Cosmos Café [7/30/19] - Gebser in the Present

Jawohl! Let the words speak for themselves … and we can slowly stumble on behind.



Tripping in the Ordinary
Intensity in Feeling,
Clarity Eases Into
Unknown Laughter,
Light-ness at the Edge!


What a beautiful intensification of Ed’s story about the subtle working of intuition—that small voice we hear and feel—while approaching a green light, where he thankfully obeyed, and so we get to have him with us today.

Yet it’s one thing to stop when there is a green light; quite another to keep going when the light is red! Is this an example of what Gregory Bateson called a “triple bind”?

I really enjoyed the conversation—thanks to @Jeremy, @Douggins, and everyone who made it happen. I daresay, there was something musical about the whole thing. A sort of cognitive music and stateless state-sound, a transmission not only of ideas but subtle forms and filigrees of feelings.

A poignant perplexity washes up strange seashells on the shore of my soul.

When is there something rather than nothing? (a small voice inside me asks).

And I linger with a deep, troubling, and alluring curiosity about a waring only touched upon—tip of the iceberg-like—regarding the archaic. In a way, this is the ‘structure’ that gets shortest shrift in Gebser’s exploration. I am reminded of Terrence McKenna’s notion of an “archaic revival,” and I wonder (this feels true and more significant than we give it credit for) whether must get to the bottom of the archaic in order to realize any peak/peek of the integral?


Some highly relevant triple bind humor…! Stay off the roads this weekend!


Instant full-bodied reply I “heard/felt” when arriving at your question: YES.
Then talking-mind said: The “bottom” is also foundation. Root chakra. Can’t give any levels short shrift if we are desiring the ripening of the Integral Whole in us/around us.

I feel the rhythm and taste the taste of what you’ve written here, all of it!


Forgot something: T. McKenna’s archaic revival was soil/compost/plant/fungi based intelligence(s)/arts, in collaboration with specificially human ones. I would add: animals/insects/bacteria, etc plus elementals (water, air, light/fire…an integral relation to all our relations?


What is a Borne book? I love the Strange Bird artwork! And the body questions. So since this is August 4…wondering…

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That’s why I’m so curious about the Archaic in this conversation. Whereas the Magic, Mythic, and Mental structures are all specifically human (that we know, or at least in Gebser’s account) the Archaic ‘structure’ would include ALL THIS:

And like turtles all the way down, aren’t there many, many deep structures underlying the magic, mythic, and mental? But what if the Integral…

…relates us to whole of the Archaic? An the Immanent? And the Cosmic?




Congratulations. You are free to choose from two hundred different shampoos.

Hey, kids, let’s go shopping!

Eruption or Irruption? Cosmic? Immanent? Archaic?

A heat dome has settled over the Ice Cap? And there is a giant invisible ocean just behind our heads…

The Archaic may be so huge and complex we can never see it. Timothy Morton refers to Hyperobjects. We may never see these Hyperobjects directly but we know they are there, such as Global Warming, Capitalism, Super Viruses. Too hard to think about.

Is there a relationship between Hyperobjects and the Archaic? I’m not sure…


Michael, just yesterday for the first time in too long, I spent an hour lying on the ground in a nook of my garden and stayed unmoving for all that time so that birds (and?) would feel safe enough to come…and they did in great numbers and it was (integral) magical! Two or three birds I’ve never seen here before, and a tiny flock of tiny wrentits (or bushtits?) bathing in the water that curved leaves collect! They are bold, curious, and come to see what I am without apparent concern, as long as I don’t move. A warbler (not sure which) came within a few inches of me to bathe in the waterdish, so funny I almost spoiled it all by laughing out loud because the warbler was obviously suspicious of the water and had to gradually in quick darts, each longer, get accustomed to being in the dish and each time it jumped in, it squeeked in what felt like delight and a bit of surprise. As I went on observing, I noticed my eyesight improving and that spooked me until I realized it was my brain figuring out how to erase and fill in: ;many leaves and grass stems were “in the line of sight” and at first I could barely make out the feather-patteners…then it was as though the grass/branch strokes got subtracted and looked like there was a straight-shot view. Also seems like the complex pattern of feathers/colors (browns, blacks, a bit of white) clarified somehow and became a “whole” instead of bits I was trying to hold together so I could remember and look up the bird in a guide (haven’t yet but the image is still clear). The other bird had what looked like no tail and a very small head: it pecked at the other end of the branch I was next to and the sound was magnified somehow by the “dead” wood of that particular branch.
I was in the garden several hours, but that time lying on the ground was the best! Seemed I could feel a kind of embrace from underneath…
Your synchronous post delighted me!


