Monday, May 29, 2006
The tdaxp feature, Jeusism-Paulism, combined three posts into a coherent series of articles. This spurred discussion on the original thoughts, and made it easier for new visitors to the website to read about the "4th Generation" or "Netwar" aspects of the earlier Christians.
If that treatment is good enough for God, it's good enough for Quality
Photo Courtesy Despair.com
This series, Quality, combines five previous posts into an extended discussion about the definitions of a thing: what makes a thing good, and what makes a thing a thing. These two questions are really one, and the most direct inspiration for the answer is Robert Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality, particularly his works Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila.
Quality, a tdaxp series, has five parts.
formerly Zen and the Art of Semantic Eurovision Networks
Beauty, which melts our hearts, is a representation of Quality.
formerly Friction (and other things) in Politics
Melting is a consequence of heat, which is caused by friction of two qualitative objects.
formerly The Frictional Sea
Melting produces liquids, which eventually form the great ocean of reality.
Inlets, Lakes, and Streams
formerly Interpretivism as Context
We divide the global ocean into smaller bodies of world, pretending they are separate things, so we can understand them.
The Magic Cloud
formerly Globalization is Water: The Magic Cloud
The watery substance of our world is not ice, because it is everywhere reconstructing.
Reviews for the posts in Quality, a tdaxp series:
"truly bizarre and equally brilliant... probably the best display of horizontal thinking in a blog I've ever seen... I had to go lie down with a Corona Extra after reading it."
- Thomas Barnett
"Amazing work... It couldn't get any clearer than this... Thumbs up!!"
- Matthew Cachia
- Bill Rice
"Amazing. Simply amazing."
- Robin Sadovsky
"Holy cats !!!"
- Mark Safranski
"Very enjoyable... 100%"
- UNL Political Science Professor
Begin reading the first part, "Beauty."
Friday, May 19, 2006
The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft is a collection of loss. Two stories -- The Rats in the Walls and At the Mountains of Madness -- described failed attempts to return home while the other two -- The Dunwich Horror and The Colour Out of Space -- tell of fathers unable to provide for their sons. Each story is carefully concealed in archaic vocabulary and fantastic imagery, but the gut-wrenching sadness of lost inheritance is everywhere in these pages. The alternate reality they paint, including fantastic amalgamations of previous mythologies and religions, would doubtless be familiar to that other fantastic horror writer, Mohammed ibn Abdullah. Indeed, that absurdly named character constantly referenced yet never featured, Abdul Alhazred (Abdullah [who] all has read?), may be a conscious homage to Lovecraft's predecessor.
Yet this post is only have about that and half about the brilliant editing of S.T. Joshi. His helpful footnotes are the perfect implementation to that educational methodology I learned at UNL -- SOAR. So now let us SOAR into Horror in this blog review...
Saturday, April 01, 2006
I've long enjoyed grand strategist Tom Barnett's "PNM Theory" -- the Pentagon's New Map paradigm that emphasizes connectivity, rulesets, and globalization. However, an old comment of his puzzled me. Once, when asked whether PNM Theory was descriptive (accurately describing the real) or prescriptive (wise advice for decision makers), he answered "Yes. Both."
This week's reading in Scopes & Methods made me realize that Dr. Barnett wasn't being humorous, but was honestly answering the question. "Critical Theory" holds that the only way that a thing can be true is if it happens, erasing the traditional distinction between theory and practice. A "true' Critical Theory is both a description and a prescription, because the testing of its description is prescribed political action.
Critical Theory has long been associated with Marxism, so it's natural that Barnett's quasi-Marxist PNM Theory is a critical theory. CT also has a model of human thought that is very similar to John Boyd's OODA Loop, which is often used in military strategy. In Critical Theory, one makes different types of decisions based on whether thought is from unconscious orientation or conscious decision, and that both conscious and unconscious thoughts feedback into observation just as much as they feed forward into action.
Below the fold you'll find my reaction paper for this week, which is on critical theory. It's not as good as last week's perfect paper on interpretivism, but it ain't bad either.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Quality, a tdaxp series.
Photo Courtesy Despair.com
I haven't been that pleased with my scopes & methods reaction papers -- however, I thought this was was great. It builds on some posts from both tdaxp and ZenPundit, namely
- The Neocon-Theocon Axis
- Commentary on Dan's Neocon-Theocon Axis
- A Question of Friction
- The Sea of Friction
- The Magic Cloud
I use my extra energy for blog writing, as I learn more here, I enjoy more here, and I interact with more people here. So it's notable that there this turned-in paper is blog-worthy.
Enjoy! It's good! (I promise)
Monday, February 20, 2006
"You're such an inspiration for the ways
That I'll never ever choose to be
He did this
Took all you had and
Left you this way
It's not like you killed someone"
- Judith, by A Perfect Circle, from the Album, Mer de Noms
"It's the meteor that will separate dinosaurs form mammals in defense. It will tell us what we need to know about war within the context of everything else. The impact on our community will unfold over years, but eventually this will change everything.
- Thomas PM Barnett, The Pentagon's New Map, pg 260
Thursday, February 16, 2006
This is your waveform
This is your waveform on fast transients
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Monday, February 13, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
My recent series Liberal Education (parts I, II, III, and IV) is partially based on the readings and discussions for the class I am taking in Adolescent Psychology. One book in particular that has been interesting is All Grown Up and No Place to Go by David Elkind.
