pre: The homepage

I have updated Panta Rhei‘s homepage … and thought let me send it out also.

Welcome

Thank you for coming by. Is it the blog that got you interested? Where you googling Panta Rhei? Are you thinking a lot about complexity and change? Have a look ’round and feel free to get in touch.

Chris and I started this site and blog in late 2019. We both like writing, and talking, about the complexities and simplicities of life, about working in groups and leadership, and about learning and teaching both in the chaotic and the virtual worlds. We both have years of experience in language and communication, education and training, management and leadership. We wanted to share our ideas, our expertise, and our insight with a wider audience. Worth a try, we thought. A lot has happened since then. Both of us are working full time. Chris started dedicating his time to narrating audio books. I have put more emphasis on my writing per se. Learning new things, joining writing groups and courses, …


What is happening here?

Years of learning, reading, listening, experiencing, doing, reflecting, leading, following, smiling, crying, talking, writing, … Then it was time to share, time for this site, time for this blog:

On the complexity of change

Most of nature is complex. Most of society is complex. Human behavior is complex. And, as the cliché has it, the only constant is change. And this change is not linear. Sometimes it seems we soar ahead, sometimes it feels like we walk ’round in circles, and sometimes we are taken for a ride. On a rollercoaster. It is this complexity of change that I am exploring, that I am relfecting on. One blog post at the time. Thinking about it, learning about Chaos Theory, Complexity Science, Dynamic Systems Theory, I have now done for 15 years.

Under this topic, I blog about timely concepts, practices, and reflections, which I believe to be relevant to trainers, teachers, coaches, mentors, and, of course, learners.

RoLL: Research on learning and language

Look around a bit more. Or why not join the growing group of people who follow the Panta Rhei Blog? [In case you are wondering, the relevant button is in the top-right corner of each page or underneath the text and comment box, if you are reading this on your phone.]

The posts Chris wrote on the BASE model are also still available.


Get in Touch

If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, comment right on the page or post or send a quick email to matschulze7980@gmail.com. I live and work in Southern California. If you happen to be in the area and would like to meet, again an email is good.

Find the contact details and social media handles on a separate page.

Panta Rhei – everything flows and changes, and so does this site. Come back again. Wishing you a wonderful day.

Connected forest lake in Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada

pre: Bidding: 18 — 20 — 22

Skat LITE app

Panta Rhei

Hey, Friend,

Glad you have started reading, I am. Have you been following this blog? Or did you come by via Twitter or Facebook? Your first time on this site? Was it the bidding sequence in the title that caught your curious eye? Does it look familiar? If it does, maybe, you know Skat, a very German card game. I used to play it with family and friends.

With 18, the bidding starts. You are part of the game. You are willing to play. And you bid to win. 2018, I began my other, more personal website and blog. Willing to play. Willing to bid. And I slowly started to learn about WordPress, about blogging, and about writing. The year after, Chris and created the first pieces of our Panta Rhei Enterprise.

With 20, you continue to bid. You either have the jack of clubs or a jack of spades and you are bidding to play hearts with one or without one (the top trumps). On PantaRhei we had our best of the three years in terms of numbers: 23 posts and 944 visitors. Chris and I explored the BASE model and complexity. COVID triggered a couple of posts. And it interrupted the flow quite a bit; I reposted only four times in the first quarter of last year, when separating topics between matschulze.net and PantaRhei.press. The Just words went there, and RoLL – Research on Language and Learning – came here. The rest of that year and in 2021, we worked in our dayjobs, lived our lives, and explored new, different beginnings. Chris learned and became a professional audiobook narrator. I listened to one of his audiobooks. Brilliantly told. I am saving the fiction books he narrated for a little later. Writing this blog post at the moment. 😇 And I focused more on writing. Taking courses. Reading. Practicing. And blogging. Some poetry. And two budding projects.

With 22, you can bid with or without one for a game of spades. Spades will be trump. (Gosh, has that become a bad word?) In 2022, both Chris and I will continue to narrate and write, respectively. And I will also use a little time here and there, first, to continue to focus and tidy up this website. And second, I am undusting my complexity lens, revisiting some earlier notes, augmenting all this with what I have learned in the last two years, and will continue to write about Complexity and useful – applied – languagey things. Something to look forward to …

Wishing you all a peaceful, fruitful, and happy 2022. Watch this space and/or follow us on https://matschulze.net/ and ACX.

pre: In eigener Sache

Photo by Serpstat on Pexels.com

Panta Rhei

It was bound to happen. You can take Mat out of Germany, but you can’t take Germany out of Mat.
Addressing two challenges—one linguistic and one very worldly.

