Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cuillin Mountains: Friends, Academics, Hippies, Loving Bliss

Here's a recent correspondence with a friend in Scotland:


Hello Be,

Long time ... You might find World University and School interesting - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University - Teach or take a class, - a Global, Virtual, Open, Free, Multilingual University and School, based on a ... Read MoreWikipedia model. All languages and subjects. Join the Facebook group for more updates - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=48753608141&ref=ts. :)

And Happy New Year :)
Scott



Scott

Good to hear from you. World University looks extremly intresting!
It's a very exciting idea. Will have to look into it more.

Green shoots of recovery here to use a politicaly toxic phrase. Just recovering finaly from a post viral illness which started many years ago.
So not being doing very much apart from researching away on my own

Looking at the four humours as the methodology behind the monsters and wonders I was looking at during m.phil. I am also viewing the four humours as an important ethnological methodology in late 17th century Scotland and looking at relationships with oral culture and its roots from the 12th cen onwards in a range of texts. Focusing in particular on melancholia and lovesickness/greif from the 12th to 18th cen. With a sideline in Barnacle geese.

Just doing it independantly.

Just starting to get ideas into a wider world.

{sign up}

This is about the only major thing of any note I have done will hopefully start churning out some papers at a steady rate this year.

Its a vast subject not at all sure what to do with it. May do some joint work with a Celtic Academic who has better language skills than me with 12th cen. Irish material Ive examined.

Looking forward to obama's speech on Tuesday. It's such a changed world since we last spoke.

Be





Be,

Nice to hear from you.

We have a new world, and a black president. There's hope and optimism in the air here, even as Bush seemed to ride the economy into the ground, but not innovating or thinking - and it seems to be getting worse, with unemployment jumping a lot quickly. Interesting to watch what 'cards' Obama will play and what software he'll run.

I teach college "Society and Information Technology" in the 3-D virtual island of Second Life. I'm writing an ethnography of Harbin Hot Springs - http://harbin.org - in northern California, and plan to create a virtual Harbin in Second Life and Open Sim for ethnographic study. Last year I was in and out of Harbin for 10 months doing field work. I live near Berkeley. This fall, while teaching through Penn State from California, I was also taking 5 classes at Berkeley, as I taught a class, to focus the writing of some chapters, and going half of the time to Harbin. So I'm continuing to do research about anthropology and information technology. I'd like to shape a rigorous ethnography about the hippie trail {all over, but London to southern India}, with a virtual world component, as well as work on questions of loving bliss, naturally and neurophysiologically - my Friends' Dalton Letter - http://scottmacleod.com/daltonletter.htm - and 4 related letters are about this.

I continue to do a little yoga, too. I enjoy Angela and Victor's unique and creative approach to it - http://angela-victor.com/work.html - and enjoy teaching it sometimes. Yoga can have so many benefits.

I'm playing my bagpipes for weddings and things, as often as possible.

I'll like to realize 'World University and School' wiki richly ... it's a great idea, and it's time is here. To facilitate anyone posting a course, in conjunction with a wikipedia-like interface, and MIT Open Course Ware will make a lot possible. All languages, all subjects.

How are your daughters?

Happy New Year,
Scott




Scott


Kids are doing well Sens nearly 18 off to music school, Lacie seems to share my gift for drama and wants to go to the old vic like I did. Majies only 7 so no career plans yet.

Yoga, could never get into it but was perhaps down to the class I went too.

I was taught how to move by Rudi Shelley the "dancing master" at the old vic. Labin and Alexander were his major influences. An amazing man he fled Germany when the Nazis came to power (he was gay and jewish ballet dancer). Seemed to know everyone in 1930's Berlin. Just relized in the last few years how much of my own intelectual development owes to him. He always refered to actors training as a training for life. His textual analysis of Chekov, Ibsen etc. was something you don't forget.



Spent a few days in the garden cleaning up the dead leaves and getting it ready for new life. Hard work but rather relaxing and the nearst I get to being spiritual about anything.

Start looking at lovesickness next week, looking forward too it, looks like a rewarding subject.

Hippie trail sounds like a very good idea. I know a number of people who did it in the 60's and early 70's and still take the princples very seriously.
But a subject you can come at from a number of diffrent directions.

Be



Be,

:) - The following is neither an ethnography - "Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail from Istanbul to India" - http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Bus-Hippie-Trail-Istanbul/dp/0978843193, - nor a virtual world, but it is good news that it just was published. I may explore the hippie trail after I write my harbin ethnography - http://harbin.org - and create a virtual harbin as ethnographic representation, and for ethnographic comparison, as field site. Need to get money for this. Harbin is, to some degree, at first glance, a response to modernity - part of my argument {or did Modernity produce Harbin - what's the genaology here?}. (So is, I suppose, the School of Scottish and Celtic Studies at the Univ of Edinburgh - attempting to preserve 'tradition,' as it does). When in Edinburgh, I didn't read much about how Scots' or the British, view modernity - or the contemporary in a Foucauldian sense - from a 'social science' perspective. i suppose malinowski, firth, evans-pritchard, radcliffe-brown et al. were all 'practicing' 'forms; of modernity - but that's reifying modernity - by traveling to distant places for study. nevertheless, haven't read too many critical analyses of modernity. giddens? Gidden's "runaway world"?

I continue to be interested in eliciting the neurophysiology of loving bliss here:
http://scottmacleod.com/LovingBlissPractices.htm - learning how to do this is an fascinating question, and assumes the brain and bodymind are biological systems. Relaxation response is a helpful first step for me, and can be delicious.

Kids will come along with time - I've enjoyed a degree of freedom thus far. Would like to stay free even with having children, and dealing sensibly with the pragmatics of life ... i guess i'm on the bus :)

What's wild to me is that the 1960s and 70s transformed people's minds and practices dramaticaly. People fundamentally came to see things differently - away from norms and practices of modernity. Culture changing biology? How does that work? And where's it all gone? And how did it occur ... and it was pretty fun at the time (I was young:) ... Why not something as fun for the next 50 years?

Greetings from Canyon (Janis and Country Joe Fish both used to live in this community which is in the Oakland watershed in a redwood forest:), which like Harbin, Berkeley, Oakland, (but not SF) LA, San Diego is in the California sunbelt.


Scott




Scott,

I must confess I am not sure what the School of Scottish Studies actualy is or what it's methodological basis is. It has yet to be written and will have some significant diffficulties when it comes to provide a definition of Ethnicity based on it's current practise.

Ive sort of ignored the mind body thing it's certainly crucial to understanding the humours but I am more intrested in the history of the subject it's use in the development of ethnology and cosmology.

I think one of the key experiances of my life was meeting Lindsey Kemp I was about 4 at the time he worked with my Father.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindsay_Kemp

Was my first awarness that their were alternative lifestyles, something I have always been very attracted to I suppose thats when I decided to jump on the bus. I retired sort off when I had kids. I worked with alternative bands for years with the D.I.Y ethos of the hippie movement and Punk.

Institutions and Institutional forms of knowledge have never held much appeal. I never read Foucault as an undergrad but had clearly been drawn to what Foucault was drawn too as he simply reflected what i thought was my own original hard one approach. It would have made me far more confident if I had confronted him as an undergrad but would have made study even more problematic in such a conservative institution.

The relationship between biology and ethnology in the 17 th cen is something I find very fascinating indeed. I correspond on occasion with an Austrailian Philosopher of Science who has some shared intrests.

Biology is a subject I must take more of an intrest in.

Came across something rather exciting today by my old history teacher.

He seems to have moved on a subject of particular intrest to me significantly. Still chewing it over but it fits rather well.

