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

(Ed Mahood) #21

Hmmm … evidence rather than assertions, perhaps … while fully recognizing that absence of evidence is certainly not evidence of absence. I’m – once again – apparently overlooking something that is patently obvious. I would certainly welcome someone – anyone – pointing it out to me.

(Ed Mahood) #22

Since @KPr2204 (Katina) responded to me in support of your statement, I thought it would be best to respond to your post (though none of this is directed at you). Besides, she asked me a different question, to which I responded as best I could. But, truth be told, I’ve been mulling over this ever since this little back-and-forth appeared here in the thread, and I want to try (and it will be nothing more than an attempt) to make clear(er) why I’m having such a difficult time accepting that “the integral is here and we have our feet firmly planted in the terrain”.

Oddly enough, in my musings, I was reminded of a story: about 2,000 years ago (not once upon a time), there was a camel-hair-wearing “outsider” wandering through a particular wilderness in the Near East proclaiming, “Repent, repent, the Kingdom of G-d is at hand!” (Well, OK, he said it most likely in Aramaic, and the only recording we have of it is in Greek, and that’s sort of what he said. The King James translators (among others) thought “repent” was a good English word to use. Martin Luther thought (translated from German into English, of course) “turn around” better encapsulated what he was crying. The actual Greek word involved is metanoiete which literally means something more along the lines of “change your mind” or “change the way you think”, and maybe that’s something we’ll return to later. My focus at the moment is the latter part of his proclamation, namely “the Kingdom of G-d is at hand” part. (Here, too, what he actually said was – translated literally from the Greek – “kingdom of heaven”, but as his cousin later picked up the theme we’ll stick with the KoG notion at the moment, because that is more than likely what he meant.)

Having something “at hand” means that whatever it is that’s being talked about is “there”, and not just there, but close enough that you could just grab it. It could be that the murderer had a gun at hand, or a knife, or a cudgel, or the lead pipe in the library, but whatever it is, it is there. Later on in the story, as I said, his cousin, a young man named Yeshua (or maybe Joshua, it doesn’t matter … we generally know him by his Greek name, Jesus) was out and about stirring up trouble for the Jewish establishment and the Roman authorities by maintaining the same claim: the Kingdom of G-d is at hand. In fact, he is said (per one of his “biographers”, Luke) to have gone so far as to say that he said, “The Kingdom of G-d is within you.” Now, if you ask me, you can’t get more “here” than that. If the Kingdom of G-d is within me, then it is not a great leap for me to say that my feet are firmly planted in that terrain.

Unfortunately (for me, of course), I’ve always had a bit of a problem with that – even before I became the curmudgeon you all have come to know. The other stories about Yeshua often make reference to that particular Kingdom and what it is like. And, Yeshua himself did not tire of telling parables of what that Kingdom entailed and how one could recognize it and more. But I asked myself, “If it’s as close as ‘here, within me’, why are all these explanations needed?” and “If it’s that obvious what it is, why doesn’t everybody else see it?” and, most disturbingly, “If the Kingdom of G-d is actually ‘here’, why do we see so little evidence of it?”

Now, I don’t doubt for a minute that the Kingdom of G-d (or Nirvana or Heaven or Paradise or <fill-in-the-blank> is here, but how many of us even think it is, let alone recognize it, or believe that’s true? In other words, when I look at the world as it was being described then, I see damn little evidence of a Kingdom of G-d anywhere. And when I think about “the integral” (whatever that might be … and there are any number of ideas about that), I ask myself, where is that evident? There are a couple of scenes in the Gospels where Yeshua tells people “you are very near to the Kingdom of G-d” and such, but for all intents and purposes … and let’s be honest … Palestine 2,000 years ago was one of the most brutal, violent, and bloody places on the whole planet. So what’s so Kingdom-of-G-d-like about that?

It was there, but it wasn’t. It was probably there, but so what? Was it making a difference in the lives of the people who had to live in that hell?

