Clean Language for Writers and Artists, with John Davis


@johnnydavis54, I deeply appreciate and cherish your and Marco’s discussion here. In generally, I breathe a sigh of deep relief to hear you speak about the profound effectiveness/hope you have for the Clean Language method in healthily processing trauma of various sorts (something 99% of all currently-living beings diversely and desperately need), and about the pervasiveness of visionary states and yet the rarity that we are willing to talk about those aspects of ourselves in social spaces. I have grappled painfully for years (and am to this day) with feeling like that which is officially/publicly classified as insane are the aspects of myself that bind me to deeper and deeper sanity, and how much I long for a mentor, guide, and community of practice that can accommodate visionary processes in safe and loving ways. The dominant culture wants to exile and oppress any divergence, and thus, my “artist self” is hidden and exiled within me, whereas I’d much prefer a natural/indigenous culture, where divergence is honored, all phenomena is greeted with respect, and not only is difference/diversity (of metaphors, of frames of reference, of backgrounds/stories) honored but cultivated as a source of cultural/symbolic depth of the people.

Switching to the subject of Cosmos’ development, I am especially interested in the intersection of sponsorship (one of the key aspects which we will be culturally, practically and materially building out in earnest very soon) and utilizing Clean Language in groups to help foster writers’ creativity, openness, and metaphor-building processes. It seems that you feel that CL can be vital to fostering people to become fuller selves (very much Cosmos’ mission) through defining their own metaphors, and that this may even have implications and applications (and influence the standards) for how we act and interact within Cosmos. In building a truly high-integrity yet inclusive space, it is essential that we not unthinkingly/contractingly reject ways of explaining or understanding the world merely because they don’t fit our projections–I’m thinking esp. of our process of building up a Codex, and whether all the metaphors that Marco and I may initially arrive at to explain what we-think-we-mean will be appropriate frames of reference for myriad, numerous others.

I’d really love to hear from you about what is next, is actionable, to mindfully draw these practices into these spaces somehow. Maybe we could convene an experimental group, made up of writers who want to use the process to go deeper on a piece they are writing? What do you think? How could we foster new map-making? And a safe-to-fail, experimental environment, to elicit gross and subtle potentials?? How can we encode a culture replete of “beautiful gestures of fearlessness”???

And, at least wrt Clean Language, would you consider taking a leadership role in disseminating this practice and its associated memes in the Cosmosphere? :blush:


“how much I long for a mentor, guide, and community of practice that can accommodate visionary processes in safe and loving ways”

This is an example of what I would call a desired outcome-a clear statement about what you want. CL is an attempt to turn problem solving initiatives and proposed solutions into a clearly stated desired outcome and you have already done this. This kind of statement can become the focus for shared attention.

And when I long for a mentor, guide community is there anything else about that longing?

whereabouts is that longing?

does that longing have a size or a shape?

I have used simple open ended questions about your language. The questions are used to find a location in your perceptual space. Once we have an embodied response then that ‘longing’ can be shared, safely and securely, in a public space.

When we seek a location in the perceptual space, and begin to develop qualities, often metaphors spontaneously emerge, as experience and words come together. We need to give birth, as Rilke, says to our images. Clearly stating our desired outcomes could help us pay better attention to the speech of our tribe, a crucial skill if we are to cultivate the actionable in our collective intelligence.

Finding a safe place, with safe relationships, promoting safe-to-fail experiments ( while functioning in an uncertain world) is very rare in my experience. That can change. I’m confident that we can develop skills to sponsor one another, through the use of CL and other approaches, that could become a very healthy trend.

I believe a zoom interview with you and Marco, demonstrating a group session using CL around the theme of writing at our best could be of use and delight. Since we are working in this strange new world of technology that is odd for those of us born and raised in book culture it is a leap to make, to get to a clean start. I want to make that leap and so hope others are ready for that leap too.

I suggest using zoom because we need face to face exchanges. If we were in the same room, in real time, we would be registering the non verbal portions of our communications-tone of voice, eyes, gesture, breath-which communicate more that what words in little boxes can convey. I imagine that we could ‘find the patterns that connect’ as Bateson used to say. Marco and I have already done one of these with our friend Zaq and posted it on the site.

I feel more comfortable using the technology to co-create safe- to- fail, and safe- to- succeed experiments. My metaphor is definitely of a lab. When I am writing at my best it a laboratory. I play around with lots of methods, I seek out new combinations, and keep a record of these experiments and sometimes enjoy blowing up the place, even as we develop a new kind of alchemy.

May the force be with us.


I’m so glad you’ve picked up this conversation again, Caroline and John. Let’s certainly follow up with the proposed session. I will send you both a private message so we can schedule it.