Cosmos Café [11/6] - Developing a Sense of Agency With Invisible Worlds

Speaker View

Gallery View



Cosmos Café [11/6] - Creating a Sense of Agency

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” -Edgar Allen Poe

Haraway and Hitchcock are strange bedfellows as we contemplate how animals and humans affect each other. Can we become a companion species before it is too late? Crayons are recommended.

In your time zone: November 6, 2018 7:00 PM

Reading / Watching / Listening

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Bird
By Wallace Stevens
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Seed Questions

  • How can animals and humans create shared realities?
  • What are the new subjectivities and metaphysics that will emanate from such encounters ?
  • What happens when we come up with something new?
  • How can we reconstruct our sense of agency when communities are physically absent?

Context, Backstory, and Related topics

Agenda items


I trust you will all have a right fine time. I won’t be there as I’m meeting up with a former work colleague and office mate who will happen to be in town and whom I haven’t seen for about five years now.

It’s going to have to be grilled ham hocks and monastery beer instead of stimulating discussion. I hope I survive.


I watched (and enjoyed) the last (11/1/2018) Life Devine chat whence @Geoffreyjen_Edwards mentioned Loren Eiseley, which rang a bell, which sent me to my bookshelf and yes, I’ve read a number of his essays, half a century ago, which are quite good, w/r/t writing as well as thought. Which sent me to the web to look for some and I found this one–pertinent to that discussion as well as this one. Here’s the link:

See y’all Tuesday. gonna miss you @achronon.


Oh yes, this is one of my favourites. I think about it every time I see a squirrel!

1 Like

I watched the speaker’s view version and really prefer that to gallery view. The faces are better represented. The face let’s us know what is going on with the body. The voice and gestures adds to the complexity of the person. This is totally lost in the gallery view, which feels very panopticon to me. So I hope we can make this speaker view available. Thanks again for the good ensemble work. Each of us is a supporting actor as well as the star of the show. It is an honor to share energy with each of you and all of you. We are a performance by the territory!


Thanks for your feedback, John. That’s really good to know, and we will work this into the (developing) process for handling recordings. One thought I’ve had is that if, at the beginning of a session, each participant has a moment to be on camera, even if they’re just saying hi or testing their mic, then the viewer is able to see everyone who is in the meeting and there is less need for the gallery view to give the context of who is present in the conversation.

Unfortunately, with Zoom the recordings are one or the other, and we cannot blend recordings—e.g., starting with gallery view, them shifting to speaker view when the conversation gets going. It does duplicate some effort to post both recordings, though very little simply to download and save them both in a shared folder.

Perhaps we make it the default to save both, but post the speaker version to Vimeo/YouTube, and make it part of the ritual that those present at the beginning have a chance to register their presence on camera?

I enjoyed how this conversation was structured and facilitated, with the opening dialogue followed by the CL exercise followed by reflections. Making the connections, through these various modalities, between the experience of more-than-human worlds and our intutions of our ‘best’ energy, really opened up the sense of agency for me in a way beyond its mental-individualistic framing. Thanks again!


Thanks for your observations, Marco. I really enjoy how good structure creates good process which creates better structure. When we support the best in each other ( which is very different from trying to be the best,) a kind of magic starts to unfold. This is very different from the competitiveness and strife that we see on Facebook. Humor and sober tenderness are on display on our calls and this is in alignment with our mission. The health benefits of such honest communications are huge, the destruction of poor communication is very damaging. I think the CL works as we go back to basics and work with sensory motor and affective zones, rather than overindulging the cognitive. It can get really lonely way up there. Bringing energy down and all around and through and then up again we have a better sense of self and agency! This is the way we learned, as children, from concrete to abstract. If we stay in abstract land, as adults juggling more and more disconnects, we may be able to go meta ( or even unhealthy dissociation) but is that Integral? Another big topic.


So very true John,reminds me of Paul Simon’s song "No Tenderness Beneath Your Honesty"this moving beyond, it seems feeling into & then Lightening(releasing the reactivity) is a Good Cycle to Engage & I agree this way of Playing Like a Jazz Ensemble.


“We all are already working on it; we just have to become aware that we are.” Davor Loeffler Second Oder Culture

I have been drawing upon Davor’s ideas in our last conversation and so would like to acknowledge him as a very good modeler. Like all modelers,( unlike theorists of everything) he stresses that he is not presenting any established truth. Models are ‘as if’ constructs.öffler_Distributing_Potentiality_2018.pdf

His ideas compliment Jennifer Gidley’s mandala . What I believe I am ( we are) doing differently, is seeking some applications for these conceptual models. If the Post-Formal stays a concept it will not have moved into the Integral structure. We will be talking about Integral ( going meta) without integrating anything. How can we talk from Integral, rather than talk about it in the abstract?

