The Growing Concern, like the Bread Shop Kitchen, specialized in vegetarian cuisine.  We served Chicago’s North Side new age community.  Palm readers, activists, astrologists and all kinds of spiritual path practitioners visited us for our casseroles and freshly squeezed juice.

The manager of The Growing Concern was a devout Sikh, dressed in turban, white cotton with full beard, a former hippie Westerner who had converted.  Arthur was the owner.  Arthur was a concert violinist with a passion for food.  Portly, dressing in professorial neo hippie, Arthur wore a beret and smoked a pipe.

Business was slow.  Arthur the owner began driving taxi to pay the bills.

At about the time Arthur started driving taxi, the manager was let go.  Business was very slow.  Eric, the other cook, and I were now the sole employees.  We were the cooks and wait staff.

Eric was a follower of a local guru.  It seemed pretty much anybody connected to or patronizing The Growing Concern was exploring alternative spirituality.  I was sort of the odd guy out, spending most of my spare time illustrating a line of greeting cards I was about to publish.  Still, it was a wonderful place to observe a unique …

I’d been cooking at the Bread Shop Kitchen for several months, mostly preparing egg dishes in the morning shift, when I was directed to take a lie detector test or be fired.  There had been a theft of the change box in the basement.  It had occurred during my shift.  It was 1979.

I took the el downtown and elevatored up to a higher floor in one of the newer towers.  I was asked to sit in a chair in a little room with lots of one-way glass.  My fingers and chest were attached to the mechanical apparatus.  I was given a little glass of water.

There was one man in the room with me.  He looked like a football player in a suit.  He began by wanting to know if I had ever stolen anything in my life.  He then asked me if I had been subjected to a lie detection test in the past.

Perhaps four years earlier, in St Petersburg, Florida, where I was a student at Eckerd College, my friend Linda had asked me if I would participate in a psychology experiment.  Her professor was comparing type A and type B personalities regarding stress.  My friend …

After graduating from college, I made it a year and a quarter working with my dad learning how to run a girdle and bra manufacturing plant.  I quit so that I could try to make it as a free lance illustrator and graphic designer.  Unable to pay bills on the few jobs I was getting, I applied to cook in the Bread Shop Kitchen, across from the Bread Shop near Roscoe and Halstead.  This was in 1978.

When I applied, I thought the business was quasi-communal.  I’d been fascinated by communes and intentional communities for several years, never having lived in one, but I had visited several.  After working there a bit I realized The Bread Shop was a privately owned concern with bosses and disgruntled employees.  I focused on cooking, which I was good at and enjoyed.  I liked the people, who were hippies, gays and counter-culture food fanatics.

The grocery store that spawned the restaurant had started as a communal operation but had evolved to a sole proprietorship.  There were politics and hurt feelings, but that had all unfolded and had sort of been resolved before I arrived.  What was left over was an odd assortment of rules, …

Old Chevy

May 14, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

In the 1970s, Florida had laws that prevented citizens from driving cars like mine.  Inspections kept them off the road.  My car was registered in Illinois with an Illinois license plate.  My dad owned it and paid the insurance.  Not that the car had value.  Still, it got around.

It was an old 1960s Chevy Nova with eight cylinders.  Small car with eight cylinders.  Hard to imagine.  We’d often cram six in and go searching for breakfast before the sunrise.  I frequently gave friends rides to the airport.  I loaned it to any friend or anybody that needed wheels.

I lived near the ocean the two years I worked restaurants, the two years I took off from college between my junior and senior years.  The first few years of the car’s life were spent in Chicago suburbs gathering salt from liberally sprinkled, suburban city streets.  In St. Petersburg, the ocean salt continued to deteriorate the chassis.  There was a love bug insect plague in 1971.  Once smacked by my car, these bugs left behind fluids that repeatedly impinged on all forward-facing surfaces of the vehicle and caused all the blue paint in the grill area to peel off, leaving a …

The kitchen cook needed an assistant.  Bob hired me on the spot.  He needed someone now.  I put on the white cook costume and walked up to the line, noted the fryers (we had no fryers at the Bo Tree) and asked Bob what those were.  He glared at me.

