Cosmos Café: A Radical Conversation with Terry Patten, author of A New Republic of the Heart [5/15]

(Mark Jabbour) #21

I finished the reading, and will most likely sit this one out, nevertheless - have fun.

(Ed Mahood) #22

It won’t be the same without you, and John, around, that’s for sure. I’ve read more than the “set text”, but am always interested in being able to meet up with an author for the simple reason that what they say is always nuanced differently from what they write, which is as it should be, to my mind. Enjoy your time, no matter how you spend it.

(john davis) #23

I will plan to be there, today, as I have found much in Terry’s paper that I agree with. I will hope to bring some alternate knowings to the table.

My main interest is in how to create the space for 1st person accounts for those who are ‘adequate’ or ‘competent’ in their development. If the traditional third person is used more often to maintain distance and create an immunity to change, what happens, to that fragile immunity when the adequate 1st person starts to emerge? What are the ways we have already enacted these kinds of emergent discourse events? What happens when enough persons are able to adequately express a 1st person account that is free from the top heavy, cognitive only style, when used as a defense? How is this different from lazy gossip at Happy Hour? Can the freer movement between different style of discourse performance create a better immune system than a defensive third person posturing can? Can better metaphors emerge than repeated tired tropes of a dying civilization?

For example, defensive Immune systems could be shifted out of the military metaphors employed by the deficient medical model into other kinds of metaphors, finding other patterns that might connect, something that is similar rather than the same, encouraging a pleasure in ambiguity and surprise. Could we draw upon cinema, art, dance, music? Why are we stuck in the war metaphor in just about every field of human endeavor? What happens if we got ‘unstuck’?

These are the questions that arise for me as I explore the implications of Terry’s article. Thanks for this opportunity.

(john davis) #24

I came across this comment by a radical thinker, Stuart Hall, who resisted the Neo-Liberal orthodoxy, in ways I greatly admire. When accused of not doing everything he could to resist he responded in a meaningful way to that criticism. He has recently passed away, having ripened into a very wise person, and so his words leave a trace of his common sense.

" Everybody can advance the cause in what they are doing. What will make a difference is all of us added together! So I don’t think I’ve confused myself by thinking ‘because you do this, it is an implicit model and let us all do it in this way.’ This is how I live with what I can do in what I think is the most effective way. If we can find a basis in which our differences re-inforce one another, we can achieve a lot. That’s a model for a more differentiated notion of solidarity. Not because we’re all the same, and can do the same things, but because we are all different, we can find common ground."

I take this wise counsel from a deep radical to heart, as each of us is already ‘the star of the show’. We each are radiant light and dense matter and we can recognize what is of value for our complex purposes. Each of us is thrust in different circumstances and one size does not fit all.

Ed lives in a farming community with neighbors he can talk to. I live among millions of strangers, some of them are Wall Street executives, talking to their smart phones. Doug has neighbors who give their kids soda to drink, that rots the enamel. So what are we to do amidst all of these slow motion train wrecks getting ready to happen?

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”- Janice Joplin

That we can recognize the binding patterns and are willing to use the mind to touch the pattern, will often make us uncomfortable. Stay with it. Don’t go back to sleep as the poet Rumi said. And we can get a felt sense of how to undo the knot. Pulling too hard will make the knot tighter. So let’s not be too confident, but let’s not sink into despair yet. Just touching with the mind the sense of the size and shape of a hyper object might start a shift. We need to develop a sense of the human scale. We too often approach these binds from the childish mind that is relating with everything as “too big, too large.” We need to regress perhaps in service of transcendence. We need magical and mythical and rational and in the right amounts and to the right degree. There is no text book or template for this. Not yet.

Lisa reminds me that in a sense we are already the “star of the show.” We are stardust, we are golden and if you close your eyes and relax deeply you can sense that you are radiant energy.

Terry said we may need a bigger disaster to wake up.For some of us, the big disaster has already happened. AIDS for example wiped out my chances for having a ’ normal life.’ Others have had that happen, too. And what happens when the rug gets pulled out from beneath you?

Pay attention to what your neighbors are doing. Pay attention to what you are doing. Pay attention to what the animals are doing. Pay attention. Seek for the patterns that connect, pay attention to the minor gestures. Perhaps we already have what we need? I hear that it is a bad idea to tell people to fight cancer. It creates exhaustion. Trying to become better than we actually are often becomes another deadly distraction

When the video comes out of our call, I will sense into patterns that I missed while on the call. This is my attempt at an ecology of practice. I dont recommend it to others. For some that would be a total waste of time. Each of us has their own skills and talents and constraints to deal with. I hope to create conditions for a finer attunement as none of us can step into the same river twice. We cant even step into the same river once. But we can step into something that is similar…

(Marco V Morelli) #25

The video is up. I have not had a chance to review it, but I know I was left wondering whether our conversation really got “radical,” or whether that was even a useful framing for the discussion. Methodologically, I also thought it might have been better to hew closer to Terry’s text, and discuss more of his specific ideas; at the same time, I didn’t want to elide the first-person and first-person plural (geneological) conexts of the occasion, nor the immediacy of the particular mix of people in the room. Could we have more elegantly integrated both areas of focus?

