This past weekend I went to my forty-fifth high school reunion, for the Class of ’72. I have been to every single five year Class of ’72 Hawken School (Gates Mills, Ohio,) reunion. The first one was in 1977. I was living in Middlebury Vermont at the time.
This year the hallowed men’s circle that uniquely characterizes the class’s fraternal ritual was at an Upper School (grades 9-12) transformed by a luxurious new 21st century series of connected school buildings. As you can see, some of us took the tour. Almost nothing of our own experience ‘back in the day’ naturally translates to the new surroundings; and, I note as much while also regarding the addition of women to the upper school classes starting in 1974. The buck buck tree is still there. Several of the old building’s wings, with their fifties utilitarian cinder blocks, have remained connected to the new campus.
Each reunion presents a mini seminar in men, masculinity, adult development, families, and, the second law of thermodynamics. It’s a lovely group.
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this. (Henry David Thoreau)
“For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced.” — Francis Bacon
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the glib but best-selling Sapiens and Homo Deus, reduces massive ideas with the efficiency of a clothes dryer fed a soaking wool sweater. For example, liberal humanism in his view simply erases all but the individual’s feeling and so it is literally for him the natural state of affairs that if something feels good one may just do it. He also asserts that, maybe, this is entirely to do to with implicitly ‘necessitarian’ algorithms.
My own result hit close to the sweet spot. My self-evaluation about my time perspective recognizes that my hedonistic present anchors me and is also the imposition I have to work against. This is consistent with my Myers-Briggs XNXP, my Jungian puer aeternus complex, and my Big five extroverted, open to experience, and, non-neurotic personality type.
Importance of having a balanced time-perspective profile
Zimbardo & Boyd show that each of the six perspectives may have benefits, some much more than others. They also show that the costs associated with any one perspective may rise sharply if it is held in excess, and/or if it is out of balance with others of the six. Many of the book’s examples involve disturbed persons (e.g., addicts). But it also offers valuable more-general observations too. Here’s one that caught my eye: In discussing the faults of some executives who’d been running risky mortgage businesses not long ago, the authors find that “lack of balance between present and future orientations in both business and government is a well-worn path to disaster.”
As a result, Zimbardo & Boyd urge their readers to develop an “optimally balanced time perspective”:
“The ideal we want you to develop is a balanced time perspective in place of a narrowly focused single time zone. A balanced time perspective will allow you to flexibly shift from past to present to future in response to the demands of the situation facing you so that you can make optimal decisions.” twotheories blog
The four panel valence differentiator of Boston Consulting Group fame, (or what I term the four square matrix,) and the circular cycle used to show both a linear course of change and a completed course of development, are both the main forms for schemas which I collect.
Here are a bunch of such schemas. My aim here is to create a temporary counterpoint.
The self is a metaphor. We can decide to limit it to our skin, our person, our family, our organization, or our species. We can select its boundaries in objective reality As the systems theorists see it, our consciousness illuminates a small arc in the wider currents and loops of knowing that interconnect us. It is just as plausible to conceive of mind as coexistent with these larger circuits, the entire “pattern that connects,” as Bateson said. Do not think that to broaden the construct of self this way involves an eclipse of one’s distinctiveness. Do not think that you will lose your identity like a drop in the ocean merging into the oneness of Brahma. From the systems perspective this interaction, creating larger wholes and patterns, allows for and even requires diversity. You become more yourself. Integration and differentiation go hand in hand. From: ‘World as Lover, world as Self’ — Joanna Macy
Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.
(Rumi, version by Coleman Barks)
All the saints and sages have said evil deeds
become a dark hole which encloses the evil doer.
The worse the doer’s deed, the darker is the hole.
You may intend to snare someone else,
but you’re digging that pit for yourself to fall down.
Watch out! Don’t dig too deep.
Be soft earth so that you may sprout folwers of many colors.
You’ve been a jagged rock for years.
Just once–as an experiment–be earth!
Epistemology establishes how we understand reality, what we believe the world to be made up of. If library directors do not have a way of knowing what is, how are they to know how to act in a time of crisis? (Phenomenology, Aesthetics, and Planning for the Artful Library Director, Kenneth Warren, 2014)
A leading moral and political philosopher, Kwame Anthony Appiah is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. He explores the ideas of the philosopher Hans Vahinger, who argued that our theories of the world involved understanding things “as if” what is in fact false were true.
