“He found his release and fulfilment in the classes in which he himself was a student. There he was able to recapture the sense of discovery he had felt that first day, when Archer Sloane had spoken to him in class and he had, in an instant, become someone other than who he had been. As his mind engaged itself with its subject, as it grappled with the power of the literature he studied and tried to understand its nature, he was aware of a constant change within himself; and as he was aware of that, he moved outward from himself into the world which contained him, so that he knew that the poem of Milton’s that he read or the essay of Bacon’s or the drama of Ben Jonson’s changed the world which was its subject, and changed it because of its dependence upon it.”

‘Stoner’ by John Williams

what drives exploration and investigation?



Surprisingly, it is not the intellect.

The intellect may well be utilised as a tool but it is not the driver.

How do you lay yourself open to inspiration?

There is a big difference between simile and metaphor: If you are asked to dance, quietly feel the difference between ‘dance like a bird’ and ‘you are a bird’. If your presence can be filled with images , thoughts and feelings of you as a bird, and you forget the other story of yourself, you will dance well. As soon as you become aware of dualities, for example between what you are being and what others think you are doing it will fail.

When you are the bird you feel your feet clutching the branches, the wind in your face, the hardness of your beak. When you slip out of this into dancing like a bird, the duality reappears and you become fragmented as usual.

This non dual deep belonging is not a mental visualisation. All activity is transformed. Spontaneity appears. The person you were, or you normally think you are is not present. That story has vanished.

There is no one left who dances, there is only the dance.

The actor does not act the part. Only when the actor as person is absent does the other temporarily emerge. The other is the creative mathematician, the scientist, the artist, the writer.

That’s all I can say about becoming an explorer.

The main problem is that people do not believe they can explore, they do not believe they are capable, they believe the story of themselves that is their normal story which has unfortunately been constructed over the years by inadequate experiences.So treat yourself how you would wish to become.

Do not fear the judgement of others.

Forget ‘can’t’, ‘don’t want to’, ‘don’t like’………….

Be imaginative, be explorers.

Find things that have never been seen by you before.


Find out something you didn’t know before about a square

the trial…

12-ness and 10-ness (and all number-nesses) are not in space-time. The humans however, are. At least they are normally considered to be so…

If one decides to ‘reduce’ 12-ness and 10-ness to objects in the world perceived as ‘normal’ by these humans, and further, if one desires them to be yet even more reduced into identical objects in what is known as ‘reality’, then let us then ascribe to them the property generally known amongst them as ‘cubic’ and let us then use these ‘cubes’, sometimes known as dice, in the following court case:

These are the statements to be put to the people:

Prosecution:  “These 10 cubes are henceforce to be considered superior to these 12 cubes.”

Defence: “These 12 cubes are henceforth to be considered superior to these 10 cubes.”

Challenge: Set up a situation in which the pros and cons of this matter are considered and then judged by a jury of impartial citizens…

huatou: is 12 in the ‘real’ world ‘better’ than 10 ?

the previous post and this one will relate to the next one


This is Fibonacci’s series. It’s often found in natural systems. Pick up a calculator. If you take one term and divide by the previous one you will get a number. The further you go along the series you will find that the number gets closer and closer to a certain value. That value is the ratio used in the previous post with rodman and the magic or golden rectangle. It’s rumoured that the Greeks used this proportion in the shape of the rectangle in the sides of the Parthenon in Athens but this is now refuted. It is also suggested by some that if you make a group of different sized rectangles including one with this ratio, the majority of people when asked, ‘Which rectangle looks the nicest?’, will pick this one. Try it… of course being a fair-test kind of person you’ll have to ask a lot of people and not influence the outcome…if you look here and scroll down you will see many other instances in architecture, painting, music and nature.

confession…catching a feather on a fan..