Philosophically, I’m wondering about how we can talk about ‘wholeness’ without being a lot more particular about the contexts in which that wholeness is manifesting. If the Whole (as Terry defines it in Chapter 3) is the dynamic sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere, then is anything (including fragmentation, devolution, regression, etc.) not included? The concept loses all normative value, insofar as Terry’s is positing wholeness as “better” than partiality.

If the point of practice is to awaken into ‘ever greater wholeness’ then we will never, ever reach any kind of fulfilment or enoughness. We are caught in the infinitism which I believe Peter Sloterdijk rightly critiques as the attitudinal bias of modern liberalism (not to mention ‘integralism’).

On the other hand, if we talk about particular wholeness, then we have to get a lot more politically specific. At one point, Terry talked about the “New Republic” as comprising (in theory) some form of representative governance amongst planetary interest groups (or something similar). I wonder how exactly that would work, if it’s even a good idea.

The Liquid Democracy model promoted by Democracy.Earth seems like it might be more amenable to a decentralized social planetary social sphere. But who knows? We would have to try it in some smaller (manageable, safer to fail) contexts and see how it works, methinks.

Regarding the meta-crisis, and how a small group (like ours) could possibly have an influence on the course of global ecologlical events, I must admit, it is not really how I’m orienting. “The time is now,” Terry said—It’s game time on Planet Earth—which is galvanizing rhetoric. However, for me, the field of action remains fixated on the particular and idiosyncratic, even while I aspire to poetic potency and Cosmic grandeur.

Overall, I appreciated everybody’s presence. I note, as well, that this was probably very different style conversation than a typical book promotional interview, for better and worse. Terry listened a lot more than a typical author would! However, I would have also liked to zero in more on his ideas, even if this would have been more of an intellectual conversation, at least at first. I really liked Terry’s explanation of his use of the term ‘radical,’ and I liked the personal accounts that John, Doug, and Ed shared, which challenge philosophy to be locally relevant.

Lastly, Lisa’s crystal looked really cool! It well illustrated an idea of diversity in unity—but it eerily also reminded me of the crystal in the film mother!. However, one would have to see the film to know what I mean, and I will give no spoilers here.

(john davis) #26

This was what I was working with, Marco, an actual ‘as if’ rehearsal of a potential performance that has not really been written yet. What can we expect from an improvization?

And as there was not much time to plan to read the book I think we did okay within those constraints.
And radical? Is there anything else about that radical conversation we did not have?

I hope that at the very least we shed some light upon the impenetrable darkness of the subject!

(Marco V Morelli) #27

I am quite open to the possibility that our talk was exactly as radical as it possibly could have been. One thing I’ve been learning recently (which you first pointed to) is how different it is to be actually in a conversation compared to reviewing it after the event. I sense there were sublimnal and latent layers to this talk that had different meanings than the semantic surface. It was as much or more a play of presences than of signifiers. Which is even more interesting, but harder to interpret. I am writing poetry about it; I think that’s best I can do—and I hope that’s enough!

(Ed Mahood) #28

One of the reasons I asked Terry what he meant by the term was to clear up what the term even means. When used in a “revolutionary” context (cf. the subtitle of the book), the term can conjure up rather vivid and active imagery. I was very happy to hear that he was using the term in a very similar way to our long-forgotten friend Flighty Dwighty (for later-comers that would be Dwight Macdonald and his monograph The Root is Man … there’s a thread on it somewhere here), but at the same time very different. In the end, as I think both Dwight and Terry are saying, it’s up to us mere mortals to do something about anything. What they also share is approaching our dealing with the crisis from pretty much a singular perspective. For the former it was Marxism, for the latter Wilberism.

In both cases, however (and I’m oversimplifying, I know), getting too close to the text diverts the conversation from the message to the messengers in the background, and that does a disservice to both the backgrounders and the foregrounders, who are trying to do something with those frameworks which they respectively found useful, and to do it now. What I find in both cases, though, was a little less pathos (and I use the word most positively) than I might have hoped for given the subject. But, I agree with @johnnydavis54 that it’s almost impenetrable, yet I agree even more that it is more about how we consciously play our parts, and for that rehearsals are essential. So we rehearsed.