“Where did you cook?”

I mumbled, “I cooked at the Bo Tree, over on 22nd and 34th Street.  I cooked vegetarian food.”

It was very confusing at first, juggling dozens of orders coming in from the breakfast room that opened out onto the pool patio overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.  Waitresses barked their orders at me and clipped them to the revolving carousel.  Slowly I developed short-order reflexes.  I went from slow and confused to quick and less confused to lightning fast and unconscious.  I loved to have a woman tell me what she wanted and then I pleased her.  I still couldn’t embark in the sexual banter that was the trademark communication between male kitchen and female wait staff, but I adored the rhythmic, quick dance of satisfaction that characterized short-order work.  I had no girlfriend.  Relationship terrified me.  Short-order felt like a satisfactory substitute.

A few weeks into …

The Bo Tree

May 12, 2009 | 2 Comments

Category: Auto-Biography

The commune that ran the Bo Tree restaurant was located in a big house about four blocks from the restaurant.  It was an odd little enclave of about ten people and some cats.  This was St.  Petersburg, Florida, 1975.  We had no air conditioning.  Avocados fell like leaves from city trees.  Fleas and roaches were deeply integrated into our lives.  It was hot.

I only worked for the commune.  I did not live there.  I lived with friends a few miles away, near the intercoastal waterway, behind a Mr. Donut.  Rising in the morning, I’d arrive at work as the sole employee, the director of the kitchen.  I was paid the handsome sum of $50 a week.  This was controversial.  Some commune members thought I should not be paid.  But no one wanted to take responsibility for getting things done, hence my elevated station.

As head cook, the guy that baked the bread, prepared the staples and put together the daily specials, I built skills that would later get me cook jobs.  Commune members would drift in and out, volunteering to participate in preparations.  Things were very relaxed.  We often wore no shoes.

It was an entertaining and an odd …

Traveling across country, I search for waffle houses to eat a meal.  I’m not big on the menu, but I love the show.  Watching a talented short-order cook work the rush is a deep pleasure.

I first started working in restaurants when I was 17.  My last cook job was in 1981 when I was 29.  Over the course of ten jobs starting as bus boy and car parker, ending up as a cook, I developed an appreciation for the skills of a talented short-order cook.

Five of those ten restaurant jobs were as a cook, three as a specialist in vegetarian cuisine.  I also worked making pizza in a Pizza Hut and Barnabe’s, but pizza preparation doesn’t count as cooking.

I was a waiter at the Happy Dolphin, a resort on the beach at St. Petersburg Beach in Florida.  It was during a two-year break from school between my junior and senior years.  What I really wanted to do was to be the short-order cook.  I had only worked as bus boy, car parker, waiter and pizza maker at that point in my career.  I looked at cooking as the pinnacle of restaurant work.

At the Happy Dolphin, there …

I wake up in the morning around 5:30 to 6:15 and shuffle down fifteen steps to my desk.  I work out of my home.  I put in about three hours until the staff starts to arrive.  During those three hours I read over online papers and blogs, preparing the day’s lists for the staff, and then I jump into writing.  I write for an hour or two, sometimes longer.  I often have little idea what I’m going to write about when I begin.  Like now.

When Marcia and I last went traveling, as soon as we shifted to the Eastern Time Zone, I woke up on the button at 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time.  Every morning, with no alarm clock, my eyes popped open at 5:30 a.m. during the whole vacation.  So I wrote each morning.

What was odd is that my unconscious made a seamless transition to Eastern Time while we were headed east, but when we crossed the Indiana timeline back into the Central Time Zone, I then woke up at 4:30 in the morning, 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time.  Somehow, I was not transitioning easily back to Central.  I have an internal alarm clock that works faultlessly, but it …

In the previous four pieces, I’ve been exploring the federal government founding, funding and maintaining new job-creation institutions.  The government would reward individuals gathering respect in the form of traffic and time spent on websites serving media, education and art.  The government would not decide who would receive micropayments for each visitor and how long they spent on the site or watching a video.  That would be decided by the traffic numbers.  This is a model that trusts the wisdom of the crowd’s redistributing the crowd’s tax dollars to those whose work the crowd admires.

