Cosmos Café [2/26/19] - Introduction to Davor Löffler's Generative Realities

Generative Realities -on the shift of social structures, cognition and temporality in the technological civilization

Und jedem Anfang wohnt Ein Zauber inne…

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth” We have multiple frames and around every frame lies another frame; Beyond each boundary is a boundary beyond knowledge. How do our theories overlap with others? How do we integrate theories, as broad circles drawn by Gebser, Aurobindo, Wilber, Gidley, Bateson, Sloterdijk, ________ → --> expand understanding? As new circular strokes of genius form fresh framings?

For this week’s Café Menu item du jour, we respectfully introduce the work of Davor Löffler, a scholar of overlapping circles, an apprentice to the truth, an in depth interdisciplinary researcher, author and editor.

Bionote from Distributing Potentiality:

Davor Löffler earned his PhD in Sociology from Free University of Berlin with an interdisciplinary thesis on the shift of social structures, cognition and temporality in the Technological Civilization. He worked as lecturer in Sociology and Philosophy at the BTK University of Art and Design, Berlin, Germany, and collaborated in various interdisciplinary working groups such as Mind Machine Project at the MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, the Interacting Minds Center, Aarhus, Denmark, the Role of Culture in Early Expansions of Humans Group at the Institute of Prehistory, Tübingen, Germany, and The New Center for Research and Practice. He is author and editor in the field of cultural theory and philosophical anthropology and co-founder of the journal Plateau. Zeitschrift für experimentelle Kulturanthropologie.

Hints of spheres explored by participants on the forum are present in Davor’s dense accumulation of research.
Disorient your learnings.
Reset your tastebuds.
Come with an empty stomach, fresh palate, and your finest utensils,
prepared to dine on thoughts and expand the notches on your framework’s astral belt.

In this Café, John Davis will lead the discussion.

From John:

I intend to invite the Café participants to give us feedback on our interview. I want to focus attention on the quality of the feedback that is given. Let us invite some precision.

What do you like (about the interview, the theory)?
What do you not like?
What do you want more of?
How is this relevant to your personal explorations?

As we are a peer to peer non academic gathering, very informal, it may be a challenge for us to capture the high ground and stay connected in an online environment. I hope we can explore the macro and the micro dynamics.

It is my expectation that our discourse can become simpler without reducing, complex while remaining actionable.

Menu du Jour

Chalkboard Menu (Supplementary Sustenance)

From Davor

I … send you two little sections from Heiner Mühlmann’s book “Nature of Cultures”, a very important but still widely overlooked work.

  1. This picture is the part in which he tells the yam-story (taken form Boyd/Richerson, but not indicated where from exactly) as an example of the negative Baldwin-effect. (it is in the 4th chapter and you could not understand it without having read the whole book, therefore just this little piece).

  2. The introduction is interesting because of the term “cultural narcissism” (read: the narcissism of culture as a living being itself), the “10 humiliations to humanity” (he adds seven more to the classical three of Freud, heliocentrism, evolution and unconsciousness) and the term “uchrony”. I think you might like it and gain something from it (there are also some rather strange ideas in it one probably should just ignore, you’ll know them when you find them, but then just move on - in the second edition he has changed a lot).

  • Fresh Produce and other ingredients from recent Cafés

    • Susan Leigh Star and boundary objects
    • Margaret Atwood - Payback
    • Colson Whitehead - Underground Railroad
    • David Graeber _ Debt - The First 5000 Years and Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology
    • Yanis Varoufakis, William Connolly, Helen Keller, Maya Angelou
    • The New Green Deal

Agenda items

  • TBD

So, I stayed up late reading both the Loeffler article and the Muehlmann introductory chapter as well as watching the interview. As usual, I am sad to only have a coffee break available today for preliminary comments. I’ll catch the video of this upcoming talk when it comes out… Sigh… There is much here that is not only relevant but central to my “personal explorations”. My thanks once again to this Cosmos for bringing a thought-provoking author to my attention.

