Cosmos Café [9/17] - Illuminated Café

Recorded 17 September 2019

The Café is a weekly event, same time and same Zoom link. If you have a topic of interest reach out to @douggins to schedule. There are currently no scheduled topics for the Cafés. The line is always open for conversation, so if no topic is introduced join in on the Open Café for a lively conversation :speaking_head:

(note: I (doug) will be unable to attend the Café until mid-October. See you all then)


It is a beautiful, sunny, warm day here where this body is sitting outside with a stack of books upon my local Café table. I look forward to chatting with whoever shows up, and if nobody shows up, I’ll converse with the birds—and read!

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Thanks for riffing with me, @Michael_Stumpf! I am relistening to some of it now, remembering what we talked about—shit stinks, orange blossoms & jasmine, poetry, love, language, metaphysics, trauma, beauty, war. I hope it all made some sense. I know I enjoyed the 1-1 time. Hope we created a few moments of coherence…and some asymmetry too.


I enjoyed the “Co-Here-ing”,as far as the Sense-Making,well that was a Starry Night undertaking & One I Appreciate, Friend Marco



The following quote, which come from Huxley’s brilliant essay The Doors of Perception, captures precisely my desired outcome for participating in the Cafe gatherings.

Though himself an intellectual and one of the supreme masters of language, Goethe did not always agree with his own evaluation of the word. " We talk," he wrote late in life, " far too much.

We should talk less and draw more. I personally should like to renounce speech altogether and , like organic Nature, communicate everything I have to say in sketches. That fig, this little snake, the cocoon on my window sill quietly awaiting its future-all of these momentous signatures."

Talk less, draw more. That has been the theme I have tried to develop, with mixed results at the Cafe and elsewhere, with the others, like myself, seemed doomed to talk. I have yet to view the video but may have to put that on hold as my sketch book beckons me.

Can we, dear brothers, Marco and Michael, make a doodle of your dialogue? ( Not the same as a third person digital download!) If you resist my request, I certainly understand. Putting in a doodle, what we think and say, calls upon a different kind of intelligence.

If I could co-create such a liminal zone, where doodles and words, co-refer, rather than the linguistic dominating everyone, then I could believe someday ( beyond my lifetime) a future people may integrate the Third Eye and the Third Ear. Then, I would die in peace, knowing my life was not entirely driven by vanity and cheap sentiment.

Until that desired outcome is realized, I will take the high tech, of my colored pencils and sketch pad, and look for a shady tree somewhere, in an autumnal Manhattan, and watch all the Strangers.

And that few moments of coherence and asymmetry…that few moments… is like what?

And what does that Starry Night undertaking, want to have happen?

Good luck, Cafe! And Happy Second Anniversary!

What happens next?


Let Me say, John; I always appreciate your ( how it lands in-on my Soul-Field ) Request-(Minor Challenge) to Others ways of Communicating.
I will be partially resisting your request.Simply put I have no interest in expressing myself through doodling.

At this time my belief is there’s an Aesthetic Intelligence in the Cosmos therefore it is in Us(Humans,whether A-Waring we are or not) it does to seem to be Form with a Formless Freedom.With that I find Perspectives (1st,2nd,3rd,etc) to be Permeable- Porous & it is not just light that moves through(both ways),it’s sound,affect(feeling),…the Multiple Senses we Incarnate( as I know without Doubt U John Experience on a ongoing Basis).
I practice the use of what U call 3rd person digital download from a Ist person feeling into a 3rd person object,these are my materials,tech support & the sketch pad is my inner Imagination(that U have so modeled having confidence in).
So here my Doodle using different materials.


I embrace a kind of Scraggly Skillfulness with/in all manner of Aesthetics,even in my Sense of Self,which is probably the main raw material I have to create from?


Thanks for sharing some of your process with us, Michael, and that is a plus for sure. I use digitized materials, too, and I am not advocating doing away with that practice. It is fast, efficient and effective. I am not advocating anything, actually, expect the idea that we can draw with crayons and pencils to re-connect to hands, eyes, and motion( not to mention childhood.)