Where I think Dwight and Terry differ is that Terry is trying to introduce an added dimension to his assessment: the spiritual, or as I often think of it: the bigger-than-all-of-us aspect of life. As an author, one’s always treading uncertain ground. It is so easy to get nudged over into the “religious” camp, where you neither want to be nor belong. We students of human conscious know, however, that finding a way to verbalize transcendence is one of the most thankless tasks ever conceived. We are witnessing an increase in volume (read: “loudness”) in fundamentalism in any number of religious and quasi-religious belief systems, but at the same time, formal religious affiliation is declining. What’s left is the fact that just about everyone believes something, but I would be willing to bet that most folks don’t really know what it is that they truly believe. It’s not always because they’re lazy or naive or ignorant, but because too many just don’t want to know. If they were consciously aware of what they believed it would start becoming clear to them why they’re having more problems in their lives than they like to admit, not to speak of the part they play in the global or planetary crises we’ve created.

When it comes to spirituality though, especially spiritual transformation, there’s always an elephant in the room, and it’s in Terry’s book, as well. Spiritual transformation is very serious business, and it’s certainly not for the faint-of-heart. That cute “hero’s journey” we like to talk about, is more than a mere story in the end. There are lots of us who can talk the talk, but if any real and true change is going to happen, then more of us have to walk the walk as well. We can talk about change – especially form changes, like political ones – easily, all day long, but transformation, well, that’s a different animal altogether. At some point, like it or not, your “philosophy” (Wilber’s, your own, your belief-system’s, it doesn’t matter) is going to leave you in the lurch. Philosphies are too heady and not hearty enough. When you finally actually dare to take that long, deep look inside yourself, you’re not going to like what you see. You may even be shocked or disgusted or horrified or terrorized or worse. There is good reason that in so many myths and fairy tales there’s talk of a fire-breathing dragon (or multi-headed gorgon, or whatever). And in none of those stories does the hero’s helper ever give them a book. Nobody sits down and discusses philosophy with the dragon. He can’t be convinced nor converted. Even head-butting ain’t gonna work. He must be slain.

Do carry on. That may just be one of the sharpest weapons in our human inventory.

(john davis) #29

My desired outcome for the group and for myself is to co- create conditions for Integral pluralisms. This may appear to be a post modernist orientation, which the WIberians often held in contempt. I am re-constructing an alternate history. Janus faced!

Gebser and Steiner and Aurobindo have much to offer us and I believe immersing ourselves in alternate ways of knowing, and narrating events and creating poetry are front and center for any radical change occurring in our collective behaviors.

This belief comes out of my radical roots established in the rise of GLBTQ movement. We were a community of drag queens, lawyers, janitors, English professors, priests, drug addicts, the mentally ill, artists and poets, Black, Brown, Asian, and Caucasian, rich and poor. We shared a pleasure in homo-society and same sex relationships and had a history of centuries of persecution and violence. The Church, the State and the Medical Model were unified against us. We also had a love of theater and a capacity to play outrageously. We broke the law, and law changed!

I found Wilberians as a group ( middle class, mostly Caucasian, well educated, straight, well adjusted, lot of therapy ) just not up to speed in the complexity or diversity department. The conversations were therapeutic and interesting but they were too aligned with the way things already are to initiate anything like what they claimed.

Occupy shook up a lot of hardened categories ( I want to read your article, Marco) but those of us who had been in the trenches for decades ( like myself) were not surprised by the fragile performances of the Wilber Integral wave. It may have a comeback. We shall see.

I appreciated the models presented back then and the developmental theories were fascinating but celebrating radically different learning styles was not happening. There was a strong support for the status quo not radical thinking. That may have changed but I doubt it. I recently got a personal invitation from Wilber to join him for a weekend of spiritual transformation, at his loft for a mere $ 5000 donation. I declined.

Marco may not want to revisit Wilber’s foul ups and I dont blame him at all. I dont need to go that way either. There was much learned as many of us got out from under the shadow of that organization and started up Metapsychosis. I was drawn to this particular show because it has wanted to create a performance space rather than a talking head space. We can I believe do both at the same time!

This is not, I agree with Ed, where we always get a lot of warm fuzzies. Holding a bind, a double bind, a triple bind ( I have had lots of practice) is not a lot of fun. And we each are holding different kinds of binds in different places and how we manage this is the ecological practice many of us are pointing out to each other. One size does not fit all. And I am interested in creating conditions for a movement. Artistic, cultural, political overlaps happen in any social movement. Some are more interested in a chat fest and that is important too! We need to have conversations and rituals and workshops. I hope we can make room for differences.

