Cosmos Café [1/29/19] - William E. Connolly's Prelude from Facing the Planetary

I don’t know. I was thinking of linear thinking in relation to our Connolly Cafe discussion, the biological gradualism that places human as the top of the line, at the top of the evolutionary pyramid. Perhaps I could simply exclude the non-linear part and leave it at new thinking allowed. Or new ____ allowed. And maybe it is not new, so ____ allowed. I am inclined to leave it at ____

Sigur Ros has an “untitled” album …called ( ). You can check out the Wikipedia page for some interpretations of their use of ( ). They also make use of a jibberish language Hopelandic. “The Hopelandic of ( ) consists of one eleven-syllable phrase, “You xylo. You xylo no fi lo. You so.”, various permutations and subsequent variations thereof are sung over the course of the album.” No song has a title. I can say that this album (along with other sounds they have produced) has moved me to places beyond words, beyond thinking, beyond this earth. I personally believe they have tapped into cosmic resonances, a psychoanalysis for psychonauts. I interpreted, at one point in their Hopelandic variation, the “words” “you xylo, no fi lo” as “you sigh on, but not for long” a personal mantra I chanted while traversing the earth and its (dis)contents. The musical contents of ( ) do follow a linear progression in time, as any recording must, but the musical creativity cycles upon itself, within each song, at the halfway point and the ending looping back into the beginning.

I have personal thoughts on how this connects with your question, but words are not necessary, beyond my weak attempt here. I am not the guy to determine the language we might utilize. Our creativity could utilize alternate/alternative thinking that allows for the line to do a little squiggling.


That is a mixed message, Ed, if ever there was one! I am smiling, as dilemmas, are dilemmas, because they aren’t clear at all. Do I turn left or turn right? How should I know? Well where do you want to go?

If I have a scratch, itch it. But if you have a rash and itch it the rash will spread. Now what?

Do I do chemo or have surgery? Yuk!

Should I spend million dollars on this worth cause or on that worthy cause?

Sir, do you want paper or plastic?

What happens, when you dont want any of what you are offered by your culture? Then, what happens?

You have a pound of bacteria in your gut that clears your system of waste and communicates with your brain. Brain fog and some forms of depression occur when the communications are mixed up with too many mixed messages.

Our economy, in order to produce large profits for a few demands that everyone run on a treadmill as quick as they can and then jump to another treadmill that is even faster. It is called innovation.

Some people want to get off of the treadmill because it is killing them. But they have been on a series of treadmills all their lives. Now that dilemma, can become a conflict, or an impasse or a paradox. Each bind, double bind, triple bind has a texture, a feel, a location in the body. It can have abstract dimensions ( meaning making) but if the meaning is not a match for the territory, then the meaning wont mean much for very long.

Our somatic intelligence is easily distorted but you can’t ignore it entirely without disaster. There are limits to growth and you body will let you know.

Although everyone has a somatic intelligence, some are virtuosos, and they tend to be the most creative persons. Cognitive development without a capacity making sense is what AI is centered around. Until recently this was considered a benefit. Who needs a body that dies when we can upload ourselves? But now many are scratching their heads about colonizing the Cosmos. That is going to be a really hard thing to do…

So I do not think there is an easy way to unweave our weaved up folly. Nature is not our mother. She is the bouncer at the bar who wants you to pay your check. You had your fun. Can’t pay up? This way to the exit.


Good one, John. Though I insist it is clear that I have a dilemma, but that I’m certainly not clear on where to go with it. If I knew where I wanted to go, I wouldn’t have a dilemma! Ring-around-the-rosy.

I think “thinking” is one of those words that is slowly losing its meaning. What does it really describe? And when I look at what we’re doing to the world (in a very broad sense), I wonder how much of it is being done in any sense of the word.

When I was tutoring strategy as part of an MBA program (and no, I did not exactly fit the profile of your typical MBA-tutor), innovation was a huge topic, and it was a word that many students loved to bandy about with abandon. I tried to impress upon them that as far as I could tell there are really only two kinds of innovation: you do things better or you can do better things. During the almost 15 years I was chanting my mantra (the course’s was “The purpose of business is the maximization of profits.”), not a single student ever asked me what I meant by “better”, and that is as mind-boggling as it is disappointing. In a world where prices are confused for value, anything without a price is not priceless, it’s simply without value, and therein lies a great rub. Oscar Wilde made that point long before me, of course, but none of my students had ever read Wilde either.


I’m all for allowing squiggle, it can effect everything and anything from damnation to redemption. And while I appreciate your musical musings, should I give ear to Hopelandic’s (), there’s no guarantee – in fact, I imagine it is almost certain – that I’ll come away from it with the same (or similar or even relatable) “message” (truly, for lack of any, let alone a better, word). How do we let each other know what we got … without words, that is? When we reminisce about our [1/-8] CCafé, we then have to wonder if we’re really communicating in any sense of the word.

