Friday, January 24, 2014

Jefferson County Population by Sex & Age

I hear it constantly from my single, guy friends:  "There aren't enough girls in Port Townsend."

Is it true??

To the 2010 Census Data!:

AGE MALES FEMALES Females per 100 Males
Under 5 554 514 92.77
5-9 years 556 571 102.69
10-14 years 694 673 96.97
15-19 years 696 658 94.54
Under 20 Totals: 2500 2416 96.64
20-24 years 619 486 78.51
25-29 years 611 510 83.46
20's Totals: 1230 996 80.97
30-34 years 605 592 97.85
35-39 years 649 604 93.06
30's Totals: 1254 1196 95.37
40-44 years 763 715 93.7
45-49 years 913 1029 112.7
40's Totals: 1676 1744 104.05
50-54 years 1204 1357 112.7
55-59 years 1438 1625 113
50's Totals: 2642 2982 112.86
60-64 years 1616 1778 110.02
65-69 years 1422 1430 100.56
60's Totals: 3038 3208 105.59
70-74 years 959 919 95.82
75-79 years 700 638 91.14
70's Totals: 1659 1557 93.85
80-84 years 477 471 98.74
85+ years 322 504 156.52
80+ Totals: 799 975 122.02
TOTALS: 14798 15074 101.86

What the data shows:
  • Overall in Jefferson County there are more women than men (15074 women to 14798 men).
  • The largest disparity between the sexes exists among people over the age of 85 where there are 156.52 females per 100 males.  This is undoubtedly due to females living longer than males on average.
  • The second largest disparity between the sexes exists among 20-24 year olds where there are 78.51 females per 100 males.
  • Adult women don't outnumber men in Jefferson County until 45-49 years of age.
  • Among all people in their twenties there are 80.97 females per 100 males.
  • There are more women over 85 than there are between 20-24.
  • While still significantly below the national average (101 females per 100 males in their thirties)-- things are less disparate for people in their thirties (95.37 females per 100 males).  IT GETS BETTER!
  • Unfortunately the census data does not break down what percentage of males or females in these age groups are single, married, divorced or widowed.
  • Also unfortunately, the census data does not break down what percentage of the population is 'dating material' -- if we were able to look at 'datable' males v 'datable' females we may see that on average men in Jefferson County are less 'datable' than women (due to lack of showering, lack of jobs, or lack of social graces) -- which could mean that while the numbers appear skewed against straight, single men, women may not have it better off in the dating department. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

America Don't Worry - By Barack Obama (Fan Fiction)

My fellow Americans, I'm coming to you today because I know many of you are hurting.  The global economy is continuing to slow and it is having a noticeable effect in your lives.  Jobs are hard to come by.  The thought of owning a home seems like an impossibility for young people.  The wealth gap is growing and you're not happy about it.

America, don't worry. I have a plan.

First, as you know, I'm putting forth a jobs plan that will cut taxes for working Americans and small businesses, put people to work rebuilding roads, bridges and schools, help towns keep their teachers, firefighters and police officers, and extend benefits to the long-term unemployed.

My jobs plan will give a much needed boost to the economy... if it passes.  But it will not. Congress is more divided than ever and due to politics-as-usual, Republicans can't afford to let me have any victories.

America, don't worry. The failure of the American Jobs Act is part of my plan.

What I'm going to do is continue to push for the jobs bill in the face of certain defeat. I will then campaign against Republicans as the do-nothing party.

It will be a close election, but I will probably win. I'm well liked, I'm good at campaigning, and I have a pretty good point that Republicans are obstructionists with no real plan of their own.

With that said, there's a chance I may lose.

America, don't worry. Win or lose, this is all part of my plan.

In my second term (or my opponent's first term), I (or they) will fight to push through small pieces of legislation that will benefit the economy. These pieces of legislation, while beneficial, will not be enough.

America, don't worry. Eventually the economy will, for one reason or another, start heading in a positive direction again.

But don't be mistaken.  This economic recovery is not permanent.  It is only a matter of time before the economy goes through another down-turn. And then we get to do the same thing all over again.

Now I understand this sort of plan is what thousands of you who are "occupying" cities around the nation are expressing frustration with.

To you I say this:

I understand your frustration. I came to office hoping for change, and I've done the best I can. Unfortunately I'm finding that creating change from Washington is a slow frustrating grind and the best I can do is admittedly not enough.

America, that should worry you.

So I challenge you:

If you want change, you're going to have to do it yourselves.

Look around you, look at what you truly need to live, and you'll find that the power the 1% holds is almost entirely imaginary.

Take control of your destiny. Don't wait for Washington to act.

You are the 99%, prove it.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Perspectives & the 12 Niches of Ecology

Perspectives are the points of view within the clearings that we are.
And perspectives get more inclusive as we grow/evolve.

Three Perspectives
What, How & Who?
Ontology, Methodology, Epistemology
Body, Mind, Spirit

These 3 exist in each quadrant, and create the 12 Niches of Ecology

Pneuma - Spiritual Experiences
Psyche - Psychological Dynamics
Soma - Somatic Realities

Skillful-means - Effective Actions
Action - Intentional Conduct
Movement - Physical Movements

Commonwealth - Compassionate Perspectives
Community - Worldviews
Communion - Intercorporeal Dimensions

Matrices - Subtle Systems
Institutions - Social Systems
Intersections - Natural Systems

Friday, April 1, 2011

Communicating Integral Sustainability Seminar by Barrett Brown

Below are notes from a seminar entitled "Communicating Integral Sustainability" by Barrett Brown. They outline the best sources & the best-fit approach to reaching people at each color value system (as presented in Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck), as well as the "cold buttons" that each color value system responds negatively to.

Purple - The "Eco-Guardian"

Best Sources:
- Counsel from revered elders, the caring chieftain or shaman
- From within the family/tribe/clan; an insider
- Through signals and omens from the spirit/natural realm
- The word of ancestors and their ways
- The collective sense of supportive peers

Best-Fit Approach:
- Refer to traditional rites, rituals, ceremonies, icons,
- Reference mystical elements, superstitions, magic
- Appeal to extended family, harmony, and safety
- Honor blood bonds, the folk, the group, taboos
- Utilize familiar metaphors, drawings & emblems
- Rely very little on written language
- Use storytelling, fables instead of facts, emotions, drama, songs, dances, richly imaginative two dimensional images

Cold buttons:
- Speak ill of chief or tribe
- Step on or desecrate sacred grounds
- Violate taboos or ritual ways
- Introduce ambiguity
- Isolate and force accelerated change and uncertainty
- Threaten family (animals & plants included)
- Disrespect elders or ancestors
- Don't try to understand

Red - The "Eco-Warrior"

Best Sources:
- Person with recognized power
- Straight talking Big Boss
- One with something to offer
- Respected, revered, or feared other
- Celebrated "idol" with reputation
- Someone of proven trustworthiness

Best-Fit Approach:
- Demonstrate "What's in it for me now?"
- Offer "Immediate gratification if..."
- Challenge and appeal to machismo/strength
- Point out heroic status and legendary potential
- Be flashy, unambiguous, reality-based & strong
- Use simple language and fiery images/graphics
- Appeal to narcissistic tendencies

Cold Buttons:
- Challenge power or courage
- Shame or put down person/group
- Move onto turf uninvited
- Display more powerful weapons
- Make gestures and name call; be derisive and laugh
- Make the other lose face
- Taunt as an outsider
- Appear or talk weak
- Make excuses

Blue - The "Eco-Manager"

Best Sources:
- Rightful, proper kind of authority
- Higher position on the One True Way
- Down the chain of command
- According to the book's rules & regulations
- Person with position, power & rank
- In compliance with tradition & precedent
- As directed by a divinely ordained Power

Best-Fit Approach:
- Invoke duty, honor, country; images of discipline and obedience to a higher authority; being a good citizen
- Call for self-sacrifice for a higher cause or purpose
- Appeal to traditions, laws and norms; stability and order
- Draw upon propriety, righteousness and responsibilities, being prepared
- Show how this sacrificial behavior will insure future rewards and require delayed gratification
- Point out that this behavior will assuage guilt with its correct consequences
- Speak to the organized, well-structured, orderliness of nature