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/staff/alexwoolf/Apartheidandeconomics.pdf

Be



Be,

Identity, and broader identity, for administrative and bureaucratic purposes (ah, modernity and Weber?) emerge again and again, linguistically and materially. What to do, except travel, study, love - which seems to rekindle identity issues? Oh, Be ... Must head to Harbin soon - in an hour or two - milieu can be transformative, so, to travel? and in-world (as in Second Life?) ... I've been getting into contact improv - there's a jam every night of the week in the Bay Area it seems. It's great. Maybe I'm a Bonobo wannabe, but except for hippie culture find the perceived costs too high, and hippie culture is small and shrinking. How to change milieu dramatically - the 60s and 70s transformed ways of thinking on a very widespread basis. There were protests in every major western capital against the wrongdoings of government ... Biology, except in the most general way (memes and evolutionary biology), is easily distinguishable from cultural processes, of which identity is an anchor, from which travel is liberating. Natural mdma (ecstasy) - what is it, how to access it, and through shifts in milieu (harbin) or minds (the 60s)? I think I'll head to harbin right now :) Are you dancing these days? All kinds of dance are fun, and the movement makes one feel well, and it's creative ... and you meet loves who are in their bodies .... sweet ....

Scott



Scott

caught youre message last thing will repond more fully tommorow.

I kept forgetting to say not read it yet but high on a long to do list
You may have already come across it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descartes%27_Error

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatic_markers_hypothesis

This was the defining moment for my generation and the relisation of what was confronting us. A rather vast army deployed on far two many occasions over the next few years. Looking back it just seems crazy what they did in the name of order

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=N3YtmBD_thM&feature=related

Be



Be,

I might complement Damasio, which I must look at more closely, with John Money's “Concepts of Determinism” (Money 1988: 114 ff.) - pairbondage, troopbondage, abidance, ycleptance, foredoomance, with these coping strategies: adhibition (engagement), inhibition & explication - where evolutionary biology and sex are partly central - available in parts on Google books - also some other sections per my Dalton Friends' letter ... http://scottmacleod.com/daltonletter.htm Have to check out some of the places, people and activism in the video - more research needed ... sgip gnikcuf

Doris signing off ... :)

{Scott}


Scott,

I know some people who were there fortunatly I was due to go to Stonehenge the day later and missed it but the battle of the beanfeild was an important event and has entered the releams of foklore.

My freind was their and was very involved with the peace convoy; rather a close knit group many live in Scotland these days. Their were some negative aspects to this culture as well, I always maintianed a distance from it, the older hippies were great but there was also a peculiar elitest attitude that existed amongst younger folk involved and a rather stupid and selfish side to it, drugs and booze playing a major role in the darker side of the culture. But their was certainly a lot of social pressure at the time, you did feel under attack and some younger people responded to the pressure in negative ways.

Alternative culture can demand a strict conformity and a code of it's own which is some what ironic given it's aims; often very close to what it claims to oppose with strict dress codes, customs and manners. Looking like you had slept in a hedge for a month without washing became a fashion statement amongst some and it demanded total cultural conformity; particularly from younger members. An utter air of snobbery about it. But it could also be a lot of fun.

I can get in touch with someone still in contact with many of the people involved. There is a festival each summer in Scotland The Green Man.

Its considered by many to be the only festival left which still has the spirit of the old ones from the 70's and 80's many people from this time still meet up at it.

I susect I may be able to track down the people in the vid for you if you would like or certainly get in touch with others very involved.

I would be more than happy to help with some groundwork and introductions, it's part of my own ethnology and history. Would be intresting to see some balanced research undertaken on the subject.

Be

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tulip Orchard: Virtual, Networks, Significance

When thinking about the 'virtual,' interpreting the significance of networks is key.

There's a worldwide system of computers and nodes - the distributed network of the internet - which make possible all this new activity in our minds, relating to kinds of social networking. Email lists are examples, Facebook and Twitter are examples, having access to the WWW is the basic network for social networking technologies. ...


Queen Anne's Lace: Father's Birthday, Free Thinking, Realizing Things in Life

It would have been my father's 80th birthday today - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_K_MacLeod (b. January 30, 1929). He died on November 25, 2007 in hospice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, having sustained a concussion on Semester at Sea on December 30, 2004, which led to two subdural hematomas.

Here's a video from his memorial service on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts from August 2, 2008 - scottmacleod.com/family.htm. I miss him.

As a medical doctor and a professor, he was very free-thinking, and able to realize fascinating things in life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pink Roses: Contact Improv Jam in Berkeley, Good Touch, Freeing Mind

Heading to a contact improv jam in Berkeley this evening ...

Finding 'flow' through movement which is releasing and inspiring is a fascinating possibility with contact improv, and changes your focus after a day spent at a computer. Ah, good movement leading to health, good touch, and freeing mind through contact improv ...

Freedom bodymind ...







This is contact improv:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUNfM-n_Soo

(Yee, Sandra M. 2006. Making Contact: Atlanta Contact Improv Jam 2006. Atlanta, GA: A 7Adinkras Production).





{Hawrbin and writing ahead ... loving bliss neurophysiology}

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Alps Wilderness: World University and School

Some of the things unique about this World University and School Wiki approach are the following.

First, it uses a Wiki approach, where I think a lot of creativity and innovation will come from, because anyone can post or take a class. Like Wikipedia and Craig's List, I hope it will make available courses and information people want, and to a lot of people, freely and openly - to complement learning opportunities already available on the WWW and on the ground.

Second, it focuses on excellence in education, vis-a-vis great universities, including MIT, Ivy League Schools, Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, Oxford, T.U.M., Sorbonne, L.M.U., Juilliard, Cambridge, Caltech, Berlin Technical University, University of Chicago, etc., first by aggregating what's already on the World Wide Web. There's a lot 'out there' already. If a degree-granting side emerges, engaging an already existing University system makes most sense.

Third, it also focuses on the developing world, as well as everyone, which may make chip, telecommunication and computer makers want to support WUaS, because it offers a rationale for extending the WWW further in the name of learning. Here's a book from the MIT press which addresses how to wire the developing world: "The Road to Broadband Development in Developing Countries Is By Competition Driven By Wireless and Internet Telephony" -
mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/itid.2007.3.2.21?cookieSet=1&journalCode=itid as a complementary perspective.

And fourth, WUaS's vision includes the beginnings of a virtual medical school, Ph.D. program, music school, and International Baccalaureate certificates, - potentially all degrees in all languages and subjects.


World University and School - worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University

World University and School Facebook Group - facebook.com/group.php?gid=48753608141&ref=ts

World University and School has the potential to help a lot of people.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Leaves on the Ground: World University and School Wikipedia Entry Which Was Deleted.

Here's a version of the Wikipedia entry 'World University and School,' one before the last one, which was deleted. [See this Friday, January 23, 2009 blog entry for what happened: http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2009/01/milkweed-wikipedia-world-university-and.html]



World University and School is a global, virtual, open, free-to-students, multilingual university (potentially degree-granting, with great universities as key players) and school, using a Wikipedia with MIT Open Course Ware 'model,' for the developing world (One Laptop per Child countries to begin with} and everyone.

Anyone can add or take a course or class by posting videos to http://youtube.com, for example, in all subjects and in all languages. World University and School encourages creativity and innovation in courses. World University and School participants can meet in real time in virtual worlds to share ideas, or via a variety of other technologies.

Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Organizations
1.2 Song
1.3 Library system and museums
1.4 Admissions
2 Campus
2.1 Major expansion
3 Sustainability
4 Further reading
5 See also
6 References
7 External links


[edit]
History

Scott MacLeod started World University and School in 2008. He taught "Society and Information Technology" on two islands in 3-D virtual world of Second Life for 5 semesters prior to that. World University and School is applying for grants to generate revenue to develop it.

[edit]
Organizations

World University and School is developing a foundation with an advisory board.

[edit]
Song

World University and School does not have any songs yet.

[edit]
Library system and museums

World University and School will link with multiple library systems, as well as potentially create online libraries and museums.

[edit]
Admissions

World University and School is an open University and School.

[edit]
Campus

World University and School meets virtually.



[edit]
Major expansion

World University and School through its Wiki seeks to lead in facilitating online digital learning and education in all languages and subjects. World University and School uses a Wiki approach.

[edit]
Sustainability

Endowments Institute on its College Sustainability Report Card 2008 does not rate World University and School "College Sustainability Report Card 2008". Sustainable Endowments Institute. Retrieved on 2008-05-21.

