Cosmos Café [11/13] Autumnal Mapping of Meta-phorical Thinking: Guided by the Gut Through Invisible Territories Into Communal Concretion


(john davis) #21

I am sure each of us, as we reflect upon the Modern, can find alternate Modernities, that haven’t happened yet. This would be a very different kind of relationship to the Modern, than is practiced in the post-everything era we now participate and observe from, Our current age is very different from the Modern of Picasso and Wallace Stevens. There were many artists who were doing art in that period who were not allowed into the Euro-centrist academic art school. There was an African art world that got left out of the academe although Picasso stole many of his ideas from the art of the ‘dark continent’. Much of the Modern was produced by people who wanted to keep other people at a distance. Hence the opacity of a Gertrude Stein a Ezra Pound. Some of the Moderns were Fascists. We must remember that Robert Frost was a different kind of Modern that Eliot. I am intensely interested in H.D. who was an outsider poet and a mystic. I’d like to focus on a few passages from her work.

I wonder if we could do a riff on whatever art work or poem from that era that turns us on.? Show and tell for about ten minutes. Give a brief presentation. Share the spotlight, do a solo, and then step back and reflect on each performance as a group. I love the idea of reading one poem but I also like the idea of doing a pastiche. And perhaps we will find when we let go of post-post syndrome that the Integral Age is already here. Can we put a page up and start to flesh this out?

For me, it is important, to create a sense of momentum, a sense of anticipation.This is a way to create a relationship to the audience out there/in here. When I was a kid I was was the one who gathered everyone together to do a magic show, to put on a circus, to act out a movie. I am still like that. I hope the energy at our best practice can start to initiate a new reality.


(john davis) #22

Jorge Ferrer, a theorist that Marco has already mentioned, as another conversation that could be a focus of our attention. He discusses the status of entities and energies. I imagine that my obsession with modeling subjective structure has a lot in common with this kind of exploration. I would welcome a future Cafe that delved into Participatory Turn. Can we bridge the gap between our concepts and our percepts?


(Douglas Duff) #23

This same idea applies to the El Salvadorian mother, illiterate, whose smile emits a deep understanding. Or the child who “teaches” the elder…or perhaps reintroduces the elder to what was once known. The list goes on…!

Great! Let us go on a treasure hunt for such alternatives…perhaps we already are, though as @johnnydavis54 notes, there is a divide between reflecting upon alternative modernities and reflecting upon the Modern. Perhaps we can read a section of Ever Present Origin to allow less knowledgable folk such as myself a better understanding of Modern era Aesthetics? I don’t mind brushing up on Wallace Stevens and friends (is Jim Morrison included too?! count me in!).

Interesting fella. He also includes education into the mix so wondering if his educational models/writings includes the spiritual/weird, including entities. I am also interested in the sacred spaces that allow for an “access” to the entities.


Future Cafe:

Also wanted to note that @Geoffrey_Edwards has agreed to introduce his paper Subversive Pedagogy: The Intruder in a future Cafe on December 4th, a follow-up to our 10/30 Cafe:

I know others had mentioned a strong interest in the general topic (@MarcoM, @hfester, @DurwinFoster, @care_save , @KPr2204) who may not be a part of this current thread. More to come!


(john davis) #24

My question for you, Doug, and for all of us, is how do we do this? What is the sequence of steps that are needed to make even a small bit of any of this to actually manifest in a two hour Cafe for next week? How , for example, do we chunk down our wish lists and act upon our current knowings? Chunk down and chunk slow and find a sequence. Sort of like the Crow that cracked the nut.

From where I am sitting we have 4 days until the next Cafe. Doing a chapter from Gebser is not easy to do. Does everyone have a copy? Are enough people interested? This kind of organization is hard to do online with people running around all day and not picking up their messages until a week from now. How do we know if anyone is getting the message?

The Jorge video is easy to watch and can be easily absorbed and others have already expressed an interest. This could be an appetizer for a more detailed dive into his writing at a later date. Jorge mentions John Heron, another integral thinker, we may do at another Cafe.