I had begun this article with reference to Hans Vaihinger’s examination of the two simple words, as-if, which he posits as a fictive device. Until I read his book I was completely unaware that I used them in daily life. Once I did, I couldn’t get as-if out of my mind. Not only that, I found it was fascinating to observe how other people used these words. When I asked if they were aware of the fact, invariably the answer was no. Nevertheless, once they did, they were delighted at finding a treasure right under their noses. From these observations I gathered that the various ways we employ as-if reflects a desire to step outside the routine of daily life, the easiest way being to entertain fanciful thoughts. Such thoughts aren’t to be dismissed outright as a waste of time. If we were asked about them, we’d respond that they constitute an important part of our lives, indeed, are essential to our psychic health. At the same time these thoughts have basis in reality–they arise from experiences in real life–and can reflect our deepest desires. excerptSome Reflections on Hans Vaihinger (Richard McCambley)
The shuttling to and fro of arguments and affects represents the transcendent function of opposites. The confrontation of the two positions generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third thing—not a logical stillbirth in accordance with the principle tertium non datur but a movement out of the suspension between the opposites, a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation. (C.G.Jung)
From the symbolic potency of the solar system, which generates the sense of depth suggested by McGilchrist, astrology offers us what in neuroscience is called environmental enrichment, in other words, stimulation of the brain by its physical and social surroundings. As an enriched environment for imagining incoming archetypal energies that can feed bio-dynamic entities such as ourselves, astrology stimulates the brain through its imagination of electrical, chemical, and network charges, arousing us to satisfy our needs for: 1) attachment; 2) control; 3) self identity; 4) pleasure. With astrology these needs can be met on the cosmic and personal scale of an imagination that transforms presumably random events into the narrative of a soul’s journey through the space/time of earth. (Kenneth Warren)
What can you discern about your reflection in the archetypal ensemble?
Contact – Mystery
Code – Gnosis
Action – Love
How might you overcome your isolation by gauging yourself in universal modes of polarities?
Ken Warren (from notes to a presentation, Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears, given by Ken Warren and Stephen Calhoun at The Analytical Psychology Society of Western New York, December 12, 2014)
Proverbs 3:16 tells us: “Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left her riches and honour.”
Stage One: Survivor/Transitional-Object
Stage Two: Truster/Trickster
Stage Three: Unscrupulous Competitor/Hero
Stage Four: the Virtuous/the Shadow
Stage Five: Materialistic Analyst of Things/Anim(a/us)
Stage Six: Empathizer with Every Person/Wise One
Stage Six needs desperately its unconscious complement, the Archetype of Meaning, a voice of wisdom from the depths. The Sequence of Archetypes in Individuation, James Whitlark
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Monday, February 13, I was driving to Wadsworth, listening to a CD, thinking about my livelihood as an artist–such as it is–and a tune started up from my single most favored rock record of all time, The Gilded Palace of Sin, by The Flying Burrito Brothers.
The song was Wheels.
We’ve all got wheels to take ourselves away
We’ve got the telephones to say what we can’t say
We all got higher and higher every day
Come on wheels take this boy away
We’re not afraid to ride
We’re not afraid to die come on wheels take me home today
So come on wheels take this boy away
And when I feel my time is almost up
And destiny is in my right hand
I’ll turn to him who made my faith so strong
Come on wheels make this boy a man
We’re not afraid to ride
We’re not afraid to die come on wheels take me home today
So come on wheels take this boy away
Come on wheels take this boy away
The record was released February 11, 1969. I would hear it for the first time at the Amazing Dynamo Man’s house, draped over his bed, in September 1970. He, Jamie Cohen, and I, had just met, just begun tenth grade as first year sophomores at Hawken School in Cleveland. We fell into each other like rain drops into the ocean.
Me, Hoon, atop the Amazing Dynamo Man, 1972
Forty eight years later, I’m reflecting on art matters having to do with commerce, Wheels comes on, I glance out my car’s driver-side window, and see a flatbed truck passing me on I71.
It’s badged with this logo:
I chuckle, then laugh heartily. The moment was not just a gilded moment of synchronicity, it was a text book synchronicity!
