Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flower Field: Return to Thinking about how to Elicit Love and Loving Bliss Neurophysiology

I return to thinking about how to elicit love and loving bliss ... and how to develop thinking about this that gets to this neurochemistry ...

Relaxation response in between, and contentment practice ...

How to cultivate this naturally?

What are examples?

How to get there with ease?

How might cultural anthropology inform such thinking and the possible creation of a milieu ...?


A friend asks in a social networking site that this blog streams to: "Were you asking for answers?"

Scott: Conversation leads to new ideas. :) Besides possibly the Society of Friends (Quakers) as culture, some aspects of Hindu culture (Krishna-related, for ex.), Bonobo, and MDMA (which may be a delight but is bad for the mind machinery, I think, and therefore not sustainable, all in their own ways), some music and dance, great parents' biology, and one's own DNA, all of which have kinds of integrity, but don't necessarily get to the rocking out kind of loving bliss (except mdma, perhaps), naturally, over decades, what are your thoughts? (Welcome back from Ecosse).

Scott: ... and how might we who have never been modern (Latour) cultivate the neurophysiology of loving bliss naturally, as moderns, when and as we want it?


And how might anyone teach something like this at World University & School ~

Try teaching it here ... :)

( - September 30, 2009)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Abundant Valley System: Can we Generate Love with our Minds, as Kinds of Computer Code?

Can we generate love with our minds, as kinds of computer code?

In what ways can we do this with awareness and intention, in the context of evolutionary biology, modernity, cultural traditions? Sometimes religious language seems to have been used to generate this.


I have this response that some people are generating love. They seem to consistently share, are caring, generous and kind. And love in some of its best senses ~ ...

And loving bliss? It's possible to generate it with music, yes, in some ways, in my experience ... but when and as we want it?

And with language?


In exploring this, how to move on from previous thinking about this in this blog ... to this neurophysiology often ... and create beneficial effects for others?


Hippies explored what is possible, and enacted it ... more so than many (counter?)cultural roles I know ... and it happened pretty naturally in curious ways.

( - September 28, 2009)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pacific Crest: Cello Instruction in the MUSIC School, Free Degrees, iPhone App Programming Course, Great Libraries


I added a new CELLO section - - to World University & School's budding MUSIC SCHOOL, - with Benjamin Zander instructing a 15 year cellist, Nikolai - ... THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE :)

There's a lot of both inspirational and excellent musical instrument teaching on the internet. Let's add it to WUaS.


Here's a letter I just sent to the two World University & School groups:





I've added a free Harvard Doctor of Education (for the 25 people in the program) beginning in 2010 - (Application deadline is in about 3 months).


I've also added a free 18 week Stanford Univ. course on how to program an iPhone application -


I also added the Library of Congress digital library to World University & School -

In addition, I added DASH - Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard !


WUaS now has a Mission Statement -

Mission: World University & School's (like Wikipedia with MIT Open Course Ware) - mission is to facilitate all levels of teaching and learning opportunities (and potentially degrees, eventually) through an open, editable wiki in all languages, nation-states and subjects with great universities, and for One Laptop per Child countries and everyone.


And the free educational software section continues to grow -

Wikipedia benefits from all of us acting as writers & editors; it now has around 13 million articles in 70 languages.


All the best,

( - September 26, 2009)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flying Dolphin: Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience in Daily Life ... How?, Surfing as Lifestyle, Loving Bliss Neurochemistry as Lifestyle?

Flow: the psychology of optimal experience in daily life ... How to find flow richly?


With what qualities ... ?


As I was coming to Berkeley today, I wondered how many people are surfing on the California coast as a lifestyle, as in the film "Surfwise" (a Stanford trained M.D., and then head of the American Medical Association, living in Hawaii in the 1950s, gets fed up with society, and pursues his love of surfing, eventually moving to California and living the life of a surfer for about the next 20 years, marrying a Mexican woman, and having about 9 kids; the kids are in the film and loved this lifestyle), doing what they love. What a life ... Is this optimal?


How might you or I do something analogous to surging as a lifestyle because you love it, with the neurophysiology of loving bliss?

( - September 22, 2009)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Au Naturel: The 'Natural' in the 1960s, Harbin, Philosophy, Evolutionary Biology

The natural was a focus in the 1960s and 70s for so many people.

An estimated 2-10 million (out of about 235 million people in the U.S. - now there are about 300 million) returned to the land to set up communes and farm organically (Turner 2007). And a lot of organic farms are still around from that time.


Harbin is significantly au naturel. Clothing-optionalness, which usually takes the form of nakedness in the pool area, is a key aspect of Harbin. For the founder of Harbin, body affirmation is central, - especially in this modern world which isn't that relaxed with natural clothing-optionalness.

Why does the tradition of clothing spread - which has ancient roots in many cultures - and which modernity spreads further?


In philosophy, the natural is significant, but this is circumscribed by texts and modes of thinking which focus discourse in specific ways, rarely taking into account, for example, the evolutionary biology of other primates in thinking about thinking (or clothing-optionalness), especially vis-a-vis the natural. A key tradition vis-a-vis the 'natural' starts with Aristotles' Natural Philosophy (, and develops to examine natural law. "Nature, according to Aristotle, is an inner principle of change and being at rest (Physics 2.1, 192b20-23)."


A professor of mine in a "Plant Evolution" course at Reed College once encouraged us to think critically of the word natural, because it's very hard to define.


The natural in modernity takes on many guises, but hippies, in particular, rejected much about modernity to shape something new vis-a-vis the natural.


Evolutionary biology and the natural, and thought from this perspective, rewrites a lot of thinking in human history thus far.


Tao-ist thinking offers a fascinating philosophy of the natural.


Nearly all of the photos in these roughly 500 blog entries' titles have focused in some way on the natural, both in disjunct and congruent ways with the writing there.


And in this blog, I continue to explore how to elicit naturally the neurophysiology of loving bliss ...

( - September 21, 2009)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Orang Hanging from Limb in Water: I watched the people wake up on Harbin's redwood sleeping deck, World Univ & Sch in Poem, Harbin's Code

I Watched The People Wake Up

I watched the people wake up
on Harbin's redwood
sleeping deck,
and saw Woodstock 1969
in Harbin.

If Harbin is Woodstock,
as an organization,
40 years later,
it's weathered a lot of
stormy, warm pool,
hippie seas
in becoming now,
and this ship
is beautiful.

Bathtub Watsu ~
{water shiatsu -
where someone draws
someone through
warm water
in a dance,
in a warm pool} ~
how to do Watsu at home?
A book about this?

Anika, who was facilitating
the Watsu class
this Sunday morning,
suggested breathing,
in response to this idea,

“Bathtub Watsu,”
and a wiki
(editable web pages),
and actually doing
bathtub Watsu
in the comfort of
one's own home,
especially vis-a-vis
a virtual world,
~ a virtual Harbin ~
like in Second Life ...
are good ideas.

Harbin is hippie central,
{or fluid, distributed hippie-dom},
with all of counterculture's
realities & fantasies.

"Do you have
any ecstasy - MDMA"
I asked Shell {in jest!}
at the Blue Room
cafe today?
She asked me, mumbling,
about the NBA
(National Basketball Association?),
and sold me a coffee.
I asked her, in response, if
she had any basketballs,
wondering whether anyone
in the cafe saw
"What the Bleep Do We Know!?"

She, who was working
in the Harbin
Blue Room Cafe,
was wearing a burka
at Burning Man.

She went to look
outside the cafe's door,
and to show her legs.
She was wearing a miniskirt
and red stiletto heels here.
She's a trip
{a little Harbin dramatizing
a la "The King of Hearts?}"

I said to my friends,
Shell, Krishna & Elm -
there in the Blue Room cafe-
that I have a Haiku for them -
by Basho.

So I spoke
this translation
(by Stryck)
in that unusual
blue place:

"Orchids breathing ~

Incense into ~

Butterfly wings"

MMmmm ...

In counterculture,
{and at Harbin?}
wild & natural are normal.
Going native is natural.
Take off your clothes
at Harbin and become normal.

And people -
this Harbin tribe -
this beautiful place
into a world
they want to be in and
where they want to live.

What's the code,

In this pretty, little
Harbin valley,
people take off
their clothes,
and a new ecology emerges,
beginning, this time,
in 1972, - a human ecology.