My concern is the curtain is going up and no one has a clue what their lines are or what the skit is even about. Spontaneity requires structure. I recognize some people have other things to do.

So whatever we do we should probably find a balance between long term dreams and short term actual occasions. I think the Cafe will get dull if we don’t plan a little bit ahead. So far we have been stimulating. I hope we can continue to keep it lively. Anyone who takes an interest in such planning has my support.


(Douglas Duff) #25

Pardon any confusion John and anyone else reading this. The “Educational Edwards” Cafe [12/3] will be three Cafes into the future. I understand that not all the individuals mentioned will be up to speed on recent Cafes nor did I intend for others to throw in their two cents about nor necessary read into our pulsating thread here regarding alternate modernities, entities and Jorge Ferrer.

This was my attempt at planning ahead. I am fine with what arises for next week [11/20] and I like our conversation’s direction. Thank you for asking for more clarity (definitely one area I personally am working on). As for the chapter on Gebser: perhaps it would be prudent to utilize our experts on the subject as you did with Marco last Cafe and his knowledge of Vision Logic.


(Marco V Morelli) #26

I am eager to talk about ‘the modern’ and alternate modernities, although the word ‘modern’ is kind of a blob—we could massage it in many different ways. We could also subvert it. I read a book last year by Bruno Latour called We Have Never Been Modern, which argues that the superior attitudes of self-ascribed modernity (such as culture distinct from nature, or discourse distinct from society) are a kind of illusion or self-deception—we have always been hybrid-beings in hybrid-worlds, says Latour.

The modern works by a logic/praxis of purification (a proliferation of entities—natural, social, objective, etc.), entailing a logic/praxis of mediation (between these hyper-distinguished entities). Latour argues that the work of purification always already secretly involves the work of mediation and vice versa. He is not a deconstructing, but rather showing suppressed interconnections. He provides some schematic diagrams to illustrate the architecture of his argument, which at first I found to be somewhat complex (it took me forever to get through the book, even though it’s very short) but then simple when (I think) I got it. On the whole, I didn’t find his conceptual narrative all too relevant to matters of my personal concern. But I did really enjoy his critique of Heidegger, which I feel offers, in a cracked nutshell, a stinging (yet liberating) rebuke:

Who has forgotten Being? No one, no one ever has, otherwise Nature would be truly available as a pure ‘stock’. Look around you: scientific objects are circulating simultaneously as subjects objects and discourse. Networks are full of Being. As for machines, they are laden with subjects and collectives. How could a being lose its difference, its incompleteness, its mark, its trace of Being. This is never in anyone’s power; otherwise we should have to imagine that we have truly been modern, we should be taken in by the upper half of the modern Constitution.

Has someone, however, actually forgotten Being? Yes: anyone who really thinks that Being has really been forgotten. As Lévi-Strauss says, ‘the barbarian is first and foremost the man who believes in barbarism.’ (Lévi-Strauss, [1952] 1987, p.12). Those who have failed to undertake empirical studies of sciences, technologies, law, politics, economics, religion or fiction have lost the traces of Being that are distributed everywhere among beings. If, scorning empiricism, you opt out of the exact sciences, then the human sciences, then traditional philosophy, then the sciences of language, and you hunker down in your forest—then you will indeed feel a tragic loss. But what is missing is you yourself, not the world! Heidegger’s epigones have converted that glaring weakness into a strength. ‘We don’t know anything empirical, but that doesn’t matter, since your world is empty of Being. We are keeping the little flame of Being safe from everything, and you, who have all the rest, have nothing.’ On the contrary: we have everything, since we have Being, and beings, and we have never lost track of the difference between Being and beings. We are carrying out the impossible project undertaken by Heidegger, who believed what the modern Constitution said about itself without understanding that what is at issue there is only half of a larger mechanism which has never abandoned the old anthropological matrix. No one can forget being, since there has never been a modern world, or, by the same token, metaphysics. We have always remained pre-Socratic, pre-Cartesian, pre-Kantian, pre-Nietzschean. No radical revolution can separate us from these pasts, so there is no need for reactionary counter-revolutions to lead us back to what has never been abandoned. Yes, Heraclitus is a surer guide than Heidegger. Einai gar kai entautha theous.’

