DanShaw.com Goes to Seattle for a PhD


My first contact with Dr. Richard S. Kirby was on 2 January. My ‘honorary Mom’, Barbara Hero had suggested I call him several days ago, but I hadn’t.

Barbara is one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met; she is the inventor of the Lambdoma keyboard, a musical keyboard based on Pythagorean harmonics, and on the “Cantor Array” of ratios. Barbara is a mathematician and artist as well.

Barbara’s site:


Article by Dan:

New Musical Instrument May Reveal Key to the Universe

Barbara had commended Richard Kirby highly, but I didn’t know why I was calling him. “Call him as my birthday present,” Barbara urged me, the second time. So of course I did. We had a long phone conversation, exploring ways we might collaborate on areas of common interest. To me, that is real communication, the very definition of communication includes “for collaborative action”. Several emails and another long phone call ensued. We considered collaborating on, among other things, a book on the subject of physical ecstasy, a book about presidential candidates, and Barbara Hero’s projects. Richard had so many ideas, expressed them so poetically, and was involved in so many projects! I googled him. Rev. Richard S. Kirby, PhD., World Network of Religious Futurists


author of hundreds of articles, including weekly sermons http://www.newgenius.com/religion/home.htm

Executive Director, Stuart C. Dodd Institute for Social Innovation, Seattle, Washington, USA:


Co-author, The Leadership of Civilization Building: Administrative and Civilization Theory, Symbolic Dialogue, and Citizen Skills for the 21st Century with Richard J. Spady. ;


Co-author, Nurturing Civilization Builders with Barbara Ray Gilles,


In an email dated 3 January, Richard wrote me:

“How would you like to do a PhD in mystical mathematics? From your Internet location...”

I wondered why Richard suggested this subject area? Perhaps he had studied my website, http://www.vortexmaps.com

Or some of my videos and writings at


in particular,

Timesickness & Healing Calendars: A prescription for the hectic modern life.

or perhaps it was because of our introduction by Barbara Hero.

The idea of a PhD in Mystical Mathematics was enticing, it suggested that I could get my PhD for doing basically what I am already doing; researching, writing, publishing and video on what I call “sacred geometry.” I could frame my PhD in terms of “The Varieties of Geometric Experience,” an obvious allusion to William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience. For me sacred geometry is about using geometry in the service of modern alchemy. Alchemy, in the sense of perfecting the human body and psyche, modern in that I use whatever tools are available, namely my computer and video camera, and the internet, and also electronic healing devices of all sorts. What university would grant such a degree? I wondered.

University of Russia's Academy of Education (URAO), Moscow, Russia; Richard is Corresponding Professor of Mathematical and Financial Sciences and Director of the Institute for Mathematical and Financial Innovation.


Richard used the term “philosophy of math” and wrote of
A New Mathematics for a New Era


Future of Mathematical Sociology


I would only consider a PhD if I were totally convinced that my advisor was a brilliant person, whose work is totally in alignment with mine, and with whom I could work closely for several years. I had to be assured that I could tailor the degree to suit me. I wrote:

“as long as I can earn [the PhD] outside the ivory tower! in praxis.”


“I appreciate your 'new paradigm' approach I see as fitting the job to the
person (not vice versa) and have to assume the PhD you have in mind would
be equally liberating.”

I had little idea what a PhD program traditionally involves, and my program would be untraditional in any case. I should take advantage of Dr. Kirby’s areas of expertise, and align my PhD as closely as possible with his work, I thought. He encouraged me to consider what I most wanted to know. He defined a Doctor of Philosophy as a “knowledge creator,” an idea I hadn’t considered. I want to strengthen my quantitative skills, and have a degree which would place me in a strong position in the world of business administration and commerce. Considering how I could bring my BS in Geography to my PhD program, I wrote a brief article titled, “The Future Geography of Political, Social and Economic Innovation.”