{And I start a new discipline -
seriously and rigorously -
called anthropological ecology
which brings a scientific
ecology approach
to learning about
human interaction
and communication -
about people & something called culture -
taking into account challenges
associated with studying humans,
including language, recursivity,
philosophical & epistemological rigor,
subjectivity, context,
performativity & discourse.
Human life is oft understood
in context (is this culture?), and
it's not very reducible,
as a whole.
Evolutionary biology
and primatology
complicate this study.
This scientific approach is
rooted in field work,
engages & develops
sophisticated, computer modeling -
a 3-D, interactive,
virtual world, for one -
and draws on countercultural,
as well as radical
Aristotelian, Platonic,
Herodotean, Heraclitan,
Malinowskian, Marxian
(political economy, that is)
Geertzian, Symbolic Anthropology,
Foucauldian, and
Kottakian ("Mirror for Humanity:
A Concise Introduction to
Cultural Anthropology")
assumptions, as well as examines
the significance of the state,
as well as agency.
Memes are the basic unit
of analysis and understanding:}.

To writing ethnography, and

Rip van Winkle,
himself a hippie,
awakes in New York's
Adirondacks' mountains,
(was he exploring the
relaxation response?) -
slept through the
American Revolution -
and the world in 2009
has become countercultural, agrarian, and
peace, love, happiness & social justice
spread widely.

Harbin is not
a hippie commune.
Is Harbin an ongoing
Rainbow Gathering?

Harbin is about 1960's values.

However, a global, digital,
open, free, multilingual
university & school
does find form,
in 3000 - 8000 languages,
and in around 200 nation states:
"Edit This Page" at
World University and School.

Anthropology departments
everywhere are linguistic resources.

Massachusett's Institute
of Technology-level
Evolutionary Biology,
Philosophy, Physics,
Linguistic Anthropology,
Poetry (Ph.D.s),
Juilliard School-level
composition and
musical instrument training (D.M.),
Medicine (M.D.) and
Watsu (certificate) courses
are some of the
first subjects offered,
with degrees.
Eliciting loving bliss
becomes a practice taught
and learned
at World University & School,
and all via the internet.

A Herreshoff sailboat
sails out of the
warm pool's mist ...

The relaxation response
Mmmmm …

Take off your clothes!
Head into the vision vessel ...

Into the Harbin warm pool ~
into the Harbin heart pool.

( - September 20, 2009)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Orangutan Swimming: Invitation To Join the Planning Committee at World University and School

Why not free degrees worldwide at

Let's create a worldwide, open, free university and school on the
internet. It's often cost which inhibits access to high quality

For example, here's a free Harvard Doctor of Education
degree - (for the 25 people admitted to the


I'd like to invite you to join the planning committee for World University and School. This will involve email conversations to develop the vision of World University and School practically.

For the planning committee, please first join this World University & School Google Group -

Please REMEMBER TO CLICK "Join this Group" BUTTON. (You may need a gmail address to join this group).

This is a way for you to help give form to the developing World University and School.


Orangs (click the title of this blog entry to see the photo) are reputed to be one of the most intelligent primates, but they have no developed larynx, as humans have and which has given us the ability eventually to talk.


To Harbin Hot Springs .... MMMmmmm

( - September 19, 2009)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Orangutan in Water: Consensus Decision-making at World University & School as Process

I'd like to use consensus decision-making at World University & School {} as process, and not Robert's Rules of Order. I'd like to use this as part of the incorporation process for 501 (c) 3 status in California.

I'd also like this process to work well for what could become a worldwide organization.

In communication with non-theist Friends from whom I received some of the following information and links, I've synthesized the following to characterize the Consensus Decision-making process which may inform WUaS.

For World University & School, I'd like to engage the following process for Business Meetings (loosely paralleling Quaker Meeting for Business Consensus Decision-Making):

The facilitator or clerk of the discussion or committee will write out an agenda, using the following ground rules. Each item of the agenda is addressed in turn. Typically, each decision arising from an agenda item follows through a simple structure, ending in a minute which is shared at that moment by the recording facilitator or clerk. If further changes or additions arises, the recording facilitator re-writes the minute, until consensus is arrived at, and the group moves on to the next item.

Here are steps in the process:

* Discussion of the item: The item is discussed with the goal of identifying opinions and information on the topic at hand. The general direction of the group and potential proposals for action are often identified during the discussion.

* Formation of a proposal: Based on the discussion a formal decision proposal on the issue is presented to the group.

* Call for consensus: The facilitator of the decision-making body calls for consensus on the proposal. Each member of the group usually must actively state their agreement with the proposal, often by using a hand gesture or raising a colored card, to avoid the group interpreting silence or inaction as agreement.

* Identification and addressing of concerns: If consensus is not achieved, each dissenter presents his or her concerns on the proposal, potentially starting another round of discussion to address or clarify the concern.

* Modification of the proposal: The proposal is amended, re-phrased or ridered in an attempt to address the concerns of the decision-makers. The process then returns to the call for consensus and the cycle is repeated until a satisfactory decision is made.


Drawing on Wikipedia's entry, and Quaker "Sense of the Meeting" process, which has a 350 year history, here's what I have in mind.

Consensus decision-making
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Consensus decision-making is a group decision making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also the resolution or mitigation of minority objections. Consensus is usually defined as meaning both general agreement, and the process of getting to such agreement. Consensus decision-making is thus concerned primarily with that process.

While not as common as other decision-making procedures, such as the parliamentary procedure explained in Robert's Rules of Order, consensus is used by a wide variety of groups. Religious denominations such as the Quakers, economic policy bodies including the Dutch Polder Model and historical Hanseatic League, anarchist organizations such as Food Not Bombs and various infoshops, many non-governmental organizations, online forums and projects such as Wikipedia, and even entire nations such as the Haudenosaunee use consensus decision-making.


* 1 Objectives
* 2 Alternative to majority rule
* 3 Process
* 4 Roles
* 5 Non-unanimous consensus
* 6 Dissent
* 7 Criticisms
* 8 Historical examples
* 9 Models
o 9.1 Quaker model
o 9.2 Japan
o 9.3 IETF rough consensus model
o 9.4 Other modern examples
* 10 Tools and methods
o 10.1 Colored cards
o 10.2 Hand signals
* 11 See also
* 12 Notes
* 13 External links


As a decision-making process, consensus decision-making aims to be:

* Inclusive: As many stakeholders as possible should be involved in the consensus decision-making process.
* Participatory: The consensus process should actively solicit the input and participation of all decision-makers.[1]
* Cooperative: Participants in an effective consensus process should strive to reach the best possible decision for the group and all of its members, rather than opt to pursue a majority opinion, potentially to the detriment of a minority.[1]
* Egalitarian: All members of a consensus decision-making body should be afforded, as much as possible, equal input into the process. All members have the opportunity to present, amend and veto or "block" proposals.
* Solution-oriented: An effective consensus decision-making body strives to emphasize common agreement over differences and reach effective decisions using compromise and other techniques to avoid or resolve mutually-exclusive positions within the group.
* Most Logical*: This happens when a solution appears to be impossible to execute because of the lack of support and cooperation.[2]

Alternative to majority rule

Proponents of consensus decision-making view procedures that use majority rule as undesirable for several reasons. Majority voting is regarded as competitive, rather than cooperative, framing decision-making in a win/lose dichotomy that ignores the possibility of compromise or other mutually beneficial solutions.[3] On the other hand, some voting theorists[who?] have argued that majority rule leads to better deliberation practice than the alternatives, because it requires each member of the group to make arguments that appeal to at least half the participants and it encourages coalition-building.[4] Additionally, proponents of consensus argue that majority rule can lead to a 'tyranny of the majority'. However, voting theorists note that majority rule may actually prevent tyranny of the majority, in part because it maximizes the potential for a minority to form a coalition that can overturn an unsatisfactory decision.[5]

Advocates of consensus would assert that a majority decision reduces the commitment of each individual decision-maker to the decision. Members of a minority position may feel less commitment to a majority decision, and even majority voters who may have taken their positions along party or bloc lines may have a sense of reduced responsibility for the ultimate decision. The result of this reduced commitment, according to many consensus proponents, is potentially less willingness to defend or act upon the decision.


Flowchart of basic consensus decision-making process.

Since the consensus decision-making process is not as formalized as others (see Robert's Rules of Order), the practical details of its implementation vary from group to group. However, there is a core set of procedures which is common to most implementations of consensus decision-making.[6][7][8]

Once an agenda for discussion has been set and, optionally, the ground rules for the meeting have been agreed upon, each item of the agenda is addressed in turn. Typically, each decision arising from an agenda item follows through a simple structure:

* Discussion of the item: The item is discussed with the goal of identifying opinions and information on the topic at hand. The general direction of the group and potential proposals for action are often identified during the discussion.
* Formation of a proposal: Based on the discussion a formal decision proposal on the issue is presented to the group.
* Call for consensus: The facilitator of the decision-making body calls for consensus on the proposal. Each member of the group usually must actively state their agreement with the proposal, often by using a hand gesture or raising a colored card, to avoid the group interpreting silence or inaction as agreement.
* Identification and addressing of concerns: If consensus is not achieved, each dissenter presents his or her concerns on the proposal, potentially starting another round of discussion to address or clarify the concern.
* Modification of the proposal: The proposal is amended, re-phrased or ridered in an attempt to address the concerns of the decision-makers. The process then returns to the call for consensus and the cycle is repeated until a satisfactory decision is made.


