Category Archives: Logos

…to see out into a world glimpsed only fleetingly

            in the cosmos
            are as the crystals
            in the gene
            the tree
            which emerges
            is the multifoliate
… Duncan’s creative practice  nourished an approach to writing that, with Olson, struggled to articulate a new  basis for poetics; their shared goal was to reestablish the uses of poetry beyond  the domain of literature to confront a larger cultural and historical field of action.
–Berthoff & Smith, An Open Map: The Correspondence of Robert Duncan and Charles Olson, “Introduction: Love and the Idea of Form.” 1.
…a central element of his poetic stance: individuals are secondary in the permitted documentations of the energy sustained by an  acknowledged flow or movement of perception. The goal is to see out into a  world glimpsed only fleetingly. To hold closely to one’s wisdom is to separate  from that outer force of the world, to be entrapped by confidence and identification rather than to be in submission to outside forces or observable facts.  “Doesn’t it honestly,” Olson argues,
come to, to love? that all springs up, there? And that what springs up is energy, with which to do anything, think (which is to be wise), cut wood  (& i mean for no other reason than to keep warm), push something, ahead,  make it different, etc., anything, all that all the vocabulary—the words you  seek to make gnomic by doublet—are valid enuf as reductive (that is, that  they do analyze validly the worlds love opens one’s eyes to.
–ibid 10.
[Gnomic: used to describe something spoken or written that is short, mysterious, and not easily understood, but often seems wise…
related words:
brusque, concise, cryptic, curt, elliptical, incisive, laconic, pithy, precise, succinct, trenchant, abrupt, aphoristic, boiled down, breviloquent, clear-cut, clipped, close, compact, compendious.
Doublet: set of two identical or similar things; one of two or more words (such as guard and ward) in the same language derived by different routes of transmission from the same source.
In November–December 1959, Olson writes:
            in the cosmos
            are as the crystals
            in the gene
            the tree
            which emerges
            is the multifoliate
For Olson, the cosmos establishes relation; it moves attention away from individual concerns to include an acknowledgment of the interaction of dynamic  energies. The pursuit of his studies increasingly occupies Olson’s attention, particularly as the winter solstice approaches…
–Ibid 17.

Read as poetry?

Schoepfer, Shane D., Jun Shen, Hiroyoshi Sano, and Thomas J. Algeo. “Onset of Environmental Disturbances in the Panthalassic Ocean over One Million Years Prior to the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary Mass Extinction.” Earth-Science Reviews, November 20, 2021, 103870.


While the end-Triassic mass extinction has been linked to emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), evidence for environmental stresses appears hundreds of thousands of years prior to the extinction in some sections from the Panthalassic Ocean. In this study, we measured carbon, sulfur, and mercury concentrations in the Kurusu section, near Inuyama, Japan. These bedded radiolarian cherts are part of the Mino Terrane, an accretionary complex of late Paleozoic and Mesozoic sediments deposited at abyssal water depths in the open ocean, providing a unique window into the Triassic-Jurassic transition in pelagic settings. The rhythmically bedded nature of the sediments allowed construction of a floating astronomical age model tied to the radiolarian-defined Triassic-Jurassic boundary. Average linear sedimentation rates (LSR) of 0.07–0.48 cm kyr−1 and total organic carbon (TOC) concentrations of 0.07–0.22% yielded estimates of primary productivity rates (PPR) based on published transfer functions ranging from 2400 to 63,000 mg C cm−2 kyr−1, which are generally comparable to PPRs in the modern equatorial and subtropical Pacific. While mercury (Hg) concentrations are strongly correlated with sedimentary sulfide content throughout the section, a distinct increase in the ratio of Hg to sulfide near the Triassic-Jurassic boundary may record Hg input from CAMP volcanism. Below this level, a series of discrete spikes in sulfide content appear during the ~ 1.2 Myr before the extinction, recording a precursor interval of environmental stress that also correlates with changes in the composition of the planktonic community. We infer that these changes reflect the development of stratification in the water column, with more reducing conditions characterizing the thermocline below the surface mixed layer. Based on the evidence from Kurusu and comparisons to other Panthalassic sections, we propose a model in which water-column stratification began to develop in the open Panthalassic Ocean over one million years before the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. Evidence from sections deposited at slope depths suggests that this rising chemocline may have begun to impinge on the slopes of island arcs and the South American continental margin by ~ 400 kyr before the boundary. The end-Triassic extinction coincided with both the main phase of CAMP eruptions and the irruption of acidic, reducing deep waters into photic zone and shelf environments.


CAMP Central Atlantic Magmatic Province Inuyama Mercury Volcanism Paleoproductivity


Featured image credit Elenarts/Shutterstock

Compare Scotty Hendricks, “Rock Study May Have Just Revealed Cause of Triassic Mass Extinction.”


Now “trials,” taken en bloc mean a disharmony between the self and the world with which it has to deal. Nothing is a trial when we are able to cope with it efficiently.

Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness. Jack Books, 1930, 353.

So, according to Underhill, a difficult situation is defined as disharmony between self and world. Difficulty is not inherent in the situation, but in the actor. Efficient action involves eliminating or disolving that disharmony. Those who live efficiently are not under stress.

