Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Coralroot: Rainbow Gathering's Beginnings, Communitas

Two tribes, one from northern California and one from the Pacific Northwest {Oregon and Washington}, gathered in Colorado in 1972, and that's how the Rainbow Gathering began in part.

Last year's Rainbow Gathering met in the Bridger Teton National Forest in Wyoming at around 9000 feet elevation. {Rainbow Gathering 2008 photos ~ picasaweb.google.com/helianth/RainbowFamilyGatheringOfLivingLight2008WyomingScottMacLeod#}. This year's Gathering meets in the Santa Fe National Forest near Cuba, New Mexico. {Click on the 'Rainbow Gathering' label on this page to read about it}.


This is about the 38th year for the gathering. It meets in a different place every year.

Last year I found an unique Rainbow (hippie) kind of communitas, or togetherness, remarkable. I'm curious to see explore communitas this year there.


Hexalectris spicata var. arizonica (S.Watson) Catling & V.S.Engel






Spiked crested coralroot

Monday, June 29, 2009

Swiss Wilderness: Monte Verita in the 1920s, Seeking Alternative Visions of Life, Ecstasy {MDMA}

Countercultural, utopian visions have a pretty long history.

Monte Verita (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Verita) in Ticino in Switzerland in the 1920s is perhaps one expression of this.

In a broad way, I see

Herman Hesse's "Journey to the East" and "Siddartha" ...

Bertolt Brecht's plays and writings, especially vis-a-vis the proletariat ...

Albert Hoffman's chemistry ...

as expressions of this.

But I'm not sure whether Anton Koellisch's synthesis of MDMA (ecstasy or X - methylene dioxy meth amphetamine) at Merck around 1912 was part of the broad culture which informed Monte Verita or not. {How might we think of the above writings, as well as MDMA, as information technologies?}

These alternative and countercultural envisionings seek new ways of life.

I see Harbin Hot Springs as another expression of this.

"Individualistic vegetarianism," and nudity were key aspects of Monte Verità, I learned yesterday, speaking with a {French speaking} Swiss friend.

How these expressions of alternative life play out through time are fascinating. Monte Verita is now a center.


To the Rainbow Gathering in New Mexico ...

Welcome Home ...

All Ways Free ...


And 'progress' occurs ...

Let's see about eliciting loving bliss, naturally, when and as we want ...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Trees in the Mist: J.S. Bach, Fugue-like States, Loving Bliss as Fugues

J.S. Bach ... and fugues ...

fugue-like states ... when and as you want them ... are wonderful and a great idea ...

By playing them on the piano? Why not? As duets?

And to get to a variety of fugue-like states?

Telemann ...

Vivaldi ...

Ravi Shankar ...

Great ragas ...

Bagpiping ...

Grateful Dead ...
which can also be flow states - {flow: the psychology of optimal experiences}

Ah, and loving bliss as fugue-like states ...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Three Fingered Jack: Gray Water System & Orchards Are Wonderful

The day is hot on the ridge in Canyon, California ~

and folks here are putting in a gray water system (water from the sink and shower, but not the toilet, for watering the yard),

ultimately to water fruit trees (dwarf trees with delicious fruit, I hope} on the slope below our homes ...

doing this makes so much sense ...

and orchards are wonderful!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Light Illuminates The Evening

Light illuminates the evening

On the Canyon hill across from my house,

Mountain shadow on mountain.

(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2009/06/light-illuminates-evening.html June 26, 2009)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Desolation Wilderness: Backed Up Your Computer Recently?, Human Behavior, Relaxation Response

Have you backed up your computer recently?

Theft and hard drive failures happen, and these can be very costly ...


How to develop ease and happiness in today's world, even loving bliss {scottmacleod.com/LovingBlissPractices.htm}, especially in the interpretation of challenging aspects of human behavior?


The relaxation response explored richly in a variety of ways (restorative yoga, the pools at Harbin Hot Springs, walks and talking with friends, contact improv, helping others, listening to music, dancing, not hurting others, nonviolence) can help ...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Triple Rainbow: Visiting Harbin Hot Springs, World University & School is Growing, Rainbow Gathering

Leaving Harbin Hot Springs ...

Visiting there, especially the pools, is like coming home ...


World University and School ~ worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University ~ is growing day by day, link by link, and step by step ...

How to make it a very helpful and complementary resource for everyone ... where we can all teach and learn


To the Rainbow Gathering in New Mexico soon ... Welcome Home

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bolete Mushrooms: Wide Variety of Species' Habits, Cultivating Contentment in a Discipline, Loving Bliss

Some good friends whom I just visited in rural Oregon understand a very wide variety of species' habits and ways of living, that live around them. They are both very knowledgeable and observant of these other life forms' behaviors.

My friends had just gotten a new puppy, half Australian shepherd, and it was charming to see us and this very happy dog interact. It was an interesting expression of loving behavior in a breed of dog. And we engaged it in very loving and understanding ways. In a way this puppy was flourishing, and this engendered a kind of flourishing of interaction.

All of this came very naturally for all of us. {Similarly, in exploring bliss, the bliss which I've experienced in my life has also been largely the consequence of natural, social processes}.

My friends' ranch - tree farm - natural area which I visited in Oregon was also flourishing after 50 years of sustainable tree farming. It is also a fascinating and beautiful example of a realized vision, - through a lot of hard work. (On their ranch, they have access to the internet, but it's very limited). It's very nice to be with friends, and away from the internet for a while).


How to cultivate contentment in the discipline of practicing a musical instrument? ...

And in eliciting loving bliss, with friends?


A healthy, rested bodymind, the relaxation response, and flax seed oil (for omega-3 fatty acids), are, in my experience, good bases for exploring eliciting flourishing and eliciting loving bliss.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iguana: Leaving Oregon, In Tune with Different Species

Leaving Oregon ... Oregon is a different place, with a different culture, an unique vision, and different laws,


and 'place' matters ...


My friends there are in tune with different species, both in terms of naturalism, and living with other species ...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Morel Mushrooms: How to Get to 'There,' When the 'There' is the Virtual, Loving Bliss

How to get to 'there,' when the 'there' is the virtual.

Much of life involves engaging the real, the material, the physical, the biological, but words, symbols and digital technologies seem to me to influence and give form to the virtual, involving getting there in one's bodymind.

Aspects of the virtual include the language and culture.


And what if the 'there' is the neurophysiology of loving bliss?

Engage related symbols?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Least Bittern: Arriving at Sierra Hot Springs

Arriving at Sierra Hot Springs

Sierra Hot Springs

in the very beautiful Sierra Valley

in northern California

is a welcome way point

on my journey to Oregon

to visit family.

I stopped in at the lodge,

registering late at night,

camped by the meditation pool

and awoke to ponderosa pines,

marsh willows, and a grand, open valley.

I first went into the pool,

then to the lodge,

where, in the green room,

I heard chanting of kirtan,

and a harmonium.

What a pleasant sound.

A woman came out,

with a bindi.

Is she Spanish?

And then a girl

- her daughter? -

with a bindi, as well.

I never saw this here before.

The wood in the lodge here

is beautiful, and settling ~

an expression of California.

To the pool in the Dome soon.