There would be the generation of high quality news by amateurs and professionals across the planet, high quality educational pieces as determined by the testing scores of viewers and popular art as determined by the number of people lingering over the artists’ work.

Performers might be employed to act out an academic’s lecture scripts.  News might be describing surges in a particular artist’s traffic numbers.  Performers might be reading news.  Art might bleed into academia.  Synergies among the different institutions are inevitable.  Government rewards for traffic and duration will encourage innovation and novelty.

As these new institutions acquire mass, government funding for their providers can …

There is a paradox of government-funded arts in the West.  We in the West don’t believe we should encourage failure.  Too often art reveals where we don’t succeed.  Why would government support those that don’t agree with the ideology of success?

Ostensibly, government supports “free markets,” or the cult of the entrepreneur, by allowing the imaginative cutthroats to cut throats imaginatively, resulting in the financial debacle we observe today.  Americans revere the man that makes money, seeing the vibrant corporation as a symbol of independence, liberty and freedom.

Then there are the artists.  The Western artist also depicts the American obsession with independence, liberty and freedom.  Only the artist through his and her very life and work depicts the repercussion of a desire to integrate the artistic default experience of feeling-part-of-something-larger-than-the-self with the American experience of separation, monetary stratification, independence, liberty and freedom.  The Western artist is presented with a paradox.  How does he or she manifest interconnection, or connection to that which transcends normal experience, in a society that deifies the alone?

Art often calls attention to this paradox, what might be also expressed as a cultural incongruity.  The Left does not see a problem with paying people to …

The administration is not yet thinking in terms of new institutions as it seeks places to invest borrowed dollars.  In the way they are spending some budgeted dollars, they seem to sense that the Internet is integral to future solutions, but the government seems unsure how exactly the Internet can be integral to job creation and a stable, healthy society.  In the previous piece, I show how government-supported Internet news gathering, production and distribution can form the foundation for a vibrant new societal institution.  Consider that government-supported online education can form the foundation for new institutions essential to a healthy, creative, secure, educated society.

A number of studies have come to the conclusion that the strength of a teacher’s talents for performing her or his job has more to do with the quality of a teacher’s education than any other single variable.  Bill Gates, Obama and others have emphasized the importance of training and maintaining excellent educators.  Consider that we open up this process to the web.

I’ve watched several hundred hours of college course lectures by the outstanding lecturers videotaped by The Teaching Company.  I watch and listen to these performers while exercising in the morning.  I’ve listened to …

My dad’s dad, Warren Lehman, retired from the girdle and bra manufacturing business that he started, the business my dad came to run, when Grandpa couldn’t find his way home from the train station.  He lived four blocks away.  It was a commute he’d been walking for over 50 years.  At home most of those years since the television had been invented, Grandpa watched TV.  He stopped reading.  He stopped socializing.  He just watched the tube.  Retired, he watched the tube all the time.  Warren’s stuffed chair was stationed in front of the TV.  My sisters and I saw mostly the top of the back of Grandpa’s head.

Larry Rothermel’s family got the first color TV in Glencoe, Illinois, where I lived in the 1950s and 60s.  I walked into Larry’s living room to look and was astonished.  In today’s money it was several thousand dollars, an amount my family could not afford.  Black and white was OK.  Even when we got a color TV years later, that TV stayed in my parents’ bedroom.  Watching Saturday morning cartoons in the den, I was still looking at a black and white screen, though for me the experience was rich in depth …

I observe the interventions of the Obama Administration to restore the economy while preparing for seismic transformation.  I sometimes wonder how this is possible when they behave mostly unaware of the nature of what is changing.  It’s not only about a modified educational system that lifts up minorities and makes the U.S. competitive overseas.  It’s not only about a new, green economy that is sustainable and uses lots less oil.  It’s not only about an economy that is firmly grounded in transparency and accountability with firm regulation offering valued services like health care to all.

It’s not only about getting us up to where the Scandinavians have been waiting for us for decades.

The consumer economy is dying.  The Aesthetic Economy is taking root.

