Tag Archives: friendship

Live From the Well

The idea that what one has long held of a person is apt to stop one’s eyes and ears. —Marcel Proust

Elders from GLEN MILNER on Vimeo.

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)

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Filed under adult learning, creative captures, experiential learning, my research, psychology, self-knowledge, sufism

Yet, We Converse With Each Other

Hexagram 44
Your name or your person,
Which is dearer?
Your person or your goods,
Which is worth more?
Gain or loss,
Which is a greater bane?
That is why excessive meanness
Is sure to lead to great expense;
Too much store
Is sure to end in immense loss.
Know contentment
And you will suffer no disgrace;
Know when to stop
And you will meet with no danger.
You can then endure.


What is your personal ideology, and, how does it track back to its source in your personal culture?

Do we not construct somewhat congruent collections of best explanations?

Everybody lives in their own subjective world, or, not?


Every individual is dedicated in explicable and inexplicable ways to their favorite: dispositions, habits of thinking and feeling, heuristic tools, automatic responses, etc..

Individual comprehension of what are apparently objective features of the world are: variable, often warrantless, and, these comprehensions are, finally, usually subjective..

The common ground is not itself beyond the intersubjective field.

Each person over time develops, tests, refines, and deploys, their unique folk psychological ideology and toolset.

Often this bundle of suppositions and provisional abductions about, for example, how one’s own mind and other mind’s work, is utilized as the first->second order means to understand another person. It is deployed as if it is comprehensive and commensurate to the task of understanding this other person.

This normal attitude and approach is used by many people who are innocent of its origins (from within their personal culture, subjectivity.)

As a practical matter, eventually meeting the challenge posed by hoping to develop accurate interpersonal and intrapersonal construal requires the negotiation of each other’s self conception, self conception in contexts, language, concepts, suppositions, and, linkages and intrinsic networks, and, all the other potential features of subjective deep beingness. Hey, these considerations are truly, mine alone!

Hexagram 44. Don’t negate me bro for the sake of flattening me so that I may tumble along in your own 2D world. If I wanted to be in your world, I’d have to have been you.

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Filed under adult learning, folk psychology, my research, personal, psychology, self-knowledge

Holly’s Helping Hand

Stephen Calhoun, fine artist, Cleveland Heights, Oh

Holly’s Helping Hand, from a photograph – proof of concept too, in that its the first piece with a human participant embedded in it.


“Hey, Holly remember when I put you and Judith in a trance for a couple of days?”

(Indeed I did so, by mistake, via a soundtrack I created for a workshop presented by Judith Buerkel in March 1994.)

Holly has been my friend longer than anyone else among the group of people I became acquainted with when I returned to Cleveland in 1992. She and I met at a holiday party in late 1993, although the party itself is most notable for my encounter and subsequent mind meld with eventual squareONE co-founder Judith Buerkel.

Because I am oriented so strongly to doing the experiment of deep relationship, and because it is true for this that some are called, but fewer actually take the dive, Holly’s eager sustenance of our relationship over more than two decades simply is a gift that keeps on giving.

There is much I might say about my friend, yet, after a brief visit this week, the significant elements of her zesty and daring approach to being who she is were exemplified in her willingness to participate in my creative process, then, reshape this process into her own process, and go on to to experiment without guidance in my backyard studio.

I call this: going for it.

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Filed under art, artists, my research, personal

Notes on synchronicity and creativity, friendship, sustainability, and, an amplification of parts multiplying the whole; plus Elvis

The Transcendent Function

SCalhoun, 2012, The Transcendent Function

The process of coming to terms with the unconscious is a true labor, a work which involves both action and suffering. It has been named the “transcendent function” because it represents a function based on real and “imaginary” or rational and irrational, data, thus bridging the yawning gulf between conscious and unconscious. It is a natural process, a manifestation of the energy that springs from the tension of opposites, and it consists in a series of fantasy occurrences which appear spontaneously in dreams and visions.

The natural process by which the opposites are united came to serve me as the model and basis for a method consisting essentially in this: everything that happens at the behest of nature, unconsciously and spontaneously, is deliberately summoned forth and integrated into our conscious mind and its outlook. Failure in many cases is due precisely to the fact that they lacked the mental and spiritual equipment to master the events taking place in them. (C.G. Jung; The Synthetic Or Constructive Method, Two Essays In Analytical Psychology, p.80)

In addition to inherent duality of Universe
There is also and always
An inherent threefoldedness and fourfoldedness
Of initial consciousness
And of all experience.
For in addition to (1) action, (2) reaction,
(3) resultant,
There is always (4) the a priori environment,
Within which the event occurs,
i.e., the at-first-nothingness around us
Of the child graduated from the womb,
Within which seeming nothingness (fourthness)
The inherently threefold
Local event took place.