There is a transmission, very personal, that happens for me and in most people, I have worked with, that comes through a sketch, that is not in a digital presentation, as elegant and fun as they are to put together. For me, the analogue is much richer than digital. We can do both!

Doodling, by the way, is a term I use, as most people claim they can’t draw, If you want to produce high anxiety ask a person to sing or to draw. Metaphor, in my view, is something you can draw. We are, sadly, an art phobic society.

As I am drawing upon previous experience at the Cafe, I do not presume to know what is going to happen next. If there is a third anniversary, it would surprise me. We have gone much further than I would have predicted. Maybe there is a next wave coming?


In my View U have something there,& in my view there is also the unseen/unfelt Magic which Being many Moons with this Life has given me back the Childlike Wonder I once experienced with the knowing of years,I think" William Blake spoke of it as a Second Innocence"? John our Playing ( U & I) is a living example of this “Second Innocence” in my Humble Experience. Feel the Wave Beneath Your Feet!


I don’t know why, but I rarely—almost never that I can recall—feel well expressed in drawing or any form of visual art. Perhaps this is due to some deficiency in me, or is simply a yet to be explored facet of my particular being. On the other hand, I am attracted to visual artists, and derive a lot of inspiration and pleasure from contemplating their work.

But I feel a lot more drawn myself to voice and song—third ear and heart/throat chakras vibrating with third eye clarities—rather than drawing itself. I could sing or a write lyric to someone else’s painting—that would feel like a true engagement and way of creating synesthetic resonance for me. In a future Café might we explore the domain of social synaesthesia?

More generally, in its third year, I would love for the Café not only to more fully open up its tertiary eyes and ears, but also to open up to new participants, fresh energies, a deepening of potentials. We have been rehearsing for quite a while now—how about opening up the doors, inviting others (who would be welcome), and serving our space with more gusto?

I spoke w/ @artex yesterday and she suggested the idea of pairing visual art with some of our readings. She has curated shows in the UK for many years and is currently doing a practice-based PhD program in art. Perhaps she’d be willing to host a Cafe that explores the works of some contemporary visual artists, while encouraging participants to respond synaesthetically as we will?


I actually feel the wave just beyond my nose. Out on the firescape, this morning, I enter into the silent architecture of the Empress tree, which shades the courtyard, and sways back and forth, lulling me into the reveries, of a broken man, with thin boundaries. Just beyond my nose, through the rail of the firescape, covered in cracked, lead paint, I sniff the air. I act ‘as if’ the tip of my nose can touch the big, leaf, touch the deep crease, that runs down the center of the leaf, feel the trembling greenness. We have practiced on occassion, this kind of touch, what I would call a non-kinsthetic touch. Goethe called this way of knowing an alternate to the linguistic, and a new kind of organ of perception developes as we search for the archetypal plant.

And I wonder, fool that I am, if I could tune more deeply, as a musician does, right before the conductor, does the first down beat. And lo and behold, as my nose overlaps with the big leaf’s size and shape…something lovelier happens…a monarch butterfly swoops between the branches and the leaves and dances in a wide mobius strip shape about the length of my body and then flies off.

A bit of history. This Empress tree, with her purple flowers in Spring and her large nuts, is about seven years old. Forty years ago an old Ailanthus ( aka Skunk tree) grew up and died in the same spot. I mourned the loss of that old Skunk tree for a dozen years and then forgot about it. So, presence of the Empress helps me remember that loss, even as I rejoice in her maturity, for she reaches up to my fifth floor apartment. Each day and night the chi flows between us. If this be but a vain believe that is okay with me.

On a philosophical note. Misreading Kant. I imagine that my mind, which is modulated through the Empress tree, the monarch butterfly, the fly that tickles my hand, the happy-sad guy that I am, this ensemble is real, the real thing in itself. We are the real thing. And if this is just an idle dream, please don’t wake me up.

