Tag Archives: transformative anthropology

Transformative Anthropology. The Picture Inside


[…] Feynman visualized the world with pictures rather than with equations. Other physicists in the past and present describe the laws of nature with equations and then solve the equations to find out what happens. Feynman skipped the equations and wrote down the solutions directly, using his pictures as a guide. Skipping the equations was his greatest contribution to science. By skipping the equations, he created the language that a majority of modern physicists speak. Incidentally, he created a language that ordinary people without mathematical training can understand. To use the language to do quantitative calculations requires training, but untrained people can use it to describe qualitatively how nature behaves.

Feynman’s picture of the world starts from the idea that the world has two layers, a classical layer and a quantum layer. Classical means that things are ordinary. Quantum means that things are weird. We live in the classical layer. All the things that we can see and touch and measure, such as bricks and people and energies, are classical. We see them with classical devices such as eyes and cameras, and we measure them with classical instruments such as thermometers and clocks. The pictures that Feynman invented to describe the world are classical pictures of objects moving in the classical layer. Each picture represents a possible history of the classical layer. But the real world of atoms and particles is not classical. Atoms and particles appear in Feynman’s pictures as classical objects, but they actually obey quite different laws. They obey the quantum laws that Feynman showed us how to describe by using his pictures. The world of atoms belongs to the quantum layer, which we cannot touch directly.

The primary difference between the classical layer and the quantum layer is that the classical layer deals with facts and the quantum layer deals with probabilities. In situations where classical laws are valid, we can predict the future by observing the past. In situations where quantum laws are valid, we can observe the past but we cannot predict the future. In the quantum layer, events are unpredictable. The Feynman pictures only allow us to calculate the probabilities that various alternative futures may happen.

The quantum layer is related to the classical layer in two ways. First, the state of the quantum layer is what is called “a sum-over-histories,” that is, a combination of every possible history of the classical layer leading up to that state. Each possible classical history is given a quantum amplitude. The quantum amplitude, otherwise known as a wave function, is a number defining the contribution of that classical history to that quantum state. Second, the quantum amplitude is obtained from the picture of that classical history by following a simple set of rules. The rules are pictorial, translating the picture directly into a number. The difficult part of the calculation is to add up the sum-over-histories correctly. The great achievement of Feynman was to show that this sum-over-histories view of the quantum world reproduces all the known results of quantum theory, and allows an exact description of quantum processes in situations where earlier versions of quantum theory had broken down. The ‘Dramatic Picture’ of Richard Feynman New York Review of Books July 14, 2011 Freeman Dyson (reviewing Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science by Lawrence M. Krauss; Feynmana graphical biography by Jim Ottaviani

You see, when you ask why something happens, how does a person answer why something happens?

For example, Aunt Minnie is in the hospital. Why? Because she went out on the ice and slipped and broke her hip. That satisfies people. But it wouldn’t satisfy someone who came from another planet and knew nothing about things… When you explain a why, you have to be in some framework that you’ve allowed something to be true. Otherwise you’re perpetually asking why… You go deeper and deeper in various directions.

Why did she slip on the ice? Well, ice is slippery. Everybody knows that-no problem. But you ask why the ice is slippery… And then you’re involved with something, because there aren’t many things slippery as ice… A solid that’s so slippery?

Because it is in the case of ice that when you stand on it, they say, momentarily the pressure melts the ice a little bit so that you’ve got an instantaneous water surface on which you’re slipping. Why on ice and not on other things? Because water expands when it freezes. So the pressure tries to undo the expansion and melts it…

I’m not answering your question, but I’m telling you how difficult a why question is. You have to know what it is permitted to understand… and what it is you’re not.

You’ll notice in this example that the more I ask why, it gets interesting after a while. That’s my idea, that the deeper a thing is, the more interesting…(Richard Feynman. src: Kallos)

Why was she on the ice in the first place?

Eventually, in my consideration of the analytical frame for constitutive fortuity–eg. transformative anthropology–I’ll be fitting taxonomy to the richer, higher order conceptualization for eventuation. Eventuation means for this purpose the conjunction of events necessary to prime a fortuity. One of the intriguing and hard difficulties in wandering around the current mixture of term and operation is that the informal language used to denote folk conceptions about serendipity, fortuity, inter alia, are weighed down by all sorts of divergent connotations.

