Anthony Bourdain / suicide / mental health / Life / personality / reality

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I think Bourdain’s suicide represents many of the problems/issues we in the @ccafe are discussing - life, love, money, power, food, success, addiction, depression, communication, personality, transcendence, currency, writing, creativity, story-telling, film making - the creative mind. What is a cafe, after all, if not a place to talk about that which matters?

There is so much to look at here: books, videos, TV shows - google Anthony Bourdain.

Seed Questions

  • What role did the media play in Bourdain’s death?
  • What role did personality play?
  • Was his suicide inevitable?

Context and Backstory

  • Other relevant links or topics, e.g.,
  • YouTube videos
  • Links that come up in the discussion, if any

Agenda items

Personality, i.e. personal reality versus a collective/universal reality…


As a person who has personal experience with suicide,mental health(my own & other family members & life over the last 64yrs),Thank U Mark for bringing this into the Cafe’.I will be dropping in to listen,feel & share as my heart allows.


Hopefully, we can dive deep into it.

I never watched any of Bourdain’s shows, but only caught glimpses of him when CNN was on a television, like when passing through an airport, since we don’t have cable in the house. I knew he traveled around the world exploring unusual cuisines and the people who produce them. He seemed to be championing and celebrating local cultures and ways of eating—educating and entertaining, but also challenging viewers who might take for granted their own relationship to food.

It sounds like he was quite beloved, made many friends, and was known for his generosity. However, I have no idea what it’s like to be rich or famous like Bourdain, so it’s hard to know what his specific demons might have been, or how his success impacted his personal life. We could speculate, I guess. But it’s also true that suicide is an epidemic in the general population, not only amongst the rich and famous. Perhaps we can consider whether Andy Warhol’s predication has come true and all of us on the Internet are experiencing our ‘15 minutes of fame,’ with similar effects on our psyche?

After all, what is “Cosmos Café” but our own “reality TV” show? It is “tele-vision” quite literally, and we’re famous, in a sense, amongst each other and our 7 die-hard fans. (On the Astral Plane, I believe may have many more subscribers.) I do remember as a child dreaming of ‘being on TV’ some day, like it would be the most fantastic thing. And here we are: transdimensional Internet stars! There is something depressing about it, if you look at it that way.

Truth is: I have been feeling sad and disturbed since I heard the news about Bourdain, and I had no personal connection to the man, nor was I even a fan of his work. How does that happen, exactly? Is it purely a media effect? I think the trauma ripples, and then is amplified by the media, which spreads gloom, anxiety, and distress—without offering any real way to deal with the underlying situation. Instead, it proffers even more stimulation, consumption, and chaos.

I am open to discussing this topic, but maybe we could refine the topic a bit, since this issue is obviously not just about Bourdain or any other famous suicide (in my personal memory: Robin Williams, Aaron Swartz, David Foster Wallace, Kurt Cobain… it’s a long list) but a reflection of our own attitudes, beliefs, and ways of coping (or not).

Albert Camus (in the The Rebel) wrote that the choice whether or not to commit suicide is the only real philosophical question—perhaps that would be a good starting point. To be or not to be. To stay with the trouble…or into the nothingness, flee.


When is this going to happen? I thought we were doing something else today 6/12 on Banerji. If we are switching topics let me know. I do not have a TV and have no idea who this person was but since I am not a fan I can skip this. I have no morbid fascination with suicides. I am very saddened by gay youth committing suicides but old rich successful white guys? I mourn the loss of species that we humans are forcing into extinction each day. I am having enough trouble trying to co-create an Ecological Civilization. Do we really want to be another reality TV show? I hope whoever has an interest in this will frame it better. It strikes me as non-trivial topic but seems a bit abstract as I have no desire to commit suicide but have had my life derailed by oppression and trauma. And I am still here so what happens next? I think we have enough insights into the boring lives of the rich and famous.

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This particular Café posted by @Mark_Jabbour is still in TBD/proposal status. Below is the link to today’s Café on Banerji’s Introduction to Seven Quartets:

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Thanks for the clarification, Doug. Maybe on today’s call those who want to develop this can get a better handle on it. We could leave some time to figure out what direction we are going in. I am invested in underground stuff that has not been articulated yet. I do find much in pop culture of great interest and there are news items that prick up my ears but I find anything reported in the mainstream press hugely trite. Maybe we can talk about what moves us and what doesn’t? And how do we tell what is on the edge or just a rehash of feelings already felt by a lot of people and turned into cliche? There are celebrity tributes to Bourdain all over the place.


Just curious if you guys ended up talking about this during the cafe today?
I was very upset by the news of Anthony’s passing on Friday. It just sent my whole day into a spiral. I did feel like I knew him! I read all the books, watched all the shows, and even went to his touring show he did with Eric Ripert. I made a point at eating at his first restaurant in NYC and having a drink in one of his favorite bars. For me, he just represented the way I wanted to travel, to experience the world, to eat, and to drink. Whenever you play that game, what 3 people alive or dead would you want to invite to a dinner party, Tony was always on my list. And I guess he still is :frowning:

It troubles me deeply that mental health is not given the same respect, attention, money, research, concern as physical health. We lose WAY too many talented, creative, and kind people because of a condition people are reluctant to talk about, and because treatment options are pathetic , leaving many to self-medicate or simply succumb to the deamons.

