Leibniz imagines people as mechanical toys, energizer bunnies with internal and private principles of development and movement -- marvelously adjusted to each other to make it appear that they interact. There's more truth to that than teachers -- or most other people -- want to admit. The influence of one person on another, of a place on people, of events on lives, is mysterious and subtle. People say Leibniz imagines people as mechanical toys, energizer bunnies with internal and private principles of development and movement -- marvelously adjusted to each other to make it appear that they interact. There's more truth to that than teachers -- or most other people -- want to admit. The influence of one person on another, of a place on people, of events on lives, is mysterious and subtle. People say that other people change their lives, that events redirect their lives, but from the outside, the external influence sometimes looks more like "yet another occasion to do the same old thing" -- a theme on which one can play one's accustomed variations.
This blogging field gives this course a chance to study the dynamics of change and persistence carefully. Each blog establishes who the author is. The total of the blogs gives some idea of what they are all confronting, what elephant they have hold of. And the progress of the blogs should say something about when and how people are moved by what they encounter and when and how they assimilate what they encounter into a basically unchanged self -- or what the continuum is between those two phenomena.
Today we begin our second week of Philosophy Camp. We accomplished a lot in the first week. The meal teams are set up and working well, with their three day rotation of responsibilities for cooking, clean up, and taking care of the space. Everyone is at home with the learning circle process that we use in our discussions, and trusts the circles as a place to listen, to be heard, and to find powerful insights. We hosted our field experience site hosts for supper and conversation on Tuesday evening, and we went to our sites for the first time on Thrusday. We have found the possibilities for being in the beautiful outdooors here, the walks on roads or prairie trails, the big sky, the amazing and visible and constant movement of the weather. We are finding ways in afternoon and evening open time to share our interests and talents: yoga, meditation, singing, playing violin, guitar, flute, piano, drums, dancing, reading poetry to each other. This morning Mark and Margaret Yackel-Juleen are coming to the learning circle to tell us about their dream and their work in creating Shalom Hill Farm, and have a conversation. I am looking forward to our second week.
Weather is something you can't ignore out here. You are in itóit's all around you in a literal sense. Peter said it's like you can see your past, present, and future all at once by scanning one horizon to the next. At first it's unsettling to have so many kinds of weather in one day. You may wake up to a cold rain that changes to sunny bliss, then watch a foreboding storm develop at suppertime, and be treated to rainbows with the sunset.
The atmosphere within ourselves in the early days of the course behaves a bit like the outside weather. We're not so sure what to expect next and sometimes we're caught off-guard by unexpected exhilaration or trepidation. The thing that's different is that we don't have the advantage of being able to see the whole thing at once like we can with the 360 degree landscape. We slowly bring it into the open where we can see it and become more comfortable with the changes.
We're still unpacking, but getting more settled each day.
Every time I visit this piece of prairie I find something new and unexpected. What appear to be rolling hills of unassuming grass and scrub turn out to be hiding beautiful little bodies of wateróstreams, ponds, or even small waterfalls. Having grown up near lakes and living in a city with a very large river, I find myself seeking out that glimpse of water in the grass landscape and the sound of water over stones. I shouldnít be surprised by these encounters since this is historically a watershed area, but much of the wet areas have been drained over the years to make room for farming. So the water is often hidden if you donít know where it is, and itís a wonderful surprise to come over a hill and see ducks rise off of a pond or hear a stream next to your path. These scenes arenít often visible from the road. You need to go into the landscape and look for them.
Shalom Hill Farm keeps chickens for eggs. They have a pretty good life. They roam free all day catching bugs and, sometimes, each other. They get cooped up at night, though, so they will lay eggs in their assigned nests where they can be predictably collected, so every day will not be an Easter egg hunt. Except for two hens. These two disdain being cooped up at night. As dusk falls they arrange to be absent for cooping exercises. They sleep erratically in one or another of the outlying barns. They make their own nests, and lay their eggs in them, and hatch the eggs in the natural hen way. Right now during the day the rebel hens join the roaming free activities of the conformist hens, but with this difference: two tiny chicks accompanies each rebel hen. Conformist hensí eggs nourish Philosophy Campers. But watching those little chicks! It is good to know you are in a place that makes room for rebel hens. -- John Wallace
I arrived about noon today only to find that Trevor had already arrived on his bike and has been here for a few days. After a very wet morning today and terrific wind, the day brightened up a bit. In the afternoon, Trevor, John, and I visited the Johnson's dairy farm down the road to pick up our first order of butter and cheese. We cooked a good dinner, then took a walk down to an old farm site. We saw deer and pheasants, and many songbirds. The nearly-full moon greeted us as we walked back to Shalom Hill Farm. A very nice first day. --Lynn
Welcome to the Philosophy Camp instructors' blog. Philosophy Camp is a
six-week residential course held at a retreat center in southwestern
Minnesota from May 23 through June 30, 2005. This space has been provided
for instructors to share their experiences, observations, and ideas during
their time out here on the prairie.