“We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel; But it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the wheel depends. We turn clay to make a vessel; But it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the vessel depends. We pierce doors and windows to make a house; And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the utility of the house depends. Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the utility of what is not.” ? C.G. Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle
Kabir’s Sobriety 2016 Stephen Calhoun
A synchronicity worthy of the term is required to be deeply disturbing, or deeply disruptive, or deeply derailing. What I have to offer are my happy delusions! I’ve been revisiting Kabir. #326 of his Bijak:
No customers for the word:
the price is high.
Without paying you can’t get it,
so move on by.
In January I had a very simple dream–simple as far as its arc.
(1) I’m on the side porch of a gothic church. It’s a fall day, and the church’s porch is the scene of a rummage sale. I’m picking little costume jewelry pieces up and putting each one back down. I notice some nice oak chairs and old brass floor lamps. I say to the lady, “You have some nice stuff.” She answers back, “I see you’re not in a buying mood, but the prices are right.”
(2) Walking down the steps, with the front of the church rising to my right, I cross a lawn and walk toward an old Chevy station wagon. I walk to the driver’s side and their is a man with a hat, and his wife is to his right, and his son and daughter are in the back seat. The rear has suitcases. I think to myself, ‘It’s an all American family.’ The man asks if I will help him get unstuck. I put my shoulder to the frame of his window to push, and, without much effort I push and feel his car rise a bit and become unstuck.
(3) The car gathers speed and then veers slightly across the front lawn of the church. It crashes into the wall of the sanctuary. I run toward it, but am halted when I see a bloodied brown panther or mountain lion, seemingly crushed between the grill and limestone wall, pull itself out of its predicament and jump over the hood. It stands on the grass and shakes its head once vertically, runs off.
What is left of experience if from it are erased feeling it, thinking it, feeling about it, thinking about it?
I’ve been reflecting on the paradox of mindfulness. Mindfulness, over the last several years, is among the hottest trends in management and organizational “self-improvement.”
It seem to me partly counter-intuitive in that mindfulness’s site is individual consciousness, whereas both managers and organizations tend to strongly focus their collective consciousness on some master plan given by holistic “master” assumptions.
Yet, there is the lower level paradox found in the second/third order appreciation of mindfulness, which is: to speak of it is not to be it.
Carl Manchester reads Chapter 2 A World of Pure Experience, from:
Pure experience is the centerpiece of a larger, radical empiricism, one that rejects the assumptions that created the epistemic gap between experience and reality in the first place. This gap is predicated on “an artificial conception of the relations between knower and known,” James says, and this fake problem is his first target. The history of philosophy has shown that all sort of theories have been invented to overcome this gap, he says. Some theories put a mental representation into the gap, common-sense theories left the gap untouched, believing that our minds could just make the leap and, he tells us, and the Transcendentalists brought their Absolute in to perform this epic task. James and Pirsig, on the other hand, say that subjects and objects are not the conditions that make experience possible. Instead, they have been carved out. As James puts it, inner and outer are just names for the way we sort experience. They are linguistic affairs, products of reflection, concepts derived from experience. To supposed that these terms mirror Nature’s own divisions or otherwise correspond to pre-existing ontological categories is to reify these concepts. Under our radical empiricists, subjects and objects are stripped of their metaphysical, ontological status and otherwise demoted to the rank of mere concept – thereby eliminating Cartesian dualism and replacing it with an experiential monism. For the radical empiricist, experience and reality amount to the same thing. This is the context in which James and Pirsig make their claims about pure experience or the pre-intellectual cutting edge of experience. Pure Experience and Dynamic Quality February 16, 2012 by David Buchanan partiallyexaminedlife.com
For the fourth year in a row, I was happy to work with Wadsworth Public Library’s fine staff on their staff day. We did a three phase exploration over the afternoon. First, we did a Taoist Walk in two snaking, quiet, single file lines. Second, we owned up to and affirmed one half of an opposite, taken from an inventory of polarities. Finally, we did some down-and-dirty scenario solving, where intradepartmental groups trained their expert attention on three very complicated, real-world scenarios.
From the squareONE: experiential toolmaker page on my work with libraries.
We support leadership and ambitious organizational goals by helping build sustainable human capacity in organizations.
Our approach can be distilled: we use deeply intentional experiential inquiries to help leaders and staff and stakeholders interrogate the core propositional bindings, mission, and history of the institution. Then, we work to help the leadership and staff reinvigorate and reintegrate these necessary core bindings, build sustainable new initiatives, recommit to a collaborative culture focused on lifelong learning and care.
squareONE’s unique capabilities are the result of joining together Daniel’s expertise in daily, practical and humanistic institutional leadership in the public library, with Stephen’s innovative skills in guiding transformative learning.