Our professor requires us to come prepared with written questions based on the week's assigned reading, so those are below the fold.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
"The Man Who Invented Management: Why Peter Drucker's ideas still matter ," by John Byrne, BusinessWeek, 28 November 2005, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_48/b3961001.htm.
I have heard the name Peter Drucker my whole life, but only read one thing my him: a short piece that made me compare the Main-Stream Media to the French Encyclopedia. On the occasion of his death, BusinessWeek summarized Drucker's life and his greatest accomplishments. Drucker was creative -- what Mark Safranski would call a "horizontal thinker." Peter F. Drucker was to management what John Boyd was to strategy: a genius able to change the orientation of people who met him. Some excerpts:
Well before his death, before the almost obligatory accolades poured in, Drucker had already become a legend, of course. He was the guru's guru, a sage, kibitzer, doyen, and gadfly of business, all in one. He had moved fluidly among his various roles as journalist, professor, historian, economics commentator, and raconteur. Over his 95 prolific years, he had been a true Renaissance man, a teacher of religion, philosophy, political science, and Asian art, even a novelist. But his most important contribution, clearly, was in business. What John Maynard Keynes is to economics or W. Edwards Deming to quality, Drucker is to management.
After witnessing the oppression of the Nazi regime, he found great hope in the possibilities of the modern corporation to build communities and provide meaning for the people who worked in them. For the next 50 years he would train his intellect on helping companies live up to those lofty possibilities. He was always able to discern trends -- sometimes 20 years or more before they were visible to anyone else. "It is frustratingly difficult to cite a significant modern management concept that was not first articulated, if not invented, by Drucker," says James O'Toole, the management author and University of Southern California professor. "I say that with both awe and dismay." In the course of his long career, Drucker consulted for the most celebrated CEOs of his era, from Alfred P. Sloan Jr. of General Motors Corp. (GM ) to Grove of Intel.
-- It was Drucker who introduced the idea of decentralization -- in the 1940s -- which became a bedrock principle for virtually every large organization in the world.
-- He was the first to assert -- in the 1950s -- that workers should be treated as assets, not as liabilities to be eliminated.
-- He originated the view of the corporation as a human community -- again, in the 1950s -- built on trust and respect for the worker and not just a profit-making machine, a perspective that won Drucker an almost godlike reverence among the Japanese.
-- He first made clear -- still the '50s -- that there is "no business without a customer," a simple notion that ushered in a new marketing mind-set.
-- He argued in the 1960s -- long before others -- for the importance of substance over style, for institutionalized practices over charismatic, cult leaders.
-- And it was Drucker again who wrote about the contribution of knowledge workers -- in the 1970s -- long before anyone knew or understood how knowledge would trump raw material as the essential capital of the New Economy.
Drucker's work at GE is instructive. It was never his style to bring CEOs clear, concise answers to their problems but rather to frame the questions that could uncover the larger issues standing in the way of performance. "My job," he once lectured a consulting client, "is to ask questions. It's your job to provide answers." Says Dan Lufkin, a co-founder of investment banking firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. (CSR ), who often consulted with Drucker in the 1960s: "He would never give you an answer. That was frustrating for a while. But while it required a little more brain matter, it was enormously helpful to us. After you spent time with him, you really admired him not only for the quality of his thinking but for his foresight, which was amazing. He was way ahead of the curve on major trends."
Drucker's mind was an itinerant thing, able to wander in minutes through a series of digressions until finally coming to some specific business point. He could unleash a monologue that would include anything from the role of money in Goethe's Faust to the story of his grandmother who played piano for Johannes Brahms, yet somehow use it to serve his point of view. "He thought in circles," says Joseph A. Maciariello, who teaches "Drucker on Management" at Claremont Graduate University.
Part of Drucker's genius lay in his ability to find patterns among seemingly unconnected disciplines. Warren Bennis, a management guru himself and longtime admirer of Drucker, says he once asked his friend how he came up with so many original insights. Drucker narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. "I learn only through listening," he said, pausing, "to myself."
Among academics, that ad hoc, nonlinear approach sometimes led to charges that Drucker just wasn't rigorous enough, that his work wasn't backed up by quantifiable research. "With all those books he wrote, I know very few professors who ever assigned one to their MBA students," says O'Toole. "Peter would never have gotten tenure in a major business school."
Drucker taught at NYU for 21 years -- and his executive classes became so popular that they were held in a nearby gym where the swimming pool was drained and covered so hundreds of folding chairs could be set up. Drucker moved to California in 1971 to become a professor of social sciences and management at Claremont Graduate School, as it was known then. But he was always thought to be an outsider -- a writer, not a scholar -- who was largely ignored by the business schools. Tom Peters says he earned two advanced degrees, including a PhD in business, without once studying Drucker or reading a single book written by him. Even some of Drucker's colleagues at NYU had fought against awarding him tenure because his ideas were not the result of rigorous academic research. For years professors at the most elite business schools said they didn't bother to read Drucker because they found him superficial. And in the years before Drucker's death even the dean of the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont said: "This is a brand in decline."
Mark Safranksi on horizontal thinking
- I. Benefits of Horizontal Thinking
- II. Benefits of Vertical Thinking to Horizontal Thinkers
- III. Horizontal and Vertical Thinking and the Origin of Insight
Peter Drucker on management