Viewing societal change as a function of the forces that are engaged in the transformation of individual neurology/psychology/behavior, I observe a horizontalization, transparency and diversity surge that has predictable repercussions.  I believe a major matrifocal current is modifying contemporary social structure.  Former hierarchical, secretive, elite frames of reference are falling while horizontal, transparent and diverse orientations are rising.  Yet, at the same time, there is also an integration of these two complementary opposite paradigms.  We are …

Comments

May 2, 2009 | 5 Comments

Category: Uncategorized

Performance is an integral part of blogging, particularly when you’re engaged in social or political change.  Kos of Daily Kos (dailykos.com) writes of the importance of confrontation rhetoric in Taking on the System.  That’s not my style.

This will no doubt seem stupid, but I don’t like to get my feelings hurt unless I’m fairly certain my positions are well reasoned with opinions articulate enough that I can feel confident I got the point across.  Getting my feelings hurt is OK if I’m fielding opinions different from my own.  I just don’t like to screw up in public.  So, pretty much everything that posts here has been gone over several times.

So, I’m not too spontaneous unless it’s in the comments sections or at my sister site causeofautism.com.  Everything else goes to an editor to check grammar, tenses and spelling.  Editor Roger also tells me if something doesn’t make sense.  If someone is going to disagree with me, I want to make sure it’s not over failures of communication.

Almost 100% of the communications I receive from professors and academics comes to me as emails, not comments.  This is probably due to those folks mostly not using blogs …

The Keys

May 1, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Society

This last February, Marcia and I jumped into a rented convertible and drove from Evanston to the Florida Keys.  Neither of us had ever been there.  Chicago was cold.  The Keys were warm.

Driving across country using interstates, we have little opportunity to see or feel what the region looks like.  So, it has been my habit for a couple decades to eat a large percentage of my meals in waffle houses so that I can listen to the banter of the locals and watch the theatre of a talented grill cook.  It often feels like I’ve walked into someone’s home.  Folks are charming and warm.  I just wish the food were good.  (I’m a health food snob.)

We stopped near Melbourne, Florida, and visited Marcia’s aging, ailing uncle in a nursing home and my healthy father in Ft. Lauderdale.  Moving on, driving the four hours between Homestead and Key West, we were able to observe local commerce, fauna and exotic birds.  The cruise was leisurely.  There was much to take in.

Driving down Highway 1 across the Keys, I found myself speed reading the commercial signage to get a feel for place and a read on the economy.  At …

In a dream many years ago, I was in an ancient city.  It is night and it is quiet.

I am standing by the great wall that protects the city.  It is more like a mound.  It does not rise straight up from the ground.  Still, the wall is high enough to protect the citizens.  Then, in the dream, I am viewing the city from the air, noting the great embankment making a circle around the buildings, castles, streets and homes.  In the dream, I am noticing a feature of the stones that make up the protecting walls that reminds me of dragon scales.  Looking closer at those walls, I am realizing that those are scales.  Suddenly it becomes clear to me that the great circular wall surrounding the city is a mammoth serpent, asleep, protecting the city as she dreams.

That which we seek protection from, that which frightens us most, by its very nature is the very barrier that protects us.  Our armor and the weapons that seek us are the same.  What keeps us separate is also that which most terrifies us.  Those edifices that provide us our identity are the very things that can take our …

Sand Castles III

April 29, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Sand Castles

I’ve noticed that it takes several days of deep concentration on a sand castle project, exercising techniques I’ve used a thousand times, teaching them to children, observing variations on a theme proliferating across a project, before the unexpected occurs.

Often, the unexpected is proceeded by a dip in emotion, a depression, a feeling of helplessness and of being alone.  Somehow, I get scoured out by the emotional isolation, and then, without thought, I am creating something wholly new where an emotional hole was moments before.

New kinds of towers are created.  New ways of making connections between structures are devised.  New ways of approaching age-old problems emerge, and I am consumed by the possibilities.

Joseph Pearce wrote a book almost 40 years ago called Crack in the Cosmic Egg, where he explored creativity as a process with structure that could be studied and reproduced.  Pearce discovered that a head-over-heels, long-term, deep commitment to a project can result in a sudden “Aha” experience leading to unique solutions and emotional elation.  Pearce noted that the “Aha” often comes after the person is separated from his devotion for a little time.