To create conditions to make a movement, I/We may need to be more comfortable with articulating a difference and then we can hold the differences lightly until a new direction emerges. New directions emerge out of relationships. This is not the same as collective free association. Holding the paradox, impasse, conflict, dilemma, ( many different flavors and textures) is actually very difficult to do with a narrow, cognitive bias. Cognition will separate and divide, label and dismiss. And that is an important capacity to have but it often turns sour.

This is why Wilber’s world was inadequate to the transformational task. You need strong relationships and a connection between head, heart and most importantly GUT! It takes guts to declare what you believe in and stand up to aggression. It takes even more guts to patiently take in the various complex messages around us and give adequate feedback to one another. It feels awkward sometimes.You need skills. Love is not a feel good, one size fits all, emotional state. Love, for me, is primarily a skill.

I agree, Marco, and I am eager to flesh this out. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts is not true. We are holonic and cant be reduced to anything. The parts are actually more important than the hypothetical Whole. We are fractal all the way and all the way down but our institutions and politics are not there yet. If we dont have a shared sense of where we are we probably are not going to get to a shared sense of where we want to go. If you cant draw a picture of it you probably will not be able to create it.

The arts are vastly underrated in our culture, as we cut arts spending and add to the military budget, and yet they are the training ground for holding complex emerging realities, for working with poly-phasic rhythms. I know we probably all agree about this. There are a lot of aesthetic relationships emerging here.

I like Lisa’s ‘star of the show’ and crystal metaphor. We need more flexibility in sharing the non-ordinary aspects of our complex nature via metaphor and narrative. I am dedicated, not to universal archetypes, but to the odd and off the wall, the synchronistic and the weird. Uncovering such latent collective capacities is a skill!

I imagine that there is a belief in there, Marco, somewhere in your statement and it may be a limiting one or it may be an ecological one. I’m not sure, It could be a little of both.

Our beliefs are not often explicit until we are up against a big issue. Then we have to examine them carefully. We dont have one belief but a complex system that is often full of contradictions. We should be very careful when examining a limiting belief. and trying to change it too quickly. We must respect the ecology of system as we let go of our limits. Many of us may have believed in Santa Claus or the Free Markets. We need to be very careful in pointing to these collective claims we make upon one another. As my identity has been under attack by the limiting beliefs of others I have direct experience of the dilemmas conflicting systems of belief unleash.

So, once again, thanks for the memories, for the videos, for the constantly shifting realities we are sharing. I am open to new possibilities and mindful of how far we have come. I am going to have to draw a picture of all this!

(Marco V Morelli) #30

I think you’re right…I am probably carrying a subtle belief that we can’t effect global change, or that it would be pointless to try; but I was also trying to say something about an orientation to the whole. What does it mean to “save the world”? Is this what we really want?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m actually trying to save the world, or just myself. What’s the difference, after all, and where does ‘make the cut,’ or draw the line? I’m sure we could model a healthy transference of one’s personal immortality project into concern for the whole. But neither can I deny how opportune it would seem to be facing an absolute crisis just at the moment when I wanted to forget myself.

(john davis) #31

Marco raises an important dilemma, which is personal and collective.

“Sometimes I wonder if I’m actually trying to save the world, or just myself. What’s the difference, after all, and where does ‘make the cut,’ or draw the line?”

Your question, Marco, resonates with recent conversations and readings going beyond what Terry Patten seems to focus on in his elegant prose. I sense the interplay of the discourse events we have co-sponsored, that this is a highly charged issue that Manning points out.

So we begin where exactly? Where do we end? And who is going to vote on this? Who decides what the topic is for this week’s Cafe? What criteria is used? And at what level does our creative research projects and subsequent conversations address? How do we do this for a corporation or a nation-state?

Many of us participate at different rates, have different scheduling arrangements, dont have time to devote to a long reading but want to show up anyway and have a chat. I only read a snatch of Terry’s large book so I have probably not done full justice to it but I have a dozen other readings going on. Focusing our collective intentions in our asynchronous set ups is a new art form that I call Meta-modeling.

And when ‘I wanted to forget myself’ what happens to ‘asolute crisis’?

And does ‘absolute crisis’ have a size or a shape?

And when’ I wanted to forget myself’ and ‘absolute crisis’ what does that ‘I’ that wanted to forget myself want to have happen NOW?

( I dont expect an answer, Marco, I am just posing questions to illustrate my own dilemma)

What follows is a Meta-reflection about our maps and our collective map making. We have a ‘crisis of map makers’.

