Cosmos Café: Irreducible Mind [2/6]

Yes, I do think so, deep down, but at this point in my answer I merely wanted to highlight where distinction can be useful, and perhaps (at least temporarily) necessary. I agree it can be addictive, for precisely the reason you give: it depends on the scale of the “whole”. I appreciate you highlighting this.

What’s perhaps nagging me (for the paragraph you comment on almost didn’t make the final cut of my answer, but the answer as it was seemed to me incomplete), in the back of my mind, is what can simply be called for now “discontinuity”, though I sense that is more process that structure related. Things like Planck’s quantum of energy or death. It doesn’t seem to me that they can be scaled.


Video and audio are up!

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Love those metaphors! Maybe add a musical metaphor to that list? I was just writing about improv as an aspect of a sort of grand spiritual- Meta-metaphor …
Thanks for the rich reply.

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The great battle between Freud and Jung around the paranormal. This is verbatim from Jung’s memoir.


Yes! The four of you (the new four horsemen? Maybe Headless horsemen, as you will see below :point_down:) went on the same journey in this conversation, as do I, daily. One moment I am meeting @johnnydavis54 in my dreams, ready to save the world…the next, I am slicing brain matter for the answer. This is a difficult topic and I have nothing to add. If pursuing further, a tour guide would be necessary for this blown mind.

So…guess I do have a couple additions to (mostly) irrelevant connections:

@madrush mentioned his satori moment. This reminded me of Harding’s On Having No Head, the “whats happening all around” …maybe it ties into this conversation.

Excerpt from Harding's book

Somehow or other I had vaguely thought of myself as inhabiting this house which is my body, and looking out through its two little round windows at the world. Now I find it isn’t like that at all. As I gaze into the distance, what is there at this moment to tell me how many eyes I have here - two, or three, or hundreds, or none? In fact, only one window appears on this side of my facade, and that one is wide open and frameless and immense, with nobody looking out of it. It is always the other fellow who has eyes and a face to frame them; never this one.

There exist, then, two sorts - two widely different species - of human being. The first, of which I note countless specimens, evidently carries a head on its shoulders (and by “head” I mean an opaque and coloured and hairy eight-inch ball with various holes in it) while the second, of which I note only one specimen, evidently carries no such thing on its shoulders. And until now I had overlooked this considerable difference! Victim of a prolonged fit of madness, of a lifelong hallucination (and by “hallucination” I mean what my dictionary says: apparent perception of an object not actually present), I had invariably seen myself as pretty much like other people, and certainly never as a decapitated but still living biped. I had been blind to the one thing that is always present, and without which I am blind indeed - to this marvelous substitute-for-a-head, this unbounded clarity, this luminous and absolutely pure void, which nevertheless is - rather than contains - all that’s on offer. For, however carefully I attend, I fail to find here even so much as a blank screen on which these mountains and sun and sky are projected, or a clear mirror in which they are reflected, or a transparent lens or aperture through which they are viewed - still less a person to whom they are presented, or a viewer (however shadowy) who is distinguishable from the view. Nothing whatever intervenes, not even that baffling and elusive obstacle called “distance”: the visibly boundless blue sky, the pink-edged whiteness of the snows, the sparkling green of the grass - how can these be remote, when there’s nothing to be remote from? The headless void here refuses all definition and location: it is not round, or small, or big, or even here as distinct from there. (And even if there were a head here to measure outwards from, the measuring-rod stretching from it to that mountain peak would, when read end-on - and there’s no other way for me to read it - reduce to a point, to nothing.) In fact, these coloured shapes present themselves in all simplicity, without any such complications as near or far, this or that, mine or not-mine, seen-by-me or merely given. All twoness - all duality of subject and object - has vanished: it is no longer read into a situation which has no room for it.

