Cosmos Café [11/20/18] We Have Never Been Modern, We Have Always Been Integral: Amusing Musings Using "Singing"

Temporary video link: GMT20181120-185748_Cosmos-Caf_1280x720.mp4 - Google Drive

Woman With a Crow - Picasso (1904) Courtesy of

sing (v.)

Old English singan “to chant, sing, celebrate, or tell in song,” also used of birds (class III strong verb; past tense sang, past participle sungen), from Proto-Germanic *sengwan (source also of Old Saxon singan, Old Frisian sionga, Middle Dutch singhen, Dutch zingen, Old High German singan, German singen, Gothic siggwan, Old Norse syngva, Swedish sjunga), from PIE root *sengwh- “to sing, make an incantation.”

Join the Café Crew during this zoom “call”
To twitter and chirp, chatter and caw

Bring your own cosmic song,
Feel free to unleash your pastiche.
Come actor, come stagehand, come along
As agent in secret, undercover with mou-sta-shish.

Our Café chatter:
Tisn’t trivial matter.
Muse’s memory: the crow’s nut-cracker.
Mater, help us
In recollection
Patience, O nymphs
Memory’s sustenance, imagination
Creative’s create.
We must sing.
– d. d.

Agenda items

  • @johnnydavis54 suggests: I think it would be best for the group to have a pastiche. . We are the actors and the audience. Bring your own costume, have a brief warm up and get ready to juggle.

Seed Questions

  • Where would you like to start?
    -What would you like to have happen in this episode?
  • What support do you need from our ensemble?

Context, Backstory, and Related topics

{ :bird: Adds @madrush:




Ladies & Gentleman this is my Three Pebbles,The Limbo Rock

It’s Good to loosen -up the body before U go flying into the shared space of “Cyberness”,then the seat is grounded in some kind of Canoe .Meet U there my SpaceCowboys-Girls


I would like to riff on this famous experiment. Our conscious mind can delete information it is not looking for. This is, perhaps, why so many unusual events aren’t noticed except by those who have a more open focus. Perhaps the logic of the Crow has something to do with having a more open focus?

Epiphany:When my Energy at the Best and CyberSpace

Walking to dinner before Skyping with my Cousin in Ohio when I return.Awareness of the rhythm & energy of my geographical space/place I am walking in and how hers would be different,just by virtue she is somewhere else physically in the U.S. and the World.
This lead to attending to & feeling into my energetic rhythm in the Here & Now before I turned on my computer & entered the Cyber-WorldSpace to enjoy a conversation with her that was not in a shared physical space.
A Heightened Awareness-Attention brought me into direct contact with the physicality of the space in & around me.As I walked noticing ,sun setting,a breeze,overcast clouds,& my feet touching the asphalt through my tennis shoes.
A Wondering entered inside me what each & everyone of my Friends from Cosmos Cafe’ are/were sensing in their particular energy -field of this present moment.
It seems energy is not bound by human thoughts,feelings or sensations ; yet we need to work with our particular Canoe.I am going now to enter Dreamspace-time & travel back in time to enter Cyberspace hopefully in Time to see U’s All on this Magical Two-way screen .This is my bringing a better version from our last encounter.Let Be So


A good description and very suggestive of adjacent possibilities.This is what I am working with, too, Michael, and will try to do a live demonstration of somatic syntax and embodied knowing today at the Cafe. I will need your support.


I will bring my Best energy to the gathering & listen non-defensively so as to support U & the Gang of Rascials ,dissonance seems to be my favorite medium to create from as I 've come to be honest with myself.Let’s have some serious Fun!

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Reflecting upon our little get-together last night – which I very much enjoyed, even if I came across in parts as the proverbial bull in a china cabinet (for which I, once again, ask for indulgence) – it struck me how easily frustrated I get when puzzle pieces don’t mesh as easily as they are supposed to. The stumbling block is the notion of “agency”, obviously.

