Introduction of 2011  

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Now, at the beginning of 2011, this website is 10 years old. And because of this I am writing an updated Introduction. The site, Epistemology Express, was a misnomer from the beginning as “Anti-epistemology Express” would have been more accurate since I was actually against most of traditional epistemology, the study of truth in knowledge. But the Epistemology Express as the name for the RV that started me on a 10 year quest was already unwieldly enough (the name started since I was focused on knowledge (the root of epistemology) as an avenue of noticing human involvement with the world and to understand what knowledge was especially in a biological origins way). This RV journey around the U.S. and Canada from 2000 to 2003 is chronicled in the section of this site called The Epistemology Express. It was a wonderful time of meeting people including those of the professorial type at universities and RV parks interspersed with time-outs to write or take a job.

But things changed in 2003 both personally and intellectually. Mainly I got lucky and met Pamela, the woman of my life, while stopped for a road sabbatical at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. There we worked and lived for 3 years while profiting from the experiential and body-centered learning for which this institute is known since the Sixties. At the same time I began another phase of writing, now more focused on reality itself. Since this interest has grown over the years, I now ask whether I should change the name of the site to “Ontology Express,” but that would be too much change at this point. That period at Esalen is reflected in the writings in the web-section called “Circles.” I was more fortunate than could be expected from stopping at the small Esalen Institute. In fact they have a small, intellectually intensive program called CTR (Center for Theory and Research) which sponsors academic conferences on topics just outside the mainstream where I was able to be included in the conference on Consciousness and Evolution for 3 annual meetings. This surprisingly (or not?) included several people whom I had met while touring with the Epistemology Express (Terrence Deacon of Cal Berkeley, Guven Guzeldere of Duke, and Ty Cashman of the Bay Area). These once a year conferences were great motivation for writing and research for me while at Esalen and while shifting my focus from a naturalistic version of knowledge to a naturalistic version of reality. See the two articles in Circles on reality where I first focused on the symbiotic nature of reality’s involvement with humans and then focused on the biological traffic in constraints between organisms and aspects of the external world.

Then in 2006 things changed again for Pamela and me. We left Esalen, took a honeymoon down well south of the border, and then moved back to the Bay Area to live and work. My research and writing continued but without any of the social support from the earlier phases of the decade plus I had the 8 to 6 job to contend with. Luckily my training earlier as a construction scheduler allowed me to even get a job after so much time off. My focus on writing shifted to attempting to pull it “all together” in a book. My use of this website shifted to using it somewhat like a study aid; I added all my collected citations into the Sources section of this website and organized them somewhat. If you are a researcher on similar themes, then this resource should hopefully be a resource to you as well. For me, wherever I am, I can go to this section of the web site and look over a section of quotes on a certain topic or by a certain author whenever I want to deliberate about an issue.

This quick story with a bit of a timeline hopefully gives something of a structure about me and about the ideas motivating the site. At the current time now in late 2010 the ideas that motivate me to write are still about the nature of reality, especially its necessarily biological aspects. Unfortunately, since 2006 (except for the 2 short chapter excerpts posted in Circles) I have no new writings to share as I digest material and prepare for a new round of writing. It is fairly easy to tell from the tracks of my reading as seen in the Sources section of collected citations where my interests lie. The quest is still to show an understanding of reality that is naturalistic and biological rather than dualistically objective-subjective. The avenues to pursue this quest are through the current studies in the evolution of mind and of language as well as through other current tools – networks, affordances, dynamic systems theory, circular causal networks, constraints, behavioral evolution, the nature of cooperation, the nature of life, origin of life research, and so on.

I should comment on what motivates me in this quest. The intellectual journey is exciting, but there are personal values that are driving for the long haul. And these values include the hope that a reality clearly richer with our personal nuances than the objective reality spawned by the Scientific Revolution must be seen and used in social interactions if we are to have societies that are personally rich enough to escape pure materialism with more rewarding and creative lives. The traditional objective reality is a world framed in correctness while the biological origins reality that recognizes both the material real and the real from the personal grasp of the real is a world framed as an agreement-based culture. Reality thus understood as the real grasped by the organism is both more accurate (recognizing both the material object and its grasp by one or more organisms) and more helpful socially (giving its practitioners, as in therapy, a window of relationships to and from the material and to and from each other that allows dialogue rather than alleged neutral knowing adherence as in ideologies). Without getting long-winded here, this in any case is my hope within my personal values. I hope in the near future to provide more clearly justified and explained writing on this subject.

For the time being I would recommend the article "Declaration of Interdependence" from 2003 as representative of the epistemological phase.  And I would recommend the article "Biology and the Nature of Reality" from 2005 as representative of the ontological phase.

Thank you for visiting the site and giving your interest to this crack in our future possibilities. These possibilities and this interest are themselves testament to the profundity of our evolving majesty.

For an overview of the current state of this evolving site see the Site Map.  I have to look - to see what I have done or am doing.  Alternately, hit the contact button below, tell me about important new ideas, and start another circle.

Tangentially, there are photos only in the My Niche section and in the Epistemology Express web tree especially in the Road Trip and various trip journal sections.  The latest journal (4) gives a glimpse of our life today.  And here is a link to the Previous Introduction.

To get a better written sense of the path pursued in this website, I refer you to the article "Culture, Nature, Environment" by Tim Ingold.  The link is to Google books and begins on page 13 for 13 pages if it does not appear automatically.  It is quite good.  The part that relates to my pursuit here is really brought out by page 20.

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