Challenge #1

In eigener Sache. It is what it is, but it is difficult to translate into English. Literally: in one’s own matter. Often used in company announcements that pertain to the company itself. Please note … does not really capture it. We are happy to announce … does not fit the context I am thinking of. Any suggestions that go beyond the the discussions in the forum of the online dictionary leo.org?

Until you come up with something better, I will just call it About us, which is

Challenge #2

Life goes on. Work piles up. COVID-19 has been confusing people, making many sick, and killing far too many. Too many lost their livelihood, feel frustrated and excluded, and wonder when and how this will end. And many say: I can’t breathe. Not now and not before.

And that is just the context. For this blog. On May 2, more than two months ago, I wrote the last post. Silence. Busy processing. Busy with busy. Busy learning, trying to understand. To understand what’s going on.

Doesn’t writing help? To process? To understand? Yes, it does. For me, it does. Reading also helps, doesn’t it?

So, what’s the challenge then? Finding the time to write, before one is overtaken by events. Having the energy to key in thoughts. Being focused on writing about one when a trillion is happening all at once.

But that is not all. Writing when everybody is talking is hard. Is anybody listening? Am I listening? Enough?

The danger of missed connections…

Anyone who has done some amount of air travel will be all too familiar with the destructive power of missed connections. Suddenly, a well-coordinated travel itinerary becomes a cascading, downhill disaster of cancelled reservations, revised schedules, and the best laid plans gone “aft agley.” But these examples are in the extreme, derived from the most compacted, intensive of situations. It should lead us to wonder if there aren’t other kinds of missed connections in our more mundane, everyday lives and interactions. If so, are the less salient, but still very real, consequences moment-to-moment missed connections diminishing the quality of our relationships and, by extension, of our shared existence? This is what I invite you to consider with me today.

In the world of improvisation, or improv as it is more colloquially known, there are a few simple rules that govern all interactions between players. The most well-known amongst these is the famous “yes, and.” In the simplest sense, this means that whatever a fellow improv artist does or says in a scene needs to always be greeted with the spirit and actions of “yes, and,” never “yes, but” or worse yet “no, but.” In order to prepare for performances, improv artists often practice energy exercises in pairs or in larger group circles. These exercises are predicated on each member recognizing, and then responding positively to the energy that their fellow players offer them. You offer unbridled joy? I recognize it and offer my best version of the same. You come with sober gravitas? Right back at you, but not in a serve-and-volley sense. Rather, in a “thank you, and yes, I’ll join you in that” fashion. The point is to connect and join with whatever your partner(s) offer up. Only in this way can true improvisational performance work for both the players and the audience.

What does this mean for us, as leaders, parents, teachers, colleagues, neighbors, and friends? Well, ask yourself this: how often do you meet the energy of those around you with a genuine spirit of “yes, and”? How often do you return eye contact and connection offered to you by a subordinate, a child, a co-worker, or the cashier at the supermarket? More to the point, can you think of times when, likely without the benefit of conscious thought, you averted your gaze before that connection could be made? I know I can, and it is not just because I tend toward introversion (though that is certainly part of the equation). No, I believe that it is because, especially in contemporary society, we are increasingly conditioned to forego these micro-connections and fleeting offers of shared energy. Why? Well, because they threaten to distract us from our preferred distractions, which is to say they stand to draw us back into a world that we increasingly strive to escape at every turn, through the ubiquity of our cloud-connected devices and the non-stop push alerts that dominate our every available neuron.

In his book “On Tyranny,” historian Timothy Snyder encourages us to “make eye contact and small talk” as one of his twenty lessons for the 20th century. So, what I invite us all to do today is really quite simple. I am not suggesting that we should prowl, stalker-like through our day, seeking to establish eye contact with every person who happens to wander within arm’s reach of us (or worse yet, with people minding their own business from across the room!). No, instead I am presenting us with the encouragement to set an intention; to accept those small invitations to connect, which we all too often simply miss, with our fellow humans. In doing so, we may be surprised at what we find, and all that it has to offer us in this ongoing improvisational performance called life…

pre: What were you thinking? And what do the tags mean?

