Journal 4: 2003-2009  

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"Journal" 4: 2003 through 2010, A Synopsis of life after the Epistemology Express

Life changed dramatically when I ended the trip of the Epistemology Express and came to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California in April, 2003.  By September I met Pamela LeRoy and have never been the same.  We married in April of 2005.  Finally, I have a partner and am thrilled.  Okay, some days things are way less than thrilling and even pessimistic or angry.  And then we make another turn and most often reach more understanding and another level of sweetness.

Here we are a couple of months after meeting (photo - Daniel Bianchetta).

 

After over a year working in the maintenance department (oh, working with my hands, dirt and sawdust sure helps me to focus on the particulars when I spend as much time as I do with the philosophical), I got a job teaching in the Gazebo School at Esalen.  It is a pre-school or really a special environment for kids from 9 months to 6 years that has been the first social phase for many Big Sur kids for over 25 years.  For me it has been an opening to a whole new world of getting out of the way of magical beings as they develop.  In October of 2004 Pamela and I moved into the Teahouse at Esalen, an improved, former goat shack.  A picture is above.  Gorgeous location, but it is truly amazing that Pamela has agreed and managed to live in this tiny shack for over a year now.

While I escaped from the peripatetic lifestyle of the Epistemology Express of visiting great professional thinkers at North American universities, I stumbled on a new inspiration for thinking and writing as regards the question of knowledge.  Esalen sponsors a series of conferences under its CTR (Center for Theory and Research) program.  I got lucky to be selected for the October 2003 conference on Evolution and Consciousness.  Invitees included Stuart Kauffman, Terrence Deacon, Evan Thompson (co-worker with Francisco Varela) and biologist David Deamer.  It was very inspiring even as I struggled to find a language between the biologically-based epistemology I was interested in and consciousness or emergence-type explorations of evolution of most of the group.  A year later in November of 2004 I again got selected to represent Esalen staff at the same conference, and I responded with the piece "Symbiotic Reality" that is included in this website under Circles.  For the first time I attempted to switch from an epistemology focus to an ontology focus, from nature of knowledge to nature of being.  I found more common ground with the group, but still struggled as an outsider.  This inspiration continued throughout the following year and in November of 2005 I again attended the conference and presented the paper on "Biology and the Nature of Reality."  For the first time I felt understood at least on a general level of the type of argument that I was trying to present.  This paper is also on this website, and some of the proceedings of the Esalen CTR conferences can be found at their website www.esalenctr.org which is also linked through the Esalen website. 

In February 2006 Pamela and I left Esalen with many regrets and much anticipation.  We left on an overdue honeymoon to Guatemala and ended up traveling many months from there to Argentina making great friends in Guatemala, Peru, Uruguay, and Brazil along the way.  Forward and around.  Below is the Punta gang in Uruguay:

Adios en Punta, junio 2006: de la izquierda - Pamela, Elena, Pino(?), su hijo, Nelva, marido de Pino, Daniel, Lici.

Otro lado de la mesa de la izquierda - Daniel, Lici, Miguel (atras), yo, Jose, Mirta, Adriana, Jorge, Elena

Having passed this travel couple test, we moved in the fall of 2006 to Berkeley, looking for jobs, and of course for me, continuing to write, study, and network.  In February of 2007 I got a scheduling job on a refinery renewal project and in August we moved from our friends Dick and Linda's garage apartment in South Berkeley to Kensington from where I can bike to work in the non-rainy months.  In 2007 I attempted the intellectual YouTube-type site, www.SpokenMinds.net, which was a bust.  Since that time I have been working feverishly on a book.  Below has us with the new puppy, Leyla Cochise, a rescue dog from Taiwan in the midst of drying laundry on the porch (= deck in California) in the summer of '08.

 

 

Below are many from the team working on the Renewal Project in Richmond, CA in 2008 where I am in the Hawaiian shirt at far right. This job ended at the end of 2009, and I will miss many friends there.  Although frustrating to not be able to finish the project after political squabbles and although it was more of a corporate environment than I had ever been exposed to, I really appreciated the well managed work and work environment.

 

Here below is the family gathered for my mom's 90th birthday party at the beach in Florida in 2009.

 

In early 2010 I was laid off.  This was a blessing.  I participated more actively in the California Writers' Club - Berkeley chapter which helped.  I took up a project on Conscious Cooperation which was an experiential process for working in pairs and meditating on cooperation (or lack of it) in any interactions including usually conversation.  This was very satisfying except that I never put in enough time to help it take off because I kept putting my priority with the writing.  So, I stopped trying to make this happen and look forward to returning to it some day. 

I was also able to travel some and revisited Berlin for April 2010 which was really the first time I had returned since living there in the early Eighties.  What a gorgeous, vital city.  Neither of the cities that I remember, West Berlin and East Berlin, were there, and that was sad, but this new city is something else.

Below, with two old friends, Eugen and Reiner, at the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum.

 

And then, it happened -- I was offered a job and I'm back at the 7 to 5 routine.  So necessary, wonderful in many ways, and a total pain when one has philosophy passions as I do.

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