Cosmos Café [10/22]– Generative Conversations

[Temporary Link to Recording]

Add your intro to the topic here.

Reading / Watching / Listening

Links to suggested reading, podcasts, video clips, or other media

Seed Questions

  • How do we retain generative conversations when the architecture is set-up in such a manner that even the most generative of generative signals get lost in the noise?
  • How do we sustain online relationships offline?
  • How do we best carry momentum without being intrusive, demanding, or falling into patronizing behaviors?

Context, Backstory, and Related topics

  • Other relevant links or topics, e.g., leading up to this talk
  • Links to additional reading, viewing, listening
1 Like

I am able to attend for the first hour.

The “Generative Conversations” title was simply cut and paste from what was posted on the This Week on Cosmos thread. If the originator of the phrase would like to clarify and add to the conversation, much appreciated (adding to the intro above may help others).

I tend to spin things in strange directions in my mind, so note that I am interpreting this theme in a personal manner, seeking out the long-term effects of our efforts here. How do we retain generative conversations when the architecture is set-up in such a manner that even the most generative of generative signals get lost in the noise? How do we sustain online relationships offline? I posted some thoughts here recently about my relationship with the Cosmos.

How do we best carry momentum without being intrusive, demanding, or falling into patronizing behaviors? This theme of generative conversations aligns with @johnnydavis54 (aka @jd54) post on Group A and Group B dynamics. The Café is founded upon generative conversations, or having conversations that generate something worthwhile, meaningful… “dedicated to in-depth dialogue” …

… I propose we start basic: can we collaborate upon a definition of the Cosmos Café? Here is one from a couple years ago:

And a more recent one buried deep within the Cosmos.Earth site:

Cosmos Café is a weekly virtual dialogue series that focuses on deep questions of cosmology, consciousness, and culture. Our Café table, open to all sentient beings, is designed to encourage open-ended, creative, and all-inclusive conversations. These are performative experiments in cooperative intelligence, grounded in shared reading materials and suggested media, where the participants are both subjects and objects, observers and observed, as we hone our minds to the edges of our maps and explore our intuitions of possibilities beyond. Each session is recorded and posted on the Infinite Conversations forum for ongoing discussion.


And when the most generative of generative signals get lost in the noise…

Can you give an example of this, Doug, from your own experience?

And when the signal gets lost, what would you like to have happen?

I got Group A and B dynamics from another conversation but I can review that. It is very similar to the transition from first order to second order dynamics which you and I covered in the Bateson calls. And what do we do with meta dynamics? I really don’t know what I want to have happen as this tendency to get stuck in each other’s arrested development seems to be the dominant form of discourse just about everywhere. No wonder sensitive persons crave solitude…

As some one who was shut down and shut out of many groups (including my biological family) I have a tendency to be very sensitive to scapegoating, slander, and subtle forms of manipulation. I find this kind of behavior often starts behind closed doors. I try to be transparent in a public forum but not everyone wants that. And we all have our evasions and our blind spots. I am aware we each have our own style of defense. Offline/online relationships is a new kind of problem. How do we catch the rhythms of a group who are frozen faces in tiny boxes on a flat screen?

When that noise happens, I would like to create a safe container so that the participants can learn something useful from the exchange, even if there is strong oppositions.That’s why I try to back track and use a person’s actual language than attempt a paraphrase or my preferred vocabulary. This is very tricky.

Scapegoating is to be shunned…

I am willing to participate in this Cafe if that is the theme to be developed. I don’t think we have much time to prepare but I will take a few notes and doodles and do my best to show up on time. I may be a few minutes late.

One thing I think screws us up is that many persons come and go, some show up on occasions, some are late and some comment only from a distance. With all of this noise it may not be possible to have a friction free communication as we are drowning in asynchronous communications and irrelevant information.

About signal and noise. I viewed the last Cafe but was not present. I thought Marco was going to organize this Cafe around the conflicts around the Turkish invasion of the Kurds. He posted an article. That is a worthy topic but I have no idea if that is happening or was rejected or simply forgotten. Amnesia is rampant.

And now this new topic is offered and I am trying to figure out what is noise? What is signal? Perhaps the signal is noise???!!!%$^#@

I hope someone else is willing to do this. Are there any objections? Any alternatives? Something different that wants sponsorship?

Let’s be spontaneous, I have found, can be a form of oppression. Good improv happens when the performers know what they want and have internalized surface and deep structure and like to do mind- jazz.

Silence is golden only when someone shows up to receive the silence. And as John Cage quipped silence is the relative absence of sound.


I Plan to participate in the Tele-Presence of Cosmos Cafe’ to maintain contact with friends & new folk hopefully. Title-Framing is interesting even if it is outside my comfort zone,I am comfortable with taking some Time & Virtual Presence with what shows up,it seems to Be a Good Opportunity to work with Chaos into Order with Openness & Respect in the moment.


and if it is outside your comfort zone, let’s do something else.