Cold Buttons:
- Attack religion, country or ethnic heritage
- Desecrate symbols or Holy books
- Put down the One True-Way
- Violate the chain of command
- Disregard rules and directives
- Appear unfair or sleazy
- Use profanity
- Demean the standards

Orange - The "Eco-Strategist"

Best Sources:
- One's own right-thinking mind
- Successful mentors and models
- Credible professionals and "gurus"
- Prosperous, successful, elite contacts
- Sources which are advantageous to the self-image
- Sources which result from one's own observations
- Sources based upon tried-and-true experience & experimentation

Best-Fit Approach:
- Appeal to competitive advantage and leverage
- Draw upon success motivations and the chance of achieving abundance, growth, progress; the challenge!
- Call for bigger, better, newer, faster, more popular
- Cite experts and selected authorities
- Use scientific data, calculated risks, proven experience
- Show increased profit, productivity, quality, results; offer a greater chance of winning; better business strategy
- Demonstrate it as the best of several options
- Treat like a VIP; appeal to status; state-of-the-art; fashionable
- Show as way to preempt government intervention in markets

Cold Buttons:
- Put down profit or entrepreneurism
- Talk about collectivization
- Challenge compulsive drives
- Deny rewards for good performance
- Force sameness
- Remove the cost of prestige
- Trap with rules and procedures
- Seem inflexible or ordinary
- Treat as one of the herd

Green - The "Eco-Radical"

Best Sources:
- Consensual, communitarian norms
- Enlightened friend/colleague
- The outcome of participation and sharing
- The result of enlightenment, becoming
- Observation of events
- The here and now
- Appeals to affect/feelings/emotions

Best-fit Approach:
- Enhance a sense of belonging, sharing, group harmony
- Show sensitivity to human issues and care for others
- Call for an expansion of awareness and understanding of inner self as well as liberation of the oppressed
- Draw upon symbols of equity, humanity, and bonding
- Use gentle languaging and nature imagery
- Build trust, openness, exploration, passages for growth
- Present real people and authentic emotional displays
- Encourage participation, sharing, involvement, consensus, inclusion, teamwork, community involvement
- Refer to social responsibility, political correctness, corporate citizenship
- Symbiosis, cooperation, communication

Cold Buttons:
- Assault the group's goals & ideals
- Try to get centralized control
- Reject the collective for individual accountability
- Deny affect & feelings
- Degrade quality of life or environment
- Rely on "hard facts" to the exclusion of people factors
- Act elitist or exclusive

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER: Communicating to multiple value systems simlutaneously

5 P's for Multi-Developmental Level Communication

Purple- Bond
Red - Express - Personal Power
Blue - Manage - Principle
Orange - Strategize - Profit
Green - Harmonize - People
Yellow - Align - Planet

Abigail Huston's Development of Aesthethics:
Accountive - Storytelling; concrete observations about the environment woven into a narrative; colored by emotions and drama
Constructive - First framework for looking at the environment. The world should look the way it's "supposed to."
Classifying - Categorize, explain and rationalize the environment using facts and figures
Interpretative - Seek a personal encounter with the environment; use feelings and intuitions to let the meaning emerge
Re-creative - Seeing the environment with a flexibility and a not-knowing, combining personal contemplation with universal concern

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The New World We Live In

"We are concerned no longer with cultural inflections, but with a passage from one culture stage to another. In all previous ages, only restricted portions of the surface of the earth were known. Men looked out from the narrowest, upon a somewhat larger neighborhood, and beyond that, a great unknown. They were all, so to say, insular: bound in. Whereas our view is confined no longer to a spot of space on the surface of this earth. It surveys the whole of the plane. And this fact, this lack of horizon, is something new."