Loeffler’s article began with a ‘posthumanist’ orientation and that word still just bothers me, but his larger point became quickly apparent - I have no argument with an understanding of human culture that embeds both the technological/economic and the ontological. I think he did an excellent job of laying out the patterns. (Interestingly analogous to seeing a series of mutations of consciousness in grand-scale history, isn’t it?) :wink:

John: In the interview you kept asking Loeffler about “the outside” and he of course spoke the word with a German accent in which the ‘d’ sounds to English ears closer to ‘t’. That (no doubt coupled with the late hour LOL) triggered the thought in my mind that his answers were about outsight, the kind of insight one gains on the problems of one’s time by making an imaginal leap, as it were, to look at things from ‘above’ (e.g. ask Moses or Petrarch what happens when you climb mountains). Such times of transition as we are in today require and, historically speaking, usually get sustained thought along these lines; the “outsight” is not so much (or primarily) external to the society as produced by the very dilemmas and problems faced. Unless (and this is where modern societies tend to differ from traditional ones, though complacency is far from being anyone’s monopoly!) there is little concept of the problem as society/habitat threatening…

Muehlmann packs a whole helluva lot in 12 pages… related points but really another whole discussion…

More later, I hope.


The Web of Thoughts & Feelings were growing in this Cafe’ for this Participant. a-flower3


Now that’s what I call a discussion: differing outlooks and take-aways; passion and mutual respect. Bravo, all.

For me, Loeffler is laying out a meta-pattern in this introductory chapter based on a reading of history as the co-development of technology and other “organization chains” of culture. It’s one reading among many, but I’m really into all this broad-brush stuff, so it’s the points of contact rather than the gaps that grab my attention. (At first anyway - when I do theory I am curious as to how those gaps are or are not explained.) As Ed says, it is not an earth-shattering revelation to realize that we (collective) are at what Loeffler calls a “caesura of civilizational history”.
I had the same impression that Mark stated in his initial comments: this is a way of looking at how humans, solving basic problems like getting enough to eat, have accumulated techniques/knowledge over time which have enabled us to solve bigger problems on the next go-round. And, significantly, that hidden unintended consequences of solutions often feed those bigger next go-round problems.

In the interview, I got the strong sense that Loeffler, like all serious students of history, was being very careful to speak of possibilities rather than prescriptions. I’ve said it before many times, historians are lousy at prediction and know it. What comes next is and remains the question.
Loeffler (p. 39): “[The] objectivity [of the projected scenarios of our informational age] is constituted by how much value we are willing to assign to the worlds we want to produce.” I took this to be a key point. Defining this “we” is problematic, and perhaps nothing better illustrates this than the negative impacts of bringing “us” together in virtual space under the conditions of “interaction without touch” that you all discussed. There will always be a struggle over the narrative. That is the staying power of the “cultural narcissism” Muehlmann describes. Ideas and instruments serve a purpose at one time but soon enough become institutions serving themselves [as Carroll Quigley would put it], as lacking in utilitarian value as an inedible yam root - yet providing a comfort zone of tradition and communal solidarity that must not be underestimated.

And on coming back from dealing with the kids, I lost my train of thought. :rofl:
Something on the lines of “generating reality” means taking negotiation and persuasion seriously while strongly advocating for conditions of sustainability for whatever the human future holds… but I’ll obey the winds of fate and stop here. LOL

I am very interested in the continuation of this discussion with whomever.


Thanks, TJ, for your focused attention and I am hoping we can continue this discussion, too. I spoke with Doug earlier today about what happens next and we were hoping for some response. And you have responded!

Everything we say can be revised and updated as we are in the midst of a transition of unprecedented difficulty. We had kicked around the idea of doing something on a Post-Money world, but I felt that was premature. We need to press the pause button and try to figure what such a world could possibly be like. It is, as someone said, much easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of Capitalism. So, Doug and I tried to create the conditions for that future Cafe conversation.

How can we move beyond this master-narrative dynamic? As Loffler says if temperatures rise 6 degrees Manhattan will be under water. That is not a virtual reality, that is objective!

“Triangulate from the margins” is my new rallying cry. Thanks again for your review, TJ, and if you come across some thinkers we should sponsor, please let us know. We need good macro-history and that is what Davor tries to do here. I feel he has done a lot of heavy lifting.


