A fundamental premise of this website is that new understanding emerges in language from the tension between opposing ideas.
Self / Systems
The core set of oppositional ideas that permeates my thinking and writing is the one between the conceptualization of the Self as a distinct and singular entity, and Systems theory, which posits that the self exists only as a function of the systems that create and maintain it.
A profound metaphor from the physical world for the Self/System dynamic, is the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages that exemplify this dynamic of tension and its resolution in a concrete and beautiful way. The tall and massive stones remain standing—and have for centuries—supporting the structure, which then allows the beauty of the arches and the delicate light to emerge through the stained glass windows at the top.
1. The Sequel
With the podcast project delayed because of COVID, my primary work has been on completing my next book, the Sequel to Mag/Min.
This Sequel takes Mag/Min to a deeper level to account for the work of changing the self when prompted by a life event that challenges the established self. The original book related to this deeper level but did not explore it. This new book goes to this Level II, and adds the expanded conceptualization of Magnification and Minification as "denial modes," composed of a Directive (what should I do?) and a Rationale (why should I do it?).
Like the original , this book is based in Bowen theory, Maturana's theory of language, and Becker's Denial of Death idea. However, because it goes deeper and deals with existential anxiety, it expands on Becker's framework of denial.
You can read the Primer under the Book/Sequel link:
2. Pandemic - Essay
In response to the crisis of the pandemic I have written an essay organized around the issue of decision-making. During this time we all have to make decisions constantly, and Mag/Min is all about decision-making. So this essay presents my Mag/Min framework, built on Bowen theory, as a guide for people to work with the anxiety generated by this crisis that affects all of us.
"Decision-making in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Mag/Min as a Guide"
You can find it on the Essays page under Current Events.
I have been recording conversations with next generation colleagues (previous students, supervisees and clients) to present my “legacy,” which refers to the seminal ideas I have developed over the course of my career. This format allows me to present the ideas as a set of conversations, instead of essays or chapters in a book.
The pandemic crisis has interrupted the project temporarily. Check the Podcasts page (under Projects) on this website for information about these podcasts as they become available.
4. Purposeful Planning Institute (PPI)
I have increasingly discovered and developed my niche in this organization, which is a community of like-minded financial advisors in their humanistic vision of conserving wealth for the benefit of everyone in society. I have become a leader in their efforts to understand Bowen theory, and how to use it in their practice of financial advising, and their own personal development.
I have been working online with a group of PPI members since December 2019 who are engaged in learning Bowen theory.
Check the PPI section under the Projects page for two podcasts of interviews about Bowen theory.
One of the concrete manifestations of ideas that have emerged over the years is my book Mag or Min: Which Are You? While it is available on Amazon, you can still read a synopsis on the Book page in this site. You will also find a FAQ page there which helps clarify misunderstandings about the basic concepts. Having a grasp of the major ideas in the book provides a way to make more sense of the essays on the site overall.
You can also listen to an interview on Mag/Min I did with John A Warnick, founder of the Purposeful Planning Institute, on the PPI page of audio files. My PPI Audio Interviews