Leo Frobenious in Monumenta Terrarum (1929)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Retro-Romantic Approach

"other theorists then go further and maintain that most of humankind's problems came with the invention of farming itself, because with farming the human animal began to deliberately alter the biosphere for its own gratification, produced a written language that ensconced power in the dogmatic text, produced an agricultural surplus that allowed some individuals to begin to economically control and enslave others, and began the wholesale subjugation of women. And, indeed, most of that did begin with agrarian farming.
So, these theorists maintain, we really should never have gone past hunting-and-gathering societies. The delightful things then said about these societies--some of which were peace-loving and rather egalitarian, and some of which were not--are, at the least, astonishingly one-sided. Until other theorists carefully point out that precious few of these societies were actually egalitarian, that warfare most definitely existed, that the very seeds of sexist subjugation were planted here, that slavery was not unheard of...
We really should have never gone past gorillas, who at least don't deliberately sacrifice their own or engage in renegade warfare, where slavery is nonexistent and no animal is alienated from its own labors. Until you realize...
And so it goes, scraping layers and layers of depth off the Kosmos looking for a Garden of Eden that ever recedes into a shallower darkness.
My point is that it is one thing to remember and embrace and honor our roots; quite another to hack off our leaves and branches and celebrate that as a solution to leaf rot. So we will celebrate the new possibilities of evolution even as we gasp in horror--and try to redress-- the multiplicity of new pathologies."

Ken Wilber in Sex, Ecology, Spirituality

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Michael Murphy on Beyond Awakening

Below is a snippet I grabbed from Terry Patten's interview with Michael Murphy on his wonderful new Beyond Awakening (free) teleseries. Check it out here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Description of the Nondual State

"The first time this became even fleetingly obvious to me was at a sesshin, or intensive Zen retreat. On the fourth day there appeared, so to speak, the state of the witness, the transpersonal witness that steadily, calmly, clearly witnesses all arising events, moment to moment. Even in dreaming, one merely witnesses: One can see the dream start, proceed, and end (what Charles Tart has called "translucent dreams"). Roshi, however, was thoroughly unimpressed with all this "makyo." "The witness," he said, "is the last stand of the ego."
"At that point, the whole stance of the witness absolutely disappeared. There was no subject anywhere in the universe; there was no object anywhere in the universe; there was only the universe. Everything was arising moment to moment, and it was arising in me and as me; yet there was no me. It is very important to realize that this was not a loss of faculties but a peak-enhancement of them, it was no blank trance but perfect clarity; not depersonalized but transpersonalized. No personal faculties--language, logic, concepts, motor skills--were lost or impaired. Rather, they all functioned, for the first time, it seemed to me, in radical openness, free from the defenses thrown up by a separate-self sense. This radically open, undefended, and perfectly nondual state was both incredible and profoundly ordinary, so extraordinarily ordinary that it did not even register. There was nobody there to comprehend it, until I fell out of it (I guess about three hours later)."

From "Odyssey: A Personal Inquiry into humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology" by Ken Wilber, printed in The Simple Feeling of Being, page 40.

The Paradox of Change

"The paradox is that the more one attempts to be who one is not, the more one remains the same. Conversely, when people identify with their current experience, the conditions of wholeness and growth support change."

From the Wikipedia article on Gestalt Therapy

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tell me: Who are you?

"Let your mind relax. Let your mind relax and expand, mixing with the sky in front of it. Then notice:the clouds float by in the sky, and you are effortlessly aware of them. Feelings float by in the body, and you are effortlessly aware of them as well. Nature floats by, feelings float by, thoughts float by ... and you are aware of them all.
So tell me: Who are you?
You are not your thoughts, for you are aware of them. You are not your feelings, for you are aware of them. You are not any objects that you can see, for you are aware of them.
Something in you is aware of all these things. So tell me: What is it in you that is conscious of everything?"

Ken Wilber, Boomeritis, 336 (TSFOB, 31)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Critique of Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King & Halee Fischer-Wright

I finished listening to the audio book Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King & Halee Fischer-Wright (available free here thanks to which presents the 5 stages of corporate tribes depicted below.

The descriptive aspects of the book were right on, based on research, and useful to know. For instance, I found it interesting, though not surprising, that dysfunctional tribes (stages 1 - 3) make up a whopping 75% of the corporate world. (While at first glance it seems like only the first two stages are inherently dysfunctional, Stage Three "I'm great" is dysfunctional because of the inherent corollary "you're not great." This "I'm great and you're not" dynamic creates a tribe of defensive, isolated, overworked, and angry people.)

