How to Widen Your Lens and become a Systemic Thinker and Communicator: in memory of Paul Byers

Interdependent Ecology © Kenneth Silvestri

“The universe is a significant single whole…the most important function of art and science is to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.”

Albert Einstein

It was my mentor, Paul Byers from Columbia University, who introduced me to the concept of Systemic Thinking and how to widen my lens. While his previous career as a photographer, prior to being an anthropologist, may have contributed to this, I think rather it enhanced his view. When I decided…


“Healing is not a science but the intuitive art of wooing nature”

W.H. Auden

Anthropologists describe human interactions from what is called the “Participant Observer” mode. The late anthropologist, Gregory Bateson, who I studied with and admired, would have himself filmed as he filmed his field work. This would provide a context for anyone viewing his work. It included the observer and whatever influences contributed to his ultimate findings.(For further information regarding Gregory Bateson, see Nora Bateson’s film “An Ecology of Mind” http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/emind.html and https://batesoninstitute.org/ )

Paterson Great Falls ©Kenneth Silvestri

I grew up in Paterson, a very red brick working class city in northern New Jersey, surrounded by neighbors mostly of European and African American backgrounds…


Illumination Curated Poetry

action is louder than words

“timeless window” by Kenneth Silvestri ©

“time” as a noun is defined as the indefinite continued progress of existence. E.g. time is a solace.

as a verb, when (something) should happen or be done. I e. solace with family is timed for tomorrow.

i am intrigued by how life can be improved by using less nouns

which always creates static labels,

whereas verbs live in the world of context

where we have room to question and grow,

take our word “ time”

its purpose is facts

a word void of a thing

little to do with relationship opportunities,

while verbs avoid…


Illumination Curated: Alternative Healing

The Gift of Homeopathy

photo by Kenneth Silvestri ©

“Homeopathy avoids anything that is even the slightest bit debilitating”

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann

As part of a decision to live a life with a strong respect for communication, collaboration and seeing things systemically, it makes sense to consider a health maintenance perspective such as Homeopathy. Homeopathy emanates from nature and is a wonderful example of holistic healing. It was founded by the German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, in the 19th century. Hahnemann was a renaissance man who spoke numerous languages and would stay up all night every other evening to acquire knowledge. Hahnemann’s system of healing has weathered nearly 200 years…


Illumination Poem

Nature’s sense making

Provincetown bay shoreline © Kenneth Silvestri

The inconsistency yet predictable bay shoreline on the outer cape was always an induction for me of an unfolding collage of memories and mixed thoughts of simultaneously vivid vignettes, a kind of holographic roulette wheel,

in synchrony with the moon’s on time tidal onsets that when it gracefully withdraws it leaves a rearrangement of assorted pieces of hidden possibilities, smooth stones, assorted sea weed configurations with an occasional reminder of what humans are capable of leaving behind. What swirling processing trance like pieces that would arise from the yin yang pendulum of this punctual movement depended on my immediate emotional…


Essence of the Ying Yang

“One ought every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words” — Goethe

“Talisman” Natasha Rabin ©

It is my feeling that paradoxes are the essence of the “yin-yang” of life. Our world can be wonderful, and it can be ugly. I recently watched a late-night documentary on wild animals. A scene of cute cubs juxtaposed with predators vanquishing the offspring was hard to watch. Yet somehow nature’s vision seemed awesome in its unifying entirety. …


Creating a life well-lived

“The Grateful Pumpkin Maze” photo by Kenneth Silvestri ©

“It takes a long time to become young”

Pablo Picasso

“Next time you’re found with your chin on the ground, there is a lot to be learned, so look around.”

Frank Sinatra (From the song “High Hopes”)

There are many barriers that keep us out of sync with nature, which causes immense harm and, in most cases, can be prevented. For example, how do we address what the American Medical Association is now officially recognizing, that stress is the origin of nearly all chronic illnesses necessitating hospital admissions. …


“There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea. And then we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light.”

Henrik Ibsen

In the book Forgive For Good: A Proven Prescription For Health and Happiness (New York: Harper Collins, 2002), Stanford Professor Fred Luskin emphasizes a forgiveness methodology based on rigorous research which documents the effects of unresolved grievances on one’s emotional and physical health. After serving as Educational Director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, which emanated from Dr. Luskin’s book and research, I adapted this process using the framework…

Kenneth Silvestri

Dr. Kenneth Silvestri, is a systemic psychotherapist, poet, and author of A Wider Lens: How to See Your Life Differently, www.drkennethsilvestri.com

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