Tag Archives: a-ha!

Coming From Cleveland and Nobler Endeavors

Dreams With Sharp Teeth – documentary on Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison

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Contemplation on Scale


Scale of the Universe Partition a half hour out of your striving and dig this…by far the most humbling experience the inter tubes have provided me.

14 billion years

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Close Encounter

Sperm Whale Encounter from Howard Hall on Vimeo.

h/t Howard Hall

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New Red States


…following from Whatever Happened to Winter.

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Tiny Story

Tiny Story from Sebas & Clim on Vimeo.


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Sonny Joins the Girls

[flashvideo filename=http://squareone-learning.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/MVI_1400.flv /]

Sonny, named after Sonny Rollins, joins our feline brood, Sassy (after Sarah Vaughan,) Glori (after Gloria Steinem,) and the inimitable stray who showed up last June, Kizzy, aka Kismet, aka The Kizzinator.)





Did you hear about the one where you take your pair of year-plus-old cats for their vaccinations and one of the aids at the vet office pulls a five week old kitten out of the wastebasket?

Where did you get the cute kittens? (There were two.)

Oh, somebody left a box with three of ’em by one of the cars in our parking lot out front.

Hey, another really good exemplification of the resolution of precise actuality from the collapse of contingent facts–only needing my assent to our promotion of pinkish furball to our domestic legion.

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Salaam, mom

Jean S. Calhoun - Caileigh Raine Calhoun

Jean S. Calhoun, March 20-1927 – January 25, 2012 (with her granddaughter, Caileigh Raine Calhoun, daughter of my brother Crede and sister-in-law Carol)

With me holding her hand, streaming into the last seconds of a four month long, unwinding process, my mother passed away last Wednesday, at 1:00pm, and, did so in her home, as she had both wished and planned for.

There is a great deal I could say about my relationship with Jean, who I usually just called mom. I spent a great deal of quality time with her over the twenty years here in Cleveland, after I returned. We were both Fabian Social Democrats–although she would tell you she remained an “Adlai Stevenson Democrat,” whereas I would harken farther back to the 17th century and tell you I am a Digger. We managed to eat up great gobs of our time together in our lamentations on the state of current events; oh, and decrying also–whatever–year’s dashed Cleveland sports hope was then unfolding.

Even a neutral observer could pick out the extraordinary nature of our mother-son relations–for the simple reason that such an opportunity is likely to be realized when two fiercely intelligent, and curious, and sophisticated, sensibilities are set upon each other as friends in adulthood. (Then, you put in the time.) I had occasion many times to remind her I was like her, and was, like her father, self-taught and a lifelong student.

(Because the process of interpersonal knowing is one of a handful of subjects I am most focused on, and its procedures are enacted as a matter of course, almost everything else about my mom is in the context of the vigorous inquiry I waged over two decades.)

At the same time, it’s complicated too: we worked through a lot of our ‘stuff’ at the beginning (in the early nineties,) moved as a family through the suicide of my twin brother Tim, got through her first cancer year, went through other intense stuff. And: then there was the time I dropped by to visit on a whim and ended up saving her life. Our relationship was, for her, at exacting moments, bittersweet. I suppose it had to be so for one of us.

So, yup, it’s complicated, yet our relationship was complicated in the way poetry and music come to be deeply summed. This was very cool and the consequence is that I can access my mother’s sensibility by accessing her resonant facts, facts which remain easily found in myself.

This is the true joy in life being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. George Bernard Shaw

Speaking of Shaw, my mom sorted her own version of the hundred versions of the one religion, describing it to me one day as being, in the main, sensual and oceanic.

Jean Calhoun

My mom in 1952. Activist in the 'Constitutional Party' Project

Jean S. Calhoun, a trailblazing college administrator and educator, passed away at home after a short illness on Jan 25, 2012. Mrs. Calhoun was the first female Vice President of Case Western Reserve University, serving as Assistant Vice President of the University between 1974-1982. She finished her career as Associate Vice President For Academic Affairs, retiring in 1988 after being named the university’s first female Vice President Emerita.

She began her career as a teaching fellow at Western Reserve University, earning her masters in English there in 1959. Later she was a lecturer on the faculty of the English Department until 1966. At that point she served as a senior associate on The Heald Commission, and co-wrote and edited the final report that recommended the merger of Western Reserve University with Case Institute of Technology. From there, she became a special assistant at the new university, and later Assistant Dean, and then Vice Provost.

She graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College in 1948, after graduating as Valedictorian of Batavia High School in Batavia, New York.