Thanks for letting me share my feeling about Tony. It’s sad to think he is no longer in this world.



I wish you had been there today, Wendy. We did touch on Bordain and might develop something for a future meetup if we can come up with a unifying theme. I wanted to look at assisted suicide as an aspect of the neo-liberal future planned for most of us. Our future is a produced culturally, of course, and our imaginations is full of distortions about what happens next. So your response resonates with some of what was shared. Thanks for your tribute. Many have expressed a great affection for him.

We did, briefly. TBC …

I believe that there will be no way to get around beginning to make assessments of depth. What I see happening here on the site is implicit rankings of depth, but with those making the rankings not owning that.

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I have a few questions, Durwin, as I know you are are involved in education and into developmental theories.

And when you see that those making the rankings are not owning that, what do you want to have happen?

And also…how do you know that they are not owning that?


Well, I think what I want to have happen is implied by what I said, but to be much more specific, here is a couple of proposal:

  1. Since this appears to be an “alternative to Ken Wilber site”, and since one of my critiques of Ken is that he and Almaas were not able to get onto the same page together, we could do a deep dive into Almaas’ work. It is distinctly psycho-spiritual, which would fit with the ethos. My hesitation around that one is that I haven’t DONE diamond approach workshops in depth myself, so it might be a bit more of a theoretical exploration. I have done a couple of them though.

  2. A group of us could try doing some assessments of depth via an annotation software like, in which we could create an “Infinite Conversations” group and experiment with assessing some items on the net. The challenge with this proposal is clearly identifying “lines” of development.

As for what you said about how do I know that people aren’t owning that, I know that because they are using pejoratives rather than making an assessment. E.g. “I think we have enough insights into the boring lives of the rich and famous”. “Boring” is a pejorative term indicative, to my mind, of a “green” level of consciousness that ranks people who are seen to have been oppressed as higher than people who are seen to have been oppressors, all of which is itself partly socially constructed according to postmodern theory itself.


as for “rich”, I would like to see some proper funding of this site, and have taken some initial steps to help with that. Money is a general amplifier of consciousness, rather than being good or bad, imo. I am interviewing for a regular job tomorrow, though, and so there is the limitation on that one – I might not be around for a few months to contribute more around funding.


I appreciate your use of the clean language approach, Johnny.

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I was referring, Durwin, to the cultural landscapes of TV and the wide spread manipulation that I see rampant in the media, of our feelings of loss. I was also referencing remarks that Marco made about similar responses to the press. This is the background from which my remarks emerged and I was also assuming about how much others would know or care to know about those previous conversations. So as you have taken that remark as an example( I assume ) of making explicit, what was implicit,and ranking me accordingly, what do you know now, Durwin, that you didnt know before you made this assessment?

And as you have labeled my comments as coming from " green" , and that is considered highly pejorative in most Wilberian circles, I wonder, how useful labels are, when used to rank others, in pre-given ways? Is there an alternative way?

As we have been considering over the last few months, green and the post modern, and how it hasn’t been integrated , I wonder if this an example of how, Durwin, you create rapport with " green" ?

A meta-comment. For me, personally, this feels like you are using the language of contempt. It feels like you are scapegoating. Of course, that may not be in your awareness, and I may be wrong, AND I am being explicit as possible.

I welcome all approaches, here, and I suggest that you should feel free, as I have done over many months, to coordinate the best efforts of others on this messy public forum. I appreciate the feedback and the support I have received. Good luck!

I have developed Clean Language Practice, as an alternative to what I felt was assessments and efforts to rank others. This is definitely a work in process. I prefer Clean Language as a way to by-pass a lot of misapplied labels based upon the use of very loosely applied categories.

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I’ve read what you say here, and am reflecting on it. I am not going to say anything further right now, but want you to know that I have read it and reflected on it.


I appreciate that, Durwin, and I will do the same. Thanks for taking the risk of engaging in the public forum with difficult ideas,. Assessments that lead to “depth” would certainly be welcome. In the meantime, I do the best I can with what I have.

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I have done lots of work with Diamond Approach and have had the good luck to work with some of his teachers here in NY. I can imagine that there would be a problem when Wilber and Almaas get together as they have very different kinds of sense making strategies. Wilber leads cognitively with lots of maps and Almaas is relational and into the somatic intelligence and uses his owns metaphor for alternate ways of knowing. Clean Language is more like Almaas but uses language to explore client’s metaphorical landscape, without contamination from the practitioner, and this is a very different “kettle of fish”. It is very slippery. Both approaches have value. I imagine ( as I dont know at all well) that this would be a very good direction for you to go in, Durwin. Blessings!

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I have lots of background in clean language, and Wilber has a broader focus on societal change than does Almaas, who specializes in individual change and offers a lot.

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