Consciously Evolving Language - Session 8 - 15 Dec 2020

I don’t have anything more to add to this portion of the thread, except that Money = Power in Western society.

The information in this article offers a context for some of present political discussions. Theodor Adorno and the Crises of Liberalism | The Nation


Parker Palmer’s extensive and insightful work, influenced by his Quaker background (I think), offers a viewpoint that attempts to engage the sacred and mundane in daily practice. Poet David Whyte’s narrative books offer a similar sensibility to engaging with life in western civilization; less abstract and intellectual and more a balance of mind and body.



Everyday is a Journey



A. If this course has changed your worldview in any way, what has changed?

The course allowed me to sort through new information and ideas from a variety of people previously unknown to me. The course provided an opportunity to explore multiple opinions, perspectives, insights and research offered by the participants. However, as to whether that changed my worldview, I would say no.

B. If you had to write a term paper for this course, what might your topic be?

Term paper Topic: The metaphors used to describe climate change. I would explore the scientific, abstract language currently in use and then ask why the language or metaphors used to describe climate change are not more natural [use agrarian, agricultural and natural metaphors]. If one cannot language climate change and link it to nature, the land, sky, rivers, forests and the individual body then climate change remains abstract and support for change is harder to come by.

C. CEL: While my conscious language can change; and that effort may influence my small community; the issue is how to make that language and those metaphors go viral. At present, there are larger, more entrenched meta-metaphors and language used in society that obliterate attempts at new language. My opinion is the use of more scientific abstract based metaphors are simply a variation on the current theme and not a fundamental change in the trajectory of existing language.


Very interesting, Rick. I especially like your term paper idea, Rick!

Indeed, getting any changes in language to be picked up by lots of other people is THE question. It can’t be forced or even “suggested”. It just has to be so “right” or “natural” that it feels like it just has to happen. I have no idea how that would occur.

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I would like to propose a thought experiment in language—I am not sure if this is employing a simile or metaphor or a little of both. What if, when we think, “Capitalism” we also think, “Cannibalism,” creating a poetic equation that looks something like this:


And whenever someone propounds the doctrine of “CONSCIOUS CAPITALISM,” we think, “HEALTHY CANCER.” Or,


I would like to play with these equivalances, which admittedly, may be radically unfair—or not—but at the same time, may point to a deeper truth at the pattern level.

After all, in a truly liberal, free-minded society, one would be allowed to identify with and believe in CANNIBALISM, as long as one didn’t actually EAT anybody else—without their consent. Yet in our much more narrow-minded civilization, CANNIBALISM falls well outside of accepted belief and practice.

Can we imagine a future civilization where the concept of CAPITALISM is similarly beyond the pale and almost unthinkable to actually engage in? Could this experiment go viral?

I would also like to make a distinction between CAPITALISM—which I identify essentially as a belief system that reduces all things to their economic value, i.e., to CAPITAL, and whose primary goal is to maximize profits for CAPITALISTS—and a related, but in my estimation healthier and more innocuous concept, which I will call COMMERCE.

I would like to suggest that we can have COMMERCE, including productivity, innovation, and wealth production, within a free/fair market in the service of democratic society—without CAPITALISM—much the same way we can have agriculture, or sex, without slavery.

I submit that CAPITALISM includes the mechanisms of COMMERCE, but that the former is more like a totalizing ideology that barely masks a fundamentally exploitative relationship with other beings, which are reduced to natural resources and labor, while the world is collapsed into a total market and subjected to the requirement of infinite growth in repayment of centralized, fictitious, artificial debt, whereas the latter simply signifies the mutually beneficial exchange of goods and services between autonomous, interconnected, mutually regarding agents in a common ecological context.

Can’t we trade and do business, meet individual and collective needs, and even use money to translate between different kinds of value, without commiting to the brute metaphysics implied by CAPITALISM? I would like to suggest that our democracies may fundamentally depend on whether we can decouple them from CAPITALISM without losing the dynamic, creative energies of COMMERCE.

This, perhaps, could make an interesting topic for a term paper. As for how my worldview has changed through this course, I would say that I don’t think it has fundamentally changed, but I feel much more sensitized to the way that binary oppositions (all kinds of either/ors) shape my thinking, and that I feel more attuned to creative opportunities to find new ways of thinking, feeling, and being that are more dialectical, transcendent, and inclusive of polarities, contrasts, and distinctions in a field of possibilities beyond presupposed binary options.

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin


I Like Your Outdoors Thinking & Wondering madrush


Marco, here is an article I ran across that speaks to some of the concerns you present. It is long but it attempts to sort through a variety of issues we seldom consider…including issues related to power.
The future of liberalism - Prospect Magazine


A bit of lightness on the subject?

