Saturday, June 30, 2012

What was est?

What was est?  This came up at a lunch meeting the other day, in that two of us had seen Transformation:  The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard.  You can watch it for free on Hulu.

In a nutshell, Erhard understood that our sense of integrity as human beings is very bound up in our need to be right about stuff.  That's just obvious grammatically (in Wittgenstein's sense).  Who wants to believe a lot of garbage and have wrong ideas about everything?  That's not cool.  We want to be suave, smooth, and knowing.  Or our need to be right takes other forms.  We'd like to have the most appropriate responses to others in need.  It's not a "bad thing" to wish for integrity and to defend that one has it.

Understanding that, the est Training provided an environment that challenged one to become unstuck, where decisions and beliefs had actually led one astray.  That's hard to look at, let alone admit, but the genius was having someone uniformly and in blanket fashion attack all belief systems at a metaphysical level.  Why do you suppose how you feel about something has anything to do with how things really are?  Why do you suppose your beliefs about things have anything to do with reality?  The trainer gives off a kind of extreme skepticism that anyone in the room really has a grip.  It takes a strong character to make hundreds of people wrong, but if you can pull it off in the right spirit (heh), you give even the most self-confident and self-secure an occasion to really question.  Why not?  Everyone else is, and you're not being singled out.  Everyone gets pretty much the same treatment.  The trainer makes everyone wrong.

Then towards the end of the training, the trainer (a different person that weekend anyway) switches sides, metaphysically speaking, and makes you right.  Now that you've had a chance to take a look, to make choices, you get to be responsible for what you've decided to keep, to hold onto.  That's something you've chosen now, more than something you've inherited or absorbed unexamined.

Of course in two weekends it would be impossible to look at every belief, assumption, character trait in that light, so it's more a matter of internalizing the process and contacting one's trainer within, a strong mentor or coach (in archetype) who is willing for you to let go of beliefs and attitudes that no longer serve you or add to the quality of your life or to that of the people around you.  This doesn't mean you've been defanged or rendered less dangerous.  On the contrary, when you see yourself as freely choosing your racket / act / role in the world, you may be willing to amp it up, because you sense it's making a positive difference.  Certainly Werner's crew was behaving that way and I didn't blame them.  They were on to something.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nature Boy

:: celine dion ::

:: afro blue jazz choir ::

:: kurt elling ::

Friday, June 22, 2012

Another OMSI Pub

OMSI Science Pub

I joined the OMSI Science Pub impromptu yesterday, knowing nothing about what it would be.  I grabbed a seat, saving the one next to me, and was going to Facebook "come 'n get it" but then thought to call Glenn and text Trevor.

Lew Scholl has been to these before and I'd texted him too.  As it turned out, Trevor could join me and our walking and meeting afterward was productive as usual.

This turned out to be one of two OMSI Science Pubs going on.  The subject was Biomimicry.  The speaker, Richard Louv, said he didn't do slides, or had done, but proved inept at using them.  "Not HTT material" I could hear the generals thinking (big emphasis on PowerPoint in that program) -- more like a late model boy scout.

They used to make fun of the fat kid at camp, and how everything was so much harder on the obstacle course.  Now we're all that fat kid (obesity rates where front and center in the OMSI slides), so we've toned it down quite a bit, so as not to offend ourselves.  

Teasing is the most politically incorrect thing you can do almost, especially where there might be hurt feelings involved. Unless you're trying to make it funny.  There's some tough screening if so.

Richard Louv sings a lot of the same spirituals we do around Portland, he was clear about that.  He hadn't lectured in quite this setting before:  so much booze (the event is held in a brew pub).  Being not from around here, he's maybe not quite so relaxed.

"What is nature?" is actually a good question, as to think vast cities are not natural is to be a little bit crazy, I have to say.  But that's OK.

Richard sounded quite apologetic for his profession's being so invested in pessimism and despair sometimes.  He was speaking of journalism.  The message he wanted to deliver was there's still hope -- something along those lines.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Looking Ahead

I just advised Koski to attend Bridges, as he was already leaning, and to get to the SNEC event about looking back at Black Mountain College, where Ken Snelson and a lot of the Catlin Gabel people went to school.  Asheville is near Hendersonville where I used to camp out in a trailer with the maternal gypsy grandparent (gypsy more in lifestyle then per "some secret" gene only gypsies know about).  I could potentially get there.  Gathering for Gardener is another one I always plan to attend.  Had I gone the first year I was invited, I could have met him.  Now I'm like Muhammad Ali felt about Ho Chi Minh: "if only I'd gone earlier, we could have met."