[edit]
Further reading

[edit]
See also

Potentially in development:
World University and School Open School
World University and School Arts
World University and School Business School
World University and School College
World University and School Dental Medicine
World University and School Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
World University and School International Baccalaureate Courses
World University and School Law School
World University and School Medical School
World University and School Music School
World University and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
World University and School of Public Health
World University and School School of Design
World University and School School of Education
World University and School School of Government
World University and School Veterinary Medicine

[edit]
References



[edit]
External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: World University and School

Official website

World University and School - worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University

World University and School Facebook Group - facebook.com/group.php?gid=48753608141&ref=ts

And the Wikipedia entry web site URL was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_University_and_School

Old Growth Forest: Loving Bliss Neurochemistry as Winning, Musical Forms, Studies of Gatheredness

If, after all these tens of thousands of generations, the neurochemistry of loving bliss is highly desirable, and may be freely and easily attainable or accessible, say, over decades, when and as we want, in conjunction with the great visions of the 1960s and early 1970s {environmentalism, sustainability, social justice, civil rights, peace and anti-war, communitarianism, equity for all, freedom, et al.}, and the pragmatics of daily life (whether this be as a father, a mother, a philosophy professor, or a wooden boat builder, for example), would accessing this when and as we want be a kind of 'winning' in life? The bodymind and brain are biological systems, so we may be able to figure how to create our own ecstasy {viz. MDMA}, naturally, freely and easily. In the context of a kind of evolutionary biological, love-life nihilism, I think accessing the neurochemistry of loving bliss, naturally, with contentment, when and as we want it, is 'winning.'

And what's the 'musical form' of free and easy love all the time, in a kind of structural sense - but without the musical notation - so, through practices {so, code or thinking, e.g. Tibetan Buddhist chanting, which I've seen to have a transformative effect - e.g. a Tibetan man in a shop in Berkeley, California}? If such musical forms, like some of Mozart's arias, can give rise to loving bliss neurochemistry {as they do for me}, what's the form to do it, without listening to these arias, for example? What's the thinking?

And how would one begin to study this anthropologically, as well as share this, besides via the World Wide Web?

Could I, for example, as an expression of this code, begin to play my bagpipe to give explicit form to qualities of loving bliss? (The great pipers Donald MacLeod and Duncan Johnstone played in ways, for example, that created aspects of these qualities for me}.


*

Here's another e-mail I sent to a nontheist friends email list recently.

If we wanted to develop or pursue a scientifically-grounded, related, nontheist friends' study of 'gathered meetings,' I think communicating with Harvard cardiologist Herbert Benson MD, at the Massachusetts General Hospital, who wrote "The Relaxation Response" in 1972 would be a good first starting point. His research from that time showed that oxygen intake lessened with the relaxation response (he was looking at meditation in the context of Transcendental Meditation, at the time, I think). This approach might not, at first, address questions of Quaker discourse, or nontheist friends' discourse vis-a-vis 'gathered meetings' - what is said during and after, and the historical context of Quakerism or nontheist friends - but it might be able to address 'group' aspects of the 'relaxation response.' I'm not sure how we might begin to examine scientifically questions of "gatheredness," vis-a-vis this nontheist friends email list, but let's explore this.

I find the ability to elicit 'gatheredness' facilitated richly, on my own, in warm pools, like at Harbin Hot Springs, or in my own bath tub. The warm water and releasing help.

With friendly greetings,
Scott

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wild Oats: Go Back to the Back Country

Go back to the back country


Go back to the back country
to dance in the wind
and laugh with the sun.

Rest easy on the rock,
and be there
with someone you like.

Everything changes,
day by day,
when you go there,
as you come home.

Make contact there,
make music there,
be present
with a friend, -
there in the wild oats.

Sing together,
and care.
Travel together,
and explore ~
And create, ~
yes, love.











(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2009/01/wild-oats-backcountry-poetry-contact.html - January 26, 2009)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Black-Eyed Susans: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Contra Dance, Bliss

I continue to be impressed with the harmonizing effects of Omega-3 fatty acids (1000 mg of flax seed oil, 3-4 times a day, for example). I'd like to see the clinical evidence for this. And how does this work neurochemically, in brief?

How to generate harmony in multiply ways in life, profoundly and neurophysiologically, as practices, is a question I'm thinking about.

*

Here's a great contra-dance youtube.com/watch?v=UlVZtX4dpAQ - :) with far-reaching, bliss-eliciting qualities. The music is played by The Groovemongers {with "rhythm, flair and drive"} at Contra Carnivale 2009 on the
central coast in California. Contra-dances are very kid-friendly and also offer great opportunities for movement.

Time to go to a lot of these.

How does this bliss work in contra-dance? While an appreciation for this music and dance plays a role, I think the following are significant: the music for a variety of reasons, the related movement, twirling, the progression in the dances, touch, the 'groove,' flirtation, giving weight, smiling, beaming, fawlling in love ...


**

I began
to re-read Ursula K. Le Guin's remarkable "Always Coming Home" today, noting Taoist ideas. It's an extraordinary vision. Ursula writes:

"The only way I can think to find them, the only archaeology that might be practical, is as follows: You take your child or grandchild in your arms, or you borrow a baby, not a year old yet, and go down into the wild oats in the field below the barn. Stand under the oak on the last slope of the hill, facing the creek. Stand quietly. Perhaps the baby will see something, or hear a voice, or speak to somebody there, somebody from home" {from "Always Coming Home's" introduction: 'Towards an Archaeology of the Future,'
pp 4-5}.

Being as simple as a baby is a theme in Lao Tzu's "Tao te Ching," - the sage is like a baby.


In 10

"Carrying body and soul as well as embracing the One,
Can you escape from the distinction?
Attending fully and becoming supple,
Can you be a Newborn baby?"


In 20

"And am cheerless, like a baby who has not yet learned to smile..."



In 28

"If become the Valley for heaven and earth,
You will be inseparable with the constant virtue (potency),
And you will returns to a new born baby."


In 55

"The person charged with the virtue resembles to a new born baby.
Neither wasp, nor serpent, stings him.
No predator devours him.
No bird of prey strikes him.
His bones are still weak, his muscles are indeed yielding."

Lao Tzu: The Tao Te Ching / An English Translation, 1998© by Eiichi Shimomiss√©
http://www.csudh.edu/phenom_studies/laotzu/taoteching.htm





In 55

"One who remains rich in virtuous power
Is like a newborn baby."

Translated during the summer of 1991 by Charles Muller
Revised, July 1997
http://www.mindgazer.org/tao/


Here's Feng and English's translation of the "Tao te Ching."


And in "Always Coming Home," the author's {Ursula's} baby becomes a symbol of the future ... coming home.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jellyfish: Eliciting Resting Neurochemistry, Relaxation Response, Ethno-wiki-virtual-world-graphy

Can we also elicit resting neurochemistry, when and as we want it? We sleep for so long regularly - with the rest it brings - in spite of the possible threat of predators in ancestral environments over millions of years. It seems to be some kind of bodymind program - 8-12 hours of sleep, over tens of thousands of generations.

Enough sleep makes me feel well, and not enough, tired. Eliciting the relaxation response shows that it's possible to elicit certain kinds of neurophysiology. And the relaxation response also is restful and regenerative, but not like sleep is. How would one even begin to elicit the neurophysiology or neurochemistry of restfulness, when awake, for example, and tired, naturally?

How to begin?


*

Here's an e-mail I posted to a nontheist friends' email list I participate in, about how to conceive of Quaker silent meeting, biologically and socioculturally.

Focusing on the biological and the 'sociocultural' vis-a-vis nontheist friends, I think that the relaxation response (something biological and neurophysiological) - relaxationresponse.org/steps - may well be an aspect of Quaker 'gathered meetings,' for individuals, which is then shared through language (sociocultural) during and after the rise of meeting, where people express their experiences of the 'gathered meeting.' What people share in the context of meeting may deepen, for some, such gathered meetings, which I might also call group relaxation responses (but which are not necessarily experienced by everyone). I find thinking about biological and sociocultural aspects of 'gathered meetings' vis-a-vis nontheist friends possibly logically entailed by the word 'nontheism.'