Ixobrychus exilis (J. F. Gmelin, 1789)


Least Bittern

(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2009/06/least-bittern-arriving-at-sierra-hot.html - June 15, 2009)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Azure Bluet: Evolutionary Biology, Nontheistic Friendly Community, Connectedness and Loving Bliss


{The following letters are a synthesis of a number of recent letters I've posted to a nontheist friends' list}.

Nontheist Friends,

I'm writing to see if we might develop a far-reaching conversation about evolutionary biology vis-a-vis nontheist friends.

(By way of introduction, I've attended about 7 different unprogrammed Friends' {Quaker} meetings over many years, and teach about and study anthropology, sociology and information technology).

Here's an overview of one possible way of thinking about evolutionary biology and nontheist friends, involving a kind of historicization of biological developments, as I see them.

There are so many tens of thousands of generations that precede us, and a predisposition for people affiliated with even atheism / nontheism not to engage questions concerning evolutionary biology. This is curious to me, perhaps because this seems to represent a significant disjunction between human biological legacies and cultural ones, to use language I'm engaging.

So, a quick sketch from my perspective vis-a-vis life and nontheistic friends: In the Cambrian explosion some 550-515 million years ago, a little cordate creature (and 23 phylla) developed, perhaps something that could have been an ancestor of ours. (See Gould's "Wonderful Life" on how evolution works, and the fossil finds in the Burgess Shale). 65 million years ago, dinosaurs disappeared in the K-T extinction, but frog-size reptiles and squirrel-size mammals survived. (It was warm and there was food, even if it was dark for extended periods of time, is one main hypothesis). Around 7-5 million years ago homo sapiens emerged, standing upright.

Language's emergence is lost in the depths of time and generations (although see Terrence Deacon's "The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of the Brain and Language" for an explanation of how the human brain got bigger due to articulation of symbols (his thesis)). 5500 years ago is the first evidence for the beginnings of writing. There's lots of history (memes) to 1660s, when Friends started to sit in silent meeting, and conduct meeting for business, and develop the peace testimony, generating social forms that have continued through to today. They did this in a very turbulent time in Cromwellian (is one way of characterizing it) England.

Staying with the biological, I wonder if the centering down that occurred in a) silent meeting, and the listening that occurred in b) meetings for business, as well as the orientation to c) peaceableness, were forms of the relaxation response (Herbert Benson MD 1972 - a biological phenomenon, which can be very harmonizing and integrating), leading to calm, group, social networking, and a successful approach to age-old, human, group, conflictual tensions through nonviolence, in an increasingly prosperous, yet industrializingly-chaotic Britain - with long, evolutionary biological antecedents. (Were Quakers somehow more like Bonobo chimps, about whom data so far shows to be peaceful, egalitarian, with very little violence and without war or homicide, than common chimps, which have war and commit homicide? These behaviors may have emerged over millions of years, and tens of thousands of generations). In this privileging of biology, early Friends would have troopbonded (Money 1988) around the above practices, as well as early Friends' language, which they found beneficial and socially integrative for the group, but wouldn't ever have considered explaining these in biological terms, since evolutionary language didn't exist 350 years ago.

Nontheistic friendly thinking emerges (Atheism and Quakers), and the 'biological' logically (if not theism, or, if nontheism, then biology ...) comes into this conversation, but with thus far a lack of engagement with questions of biology by nontheist friends, that I have read.

Originating from anthropological, sociological and information technological interests and skills, I think that engaging questions of biology & nontheist friends' discourse, exclusive of identity questions (viz. anthropology), if possible, has merit.

And given the centrality of the Internet (a new, far-reaching cultural development) to our nontheistically friendly conversation, perhaps giving rise to a new Quaker discourse and identity, where are nontheistically friendly kids (biology)?

I think it would be fascinating to engage questions of evolutionary biology to complement the questions nontheists have been exploring thus far. Looking forward to further conversation with nontheists.

I've sent a version of this to this list before, but wanted to re-send it, as part of a friendly Humanist conversation. As a non-Christocentric Friend in what I see as a problematic Judeao-Christian tradition, which I find limiting due to its narratives, and appreciative of the Quaker historical orientation toward good deeds while eschewing engagement with theology (Barclay's "Apology" was in a way the first and last of its kind, as I see it), I think it's sensible to develop a healthy distance from nontheistic theology (if there is such a thing), as well as Judeao-Christian history and narratives, while exploring how nontheist friends might continue to do good deeds, as well as shape a broad conversation which engages the above, and shapes something new, in relation to the unprogrammed tradition of the Society of Friends. Ever chary of language which even touches on even something faintly theistic - words like 'spirit,' 'worship,' 'church,' 'religious,' and 'ministry,' let alone deistic or pantheistic terms - I hope we can shape a space, as Friends have historically done, for discernment in new directions that begin to engage questions of evolutionary biology vis-a-vis nontheistically Friendly Humanism, as conversation.

With friendly greetings,




Dear Jerry and Joan,

Thanks for your comments. I think I see nontheist friends as potentially opening conversation about 'religiousness' too. Although religiosity probably won't disappear, perhaps it's relationship with conceptions of the divine will diminish a little, with the emergence of new words for exploring far-reaching issues in our lives, in the context of evolution. I appreciate greatly the experience of connectedness, which I associate with the word 'religious,' with its etymological roots in 'bondedness,' but I wonder if this might be better explained as emerging from troopbonding (I see Quaker Meetings as this) and pairbonding (see John Money's "Concepts of Determinism" - scottmacleod.com/anthropology/determinism.htm - as one way of conceiving bondedness in an evolutionary context), rather than out of religiousness. In a broad way, I'm interested in neurophysiological experiences of loving bliss, and perhaps vis-a-vis nontheist friends, but this is relatively unexplored in the Society of Friends, let alone religious traditions, and is therefore a creative opening, as I see it. (I've explored some ideas about eliciting loving bliss in these 5 letters: scottmacleod.com/links.htm).

(In response to some comments Joan made).


I enjoy engaging questions of evolution vis-a-vis the questions you ask, and, while I appreciate your insights, I think engaging evolutionary biology broadens a nontheistically friendly discussion. Positing that we have bodyminds shaped by natural selection over millions of years, that we are primates that comminicate symbolically, that we have agency (choice), and that, as I see it, history (including religious history), is constructed, an interpretation, and arbitrary, I'm glad we have a diversity of views on this email list. For me, causation is not at stake, but rather how friendly nontheism potentially frees us from the constraints of 'religiosity,' (me-ness, identity, etc.), while, vis-a-vis a society of nontheist friends, might continue to affirm the benefits of community (troopbonding) and conversation, vis-a-vis this email list as well as nontheistically friendly workshops.

As an anthropologist, I'm interested in culture, and subcultures (and counterculture - my particular interest), of which I see the Society of Friends as one culture/subculture, with a historic peace testimony. I find the primatological narratives of the two species of chimps edifying as narratives from other species with which we share something like 98% of our genes, but in no way determinative; the lack of violence among Bonobo may be something humans, nontheist friends, and Quakers can learn from. Nontheist friends are a culture/subculture and a community, as are Friends, as I see it, and culture is richly symbolic, so engaging language richly and in new ways may open new ways of understanding. Creating new narratives are yet another example of what I see people on this list, as a diverse group of writers, doing in creating and broadening a nontheistically friendly discourse.