I mention Ho because I've again be revisiting that historical period, rereading about Nixon's secret bombings and the campaign against the dikes.  The idea that lying in the short term would not catch up with one was apparently accepted among the "real politik" crowd of the day, which is all narrated from a back stage point of view these days in that we see everything.  Here's Jane Fonda on her way into Hanoi, looking out the airplane window.

What is it she sees?

I couldn't put it down and it was only like $6 one of Indiana's few well stocked bookstores. I gratefully acquired it and went on reading to the end.  The bottom line is she's got a brave heart and her relationships with the young men of her generation helped keep some cultural cohesion going, whereas the Dr. Strangelovey types, Blue Meanies (many of them DC-based) had simply gone off the deep end and lost touch with humanity.  They'd been abducted in a bad way you might say, whereas our abductees generally benefit (insider joke).

The apartment on Chavez is starting to see more action, as the former chairman of Pythonia had intended.  Michelle has organized one of those PyLadies events where men are allowed by invitation as guests, but don't get to run the show or even collude to do so.  Sometimes women feel undermined by men, who compare notes behind their backs in mysterious ways, but then that feeling is mutual.

Coming to a balance within oneself is the age old wisdom on this one.  If you're up to something positive, then there's no real guilt in being "caught" in the act.  It's like when Santa Claus is tip toeing around the tree and the lights go on.  "Hey, just doing my job, gotta run!".  Who'd wanna get in his way?  Psychiatrists, sure, but who else?  Anyway, the trainer will pitch her tent at Steve's, who is off in Spain or somewhere.  He doesn't like to see perfectly good resources going to waste.  That's an engineer for ya.  We multitask for a living.

I found out about Catlin Gabel's ties to Black Mountain when I was extended an invitation to one of their Thanksgiving gatherings at the Oregon coast many years ago.  I met some dear people and later went with more family, namely Dawn and Alexia (Tara was not born yet).  I was later to enjoy more correspondence and visits with Kenneth Snelson himself, with whom I associate that college.  I forget when Thinking Out Loud came out on public television, but sometime after these Thanksgivings.  Lots of Black Mountain in there too, including interviews with graduates.

My mom tried to switch me to Catlin when I was little.  She was freaking out about New Math which just seemed too off the rails (not what she remembered from math class).  They must have had a different site back then, as I remember a large stone staircase (I went with her).

This was prior to our exodus from the US entirely and my transplantation into the British education system, in the context of Rome, Italy.  New Math wasn't really happening there either.  Rome was a lot about geometry though.  Those geeky Greeks had really been into it, and the Romans weren't half-bad engineers.

I'd climb the dome of St. Peter's to the copula with my friends, getting a sense the architecture.  I could see where a geodesic of whatever class would have its advantages.  Black Mountain was where Bucky drew enough strength to come up with working prototypes.

Walter Bauersfled and Alexander Graham Bell are sometimes cited for having dug deeply in the same soil that Fuller did later.  That's true, they did.

The Fuller School as a noospheric (and biospheric) story wherein great minds think alike thanks to some zeitgeist or Holy Spirit (the term used in Synergetics) -- which doesn't mean you can't have competing models and/or complementary approaches.  Logie Baird TV was not the same a Philo Fransworth TV.  Betamax is not Blueray.

I'm still connecting some dots with Earlham College as well.  Middle America (so-called by some) is ripe for more bizmo fleets in my estimation.  These need not be emergency vehicles in a big hurry to get anywhere fast.  Driving at speed limit is fast enough.  Bizmos need not be rushed, are more like gypsy caravans, on the move but not under the lash of some harsh taskmaster.  More like Quakers in some ways (unprogrammed).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gay Pride

Gay Pride
:: Melody & Lindsey ::

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Commencement 2012

:: Cleveland High School Commencement Ceremony, 2012 ::