Cosmos Café [2023-05-04] -- A WITting Interlude in the 'Imaginary Landscape'

In your time zone: 2023-05-04T18:00:00Z

ZOOM video conference: Launch Meeting - Zoom


Thompson’s text is not the easiest to follow. After all, it is his first real attempt at his own-conceived Wissenkunst. The word he quite often uses to describe this particular effort is “mind jazz”, and it appears to me that all of us engaging in the exploration of his imagined landscape agree.

Chapter 4 – “A Cultural History of Consciousness” – is the longest, and perhaps densest of the prose chapters of the book as he is attempting to bring together the themes, notions, and ideas he has been unfolding thus far. What is more, he offers his own take on a framework of “evolution” of consciousness that deserves more than just passing attention. In many cases, this chapter raises more questions than it answers. It almost demands the reader slow down and consciously reflect on how all he has presented thus far fits into this proposed framework.

In this session, the desire is to revisit the text and work on a number of open issues and raised questions it would be worthwhile engaging more deeply.

Reading / Watching / Listening

Thompson, William Irwin (1989) Imaginary Landscape: Making Worlds of Myth and Science, New York, St. Martin’s Press; Chapter 4 “A Cultural History of Consciousness”. (Reprise)

Lab section

Achronon (Ed) will conduct a brief opening and closing exercise.

Reading Schedule

  • Feb 09: Acknowledgements, Prologue
  • Feb 23: Chapter 1
  • Mar 09: Chapter 2
  • Mar 23: Chapter 3
  • Apr 06: The Spirit of AI (an organic interlude)
  • Apr 20: Chapter 4
  • May 04: A WITting Interlude in the Imaginary Landscape
  • May 18: Epilogue

Seed Questions

  • “Most thought-provoking to [Marco] was Thompson’s contention that what we consider “evil” in one epoch is often the harbinger of what becomes good and essential in the next. I find myself pondering our conversation about AI [time before last] —and the skepticism/resistance we generally expressed toward it— in the light of this notion.” How do we feel about this now?

  • Marco also noted that “Thompson also contends that what is past—perhaps now, the human as such—still sticks around. It may be destroyed by the new techno-economic paradigm, for example, but can be preserved as art. I wonder: is this good enough for us? And what if one doesn’t want to be taken up as an organelle within the new super-organism? Can one ultimately make that choice? And what are the costs/benefits of doing so?”

  • Both Maia and Michael noted how the influx of new, unfamiliar ideas and notions are so often initially resisted, much like our own body’s immune reaction. Nevertheless, at least in English, there is a clever association between “community” and “immunity”, deriving etymologically from their Latin roots. There’s much more than can be said about this, and Michael has provided some additional inputs for consideration (see Off-site Context, Backstory, and Related Topics below). How might these ideas assist us in gaining deeper understanding of Thompon’s insights?

  • Ed appreciated John’s drawing our attention to the idea of “attactors” which Thompson introduced into this schema via Abraham, but he is stumbling over the relation between the three attractors (static, periodic, chaotic) and the five-stage/phase framework that Thompson presents. There seems to be a disconnect of some kind here, so he is looking for others’ thoughts on how the apparent discrepancy – if there is in fact one – might be resolved? Are there perhaps other attractors that could be indentified, or is this perhaps simply a weak spot in Thompson’s argumentation?

Context, Backstory, and Related topics


On Immunity

3.2-Hybrid-Warfare-and-Its-Metaphors.pdf (1.6 MB)


Cosmos Café [2023-01-26] – Deja Vu all over again … or another spin of the wheel?

Cosmos Café [2023-02-09] – WI Thompson’s ‘Imaginary Landscape’ 1

Cosmos Café [2023-02-23] – WI Thompson’s ‘Imaginary Landscape’ 2

Cosmos Café [2023-03-09] – WI Thompson’s ‘Imaginary Landscape’ 3

Cosmos Café [2023-03-23] – WI Thompson’s ‘Imaginary Landscape’ 4

Cosmos Café: The Spirit of AI (an organic interlude) [2023-04-06]

Cosmos Cafe [2023-04-20] – WI Thompson’s ‘Imaginary Landscape’ 5

Proposed Agenda

  1. Welcomes and greetings

  2. Lab section

  3. Re-engagement of open topics and questions

  4. Wrap-up and hand-off to next session


Sorry for the delay in getting this page up, but I was away this past weekend.