B. Latour, We have never been modern, p. 66-67


Perhaps, in our own logic/praxis, we can develop a topic as an independent thread before scheduling a Café on that topic. That way anyone who is interested in the theme has time to read, research, flesh out some of the intricacies and folds, mull it over, interact and metabolize. The topic itself can mutate, soaking in the subliminal, until it’s ready to bubble up as a public event. Then we put it on the calendar…making sure everyone who would be interested knows when it’s coming up, etc. I’m sure we could better coordinate the cracking of this nut; I think it would mean giving ourselves enough (but not too much) time to practice with the ideas before performing them live.

I would love to dig into my modern library to find nuggets for improvisation and pastiche. For example, this weekend I think I am going to read the entirety of that Wallace poem. I may also dip back into Borges. I’ve learned a lot from @brian.george51 as well about modern writers and artists; and I’m reading some of his work too. I would add his piece on Girogio de Chirico into the mix.

We could also ask about ‘modernity’ in the light of concepts of time and history. This essay was shared with me by @sphuratti, who planted to seed of ‘alternate modernities’ in my mind:

Time-and-History_Reinhart-Koselleck.pdf (3.1 MB)

(Ben has been researching alt-modernities in Indian thought.)

Just one last thought: If we’ve never been modern, then we’ve never post-modern, or integral for that matter. Or perhaps, we’ve always been all of the above in some emergent admixture. There could be much to explore here as we tease apart (purify and mediate) these various epochs of consciousness and time, and their artistic productions. I will soon share some tools we could use to help organize our own productions across space and time.


(john davis) #27

I will be fine with it, too, if I knew what the topic was. I am just asking for a decision so that those of us who are interested can arrange their time to make the most of the opportunity. I like to have time to study a topic. I wonder how these group decisions get made without a clear hierarchy? I know, Doug, how inclusive you are. Could we just get an algorithm to do this for us?

Great. I am made aware today in my random reading that speech is a technique. Writing is a technology. A hammer, perhaps, is a tool? But not to a dog. Maybe we can clear this terminology up at the next meet up? And if we have never been modern or post modern we would never have heard of Bruno Latour! I think it would be best for the group to have a pastiche. If everyone chimed in and did a brief presentation it would not become so labor intensive for a few dedicated persons. We are the actors and the audience. Bring your own costume, have a brief warm up and get ready to juggle.


(Marco V Morelli) #28

I am happy to go this route for Tuesday and will bring something to share, potluck style.


(LaughingCryingDancing) #29

Pot Luck Excellent,I can bring some leftovers from my days watching Gung- Fu,StarTrack,& I Love Lucy(LucY!!!),almost forgot Secret Agent Man.Let’s begin with a Group Hug Dudes,Ha-Ha,He-He.Peace & Care Be With Each & EveryOne!


(john davis) #30

My suggestion has been that we should start organizing the end of each Cafe. I realize some are less proactive and dont care. I am very, very proactive and if I have nothing to do ( physical, active, read, speak, draw a picture, watch a movie, prepare a skit) I am bored out of my mind. Activity is designed to cultivate expressive rationality. We can think and feel at the same time, and when we fall into drama triangles, we can become skillful at liberating ourselves from drama triangles.

As I mentioned in the last episode ( an episode, for me, is like a unit of structured participatory public time) needs to be set up properly and a sense of drama is required or the audience will switch channels pretty quick. You need to grab the attention at the beginging. In the first five minutes or the audience will give up on you. This is true of a public lecture as well. You also need a dramatic finish in which you sum up and direct attention to what might happen next time, in the next episode. This creates momentum. This is old fashioned dramaturgy. There is no need to re-invent the wheel with fancy gadgets that distracts the audience’s attention. Give them two hours of articulate communiques from the field and they will want to participate too. Play to the most intelligent person in the audience, not to the most fragmented.

A better philosopher on the Modern than Latour is Bette Davis in her most famous role in All About Eve. In this scene, the great actress, Margo Channing, reflects upon her own behavior, and the nature of the Self. She says the same thing Latour says without the snobbish French over tones.