She and her former husband moved to northeast Ohio in 1951. She was active in the humanities and libraries, and served on the Ohio Humanities Council from 1972-1979, including a term as its Chairperson between 1976-1979. She served on the board of the State Library of Ohio between 1985-1992, and served as Chairperson between 1986-1990. She was invited on several occasions to participate on the Grant Review Panel of the National Endowment of the Arts. She was an Advisory Trustee of the Cleveland Music School Settlement between 1979-1992.

After co-authoring the Final Report of the Heald Commission in 1967, Mrs. Calhoun contributed to various studies in the humanities, and she gave the Jennings Lecture in 1975 for Martha Holdings Jennings Foundation. In her retirement she wrote for Shaker Magazine, where she resided after 1977. She also published on a wide range of topics in CWRU, the alumni quarterly. She co-authored and edited The Library and Its Future on behalf of CWRU in 1989.

She traveled widely, and remained in special affinity with the country and people of Greece. A sportswoman, she loved golf and tennis. She was an optimistic enthusiast of the Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers. Retirement freed her to become a very fine chef and flower gardener. Above all she was a lifelong devotee of the arts and classical music. She was a decades-long patron and supporter of The Cleveland Orchestra and Musical Arts Association. (Stephen Calhoun)

Plain Dealer news story

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Icelandic Exceptionalism

Who Gets It

Self-explanatory. via Let’s Talk About Evolution Guardian.UK; in turn via the essential research blogging’s GirlScientist. Video

Fill in blank: “so much for _________________”

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Jung – God Is Fate Its Self

C.G. Jung

Synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance, namely, a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers. I define synchronicity as a psychically conditioned relativity of time and space. ~ C. G. Jung

Over the past few years, as I’ve been drilling into the phenomena of constitutive fortuity, I’ve set in the background Carl Jung’s conception of synchronicity. As concept it shares background space with each and every rationale pertinent to how people explain fortuity, or, in common parlance, serendipity. I’ve set myself to catalog these explanatory rationales.

Even deeper in the background is my own investigation of Jung’s opus, and, along with his work, much of the development one discovers in taking in the larger opus of Analytic Psychology. Given my intense curiosity about the nature of humans, Jung has earned an investment on my part second to none, and first, in the top rank, against only Gregory Bateson and Thelonious Monk and Rumi. Yet, I’m not at all a so-called Jungian.

But, this is also the least of it. This in retrospect, and this would be retrospectively in looking backward toward my mid-life crisis/carnival twenty years ago. At that time, the decade the dream journal marked; the stoned slog through the literature and poetry; the deployment of the falling symbolic bones; and staggering synchronic encounters; added up as an elegant lantern and wholly useful map of my own inner territory. Oh, and much was unbidden and terrifying too.

This is different than the numerous other cases, each of which falsifies the global Jungian premises. (My own case verified my own case!) In short, individuation cannot exclusively be a matter of running only the Jungian model. This being the case, psyche is obviously much more ‘pleromatic’ than Jung was able to either conceive of, let alone encompass, in his decidedly looking-to-the-19th century system. Still, be that as it may, the Analytic Psychology is a very fine, and refined, autopoietic ‘constructivistic’ framework and methodology, and naturally lending itself to the aspirational, artistic, soulful, yin temperament.

As my pal Alice O. Howell put it, it’s about squaring the circle and relativizing the ego. She also pointed out God is a verb–a spectacular and sharp modernization of Jung; and, this goes along with the Jungian Brewster Beach’s pointed naming of the stone, God Is Fate.

However, in noting this, it was moments after my mid-life crisis had turned into a mode of grown-a-bit receptivity to friendship and love, that I had an enlightening aperçu, brought on by realizing I wasn’t living in a Jungian cosmos. The cost levied wasn’t any fall at all, instead was an appreciation that as the marabout proffers, there are infinite ways to journey home.

As a practical matter, my indebtedness is mostly to Marion Woodman. (Carl Gustav Jung ended his worldly journey June 1, 1961.)

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Found: Coleman Barks

Poet Coleman Barks

Several weeks ago I went searching on the net for Coleman Barks. Barks, a poet, is most well known for his versions of Rumi. In fact, to the extent Rumi is known by the English-speaking world, a lion’s share of the credit accrues to Mr. Barks and to his colleague and co-author John Moyne.

Having done this same search years ago, I knew there are numerous resources and media, but, one such resource at the CBC had been taken down, an interview with Barks and Andrew Harvey by Mary Hynes (as part of Ms. Hynes’ Tapestry Series.) I made an inquiry.