This post is simply a reminder that the above page is a wiki and therefore editable. I can’t be sure that I have included all the open issues, questions, and topics that were brought up in our last get-together, so if I did miss something, please forgive me for the omission and either (a) update the above accordingly, or (b) let me know what needs to be added and I’ll gladly make the edits.

Looking forward to our next meet-up. Happy cogitating! :thinking: :upside_down_face:




Someone shared this blog post by @ThouArtThat in Mastodon of all places (nice that it’s gotten around), and it would seem to be relevant in this thread (or at least adjacent to it):

Finally, I’d be remiss not to include the latest episode of one of my (two) favorite podcasts, if only because both the podcast and Matthew’s post above invoke Heidegger’s saying that “the most thought-provoking thing about our thought-provoking age… is that we are still not thinking.”

Granted, contra Heidegger, I would rather say that we’re thinking too much, and thinking about the wrong things, and thinking in the wrong ways—not thoughtfully enough, perhaps—rather than not thinking per se. In any event, the whole podcast is a rather active meditation on this theme, which I believe also reflects back upon William Irwin Thompson’s attempts to think through the spaces between myth and science, the small and the large, the ancient and the contemporary, and the evolution of it all in consciousness.

Looking forward to your lab session, @achronon. Thanks for writing up the intro above. Re: your question about “attractors”—beyond the static, periodic, and chaotic attractors, I’ve been wondering/pondering, could there be an integral attractor exerting a pull on us—drawing us, perhaps, beyond the chaos of this age? Is that worth thinking about?


How I phrase this in my own mind is that we’re thinking too wide (hence shallowly), not deep enough. I agree with your assessment that Thompson’s book is an attempt to think through his subject, which, to me, is a way of thinking deeply (even if I’m generally skeptical of spatial metaphors). More along Gebserian lines, I would say we’re thinking “a lot” (i.e., in a quantitative sense) but not necessarily very “intensely” (read: qualitatively).

Yes, this is worth thinking about, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve also been mulling the thought that there might be something like a “polar attractor”, between “static” and “periodic”, for it would seem the static (which could be a unifying attactor (again, in a Gebserian sense) and this would have to perhaps “bifurcate without separating” (a kind of emergence of poles), if you will, so that there is something to periodize. The biggest issue I had with the whole chapter wasn’t his framework per se, but rather his argumentation on how it might arise. So, I’m also going to chew a bit more on your “integral attractor” idea before we get together again. Thanks for the input.


I Know I may be going astray on this thread, and Yet the notion of “Attractor” is my “Contact” point in the Body!

Since Thompson is Interweaving Myth & Science which is done with
his “The Art (Play) of Knowing” - Wissenkunst

This seems to Be a Element of the Depth we are Affectively Leaning

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Greetings from the UAP task force. This is a passage from my para-journal. Although I am not going to be joining your group for the next live session I can participate at a safe distance without boring others too much with my obsessions. I think this is a good place for me to start as I am not sure which zone I am perceiving from. I offer this as a para-message which may or may not have something to do with the topic at hand. This question of scales and speeds is a hard nut to crack . Where is that crow when you need him?

It starts with arecent dream I shared the dream in which I met an old friend, Charles, who died in 1979. I told him, “You died a long time ago. How are you? Have you met any Gods or Goddesses on the others ide?”

This led to a short exchange and a proufound energy sharing which I made reference to with my UAP group sponsored by Sean. I share it here at the Cafe site as a follow up to the work that I attempted to frame in my last zoom call with your group. I hope this para-message from another group dynamic is of use to your group dynamic and will stimulate futher research. Perhaps your cohorts at the Cafe will notice some resonances between different groups and different syles of organizing data collection.

  • UAP group 4/27/23*

What happens when you meet a stranger on the astral plane?
Are they sentient?
Are they sapient?
Are they conscious?
Are they meta-aware?
Are they para-aware?

When in the moment you may have to make quick decisions if you are to share a communique with the Astral Others.

In my report from the Lucid Dream these questions were in my background as I explored the stranger in the conference room whom I identified as a Charles a close friend who met a tragic death in 1979.

I asked him a question, he asked me a question and I touched his image ( not the same as a physcial body) and felt a vibration that passed through me to him. I felt limits to my understanding but a great wave of kindness and acceptance towards him and myself as we are both inside of a dreamsdape that I do not make though I may influence…I am witness~participant

Hence, my interpretation in that moment that this was a perfrormane of an Exo-Being that could use the horizontal, the vertical dimensions and had access to the future/pasts of these two living/dead persons.

