Cosmos Café: Plenum Meeting [3/27]



We’ve now completed 14 sessions of the Cosmos Café, and have been on Spring Break this past week, with no new topics or readings scheduled for the coming weeks, but a few ideas on the table in our planning thread, and confirmed rumors of a integral reading/praxis group dedicated to Sri Aurobindo beginning later this Spring (with engagement already underway). Most recently, we have explored how the shape of our language reflects our conscious reality, and given thought to our wider political systems and media technologies.

There are distinct and diverse flavors brewing amongst our barristas, alluring aromas wafting from the kitchen. There is healing happening, and cosmic games afoot. And how do all these come together? What’s on the menu for our next Human Cycle?

For our Minimum Viable Plenum, I propose that we spend half the time giving updates on our respective projects, interests, curiosities, questions, obsessions, or current reading (in a relatively structured fashion)—and then spend the second half of our time together creatively envisioning how we wish to continue our Café conversations, how we can make them even better, and how we might play a role in a larger Cosmic unfolding.

Seed Questions

  • What formats are we developing? Styles, roles, storylines? What’s the emergent meta-narrative?
  • How do we invite people into these conversations? What other conversations can we spawn?
  • What deeper questions are we getting to? Where is our unthought? How do we put our (un)thinking into practice?
  • Can we become technically more efficient, better manage our scheduling and media production?
  • What happens next?!

Context and Backstory

Agenda items

  • Mic check & check-ins: 10 mins
    • Open (silent) meditation: (~3 mins)
  • Meeting intro (Marco): ~5 min
    • Logistics, time & agenda
    • General updates
  • Individual updates (open, take turns): ~30 mins
  • Metamind / creative visioning: ~45 mins
  • Open frame, feedback, close: ~30 mins

Sorry to hear you are unable to meet with the kids as they are at play @patanswer… Just now coming back to check on the forum after a week away and see (as typical) a long line of thoughts and readings that have yet to occur. Jennifer Gidley is a great discovery, TJ and hope to hear your deep thoughts soon (another summary for The Evolution of Consciousness, similar to your stellar Human Cycle efforts? One can only hope!)…maybe I will take up @johnnydavis54 request to examine the bibliography (which @achronon and John, the two older, bigger kids, have the complete “collection” of authors, trading their thoughts on the various readings like two kids trading baseball cards).

I feel like the kid whose reward is to sit in the corner in awe and watch the big kids play baffling thought games :slightly_smiling_face:. Looking forward to another great discussion.


Here are my meeting notes. Johnny @johnnydavis54 had a look at them and we decided I would post them as they are - he will make comments via the forums in a different format. Please note that if anyone wants me to correct or add anything, let me know and abracadabra, it will happen!

Cosmos Cafe Plenum notes

Marco presented the short agenda and proposed a 3 minute silent meditation. Johnny provided the bells [really nice bells too!]
A recorder was requested for taking notes - Johnny offered, seconded by Geoffrey
Marco suggested we present personal updates in relation to both personal life and Cosmos Cafe activities
He also introduced the questions that had been posted, and noted that the question of unthinking had been raised by a fellow student in philosophy who had been doing a thesis on unthought.

Ed : Ed remembers the German tradition of a Stammtisch - a community meeting place, usually across from the church, with an ashtray, bell, etc., reserved for meetings - in small communities such as with less than a hundred people, Stammtisch played an important role in the community - people spoke differently to one another because of them - Cosmos Cafe sessions remind Ed of that - the conversations influence his everyday life, they are simple chats, non pretentious, sometimes on complex topics but done without fuss and bother … - Ed likes the fact that the sessions are not going anywhere, paradoxically
Doug - Reminds him of spending time in Philippines with his wife and the community there - gemeinschaft politics (gemein means “mine”, but it can also mean “mean”) - hence an effort at reinstating the community
Marco - likes that we’re not going anywhere - not going anywhere is part of what is required for thinking - working under pressure may mean getting sick, whereas working without pressure is healthy - Sloterdijk spheres have qualities - in a real cafe, the lighting, food, music, poetics (e.g. Bachelard) all contribute to the experience in the cafe -
Geoffrey - was too busy in the fall to come, but since January, his work session is organized differently and he is able to slow down, and has attended every session and loved them - also just being present for what is going on is important - being present for each other and for our guests - in the beginning of the meeting today he spoke of time he spent singing in choirs, for example, the Bach Passion according to Saint Mathew, and the Passion according to Saint John, in the chorus - various choir masters have all said that the music isn’t in the notes, but in the spaces between the notes - the cafe is about rhythms and the spaces within the interstices of rhythms
John - it is often not what happens in the cafe, but what happens in between the cafe sessions that is compelling - the boundaries between visible and invisible, interior and exterior, between “we” and “I” - music spaces, physical spaces, semantic spaces are all present and speak to him - he often has delayed reactions that follow the session - the online session acts like a performance, but the video is a self reflexive exercise and a great use of the technology - also multiple voices create rhythms and tempos that are wonderful - Johnny loved sharing Clean Language and getting “pictures” back as feedback
Zach - enjoys “tearing himself away” from a hectic life - there is an element underneath that is no space, no thought, etc. that is really important - incredible capacity being explored here - he is also interested in flirting with the marketplace, looking into artistic expression, but that often gets diverted into other issues - it is the falling back into the slow time that helps cope with those issues - hoping to have more time in next period of time

Marco - There’s something we are developing within the realm of thought that is of value - part of the ecosystem of life - his family, wife and daughters as well as his writing are also important, they are nourished from these sessions - he notes that he is not interested in getting anyone’s attention, but that the world needs more of this no thinking - how can we bring that, more in the sense of a gift than as a market?

Johnny - quoting Heinz von Forester - second order cybernetics - “pattern comes from pater, pater. - this i want to compare with mother, the matrix” - Doug, we need to talk about “mater patterns” rather than “meta patterns” ! - johnny - move back and forward between the grand theory (pattern) and the ongoing needs (matrix) rather than allow them to collaborate

Marco - what is the matrix that needs to be in place? We have rich networks to draw on, but they have to be entered into and reshaped for our purposes… In study Gebser, Aurobindo, that is what we are doing… map of the garden! johnny - different rates of growth and decay! styles matter

Geoffrey - styles matter - we could broaden our readings - Manning, Soul Mountain, Aurobindo, etc. they’ll pull in others ; by also, what we are doing matters - sitting having coffee ; could be exercising and having conversations, or making things and having conversations, but each style will bring in different groups of people

Doug - we rely on guests to come in, or virtual guests (we take on the virtual guest’s ideas among ourselves) - e.g. Jennifer Gidley who has an interesting video summarizing integral/posthuman ideas as well as a rather long paper that addresses similar issues

In terms of new cafe sessions, Geoffrey also mentioned an interest in going back to look at Bateson again - maybe not reading one of his books, but some of his articles, such as in his Steps to an Ecology of Mind, or in his daughter’s Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred. Bateson can be quite complex to understand, so it would be great to get this group’s insight into some of Bateson’s texts.


Excellent. Thank you, Geoffrey.