Consciously Evolving Language - Session 8 - 15 Dec 2020

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: Launch Meeting - Zoom

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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.


Speaking as a Wrestler which seems to have become a very “Psychoactive Metaphor” across the Scale,Spectrum or Range of Human Experience ( with this participant of said human experience). I Honor your ;

And not Everyone Values the Notion Of “Serious Play” & That’s OK in my “Come From”.


I usually love, and enjoy taking the time to read participants’ posts here, and more often than not find external links useful and interesting‚ too; but it does take time to read, think, and write… well, and so with life’s obligations it feels impossible to respond to everything adequately, at least in a reasonable amount of time for intersubjective flow.

But I try to keep learning and contributing where I can, and sometimes I need to bookmark posts for later when my mind is more settled and I can give higher level of quality attention. I keep believing those times will come.

It is no fun not to get a response, but I try to trust that it may just take more time. Meanwhile I will turn my attention elsewhere, trusting that a seed has been planted, which may find sympathetic ears and give rise to voiced response in the future, reviving a latent possibility, perhaps even right at the perfect time.

The lesson of this period of life for me is patience. Music comes out of a primordial silence which vibrates on a higher fractal plane with the chaotic order of the creative impulse. The nature of being thrown into human existence means a certain daily grind, a dance of necessity with possibility, with great effort and gobs of grace occasionally achieving spiritual flight.

We fly, fight or freeze. Or do something new. Regarding the internet and interiority, what I was trying to say was that the internet has become a machinery for colonizing the interiority we always already had. I think it also represents a vast lateral expansion in possibilities, with chutes and ladders, trap doors and rabbit holes, spread dangerously if at times alluringly, like landmines.

There is an interplay between word and image which is not simple to trace. In once sense, language provides the Meta Code (deeper/higher than the machine code), along with key metaphors, and conceptual infrastructure for the Web. But the Internet (like images in general) also works on deeper brain centers than just the mental or semantic.

We are literally blasting our brains with structured light and electromagnetic energies whenever we go ‘online.’ The medium is the message. Fight, flight, or freeze. It may not be possible for a typically trained and nourished human brain at this time to meaningfully integrate what is going on in cyberspace, at least not from within the medium.

My resolution for 2021 is to try not to get into engagements that I cannot give a high level of quality attention to. Since my everpresent ulterior (explicitly stated) goal is to write, read, learn, perform, enjoy, and eventually (if so blessed, in my later years) teach the art of poetry—which I mostly still struggle with now (if slowly improving)—and since I especially want to get things into PRINT, and when possible do things in PERSON, ultimately sponsoring a thriving radical literary CULTURE (which I see as a powerful, if not necessary, antidote to Cannibal Capitalism), I will continue to try and steer my engagement here toward those ends.

Thank you all for the stimulating conversations, and Happy New Year!


I would prefer that we give each other feedback. The social engagement system is a new development highlighted by polyvagal theory. The fight, flight, freeze is a hangover from traumatic episodes, the autonomic nervous systems are oscillating wildly, But when the valgus nerve is activated, through soft eye contact, prosody in the voice, smooth breathing, the capacity to co-regulate is enhanced, and more stable connections can be made. As we are wearing masks and isolating more and more I worry about our capacity to tune in to the other, become curious, rather than contemptuous, and learn something of use and delight.

My favorite moment in the Course we co-developed , happened in the last workshop, when Lisa said she felt safe. That, for me, was a sign that my desired outcome for her had been secured. I wanted to sponsor a visionary cooperative venture and that is what happened. But it was not just magical thinking that produced that outcome. We all had to show up, prepared, and do our best to work with the paradoxes, the off ramps, the dead ends, the detours, the cul de sacs, the ambiguous gestures, the different key signatures. We gave each other adequate feedback. We could have done better. I missed that Kate, for whatever reason, dropped out. But perhaps she learned what she needed to learn and move on. I am grateful for everyone’s participation.

I suggested a follow up with Lisa after the first of the year when we could go a little deeper into the cross fertilizations between our different kinds of focus. I think the work with polarities and the work Michael and I have been doing with Social Somatics may share interesting topological features. That is where I want to focus my collaborative attention in the next year.

I’m glad to say I see signs of life in other forums, beyond this space, and I will be giving my attention to those forums, and circumambulate back to this one. My best thoughts I should probably hold onto and develop in a prose piece, essay, short story. This is probably not the space to do that kind of experimentation, as the timing has to be just right, and that is not something an asynchronous forum is good at.

The time is out of joint.…Momentum is not easy to make happen here and I will let go of that expectation and direct my attention to other spaces that are becoming operative, just beyond our horizon. And I have to create the solitude to build my ship of death and that is something each of us has to do on their own. But we can always share notes.

Happy New Year!