As the election year has started and the holidays are near I am not hopeful that the tiny Cafe fellowship can rise above the cacophony. Chaos and Order can become interesting and where is the threshold? Too much order is a bore,too much chaos is even more boring…so I prefer a theme to start off with.

The Kingsley study, which you initiated, Michael, was interesting because he is an author I knew nothing about. I, now, have had a brief intro and can go deeper. This was a good use of our time together. I thought we had a good pace. I reviewed it today as I had totally forgotten what we discussed, so viewing it awoke me to many directions for future Cafes.

Let’s do more of what we already do well. As fewer voices are involved at the Cafe we can hone our skills at listening and experimenting even better. I am okay with duets and trios. A little chamber music, please…



Quick example: @KPr2204 spoke of her first observations when coming across our Infinite offerings and after participating in the Parable of the Sower event, said “I felt like I was sitting under the columns of the Parthenon. Next time, I’m wearing a toga!” She (and we often “feel”) that we are so close to each other, that we are on the cutting edge of the highest of conversations to be had, not because we are so wise and knowledgeable…but because we know a solid community when we experience one. The only trouble: it is not really a community we can touch; the physical architecture just isn’t there.

We generate such grand signals on this site. The noise: it is the demands of the weighty world that deafen our ears to the calls of the senses, of a sense of sense, of a basic sanity that ought to be a basic right of the commons. I would love to step out of my abode and spend time with you John, just a few feet away, intrigued by the latest weirdness that crept your way last night. Would love to have you teach my children what Reality really is…

I will try to take a look at the recording before tomorrow’s gathering. I am more interested in what you three offer in the recording. Peter Kingsley, in all of his deep insights, seems to be stuck in his own critical world that he shuns in his writing (thinking of his extensive footnotes and harshness towards those less scholarly than he…he does his share of scapegoating). I would like to know what you all extracted from reading and interpreting his offerings. I think I have tuned back into the signal that makes the most sense to me, and you all play an important role in that. I need you all in my life and want to develop a further sense of trust amongst each other. Yes, we cannot be there when the abrupt clatter and chatter overwhelms us. But any one of us can be conjured like an egregore as we incarnate the visions of the other in our seances together.

For your sanity John: I will make a solid effort, now that personal and work demands have lessened, to have the Cafe theme available by Friday. Weekend preparations invite transparency and clarity.

For tomorrow: I am willing to have a generative conversation. I left the convo early and missed the Turkish invasion start-up discussion. Personally, I would like to be better informed on worldly affairs. I would like to hear from others in last weeks discussion (@achronon and @madrush) as to what they would like to have happen.


That would be nice if they could chime in. There is always the silence but you don’t get far with silence in our human worlds. Silence is for the God realms but not for the lower east side of Manhattan, where I live and struggle for my daily bread, with millions of others, in a very unforgiving environment. The Gods have no need for nouns or verbs, unlike us mortals. But I imagine our human worlds, constrained as they obviously are, have a fascination.

If the Cafe is becoming too much for us we can cut back to twice a month. I see little reason to make a Friday deadline each week if I am the only one who cares about that. I certainly don’t expect you, Doug, to take care of my sanity! I can cut back on my participation if others just want to hang out and toss a coin about what happens. I am, however, pressed for time, and know myself well enough to know that I can’t commit to too much up in the air stuff for too long. I have to stay very grounded.

1 Like

“any one of us can be conjured like an egregore as we incarnate the visions of the other in our seances together.”…The Sense-Making Art of Making Happen with Let Happen, a Threshold Grounded in Common Interest & Friendship, possibly a Inklings of the 21st Century?


Dear Café comrades, I will sign on tomorrow at noon Mountain and see how long I last. We have construction going on at our house and it is likely there will be jackhammers in the background. @Michael_Stumpf, you might appreciate the sound effects!

I have experienced a virtual phalanx of pressures and stresses closing in—home repairs, work deadlines, unfinished poetry, family messiness, looming mortality—and I have never felt clearer about or more confident in what I’m and we’re all doing…this combined with exquisite anxiety about how it is all going to fall apart. However, I am pretty sure that as long as we’re breathing we can be whole. It is almost mathematically intuitive.

I have been learning more about the Rojava Kurds and intend to reply to that thread with some new musings and connections‚ but wouldn’t be ready this week for a focused discussion on that very newsworthy movement imo.


Thanks for letting us know, Marco. That helps reduce noise and register signal At least my call got a response. It is my intention to support others as they search for topics. A short presentation might help us find an orientation to topics we know little about. I look forward to finding out what you find out.

I have turned toward Neo-Platonism, lately, devouring huge chunks of ancient history and contemporary estoericism. From several sources, ( Jeffrey Kripal, Eric Davis, Jeremy Johnson) and many others, it appears that what was recently underground is becoming out in the open, and accepted. Occulture is on the rise, and magic is no longer intellectually taboo. This intrigues me as so much occult material is easy to acces. I am delighted. This is what I would like to develop more of.