I have GooseBumps while reading- ingesting your descriptive experience,which in my personal experience is a trickle of the liminal/imaginal.I posted that to support Marco,the Archaic in this Being Human is the Earth-Heart,which is not to imply the Bottom,just that my Flesh & the Earth’s Flesh are entangled in a Mystery Beyond My Imagination and Yet does include Imagination.



Our friend Gebser says, “The structure closest to and presumably identical with origin we shall designate as the archaic structure […].” [Emphasis mine] He then goes on to elaborate that it is “zero-dimensional; it is thus spatial and temporal, although our present mentality, if it grasps this at all, will see in this a paradox. It is origin; only in a terminological sense is it a ‘first’ structure emanating from that perfect identity existing ‘before’ (or behind) all oneness or unity which it initially might have represented. It is […] a time of complete non-differentiation of man and the universe.” (EPO, p. 43)

He uses Chuang-tzu’s statement that “Dreamlessly the true men of earlier times slept,” as “documentary evidence” for this structure. In the synoptic tables he says “deep sleep” is the analogical degree of consciousness. The only other “evidence” he brings forth is the fact that in ancient Chinese chromatic symbolism, the colors blue and green were not differentiated, the same word being used to describe both the earth and the sky. (EPO, p. 44) (It is interesting to note that among the Hopis (I believe) these are still not clearly differentiated.) He concludes, “The identity of earth and sky is an expression of the macrocosmic harmony; taken together, microcosmic and macrocosmic harmony are nothing less than the perfect identity of man and universe.” (EPO, p. 45, emphasis in the original) He mentions as well an enigmatic statement of Plato’s (as cited by Aristotle) that “The soul … [came into being] simultaneously with the sky.” (EPO, p. 45).

His description of this structure encompasses only about two full pages of text. Not much relatively speaking to the overall volume of the work as a whole. But, even from this scant portrayal, I think it is reasonable to conclude that origin and integrality have a lot to do with one another, even if they are not the same. The integrality there is what must be brought forth through the other structures, a true presentiation of (all) the past. Their difference is a difference by virtue of the intensity of the consciousness involved. Even we humans today sleep dreamlessly, but not only and not always. The expansion of our awareness to include not only non-human but sentinent and non-sentinent, vegative and mineral is a step in a better direction.


And of course the juxtaposition of such warmly expressed love for our common blue home with the continuing evidence of our tribal antagonisms cannot illustrate our dilemma any better…


For the ancient Chinese and the Hopis, earth and sky were “green”.

For us today, the sky and earth are “blue”.

Still one, even if we’ve shifted along the spectrum.


Timothy Morton, whom Jeremy considers an aperspectival thinker, would definitely agree with you. All mammals dream…reptiles do not…and pigeons can see more colors than humans can…there seems to be a wide spectrum of consciousnesses co-evolving on this thin crust of the planet’s surface…all of that shit and slime and nuclear wastes and plastics… we make living and dying arrangements with different kinds of critters as Donna Haraway says.


perhaps we are becoming nihilists with a twist…it would be all too easy to slide into the nihilist camp if it weren’t that I hear such beautiful voices on the radio and watch the teenage boys and girls play basketball…even as I notice the sledgehammers knocking down a structure…inhale dust… have allergic reactions to sunlight…and observe rows of prime real estate store fronts are boarded up and empty…and when I pray I am sure we are praying not to a fertility God but to the Imaginal space we all carry around within ourselves…even if some of us humans have turned into zombies…after too many viewings of Netflix and devouring lots of white sugar…


Mockingbird bumps… while reading your comment! :wink:


In Greek myth, Earth and Sky were right up against each other, literally, and both were in some sense constrained by this…until a separation occured, and Sky moved up away from Earth… maybe so that they could come back together again in a joyous reunion? I can’t seem to remember how the separation happened, but there’s a vague awareness that it too constricting to be sort of glued together that way, not much room to …change/evolve, and harder to know one another beyond “identity”.


Andre Anchondo and his son. Heartbreaking portrait a friend just sent…