Dear Students, As always, we hope our newsletter finds you healthy, safe, and in good spirits. We think of each of you all the time and have received some of your missives, including ideas for content! Thank you. We have decided to incorporate the suggestion made by Marcus that we include a “conversation” space in the newsletter, especially inviting focus on our return (which we hope will occur in Spring 2021). This new element, with two prompts for you, appears in this newsletter. We are so glad to send you our fourth newsletter, with the theme of “patterns.” The pattern theme was created by Madison, and led us in many interesting directions. Our group continues to develop plans for this newsletter, plans for possible programming through Lantern, and plans for when we return. Madison, Sarah, Denise, Leila, Luca, Ben, and Melinda all worked on this edition of the newsletter. We invite your responses to the contents, including your ideas for future themes! Please send them in with the included stamped envelopes. We have continued the following features: Artist Spotlight, Student Spotlight, the Caption Contest, and Sacred Space with Sensei Morris. We have added the following features: Community Conversation (thank you for the suggestion), Ben’s sports column, Melinda’s ethics column, and other writings from team members. In the time since we last wrote, the CEP team continues to stay busy, pursuing grants and networking. We have decided that our February conference will be held entirely online, but not delayed or postponed. We plan to send out the call for papers presently. If you have had any new ideas for themes or topics since we spoke last year, please let us know. The newsletters and other planning have been the work of the Programming group, but the Re-Entry group has also been especially active (again, we feel this is a great way to spend our time away from you). Among many other things, we are building a Re-Entry Guide for CEP use. If you have any specific themes or questions you’d like treated in this newsletter with regard to Re-entry, please let us know. Please enjoy the material and know that you are always on our minds. All best wishes,
The CEP Team, far and wide
Artist SpotLight If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it, 2019
First Lady Michelle Obama, 2018
Amy Sherald is a contemporary artist best known for painting Michelle Obama’s official first lady portrait, now on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Sherald and fellow artist Kehinde Wiley were the first AfricanAmerican artists selected to create presidential portraits. Sherald’s work focuses exclusively on portraits of contemporary Black figures, whose skin she paints in grisaille, a French art term that refers to paintings done entirely in shades of gray. Her figures are often placed against pastel-colored backgrounds, and dressed in vivid patterns that are painted in a simplified and flattened fashion. Often, the titles of her work are poetic allusions to a larger narrative about the figures, encouraging a deeper connection to these otherwise anonymous people that Sherald encounters in her daily life. When asked about her approach to portraiture, which is often seen as a deeply traditional art form, Sherald responded: All Things Bright and Beautiful, 2016
“Portraiture as a genre has come to have a new face. The tradition of portraiture has become a way to reclaim time and space within an art historical narrative that is mostly starkly European. It no longer belongs to the social elite. Artists of color are using portraiture to author a narrative of people that art history was written without. It speaks to the human condition and holds up a mirror to life. It now employs colorful reflections and representations of everyday people on the walls of museums where there were once misrepresentations. Showing life as it is. I like to say it’s the soul food of all the different genres.” What’s precious inside of him does not care to be known by mind in ways that diminish its presence (All American), 2017
In Sherald’s most recent solo exhibition at Hauser & Wirth gallery in New York City, her figures are contextualized in quintessentially American yet modern landscapes of work and leisure. (Insert Image 5, Caption: If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it, 2019) Sherald says her paintings show “Americans doing everyday American things.” She uses her work as a way of creating intimate moments of connection between her viewers and her subjects, emphasizing the inner lives of AfricanAmericans, something that is rarely depicted in art or media.
Patterns are made to break by IsabeL Perry Doughty Patterns are made to break— To form and to break, To say the inevitable word That wakes the dead, To have a beginning and end When the word is said; To be heard and forgotten by men Who are making a pattern again For a world that is changed, Is changing forever. New men to forge in new fire A new symbol for old desire, A clean phrase freshly heard Speaking a primordial word.
Untitled Quilt, Laura Glander, 2020
Pattern Poetry Pattern poetry, also called figure poem, shaped verse, or carmen figuratum, verse in which the typography or lines are arranged in an unusual configuration, usually to convey or extend the emotional content of the words. Of ancient (probably Eastern) origin, pattern poems are found in the Greek Anthology, which includes work composed between the 7th century BC and the early 11th century AD. A notable later example is the wing-shaped “Easter Wings” of the 16th-century English Metaphysical poet George Herbert: Citation Information Article Title: Pattern poetry Website Name: Encyclopaedia Britannica Publisher: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. Date Published: 18 January 2018 URL: https://www.britannica.com/art/pattern-poetry
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store, Though foolishly he lost the same, Decaying more and more Till he became Most poor: With thee O let me rise As larks, harmoniously, And sing this day thy victories; Then shall the fall further the flight in me. In the 19th century, the French Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé employed different type sizes in Un Coup de dés (1897; “A Throw of Dice”). Representative poets in the 20th century included Guillaume Apollinaire in France and E.E. Cummings in the United States. In the 20th century, pattern poetry sometimes crossed paths with concrete poetry; a basic distinction between the two types of poetry is the ability of pattern poetry to hold its meaning apart from its typography—i.e., it can be read aloud and still retain its meaning.
Woven into the Fabric of our Lives: ReLationship Patterns
Hi, this is LeiLa Roach and I teach in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling/ Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling Graduate Programs at Stetson. I met some of you last Fall when I came out and did a short talk on Mindfulness and Meditation. I’ve been thinking about the theme of our newsletter on patterns. My work is all about patterns, relationship patterns, human patterns, the ways that people relate to each other. To understand these patterns, let’s take a trip back in time. For millions of years, the human autonomic nervous system (ANS) has evolved a series of pathways designed for survival. “Over the course of evolution, what began as a single dorsal vagal system of immobilization that our reptilian ancestors used for survival was added onto first with the sympathetic system of mobilization and options for fight and flight and then with the ventral vagal system of social communication and connection. As each new system was built and the older system retained, the autonomic hierarchy emerged” (Dana, 2020). Consequently, meaningful relationships and communication with others are central to our very existence. Science teaches us that relationship patterns are deeply embedded in the physiology of the ANS so, as author and researcher Brene Brown would say, “we are hard-wired for connection.” It also helps us understand why we engage in both healthy and dysfunctional relationship patterns and why we vacillate between connection and disconnection with others. When operating from the top of the hierarchy, the ventral vagal state, we feel connected to self and others, are able to reach out for help and connection, are open to change, and willing to look at possibilities. We are able to operate from
this state when there is a sense of safety and predictability in relationships. When you encounter welcoming looks, a friendly tone of voice, and gestures that invite connection, you move closer (Porges & Furman, 2011). From this state, relationship patterns tend to be more congruent, holding a deep sense of safety that allows you to listen to others and express your own points of view. Philosophers such as Martin Buber and William James, have written about these human connections. Buber describes the I-Thou encounter in relationships as one of reciprocity and mutuality, one in which humans relate subject to subject in meaningful interpersonal contact, and authentically engage each other in the here and now. He defines a new relational dimension, “the between” that is manifest in a heightened form of empathy that he termed “inclusion” (Buber, 1923). Uniqueness and separateness are acknowledged while relating and sharing common humanness. However, when met with looks, sounds, and gestures that send signals of unsafety, you become more guarded and cautious. Your body senses moment by moment cues and responds by welcoming or discouraging engagement. Remember the old episodes of Lost in Space? “Danger Will Robinson!” Everyday events and interactions can sometimes overwhelm the capacity of ventral vagus to regulate the system, thus triggering dysregulation. Following the predictable path of the ANS hierarchy, you move a step down to the sympathetic nervous system and experience fight or flight. Flooded with the mobilizing energy that comes with the release of adrenaline and cortisol into your system, you no longer look for true connection, but rather become solely focused on survival. From this state, relationship patterns become dysfunctional and are characterized by anxiousness, criticism, defensiveness, control, aggression, or stonewalling. Often this happens below conscious awareness
and one is left wondering, “Why did I do that?” and with the tendency to blame the other. This relates to Martin Buber’s other relational attitude, the I-It. The I-It encounter lacks the essential elements of human connection where the other becomes an object to be influenced or used in the service of survival. The I-It attitude depersonalizes and alienates the other, often becoming structured into human institutions and embedded in cultural and relational patterns. If mobilization of the sympathetic nervous system fails to bring resolution to distress, the ANS takes the final step down the hierarchy into the dorsal vagal state. This state is a response to what seems inescapable where the ANS system creatively finds a way out through numbing, dissociation, and disconnection. This is often experienced as helplessness and explains why people remain in highly dysfunctional relational patterns. There may be a temporary mobilization into the sympathetic actions of fight or flight, only to return to the dorsal vagal shutdown. The good news is that we can be aware of these ANS states and how they affect us and our relationship patterns. The key is learning how to self-regulate, to connect with others in supportive relationships, and to organize the utilization of our energy. There are many practices that help with self-regulation including mindfulness and mediation activities. Sensei Morris includes one at the end of his column each month and the breathing exercises included in this issue are also very helpful. Engaging in creative and educational endeavors can help you focus and organize your energy. Seeking out supportive relationships as much as possible also helps to develop healthy relationship patterns. And the CEP Team is here for you even while we are separated. Remember, how we treat each other and the relationship patterns we weave into the fabric of our lives, matters. You matter.
Sarah’s SaLutations* Hello everyone! Like all of us on the newsletter team, I have been reflecting this month on the concept of “patterns,” and specifically, patterns in food and agriculture. I think about patterns in the form of crop rotations – planting beans in a plot one year to enrich the soil with nitrogen, then planting a “heavy feeder” like corn the following year to soak up those extra nutrients, then perhaps leaving it fallow the third year or bringing in
some livestock to help start the process all over again. I think about how the USDA uses the term “food pattern” as a synonym for a diet or foodway (for example, a “healthy Mediterranean food pattern” is one of their official dietary suggestions), and about the four week rotation of the DOC meal plans. I’m even thinking about the repeated rows of kernels on the sweet corn we roasted here for dinner last night. While I can’t make a particularly smooth transition from my musings about patterns in our food system to the community garden project (wait! Gardens have rows! Patterns! Transition accomplished) I did want to use this space to also let you know that we continue to move forward with our fundraising and planning for the garden. There will be a number
of fundraising events this fall (online) through the campus Greenfeather grant we received, and we are working on some exciting additional grant opportunities that would link the garden project with the history project to mutual benefit. I know it is frustrating that so much of the tangible work on this is stalled since we’re not physically there, but I am confident that the project will be even more meaningful and sustainable once we are on the other side of this hiatus. Thinking of you all and hoping you are well,
Sarah PS: I almost forgot the patterns in the beehive! Of course! Of course. Here’s a wild one from a hive here on the DeLand campus:
*How do we feel about this column title? It’s not great and I am open to suggestions, but know that I am very committed to alliteration!
If I Can Lend You My Mind by James I’m sick of babies dying, and mothers crying, daddy locked up in prison, lying. What kind of world are we living in? Bishops molesting children but aren’t sent to the pen. AK 47’s rule our blocks. In the Supreme Court the NRA wins. Afghanistan a mess, the pres. had to change generals; more guns in my hood simply means more funerals. This week’s spotLight seLected by: Denise
Student SpotLight Greetings, CEP students! Patterns in literature come through both in form (the written structure of the piece) and content (what it is about). What patterns are evident in this rhythmic piece by James? Once established, are any patterns challenged? Some of the stanzas focus on problems in the greater society and other stanzas focus on the author’s own experience. What connections can we make between them? This poem has a stream-of-consciousness feel to it leading us to also consider the patterns in our minds, which are often repetitious. This thought brings us back to the title.
If I can lend you my mind. You will feel my pain. A born-again believer, a self-taught king. An over-achiever. A father who misses his kids, though they are grown. A prison sentence that was deserved, but way too long. A family man with roots, momma hang on—I’ll be there when you need me. A Christian society with vengeful hearts—I’m redeemed but they don’t believe me. If I can lend you my mind. Minorities having to fight for rights, malnutrition killing babies, prisoners thrown away forever, I find this so amazing. We find money for wars, we build electric cars, at 12 and 13 we put our children behind bars. And then we wonder why they kill each other. In prison they enter as young boys, but others try to make them mothers, you don’t ask, you don’t tell; I won’t take that any further. If I can lend you my mind. G-code all lies, brothers telling on each other, so stop this gangsta shit before it goes any further. Speaking the truth, I gave you my mind. There’s millions
of brothers just like me, they just gave up trying. Someone stand up so we can find a way to be free, instead of holding up this mantle called ‘menace to society.’ If I can lend you my mind. How we going to stay out the pen when we can’t diagnose the problem? Education is the key. You should be studying for hours. Join CEP at Stetson and pray God changes your ways. Be thankful for the simple things and give God all your praise. Each one teach one is all I demand. Most brothers will listen, they have no other plans. If I can lend you my mind. Check me out, I was just like you, a brother who acted a fool. I thought robbing and taking shit was exciting and cool. After 30 years in this place with people telling me what to do, I’m sharing my mind with you, so you don’t have to go through what I went through. I would do anything to walk up to my momma’s door, kiss her on the cheek as I watch her tears flow, sit down at her table and eat a decent meal. Do you have any idea how that
would make me feel?
If I can lend you my mind. King would say don’t give up; the dream lives on. Malcolm would say by any means necessary, learn all you can. Tubman would say get ready; I’m coming for you, son. Momma would say I’m praying baby; keep your head up. If I can lend you my mind.
Being on the right side Topic for this week - Patterns in Ethics By MeLinda HaLL Experts on ethics (some of whom you have read for CEP!) often suggest that there is a procedure or pattern that will allow us to understand what the right thing to do is. The most famous procedure or pattern, among scholars and laypersons alike, is probably utilitarianism’s “greatest good for the greatest number.” This type of ethics, first popularized by JS Mill (British philosopher, 19th century), focuses on consequences, particularly those for humans. Mill suggests that if consequences of an action are, on balance, good, then the action itself is the right one to take. He believes that what counts as “good” is happiness. This means that one can calculate what action is right to take by counting up happiness units, or what Mill calls “utils” (units of usefulness to humans). What action brings about the greatest good for the greatest number? This pattern is what ethicists call action-guiding. One can encapsulate rightness and wrongness in a simple formula, creating a pattern for doing the right thing, and discard or disregard information that does not comport with the pattern. Less famous is Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, which is also action-guiding. A Prussian philosopher living in what is now Germany (18th century), Kant set out perhaps the strictest ethical pattern known to us today. He was famous for stating, in a letter to a friend, “nothing in the world could change my mind.” What he meant by that was that he had set out in advance, through logic and analysis, precisely what he thought about life and how to be human. Despite any evidence to the contrary in front of his own eyes, he was going to use and apply only those ideas that he felt sure of – the ones that he developed through rigid rational thinking alone. He thought that by doing so, he would be close to the truth. For Kant, there was a veil between the world as we see it and the world as it really is, and he did not want to get confused by information and phenomena in the messy universe of human relations.
Kant’s ethics has a strong and identifiable pattern. He thought ethics needed to come from logic. So, he decided that there was just one rule in ethics – the categorical imperative (categorical = universal, imperative = rule) – from which everything else could flow. This rule told us that if an action is moral it has to be possible to apply it universally with no exceptions. When considering what action to take, one must ask themselves: if every person did this as a universal law of nature, would the world that followed be logical and orderly? Would a rational person want to live in that world? An example of a moral action would be developing one’s skills and talents, and an example of an immoral action would be lying. The categorical imperative cannot be argued with. One cannot lie even if it’s to save someone else. Kant’s ethics is a procedure that allows for no deviation – the action is either right, or it’s wrong. The pattern of Kant’s ethics is tightly woven. Throughout history, both before Kant and Mill and after, academic scholars and people seeking to live a good life have broken patterns of ethics. In US popular culture throughout the 20th century, righteous vigilantes like Batman gain fans who see them as symbols of the fight for justice. In the 60s, Civil Rights leaders like Martin Luther King showed us that laws must be broken when they are not just. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Malcolm X, forbears to today’s movements for Black Lives, took actions that some worried were wrong in pursuit of justice. Feminist thinkers in psychology in the 70s, during early waves of the feminist movement, noticed that young female children tended to think about ethics through relationships, not through rules. The famous Heinz thought experiment, used in experimental psychology, asks children to consider whether or not something (in the most famous version, medicine) can be stolen to benefit a spouse (in the most famous version, the spouse is dying). Girls tended to say that the spouse was irreplaceable
and mattered morally; they would often recommend that the medicine be stolen. This was taken for many years to be a sign that they just did not get the pattern of ethical rules and had some growing up to do. Feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan interrupted this thinking. She said that they were doing morals and ethics, they just behaved outside the pattern. Further, Gilligan said, they did not need to be corrected; ethical thinkers had something very important and challenging to learn from these young girls. Specifically, maybe ethics is not about patterns at all. Feminists today analyze ideological splits between genders carefully and often reject them (another pattern to consider!), but remain steadfast in the belief that some ethics patterns do not encapsulate the depth of human experience; in that way, they carry on Gilligan’s work. I’ll leave you with one last thought about patterns in ethics. Jacques Derrida, a French 20th century philosopher who died in 2004, was famous for his avantgarde thinking. He often had surprising views on ethics (for instance, he suggested that forgiveness is only true forgiveness when it is used in response to someone who has done something unforgivable). Derrida became irritated with people constantly asking him what he thought about the future, including emerging technologies that had not been introduced yet. In a written dialogue with a friend, Élisabeth Roudinesco, he addressed this phenomenon. Why should I say what I think about cloning, he asked, when what people are talking about does not exist yet? (This is my brief paraphrase – Derrida, often criticized for how confusing he was, had more to say on this). He did not want to decide in advance about ethics. He did not wish for an action-guiding pattern, set up ahead of time. Unlike Kant, for whom nothing in the world could change his mind, Derrida wanted to be present in each moment and pay attention to its uniqueness. He wanted to preserve the undecidability of ethics.
Sacred Space Indra’s Net By Sensei Morris
CircuLar Pattern by May Lewis From my high window I see white smoke blowing and black smoke blowing and sea-gulls flying and river flowing and men high up, aloof, mending a roof. And white men spading the ground and black men spading the ground; I hear the pick-ax’s sound; I see the day unwound. And white smoke ploughing the air and black smoke ploughing the air and vanishing there; and bones deep in the ground, cold and aloof under a tight roof; and I hear the pick-ax Time chopping the clock’s chime.
In an ancient Indian myth, Indra, the king of the gods, asked an architect to create something that would inspire everyone who saw it. The architect created a vast net which he hung above Indra’s palace. At each place on this net where two strands join, the architect has attached a precious jewel. As the net extends infinitely in every direction, there is an infinite number of glittering, diamond-like jewels. Each jewel, in turn reflects not only the jewels around it, but every jewel in the net. Those reflections include the other jewels’ reflections, so there are infinite reflections of reflections.
Every strand in the web connects with every other strand. If you tug on one jewel, then the entire web and its infinite jewels also move. Indra’s net is a spiritual lesson that introduces us to interdependence, the idea that everything is connected and interrelated. In other words, we may feel isolated and apart from one another, but we are One with all existence. This can seem very abstract, but if you look carefully at life, you will see that everything is interdependent. Here’s a practice you can use to work with the idea of interdependence. You will need something to eat. A small snack item will do—you will just need two or three bites:
1. Take a breath, extending the outbreath to relax. 2. Rest your attention on the food. Look at it carefully. Notice its shape, its color, its texture, its smell, the way it feels in your hand. Try to examine it with your senses, as if you’ve never seen food like this before. 3. Take one bite, very slowly. Notice how it feels, all the sensations, the taste as you begin to chew, the way it feels as you swallow. Make this one bite a meditation. 4. Gaze at the remaining food. Consider where it came from. How did it get to you? Imagine going back through time with this food. How many people were involved in making it available to you? 5. As you eat, contemplate how it grew, and everything that went into it. Do you taste the rain that nourished the plants? The sunshine? The labor that tended the field? 6. Finish eating, but go slowly. Notice as much as you can. That’s all a part of you now. Like a jewel in Indra’s net, your actions in this world reflect everything that made that snack available to you. How can you honor that nature, that effort?
Breaking the Pattern: BasketbaLL TaLent Opting for HBCUs By Ben PhiLLis Southwestern Middle School PE teacher & new CEP member
Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and UNC better be prepared—they might have some new recruiting competition. The American sports landscape has changed in several ways in 2020. When Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel for the national anthem in 2016, he was castigated by media and blackballed by the NFL. Fast forward four years, and NBA players in the bubble have to explain why they are choosing not to kneel. This mainstream acceptance of black protest is quite a reversal. College basketball players are protesting the establishment in a slightly more abstract way— commitments.
Makur Maker, cousin of Thon Maker, is a 5-star recruit and ranked #16 in the ESPN Top 100 Recruits for 2020. He recently committed to Howard University, making him the highestranked player to commit to an HBCU since the era of segregation. Maker opted for Howard over blueblood programs like Kansas, Kentucky, & UCLA. He’s not the only talent to spurn primarily white institutions with strong basketball backgrounds, either. Nojel Eastern, a former Purdue starter, is transferring to Howard, posting on Twitter “For the culture” with a black fist emoji. Talented players have attended HBCUs for years, like the Houston Rockets’ Robert Covington (Tennessee State). However, the inability to get consistent elite talent has hampered their ability to compete at the highest level. If more blue chippers like Makur Maker
choose HBCUs, that could lead to a huge shake-up in the college basketball landscape. So who else is considering joining this potential revolution? ESPN’s number 3 player in the Class of 2023, Mikey Williams. He tweeted his support for Maker, and Williams has posted a lot of NC Central content on his Twitter recently. Top talent attending HBCUs will make them more competitive, but even more importantly, it will bring money to those universities. NCCU head basketball coach LeVelle Moton, who is actively recruiting Mikey Williams, told Jemele Hill that money will follow black athletes. “We don’t understand that,” he said, “and we continue to give ourselves away for free.” The next generation of ballers might have something to say about that.
6 steps to beLLY Breathing
Caption This! Each week, The New Yorker prints a cartoon in need of a caption and solicits reader caption submissions. Here is a blank cartoon for you to caption. We’ve also included last month’s winning caption is below. Send us your caption idea, and we will print the caption contest winner in a future issue.
Community Coversations We want this newsletter to belong to you, the CEP students. So, we are setting aside this space for community conversation. Mail in your answers to the prompts if you can, and we will print them here as we receive them, with your first name.
Prompt 1: What kinds of classes would you like to have in Spring 2021?
Prompt 2: We have been meditating on how to reconnect as a teaching and learning community upon the return of the CEP team. Do you have any thoughts on that?
I knew she was lying when she said she founded a “chain restaurant.”
The Community Education Project is a non-profit multidisciplinary college in prison program at Stetson University committed to offering qual...
Published on Dec 9, 2020
The Community Education Project is a non-profit multidisciplinary college in prison program at Stetson University committed to offering qual...