R. Buckminster Fuller, Intuition, 1972, p. 14

Holly The Green Woman

Wandering Through Friendship

Many years ago, my three closest male friends were named Bob, Bob, and Chris. I met each of them in Middlebury Vermont sometime around 1976, after I had arrived in Middlebury to work the music desk at The Vermont Book Shop. As it happened, only one of the ‘Bobs’ was still living in the area when I departed in 1991. That is important because the bonds forged with the three men had everything to do with our mutual proximity, and, eventually, this proximity was attenuated and so became diminished.

As it turns out, over twenty years later, I know how to contact two of the three, yet I’ve lost touch with all three. One of the Bobs, about whom I will tell of momentarily, I didn’t stay connected with right from the moment he left Middlebury in the late-eighties. (Yeah, I should google him!) It was with Bob P. that I first enjoined a discussion about the nature of friendship. After all, we were friends. I forget how it came up and I forget what it was that we discussed, but I do remember having the discussion and also remember our agreeing on two elements: to be known by another is to, then, do the work of knowing one other.

For apart from inquiry, apart from the praxis, individuals cannot be truly human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other. Paulo Freire

Another consequential incident happened in 1992. I became friends with my boss, Patrick, and tis dovetailed in an absolutely synchronistic way with me working through unconscious images and the suggestions of Marion Woodman in her book The Pregnant Virgin. This book, for me personally, is the most profound book on masculine psychology. Paradoxically, its subject matter is feminine psychology, and yet its treatment of male friendship literally rapped me a little bit awake, like a Zen master might have done.

From that moment I became a close student of the nature of friendship. I made an experiential inquiry into my own friendships. Because it is my own mature nature to make a study of human phenomena as a participant and observer, eventually I organize my tentative comprehensions and modest understandings into my provisional knowledge of same–whichever subject is in my sight. So, it next becomes possible for me to know, and, articulate, my personal phenomenology and practice of friendship, and these are entangled in what amounts to an aesthetic of friendship.

By the way, I don’t lay any of this on my close friends, unless our collaboration in friendship happens to step back into this so-called “meta” viewpoint, stepping back at such a point into a dialog about that which comprises our different viewpoints (or aesthetic,) on the practice of friendship. This hasn’t happened betwixt my friends and me, and, paradoxically, I’m sharing this with anybody who happens upon this published description; including friends.

Friendship and a Colorful Symbol

One time it happened is when I explained to my close friend Holly that ‘to be a close friend of mine means for me to have entered the most close in circle of friendship and intimacy.’

Inner Circle

Obviously this kind of differentiation is not uncommon–when you reflect upon your relationships. She and I discussed what this differently meant for us, being in relationships which could be qualified in terms of closeness and whether or not someone was, in both effect and practice, in our inner circle.

In noting this particular approach, a crucial point to understand is that feeling my way through a human phenomena like this is part and parcel of what I do just in being who I am to be. This point of fact goes along with two elemental aspects that qualify, for me, a friend being in my inner circle: one, such a person has put in the necessary time; two, such a person has mutually submitted to the actuality of each of us being who we happen to be.

The essence of marriage is friendship. The secret of life is friendship. The core of love is being a friend.


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Filed under adult learning, analytic(al) psychology


I returned Monday from New Mexico. The service and wake for Jamie was spontaneous, soulful, and deeply moving. There was country rock, desert vistas, and Jamie’s karass. It was an event every bit as spiritually complex, and necessary, as the man himself.

click pic for larger version / Photo montage created by compositing unknown student photographer’s photo of Jamie this year, and, scenic picture taken by me Sunday September 28.

I’ve been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I’m drunk and dirty don’t ya know, and I’m still, willin’
Out on the road late at night, Seen my pretty Alice in every head light
Alice, Dallas Alice

I’ve been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin’

I’ve been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
Had my head stoved in, but I’m still on my feet and I’m still… willin’
Now I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
Baked by the sun, every time I go to Mexico, and I’m still

And I been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin’

[Willin’ by Lowell George]

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On September 9th I published a post to celebrate two new artistic creations by my soul brother Jamie Cohen. Yesterday I received a call from my other soul brother David. He told me Jamie had passed away on September 11th. Man! Ripped away.

Losing Jamie is to lose one among the handful of people who are simply a deep part of me. There’s much I could say. Later.

For now, I love you Jamie. Your adventure continues.
Jamie the Dynamo Man
(from Jamie’s myspace gallery; used without permission) Check out the gallery. Jamie was a gifted artist and artistic all-rounder.

Taken at our 25th reunion May, 2007. I last spoke to Jamie three weeks ago, to tell him Susan and I had married.

Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested though in the wrong

When death has come and taken our loved ones
It leaves our home so lonely and drear
Then do we wonder why others prosper

9/17: friends are invited to comment.
Living so wicked year after year

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand it all, by and by

Faithful ’til death, said our loving Master
A few more days to labor and wait
Toils of the road will then seem as nothing
As we sweep through the beautiful gates

Farther Along, Byrds version of course!

9/17: Friends are welcome to comment.

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