I would gladly draw a picture of this but I haven’t got a scanner. That is why, when on a live call, I should just find a logical argument, I show a sketch instead, to the consternation, perhaps, of my comrades. I mean no disrespect, I just hear something else, beneath and beyond, our roof brained chatter.

I still recall the smell of that old Skunk tree. It was not a pleasant smell, but earthy and funky. Have a fondness for that funky smell.

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Lucy appeared on the Bateson calls many times. It was a great shame you were not on those calls, you may have been able to sponsor more initiatives, and develop some themes with the motions of your mythy mind. I attended all of those sessions, along with Michael, Doug, and Geoffrey. It was very heavy lifting.

During the four calls we did with Davor, there were many missed opportunities, to connect with larger audiences. It would have really been nice if you, Marco, had been on one of those calls. There are some interesting thinkers that Davor is connected with and I had hoped to make introductions happen. Social synesthesia-yes. Alas, another lost opportunity. I reflect on the efforts I have made to make something happen, I always did the best I could. And I’m tired.

I know we all have our hands full and managing time in a complex time, as we try to create coherent local spaces. I am happy to let others develop opportunities to make sense together. Love the one your with.


Ah! the Multiple ways to Touch the Poetic Perception as Incarnate Life Forms.Your thoughts,sensations & feelings land “in-on” my Body-Mind-Soul with Respect for the Difference that Makes a Difference in Each Individual.

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Perhaps TJ will be able to reconvene the Axial Age Extravaganza in October. That effort is another serious climb to the summit of the mountain. How tall is this mountain anyway? It seems we have been climbing it for a very long time. It takes a lot of energy and I am quite okay with dropping it all and going back to the local gay senior center, where there is some interesting developments happening. I created the conditions for those developments, a place for gay elders to find solace in their golden years.

I appreciated that TJ did show up for all of the Davor calls. I sensed that his eager questions started some new things to grow. We shall see. Who knows? Autumn will be here soon. I am returning my attention to Blake. The winter of our discontent is coming…


Now that is a Multi-Dimensional Groove of Poetic Fire,Earth,Water,Air & Inter-Incarnational Aliveness!

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You state you are surprised we lasted this long.

I believe we are only beginning. We have learned (or we have to learn) that this is everyone’s Cafe. Who do we rent out to? I say anyone willing to devote their time to the Cafe cause. You say only those of us who have a good idea and plan should apply. We do not have a formal rental agreement for the Cafe. There is talk of franchise opportunities, but nothing will be like the original Cafe setting. We have tried speak easy style. Tried various roles.

It can be a little discouraging to see less involvement from others towards framing a topic for the Cafe. As the co-janitor/co-camera assistant, I ensure the place remains clean and recordings are processed in a timely manner. I would hope to see others take pride in renting this fine Cafe spot for their own use, or take on other roles (barista, resident resident (the person who is always at the Cafe and sparks a great conversation… @Michael_Stumpf?)… but maybe the advertising is scarce, the Tuesday time is thought to be the only rental time, etc. But even so, we have still continued to build relationships, and build community…Michael has been present with Ed and Marco for the Open mic nights (days) and for a bit of illumination. The Quantum and Haraway sessions brought in new faces to the Cafe.

When I hear statements of surprise that we are still kicking, I take it as a personal challenge to keep this Cafe thing going, to get our juices flowing. It wouldn’t surprise me that we keep going for five more years. But it would be a pleasant surprise if we make the Cafe into something truly astonishing…not something bigger or better necessarily…but different. A pleasant, simple, subtle surprise.

Personally, my contributions to the Cafes (direct participation "in-person) I feel are limited to my life experience, articulation skills and this day job hold up…i have the intent to bring my best each time and often stumble over words, what others say, whats on my mind,etc. rather than hone in on the deeper conversation to be had…the type of dialogue that come naturally to you. I am learning to abide to the inner goddess’s directives. I feel like others are the ones that give true voice to the Cafe (our regulars John, Ed and Michael + Marco and Geoffrey as well as all of the fine individuals who bring out the best in our conversations)…we have allowed for others to spread life into this thing, to breathe fresh breath into our lungs and I hope to find more of this, to find more of the others who speak the languages of the internal soul, who seek the Divine, who stand up for what is True and Real and Beautiful.

