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February 2005

Self-Reliance vs. Interdependence: Inherence, Adherence and Coherence

I read Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance" during the return flight from my New Warrior Training Adventure staffing.  The essay reinforces many of the principles I revisited during the weekend, which resonate with me deeply -- such as the inherent integrity of each man's mind (and soul) and the dangers of conformity and blindly adhering to creeds and other classifications -- but it also raises some issues with which I do not feel deep resonance -- such as the primacy of constancy over consistency or coherence and the foolishness of philanthropy.  I agree with Emerson's entreaties to trust my self, speak my truth, do my work, and not be subservient to the approval or disapproval of others.  However, I judge that Emerson is taking independence to the extreme, discouraging sympathy, charity and an openness to others' perspectives.  While I want to achieve greater independence of thought and action, I want to do so within a community of others, and find an appropriate balance between independence and interdependence, between serving my self and serving others, between being true to myself and enjoying meaningful relationships with others. 

Among the terms I find particularly appealing are alienated majesty (hearing others speak truths we ourselves had earlier discovered, but rejected), the vigor of wild virtue (uncivilized, spontaneous, instinctual aboriginal strength) and the corpse of memory (our concern with being consistent, lest we violate expectations and disappoint others).  I'll include a number of longer passages I found particularly provocative below.

Continue reading "Self-Reliance vs. Interdependence: Inherence, Adherence and Coherence" »


New Warrior Training Adventure: A Powerful Multi-cultural and Multi-dimensional Experience

I've just returned from my "rookie" staffing at a New Warrior Training Adventure weekend near Albany, NY: a multi-cultural NWTA co-sponsored by the Upstate NY, New England, and Montreal communities within the Mankind Project (MKP).  It was a powerful experience on multiple levels for me, made all the moreso by the opportunity to participate in the initiation of a good friend.  It has been nearly three years since my own initiation, with the Chicago MKP community, and while my weekly post-training "integration group" in the local Northwest MKP community provides a safe container within which I continue to grow, the weekend represented a long overdue, deeper reconnection with -- and renewal of -- my sacred masculine energy, an aspect of my self that I need to increasingly draw upon as I continue to stretch beyond my comfort zone in my personal and professional activities.  It was also a great opportunity to meet, work with and develop new relationships with some amazing men who are committed to making the world a better place.  I feel great joy and gratitude for this opportunity.  Aho!


Blogger's Mind

Lately, I find myself increasingly adopting a perspective of "[How] would I blog this?" -- coming up with evocative or provative blog post titles, considering various links I might create and thinking about photos I might upload for a post.  It reminds me of a period of my life where I was a more avid photographer, when I found myself increasingly experiencing life through the lens of my camera, and adopting a perspective of "[How] would I photograph this?"  The trouble I have with both of these perspectives is that they both take me out of the present moment, representing a kind of "monkey mind" rather than a "beginner's mind"

I enjoy writing, as it helps me [literally] compose my thoughts, and gain greater clarity.  The advantage of posting my thoughts on this blog are that readers' comments often help me gain additional clarity.  I just want to be mindful of the temptation to be thinking about future "capture and access", and not be distracted by such thoughts during present moments (er, this particular present moment excluded).

[Googling "blogger's mind" reveals that mumsgather has some interesting thoughts on this term, and the state it describes, as well.]


Playing the Edge, Finding One's Spot and Being One's True Self

During tonight's Love and Logic class, Cindy Horst encouraged parents to stretch to allow children to experience more consequences directly, rather than being protected or rescued from those consequences.  The Love and Logic program can be rather extreme with respect to loving detachment, and while parents may not want to adopt such an extreme approach, there is much to be gained by moving out of our comfort zone, but stopping short of real pain (for us), i.e., allowing consequences to do the teaching of our children, but only if and when we, as parents are willing to accept those consequences ourselves. 

This notion of stretching to the edge of our comfort zone reminded me of the concept of "playing the edge" that Erich Schiffman describes in his wonderful book "Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness".  Reviewing the highlighted passages in my copy of the book revealed close alignment with some of the concepts taught by Don Miguel Ruiz in "The Four Agreements" and by Don Juan (via Carlos Castanada) in "The Teachings of Don Juan".  I'll include some relevant passages below.