The consensus decision-making process often has several roles which are designed to make the process run more effectively. Although the name and nature of these roles varies from group to group, the most common are the facilitator, a timekeeper, an empath and a secretary or notes taker. Not all decision-making bodies use all of these roles, although the facilitator position is almost always filled, and some groups use supplementary roles, such as a Devil's advocate or greeter. Some decision-making bodies opt to rotate these roles through the group members in order to build the experience and skills of the participants, and prevent any perceived concentration of power.[6]

The common roles in a consensus meeting are:

* Facilitator: As the name implies, the role of the facilitator is to help make the process of reaching a consensus decision easier. Facilitators accept responsibility for moving through the agenda on time; ensuring the group adheres to the mutually agreed-upon mechanics of the consensus process; and, if necessary, suggesting alternate or additional discussion or decision-making techniques, such as go-arounds, break-out groups or role-playing.[9][10] Some consensus groups use two co-facilitators. Shared facilitation is often adopted to diffuse the perceived power of the facilitator and create a system whereby a co-facilitator can pass off facilitation duties if he or she becomes more personally engaged in a debate.[11]
* Timekeeper: The purpose of the timekeeper is to ensure the decision-making body keeps to the schedule set in the agenda. Effective timekeepers use a variety of techniques to ensure the meeting runs on time including: giving frequent time updates, ample warning of short time, and keeping individual speakers from taking an excessive amount of time.[6]
* Empath or 'Vibe Watch': The empath, or 'vibe watch' as the position is sometimes called, is charged with monitoring the 'emotional climate' of the meeting, taking note of the body language and other non-verbal cues of the participants. Defusing potential emotional conflicts, maintaining a climate free of intimidation and being aware of potentially destructive power dynamics, such as sexism or racism within the decision-making body, are the primary responsibilities of the empath.[9]
* Note taker: The role of the notes taker or secretary is to document the decisions, discussion and action points of the decision-making body.

Non-unanimous consensus

Healthy consensus decision-making processes usually encourage and out dissent early, maximizing the chance of accommodating the views of all minorities. Since unanimity may be difficult to achieve, especially in large groups, or unanimity may be the result of coercion, fear, undue persuasive power or eloquence, inability to comprehend alternatives, or plain impatience with the process of debate, consensus decision making bodies may use an alternative benchmark of consensus. These include the following:

* Unanimity minus one (or U-1), requires all delegates but one to support the decision. The individual dissenter cannot block the decision although he or she may be able to prolong debate (e.g. via a filibuster). The dissenter may be the ongoing monitor of the implications of the decision, and their opinion of the outcome of the decision may be solicited at some future time. Betting markets in particular rely on the input of such lone dissenters. A lone bettor against the odds profits when his or her prediction of the outcomes proves to be better than that of the majority. This disciplines the market's odds.
* Unanimity minus two (or U-2), does not permit two individual delegates to block a decision and tends to curtail debate with a lone dissenter more quickly. Dissenting pairs can present alternate views of what is wrong with the decision under consideration. Pairs of delegates can be empowered to find the common ground that will enable them to convince a third, decision-blocking, decision-maker to join them. If the pair are unable to convince a third party to join them, typically within a set time, their arguments are deemed to be unconvincing.
* Unanimity minus three, (or U-3), and other such systems recognize the ability of four or more delegates to actively block a decision. U-3 and lesser degrees of unanimity are usually lumped in with statistical measures of agreement, such as: 80%, mean plus one sigma, two-thirds, or majority levels of agreement. Such measures usually do not fit within the definition of consensus.
* Rough Consensus is a process with no specific rule for "how much is enough." Rather, the question of consensus is left to the judgment of the group chair (an example is the IETF working group, discussed below). While this makes it more difficult for a small number of disruptors to block a decision, it puts increased responsibility on the chair, and may lead to divisive debates about whether rough consensus has in fact been correctly identified.


Although the consensus decision-making process should, ideally, identify and address concerns and reservations early, proposals do not always garner full consensus from the decision-making body. When a call for consensus on a motion is made, a dissenting delegate has one of three options:

* Declare reservations: Group members who are willing to let a motion pass but desire to register their concerns with the group may choose "declare reservations." If there are significant reservations about a motion, the decision-making body may choose to modify or re-word the proposal.[12]
* Stand aside: A "stand aside" may be registered by a group member who has a "serious personal disagreement" with a proposal, but is willing to let the motion pass. Although stand asides do not halt a motion, it is often regarded as a strong "nay vote" and the concerns of group members standing aside are usually addressed by modifications to the proposal. Stand asides may also be registered by users who feel they are incapable of adequately understanding or participating in the proposal.[13][14][15]
* Block: Any group member may "block" a proposal. In most models, a single block is sufficient to stop a proposal, although some measures of consensus may require more than one block (see previous section, "Non-unanimous or modified consensus"). Blocks are generally considered to be an extreme measure, only used when a member feels a proposal "endanger[s] the organization or its participants, or violate[s] the mission of the organization" (i.e., a principled objection). In some consensus models, a group member opposing a proposal must work with its proponents to find a solution that will work for everyone.[14][16]


Critics of consensus decision-making often observe that the process, while potentially effective for small groups of motivated or trained individuals with a sufficiently high degree of affinity, has a number of possible shortcomings, notably

* Preservation of the Status quo: In decision-making bodies that use formal consensus, the ability of individuals or small minorities to block agreement gives an enormous advantage to anyone who supports the existing state of affairs. This can mean that a specific state of affairs can continue to exist in an organization long after a majority of members would like it to change.[17]
* Susceptibility to disruption: Giving the right to block proposals to all group members may result in the group becoming hostage to an inflexible minority or individual. Furthermore, "opposing such obstructive behavior [can be] construed as an attack on freedom of speech and in turn [harden] resolve on the part of the individual to defend his or her position."[18] As a result, consensus decision-making has the potential to reward the least accommodating group members while punishing the most accommodating.
* Abilene paradox: Consensus decision-making is susceptible to all forms of groupthink, the most dramatic being the Abilene paradox. In the Abilene paradox, a group can unanimously agree on a course of action that no individual member of the group desires because no one individual is willing to go against the perceived will of the decision-making body.[19]
* Time Consuming: Since consensus decision-making focuses on discussion and seeks the input of all participants, it can be a time-consuming process. This is a potential liability in situations where decisions need to be made speedily or where it is not possible to canvass the opinions of all delegates in a reasonable period of time. Additionally, the time commitment required to engage in the consensus decision-making process can sometimes act as a barrier to participation for individuals unable or unwilling to make the commitment.[20] However, once a decision has been reached it can be acted on more quickly than a decision handed down. American businessmen complained that in negotiations with a Japanese company, they had to discuss the idea with everyone even the janitor, yet once a decision was made the Americans found the Japanese were able to act much quicker because everyone was on board, while the Americans had to struggle with internal opposition.[21]

Historical examples

Perhaps the oldest example of consensus decision-making is the Iroquois Confederacy Grand Council, or Haudenosaunee, who have traditionally used consensus in decision-making,[22][23] potentially as early as 1142.[24] Examples of consensus decision-making can likely be found among many indigenous peoples, such as the African Bushmen.[25] Although the modern popularity of consensus decision-making in Western society dates from the women's liberation movement[26] and anti-nuclear movement[27] of the 1970s, the origins of formal consensus can be traced significantly farther back.[28]

The most notable of early Western consensus practitioners are the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, who adopted the technique as early as the 17th century. The Anabaptists, or Mennonites, too, have a history of using consensus decision-making[29] and some believe Anabaptists practiced consensus as early as the Martyrs' Synod of 1527.[28] Some Christians trace consensus decision-making back to the Bible. The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia references, in particular, Acts 15[30] as an example of consensus in the New Testament.


