This site reflects, almost implicitly for now, a long journey of exploration, an exploration of both action in the outer world, and an exploration of what motivates us internally as individuals and as the most advanced social animals. This entails study and research in a variety of subjects, which I formally began to undertake in 1985. When I say “formally” I do not mean that I sought out and entered colleges and universities. Instead, I made a commitment to myself that the foreseeable remaining years of my life would be committed to a greater understanding of the human experience, and that this would entail, first, a disciplined focus of reading. In essence, I began to design, informally, my own interdisciplinary approach to my reading and research. When I say “informally” in this context, what occurs to me now was the apparent scarcity of interdisciplinary studies at that time. Today, the term, concept, and commitment has grown dynamically.
This page describes some of the early—or even very early—issues I have encountered along the way in this journey of discovery, but the site does not yet begin to reveal any of the details I wish to discuss about evolution, biology, affect and emotion, archetypes, or humans as social beings. It is simply a beginning of a web site to coincide with nearing the conclusion of the long preparation of my book about those subjects which will, hopefully, offer a useful scheme of interdisciplinary approach to those subjects.
I hope to begin to offer some of the particular subjects for discussion here, perhaps beginning with emotion and affect, one of the most vital and misunderstood subjects which are critical to our present and future well-being and evolutionary success.
Not long after I began that transition in my life which was a formal commitment to an informal interdisciplinary mode of reading and research, I had reached my limit of capability to format text data using my $3500 IBM PC/XT, with two 5 1/4″ floppy drives and a shareware word processor. My exploration had brought me the ability to generate text data that were potentially promising to me, yet my ability to use the data was extremely limited because I could not format it in a manner that would allow its greater potential value, which I intuited, to rise to the surface.
In preparation for this technological aspect of my journey, I had the good fortune to have joined the Boston Computer Society, at the time the largest “user group” in the world, and the innovative group of humans that was one of the most fundamental forces which drove the eventual multiexponential growth of human interaction and empowerment with personal computers. From the BCS literature, I found a “knowing one” who had listed to volunteer help with the specific software I was attempting to use. When I contacted KO and explained my interest and my dilemma, the response was “Oh, that’s interesting. What you need to do is just write a program to read the data in and then design the program so that it formats it in the manner you need.”
Since I had recently experienced the painful evolutionary process of learning to copy a file from one floppy disk to another, KO’s suggestion was virtually the equivalent – for me – of “Well, you just fly to the moon and your problem’s solved.”
However, with essential, but minimal help, and a few well-placed kicks in the butt from KO, I entered, with great fear and trepidation, the new universe of computer programming, and a new level of stress in my daily life. I had been directed to use Turbo Pascal 5.0, which was my portal to this new universe. I knew ‘things’ went on in there, but it was almost a total mystery, yet a compelling and promising one, despite my level of stress.
Much of my research in those years, and for the next fifteen, was conducted behind the wheel of a taxi. I had other skills, but the attraction of being able to read about what was in my current interest, or even burning in my mind and heart, periodically throughout my day, could easily stand against the promise of more money that came attached to an almost totally boring work day.
In a real sense, my taxi became my laboratory because I also sought to engage my passengers in conversation, if they appeared both potentially receptive and potentially interesting. This approach helped me to wipe away the ignorance of a fundamental concept that I had ‘hummed’ my way through in high school – with a ‘C’ – which was my only apparent option at the time because I had neither the awareness that I could have asked for help, nor the awareness that the concept I ‘hummed’ my way through was itself both an extremely simple concept and a very powerful concept. However, it was not a concept with which I had any innate ability to understand. In contrast, the subject of geometry was a natural for me, since I apparently possessed a certain ability to visualize geometric concepts, and as such, they were not ‘abstractions’ for me, but virtual realities. This natural ability encouraged my transition to major in art in high school, which was probably a bit innovative, or at least informal, in terms of high school curricula in those years. However, I was not able to carry that major into the next level of higher education: The Vietnam War was to redirect my focus.
Yet, that brings up a subject that, for the purposes of this introduction, would amount to a digression or detour from my current narrative: The essential concept that I was to later learn, having been blocked from it for almost thirty years, was the concept of an algebraic variable!