I share the paradox of this exchange as a case study in how to work with Anomolous Experiences and blend different kinds of logics in a phase space. There is a causal-temporal logic that I was aware of ( his past, my grief and accpetance, his shadowy presence in a twilght mood) and my decision space which may not be the same as his.
There is also the intentional-semantic logic of the deep structure of the world/mind/human. As I am sapient, sentient, self-reflexive , meta-aware, and para-aware I am also sensitive to the limits of the other(s) who are sharing this communique with me. It is ambiguous as my capacity to hold the tensions varies a lot. I am aware that I am in a training.

Has anyone seen Solaris? Both movie versions are good but the book is not sentimental at all. Solaris is a Planet studied by a group of human researches who are in a space craft nearby. The humans are disturbed by memories, dream figures, and dead persons. The inside~outside is scrambled by an invisible but highly intelligent presence that comes from the planet Solaris. They don’t know what is subjective or what is objective. Perhaps scrampbling the human’s memory on board the space craft is an immune response from Solaris?

Can a Planet be sentient? If the Planet can attack the mindstream of the humans could theyalso have access to the sapient?

In my encounter which I shared I held the possibility that this was a hostile force. I am a child of Decsartes and the Cartesian split, a split that my education and culture are maintain even as the civilization seems to be crumbling. “I” as dreamer/modeler in the moment felt safe as I had callled upon previously the Arch Angel Michael to support me. The capacity for differentiating I. me. from you/we is a necessity for maintaining a coherent communication. Most of my communications on the Astral are mixed and sometimes de-coherent.

I share this as I sense that we in this UAP group are working with differences of scale and perceivng~conceiving from different kinds of theories. I am tuning into the interiors of another in an astral zone and this kind of tuning can’t be conducted with a slide rule or objective tools used in earth physcis to manipulate and control an earth reality. I offer what I consider a complimentary investigation and hopefully we can create a lab routine and shared fellowship that can work in a trans-disciplinary dynamic. Thanks for the insights everyone has shared.

As I mentioned previously I want to compose something about the living and the dead and this is an example of how I am developing this motif. Good luck with your inquiry, Ed, at the next Cafe. The integral attactor is with us always. I wish you well from the margins of another reality."



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My experience with Thin Places Daily!!!
Die and Become. Until you have learned this, you are but a dull
guest on this dark planet. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Liminality and certitude are always

at odds with one another.

Anxiety thrums through the body, unmooring—


Relax your shoulders, unfurl your hands.

Try a deep cleansing breath.

Give yourself to the earth.

Let Mother gift herself to you.

Let your feet hit the soil,

remember the patterns of growth,

the cycles of life

Things bury deep. Things grow in the dark.

Things rise again.

All things transition.

In the radiance of dark, there is process:

the unfolding of mystery,

things words cannot articulate,

a threshold to freedom the mind cannot comprehend.

But the body feels,

the heart knows:

This is liminality.

The threshold of transition,

from death to life, from evening to morn,

from gestation to giving birth.

The unknown is a part of it all.

—Felicia Murrell


Thanks, @achronon and @Michael_Stumpf, for the conversation today.

Here’s the recording from our meeting:

@Ariadne — so sorry you couldn’t log in. It is actually kind of funny/not-funny how this plays into and exemplifies the discussion we ended up having re: the pros and cons of technology advances.

Next time we are going to read the poems in the last chapter of Thompson’s book, and I will do whatever I can to make sure you can join us.

ADDENDUM: We didn’t explicitly talk about capitalism today, but it was there implied in everything else. I think of capitalism as the abuse of otherwise healthy and natural principles of trade and commerce. This essay makes the troublesome mutually-enabling and accelerating relationship between AI/technology and capitalism extremely clear:


A Floating Dingy alongside our Cafe’ that adds some Linguistic
Music to Our Song?

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Thanks for the offer to help, but if its a zoom glitch, how would that work?
If we wait until meeting time and I try to call in, and can’t, that’s kind of too late.
Important to note: I also tried the online zoom link on my computer and I was also
asked for a password before being asked for a meeting ID.
Have you added a password requirement?

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Could it be the switch to Vimeo and/or the change you made re: Michael
could have caused the password problem?
I just now tried to watch the recording and got cut off after half an hour
with an error message. I feel dooooooooooomed to bade internet experiences!

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