I also find gathered meetings salutary. I explore the relaxation response almost every day. :)

With friendly greetings,
Scott


***

Conceiving of Ethno-wiki-virtual-world-graphy

An example:

An anthropology or sociology graduate student could start a Wiki {editable web pages} for the Haight Ashbury area in San Francisco, or Goa, India, for example, where anyone could add anything about, say 1967-1972 {lots of fascinating neural activity, music, ideas ...}, or whenever, and you have a new form of multi-voiced (and multi-media) ethnography. Add an on-going group building project {Wiki-world-building?} of that place in a virtual world, like Second Life, for the time period you're interested in, bring the Wiki and virtual world together and you have a new kind of group, 'textual,' ethnographic production, which, over time, lets a lot of people who live in that place, and are-were 'there' at the time, add their own experiences, ideas, viewpoints, representations and dreams. What emerges is a new form of group knowledge production, which will then get even richer as these information technologies develop, and as more technologies are engaged.

The ethnographic researcher would invite and engage people to add their knowledge, possibly over decades, and eventually through generations ahead. I'd love to get to know many of the fascinating folks in the Haight who have been there continually since the 1960s. And many of these people may have video, photos, art from this time, which they might want to share and digitize on the web in the context of this Wiki-Virtual-World ongoing Haight community, building on their connections over 40 years. The 1960s time had far-reaching effects in so many ways. :)


A new ethno-wiki-virtual-world methodology ...


****

Ah, Monterey Aquarium jellyfish ...

and in warm water? :)





.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Milkweed: Wikipedia, World University and School, Natural Language and the Web

I created a Wikipedia entry for World University and School today - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_University_and_School.

[January 24, 2009: But Wikipedia 'marked it for quick deletion,' on the basis of 'significance,' a standard tag of theirs. I inserted the {{hangon}} tag, and wrote on the related Wikipedia 'talk page' how the significance of World University and School relates to its Wiki {editable web pages} approach to education and learning in all languages and subjects, where anyone can post or take a course, and WUaS' focus on the developing world and everyone. I also wrote that Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, and founder of the Wikia foundation which has been hosting "World University and School" for almost a year, had said to me {in a Facebook chat} that he and Wikia would host it. I wonder why Wikipedia didn't acknowledge any of these reasons concerning significance, and chose to delete the entry instead.

The entry was deleted when I woke up the next day. World University and School's Wiki on Wikia has been up for almost a year now, and WUaS will potentially help a lot of people, especially in the developing world, and may complement richly the digital renaissance which we're in the midst of. It could also help to make computer use much more widespread in the developing world. So Wikipedia's system didn't work in this instance.

This happened with one other entry I made in Wikipedia on 'Democracy School.' It was deleted right away, but I was later able to re-enter it as the 'Daniel Pennock Democracy School,' here - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Pennock_Democracy_School. So I may be able to create an entry on 'World University and School' again in Wikipedia, possibly by changing its name a little. I may also contact Jimmy Wales. I wonder how many great entries we've lost due to Wikipedia's policy and practices.

Drawing on Wikipedia's experience, I wonder how to develop more open approaches to stewardship and policies for course entries for World University and School is an interesting question, while articulating WUaS with great universities and schools.]

Here's World University and School's Wiki: worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University.

And here's World University and School's Facebook page: facebook.com/group.php?gid=48753608141&ref=ts


*

I learned about Ubiquity - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubiquity_(Firefox) - today, which Ubiquity calls "an experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily." It allows you to structure questions in your browser, using natural language, and what could become voice commands. Super cool.


**

Ah, the relaxation response - relaxationresponse.org/steps ... and Harbin pools soon :)


Milkweed and Monarch butterfly symbiosis in the photograph {click on title} ...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Toadstool: New Ethno-Genres, Language, Flow

Some new genres of writing under the toadstool cap of sociocultural anthropology:

ethno-blog-o-graphy - writing ethnography in the form of a blog (which is short for 'web log') - {It's more finished as a form than field notes} - so-named.

or ethno-blog-virtual-world-o-graphy {in conjunction with virtual worlds}.

or ethno-wiki-virtual-world-o-graphy {MMmmm :)}.


*

I heard a beautiful soliloquy about language yesterday {by a linguist-anthropologist} at Cal, which drew on the way people have thought about it 'scientifically,' first as a system, then the departures from that. So I had some "flow: the psychology of optimal experience" experiences, and when one's 'there,' the experience of 'flow' in one's bodymind is freeing - a kind of floating freely in the brain which sailing with a fair wind. {What is going on neurally?} Hearing about the beauty of language, by someone who knows language, can articulate why and how people have thought it 'works,' and how language is remarkable and beautiful, engaging reason, can be like flying & ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Earthquake: Inauguration, Change.gov, Paradigm Shift?

Here are some thoughts about Obama's inauguration, many of which I posted to twitter.com:

Here are two inauguration poems, - Elizabeth Alexander's "Praise Song for the Day" (2009) http://tinyurl.com/9a7zsg, and Robert Frost's "Dedication" (1961) http://tinyurl.com/9tezuk.

With Obama's presidency and the World Wide Web, we may have the potential for positively extending the freedom-oriented American Revolution of 1776 significantly. Vote ideas, for example, with blogger.com. Let the world know your ideas.

There's such potential for positive, smart change ahead. Blogger.com is one way to write about it, and, also, email your ideas directly to the White House: http://change.gov/content/home.

Anti-war, friendly, index investing: Vanguard's Bogle ~ http://tinyurl.com/7gjg6o ~ Indexing is the best way to invest, rationally and sensibly. You'll probably do best financially in the long run this way.

Obama as symbol, as intellectual, and, metaphorically, as computer server software - networked with academics around the globe, people who think critically about world issues {some bloggers}, and leaders around the globe - has amazing potential to stream ideas anew.

The discourse on race in this country has now changed dramatically. We have a new black president!

Nice to have atheism - Barack used the word 'non-believer' - included in this nation's rhetoric. Concerning religion, to have mentioned the 7-8 Huston Smith's "Religions of Man" religions, plus the openings emerging in 1960s would have been more inclusive - it's probably ahead, ... but it's hard to 'win' with religious rhetoric in a plural U.S. world .... :)

There's a "Durkheimian" social fact situation occurring here. And the social networking technology twitter was 'spectating,' and in some ways generating a kind of social fact conversation, one of an amazing number of media-mediated conversations. What about the budget ahead? - http://fcnl.org.

Marshall McLuhan's 'the medium is the message' - the video streaming of the inauguration on the Internet was pretty good; the medium now is a new network of thinking.

'This Land is Your Land' - Pete Seeger and friends at the Lincoln Memorial - http://youtube.com/watch?v=n-PCpRWqXv8 . It's too bad Woody Guthrie isn't here to see this day.

We're scaling up significantly this idea-renaissance we're digitizing, and have a remarkable opening with Obama and possibility. ... Idea-izing the world? > Write on.

OK, everybody, we're in charge now, vote with your 10-fingered ideas. Here's one free source - http://blogger.com . Democracy ideas.




And here's a letter I wrote to a nontheist friend's e-mail group.


Nontheist friends,

Here's a letter I'm sending to Barack and Joe. Change.gov seems to give us direct access to a very high level of government, via the Internet. I found out about change.gov from twitter.com and facebook.com. And, from a nontheist friend, I found out recently that you can send messages to the White House here, too: whitehouse.gov.

Let's all write emails regularly. Start a conversation with them.

Scott




Dear Barack and Joe,

Your inaugurations offer great possibility and hope.

Is there a paradigm shift ahead?

There are lots of cards to 'play' in this new 4 year game of 'poker' (vis-a-vis Harvard Law Professor Charlie Nesson). But I hope the cards that are significant are those of blogger's ideas, in particular. Please read blogs to allow us to idea-vote the 'program' of democratic government anew. {They can also offer a lot of useful, timely and topical ideas for in this rapidly changing world}.


To innovate today, too, I hope we can far-reachingly and sensibly open and extend the following:

software (via Open Source),

hardware (e.g. Bug Labs),

law (wikify the law, and e.g. Creative Commons law),

energy infrastructure (allow people to sell extra solar and wind energy that they generate back to the electrical grid, to significantly diversify the power grid),

university and education (World University and School, a Global, Virtual/Digital, Open, Free, Degree-Granting, Multilingual University & School, where anyone can teach or take a class or course - worlduniversity.wikia.com),

and so much more.