I think people on this list are trying to explain and find new language which both creates something new, and affirms developments emerging out of the Society of Friends' processes over 350 years.


Here's a timeline for human origins:

3.5 billion years ago - life evolves - (how?)

560 - 515 mya (million years ago) - Cambrian explosion - little cordate creature (and something like 23 phyla) in the Burgess Shale fossil beds in Canada; something like this may have been our ancestor (see Gould's "Wonderful Life")

(250-) 130 mya - emergence of angiosperms (flowering plants) - rich expansion of potential food sources for mammals

{150-145 mya - Archaeopteryx - first fossil evidence for how flight evolved}

65 mya - KT extinction event (Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event) - dinosaurs become extinct - some small mammals and reptiles survive

7-5 mya - homo speciation - line separates from common human, chimpanzee and gorilla ancestor

2.9-2.1 mya - first evidence for stone tool use (flint knapping)

200,000 years ago - emergence of humans - DNA evidence

Origins of language are lost in time - possibly occurring sometime here - development of larynx?

170,000 years ago - mitochondrial Eve (the woman who is defined as the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans - roughly 8,000 generations ago) - development of human line

75,000 years ago - first known art - tiny, drilled, snail shells from the Blombos cave in South Africa - forty-one shells of the mollusc scavenger Nassarius kraussianus, with holes and marks in similar positions for a necklace (?) have been found in a cave overlooking the Indian Ocean

70,000 years ago - humans begin migration out of Africa (out of Africa hypothesis)

35,000 years ago - bone flute - first solid evidence of musical instrument

30,000 years ago - Neanderthals disappear -

24,000 years ago - Venus of Willendorf

17,000 years ago - Lascaux murals

10,000 years ago - agricultural revolution

5,500 years ago - first evidence for writing

{2,700 years ago - epic poet Homer - oral tradition - and the "Odyssey" and the "Iliad" are written down}

{2,500 years ago - Laozi - "Tao te Ching"}

1859 - Charles Darwin publishes "On the Origin of Species" - evolution by natural selection as idea takes form

{1972 - Herbert Benson MD publishes "The Relaxation Response"}

{And around 1.3 - 8 million + species have come through millions of generations at the same time ~ DNA is amazing}.

And there are potentially 10s of thousands of generations ahead for all species.

And here's a phylogenetic tree of early human phylogeny from the Smithsonian Museum: anthropology.si.edu/humanorigins/ha/a_tree.html

And there are potentially 10s of thousands of generations ahead for all species.

I think that engaging evolutionary biological thinking more actively will enrich this nontheistically friendly email list.

The Burgess Shale fossil bed, per Gould, represents a remarkable explosion of life forms at the phylogenetic level - large classifications of life, and his argument is that since that flourishing of life forms of something like 23 phylogenetic categories, evolution has been about extinction (not progress), as we're down to about 4 phylogenetic categories now, mainly because those remarkable conditions of around 530 million years go, that gave rise to such an abundance of life forms, weren't sustained, so these beautiful, tiny creatures, and phyla, went extinct. (See his remarkable book explains how paleontologists unpack 100s of millions of years of life in the form of rock to recreate these amazing, ancient bodies, as well as his views on evolution).

In general in evolution by natural selection, an adaptation (e.g. color vision, prehensile grasp) affects populations, and not individuals, in relation to an ecological niche over 100s of thousands of generations for species relatively high on the phylogenetic tree, and such adaptations are often caused by mutation. Humans have basically stopped evolving in the sense of natural selection.

As a relativist vis-a-vis religious language, I return to Huston Smith's "World Religions," where he outlines salient aspects of the worlds 8 great religions.

Developing nontheistically friendly language and conversation about these topics will broaden this discourse.

With friendly greetings,


Nontheist friends,

Check out the Dawkins' video, "An Atheist's Call to Arms" -
http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_dawkins_on_militant_atheism.html - at
around 24 minutes (all of it is interesting),

also at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontheist_Friend

vis-a-vis humanism.

Respectfully yours,


In a related conversation on the nontheist friends' email list:

Check out Scott Atran's "In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion" (Oxford 2004). He offers a coherent explanation of religion from an evolutionary perspective, and this book is an important contribution to this conversation, academically and explanatorily. Using the metaphor of landscape of the mind, he suggests that religion as part of a kind of human landscape developed (it isn't an adaptation) because it best helps people cope with the exigencies of life over millions of years. He suggests that humans are trip-wired for belief in the divine, for a variety of reasons. I think this view could dovetail with a nontheistically friendly (if nontheism, then biology ... ) point of view through its active engagement with evolutionary thought. Fortunately, nontheist friends here have multiple view points, so this is obviously just one explanation among many.

This book is also a reference here:



To another friend, as a response to what he wrote to me:


Thanks for your observations. In general, I'm interested in exploring related questions loosely vis-a-vis this email list, while staying focused on a variety of other things in my life (actual-virtual Harbin ethnography, World University and School, loving bliss, family to come, contact improv, music, caring for others). I'm particularly interested in exploring how to elicit the neurophysiology of loving
bliss, naturally, when and as we want it, and that's not a question that I've found neither Friends, nor nontheist Friends, engage readily, on this email list. And then to elicit this ... And discussion isn't perhaps the way to cultivate this neurophysiology either, although discussion can lead to 'flow' experiences, as a starting place. Perhaps Watsu - water shiatsu - is the best modality for beginning to explore my interests which loosely related to questions of eliciting loving bliss, and which I think nontheist friends might also have a possible interest in, but pools - in a parallel to nontheist friends' meeting houses (which don't yet exist) - don't abound, especially yet on the web, (I'm working on developing a virtual Harbin in Open Sim). So, I think I'll stay loosely engaged with this email list, and perhaps write with a little more focus, when I do, in the future. Your engagement both with this list, and in your response here, are great, - thanks. Might you like to facilitate a kind of coherent nontheist friends' body of writings? Where do you find bliss, or comfort, contentment, or whatever you might be looking for, these days, and vis-a-vis nontheist friends? How to get 'there,' and for all? And how can we make the process enjoyable along the way?



How to cultivate the neurophysiological loving bliss aspects of bondedness (viz. troopbondage and pairbondage), when and as we want them?


Enallagma aspersum (Hagen, 1861)


Azure bluet dragonfly

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Orange Crowned Warbler: Contact Improv, Richly Released and Wonderful Place, Developing Language

Contact improv ...

brought me to such a richly released and wonderful place ... and neurophysiology. (It's great exercise, too).

Four hours of jamming, two of which involved a good class, with a developing language of contact ...

... not loving bliss, but contact and loving bliss may well dovetail .... '

More to explore and create



Vermivora celata (Say, 1823)


Orange-crowned Warbler

Friday, June 12, 2009

Snowy Plover Chick: Timeline for Human Origins, Early Evidence of Culture

Here's a timeline for human origins:

3.5 billion years ago - life evolves - (how?)