Our developmental tools are not like those found in normative organizational and leadership development. Their fundamental appreciative thrust is directed toward leveraging self-awareness for the sake of sustaining and strengthening the library’s mission. Nothing ever gets pulled off any shelf. Everything is purpose-built and fit to address mundane and audacious objectives.
Alignment matters. To be aligned with squareONE’s approach, a public library has to be dedicated to the classical view of the American Public Library. This view broadly holds the library to be a civically engaged institution devoted to supporting the emancipatory power of the book, the written word, culture, lifelong learning, and, above all: devoted to deep care for the community and its citizens.
squareONE stands opposed to the turning of the American Public Library into a vending machine of services, for which the book itself is a receding resource.
contact: Stephen Calhoun (216) 269-5568
I began working with libraries in partnership with the late Kenneth Warren in 2014. Mr. Warren hired me and asked me to create an anthropology portfolio at Lakewood Public Library in 2005. I worked there until late in 2006.
The foolish person tries to ignore the phenomenal facts of life simply because he cannot learn the logical theory which explains them. With all the logic at our command, we may reason out of the domain of possibilities everything that may be called a theoretical explanation of the cosmic rhythm which produces the various cycles of life, but we cannot with the same logic and reasonableness negate the facts which have been observed. H. Spencer Lewis Self-Mastery and Fate
With the Cycles of Life [pdf]
(With a few changes this passage from 1929 may be transformed into a cybernetic proposition. In turn, this proposition proves essential to understanding the problem of noise and signal and cycles.)
The notion of the individual entity having agency is confused by a paradox. The confusion lies with the idea of individuation. The entity (organism, person, or organization) is bound to its unique perspective or epistemology, and in that sense is identifiable as a separate source of responsibility. But, there is no aspect of that entity that is uninfluenced, uninformed, or unbound to the larger contextual interactions. On closer examination we begin to see that agency is diffused into the larger contextual processes that are shared by the entire community. Agency is a paradoxical product of mutual learning within and between people, nature, and culture.
Leadership does not reside in a person but in an arena that can be occupied by offerings of specific wisdom to the needs of the community. So leadership is produced collectively in the community, not the individual. The individual’s responsibility is to be ready and willing to show up, serve, and then, most importantly, stand back. Leadership for this era is not a role or a set of traits; it’s a zone of interrelational process. Step in, step out.
Every day is a god, each day is a god, and holiness holds forth in time. I worship each god, I praise each day splintered down, and wrapped in time like a husk, a husk of many colors spreading, at dawn fast over the mountains split. (Annie Dillard)
The fundamental premise of alchemy is that there are precise correspondences between the visible and invisible worlds, the worlds of matter and spirit, inner and outer, heaven and earth.
Cleveland artist Gary Dumm noted that I’m engaged with infinite possibilities, and this is true enough, especially in that I allow an expansive ‘ecology’ to contribute mightily to my creative process. ‘Allow’ and ‘Contribute’ conceal aspects of process which are not under my control.
All three of these pieces use an identical Mandelbrot fractal filtered into a tessellation, or, sparked into an “interesting phenomena.”
Gregory Bateson: What has happened is that the use of a system of geometric met aphor has enormously facilitated understanding of how the mechanical trick comes to be a rule or regularity. More important, the student has been made aware of the contrast between applying a trick and understanding the necessity of truth behind the trick. And still more important, the student has, perhaps unwittingly, had the experience of the leap from talking arithmetic to talking about arithmetic. Not numbers but numbers of numbers.
Gregory Bateson: “We are searching for criteria whereby we can recognize those traits that are appropriate candidates for ongoing truth in the hurly burly of evolutionary process.”
. . .cybernetic inflection of aesthetics?
Gregory Bateson: “Interesting phenomena occur when two or more rhythmic patterns are combined, and these phenomena illustrate very aptly the enrichment of information that occurs when one description is combined with another. In the case of rhythmic patterns, the combination of two such patterns will generate a third. Therefore, it becomes possible to investigate an unfamiliar pattern by combining it with a known second pattern and inspecting the third pattern which they together generate.” both excerpts from Mind and Nature. A Sacred Unity.