Lo and behold a few days later a nice gentleman from the CBC emailed me and asked if I would be interested in providing an introduction for this archival podcast. I jumped at the opportunity to help bring the interview back into circulation.

The podcast at the CBC is back, and listed here. (Direct download-mp3)

Coleman Barks interview at Lapham’s Quarterly. (mp3)

Video at Poetry Everywhere (PBS)


The Big Red Book is the newest exploration of Rumi by Coleman Barks. It focuses on Rumi’s relationship with Shams of Tabriz. One of the aphorisms of Shams is a touchstone for me:

Follow the perfume, not the tracks.

The following video provides a beguiling introduction to Rumi and Shams.

Jalaluddin El-Rumi & Shams El Tabriz from Raphael Rousseau Sason on Vimeo.

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The impossibility of education

Once, the villagers invited Mulla Nasruddin to deliver a lecture on spiritual matters.

When he got on the pulpit, he found the audience was not very enthusiastic, so he asked “Do you know what I am going to say?”

The audience replied “No”, so he announced “I have no desire to speak to people who don’t even know what I will be talking about” and he left.

The people felt embarrassed and called him back again the next day.

Once again he asked the same question – “Do you know what I am going to say?”

This time when he asked the same question, the people replied “Yes” So Mullah Nasruddin said, “Well, since you already know what I am going to say, I won’t waste any more of your time” and he left.

Now the people were really perplexed. They decided to try one more time and once again invited the Mullah to speak the following week.

Once again he asked the same question – “Do you know what I am going to say?”

Now the people were prepared and so half of them answered “Yes” while the other half replied “No”. So Mullah Nasruddin said “The half who know what I am going to say, tell it to the other half” and he left!

(Carried over from Transformative Tools blog; part of the process of transitioning its content to squareONE explorations.

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Pursuit of Happiness

Susan and I saw our first Patriot Day fireworks together:

[flashvideo filename=http://www.squareone-learning.com/video/fireworksHDf.flv width=”512″ height=”288″ bufferlength=”30″ /]

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“The stage is too big for the drama”

God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you’re taking away from God; you don’t need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven’t figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don’t believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time — life and death — stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand. Therefore I don’t think that the laws can be considered to be like God because they have been figured out. Richard Feynman

It must be obvious… that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. Alan Watts

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The Direction of the Horizon

Whether there is or is not an absolute thought and an absolute evaluation in each practical problem, my own opinions, which remain capable of error no matter how rigorously I examine them, are still my only equipment for judging. It remains just as hard to reach agreement with myself and with others, and for all my belief that it is in principle always attainable, I have no other reason to affirm this principle than my experience of certain concordances, so that in the end whatever solidity there is in my belief in the absolute is nothing but my experience of agreement with myself and others. Recourse to an absolute foundation-when it is not useless-destroys the very thing it is supposed to support. As a matter of fact, if I believe that I can rejoin the absolute principle of all thought and all evaluation on the basis of evidence, then I have the right to withdraw my judgments from the control of others on the condition that I have my consciousness for myself; my judgments take on a sacred character; in particular-in the realm of the practical-I have at my disposal a plan of escape in which my actions become transfigured: the suffering I create turns into happiness, ruse becomes reason, and I piously cause my adversaries to perish.

Thus, when I place the ground of truth or morality outside ongoing experience, either I continue to hold to the probabilities it offers me (merely devalued by the ideal of absolute knowledge), or I disguise these probabilities as absolute certainties-and then I am letting go of the verifiable for the sake of truth, which is to say I drop the p to catch its shadow. I waver between uncertainty and presumptuousness without ever finding the precise point of human resolution. If, on the other hand, I have understood that truth and value can be for us nothing but the result of the verifications or evaluations which we make in contact with the world, before other people and in given situations of knowledge and action, that even these notions lose al meaning outside of human perspectives, then the world recovers its texture, the particular acts of verification and evaluation through which I grasp a dispersed experience resume their decisive importance, and knowledge and action, true and false, good and evil have something unquestionable about them precisely because I do not claim to find in them al>solute evidence. Metaphysical and moral consciousness dies upon contact with the absolute because, beyond the dull world of habitual or dormant consciousness, this consciousness is itself the living connection between myself and me and myself and others. Maurice Merleau-Ponty; Sense & Nonsense (p95)

One of my projects over the next few weeks is to try to wrap up a half year’s worth of wandering and exploration. Ironically, this will allow me to pick up some dangling threads. The main subjects I’ve been kicking around ‘inside’ are right now in an odd flux. After all, these subjects, folk psychology, metaphysical foundationalism, (what I term) supranatural solipsism, and, the social (constructionist) organization of heirophanies*, seem to me mixed up in something together I need to compress, wrap up and send away.