I could offer what I am learning from my own research conducted with many of you here. This is ongoing and not ready for prime time. and that we might focus our shared attention this Tuesday on a review, drawing upon themes and motifs that are already emerged in our conversations, we might find some more current flowing through our cyber space commune. We don’t need outside experts. We can do an in-house review. There is a lot of talent floating around here. I note Doug’s sly mimicry of the white breasted sparrow as an example.

If you can’t draw it, you probably won’t be able to create it.

And when your energy is at our best, what happens next?

I said in the last Cafe that we have conflated Integration with Meta-perspectives.

How would you know Integration? What is the first sign that let’s you know you are integrating?

And does that have a size or a shape?

And what wants to happen? Enhanced pattern detection, please. Some good metaphorical thinking. An action plan? A good recipe for creative research? I am open to learn from others what they want to have happen.

How can we touch the trouble with our minds, without falling into the trouble and getting hopelessly entangled?

Who can tell the Dancer from the Dance? If someone could trace with the magic hand of chance, some theme or motif from this hodgepodge I would be very grateful. Perhaps we can throw together an interesting improvisation at the next Cafe?


Here’s my attempt of a Motif of this Hodgepodge, John.We’re Explorers,Pioneers or Maybe Young-Ones who have traveled a certain distance from the Ever-Present-Origin & within all These Types there’s an Deep Inner Yearning to bring forth a Buried Spark-Ember of Honoring the Sacredness of Fire before we Move Forward & Learn to Use the Senses,Imagination & Felt Heat as a Warming & the Very Expression"Ever-Present-Origin",so as to Truly Participate-Co Dance,Dance,Play,Play &Just do more Wiggle-Giggling!My attempt at what is the Fire in The Belly!


And can we embody each other’s metaphors?

And what needs to happen to embody each other’s metaphors?

And is what I am doing in my internal world what he is doing in his internal world?

And Michael writes ," Fire in the Belly"

John writes, " current flowing through our cyber space commune…"

Marco writes, " the experience of more-than-human worlds…" and in the call he says," Singing Universe…"

And is there a relationship between fire in the belly and a current flowing and Singing Universe?

And when a commune where abouts is that commune?

Well I feel the commune most when I recall pictures that were shared…

What kind of feel?

It is a warm feel, flowing, a visceral sense…as I imagine the commune connected at the belly with a stream of light…that flows downward into the earth’s core…and that feels very grounded…very stable…so that more than human can be experienced without distortion…we can stay clear…with our communiques between fields and the relational space we are exploring…and hearing a sound of soft singing…sometimes explosive…sometimes choral music…sometimes soft jazz…never too much…just the right volume…in the background…sometimes subtle like white noise…ambient music…ethereal…surrounding us…so that the energy flows through the collective mind(s) collective ( bodies) …in many dimensions… an aura just above our heads…touching each forehead and crown…like the stroke of a feather… there is a great deal we cant see that we can sense…a kind of mimicry happens…as Doug does with the sparrow…and the Wind…and Mark makes a leap across the river…and the Crow cracks a nut…and the flock flies as unit across great distances…

And when our energy is at our best…how do we consider the audience…listening and watching who are not at the Cafe?

And what do ‘they’ need to know about 'us"?

And is there a relationship between ‘they’ and ‘we’?

And what kind of they?

And what kind of we?

And is there anything Marco, Michael, that you are noticing about our communications that I haven’t asked you about?

And when our energy is at our best, how are we considering the audience?

And how when we consider the audience can we create coherence?

And is there a relationship between any of my questions and what might happen tomorrow at the Cafe?


This question is a Koan for as I engage the audience of follow participants on the Cafe’ ,each time I place myself in the unknown space of a dual focus of Caring what your experinces-perspectives will affect-create & being vulnerable enough to share-express the same in return, being in a raised awareness that activates the energy within.The audience beyond the one in front of me is one that is outside my reach in terms of direct engagement,I have come to trust the engagement we perform & be receptive to reviews from the audience beyond this one.Maybe it’s a Plant it & it will grow weeds & All.I am on Fire with the Play.


Thanks, Michael, for your attention and your intention. There is much that you have offered and I hope we can make something happen tomorrow at the Cafe or on Weds. at our Social Dreaming group to share our best energies.


That essay by Davor Löeffler looks super interesting and worth a dive in. It feels like it has more of a materialist edge, which might complement the ascending idealist currents of other recent reading. I also like the typography and aesthetics of the document, and am curious about its provenance. I have not yet read it, but perhaps we could put it on the menu for a future week?

I’ve also gotten in, through interlibrary loan, Jorge Ferrer’s newish volume, Participation and the Mystery, and was suprised to see my name referenced in the introdution (via his critique of Integral Life Practice). I was recommended to his work by the dialogue around the previous week’s café on postformal pedgagogies, and listened to the talk he did with Erik Davis, which @hfester shared. I already feel pretty sympathetic with his ideas, including his critiques, so it would be interesting to engage his actual texts more deeply.

I think we’ve cleary seen the limitations of the mental integral approach. The maps are useful because they provide us with some anchoring in the infinite—it is possible to organize experience through a mental ordering of ideas, insights, and methods. This provides some sense of health, safety, and sanity for a while. But the incursions of the monstrous / divine / infinite continue—and we need deeper ways to embody the immense and subtle energies that move through us. For me, it is more of an artistic process than it is one of grasping an ever-more complex cognitive map.

However, maps are useful and can also be pretty and fun; and they help us imagine the places we might go. And if we DID have map of a future integral world, would it tell us how to get there? How would we determine or divine the directions? A flock of migrating birds might attune to the earth’s magentic fields as they navigate to a precise mating spot thousands of miles away. How will we find our own way through these vast world structures?

I wish we could pick up again on an impulse @KPr2204 shared in this exchange with @achronon:

from: Mindful Sex and Human Development [CCafe 7/3] - #59 by KPr2204

I feel this sense of urgency and also a sense of overwhelm, knowing how much needs to be done (or undone), and I’m also appreciating the amazing beauty of the journey. I don’t know what happens tomorrow, but I’ll be glad to join y’all to find out.


And, once again, even though I missed last week: if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I should be stopping by for a look-see as to whatya all are up to.


It’s a terrific paper and it does have a materialist slant. He is not, however, reductive in his approach and stresses the need for new subjectivies and metaphysics to make the transition to a post-money world. He also has a tantalizing shift away from post modern chaos to creating a new kind of order that is not bound to Capitalism. In a sense he is bringing back the idea of a Telos, a logic of becoming. We can make a reading happen in the near future. I would be glad to lead a Cafe.


This is a GREAT cartographical tool for mapping out the direction of Integral Consciousness as it applies to politics, spirituality and human values!

It is a short and sweet read with many highlight-worthy considerations. I thought I’d share.

Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution How The Integral Worldview Is Transforming Politics Culture And Spirituality.pdf (160 KB)


Interesting little read … but my inner curmudgeon tells me that the idea “That the integral worldview will become the central focus of an integral political agenda as it emerges throughout the 21st Century” will first get its chance when the currently dominant neoliberal-authoritarianism implodes, and my guess is there is going to be a helluva lot of clean-up necessary before the integral ball gets rolling.


Ed? What is it going to take to convince you that we already ARE in the Integral Stage of history? With both feet firmly planted into the terrain.


Katina, I feel that your point is surely a good one,I also see Ed’s is also a
Feet on the Ground too.By this I mean from doing my best to acknowledge that the Planet & all Life forms & non-Life forms are living in what is described as an Integral Arising is not fully being ingested by a large number of Human Beings,in fact I’ve just been within this new Terrain for only the last 15 yrs & I am surrounded by those who are not in a low anxiety state to consider my Excitement for this New Way of living.I very much feel/think alongside both U & Ed.In my Humble View & Experience what is Important is to allow each of Us to learn to Crawl,Stand,Walk Run & Possibly Fly .It seems some of us need to get in touch with early ways of learning first.Ed’s comment reminds me of Davy Crockett,not everyone is ready to live in a foreign terrain,we need to find Guides & make Friends with those who have went before Us.Here at the Cosmos Cafe’ I find many Friends like You & Ed to Road Test my level/levels of understanding/s in a Mutual,Open,Robust & Awkward ways.Does this Feel & Gather/Weave together any sense?One question Marco has posed is Being able to speak From Integral & not just About Integral,this is a Koan I take Very Seriously, and Yet I also need to Feel into the Humor of My wanting to become Atlas &Carry the World on my Shoulders.I am done with That ,I raised two Beautiful Children (Adult Human Beings),Free at Last,Free at Last,which doesn’t Mean My Heart is not Still Affected when They or The World Cries from Growing Pains.WOW that Felt Good!