Though I agree with the authors' mapping of corporate stages, unfortunately, as is the case with a lot of non-fiction literature, things went a little awry when the authors got prescriptive. Specifically, the authors present the solutions to the dysfunctions of Stages 1-3 as primarily a change in mindset to be initiated by a "Tribal Leader"-- the leader just needs to lead the confused worker out of their funk, and voilĂ , they'll create a more positive work atmosphere. Which is a bit of a truism.

For instance, the book says if you're leading a group of people from Stage 2 "My life sucks" to Stage 3 "I'm great", you'll want to spot and work with the few members who want things to be different and explain that you see potential in them and you want to start working with them on developing leadership. However, the authors warn us that "depending on how long he has been at stage two, he may have developed an immunity to praise believing it to be a technique of manipulation." Their solution to this: lead them (manipulate them?) into thinking they're not being manipulated.

What's missing here is an understanding of the complexity of the situation. The fact is, when it comes to stage two, their lives probably do suck. They're probably working jobs that make use of none of their potential. They're probably working for companies who are focused on making money. They're tired of being a cog in someone else's machine. They're tired in general. And leading this miserable person into stage 3 by getting them to place their frustration on to someone else seems like a strange technique to advocate.

The book justifies this by saying that once the frustration is lifted from their own life and placed on to those who aren't as good (Stage 3), they can then push through to Stage 4 "We're great" whereby everyone in the tribe's frustration is again displaced-- this time on to the tribe's competitors.

This seems to make sense. However, these stages are not a fully developmental sequence: not all businesses start at level 1 and then move on to level 2, and so on. A brand new business could exist anywhere on the scale. So if a business could potentially start up at level 4, why all the talk about needing to drag employees through all the lower stages?

It's because many, if not most, jobs out there are hard to make satisfying. And once you're unsatisfied, it's an incremental process to making yourself feel better. If you're life sucks because of your job the one thing you can do is work to become better than other people- and then at least you'll feel a little self worth, if only in relation to those who have lesser worth than you. And once you realize you're better than most at your sucky job, and you're tired of being around people who suck, maybe then you'll have a break through and realize the people you work with don't suck as much as the people at that other company. Maybe then you'll have successfully tricked yourself into thinking that things aren't so bad at your sucky job... of course, this would all be much easier if you didn't have to trick yourself, and instead you had a tribal leader to do all the tricking.

I mock, but the fact is, a full treatment of these stages would involve all of the physical, social and institutional factors that cause people to be satisfied or dissatisfied with their jobs and wouldn't focus solely on the internal psychological patterns for coping with job dissatisfaction.


The Author, Dave Logan, responded(!):


Co-author's Response

Hi everyone,

The thoughtfulness of this discussion is refreshing.

Three quick points. First, Tribal Leadership is only about the lower left quadrant (culture). We argue, consistent with the thinking on this topic going back to Ed Schein, that culture cannot be measured directly, so we use language and structure of relationships as a proxy. The point about the subject needing to more complex is right on. For a business to move from "stage two" to "stage three," for example, requires address all of the other quadrants, including systems (lower right), individual behavior (upper right), and individual interior development (upper left). So why right an incomplete book? Because as people familiar with the integral movement have noted, almost all the action is on the two right quadrants. A lot of the self-help books get at the upper right quadrant, although with a stunning lack of insight. So culture has remained relatively unexplored in the mainstream business market. Not surprisingly, organizations often create new strategies and systems that cannibalize culture, resulting in an impotent organization. We wrote Tribal Leadership to fill in this gap, and as I mentioned to Ken when interviewing him for the book, as an "integral light" book.

Second, on the point about "why not get it right from the start," that's valid, and in fact, we devote a significant part of the book to that topic. Unlike the "Good to Great" argument, we didn't find that a culture can be built great and that it remains great. Unless it is constantly attended to, culture erodes, down to stage three or two. Most big companies have big, dumb cultures that can't innovate or motivate people. The challenge in those cases is to elevate their cultures as they also work on upgrading systems, strategies, individual performance, and hopefully, developing people through the individual stages that are familiar to people on this web site.

