Tag Archives: cognition

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

Stephen Calhoun artist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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No Hand Waving, please!


Evolutionary Argument Against Reality

I believe that consciousness and its contents are all that exists. Spacetime, matter and fields never were the fundamental denizens of the universe but have always been, from their beginning, among the humbler contents of consciousness, dependent on it for their very being.

The world of our daily experience—the world of tables, chairs, stars and people, with their attendant shapes, smells, feels and sounds—is a species-specific user interface to a realm far more complex, a realm whose essential character is conscious. It is unlikely that the contents of our interface in any way resemble that realm. Indeed the usefulness of an interface requires, in general, that they do not. For the point of an interface, such as the windows interface on a computer, is simplification and ease of use. We click icons because this is quicker and less prone to error than editing megabytes of software or toggling voltages in circuits. Evolutionary pressures dictate that our species-specific interface, this world of our daily experience, should itself be a radical simplification, selected not for the exhaustive depiction of truth but for the mutable pragmatics of survival.

If this is right, if consciousness is fundamental, then we should not be surprised that, despite centuries of effort by the most brilliant of minds, there is as yet no physicalist theory of consciousness, no theory that explains how mindless matter or energy or fields could be, or cause, conscious experience. source: Donald Hoffman Cognitive Scientist, UC, Irvine; Author, Visual Intelligence | Edge,org

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Brain and Culture

V.S. Ramachandran (Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute)
– lecture begins at 3:10


Edward O. Wilson (Harvard Univ. Museum of Comparative Zoology Faculty Emeritus Pellegrino University Professor, Emeritus)
On the Relation Science and the Humanities – Nine Parts

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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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Process & Humanness


A precarious process is such that, whatever the complex configuration of enabling conditions, if the dependencies on the operationally closed network are removed, the process necessarily stops. In other words, it is not possible for a precarious process in an operationally closed network to exist on its own in the circumstances created by the absence of the network.

A precarious, operationally closed system is literally self-enabling, and thus it sustains itself in time partially due to the activity of its own constituent processes. Moreover, because these processes are precarious, the system is always decaying. The “natural tendency” for each constituent process is to stop, a fate the activity of the other processes prevents. The network is constructed on a double negation. The impermanence of each individual process tends to affect the network negatively if sustained unchecked for a sufficient time. It is only the effect of other processes that curb these negative tendencies. This dynamic contrasts with the way we typically conceive of organic processes as contributing positively to sustaining life; if any of these processes were to run unchecked, it would kill the organism. Thus, a precarious, operationally closed system is inherently restless, and in order to sustain its intrinsic tendencies towards internal imbalance, it requires energy, matter, and relations with the outside world. Hence, the system is not only self-enabling, but also shows spontaneity in its interactions due to a constitutive need to constantly “buy time” against the negative tendencies of its own parts.

The simultaneous requirement of operational closure and precariousness are the defining properties of autonomy for enactivism. It is this concept of autonomy that answers the opening question in this section about the individuation of the body. A body is understood as such an autonomous system, an understanding that allows for the possibility that any given body need not be constituted exclusively by its biochemical or physiological processes (Thompson and Stapleton 2009; Kyselo and Di Paolo, under review).

The Enactive Approach (pdf) Ezequiel Di Paolo and Evan Thompson

Evan Thompson


Biology . . . shows us that we can expand our cognitive domain. This arises through a novel experience brought forth through reasoning, through the encounter with a stranger, or, more directly, through an expression of a biological interpersonal congruence that lets us see the other person and open up for him room for existence beside us. This act is called love, or, if we prefer a milder expression, the acceptance of the other person beside us in our daily living. This is the biological foundation of social phenomena: without love, without acceptance of others living beside us there is no social process and, therefore, no humanness. Anything that undermines the acceptance of others, from competency to the possession of truth and on to ideolog- ic certainty, undermines the social process because it undermines the biologic process that generates it. (Maturana & Varela, The Tree of Knowledge, 1992, p. 246)

bonus pdf:
Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela’s Contribution to Media Ecology: Autopoiesis, The Santiago School of Cognition, and Enactive Cognitive Science

So it came about many many years after reading The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light by William Irwin Thompson that I noted his son Evan is an important shaper of the enactivist frame.

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The McGurk Effect

Communications Cache | Videos

On my own behalf, I did hear the utterance correctly.

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Master and Emissary

Iain McGilchrist

The last two paragraphs from Iain McGilchrist’s Introduction [pdf] to his book The Master and the Emissary

There is a story in Nietzsche that goes something like this. There was once a
wise spiritual master, who was the ruler of a small but prosperous domain, and
who was known for his sel?ess devotion to his people. As his people ?ourished
and grew in number, the bounds of this small domain spread; and with it the need
to trust implicitly the emissaries he sent to ensure the safety of its ever more
distant parts. It was not just that it was impossible for him personally to order all
that needed to be dealt with: as he wisely saw, he needed to keep his distance from,
and remain ignorant of, such concerns. And so he nurtured and trained carefully
his emissaries, in order that they could be trusted. Eventually, however, his
cleverest and most ambitious vizier, the one he most trusted to do his work, began
to see himself as the master, and used his position to advance his own wealth and
in?uence. He saw his master’s temperance and forbearance as weakness, not
wisdom, and on his missions on the master’s behalf, adopted his mantle as his
own – the emissary became contemptuous of his master. And so it came about
that the master was usurped, the people were duped, the domain became a
tyranny; and eventually it collapsed in ruins.

The meaning of this story is as old as humanity, and resonates far from the
sphere of political history. I believe, in fact, that it helps us understand something
taking place inside ourselves, inside our very brains, and played out in the cultural
history of the West, particularly over the last 500 years or so. Why I believe so
forms the subject of this book. I hold that, like the Master and his emissary in the
story, though the cerebral hemispheres should co-operate, they have for some
time been in a state of con?ict. The subsequent battles between them are recorded
in the history of philosophy, and played out in the seismic shifts that characterise
the history of Western culture. At present the domain – our civilisation – ?nds
itself in the hands of the vizier, who, however gifted, is effectively an ambitious
regional bureaucrat with his own interests at heart. Meanwhile the Master, the one
whose wisdom gave the people peace and security, is led away in chains. The
Master is betrayed by his emissary.

(SC) My associate Kenneth Warren brought McGilchrist’s work to my attention. One of the first so-called turns a new publicized model goes through is for it to be stripped down and reattached to the folk estimations (or constructs,) which emerge when a representation of domain-specific research is loosed into the public source. Put differently: the representational concepts transform into hypotheses, and then people deploy these possible explanations in new, and untested areas and experiences.

This ad hoc meta-abduction pulls experiences and situations and potential matches and mappings back toward the explanation; and explanation held by human awareness. This entanglement could describe aspects of a social complex. It’s important to comprehend that it is first embodied, next emboldened, then reembodied; and that there is a parallel biosemiotic operation. A sense given by this view is that the transformation of domain-dependent concepts into something else altogether–where the concepts are made to visit new domains–is more complicated than the transforms caused by concepts being metaphoric or analogues.

A practical possibility, then, is that, for example, an ecological space such as a room or building, may be designed with the model in the designer’s mind.

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Teaching Cartoon: Now You See It


…now you don’t.

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