These Words & the Felt Sense of Engaged Energy is coming through John with Compassionate Discernment ( which can include a Fierceness at times,that I Feel to be NEEDED at Times).
With that said I would like to offer some Feedback on the Safety Ingredient;
which has been Very Important. It comes from my time as a Maintenance
Person for Twenty Years.We had a Mantra “Safety First”,this meant that everyone takes Responsibility for Their own Safety & by doing so Extends this to the Safety of Others .This also includes from My Trauma Experience a caveat: Not to Let The Necessary Need for Safety Imprison You & Keep U
From Honoring One’s Sense of Freedom. John one of The Reasons I Have
Felt Safe Here Is Your Mantra “Safe Enough … To Fail” that kind of Honesty
reminds me of MY Ability to Respond to situations that may not have Felt Safe , “REAL or IMAGINED”. There’s a Possibility of not getting -letting ,“One’s Attention BE Hijacked with REAL or IMAGINED” sense of Threat, by Giving As Fully as Possible a Intense Engaged Quality to OUR Gift of ATTENTION-AWARENESS,it would seem to my "Come From " & it is Important to note that We are All Playing in different ways with this Creative Gift of Attention.

This is My Feedback John & Thank You for Your Commitment of bringing Forward the Needed Reality Of Playing in New Ways ,the Boundaries of Personal-Private AND the VERY PUBLIC SPACE of THE INFINITE!


I appreciate the call for feedback, for direct conversation; for . . .

I understand it is easy to receive mixed signals when the typed word is missing.

I am still learning to communicate the desired outcome into a forum. I would request that, a la The Minor Gesture, we remind ourselves that we all have various means of communication. Underneath all of our attempts is a vision with ‘spiritual eyes’; a deep listening for frequencies with the third ear. I live with the belief that, when we are at our best, there is no need for thinking, typing, writing, opining; there is a sort of telepathic understanding, even when the other is not present for an embrace, eye contact, verbal clarification. Remember that my intentions are seeking the best even when I am not able to display my best in material form.

My desired outcome is for each of us to hold this in memory. I may not be participating directly in the readings, conversations, writings, but I am still here in spirit. My desired outcome is for the old friends to remember me as they give voice to the world of ideas; for new participants to know me through the fossils from previous interactions brought to life during the current communications.

My desired outcome for myself and for others is to not become sunk in appearances. Continually transition back into the higher spirit of languaging.

And, I do want to be present for the discussion. This may mean that I participate in calls this 2021 year with multiple interruptions from limited space in the house. We do the best with what we have to work with.

I like your follow-up suggestion to speak with Lisa, John. And I will participate in the Social Semantics discussions. I have aspirations to carry forward with our readings and discussions; to invoke new strangeness into life.

I still wish to see others’ ideas flourish. But if I am to voice my desires into this year . . . I would like to discuss Steiner. The Electromagnetic Field Theories interest me right now. Perhaps seek out readings akin to what Marco Masi suggested on The Wholeness of Nature. Let us manifest a paradigm shift that is pursued by all of us here along with kindred souls such as Kastrup, Wendt, Bateson, et al., a shift towards the meaningful alternate realities we read about and dream about.

. . .

Roberto Quaglia interviewed in Budapest (2003) - YouTube


Thanks, Doug, for sharing some of your desired outcomes. My desired outcome is that we can get together and develop our desired outcomes for this next year in a safe space.

I spoke to Lisa today and said she would love to explore her desired outcomes for the Center for Language Innovation she is birthing. Michael and I can host a zoom call for our combo. Please message me and let me know what is the best time for you. I can always meet with you, Doug, in a one to one meetup if you prefer. I realize you have a busy schedule. That is another option for you.

I am open to believe that in the next year we can find a way of shaping our desired outcomes in community, bringing forth that which is within us, that may have been hidden and unspoken , and develop those desired outcomes, using a soft focus. I believe out of such efforts, a second order culture can co-arise. We have studied Bateson , Manning, Butler, Gebser, Loffler, Kastrup, Shakespeare, Milton and many others before this terrible Covid crisis struck. I believe those in depth explorations can serve us, now, as we create conditions to become virtuoso players in a small but committed combo. Your sponsorship skills are held in my memory and are sorely needed in the next wave.

And thanks for your feedback, Doug, and blessings to you and your family!


Hi John, that sounds like a good alternative to the default responses. Each encounter is a creative opportunity, if we choose to engage with it that way. My feedback on your feedback (to Rick, so this is my meta-feedback) is that I found it detracted my attention from your previous post, which contained a lot of complex information not only invoking the strange presence/absence of Mishima but also reflections on our global-local-social moment, an intriguing dream narrative, and feelings about the course with Lisa.