The last thing I would expect is for you to resolve the “thinking” dilemma. It would be outstanding if you did, don’t get me wrong, but I suspect it’s not just a personal dilemma (which I think John in his post did much to confirm), but rather a fairly universal one. Hence, it is, to my mind at least, something we need to mull over and ponder and wonder about and, Lord knows what else. I very much agree with John that we’re not going to be very successful trying “to unweave our weaved up folly”. I’m thinking we’re going to have to make do with what we’ve got.

In hindsight, it would appear that my question had a whole lot more rhetorical packed into it than I originally thought. Funny how that happens.


Grateful you are bringing “economic anxiety” into mentionable territory. Many of our living situaitons are directly threatened by the shutdown, and all of the instabilities and threats around it… and that most definitely includes me. So thank you, Madrush.


Yay, Donna Haraway! What about Tim Morton?
I know it may not be cool to make suggestions when I am not able to attend, but…
can’t help but me so very attracted to this topic area that is opening here. Thanks to all of you who ARE attending, and those listening/looking in via recordings, and especially those who are tending to all this in some way, in their offline lives, too.


"And thanks again, to the birds and the wolves, for the humans and the other than humans, the flowers and the trees, the vast oceans, the stardust, for we have much to learn, much to unlearn, and so much to live for. "

Your acknowledgement, I need to acknowledge. So essential and strengthening in an unbearable earth-under-seize time we are living.

When you spoke of the coral reefs, I found myself crying. I already knew of this, but hearing it spoken releases another level of grieving.


Yes. Sharing our grief is necessary. Perhaps, we can find ways of sharing our attention collectively so that we can transition towards a companion species. We still have time left. We are doing some of the heavy lifting as we tune into alternate ways of knowing. Thank you for your tears!

A store I frequent no longer give out plastic bags. NY state and the EU are planning to ban plastics. That would be an amazing achievement. At least I dont feel so alone in my anxiety.


When asked how are you going to pay for it, Octavia-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and hugely charismatic, has some very good answers for you, Ed. She is also on a big committee that will investigate Wall Street and the Banks. In this brief report we learn that other powerful women on the committee may be creating a deep shift in the way business is done. As we mourn for the terrible losses, we can also be grateful for signs that a shift is happening. We may be on the verge of a nervous breakthrough.


Language, I am beginning to believe, is less about communicating and more about modeling a symbolic self. Language as a self technique, that would be moving towards a Second Order Culture. I have attempted ( prematurely) to flesh out a Third Order, but we would be moving into highly anarchic areas between speech and sound, when we have yet to liberate the Big State from Big Science. As the Deficient Mental Science withers away, as materialist dogma starts to fall apart, and as more of us can stay in the in-between of sense making and meaning making, Language as a tool for modeling a shared reality could begin. Some of us are feed-forwarding already through alternate realities, as you, Doug, demonstrate in your impromptu verse, and as you tune into sense zones of the white breasted sparrow, and as I deliver the howl of the lone wolf, and we are able to sustain a meta-attention, with all of that, what might happen to our arts?

I think this poet is trying this out in another forum, that may overlap with our fledgling experiments here. CL has been an attempt to use language to meta-commune with unique and the wierd way we use language. As we move from first order to a second order, embodying the binds, and liberating the Gnostic voices, we can open up to a vast field, the field of all fields…


Davy Knittle is expressing what I have Intuitively & in my daily life struggled with all my life.Reading,Listening to Music of the 60’s & Beyond especially the Blues & Jazz ,along with hanging with the Ensemble here at the Cosmos Cafe’ has “Fucking Finally” given me a Place in Space(Cyber) to Be Sane in a Insane world!!!800-pound-gorilla-300x300


“The perception of atmospheres is characterized by some specific cognitive attributes that are not taken into account by the current theoretical concepts. They adhere to perceptional and memorial content, but also affect states of mind. Furthermore they span over the senses-”

Thanks for the David Loffler reference, Doug. I have studied his work and find his ideas compelling. The parable of the Crow, which stimulated some conversations, was sparked by my study of his developmental theories. At any rate, what he says about atmosphere is easy to understand and also a bit mysterious. I am probably, when I ask us to pay attention, hoping that more of us, could tune into the atmosphere. Aesthetics is mostly about paying attention to atmosphere. God may be an atmosphere! And how can you have a thermostat without an atmosphere? What would happen if we had an economy responsive to atmosphere(s)? Right now, our atmosphere is full of the nullifying affects of flat screens. All the lonely people, where do they all come from?

But the atmosphere is changing, and we can co-create atmosphere, too. People get ready.

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I really like this John,it Vibes with "Speaking Into The Air’ in a broader Feeling-Sensation Way.With that I will be traveling to Portland,Oregon to witness a great nephew compete in Wrestling( a family lineage) & a favorite Metaphor of mine.So I will be taking a Chunk-Slow down approach,I will be checking the Cosmos Cafe’ for interesting Ensemble Expression of Cosmos Time.Have Fun in Cyber-Space U’All! Peace & Care,Michael

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Love the music! Totally agree about “atmosphere” being the key to so many things, and definitely around what we might call esthetics. But I confess I am somewhat lost in terms of this conversation—is this in response to a particular video gathering or?
What is the Parable of the Crow?


