Tag Archives: trickster

A Magic Trick: Explain By Creating

In trickster’s case, how did mental fakery come to replace incarnate fakery?

It is one thing for trypanosomes to change their skins; another for Raven to become a leaf floating in spring water; another still for storytellers to have imagined Raven in the first place, or for one of us to reimagine him. Before picking these strands apart, however, we should remember that the mythology itself asks us to confuse them. Coyote stories point to coyotes teaching about the mind, the stories themselves look to predator-prey relationships for the birth of cunning. These myths suggest that blending natural history and mental phenomena is not an unthinkable conflation, but on the contrary, an accurate description of the way things are. To learn about intelligence from Coyote the meat thief is to know that we are embodied thinkers. If the brain has cunning, it has it as a consequence of appetite; the blood that lights the mind gets its sugars from the gut.
-Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art.

Creating Is Explaining

in Jonas, see (*) below

The subject becomes a game that hides through and in his cause from his cause, the (external) precondition laying bare the (internal) foundation. – Julie Kristeva


The tracking that any [image] instrumentalizes is an adventure that is always immediate, happening now, registering the dynamics of belief.

(adapted, substituting |image| for |text|) via, -Elaine Jahner, “Trickster Discourse and Postmodern Strategies.”)

Stephen Calhoun, Cleveland artist experimental photographer

The Jester (2016) Stephen Calhoun

“Play around with it, intentionally.” That would be the clue. I’m wandering around the following: participation, experience of art, play, cleverest trick.

If you could give up tricks and cleverness, this would be the cleverest trick! (version of Rumi, John LeMoyne)

An example of a clever trick in the experience of art is any expert critical opinion that is by (socially-constructed) necessity blinded to, unbounded from, the actuality of the embodied knowing which emerges from consciousness being aware and present as a matter of experiencing art, or, experiencing any ‘scene,’ so-to-speak.

Opinions like this are like standing at the end of the diving board and not wanting to dive in.

Do playful systems know that they play? [pdf]
Michael Straeubig, Plymouth University
The Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, Malta 2016

From autopoiesis to neurophenomenology: Francisco Varela’s exploration of the biophysics of being [pdf]
Antoine Lutz, et al 2003

Toward a neurophenomenology as an account of generative passages: A first empirical case study [pdf]
Antoine Lutz
LENA – Neurosciences Cognitives et Imagerie Cérébrale 2002

(*) A cybernetic model of design research: Towards a trans-domain 1 of knowing
Wolfgang Jonas, The Routledge Companion to Design Research 2014

Leave a Comment

Filed under adult learning, experiential learning, Gregory Bateson, humor, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, visual experiments, my art


*Fool, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscient, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude, and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught nations war–founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine, and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government. He is from everlasting to everlasting–such as creation’s dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existance headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand has warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man’s evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization. – Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary


One day Coyote noticed it was very quiet. “I wonder where all the animals have gone,” he thought. “I think I’ll go look for them.” He searched for his friends every-where, in the mountains, theforest, and near the rivers, but no one was around. Tired andready to give up, Coyote sat down to rest.

“Lima, lima, lima,”shrieked a voice from below him.It was Meadowlark. Because Coyote hadn’t been paying attention, he had sat down upon the poor bird and broken her leg. She was very angry, but Coyote made her a deal to calm her down.

“I will make you a new strong leg out of wood if you tell me where everyone went.”

The Meadowlark agreed.“Everybody has been swallowed up by a ferocious monster,” she said and then she gave Coyote directions to where the beast was last seen. After fixing the bird’s leg, Coyote packed his fire-making supplies and some knives and setout to find the monster. When he arrived where Meadowlark had directed him, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Before him was a gigantic monster lying on his belly. The creature was so big that his back reached as high as the nearby mountains. Coyote approached the great beast fearlessly, hoping it would open its giant mouth and swallow him up. But the monster just lay there and looked at him suspiciously. Coyote had a reputation as a troublemaker and the monster didn’t want to be tricked.

Coyote tried a different plan. He walked up to the fearsome creature with a sad look on his face.

“Help me,” he asked the beast. “I am lonely. You have swallowed all the animals and now I have no one to talk with. Please eat me too, so I can be with my friends.”

Coyote was so sincere that he convinced themonster that he was telling the truth. The beast opened up his mouth and sucked Coyote down his cavernous throat.

Once inside, Coyote set immediately to work. He called for all the animals who were trapped inside to help him start afire and then he began to cut away at the monster’s heart. When thebeast saw the smoke coming from his belly and felt the great pain in his chest, he knew that Coyote had tricked him, but by then, it was too late. Coyote finished slicing out the monster’s heart and all of the animals were free. In celebration of the escape, Coyote carved up the body of the great monster. Whenever he sliced off a piece, he would throw it far away in a different direction. Wherever these pieces landed, they turned into the human tribes that inhabit the Earth today.

When Coyote was satisfied that he was finished, he turned to the other animals to show them what he had done. Everyone was very thankful of Coyote’s rescue, but Fox noticed a problem.

“Friend Coyote,” he said. “You have done a good job making humans, but you have created all these people far away from here. You forgot to make a tribe where we are standing.”

Fox was right. Coyote thought hard and then came up with an idea. He washed the monster’s blood from his hands and let the drops sprinkle on the ground. This blood turned into the Nez Perce tribe.

from idahohistory.net

Leave a Comment

Filed under adult learning, experiential learning