For example, Paul Lester describes in his book The Spiral Web a restaurant’s assembly of strangers being there all by coincidence.

OED travels from definition of coincidence, 1 to 4, like this:

1. a.1.a The fact or condition of being coincident; the occupation of the same place or part of space.

4.4 A notable concurrence of events or circumstances having no apparent causal connexion.

The strong connotation in every day use does attach notability, or, the exceptional, or another similar sense, and attaches also an underlying sense of there being no causal connection between two isolate and discretely caused events. This leads the meaning enough so that normal use in English-speaking cultures–for example: what a coincidence!–distinguished between the happenstance circumstance of being in a room full of strangers, and, encountering in this room a stranger, only to find enough of a commonality for the happenstance, to morph into notable coincidence.

However, as much as this leads to semantic, conceptual, and terminological conundrums, it is becoming increasingly clear that the causality that differently situates strangers so him or her come to occupy the same part of space may come to collapse together, as-it-were, in the conjunction given by a fortuitous event.

In which case, the folk phrase what a coincidence stands in for: these disparate events come to eventuate together in a single conjunctive event

Feynman Diagram

Feynman Diagram

This got me to thinking of both the metaphoric semblance, or, analogous collapse of histories. And of Dr. Feynman! With a kind of rubric, or top level category, constitutive fortuity, in hand, the sketching of a structural framework nears.

Something about the Feynman diagram compels me to play around with how elements of such a framework could be depicted.

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What If Your Parents Had Never…?

In my continuing research into what I term transformative anthropology, or, into developmental serendipity in the human life cycle, every question or speculation is worth investigation. This includes questions considered ridiculous:

“What if your parents had never met?”

To which I respond: Indeed. (So, I gently pull it into my mental lab.)

I had an opportunity this fall to pose clinical-like questions to one of my softball associates, a pediatrician, Dr. Art. What I was wondering about was whether or not it would be equally correct, given the what if you’re parents never met query, to pose a similar question: “What if your, (or my own, or anybody’s,) parents had instantiated the fertilization at some other timely point, say seconds, minutes, hours, the next day, later, other than at the time at which point you, me, anybody came to be?”

Here’s the encapsulation of my questioning of Dr. Art.

Given the chanciness of what comes together at point of fertilization, is it correct to state that the fertilization that produced me, you, anybody, exactingly reflects the outcome of a single and unique outcome of sperm meeting egg? (In other words, fertilization is not able to be comprehensively duplicated in anyway.)

Okay, so, the nature of fertilization is a spectacular instance of something, a human he or she, in its generative case, created and necessarily from this, completely unique.

Dr. Art’s answer was,

“As far as anybody can know, human fertilization causes a unique person.”

Its instance comes down to a singular event and a rapid unfolding of unique configuration. This is entirely given by the nature of the mechanics involved. A different instantiation would unfold under the slightly different conditions given by these same mechanics.

Several aspects of this (class of) instance figure into how one thinks about it–as a matter of these mechanics. Fertilization’s uniqueness is not repeatable. Nor is this like shuffling a deck of cards or rolling the dice. The unique result is singularly so. There are many many possible outcomes when the deck is shuffled. Yet, over time, and with enough shuffles, the outcomes aren’t singularly unique. Likewise if we pose such an instance as a roll of the dice. I don’t know what a rigorous mathematically-minded appreciation of the consequential uniqueness of fertilization would be, yet I suspect the analogous two dice have to have an odd, not finite, configuration.

The scale of the temporal condition is something like: instantaneous, yet this also reflects the physical conditions through which fertilization happens as a result of one sperm actor, so-to-speak, being successful against all the other actors. It’s a measurable amount of time too, this instant.

A consequence of this set-up is that the instantiation of one’s own self hangs on the slender thread of these conditions. If Marvin Gaye comes on the CD player, and one of the parties to conception gasps, “Hold On!” then the internal process will be configured differently. Yet, consider how even this kind of adjustment occurs at an almost ridiculously huge scale given how the outcome of fertilization is itself contingent on the tiny scale at which the jockeying of sperm happens.

Perhaps, say you, “So what?”