(Marco V Morelli) #31

Excellent direction, Johnny. We must feed the beast. Want our audiences and want our audiences to want us—but us, not Margo Channing, and if we can’t tell them apart, then how will they?


(john davis) #32

And how do we tell them apart? I think that is a distinctly late modern formulation. And how will we know who the real me is? Perhaps Margo is at the cusp of the post-modern? She is aware of her splits, and she has a sense of distance, can take multiple perspectives, and analyze her predicament with a dry humor. This is what used to be called ‘wit’ which is not the same as’ funny’. I like Latour but his actor network theory is over the top. I would much rather study films of Bette Davis than read Latour. She is more relevant. Maybe we could make this a topic at our Cafe on the Modern?

And if we think we can evade drama triangles we will never evolve anything. We need to notice when it happens in the moment. As we did at the last Cafe. I have much to say about that meta pattern.


(Marco V Morelli) #33

Let’s also consider the drama triangle invoving the crow, the nut, and the cars. I have been thinking about that scenario, as if it were a dream. How to interpret it?

And now talking about audience, another observer, which adds a line or dimension, squares the triangle…

And the nut dropped in the crosswalk, where traffic flows. And an audience…

And a big machine cracking the nut for the clever crow…

In the narrow strip where people cross the great river of metal in motion…


(john davis) #34

Excellent…as if it were a dream…anything else about that dream?

And observer…and where is the observer? And does the observer have a size or shape?

And where abouts is that clever crow?

And what was that crow before it was clever?

And we can pause or practice doing this ‘live’ perhaps with a dream or a reflection or a bit of text we are musing upon.

This is what we are doing in the Social Dreaming group and hope you can visit us this Weds. after the Cafe on Tuesday. We are working on how to consider the audience. Many of my comments are inspired by that preliminary investigation. The audience is sort of like a golem that we bring forward with our imagination. It can certainly gobble you up even though you created it. Borges has much to say about this. Perhaps we can open this up even further in our Cafe?

I rarely trust what people say. I do trust, however, what they dream about. It’s sort of like what happened at the Oracle at Delphi. Prominent politicians traveled to the Oracle to ask about social policy. A high priestess ( it was always a woman) went into a trance and delivered a prophetic statement. It was usually always a variation on Know Thyself.

So the center of Greek Culture happened at the Temple at Delphi. They seemed to remember what we have forgotten. We need to use all of our knowledge and use all of it well.


(john davis) #35

And is there anything else about Secret Agent Man?

And is there a relationship with Secret Agent Man and the Modern?

That could be a fun research project. I hope we can find a balance in this next episode between the 1st person reports ( very, very important) and what is happening in the Cultural? I am fascinated how our personal triumphs and tragedies are influenced by the Cultural aspects, the inner critics, the inner desires, produced by the Culture in us. I hear echoes of the theme song to Secret Agent Man. Imprinted in my brain mind. It was in black and white and had a British dude as the hero. Remember nothing else except a wierd mood.


(LaughingCryingDancing) #38

[Weird Mood]Hell Yes;Growing Up with T.V.,Transistor radios,Civil Rights Movement,Viet Nam,Free Love,Etc. Etc.Etc.The first Book I reminder reading that Affected- me- Viscerally was Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee( I was in the Military 1973). Secret Agent Man (in Great Britain it was called Danger Man)has been a recurring Thread (like a Spider’s thread,ever so fine but strong)weaving a pattern only to be blown in the wind and dissolve,then reappear in a different time, & felt sense like the birth of my children ,love of their mother & many small- big happenings.The relationship with Secret Agent Man(which for me is really Human at this point) & the Modern is one of; R.D.Lang in The Politics of Experience which he focused on:"the Balance between Behavior & Experience…And offers an acute sense of the reality of others(for me not only Humans) as beings in the world as “Intensely Sentient as Ourselves”. This has been the "Weird Thread"that has manifested structure & at the same time given a Felt Sense of “given you a number & taken away your name”…“to everyone he meets stays a stranger” with the present danger “Odds are he won’t live to see tomorrow” .A first person view with a third person turn around - (Feeling Into the Direction of the Wind,Water,Earth & Fire in this Particular Intensely Sentient Being).What If the Darkness is not the Darkness of the Tomb,but the Darkness of the Womb?"Valarie Kaur.Peace & Care Be With All at Cosmos Cafe!


