Cosmos Café: Breathing Together—A New CoronaVirus Conspiracy? - 10 Nov 2020

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The Café crew, in an offshoot from the Consciously Evolving Language sessions, explores our personal, interpersonal, and metanarratives relating to the current COVID-19 global pandemic. We share the perspectives of scientists, artists, poets, storytellers, philosophers, contemplatives, and somatic practitioners in an attempt to cohere a functional understanding of the disease within the larger social, economic, political, and mythological (narrative) contexts we find ourselves in. How do we communicate and co-regulate across across disparate views and styles of meaning-making?

Please let us know what you think! You can read through the conversation leading up to this event by joining the Consciously Evolving Language group on Infinite Conversations.


A very interesting discussion. Thank you for sharing the video.

Regards to all,


The individual stands in opposition to society, but he is nourished by it. And it is far less important to know what differentiates him than what nourishes him. Like the genius, the individual is valuable for what there is within him. . . . Every psychological life is an exchange, and the fundamental problem of the living individual is knowing upon what he intends to feed. Andre’ Malraux
This seems to have been one of the subtle tones playing in the margins…what do we Feed on?


Around 1:27:47 in the recording, @johnnydavis54 formulates a couple really interesting and creative clean questions, I thought:

And when “a whistleblower,” is there a relationship between whistleblower and Mobius Strips and Klein Bottles?
And when “war of information,” is there a relationship between whistleblower and Mobius Strips and Klein Bottles?

And I was thinking about these and realizing, we really could be anyone in this whole human drama—assuming experience in general is kind of like a recurring dream in cosmic time. We could be Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Tony Fauci, just as much as we could be George Floyd, Dr Judy Mikovits, or Donald Trump. Or MLK or Mahatma Gandhi or JESUS. Or just each other, or ourselves…

In other words, much like in a dream, we could wake up (be born) and find ourselves in the body, life, and consciousness of any being in existence, subject to the same forces, drives, and events that shape who a particular person is and becomes, and the role they play in human history.

We just happen to be ourselves, in this life, for now. Mobius strips & Klein Bottles are not separate from or divided against themselves. They are continuous surfaces and spaces. The relationships only involve some twists and turns, for one to become the other.


Thanks for making such good use of my question, Marco, and I can study your response and generate more questions. As I mentioned in the Café, creating questions is a very important aspect of our co-evolution. If we can ask questions with a minimum of presuppositions ( which is not easy) we can create conditions for a fresh response. What I find so disheartening about most of our public discourse is the tired questions people keep asking of each other, and getting such tired, prepackaged responses. Your response gives me little to argue with but a great deal to think about. When we are released from the burden of arguments that go nowhere, we can invite more creative dialogues. Let’s do more of this.


Dear Friends,

As I don’t know exactly where to post this , I have chosen this space because it appears to me that we are working through many struggles produced by the distortions that these three men brought to our public attention. They were whistle blowers and had great imaginations. And they encouraged a rich and complex public discourse, diving into deep controversy while creating robust intellectual communities. I just want to take a pause from this lively thread to mention these good folks and how much they co-inspired some of us. If we ever make it to an Integral Age , it will be because they created conditions for that to happen. And may flights of angels sing them to their rest as they re- enter the eternal Klein bottle.

Michael Brooks (August 13, 1983 – July 20, 2020)
David Graeber (February 12, 1961 – September 2, 2020)
William Irwin Thompson (16 July 1938—8 November 2020)


How can we co-create a meta-mindscape for the 11/10 Cosmos Café? I watched the video and have made some notes, then I try to find a pattern that connects, something that repeats, that may not be obvious on the surface, like the unheard sounds, produced by the organ, creates a sense of awe. Shakespeare says in one of his sonnets, invites us to a synesthesia-

Learn to read what silent love hath writ,
To hear with eyes, belongs to love’s fine wit.

So, this is the kind of mood that is required to work with these sessions in a meta-cognitive, multisensory way. I treat it as a group improvisation but one that goes way beyond the boundaries of the individuals who are making up the group. Here are some notes.

Working with the object. What kind of object? What kind of language do we use?

How to prove/disprove? Pandemic as manufactured. Who makes a profit?

Power Science vs Power Community? What kind of relationship?

Where is the Community of Science?

The current status of Science. Innovative science + conventional science+ junk science= ???

Body and Culture-co-regulation-oscillations between extreme states and integrations of those extremes in groups in the moment. How to oscillate without cascading into a collapse.

The reality of thought forms and the uneven development of those who use the WWW.

Overwhelmed by junk.

Snake or stick?

The uses of biography/autobiography/ memoir. How to make good use of 1st person accounts within a group dynamic?

Whistle Blowers. The War of Information. Archetypes. Metaphors.

Faith vs Trust.

Mobius strips and Klein bottles. Futures and the Imagination.

“I can be afraid and brave at the same time.”

After registering the affective zones while watching the video for the second time I went to sleep and had a dream.

This is my Dream Report. 11/13.

I am playing a role in a British style romantic costume drama. It feels like a Jane Austen novel. I see myself in a mirror, dressed in a riding outfit, tall boots, and a riding crop. I have a sense of authority and feel a strong momentum. I am a member of the aristocracy during the rise of capitalism, a privledged position. I sense all of this as I get a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

Then I am sitting in an auditorium with my leading lady. This is a romantic comedy and we are in a courtship ritual. We discuss our roles in the play as she sits to my left and behind us and further to our left sits another woman who is the silent witness, the director of the performance, who observes us. The auditorium is empty except for the three of us.

I speak to my leading lady of my attraction to her character and of my ‘gay’ identity. I say," I am old school enough to remember that there was a time when a " gay " identity could co-exist with men and women having deeper relationships. Gay identities were acknowledged rather than rejected." I felt supported and appreciated by my leading lady and by the silent director.

Then there are scenes in a crowded street and I end up in a bar where the director has become the manager. She serves me ice cream and something to drink. I tell her that I have to wait tables that evening. I am now a working class guy. I say," It is best to serve others when you yourself are not hungry."

Then I see flow charts and diagrams of psycho-semantic-social dynamics. I can see how I can relax identity without sacrificing identity allowing new relational spaces to emerge. That is a great increase in meta-cognitive capacity. I return to the physical body renewed and refreshed. I recall that once, many years ago, I marched with a million other gay people on Washington, DC. I remember the feeling of being in an intense flow state within a vast, coherent intelligence. I let these expansive feelings flow through my mindbody. We had a mustard seed of faith and we moved mountains. I invite sublte memories and desires to re-imprint upon the collective Dramabody.

This is an open dream report that I hypothesize as moving towards a meta-communique from the subtle body to the physical bodies of those who co-created the rhythms of that discourse event and my own sensorium. In reading this dream report you may want to learn how to hear with eyes.

Might we be moving, inch by inch, mile by mile, towards a Trans-Tragic World?




Hi John, thank you so much for the notes on our talk. It helps bring back to mind, and I can mentally go back to the spots in the flow of conversation where these thoughts, questions, claims, expressions (I cannot be exhaustive about the nuanced types of communication) where brought forth and uttered. This pandemic appears to me as huge conundrum, wrapped inside a paradox, with a little bunny inside.

We went down the rabbit hole, but not as far as it can go, or as may be needed to get to the bottom of things. I have a question for Plandemic—where does the story bottom out? The presumption seems to be that there are fundamentally bad actors, and if we were to remove or reform them, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.

I grant a certain truth to individual accountability. But isn’t it weird that the bad actors themselves belong to a historical pattern? I mean, Plato already predicted key aspects of 2020 USA in 375 BC, so what is happening today is not new. Yet at the same time, this is so much more complex and extravagant a production than the Athenian polis, which makes it new and interesting in many other ways.

I note that your dream is almost a manifestation of Klein bottle identity, as when I said, “we could wake up (be born) and find ourselves in the body, life, and consciousness of any being in existence.” I think it is very interesting that you can be aware of the theatrical nature of the roles you find yourself, yet how they also communicate about something beyond themselves.

Thanks also for honoring the recently departed. I hadn’t heard about W.I.T. I know Jeremy had been in touch with him back at the beginning of Metapsychosis, and we even published a couple of pieces by him…which definitely deserve some (untimely) attention:

R(rest, recreate, & return)IP(peace, power & pulchritude), friends :pray:


And where do bad actors come from?

Stages, which require ladders to climb up, cause some people to look down on those in magical and mythical stages. This is a common among Wilberians. ( first tier, second tier , third tier, etc.) But if you can appreciate as Gebser does ,that Stages are more like Structures that unfold, we have a very different, non linear dynamic , that is free to express itself without the baggage of top down dynamics ( which is why I always fought the Wilberian crowd so much). They were very attached to ranking people. labeling and dismissing others as magical thinkers… And this has a lot to do with why the current political scene is such a parade of traumatized people, people with gifts that were distorted by neo–lib fantasy of unlimited growth, and wide spread misinformation campaigns. These fragmented shards of glass that are spinning in the tornados that are coming at us right now, uprooting trees and collapsing all kinds of arrangements built upon these wobbly, mentally deficient confabulations.

I quote Cynthia Bourgeault’s response to our friend Jeremy about this awakening that is happening among many of us who are getting wise to the failure to appreciate the power of paradox. I believe her account is accurate and may open up our discourse further, as we turn the fall into rabbit hole into a Kleinian, vibratory, meta-gesture.

"STAGES VERSUS STRUCTURES (exploring Jean Gebser, lesson 1)

If you’ve cut your teeth on the Ken Wilber roadmaps, the Gebser terrain will at first look reassuringly familiar. The familiar levels of consciousness are all right there, even designated by their familiar names: the archaic, magic, mythic, mental, and integral. Nor is this surprising, since Wilber explicitly acknowledges Gebser as the primary source of his model.

There is one crucial difference, however. In Wilber, these are stages of consciousness. In Gebser, they are STRUCTURES of consciousness.

Perhaps the significance of this nuance escapes you. (It certainly escaped me initially.) But on this nuance, actually, all else turns.

Stages EVOLVE. They are like steps on a ladder, building sequentially one upon the other in a journey that leads onward and upward.

Structures UNFOLD. They are like sections of a jigsaw puzzle or rooms in an art museum, gradually filling in to reveal the big picture (which already implicitly exists.)

This means that stages are essentially developmental. The earlier stage is folded into the next, in the process losing much of its distinctive character. The earlier stage lays the groundwork for what emerges next.

The inverse way of stating this is that the earlier stage represents a more immature expression of what is to follow.

It is not so in the world of unfolding. As you wander through an art museum, each room retains its essential character and wholeness; it weaves its own magic and adds its own distinctive flagrance to the mix. There are the medieval iconographers, the ornate baroque sculptures, surrealists, impressionists, cubists, each one of them retaining their own identity—“unconfused, immutable, undivided” (in the words of the Council of Chalcedon, describing the two natures of Christ). While these artistic eras did emerge at specific points in historical time, they do not replace one another or cancel out each other’s unique identity. Rather, they complement and deepen one another, like interwoven threads in an unfolding tapestry. And at certain times a certain room will speak to you more than the others. The cubists may be further along on the evolutionary timeline, but today it is the medieval icons that are calling to you.

Even at best it’s not easy to grasp the difference between developing and unfolding. The difficulty is further compounded, however, by the pronounced psychological bent of the models we’re more used to (Wilber’s, and following in his footsteps, Thomas Keating), which draw an explicit correlation between structures of consciousness and stages of childhood development. Thus, the “magic” structure corresponds to the consciousness of a toddler, “mythic” to a child, and “mental” to an emerging young adult. Viewed through this lens, the implication becomes well-nigh inescapable that these earlier stages are also “lower’—i.e., immature, more primitive— expressions of full adult consciousness. They are developmental phases to be passed through— “transcended and included,” perhaps— but certainly not lingered in. As Jeremy Johnson comments, Wilber’s roadmap, brilliant though it may be “still retains a perspectival linearity that reduces the previous structures (the magic and mythic especially) to a state of mere infantilism…[His] developmental solution necessitates a strictly linear view of consciousness emergence, saving the transpersonal for the higher stages while still reducing the so-called “lower” stages to a childlike fantasy rather than a true and now lost mode of participation.” (79)

“As it stands,” Johnson adds, “this perspectival synthesis is incompatible with Gebser’s thinking.”

And you can imagine where things might be headed when this undetected linear bias starts to get projected out on whole groups of people deemed to be at a “lower” evolutionary level.

To enter the world of Gebser, the first and most important shift required is to recognize that we are indeed talking about structures of consciousness, not stages. Forget “onward and upward.” Each of these five structures is indeed an authentic mode of participation in the world,” and if they are not, perhaps, fully equal partners, they are at least fully entitled partners. Each is as qualitatively real as the other, and each adds its particular strengths and giftednesses to the whole. They are not so much steps on a ladder as planets in orbit around the sun, which is their central point of reference, the seat of their original and continuously in-breaking arising. Gebser calls this sun “The Ever-Present Origin.” I will have much more to say about it in subsequent posts.

The muting or repression of any of these structures leads to an impoverishment of the whole; this is true both individually and across the broad sweep of cultural history. While these structures may emerge into manifestation at certain points along a historical timeline, they are not created by that timeline nor determined by events preceding them in the sequence. Their point of reference is the Origin, which is outside of linear time altogether and intersects with the linear timeline by a completely different set of ordering principles. They are, one might say, timeless fractals of the whole, each bearing the living water of that original fontal outpouring in their own unique pail. They are ever-present and ever-available “at the depths,” even those that have not yet emerged into full conscious articulation on the linear timeline.

The “final” structure, then— the true Integral in Gebser’s worldmap—may in fact be not so much a new structure itself as a capacity to hold all the other structures simultaneously, in what Teilhard de Chardin once famously called “a paroxysm of harmonized complexity.” It is not so much a new window on the world as the capacity to see from a deeper dimension which transcends both linear and dialectical thinking and can deeply, feelingfully encompass both jagged particularity and the unitive oneness flowing through it, holding all things in relationship to their source." -Cynthia Bourgeault

And thanks for the link to Bill’s essay and poetry. He was a great scholar-activist. His Lindisfarne community is a brilliant unfolding of culture. May we learn how to fold these trends in our next wave.


I appreciate Cynthia Bourgeault’s critique of Wilberian integral theory—I’ve shared the same sentiments, and like the distinction of associating structures with unfolding and stages with evolving.

However, I’m sure there is a both/and (as well as an either and neither/nor) here, since I think in some respects (e.g., in contexts where growth really does lead to more goodness, where skills or capacities have to be developed before they can be useful or beneficial) it does still make sense to talk about ‘stages of development.’

For example, a half-trained medical doctor is almost worse than someone who is not trained at all. It is better to be a well-developed medical practitioner, and for the collective knowledge and practice of medicine to be more evolved than less. Medicine (we could say) is a specific “line of development.” Wilber often spoke of structures, stages, and “waves” in one breath, to point to the fluidity of developmental unfolding.

However, of course, these lines vary by culture and epistemological regime. But with development, in whatever context, we would see more health and more effective treatments for illness, where medical praxis is more developed. On the other hand, I wouldn’t agree with the notion that being an adult is generally better than being a child (the so-called “growth to goodness” fallacy); nor that magical and mythical consciousness are less important or essential than mental (or vice versa).

So I think it may depend on the specific kind of development or unfolding, stage or structure, we are looking at—at what scale, and at what level of specificity or generality. I do believe the myth of progress eventually collapses into a more cyclical view of time, but putting the two together results in a kind of spiral. Then if we factor in the micro-macrocosm connection, quantum tunnels, and fractal holoscapes, we end up with much richer topology for our cosmic pursuits.


I agree that developmental theories are important. We crawl before we learn how to walk and we never go back to crawling unless we need to get through a narrow tunnel. Once we learn how to read we can no longer look at a page in a book and only see meaningless squiggles. So, there is a direction and I believe we can act ‘as if’ there is progress. And clearly there are differences in what makes a difference a difference.

Magical, mythic, mental emerge in a sequence, and the last stage (the Mental) rides upon the previous stages and can’t function withhout them anymore than our gut can breakdown food without bacteria. To claim Mental is better or more powerful is absurd. Children are the guardians of the magical realm and as there are so many of them, and the magical was the dominant mode for so much of our history, the magical may be very powerful, indeed. Modern medicine factors in the placebo effect in all drug trials. In fact the placebo effect is so reliable that the EU has made it a law that new drugs must be able to out perform placebos. Big Pharma is in trouble as most drugs can’t meet this requirement. Is not placebo a potent form of a magical thinking?

I would add that we would see more health and effective treatments if we use our imagination in more effective ways, giving more attention to the effects of placebo and how to make that a new norm, rather than a statistical wu wu mystery. When doctors and nurses are aware of how their unconscious biases effects their patients, their patients might have healthier outcomes. As it stands, doctors get a few hours of study in nutrition. They know next to nothing about language and the use of metaphor. Those that do have a profound impact on healthier outcomes.

My friend, Bobby, when he was diagnosed with AIDS was told it was fatal. His sister noticed that when the medical staff delivered this news, they all had a smile on their faces. She said to Bobby," These people don’t care about you." And the doctors who delivered their verdict were not working with facts but with factoids.

Years later, the condition he had, ( karposic sarcoma) was discovered not to be related to HIV at all but was instead cause by a herpes virus… When a condition is removed from a category the syndrome should also change. That didn’t happen in the AIDS industry. AIDS became an umbrella term that covered a wide variety of conditions. There is a lag in the information network. The theory was never updated but remained closed and justified the wide spread use of experimental drugs in poor countries that were known to be ineffective and had been abandoned by everyone in the USA. Two thirds of the population of some African countries have HIV but they are not dying of AIDS. This is a mythic form of thinking. That is why a new enemy and mythic spin is needed to enable Gates to sell a new vaccine to the world. But who cares about the anomalies? Let’s stick to the program. The last time I heard from Bobby he is alive and living in Nevada.

Those without an identity in a culture, are at very high risk for disease. People can’t lead meaningful lives without an identity. Finding a life when who you are is illegal may create lots of distortions. The immune system is a meaning maker rather than a terminator that wipes out invaders. We could perhaps move towards an immune system as the conductor of a vibratory performance, Then what would happen? A total transformation in culture.

And at the level of language, client generated metaphors could create cascades of well being and coherence that could, if the doctor could center herself and open up to the field of all possibilities, create a partnership, rather than an adversarial contest delivering double binds. There are already some such practitioners who can perform at this level. Is it possible to shift a meaning from opposition to contrast.? This, I imagine, is what the Integral Structure would unfold in a way that the top down style that we in this twilight zone of the deficient mental can’t do, not yet. We would first have to become more aware of the boundary conditions of the objects we now designate as the enemy and try to kill. This seems to me a hangover from a medieval way of thinking, projecting an evil intention to viruses and bacteria, that is not there.,


“on this nuance, actually, all else turns.”
What a profoundly refreshing conversation around a profoundly subtle and life-giving nuance, that yes, indeed, makes all the difference. I am wondering if living metaphors, such as seed/tree or almost any living organism in its ecological unfolding might illuminate here? I love your museum metaphor, and yet… I keep searching for a way to open up non-linear"unfolding" via a living being in its eco-network. The trouble is the complexity of such a metaphor so easily becomes inexpressible!
Thank you.


Glad to hear from you, Ariadne. And nuance…and is there anything else about nuance?