As I mentioned, I take this seriously because I’m researching the element of fortuity as it plays a part in the resolution of human development at any scale of condition or time. I’m tracking back here to what I term the primordial biological dependent contingency. This is where any map of fortuitous contingency tracks back to. However, at the same time, there is also the implicit regress, ‘what if your parents’ parents had never met?’ And, the circumstances for consequential conjoinment, and for relationship, are entangled in vast, requisite ‘narratives’ for which all the necessary human players, and time-and-space, features necessarily are in some exacting way configured by long chains of, well, fertilization!

Backing up from this, we can sift through other consequences (of primordial biological dependent contingency) at much larger scales of relationship and agency. The evolutionary perspective warrants consideration of where this all can be said to commence and how the two, at least, most primal actors came to make something like the first instance, and how the original hims and hers were instantiated in kind.

Also recognized are other perspectives and the explanations or suppositions each invokes. The idea that a unique soul animates the physical instance of fertilization is, obviously, a very ancient idea. This same idea is deeply embedded in many varieties of how persons culturally grappled with the presumably self-evident unique outcome of procreation. Actually, is there a good reason to presume even this was so? I’m willing to wager without knowing–yet–conceptions about the soul finding its physical incarnation predate ideas about every born human constituting an utterly unique instance of human being.

Obviously, fortuitous dependencies track backward from biological scales ‘down and further’ back through material and temporal scales. My main research interest lies in the other direction, long after the presumptive collapse of enjoined human wave functions (!) granted in fertilization have occurred. Still, it would remain true enough that the serendipity decisive in later human development all are in the light of the strange and implicit fragility of fertilization, and, the: “I might never have come to be!”

Except for this crucial feature: successful fertilization and thus the biological evocation of a him or her sets up this new person as a unique in stance of human being, but is not the whole story by any means.

So much for the notion that DNA determines what an organism is like; it doesn’t. There is, in principle, no one-to-one relationship, no “mapping,” from DNA sequences to characters. (Of course, we can map differences of character– like albinism or Parkinson’s disease–to species differences in DNA.) The whole process of development, from ovary- making egg to mother-making ovary, holds itself together. Each bit of information context, like the egg mechanisms, is necessary and specific for each bit of information content, like the DNA. What makes the fly, or you, is the complete process of development. All of it. Can you blame your DNA for your funny squiggly handwriting, your passion for Fats Waller and
Burmese cats, your blue eyes! Well, perhaps the last, but certainly not the others. You can’t blame the DNA for what you’ve made of yourself. You, the process, are responsible for what you are, what you do. And for what you become. (biologist Jack Cohen)

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Serendip @Bryn Mawr

While I was wrestling with a problem of terminology* with respect to key definitions with respect to my concocting a Transformative Anthropology, I happened upon Serendip at Bryn Mawr College.

Here’s a few captures from this marvelous site and project.

SERENDIPITY (from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 3rd Edition)
The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.

[From the characters in the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, from Persian Sarandip, Sri Lanka, from Arabic Sarandib]

Word history: We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for coining the word serendipity. In one of his 3,000 or more letters, on which his literary reputation rests, and specifically in a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that “this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word.” Perhaps the word itself came to him by serendipity. Walpole formed the world on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of a “silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip; as their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of … One of the most remarkable instances of this accidental sagacity (for you must observe that no discovery of a thing you are looking for comes under this description) was of my Lard Shaftsbury, who happening to dine at Lord Chancellor Claredon’s, found out the marriage of the Duke of York and Mrs. Hyde, by the respect with which her mother treated her at table.”

From its birth in 1994, Serendip has been committed to exploring and creating “less wrong” ways of making sense of the world. Itself an exploration into the potentials of relatively undirected evolutionary systems in which chance plays a significant role, Serendip necessarily changes over time. Hence what was originally a major Serendip section on “complexity” has become in 2008 one on “complexity and emergence.” This change mirrors wider changes in alternative intellectual perspectives: an increasing awareness that making sense of complexity requires not only an acknowledgment of its existence and the development of tools to analyze it but also an appreciation an important historical dimension. Complexity increasingly seems to be not “designed” but rather to emerge over time from from a relatively undirected evolutionary process beginning with simpler entities. (src)

*The term I use to title the central concept of Transformative Anthropology is strategic serendipity. Strategic serendipity: in the context of individual human development, a chance event that comes to completely alter the course of a person’s development. Among the many kinds of change such an event impacts, the common kinds result in changes in: key relationships; career; location; interests. (see notes)

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Future Directions

Future Directions & a Linkroll Bloodbath

The squareONE web site, of which the Explorations is a kind of adjunct publication, is to be redesigned around WordPress in early 2010. (Actually I’m right now reconfiguring the layout to incorporate various WP loops so as to utilize the CMS potential of WordPress.) This will likely impact the blog’s direction.