Quaker model

Quaker-based consensus[31] is effective because it puts in place a simple, time-tested structure that moves a group towards unity. The Quaker model has been employed in a variety of secular settings. The process allows for individual voices to be heard while providing a mechanism for dealing with disagreements.[32][33]

The following aspects of the Quaker model can be effectively applied in any consensus decision-making process, and is an adaptation prepared by Earlham College:

* Multiple concerns and information are shared until the sense of the group is clear.
* Discussion involves active listening and sharing information.
* Norms limit number of times one asks to speak to ensure that each speaker is fully heard.
* Ideas and solutions belong to the group; no names are recorded.
* Differences are resolved by discussion. The facilitator ("clerk" or "convenor" in the Quaker model) identifies areas of agreement and names disagreements to push discussion deeper.
* The facilitator articulates the sense of the discussion, asks if there are other concerns, and proposes a "minute" of the decision.
* The group as a whole is responsible for the decision and the decision belongs to the group.
* The facilitator can discern if one who is not uniting with the decision is acting without concern for the group or in selfish interest.
* Dissenters' perspectives are embraced.[31]

Key components of Quaker-based consensus include a belief in a common humanity and the ability to decide together. The goal is "unity, not unanimity." Ensuring that group members speak only once until others are heard encourages a diversity of thought. The facilitator is understood as serving the group rather than acting as person-in-charge.[34] In the Quaker model, as with other consensus decision-making processes, by articulating the emerging consensus, members can be clear on the decision, and, as their views have been taken into account, will be likely to support it.[35] In Quaker decision making, statements are always made to the group, and not directed to any specific person. As a religious group, "'The Sense of the Meeting' is not the collected wisdom of those present, but the collective discernment of God's will."[36]


Japanese companies normally use consensus decision making, meaning that everyone in the company is consulted on each decision. A ringi-sho is a circulation document used to obtain agreement. It must first be signed by the lowest level manager, and then upwards, and may need to be revised and the process started over.[37]

IETF rough consensus model

In the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), decisions are assumed to be taken by "rough consensus."[38] The IETF has studiously refrained from defining a mechanical method for verifying such consensus, apparently in the belief that any such codification will lead to attempts to "game the system." Instead, a working group (WG) chair or BoF chair is supposed to articulate the "sense of the group."

One tradition in support of rough consensus is the tradition of humming rather than (countable) hand-raising; this allows a group to quickly tell the difference between "one or two objectors" or a "sharply divided community", without making it easy to slip into "majority rule".[39]

Much of the business of the IETF is carried out on mailing lists, where all parties can speak their view at all times.

Other modern examples

The ISO process for adopting new standards is called consensus-based decision making,[40] even though in practice, it is a complex voting process with significant supermajorities needed for agreement.[41]

Tools and methods

Colored cards

Some consensus decision-making bodies use a system of colored cards to speed up and ease the consensus process. Most often, each member is given a set of three colored cards: red, yellow and green. The cards can be raised during the process to indicate the member's input. Cards can be used during the discussion phase as well as during a call for consensus. The cards have different meanings depending on the phase in which they are used.[14][16] The meaning of the colors are:

* Red: During discussion, a red card is used to indicate a point of process or a breach of the agreed upon procedures. Identifying offtopic discussions, speakers going over allowed time limits or other breaks in the process are uses for the red card. During a call for consensus, the red card indicates the member's opposition (usually a "principled objection") to the proposal at hand. When a member, or members, use a red card, it becomes their responsibility to work with the proposing committee to come up with a solution that will work for everyone.
* Yellow: In the discussion phase, the yellow card is used to indicate a member's ability to clarify a point being discussed or answer a question being posed. Yellow is used during a call for consensus to register a stand aside to the proposal or to formally state any reservations.
* Green: A group member can use a green card during discussion to be added to the speakers list. During a call for consensus, the green card indicates consent.

Some decision-making bodies use a modified version of the colored card system with additional colors, such as orange to indicate a non-blocking reservation stronger than a stand-aside.[42]

Hand signals

Hand signals are often used by consensus decision-making bodies as a way for group members to nonverbally indicate their opinions or positions. Although the nature and meaning of individual gestures varies from group to group, there is a widely-adopted core set of hand signals. These include: wiggling of the fingers on both hands, a gesture sometimes referred to as "twinkling", to indicate agreement; raising a fist or crossing both forearms with hands in fists to indicate a block or strong disagreement; and making a "T" shape with both hands, the "time out" gesture, to call attention to a point of process or order.[10][43][44] One common set of hand signals is called the "Fist-to-Five" or "Fist-of-Five". In this method each member of the group can hold up a fist to indicate blocking consensus, one finger to suggest changes, two fingers to discuss minor issues, three fingers to indicate willingness to let issue pass without further discussion, four fingers to affirm the decision as a good idea, and five fingers to volunteer to take a lead in implementing the decision.[45]

See also

* Consensus democracy
* Consensus government
* Decision making
* Facilitation
* Majority rule
* Sociocracy
* Supermajority
* Liberum veto


1. ^ a b Rob Sandelin. "Consensus Basics, Ingredients of successful consensus process". Northwest Intentional Communities Association guide to consensus. Northwest Intentional Communities Association. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
2. ^ Dressler, L. (2006). Consensus Through Conversation How to Achieve High-Commitment decisions.Berkeley, CA:Berrett-Koehler.
3. ^ Friedrich Degenhardt (2006). "Consensus: a colourful farewell to majority rule". World Council of Churches. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
4. ^ McGann, Anthony J. The Logic of Democracy: Reconciling, Equality, Deliberation, and Minority Protection. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2006. ISBN 0-472-06949-7.
5. ^ Anthony J. McGann (2002). "The Tyranny of the Supermajority: How Majority Rule Protects Majorities" (PDF). Center for the Study of Democracy. Retrieved 2008-06-09.
6. ^ a b c C.T. Lawrence Butler; Amy Rothstein. "On Conflict and Consensus". Food Not Bombs Publishing. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
7. ^ "What is Consensus?". The Common Place. 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
8. ^ "The Process". Consensus Decision Making. Seeds for Change. 2005-12-01. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
9. ^ a b Sheila Kerrigan (2004). "How To Use a Consensus Process To Make Decisions". Community Arts Network. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
10. ^ a b Lori Waller. "Guides: Meeting Facilitation". The Otesha Project. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
11. ^ Berit Lakey (1975). "Meeting Facilitation --The No-Magic Method". Network Service Collaboration. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
12. ^ Richard Bruneau (2003). "If Agreement Cannot Be Reached" (DOC). Participatory Decision-Making in a Cross-Cultural Context. Canada World Youth. pp. 37. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
13. ^ Consensus Development Project (1998). "FRONTIER: A New Definition". Frontier Education Center. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
14. ^ a b c Rachel Williams; Andrew McLeod (2006). "Introduction to Consensus Decision Making" (PDF). Cooperative Starter Series. Northwest Cooperative Development Center. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
15. ^ Dorcas; Ellyntari (2004). "Amazing Graces' Guide to Consensus Process". Retrieved 2007-01-17.
16. ^ a b "The Consensus Decision Process in Cohousing". Canadian Cohousing Network. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
17. ^ The Common Wheel Collective (2002). "Introduction to Consensus". The Collective Book on Collective Process. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
18. ^ Alan McCluskey (1999). "Consensus building and verbal desperados". Retrieved 2007-01-17.
19. ^ Harvey, Jerry B. (Summer 1974). "The Abilene Paradox and other Meditations on Management". Organizational Dynamics 3 (1): 63. doi:10.1016/0090-2616(74)90005-9.
20. ^ "Consensus Team Decision Making". Strategic Leadership and Decision Making. National Defense University. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
21. ^ The World's Business Cultures and How to Unlock Them 2008 Barry Tomalin, Mike Nicks pg. 109 "Consensus or individually-driven decision making" ISBN 9781854183699
22. ^ "How Does the Grand Council Work?". Great Law of Peace. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
23. ^ M. Paul Keesler (2004). "League of the Iroquois". Mohawk - Discovering the Valley of the Crystals. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
24. ^ Bruce E. Johansen (1995). "Dating the Iroquois Confederacy". Akwesasne Notes. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
25. ^ United Nations (2002). "Consensus Tradition can Contribute to Conflict Resolution, Secretary-General Says in Indigenous People's Day Message". Press release. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
26. ^ David Graeber; Andrej Grubacic (2004). "Anarchism, Or The Revolutionary Movement Of The Twenty-first Century". ZNet. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
27. ^ Sanderson Beck (2003). "Anti-Nuclear Protests". Sanderson Beck. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
28. ^ a b Ethan Mitchell (2006). "Participation in Unanimous Decision-Making: The New England Monthly Meetings of Friends". Philica. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
29. ^ Abe J. Dueck (1990). "Church Leadership: A Historical Perspective". Direction. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
30. ^ Ralph A Lebold (1989). "Consensus". Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
31. ^ a b Quaker Foundations of Leadership (1999). A Comparison of Quaker-based Consensus and Robert's Rules of Order. Richmond, Indiana: Earlham College. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
32. ^ Woodrow, P. (1999). "Building Consensus Among Multiple Parties: The Experience of the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission." Kellogg-Earlham Program in Quaker Foundations of Leadership. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
33. ^ Berry, F. and M. Snyder (1999). "Notes prepared for Round table: Teaching Consensus-building in the Classroom." National Conference on Teaching Public Administration, Colorado Springs, Colorado, March 1998. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
34. ^ Quaker Foundations of Leadership (1999). "Our Distinctive Approach. Richmond, Indiana: Earlham College. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
35. ^ What is a Consensus Process? State of Maine Best Practices. Retrieved on: 2009-03-01.
36. ^ An introduction to Quaker business practice
37. ^ Ringi-Sho
38. ^ RFC 2418. "IETF Working Group Guidelines and Procedures."
39. ^ "The Tao of IETF: A Novice's Guide to the Internet Engineering Task Force". The Internet Society. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
40. ^ International Organization for Standardization (September 28, 2000) Report of the ISO Secretary-General to the ISO General Assembly. Retrieved on: April 6, 2008
41. ^ Andrew Updegrove (August 31, 2007). "The ISO/IEC Voting Process on OOXML Explained (and What Happens Next)". Retrieved 2008-09-13.
42. ^ "Color Cards". Mosaic Commons. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
43. ^ Jan H; Erikk, Hester, Ralf, Pinda, Anissa and Paxus. "A Handbook for Direct Democracy and the Consensus Decision Process" (PDF). Zhaba Facilitators Collective. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
44. ^ "Hand Signals" (PDF). Seeds for Change. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
45. ^ "Guide for Facilitators: Fist-to-Five Consensus-Building". Retrieved 2008-02-04.