Opening quote in @achronon’s referenced Merlin Donald book Origins of the Modern Mind (wouldn’t mind hearing more about this one):

Dylan Thomas, "In the Beginning," 1934

In the beginning was the mounting fire
That set alight the weathers from a spark,
A three-eyed, red-eyed spark, blunt as a flower;
Life rose and spouted from the rolling seas,
Burst in the roots, pumped from the earth and rock
The secret oils that drive the grass.

In the beginning was the word, the word
That from the solid bases of the light
Abstracted all the letters from the void;
And from the cloudy bases of the breath
The word flowed up, translating to the heart
First characters of birth and death.

…looks like we’re back at the beginning, again.

And, since @madrush didn’t explain the moral to the dragon story here’s this guy’s version (originally I wanted to post it last week but didn’t want to ruin the vibe)


When I started watching this, I thought that Jordan Peterson was channelling @johnnydavis54, but then he turned it into a psychology lesson and I was less impressed. Not that I don’t think the psychology is important, I just think that the story is not “merely” an allegory, as Peterson would have us believe, but that it is also magical in other ways (more akin to Tolkien’s fairy stories - Tolkien who disliked allegories).


Donald’s book or Thomas’ poem? (The colon is confusing me, but perhaps it’s just a typo. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:)

As for Donald’s Origins of the Modern Mind, I found it a well-thought through attempt to somehow explain the difference, psychologically (mentally, cognitively) between the great apes and humans. Unlike some in this area who are willing to ignore the difference, Donald fully acknowledges that the 2%-DNA-difference between our nearest simian cousins and human beings can’t be explained merely in biological-evolutionary terms. Darwin can be very helpful in a lot of long-arc developmental areas (bipedal locomotion, increase in cranial capacity, anatomical structure of the larynx are significant but not necessarily causal in the way Darwinians would have us believe) , but this isn’t one of them. As a result, he takes a closer look – tying it in where possible to archaelogical, anthropological and biological data – at the how we got cognitively where we are today.

He posits three great shifts based on a common starting point; that is, something we share with the apes, namely episodic culture. This is the ability to form species-wide patterns of behavior due to the ability to perceive and remember events; that is, memory representation is at the level of event representation. He spends most of the rest of the book describing three transitions which describe our evolutionary separation from the apes and our individual species’ development since then.

These three transitions are from Episodic to Mimetic culture, from Mimetic to Mythic culture, and from Mythic to External Symbolic Storage and Theoretic Culture. The first of these is based on the developed ability to mimic and to pass on to others. Living in the present moment is one way he describes this. Things like pointing and gesturing, which are unique to humans, play a significant role, especially in light of the fact that at that time the physiology of our hominoid ancestors would most likely have prohibited the development of fully functional speech (sound formation to a degree that phonemes (meaning-bearing sound) could appear. Over time and in conjunction with, but not necessarily driven by, physiological changes (cranial capacity, larynx, etc.) human beings begin to narratize their memories; they develop spoken language and stories (in the widest sense of the word) become the repository of their mental representations. This culminates in myths. The final transition (though it may not be the last, Donald is more interested in how we got to where we are than in where we are going) is Theoretic culture. We develop writing (and he spends a lot of time talking about writing systems and their development) and externalizing our memories. This is accompanied by an increasing degree of abstraction. Myth is more or less past oriented, whereas theory is moving toward future-orientation. This last transition, he notes, took place without commensurate biological-evolutionary changes.

It is a challenging read, but clearly presented and well-argued. He is very careful with his speculations and he is continually looking for “hard” data to correlate his description of “soft” developments (i.e. the overlap between brain and cognition). His description of the shift from Episodic to Mimetic culture is even more interesting when compared to Tallis’s deriving of humanness from the physiological structure of the hand (in his The Hand: A Philosophical Inquiry into Human Being). They come to very similar conclusions from different paths. The transition to Mythic culture is an interesting addition to what we have heard about gesturing from Tenen and the Meru work. Donald’s description of the shift to Mythic and Theoretic culture are a thought-provoking addendum to Gebser’s model of consciousness unfoldment as well.

