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.
I’m interested in a variety of flavors of systems thinking. I tend to look for foundations, structures, numbers, patterns. What does it mean to be human, to have life, to be a facet of the vastness of life – matter, sensation, thought and spirit. How does life (individual, species, all life) learn, change, adapt?
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.
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.
My Work Life: Since moving to Vermont in 1998, most of my work has been other than as an employee. Almost since moving here, I have worked part-time for various small rural schools. I’ve put lots of educational links at a wordpress.com site. I’d be interested in talking about how to make education more self-directed, more intensely focused. Other lines of work include creating custom applications built around databases (using Microsoft Access) and building web sites for local businesses.
Self Exploration: Over the years I’ve explored a wide range of paths. 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 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.