Third, on people's lives sucking, all of the points made here (including in the comments) are valid. Pragmatically, it's not about giving them a pass or manipulating them, it's about empowering them in a way that they can then empower others. We're not proponents of "stop sucking or lose your job," or any kind of trickery. It's about giving people opportunities and then seeing what they do. I've been in cultures that were so stuck in the mud that the victim mentality became invisible to people, including to me. This is not about creating blame, but we have to recognize that organizations can be, to quote the critical literature on the subject, "psychic prisons." Look at the recent numbers on employee engagement. Many people feel that their lives suck, in part, because we put them in rigid job descriptions, ask them to do mindless and uncreative work while tightening their belts and remaining motivated. Those same organizations reject ideas not invented by the people in power. So there is a sense where management needs to take responsibility for creating environments that pull people down to stage two ("my life sucks").

Anyway, thanks for the comments. My life sucks--time for coffee. :)


I like his response.

Friday, August 20, 2010


"The Buddhist teaching of no-self says that the person I think I am is, in a certain way, not real, at least not in the way I conceive it and enact it in my daily life. But it's important to understand that this isn't a doctrine or a theory, it's just a description of what Buddhists generation after generation have verified as true. The "self" is an aggregation, a collection of sub-components that can be broken down endlessly. Similarly, anything your mind can identify as a discrete item is actually an accumulation. There is no real self anywhere, not in you, not in anything you sense or can identify."
"So what is the experience of selflessness? It is simply the act of not seeing a collection of constantly shifting phenomena or perceptions as a single fixed entity. What is it really? It is actually a collection of phenomena or perceptions."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why is Indian Philosophy ignored by Western educational institutions?

"An addendum and parting shot at the opposition. As mentioned, most
of us are acutely aware of our philosophy colleagues’ ignorance of Indian
philosophies, which is, particularly after the labor of Potter and others,
disappointing. My own take is that much of the problem is due to the
prevalence of cultural relativism, the presumption being that Indian
philosophy has to be very different. Here ethnocentrism is evident. An
assumption of ‘‘otherness’’ blocks interest on the part of philosophers.
Too much history would have to be learned, and connections to current
interests seem unlikely. Thus by opposing cultural relativism in the way
outlined here a larger goal of our subfield may be served, broader
recognition of classical Indian accomplishment and better integration into
a standard philosophy curriculum."

-the closing paragraph of a paper entitled The Indian Demise of Cultural Relativism by Stephen H. Phillips Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at the University of Texas.

In this paper he argues that while such things as philosophical judgments or ethical standards are derived from human conditions within various cultures, they are not by necessity relative cultural creations. Just as within various cultures objective logical or mathematical rules have emerged, so do certain ethical standards & philosophical judgments.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Csikszentmihalhyi on Enhancing Personal Creativity

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has a book entitled Creativity: Flow and Psychology of Discovery and Invention. For this book he interviewed highly creative people from a variety of disciplines (including Ed Asner, Stephen Jay Gould, Jane Loevinger, Jonas Salk, Ravi Shankar, and Edward O. Wilson) and used their testimony to develop and present a deeper understanding of Creativity. Admittedly, I have not read the entire book, but the last chapter titled Enhancing Personal Creativity he gives great advice for becoming more creative and I've outlined it below:

Enhancing Personal Creativity

Acquisition of Creative Energy
Curiosity and Interest
  • Try to be surprised by something every day.
  • Try to surprise at least one person every day.
  • Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others.
  • When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it.
Cultivating Flow in Everyday Life
  • Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to.
  • If you do anything well, it becomes enjoyable.
  • To keep enjoying something, you need to increase its complexity.
Habits of Strength
  • Take charge of you schedule
  • Make time for reflection and relaxation
  • Shape your space
  • Find out what you like and what you hate about life.
  • Start doing more of what you love, less of what you hate.
Internal Traits
  • Develop what you lack.
  • Shift often from openness to closure.
  • Aim for complexity.
The Application of Creative Energy
Problem Finding
  • Find a way to express what moves you.
  • Look at problems from as many viewpoints as possible.
  • Figure out the implications of the problem.
  • Implement the solution.
Divergent Thinking
  • Produce as many ideas as possible.
  • Have as many different ideas as possible.
  • Try to produce unlikely ideas.
Choosing a Special Domain
  • Try as many domains as possible
  • Focus on domains that fit your interests