In my musings today, I realized I really wasn’t getting anywhere, so I’d like to ask my question differently. It’s this: what gain do we have by considering say, natural disasters (since it was the tsunami that washed me away yesterday) to be agents and not simply events that necessarily occur due to the coming together of naturally present and occurring elements and forces of nature? What’s the value-added by considering them agents? How and why might that make the world more comprehensible or our understanding of it clearer? (I could be very well asking the wrong questions, of course, but these are the ones I came up with today.

It struck me that my parenthetical statement in the previous paragraph is probably an example of what Nietzsche was saying, but the fundamental fact of the matter is that anything that is deluged by/dunked into/immersed in the flow of water can be considered “washed”, hence for me it is simply one of those cases where our language is somehow essentially or basically metaphorical. Of course, it is probably very apparent than I’m missing something rather fundamental.

PS, for all of you Stateside: have a wonderful, relaxing, reflective, and yummy Thanksgiving.


I hear you, Ed, and after watching the video I admit that there are a lot of unanswered questions raised in our meet up and look forward to the next round of models in motion. We posed this question of agency in previous calls and I expect we have not heard the end of this. A sense of agency is changing in our complex techno-narcotic age. I expect that as the tech shapes us as we shape the tech, and new kinds of agency will arise. Hayles does a better job than I did of presenting her ideas so I invite us to listen to her here. Maybe we can sort through our thought/feels at the next ‘live’ Cafe.


I thought you did a fine job explaining Hayles. This will have many interpretations…and many questions.

  • this Hayles video took a different turn than that of our conversation, which you presented Johnny the more natural non-conscious cognition (natural disasters). We now have a new term (non-conscious cognition) for the thinking machine that makes more sense than just saying that the machine is thinking. To say that a machine thinks is another language hiccup that others find annoying.

  • Are they agents with processes or processes with agency? Or is she solely saying (like the beginning analogy to computing) that the process as a whole is the agent? I have stated that I do not quite understand this term agency (or havent discovered why it is so important, why the term keeps popping up all over the place), so I am with Ed when he says:

  • what does all this mean for our studies? For your studies John? Where are we going with this?

  • How does the secret/undercover agent come into play (the higher consciousness, the unknown consciousness, the Superconsciosness)…i.e is there (room for) a consciousness in Hayles model that is within the cognitive non-conscious processes? Does she reach out to this aspect of consciousness or leave it to the theologians/religious metaphysicians?

  • Is the dream process and some meditation techniques guided by non-conscious cognition? Is she stating that we as conscious agents need to/would be better off if we tune into these non-conscious cognitions to better understand ourselves?


What is the Modern, Post-Modern, Meta-Modern fuss all about? I think we trip ourselves up with trying to keep too tight a lid on our labels. Alois Reigel, who died in 1905, made some comments about art history that are relevant to our group grope for some clarity on on all of this complexity.
Antiquity ends in 313 AD with Christianity established as State Religion.The Middle Ages ends around 1520 with the rise of the Modern Era.He identified his era as Modern but he makes a clever observation about all of this.

“It needs hardly be stated that the two specified dates may not be held as absolute boundaries. Within each period are sub-periods: the representing the particular world view, the world view at the peak of perfection ( briefest) and the third representing decline and collapse. This final sub period provides as much insight into the subsequent world view as that which it brings to a close. Conversely, no obsolete world view, once overcome, vanishes instantly, from the face of the earth. Although it may not persevere as a deep rooted conviction, it can, thanks to the pressure of tradition, continue to reverberate for centuries in outer forms. These forms play the most important role in the visual arts.” Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts.

These comments shed some light on our current labeling projects and could release us from too tight a grip on what we decide as we are cognitively being bombarded in the Internet Age with tons of material from different periods.

Davor Loeffler, asserts that we are moving rapidly towards a 2nd Order Culture, technological culture, which started in 2010. This, he claims, is not random but is ordered in many ways, as a logic of becoming. He uses the Crow as an example of how logic is widely shared among non humans and the earth was in dynamic change before humans or crows arrived on the scene.