And it was this concept that initially blocked me, for what may have been weeks, from making any headway with programming in Turbo Pascal: I fiddled with the IDE and opened sample files, but it was all Greek to me.
One day, I was driving a passenger whom I had been assigned to frequently. As such, we had a certain familiarity and apparent comfort with each other, and suddenly it occurred to me to ask him “What is a variable? What do you do with it?” This man was not a professor of math or any of the related sciences, yet I intuited or risked that he could help me with this all-encompassing life dilemma. Perhaps that characterization sounds overly dramatic? However, I can assure you, that from that beginning instance through many later programming conundrums, the dilemma felt to me “all-encompassing.” The silence following my question to him was a bit protracted, heightening the tension, but then he replied, “Well, a variable is just a symbol that you can use to store data or information in, as long as the variable is of the type that is compatible with your data.”
Thirty years of ignorance, and the key to what eventually would allow me to begin designing many thousands of lines of code, and more and more complex ways of exploring my data, was passed to me, as if in some esoteric, long-overdue initiation. (More in the book on how that kind of experience is fundamentally a cultural issue. I passed advanced placement high school algebra with a “C,” and not having hardly any understanding of what a variable was: See Leah Hager Cohen’s I Don’t Know.) That exploration into some materialist manifestation of the “conclusions” of equations, however small, branched out into learning database design and access, as well as the painstaking art of creating, designing, and formatting a font, which was another key necessity for my research, since I was beginning to explore subjects for which there were yet to be any available symbols. Today, there are still programming conundrums. However, I now have the breadth of years to support my experience that, however initially frustrating, virtually all of my programming challenges and bugs have been solved or circumvented, just as I can know for certain that there were no undelivered passengers in the back of my cab at the end of those days.
Throughout all of those years, one significant concept began to emerge for me: I was literally in the midst of an evolutionary phenomena. My conceptualizations which emerged could only be explored by learning rapidly evolving, almost esoteric technology, and further, would require either large expenditures of money for one of the latest high resolution monitor, or rapid emergence of a marketplace for such, so that prices would drop to consumer level. Which is, of course, what happened, what evolved: Today, the vast majority of consumers can afford a high-resolution monitor which a key requirement in accessing my data and my potentially innovative system of knowledge.
Now, here on this web site with the promise of WordPress, the evolution of my journey takes another leap with the learning and employment of a CMS, for which Drupal had been my first choice, but eventually abandoned, ultimately because of its lack of formal ability to utilize svg graphics, which has become one of the technologies I now use in various forms, to generate and display my data: Vector scalable graphics are one of the key reasons why we needed high resolution monitors to become affordable and commonplace. Now, the need and benefits of svg graphics are challenging software developers to innovate and compete. Sterling Hamilton has given a great gift to the WordPress community with his SVG plugin, bringing WordPress to a leading edge position in offering SVG capability to the major CMS community.
The data in my svg graphics amounts to an innovative tool that will allow for the elicitation of patterns of human individual and social behavior, which, I was encouraged to begin releasing some decades ago by an acquaintance who had many year’s executive experience in major houses of the publishing industry: “People publish first editions, and then second editions as their work progresses…” However, my intuition – and fear – was that since I was barely capable of explaining the significance of this data, despite my firm intuitive and occasional practical insights, release of my material at that time would not be beneficial to anyone. Premature release could also do great damage to the investment of my life’s years, since once any body of work is released into the public forum, any individual or group can begin to perpetuate arguments and perspectives about the meaning of the material, or even arguing vociferously for its lack of meaning and value, potentially dominating the discourse. I could not take that risk.
I also envisioned another way of perceiving the problem:
There is virtually an infinite amount of information (or data, if you prefer) in the universe,and as such, almost exactly the same infinite potential for that information to be misunderstood or misused. However, keys to beginning and understanding any of that information had only become accessible to humans in the last few tens of thousands of years, and, in that interim, great confusion, interpersonal violence, and even wars too often resulted from disagreements of ‘meaning.’