560 - 515 mya (million years ago) - Cambrian explosion - little cordate creature (and something like 23 phyla) in the Burgess Shale fossil beds in Canada; something like this may have been our ancestor (see Gould's "Wonderful Life")

(250-) 130 mya - emergence of angiosperms (flowering plants) - rich expansion of potential food sources for mammals

{150-145 mya - Archaeopteryx - first fossil evidence for how flight evolved}

65 mya - KT extinction event (Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event) - dinosaurs become extinct - some small mammals and reptiles survive

7-5 mya - homo speciation - line separates from common human, chimpanzee and gorilla ancestor

2.9-2.1 mya - first evidence for stone tool use (flint knapping)

200,000 years ago - emergence of humans - DNA evidence

Origins of language are lost in time - possibly occurring sometime here - development of larynx?

170,000 years ago - mitochondrial Eve (the woman who is defined as the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans - roughly 8,000 generations ago) - development of human line

75,000 years ago - first known art - tiny, drilled, snail shells from the Blombos cave in South Africa - forty-one shells of the mollusc scavenger Nassarius kraussianus, with holes and marks in similar positions for a necklace (?) have been found in a cave overlooking the Indian Ocean

70,000 years ago - humans begin migration out of Africa (out of Africa hypothesis)

35,000 years ago - bone flute - first solid evidence of musical instrument

30,000 years ago - Neanderthals disappear -

24,000 years ago - Venus of Willendorf

17,000 years ago - Lascaux murals

10,000 years ago - agricultural revolution

5,500 years ago - first evidence for writing

{2,700 years ago - epic poet Homer - oral tradition - and the "Odyssey" and the "Iliad" are written down}

{2,500 years ago - Laozi - "Tao te Ching"}

1859 - Charles Darwin publishes "On the Origin of Species" - evolution by natural selection as idea takes form

{1972 - Herbert Benson MD publishes "The Relaxation Response"}

{And around 1.3 - 8 million + species have come through millions of generations at the same time ~ DNA is amazing}.

And there are potentially 10s of thousands of generations ahead for all species.

And here's a phylogenetic tree of early human phylogeny from the Smithsonian Museum: anthropology.si.edu/humanorigins/ha/a_tree.html


Charadrius alexandrinus (Linnaeus 1758) ~




~ Snowy Plover

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cenote: The Harbin Pools Ease You into the Present

The Harbin pools bring me to a place of ease in the present ~ now ~ more readily than, for example, eliciting the relaxation response.

So, being away from the warm pool can be a little like being a fish out of water {I can only imagine:} ...

And the clothing-optional Harbin pool area is so nice because there are so many people there, also easing and hanging out around the pools...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Field Thistle: Be Present, Retreating, Loving Bliss Chamber Music, A Great Kirtan

be present ... it's a joy vis-a-vis scatteredness {it's an aspect of what 'flow: the psychology of optimal experience' is ... }


retreat ... so people feel comfortable and able to emerge ... a kind of human ecology ... {and love, too, at times}


explore loving bliss ... as chamber music ... so that it's fun to practice this 'music' with people {scottmacleod.com/GuidelinesPracticingLovingBlissvavMusicalInstrument.htm} ... and so that people find the space to begin to explore this way ...


seeking understanding ...


Singing it ... beautifully ~

Dave Stringer et al ... ~ youtube.com/watch?v=8BXj1dX-4Hs ~ singing kirtan beautifully

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ladyslipper: Universal Health Care in Massachusetts, Universal Education for All?, World University & School

Voters in the state of Massachusetts instituted universal health care last year.

Why not make universal education for all through World University & School? Let's make this happen together through this wiki (editable web pages) ...

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Hills Are Brown in Canyon Now

The hills are brown
in Canyon now.

This happens
in the first week of June.

(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2009/06/hills-are-brown-in-canyon-now.html - June 8, 2009)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Northern Spotted Owl: Reed as Culture and Place, Quakers as Culture and Place, Reunions for Connecting

Reed as culture, Reed as place

Reed College in Portland, Oregon, attracts and creates a faculty, and student body, in an unique way relative to many colleges in the U.S. As the current dean said in a Friday evening talk, Reed explicitly seeks students who are "intellectuals," "geeks," "nerds," or "pinheads," in contrast to other liberal arts' colleges, which he characterized as seeking students with potential leadership qualities. Reed has neither sports' teams, nor fraternities or sororities, and drinking alcohol isn't a central part of attending this college for 4 or more years for many, in my experience.

Reed aims to create a life of the mind in many ways, which is one way of characterizing its culture. It does this through its required Freshman humanities course (Hum 110) focusing first on mostly ancient Greek classics (academic.reed.edu/Humanities/Hum110/syllabus/index.html), as extraordinary books by which people can learn how critically to think and write, as well as learn about the emergence of a remarkably far-reaching set of cultural processes - democracy, philosophy, drama, history, ethics, mathematics, science, the arts, reason, logic, etc. These inform the culture of Reed, as well; ancient Greece's writings and culture (and later classical Roman writings, too) are central to Reed. And it then pursues a fairly rigorous, traditional, academic curriculum. "Distribution requirements that include the arts and humanities, social sciences, mathematics, foreign languages, and natural sciences expose the student to many different methods of intellectual inquiry" (http://www.reed.edu/catalog/edu_program.html). Reed is strong at the college level in physics, chemistry, biology, math, sociology, anthropology, history, English, philosophy and languages, among many other subjects. Reed is also bookish. And it has attracted a lot of smart hippies over the past few decades, as well, and still does, I think.

Reed as a place isn't geographically distributed. Instead it's located in a comfortable, suburban neighborhood in sometimes rainy, southeast Portland, Oregon, and is partly defined by its canyon, a somewhat wild, natural habitat, and body of water, in the center of campus. And the canyon influences Reed's culture, as part of the natural world (naturalism, secularism, evolutionary biology?), and as a quiet place (where study can occur in an institution of higher learning), and as a kind of contrast to the buildings and built part of Reed (in a kind of Taoist way, for me?, and by making possible a contemplation of the natural world?). Reed is a pretty campus, which is also very green due to the Pacific Northwest's climate, with many red brick buildings. The life of Reed emerges from this one place, a campus, in Portland, but Reedies (minds) around the world shape a kind of distributed network, which isn't place-based.

{By comparison, the Society of Friends (Quakers) - I started occasionally attending silent meeting while at Reed - is also a culture, with a shared discourse. Silent meeting, peace issues and consensus-oriented decision-making processes and meeting for business have consistently played a role in perpetuating Friends over 350 years. The Quaker discourse I'm fairly familiar with is very nontheistic, and not very religious, and it focuses on making the world a better place. It's an all age community, with a history of pacifism and peace work (Quakers received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947), and silent meeting is a space where I explore the relaxation response. I think about Quakers loosely in the context of evolutionary biology, where Meeting communities could be considered as troops of primates, echoing what might have taken place among our ancestors over millions of years. (Swarthmore College with its Quaker roots, near Philadelphia, is somewhat similar academically to Reed, but without the explicit Humanities' central focus).

In the unprogrammed tradition of Quakers there are meeting houses in many places around the world, and these locations help give form to a world wide network of unprogrammed Friends, many of whom are gems of people}.


Connecting with old friends, and Reed's progressive thinking

I made contact while at Reed just recently with a few old friends, - it's so nice to reconnect.