Well, we don’t live in (that) hell anymore, but I still haven’t seen a lot of evidence for the Kingdom of G-d being “here”. I’ve got 2,000 years of church history as evidence that it’s not. Oh, sure, here and there someone “got it” and even lived it and some of them we even remember, but most of them we don’t. And the person who maintains that we’ve come a long way from the death and destruction of the Roman Empire has apparently been living in communicado with the world for as long as they’ve lived. I’m not getting down on Christianity for not living up to its own standards; there’s not a religion on the face of the earth that can, or does, measure up to their own. But if it isn’t obvious to “the least among you”, then I don’t think it’s obvious at all.

And that’s how I feel about “the integral”. Sure, it’s “here” (and I would maintain, at least from what I’ve read, that the “integral” and the Kingdom of G-d have one helluva lot in common), but so what? You can’t tell by looking out into the world … at least not the one I live in. But maybe you’ve got a whole different Facebook feed than I do.

Now, there are some who would maintain that yes, it’s not generally here, but it is potentially here, and all that is necessary for even curmudgeons like me to see it is that we reach some kind of “critical mass”. But I ask you: just how many out of 7+ billion is needed for that critical mass? Are we close? If you think so, how do you know?

Though I know there are many who would disagree, but at bottom, I’m a pretty simple guy. What anyone says really doesn’t matter all that much to me. What someone thinks is sometimes in certain circumstances of marginal interest to me. What someone believes is absolutely irrelevant. But what someone does, how they act, how they thereby affect the world of which I am a part … well, that’s really all that counts.

Yes. I’m pretty sure that this particular example came to mind because we’re all busy preparing for the Kingdom-of-G-d-guy’s birthday. We all like to think we’re trying to live up to his standards or be like him or say the right magic formula to not have to go to hell or whatever, but when you get right down to it, I’m still baffled about what it is we’re actually celebrating. And that’s a lot more down to earth than whether we’re “integral”.

Peace be with you all.

(Katina Press) #23

"And, Yeshua himself did not tire of telling parables of what that Kingdom entailed and how one could recognize it and more. But I asked myself, “If it’s as close as ‘here, within me’, why are all these explanations needed?” and “If it’s that obvious what it is, why doesn’t everybody else see it?” and, most disturbingly, “If the Kingdom of G-d is actually ‘here’, why do we see so little evidence of it?”

Ed, you sure know how to stir a she-bear out of hibernation, don’t you?!? (I’m actually at work right now and your email caused me quite a distraction!) Tis’ EXACTLY why I love you guys so much!

Firstly, I LOVE your stream-of-consciousness intimations in your email. Very honest and reflective. The parables Christ told were “coded” and signifying revelation about the KoG ONLY to those whom “had ears to hear”, remember?

Also, Paul goes on later in his epistles to the churches (in particular, Corinth) to “drive the point home” about the KoG being within you. Paul repeatedly shoves this mystery in our faces in almost 10 other places throughout the NT in his letters to the churches in Rome, Colossae, Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, etc.)

"Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” (II Corinthians 3: 15).

In saying, “Jesus Christ is in you,” Paul wasn’t speaking poetically or metaphorically. He truly meant that Jesus Christ is literally, practically dwelling within the believers. Many other verses in the Word of God confirm the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ actually dwells in His believers.

We too, like the Corinthians, need to realize this fact about ourselves. Christ is not merely outside of us, a Helper in our time of need, but He dwells in us, living in and with us all the time.

Hence it is YOUR responsibility to harness this indwelling grace, power and imputed righteousness of Christ as the transformative agent of YOUR will and reveal the KoG to others in your interactions and expressions of genuine Christ-like love “as it is applied” to YOUR personality and identity as Ed, RATHER THAN expecting the KoG to come to (again…because the KoG has already, not only “COME TO” YOU via the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ but “COME INTO” YOU via the Holy Spirit imputing Christ’s nature and righteousness into YOUR very own soul and spirit).

(Katina Press) #24

When I became a disciple of Christ, I was first taught to STOP looking externally for evidence of good and evil and its final reconciliation. Though I do believe that the KoG is a place and that Heaven and Hell are both cosmic, eternal PLACES and STATES of mind, body (in a different form) and spirit.

