Cosmos Café [2019/10/01] – Ancient Philosophy and the Mystery of Our Senses

That works fine with me. Let me think about it. What attracts us to this book? I can look at it again and try to get a feel for it. The first couple of chapters were fascinating. It’s a deep book.

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Also, if we met weekly it could be more sustained.

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I think this is very pragmatic. I wonder what others might like to join us.

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I will look at it again too when I get back to CLE from this conference. I bought a copy recently and it’s just been sitting on my shelf crying to be read. You’re right, it’s totally seminal, and it seems to transcend camps. I think Edward Said writes the intro to my edition. And talk about sweep!

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I’m going to sign off for tonight - still need/want to meditate and have a few conference sessions somewhat early in the morning. Thanks for your encouragement and suggestion, John. I hope something happens from this.

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Great! I will look at it this weekend.

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Michael, I read the article and viewed the youtube interview. I love it. Let’s do it this Tuesday.

Let’s set up the page. Maybe we should just call it Peter Kingsley interview. It is twenty minutes watch, the article half an hour to read.

He is talking about the subtle senses, other worlds, origins of the West, the occult, the origin of logic. All of these resonate with me and may have much to do with us, as spiritual beings, moving towards a sunshine society.

I like this picture . Could we use this, too?

If this works for you, let’s agree to co-present on Tuesday. Since we have a deadline today, and if I hear no objections from the rest of the crew, I say let’s go with this and set up the page by this afternoon. I prefer that we keep it simple and to a minimum of words. We don’t need a lot of links that confuse us with too many rabbit holes to get lost in.

And, Michael, what attracts you to this Kinglsey text/interview?

And is there a relationship between Kingsley’s views on Ancient Philosophy and Greta’s demand for social justice?


@Michael_Stumpf, that book on the Power of the Infinity Symbol looks like a huge treat. I would enjoy a session on Polarity Wisdom…though I would like to get that book in my hands first.

@johnnydavis54: I love all those ideas. The heat is certainly on in the Café kitchen.

@AndrewField81: Yes, and… I’ll need the sit with your doc and appreciate the questions over the weekend. Study groups on reading and interpretation, and the future of the body… deep, important topics I hope we will explore: let’s set up a supportive context for them.

@artex: thanks for your note; I look forward to hearing your thoughts whenever they come together. Safe travels…

Re: Peter Kingsley, I have been reading his book Reality for the past couple months (slowly). @brian.george51 gifted me a copy—and as it happens, we discussed Empodecoles just last week, in a private (obviously, overheard) convo, as Brian includes a number of ancient fragments in the stories in his book (which I am editing for Untimely Books) Masks of Origin.

I believe there is.

Yes, please set up the page—I love that picture, too. I will read and listen to the Kingsley interviews eagerly this weekend, and look forward to lively session on Tuesday, co-presented by @Michael_Stumpf and @johnnydavis54


I am glad we have your blessing, Marco, and I like all of the connections that you are bringing to this event. I love it that others are triangulating from the margins, too.

Yes, the aroma coming from the kitchen, is wonderful. Lots of warm brown, ocher, orange, cardamon, turmeric, and Sufis swirling in the backyard, which you can see, from the open kitchen window, as you over hear the tiny birds chattering in the bird house, which hangs from the fine old, oak tree, with those knotted roots, that reach deep down. And the knuckles and bones of your grandmother’s soft, sweet hands…my grandma once, when I had a stomach ache, made potato soup for me…mmmmm…


Very simply said the support that my bodily senses are a gift from the Divine & even though may mislead,be limited they are Portals,Gates,Thresholds & the Divine’s way of Creating intimacy with the Ten Thousand Forms.As for your second question Hell -Heaven YES,the Image of Lady Justice Being Blind with Her Hand on the Scales of Balance…Come to Our Senses & Heal our Woundedness NOW is what I hear in Greta 's voice…Jesus was a young voice too,& even the Wise-Persons through the ages if we listen deeply & carefully are Forever Young in Heart! That’s my Story & I am walking in to the Present of the Future in my backpack😎


Hi all, sorry if this is a really stupid question, but please can someone clarify the transition from what I thought the proposal was - a discussion of climate justice - to what it now appears to be - ‘Ancient Philosophy and the Mystery of Our Senses’ ? I’m a bit lost trying to understand how and why this new path has appeared? Maybe I’m being narrow minded or taking the proposition too literally !

Thanks for your patience x

[I’m on a long train journey and was hoping to watch the video discussion from last week, but my internet connection isn’t good enough, so I’m sorry if the answer lies in there!]