Panta Rhei

This is our initial set of tags. We implemented them on the site first to have a guideline for ourselves.

Change is not just the first word alphabetically. It is the central concept we are thinking about. It’s a cliché to say that change is the only constant. It certainly will make a frequent appearance in our writing. The topics and concepts will change; the tags might change; our approach will change. And all that is good. Some of the concepts from the social sciences – coadaptation, complex system, development, dialectic, dynamic system, nonlinearity, social dynamics – help us to understand change better, enable us to to talk – and write – about change, and facilitate living and working with change.

We have been working in Language Education for some years. Our linguistic training is helping us to make sense of many things in this world. Thought and language are inextricably linked. Everyone of us also uses language to construct our identity. We all mediate our social relationships with language. So, concepts such as cognition, common ground, communication, discourse, discourse analysis, discursive construction, language development, metacognition, negotiation of meaning, rhetoric, textual analysis, transcultural, word meaning, will be central to our pondering of life’s and work’s questions.

People work in teams, are part of a smaller or larger organization, and are members of communities and societies. Some of us find themselves in leadership positions. Especially at times of change – and change is the only constant 😉 – such social concepts gain in importance. We will involve the following: leadership, management, org behavior, org culture, org theory, social dynamics.

Although we both think of ourselves as predominantly rational and pragmatic, we are well aware that we would not have a full grasp of this world in all its beautiful facets and not a full picture of a fellow human, if we only relied on analysis and rational thought. Therefore, we will ponder questions of spiritualism, spirit, energy, and emotion.

Why are we conducting such discussions in a public blog? Both of us have been teaching and training different groups of adults (and to a lesser extent also teenagers and younger children). We hope to be able to put our knowledge, expertise, and experience – manifested in this emerging blog – to good use soon by holding workshops, training, teaching, consulting, and coaching.

But first we will explore individual concept tags in individual blog posts and see where this leads us in our thinking, and what feedback and questions we will receive from you.

pre: This was an empty post

Panta Rhei

About a week ago, I took some time and built a little skeleton of blog posts to set up the functionality of our site. Chris and I began the Panta Rhei site for two reasons (I believe; he will correct me soon if I am wrong):

  • We believe that with our joint expertise, experience, and education, we have a couple of things to share, things that we hope others might find helpful.  We have always shared them with family, colleagues, students, friends, … at conferences, in the classroom, in meetings and informal conversations. We want to reach out more and do this more systematically.
  • At this stage, our thoughts are on different phenomena, challenges, fields, prospects, questions, … It is a whole complex – a bit like a nourishing, comforting stew – of ideas, insights, lived experiences, learned theorems. Difficult to digest and even more difficult to name the ingredients and teach the recipe. So initially, we will use this blog to bring clarity and system to our thoughts. To stay in the picture: we don’t expect anybody to want our stew exactly the way we have had it simmering for many years. We will use the stew as a solid base for a variety of soups, soups that are not only nourishing but also presentable and transparent. In other words, each blog entry will bring more clarity to one thought. And we decided to do this “live” and publish each blog post immediately or soon after writing.

We are hoping to get your reactions, your comments, your questions, …

This post has been tagged with all 36 tags we currently have for this blog to give you an idea what this is all gonna be about. A little more in this vein in the next post.

pre: First blog post

Panta Rhei

Everything has a beginning. Has everything? Probably not. Something that has been here forever, did it have a beginning?

Well. This philosophical question doesn’t really matter at this time and in this case. Because this website and its blog have not been here forever. Chris and Mat decided to build this site about a week ago. It started off as an empty shell, a downloaded template … and a bag of ideas. Ideas about which we want to write and to talk, which we want to ponder and debate, and which — most important to us — we want to share with you. Yes, we believe we have some ideas that are worth sharing.

So we decided to just have this site emerge. We realize this requires work, a sustained effort, and consistent striving. We are ready. Are you? We will always appreciate your comments, your input, your support and counterpoints, your feedback, …

So, let’s get started.

If you arrived through this blog, you could go to our homepage or look at the whole Panta Rhei Blog, starting with the latest post and going back in time.

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