Studying and striving to understand systems has been a theme in my life. Another has been to grow more open to the presence of spirit in this life.
My interests have shifted over the years, with some themes enduring. I tend to look for foundations, structures, patterns; have a fondness for some corners of number theory; have a fondness for fundamental questions – What does it mean to be human, to have life, to be a facet of the vastness of life – matter, sensation, thought and spirit – as all of it “co-volves” through time. How does life (individual, species, all life) learn, change, adapt? What range of states can be experienced by a human? What practices / sadhana can tune one’s being to be more open to deeper states along the spectrum of [dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), samadhi]?
Systems Thinkers: Buckminster Fuller was an early intellectual hero. He led a life of exploration, striving to bring something new into the world. In addition to introducing new ways of thinking about the workings of the world, he sparked my interest in the Platonic solids. Another influence has been the lesser known Stafford Beer. The recursive nature of his model of systems is unique in the approaches I’ve encountered. My father introduced me to John Bennett, and through him, Gurdjieff. Bennett studied the fundamental aspects of the monad, dyad, triad etc. (systems of one, two, three or more [components is not quite the right word]) that hold true through their various incarnations.
Self Exploration: Over the years I’ve explored a wide range of paths. Interest in the realm of the spirit has been with me from a young age. In my teenage years I was an acolyte in the Episcopal church our family attended. After spending time in Nepal in the Peace Corps I came to know some exceptional teachers from India – Harish Johari (affectionately known by Dada (“older brother”)) and Shyam Bhatnagar – that have been a strong influence in my life. Through my father I was introduced to the work and ideas of John Bennett, and followed up on that through visits to Claymont Court, a center he started shortly before his death. Bennett was a student of G. I Gurdjieff as well as of other traditions. Through Claymont Court I met Kabir and Camille Helminski, who are at the center of a Mevlevi Sufi community. I joined in two of the community’s summer retreats (in Vermont, where they were based at the time) which held a lot of meaning and self-learning for me. Also via Claymont, I met Richard Knowles. I’ve done some work with his Process Enneagram. He writes about it and his experience that led to using this variant of the Enneagram in his book, The Leadership Dance: Pathways to Extraordinary Organizational Effectiveness. Richard has articles on the Process Enneagram on an older version of one of his sites, the Center for Self Organizing Leadership. Another of his sites is for Richard N. Knowles & Associates. Via the Bennett community I met Tony Blake, and attended a number of the events he pulled together in and near Baltimore a few decades ago, when I lived relatively close by. Tony studied with both Bennett and physicist David Bohm. He knows and brings together a vast range of highly interesting (to me and other friends of Tony, anyway) people.
More recently I have been learning about Goethe’s approach to science, in good part through the writings of Henri Bortoft.
My Work Life: Since moving to Vermont in 1998, most of my work has been other than as an employee. Almost since moving here, through fall of 2014, I worked part-time for various small rural schools as technology coordinator or as one of a tech support team. Other lines of work include creating custom applications built around databases (using Microsoft Access) and building web sites for local businesses.
I’d be interested in talking with others about how to bring into being an education environment that is more self-directed, with more intensely focused students, than one finds in today’s schools. While actively involved in education, I collected interesting educational links at a wordpress.com site.
Other Web Presence: The site solvt.com is one I created, again using WordPress, to put forth a professional face beyond the Solbakken Technology Partners web site through which my wife and I present our business.