What Donald provides here, I think, is an argument that expands the background to a lot of the topics and themes that we have been describing here over the course of the past year or so. So, if you’re interested in more background, this is a worthy read.

And now, as to Thomas: ever since I’ve been exposed to the Meru work, that poem has taken on a whole new character. What did Thomas tap into?


Adam Crabtree, one of the editors of Irreducible Mind, explains the Alternative Consciousness Paradigm. Reincarnation, intrusion, multiple personality, possession-there is more to us than we can possibly fathom.


It’s really too bad that the interview was that short. There are any number of those paths which opened up that would have been worth exploring more.

Two “catch phrases” did come up – one at the beginning and one at the end – that tie in directly with the CCafe session planned for tomorrow featuring Jordan Brown’s film: government intrusion/mind control and what I’ll call interiority, for lack of a better word here on the fly. While, it may not be the government but rather the corporatocracy that’s pursuing it, the creating of personalized bubbles (not meant in any Sloterdijkian way, though anyone who wants to is free to run off in that direction) is a concrete step towards controlling what’s in the bubble if one is not aware that others are possible, if not probable. This bubble creation, as described in the film, can be thought of, I think, as a form of intrusion. Just a thought.

The other notion, interiority, is also mentioned in the film. The consequence of bubble creation is to put the individual into the situation that they stop looking out into the world and start (necessarily) looking within. When I think about the search-for-self idea that has driven most of my thinking most of my life this is a whole different ballgame. The self that has been media-mediated is a very shallow self. This is not to say that one couldn’t spend a lot of time exploring it, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening. I think it is shallow and, much like the Ego in former thinking, reinforced into thinking of itself in terms of its own exclusivity. The depth of interiority which came up at the very end points in a very necessary direction. Exploring this thinking further might be helpful in uncovering ways of breaking out of the induced bubbles many find themselves in. Again, just a thought.

But, I agree, @johnnydavis54, we’re only getting started on grasping what we’re all about.


That session is next week, Ed @achronon - tomorrow it’s the white paper session.


Thanks for the correction.

It’s not the first time that I got ahead of myself. :thinking:


I agree and there are no manuals teaching us how to do this. As Crabtree mentions we are too vast to put into an algorithm, our wants and desires are too complex to put even into words. We are also beyond thought and must rely on gut feels, heart feels as much as head generated cognition. We are under siege, and I have been attacked innumerable times, by the US government, through sodomy laws, by the Church, and by Science, through the medical model, which reduces mind to matter that they then try to legislate remedies with. There is a surge of antagonisms on the Astral which is the space in which these battles are staged. Beyond the Astral all is well but we humans are caught in the middle of the struggle.

This is not for the timid. And it is where the old magic and the new magic will have to be forged in the crucible of the human/non human communique, the liminal zones, where dead matter ( an intelligent thought- virus) seeks it’s living host. I describe briefly, in my own way, such an encounter, which happened last night.

I practiced various kinds of meditation practices during the middle of the night and felt the hybrid state ( both material and trans-material) and had repaired all damage to the energy system and was in the flow state. I felt the left side of the energy body was balanced, this feels like behind the heart a current flows through the heart and out of the left nipple and joins the other currents through out the subtle bodies, much like a nursing mother. Since I am a biological male, I can only describe the experience as a cross gendered analogy. I am sure this is a feeling that all humans and perhaps all mammals, both male and female, gay or other than gay, can generate.

It literally took decades for this recent heart -mind interplay capacity to manifest and I had lots of help from my inner crew, and especially from the light Being(s) who love me more than anyone on earth ever has and in whom I place my absolute trust. But sometimes you are on your own. A journey of the Alone to the Alone, and we draw upon many mental maps from many traditions, and we have to drop them when they become the intrusion! We enter into self similar polarities, which we attract, as I illustrate in this episode from my direct encounter with the dark side.