Darwin commonly punctuated time spent in his study with strolls around …

Sand Castle II

April 28, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Sand Castles

When I begin building the towers that form the foundation of my sand castle constructions, I pick spots as high and far from the pits of water and wet sand as I conveniently can.  When the towers start to proliferate, I can’t reach past them to construct behind them unless I dig a new hole on the other side.  Also, hands filled with wet sand leave a trail.  If I have to lean across existing towers, the dripping sand often damages what I’ve created.

When working in brush and ink, I always begin at the upper left side, working across and downward.  This keeps my right palm from smearing fresh ink.  The same principle applies to sand castle building.  Where I build has much to do with where I will be building.

There is no story narrative accompanying the various constructions as they go up.  Sometimes I get images of kings, queens and princesses.  Mostly I experience a sense of the passing of mythic time.  Every hour is almost a hundred years as I watch decorations fray.  Over the course of a day, I watch civilizations pass as a noon’s intricate construction by evening is a worn old building approaching …

Sand Castle I

April 27, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Sand Castles

I sometimes feel that what I do best is create sand castles.  Having developed a specific style over 40 years, I use no tools, work exclusively in fine shell sand and specialize in unique towers, some four feet tall.  Whereas while developing evolutionary theory I often experience a lack of connection with an audience that expresses appreciation for my productions, when creating sand castles I am able to experience the approbation of an approving gallery of casual walkers, almost without cessation.

A number of specifics come to mind when I consider what is involved when creating sand castles.

Fine shell sand is essential.  Pensacola offers perhaps the best I’ve ever found.  Florida’s west coast, St. Petersburg Beach and points farther south, have consistently excellent sand for sand castle building.  The east coast of Florida, not so much.  For example, stretches of sand around Ft. Lauderdale are terrible.

Almost fifteen years ago, I discovered almost perfect sand in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Returning there this summer, I found it had totally changed.  Far coarser now, it was not useable for my purposes.

Sand can change over time and over the course of a few yards up or down a beach.  There …

Marian Annett and others have concluded that those anomalous dominant individuals with two cerebral hemispheres the same size often exhibit astonishing intelligence and creativity.  Michael Fitzgerald’s Autism and Creativity describes the kind of intelligence that sometimes accompanies these people.  The males of the group are often very maturational delayed.

Individuals severely traumatized in early childhood are often maturational delayed.  It’s as if large parts of them are unable to easily progress in a natural fashion.  Resources are tied to the trauma at the maturational stage they were in when the trauma occurred.  Therapy can unclench the individual from that stage.  Resources released, they can continue to grow.

Is it possible that early trauma can impact an individual to reproduce a neurological environment similar to that experienced by those naturally maturational delayed?  If so, can early trauma result in the exhibition of both the symptoms and the occasional remarkable intelligence and creativity exhibited by those individuals?

Those with Asperger’s, autism and other conditions exhibiting maturational delay, such as stuttering and phonetic dyslexia, often have unique brains, a predictable cluster of personality characteristics and behaviors featuring OCD, perfect pitch and other features.  Are there situations involving trauma where children without this familial …

I’ve been cobbling together postings over the last year into an overview of how the various pieces inform an understanding of social change in contemporary times.  I’ve just begun the process of collating that content.

Listing features of my work that concentrate on societal transformation and global horizontalization:

• Myth, story and contemporary times
• Diet impacting pubertal timing, thus influencing the synthesizing capabilities of the brain
• The rise of autism and its connection to surges in matrifocal social structure
• Increases in innovation with rises in matrifocal social structure
• Youngest children immigrating and encouraging innovation
• High-fat diets encouraging matrifocal social structure
• The web is a reflection of surges in matrifocal social structure
• Neotenous features in males result in matrifocal social structures
• Aboriginal, poor, ethnic minorities and artists neotenizing society
• Online virtual realities suggest a return to primary process consciousness, a matrifocal feature
• Aspects of the Internet that encourage social change reflect matrifocal priorities
• The movement toward an aesthetic, stewardship, neotenous, sharing economy
• The two salesmen paradigms and the web (hard sell/limited area vs. soft sell/no boundaries)
• The unconscious nature of the societal transition (comparable to amnesia and hypnotherapy)…