"Carrington’s comedy of literalization asks us how a metaphor has become a terrible reality. A conversation between Marian and Carmella provides an answer:

“It is impossible to understand how millions and millions of people all obey a sickly collection of gentlemen that call themselves ‘Government’! The word, I expect, frightens people. It is a form of planetary hypnosis, and very unhealthy.”

“It has been going on for years,” I said. “And it only occurred to relatively few to disobey and make what they call revolutions. If they won their revolutions, which they occasionally did, they made more governments, sometimes more cruel and stupid than the last.”

“Men are very difficult to understand,” said Carmella. “Let’s hope they all freeze to death.” "

from How Leonora Carrington Feminized Surrealism | The New Yorker


Does anyone know if there is a link to the last workshop 12/22 ? And that is at what time? Thanks. Please respond asap as I am trying to get organized.

Is there a link to the Zoom call? I can’t find it. Thanks.

Same time of 1 EST, same link:

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Same link

Same time 10 am PT/1 pm ET

Hope to see you soon

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Hi Rick,

I read the article on “the future of liberalism” with interest. I think it is very reasonable to propose a political philosophy that integrates the values of liberty and individual conscience with the concerns of community, solidarity, and multiples layers of identity which can be fluid (global) in some ways, while remaining rooted (local) in others.

I do not know if the end result can still be called liberalism—since isn’t it also a kind of conservatism? Some things need to be conserved (like the environment and local relationships) while others are liberated (like unjustly marginalized/disenfranchised groups and identities). And if liberalism evolves in this way, how does conservatism evolve? Do they remain a binary, so that a person identifies with one or another, left or right, liberal or conservative? Or is there another, synthetic/integrative option that’s viable?

In my mind, what is lacking is a vision of the world that enough people can resonate with and want to move toward collectively without recapitulating the fatal mistakes of such past visions and movements (mainly, relying on various forms of violence to achieve their ends). There is no quick fix and it will take a few generations to undo the damage and create something new and better from what we’ve collectively wrought.

Moreover, I don’t think any major political philosophy has grappled with the challenges posed by exponentially evolving technology, or even more radical possibilities such as extra-terrestrial intervention, not to mention projects well-underway such as the colonization of outer space (not to mention inner space, as the Internet is working on).

I think desirable change will come from the bottom up and inside out, but also from very high levels of thinking and spiritual vision that gain influence with powerful individuals and groups, who are able to form networks that move resources in the directions we may be imagining. This is already happening in many ways, but it seems to be in the nature of power to “will” itself blindly for the most part, and so history continues as a long, painful struggle with some evolutionary leaps and occasional moments of ecstatic release.


Marco and John,
As with all our discussions, digressions and sharing in this space we use language in an attempt to find insight, community and perhaps a way to come to personal and group action. I ran across this article that, while long, offers a different perspective, perhaps a summation or perhaps another way to consider the sharing in the thread, the course; where we are at its end; even the end of the year and how we assess and evaluate new and existing information–and how we language it.

If nothing else it is a piece that must be savored, not scanned, not only for the thoughts but also the use of language as well. It asks much of the reader if one is willing to go there.

Happy New Year to all.

Now Showing / Liberties (


I am offering feedback, Rick, to you and the group, and I hope this is useful for you and that you can hear the positive intention behind my feedback. I am not inspired, Rick, to read a long text that you provide. I took the time previously to read an article you invited me to read. I read it and posted a favorable comment but you have not responded to my response… That seemed to go nowhere.

As my time is short, and I am interested in community, I labor to make my post self sufficient. You don’t need to read everything Mishima wrote to understand my reference to him. And it take five minutes to watch the video of him speaking in English. I also draw upon first person reference as well as third person references. Blending first person and third person is a value in my
personal performance. This is not an idle exercise of mine but quite conscious.

And if at first you don’t succeed, perhaps failure is more your style?

My feeling is that this wide spread tendency to more links to more externally generated information, leads to what Timothy Morton calls “information dumping”. I am not getting a sense that you, Rick, are inside the discourse but outside of it. I’m sure we all have lots of links to lots of articles and I appreciate that you want to create community, too. But I would much rather know what you actually think than get distracted by another link to another article that leads to more distraction.

This may not be of use to you and so we can both easily ignore this exchange and move onto other arenas of action that demand attention. Book culture and electronic writing don’t always mix. And the live calls, where you have been absent, is where a lot of the learning happens. How we weave these threads and videos together in an integral fashion, remains to be seen. So far, I am having a hard time finding a boundary, Rick, and would love to hear your summary and skip the link to another article. Of course, others here may want to pick up your challenge and I would invite them to do so.