I greatly miss my weekly dose of cafe elixers and underground howls. I feel the blood rising again though, and we are hot on the trail towards the culture that calls us at all hours.


Those events were planned upon, with plenty of preparation, through many Cafes and study group marathons. It was not just a magical event that came out of nowhere.

Yesterday, The New York Times reported the disappearance of 2.9 billion birds in North America. This is a huge disaster. You must pardon me if I reserve the right to express my doubts and my surprises about the future prospects of this Cafe. Please do not take it personally, Doug, as you wear many hats on many different occasions but I am not into the ambitious manifesto today. And I wonder, if others want to use this space for commercial purposes, why not? I hope you find a backer.

Go for it.

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yes…and that is what attracted new individuals! Or, in the case of the Quantum, an individual was specifically invited. Worthy individuals with voices to be heard.

And I respect your song of deep grief. And there is no ambition (which speaks or reeks of the outward manifestation…the commercial purpose) nor a manifestation of manifesto-speech in my words. I do take it personally for I think you misinterpret the intent of the post above, or have misunderstood the core of who I am as an individual. If anything, the post was a lament towards the days (not long ago, mind you!) in which my attention and care could be focused on what I care about most, towards the relationships that matter to me most, no matter the distance or digital divide. Looking forward to a more active participation in the conversations in the coming weeks and to discovering a deeper sense of reality, to sharing our dreams.

I am sorry you feel misunderstood or misinterpreted by me. You certainly have a right to express yourself the way you wish. As values are expressed, by different individuals, with different stated and sometimes murky intentions, hierarchies both good and bad, can arise. About your core, Doug, I admit, I am totally ignorant. And as Oscar Wilde once quipped, you should never interfere with natural ignorance. And I would not categorize my posts on this thread as a eulogy or grief stricken. About fifty thousand gay men, during the 80’s, died of AIDS. That I grieved for them has been done mostly in private. I have yet to adjust to the loss of so many birds. I think working for a coherent local LGBTQ aesthetic is still front and center of my attention and in my affections. This commitment has also prepared me to think about the current eco crises more philosophically. As the affective turn can shift with the seasons and an election cycle commences, I am probably not that easy to be around. Good luck and may the force go with you, Doug. Transcendence is real and I have built my ship of death. I assume the Cafe can organize itself well enough with lots of new individuals.

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I definitely regret missing the Bateson readings, as well as the sessions on Generations as well as on the Axial age. However, I did listen (2x) to all of those calls with Davor as well as w/ TJ, although I only got to skim some of the reading from Bellah’s book.

These events were very stimulating to my thinking and I feel the conversations were better without me because I couldn’t have been as prepared as you all were; I would have only introduced my ignorance, parochial concerns, and time stress. I am balancing work, money, kids, my own writing projects, etc. As we all are similarly keeping multiple plates spinning, a few more participants and organizers would allow more breathing room for all, while keeping the lights on and the conversation flowing. I would see the Café as a resource/format anyone here can use to deep dive into any topic of relevance and compelling interest with any other member.

The commercial aspect, which at this phase amounts to little more than a tip jar, which doesn’t even cover costs, in a cooperative context is not about individual wealth building but communal sustainability. I hope we don’t neglect it because it probably is the main barrier for most (especially younger) people to greater participation.

Some of the Café and reading group events feel unfinished to me in the sense that I wish someone would write a report, review, summary, or reflections that weave together the ideas everyone brought to the table into a presentable form. We could publish these reviews on Metapsy, cross-promote them to audiences who would be receptive, and thus draw more attention to the discussions that gave them birth, even perhaps inspiring some to re-engage and take them in new directions.

I imagine myself and others coming back years later to rediscover sessions or whole series we may have missed. I had always hoped that Infinite Conversations would transcend time in this way. When the student is ready the teacher appears. I believe the Café should always be open. Hope to see you there soon. May it be so!