It is my INTERIOR life which determines my AFTER life.

YET, Ed, I do not look to this “Cabin in the Sky” above or “Lake of Fire” below to determine my state of eternal after life comfort or discomfort. I start by looking to THIS life as a “map” for my eternity which will determine not only the place, but also, the type of people, emotional states, and mindset I can look forward to AFTER, yet based upon, how I prepare my Spirit in THIS life.

J. P. Sartre was right, despite his efforts to make a sacrilege of the faith, in his dramatic expression of the afterlife in his play “No Exit”, in his sharp usage of “Characterization” RATHER THAN “Setting” to thematically declare that “HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE”.

Indeed, so! This is especially true if the KoG is within US! As an individual soul, I have the responsibility of imparting the experience of Hell or Heaven in every one of my encounters with OTHER PEOPLE. Make sense?

(Katina Press) #25

As for the “Integral”…

…The fact that the Integral is even a topic of conversation and an object/subject of our collective (though limited in number) awareness is <POOF!> “PROOF” that it is here!

I. e., Individual Self-Consciousness of [the evolution of] human consciousness is an Integral mindset. No?

Welcome to the Integral World, Lover Boy! :wink:

(Ed Mahood) #26

That is a topic of conversation is clear. That it is an object over our collected (regardless of how limited in number) awareness is not, and that was really the point I was trying to make (but obviously failed miserably at). We are now back to the evidence that I’m still waiting for. There are some who claim to be integral, but what that means, what the notion “integral” actually means (for it is obviously not a unified understanding) is also a topic of our conversations so what is it specifically that is being “proven”? I’m not convinced we all know what it means, so claiming that whatever-that-may-be is already “here” sounds a bit to me like whistling in the graveyard. Yet, it could also be that we are striving toward a more encompassing, a kind of this-as-well-as-that sense of the term. I’m fine with that. But …

While I don’t doubt that there may be some number of individuals on the planet who are considered by many others to be denizens of the KoG (though it is also unclear to me what that is precisely … and with all due respect, your particular interpretation of the notion is just that: your particular interpretation – there are others to be sure (though that is not an invitation to open up a discussion of what the notion of the KoG potentially means, or may possibly mean, or “actually” means … well, at least not a discussion that I would be participating in), so what? If you read my post a little more closely, you will notice that there were two issues addressed: the “hereness”, which is, perhaps, understood to a certain degree (see above), but there is also the “feet-firmly planted therein” issue which was really the focus of my post.

If the integral were truly here AND if we had our feet firmly planted in it, the world would look and be a different place than it is. By the same token, if the KoG were truly here AND if so-called Christians had their feet firmly planted in it, the world would look and be a different place than it is too. I’m still missing the evidence that either is “here” in that sense.

(LaughingCryingDancing) #27

Well said Ed!,to let U know I am always Affected by words of others that Challenge my Provisional Operating Metaphors,this probably comes from a ongoing process of bringing my defenses into a more Whole-Hearted alignment with the rest of the organs keeping me Alive!What this has" Put in My Hands’ is a way to dance,wrestle,walk & maybe float with Defensive States that arise through conditioning,also just because shit happens & come to appreciate my Ego Defenses may have wisdom I need to listen deeply to so as to collaborate with Heart & Head.Ed I’ve always found your feet & hands on the earth, great of interest;the thing is Ed for this Rascal of Mother- Earth-Heart(Gender Intentional Guy & Gals),Humans have taken up the challenge to not only Walk on land but swim,boat,& dive into oceans,Fly in the air( in many ways) & Finally not least, Propel themselves off & away from Mother Earth into The Void .All this is to express a willingness for some light footed,slow hand,fun around this campfire called Virtual Space.Integral-Wholeness to me is a Matter of Agility,Resilience, & Openness in this place where I find Breath to Keep ??? Watching the Leaves Blow off the Tree outside my Window!!!

(Ed Mahood) #28

Ahhh, winter in CA. I remember it well.