None of this is obvious and so we should expect that as we draw upon many models we will find overlaps, gaps, and dead ends that open up new routes.

When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and checked even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with decay
To change your day of youth to sullied night,
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.
William Shakespeare


You can lead a whore to culture but you cant make her think. This is true of AI. Machines can have impacts but they are not alive. To get confused about this is just plain stupid. There is a big difference in abiotic and biotic systems that the new materialists are trying to figure out. Labeling and dismissing seems to no longer be working for them. Hayles points out how incoherent these new materialism are, when they try to eliminate consciousness. Perhaps AI is not artificial Consciousness, it is pseudo consciousness that mimics certain feature of biotic systems? Off loading our ethical decisions onto abiotic systems is a great danger. Even AI enthusiasts are recognizing this. What ethical demands can we place upon a drone when millions of humans become collateral damage? Drones by the way are much cheaper than atomic bombs.

I can ask you, Doug, what would like to have happen? I would never ask a computer or a glacier that question. That is because I consider you to be an agent and a cognizer and you are biotic. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Hayles has much to say about the digital and the humanities, which are in big trouble, after the deconstructive frenzy of the last few decades. I dont think she has much personal experience with meditation as a practice but she is friendly towards such study. I find her a deep but narrow kind of thinker. Within her expertise I find her account of current trends stimulating but she leaves out some things that I would like to put on the table. Given the rather odd collection of thinkers we have studied( Gebser, Aurobindo, Manning, Sloterjdiik) it is up to us to stay coherent. I have done my best to move us towards a vibrant Second Order Culture, which appears to me to be appearing as possible post-money society. That is what my humble Clean Language experiments are trying to prepare us for. This will not be easy but I imagine that there will always be a few nut jobs who will try. I have not kept this a secret as I would consider it unethical to have hidden agendas. I like open ended agendas shared in a coherent public we space. Sharing a meta-attention is a high level skill. That is a skill , I believe, that we can develop.


The video was very helpful, John, not because it made things absolutely clearer (I still think you did an admirable job of bringing across the complicatedness of her position), but because it helped to arrange some of her notionality more effectively. At bottom, however, the thought I kept having while watching, and which I haven’t been able to shake since is : word games.

Irrespective of our understanding of the notion of “agency” (and what you imply in your last response to Doug is much closer to what I’m thinking generally), machines don’t think, and as far as I’m concerned they don’t cognize either. The process algorithms and that’s that. It’s an insult to the crows to say machines cognize at all, even non-conscious (by which I think she actually means non-aware, or perhaps non-self-aware … or something along those lines) cognition is a mismomer, a misplaced descriptor.

To me: crows (and I’ll stick with them because (1) they are hands-down my favorite birds, (2) every day this week a murder of them has been gleaning the winter-wheat field across the road from our house and which I can see out my study window (today, they were joined by two storks who caused, I daresay, a proper disruption), and (3) they) are conscious and exhibit intelligence and can therefore be rightfully considered “cognizers”, IMNSHO.

Machines (or AI or so-called “smart” devices or what are deemed self-learning robots, etc.) don’t cognize, they process algorithms. What is more, they have been installed with routines (other algorithms) that permit, and even compel, the modification of initial algorithms based on input gathered from their interactions with what is not-their-system. Fair enough. But that is not cognition as I understand, nor want to understand, the term. Using the word “cognition” in that context is a projection of a human agent onto a device. That’s the slippery slope we’ve been sliding down since the 70s when someone was creative enough to analogize the human mind with information-processing-systems (i.e., computers). It’s a cute and effective analogy, but it is a poor descriptor of reality. In the meantime, we’ve turned the analogy into an equation and the original projection has become the only accepted method for examining the mind. Bad choice then, bad choice now, and too many up-and-coming, wanna-be experts start there without having thought much through. Consciousness, even in its most rudimentary forms, I think, involves what the Germans call Eigeninitative (pron. EYE-ghen-in-IT-ee-ah-TEE-vah), or own-initiative. There’s none of that in AI in any form.

