Friday, October 2, 2020


“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you

want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Albert Einstein

There is an ancient Taoist story about a tree. The tree was old and crooked; every branch twisted and gnarled. Somebody walking by that old and crooked tree commented to Chuang Tzu what a useless tree it was; because the trunk and branches were so crooked the tree served no purpose at all.   Chuang Tzu replied:

The tree on the mountain height is its own enemy… The cinnamon tree is edible: so it is cut down! The lacquer tree is profitable: they maim it. Every man knows how useful it is to be useful. No one seems to know how useful it is to be useless.


The uselessness of the tree is what protected it. Nobody wanted it for anything, so they didn’t cut it down, and it lived to be very old, fulfilling its own nature.

“No one seems to know how useful it is to be useless.” What does it mean to be useless? It means being empty of striving to become something, to be anything special, freeing the mind from that kind of gaining idea. To become useless is to settle back and allow our own nature to express itself in a simple and easy way.

There’s a famous monk in Thailand who summed up this attitude of mind, and indeed the whole Dharma, in a very short saying. He said: “There is nothing to be, nothing to do, and nothing to have.” Nothing special. Everything is impermanent, everything is in flow, in constant transformation. If we can free ourselves of the striving to be someone special, to be a certain way, or to have certain things – free of that desire to do or to be or to have anything at all – we can settle back into the natural unfolding of Dharma.

Joseph Goldstein, The Experience of Insight, Shambala Dragon Editions, p131


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Friday, September 4, 2020

Busy Shadows

I spent a week in mid-August at a Wayward Research Facility in Easton, MD. The lead researcher, W,  was just about to turn three years old. Two of her many seminars were memorable.  She would take us on a tour of the facility and every time we passed a mirror, especially full length ones, she would remark.  "There, see your Shadow"  We were never quite sure whether it was a statement or a question.  It provoked a short meditation on the nature of Shadow, that's it's always with us and a review of the ancient practice of Scrying, the intentional encounter with your own image. 

The other seminar was held outside.  We would all follow W's lead and start to move.  First there were yoga poses, then it got a bit faster and more dirvish-like.  Several of us lost our balance and fell over. We said that we got "dizzy". W would comment that we fell over because we were "Busy." We then 
returned to our private areas for a meditation on the effects of contemporary life on spiritual centering
She invited to watch this YouTube on Archetypal Imbalance.

Sunday, August 30, 2020


My carving and assemblage work over the last years has returned several times to HEADS.      Heads that break off, heads that get carved alone, heads I get stuck in.  

In Celtic tradition, it is believed that the power of a person, his Soul, lived in the Head. As an honor to a slain enemy, there was a practice of severing the head, preserving it in cedar oil and displaying it, not as vindication, but as honoring Soul



Head Case

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Remembering Our Wolves, as Politics Heats Up

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. 
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. 
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed.”

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Two Quotes and an Interview

for those of us examining and reexamining directions and needs

Artists can choose what their profession will be about—
inventing deceptions that encourage more consumption—
or helping repair the worldDavid Berman (Do Good Design)

Learn to dwell in timelessness, give yourself away, tend youth  andyfisher.     

And this Interview with Murray Stein                       

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Re-Visiting Morse Peckham

These kaleidoscopic times churn and turn up new/old insights.
I've been re-reading the rich works of cultural historian
Morse Peckham (1914-1993). 
Here are my notes and underlinings from one of his books:

Art and Pornography  (1969)       
Art is the exposure to the tensions and problems of a false world so that man may endure exposing himself to the tensions and problems of the real world”

Anarchy is the mother of Order   Source of Tension:  Libido always trying to control the Ego which was trying to absorb the Libido.  Freud

Art offers not order but perceptual disorder or discontinuity,  contact with chaos

Art is rehearsal for the orientation that makes innovation possible
flickering between need for stability predictability control and innovation  risk  (free energy)
Story-Making 85 is a near instinctual activity forward, backwards, always adjusting     
All discourse is equally fictional. Putting changing, meaningless bits into a meaningful context Managing  multiple, shifting  social roles/personal (archetypal) needs Making meaningful organization of Materials via the Imagination     Contact with the Unpredictable
Porn is a Storyline, like political propaganda and religious art:   simplified view/fairy dust sacred
Human beings prefer stability to innovation… 99.9% of genetic variations are dysfunctional. Stick with ones that work  132 Human beings have two primary but divergent and irreconcilable interests. to stabilize the cognitive model;  the other is to compensate for the necessary inadequacy of the model correcting and improving through innovation
Exemplary thinking 156  is a relief from explanatory and theoretical thinking, so mediating non-verbal thinking is a further relief  157        
No aspect of the empirical world is meaningful until it elicits a behavioral response
Unreal = inability to organize it into an available belief system vs Rational/real  = cooperates with known belief system   165  Interest=activity that serves to smooth the adaptational process
Cognitive Overload 177 precedes powerful innovative thrusts/breakthroughs                                        
Need for Multiplicity of roles/models  179                     
Man is free and freedom threatens stability/predictability  two aspects of same thing: 181        
Paradise 189  = no disparity between cognitive and sensory data, (Ego and Libido)
Harmony between remembered, projected and perceived realities,  The Head, Hand, Heart
No social management necessary, futility of anarchy, trance, cult, religious deference of personal authority 192 “vacation from cognitive tension”  Issues of hierarchy, dominance, authority competition for scarce resources
NEED to disengage  from controlled society (stability/predictability) 298     
Beliefs in how much stability/Innovation is tolerable, or destructive Art-Making can effect that 300