Friday, April 30, 2010

Got a light? - John Steinbeck

"There's no need for giving the girl a name. She never came back to Western Biological. Her interest in science blinked out like a candle, but a flame was lighted in Doc.

The flame of conception seems to flare and go out, leaving man shaken, and at once happy and afraid. There's plenty of precedent of course. Everyone knows about Newton's apple. Charles Darwin and his Origin of Species flashed complete in one second, and he spent the rest of his life backing it up; and the theory of relativity occurred to Einstein in the time it takes to clap your hands. This is the greatest mystery of the human mind - the inductive leap. Everything falls into place, irrelevancies relate, dissonance becomes harmony, and nonsense wears a crown of meaning. But the clarifying leap springs from the rich soil of confusion, and the leaper is not unfamiliar with pain." Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck

Take a leap and enjoy the pain! Cheers, O'

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Curb Your Anxiety Friday - May 7th with Bob Hunter

Curb Your Anxiety Friday afternoon May 7th, 4:30-7:00pm at our home - 3173 N. Delaware Street - for our ongoing Open Hand conversation with Bob Hunter. (We switched from this Friday the 30th because Bob is recovering from hip replacement and the associated pain.) Enjoy a pint of Sun King grog and pizza on our porch as we think out loud together........cheers, O'

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Abbey of Gethsemani - Founded 1848

The Abbey of Our Landy of Gethsemani is the oldest monastery still in use in the USA. Say what? Don't tell your international friends about this. Many live in homes built before 1848 and their local pubs are at least a century older.

This historic Kentucky landmark is known for its Gethsemani Farm store that offers handmade Trappist cheese, fruitcake and bourbon fudge!

We had an opportunity to participate in the vespers prayer service Saturday with the white robed monks and enjoyed chanting the liturgy with them.

Thomas Merton arrived at Gethsemani in the early 1940's and became famous as an acclaimed author and poet. He died at the early age of 53 and is buried in the monks cemetery. Here is his poem entitled - The Trappist Cemetery

Return them to their souls to learn
The songs and attitudes of glory
Then will creation rise again like gold
Clean, from the furnace of your litanies:
The beasts and trees shall share your resurrection,
And a new world be born from these green tombs.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

CONTROL - information chastity belts

The Creative Energy of the Universe: IN-FORMATION

Highlighted by O'Steven from Leadership and the New Science by M.J. Wheatley

Self-organizing system = can be thought of as a process of energy that manifest itself in physical formation.

Life uses information to organize matter into forms, resulting in physical structures that we can see. The role of information is revealed in the word itself: IN-FORMATION. When new structures materialize, we know a system has in-formed itself differently.

Closed system = will wind down and eventually decay, another victim of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

GENESIS - is the opposite of management and control as the source of life is new information, novelty, ordered into new structures. We need information coursing through our systems, disturbing the peace, imbuing everything it touches with the possibility of new life.

FREEDOM - is required for new birth, and information is a unique resource because it can generate itself, like an inexhaustible solar energy for organizations - with new progeny possible with every interpretation. When communication occurs in a shared and open context, fertility abounds.

Management function - is often accompanied with dark cloaks of control and usually comes with an information chastity belt. When rumors proliferate and gossip get out of hand, it is a sign that people lack the genuine article - honest meaningful information.

Given that we all need to be continually nourished by information, it is no small wonder that employees cite "poor communication" as one of their greatest problems.

ORGANIZATIONS - information can serve an organizational function because they are open systems and can be responsive to the same self-organizing dynamics as all other life systems. To foster these self-organizing capacities in our organizations we have to work with information the same way life does. We need to create much free access to it, and become more astute at noticing new information as it emerges.

INTELLIGENCE - if a system has the capacity to process information, to notice and respond, then that system possesses the quality of intelligence. The greater the ability to process information, the greater the level of intelligence.

NOURISHMENT - we need to begin thinking of information as nourishment rather than merely power. We all have to learn how to support the workings of each other, to realize that intelligence is distributed and that it is our role to nourish others with truthful, meaningful information.

INNOVATION - It is no longer the leader's task to move information carefully along restricted pathways, shepherding it cautiously through channels, passing it on guardedly to someone else. Innovation is fostered by information gathered from new connections; from insights gained by journeys into other disciplines or places; from active, collegial networks and fluid, open boundaries.

RELATIONSHIPS - Knowledge grows inside relationship, from ongoing circles of exchange where information is not just accumulated by individuals, but is willingly shared. Information-rich , ambiguous environments are the source of surprising new births.

RESPONSIBILITY - An individual without information, can't take responsibility, but an individual who is given information can't help but take responsibility. One of an organizations most critical competencies is to create the conditions that both generate new knowledge and help it to be freely shared.

QUANTUM PHYSICS - Here we see relational holism, where whole systems are created by the interactions among subatomic particles. In this process, the parts don't remain as parts; they are drawn together by a process of internal connectedness.