What I think Hayles is trying to do is, literally, not go fall into their mode of discourse, but she doesn’t really know how to avoid it. If you force me to speak in your terms, how can I really ever say what I’m trying to express. That’s the difference between academics/scholars and poets, I suppose. Nevertheless, she’s trying to meet “them” on “their terms”, which is not going to work (and which is why I used the word “complicatedness” and not complexity in my first paragraph). For as much as I liked what she was saying, I was totally let down when she went down the “digital humanities” rabbit-hole. What the hell are “digital humanities”? (I always thought “military intelligence” was the epitome of oxymorons, but this one feels to me like it tops MI easily.)

What particularly spoke to me in the clip was the fact that she was willing to break a lance for “meaning”. It was not completely whole-hearted, and I understand that. Three decades of being beat about the head and shoulders by postmodernist meaninglessness has made me think twice about standing up for meaning again, but I find myself on my hind-legs again. I intuit, at any rate, that – in strictly Darwinian terms – meaning has survival value, which I’m not convinced that deconstructionism does. Even Latour admitted as much.

So maybe may question is really: why do we still give this nonsense a day in court? Can’t we just admit our mistakes and move on? Why not as accurately as possible describe phenomena for what they are, recognize the metaphorical impact of language and when the metaphors start getting in the way drop them or exchange them for more effective ones? Why are we still taking these people seriously? (Really, Mr. Metzinger, the self does not exist? The mere fact that I can speak of a “self” brings it into existence (this is the fiat-lux mode of argumentation BTW). Even if it were “merely” an illusion, the illusion exists and we talk about it. I don’t think he’s thought his own notion of reality through … or at least that’s the impression I’m getting. Why do these people even still get air-time?)

So … as the Germans (also) say, long story, short meaning: Hayle’s onto something worth digging into, but she’s being her own worst enemy in the process. I think she needs to start talking about it in her own idiom and we need to engage it so. There are too many word games going on and I think – at least what we’ve been up to here at IC is approaching it in a much more effective way – for all of the shortcomings and setbacks we experience. Let’s sift-and-sort, adapt-and-modify, and expose the eteon. We can just try and figure it out … unless, that is, any of you have academic ambitions … that’s a whole different ballgame.


I read Metzpinger’s book and thought he was all over the place. He’s more a crypto-vitalist than the nihilistic dogmatist he appears to be in public. Bhaskar used to ask these people a simple question. And no self according to whom? O the tangled web we weave…

I am interested in the new unconscious. I find most of the therapy world dominated by the split set up by Freud in his hydraulics metaphor, Id, ego, super ego, arranged in a top down manner. That metaphor is as dead a the mind is computer metaphor. We need new metaphors.

The new unconscious is in easy communication with the conscious-side by side rather than above and below. It always seemed obvious to me that the unconscious has a fluid relationship with the conscious mind ( except in trauma.) It does not have all the answers. The abductive, lateral moves of the expressive rational mind can oscillate from diffuse to highly focused kinds of awareness. This is healthy mental and we need that! Most theory of mind I read is wobbling pretty badly. It makes little sense.

The embodied schema ( body maps) that fall between abstract propositional structure and particular concrete images is a more like a multi sensory whole body response than a vague image that comes to me when I close my eyes. An embodied schema is nothing that can be imagined. It is hard wired in us. It seems that this embodied schema works through the unconscious and the conscious mind can ask questions and get answers. These other kinds of attentional capacities can orchestrate a creative response. The non conscious cognition is fast and can protect the conscious mind, which is much slower, from overwhelm. It is a benevolent kind of partnership. This adds something to the left/right antagonistic dynamic of the Master and his Emissary.

This is very similar to what Steiner was trying to convey in the essay on the Spirit of Language which some of us read in the Cafe that you missed. I have a personal interest as most of my most weird experiences seem to happen in these uncharted areas. Thanks for sharing your attention, Ed, and I am feeling much clearer having almost finished the book. I will let you know if I learn anything interesting. At least, Hayles is easy to follow. I dont find her obtuse or pretentious. She’s a down to earth kind of scholar.