Compare, from Wikipedia:

Efficiency is the extent to which time or effort is well used for the intended task or purpose, or the ratio of power consumed to useful power output…

Efficiency …is often used with the specific purpose of relaying the capability of a specific application of effort to produce a specific outcome effectively with a minimum amount or quantity of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort. …In general, efficiency is a measurable concept, quantitatively determined by the ratio of output to input.

… the term economic efficiency refers to the use of resources so as to maximize the production of goods and services.

A next step in this investigation is to similarly compare concepts of “power,” including from, e.g., Thich Naht Hanh’s The Art of Power with that in physics and in politics. The goal here would be to explore if it’s useful to  see two parallel constructs of being and action in these terms. Call them the sacred and the profane? Or the mystical and the economic? I wonder whether Eliade gets into this. (It’s been forty years since I read The Sacred and the Profane.)

It’s not just that the two ways are different. What’s interesting is the ways they are similar. For example, in Aikido these terms are both structural-mechanical, in the anatomical and physiological sense, and emotional-spiritual, in the sense that Underwood and Thich Naht Hahn use them.

Are the similarities just analogies arising from abstractions in our heads, or do they reflect something basic in the real world? The engineer might call the mystic’s language imprecise and meaningless. A mystic might see the engineer’s concepts as a reification and oversimplification of a broader view that incoporates them, what Eliade would call mythological, “tied to cosmic structures and rhythms.”

What happens when both viewpoints are held simultaneously without conflict? The disharmony disappears, efficiently.

Leighton The Return of Persephone 1891
Frederic Leighton, The Return of Persephone (1891)

“I recognize you divine goodness”: Comparison of postures in opera & Aikido

Take a look at the similarities between William Gleason Sensei, here at Aikido Eastside, and Laurence Brownlee, singing in Armida at the Metropolitan Opera. Gleason Sensei teaches how specifics of  posture and hand position create empowerment.

“I recognize you divine goodness” is the English subtitle for the line Brownlee is singing in Italian.

To what extent are the principles shown here universal? With what significance? Are they limited to the structure of the human body, or what is their wider meaning?

William Gleason Sensei at Aikido Eastside 2013 07

Lawrence Brownlee in Armida Met Opera 07Lawrence Brownlee in Armida Met Opera 02horizontal white spaceWilliam Gleason Sensei at Aikido Eastside 2013 06

Deconstruction of self-existence allows “something else” to shine forth

From the Introduction, page 4, by David Loy in his edited collection Healing Deconstruction: Postmodern Thought in Buddhism and Christianity:

According to Madhyamika, our taken-for-granted world is mentally-constructed by our delusive attribution of self-existence to objects, which makes us experience that world as a collection of discrete things interacting in space and time; and that leads to suffering insofar as we understand ourselves to be such self-existing things, who are nonetheless subject to the ravages of time and change–who are born only to fall ill, grow old, and die. Merely by subverting such ontological claims, and without offering any views of its own, the Buddhist deconstruction of such self-existence (especially our own) can allow “something else” to shine forth.

In my recent training experience, I have the sense that Aikido is physically deconstructing my perception of an independently-acting self.

Several close friends believe we have immortal souls. Not sharing that faith makes Marci’s impending death more lonely for me, a forever loss. Far from belief in a discrete immortal soul that does not die, the Madhyamika Buddhist view is that we don’t have that individuality, even in this life. But it seems to be a view into a bigger space.

SunyataThere are now brief moments of doing it right in my otherwise relatively unskilled Aikido practice, when, with no push and no pull, I move someone much bigger than myself — it happens, not often! It is without effort, but by congruence. Something else shines forth?

The spiritual is the study of reality: Aikido seminar with William Gleason and George Ledyard

Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man, 1487
“Leonardo envisaged the great picture chart of the human body he had produced through his anatomical drawings and Vitruvian Man as a cosmografia del minor mondo (cosmography of the microcosm). He believed the workings of the human body to be an analogy for the workings of the universe.”

From the seminar at Aikido Eastside, Bellevue, January 4-6, 2013:

What is spiritual, but the study of reality.

–William Gleason Sensei

George Ledyard Sensei’s instructions:

  • Get yourself organized.
  • Make connection.
  • Do not be attached to the result.

I think:

  • “Get yourself organized” means conforming with the logos.
  • “Not being attached to the result” means not being habituated or addicted.line shortFrom lunch discussion with Sensei Gleason, Sensei Ledyard, et al.:
  • The vector to mastery is the spiritual quest.
  • Being on the vector to mastery makes endeavor worthwhile.
  • A teacher need not have achieved mastery to be worthwhile. But the difference between a worthwhile practice and a mediocre one is whether the channel is open in the direction of mastery, regardless of how far progress has been achieved.

Brion Toss, weapons sensei at Aikido Port Townsend, and I wondered about how you know whether you are on a path to mastery or are fooling yourself. I suspect that reality, action in the real world, provides the answer. As we experience on the mat, only good technique works, provided that the attack (the encounter) is genuine. If it doesn’t work, you know, because you fail. Reality, the organizing principle, the logos, provides the constraints that create the form of the practice and its evolution. It’s possible to be screened from reality by habits, fantasies and addictions — frequently happens. You can live in that undisciplined world so long as it is self-contained, does not contact with reality. Then reality penetrates with overwhelming power.

From previous Gleason Sensei seminars at Aikido Eastside: