Cosmos Café: Fractal Time in Everyday Life [11/21]

When you say shortly I assume you mean in a five minutes but that is my New York minute mind functioning. Perhaps you mean until everyone agrees on the title? Oh dear…this will be like watching paint dry.

I guess we all follow the beat of a different drummer. And since my attention span is so short I think I’ll go eat some turkey and forget about this episode. What will be will…

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I mean more alpha waves than beta. :slightly_smiling_face:

Just uploading the file now…it will take 10-15 minutes for processing.

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Thank you and I look forward to it as I remember so little of what was said. I do have a problem with recall although I definitely enjoyed the experience. There is the performance and then the play by play analysis can start. In the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

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Scroll up for the archive. (It’s a wiki page, so feel free to edit the summary or any other details.)

I’m off to dinner with neighbors and friends…enjoy the day, everyone! :heart:

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This is A VERY GOOD opening of the adjacent possibilities. I would rate it as a solid show (my performance metaphor!) and it has a relaxed improvised quality with some discipline added. We had a new person to join us and he brought some good energy and we adapt well I think to each offering and absorb the energies of others without getting too gooey or sticky. I dont sense that we are without boundaries and routines but we are not stuck in any of them. So it makes for a flexible and all over the place conversation while staying rooted in principles of fair play and deep curiosity about the other persons.

Thanks to Ed, Marco, Doug for the quality of shared attention and I missed the presence of our ‘history guy’, TJ, but I hope he will chime in a give us the benefits of his deep time understandings.

What did I learn from this episode? I learned that I can touch areas of pain and difficulty without feeling overwhelmed or overly self referential. It is important to blend 1st person with 3rd person and 2nd person perspectives. We had shared already materials and interviews and we then personalized in a less abstract way our own experiences and how these theories and speculations about our pasts and futures could make sense. This is what I imagine concresence could be.

The event worked as a learning circle but also some of the best aspects of a self help support group without overtly giving anything up to a higher power. I felt the absence of dogma keeps my curiosity at a high level.

And a peak performance is in the making. I am off to that most mysterious adventure… the Brooklyn Central Library…near the excellent Park Slope with gentle rolling hills and burnt umber and ocher and crimson trees, leaves are loosened and are cascading to the ground and dogs frolic with their human companions and with a pile of books I plan to sit and breathe, tuning into the deep time of nature, of potential group learning events, breathing in the safety of honest self disclosures and of the the passing away of those stuck states and obscurations of the light. So much pain and suffering, acknowledged, shared and redeemed. Mature Masculine Archetypes can be shared, we can embody each of these energies safely. I think I will put on, as I did in the group, an imaginary crown! The King, Warrior, Lover, Magician, in their healthy aspects are at play.

They were really so painful while they happened but I am free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I’m free at last-


There is the virtue reality of primarily text-based interaction punctuated periodically by synchronous, video-streamed performances, as you are wont to call them. Their virtuality is rooted in the medium through which they manifest, but they have real, direct effects, I find, but more unforeseen, knock-on effects as well. I find they stimulate me cognitively, but also affectively, for in the end, they are real, human interactions. I have never once been tempted to wonder whether any of you are robots, automatons, or not-yet-publicly-known strain of AI. We all accept that the medium imposes limitations on that interaction, but I would say due to our expansive experience with it, we also overcome some – though certainly not all – of those limitations. The significance of the impacts of those interactions is directly reflected in the text-based interludes as it is in the videos as well.

For any random, unknown passer-by who decides to watch a video and perhaps read the pre- or post-video threads … well, for them, I’d say this is one kind of virtual reality, but it is one, at least to my mind, that is much akin to quality reading in general. There are some people I know who are skimmers for information: any kind of text they encounter is really nothing more than container of potential information from which they can take what they want or need for whatever reasons they may have. This is a more virtual reality than the one we participants experience, to be sure, and one, I would assert, is much more superficial than the one we experience. This is not to say that these people could not encounter something that triggers a much deeper and longer lasting effect of some kind, but I would think this rarer than in situations where the interaction is more intense.

And then, there is that glove-and-goggle experience that originally gave rise for the name. That experience is one that is qualitatively different from any I’ve had before or since. It is really a virtual reality, one that before you put on the equipment you know is not “real” and one that you know, once you take the equipment off, was not “real”, but nevertheless leaves a kind of indelible impression. It’s not mind-blowing, but it is certainly mind-bending. This is the one I am most willing to dub as virtual, for other than the objects and environment which are being simulated, there is no real substance to it. A lot of form, very little substance. Sort of the opposite of our conversations.


There is also the accounts of physicist, Tom Campbell, who claims that the physical is a virtual reality. Our real selves are not in the physical realm at all, just as the gamer is not in the game but playing outside of it while registering some imaginary effects. So all of our dilemmas, impasses, are generated from an extra-physical dimension for the purpose of escaping entropy. Like a reader in the library playing out theories or romances generated by the text. We intuit the whole as we read each sentence, going off into our happy space.

The Mind doesn’t happen in the brain, the brain happens in the Mind. And you are the dreamer and the dreaming, a continuum. Who can tell the dancer from the dance? It is highly interactive, rather than a predetermined crap shoot.


(Pardon the following comment…intended to post last night…it might be a bit out of place in the current conversation, yet a friendly reminder to remain grounded in a sense)

John, you started the cafe conversation by stating a seminar is almost preferred over this cafe setting, then you quickly remind yourself that some of your best conversations were shared at the cafe. Reviewing this recording (and reviewing in general) is the opportunity to extract the seminar material, to regain and expand upon a lost thought; to become the Marco and "thread the needle; or the Ed and provide us with food for thought; the now patronized “historical” TJ…you, John have a great gift to go exploring in the moment and then return to the core of the matter.

“As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough” —from scene in Waking Life

I believe our sense of time and memory resonate, John (and likely anyone else reading this here, now), in that we are drawn to the present moment in a certain sense, seeking out that which is in front of us, becoming swept away by the day, awaiting the eureka momen. This is minorly detrimental when attempting to remember our grooves, our patterns …where were we going with all this? Ah, yes… here’s the video! Now we can remember the best method for retention, for learning how we can best "direct our attention to where our intentions are,” as you said, and proceed.
Lanier and other stuff is necessary, yet maybe not right now. Not in this magnified window of time we wish to examine. You reminded us of this at the end of the first cafe talk and I like the idea. Where is it we want to go with this? How far are we to explore before returning to our core? Is this fractal time applicable to other models? To the fabric of being?


Sorry I missed this one. But, as I said elsewhere, even the act of catching up here is an encounter with the thought-provoking and the resonant. And it was good to see the expansion of faces and ideas represented by the undercover agent from Kentucky. :grinning: I hope to see you all next Tuesday courtesy of vacation time(!).

Some thoughts, in no order and with no pretense to completion:

  • Military age males with collapsed certainties and no hope is never good.
  • After the Hanzi Freinacht and Michael Garfield/Kerri Welch podcasts, I’m struck by how either the world seems to be coming to Gebser on various (“conscious” and “unconscious”) routes, or that Gebser has so revolutionized my own personal thought on things that I see him everywhere. Or both?
  • LOL on the different time-worlds of children and parents! Had to start “bedtime” hours early on a regular basis for a while there… And, more seriously, I am in complete agreement with Marco that rushing our children past necessary ‘phases’ is, well, never good.
  • Whatever our varying and even contradictory beliefs about the ultimate nature of reality may be, the crucial question, the one that makes it worth pulling unconscious archaic ‘spirit’ up through the rest of the structures to full integrated consciousness, is what kind of person do my beliefs make me in this world-line space-time?

When we listen to a new tune it takes time to get the hang of it. If it is a melody in a complex symphony it takes even more time to get the hang of it but then once you get it the whole and its parts come together and you anticipate even after many listenings the good part coming up. Anticipation followed by a release and then integration. We revisit great works of art over and over again until we get bored and move onto something else.New music can put a strain on our attention at first, for it is a discipline that rewards us if we are mindful. Adrenaline and dopamine rushes without discipline is disaster.

I am open to Lanier as I have read one of his books and heard him communicate well on a wide range of subjects. He did point out in the podcast you posted that he hoped we figured out some of the dangers of excessive use of virtual reality might be. I seriously doubt we will show the maturity to work that out in advance.

I recall some theorist making the analogy that TV is like freebasing cocaine. That comment was made before the rise of the internet. I would say that if TV is like freebasing cocaine, then what could addiction to virtual reality be like?

It would be like a bag of cocaine+a bag of heroine+ a bottle of schnaps consumed all at one. We should expect lots of casualties, emergency rooms full of the underclass of America, without a center, lost in the field of infinite folly. A very long coma.

I think this is an excellent topic to discuss and so am open to your views as you mentioned the wide spread immature males in your neck of the woods, who own guns and know how to use them.


That is why I am so intent on keeping our eyes on the prize. We have had disgruntled workers before but I see a lot of bogus talk about the rise in employment and the improvement of wages, and in my gut I feel it is the fakest of fake news.

It has been noted that pessimism arises out of a short term narrow focus, optimism arises out of a long term SLOW and WIDE process. I mean we did end slavery after a horrific war, the Supreme Court has struck down sodomy laws, etc, and I have a feeling with an infinite amount of time we can accomplish much.

But we are running out of gas, the sea levels and temperatures are rising, and those who are sensitive to the long and slow rhythms are able to detect more sensitively possibilities that are obscured by the neo liberal fantasies of globalization that preserves their predatory status to infinity.

I make a plea for models that work in real time with real people and leave the brave new robots for sci fi. We have an exquisite mind body continuum that is entangled with the environment and can tune into vast cosmic frequencies. Any good reader can vouch for that! Training attention and training the imagination are crucial and the window of opportunity to self correct is open to more people than ever before. Hence, my urgency to focus on the pioneering efforts of Gebser and Aurobindo and Whitehead to track a dramatically different range of possibilities for humans unfolding collective fate in a sheltering environment for that purpose. We are engaged I believe in that great effort by knowing the difference between a desired outcome, a proposed solution and a problem. We also are able to pay attention to the different registers and tonalities of the Visionary, the Realist and the Critic.

We also need to differentiate the signal from the noise, recognizing that there is no signal without noise!!!


Another Thinker who is believe a member of the Illuminati is Eric Weiss. Here he is giving a great seminar on Whitehead. He is also a superb scholar of Aurobindo and Gebser. In this clip he outlines what I believe is a brilliant model for healing our fatal attraction to the deficient mental.


Would you be willing to host a comparative look at Aurobindo, Whitehead, and Gebser at an upcoming café session?
Your phrase about tracking “a dramatically different range of possibilities for humans unfolding collective fate” resonated with me like a seismic wave: purposive universe, time-freedom, integrated awareness, limitless energy, new language, ‘opened’ view of history… It is necessary to pursue these antidotes to the near future my pessimism fears - a xenophobic/authoritarian tribal backlash to often misguided approaches to the building of the global village is a distinct unfortunate possibility.


Heh, heh, heh … in most circles I’ve been in my life, “Illuminati” was seldom used as a compliment, but I get your drift.

I agree, Weiss would be very worthwhile dragging into the mix of what we’ve been exploring. The model he (well, sort of) presented (as there’s a bit of backfill to get the whole scope of it) can go a long way in at least providing a reasonable framework for talking about some subjects that are too often shied away from because we don’t have good, effective, plausible models to work with.


The final five or six paragraphs of this NYT essay and from minute 40 - 47 of the podcast do tie into the ‘pathetic’ male mentioned during the cafe session. Lanier may be focusing on the more tech-savvy, Gamergate-leading-to-the-Alt-right personality. We are trying to describe those that are left behind with little or no connection to the digital world; they are mostly still in TV mode, screens flickering from windows of darkened rooms.

Two things:

  1. A quick disclaimer: I have not personally experienced hatred or violence directly and still think of the world as an ever increasing creative attempt to focus on the better angels of our nature. Yes the world is ripening into a calamitous fruiting body, an ever-increasing chance for a multitude of wars, personal or even global wars…yet I feel in some manner, as has been mentioned by psychological and sociological professionals, it is a positive thing for our species to vent out issue on the internet rather than act it out…though, of course, still a double edged sword.
    I did have a false, solely mental scare before the election. I was concerned for my family’s well being. I sensed some pent-up aggression towards my Filipino wife, who is often mistaken for a Hispanic woman; towards our family (interracial….here in KY?!..oh hell no!). This sense was picked up on by increasing my political readings online, by seeing my wife’s Facebook feed, ignorant co-workers posting such hate (immigrants go back, comments on shooting certain individuals, etc.)…then I awoke from this self-created digital nightmare and realized that I would not have to hole myself up in my house and buy a gun for protection. I realized that when I got out into the neighborhood, there are folks who have a better sense of core family values than some of us more intelligent, college educated folk who disperse about the country in search of career happiness, etc. These individuals are not as pathetic nor as bubblingly aggressive as we make them out to be, and this needs to be realized…people are people. I hear stories of love and humor. I see the Stirgill Simpson in them and the hope for a good life a loving life that includes everyone…even if they live in a vicinity and and a culture that is either stuck in slow-motion or stubbornly choosing to remain in the calm waters, easy prey for the bear that is capitalistic reality rather than leap upstream to spawn a better lifestyle. Maybe they just need to awaken to certain realities….disability, welfare, obesity, health issues, smoking, tv all night and all day, …there is a more optimal way to live. Hillbilly Elegy depicts this living well…they are the type that shoot themselves in the foot and perpetuate the degradation, teaching their children that life is shit, but we carry on.
    We do not need to fear these folks nor ask for them to change their way of life, but we need to share civil conversations…need to share our lifestyles and get outside a bit more frequently…we need more of this… I have plenty of stories to share about how my mind has changed and how I have learned to love.
  2. I prefer to begin on positive thinking before digging into the core critical issues…this helps me to remain optimistic. I have a recent story of my Confederate-flag waving, gun-toting, self-proclaimed self-destructive neighbor (50 years old, 4th wife, 2nd round of children (age 6 and 2), nickname is Ziggy, a classic comic-strip character who is always finding himself in some trouble):
    This man, who from the outside observation, looks like the caricature of the Southern male. But much can be learned from this man. As previously mentioned, this guy is what I would consider a friend.
    During his sons birthday party, we came over and I was surprised to see an Indian boy, a classmate of his son, playing with the other children. I wondered who this boy was and figured maybe he was adopted. But the parents of the boy came by later and Ziggy welcomed them…recent immigrants, having trouble integrating their son within this strange land. Ziggy talked with them for over 30 minutes, giving them loving welcome to the community, an invitation to come over at any time, reassurance that this is a nice place to live, even in the midst of not much to do and the general trait of retreat into home. The boy decided to stay for another hour and told his parents to come back later.
    I felt like a pathetic individual at this point…yes I am young, shy and socially awkward…but what have I done to open up my home to others? What has been the practical application of my “better lifestyle”…my more loving beliefs? We might be able to donate to a local charity or volunteer at a food bank for an hour or two…but are we really inclusive?

I do not feel articulate enough to dig deep into what I believe is the underlying demise of the Southern US male, the conservative lifestyle, etc. But an an undercover agent, secretly acquiring intel from this foreign land…I find myself wanting to defect at times…
…my goals and reasons for remaining undercover is to develop true relationships with these individuals. I have not confronted the external things just yet, given them lifestyle advice (the boy drinks Diet Coke as if it was water, for example), etc…I do feel timing is important and the time, though not just yet, though not fully developed, is approaching fast.


We are standing on the backs of giants and if we tune in I believe future generations will bless us rather than curse us. We are the future we are striving for. There are excellent recorded lectures and articles here by Eric. I could perhaps summarize what I have figured out and pass on what I believe is most relevant for our ever evolving cafe society! That would be tremendous fun and hope you can share your wise counsel on how to proceed with a comparative study. I would love to develop some metaphorical landscapes along the way.
I have listened to all the lectures twice and read all the articles with great pleasure. He also has the YouTube videos.


Eric uses philosophy to illuminate.He believes in using logic and definitions and clear arguments. Most contempary philosophers seem stuck, splashing around in the shallow end of the pool, but I believe Eric dives deep and brings back some sparkling gems. Paying attention to him is worthwhile and he has a lot of great material to flesh out the brief clip I posted previously. I hope we can circulate these ideas at our cafe for I agree we need better models.


Very touching, Doug, I feel a great tenderness and strength in your writing…the healthy love/warrior (?) is awakening?

And when true relationships is there anything else about true?


Would any of you have issue with bumping the Cafe session proposed on Tuesday an hour earlier to 12 PM MST rather than last week’s 1 PM?

Hoping we can all be synchronized!

I’m relatively flexible in this regard, so it doesn’t matter to me. I’m OK with just about anything.