(john davis) #39

A rich and varied landscape. A lot going on here, Michael. Maybe we can weave together the Secret Agent Man, and Bette Davis as Margo Channing, and the Man with the Blue Guitar? And then what happens?

It occurs to me that Bette Davis, in the movie, All About Eve, is a famous actress, playing a famous actress. She is able to take, through a persona, a meta-perspective about herself as artist/woman.

A journalist once said, that when Bette invited new people to her home, who were often awestruck to see her in person, that the first thing she would do, was invite them into her kitchen and make them a sandwich. This ordinary activity normalized her presence, brought her movie image back to the earth so that she could engage in ‘normal conversation.’

The Modern Self, began to individuate. The Post-modern Self, deconstructs itself and its sense of agency, and has now declared the Self to be a delusion?

A delusion to whom? If we have never been Modern, as Latour suggests, we have never had any states or stages, or developmental drives, pushing us, pulling us. Perhaps I misread him but I find in his ANT a rather frozen model of human-machine interaction. I think his model is interesting but needs an update. We are more than verbs, we are also nouns. We can hide and wait. Like the Crow. Or the Secret Agent Man. Or the Cheshire Cat. We can disappear and reappear. To do that we must have some stability somewhere. A psychic being? We are more than just a static box in a flow chart. Maybe we are confusing time with space?

Can we find some motifs, images, icons, that we can take with us as we leap into a new cosmology? A Cat/Human resurrection? Become a companion species?

And the Crow continues to crack his nut. And the Man with the Blue Guitar, sings songs, that change what we truly are and Bette Davis can still be seen, like all the great Goddesses, elegantly smoking her cigarette, in her celluloid glory, on Youtube.


(LaughingCryingDancing) #40

Psyche -Stability?Maybe it’s a Diffuse stability as in developing a Inner Musculature to adapt to the stability of Feet\Walking on the Ground(Earth)state,to one of Floating\Swimming in Liquid(Water)state,to one in Floating\Flying Gaseous (Air)state & Beyond.I get the need for a Vision to respond to changing States\Times;I guess am feeling arising into vision-field type & yet as I allow your words to move in my musculature,there is a willingness to be influenced in a micro-dose manner.A saying my Old Man passed on was “Poco a Poquito” Little by Little we Go a long way…
And this has helped slow my Nervous System 's Defense aspect & Leap into the Para-Sympathetic without Denying the Danger that is in Front of me in the Present.The interesting feeling that arises is the availability if we Open\Leap without the need for certainty of the grasping kind.


(Marco V Morelli) #41

Thanks for this song, @Michael_Stumpf. Thought I’d share it here to go with your lyrics above:

Actually, I agree about Latour’s Actor-Network Theory…In fact, I didn’t find his account very compelling because I thought Integral Theory already formally accounts for both a cosmic and developmental reality, with a clearer model than ANT does; Wilber idea of “integral methodological pluralism” does a much better job of explaining hybrid beings than Latour’s diagrams. I say this not to assert Wilber’s model, but just to say, ANT doesn’t even get to the level of a satisfying mental explanation.

But I understood what he was saying about the modern never really having freed itself of what it regarded as pre-modern features. Reading Latour through Gebser, I would say he finds a way to bring mythic structures back into the discourse with the rational. This is good for science studies, but from an artistic perspective I never really had the problem of rationalism, so his was an interesting read, which you reminded me of, but not necessarily a path I want to go down in our next Café.

I look forward to seeing what we all bring to the occasion.


(john davis) #42

The gun is not responsible for the murder, the human is not responsible for the murder, it is the gun-human collective that is responsible for the murder. What are we to make of the gun-human collective? I think this model really doesn’t work. It’s unnecessarily confusing.