Meanwhile, I ran the linkroll through a link-checker and the results were initially disturbing, later–not surprising. About 50% of the links have perished. Again, it’s very likely the linkroll will shrink to its key category, Friends & Like-minded. Adult Learning, Psychology, and Anthropology will migrate to the regular web site. I’ve already sopped updating the Transformative Tools blog; it will migrate too. Rhythm River will migrate and be integrated. Leaving only my studio blog, nogutsglorystudios.

After this “re-structuring” is ready for prime time, I’ll be working on the Transformative Anthropology video. Hopefully, some new initiatives will come to fruition too.

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Transformative Anthropology – More Grey Swans

C. Seize any opportunity, or anything that looks like opportunity. They are rare, much rarer than you think. Remember that positive Black Swans have a necessary first step: you need to be exposed to them. Many people do not realize that they are getting a lucky break in life when they get it. If a big publisher (or a big art dealer or a movie executive or a hotshot banker or a big thinker) suggests an appointment, cancel anything you have planned: you may never see such a window open up again. I am sometimes shocked at how little people realize that these opportunities do not grow on trees. Collect as many free nonlottery tickets (those with open-ended payoffs) as you can, and, once they start paying off, do not discard them. Work hard, not in grunt work, but in chasing such opportunities and maximizing exposure to them. This makes living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters—you gain exposure to the envelope of serendipity. The idea of settling in a rural area on grounds that one has good communications “in the age of the Internet” tunnels out of such sources of positive uncertainty. Diplomats understand that very well: casual chance discussions at cocktail parties usually lead to big breakthroughs—not dry correspondence or telephone conver­ sations. Go to parties! If you’re a scientist, you will chance upon a remark that might spark new research. And if you are autistic, send your associates to these events. Nassim Nicholas Taleb – p208-209 – The Black Swan. The Impact of the Highly Improbable

“They are rare, much rarer than you think.”

Hypothesis central to Transformative Anthropology (my term): people’s development with respect to their crucial relationships, work life, interests, and, location, much more often than not present necessary developmental events that are happenstance, serendipitous, random.

Such events, I term strategic serendipity.

They’re rare in the sense that a person may identify several key events in their life story. but, they’re common were it overwhelmingly true that almost all persons are advantaged by strategic serendipity.

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Transformative Anthropology – Strategic Serendipity

After a little “mind wringing” I’ve decided to refashion the coinage, Chance Strategic Contingency, into:


My thinking about terminology, having passed through the former term, has come, next, through the keep it simple stupid phase, and arrived at Strategic Serendipity.

Strategic Serendipity: in the context of individual human development, a chance event that comes to completely alter the course of a person’s development. Among the many kinds of change such an event impacts, the common kinds result in changes in: key relationships; career; location; interests.

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Transformative Anthropology – update on project

draft view of some of the nodes of transformative anthropology–click for lightbox enlargement

I’m sorting out the turning point, concerned with the presentation of my main research focus in the open-source of the web.

The first step was to create a page for the work-in-progress notes about so-called Transformative Anthropology. This will be temporary in the sense that I’m will eventually shutter the Transformative Tools blog, folding it back into Explorations (here,) and then reconfiguring the SquareONE web site so it can allow ‘research subjects’ (you?) to input their personal recollections.

Those personal recollections are qualified by the parameters given by my research into life-altering serendipities; although the more meaningful term is a necessary conceptual coinage: chance strategic contingencies. This is the kind of recollection I’m interested in documenting.

I’ll track changes to the Transformative Anthropology page—as updates–here, yet, at some point in the near future, those notes will be organized by the structure of the reconfigured ‘main’ web site.

(The music sites, nogutsnoglory studios and Rhythm River, aren’t effected by any of this.)