And what kind of complexity? I am riffing upon your words, Ariadne, hyper aware that we are never certain about what the words indicate, what the words are of, what they words are for…words are surfaces of a deeper structure, about which we can only guess…

Have you ever gone fishing? I have done so on a few occasions My first time, I caught a flounder, a prized catch, when more experienced fisherman hadn’t caught anything. Beginner’s luck! I read recently, that an experienced fisherman notices the surface of a lake, and the ripples that are caused by the creatures below the surface, are perceived in the kind of ripples. An experienced fisherman can detect from a ripple the size and shape of the invisible fish down below, as it moves its tail. She can tell by the ripple of the water what bait to use.

" We live in a world of surfaces," said Oscar Wilde." Only shallow people don’t judge by appearances."

It seems that the world is organized in such a way that we can pick up on what is important for us to be aware of if we can drop our theories about what the world is and pay attention instead to what we are perceiving at the multiple surfaces that are presented to us…

So, the surface of the lake becomes like a radar screen, that registers the movements of alien life that we depend on. Faces are also revelatory of interior states, as we gaze into a mirror, or the eyes of a stranger. They/we can sense the organization of the world with uncanny accuracy if we we give attention to our sensory acuity. Empathy helps us to become sensitive to the unheard music, as does the quality of breathing, the sound of the voice,

That is why theory is so dangerous. We can delude ourselves easily with the theories of experts, who are relying on the theories of other experts. Models, on the other hand, seem to me much more pragmatic. And the more models we make the better. That is what I have tried to offer here and will continue to do so even though we are living at the edge of a world in transition. Modeling language that people actually are using is increasingly important as language is the water in which we humans swim. And what we theorize about is probably not that important as the use of a metaphor or a simile. I have found getting in rapport with a persons metaphor landscape is a deeply immersive experience in a way that meta-theorizing about another meta-theory makes me feel that I am entering a cul de sac in a psych ward. There is no where to go except the way you have already been.

Remember Elizabeth Bishop’s famous contemplation on the fish she caught? In the poem, she throws the fish back into the water but in real life she admits that she kept the fish and prepared it for dinner. Her great poem is more about aesthetic relationship, poetic justice, than it is about what really happened. I would like to live life as if I could be a poet, in a boat, on the surface of the lake, watching the ripples, musing upon the signs and signals of an invisible, vibratory world.


Fly Fishing 2

Thank You John for these words Under the Stones of Theory!


I only wish I could reply to you fully…for now I will say that all of my own experience and understanding agrees with all of your comments here on this thread.
And Johnny, you are a poet (in a boat or not). I used to say this to my partner who was a poet who denied it because he did not write “poems”! Poets are those who make meaning using all their capacity and experience, conveying their meanings in ways that increase the beauty and harmony, the clarity and mystery of the world, but not necessarily by writing poems…
I am not a fisher person, but I watch/take in light and leaves and birds and weather, body/psyche/voice, in that same way. Reading signs/signals that are everywhere, at all scales, in all modes, layers and dimensions of spacetime, fractaling and merging… (Sky and Telescope recently printed an article re: 5 additional galaxies that merged with Milky Way, influencing its present complexity…and Earth, too, of course, therefore Earthlings. And that is only one “down-fractal” thread. There are zillions.
The complexity of the living world gets too complex for language, and yet we are, as you write, able to perceive far more than we can ever “say”. We carry around co-creating visions/musics/feelings we cannot find words multi-dimensional enough to speak of linquistically. Isn’t this part of our human loneliness? So we try to “speak” with color and form, with rhythm and tone, with gesture/dance… and more. I would say all who do this genuinely, are poets. Which is I suppose a way of saying that I feel the ground or source of poetry (as I am trying to open it up here) is the creative bed of life itself in which we humans and all the others share in our variously strange and glorious ways.
This is not an adequate response to all you’ve said here, it’s just what came out of me here around noon on Tuesday, 11/17.


It takes one to know one. Thanks, Ariadne, this is why I keep at it. Someone out there must catch this vibe, too.