(We’ve got rain (finally) at the moment … and it’s a lot dark (sunrise around 8; sunset around 4) … so the murder of crows gleaning the field across the road are stamping, not strutting. Doesn’t do anything to lift the mood. But, whether I was in PA, there (CA) or here … it’s my favorite season change of the year).

(Katina Press) #29

An aspect of integral awareness is the presentation, or “making present”, of the various structures of awareness. Rather than allowing only one (rational) structure to be valid, all structures are recognized, presented, one through the other. I credit the some of the following areas “AWARENESS RAISING” as an attempt to influence collective integral thinking:

In our recent history (last two centuries), human beings have presented and imposed upon the culture several shifts in an attempt to elevate and/or sharpen human awareness. These “AWARENESS RAISING” MOVEMENTS include the ripple effects of any major revolution, world war, etc. Some examples incl. (but not limited to):

  • Empowerment and Equalizing Efforts of Various Minority Groups
    • The ADA, IDEA,
  • Human Rights Awareness
  • Animal Rights Awareness
  • #MeToo Gender Duality Diminishing
  • LGBT Recognition and Expansion of Human Sexuality Identity (_among the most powerful evidence of Integral Thinking)


  • Decriminalization of Various Illegal Acts: Look at the diminishing of duality on several levels of society incl. political movements, the criminal justice system’s “attempt” to decriminalize certain crimes and opting for more rehabilitative means for responding to human evils. The socio-political system’s response to the “opioid crisis”, substance-abuse related crimes, legalization of hitherto “illegal substances”.

  • Rehabilitative Response to Criminal Restitution: Instead, opting for a more “qualitative” assessment of criminal acts thanks to advances in psychology and human behavior, which compel the legal justice system to eliminate an absolutist, ethical approach to criminal acts in exchange for a more qualitative, comprehensive approach.

  • The Emergence of Special Education: A globalized attempt to “Individualize Education Planning” (IEP) for students with diverse learning needs which provide barriers to accessing and mastering the standards of learning curriculum. ALong with SPED came additional integral responses to “de-quantify” educational standards altogether via a complete doing away of SOLs and adopting a more universal content-based curriculum called the “Common Core Standards” and “Differentiated Instruction”, “504 Plans” for students found ineligible for and IEP.

*NEW AGE MINDFULNESS MUMBO-JUMBO: Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sundays”

*TECHNOLOGY As APPLIED to SOCIAL MEDIA, Ai and the SINGULARITY: When we look at the Gebser’s characteristics of the “Integral”, they are identical to our present experience. I would credit technology for facilitating the leap from the mental into the integral. Tech communication and social media has revolutionized our relationship with space and time, in that_we can virtually defy such boundaries to connect with anyone anywhere and at anytime, in multitudes.

There are many other examples abound which no longer characterize the mentalist approach to human phenomenon. What else can I say? It just appears to be SO evident, to me.

(Ed Mahood) #30

It is not physically possible for me to respond in detail, (it would take too long, there are too many details to address, and I have a gimpy ring-finger on my left hand that needs to be operated on so that I can type normally again), so please excuse me if this is a rather broad-brush response.

It seems to me that you and I have very different understandings of the notions of awareness. (At least that’s what I’m thinking at the moment.) Almost all of what you present as “awareness raising”, I would characterize as “attention focusing”. For example, when the Founding Fathers wrote that everyone was created equal and had the same inalienable rights, the deal was done for me. That’s the mental-rational starting point. That they themselves didn’t believe what they were saying is historically evident and many who came after them, just like they themselves, had to focus on what it is that was actually said.

Having said that, I do agree that the expansion of that “given” to other creatures and the environment is a step in the right direction, and there is a growing number of people who are “getting it”; that is that we need to do something, but that awareness is not generally present in the population or we would actually be doing something about it, which we aren’t in any meaningful sense.

Back in 1996, David Ulansey at CIIS asked me to do two sessions on Gebser in his evolution of consciousness course, and one of the students there asked me if I thought the Internet (and I’m dating myself, because I just capitalized that noun … and recall that at that point in time the WWW was a mere two years old) was an example (or instance) of Gebser’s integral structure of consciousness, and I said “no”. In the 22 ensuing years, not only haven’t I changed my mind, I’m more convinced than ever that it isn’t. Granted, this is an ongoing discussion in these parts, but just because we can be bothered day and night by people we have nothing in common with doesn’t mean that our relationship with space and time has changed. It only means that we deal differently with available time, and that’s something every single one of us is still working on perhaps more than anything else. I would challenge you to point out specifically the achronic aspects of the internet that are … well, let’s use your notionality … “awareness raising” (whereby I would say “consciousness changing”.

Since I’m not on your lambda on this, it is clear that I’m unclear on what those examples may be. I don’t see anything at the moment, especially in social media and AI (just to stay in that particular domain) that cannot be explained in mental-rational terms … and mostly rational. The fact that we’re being mind-numbed by advertising should be the tip-off that the rational is more than alive and well in cyberspace. Again, there are individuals beyond that, I am sure (or at least I hope), but as for the masses …? No feet firmly planted here.

It is, to quote a very insightful lady, “SO evident to me”.

(john davis) #31

I’m voting for you, Katina. I am so glad to hear something real being said. Thank you for the fresh air of some sincere diversity.

(Katina Press) #32

Hey! No votes needed here, JohnnyD, but I always welcome your support as a true sign that I am heading in the right direction

Ed says:

"It seems to me that you and I have very different understandings of the notions of awareness. (At least that’s what I’m thinking at the moment.) Almost all of what you present as “awareness raising”, I would characterize as “attention focusing”

Hmm? What an Integralist statement to make, Ed! Your above statement…THAT’S perfect evidence that you, me, JohnnyD and granny down the street have arrived at the integral stage of human consciousness!!! Okay, fine. We may be approaching this subject from different concepts of awareness…which is verily consistent with integral discourse. Sure, there are varying stages of awareness being represented throughout the human race as a whole, but this, too can be an integral expression of the wonderful diversity of humans and cultures - in addition to the similarities and shared commonalities.

Discovering the commonwealth of all beings (no matter how sloppily this global assent has come about), is STILL evidence of an evolving collective consciousness moving from ethnocentric to worldcentric, and is “spiritual” in the sense of things common to all sentient beings.

I struggle to understand where YOU, Ed, get this sense that Integrality equals the “arrival” of some utopia. I beg your pardon, Integrality never promised us a rose garden. In fact, integrality COULD be leading us headlong into an entropic catastrophe! A necessary cleansing, mass-demolition of the human sapien, akin to the comet that wiped out those giant lizards, to prepare a safer terrain for mankind to enter into the food chain. Integrality could very well BE a revelation which topples the “weary Bronotosaurus” (Muggeridge) reign of the sapien.

(Katina Press) #33

I would go so far as to say that we have exited the Mental Stage a long time age (though, rather recently).

Just as Oppenheimer’s atom bomb was the crescendo and falling action of the mental stage of human consciousness - something just as near nihilistic maybe the climax of this current integral stage.

(LaughingCryingDancing) #34

Katina if I may put some of my cards of mine in this conversational round table.What is the Difference that makes a Difference between U,Ed & John?This reminds me of when I worked in Community Theater.I was a stage manger & also responsible for the building & take down of said sets through out The Season of Plays(Stories of the Human Condition). Anyway there was always these conflicts of transitioning from one show to the next,drove me to smoke a lot pot in order to keep from (!!!). The show still running did not want the incoming show to mess anything up while they were rehearsing,“fair enough”. Remember this is Community Theater & my experience is because it’s mainly Volunteers,a situation of too many Chiefs & not enough Indians( I was a Indian). So what is the difference I am throwing into this conversational card game,my Joker is David Bowie “CHANGES”,whatever this Is that’s moving in Us(I name it Integral-Holistic Spirit) & with/on this Plan-et,I may have Faith in what’s HERE & Coming, And Yet I am only doing my best to Be -Participate with as much acceptance of NOT KNOWING what the next show is going to be about.Does this Play well with what I Hear?Katina- the Lady with skills that I admire.

(Ed Mahood) #35

Ooops. Truth be told, I don’t think that at all, but I DO see how you could come to that conclusion.

There is no doubt that there is probably more “integrality” out and about than I may be willing to give credit to, for I have never argued there’s none, only that it doesn’t strike me as being as firmly rooted and as widely spread as you maintain. But in light of your responses, I shall be keeping my eyes open in perhaps different ways, and for that I thank you.

(john davis) #36

That is hard for me to say, Michael, as I don’t think everyone has had an adequate opportunity to formulate any differences in a clear way. I certainly dont feel that I have been heard or received particularly well. Mostly, it appears to me, that we are as a group dominated by the battling over inferences. And lots of assumptions. Ed says complicated. I say complex. I really am getting tired of this labeling game ad nauseum. So okay whatever…

l am sure we all have more interesting things to do. Like watch another news conference starring Donald Trump. More of the Drama Triangle. Persecutors, Victims and Rescucers.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have nourished the ideal that we could create a forum that would not get bogged down into metaphysical dogmatisms. After a year of high participation I think I am going to cut back on my participation and let other voices come forward and do what they want to do. I am making plans to take care of some much neglected tasks that are important to me to finish while I still have my wits about me.

And the jury is still out about individuation without devolving into metaphysical dogmatisms. I think this is what Integral used to be about. Ed has persuaded me, by his own behavior, that he is probably right. We probably are not Integral, anywhere near. And I am ready to abandon that idea. I have pretty much given up hope on that one. I wish Ed and Katina and Michael the very best in hashing all of this out. Good luck, good people.

And that is a good use of Metaphor, Micheal, keep up the good work. When in doubt tell a good story. That works.

(LaughingCryingDancing) #37

John,speaking for myself,I have listened,received & formulated differences with all on this Cosmos Cafe’. I haven’t always expressed them for reasons of anxiety that no one is responsible for,it’s a matter of slowing down for me,because of the risk of how other’s might infer/see it just enough differently that a feeling arises of “Shit Missed the Mark”, U know the feeling that comes with Being A Performer.Which John,I feel if more people embraced this in the sense we Be-having with Life,Others & Time,there might be more Lightness of Being.When I was involved in Theater what was so interesting was that when the Play began it’s Run (there might be pick up rehersals) each & every night the Play went on was different,sometimes flat,other times another world with the audience along for the ride.I have been influenced around this tension of difference by "Speaking Into the Air:A History of the Idea of Communication,John Durham Peters. All this to Express my Gratitude for coming into contact with your Passion,Creativity & Willingness to Be Vulnerable through this medium of CyberSpace.I Hope to catch up with U in another WormHole or maybe Face to Face.Peace & Care Be Upon U John,Micheal

(Katina Press) #38

NO! NO! NO! JohnnyD!!! I CAN TOTALLY HEAR, SEE, SMELL, TASTE, TOUCH and “GET” you! I don’t envision this as a battle, JohnnyD! If it is, then, I am DEFINITELY on YOUR side of the battlefield. Fer Sure! YOU and YOUR words, ideas, attitudes, ZoomCasts, JohnnyD are the major source of stimuli that has maintained my attraction to and participation with Cosmos!

You are like one my HEROES! If Ed is proof that we are not Integral, then YOU are definite proof that we ARE. I love you, JohnnyD! How come you never called me? I waited by the phone for you, many nights.

You are the type of person that I hope to be trapped with in an underground bunker during a nuclear holocaust. You can’t go! Don’t estrange yourself from us…from me. I thought that we were becoming friends. Like REAL playing in the sandbox friends.

(Katina Press) #39

…STILL Pouting…

(Katina Press) #40

Michael Stumpf! DON’T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT FOLLOWING JohnnyD’s hiatus exit. Or, I will just have to hunt you all down and bombard your territory with analog communication. I’ll write letters…with ink…and mail them to you in the post. And send “care packages”.

JohnnyD and Michael S., could y’all send me a private email with your mailing address? I’d much appreciate it.