Feeling the current from the heart mind flowing, I feel the buzzing in the inner ears and wait until I get a signal to take off. The third eye displays intricate pixelated whirls and shapes and forms and I am given permission to take off. I disengage the physical and am “in” the hybrid body and move through many scenarios that I could but dont have to engage. I wait for the threshold to be reached, the most potent desire structure to activate and I ask a question," What happened to Charles?" ( this refers to a person of my acquaintance on earth, who was killed decades ago, in an accident, which I psychically predicted- a major trauma!)

What appears is a masculine black form, formidable and ruthless. I know him well as a Trickster figure, and he is dazzling me, with malevolent signs, and as he unlocks my energy system I shout, " Get thee gone!" and register resistance, but before I can go into a hostile counter attack, I regain my map of a Transcendent God, and try to turn the violence into brother hood. I stop struggling and tell him," Wake up. You are a son of God." This seems to do the trick, the struggle stops and neither of us seeks domination.

I see a lifeless looking heap of greenish metals, looking like a dismembered robot. I touch the metal and it moves to my touch and I try to re-fashion it into a beautiful human form. This doesn’t happen. I intend this to occur but it remains a project that has not become part of the agenda of the brotherhood I belong to. It is my own private matter and i lose interest and drift in voids until I return to the physical feeling refreshed.

I wake up and have coffee and look out the window of my apartment onto Manhattan in motion, driven to distraction by unjust laws made by unjust lawmakers, creating a new slave state from their ivory towers down on Wall Street. But there is trouble in their man made, hi tech world. And I remember that I wrestled last night with one of their demonic sub humans.

We could discuss this further, Ed, tomorrow, or perhaps next week, as I have yet to study the white paper. I have a funny feeling though that unless we are willing to work multi dimensionally we will not get the momentum to liberate the subtle realms, from which, I believe, our current crises arises from. There are many thought viruses structured into humans and they have incarnated now and are attracted to getting into business attire and working on Wall Street.


Thanks for sharing again, John.

Just like Kelly and his associates were willing to go back to sound, pre-behavioral/cognitive sources for inspiration and method, maybe we need to think about doing the same. They are looking at this in terms of pure psychology, which is fine, but the general thinking in the world at large is that psychological = mental/intelligence/cognition. Since we are just now awaking from the somnambulism of equating mind with brain, we are still drowsy from the effects of thinking the mind is about thinking. (Sometimes I think that’s the least of what it’s about but that’s purely a subjective reaction). The experiential episode that you related makes this – to me at least – starkly clear. What we are talking about has about as much to do with thinking as candy corn has to do with vegetables (an analogy I got from Bill Maher recently, but I think is fitting here.)

Metaphorically referring to the head and the heart is helpful, no doubt, but we’re still faced with the subjective valuations that are associated with each of these body parts. It’s very easy to get mired down in a rational/irrational or intellectual/emotional discussion which is never helpful because of ingrained cliches and prejudices. Newer research on the vagus nerve, which you have brought in from time to time is, in my estimation, of only limited usefulness since nerves are physical which means too short a step to materialistic reductionism and too easy to get into the it’s-merely-a-nerve-issue-there-must-be-a-pill mode. Any time the nervous system gets put center stage, things as a whole get too brain-related, and often brain-heavy, too quickly. I may be wrong, of course, but these physical, matter-based approaches do not, in my view, do justice to the phenomena involved, which are – and here I agree with you absolutely – real and non-physical (even if their effects (or after-effects) have physical manifestations or consequences.

Depth psychology could have something to offer, but I think there’s a whole lot of chaff that needs separating from the wheat before it can be used for anything constructive. Freud is out, as far as I’m concerned, due to his myopic focus, even among the neo-Freudians. Fromm doesn’t develop a working model of the psyche that could be used as an orientation-interpretive tool (analogy to, say, Gebser’s for consciousness unfoldment). Jung is tricky because he gets dealt with too cultish-like too quickly. Both Kastrup and Jordan have done some good work based on Jung that can help us get a better handle on the notion of archetypes, but my feeling is it is too individual-bound and not necessarily open to the phenomena that Crabtree described as “intrusive”. Some – maybe much – of what we’re talking about is rooted in the individual having the given experience but certainly not all, at least not all the time. And that’s how I understood your encounter as well. Now, I haven’t read anything of Crabtree’s so I have no idea whether he has anything specific to offer here in terms of theories or models of what is happening. Are you aware of anything?

