Cosmos Café [5/21/19] - Death Café

Inspired by Death Cafe and Death Blues . . .and life

“What happens when we thoroughly hold and understand that our lives are finite? How does this understanding of our end shape our present? How do we become more ‘present’?”

Recorded 21 May 2019

After Doug explains the logic behind the Death Café, John opens with a clean start and a quantum quote from Kripal’s The Flip orienting the conversation into a double movement, in which the 3rd person (material) is mirrored by 1st person (mental). The trio cycles dual movements of death and life; body and mind; consciousness and unconsciousness; dark and light. They develop a rapport with metaphor, working out of a fear of the unknown/ of change/ of death and into an acceptance/ alertness/ appreciation of life. Dreams and personal experiences are explored.

In attendance:

John Davis
Michael Stumpf
Douglas Duff
(and you are there in spirit)

Reading / Watching / Listening / Questioning

Seed Questions

  • What is death?
  • What happens at the moment of death?
  • How has our response to death evolved over the human timeline?
  • How much of art and life is centered around this struggle?
  • Does the quest for immortality ever end? Are we killing ourselves to live longer?
  • As old (American) dreams die hard, will there be a resurrection on the other side? What does the other side of resurrection feel like?

Context, Backstory, and Related topics


Agenda items


I think this is a good topic as long as we don’t get into pre mature cognitive commitment syndrome. We are in the grip of a Newtonian world view that shuts down discourse around this final frontier ( which for me is not final at all). There is so much baggage we carry around death. I would recommend we focus attention on some recent research in the NDE literature which is a vast field. Eben Alexander for example. This interview is based upon a book co-authored by Kripal. The flip is happening to a lot of people. Are we ready for this?

Part 2 is an interview with Kripal about how to work with NDE and the weird as we go beyond the materialist grip on our cultural imagination. Highly recommended.


Well, well, well … finally something to sink one’s teeth into. Unlike John, I’m not interested at all in what the matterheads may think and I’ll talk about anything that tickles my fancy. The pointer to NDE literature is, of course, a good one, and we also have our Meron Café as background as well. Lynnclaire, after all, is the only person I ever met who experience more than one.

Unfortunately for me – perhaps not so much for the rest of you – I won’t be able to participate as I will still be down south on dad/grandpap duty. But, have fun and play nice.


I am mindful of the matterheads because they rule Academia, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the Pentagon. There is, however, an underground movement that can upset the apple cart. We can, as Kripal does so well, deconstruct the matterheads so that we can start using our social imaginations to unleash our power.


A Clean Language interview with Michael that we did yesterday in preparation for this Cafe. If someone gets a chance to view this I will be glad. This is a Way of working with different scales and intensities.


Thought this might be a set & setting for the conversational experiment we are embarking on?


Hey cosmic gang ~ I just got back from my daughter B’s Young Athletes event at her pre-school. It was really sweet, divine sparks all around. Every child got a medal.

Though I hadn’t registered that I would be present for today’s talk (which is certainly on a topic of interest), I am not feeling prepared to show up today. Not only have I fallen behind on some of the threads, but I am also in a creative/productive phase that is requiring extra attention. Moreover, it occurred to me that because of death, I really should prioritize my daughter’s event, as well as other pressing matters.

I intend to catch up as soon as I can—please carry on! I look forward to hearing your reflections, intensifications, clarifications, and receptions.


Can’t just “like” this without comment. Great stuff, guys.

I remain impressed with how Clean Language is clearly a method but proceeds by connecting the vital and the emotional to the rational as a matter of course. Important point: it is not “conversation” in which language can be “taken for granted” by the inattentive, but an active exploration of the human person. No wonder it goes deeply in relatively small amounts of ‘clock’ time - and by “chunking slow”!

  • The child is saved; the adult is freed; intense anguish dies; and love wisdom without measure is born.
  • We are replaceable and we must value each other in this brief sojourn.
  • With attention and intention we stay centered in the field of all possibilities.

I (finally) read the essay by our @Eduardo_Rocha on capitalism yesterday. You guys briefly discussed the ritual space as a safe place allowing ‘deeper’ to happen normally. One of Eduardo’s points about modern capitalism run amok by literally eliminating (non-monetarized) ritual space (i.e., nothing is sacred) struck me as I listened. This is surely part of the “undertow” - where inattention is rampant because, in the madness to find the price of every thing, nothing retains value?


Thanks so much for making connections with Eduardo’s insights. I believe that this " undertow" can be resisted and the meta attention held captive is re-directed in our tiny but evolving community.

I am so grateful that others are getting value from this way of exploring language and bodymind. Your comments on our performance helps me make better sense of what we might be becoming as we let go of the Modern. I agree with Davor that it is finished. Although we may not have an alternative economy it does not follow that Capitalism is working. I feel much of our research-creation here is to point out the fragility of our current way doing business and to start the arduous process of sharing attention ( as our species has always done) to create new and improved operational chains. I think we may have reached a new kind of threshold as we drop the 3D grid and open to the Quantum. We touch on some of this in the triadic conversation we had today. I look forward to further observations and connections, TJ. Such exchanges give me greater confidence that ‘we’ can use this technology to evolve coherent we spaces. Can imaginative wisdom become a trend?


“Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin


Drawings from Clean Languaging segment during Death Café

The ‘rotating dial’ analogy seems a bit too mechanical of a process for what really is a messy method of re-collecting and remembering memory. Death was aligned with the body as it was our core focus. This Life/Death Cycle was a core carryover from our Life Divine study.


Beautiful, Douglas. We could explore this drawing with CL for a whole day! Below the surfaces of Materialist dogmas alternate ways of knowing/being are happening.

Here is a dream art of my favorite Master. What immortal hand or eye could frame his fearful symmetry?


I enjoyed this conversation. We navigated away from death not out of fear but because of a general intuition that death is a brief event; its ‘existence’ is fully dependant on life. We naturally concluded that death is not final; death by its very nature is a natural cause of its own death. :skull:

I would like to go in exploratory mode for what seems to be of interest for most of us here, the topic of body as a case of mistaken identity in the materialist orientation. Death to the body as we know it! I personally have been making valiant attempts to shed my body; see sexuality as something to transcend; go beyond body/mental activity to access what is beyond or outside the brain. But what I want is perhaps beyond the human life span and death of this little consciousness of mine may not allow me to ‘see’ the future of the body beyond the material world. Yet, with reminders from John and Michael, I have learned to include the body, or include learning about the body in these explorations.

Murphy quotes Ayala in The Future of the Body: “Inorganic evolution went beyond the bounds of [its] previous physical and chemical patternings when it gave rise to life. In the same sense, biological evolution transcended itself when it gave rise to man.” It is wise, as most respectable speculative thinkers remind us (and as noted above), to include our biology in the mix. What role does the body play as we transcend our biological evolution?

Murphy provides a useful list (provided by Johnny in the link above) of extraordinary perceptions, abilities, capacities . . . a long list of attributes available even as we are lodged in everyday biological existence. The body receives and translates according to its knowledge of the language received.

So what is the body? A walking wave function? A tool? A vessel? What role will the body play as we go out and play at the edges of reality? Murphy notes that as life developed from inorganic and as humankind developed from ancestors, ‘quantum jumps’ in development (discovery of fire, the emergence of language, the birth of religious awareness as witnessed in the Axial Age) made these developments possible. I equate his use of quantum jumping to be more aligned with Gebser’s mutations than with the scale of the quanta, I understand quanta to be very very small but capable of abilities outside of the biological framework, which could have grand implications for how we respond in an ‘age’ ripe for mutation.

. . . I am at the edge of my map (and all this typing and sitting has me feeling like a slug-body in need of movement) . . . so I pass any further thoughts out to you!


Got the unexpected opportunity to listen to the MP3 of the chat: a fascinating weave of notions, affects and realizations. Here: a couple of immediate, rather random thoughts on things I heard.

Death, for me (since everyone more or less stated their starting point) is a transition, a “mere” state-change. For the most part (remember the significant segment of the Café devoted to dreamscapes and inner realities), we are organisms who are born, mature, and eventually die. (Michael highlighted this specifically.) In other words, Life enters that organism at some point and at some point that organism is no longer capable of hosting Life. Every organism, at any rate, shares that process. In this sense, death cannot be “final” … only the vehicle for the experience-accumulation process has clearly defined starting and stopping points.

Having been associated with a couple of organizations which, in many regards, were inheritors of or claimed to have their roots in “Gnostic” (or what is often held to be such) traditions, the general “teaching” there was that we are spiritual beings (if not simply spirits) caught/entrapped/imprisoned (choose your metaphor) in physical bodies: a birth in this physical world meant a death in the spiritual one; a death in this physical world meant a (re)birth in the spiritual world. The dreamscapes of which you spoke parallel and overlap with those worlds. It’s all not so cut and dried as our matterhead friends would like to believe. I personally believe that this much more multilayered and interpenetrated than most spiritually inclined individuals would like to think.

Ba’al (BOL, Beth-Ayin-Lamed) was, as John, noted the name of a Canaanite deity. The word in Biblical hebrew also means simply “owner, master, lord”, but also “husband”. The “classic” Ba’al story is probably the encounter of the prophet Elijah with the prophets (or priests) of Ba’al, described in 1 Kings 18. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for the latter. (In this connection, it is worth noting that at that time – that is, at the time of the story – all deities were local deities; that is, they were inseparably linked to territories and people. What is more, there is nothing in the Tanakh (what most of us call “the Old Testament”) that denies reality to these entities, if you will. They may not have been of this particular plane of existence, but they were every bit as real as the people who worshiped them. I don’t see any reason to think that they ceased to be simply because no one worshiped them anymore.) Also, the word BOL (Ba’al), according to the Letter-Kabbalists, means as much as “the container of the vision of all possibilities set into directed motion”. Just a thought.

While I agree that the average Joe or Jane on the street more often than not has difficulty coming to terms with “death”, there are nevertheless huge differences from one culture to the next. Americans – as the Café showed – seem to have a lot of problems with it for a wide range of reasons, not the least of which is the significance of the change involved and the “unknowability” that it represents, hence it is something to fear. This fear, I must say, is not as prevalent here in Germany, where it is most often viewed simply as a part of life, period. Everybody’s-gotta-go-sometime seems to be the general motto, so why not make the best of the time you’ve got? The Scandinavians – as Kripal points out in The Flip – live this even more fully.

What also struck me about the Café was the number of times “well, that could be the topic of another Café” (or some variation on that theme) was spoken. If anyone takes the time to review the recording again, I would suggest they take notes and make a list and pass it on to Doug. There is a lot of food for future thought therein.


And at the edge of a map is a most interesting place to be. This inquiry can go in many different directions.

And when Body…?
Is there anything else about Body?
And where is that Body?
And does that Body have a size of shape?
And how old is that Body?
And where does that Body come from?
And what does that Body want to have happen?

As you can guess, Doug, I have a great interest in exploring how we language our bodymind(s). This is a huge research project I have been engaged in for decades. I believe we can oscillate between dimensions and catch a falling star and put it in you pocket. Words, as our ancestors knew well, are magical.

And the Future…

So, Clean is useful for working with Construct-Aware persons. I think we have demonstrated that. You are clearly aware of the paradox. I think this is very Batesonian. I wonder if you would agree?


Oh I like that, Ed. That kabbalistic letter reference resonates with me a lot.