COMING TOGETHER - We sometimes experience a great team effort, one that far exceeds what could have been done alone, and these always feel slightly miraculous. As we begin to understand our participation in a universe that thrives on open information and that works with us to self-organize into systems of increased capacity, we might challenge ourselves to drop our information chastity belts and tap into that great creative energy of the universe: IN-FORMATION.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our Fuzzy Universe - Enjoy the Challenge

Here are a few challenging quantum notions to ponder the next time you encounter the fuzzy nature of this universe we call home. I have been wrestling with much of the material in the book MIRACLES by C.S. Lewis over the past weeks and can't quite seem to come to grips with all that he is saying. So much hovers on the tip of my brain, only to be lost as soon as I try to recall it in any meaningful manner. One moment I get a basic insight and the next moment it vanishes just like that. So I decided to copy this section in Rhino Rumblings so I can glance back at it and maybe absorb bits and pieces every now and then. Hope you enjoy the challenge also....cheers, O'

" is probable that Nature is not really in Time and almost certain that God is not. Time is probably (like perspective) the mode of our perception. There is therefore in reality no question of God's at one point in time (the moment of creation) adapting the material history of the universe in advance to free acts which you or I are to perform at a later point in Time. To Him all the physical events and all the human acts are present in an eternal Now. The liberation of finite wills and the creation of the whole material history of the universe (related to the acts of those wills in all the necessary complexity) is to Him a single operation. In this sense God did not create the universe long ago but creates it at this minute - at every minute."

"When we are praying about the result, say, of a battle or a medical consultation, the thought will often cross our minds that (if only we knew it) the event is already decided one way or the other. I believe this to be no good reason for ceasing our prayers. The event certainly has been decided - in a sense it was decided "before all worlds." But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really cause it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering. Thus, shocking as it may sound, I conclude that we can at noon become part causes of an event occurring at ten a.m. (Some scientists would find this easier than popular thought does.)"

"The imagination will, no doubt, try to play all sorts of tricks on us at this point. It will ask, "Then if I stop praying can God go back and alter what has already happened?" No. The event has already happened and one of its causes has been the fact that you are asking such questions instead of praying. It will ask, "Then if I begin to pray can God go back and alter what has already happened?" No. The event has already happened and one of its causes is your present prayer. Thus something does really depend on my choice. My free act contributes to the cosmic shape. That contribution is made in eternity or "before all worlds"; but my consciousness of contributing reaches me at a particular point in the time-series."

"The following question may be asked: If we can reasonably pray for an event which must in fact have happened or failed to happen several hours ago, why can we not pray for an event which we know not to have happened? e.g. pray for the safety of someone who, as we know, was killed yesterday. What makes the difference is precisely our knowledge. The known event states God's will. It is psychologically impossible to pray for what we know to be unobtainable; and if it were possible the prayer would sin against the duty of submission to God's known will."
(AT THIS POINT SOME READERS MIGHT WANT TO LOOK AT SCHROEDINGER'S CAT WHICH IS A CLASSIC THOUGHT PROBLEM IN QUANTUM PHYSICS. If I am not mistaken this sheds some light on the role that 'knowledge' plays in determining reality. But I may be wrong.)

"One more consequence remains to be drawn. It is never possible to prove empirically that a given, non-miraculous event was or was not an answer to prayer. Since it was non-miraculous the sceptic can always point to its natural causes and say, "Because of these it would have happened anyway," and the believer can always reply, "But because these were only links in a chain of events, hanging on other links, and the whole chain hanging upon God's will, they may have occurred because someone prayed. The efficacy of prayer, therefore, cannot be either asserted or denied without an exercise of the will - the will choosing or rejecting faith in the light of a whole philosophy."

"This impossibility of empirical proof is a spiritual necessity. A man who knew empirically that an event had been caused by his prayer would feel like a magician. His head would turn and his heart would be corrupted. The Christian is not to ask whether this or that event happened because of a prayer. He is rather to believe that all events without exception are answers to prayer in the sense that whether they are grantings or refusals the prayers of all concerned and their needs have all been taken into account. All prayers are heard, though not all prayers are granted."

"We must not picture destiny as a film unrolling for the most part on its own, but in which our prayers are sometimes allowed to insert additional items. On the contrary, what the film displays to us as it unrolls already contains the results of our prayers and of all our other acts. There is no question whether an event has happened because of your prayer. When the event you prayed for occurs your prayer has always contributed to it. When the opposite event occurs your prayer has never been ignored; it has been considered and refused, for your ultimate good and the good of the whole universe."("For example, because it is better for you and for everyone else in the long run that other people, including wicked ones, should exercise free will than that you should be protected from cruelty or treachery by turning the human race into automata.)

"But this is, and must remain, a matter of faith. You will, I think, only deceive yourself by trying to find special evidence for it in some cases more than in others."