Agreed. This makes much more sense to me. While I realize there are hierarchies all over the place, they are not necessarily everywhere. The side-by-side notion is helpful. I often think of consciousness as a kind of field (and I know, we’re pounding pretty heavily on that one, too) in which points are areas of awareness (for lack of a better word) glow or illuminate, so that you kind of get a pulsating, twinkling, something (if one were to view it from the outside … or maybe from the inside, as I’m not unconvinced there is just one such field and all of us share it).

I’m sorry I missed the Steiner session. I think he has a lot to tell us … not in the excruciating detail like Sri Aurobindo perhaps, but I find him very easy to resonate because he does provide anchor points that I find very helpful, like the notion of subtle bodies. The Etheric Body, for example, gives me a way to comprehend how all the atoms in our physical bodies can change out every seven years but we somehow remain the same developing physical individual. Maybe we can get into him a little more. There’s a whole lot there that I still don’t get.

Perhaps what I react to is everything the materialists, be they new, old, acknowledged or whatever, leave out. If, by their own admission, their assumptions and methods can only account for 95% of the visible universe, you’d think they’d be looking for a broader foundation on which to stand, but they aren’t, and I don’t think they’re going to. That’s why I suppose I just can’t take them seriously. Hayles gets a tip-of-the-hat from me for putting up with them at all, but that’s what makes her a scholar and me a curmudgeon.

Keep us posted on what you’re digging up.


As a kind of field…a pulsating , twinkling, something…

And is there a relationship between the Etheric Body you describe and the Embodied Schema that Cognitive Linguists describe? And could the Non Conscious Cognition ( which integrates sensory inputs with a coherent space-time, that anticipates futures, that integrates chemical and electrical signals, and that can digest an apple if I decide to eat one) could this be something like, what Steiner was talking about when he approached the Spirit of Language?

We need multiple descriptions. We have already discussed how description and interpretation are different but not separate. When I come across a third party’s description ( which violates my values based upon my experience) I question that description. It may not be accurate and it is also an interpretation. Rather than get caught in the battlefield of inferences, we can sift through the facts and the values that people hold and stop getting caught in the drama triangle. Can we turn contempt into curiosity? How do we integrate first person with third person? Why would we want to?

Hayles seems to me a totally sensible person and points out an obvious flaw in Metzinger’s arguments and she does this in a neutral way. She is an academic, it is true, but she is an academic that I trust. She points out the contradictions and is always generous to those new materialists that she disagrees with. And she disagrees with all of them. What I have learned from her is how a seasoned pro enters into the snake pit with the Metzinger and the vituperative Churchlands and maintains her poise as she unweaves their folly. This is not what I do best but I can learn from her patient and rational approach. She has a strong background in physics and chemistry and it shows in her literary theory. She writes a great deal about sci fi and the wierd. She has a foot in both camps.

So I propose in the brief time between now and the next Cafe that we think about the interface between the Etheric/Subtle body, the Virtual body and the Physical Body. I wish Doug ( or anyone else) would help us organize this adjacent possibility. We could, as we did last time, do a search for something relevant and present a model or theory or story that will galvanize attention. Then we can take that as a dynamic reference point and start to emanate from there and appreciate the field effects.

Without someone to center in the field of all possibilities and ask some interesting questions, the status quo and the prejudices of what we already know will dominate us. I am very interested in the lawlessness and the anarchy of our fields resonating in several registers, and develop an ecology of attention.

In a Clean Interview that I conducted with Marco and Michael earlier this week we discuss the relationships between Virtual, Subtle and Physical space-time. We are in the midst of the emergence of a Transindvidual. a coherent We that comes through the ‘I’. I believe ‘we’ are making a paradox explicit. I am curious if others resonate with this research question? Can some feeling get carried across? Can we learn about ourselves from another level of our Being?


