Attuning to Ultimate Realities [CCafe, Open Session 7/17]



@Mark_Jabbour has recently suggested Collusion as well as The Social Brain: culture, change and evolution | Bret Weinstein [TBD] — but we will see who shows up, and what comes up.

Context and Backstory


Has anyone learned anything about anything since the last cafe? I am planning on going to the library today to enjoy the air conditioning and so I have to get some signs of life before I am willing to change that plan.

Summertime and living is getting more sloppy…and going nowhere fast…as I already live in a MONSTROUS JOKE I dont feel the need to give away my few clear waking hours to another cat fight.


And is there anything else about a few clear waking hours?

Yeah…I want to move towards something that is coherent…rather than decoherent…

And can something coherent happen?

I dunno…but that is what I want…

What needs to happen for something coherent to happen?

Uhhhh…I’m not sure…


Here’s a good take on the Trump / Putin meeting yesterday, which I watched. Seriously, if you look at the two men (each with enough nuclear power to blow up the world many times over) as two alpha males trying their best to make peace and not war, you’ll get a clearer understanding of “what the hell is going on.” You’ll not get that take from anywhere “mainstream.” An interesting question would be: if a different type of leader, say a post-modern pluralist, met with Putin - what would that look like and what would be the result? Oh-wait, we (Americans) just had eight years of that. Anyway, I’ll be there/here - open to most any conversation.

In the last TLD session, you (@madrush) “threatened” to bring in some of the thoughts you’ve been having there into our little get-together here. It would be welcome. The fundamental conflict between, say, the Aurobindoian approach to reality as compared to a warmed-over and disregarded sociobiology, highlight the opportunity to start thinking differently about “things”.

The themes the clips (other than the last one) addressed, interest me. I can’t begin to tell you how cold both Trump and Putin leave me. Whether they think they are alpha males or the vast majority of the planetary population thinks so is not high on my interest list. What drives us to think that this reality is more important than some other possible reality (in S.A. terms again) … well, that would interest me.

So, I’ll be there, to see how far we get. But, I’ll tell y’now: I ain’t a fighter, even if it is only cats.


Scott Adams’ commentary sounds reasonable to me.

I just don’t find Trump very interesting as a subject—any number of things said about him could be true, or false. But I was never attracted to the Trump “brand.” That hasn’t changed since he’s become president. I’d rather go camping, sleeping under the stars, or do any number of 10,000 other things, with my recreational time, than stay in one of his hotels or golf courses. Nothing has changed since the election in that sense. Trump has always been a monstrous joke.

I understand that Donald Trump would like to turn the entire world into a great big Trump casino—this would be a great success. And to be fair, if the alternative is WW3, then sure, go for it. But it will not be the only available world, or only possible future—and is certainly not my preferred outcome; and so I’d rather focus on the non-Trumped world I already mostly live in, and the world I am already creating.

Cosmos is much bigger idea, and better brand, than Trump. World leaders, alpha males, and their empires will come and go. In the end, the small, truly creative things are much more compelling and worth living for. I’d rather listen to my daughter tell me about her dreams, than another speech from or about Trump. My daughter’s dreams are much more colorful, inventive, original, and entertaining.

Trump appeals to those who have lost a basic sensitivity for life, for whom the bluster of power and garish displays of gross satisfactions offer relief from the dulling of their own life force and awareness. If we are truly free and creative beings, with something meaningful to say, something to offer to the world, we can change the subject.


Temporary link to the (raw, unprocessed) video for this event: GMT20180717-175543_Cosmos-Caf_gallery_1280x720.mp4 - Google Drive


Thanks to everyone for the Cafe yesterday. After we groped around, at the bottom of the barrel, we found some real gems among the debris. We became coherent rather than decoherent. How do we figure out the most resonant themes that could be developed further? This could be a useful exercise in social imagination and power sharing!

I came across this dialogue between two scholars that I really enjoyed. I like the way they move between challenging ideas with grace and style. I think our Cafe sessions, when they are good, also have a kind of style. Style is a synonym for spiritual.

I think the clash between Cultural Evolution and Biological Evolution very compelling. Culture, biology, emotions, affects, religion, ultimate reality, experience, any of these notions could be developed further in the Cafe. I hope some interesting directions emerge.

One of these speakers, Steven Asma, is a Buddhist practitioner who writes on the philosophy of the Imagination. Imagination is another key area of mutual interest we could develop further. This dialogue is one of a series that covers a lot of theory that is worth checking out.

And how do you know the difference between an artful improvisation and a mess?

And what was felt?

And is what was felt, ultimately real?


With interest, I read the following passage in a commentary about the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching yesterday, after our Cafe session. What is interesting is the text refers directly and explicitly to the same phrase used by Marco @madrush, « ultimate reality ».

“In its opening statements the Tao Te Ching points out the limitations of language, spoken or recorded, in conveying to us the nature of ultimate reality. Language, as Bergson points out, is invented to express and deal with the determinate and immobile (1929: 275). The everlasting, transcending all determinations, cannot be spoken or named.” from “Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary” by Ellen M. Chen

Here are the opening lines being refered to :

“1. Tao that can be spoken of,
Is not the Everlasting (ch’ang) Tao.
Name that can be named,
Is not the Everlasting (ch’ang) name.”
from “Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary” by Ellen M. Chen

And a different version, this one from Ursula Le Guin :

“The way you can go
isn’t the real way.
The name you can say
isn’t the real name.”
from “Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way” by Ursula K. Le Guin


Perhaps what Marco dubs ultimate reality and what others refer to as attuement to the field are different kinds of poetic procedure?