I read a story about a researcher for the State department who is studying an area near a big dam and how the community could arrange an emergency escape in case of break in the dam due to earth quake. The researcher tells her method. She puts a map together based upon her needs and interests before she visits the site. She gathers for the map the features of the area that is useful for her research from other maps. She imagines her map ( remote sensing) and then considers the levels of information that are useful to those funding research. She notices that an object can belong to different levels of information. An object is a complex assemblage put together by a map maker who is generalizing and deleting for a certain purpose. An object does not have a fixed identity. Pictures emerge out of pixels which the designer of the map arranges in an aesthetic way. She uses a theory of images that draws upon the cinema as much as science. When this is completed, then she goes to the area and gets a view from the ground. She knows what she is looking at because she has already mapped it out!

The map is a creation and a communication to policy makers who will make decisions based on the researcher’s map. Often of course those who fund the research can halt the research before it is completed and base decisions on an unfinished research project. Thus, the theory of images becomes important and I found this an intriguing area to research further. Our science is dominated by the visual system. Hopefully, our arts use more of our senses in artful ways than the objectifying sciences do.

Her process of making a map is of interest to me as I think about what happens in Symbolic Modeling practices that we have conducted here in a more or less ad hoc fashion.

I imagine as we become more adept at identifying ‘how’ we are putting our individual maps together we could start to ask much better ‘why’ questions than we have thus far. We are the macro and the micro. Welcome to the 4th Dimension!

If we could start to get more skillful at figuring out how we put our maps together and how we use our maps ( remotes sensing), could we feedback self reflexively into the unfolding assemblages we are each of us becoming?

If we could establish a direction along a scale (which I proposed doing in one of my more quixotic moments) we could start quantifying our qualia. This is a vast topic! And a new kind of science would emerge.

And when we can quantify our qualia could the Aperspectial Age ( Gebser’s remote sensing) be far behind?

Of course I dont expect anyone to take me too seriously. After all we probably all too programed by the Neo liberal consensus trance to make a difference. I embody this feeling state and recognize the nihilistic structure of beliefs that dominate our culture.

My words echo thus in your mind…

(Ed Mahood) #32

This has already been quoted once, but how about a more curmudgeony take on it?

What does " save" mean? Is it keeping something for the future (like in saving money for a rainy day)? Is it rescuing something or someone (like in “he’s drowning, save him!”)? Is it redeeming (like in “Jesus saves!”)? And just which “world” would you like to do that to? Is it the “world out there”, objectively existent which we can’t really know? Is it the one “out there” that we all seem to agree is “out there”? Is it some constructivist, Sloterdijkian-like bubble? But, even if we had a clue what “saving the world” might possibly mean, isn’t it rather presumptuous of us humans to even conceive that we could? Isn’t that kind of attitude a fairly recognizable contributor to the situation in which we find ourselves? Yet, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing that any of us could be doing.

As I see it, neither you nor I nor John nor any (or all) of us, for that matter, is going to save (regardless of what it means) the world (regardless what it really is) individually, nor collectively. If we’re in a crisis (which I think we are), if there is a cloud of doom hanging over us (and I think there is), then I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to face up to the fact that it’s largely (if not solely) of our own making. Nature isn’t in crisis. It’s facing a crisis, but because of us humans. It wasn’t the mountains or oceans, it wasn’t the sunflowers or redwood trees, and it wasn’t the elephants or whales that brought it about. The rivers didn’t pollute themselves and most of our agricultural land didn’t decide to be suddenly less yielding, nor did the cattle (who are natural methane producers) decide that there weren’t enough of them on the face of the planet, or that they needed to so increase in numbers that they’d show us humans a thing or two. No, it was us. We humans, knowingly and unknowingly, consciously and unconsciously, inadvertently and maliciously, passively and aggressively, individually and collectively contributed far above our share to get to this crisis point.

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea: I’m not human-bashing. We have done lots of wonderful things since we’ve become who we are as a species. There are marvelous and wondrous upsides to culture and civilization. I’m not denying any of that. I think it’s great. And I am fully aware that Nature is perfectly capable of creating conditions that make things tough for lots of creatures, locally and globally. Massive volcanic eruptions, for instance, can wreak planetary havoc for unthinkable periods of time. Cosmic events and cycles can, and do, induce rising and falling temperatures that are disruptive to extents that we have difficulty conceiving. They’ve happened in the past, and I’m going to go way out on a limb and guess that they’re going to happen in the future.