Make peace a priority - vis-a-vis the Friends' Committee on National Legislation - fcnl.org - budget priorities.

I'm glad your bodyminds - as 'computers,' as well as these networks shaped by the World Wide Web and the Internet - are making key decisions and helping to think and strategize ahead.

Best wishes,
Scott

scottmacleod.com




*

To the Harbin pools soon ...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cinnamon: Loving Bliss, Envisioning, World University and School

I have a dream, ~ to elicit loving bliss {it's neurophysiology, with MDMA as a reference experience}, naturally, when and as we want {5 letters - scottmacleod.com/links.htm}, and to explore how to do this, so aws to make this possible for anyone, in multiply qualities, ~ wherever and however. I'd love to think this through, and develop a language and culture for this, in such a way that we generate a loving bliss economy, as well.

{The word 'dream' (from OE meaning joy, mirth, gladness) is fascinating - MLK jr.'s dream is coming true with Obama's election, in some ways. To 'dream' here includes envisioning {a complex and fascinating process}, as well as articulating - that is, expressing symbolically - these visions, so that people, i.e. conversants, come to engage the envisioning process}.


In this 'dream,' - meaning 'envisioning' here - learning {in a MIT Open Course Ware knowledge context} is part of the process, ~ we can learn loving bliss.

World University and School Wiki {editable web pages} - worlduniversity.wikia.com - is one information technology example involving envisioning, teaching and learning whatever we want.

Here's the Facebook group facebook.com/group.php?gid=48753608141&ref=ts


Ah, loving bliss and learning ...



to the Harbin pools, soon ...





Monday, January 19, 2009

Cheetah: Happy Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. Day!, Obama, Hope

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. Day!

What are some 'cultural' implications of his "I Have a Dream" speech (1963) this MLK jr. national holiday, and Obama's election and presidency tomorrow? How does 'culture' work, especially vis-a-vis language? How is the 'American Dream' extended with Obama's presidency, and what cards will Obama and his government play over the next many years to further this dream for all of us, especially for democracy, freedom, justice and prosperity?

How does an individual's way of thinking, and his or her circles or networks, such as MLK jr.'s or Obama's, influence a set of wide-spread 'cultural' understandings, that may come and go over time, but which people can elicit or draw upon, and build upon, here in the name of social justice?


*

To contact improv soon ... :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Golden Light: My Home Was Like A Glancing, Golden-Light Ship When I Awoke

My Home Was Like A Glancing, Golden-Light Ship When I Awoke



My home was like a
glancing, golden-light ship
when I awoke,
from a nap today.

Sunlight danced dazzlingly
all around, and,
the temperature was perfect.

Sun illuminated
the wooden center beam,
like water lapping
against the keel
of a craft,
kissing the prow's
sunlit waterline.

And I delighted
in this light ~
no warm water nigh.

My house, a light craft
on a ridge,
in the afternoon,
in Canyon,
California,
bearing gene goods,
was sailing
through time,
and space,
amid dancing light.











(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2009/01/my-home-was-like-glancing-golden-lit.html - January 18, 2009)

Baby Chameleon: Relaxation Response, Space Between, Freeing and Easing Practices

In eliciting the relaxation response everyday, usually soon after I awake, I sit, and then soften and soften. I sometimes find that I come to a space between, which is very freeing and easy. As I soften again and again {e.g. my eyes, activity in my face, my brain, etc.}, I experience this process of progressive easing, at times, as a series of kisses, inner~caressing joys.

A chameleonic series of inner body responses, that give rise - aw - to baby chameleons ... ;)

It's a lovely response to cultivate, especially as a kind of bodymind place to return to, whenever you want.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gecko: Milieu and Agency

Might milieu help give rise to happiness (social psychology experiments?), and might we be able to shape milieu (agency?).

Harbin Hot Springs is aw fascinating milieu, which just kind of emerged out of the 1960s and 70s.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cardamom Flower: Singing with Your Partner, Eliciting Bliss Through Harmonizing, Mango Lassi, John Muir

I'm curious to explore how singing together, a cappella and improvisationally, with a partner might elicit bliss ...


Listening to the a cappella singing group Chanticleer's "Loch Lomond" on their compact disk Wondrous Love brought tears to my eyes today.

In what ways was this a kind of technological, or even a bodymind computer-like, process, which can inform ways to elicit loving bliss, for example? Computer-wise, the input here is the music, my bodymind 'read' or 'processed' the tones as beauty, and the output was tears and far-reaching feelings. But the music (code) as input to your bodymind computer (software shaped by taste and subculture, that is, the music you and your friends like) changes through our lives.

If only I could sing like Chanticleer with a partner, we'd elicit a lot of bliss ...

Practices, sweet practices: singing together beautifully and improvisationally is an amazing practice to develop.


**

A sublime drink: Mango Lassi - blend equal parts of mango and yoghurt with half as much milk, and add a little ground cardamom on top ... MMmmm ...


***

Naturalist, conservationist and writer John Muir was 'extreme' or engaged in ways he explored wilderness. {http://www.yosemite.ca.us/john_muir_writings/} He got into the most interesting situations, by traveling as remotely and exploratorily in wilderness as possible, and then learned from, and wrote about, them ... :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hot Springs Canyon: Happy New Year, Holiday Letter, Greetings


Happy New Year! Here's my holiday letter.


January 1, 2009

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Canyon, California, 20 minutes southeast of Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area. Happy New Year! How are you? I’d love to hear your news.

I've traveled a lot this year, focusing mostly on doing fieldwork at Harbin Hot Springs, - http://harbin.org - a hot springs retreat center 2 hours northeast of San Francisco. I'm writing an ethnography about it, and planning to create a virtual Harbin in Open Sim and/or Second Life. In addition to this, I've taught “Society and Information Technology” about the digital revolution in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life this year, both on Berkman Island (not on Harvard's faculty) and on Penn State Island. In addition to teaching, I've taken classes this fall at Berkeley to focus the chapter writing for my book.

In the course of the year, I also visited Sierra Hot Springs, Harbin's sister springs in the Sierra Valley in northeast corner of California, a number of times for research, traveled to the Pacific Northwest - Oregon and Washington - seeing many old friends :), and visiting my alma mater Reed College, attended a "Cultures of Virtual Worlds" conference at U.C. Irvine near Los Angeles, went to the Rainbow Gathering in early July in Wyoming, and visited Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts in the summer.

I think a fair amount about my father, around this first anniversary of his death on November 25, 2007. It was caused by complications from a subdural hematoma from a concussion he received while in Belize 4 years ago, on Semester at Sea on December 30, 2004. While I'm very sad he's gone, I'm glad he's past the challenges he was facing over the last three years of his life. We all miss him. Here’s an entry in Wikipedia about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_K_MacLeod, with some additional web sites about his life. My mother and brother, who I just visited in Pittsburgh, are doing relatively well.

I’m re-visiting here some ideas from my holiday letter 2 years ago. What is wisdom in modernity, or the network society, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernity), social conditions that some social theorists suggest is ‘shaping’ life today (say, since the printing press, the Enlightenment and 'industrialization'), now influenced significantly by computing and the Internet? How does the Internet help reshape modernity and post-modernity? In this now information-rich world in which we live, is wisdom a moot idea? I think that wisdom in the network society has both to do with networking, and in making connections in a broad sense, and which, in my experience, is somehow made better in conjunction with the relaxation response (Benson 1972). Here are some steps to elicit the relaxation response - relaxationresponse.org/steps.

I’ve had an eventful few years. In the fall of 2005 I was on Semester at Sea, and, at the end of this voyage, I spent 3 ½ weeks traveling through a lot of India, a fascinating motherland. In the spring of 2005 I lived at Harbin Hot Springs in northern California for a few months. Since studying at Berkeley (2000-2001), the University of California, Santa Barbara (2001-2003), and the University of Edinburgh (2000-2004), I’ve taught college in anthropology and sociology, most recently in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life. I study some social effects of the Internet and information technologies.