The old magicians – the later 19th century Rosicrucians and Martinists, like de Pasqualley, Papus, Peledan, Levi – had models and methods to address these issues, to be sure. So do the younger (post-Blavatsky) theosophists, as does Steiner. Unfortunately, regardless of how accurate or effective their models might be, they are no doubt considered “tainted” by most who even vaguely recognize whom I’m referring to. Outside of esoteric circles, I doubt they would find much acceptance. Leaves us in pretty much of a bind, I would think.

Like you, I think it is necessary that we more near-term than mid- or long-term develop an acceptable model for talking about and dealing with the phenomena you are describing. In other words, even amongst ourselves we probably need a common understanding – not necessarily acceptance, just a worthy recognition – of what is being talked about.

Of course the “opening of the door” that Crabtree and the Kellys and the others have effected is a two-edged sword: it allows us to enter and think about and explore, but it also allows those on the other side of that door to come our way as well. (As an aside, I think we’ll be hearing a lot more about these kinds of things in the future because the (forced) journey within (that our media may be effecting) is through that same threshold. Things may just start getting very interesting.)


Yes I think you are onto something. There is, as Kripal observes, connections between advances in technology and para-normal capacities. It appears that mind is much like a radio that receives not the way things are but the way events show up on our tv and computer screens. Our paranormal events come out of our exposure to cultural products, horror movies and sci fi. We could imagine, as William Irwin Thompson does, that the spirits and sprites that were banished by the industrial revolution are making a comeback by reappearing through our computer screens as these enchanting Mythic-Magic Creatures. Just stroll through YouTube land and will get an overwhelming sense of the magical making a comeback. The computer screen through which you see them is the same screen through which they see you.

I am reading Jason Josephson-Storm’s The Myth of Disenchantment a good read on how the Modern has never really taken hold. The Mythic has never gone away and may be coming out from the underground it was banished to. Many modern scientists, like Nobel Prize winning, Marie Curie, went to seances and studied the para-normal. That so many scientists were into the occult is a dirty little secret that is starting to come out. Freud and Jung are tainted as you notice by the fear generated by exposure and so they hid themselves in a neo-Kantian language games I find suffocating. You can know the thing itself. We are the thing itself. We are not in Plato’s cave, we are Plato’s cave.

Crabtree has a simple overview of Models of Mind available in a pdf I find helpful and we might want to investigate his chapter 5 of the Kelly tome if we want something scholarly. The second tome I find more readable but both set the stage for a more robust learning circle for those who yearn to become more able to ride the Imaginal wave .It might be good for future cafe and a good set up for the Sri Aurobindo reading. Banerji is the best guide in making for a comparative overview as he knows the East/West territory really well. Kripal’s Secret Body is a stunning performance, as he makes the claim that language is where the human/divine occurs we. We are not the writers, we are the written. We are the story while the story lasts. My dreamscapes and visionary episodes are, I am well aware, shaped by the interpretative strategies of someone steeped in pomo queer theory!

If you decide to communicate to others you will need to find a vernacular you can both share. All mystics and mutants have to translate adequately before any transformations can occur. That is what I sense Kastrup, Tenen, Kripal and Kelly and many others are trying to do, coming from many different angles, just as the Neo-Platonists and the Desert Fathers and the Gnostics did in their times.

I am aware that I am a hodge podge of different kinds of borderlands, seeking some resolutions. It is, of course, notoriously difficult to study for the Trickster delights in deconstructing our experiments.