If we do a follow up with Davor, it would be great if you could help us focus some questions. We are already working on a Second Order Culture, we just need to get serious about it. He says he didnt create the meta-patterns but that he found them. We are trying to make the invisible visible, somehow. We bump into these all the time but we forget to write them down and take them seriously! We have barely scratched the surface.


Thanks for this clear and insightful response, TJ. I’m glad you posted it, because I didn’t want to be the first to break the post-café ice, being the odd-man-out (again), though if you hadn’t, I would have posted something today anyway. Just because I don’t grok something the first time I encounter it (which is true of most things I encounter, it would seem) doesn’t mean I’m not interested.

Though I’m generally disinclined toward instrumentalist/utilitarian approaches, I’m honest enough to admit when I’m employing them myself. For me the question is not whether Herr Löffler has something useful to say – I am sure he does – rather, the question I have to ask myself (also given where I am along Life’s Path) is whether the investment (in time primarily) is worth the reward (life-relevant knowledge). Or, more flippantly, is the gain going to be worth the pain? That’s, of course, my own, personal utilitarian equation, no more.

And I can see and appreciate that, for it speaks to my Sagittarian nature, but my approach to life is quite Virgoan, so my attention gets naturally drawn to the gaps. I’m not saying they’re more or less important than anything else, but it was the gaps (or what I perceive of gaps) that I would have brought up in my posting today anyway, so let me weave them in at this point in your response. There are three: his idea of “notional cultural capacity”, his selection of relevant technologies, and his choice of caesurae. These are the places where I stumbled (and whatever I have to say in what follows should be seen in precisely that light).

First, he contrasts the notion of “notional” cultural capacity (<70ka) with two other forms, the “composite” (<500ka) and the “complementary” (<100ka). In what he says later, I can see how he is addressing the evolution of humans from the hominoids. When did humans become human, if you will. It is a fascinating question and there are several theories on how that came about and why. Tool-making (not mere tool-using) is taken by most as a significant marker. And, at these points in time the matter of survival (getting enough to eat, defense against threats, etc.) are reasonable reductions, so an exclusive focus on types of tools and weapons is understandable, but is reductionist nevertheless. There is a whole lot more going on – socially (and since he is writing a sociology dissertation, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to question why social components are being left out) and even culturally.

For example, he mentions “ornamental devices” in regard to ch complementary cultural capacity, and in the interview he placed some value on the rise of “art” (which we can understand at the moment in its broadest sense), and implied it was a driver of cultural development. The general understanding is, I believe, that art has no survival value (a point on which I personally disagree with the general understanding). But it must play some kind of significant role because it is such a significant part of our cultural history. It’s not just technology that is driving us. For the Greeks – and who are of central importance for his approach – techne did not have the distinctive art-over-there-technology-over-here that is has for us today, though it may be where the seed this separation (rise of the mental, per Gebser, latency of the rational, etc.) was planted. I don’t know, I’m just wondering. What is more, the earliest evidence of human burial (in Spain) – and granted it’s still controversial – is dated at 350 ka (this is homo heidelbergensis, BTW). This is a highly significant marker for cultural development. Someone (or, most likely several) dug a grave and placed the remains of 27 of their kind there along with a single pick-colored stone axe. The earliest undisputed burial site was found in Israel, dated at 100 ka, so it would seem by this time there was a “culture” beyond mere survival; that is, something was going on in those growing brains that was not only survival-centered. It is not that I think he needed to mention any of this specifically, but it is not clear from what he did write why technology is his focus to what appears to be the exclusion of other significant and relevant factors. In other words, a few words about why the focus might have been helpful.

This stumble of mine was then reinforced with he says that at ca. <70 ka “the human organism ideal-typically has reached ‘behavioral modernity’”. That was a flag for me. I agree with his implication that the rise of homo sapiens is earlier than the ca. 40 ka generally maintained, and I agree with him that very important and significant ‘human universals’, as he phrases it, are in evidence at this time. But these and their significance – perhaps even for the development of technology is not explored any further. He seems to be saying that all the released creative energy was channeled into technology, and technology that is solely the resolution of survival-related “problems”.