External links

* Consensus decision-making at the Spunk Library
* "Consensus Decision Making" -- Seeds for Change
* "On Conflict and Consensus." -- C. T. Lawrence Butler and Amy Rothstein (1987) Food Not Bombs Publishing. Also available in .pdf format
* "The Formal Consensus Website" -- Based on work by C. T. Lawrence Butler and Amy Rothstein
* "A Manual for Meetings, Revised Edition" -- The Uniting Church in Australia
* "Papers on Cooperative Decision-Making" -- Randy Schutt
* "One Vote for Democracy" -- Ulli Diemer
* "Some Materials on Consensus." Quaker Foundations of Leadership, 1999. Richmond, Indiana: Earlham College.


References on Quaker Consensus


The Legacy of Gilbert F. White: Managing Conflict and Natural Resources Through Good Clerking
(Friends Journal - April 2007)


Quaker Business Method and Sustainable Energy Security
(Quaker Council for European Affairs)


Pongo pygmaeus (Linnaeus, 1760)


( - September 18, 2009)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pohlia Nutans: Healthy Bodymind First, Exploration of Experience, Culture, Anthropology of Counterculture in the SF Bay Area

Besides a good night's sleep, a healthy bodymind (an ovo-lacto low fat vegetarian-centered diet for me, movement/exercise, a daily multi-vitamin and omege-3 fatty acids), a community of friends, and a rich symbolic life, that can help to make life pain-free, I'm impressed with how people, as I see it, don't move beyond the views they hold, in the context of modernity and evolutionary biology, besides perhaps through reading. How can we (and why don't more of us) explore a rich variety of ways of being - like eliciting loving bliss, naturally, when and as we want it.

Culture plays a role in this, often forming what's possible and not. I'm thinking, for example, of the 1960s and 70s, in which people richly explored an amazingly wider variety of ways of being, often shaped by their imaginations.

I'm amazed, too, at how rich and varied, experientially and culturally, the human record is, and how what I see on in the day-to-day seems to return to kinds of norms, even as though are hybridized, stretched and redefined through time.


As part of a kind of anthropology of counterculture, I think I'll develop an anthropology of San Francisco, Berkeley and the SF Bay Area, a little like Genet's "Paris Journals," perhaps.


Pohlia nutans Lindberg, 1879

Pohlia nutans

( - September 17, 2009)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Agapetes: Culture, Identity and Love, Peaceable Practices, Nonviolence

I think these nearly 500 blog entries make a case for culture vis-a-vis identity, which isn't often made in the anthropological literature these days. Perhaps I conflate the terms at times, and I don't think I question an anthropological assumption that identity is constructed. To distinguish the terms in one way, I think, however, that 'culture' as identity is very richly confused than simply identity. For example, Scots' culture is very richly nuanced, and quite old, compared, in my mind with Scots' identity.


If culture plays such a rich role in our lives (as I think it does), and anthropological literature these days doesn't engage the concept that much (perhaps Jim Clifford is an exception), then how might we begin to engage it to elicit or cultivate loving bliss, for example. If culture, as identity, is richly confused, how to tease out those strands as >practice< which one can then build on to actively create something. For example, if hearing, or playing, great piping music (and the experience of celidh [kaylee], i.e. Scottish parties, as well) leads to flow experience, some of which can be akin to experiences of loving bliss, then how can one build on this as practice, to cultivate loving bliss?


And what about peaceable practices, that culture gives rise to. There's been almost no violence among Quakers in the past 350 years. How to build on this example? And Bonobo chimps? And the 1960s and 70s?


Agapetes serpens

Agapetes Lugdvan Cross flower

( - September 16, 2009)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Purple Swamp Hen: World University & School Mission Statement

Mission Statement: World University & School's ( - like Wikipedia with MIT Open Course Ware) - mission is to facilitate all levels of teaching and learning opportunities (and potentially degrees, eventually) through an open, editable wiki in all languages, nation-states and subjects with great universities, and for One Laptop per Child countries and everyone.


Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758)

Purple Gallinule or swamphen

( - September 15, 2009)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Organ Pipe: Love is a Curious Word, Its Neurophysiology, Context of Evolutionary Biology and Modernity

Love is a curious word, so often forgotten, so misinterpreted, and not so easily omni-seen in today's world.


To open into love ~ this positive neurochemistry ... what's involved?


People's foci are often drawn elsewhere, and many versions of realism point to history without love ... yet I'm curious ...

about this love neurophysiology, when and as one wants it ...

And love comes again and again ...


In the context of evolutionary biology and modernity, the fulsome generation and experience of love isn't often explicitly cultivated.


Stenocereus thurberi (Engelm.) Buxbaum

Organpipe cactus

( - September 14, 2009)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lambertia Formosa: The Way Things Open in Contact Improv, When it Rains People go into the Warm Pools, Old Friends

The way things open in contact improv movement-wise is wonderful ... this movement together unfolds into that, and this curves and turns into that opening way ... It's very informative vis-a-vis life ...


Harbin Hot Springs ~ when it rains people go into the warm pools ... as it did this weekend ...

Makes sense ... MMmmm ...


Seeing old friends at Harbin :) ... reconfirms understandings about the world, opens new possibilities, and allows me continue to focus on envisioning what's possible vis-a-vis what we've explored in the past ...


Lambertia formosa

Mountain Devil

( - September 13, 2009)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Amborella Trichopoda: Non-harming at World Univ & School, Dancers as Free, Openness, Angiosperms

As it develops, I'd like to inform World University & School with a non-harming (Ahimsa) and pacifist orientation, as a fundamental way to express appreciation for life.


To generalize, I think dancers live a kind of freedom (also discipline) which many other people and roles in society do not. In some ways, I see dancers as living a kind of hippie life for centuries, even.

Contact improv, in particular, seems to develop a dancing approach to freedom.


In what ways might people combine Contact Improv with eliciting loving bliss?


To be open, with trust and friendliness, is a great human way of being. Realism and pan troglodytism (common chimp-ness as my reading of human behavior) can lead to inhibiting openness at times, perhaps), but human openness is wonderful when there's trust. Kids are wonderful examples of openness. Sometimes, in addition to pan troglodytism, modernity seems to make openness risky.


Flowering plants - angiosperms - emerged possibly 230 - 150 million years ago.

Here's more about them:

Amborella trichopoda is a small shrub found only on the island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, and represents the oldest living lineage of flowering plants. ... Water lilies and star anise represent the two next-oldest lineages alive today.

( - Sept 8 2009)

( - September 10, 2009)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Little Redwood Valley: The Light was Soft over the Redwood Ridge in Canyon this Morning

Little Redwood Valley

The light was soft
on redwood ridge
in Canyon this morning.

Little puffs of clouds
capped its heights.

The sun rose and
the sun~shadow line
moved down the hill to
reveal green and greener, ~
as well as
the littler valley Tao,
beyond the little,
middle, in-between ridge.

The sun from behind
was strong,
defining the world
this morn.