This may sound wierd, but here’s an idea I had when I was awake in the middle of the night. I’m not sure where to fit it in, but I think it does fit in. The idea is, adopt a Kelly-ian frame of mind (that is, be welling to go back over assumptions but stay within a “scientific” approach) :

A mathematics of the soul

Assume the ‘encompassing soul’ isn’t intellectual, that is, doesn’t think, or feel even, but rather ‘indwells’ and connects outwards to the numenous. What would this look like, mathematically or physically? Could one develop a model for this? And how would it connect to the brainmind system? Would it arise from it, drop down into it or around it, or would the two come into being simultaneously?

I am being playful, and I am partly inspired by reading “Alan Turing : The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges - this was the book upon which the film “The Imitation Game” was based, but the book is much deeper and broader, exploring Turing’s complex life with a great deal of care, and also delving into the mathematics, although from a layperson’s perspective. Turing was interested in questions like these at one point in his life, although he eventually became more clearly an atheist.

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I have often seen mathematics and symbolic codes that I cant read. I have seen books with writing but I find in lucid dreams I am dyslexic and the letters wont stay still so reading is a challenge. I have heard music, usually sounding late classical orchestral, but not music I know and since I have no skill I cant record with musical notation. I have found to my surprise that I can write down my name, address, phone number and have asked entities to contact me if they are able to do so. So far no one has. I do simple arithmetic in my dream head but since the capacity to externalize in any medium is difficult it is hard to break out into more abstract areas I have no expertise in already.

I can recite and sing from memory and done elaborate comparisons between trans physical and physical senses and played around with time and taking shape of other creatures and genders. I have participated in many healing rituals and energetic exchanges. I have had a few shared lucid dreams with persons I know but that was too weird for me. Having a shared dream environment is probably a great evolutionary leap that some have already made but that I have yet to adjust to. Our minds ( whatever they are) are quite powerful! And such leaps require immense self discipline and high levels of ethical development. Our social media may be preparing us for greater transparency.

As you do have expertise already in science and math I am sure you could incubate a research project. Before bed, jot down some interesting questions, or draw a picture and put it under your pillow and when you wake up in the morning see if you can make sense of your dreams. There may be some clues. I think there are serendipitous events in daylight and nighttime experiences, if we can cultivate the attention. Good luck and may the Force go with you.

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Yeah, I do know what you mean (I think !) re: Planck intervals or “granularity”… but death, I do somtimes seem to intuit it’s scalability, but that depends on what we mean by “death”. One of my early Buddhist mentors was also a scientist. He used to say that the two dynamica forces are Expansion and Contraction, that both are equally creative! Death is as creative as Birth. Life has no opposite. But …there is “here” and there is “gone” at an organismic scale, at a human feeling scale, but not a cosmic (ultimate?) scale. We used to think atoms were indivisible. Then we discovered quarks. Then we discovered that supposedly discrete electrons are actually sort of clouds of possibilities, not granular . Same with the up-fractal realms (galaxies, super-galaxies, et al). Maybe in some way there is “discontinuity” and there is also continuity, depending on the scale? And death? What is death to us creatures is not what death is on other scales: it is one of the engines of existence (ie, contraction). Perhaps our greatest human weakness is that we cannot accept contraction, and we have an obsession with expansion? That same teacher kept urging us to find out what happens when contraction is as fully embraced as expansion. Same with pleasure/pain…and the rest.
But could you say more about why, eg, Planck’s quantum of energy and death can’t appear at various scales? Maybe I’m speaking off to the side of your point, or what you are pointing to?


What I meant was that Planck’s quantum of energy and death are simply discontinous; that is, they in themselves are not scalable. I did not mean to say, or even imply, that such discontinuities couldn’t appear anywhere along any given scale.


Don’t see how you are seeing death as “discontinuous”. Do you mean death as contraction, or the human experience of death? How is it “discontinuous”?

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Don’t understand what you mean by “death as contraction”. I was generally thinking of death as as a state-change from alive-to-not-alive.