Second, the technologies he selects (even if they are only examples) are rather one-sided; that is they are survival-related. There were other technologies (other than weapons, for example) that have had, in my mind, much greater impacts on humanity and culture than these. Everybody likes to focus on weapons, I know, but what about the Agricultual Revolution? At some point humans stopped (not completely, of course, but generally) hunting-and-gatherinf and became sedentary, cf. Catalhölyuk in current-day Anatolia: a city of perhaps 7,000-9,000 inhabitants, a unique commuity-serving architecture, and domesticated animals. Somewhere along the line we developed the technologies of domestication, of both plants (grains primarily) and animals (sheep, cattle, and even pets, etc.). Isn’t it the consequences of these technologies that the very first great civilizations even arose?

It was in these first civilizations that other, let us say, head-based technologies arose (mathematics (the Sumerians calculated compound interest, which Einstein once quipped was the most powerful force in the universe), geometry, astrology/astronomy (as time-measurement). What is more we have the whole realm of ore extraction and smelting – yes I missed a mention of Tubalcain here. Prior to the first significant caesura. we the Stone Age had been left behind for the Bronze and the Bronze for the Iron. These seem, to me at least, to be of relevance to his thesis.

And, having mentioned “death” and its (at least potential) cultural significance, I find it at leasst odd — it was a place of stumbling for me – that one of the longest-lived cultures/civilizations the world has ever seen, the Ancient Egyptians, is not mentioned at all. There whole cultural/civilization focus was on death. The technology of embalming they developed doesn’t quite fit into the same schema as yam-growing, I suppose, because it wasn’t a survival-based technological operational chain that became institutionalized and counterproductive.

Third, his first recognized caesura was the Axial Age. A fascinating and to-this-day still hotly debated topic. It is his contention that at the this time the first real shifts in consciousness occur. Well, obviously as a student of Gebser, I ask myself about everything that happened prior to that, what Gebser calls the Archaic (which could be with a bit of effort mapped into his composite cultural capacity. But what Gebser describes as Magical and Mythical have no real relevance for his thesis. Of course, Gebser traced the emergence of this structures of consciousness through art more than technology, did he not? The question for me, though, was why did this event – the development of art – mean so much for Löffler in identifying the notional cultural capacity, but have so little relevance for what came after?

The Axial Age corresponds roughly to what Gebser identifies as the mutation to the Mental structure of consciousness. His second caesura “Modernity” corresponds roughly to the shift from the efficient Mental to the deficient Rational structure of consciousness. And, his final caesura, the one going on right now corresponds roughly to Gebser’s mutation to the Integral structure. Each of these is problematic and so I stumbled here. Aside from what I just mentioned, Löffler maintains that it was in the Axial Age is characterized by the transition from “community to society”. I would have thought that a statement such as that would need just a tad bit more clarification. Nowhere has he made clear what the difference between the two are, and I – the layman – would consider the Sumerian (or Ancient Akkadian or Egyptian) civilization to be manifestations of societies, with highly developed (and I’ll use his terms) “operational chains” that were doing much more than merely ensuring physical survival.

Then, I really stumbled over the Modernity caesura, which he says includes “the formation of the inner market, the commodification of the work force, and the conversion of the economy towards surplus production” (my emphasis). The reason the Agricultural Revolution, for example, was so significant is that it generated surpluses. The notion of surplus is an essential civilizational, cultural, and economic factor long before Modernity. Any history of capital (especially those which highlight the “inevitability” of this economic form) starts here. I haven’t read Kocka’s Geschichte des Kapitalismus [Engl. History of Capitalism], but I would be more than surprised if he didn’t start here as well. Varoufakis certainly does, and Graeber (whom he quotes) emphasized the role of surplus continually throughout his discussion of debt). This was a disconnect for me that made me ask why the reduction (actually the German word Verkürzung [shortening, making less long] popped into my head first … maybe “compression” would be a better word) here. But, that notion of surplus was a big part of that huge chunk of civilizational history that he skipped over. I wondered why he thought it wasn’t relevant.