Although Rick’s post didn’t directly respond to your own, it seemed to want to speak to more general themes related to the session and the prior discussion on this thread, so seemed to be going with the flow; he just maybe didn’t have a substantive response to your post, as he admitted. But someone else could have. So it seems to me it would have been better to let his post go—especially since it was relatively short and and would have been easy to skip over for anyone not interested—and find another way to communicate your objection to ‘information dumping,’ in Timothy Morten’s words, which I agree with you about.

(That said, I grant that erring on the side of saying something rather than nothing could be the wiser response beyond my personal preferences. But that would apply all around…)

@noibus: I did read the article btw, and found a lot to resonate with in the authors’ eloquence. I am disinclined to rally around another -ism, however, including a rehabilitated form of liberalism. However, I believe liberal thinking and structures remain a cornerstone of our civilization and need to be a part of the next one—but we will need much more than rights, freedoms, and rational ideals, essential as they are. I still wonder what viable options exist beyond our political binaries…

We need to care for each others’ attentional capacities, as strained as they are by the respective demands of our life and times. I know I need to learn more softness and forgiveness in my communication style, without sacrificing my core values and desired destinations. I think I understand the disappointment related to dangling offerings and rapports aborted in this conversational space, and feel guilty of missing my cue more than once, wandering off into uncharted waters without a life preserver or line, leaving others hanging. Is asynchronous mind jazz an oxymoron? Is there a way for our collective will? A will to pulchritude?

@Douggins: Your spiritual presence is woven in countless threads here. I am always feeling it, even when you’ve gone quiet, and always welcome your returns. I am looking forward to manifesting a fruitful, verdant year of rebounding from pandemic paralysis. More conversations! More poetry! More history! More science! More art!

Thanks for your participation, each & all…


It’s always a risk when you are opening yourself up to queer happenings. I agree that we can skip over this episode and I have decided to delete the post, after realizing the direction that the thread went, the post really didn’t have a home here. But that is not something you can know ahead of time, unless you take the risk. And if there is no one to sponsor the impulse it becomes an orphan. I have learned that the hard way and that is a good thing. It was a safe to fail experiment. The tension is something I don’t want to carry anymore. I find that opening up to the unknown is uncomfortable. That’s why I expect I will be cutting back my time in these forums. I hope others will come forward and develop an interesting direction.

Our response to Evolving Language Consciously will vary from person to person. For me, the course was a call to go deeper into what is beneath the language habit into the phenomenological continuum, into what is happening back stage, in the twilight zone. When you work with Trickster there’s lots of unpredictability. And so I am not surprised no one had anything much to say about the post. Who knows which seed will grow in the womb of time? Especially when attention is so thin. I can press the pause button and re-direct attention to adjacent possibilities. No harm done.

I’m planning to do something live with Lisa in the near future. Hopefully, we can create an integrative phase in that space. I feel writing, as much as I enjoy it, may not be the best medium for the weird messages that are pressing upon me. Thanks for the chance to reflect upon this in public. I am perfectly happy to let it go.

And transition back…and what happens right before transition?

I resonate with your beliefs about the silent witness and I need words, communications, gestures, voices, and bodies . I can’t do one without the other. Sri Aurobindo, for example, had certain insights in meditation, about reality, while he was held in prison, for terrorism, and was awaiting trial. We know that because he also wrote many thick tomes to communicate a speculative philosophy. He discovered/ created a meta-Code.

As we are in an era with much more noise than Sri Aurobindo had to deal with, those who wish to have any impact, will have to move through different kinds of neuro-semantic spaces, in much more artful ways, if any signal is going to happen. Social dreaming can’t happen if no one else is making any effort to work with the ratios between signal and noise. My third ear is resting on the chest of my younger brother, Craig, who died last year. I found him lying in a bed, near an open window that was filled with light. As I placed my weary head upon his chest ( he died of heart attack) I felt the love between us was immense. I am using language to convey that subtle experience in this forum. But who else is doing this?

A great literary critic, who lived in Hitler’s Germany spoke of the death of the German language, which happened a little bit more, each day, on the streets, in the newspapers, in the cafes, over the radio. Hitler was a genius with the radio. This literary critic reported that he heard the language around him turn into meaningless gibberish. In Trump’s world I feel the death of English. Soon, the language will be as dead a language as Latin. And then what happens? All of the bible and the poets and the historians will be swept out to sea. That has already happened. And there will be a tearing of hair and a gnashing of teeth.

Steiner has communicated his insights about cultural transmission in many books and lectures. I think his lectures which were live are the most effective. He made a heroic effort and he died younger than he expected, dying from what he called a psychic attack. He was up against the same forces of deception that Sri Aurobindo was dealing with. The cultural climate that we are dealing with is even more deceptive.

Silence is great if you have a sanctuary. But James Baldwin, my favorite social music maker, said sanctuaries are expensive, and not everyone can afford one. By the way, Goethe, who was Steiner’s hero, loved the appearances.