Hi,Geoffrey Le Guin also embraces that Words are Her Matter,which is acknowledging that language is limited,yet the ultimate flows through it’s form as much as creates the ten thousand things.It seems in my humble experience the movement from a solid (snow-thoughts)place to a more liquid-fluid place,has a slushy in-between place for words to move between speaker-listener within all of us.So in my experience verbal language is the body’s way of surfing the Ultimate Field ,"Life"which seems spirit-filled😎


Let me see if I can weave all these topics/subjects together, briefly - which is, in a sense, an ultimate reality. The biological & cultural evolution should not be thought of as separate. Nor can one’s personal preferences (likes and dislikes) be disentangled from the larger context of one’s expanding awareness from birth until death (biological, and no ones knows if there is anything after, for real.) Sure, one can (it’s absolutely free) meditate one’s life away, or close ranks to one’s immediate (proximate) environment, that is, after all, the context in which we (humans) evolved from our primate kin. One is free (in this country) to do that, also.
So, with the above in mind, a story, which address the proposition mentioned that we (humans) are addicted to growth.
Imagine you are a carpenter, a framer, a part of a crew (4 person) that builds houses, stores, and banks, for a living - it’s a good living, one that provides enough income, dignity, and stability, for you to attract a mate and start a family and provide for them. You answer to your crew chief, who answers to a general contractor, who answers to a developer, who answers to money lenders, who answer to law makers who answer to the Supreme Court, who depend upon the Commander In Chief to keep everyone safe from harm - be it foreign or domestic actors, or acts of God (nature).
If you, the carpenter, are not skilled, you’ll lose your job. If you and your crew work too well and fast, you’ll work your way out of a job/income; but there’s always another one. Until there isn’t, for any number of reasons.
But let’s say, the government(s), the people, have decided the main/ultimate problem is too much development - there are too many houses, stores, and banks. You are out of work. You have a garage full of tools and wanted to teach your children your trade/skill. They don’t care - your skills and tools are useless. The jobs now are done on computers, or on screens and stages, as performers, or in the service industry. You’re fifty years old, your mate has taken ill and has become addicted to alcohol, pills, and sloth. Your oldest child decides to escape their disintegrating proximate environment and join the army, because that offers hope of a better life, a meaningful, purposeful life. After all, there will always be wars or the threat of war (thank God). You’re at the end of your rope … . And then, God sends a flood which destroys a whole township - thank God, you think, you who never believed in God.

Just spit balling, sitting on the balcony, watching the world, working towards getting my book published. Cheers.


Heather (@hfester) and I thought we could do a Cafe session on “Quantum/Field Poetics” in early August. We are still trying to organize our ideas about this, but have decided that input from the group may be useful even if our ideas aren’t fully gelled yet. However, we are preparing submissions for the Gebser conference (deadline July 31st) and this will help us organize ourselves better for a Cafe session, hence the delay.

I also have been thinking that I would be willing to do a Cafe session on the 20 year plans I follow. I know several people have asked about this, and I had some idea about preparing something a bit more formal, but have decided that “winging it” on the Cafe could be just as effective if not more so. Sometime in August?


I was with you through most of the first lines…but then things got really ambiguous. So much depends upon how you (in your comment) are meaning key words/phrases, eg, “meditate your life away”
“a better life”, “free (in this country”, and maybe others.

Please say more on this!

Blessed be, madrush!

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I got that idea from Douglas Hofstadter. He was looking at fonts, oddly enough, and some designers have designed many different fonts. Each font designer, he claims, has a style, but it is hard to declare what that style is. I suppose groups that have communicated to one another over a period of time and stay connected have a certain recognizable style but how we recognize that style is hard to articulate. Something like a style is emerging in our conversations which are probably different from conversations we have in other groups. But how do we know that? Quentin Crisp, (who used to be my neighbor), said to create a style you should pay attention to what your friends like about you and do it on purpose. It has a lot to do with timing and gesture and affect but most of it is out of our awareness.

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Could you give me an example of “style” among friends? Not sure I understand. Aren’t we also attempting to not control our style or lack of style, but be more natural, at home with each other, even if we sometimes (kindly) disagree?


Well its like when you shop for a gift for a friend and you think about what they like. You filter their preferences and values through your own preferences and values and decide which aspects of them you want to buy a gift for. It is not an algorithm. It is not objective. The gift emerges out of a shared history. I think that is why we return to a group at the pub on certain nights because we perhaps have a shared history of good times together. Of course without some novelty and surprise we would get bored pretty fast. Style is synonymous with spirit because it is so vague but unmistakable. You know it is Beethoven not Mozart even if you never heard the music before.

The way you wear your hat
the way you sip your tea
the memory of all that
oh no, they cant take that away from me. ( Gershwin)


Okay, I think I’ve got it, and if so, agree. I was thrown by the word “style” itself, first of all, which has gotten caked with falseness due to the adification of our lives. I value older, handmade things over brand new, and so like to make my own cards, and give “natural” (some might say “cheap”!) gifts like a hawk feather I found (to a person who especially likes hawks) vs buying hawk earrings, would that be an example of “style”?


Yeah, that is style. I guess. I think it’s a slippery idea. Fun to play with.

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