That is a great question, Lucy. It may seem like a bit of a leap. Here is how I imagine we might a frame a connecting thesis:

  • The climate emergency requires action.
  • We (generally, individually and collectively) will not act if we do not feel like acting.
    • We cannot act intentionally if we cannot feel what we are acting on—which lets us know why we are acting, with motive and emotional force (as embodied by one Greta Thunberg).
  • Feeling and sensing are intimately related and primordial—
    • Whereas thinking, in the sense of rational cognition—through which we in effect see the climate emergency (which is a hyper-object, not immediately available to our senses 5)—rides atop the carrier waves of sensing and feeling;
  • If we know we must act upon our urgent cognitions, we need to re-engage and integrate our sensing and feeling capacities.
  • Our entire Western philosophical and scientific tradition is based upon the primacy of thinking over feeling, being (as pure identity) over the information-flux of the senses (as becoming-other).
  • Yet what if this tradition has actually been misinterpreted and co-opted?
  • What resources might be available—in the very fragmentary origins of our intellectual histories and predominant worldviews—which could (and perhaps must) be drawn upon to feel and face the Climate Emergency, and take appropriate action?
  • Is there another tradition, or shadow-tradition, we’ve been neglecting all this time, which if we were to grok it, would reveal to us the world anew—bring our senses, feelings, and cognitions into alignment, break through rationalizations and spur action?

An adjacent research question: What happens to one’s isolated mind in a flotation tank, when default-mode-network thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sense-perceptions dissolve? What is Earth before? And what is Earth after? What claims does Reality make on us then?


A great question. What is the relationship between Greta’s plea for social justice and Kingsley’s study in ancient philosophy?

They both are offering a strong attack upon nihilism. The roots of this common malady ( I am going to die anyway so what difference does anything make) dominates society. Kingsley, an elder scholar, a student of Jung, Gnosticism, Sufism, and Thunberg, a courageous child, who made a long voyage and speaks truth to power-what do their messages have in common? They both bring attention to our collective, corrosive mindlessness. Kingsley claims we do not know who we are.

Haraway uses a different collection of metaphors to engage the mythic mind and Kingsley offers something very different. Haraway argues against the classic, masculine, heroic stance. And yet what Greta is doing strikes me as very heroic. And how do these trends play out? This could be another kind of study. Aesthetic relationships may give size and shape to these dynamics. What are the stories we use to tell our stories?

About the Cafe process. We have to come up with an idea in three days, so we can make an announcement on Friday, so that anyone interested has time to read the article or think about the topic. The Cafe is on Tuesday. So, I put dozen or more ideas, with several persons, including you, on the table, that had been developed, at the end of the last Cafe. There is no rule that anything has to follow anything else. Whoever responded to the inquiry ( Michael was the only one) got my attention. Since no one else had objected or had offered any alternative idea, I went with Michael’s suggestion. I can understand why Kingsley was Michael’s choice. Marco and I, riffed on dream, organization theory, ecology, imagination. So, this was not too far out…although maybe it was…who knows? I am a great believer in the value of tangents. I know little about Kingsley except for his reputation as a trail blazer. This motivates me to explore him.

Of course, we don’t have to have a theme, we can just show up and see that happens but many of us, like myself, don’t have the leisure to commit to an open possibility that might end up going nowhere. So, I prefer to have a rough idea, a theme, motif, article, movie, something to bring attention to. This is a training in attention and raising discourse. I imagine we could do this a lot better.

Recently, I have had some subtle experiences which make sense, with Kinglsey’s theory, about Origins. He is a deep scholar and I thought we should give him our attention. I discuss some of those puzzling, subtle experiences, in the last Cafe, and Marco explored some of his. And these puzzling communiques from subtle realms, that many of us have had, can be understood, with Kingsley’s framing of the long history of the esoteric and occult underground, that has been sabatoged in the West. He has a strong critique of nihilism. Greta’s plea for justice, is made upon black backdrop, of wide spread depression and fragmentation. She has a golden aura, a light being, moving out of the black fossil fuel age. I imagine Kingsley would agree. May she bring us closer towards a Sunshine Society.

Thanks, Lucy, for your question, and I hope you will find some useful connections with your own research in altered states and the arts. Your participation is appreciated and if you would like to change the direction or bring attention to other areas, that may be out of our awareness, that would be great! Hope to see you soon at a Cafe or at another study group.

Gathering attention in these networks is a major challenge, especially as we are in different time zones and many of us have competing demands upon our attention. We muddle on through the best we can.


Here is a response, an example of the beautiful soul syndrome, a seductive form of nihilism. The sublime Peggy Lee ( who sings to me in my visions) gives a perfect embodiment of this glamorous, lost in the vastness, wounded child, who grows up and turns to drugs and drink in an affluent society going nowhere. Our culture is prone to this kind of melancholy. Is she perhaps an idiot/angel? There seems to me to be a hint of both.

