Friday, October 22, 2010

TNS#74: Exploring the Enneagram

TheNextStep show #74 was taped 9/13/10 and featured a discussion of the Enneagram with local authors/workshop leaders David Fauvre and Katherine Chernick Fauvre ( The Enneagram is a psychospiritual typology or model of personality types, a nine-fold system of types where each is seen as expressing a distinctive and habitual pattern of thinking and feeling. Its development can be traced from the Sufis thru G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Oscar Ichazo, Claudio Naranjo, and a host of current authors.

David and Katherine seem to have made their own contributions to the field with their incorporation of 'tri-types' wherein the nine types are grouped with respect to one's 'motivational' factors, into the three groups of head/blue, heart/red, and gut/green. As I understood it they seem to be saying one could correlate the qualities of a type with each of these 3 aspects of psyche (head, heart, gut), but I could be wrong about that! Just before the show they had me take their online personality test, which I found surprisingly difficult and left my head spinning someewhat during the show... difficult because I was being asked repeatedly to choose between qualities that I was pretty darn ambivalent about. Perhaps if there was a personality type for ambivalence I'd be there and the whole process would've been easier. But I do definitely see the value in this kind of work, following directly from the Delphic Oracle's invocation to "Know Thyself". Another way they expressed the goal of this work is "to transform self-defeating behaviour into empowerment".

They eventually settled on a determination that I'm a social nine, in company with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, which I found flattering enough. Not that I'm the type to care much about flattery! Try their test yourself, at!

Here from my notes is a summary of the nine types:
1. perfectionist, reformer, judge, crusader, critic
2. giver, helper, nurturer, caretaker, advisor, manipulator
3. performer, motivator, achiever, producer, status-seeker; corp America!
4. tragic romantic,individualist, mystic, artist; authentic, sensitive, moody
5. observer, thinker, investigator, sage; self-suff; can be arrogant
6. devil's advocate, loyalist, skeptic, guardian, rebel; safe, secure
7. epicure, entertainer, optimist, adventurer;
8. leader, solution-master, maverick, protector; can be intimidating
9. peacemaker, mediator, naturalist, accomodater; conflict-avoidant
Types 8,9,1 relate to gut, instinct (green); types 2,3,4 relate to heart (red);
types 5,6,7 relate to head, ideas (in their work that is).

TNS#73: Open Source Learning

TheNextStep show #73 was taped 8/11/10, a show on the topic of open-source learning with Scott MacLeod and Barbara Breuchert. Scott's the founder of World University & School ( - "the Global, Virtual/Digital, Open, Free, {potentially Degree- and Credit-Granting}, Multilingual University & School where anyone can teach or take a class or course." Barbara's a local Media Center producer and former educator.
From the WU&S site: "World University & School's mission, in reaching out to the entire world, is to provide a free, wiki-based education platform and, through facilitating the development of broadband worldwide, to make our service accessible
to under-served parts of the world. The WUaS mission is thus to facilitate all levels of teaching and learning opportunities (and future degrees) through an open, editable wiki in all languages, nation-states and subjects with great universities, and for One Laptop per Child countries and everyone." Very commendable vision, Scott!

My main comment was that if there are to be course credits granted, somewhere there have to be human beings reviewing the work of students, and those human beings need to be compensated for their time somehow... and I'm dubious that some form of barter is going to be workable in this situation, and hence dubious that 'free' will be compatible with 'degree-granting'... but optimistic that some form of workable economic model can be found. Now I've joined Scott's advisory board so there will likely be more TNS shows on the topic!

We also discussed John Taylor Gatto's books Weapons of Mass Instruction and Dumbing Us Down, which I'm a big fan of, since he came to P.A. to speak at a futuresalon in 2008. Also discussed was Scott McNealy's new project his vision for a "free and open source digital compendium of just about everything teachers use to teach -- textbooks, worksheets, tests, video presentations, podcasts, you name it." The project, run by McNealy and former Sun executive Kim Jones, started inside Sun six years ago and spun out as a nonprofit in 2006. Curriki now has 38,000 educational pieces on the site, and about 135,000 registered users.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

TNS#72: Kumbh Mela travelogue

TheNextStep show #72 was taped 5/12/10 and featured Maurizio Benazzo and Gopi Kallayil. Maurizio was co-director of the documentary film Short Cut to Nirvana: Kumbh Mela (2004) and the show featured a number of short clips from the film. Gopi is a local Media Center producer, Google engineer and world traveler who brought his slide show of photos from his trip to this year's Kumbh Mela. Maurizio had colorful stories about making their documentary on a shoe-string budget in the massive chaotic festival in 2004. His film company is Maurizio is also producer of the upcoming conference (Oct 2010 in Marin, CA).
From the entry for Short Cut to Nirvana:
"Every 12 years over 70 million pilgrims gather at the meeting of India's holiest rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna, for a spectacular spiritual festival: the Kumbh Mela. This documentary takes a voyage of discovery through this colorful event through the eyes of several Westerners and an ebullient young Hindu monk, Swami Krishnanand. Featuring encounters with some of India's most respected holy men and exclusive footage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama."