Books and Other Media

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This is an partial list of references that I have found useful, finding differnt voices who have been telling different parts of the story. Some will have brief comments, or quotes from the material. I'm including just author's name and title.

This is an ongoing project, and like the Body Schema itselft continuously updates.



At the top I put the few books specifically about Ortho-Bionomy, the bodywork.




Pauls, Arthur Lincoln 

The Philosophy and History of Ortho-Bionomy

Canadian-born and British-trained osteopath, Pauls (1929-1997) is credited as the founder of Ortho-Bionomy.





Kain, Kathy L. & Berns, Jim

Ortho-Bionomy: A Practical Manual

Stays in the range of three dimensions.

Deig, Denise

Positional Release Technique: from a Dynamic Systems Perspective

Recognizes Ortho-Bionomy as a systems approach. Look for books on systems theory, e.g. Bertalanffy

Overmyer, Luan & Deig, Denise

Ortho-Bionomy: A Path to Self Care

Weber, Klaus G. & Weise, Michaela

Grundlagen der Ortho-Bionomy®

This is in German. I don't read German and have not read it. I look forward to hearing from someone who has.

Bienvenu, Alain

Le Corps el les Lois de la Vie (The Body and the Laws of Life): Introduction à l'Ortho-Bionomy®

This one is in French, I have read it and recommend it for those who can read in French. It conveys the feel of the work best of the books listed.

Abram, David

The Spelll of the Sensuous

Abram cites Thomas Merton:

The rain surrounded the cabin . . . with a whole world of meaninf, of secrecy, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down,selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gulches anc crannies of the wood with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside . . . Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will take as long as it wants, the rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.


Abramovic, Marina         

The Artist is Present (video)   

People don’t understand that the hardest thing is to actually do something which is close to nothing. It is demanding all of you because there is no story any more to tell, there’s no objects to hide behind. There is nothing. There is just your pure presence; you have to rely on your own energy and nothing elsse.




Appiah, Kwame Anthony

Experiments in Ethics

Asma, Stephen

Following Form and Funtion: A Philosophical Archaeology of Life Science

"Structure governs function" was one of A.T. Stills precepts. Pauls often repeated these words as gospel. It is still frequently heard in Ortho-Bionomy. Modern ostopathy has corrected this misunderstanding, one of the tenets is "Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated." Asma goes into the history of this debate. Also has important things to say about concepts of part vs. whole. 


Aurelius, Marcus


You have power over your mind––not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Bachelard, Gaston

The Poetics of Space

I hesitate to cite this book. I just cannot escape his statement, "Life is round."

Evidence he gives comes from poets who may give a truer account than the scientists. I recommend doing a search and simply read some of his other titles, like The Psychoanalysis of Fire, The Philosophy of No. But there is little attention given to this topic, suggesting it is very important.

Bakhtin, Mikhail  

Rabelais and His World

Available as free PDF:

Bass, Ellen

The Thing Is


to love life, to love it even

when you have no stomach for it

and everything you've held dear

crumbles like burned paper in your hands,

your throat filled with the silt of it.

when grief sits with you, its tropical heat

thickening the air, heavy as water

more fit for gills than lungs;

when grief weights you like your own flesh

only more of it, an obesity of grief, 

you think, How can a body withstand this?

then you hold life like a face

between your palms, a plain face,

no charming smile, no violet eyes,

and you say, yes, I will take you 

I will love you again.


Ellen Bass is clearly a poet. This is clearly a poem. For a deeper study of this poem and why it is that poetic form extends the normal boundary of language) I urge you to the source I found the poem, see Housden entry further down below. 


Bass reminds us, as we must be reminded of over and over, Don't exclude Grief. This can be a pitfall in Ortho-Bionomy (people misunderstand the "move away from pain," overextend the metaphore). A better catchphrase would be "metabolize the pain." (Thanks to Resmaa Menakem for this phrase, see Sources.)



I 'read' such a poem as this (and so many others) and I cannot by any strech call myself a Poet. I do confess I borrow from poetic techniques thus at least the aura of a poem appears. For several reasons I do this. Mostly because there are things that need be communicated about orthobionomy that a out of range of language. Can we language our way out of language? There's a Labyrinth. Is Poetry Ariadne's Thread? Coroming we glance over to Mythology. We are in Metaville. See the entry in Sources under Fred Rogers, actually about the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. "Meta" is looked at there are well.


I also use the appearance of poetry as a sort of filter, a membrane. Some will come through and some will not: too much work. And that is how a number of poets play. They want you to work for it. Don't waste your (her) time if you're not willing to put some effort into it. Take for example most of the work (that I know) of Jorie Graham.




Mancled to a whelm. Asked the plants to give me my small identity. No, the planets.

The arcing runners, their orbit entrails waving, and a worm on a leaf, mold, bells, a

bower––everything transitioning––unfolding––emptying into a bit more life cell by

cell in wind like this

sound of scriblling on

paper. I think


I am falling. I remember the earth. Loam sits

quietly, beneath me, waiting to make of us what it can, also smoke, waiting to

become a new place of origin, the other one phantasmal, trammeled with entry,

ever more entry––I spent a lifetime entering––the question of place hanging over med

privy to insect, bird, fish––are there nothing but victims––

that I could become glass––that after that we would become glacial

melt––moraine revealing wheatgrass, knotgrass, a prhistoric frozen mother's

caress––or a finger

about to touch

a quiet skin, to run along its dust, a fingernail worrying the edge of

air, trawling its antic perpetually imagined

end––leaping––landing at touch. A hand. On whom. A groove traversed where a god

dies. And silken before bruised. A universe can die, that we could ever have, or be

one body. Then picked up by the long hair

and dragged down through the shaft into

being. One. Now listen for the pines, the bloom, its glittering, the wild hacking of 

sea, bend in each stream, eddy of bend––listen––hear all skins raveling,

unending––hear one skin clamp down upon what now is no longer


Here you are says a voice in the light, the trapped light. Be happy





“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

                                                                                       – ALBERT EINSTEIN

Barrow, John D.

The Artful Universe: The Cosmic Source of Human Creativity

In the past, the humanities and the sciences of human behaviour have been dominated by their celebration of the diversity of human behaviour. Anthropologists were delighted to find new customs, novel habits, and different practices the world over. Common factors were ignored as uninteresting. Sometimes it became a little too easy to find what one was looking for. As any skilled cross-examiner knows, it is easy to find the truth one wants; not by inventing it, but by allowing the emergence of only that part of the whole truth that one wants to hear. A perspective that saw context, culture, and learning as the sole determinant of human behaviour thus made unquestioned progress. In contrast, we have in this book focused on the common factors of human experience. We believe that they are potentially of greater importance than the differences and, as scientists found long ago, much the easier to study. They link us to the universalities of the ancient environments in which the evolution of life occurred over enormous periods of time, long before the advent of civilization and recorded history; and they link us ultimately to the structure and origin of the Universe. The study of human actions, human minds, and human creativity has been quick to see complexity; a little too easy to find what one was looking for. As any skilled cross-examiner knows, it is easy to find the truth one wants; not by inventing it, but by allowing the emergence of only that part of the whole truth that one wants to hear. A perspective that saw context, culture, and learning as the sole determinant of human behaviour thus made unquestioned progress. In contrast, we have in this book focused on the common factors of human experience. We believe that they are potentially of greater importance than the differences and, as scientists found long ago, much the easier to study. They link us to the universalities of the ancient environments in which the evolution of life occurred over enormous periods of time, long before the advent of civilization and recorded history; and they link us ultimately to the structure and origin of the Universe. The study of human actions, human minds, and human creativity has been quick to see complexity; slow to appreciate simplicity. Science, quick to see uniformity, has at last begun to appreciate diversity; but there is much for the creative arts to learn from the unity of the Universe about the propensities of our senses and the sights and sounds that excite them. And science, in its turn, will discover much about the emergence of complex organized structures from a renewed study of the mind’s most artful inventions: a place where two ways meet.


Bateson, Gregory

Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity

Steps to an Ecology of Mind

Many thanks to my friend and colleaugue in orthobionomy, ( for gently directing me back to Bateson until I am old and wise enough to start to get what he was saying.

Bennett, Hal Zina

The Lens of Perception


Berger, Peter L. & Luckman, Thomas

The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge

Not to be confused with the Construction of Social Reality by John R. Searle.

Bertalanffy, Ludwig von

General Systems Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications (Revised Edition)

Birdwhistell, Ray L. 

Kinesiology and Context: Essays on Body Motion Communication

Should be required reading for Ortho-Bionomy Phase 5 understanding. 'Kinesics' should not be confused with 'kinesiology.' The latter confuses itself with itself. There is the valid use of muscle testing as used by physical therapists, described beautifully by Florence Patterson Kendall in Muscles: Testing and Testing and Function with Posture and Pain as opposed to the Applied Kinesiology of Frost and Goodheart and all the spinoffs typically used to try to sell you something you don't need.

Bookchin, Murray

The Philosophy of Social Ecology

Briggs, John & Peat, David F.

Turbulent Mirror: An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness



“Love is simply the name for the desire and pursuit of the whole.”
                                                                                                          ― PLATO, 
The Symposium

Brooks, Daniel R. and  Wiley, E.O. 

Evolution as Entropy: Toward a Unified Theory of Biology

If you want to really dig into ideas like "laws of life" you can't ignore entropy. If you want to understand what Pauls called Phase 7 you try to get a handle on entropy. Of course for it to work you needn't bother with such antechnical cognitive exercise.  See also Schneider & Sagan, below.

Brown, Stuart                   

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul      

Brothers, Leslie, M.D. 

Friday's Footprint: How Society Shapes the Human Mind

Argues the view of pragmatic philosophy the mind is created by community. [I prefer to say mind is an emergent quality of community.] There is an interpersonal dimension to embodiment.  

Bryant, Levi R.

The Deomocracy of Objects

Evolution as construction—evolution is not a matter of organisms or populations being molded by their environments, but of organism-environment systems changing over time.

Brown, Stuart 

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul fun


Chaplin, Charley


Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile.

Christakis, Nicholas A. and Fowler, James H.

Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives -- How Your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do


Christakis has two TED talks that are worth watching. Start with them and if you need more, get the book. Their research is being used to study and predict the spread of epidemics within human networks. Particularly relevant in this time of Covid-19. I was going to get around to including this book as an important source because I always reference it when teaching that aspect of Ortho-Bionomy known as "Phase 7." It gives a scientific validation to aspects of that part of the practice. Covid-19 caused me to recall what these authors call the negative aspects of being socially connected.


You can find the Christakis TED talks HERE.


Cohen, Jack & Steward, Ian

The Collapse of Chaos: Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World

Dance, Frank E.X.

Human Commiunication Theory

Notable for me for the essay by B. Aubrey Fisher

Damasio, Antonio

Descarte's Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain

The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness

Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain

The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures

Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain

Damasio keeps writing books and I find it hard to straight what I read in which one. I may have to reread them.

Despret, Vinciane

Our Emotional Makeup


What Animals Would Say If We Asked the Right Questions

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Donaldson, Thomas and Werhane, Patricia H.

Ethical Issues in Business: A Philosophical Approach


Doczi, György

The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonics in Nature, Art, and Architecture


Should be of interest to all who practice Phase 7.

Ekman, Paul & Davidson, Richard J. (eds)

The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions

What do we really know about emotions and thereby "emotional issues?" If you want to get into the topic this is one place (particularly recommend the essay on "mood' for all you Phase 5 Ortho-Bionomy students). Before this book, though, I would invite you to dive first into Despret, Our Emotional Makeup as well Damaio's The Feeling of What Happens.

Fried, Michael

Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews

Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot

His writing about minimalism as well as his introspections on how the observer is placed in relation to other, how the degree of absorption determines how the other is experienced, what kind of knowledge is gained.

Frith, Chris & Wolpert, Daniel

The Neuroscience of Social Interaction: Decoding, Imitating, and Influencing the Actions of Others

Gallagher, Shaun

Hand and Brain: The Neurophysiology and Psychology of Hand Movements

How the Body Shapes the Mind 

Gallagher, Winifred

The Power of Place: How our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions

Gell, Alfred

Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory


Page 6

In place of symbolic communication, I place all the emphasis on agency, intention, causation, result, and transformation. I view art as a system of action, intended to change the world rather than encode symbolic propositions about it.

Glissant, Edouard                               

Poetics of Relation

This book just arrived was laying next to me as I was writing. Multiple thoughts came clashing together and writing jolted to a stop. What to do? I thought I'd pause a moment, see what this book is about. I let my thumb find a page and eye a paragraph, random, to read. It was this: 


   It is not just literature. When we examine how speech functions in this Plantation realm, we observe that there are several almost codified types of expression. Direct, elementary speech, articulating the rudimentary language necessary to get work done; stifled speech, corresponding to the silence of this world in which knowing how to read and write is forbidden; deferred or disguised speech, in which men and women who are gagged keep their words close. The Creole languange integreated these three modes and made them jazz.

   It is understandable that in this universe every cry was an event. Night in the cabins gave birth to this other enormous silence from which music, inescapable, a murmer at first, finally burst out into this long shout––a music of reserved spirituality through which the body suddenly expresses itself. Monotonous chants, syncopated, broken by prohibitions, set free by the entire thrust of bodies, produced their language from one end of this world to the other. These musical expressions born of silence: Negro spirituals and blues, persisting in the towns and growing cities; jazz, biguines, and calypso, bursting into barrios and shantytowns; salsas and reggaes, assembles everything blunt and direct, painfully stifled, and patiently differed into this varied speech. This was the cry of the Plantation, transfigured into the speech of the world.


I then picked up my writing right where i'd left off. But changed.

Goldstein, Kurt (Foreward by Oliver Saks)

The Organism

A Classic. A text for the course, Anatomy &Physiology of the Extended Body. Goldstein is also important, along with Henry Head, in beginning to open up our understanding of traumatic stress.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (audiobook)

The Spaces Between Us: A Story of Neuroscience, Evolution, and Human Nature

One of our leading neuroscientists explains in easy language  

This is one place you will find the story about the lab monkey I refer to here and there. This simple observation has lots of ramifications, especially in regards to trauma. I've transcribed that bit of the book. I make reference to this story also in my page named "Aura."

A little girl monkey was in a large enclosure filled with climbers and toys that we had collected for her enjoyment. She used to exercise in that enclosure a few hours a day and I would sometimes sit quietly in a corner and watch just for the pleasure of seeing an excited and playful simian. She would bounce around the place like a gas molecule. On one occasion as I was watching, I began to notice something peculiar. The pattern was so subtle that I had to collect data in a notebook to see it. Her movements seemed random, jumping to whatever caught her fancy. But when averaged over time, they formed a kind of a donut. She simply never went into a specific part of the enclosure. Right at the center of that taboo zone was a stuffed toy monkey that we had put in for her amusement. It obviously didn’t amuse her. She didn’t scream at it, face it, grimace at it, cringe away from it, show any fear or any anxiety. She didn’t show any overt reaction at all. But her ongoing behavior was profoundly shaped by it. She knew it was there and kept a specific distance from it as if it were ringed by a magic circle. Of course the magic circle was actually around her. It was her safety buffer, with respect to a freaky monkey with button eyes. Animals have a safety buffer with respect to threatening objects, predators, and even other individuals of the same species.

Halberstam, Judith and Livingston, Ira (Editors)

Posthuman Bodies

Selected nearly at random, from "Two Lessons from Burroughs"by Steven Shaviro:

Organicism is a myth, our words and texts are never really our own. They aren't "us," but the forces which crush us, the norms to which we have been subjected. It's a relief to realize that culture is after all empty, that its imposing edifices are sound stage facades, that boies are extremely plastic, that facial expresssions are maskes, that words in fact have nothing to express. Bodies and words are nother but exchange value: commodities or money. all we can do is appropriate them, distort them, turn them against themselves. All we can do is borrow them and waste them, spend what we haven't earned and don't even posess. Such is my definition of postmodern culture, but it's also Citibank's definition of a healthy economy, Jacques Lacan's definition of love, and J.G. Ballards's vision of life in the postindustrial ruins. So don't be a good citizen.  Don't produce, expand. Be a parasite. Live off your Visa card, or scavenge in the debris.


And a bit further on,


Every mutation in culture is a new state of the body. Technological changes, as McLuhan said, are alterations in the very nature of uour senses and of our nervous systems.


With that in mind you might check out what Turner teaches us about the extended organism.d


Hall, Michael T. 

The Hidden Dimension

An influential American Anthropologist here gives us the word proximics.

Beyond Culture

The Silent Language

Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time

Harari, Yuval Noah

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Should be required reading for all humans. It's surprisinglhy a page-turner. His later books are also to be recommended. Start with this one then you are on your own for the rest.

Harraway, Donna        

Staying With the Trouble

Ms Haraway has many YouTube videos as a distinguished lecturer. They give a good introduction to her style of communication. I have a strong suspicion if we followed the guidance of Donna and some of her friends things would wobble back onto an ongoing track.

Harman, Graham

Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything

Donna Haraway


It matters what we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.     

Hasekll, David George     

Songs of trees

A botanist and a poet and a really good storyteller.

Houston, Roger

ten poems for difficult times

Hultkrantz, Åke

Shamanic Healing and Ritual Drama: Health and Medicine in Native North American Relgious Traditions


Kauffman, Stuart

  • Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution
  • At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity
  • Reinventing the Sacred​​​

I ... propose a worldview beyond reductionism, in which we are members of a universe of ceaseless creativity in which life, agency, meaning, value, consciousness, and the full richness of human action have emerged. But even beyond this emergence, we will find grounds to radically alter our understanding of what science itself appears able to tell us. Science cannot foretell the evolution of the biosphere, of human technologies, or of human culture or history. A central implication of this new worldview is that we are co-creators of a universe, biosphere, and culture of endlessly novel creativity.


Stuart Kauffman is an American medical doctor, theoretical biologist, and complex systems researcher who studies the origin of life on Earth. He was a professor at the University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Calgary. He is currently emeritus professor of biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and affiliate faculty at the Institute for Systems Biology. He has a number of awards including a MacArthur Fellowship and a Wiener Medal.


The first two of his several books listed here are thick, dense, and often technical. The third is much more accessible. His research and speculations suggesting that life is self-created is highly relevant to principles of orthobionomy. 


Keller, Catherine

Cloud of the Impossible: Negative Theology and Planetary Entanglement

"It is the theory which decides what we can observe."

                                         – ALBERT EINSTEIN

Kimmerer, Robin Wall    

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific knowledge, and Teaching of Plants

Kregan, Kate

The Sociology of the Body

Reviews multiple theorists relocating the gaze on human embodiment.

Kuhn, Thomas

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions


Lantham, Richard A.

Style: An Anti-Textbook

Style is where and how form and function intersect and interact. Style can keep you from being proctrustean. This book written for writers had a far wider application.

Latour, Bruno

Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime


Trained as an anthropologist Latour's discipline might be called Philosophy os Science. With a whole shelf of titles, he is usually not an easy read. This, his most recent,  is probably his most down to earth. He asks here some really good questions. There are many hours of taped lectures by him available on YouTube that are somewhat more accessible but his French accent makes them a bit of a challenge as well. A very important thinker. He also argues for the inclusion of Arts and Humanities in approaching the problem of climate change.

Lee, Paul /R.,

Interface: Mechanisms of Spirit in Osteopathy

Hold on tight to you skepticism if you dive into the details in this book. I think he could find sounder sources for his evidence. Make allowances for the dualism the overarching message is that body and spirit are indifferentiable and this needs to be brought into the spotlight in learning body practices.

Lehrer, Jonah 

Proust Was a Neuroscientist

Lewin, Roger

Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos

Manzotti, Riccardo

The Spread Mind: Why Consciousness and the World Are One

From his Introduction:

In The Spread Mind, I present a view of nature that challenges the traditional separation between appearance and reality, between experience and objects, and between mind and nature. I discuss and revise key notions—such as existence, experience, appearance, consciousness, representation, relation, causation, identity, and the now. This endeavor moves from a simple idea, namely that the thing that is my conscious experience is not an inner ghost but the very object I am conscious of. Perhaps surprisingly, my experience of an apple is the apple itself. The subject is the object. How is this possible? The proposed solution is that the separation between a physical object and a mental world was the offshoot of an oversimplified notion of physical objects. If we understand that the external objects that populate our life do not exist autonomously but only relative to our bodies, we will no longer need to place our experience in an inner mental domain. Our experience will be one and the same with the physical objects that surround our bodies. Objects are not absolute, though. They are relative and, as a consequence, they are spread in space and time as our experience is—the two being the same.


Margolis, Howard

Pattern, Thinking, and Cognition: a Theory of Judgment

We should think about what it means when we talk about "pattern." We should think about what it means to talk about "no judgement."

Mauss, Marcel

Techniques of the Body

The Gift

A classic in anthropological literature. Relevant to concept of reciprocity.

Mayr, Ernest 

What Evolution Is

Menakem, Resmaa        

My Grandmaother's Hands

Midgley, Mary              

The Myths We LIve By

Midgely is a recently deceased and highly respected scholar of moral philosophy. Usually we avoid tomes of moral philosophy like the plague. Here she is not only readable but entertaining. Involves some philosophy of science.


Moseley, Lorimer G.

Robert McCall  is quoted, "There are two kinds of pain in this world, the pain that hurts and the pain that alters." That's rather oversimplified but if you want to understand pain and how it works, and how it can be turned into pain that alters, Lorimer Moseley is a good plac to statt and a good (and free) way to start with him is this TEDx talk: is an entertaining introduction to Moseley, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and Research chair in Physiotherapy at the University of South Australia, Adelaide. From here you may want to check out his books, such as this one I have

Pain Stories: Metaphors and Stories to Help Understand the Biology of Pain 

Nathan, Tobie & Stengers, Isabelle

Doctors and Healers

Netherby, Margaret

Some of My Seasons

A volume of poetry from fan early orthobionomer, founder and first editor of the Ortho-Bionomy Newsletter. Here is a sample:


The Mantle


Long ago when I was cold and lonely

My mother taught me to sew

The seams of my life

Into a chemeleon-colored cloak,

The fabric woven if smiles and pleasing grace.

"This coat will see you through everything," she daid

It was my mother's best give

Passed through generations unto me.


The mantle made for my protection,

I learn, is neither opaque or cloth.

The glass mantle that shelters my back 

Is stuck fast

To my flesh, my spine, my words.

And now,though I ache to lay it down,

I cannot just do that.


But when Iook through the lens of other's tears

The brittle garment shatters

One piece at a time,

And I bleed my own sorrows

Like spilled wine.

Nicolas of Cusa

Learned Ignorance

A blend of theology and mathematics. An interesting book for those who are exploring 'nothing'. Nicolas, a high priest of the Holy Roman Empire and a mathematician who anticipated Copenicus and Newton. He looked at God as an absence, which is not at all the same as atheism. God transends being and not being. Know God through your 'not knowing.' 

Novak, Michael

The Experience of Nothingness

From the beginning:

      The experience of nothingness is an incomparably fruitful startng place for ethical inquiry. It is a vaccine against the lies upon which every civilization, American civilization in particular, is built. It exposes man as animal, question-asker, smymbol-maker.

      I wish to show from the experience of nothingness that no man (sic)*  has a self or identiy; in a society like ours he must constantly be inventing selves. I also wish to show that even the most solid and powerful social instututions, though they may imprision us, imporverish us, or kill us, are fundamentally mythical structures designed to hold chaos and formlessness at bay: they are more like dreams than like reality. The experience of nothingness, with or without psychoanalytic, social, and theological criticism, dissolves the pragmatic solidity of the American way of life.


*I was tempted to update the author's sexist language. Realize this was published in the less enlightened year of 1971. I would like to see the newer edition than the one I have in hand but am not ready to put out the $50 to get it on Kindle.


See also Midgely, Harar, and Keller. Also Abramovic.


Novak opens his book with this prologue:


This philosophical voyage may be construed as a meditation on the following poem:


On a dark nigh,. Kindled in love with yearnings––

       oh, happy chance!––

I went forth without being observed, My house being

       now at rest.

In darkness and secure, by the secret ladder, disguised, 

       oh, happy chance!––

In darkness and in concealment, My house being 

       now at rest.

In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me.

Nor I beheld aught, Without light or guide., save that

       which burned in my heart.

This light guided me More surely than the ligth of noonday,

To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting


       A place where none appeared.


                                   St. John of the Cross

                                   "Prologue," Ascent of Mount Carmel    

Nuland, Sherwin B.

The Widsom of the Body


Polanyi, Michael

The Tacit Dimension

"We can know more than we can tell." 

This fact is the starting poing of this slim book. Essential reading for orthobionomers who want to understand better the mechanisms of what is known as Phase 6 as well as understanding what Pauls was aiming at when he said, "Otho-Bionomy can't be taught, it can only be caught." 

I cannot say for sure whether I read this book before I began to be an orthobionomer or early in the process (probably the latter). Trust your knowing and the vast knowing you don't know you know or how you know it. Open yourself, your body, to absorbing. Shift your paradigm (Polanyi was a major influence of Thomas Kuhn [see above],  who was responsible for the proliferation of that word paradigm).

Porter, Roy                  

Flesh in the Age of Reason

The last book by this rockstar of British historians. A detailed account of how we ended up with the body's we now are.


The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity


Whereas most traditional healing systems have sought to understand the relations of the sick person to the wider cosmos and to make readjustments between individual and world, or society and world, the western medical tradition explains sickness principally in terms of the body itself – its own cosmos.
This is a major point in Nathan and Stinger, Doctors and Healers. It is also related to one of Taleb's arguments in The Black Swan, when he writes of a loss of dimensions. I will discuss this further in my essay, The Phases as well as in my Anatomy and Physiology course, which I miight call multidimentional (or polyphasic) A&P. Though clumsy (I can easily forgive clumsy) the Phases of Ortho-Bionomy are a move in the direction of restoring dimentions. Rather than isolate and separate Orhto-Bionomy, as a therapeutic modality, has the postention to add dimensions and the potential to connect to other worlds. 

Putnam, Robert D.

Bowling Aloned: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

A modern classic of social research.

Reason, Peter & Rowan John (eds)

Human Inquiry: A Sourcebook of New Paradigm Research

A text on reflexivity, among other things. Here is a sample, written by Rowan (Chapter Thirteen, The Leaves of Spring by Aaron Esterson: an appreciation. He quotes the psychiatrist Esterson :


Since persons are always in relation, one cannot study persons without studying the relationships they make with others.... And the method used to observe must be one that allows us to study the method used to observe must be one that allows us to study the personal form of relating.... And so, the observer must be aware of his own pattern of response if he is to evaluate the behaviour and experience of the person he is studying... the observer, with the co-operation of the other, constitutes himself as part of the field of study, while studying the fireld he and the other constitute.


[I am always tempted to do a minor rewrite and replace he, him, his with currently preferred gender neutral pronoums. I make the assumption on the various writers' behalf that if writing today they would be more aware. Thus leaving their words as written it makes us aware of some progress being made in our cultural awareness. By the way, I am perfectly comfortable in writing, as " aware of their own pattern...." ] or "...the experience of the person they are studying" or better even "... the experience of the person under study."


Petrilli, Susan & Ponzio, Augusto

Thomas Sebeok and the Signs of Life

It is Sebeok's central thesis that sign activity is the very definition of life in the universe.

Pickover, Clifford A.

Computers, Pattern, Chaos, and Beauty: Graphics from an Unseen World

Sandel, Michael J.

What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets



Sheets-Johnstone, Maxine

The Primacy of Movement

Careful with this one. Sometimes philosophers write for a wider audience. Sheets-Johnstone is here not one of those. It is, nevertheless, a very important book. Without movement there would not be thought.

Schneider, Eric D. and Sagan, Dorion 

Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life

See also Brooks, above.

Shotter, John

Conversational Realites: Constructing Life through Language

Conversational Realites Revisited: Life, Language, Body and World

Siegelman, Daniel       

The Neurobiology of We (audiobook only)

Smith, C.U.M.

Biology of Sensory Systems, second edition

Essential text for understanding physiology of the extended body.


Spitz, Herman H. 

Nonconscious Movements: From Mystical Messages to Facilitated Communication

This is a relatively ignored topic and very relevant to that aspect of Ortho-Bionomy called Phase 5. It dispells a lot ot nonsense.

Spretnak, Charlene 

The Resurgence of the Real: Body, Nature, and Place in a Hypermodern world

Stafford, William

Cutting Loose


For James Dickey


Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason,

you sing. For no reason, you accept

the way of being lost, cutting loose from

all else and electing a world

where you go where you want to.


Arbitrary, a sound comes, a reminder

that a steady center is holding

all else. If you listen, that sound

will tell where it is, and you

can slide your way past trouble.


Certain twisted monsters

always bar the path — but that’s when

you get going best, glad to be

lost, learning how real it is

here on the earth, again and again.


Starr, Paul

The Social Transformation of America Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry

Winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Excellent companion to Roy Porter's The Greatest Benefit to Mankind

Still, Andrew Taylor

Philosophy of Osteopathy


Autobiography of A.T. Still







Stengers, Isabelle

In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism

Stengers is a Belgian philosopher, one of those Continental intellectuals, nearly impossible to read unless you are a trained philosopher. She gets referenced a lot. I generally am not including tomes of Philosophy, who can read the stuff, a lot of bad writing. This book is slim and (for her) quite straightforward. Arcanely elegant.

Topol, Eric

The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands

A reknowned cardiothoracic surgeon documents the breakdown of medical paternalism.


Taleb, Nassim Nicholas

The Black Swan, Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Turner, J. Scott            

The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures

I looked upon a hillside pasture dotted with sheep. What I saw was my digestive system out there, spread out across the landscape, an early stage of digestion, of transforming grass into human flesh. Then I came across Turner's work. Functionally the rock-like termite structure is, among other things, the Termite's lung.

Termite structure, near Kakadu, AU NT

Turner, J. Scott            

The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures


I looked upon a hillside pasture dotted with sheep. What I saw was my digestive system out there, spread out across the landscape, an early stage of digestion, of transforming grass into human flesh. Next I saw military installation and thought, immune system. Soon after I came across Turner's work. Functionally the rock-like termite structure is, among other things, the Termite's lung.


See also Gell, Art and Agency, above. His concluding chapter, The Extended Mind, extends the concept of extension.

Uexküll, Jakob von     

A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: with A Theory of Meaning

Waldrop, M. Mitchell

Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos

Pauls often spoke of the dance between order and chaos and to him the spiral symbol in his Phase 7 work represented that meeting place. One symbol, which he called the mushroom, represented stability, at the extreme, order; the second symbol, he called the volcano, represented release, freedom, at the extreme, chaos.

Walter, E.V.

Placeways: A Theory of the Human Environment

The totality of what people do, think, and feel in a specific location gives identity to a place, and through it phsique and morale it shapes a reality which is unique to place –– different from the reality of an object or a person. Human experience makes a place, but a place lives in its own way. Its form of experience occupies persons –– the place locates experiences in people. A place is a matirx of energies, generating representations and causing changes in awareness.

This Escher drawing is on the cover of the paperback edition


Watzlawick, Paul

How Real is Real? Confusion, Disinformation, Communication" An Anecdotal Introduction to Communications Theory

Published in 1977, but now, in this confusing time of questioning reality and wallowing in disinformation and denial of "reality" it is strikingly relevant.

Young, Arthur M.

The Reflexive Universe: Evolution of Consciousness

Is it coincidence that he sees consciousness, indeed all developmental processes, as proceeding in seven stages or phases? Dr. Lynn Drummer once said this was the best book she ever read.


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