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I was startled to read your comment here about our senses being not yet opened, and largely unused. That is exactly what I “got” much more deeply this past Equinox. I’ve always been an “ear person”, but I got a really big chunk of awareness around seeing/eyes/sunlight, a bit of which I mentioned in another comment to you on colors. Sadly for me and lots of others, I also “got” that wearing sunglasses (except in extreme cases) limits what we are able to receive directly through the eyes and skin from sunlight. We have reduced this enormous topic in our culture to “vit D” and/or sunburn, we have trivialized a very deep subject. I stopped wearing sunglasses last Sunday (even though I’ve used them most of my life and especially in daylight social situations, ie, I hide behind them. Now it seems I/we not only hide, but block an essentialf kind of energy/intelligence transmission from sunlight, which affects everything, including sleep/dreaming, cognition, creativity. What I am now interested in is: how do we open our senses? For vision, one thing is not wearing sunglasses, spending a few hours outside every day, and many other things, including practicing physical movement through darkness (low-light integration). For each sense, we can develop practices to “open” and to integrate into variations on synesthesia and synesthetic insights. So I love this title: Coming to Our Synethetic Sense/s. Just this year, scientists discovered that humans are sensitive to electro magnetic fields far below “normal sensory” range. What else are we sensitive to, potentially and actually??
Lastly, I believe plant medicines can help a great deal in this regard, and that we as humans need to both remember and to improvise ways to do that work with plants. It’s part of our larger healing as a species, to include and integrate as much as we can of what much older peoples and non-humans have known and practiced for ages, into what we are learning now, as beings alive in this present.

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Read the interview with Kingsley and really admire it, more so as it goes on. It is, of course, very much from a Western point of view, and thought that is breifly alluded to, I think needs a bit more emphasis: the purpose of humans that is described here, has been known and lived by most all indigenous cultures: we humans are here to give back, to be grateful, to reflect the beauty and harmony of the cosmos, to restore the balance when it’s lost, to recognize and to praise…

This I had not heard before about birdsong! Marvelous:
“The famous mystic Rudolph Steiner has said that for the agricultural process to happen, for seeds and plants and trees to grow, birdsong is absolutely essential. This is a beautiful truth that very few people know. But we also need to take what he said one stage further, because birds call and sing not only to quicken the plants: they also call to awaken the human seed that we are. They are actually singing for our sake as well. If we can start to listen to them, really listen, they will draw us into this greater consciousness I have been talking about. They will be our teachers, because outer nature is able to point us to our inner nature.”


Here’s my Visual & Vocal Response Adiadne for your caring-thought words:



Michael, we keep reverberating! Just before I got this from you, I was writing about an old man with a guitar, and a tunnel-like pier… both images feel hyper-real to me, especially the tunnel… the way out? The way in? Both.


I wonder, are we really “an isolated mind” while (bodily) floating in a dark water tank? Never done this, but isn;t it a variety of illusion to believe we can ever be “an isolated mind” ? I agree it might “seem” so. If we do believe this, and feel it as reality, doesn’t that lead fairly directly to the “nihilism” you’re talking about, whatever it’s brand name. I would tend to say that no, we cannot ever be isolated minds, though our attentional self can to some degree focus on one of our many realms of being/awareness or lack thereof and seem to be only that, leaving body and earth behind. But floating in water on earth, and still breathing air, every cell sparking with the fire of life, are we anything but a constantly aware creation of air, water, earth, fire…plus all the non-human creatures who make our moment to moment life possible and whatever else there is we can’t name?


I would like to clarify that experiences in floatation differ, and may not necessarily result in unio mystica. I have experienced floatation serving an intensification of consciousness, precisely because it amplifies the “isolated” quality of the mind. In order to relax into the abyss of the senses (aka Origin), default-mode/traumatized thinking must subside. But often, first, it intensifies.

Electrical-Brainwave states are also involved. There may be analogic processes in homeopathy as well.

That said, I totally agree, @Ariadne, about the illusion of mental isolation. I have thought about the symbology a lot: the floatation tank is not only like a womb, but from the outside it resembles a giant egg!

I believe you’re right, too, that we could be more mindful as to claims of tradition. I don’t only feel descendence from ancient Greece, but also from Indigenous, African/-American, Persian, Arab, Indian, Chinese traditions too, since they are are all mixed in with the cultural milieu we share. These only name some of the civilizational continents, not all the local differences and oppositions.

The modern, scientific world we live in may be rooted in ancient Greek philosophy, Judaism, and Christendom (with many global cross-currents through trade & war, etc.)—but it is not the ONLY world we live in, and not even the best one.

If one grants we live in multiple worlds simultaneously, do we need different origin stories, for different occasions?

And if there is Alpha, what about Omega?
What paths exist for thinking—in communion, and in isolation?

I wonder about a future civilization. Will it really be Western or Eastern? Why not Planetary…Chthonic…Cosmic?