And yes, any one of these unpleasant situations could arise suddenly – maybe even tomorrow. But that’s just how life is on this planet. Nevertheless, the crises (and, if we’re honest, we’ll admit that there’s more than one) we’re facing at this point in the evolutionary course of the planet, are largely our own doing. Their root is (hu)man, plain and simple. But, who of us is going to stand up and say, “I know how to change humanity?” Nobody that I know … thank G-d.

We have developed knowledge and technologies that could help us roll with the evolutionary punches. We could have done and could be doing a whole lot more to mitigate what could be mitigated climatically, ecologically, socially, hell, even personally. But, for whatever reasons – and it really doesn’t matter which reasons you dream up – we didn’t. So, it doesn’t really matter. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. We are where we are primarily because of who and what we are, and it seems to me that the absolutely least we could do would be to 'fess up to that. Of course, the most irresponsible and reckless thing we could possibly do given the situation is to try to fix the blame instead of the problem. But guess what we’re really doing? Exactly. That’s what we humans do best.

To temper the curmudgeony, though, my Kabbalist friends have a notion that I find very helpful: tikkun olam ( תיקון עולם ), which can, as is so often the case, be translated in several different ways, yet the one I find most useful is simply “mending the world”. The idea is that the world as we find/experience it is, well, a bit broken. Yes, the mythology of it is because of the behavior of our original ancestors, but taken in the context of our very real here-and-now, the root isn’t as important as the branch we happen to find ourselves sitting on.

Nature isn’t broken, of course. All the minerals, plants and animals out there are doing what they do and are mutating slowly and silently away as they have for the billions of years of evolution to get where they are today. There’s nothing we can or should do about any of that. We humans, whether we like it or not, are the odd-man-out in the evolutionary scheme, however. We can and do do things that sometimes help and complement nature as we find it, but we can and do do a lot of other things that screw things up. Intentionally or accidentally, we break things and tear the fabric of nature, and if we are responsible creatures (which only humans can be), we should mend things when and where we can. Good craftspersons fix things well, poor craftspersons fix them badly or not at all. How good a craftsperson any one of us is, in the end, is entirely up to us. We can get help and gather experience from innumerable sources, but what we do with that is all our own doing. The only person anyone can change – for better or for worse – is oneself. It’s really not all that complicated. What is more, only we can decide or choose whether we want to be craftspersons or not. Nothing else in the Cosmos, as far as I can tell, has that luxury (or burden, depending on how you want to see it).

So if you change you and I change me and she changes her and we change us and we change all together, one thing is absolutely certain: the world (whatever it is) will be different from how it was before. If I can get help from you and you from her and she from him and they from them, then we can perhaps even leverage our efforts and increase the tempo of change. And If we were, using that simple metaphor, all trying to become better craftspersons, then in the aggregate, the world will become “better”, for we’d all leave the world a bit more mended than how we found it. I don’t how much more you can ask of anyone.

Given that we have varying ranges of influence and effects in our individual and collective worlds, then it is possible that there could be any number of knock-on effects as well. A lot is possible, even if history informs us that the probability of it happening is low. As we learned in another discussion not long ago, the future is not predetermined, but we may be pre-disposed to certain outcomes. Fine. Fair enough, but the future is open. And the only ones who have any "say" in what that future may be is us.

And so, if you only ever are who you are whenever and wherever you are, you can only ever do what you do whenever and wherever you act. All acts, therefore, matter. The old saw is also true: actions always speak louder than words. So, yes, it matters what we say, but even more important is what we do. Some of us will try to build platforms for others to get together to do what they feel they must do, and others will do what they can to support others in their efforts, and if we are all trying to mend what they see is broken and not break more than absolutely necessary, well, we’d be off to a good start, wouldn’t we?

But, it means that somebody’s got to change. So who? It probably also means that something has to change as well. But what? Who’s going to take the first step? I don’t see a lot of hands waving, hence my plea for mending what can be mended whenever you see that mending would be in order. Whenever, wherever, and whatever is within one’s own capabilities.

Terry himself quoted Samuel Johnson: “Nothing clarifies a man’s mind so much as the knowledge that he shall be hanged in the morning.” So simply assume that the absolute crisis you are facing is equivalent to being hanged in the morning … or just possibly the morning after … if you’re really lucky. Setting your own self in order just might be all the mending you can do. But it’s mending nevertheless. It’s better than nothing, if you ask me, but if you disagree, then perhaps it’s worth nothing at all, and if it is, then what difference does it make? I, personally, don’t know, but if I’m going to err, I think I’ll err on the side of having mended too much than too little.