So I withheld release and publication and continued. As the months and years passed, it happened one day that one of my passengers, Sheldon White, was a professor of psychology at Harvard. Since we had a bit of time in our taxi ride and had apparently found an easy means of communicating and sharing, and with some humor, I risked sharing with him the essentials of my research. He immediately validated that one of my sources of inspiration, Silvan Tomkins, was considered by many to be a genius. However, he also validated one aspect of my concern about releasing my material. Without personally criticizing or devaluing my research, Prof. White commented that “You will be attacked unmercifully.” I took this to mean that because my work, like other potentially innovative systems of knowledge, was ahead of its time, and so would not be considered of value by the ‘conventional wisdom,’ that being attacked was to be expected, as historically many who chose exploration and risked sharing innovations had also experienced. However, Prof. White was also encouraging in commenting on my chosen style of learning and research. He remarked that going to college was by no means the best way to learn something, if that is one’s primary goal.
The organization of my material is finally becoming clear to me: I have decided on a way to begin my book with what I hope will be a simple, yet intelligible heuristic construct for establishing a beginning study of what I consider to be innovative and revelatory ways of relating to the human experience. Hopefully, my book will also offer some assistance in both alleviating suffering and advancing the ability of humans to achieve further levels of knowledge and skill, enhancing our ability to increase our well-being and the well-being of other animals and of our planet.
I will use this site in a variety of ways: I will begin to offer small articles on subjects that are of importance to me and related to my research. I will offer references to literature and films depicting aspects of the human experience that have supported my belief in the value of my research direction. And I will offer, hopefully, small but possibly essential instructions for using Delphi effectively as a programming development environment.
The Delphi community has had and continues to have numerous homes on the internet. I was initially introduced to that community through NNTP, usenet, the initial form that the internet took before the development and evolution of the World Wide Web, and which has continued as a separate level of the internet, distinct from the WWW. At that seminal time for me, the corporate host of the the news groups was Borland, the initial inventor and publisher of Turbo Pascal. TP evolved, along with Windows, into Delphi and the community continued to prosper. Pascal, as a programming language, was first designed to be a teaching language, innovating simple but potentially powerful concepts that employed much natural terminology and simple formatting constructs to facilitate both writing code and understanding code. In that regard, Pascal remains incomparable, and Delphi’s Object Pascal has continued with that heritage. Today the official groups of Delphi’s current developer, Embarcadero Technologies, are hosted both on NNTP/usenet at forums.embarcardero.com, and mirrored on the web, which is the specific mid-level forum opening into a variety of forums about the many aspects of developing with Delphi.
The Delphi community has been one of my life’s greatest benefactors and I have long wished that I could somehow find some means of returning the kindness and support I have received. However, it has long been apparent to me that almost all of the frequent contributors to the postings are worlds above my level of understanding, making it virtually pointless and even a likely distraction, to the detriment of others, for me to attempt to contribute to many of the needs expressed by people posting for help.
However, in my own conceptual hurdles I have discovered from time to time that essential foundations to installing the new versions of Delphi and beginning to use Delphi effectively – or at all – are often passed over quickly in the books written about Delphi and in the many incarnations of online Help – which, too often in these specific fundamental areas, do not ‘innovate,’ instead continuing to echo yesterday’s and yesteryear’s vague descriptions. With many technical and scientific subjects it has become the unfortunate cultural phenomenon that much essential basic information becomes obscured or even lost, as the specific technology or science advances. The knowledgeable authors have evolved far beyond their own personal beginnings with the subject, which has become second nature for them: The result is that while their writing continues to support the innovations, they are too often no longer invested in making the circular connection back to the fundamentals. As such, I will explore adding at least one or a few pages to this site in hope of contributing some alleviation of confusion and roadblocks to effective use of Delphi that others beginning may experience, similar to my own. That remains to be seen. I hope to design this site so that most of what is posted will be available for comment by registered users.
Now, I can see that I am nearing the completion of a book about evolution, biology, archetypes, affect and emotion, and humans as social beings. However, much remains to be done, and perhaps this site can help to contribute some final touches or even enhancements on an interdisciplinary study that can never actually be finished: It can only hope to shine some brighter light in a useful direction on, what will hopefully be, the continuing evolution and discovery of the experience of human wholeness.