Thursday, July 29, 2010

True Humor is Laughter at One's Self

"In the words of a Chinese Zen master, "Nothing is left to you at this
moment but to have a good laugh!" As James Broughton put it:
This is It
and I am It
and You are It
and so is That
and He is It
and She is It
and It is It
and That is That.(4)
True humor is, indeed, laughter at one's Self—at the Divine Comedy,
the fabulous deception, whereby one comes to imagine that a creature
in existence is not also of existence, that what man is is not also what
everything is. All the time we "know it in our bones" but conscious
attention, distracted by details and differences, cannot see the whole for
the parts."

From Alan Watts' The Book

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tapping, Emotional Freedom Technique

EB - Eyebrow
SE - Side of Eye
UE - Under Eye
UN - Under Nose
Ch - Chin
CB - Collar Bone
UA - Under Arm
BN - Below Nipple
Th - Thumb
IF - Index Finger
MF - Middle Finger
BF - Baby Finger
KC - Karate Chop

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is essentially a meditative practice combining physical & mental triggers for personal compassion and mindfulness. The way it is packaged, using terms like "energy systems", is a little too new-agey for my taste; but I've tried the technique and have been pleased with it.

Self Awareness: Breaking the Bonds of Memetic Servitude

"Beyond the illusion of ego exists a deeper conceptualization of self: the universe consists of a swirling, dynamic dance of power-relationships, with the black-and-white construct of the individual giving way to the grayer concept of the individual as a nexus of these connections. No true separation between individual and environment remains. Our consciousness has developed as a tool used by other entities, but it has provided the ultimate tool for our use to which no other nexus has access: self-awareness. The understanding that self-awareness exists to serve the meme breaks that bond of servitude—it acts as the realization of enlightenment. Re-read the last sentence. The individual re-emerges as a discrete point of true awareness—not delusional ego-awareness, but awareness of our status as a nexus in the dance of power-relationships. Every atom in our body changes, replaced with new matter through the course of eating, metabolism and elimination—we literally do not consist of the same substance today that we did last year. At death we remain physically the same structure, but not the same entity. These examples illustrate that we exist as much more than a complex assemblage of particles. Our true substance seems to more closely resemble a hub and relay to vast webs of power-relationships. While we exist in a constant state of physical flux, we remain a stable, self-aware nexus. Coming to terms with our existence merges science and spirituality, leading ultimately down the classical path of enlightenment-beyond-ego. This realization will set us free."

From Jeff Vail's A Theory of Power (Available online here)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Education and Spontaneity

Initially, knowledge acquisition, especially through formal education, snuffs out imagination & spontaneity. This leads many people to decry education. They see the dulling of imagination as a wrong that has been done to them. A part of them has been brutally neglected by the powers that be. But that is not a completely honest telling -- while it is true that imagination and spontaneity decrease during the time of your life devoted to acquiring knowledge within school walls, this is a necessary step to bring your self into the rational world space. The person who mourns the death of their imagination and blames 'the system' has wrongly assumed that personal growth ends when formal education ends. Formal education is the beginning, it provides the rather dull foundation upon which the rich colorful world you tasted as a child can be rediscovered.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Central Ideas of the Major Epochs