Some of these old friends lived in Reed houses together, which weren't owned by Reed, but called this because many of the people living in them went to Reed. In the early 1980s, most of us had very progressive outlooks, dovetailing with ideas that emerged widely in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Sunflower Recycling was a very progressive, cooperative business in Portland, and in a kind of countercultural way, it attracted a number of my Reed friends as a place to work. In the 70s and 80s, recycling was becoming widespread in the Pacific Northwest. My friends working at Sunflower Recycling believed in its vision of making the world a better place through recycling, and they also earned money via this cooperative business of picking up and recycling people's refuse. As a great friend from Reed whom I just saw, and who worked with Sunflower Recycling for years, said about working at Sunflower: "We were living the revolution," - of making the world a better place, of consensus-based, worker-owned businesses, of doing something which is necessary societally (garbage) in a visionary way, - and especially of pragmatically realizing an ideal.

Around the same time I got involved in the Cathedral Forest Action Group, a group of activists working to preserve Old Growth Forest in the Pacific Northwest, through direct, nonviolent action and organizing. Something like less than 1% of these magnificent forests remained at the time, because timber companies had cut the remainder over the previous 100 years. One friend at the Quaker Meeting, Joe Miller, a retired medical doctor living in a house he and his wife had built on the edge of the Bull Run Reservoir, which supplies water to the city of Portland, and which water is so pure because this reservoir is in Old Growth forest, was working as an individual activist to protect the Bull Run. {The northern spotted owl, click on title above, is an indicator species of the health of old growth forests}. Timber interests wanted to remove downed timber in the Bull Run, and perhaps remove more timber at a later date. In his decades-long effort to preserve the Bull Run Reservoir, Joe Miller wrote and self-published, at his own expense, a pamphlet entitled "What Good Is Free Speech in a Closet?," which he wrote in order to explain his approach, and constitutional right (which he felt was jeapordized), to continue to protest timber removal, and thus protect the Bull Run. (A single old growth Doug Fir tree - the dominant species in Old Growth Forests {a kind of ecosystem} in the Pacific NW - might have brought in $10,000 dollars each in the early 1980s). The removal of this downed timber threatened water quality. While in Portland this weekend, one person at Meeting (June 7, 2009) thought that no downed timber had been removed from the Bull Run Reservoir. (I learned also that Joe Miller died about 2 years ago, living well into his 90s). Progressive environmentalism was, significantly, in the air at Reed, Portland, and Oregon, with so much forest. At the same time the Cathedral Forest Action Group was meeting with officials from the National Forest Service and Willamette Industries, and carrying out civil disobedience to protect spotted owl habitat and these magnificent forests. We held one CFAG business meeting in beautiful Old Growth forest on the Middle Fork of the Santiam River.

This kind of work, and activism, are examples of the interests that some Reed College students engaged in, - and still engage in, I'm sure.

Students at Reed could and can be very anti-establishment oriented, - something which emerges en masse particularly with the 1960s and early 70s, I think. For example, I moved off campus after my first semester, partly due to this way of thinking. My friend mentioned how another friend of ours, who also worked for Sunflower Recycling, felt some anger at Reed, perhaps for similar reasons. There was a lot of anger at the system, at authority, at structure, at racism, at injustice, and at war in the 1960s and 70s. (Many, many university presidents' offices were taken over in the late 1960s and early 70s). For whatever other reasons, this antiestablishmentarianism was a kind of sign of the times (the Chicago-based "Sign of the Times" was also the name of a radical newspaper we read).

The group house I lived in for many years was very close to People's Food Coop, a member-owned cooperative. I worked on developing its bylaws at one point in the early 1980s. Making bylaws transparent, and modifiable by members and community due-process, is still part of People's Food Coop's culture - http://www.peoples.coop.

And many of us repaired our bicycles at the Bicycle Repair Collective, where you could use its tools {the BRC s still functioning - bicyclerepaircol.net}, with assistance, if you wanted it. The BRC was organized on egalitarian principles, as well.


The Reed Reunion weekend

One theme throughout the reunion weekend had to do with the question, "What is the utility of the Humanities in a Reed education? The brief answer is that society and individuals benefit from students who can think rigorously, and are knowlegdeable, - about literature, art and science. It's a question which defines Reed, and which makes 'the classics' central, as a starting point. Its orientation to the Humanities has been a key component of a Reed education for nearly 100 years, and makes Reed distinctive as an undergraduate center for learning. There were a number of lectures and panels about this over the weekend.

The current dean suggested in a Friday night talk that Reed's goal is to educate students to think, that thinking occurs best with a disciplined mind, that academic disciplines are the best way to achieve disciplined minds, and that these then can lead to ongoing conversations, as ongoing ways of learning.

On Friday night in the beautiful Reed chapel, with arched ceilings and wood paneling, there was a talent show in which I briefly played my bagpipe.

On Saturday, Michael Bérubé, who had led a three day seminar on the Humanities for Reedies during the week, gave a talk which explained the utility of the Humanities. It was great to see Professors Walter Englert (classics) and Bob Knapp (English) here.

I especially enjoyed seeing sociology professor John Pock (in a sociology of religion class, he once asked us to create our own religion, after doing field work by visiting places of religion around Portland) over the weekend.

There was a lot of hanging out in the Reed Student Union when I went to Reed, as well as this past weekend. The Student Union (SU) has always been a student space, apart from Reed College spaces, and apart from adult spaces. Students could sleep over night there; the Reed SU was more free than most college's student unions. And hippies, both Reedies and non Reedies, would come there to hang out, sleep over night, etc. Reed's school newspaper, "The Quest," had its offices in the same building. The SU tended to be a space which the Reed administration didn't touch.

Rhys Thomas, a skillful and witty juggler, entertained both adults and kids on Saturday afternoon outside the Winch dormitory.

Good vegetarian food was served at dinner.

Before and during the fireworks, a band played music which was a little like the Grateful Dead's ... It was cool to synthesize the music and the fireworks in my mind, while dancing a little.

Modeling by faculty of independent thinker at Reed

On Saturday night there was a 3 person panel (2 Reed faculty members) in Reed's chapel. One faculty member was a philosopher, and the other had taught English at Reed. The Reed philosophy faculty member modeled in many ways independent thinking and argumentation, drawing perhaps on Greek examples of philosophers. This Professor, who has taught philosophy at Reed for decades, can also appear curmudgeonly and stubbornly argumentative, but does engage in alternative, rigorous argumentation, which can result in beneficial new ideas, and the development of critical thinking. (He had let his body go a little, - he looked a little unhealthy).

{The clinical benefits of flax seed oil - Omega 3 fatty acids (3-4 times a day with food), with food are multiple, with very few side effects, and might possibly benefit him}.

Dr. Demento, a radio disk jockey in L.A. for years, and a Reedie, who in his career often played very innovative and off-beat music, such as rock parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic and Frank Zappa, staged a very amusing and enlightening show for us in Vollum Lecture Hall on Saturday evening.


Scroungers at Reed

Scroungers were a kind of institution at Reed. Reedies and non-students would wait in the cafeteria tray window as food trays were being returned for washing at the end of a meal, and take the uneaten food from your tray. This reduced food waste, and is a sensible form of recycling, but some people, like parents, thought it unhygenic. And people get free food. I think it still happens.