I posted a lively conversation between Jeremy and Mark Vernon, who has written on mystical Christianity. This style of thinking is sympathetic. Gebser, Sri Aurobindo, Sloterdijk were a good training for us. Bateson was a big leap as well and the poetry studies are maturing. So with all of this, what happens next at the Cafe? What is your obsession?

So, Doug, has inintiated this Generative idea. Bonnie Roy used it a lot. I think it echos Chomsky who theorized a lot about Generative Grammar. How do humans crank out so many novel sentences each day?

I will sleep on it and hope someone has a social dream that they can share. If not I am open to a clean start.



A quote from Ever- Present Origin pg.137 "And even if we cannot comprehend and grasp the certainty of freedom from anxiety,it is perhaps possible to allow it to “shine through”…


Ding dong :bell::bell:

And I don’t know if I have a lot more of worth to contribute at the moment. I watched the clip Marco posted and I responded. No one else did, but threads are asynchronous and anything may show up anywhen. Having been on a quasi-sabbatical, I missed all you guys read and talked about while I was away, and though my body is clearly back in the Fatherland, I can’t say that I’ve really arrived yet. It’s been a very busy time for me – familywise – since our return and I haven’t had the opportunity to catch up at all, so what can I say about things I know nothing about? I plan on showing up today, probably primarily in listening mode.


Thirty years ago, when I was in training to be a traditional therapy guy, it became difficult for me to ground myself in relationships that were in flux. Then the social media craze happened and persons of very high intelligence started acting schizoid. I realized that therapy world was inadequate to deal with the effects of this onslaught. I saw a therapy session, in which the client was weeping, get interrupted by the therapist’s cell phone. The therapist apologized but the damage was done. The mood for doing inner work was gone.

That difficulty has been amplified over the years, the cracks in our psychic infrastructure, have gotten bigger and started to crumble. They can’t put humpyt dumty together again. And who is in the mood to do this?

But someone is paying attention to us. How do I know this? After I typed in a response on this thread, two minutes later, I got a link on my home page to an article which used my words almost exactly. A robot mimics my language to direct my attention elsewhere. This ploy is all too common. Everyone is trying to sell you something. I did not follow that lead to nowhere.

it is helpful to have a social space that is not sponsored by a corporate zombie quad that wants your meta-data. My computer crashed and I took it in for repairs. For three days without access to a home computer was strange. The alienation that comes with the computer is as great as the alienation without the computer. The human nervous system is in crisis. This is the New Dark Age or perhaps the new Axial Age is slowly co-arising? I would like to discuss this further in the Cafe. Without narrative, imagination, shared desired outcomes, self generated metaphors, we are doomed to extinction. Techno gadgets can’t do this for us.

Is it possible to transcend the machine that has been installed within you?


A reading from Barfield’s text with drawings.

My understanding is that we have agreed to explore the short chapter titled " Final Participation" from Saving the Appearances for next weeks Cafe. The Barfield archive has all of his works available online. Maybe someone can find the link and set up the announcement.
Thanks for everyone’s participaation yesterday.


That was my understanding as well.

Unless someone else feels compulsively compelled to handle the admin, I will set up the Café page with links. Since it’s also a wiki, anyone can contribute once the basic structure is in place.


I am also in,I need a PDF of the Chapter of Final Participation if possible.


@achronon: Now launch the small ship…set-up the souls’ sails! Our ship of death shall sojourn no more. “There is no port, there is nowhere to go / only the deepening black darkening still / blacker upon the soundless, ungurgling flood…”

@johnnydavis54: The grim frost is at our heels and in our hands…populate this ship of death with a flush of rose.

@Michael_Stumpf: O Embodied Barrelman…can you feel death’s breeze up there in the crow’s nest? Do you see the “cruel dawn of coming back to life”? Do you sense final participation as our final destination for Tuesday?

@madrush and @ccafe crew: come along for the ride … “for the voyage of oblivion awaits you.” This is not a destination but a final… participation!

Barfield - Final Participation PDF.pdf (37.1 KB)
Barfield - Chapter 20 - Final Participation.docx (19.6 KB)


Oh my favorite Undercover Agent of cyberspace & all things that Buzz behind the scenes of Cosmos Cafe’: I like the Image of Barrelman, for this one it’s on the Ground; with the Crow a nut in beak in the breeze of death ( two friends in the last week & 2yrs since my Niece went to another dimension beyond my Physical Intimacy with them,the Intimacy has not left me), a new Participation is forming. So Yes to your second question; such a well articulated question Doug. To the third “Query”



Thank you, once again, for speaking the language of Down-to-Earth, intimate and unselfconscious poetry. I was just writing a few minutes ago to someone about the way death subtracts a certain physical dimension, but can at times lavish us with other dimensions that have no names, in which we live in and deepen in relation to those who have not gone, but spread out into everything, have become “rare” and yet ever-present.