So, those were my primary stumbles. I don’t expect anyone reading this to resolve them all for me, though any light shed would be greatly appreciated. As @Mark_Jabbour noted specifically in the Café, and as I have repeatedly tried to emphasize myself, we read (and hear) everything first in terms of who we think we are and where we think we are in life. There were a few points in the material where I stumbled greatly and I have attempted here to make it clear where they were and why they were perhaps more significant for me than the others. The feeling I got was that the gaps were to large (for me) to gloss over, and that the number (and size) of questions coming in was larger than the questions that were being answered. Tough I’m somewhat familiar with the process and concepts of biological evolution, I’m not all that familiar with cultural evolution, though the notion has been bantered about in these Cafés from time to time. What’s the difference between “evolution” and “development”, for example? Operational chains as a way of dealing with technology development (evolution?) could be something, but I wasn’t able to grasp whether these were being considered as evolutionary or developmental things. And, just to repeat what I’ve said and intimated before in other places, such as the TAANSTAFL Café, I think economics as a mode of thinking is highly overrated, even if we can look at it as if it had an independent existence, which is how we today have come to see it for the most part. And so, I was left with the feeling that in order to resolve these points would involve more time and effort than I can afford (or perhaps am willing) to invest.

This is in no way a criticism of anyone, nor a critique of Herr Löffler. It is simply my attempt to make clear why I’m not as enthused as everyone else. But, as TJ also noted:

As did I, but the questions that arose were, “How objective can those scenarios be?” (We were living in an age in which it was generally understood that many facts are socially constructed (e.g., The USA is a liberal democracy. It is debatable, but we all kind of know what we’re all talking about when we discuss it.) though there were others that were not (e.g., the number of people who show up for, say, an inauguration of an elected official). But we now live in a world in which “alternative facts” are deemed worthy of consideration, but which, as I see it, undermine the discussion process from the outset. So what does Löffler mean by “objective” and “objectivity”? And really key for me is the second part of the statement, the part regarding the “value” we are willing to assign. What does he mean by “value”? If economics is as significant as I think he thinks it is, then we are talking primarily economic value and that undermines the kind of value I’m thinking of (which is the one Oscar Wilde described in his quip: “We live in an age in which we know the price of everything but the value of nothing.”). I am hesitant, however, to think that the is only “value” he’s talking about, but it didn’t become clear for me in my reading what that notion of value might be. So, once again: how much do I want to know, or do I just wait until one of you others helps along the way.

And so it goes.


Hmmm. I think that would be my first question; not knowing where to draw the line between creating and finding, I am curious as to why he found technology to be the ‘key’ to his meta-pattern. (Marx found class struggle, Spengler found rise-and-decline of Kultur, Gebser found mutations of consciousness… etc.) I would not mean that question to be critical because he does make a thoughtful argument (and history may just be the ultimate ‘young woman/old hag’ image LOL) but I am curious.


Hehehe. I do have to run now but I think you ‘grok’ much better than you give yourself credit for!
More later, I hope…


I think that is where the rubber meets the road. I doubt whatever our genes are doing that they are going to mutate soon enough to stop the oceans from rising. We are more than our selfish genes. The experiencing body is not a a just a dead end. That this is not obvious to everyone strikes me as extremely odd. And what do we want to have happen?

Culture is where the action is. But I am not an academic. I am close to the streets. Night life. Love in the afternoon after a march or a demonstration. Go to Church on Sunday, Cabaret on Monday. Culture with a K.

So, where do I place my attention? Paying the rent, picking up the kids from school, noticing how short the winter has become, that I don’t need a sweater in February, that the next day it snows, and the hurricane that sank Houston, and the brush fires that sweep across California, and so I go back to the bullshit job to make a few bucks so we can watch the Superbowl on the big flat screen.

So, why in the world should we care about the death of the Coral reef? And why should I care about anyone else’s kids? They are not my responsibility. And we’re all going to die anyway.

Davor says he doesn’t know about a lot of things. He has traced out certain features of the landscape and is mindful of the dead end of European Leftist Politics, classical Marxism, and the vanity of Neo Liberal winner takes all dynamics, and the vanity of post-structuralist accounts, and the absence of a sense of agency. He is pointing at features of the landscape that appear so obvious to me. He thinks that our politicians who build coal plants, knowing what the results will be, are murderously stupid. And that Intellectuals are not doing a good job of educating the public that they should be serving with their research. It isn’t like a frog in a pot getting warmer, it is more like shooting yourself in the foot and trying to run relay race. We are mired in self-deception.