Reunions - the word, also - create connections, and can be very positive, - for networking, as well as for regenerating friendship. (Independent-minded as I am, I haven't always thought about reunions like this). I think connecting like this may be due partly to troopbonding (viz. John Money's Concepts of Determinism), a relatively unexplored explication of reunions.

But reunions, as a form of connecting, are very different from the kind of connecting, or the relaxation response, which I explore in the particularly lovely Harbin Hot Springs' warm pool.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Western Red Cedar: Reed Humanities, Writers, Remarkable Conceptions, Loving Bliss

Reed Humanities' authors (and 1998 syllabus from the syllabi archive - academic.reed.edu/Humanities/Hum110/syllabiarchive.html) ...

These are all remarkable conceptions:

Aeschylus, The Oresteia, trans. Lattimore (Chicago)
Aristophanes, Lysistrata, trans. Henderson (Focus)
Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Ross (Oxford)
Essays on Ancient Greece (Pamphlet / Bookstore)
Euripides, Euripides V: Electra, The Phoenician Women, The Bacchae, ed. Grene and Lattimore (Chicago)
Herodotus, The History, trans. de Selincourt (Penguin)
Hesiod, Theogony, Works and Days, and Shield, trans. Athanassakis (Johns Hopkins)
Homer, The Iliad, trans. Lattimore (Chicago)
Miller, Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation (Hackett)
Murray, Oswyn, Early Greece, 2nd ed. (Harvard)
Plato, The Trial and Death of Socrates, trans. Grube (Hackett)
Plato, Plato's Republic, trans. Grube/Reeve (Hackett)
Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece (Cambridge)
Sophocles, Sophocles I: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, ed. Grene and Lattimore (Chicago)
Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, trans. Warner (Penguin)
Vernant, The Origins of Greek Thought (Cornell)

Recommended Texts:
Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Fitzgerald (Doubleday)
Marius, A Writer's Companion, 3rd ed. (McGraw)
J.A.C.T., The World of Athens (Cambridge)
Hacker, A Writer's Reference, 3rd ed. (Bedford)
Williams, Style: Toward Style and Grace (Chicago)

All texts may be purchased at the Reed College Bookstore; a limited number of each are on reserve in the Library. Also on reserve (and very useful): Oxford Classical Dictionary; Oxford Companion to Classical Literature; Penguin Atlas of Ancient History; Richard Lanham, Revising Prose.

The Registrar makes initial assignments to conferences in the course. Students who subsequently find it necessary to change conferences must petition the Humanities staff (forms for this purpose may be obtained from the Registrar or from Karen Bondaruk, CC 308). Turn completed forms into Nathalia King, Hum 110 Chair, in CC 305. No conference changes will be permitted after the second week of the semester.

Four course-wide papers will be assigned, due at the times designated below on the schedule of readings and lectures. A mid-term examination will be given on Friday, October 16 from 9:00 to 9:50 a.m. in Vollum Lecture Hall. A final examination for the fall term will be given Thursday, December 17th from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. in Vollum Lecture Hall. Rescheduling of the mid-term or final exam will be allowed only for medical reasons.

An archive of course materials for Humanities 110 is available on the course's web page. It includes the syllabus, paper topics, schedule of videos, and many of the lecture handouts from this year and last year, as well as some new pages designed to help students to tap Internet resources on course-related subjects. The web page may be reached through Reed's main page via Academic Life and Course Materials, or directly at this address: . Many of the course materials are also archived in Microsoft Word format on the Courses Server (via the Chooser in the zone Academic Servers).

Schedule of Readings and Lectures
Week 1

Mon 31 Aug

Homer, The Iliad
Lecture: Introduction to Greece, Homer, and the Humanities / Walter Englert

Wed 2 Sept

Homer, The Iliad; Murray, Early Greece, chs. 1 and 3
Lecture: Homer and the Oral Tradition / Nathalia King

Fri 4 Sept

Homer, The Iliad; Geertz, "Religion as a Cultural System" in Essays on Ancient Greece
Lecture: The Religion of the Iliad / Michael Foat

Week 2

Mon 7 Sept LABOR DAY--No School

Wed 9 Sept

Homer, The Iliad
Lecture: The Shield of Achilles / William Diebold

Fri 11 Sept

Homer, The Iliad
Lecture: The Ending of the Iliad / Walter Englert

Week 3

Mon 14 Sept

Hesiod, Theogony; Murray, Early Greece, ch. 6; Vernant, "Feminine Figures of Death in Greece" in Essays on Ancient Greece
Lecture: Hesiod's Theogony / Nathalia King

Wed 16 Sept

Hesiod, Works and Days; Murray, Early Greece, chs. 4 & 7; Miller, Greek Lyric, Tyrtaeus, pp. 13-19
Lecture: The Emergence of the Polis / Ray Kierstead

Fri 18 Sept

"Early Greek Philosophy" and "Fragments from Heraclitus" (Sections IV and V) in Essays; Vernant, The Origins of Greek Thought, pp. 69-132
Lecture: The Origins of Greek Thought / Nathalia King


Week 4

Mon 21 Sept

Miller, Greek Lyric , Archilochus, Semonides, Alcman, Solon, Xenophanes, pp. 1-12, 22-26, 31-37, 64-76, 107-111; Murray, Early Greece, chs. 8 & 9
Lecture: The Lyric "I" / Nigel Nicholson

Wed 23 Sept

Miller, Greek Lyric, Alcaeus, Sappho, Theognis, Anacreon, pp. 38-63, 82-94, 99-103; Murray, Early Greece, ch. 12; Judith Hallett, "Sappho in Her Social Context: Sense and Sensuality" in Essays
Lecture: The Unspeakable Vice of the Greeks / Jay Dickson/

Fri 25 Sept

Gombrich, "Reflections on the Greek Revolution" in Essays; Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece, 3-14
Lecture: Death in Archaic Art / William Diebold

Week 5

Mon 28 Sept

Herodotus, The Histories, Bk/Ch. 1.1-1.216
Lecture: Herodotus and the Invention of History / Ray Kierstead

Wed 30 Sept

Herodotus, The Histories, Bk/Ch. 2. 1-64, 113-120, 164-182
Lecture: The Structure of a World and a Story / Michael Foat

Thu 1 Oct

Video and Discussion: "Black Athena," VLH, 7:00 p.m.