There’s a class of schema I have in mind’s eye, of vertical forms. My regard so depicted–or soon to be–is about verticality.

Noting this, in this post is the move into the, or maybe toward, the horizontal form. I’ve got the model set, but it will need to come at the end. Why? Because nothing I’ve been investigating has converted me away from the primariness of, (if you will,) the creative horizon.

*Breakthroughs into consciousness of the archetype of the Self; versioning here Eliade in terms of Analytic Psychology.

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Transformative Anthropology II.

A handful of questions one can direct to a subject or to their self are easily enabled to drill into the fragile web of contingencies that are structurally necessary to human development.

1. What brought you to live where you currently live?

2. What brought you to work in the field you currently work in?

3. What was the circumstance via which you met your current partner?

4. What brought you to your current central interest, (or avocation, or hobby, or passion?)

There are, of course, many such questions like these four.

In conducting an inquiry along these lines, what I have found is that the narrative offered in response contains propositions about features of a necessary founding circumstance Those propositions tell of required features.

For example, I met my future wife at a party in September of 1993. For this to happen, I had to be in Cleveland and be invited to the party. I had to know the party-givers, and, they had to be in Cleveland too. So did my future wife. There are enough implicit features in these three sentences to make clear the obvious point: my meeting my wife rests on a web of contingencies that encompass many lives, and in turn this rests on many requisites, rests on many prior requirements.

It is striking to me that it would be the normal sense of a person narrating a development such as this one, that those requirements are not strongly “felt” by the narrator. However, in facilitating a subject’s re-collection of these necessary requirements, the process has always evoked an intense insight.

Ha! “I never looked at life that way!”

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Favorite droll turn on cogito ergo sum*: I think therefore I think I am. Possibly better: I think therefore I think I am thinking.


You are your epistemology. (Gregory Bateson)

I’ve always stuck with John Lilly’s:

My beliefs are unbelievable.

In this context, why not: “My thoughts are unthinkable.”


* But I have convinced myself that there is absolutely nothing in the world, no sky, no earth, no minds, no bodies. Does it now follow that I too do not exist? No. If I convinced myself of something [or thought anything at all] then I certainly existed. But there is a deceiver of supreme power and cunning who is deliberately and constantly deceiving me. In that case I too undoubtedly exist, if he is deceiving me; and let him deceive me as much as he can, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I think that I am something. So, after considering everything very thoroughly, I must finally conclude that the proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind. (Rene Descarte)

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Judith Buerkel, February 12, 1941-March 24, 2007

I’ve been privileged to be the not very good student of a succession of teachers. (This admitted, I remain surprised how much of the transmission gets through despite my own resistance!) Judith came into my life under a surprising fitting together of a corner of the jigsaw puzzle in 1995. We worked together, founding squareONE in 1996, until she first became ill in 1999. She courageously investigated death’s gateway a number of times before departing from her fragile body this weekend. God Willing, her peace is now assured. Alhumdulilah!

The glue of our process together was a series of weekly meetings over 30 months. We also conducted a couple of dozen workshops, yet the daring request I managed to meet was to stick my finger into her circuit regularly. Her teaching was not formal but it was bravura. She didn’t introduce me to the experiential mode but she exemplified how to go about it. She was there in every case to help debrief the experience in the aftermath of (my) task. I don’t feel she knew that she knew what she was doing. I trusted her anyway.

However, she was so effective that toward the end of her coiled journey I was given the opportunity to affirm to her the impress of her transmission.

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(Terence McKenna clip) To this I would add: Culture programs you and deprograms the Four Noble Truths.

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My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school.
— Margaret Mead

The best education consists in immunizing people against systematic attempts at education.
— Paul Feyerabend

Hat tip to: afewlinesmore.blogspot.com, not active but still around.

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…believe but be scientific; be mystical without mystification…

Krassner. “My only sacred cow is I have no sacred cows.”

Lilly. “My beliefs are unbelievable.”

Tolle. “I’ve met several Zen masters, all of them are cats”

unknown. Everything we think we know only serves to obscure our unknown ignorance. (Found as part of the constructivist ‘prayer’)

Alice O. Howell Keep and open mind and carry a good crap detector.

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