One place you might enjoy exploring is the virtual emerging world and society in Second Life - http://secondlife.com/community/downloads.php. The program and going in-world are free, and there are a lot of virtual islands to explore (your computer needs to have a gigabyte of RAM). And all kinds of things take place there like musical performances and lectures, universities and nightclubs. In addition, you can communicate with other avatars, through type-chat and voice, and create and build anything imaginable. And there's a currency, the Linden dollar, which has an exchange rate with the U.S. dollar, if you want eventually to buy things, but at no time do you have to give your credit card. Second Life, like other virtual worlds, is developing quickly and will change a lot in the upcoming years. Virtual worlds are fascinating and it’s worth getting an avatar – having an avatar is a little like having an e-mail address - but exploring in world doesn’t compare with having good friends. The Internet and virtual worlds allow for all of us to become information producers, relatively freely, with far-reaching implications.

In the spring of 2007 I taught "Sociology" at Penn State, and “Society and Information Technology,” at Chatham University, and through the University of Pittsburgh’s OSHER program, all 'in-the-actual-classroom.' And in that summer and fall of 2007, and the spring and summer of 2008, I taught "Society and Information Technology" in Second Life on Berkman Island. Virtual worlds like Second Life make meeting at any time, and across great distances, a possibility, - online academic conferences and courses, for example, are a ‘real’ possibility – and virtual worlds allow opportunities for innovation in many other ways. And they’re easy to use. My research interests are leading me to examine some of the distinctions between ‘real’ and virtual processes, which have arisen due to information technologies like Second Life.

In June 2007, I spent about 2 ½ weeks in Greece taking a yoga course with Angela Farmer and Victor van Kooten, who are unique and creative yoga teachers.

In August 2007, I helped celebrate my parents 50th Anniversary on Cuttyhunk Island in Massachusetts. I was so glad my father could participate a year and a half ago.

Sandy, my brother, is a sculptor in Maine: http://sandymacleod.com. His art is an ongoing exploration for him, and beautiful.

My mother is fully engaged in Pittsburgh on the board of the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society, walking, gardening, traveling and visiting friends.

Concerning health, I return to the thinking that a very low-fat, varied, natural foods diet, 30 minutes of daily movement (vis-a-vis Dean Ornish’s, M.D., clinical, medical research showing the heart disease is reversible through lifestyle changes – WebMD - http://www.webmd.com/content/pages/9/3068_9408.htm), a multi-vitamin, and omega-3s {for mood, heart disease, and more} (Dr. Andy Weil: drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA356000) have numerous health benefits. Dr. Andy Weil’s web site’s search field, in particular, offers much useful integrative and complementary medical information. In a related vein, keeping one’s brain active learning, for example, a foreign language or a musical instrument benefits the mind, and is useful for lessening the effects of aging, particularly memory loss (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/memory-loss/HA00001). (Use it or lose it?)

Thinking outside the ‘box,’ I wonder how one might realize great happiness / bliss, in conjunction with the pragmatics of daily life? My Friends’ Dalton Letter and 4 other related letters are partly an exploration of this: http://scottmacleod.com/daltonletter.htm, and I continue to find creative possibilities in thinking about these letters. Listening to Mozart’s arias, doing contact improvisational dance, contra-dance, and talking with friends, are ways for me to access qualities of bliss, - so yes, it is possible. I'm curious how extensively and with what qualities? Click on ‘notes’ on my yoga page - http://scottmacleod.com/yoga.htm - for related perspectives. I’m interested in your thoughts about this.

This past year, I've also begun to envision and realize World University and School: A Global, Virtual, Open, Free-to-Students, Multilingual University {potentially Degree-Granting, with Great Universities as Key Players} and School, using a Wikipedia model, for the Developing World {One Laptop Per Child countries to begin with} and Everyone - worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University. So, all languages, all subjects. Add or take a class. Here's the Facebook page: facebook.com/group.php?gid=48753608141&ref=ts. World University and School is based on a kind of Wikipedia-cum-MIT Open Course Ware model. While the possibility that many people will contribute an amazingly wide variety of courses is exhilaratingly exciting with creative potential, and academically, too, I'm particularly interested in how we might make learning fun, and to explore questions of eliciting loving bliss here, as well. Post a course about this :).

I've also started to play my Scottish Highland Bagpipe regularly, and for events like weddings, too - scottmacleod.com/piping.htm.

I also started this blog - scott-macleod.blogspot.com - in June 2008, and as of January 16, 2009, have made 189 entries. Click on the 'poetry' tag here to read some poetry I'm writing, including some haiku-ish :)

hot pool, cold plunge
light through a leaf ~ fig:
green light smile


Whether or not wisdom has something to do with connecting positively, the world continues to be a beautiful and symbolically-rich place, especially with the Internet. Engaging it creatively is enjoyable. And for me, the relaxation response - relaxationresponse.org/steps - accentuates this.

Warm regards in the New Year,
Scott




*

The computer adds new ways to create things, easily. Here's a perspective on the Apple MacBook:

The new-ish Apple MacBook, which runs both main operating systems (Mac OS - operating system - and Windows OS), has useful and easy video technologies, including making video-making and conferencing easy. The Mac OS makes computing elegantly easy. There’s now a program that runs both the Mac OS and Windows OS at the same time on the same machine, called Parallels.


There's no reason not to get an Apple MacBook now. (You can run all your old Window's software on it). Getting a MacBook with a large hard drive and the maximum memory will make it useful well into the future. The thirteen inch screen Apple MacBook has a battery that lasts much than the 2 hours of the larger screen of Apple’s MacBook Pro, and does everything the larger laptop does for $1850, instead of $2900 for the MacBook Pro. Everything is done and ordered through the Apple web site. Here’s a CNET review about it:
http://cnn-cnet.com.com/laptops/apple-macbook-13-inch/4505-3121_7-31884384.html?tag=mncol;lst. If you have or get an Apple MacBook, and want to video-conference using iChat, which makes it very easy, let me know your .mac or free AIM address.


**

And MIT’s new One Laptop per Child, the XO – is another fascinating convergence development.


***

This click-to-give web site: thehungersite.com - with 6 possible clicks daily, plus more with mult. browsers, and x 2 with a MacBook w/ Parallels, allows you to give to worthy causes just by mouse clicking.



HAPPY NEW YEAR






http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2009/01/happy-new-year.html


(Scott Macleod Bagpiping at Easter Harbin Hot Springs with wizard and Easter Bunny
photo: Harbin Hot Spring's Easter 2005 (Scott MacLeod and Eric R.) photo credit ?)





Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Children: Loving Bliss as Friends, Harmonizing, Bathtub

Loving bliss as friends


Friends,

I've been exploring questions and experiences of loving bliss :), partly from a nontheistically friendly perspective, and have been posting these ideas to this web page - "Loving bliss and practices to elicit this." Enjoy!

I'm curious what you think about loving bliss, and possibly to facilitate generating a conversation among friends about this. I enjoy exploring and generating practices toward these qualities of experience, so my 'love bliss letters' are an exploration in progress. Let me know what you think, and how we might or can generate qualities of loving bliss, in the ways we want, and when you want to.

While the following definition doesn't fully explain what loving bliss is for me, it does involve experiences that are deeply, gratefully harmonizing, and reciprocally appreciative and affectionate, both with a friend or friends, and alone, as well as profoundly and naturally high at the same time, and which are ongoing, biological, 'flow' experiences. What is loving bliss for you? For me, it may be, metaphorically, '... the valley of love and delight.'

One way in to explore loving bliss experientially might be to imagine what the drug Ecstasy - (MDMA - methylene_dioxy_meth_amphetamine) - might do {~> oxytocins~dopamine}, say, over a seven hour time span, and without any side effects, with friends. Another way into exploring loving bliss experientially might be to explore what gives rise to your happiness, joy or enjoyment (listening to a favorite piece of music?) in your own life, and then cultivate and 'grow' that experience profoundly, socially, and with consciousness (writing about loving bliss is a good way to begin, - print this letter, below, and add to it, for example). For me, from a nontheistically friendly perspective, in part, the word spiritual doesn't hold much meaning, - and I suspect that what some ecstatics, who may have explored loving bliss, have called 'spiritual' is solely neurophysiological, - but that symbols and language of the 'spirit' can evoke these experiences, i.e. this neurophysiology. So I prefer to explore how to cultivate these experiences first focusing on the neurophysiology, rather than the intermediary language, which I find can lead one far from these qualities of experience, and then develop lovingly blissful language, conversations and community. And when I'm not cultivating loving bliss, I like to relax into the relaxation response, which I explore often when in hot pools, silent meeting, or a bathtub.