Continue reading "Playing the Edge, Finding One's Spot and Being One's True Self" »


Microsoft Social Computing Symposium: April 25-26

Microsoft Research is sponsoring a second Social Computing Symposium to be held April 25-26, 2005, presumably somewhere in the greater Redmond / Seattle area.  [Update: I initially posted the wrong dates in the first sentence and the title; the correct dates are there now -- April 25-26.] Like last year's event, which was invitation-only, the intent is to bring together researchers, pundits and [other] innovators to help everyone interested in social computing gain greater awareness of developments in different dimensions of this space.  This year, the organizers are opening up their call for participation, and inviting position papers of 300-500 words (due February 28).

Continue reading "Microsoft Social Computing Symposium: April 25-26" »


Entrepreneurial Passion and Discipline: Dan Rosen and Russ Stockdale @ MIT Enterprise Forum

Dan Rosen (co-founder and general partner of Frazier Technology Ventures and chair of the Alliance of Angels) and Russ Stockdale (Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for Clearsight Systems) gave a clear, concise and compelling presentation at the MIT Enterprise Forum in Seattle tonight on the importance -- and necessity -- for passion and discipline in any entrepreneurial venture.  Just before the event, they merged (interleaved) their two presentations, and they took turns sharing their insights and experiences with the promises and perils along the entrepreneurial path.  Their slides will be posted somewhere, sometime, but I wanted to post a few notes here while everything is still fresh in my head.

Continue reading "Entrepreneurial Passion and Discipline: Dan Rosen and Russ Stockdale @ MIT Enterprise Forum" »


The Source of my Breathing Dragon

I alluded to my Breathing Dragon during an earlier post on my Warrior Monk experience. Sally Wilson of Earthwing Pottery, the artist who created the dragon figure, recently replied to my email inquiry about the source of the dragon; she provided some details about the materials, people, processes and inspiration that came together in its creation, which I include below (with her permission).

Breathingdragon

"Hi Joe, thanks for your letter..it came to my bulk mailbox for some reason (which I rarely check) hence my delay! [The dragon] is "coldcast" from resin impregnated with garnet dust, chemically bonded with metals -- in your case this looks like bronze and silver (or possibly aluminium). I make the original out of clay, then one of my dearest friends makes the molds and casts them for me,(limited edition). It is a rather painstaking process involving putting metal powders in the mold like a sandpainting, she's a fabulous artist in her own right, so I give her "carte blanche" and no two are the same.. When it comes out of the mold it is ground, buffed, and polished, then I highlight it with mica powders and sealant (thats the blue). The metal will oxidize and form a patina over time, if you want to bring it back to shiny use a non abrasive multi metal polish (Like "Mr. Metal'). Thanks so much for your appreciation and for using it as inspiration, it is the best purpose I hope for when I do my work--I quiet my mind and envision that greater reality of peace and joy channelled into the beautiful receptivity of the clay..I am honored that you continue that process! Sally Wilson

Deep Peace of the Quiet Earth to you
Deep Peace of the Running Wave to you
Deep Peace of the Flowing Air to you
Deep Peace of the Shining Stars to you

Celtic blessing"


Zen, Motorcycle Maintenance and the Church of Reason

danah recently wrote an interesting and provocative blog post about "why i'm in academia", which reminded me of some interesting and provocative statements made by Robert Pirsig about what he calls the Church of Reason in his book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (not that I want to imply that they share the same views on academia, or anything else, for that matter).  danah writes about her love of knowledge, learning, teaching, "a philosophical direction to grapple with a core issue of humanness" and the benefits and costs to maintaining connections with people and organizations outside of academia.  One of the costs she mentions is being perpetually backblogged ... which, in turn, motivates me to post a few items that jumped out at me during my fourth re-reading of this book (and the first rereading in many years).  It's late, and I'm tired, so I'm just going to copy and paste a few items from an online version of the book below.

Continue reading "Zen, Motorcycle Maintenance and the Church of Reason" »