The Crow story starts around 17 minutes into the Cafe.

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Wonderful, will listen. I watched an entire 2 hour recent Cosmos gathering yesterday, but somehow did not see this one!


Highly intuitive statement. Even the best of us (or most anarchically accepting amongst us) have trouble with such third ear attempts at tuning into such frequencies.

Sometimes, when listening to such confessionals as with Davy Knittle, or, with my first readings/impressions of Nora Bateson’s Small Arcs of Larger Circles (here’s just another white woman with privilege, producing decent poetry to share amongst friends…then I read between the lines…), I find myself unable to recognize the significance, see such talk as limited and not a part of my circle or missing the bigger story. This is a closed mind at work (my own). I am caught thinking “what can I gain from someone who speaks of such great connections with a group that I cannot connect/have not connected with?” The language flies right by me. I am in an out-of-this-world atmosphere unable to be grounded in their full experience.

Then I read between the lines. I tune into the atmospheric pressures that cause the third ear to awaken. That high pitched frequency is a sure sign that I have tuned into the collective aesthetic-sphere (perhaps God, as you say) that awakens us to what words so crudely convey. I readily connect to the creative means of communication found on this site (see @Ariadne’s latest poem dedicated to past Cafe participants for an in-the-moment example). Can I connect instantly with individuals outside of my realm of communication, such as with Davy Knittle?

I made mention in a past Cafe that I imagine, with all of this technology being tossed onto children and adults, a storytelling society would ideally arise out of the ashes of the techno-malaise. YouTube is a wealth of stories. Yet I am talking more about the in the moment creations; impromptu connections; a society of story-telling explorers, seeking the right language to share. We “bottom-feeders” (those outside of the story being written for us) are passing down stories. No need to write a book; no need to publish the story to tell…simply tell it; speak it in into the air, record it on the spot. Creativity arises from the ashes of the old stories. In my mind, these conversations we share have a bit more life than that of the written word. We are taking elements from the somewhat limited, “in-time” (set-in-stone) one-sided conversation of a non-fictional account in writing - for example, I loved Connolly’s Facing the Planetary and collected many new threads to pursue from his writing…but I would much rather keep a constant conversation with him, hear his daily stories, have him participate in our weekly Cafes…make the Cafes daily… The arts never die…the arts will always thrive. The technologies allow for such creativity and novel stories to arise within the momentum of monumental modica.

I will not be able to attend the “economic edition” of the Cafe (TANSTAAFL or There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) set up by @achronon set for Tuesday, but I imagine there will be connections between the recommended reading and the atmosphere(s).

Speaking of money and changing atmospheres…I find this promising, though I know very little about the man Grantham (or the combating of overpopulation)…good luck, ye wealthy denizens of earth…perhaps ye are our only hope to change things at the top as we tell stories as bottom-feeders:


In many contexts, this would be considered as “throwing a turd in the punch bowl”. I have to say, it looks a lot more like gooseberries to me.

It’s too bad that Mr. Granthanm won’t be participating in our little get-together – and it’s too bad that you can’t either @Douggins – but I’m sure we’ll have a worthy crew to bite into this particularly sour apple.

Is such a player a one-off eccentric or a ray of hope in an otherwise dismal situation?

I have to admit that seen in (almost) purely biological terms, we humans are in for a rude awakening – be it famine-wise, war-wise, or some-other-species-deflationary-wise – and it’s none too welcome for me personally (as I know many individuals – friends, family, and lots whom I do not know) who will be the casualties of that deflation), but it is a plausible reality with which I have to come to terms, regardless of what any of us do individually (or collectively) at the moment. But for me, that’s all the more reason to redouble our efforts to gain clarity and understanding, and use that to develop reasonable courses of action that will benefit more than just our individual selves.


Thanks for this article----it’s strong, intelligent and, for me, the kind of thing from the kind of person that will work… where many other equally worthy groups/people are failing every day, because of the way this capitalist culture is structured and the attitudes (aware of them or not) that too many people (still) hold. I don’t read a lot of business publications, but am glad to know about this one.
He clearly knows what he’s talking about re: investment dynamics, the urgency of climate chaos (“change” is far too weak a word for what’s happening), and how to use time to motivate himself and others he influences, on all levels. His dedication and clear-eyed view is admirable and just what’s needed.


In Chapter 5, Connolly writes:

So we challenge the practices of neoliberal capitalism, gradualism in geology, neo-Darwinian versions of species evolution, conceptions of freedom locked into markets, strong intentionalism, sociocentrism, agency confined to human mastery or organically disposed to us. So what? [emphasis added]

A man after my own heart.