Soaking in warm water (100 F / 38 C) deepens the relaxation response in my experience, especially when doing so is in a beautiful, natural area, communal and clothing~optional, but also in the bathtub. Besides the relaxation responses that many soaks per day might elicit (and does so especially at Harbin - the clothing-optional, pool area is very beautiful there, and these aspects help a lot - http://harbin.org), as well as Omega-3 fatty acids (1000 mg of flaxseed oil, 3-4 times a day with food), I'd love to learn of other ways you access or cultivate (this seems to me to be an important aspect, with awareness) loving bliss. Why not practice loving bliss, as you would practice a musical instrument? I've found also that thinking and writing about loving bliss can be both a flow experience, and serve to bring my awareness to these qualities of experience, thus often eliciting it. Try it :)

About meeting together: I think it might be interesting for nontheist friends to meet in a 3-D virtual world like Second Life, in addition to real life gatherings, to explore loving bliss through conversation, among other ways. Here's the Second Life download page; it's free, takes about 20 minutes to get an avatar that is anonymous (but through which you can share your identity, and we may well, in time, be able to animate and make our avatar faces like ours), and requires about 1 gigabyte of RAM. It's easy to navigate in this emerging, virtual society, and people might meet 'there' in a beautiful, virtual, hot pool area to converse. Let me know if you are interested. (For those interested in an unprogrammed, Quaker, silent meeting, one already meets in-world in Second Life on Sea Turtle Island - slurl.com/secondlife/Sea%20Turtle%20Island/197/17/27 - on Saturdays at 10 am SLT / Pacific Time).

I think the relative lack of exploration of the experience of loving bliss from a research perspective is a fascinating societal elision, although Alan Watts, for example, did write about aspects of this in "Joyous Cosmology." I also think this is therefore an opportunity to create a new language, and possibly shape an orientation to qualities of the experience of loving bliss at large, and especially among nontheistic friends. Loving bliss is wondrous.

And while 'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be, ... (centering down - a kind of relaxation response?) ... And when we find ourselves in the place just right, It will be in the valley of love and delight (which, in actuality, is Harbin Hot Springs for me), I have found I can access loving bliss on my own, neurophysiologically, often beginning with the relaxation response, then cultivating loving bliss as it emerges (it can bubble up, or music can help elicit it, for example), and then continue to receive this ongoing, biological experience, with awareness. I think other people can too.

Let's communicate together, directly or indirectly, to cultivate loving bliss, - from our bathtubs, digitally? :)

Warm regards,
Scott


Print Loving Bliss as Friends (.doc)
home: scottmacleod.com


http://scottmacleod.com/LovingBlissAsFriends.htm


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wave: California, Traveling, Places to Visit, Art

A friend asked me today what events or places would I recommend in northern California?


I said, I like youth hostels, especially along the California coast.

Yosemite in winter can be beautiful.

Besides Harbin Hot Springs, Sierra Hot Springs, Orr hot springs and Wilbur hot springs are also nice, but not nearly as 'big' or as social as Harbin. (I like Harbin's sociality).

Pt. Lobos State Reserve near Carmel is beautiful, as is Carmel itself, as is the Monterey Aquarium.

While not northern California, going slow along the Big Sur coast line is great.

I'd like to explore slowly Mendicino, Trinity and Humboldt Counties in a meandering kind of way. They can be pretty alternative.

And the Siskiyou - Klamath mountains {see David Rains Wallace's "The Klamath Knot: Explorations of Myth and Evolution"} in northern California and southern Oregon draw me, as do most of the wilderness areas and national parks in northern California - e.g. Trinity Alps, Shasta, Mt. Lassen, Desolation - there are many.

California has so much to visit which is really beautiful - coast, mountains. And it has so many people, - around 35 million! And it's still relatively open, away from some of the coastal cities.


I'd also like to follow California wildflowers as they emerge in spring, in the most remote, out-of-the-way, natural and wilderness areas, with a friend :) ~ AW. I'll try to explore much California back country in the years ahead. {Here are some related, inspiring, selected writings - http://www.yosemite.ca.us/john_muir_writings - by John Muir}.


How is the Burning Man, my friend asked? Have you been there last year?


I've never been to Burning Man - but I may go to Rainbow again this year. The Rainbow Gathering may be in eastern Washington, or New Mexico, or in New England (someone at the Gathering last year said New England really needs it) this year in the first week of July.

Will you go to Burning Man this year, he asked?

Burning Man seems fascinating, exciting and freeing, I said ...


***

It's the qualities with which one experiences these places that are so interesting to explore.

Eliciting the relaxation response in relation to new places,

exploring loving bliss naturally, in new places,

welcoming on great happiness while traveling,

are fascinating ways to live.


And making art as you go is also opening, regenerative, and can be freeing - photography, writing, painting, bead-making, art with your computer ... so many ways ... let's :)


Let's create :))



Monday, January 12, 2009

Magnolia: Eudaimonia {Personal Flourishing} is 'Flow' and Bliss

Eudaimonia (personal flourishing)
is 'Flow' and Bliss



Dear Friends,


While bliss may be experienced by evoking or exploring good spiritedness, I'm curious about the following.


How to experience eudaimonia, flow, and bliss naturally?


FLOW

What is 'flow' ~ the psychology of optimal experience?

'Flow' is an absorbed mind, being in the "zone," a focused, fugue-like state.

'Flow' involves:

  1. Clear goals: short- and long-term, e.g. singing the notes of, and a whole piece of music;

  2. Immediate feedback, e.g. one knows how one sang the notes and the piece;
  3. Challenges, where the challenges of activities are matched with the skills of the person, e.g. singing a piece at the appropriate level;
  4. Focus or concentration;
  5. A lack of worry about other things, - esp. what people think of you;
  6. A feeling that one is in control of one's life;
  7. A loss of self-consciousness;
  8. And often a sense of loss of time, because one is absorbed in enjoyment (Csikszentmihalyi 1991).


'Flow' can happen in yoga-related movement. Exploring your 'inner body' in movement is a very enjoyable kind of 'flow.'

'Flow' leads to greater complexity, as one engages challenges at the right level.

To increase 'flow,' increase challenge, at the right level; for example, the challenge of 'letting go,' while singing a piece of music.

The opposite of flow is psychic entropy, - scatteredness.

To find 'flow,' the following are integral: clarity, centering, choice, commitment and challenge. You can find 'flow' in so many different ways.

'Flow' is concentration, and concentration is one of the eight limbs of yoga. Yoga is particularly beneficial for 'flow,' because it's a path to holistic health, and can lead to a kind of freedom, and sometimes loving bliss.


BLISS

is great happiness. Bliss is also one aspect of eight-limbed yoga.

I think 'flow' can be a basis for bliss, but I'm also interested in more 'Taoist' or natural approaches to it. It can happen naturally, as a consequence of how one's brain~bodymind works, - it kind of comes in waves, flushes, flowerings, or bubbles up. Experiences can stimulate it. For example, yogic breathing in a very released state of mind can provide a basis for bliss. Laughter and appreciation can bring it on, e.g. for me, listening to Mozart's 'Magic Flute.' Being in love can elicit it. How can one cultivate it naturally, if bliss is one of the most enjoyable experiences in life, - involving, in part for me, feeling and engaging lovingly toward everyone in your life, with people who are doing the same?


EUDAIMONIA (Greek ~ good spirit) ~ happy, personal flourishing


When 'flow' and bliss come together, eudaimonia can occur, a kind of liberation. Is it possible to 'play' our brains' neurophysiologies like a virtuosic (or beginning) musician vis-à-vis loving bliss? Experiment and explore how you might create ~ cultivate this, with friends or by yourself.


Omega-3 fatty acids (1000 mg flax seed oil, 3-4 times a day with food) and a healthy bodymind through some vigorous movement and a good diet are also helpful bases.


Enjoy,
Scott


Reference

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihalyi (pr. chick sent me hi). 1991. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper Perennial.