"Every great epoch of human evolution seems to have one absolutely central idea, an idea that totally dominates the entire epoch, and summarizes its entire approach to Spirit and Kosmos, and tells us something altogether profound. And each seems to build upon its predecessor. These ideas are so simple and so central, they can be put in a sentence.
Foraging: Spirit is interwoven with earthbody. Foraging cultures the world over sing this profound truth. The very earth is our blood and bones and marrow, and we are all sons and daughters of that earth--in which, and through which, Spirit flows freely.
Horticulture: But Spirit demands sacrifice. Sacrifice is the great theme running through all horticultural societies, and not just in the concrete form of actual ritual sacrifice, although we certainly see it there as well. But the central and pervading notion is that certain specific human steps must be taken to come into accord with Spirit. Ordinary or typical humanity has to get out of the way, so to speak-- has to be sacrificed--in order for spirit to shine forth more clearly. In other wods, there are steps on the way to a more fully realized Spiritual awareness.
Agrarian: These spiritual steps are in fact arrayed in a Great Chain of Being. The Great Chain is the central, dominant, inescapable theme of every mythic-agrarian society the world over, without exception. And since most of "civilized history" as been agrarian history, Lovejoy was quite right in stating that the Great Chain has been the dominant idea in most of civilized culture.
Modernity: The Great Chain unfolds in evolutionary time. In other words, evolution. The fact that Spirit was usually left out of the equation is simply the disaster of modernity, not the dignity nor the definition of modernity. Evolution is the one great background concept that hangs over every single modern movement; it is the God of modernity. And in fact, this is a tremendously spiritual realization, because, whether or not it consciously identifies itself as spiritual, the fact is that it plugs humans into the Kosmos in an unbroken fashion, and further, points to the inescapable but frightening fact that humans are co-creators of their own evolution, their own history, their own worldspaces, because:
Postmodernity: Nothing is pregiven; the world is not just a perception but also an interpretation. That this leads many postmodernists into fits of aperspectival madness is not our concern. That nothing is pregiven is the great postmodern discovery, and it plugs humans into a plastic Kosmos of their own co-creation, Spirit become self-conscious in the most acute forms, on the way to its own superconscious shock."

From Ken Wilber's A Brief history of Everything (322-23)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Can we skip steps of development?

Ken wilber quoting Sri Aurobindo:

"The spiritual evolution obeys the logic of a successive unfolding; it can take a new decisive main step only when the previous main step has been sufficiently conquered: even if certain minor stages can be swallowed up or leaped over by a rapid and brusque ascension, the consciousness has to turn back to assure itself that the ground passed over is securely annexed to the new condition; a greater or concentrated speed [of development, which is indeed possible] does not eliminate the steps themselves or the necessity of their successive surmounting."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Aperspectival Madness: Hiding Behind Irony

“Aperspectival madness” might fairly well describe much of the last two decades of art, art criticism, lit crit, and cultural studies. Irony is one of the few places you can hide in a world of aperspectival madness -- say one thing, mean another, therefore don’t get caught in the embarrassment of taking a stand. (Since, allegedly, no stand is better than another, one simply must not commit -- sincerity is death). So skip sincerity, opt for sardonic. Don’t construct, deconstruct; don’t look for depth, just hug the surfaces; avoid content, offer noise -- “surfaces, surfaces, surfaces is all they ever found,” as Bret Easton Ellis summarized the scene. No wonder that David Foster Wallace, in a recent essay that received much attention, lamented the pervasiveness of the art of “trendy, sardonic exhaustion” and “reflexive irony,” art that is “sophisticated and extremely shallow.”

From Ken Wilber Online: Here

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ken Wilber's Four Quadrants: The Basics

"Okay. Let's say i have a thought of going to the grocery store. When I have that thought, what I actually experience is the thought itself, the interior thought and its meaning--the symbols, the images, the idea of going to the grocery store. That's Upper Left.
While I am having this thought, there are, of course, correlative changes occurring in my brain--dopamine increases, acetylcholine jumps the synapses, beta brain waves increase, or whatnot. Those are observable brain behaviors in my brain. they can be empirically observed, scientifically registered. And that is Upper Right.
Now the internal thought itself only makes sense in terms of my cultural background. If I spoke a different language, the thought would be composed of different symbols and have different meanings. If I existed in a primal tribal society a million years ago, I would never even have thought "going to the grocery store." It might be, "Time to kill the bear." The point is that my thoughts themselves arise in a cultural background that gives texture and meaning and context to my individual thoughts, and indeed, I would not even be able to "talk to myself" if I did not exist in a community of individuals who also talk to me.
But culture itself is not simply disembodied, hanging in idealistic midair. It has material components, which as my own individual thoughts have material brain components. All cultural events have social correlates. These concrete social components include types of technology, forces of production (horticultural, agrarian, industrial, etc.), concrete institutions, written codes and patterns, geopolitical locations (towns, villages, states, etc.), and so on. And these material, social, empirically observable components--the actual social system-- are crucial in helping to determine the types of cultural worldview."

-- From A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber, pg. 80-81