Future-Geography-of-Political.pdf (see next blog post)

On Tuesday, January 8th, I decided I would fly the next day to Seattle to meet Richard, and see if I could establish exactly what my PhD options might be. I would also meet Dr. Arthur Ellis, who would also be overseeing my PhD. Dr. Ellis is Director of the Center for Global Curriculum Studies at Seattle Pacific University:


On Wednesday, Richard’s Leadership of Civilization Building arrived in the mail. After reading some of it I was convinced Dr. Kirby would make a great PhD advisor. I have been active as a community builder, in politics, and in striving to live a new paradigm in social relations, and I have read widely and deeply in the field; Leadership was pretty much everything I hoped it would be. To say the book is a new paradigm approach to social and political relations would be too narrow. I finally understood that to be a civilization builder, a futurist and a religious futurist means that one is indeed interested in and involved in every field of human endeavor.

Richard introduced me to Al Dolan, who offered to let me stay at his home while I was in Seattle. Al’s home is his TV studio, it turns out, he broadcasts on the internet live from his living room on Mondays at noon at:


Al invited me to “guest host” his show on 13 Jan 2008. Carol Hiltner spoke on “Altai, Siberia, indigenous people’s land rights”, and Cheryl Honey and Maben (?) also appeared.

Carol is President and Founder of Altai Mir University, and currently working to assure that the people of Altai are able to survey their land in the next two years, in order to retain ownership and protect it from the ravages of uncontrolled tourism.


Cheryl Honey calls her work “community weaving” and her Family Support Network is “an all-volunteer effort to create a more caring, just and civil society.”


I am considering titling my degree, “Techniques and Technologies of Democratic Communication.” This is quite similar to the degree program I was developing at UC Davis in the 1980’s in the Community Development department, “Applying Cooperative Principles to Education.”

When Al picked me up from the airport, and I told him the nature of the PhD I was considering, he suggested I meet Jim Rough, founder of Wisdom Councils.


I had heard much of Jim Rough through my involvement with Reuniting America, an organization doing great work “Engaging Across the Divides” through trans-partisan dialogue.


I called Jim, and he invited me to guest host his show, Society's Breakthrough!


Jim calls our episode on 16 Jan 2008 “a pivotal video.” It is posted at


Al introduced me to Prisis Wright, a Seattle activist. Prisis advocates for corporate greed, “fee” speech, and multinational corporate dominance.


Prisis invited me to the Seattle Eco-April Open Space Meeting. In April, many organizations, political, social, and otherwise, will be holding events, and by gathering for an open space meetings, these diverse organizations intended to address the question, “What can we do together that we can’t do alone?”


I have heard of the “Open Space” format for meetings, but I hadn’t experience it, so naturally I wanted to know:


The Seattle Eco-April Open Space Meeting was hosted by Interra and

Wiser Earth. Interra’s Community Card programs help locals keep their money local, boosting local business and the local economy.


I interviewed Janine Michelsons about the program, and the video will soon be posted at my youtube channel:


Wiser Earth, co-hosted the Open Space meetingy. Their community directory and networking forum “serves the people who are transforming the world”:


On the way to the meeting, we met Michelle Copeland, also a producer of inspirational films:


About 50 people attended the meeting. Patricia Anne Davis born of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw to the Ta chii’ nii clan (“Red Running into the Water”) said a prayer and blessing. Her ceremonial name isone who greets the enemy with peace” or peacemaker.”


Later in the day I interviewed her; I will post the film at my youtube channel.

After very brief individual introductions, we shared information about which organizations were planning events in April.

Then, everyone had a chance to suggest a topic for the smaller dialogue groups, one before lunch and one after. Each person wrote their topic on a piece of paper, to be posted on the ‘agenda wall’. The convener suggested that we phrase our topic as a question. My topic was “How can we use YouTube.com to further our dreams and visions?” About 10 people attended our dialogue:


In between everything else going on in Seattle, I met with Dr. Ellis and enrolled in the University of Russia's Academy of Education. My studies will include a month or two in Moscow, giving some lectures on various topics. I began studying Russian immediately. My heritage is Russian, and I suspected that I would take naturally to the language, especially since about a year ago I had a dream in which, I am convinced, several men were speaking Russian.

In the coming months and years, I will be documenting my research and learning with an almost-daily journal. Although the purpose of these writings is academic, I will endeavor to write in as ‘popular’ a style as possible, especially since part of my thesis involves the dissemination and popularization of knowledge.

I invite you, dear reader, to join in collaboration with me, following my progress, and suggesting fruitful areas for research, important contacts, etc.

Au revoir,




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