critic-sociologists converted writers back into “literature” as a system, and from there into refractions of codes, institutions, and classes.

The effect on a sector of the professoriat, at least, has been liberating. It has led to a new wave of semi-sociological studies of institutions instead of works. Many of these, such as The Economy of Prestige or The World Republic of Letters, are, if we permit ourselves a value judgment, among the best works of criticism in our time. The overpowering influence of sociology outside its own disciplinary borders was recently verified in a list of “most-cited” intellectuals in the humanities.

“Most-cited intellectuals” is etched here without irony!

Personally, I’m curious about folk sociology*, and glad, Hans-Georg Moeller wrote Luhmann Explained From Souls to Systems. The opening leaf in Moeller’s book offers up Niklas Luhmann this way:

It has always been clear to me that a thoroughly constructed conceptual theory of society would be much more radical and much more discomforting in its effects than focused criticisms–criticisms of capitalism for instance–could ever imagine.

…a fine Batesonian insight methinks.

* (Speculation;) First order question of folk sociology: What do you know about your being an agent and actor? embeds a second order problem of reflexivity.

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