The principal objective sometime in the not-so-near future, is to beta test experiential learning tools based in the as yet un-implicated instrumental, (thus constructivist,) conceptions of Transformative Anthropology. Yet, here’s a clue: would a learner assimilate to a novel, modestly salutary, self-understanding, were he or she to go through a learning process aimed to sensitize the learner to the ingredient of chance strategic contingencies discoverable in their own life? Are life’s chance strategic events consequential as part of the terms for self-reflection?

Ha! I don’t know, yet, if I’m onto something.

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Not Everything Happens (Transformative Anthropology cont.)

Following from our discussing with a friend my conception of Transformative Anthropology, and its central conception, the decisive yet happenstance contingencies that irrevocably alter the course of one’s life and development, she tweeted a question:

How has randomness played a key role in your life?

To which a tweet fluttered back:

How can randomness exist in a universe where everything is connected?

Okay. As I unfold the provisional conceptions given by the phenomenology of necessary contingencies, I wrestle with both randomness and connection. Randomness, event, and connects are joined at the foundation. Yet, this is not a tight join by any means. To peal away what are presumptive aspects of both randomness (or happenstance,) and connection, is to jiggle and then separate the join.

The tweet’s import obviously accomplishes this without any qualification. It provides a proposition:

Where everything is connected, randomness cannot also exist.

Everybody is familiar with this proposition’s folk social-psychological rendition: everything happens for a reason. About this, there is a question: does this mean an a priori reason is revealed by eventuation? The event happens, and reveals the reason already concealed, as-it-were, in the event.

Judith spoke of this as being effectively like the collapse of the wave function.

Or, is the reason attached to the event as a post facto rationale?

In the case of the a posteriori rationale, how would one know which among several reasons, is correct? This same question arises with the a priori reason, but in its case there would have to be a correct reason, because–after all–it’s “all ready” in the event.

The idea that randomness is not compatible with a priori reasons given in a comprehensive universe of “nothing but” connections, would need to be unpacked by an advocate of that position. It is interesting to note that proponents of the idea, everything happens for a reason, almost always hold the a priori posit. In turn, this putative position is often dismissed as a self-deception.  

Not withstanding facile dismissals, the questions begged by this position are very challenging.

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Transformative Anthropology III – Gas Stop

I had the good fortune to reacquaint myself this week with a friend from 40 years ago. After explaining my research into the fragile contingencies underlying life changing events, she offered a terrific example, and, additionally brought a new term into my thinking on these matters.

She told me about meeting a future employer at a gas station, on the occasion when both had stopped at the same station, you know, for gas! The thing is: a stranger approaches her, recognizes her because she had taken note of her reputation in some public notice or the like, and strikes up a conversation.

What followed, eventually, was a job offer. And, what followed from taking the job were all sorts of other events that, in concrete respects, stand on the foundation of her changing jobs.

What would have happened had the soon-to-be new employer and employee not stopped in the gas station at the same moment? No one can say, but it’s as if such a speculation is about an alternative universe, rather than the universe in which this life altering and happenstance event took place.

My friend called the event, random. “Random” hadn’t occurred to me as a qualifier. It’s a good term because it strips away something of the various evaluative adjectives which follow from a random event turning out to be positive or negative.

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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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Transformative Anthropology I.

I’m going to try here to rope in a few colleagues to respond in public–here–to something I’ve been playing around with off and on for four years. To set this up, here is an edited version of an email I sent to a friend in February.

I have a very important intellectual inquiry to address to you.

Here’s the context. In 2005 I trained ‘street anthropologists’ to conduct informal inquiries about why members of their community had landed in that community. It was framed for me as a Boas-like drill down and the results were given by respondents as simple phenomenological answers. Since the goal was more to learn from the process of inquiry than to generate research for other uses, the debrief was as much about what it was like to experience the act of asking and listening.

However, something became obvious when we debriefed the survey. It was this: almost everybody surveyed ended up living in the community due to a priori features of their personal circumstance prior to their relocating to this community. These features turn out to be extremely fragile. Which is to say: that the features are each contingent on other fragile features.

So: the features are both necessary and also contingent upon other necessary features. What necessarily promoted the decision to relocate fanned out into very fragile webs of necessary “prior” conditions. Had one of those conditions been slightly different, the decision would have been different and the respondant would have ended up locating somewhere else.