John,this expression of direction,possibility,multi-dimensional wholeness with a aesthetic ratio-nal(ratio) of the Zen Koan -Many/One, very much touches a Felt Sense within the Wholeness named Michael.Looking forward to the engagement with my Fellow Cosmos Rascals!


The material’s explorations (Metzinger, Sam Harris come to mind) I find interesting, to a point. Hayles and kin, who find the ability to enter into the “other’s” sandbox for a bit to see what ideas might be used for a broader compilation of perspectival inferences, have the one up on approaching a reality that fits no labelling , a reality that includes others without stepping on toes or demolishing the sand structure.

Personally, I have reached a new perspective beyond what someone like Harris can provide. Yes, he has the influence on others, a way with words and argumentation that makes his reality fit with many others’ realities…but he is as narrow minded as ever; he is going in a direction that will only reach a dead-end. Recently he has developed a line of coffee mugs/clothing that sport the phrase “I think, therefore I Sam.” His hundreds of thousands of followers, along with the other “thinkers” Have a one track mind: to prove that they are above the left/right, he said/she said, liberal/conservative POVs. This tunnel vision continues in the direction that started all this mess in the first place…I am right and you are not quite there yet; my world view is all inclusive and yours really needs to wake up to this reality that I have formed; if we all think like Sam, then the world’s issues would die down and we could finally rest in a happy place of talking about what is so true to me. Sure it might be worth following along with the stories they form as a reminder that they are smart enough to think pretty deep ideas not yet thought, yet surely as a reminder that they are perpetuating sermons to the choirs. I hope that we do not do the same!

This is great to hear! In the past, I have said the same thing about my undercover explorations of the materialists/pop-philosophers. I hope you and others can perform better than I had previously as to why I wish everyone to be included, even the worst of them, to demonstrate a full-bodied approach as an alternative to the status-quo. Something I am always working on is approaching a criticism that removes the harsh overtones yet has something to say. I will miss out on the next Cafe, but I am sure the lot of you will find something to say!


Doug, this is really an on going practice of mine for the last 15 yrs also.Some Inner changes in my Defense Organization in terms of That Line of Inner & Outer has went through many a Re-configurations.Number One is the DO(Defense Organization) is about “Caring” about what happens to it’s ongoing living Presence.#2 this Do is embedded in several Rippling Circles of Care.# 3 this DO experiences Interference Patterns with good & bad results with many different degrees of Intensity.# 4 there is a Self-Correcting impulse,which needs some attentional/intentional Pratice(Meditation,Art,Reading,& Others that have come down the River of Evolution).Here’s some applications that I have done my best to skillfully use,#1 not to lose the Impulse to Care( without splitting it into a Self/Other default) so as to be able to listen into the Response/Reaction needed for the situation(which includes difference yet not separate Attention-Awareness)#2 This helps the DO maintain Care without defaulting into Control mode,this might be a expression of Ed’s use of Discernment.#3 In simple terms it has Felt-Meant appreciating DO’s Deep Evolutionary beginnings & Learning that Care/Control is a Binary that needs to be accepted yet not given so much Power over Our Imagination.When I stopped being Hijacked by the Control default of what is happening in the moment by Others Actions,Thinking,Feelings about me plus Life in general & Embraced the Care Impulse a New Larger Circle of Care Breathed within this Rascal of Life.I Hope this lands alongside Your above POV. Tis’ The Season to Feel the Light Hidden Within & Share!


So apparently there is a huge debate/conflict/struggle w/r/t natural disasters and what caused what? And “who are we?” And what ought we/I do next? Of course, I have an opinion/theory–not of which is mainstream.
Just saying … How open is this forum?


Well Mark it seems that I for One think-feel there is a lot of openness going on & there’s many streams interacting together with your stream;when one is in the stream of whatever stream,it seems to me it’s about swimming & please let the water be refreshing & not turn into rapids, I don’t float to easy,although maybe I can slant for some dry land.I did like the Joe Rogan You Tube It felt like a Robust Exchange!!!