And the clouds over
the redwood ridge
lingered and kissed
a peak, snuggling with
its tree tops.

( - September 9, 2009)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Warm Water Starfish: How to Ease into the Neurophysiology of Loving Bliss? Relaxation Response? Favorite Music?

How to ease into the neurophysiology of loving bliss, naturally, when and as you want it, as if you were getting into a bath tub of warm water?


Eliciting the relaxation response? In your bath tub?


And then how to elicit loving bliss neurochemistry? Listen to your favorite music? { ~ choose the music, artist or song that elicits bliss for you}.


But I think we can explore eliciting loving bliss much further {vis-a-vis Ecstasy - MDMA as a reference experience} ~

Loving Bliss Letters

Friends' Dalton Letter :)

Loving Bliss and Practices to Elicit This

Loving Bliss as Friends

Eudaimonia is Flow and Bliss

And especially vis-a-vis chamber music:

Guidelines for Practicing Loving Bliss vis-à-vis
Practicing a Musical Instrument


Let's ...

I find flax seed oil for omega-3 fatty acids (1000 mg 3-4 times a day with food, as well as a daily multi-vitamin) harmonizing and brightening, too. (I haven't seen the clinical evidence for this, although I'm looking for related medical studies, and suspect I will find them. Some friends of mine have experienced this, as well, and others haven't). I also find a good, supportive community to be salutary.

( - September 8, 2009)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Brown Falcon: New World Univ & Sch Google Group, Subscribe Here, Web Organization, Group Knowledge Production

I created a World University & School Google Group today:

I invite you to join!

It's here that a group organizational process can emerge, for this World University and School wiki, - engaging a Wikipedia approach to group knowledge production.

World University & School

A Global, Virtual, Open, Free-to-Students,
(Potentially Credit- & Degree-Granting), Multilingual University & School,
with Great Universities as Key Players,
using a Wikipedia with MIT OCW model,
for the Developing World and Everyone

height=30 width=140 alt="Google Groups">

Subscribe to World University and School


Visit this group

( - September 7, 2009)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Prairie Falcon: Colorfulness, Pageantry, Identity Affirming Ritual, No Scots' Gaelic Spoken, Symbolism, Communitas

At the Pleasanton Highland Games, I heard no Scots' Gaelic spoken.

These games are rather about things Scottish and show - color, pageantry, and ritual - thus affirming (and re-instantiating) Scots' identity, but they aren't about language. Highland Games also turn such colorful displays into art, synthesizing musicianship and skill in dancing, for example, with identity and culture.

And these Scottish Games seem to amalgamate aspects of Scotland, England (e.g. Buckingham Palace's Scots' Guards came from Britain to pipe and parade ceremonially), the United States (e.g. the U.S. Marines brass band played and paraded), and California (relaxed people - men - wearing kilts and flip flops [sandals - with no hose], with ankle bracelets and necklaces) - with a slightly ritually-martial leaning. These Games also highlight, and ritualize, competition in all the main events. There are bagpiping competitions, highland dancing competitions, athletic competitions, and sheep dog competitions. There aren't Scottish Country Dance competitions, that I've seen, however. I hypothesize that this remarkable emphasis on competition has to do with furthering standards of musicianship, brings order, and perhaps emblematizes a human propensity for competition, with particularly British Isles' characteristics.

And interestingly, so many people dress up at Highland Games in kinds of (regimented) bird plumage.


There are a fair number of Scots in the fabric of the San Francisco Bay Area Calendonian Club and the wider, local community.


And for all the elegance of dress and style, I can interpret what's ritualized at Highland Games as having rich sexual symbolism, - everything from tossing the caber (the big log thrown from between one's legs, end over end, into the 12 o'clock position in competitions to win, often with a cry), to the appearance of the bagpipe, to men wearing kilts which are attractive to women, to girls from age 4-18+ going up and down with elaborate leg movements, - you can't touch the sword in the Highland sword dance. ... Scots' culture inscribes traditional gender roles; Scotland is quite patriarchal (I've lived there for 2 separate years), with next to no questioning of this tradition or practice. Scots' project a male identity which is quite 'manly.' (How does such 'projection' work? Do such images relate to all the wars in which Scots have fought?)


And these Highland Games, for a large number of participants, are relaxed, peak experiences of gathering together with family, with people similar to you, in a setting that gives expression to a kind of communitas (positive group togetherness), with an ideal of elegance and precision, respect for tradition, standards, and competition.


The massed bands, where 400-600 bagpipers parade together in front of a grand stand, and pay ritual respect to the Games' chief, is very martial - many pipers have been soldiers historically - and is inspiring for many, as well. It's also an old tradition. The wall of sound, and the lyricism of the particular bagpipe music ('When the Battle's O'er,' 'Highland Laddie') which is played at massed bands, is inspiring.

(But this martial legacy in some ways is sad (to me), in the sense that it reflects a very turbulent and challenged history. In my own unique reading of British history, there's been a lot of common chimp (Pan troglodytes) activity (aggression, violence and war, as well as peaceableness), and not very much Bonobo (Pan paniscus) activity (peacefulness, egalitarianism, open sexuality, with very little violence and no war. [The primatological data about Bonobo are still slight and coming in]).


In the century and a half, or so, tradition of Scottish Highland Games (I'm guessing there were probably competitions even during the Highland Clearances and before, for example, but not in the form of what we know presently as Scottish Highland Games), and in the somewhat continuous centuries' old Scots' culture, there's very little envisioning of positiveness in Highland Games, of how to realize a better society, of what can be, or of what positive change people can effect (vis-a-vis the 1960s, for example), and no language, in Scots' Gaelic or any other Scots' language, for this.

( - September 6, 2009)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Peregrine Falcon: Peak Experiences, Pleasanton Highland Games, Loving Bliss

Pleasanton Highland Games, about 30 miles east of San Francisco, California

Peak experiences

For me, listening to Grade 1 and 2 bands' bagpiping were peak experiences, sometimes almost bringing tears to my eyes.

It's the series of notes, played lyrically, with great precision, en masse, and in conjunction with the drumming, which is so moving. And while this remarkable music is often played in unison, it is also played with different bagpiping parts.

In some ways, bagpiping in bagpipe bands is about precision, which leads in my experience to great pleasure ... The more precision, the more pleasure.

But Scottish band bagpiping these days also highlights uniforms and uniformity. Dress is important in the tradition, and everyone tries to dress as like one another as possible. As colorful as it is, it's the opposite of free expression vis-a-vis hippie-mindedness. I find this aspect is fascinating. Why do people appreciate this uniformity? An appreciation of orderliness?

The weather was great yesterday in Pleasanton, - as nice as could be. And this fairground is nice for such games as there are a lot of discrete areas, each of which is used for a different aspect. Wandering from music to music to dancing is fun. There's a freedom in this.

At these games, there's also a lot of familiarity vis-a-vis Scottish identity, and one meets old friends, often serendipitously. This, too, is pleasurable.

Clan MacLeod Tent

I enjoyed visiting the Clan MacLeod tent. So many clans have tents at Highland Games, and the Calendonian Club's Pleasonton Games is one of the largest in the world, and has a lot of clan tents. I hadn't met any of the people there before, but there's a sense of familiarity, having lived for 2 separate years in Scotland, and attended other Highland Games and many other Scots' related functions.

Wicked Tinkers - Celtic tribal music -

The Wicked Tinkers, whom I hadn't heard before but who make the rounds at Games and other Celtic events, cultivate trance-like qualities, and free-spiritedness, with their high energy celtic music ... very dynamic ... The bagpiper leads the music, and is key ... All wear kilts. They are a little hippie-ish in a celctic sense, the opposite of the orderliness and uniformity which pipe bands express.

Birds of Prey

There were probably 20 birds of prey at these games, for people to observe and learn about. All were beautiful creatures.

Historical re-enactors

There were a lot of historical reenactments and reenactors at these games as well. People dress up in period clothing and often act out aspects of life then, say 500 years ago. Often the clothing is very elegant, has to do with weapons, and is very interesting, especially for kids.

I had seen neither the Birds of Prey nor the Historical Re-enactments at the Highland Games I've visited over the years.

And there's lots of commerce. About 3 halls at the Pleasanton Fair Grounds are filled with shops selling Scottish and Celtic goods and related things.


How to find peak experiences when and as one wants them? What's the 'on/off' switch for loving bliss, is another way I'm asking this?


The Pleasanton Highland Games and culture.

With an interest in counterculture, I'm curious where it gets expressed in these Games.

What is culture? In some ways, I might say that Grade 1 piping bands express culture, a kind of orderliness of shared code, which is possibly somewhat inflexible.