It is my hope ( hope is not hype) that we, the Invisible, the wretched of the earth, can find something aesthetic and actionable as we muddle on through, and resist the master-narrative.

I am into embodying and embedding and emanating. Let it shine! As I said to Davor, who admitted he was a bit shy of the video camera, " Knowledge is a performance!" To me a theory is a costume I wear. I act ‘as if’ it could work. This is how the gay movement got started.

And then one night, when a drag queen would not comply with the cops and get into the paddy wagon, and another faggot threw a bottle at the cops. Crash!!! Collectively, black, white and brown, jew and gentile, hipsters and hustlers, the invisible queer underworld irrupted, the police vehicles on fire, barricades, riots for three days. The exhausted police surrendered and called a truce. Stonewall, the summer of 1969, was the end of business as usual. The news traveled around the globe. I saw it on the old black and white TV, in my mother’s kitchen, while she was making pancakes, getting us ready for school. I saw the drag queens and the nerdy youths, arm in arm, and I thought. " I want to live there!"


I would love to further develop the notion of “outsight.” I’ve never thought it before, but it would seem to be the obvious complement to “insight.”

There is a deeply hypothetical question at the core of Loeffler’s project, it seems. How can we know what’s outside of what we know? Or taking it one step further, how can we know what we don’t know we don’t know? To cross-breed discourses: how is “exo studies” even possible, if this is in a way (minus the UFO component) what Löffler is doing?

I wonder if Davor would have a shorter piece in English we could publish on Metapsychosis—an introduction to his introduction to his much lengthier work in German. I feel attracted to his “deep futurology” and the “leap in civilizational time before a catastrophe” he seems to be trying to generate through his “future anterior” theorizing.

And Herr Ed, of the dissertative forum posts—weren’t you complaining about the the length of Germanic philosophy texts? :wink:

Perhaps your challenge could prompt Löffler to offer a more efficient compression and operationalization of his ideas, which might bring the discussion into a more focused “cone of realization.”

How can we take the “imaginal leap” from history into outsight? I would love to hear @patanswer and Davor jamming on this. :exploding_head:


I think this could be arranged if we can find the right timing and provide support. Politics and activism ( which I know a lot about) is all about gesture, timing, affects and atmospheres. We have to create conditions where shy, taciturn, as well as the outspoken, both the experts and non experts, can pay attention to one another and to the group dynamics. We need an I that can function also as a We. Atmosphere is everything. The color of the wall paper in the background, the tone of the voice, the luster in the eye. We need a forum where people can relax their habitual defensive postures, their endless posturing. We need the feminine.

So let’s be mindful, and careful, and extend a helping hand to those who may not have the answers and yet still have something useful to share, a burning question, a strange sensation, a vague hunch, from the margins.


Touché. Chapeau. LOL. (This could very well be a case of it-takes-one-to-know-one. :zipper_mouth_face:)


However (and not just in my own half-hearted defense :roll_eyes:), I did want to make clear where and why I stumbled. Anyone who can or is willing to help smooth out those stumbles is more than welcome to do so, and it would be greatly appreciated.


I think it should be acknowledged that your “stumbles” are all valid points. As a Libra (hehehe), I hesitate to drop the historical hammer on what I take to be introductory remarks, but I had similar thoughts as I read, trust me:

  1. We call them ages of Stone, Bronze, or Iron, but the bulk of the material culture of those times would have been perishable (wood, animal skins/cloth, face paint, &c.). It certainly risks reductionism to derive an entire theory of who these people were based on the artifactual fragments that have survived, even if that is all we have to go on.
  2. The Axial Age. Yes, the jury has been out since Karl Jaspers wrote The Origin and Goal of History in 1949… I have a few titles for any interested enough to stick a toe in that turbulent water…
  3. To my way of thinking, the roots of the ‘agricultural revolution’ are at least as important as those of the industrial. “Surplus” means different things in each.