And I am giving the kind of feedback that I would like to receive. That is not necessarily what drives these threads forwards. I already have plenty of externally generated information. The aesthetics of the relational space is hard to create and is easy to mess up. We try to not step on each others lines and avoid upstaging others. It is inevitable that we will make mistakes.


Thanks for the feedback, I understand your viewpoint but I offer what I can and in a manner I see fit. You make a fair point, but I don’t have anything generally to add to the existing conversation . Perhaps I should not have shared the articles or anything else but, unlike you, I did so without any expectation of response. I thought they filled in spaces for future consideration, but not necessarily in this forum. Your distraction to another might be education or an interesting digression…which is conversation by other means.

What you do point out is that perhaps I am ill-suited for such forums. I will consider that in the future.


This was not my intention, but, that may be something that is useful for you to consider. And what would you, Rick, like to have happen in this forum?

I have been shut down in many conversations and so feel the sting of that. That you may not have an interest in my posts is noted and by all means continue to ignore them and focus your attention on what interests you. I am making this as explicit as I can.

Whatever this forum has been or could become will have a lot to do with what we want to have happen. I am not making my desired outcome a secret. And I show it.

Each of us have our talents and also areas that need to be opened up. To do this in public is not easy. I wish whatever your desired outcome is ( if you choose not to disclose it here) will be developed further in other forums. My sense is that you have a lot to add to the existing conversation. However, that is up to you to decide.

That is a difference. I give a response most of the time. It is good manners. But we all have different priorites . No response is also a response. That is what I call indifference.

And Happy New Year!


These words seems to me , John , perplexing in the sense of the “Middle of Interpersonal” between First Person & Third Person. The Edgy expression
seems counter to your “Come From” desire,this from a participating person
member of the Community.

Indifference is one of those States & Words which “cuts deep within” Myself & the World . And I can Appreciate Our always Intense Ability to Perform Our Inner Being.

This is Feedback from my Listening,Reading, & Digesting this Exchange as Limited as it may be.

Yes ,I too would prefer a response, “Dead Air” is Uncomfortable & Tense & can lead to WTF!
I Come From a place John of giving a tenuous Third Person POV in the Flesh. This Exchange ,Somaticly left a feeling of a missed Opportunity to either engage in a Appreciative Style maintaining Honesty Or Understand that “A Non-Response” is not necessarily a “Come From of Indifference” it’s a Response whether we “Like It Or Not”

Blessings in the Coming New Year & May Just a Little Less WTF Come To Pass in All Our Lives!!!

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Thanks for your response, Michael, and " Dead Air" is a great way of languaging this very common conundrum. Sort of like- " the lights are on but no one is home."

As I live in Manhattan and look out the window and can see inside hundreds of apartments, lit up, with people watching the big entertainment system, putting on their make up, typing away at the computer, cooking dinner, there is a feeling that we are all making busy. And in this lock down, with none of the social outlets available, it seems that we are up against an insurmountable “problem space.”

So, I persevere taking notes on what happens “out there” and “in here” without a clear notion of where that begins or ends. Some of this happens in language as we go back and forth between locatable objects and imaginary objects, concepts and percepts. The course we just finished covered this territory and the maps we use to navigate may not be working anymore.

I write it down. Then I change it. A person responds in writing, I try to figure out what they mean. And so it goes. This a loop and we do the best we can. I don’t assume I have any idea what you mean. When in a zoom call it is very easy to do a time out and ask a question. We instinctively take turns talking and can feel the attention is strong or weak.

Writing, especially electronic writing, such as we are engaged in here, is very different kind of communication. The asynchronous nature of writing leaves some very big gaps " dead space" unless someone is able to “catch the vibe.”

Some people are more passive and let it play out, and are willing to let it die. I prefer to be proactive when I can and try to co-create a shape. This is the in between spaces, the liminal zones, where it is not obvious what is meant and dictionaries are of little use. This needs a partner just as conversation does. I think writing is different from conversation though they are related. The boundaries are constantly shifting and we can’t take for granted what is sometimes easy to figure out when we are in the same zoom call.

I watched a video where one of the elder speakers complained about the failure of the intergenerational transmission of culture. That is a huge failure as I see lots of young persons trying to re-invent the wheel and seem to know little about history. And the elders who went through those mistakes are unable to summon up the required capacity to fill in gaps and pass that on. All of us are in the same boat, both the young and the elderly, are facing their mortality.

I also see the ploys used by older people to maintain taboos among themselves, This thou shalt not say out loud. It’s bad taste. Let’s change the subject. So, I am open to doubt that any generation currently alive can deal with the upheavals that are happening now. I try to keep my eyes on the prize even as I stay with the trouble.