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall......

"If a man says, "Humpty Dumpty is falling," you see at once that this is not a complete story. The bit you have been told implies both a later chapter in which Humpty Dumpty will have reached the ground, and an earlier chapter in which he was still seated on the wall. A Nature which is "running down" cannot be the whole story. A clock can't run down unless it has been wound up. Humpty Dumpty can't fall off a wall which never existed. If a Nature which disintegrates order were the whole of reality, where would she find any order to disintegrate? Thus on any view there must have been a time when processes the reverse of those we now see were going on: a time of winding up. The Christian claim is that those days are not gone for ever. Humpty Dumpty is going to be replaced on the wall - at least in the sense that what has died is going to recover life, probably in the sense that the inorganic universe is going to be re-ordered. Either Humpty Dumpty will never reach the ground (being caught in mid-fall by the everlasting arms) or else when he reaches it he will be put together again and replaced on a new and better wall. Admittedly, science discerns no "Kings horses and men" who can put Humpty Dumpty together again. But you would not expect her to. She is based on observation: and all our observations are observations of Humpty Dumpty in mid-air. They do not reach either the wall above or the ground below - much less the King with His horses and men hastening towards the spot. The Transfiguration or "Metamorphosis" of Jesus is also no doubt, an anticipatory glimpse of something to come." Amen, O'


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Open Hand Worship - Sunday, April 11, 6:30pm

"We live in a universe where relationships are primary....and nothing exists independent of its relationships. We are constantly creating the world - evoking it from many potentials - as we participate in all its many interactions. We live in a world where who we are depends on who we meet." M.J. Wheatley Leadership and the New Science

Join our community as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and ongoing relationship with Jesus. May we continually evoke life transforming potentials in the world around us as we interact together with Jesus in his Kingdom. Amen.

Sunday Worship, 6:30pm, 3174 N. Delaware Street, baby sitting provided

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Participative Nature of the Universe

"In the quantum world, what you see is what you get." Margaret J. Wheatley Leadership and the New Science

In my mind this is the foundational cornerstone of paradoxical quantum physics. The new science explains that there is fundamentally no objective reality out there waiting to be discovered. Instead we live in a universe -
  • that co-evolves as we interact with it
  • where ideas and information are only part of what is required to evoke reality
  • that is constantly changing and impossible to pin down
  • in which there are no 'building blocks' of matter
  • where relationships are the key determiner of everything
  • and subatomic particles come into form only in relationship to something else
  • where unseen connections between what were previously thought to be separate entities are the fundamental ingredient of all creation
  • which is a living system constantly seeking its own self-renewal
  • where differentiation is the defining metaphor - with each organism maintaining a clear identity within a larger network of relationships that help shape its identity
Quantum reality also challenges our beliefs about objective measurement because at the subatomic level the observer can't make an observation without interfering and actually participating in its creation. In other words, when we choose what to look for or measure, we actually evoke one particular outcome while the vast number of potential outcomes collapses in cooperation with our expectation.

In the quantum world, physicists describe relationship as all there is to reality. Particles only come into being through interactions with other energy sources. And even though we give names to these sources - neutrons, electrons, and other particles - no particle can be identified independently from the others. We can begin to think about elementary particles as "bundles of potentiality."

Here is the real kicker: No one of us exists independent of our relationship with others. Various people and environments evoke certain qualities from us and leave others dormant. In each of these varied relationships over time and space, we express ourselves according to our interaction with that particular system of influence.
  • A system can be defined as a set of processes that are made visible in temporary structures - like work, home, church, pub, school, club.......that exert an influence on everyone that comes into the relational orbit of that emotional field.
"Each of us is a different person in different places. That doesn't make us inauthentic; it merely makes us quantum. Not only are we fuzzy; the whole universe is." M.J. Wheatley

Thus if there is not objective reality 'out there', then the environment and our futures remain uncreated until we engage with the present field of influence we find ourselves in. We have to interact with the world around us in order to see what we might create, and through this engagement we evoke ours and others futures.

Power can be seen to be purely relational in nature and full of energy (positive or negative) that flows through an emotional field. Healthy relationships are possible in each system of influence and perhaps love is the most potent source of that relational power.

I don't utilize elaborate plans or time lines and instead choose to focus on being a better colleague and learner. Trusting the process over time with other people, has shown me that we can co-create a complex tapestry of rich diversity in the midst of profound connections. We seem to each become clearer about who we are and want to be, while remaining deeply connected to one another.

Perhaps its time to give up the urge to control anyone else, and instead focus on how we might team up with our family, friends and associates to co-create something new within our sphere of influence. We might just surprise ourselves and the watching world around us. Amen.

"Your think because you understand one you must understand two, because one and one makes two. But you must also understand and." Sufi teaching

Adapted by O'Steven from Leadership and The New Science by Wheatley