I have ‘been away’…

This is what I wrote to myself a week ago:

“Doing and Being…

I sometimes get too down about there being so much to do. The things I am interested in and working on turn into jobs. They become something I have to do. They become overwhelming and ‘I’ am ‘brought down’. It is true that I demand a lot of myself, as we all should. I hate that ‘should’ idea. For example yesterday I was again designing a rebuild of an old conservatory. There are specific building regulations to which it must conform. I am not a builder or architect and so I have to think, raise awarenesses and ‘work’. Also, it is interesting but not easy to give enough time to learning arabic, never mind normal activities such as playing with rods…or other rod-related items…

I think (‘I know I should’ always be tentative about ‘explanations’). The ‘psychic’ situation probably arises when I start to sense unfinished wholes. Instead of just carrying on, bit by enjoyable bit (which is mostly the case), this ‘feeling’ of ‘pointless doingness’ begins to take over. At first I think I just force myself to carry on but then (I know) I get tired. Yes, tired quite quickly, and then this overwhelming ennui takes over. The useful energy is depleted. Nothing is worth doing and it all seems rather pointless. (This is the extreme version of that which I am trying to communicate). When I wake up in the morning ‘I’ don’t know what ‘is worth doing’.

This is what should be understood…..unless…

The mind begins to shoulder out being. The mind in the form of the constructed entity called Jackson with the story of its self becomes identified with tasks. The self becomes the tasks. The balance between thinking about the jobs in their entirety and direct experience in the moment begins to shift.  The image of the total endeavors, which belong to the mind rather than the immediate experience of the detail, which belongs to being, begins to dominate. It is time to allow the shift to begin to favour being in the present moment. This means more meditative states need nurturing. The extreme is maybe to return to pure meditation. In my case, this extreme form means periods of Chan Silent Illumination or Shattering the Great Doubt through gongan (koan) or huatou.

They are two ‘ways’, which are not ways… The other is to remain aware of the situation that has arisen and mindfully undertake any activity that spontaneously arises without volition. I.e. by not allowing the mind to construct edifices of challenge.

In other words time to take a break from maya, to ignore thinking, thought, and just be aware without the ten thousand things.

gongan: Three monks, Seppo, Kinzan and Ganto were in the temple garden. Seppo noticed a pail of water and pointed to it. Kinzan said, “The water is clear and the moon is reflected.” “No, no,” said Seppo. “It is not water, it is not moon.” Ganto upset the pail.

Kick over the object of attachment…”

huatou: allow the feather to rest upon the fan

like learning a language…

Some methods, especially those that rely on memory and de-contextualised vocabulary and intense grammar are awful. They start with lists of words and complexities of grammar that generally mean something to those who have studied grammar in their own language but feel so fragmented and distant from speaking that one senses its going to be very hard going. The best (in my opinion) way of learning a language is through a live course using ‘The Silent Way’, which was created by Caleb Gattegno as he learnt how people learn. Some other methods however such as the Michel Thomas courses are very good for learning at home. I personally am learning arabic using this method and find in some ways it is like learning maths in the style of the subordination of teaching to learning. I could not find a course on arabic using ‘The Silent Way’.

One immediately feels useful learning is taking place and a certain hopefulness and confidence to continue takes over. It feels optimistic and fruitful. Arabic is a bit tricky because of the written language, the unfamiliar sounds and the unfamiliar words having in general no Latin roots. Most words are completely different to what an english speaker knows and the word order and other things are also unfamiliar.

OK so this sounds a bit like coming across mathematical ideas when you are little.

The knowing use of algebraic ideas in simple conversations and question and answer ‘sessions’ using the rods is similarly freeing and powerful. You can just see it so easily in the children’s eyes and actions. There must be no pressure at all. Certainly no pressure to write anything down, unless it comes from the children, and even then do not force them to ‘write it down correctly’. Do not ‘be a teacher’ in that sense. Bide your time.

Look at Caleb Gattegno’s  ‘Mathematics with Numbers in Colour’ Book 1, part II, ‘Qualitative Work with the Rods.’  ONLINE…

Don’t take it as a ‘course’, just read it through three times:

1. As if you were reading a newspaper

2. As if you were reading it out aloud to another person and

3. Try and fathom the general flow and gist of the chapter.