What is counterculture? And perhaps the Wicked Tinkers expressed a kind of institutionalized counterculture at these games. They made their living from selling T-shirts and Compact Disks. They have a significant following. Possibly 100-200 people were listening to them at any given time, and often stayed seated for long periods of time, absorbing this dynamic music.

In the context of the Calendonian Club's 144th Pleasaton Highland Games, which someone said was the longest running highland games anywhere, Scottish culture in California, in all its aspects gets expressed. (It costs $25 for a 2 day ticket, and about $8 to park).


Falco peregrinus anatum Bonaparte, 1838

Peregrine Falcon

( - September 5, 2009)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wild Salmon: Bagpiping as 'Flow,' 144th Pleasanton Highland Games in California, Great Bagpiping

Bagpiping can be rich 'flow: the psychology of optimal experience' experiences, for both the bagpiper and the listener.

And great piping - Piobaireachd {classical bagpipe music} - can be also a liminal ('betwixt and between') experience.

Appreciation for bagpiping music is something one has a taste for. Some love it and others don't.

And Scots have developed bagpiping competitions in very far-reaching ways in a little over 100 years, to give form to these musical expressions. Highland Games, which have occurred since the Highland Clearances, focus on competitions, and bagpiping is central to this.

In a curious way, I see see playing the bagpipe (which I do) as the the output of computer code. I don't think Scots would have thought this throughout Scots' history of listening to bagpiping, or that many Bagpiping listeners do these days, but I'm amused to think that Scots have long been finding 'flow' experiences listening to bagpipe computer code, as music.

Highland Games are also gatherings where Scots' identity is affirmed and produced, in a sense. Scots' culture carries on through these expressions, and taste plays a role here. For example, bagpiping has many different expressions, some quite idiosyncratic, yet taste comes to define what good piping is. For example, the piping which is played at the summertime World Competitions in Scotland can come to define a key aspect of the current piping tradition. And this is subject to a somewhat unflexible view of what Scottish Highland Piping is.

Bagpipng is a very 'forward' music. There's nothing quiet about it, and while great subtlety exists in note duration and expressivity, for example, there's nothing subtle about the sound of the great Scottish Highland Bagpipe.


The 144th Calendonian Club of San Francisco's Highland Games occur this weekend at the Pleasanton Highland Games just east of the Bay Area. When

What a long tradition on the west coast of the United States.

When I saw yesterday the '144th' printed on the Pleasanton Highland Games' program, I wondered what photos exist from that time, which I'd like to see.

Besides looking at the archives of the Calendonian Club, if they exist, I saw on the internet that the S.F. Public Library has Calendonian Club archival material.


Here are the winners in the aggregate in the Pleasanton Highland Games' open and professional bagpiping competition yesterday at the Marriott hotel in San Ramon:

Ian Whitelaw
Ken Sutherland
Ryan Murray
Colin Armstrong

in these 3 different competitions

1 Piobaireachd

2 March, Strathspey & Reel

3 Hornpipe & Jig

Here's Ian Whitelaw:

(So the above pipers' bodyminds, as computers, produce or output the most skillfully expressed baggiping series of notes, or code, vis-a-vis many other pipes, according to the judges at the Pleasanton Highland Games. And many of us who were listening found perhaps the richest 'flow: the psychology of optimal experience' experiences listening to these pipers. I did.).

( - September 4, 2009)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bramble Patch: Greetings World University & Schoolians, New Resources

Greetings, World University & Schoolians!

People have added courses (many are full courses from Yale) particularly in the following subjects recently.

Also check out MIT-originating 'Instructables' ( for learning how to do just about anything (e.g. soldering).

We've added also a lot of Second Life Teaching and Learning Resources recently - .

Recent additions:
Introduction to Ancient Greek History - Yale University
Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics - Yale University
A General Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology - Cambridge University

Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering - Yale University

! Lots of great Economics' resources here:
Financial Markets - Yale University
Game Theory - Yale University
Macroeconomic Analysis - UC Berkeley
Microeconomic Analysis - UC Berkeley
Principles of Macroeconomics - Towson
Principles of Microeconomics - Towson
The American Novel Since 1945 - Yale University
Milton - Yale University
Modern Poetry - Yale University

And this is the beginning of a MUSIC SCHOOL:
Bagpipe Tutorials
Bass Guitar
Classical Indian
Classical Western
Singing Walking Bass Lines
World Music
Introduction to Political Philosophy
Introduction to Psychology

This is a University & School where we can teach and learn, so I invite you to teach to your Webcams, as well as in Second Life, as you like.

I'd like to grow a great community of World Universitians, like Wikipedians, to help WUaS grow and flourish. Please let me know your ideas about how we might do this together. What would you like to teach or learn?

There's a lot of great educational FREEWARE at WUaS, as well. Let's add more here:


( - September 3, 2009)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rufescent Tiger Heron: 'Ocean & Climate Change Management Plan?,' Gore's 'Truth' - 20 Ft Sea Rise, Solar Car, Noel Kempff Mercado Nat. Park UNESCO WHS

Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' film projects a median 20 feet sea level rise, drawing on an abundance of scientific evidence.

Let's produce worldwide Art Haines' Infinity Miles per Gallon SunneV Solar Car {} & move as much commerce, which produces carbon, as we can (such as travel to meetings and conferences, etc.) into Second Life and other virtual worlds.

What's the world's 'Ocean & Climate Change Management Plan'?

How to teach any 'Ocean & Climate Change Management Plan' at World University & School -


Noel Kempff Mercado National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site

So many, and such a diversity of, species - in Boliva in the Amazon!

"It is estimated that the park has approximately 4.000 species of vascular plants. There exist diverse types of bromelias, passifloras, heliconias, aráceas and palm trees. There are also important types of wood like the "Mara". The area encompasses five important ecosystems ranging from Amazonian rain forest, gallery forest and semi-deciduous tropical forest to flooded savanna and dry cerrado.


The Park is home to more than 130 species of mammals (including rare river otters, river dolphins, tapirs, spider and howler monkeys, the giant armadillo, giant anteaters and endangered jaguars, including a population of black jaguars), 620 species of birds (including 9 species of macaw, possibly the highest number of species in any one protected area), and 70 species of reptiles, including black caiman.


In this area there are more than 617 species of birds (20% of the all bird species in South America). The most recent studies say that these numbers will increase once migratory birds are included.


In this park there exist nearly 74 species of reptiles including the black caiman, snakes, and other rare species.


The park has 347 species of insect, in these are a lot of the rarest in the world. They are unfortunately not studied yet. It has a huge collection of butterflies in the most beautiful colors there are."


Tigrisoma lineatum (Boddaert, 1783)

Rufescent Tiger Heron

( September 2, 2009)

Sunbittern: Nontheist Friends, Wider Friendly (Quaker) World, World Univ & Sch, Yale 'Intro to Psychology' Lectures, MIT-originating 'Instructables'

I'm curious how nontheist Friends might brainstorm about inviting the wider Friendly (Quaker) world to become richly involved in World University & School. I think Friends' involvement would benefit WUaS and Quakers greatly. Wikipedia, by way of comparison, has a very large community of Wikipedians, is in 70 languages and has about 13 million articles. I'd like World University & School, openly and freely, to flourish in all languages, nation states, subjects and levels, (first by gradually aggregating already great, free, open courses, teaching, and learning opportunities on the web). And I'd love a (nontheistically = knowledge oriented?) Friendly ethos to inform WUaS. Doing so can involve only adding a link to WUaS occasionally.

There's an interesting lecture (the 3rd one) on Freud in this Yale University "Introduction to Psychology" course: and, vis-a-vis a recent NTF email thread. (And MIT-originating Instructables is another fascinating example of teaching and learning material which I just added to WUaS -

There's a great opportunity for creativity at WUaS, as we can teach whatever we want about anything we want (e.g. about nontheistic Friends, or how to elicit loving bliss, naturally?).

And all of us can teach at WUaS simply by using our web cameras to video what we'd like to teach, uploading this to a video site like Youtube, and posting it to WUaS, even with a mobile device.

How to engage Quakers at large with World University & School, besides beginning to travel to Quaker centers and Meetings to talk about it, and vis-a-vis nontheist Friends? How via the internet? WUaS will help a lot of people in the developing world, especially, as languages come online. Please let me know what you think.

With friendly greetings,

( - September 2, 2009)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Planets Around the Sun: John Money's "Concepts of Determinism" and related "Coping Strategies," Loving Bliss

Here are John Money's "Concepts of Determinism" {also accessible here: and}. This book is accessible through Google Books, too.

In a way, these "Concepts of Determinsim" and related "Coping Strategies" are 'reality,' and express a form of 'realism.'


Concepts of Determinism

In order to circumvent the platitudes of nature versus nurture, I needed a concept that would not only encompass both, but also transcend both. I formulated this concept as irreducible exigencies of being human that apply universally, transculturally, and transhistorically. They are not causal in either the teleological or mechanistic sense of causality. They are, instead, phenomenological verities of existence to be taken into account by any and every theory of the causality of what human beings do, sexologically or otherwise. There are five universal exigencies of being human, named and briefly characterized, as follows.


Pairbondage means being bonded together in pairs, as in the parent-child pairbond, or the pairbond of those who are lovers or breeding partners. In everyday usage, bondage implies servitude or enforced submission. Although pairbondage is defined so as not to exclude this restrictive connotation, it has a larger meaning that encompasses also mutual dependency and cooperation, and affectional attachment. Pairbondage has a twofold phyletic origin in mammals. One is mutual attachment between a nursing mother and her feeding baby, without which the young fail to survive. The other is mutual attraction between males and females, and their accommodation to one another in mating, without which a diecious species fails to reproduce itself.

Male - female pairbonding is species specific and individually variable with respect to its duration and the proximity of the pair. In human beings, the two extremes are represented by anonymous donor fertilization versus lifelong allegiance and copulatory fidelity.


Troopbondage means bondedness among individuals so that they become members of a family or troop that continues its long-term existence despite the loss or departure of any one member. Human troopbondage has its primate phyletic origin in the fact that members of the troop breed not in unison but asynchronously, with transgenerational overlap, and with age-related interdependency. In newborn mammals, the troopbonding of a baby begins with its pairbonding with its mother as the phyletically ordained minimum unit for its survival and health. After weaning, it is also phyletically ordained for herding and troopbonding species that isolation and deprivation of the company of other members of the species or their surrogate replacements is incompatible with health and survival. Nonhuman primate species are, in the majority of instances, troopbonders like ourselves.


Abidance means continuing to remain, be sustained, or survive in the same condition or circumstances of living or dwelling. It is a noun formed from the verb, to abide (from the Anglo-Saxon root, bidan, to bide). There are three forms of the past participle, abode, abided, and abidden.

In its present usage, abidance means, like its synonym, sustentation, to be sustained in one's ecological niche or dwelling place in inanimate nature in cooperation or competition with others or one's own species, among other species of fauna and flora. Abidance has its phyletic origin in the fact that human primates are mammalian omnivores ecologically dependent on air, water, earth, and fire, and on the products of these four, particularly in the form of nourishment, shelter, and clothing, for survival. Human troops or individuals with an impoverished ecological niche that fails to provide sufficient food, water, shelter, and clothing do not survive.


Yclept is an Elizabethan word, one form of the past participle of to clepe, meaning to name, to call, or to style. Ycleped and cleped are two alternative past participles. Ycleptance means the condition or experience of being classified, branded, labeled, or typecast. It has its phyletic basis in likeness and unlikeness between individual and group attributes. Human beings have named and typecast one another since before recorded time. The terms range from the haphazard informality of nicknames that recognize personal idiosyncrasies, to the highly organized formality of scientific classifications or medical diagnoses that prognosticate our futures. The categories of ycleptance are many and diverse: sex, age, family, clan, language, race, region, religion, politics, wealth, occupation, health, physique, looks, temperament, and so on. We all live typecast under the imprimatur of our fellow human beings. We are either stigmatized or idolized by the brand names or lables [sic] under which we are yclept. They shape our destinies.


Doom, in Anglo-Saxon and middle English usage meant what is laid down, a judgment, or decree. In today's usage it also means destiny or fate, especially if the predicted outcome is adverse, as in being doomed to suffer harm, sickness, or death. A foredoom is a doom ordained beforehand. Foredoomance is the collective noun that, as here defined, denotes the condition of being preordained to die, and to being vulnerable to injury, defect, and disease. Foredoomance has its phyletic origins in the principles of infirmity and the mortality of all life forms. Some individuals are at greater risk than others because of imperfections or errors in their genetic code. Some are at greater risk by reason of exposure to more dangerous places or things. All, however, are exposed to the risk, phyletically ordained, that all life forms, from viruses and bacteria to insects and vertebrates, are subject to being displaced by, and preyed upon, by other life forms. Foredoomance applies to each one of us at first hand, in a primary way, and also in a derivative way insofar as it applies also to those we know. Their suffering grieves us; their dying is our bereavement.

Coping Strategies

The human organism has three generic strategies for coping with the five universal exigencies: adhibition, inhibition, and explication. These strategies are under the governance of bodymind and should not be attributed to such inferential entities as unconscious motivation, voluntary choice, or willpower.

Adhibition and inhibition derive etymologically from the same Latin root, habere, to have or to hold. The verb, adhibit, means to engage, take, let in, use, or apply. Inhibit means to restrain, hinder, check, or prohibit. Thus adhibition is characterized by actively becoming engaged in doing something, gaining mastery or control of a situation, accomplishment, and fulfillment. Inhibition is characterized by becoming actively disengaged, avoiding or circumventing a situation, yielding, and being thwarted or deprived.

Explication derives from the Latin, explicatus, meaning unfolded. To explicate means to explain, interpret, or attribute meaning to an experience, situation, signal, or stimulus. Thus, explication as a coping strategy is characterized by actively construing, inferring, conceptualizing, formulating, designating, evaluating, confabulating, and in general, trying to make sense of what happens.

The aforesaid three coping strategies are generic insofar as they are inferential abstractions and conceptualizations derived from particular coping strategies, stratagems, or tactics. Any particular example of coping is classified as being primarily adhibitory, inhibitory, or explicatory, but each has the other two strategies represented as either secondary or tertiary, respectively. The ratio of the mix allows each particular strategy, stratagem, or tactic to have a three-way interpretation. Thus a major episode of transvestophilia associated with depression - although it may be primarily inhibitory and incapacitating from the viewpoint of the sufferer - is secondarily adhibitory, insofar as it has a manipulatory, tyrannical effect on the partner. It is tertiarily explicatory insofar as its genesis may be incorrectly attributed by the sufferer, perhaps to the extent of his being quasi-delusionally suspicious of being persecuted by others. The coexistence of these three interpretations constitutes the basis upon which psychodynamic hypotheses are constructed by scholars of sexology as well as other sciences.

With each of the generic categories of coping strategy, there are several recognizable different particular strategies, stratagems, or tactics for coping with the various demands subsumed under the five universal exigencies. A provisional listing of them is adapted from previous writings (Chapters 3-5 in Money, 1957; Chapter 9 in Money, 1986b), as follow.

Adhibitory Strategies. Perseveration; orderliness, hoarding and ritual; constant exertion; risk exploits; protest exploits; mating protests; surrogate displacement; impersonation; addiction.

Inhibitory Strategies. Fixation and regression; disownment; phasic disownment; phobia; sleeping spells; depression; suicide; mutilatory sacrifice of body parts; organs and limb amnesia; visceral amnesias; autonomic dysfunction; gestural and vocal automatisms; seizures and paroxysmal states.

Explicatory Strategies. Causal explanation; mirth and the comic; fantasy; dream; hallucination; depersonalization.

The five universal exigencies of being human, and the strategies of inhibition, adhibition, and explication constitute a conceptual or theoretical system to apply to sexological research in society and culture, as well as in the clinic. The system applies also to sexological diagnosis and prognosis in sex counseling and therapy. In the history of sexology, it is a system of post-Freudian, postmotivational psychodynamics. It is post-Pavlovian and post-Skinnerian as applied to stimulus-response theory. It is not univariate by multivariate. In the clinic it has the special virtue of freedom from the idioms of judgmentalism that haunt motivation theory. It allows the patient and the sexologist to be allies aligned against the syndrome, and not against one another as adversaries. It is a system that protects sexologists from the trap of motivational language that surreptitiously attributes to a patient personal guilt, blame, and responsibility for his or her syndrome. For that, patients are greatly appreciative. They are not helped by being judged and condemned, even covertly, for being deficient in health and well-being.

By John Money. From "Concepts of Determinism," Chapter 3, Section 11, p. 116 in Gay, Straight and In-Between: The Sexology of Erotic Orientation. Oxford University Press. 1988.


John Money suggests that, like the solar system, these exigencies and coping strategies just happen.


I wonder how to bring these 'concepts of determinism' together with eliciting loving bliss, naturally and fulsomely {}.

For example, pairbonding may somehow encode aspects of loving bliss, for example, but adhibiting this neurochemistry in our bodyminds already, may allow us to cultivate it, vis-a-vis ycleptance (yclept means to name, call, typecast, or style) and explication (which includes, for Money, mirth and the comic).

( - September 1, 2009)