(john davis) #33

This is the basic template which I assume most of us would recognize. This is a current cultural reality based on a Factory Model Education and Neo Liberal Consensus

The Basic Neo Liberal Template

  1. A shitty childhood (5 years)
  2. A Fragmenting Education ( 20 years, IQ tests and SAT scores…boring)
  3. Work ( 45 years, ruthless competition, unfair rules)
  4. Retirement ( preparation for biological death)

I want to co-create Integral Pluralisms! And that’s co-create like what?
Like this-

It is like a performance of a Radical Cosmic opera in an open auditorium under the stars. The performance is planned and spontaneous, the performers and the conductor are open to each other’s mutual influence. The score is a great one and is full of dissonance, blood and guts, high tragedy and majestic peeks and primal rhythms. The Earth moves, the Heavens are awakened. We are stardust, we are golden, and we are the slime moving in the depths. We have escaped from the cave into the light and we have consented to return to the cave and explore the deep recesses of the reptilian and mammalian aspects of our nature.

Can any of this happen?

Yes I it can.

What makes me say YES?

I have been told by a vast and profoundly Intelligent Being in a recent vision ( I had it last night) that I better not post this information on line. So I will accept that admonition and keep it to myself but also work with the constraints that I have to deal with. Breath deep while you sleep breathe deep…

(john davis) #34

Of course this is your metaphor for the self, Ed, and I assume it has worked for you. In the above post I have submitted my own metaphor of a desired future outcome in strong contrast with the current consensus reality. We each have our own metaphor. It is what we do with them that matters the most. Making explicit what our metaphors are can be instructive for a group dynamic.

Sadly, many of us are unaware of this or get stuck in the low expectations of others. When we are stuck in a consensus trance that denies us our metaphors we often get sick and even die of the premature cognitive commitments based on someone else’s model of the world. I have resisted this tendency and will continue to do so.

“I would rather rule in hell that serve in heaven”- ( Milton?)

(john davis) #35

Below is a section from another thread that I feel is relevant to the cross fertilization that can happen across domains. Doug notices a change that happened in the last Cafe and reflects upon that happening.

“I sing (sang the “Star” song in the Patten Cafe) to create space anew,)”

And here is Doug’s previous drawing.


"from recent Cafe segments:

I am not a singer, to the point that I have steered myself towards the world of ambient music, wordless songs, classical compositions. My voice was the voiceless voice by choice. Yet, in light of a “safe” sharing space, we are able to share our experimental minds. I sing (sang the “Star” song in the Patten Cafe) to create space anew, to reach outside of our spoken words, to be a partial prismatic persona shining this little light of mine that might alight within your mind through a relevant (timely) rhyme. Then I go back to my ambient song, the un-versed introverted universal rhythms where I can best listen to others words, taking them in deliberately, allowing my operator to work on the project compositions (compostings?) of the mind."

I asked Doug a few Clean Language Questions to perhaps amplify the change that he has reported. This is what I would call Maturing the Changes, one of the Frameworks for Change that I am co-evolving with the EST Magicians. Here are some questions.

And when I sing (sang the Star song) to create a space anew…what happens to the voiceless voice of choice?

And when I sing to create a space anew…what happens to the Cafe conversations?

And when I sing to create a space anew…what happens to your next door neighbor who gives his kid drinks that are bad for his teeth?

And when I sing to create a space anew… what happens to baby Vincent?

Thank you, Doug! And I wonder what happens next? I hope we can continue to update and enrich each others maps!

(Ed Mahood) #36

Yes, that’s Milton, John. Paradise Lost, Book I, Chapter I, Line 263, to be exact, which in (a slightly extended) context reads:

[…] Hail horrours, hail [ 250 ]
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang’d by Place or Time.
The mind is its own place and in it self
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n. [ 255 ]
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less then he
Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: [ 260 ]
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n.

Lines 252b-255 are also worth note.

(john davis) #37

As I reflect upon the lines by Milton ( thanks for the full quotation, Ed!) and tune into the Gnostic Voice of the Fallen Angel, I feel the forces that we are unleashing and wonder if any of the expenditure of energy I make, or that any of us makes, in order to make sense of our current civilization in crisis, is at all worth it. Let it die.

Milton’s poem came out of the great clash of Cromwell and the Crown, a tremendous upheaval, in which both men lost their heads. After Charles was executed and the Restoration happened, Cromwell’s body was exhumed and his head stuck on a pike and put upon the Tower of London. Can a man’s body die twice? It is a great symbolic gesture, made by the State that we can find you and crush you. And Milton puts all of this sound and fury into verse. The Poetry is grand but the History is so ugly.

With all of these doubts and dilemmas, before bed, reflecting upon the futility of it all, I relax and do my dream yoga practice and re-enter the liminal zone. I reenter a place I know well and want to return to as Satan recalls from the bowels of hell, the joys of heaven. Here is a report from the liminal zones.