Animals Dancing

April 23, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Biology

Those of you following the threads of the evolutionary theory being pitched in these digital pages may have noticed that the various balances propounded (balanced polymorphisms, hormonal balances, the heterochronic mirror processes of neoteny and acceleration, matrifocal/patrifocal balance) have all been discussed in the context of human evolution and social transformation.  I hypothesize that by singing and dancing we propelled ourselves into abstract thinking.  The journey was/is mediated by these four balances.  Regarding these various dynamics, I don’t discuss animals.

There are two reasons for this.  First, I’m pretty much totally ignorant of nonhuman biology.  My understanding of human biology is extremely narrow.  Still, I feel drawn to understand humans.  Animals, not so much.  Not that I don’t personally relate to animals.  My dog was easily the most significant being in my life until I was sixteen.  Perhaps that is why I don’t study animals.  I worship them.

Second, the various human balances that I presuppose exist and then explore operate in a social realm.  How I understand human evolution to unfold is a social process.  It is not about natural selection or sexual selection where a single feature is obsessively selected.  Human evolution is about the interplay of several …

Conversations at the dinner table when I was small revolved around money and psychodynamic motivation.  Freud was king in the mostly Jewish, northern Chicago suburbs in the 1950s and early 60s.  At least, among my family.  Fourth-generation German and Russian Jews, we had had no bar mitzvahs for more than 100 years.  I remembering telling my Christian friends that there were four kinds of Jews:  Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed and Commercial.  We were Commercial.

No member of my family had ever finished college, with the exception of some distant cousins.  Our family tree had been dramatically pruned by WWII.  My mother’s and father’s families would gather together on the two great holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving.  My father’s only brother died around 1950, not quite a college graduate from Northwestern.  He had spina bifida.  My mom’s sisters were children.  So, it was the identical group of people gathering every year.  There was no sibling competition to go other places.  Both sets of grandparents had only one set of grandchildren.  I was the first born.  I was male.  I was the cat’s pajamas.

Mental illness was a popular avocation amongst the adults I was in contact with.  My father’s mother had borderline personality …

Limb Theorizing

April 21, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

As an amateur theorist without recourse to experimentation, surveys or studies to prove a hypothesis, I find myself relying upon several paths of exploration.  First, without an ability to prove step by step the various conjectures I come up with, I keep running “as if” frames, seeking the implications of a hypothesis if true.  A rather hefty disadvantage to this way of thinking is that I’m usually several assumptions or presuppositions away from conventional theory, several steps away from orthodoxy down a logic chain to a particular conclusion.  Though I may feel I have arrived at a particularly elegant or powerful solution to the various anomalies that have emerged during the journey, others may not have even gotten to the point where an anomaly was even noted.

For example, confused for years by the anomaly of Asian male neoteny in a patrifocal society, I came to a resolution of the anomaly by integrating estrogen into an evolutionary equation that formerly only noted the effects of testosterone.  My paying close attention to testosterone itself was based upon the resolution of an anomaly that emerged in Norman Geschwind’s work that explained a gap in Stephen Gould’s hypothesis of how neoteny unfolds in …

Map World

April 20, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography, Play

I often keep a post-it note pad with me when I’m out and about. During meetings, I often doodle. Mostly I draw faces, experimenting with expression and line quality. I store those images that feel unique. A little stack of faces are collecting at the right side of my desk.

I took a couple years off of college between my junior and senior years. The reason I chose to leave college for a time was because I adored it. I didn’t want my education to end. I felt that at the point that I graduated I would need to start drifting toward a career. I did not look forward to never having my summers off again. I did not look forward to a life focused on something other than learning.

A good chunk of the two years I took off was spent as a waiter in a resort on a beach on the Gulf of Mexico near St. Petersburg. I was living by myself in a garage apartment. My landlord, whose house I lived behind, was a young author writing a movie script for a movie to be called Conan the Barbarian.

I was experiencing a lot of anguish, feeling …