Print Eudaimonia is Flow & Bliss (.doc)
home: scottmacleod.com

scottmacleod.com/EudaimoniaFlow.htm
Scott MacLeod's Arts - Copyright 2008

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hummingbird: How Life Works, Evolution, Language, Counterculture

How life works:


Charles Darwin

Alfred Russel Wallace

Carl Linnaeus

evolution by natural selection

tens of thousands of generations and billions of years of life

1.8 million species with a possible 8-100 million other species

all of which make up a theoretically-grounded

and an evidence-based understanding of life,

and seem to express forms of truth about life -

(but which do not a 'divine' exclude

{logically}).


But some curious divine-centrism might logically here then seem to have to do primarily with replication of DNA {deoxyribonucleic acid}.

To me, however, Richard Dawkins makes sense when he says the divine is not ... (in his book "The God Delusion," and in other writings), for a variety of reasons.

3.5 billion years is a long time for DNA / life to replicate,

and a lot of speciation / mutations (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation) to occur,

giving rise to an amazing number of species,

a few of which are communicative, ~

especially humans with language.


Symbolizing (Deacon) is a far-reaching process,

especially vis-a-vis language

and culture ...

{How does culture work anthropologically in the context of evolution (and vis-a-vis primates)?}


I'm most interested in counterculture

{'peace, love and happiness' ~ 'make love, not war'},

partly because 'it' highlights fascinating aspects of 'culture' ...


Let's celebrate hippie Darwinism :)


With hummingbird, friendly greetings,
Scott



Ah, the Harbin pools soon ...

Artichoke: I Love a Lassie

A nice Scots' tune:


I Love a Lassie

Sir Harry Lauder: youtube.com/watch?v=aC0NN0o5LMU

I love a lassie, a bonnie Hielan' lassie,
If ye saw her ye would fancy her as well.
I met her In September, popp'd the question in November,
So I'll soon be havin' her a' to masel'!
Her faither has consented, so I'm feelin' quite contented
'Cause I've been and sealed the bargain wi' a kiss.
I sit and weary, weary, when I think aboot ma deary,
An' you'll always hear me singing this:

Chorus:
'I love a lassie, a bonnie, bonnie lassie,
She's as pure as the lily in the dell,
She's as sweet as the heather,
The bonnie bloomin' heather,
Mary, ma Scotch Bluebell.'

I love a lassie, a bonnie Hielan' lassie,
She can warble like a blackbird in the dell.
She's an angel ev'ry Sunday, but a jolly lass on Monday;
She's as modest as her namesake the bluebell.
She's nice, she's neat, she's tidy,
And I meet her ev'ry Friday;
That's a special nicht, you bet, I never miss.
I'm enchanted, I'm enraptured,
Since ma heart the darlin' captur'd.
She's intoxicated me with bliss.

Chorus

I love a lassie, a bonnie Hielan' lassie,
I could sit and let her tease me for a week:
For the way she keeps behavin', well, I never pay for shavin
'Cause she rubs ma whiskers clean off with her cheek.
And underneath ma bonnet,
Where the hair was, there's none on it,
For the way she pats ma head has made me bald.
I ken she means no harm,
For she'll keep me nice and warm.
On the frosty nichts sae very cauld.

Chorus

Folk Music of Scotland

http://scottish-music-lyrics.blogspot.com/2008/01/i-love-lassie.html

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Domes: Hippie Quaker Kids' Names, Consciousness, Watsu

Hippie Quaker kids' names I found recently (2009): QUAKER HIPPIE QUEEN, Definitely Does Not Play Dungeons & Dragons, Moon Flower Fairy Child, Communist Whore No. 2, Extreme Egghead Feminist..., Friend, The Krishna Kid, Bomb the Bourgeoisie, Hippy Hippy Shake, Timothy Leary, Sunshine Friend, Sunbeam, Quaker Flower, Barefoot Cannabis, Peace Bringer, Quaker Dove of Light, Crazy Treehugger, Natural Womyn, The Treehugger, Child of Light, Treehugging DirtWorshipper, Sends a Good Vibe, Eyes of the World, Bohemian Babe

{http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=824130561&ref=profile#/group.php?sid=a859f3df3524afd8625f84ebe43cb9a4&gid=2423821013}

Hippies continue to create and explore . . . :)


***

Conversation about Consciousness

How do billions of cells firing together in the brain give rise to subjective experience?


Consciousness


brains and subjective experience
Share
Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 6:21am | Edit Note | Delete

How do billions of cells firing together in the brain give rise to subjective experience?

How can they?

How dare they?

Why was this selected for, evolutionarily?

David Chalmers and consciousness:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX8xtUORDh4

Questions about consciousness are wild and amazing. :)

What do you think?

Written over a year ago - Add Comment - 8 Comments

Bos at 8:41am November 1
I think experience existed before neurons evolved. Neurons may be be needed to make the experience "subjective." Without feedback, there's no subject.

Scott MacLeod at 12:04pm November 1
How to characterize the experience of a nematode or sea slugs, which have neurons, and, perhaps, non-subjective experience, although presumable they respond to feedback? So, for you, experience (amoebae), then neurons (nematodes), then subjective experience (bats?). How far down the phylogenetic tree does subjective experience extend, do you think?

Bos at 2:23pm November 1
Good question(s). In my opinion, experience is a characteristic of matter, not just of life. I think one could use information theory to measure the computations of an amoeba or a nematode. I don't think there's a qualitative difference between lower forms of life and higher, except that computational complexity facilitates more interesting computation, and thus the ability to solve complex problems. I would suggest that one becomes a "subject," by acting, receiving feedback from the environment and acting again on that feedback. At some level, one develops an awareness of self as distinct from the world (yes, bats probably), and at some higher level one develops a computational model that facilitates recognition of that self. Humans, dolphins, and (I think) many primates recognize themselves in a mirror.

Scott MacLeod at 12:26pm November 2
I wonder if you think that Thomas Nagel in "What is it like to be a bat?" - http://members.aol.com/NeoNoetics/Nagel_Bat.html - doesn't engage the question of experience fully enough, and that therefore a computational model will eventually help us understand how consciousness works. His point seems to be that consciousness, and subjectivity - the taste of chocolate to someone else, the first person singular - is irreducible, and that other organisms' (and species') consciousnesses are fundamentally other; to understand a bat's consciousness subjectively is and always will be impossible. As one of the "new mysterions," (along with Colin McGinn, another interesting philosopher of mind), perhaps Nagel is putting forth a straw man.

(Part 1 of reply)
Scott MacLeod at 12:27pm November 2
Here's a TED Talk by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh on Bonobos - Apes that write, start fires and play Pac-Man -

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/76 -

which suggests that pygmy chimps are not very different from us. Perhaps we/they are only significantly different in the degree of ability to symbolize, and the amount of sexual behavior (although that seems to be culturally constructed in humans:), which, by implication, might suggest similarities in consciousness.

(Part 2 of reply)
Scott MacLeod at 3:19pm November 2
Curiously fascinating:)

Here Colin McGinn works toward a definition of consciousness,
the 1st chapter from his book "The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World" -
http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/m/mcginn-flame.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Scott MacLeod at 4:47pm November 3
In reading "Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion," many of the folks in the 60s who were also thinking about consciousness - writers like Huxley and psychologists like Perls - shaped a nondualistic view of consciousness, where brain and 'what it's like to be a bat' are expressions of the same thing, but which doesn't explain how consciousness works, in the sense of Chalmers' 'hard problem.' Maybe questions concerning consciousness which unite the first and third person singular viewpoints - how meat/gray matter gives rise to the taste of mango - are best re-framed as temporary limitations in conceptuaization/language.

Scott MacLeod at 12:27pm November 5
Here's the link to David Chalmers' far-reaching resource on consciousness, including links to multiple papers -

http://consc.net/chalmers/

and including his philosophical humor web page:)

http://consc.net/phil-humor.html


(http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1108760881#/notes.php?id=824130561)

***

Watsu at the Domes

The buildings above {click on title} were built as a Watsu School at Harbin. Back to Harbin soon for Watsu {Water Shiatsu - a harmonizing practice} ...