I do my yoga nidra and lift out of the physical into a vaster space and I make contact with a voice. It is a male voice and it is located above and yet is close and far at the same time. There is no visual but a strong sense of the interiors are shared, a kind of music without sound.

I say," So there is life after death."

And he says, " Yes there is. We are in the after-death state but you are still in the physical body." He telepathically conveys the where and the how of his last death( it happened in Japan) and I get a sense that he is waiting for an opportune moment to re-enter the physical world and I find I have no questions to ask for I have come to the end of questions and answers. It is enough just to commune with this person in a vast void that is full of other shimmering intelligences.

Then I have beautiful visions with Beatrice, my dear old lady, that passed away last Spring. We are in a beautiful landscape and there is a house and a village nearby and we are together in a smooth, seamless way. She is communicative and is touchingly sweet and full of great dignity. She talks little but what she says is clear. We find an old abandoned vehicle in the woods and climb into it and take a nap. Next to me, her body on my left sided we nap, her head on my shoulder. After the rest we continue to walk and there are moments when we silently commune. I feel the soft and gentle love pouring through my body touch her body. And I sense a clear resonance and I know that this silent flow of goodness between us, is enough. I have nothing else to give, and nothing else to receive.

There are other places to explore in this landscape and I have a dollar and with that I am told that we can go to the village on top of a steep hill and buy anything we want. This would please Beatrice, as she delights in trinkets and costume jewelry, and so I look for a passage so that together we can climb the high hill. The light is subtle and the landscape is green and the atmosphere serene and I take the old lady, now a shimmering Goddess by the hand. Total bliss.

I could never make this stuff up. This is not my imagination for my imagination is just not good enough. No this is the Real World.

I can wake up in my physical bed and remember what happened. Memory moves backwards and the Future( s) move forwards and it all is happening at the same time. This is the Marriage of Heaven and Hell as Beatrice returns in a vision once again, like Alcestis from the Grave…

(Marco V Morelli) #38

Re: the word “radical”:

Here’s the thread you’re referring to, Ed, for anyone interested:

And re: the focus of our conversations:

I think I agree (the wording is a little off) but I think what I’d like to point out, to pick up on your distinction, is that before fore-grounding and back-grounding, we need common-grounding; otherwise, it can hard to determine whether we’re even talking about the same thing, thus what needs to be brought forth, and what’s better left behind or unsaid.

Re: saving the world. It’s a cliché, of course, which I think has to do with some new human order that can exist in harmony with nature. On a planetary scale: I can actually envision this. It would mean roughly what Terry means by “whole systems change.” I understand this to be a radical vision of what’s possible.

But in my imagination, this stage of human evolution (if that’s what we’re still talking about) would be the starting point for a whole new properly Universal (perhaps even Cosmic) phase. But first: I do believe we are charged with creating Heav’n on Earth. And yes: we are the Fallen Angels. And we may need to do this a few times before we get it right. (I am assuming we have already done this before, in some way.) And finally, I imagine that Heav’n on Earth will necessarily be concrete and imperfect, because if it was ideal and perfect, it would actually be Hell.

Re: future Cafés, I am interested in other spaces and metaphors that complement the cosmic. I am curious about Stuart’s Halls theory of encoding/decoding messages in mass media. Here is a piece we may want to read and discuss.

Hall-Encoding-Decoding-CSReader.pdf (280.5 KB)

I also think that while a “new republic of the heart” is a lofty and wholesome ideal, we/I also need to keep and strengthen our root systems in the ground—the underground, and the undercommons—which is where what’s “radical” is actually found and lived (and suffered)—where thinking actually takes place (where it remains unpopular) before the marketplace takes notice.

I believe we need more poetry, too! I am getting bored with philosophy and theory. I would rather care-fully interpret a single poem (or a line in a poem), which is spiritually high stakes and requires sensitive concentration, than vaguely generalize about interesting ideas, which yet don’t move the soul.

(Mark Jabbour) #39

True enough, which is the essence of the “ego defense” system, i.e. repression. After all - it’s worked for thousands of years. We (humans) dominate the earth, and yet bicker/fight etc. within our species for dominance in all manner of domains. Which, I think, you, @achronon & @Douggins were getting at the end of the “conversation”, or ‘how do you “help” someone (stranger/ neighbor/family, etc.) that doesn’t want your help?’ @madrush, yes I agree - the conversation strayed from the usual “book tour” promotion, and also from the content itself. So … , so what? meaning, are you pleased/satisfied, or not?

(Mark Jabbour) #40

@madrush, reading further, I see that you are not, satisfied. Is anyone, ever? TBC