I’ll give an example I have used to illustrate this. In 1974 I was working in a record store in my hometown of Cleveland and on a June afternoon a robber stuck the store up, marched me into the backroom, had me lay down, and shot me in the back. I was not badly wounded, but the bullet struck me two inches from my spine. A month later I decided to move (the hell) away from my hometown and took a bus to Vermont. Being shot allowed me to re-rationalize my–at the time–confused sense of where I was going in my life.

In Vermont, over time, I met my wife-to-be, developed my ‘karass’ and met lifelong friends, read through shelves of books while working at desk in the back of a book store, had remarkable encounters, met important influences, had wild once-in-a-lifetime experiences like staying up all night with John Cage (who became very close to my then wife,) and on and on. My intellectual preoccupations became diversified in ways I attribute to the flux of bohemian, new age, post-professional, outsider, academic, circumstances I encountered.

So, the upshot is: in what way was the robber a key mover for setting me on this unplanned vector?

Alternately, if he had not walked into the store on that afternoon, and done so based on his own contingencies, everything goes in a different direction. Literally, nothing that came after would have ever unfolded.

I have amplified this weird conjunction and necessary “generativity” of bullet and 19 year old hippie, by thinking out loud in front of workshop participants,

“Would I–today–wish for this robber not to have come into the store, and into my life?”


Armed with this insight, in a second round of surveys we asked questions aimed to evoke identification of the subject’s own necessary contingencies. The question: What brught you to Lakewood? Later, in my own one-on-one inquiries, it has turned out that all sorts of developmental ‘moves’ rest upon all sorts of fragile happenstance.

Several further insights: it’s apparent that we are not hard wired to view our own identity in these terms at all. I have not once made an inquiry to discover that the fragility of necessary conditions had already occurred as an insight of the subject.

Secondly, I have been asked “So why is this important?” To which I have replied, that understanding the fragility of what were/are necessary conditions, may offer us the opportunity to experience more accurately the reality of that which underpins our development in one direction, but not another. And, there’s lots more that could be said about what is the value of recognizing the ‘fragility of it all.’

As an aside, when Malcolm Gladwell published Outliers, his recent book about the conditions which underpin success, I wondered if he would remark on the fragility factor. He does not, and refers to conditions simply in terms of ‘because ofs’ without ever assessing how fragile they are.

My questions is this:

Where is this fragility previously recognized by those who have reflected upon the structure of necessary conditions underneath human development?

(added note; August 2009)

I’ve stepped around how this could be considered in abstract terms or in “spiritualizing” terms. I’ve searched high and low for any commentary that addresses this in pragmatic and developmental terms. The reason I’ve gone in this direction is because I find the intersection of the objective-structural web of contingency, with, the possible import of these true features being well known by the subject, to be a pragmatic instance.

By pragmatic I mean in someway understandable by the subject, (in contemplating their own developmental contingencies,) as a truth, or verity.

Incidentally, this brings to my mind a pragmatic autopoiesis about the deep nature of human development; and given to this are random constitutive-generative “facts.”

I did find an august philosopher, Nicholas Rescher, who wrote a book, Luck: The Brilliant Randomness Of Everyday Life, that, surprisingly, qualifies everyday randomness brilliantly without qualifying the web of contingency.

Go figure!

Now I’m going to turn the loving screws to some friends a bit and learn more. What say you?

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A Good Example of Transformative Anthropology

A Man Walks Into a Pub

Well, hops- he only had one leg.

A man who had his leg amputated when he was 29 after a benign tumour was removed was in the process of saving up forty grand to buy a “bionic” one he had read about in America. Now 42 and not having saved anywhere near the amount he needed, he popped into his local for a pint, where he met another chap, also enjoying a beer.

Luckily though, the second man was a surgeon who specialised in fitting the computer-controlled limbs, and he mentioned he had a spare leg and could fit it for free. Which he did. 


Posted by Karter, September 30, 2008 @ k’telontour blog

Comment–good example of a phenomena of what I term transformative anthropology. (This is ill-named, but I’m sticking with it for the time being.)

A phenomena of this kind is described as exemplifying the initiation of a dramatic and lasting change in a person’s life for which happenstance is a necessary feature.


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