Fri 2 Oct

Herodotus, The Histories, Bk/Ch. 3.61-3.97, 5.55-7.171; Bernal and Lefkowitz in Essays
Lecture: Black Athena / Pancho Savery

Week 6

Mon 5 Oct

Herodotus, The Histories, Bk/Ch. 7.172-8.103, 9.114-9.122; Finley, "Was Greek Civilization Based on Slavery?" in Essays
Lecture: The Problem of Greek Slavery / Ray Kierstead

Wed 7 Oct

Aeschylus, The Oresteia
Lecture: The Beginnings of Tragedy / Jay Dickson

Fri 9 Oct

Aeschylus, The Oresteia
Lecture: Ethical Work in The Libation Bearers / Carl Anderson


Week 7

Mon 12 Oct

Aeschylus, The Oresteia; Gould, "Law, Custom and Myth: Aspects of the Social Position of Women in Classical Athens" in Essays
Lecture: Justice and Gender in the Oresteia / Gail Sherman

Wed 14 Oct

Sophocles, Antigone
Lecture: Tragedy, Conflicts, Dust / Jan Mieszkowski

Fri 16 Oct MID-TERM EXAM: 9:00-9:50 a.m. in VLH


Week 8

Mon 26 Oct

Robert F. Sutton, "Pornography and Persuasion in Attic Pottery"; Sarah Pomeroy, "The Family in Classical Greece and in the Oeconomicus" and "The Domestic Economy"; all in Essays
Lecture: Representation and Gender in Athenian Vase Painting / Ellen Stauder

Wed 28 Oct

Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece, pp. 1-2; 15-135
Lecture: The Parthenon / Peter Parshall

Fri 30 Oct

Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece, pp. 1-2; 15-135
No lecture

Week 9

Mon 2 Nov

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Intro., Bk/Ch. 1.1-1.146
Lecture: Thucydides and the Purpose of History / Walter Englert

Wed 4 Nov

Thucydides, Bk/Ch. 2.1-2.65; Jones, "Athenian Democracy and its Critics" in Essays
Lecture: Pericles and Athenian Democracy / Ray Kierstead

Fri 6 Nov

Thucydides, Bk/Ch 3.1-3.85, 5.13-5.24; Davies, Democracy and Classical Greece, ch. 6 in Essays
Lecture: Thucydides on Human Nature / C.D.C. Reeve

Week 10

Mon 9 Nov

Thucydides, Ch/Bk 5.83-6.41, 6.105-7.87
Lecture: Tragedy and Democracy / Thomas Gillcrist

Wed 11 Nov

Euripides, The Bacchae
Lecture: God and Theatre in The Bacchae / Thomas Gillcrist

Fri 13 Nov

Plato, Euthyphro, Apology and Crito in The Trial and Death of Socrates
Lecture: Why Was Socrates Put to Death? / Carl Anderson


Week 11

Mon 16 Nov

Plato, The Republic
Lecture: On the Virtues of Socratic Aporia: Book 1 of The Republic / Ellen Stauder

Wed 18 Nov

Plato, The Republic
Lecture: Was Plato a Communist? / William Peck

Fri 20 Nov

Plato, The Republic
Lecture: Plato's Metaphysics / C.D.C. Reeve

Week 12

Mon 23 Nov

Plato, The Republic

Lecture: Art and Subversion / Peter Parshall
Special Evening Lecture: Thomas Martin on "The Nature of Athenian Democracy", Vollum Lounge, 7:30 p.m.

Wed 25 Nov

Aristophanes, Lysistrata
Lecture: The Comic City / Nigel Nicholson


Week 13

Mon 30 Nov

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Lecture: Aristotle on How to Live / C.D.C. Reeve

Wed 2 Dec

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Lecture: The Doctrine of the Mean / Nigel Nicholson

Fri 4 Dec

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
No lecture


Week 14

Mon 7 Dec

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Lecture: The Contemplative Life / Bill Peck

Wed 9 Dec

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Lecture: Aristotle's God / David Reeve

Thu 17 Dec FINAL EXAM: 8 a.m. to noon in VLH


Let's further Reed Humanities and its conference style approach to idea exchange in World University and School - worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University - via Second Life. Each of the above books is a kind of trip, which can take one far afield.


I asked some professors (a Shakespearean scholar, and a classicist) today at a Reed Alumni gathering where they could think of any references to, or explorations of, loving bliss, naturally, in Shakespeare or the classics. One professor referred to someone close by who suggested I look at affect theory (Tompkins, in particular).


Thuja plicata - http://www.eol.org/pages/1034889 - Western red cedar

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pacific Hemlock: Portland, Oregon, Reed College, Reed Houses

Portland, Oregon

Bent top Doug Firs, Western Red Cedar, Pacific Hemlock with their droopy tops. These are the dominant species of forests west of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest, in Oregon and Washington. Doug Firs, in particular, also give form to Portland's skyline, especially in my mind - from riding to and from Reed on a bicycle for many years.


Reed College

The themes of Humanities, what a secular, academic institution is, and critical thinking, arise again and again...

Reed College is bohemian - atheism, communism, and free love are not unfamiliar concepts there - and (perhaps because) it's a book oriented culture. ...

Might each of these aspects loosely be metaphorical computer programs? ...


As I was walking to the Student Union this morning, a Reedie who graduated in 1968 was carrying a heavy harp in a case from the east parking lot. I asked if I might help carry it, and she accepted my offer. As we were walking, I asked her about Reed in the 1960s. She mentioned how white and black students, and the black student union, had shut down Reed then, in the context of protests going on all over the country, especially anti-racism and anti-war protests.


Reed Houses

Reed houses are fascinating 'institutions.' Each house takes on a life of its own. Students live together in them with other students (possibly 4-12), communally or cooperatively. In a way Reed houses give form to student cooperatives or communes, where students learn to live communally. Reed houses emerged partly because Reed doesn't have enough housing on campus for all students, and living like this with others is less expensive than living at Reed. With my personal interest in freedom and autonomy from Reed - a form of anti-establishmentarianism - I moved into a Reed house after my first semester in a dormitory at Reed. It was in this context, and influenced by the communalism of the 1960s and 1970s, that my interest in communities emerged. In progressive Oregon, Reed houses are part of the fabric of life in SE Portland. In the context of the bookish and intellectual milieu of Reed, I came to think through a lot of different aspects of communal living, and eventually visited Alpha Farm, 60 miles west of Eugene, a number of times, entertaining the thought of living there, lived at Pendle Hill, a Quaker Center for Study and Contemplation, southwest of Philadelphia for 4 years, and am writing an ethnography about the Harbin Hot Springs' community.


Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.


Pacific hemlock

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rain: Jackson WellSprings in Southern Oregon, Ashland and Portland

Jackson WellSprings in Southern Oregon (Ashland) is basically midway between the S.F. Bay Area and Portland, Oregon. It's a good stopping place between the two when driving.

Remarkably like Harbin Hot Springs, as an idea, Jackson Springs seems a little more fragmented, and is neither as pristine nor as beautiful.

So, alternative, hippie communities emerge around hot springs ... At Jackson you see tee pees (which people are living in), tents, a geodesic dome, and painted school buses in the back parts. People dress is colorful and relaxed clothing. There's a very nice 3-foot tall, bronze statue of Ganesh at the far end of the swimming pool. And there are other human size stone statuary around the grounds. Interesting other objects from the east are also around. And people appear a little rougher, perhaps because this is a rural area ...

It costs $15.15 to camp overnight, including access to the pools. (For comparison, Harbin Hot Springs cost $25 mid-week for a 24 hour period to camp and one person in your party must be a member of Heart Consciousness Church $10/month, and a youth hostel in the SF Bay Area costs about $22 per night for a bed). After dark the pools are clothing optional. They have internet access here for free, too. In the day, school kids were in the swimming pool.

This hot springs is very close to Interstate 5 ...

So this place is pretty countercultural {in Roma - Gypsy, Native American senses}, and a little raggedy ... And Hippie lifestyles are still loosely part of the fabric of southern Oregon and the west coast of the U.S.

There's a great food coop in Ashland (established in 1972). And spring water in the beautiful downtown park has lithium in it - Lithia Park, it's called. Lithium may make people happy I've heard.