Now, I’m going to (a) assume* Loeffler is as aware of the above as this amateur and (b) grant that if the emphasis is on machine development more so than socio-political interaction then there is a logic to arranging the picture in the way he has. Therefore my questions, as I replied to John above, would center on why this particular orientation - and, given my own concerns over posthumanist thought as I (perhaps poorly) understand it, whether technological responses are sufficient or even adequate for what are really political concerns. I sense Loeffler has something important to say about that and am interested in further pursuit, but largely because these are issues I am already pursuing. (And if I can suspend disbelief for Sloterdijk… LOL!!!)

*Yeah, I know… Hehehe

“Evolution”, “development”, “objectivity”, and “value” I leave on the table for the time being…


OK, in several respects, it would seem that you are simply more generous than I have been, but you’re young enough that perhaps you can afford yourself that luxury. That is neither a criticism of Löffler nor you. It is simply a feeling that I schlepp around with me at this point in my life. The points you raise simply need to be looked at further. There are a number of “notions” – I hesitate for several reasons to use the word “concepts” in this context – that are in need of further specification as to how they are being used, as you mentioning of “surplus” indicates.

Now, like you, I assumed some things as well. We can’t not, can we? But, it is important, at least to me, that we are clear on what we are assuming and when. I almost responded to your “key to meta-patterns” post earlier, but declined for a number of reasons, but primarily because it could have side-tracked the discussion developing here unnecessarily. I’m glad I didn’t because of point b) which you make. It is not clear to me why Löffler’s focus is on “machine development”, which can be considered “odd” (if that’s the right word) considering that he is writing a dissertation in sociology. On the other hand, when I read the last section of his paper (section 11) I started getting rather antsy with his promotion of a machine-based, axiomatically controlled access to goods and services. Granted, my apprehensions were enhanced by all that I had stumbled over prior to getting there, but I do think that the consequences of his adoption of a “technological key” (in the sense you hinted at in your post). It wasn’t clear to me how he got from “there” to “here”.

This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get there or that he might not have a worthy and viable solution for “what ails us”, but there are very real, practical, real-life consequences to what he’s advocating. He may have something important to say, but ultimately the proof of the pudding is in the eating and consequences out here, IRL, matter the most to me.

Please don’t get me started. I’m already strolling about with a leper’s bell as it is. :yum:


I think this is an excellent idea.


My main desired outcome in this safe to fail experiment, is not clarity, is not understanding, is not historiography.

I want to create conditions so that this group can meta-communicate about the group coherently.

Can we find the patterns that connect?

Is there are relationship between this author and that author?

Is there a relationship between this group’s interiors and the interiors of other groups?

And what kind of relationship is that?

And is there a difference that makes a difference?

And when a difference that makes a difference, that difference is a difference, to whom?

And when we are reading at our best, that’s like what?

And the crow cracks the nut. And then what happens?

And when the crow cracks the nut, is there a relationship between that crow that cracked the nut and the Cosmos?

This meta-communicative capacity, according to Davor, creates something new in the universe.

And in an open system there would probably be a relationship between the planet, the universe and the Cosmos.

And what kind of future could that planet have?

Then we are moving towards a Second Order Culture.

We no longer have to destroy each other to survive.

And is there anything else about a Second Order Culture?

Yes…there is a Third Order Culture…

And how can I, ( as many of us are about to die) know that?

And where could that kind of knowing come from?


I would never presume to make such an attempt, dear Ed. Good luck and may the force be with you!


I sure get that, @achronon and one I’m asking myself (along with the help of my psych-girl) i.e., Why bother, or ‘what’s the point?’ You and I are close in age (both Sanitarians) as well as in cosmic time (?) being born in 1949 - or the x revolution of the earth around the sun at a precise tilt. My answer is (so far): we (humans as a species and as individuals) cannot do other than what we do. In other words–free will is a dubious concept. Why did I write the book? Why even participate in this discussion?

So psych-girl and I explore the cost/benefit realities/predictions/possibilities as to what I ought to do next, and in those moments I experience bliss, or the “peak experience”. She asks, “Why did you do that?” and I shrug … and so it goes. She asks, “What do you want?” and I answer in vagaries because the truth might not set me free but backfire?