And the Shakespeare festival takes place in Ashland ... setting a tone and drawing people, and thespians.

And Umpqua Hot Springs (Toketee springs) is nearby (about an hour away) and is also supposed to be great ...


Portland, Oregon, is wet. It rains a lot here, but experiencing this is different from knowing it. I lived here from 1979-1987.

First impressions: Teenage young men have longish, loose hair, but not too long. Many women are quite overweight. People are friendly, and there's a widespread quality of mildness culturally, relative to California.

And the well-known, and long-lasting, Powells' Book Store has expanded. ("Powells loves Reedies" - still:).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Threebanded Anemonefish: Harbin is a Place of Ease, Warm Water, Transcendentalism

Harbin is a place of ease and easing ...

When you've been away for awhile, the warm pools are great for facilitating release.


The gist of Transcendentalism (a reaction to the 'empiricism' of Harvard in the 19th century, in part) seems to me to include a focusing process, emerging from Vedanta. All is one; focus, or concentrate, your mind using the word 'one,' or a song, - the relaxation response is one example, I think ... Return to this again and again, because all is one; the benefits are great.

Transcendentalism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ...


Amphiprion bicinctus (Rüppell, 1830) ~ http://www.eol.org/pages/339947 ~ Threebanded anemonefish

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mt. Shuksan: Transcendentalism, How to Choose to Be Happy, Giving Synergies

What are salient aspects of New England Transcendentalism (and possibly the related Transcendental Meditation), beyond what might seem curious or unfamiliar given current ways of thinking, that we might cultivate?

How might we select fascinating aspects of New England Transcendentalism, 'normalize' them, and possibly develop them in new directions vis-a-vis those forms, for example, that the U.S. experienced 200 years ago and 40 years ago {with Transcendental Meditation - one of an extraordinarily large number of practices that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s}? Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Nature" is one of the key texts of Transcendentalism, and expresses a kind of approach to unity with nature.

The relaxation response is one example: http://www.relaxationresponse.org/steps/

What relation is there here to virtuality vis-a-vis information technology, and words?


Oneness and thinking? {Thinking in the ways that graduate students in great philosophy departments, and at great universities, do}.


How We Choose to Be Happy

{How this works according to Foster and Hicks. There's wisdom in this}.

How might we synthesize, and create synergies between, a kind of contemporary New England Transcendentalism and "How We Choose to Be Happy," as well as with World University & School?

1. Intention (Chapter 1 in How We Choose to Be Happy) is not simply the desire to be happy, but the intent to be happy. It is the fully conscious decision to choose happiness over unhappiness. As you go through your day, to what extent do you actively intend to be happy?

2. Accountability (Chapter 2) is the choice to assume full personal responsibility for our actions, thoughts and feelings, and the emphatic refusal to blame others for our own unhappiness. It is the insistence on seeing ourselves as having control over our own lives, rather than being at the receiving end of circumstance. When happy people have been hurt they refuse to act like victims. To what extent do you assume personal responsibility for your life and take a pro-active stance in the face of sad or difficult circumstances?

3. Identification (Chapter 3) is the ongoing process of identifying for ourselves what makes us truly, deeply happy. So, happy people can tell us in an instant, what makes them happy. As you go through your day, to what extent do you ask yourself "Which choice or direction will make me happiest?"

4. Centrality (Chapter 4) is the happy person's non-negotiable insistence on making that which creates happiness a central activity in life. Happy people don't "wait to retire" or put off for later that which gives them greatest joy. They live their passions and dive into those things that make them happiest regardless of the complexities of their life circumstances. To what extent do you insist on doing this?

5. Recasting (Chapter 5) is the choice to turn problems into opportunities and challenges. It is also the moving and profound ability to convert extreme trauma into something meaningful, important and a source of life-giving energy. To what extent do you recast everyday problems by turning them into opportunity? Do you allow yourself to feel unhappy emotions deeply, and then, as healing allows, move through sadness by converting trauma into opportunities and meaning?

6. Creation of Options and Possibilities (Chapter 6) is the decision to approach life by being open to any new possibilities, and of taking a flexible approach to life's journey. In your own life, are you aware of opportunities? Do you take risks? Do you try new things? Are you flexible enough to jump into the unknown for the experience of trying something important or new?

7. Appreciation and Aliveness (Chapter 7). Happy people actively appreciate their lives and express gratitude and thanks to the people around them. They seem to revel in each moment rather than focusing on the past or worrying about the future. They talk about being exquisitely aware of the fragility and preciousness of existence. To what extent are you aware of the moment and grateful for your life and those around you?

8. Giving (Chapter 8) Sharing one's self with friends, community and the world at large without the expectation of a "return on investment" is a hallmark choice of happy people. Giving is a constant in life, and may manifest itself in one's profession, community work, or with friends and family. It is the act of sharing yourself — your talents, resources and hospitality. To what extent do you give richly of yourself to others?

9. Truthfulness (Chapter 9) Happy people "speak their truth" in an accountable manner, enforce personal boundaries, and will not conform to the demands of society, the corporation or the family if it violates their personal belief systems. Their truthfulness becomes a contract they have with themselves and, most important, it is a way to check their thoughts and actions against their own internal, personal code. How truthful are you with yourself and others?

and Synergies emerge from these


The above ideas explain in another way how eliciting happiness might work. Why not focus on eliciting loving bliss with these approaches, especially, for example, vis-a-vis New England Transcendentalism vis-a-vis these? (This makes sense to me).


Is this blog a form of giving? I hope people find it helpful.


To the Harbin pools soon ...



Monday, June 1, 2009

Magenta Dragonfly: Contact Improv, Countercultural Memes 'In The Air,' Culture and Genes ~ Never The Twain Shall Meet?

To Canyon, California, again ... from the Boston area ...

and contact improv ... MMmmm ... it's health producing :)


What countercultural memes (Rainbow Gathering, long hair) are 'in the air' these days, that people enjoy, and which create synergies with 'positive' cultural memes (shelter, warm pools, artistic objects)? Might these rewrite questions of culture and counterculture in a synthesis? And in terms of individual choice here?


What are great hopes, and opportunities, today for people? ...


Culture and genes, ~ never the twain shall meet? As I see life, most species, including homo sapiens, come through millions of years of reproduction of generation after generation, - an ongoing movement of genes through time on earth.

Culture - much of the stuff of daily human interaction - that is, memes as cultural units, words, socioeconomic processes in modernity, narratives (including religious, philosophical and knowledge/reason/academically-oriented ones), much that has occurred language-wise since writing began about 5500 years ago, music, symbolizing processes (Deacon), among humans,

and the learning of sign language, as well as the use of tools among higher primates (such as that by chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas, for example),

seem to me to be distinct from replicating genes through time, for these species.

And for the other 1.3 million + species vis-a-vis genetic replication (biology), the above 'cultural' processes seem almost irrelevant to genes, including homo sapiens. (This leads to a kind of evolutionary biological nihilism for me).

There are potentially tens of thousands of generations ahead for all species...


Trithemis Aurora ~ eol.org/pages/131029 ~ Magenta Dragonfly



Such a beautiful species!


Perhaps culture and genes may somehow meet in the relaxation response: relaxationresponse.org/steps