Cosmos Café: Synchronicity and Modeling Time [11/28/17]

Weren’t these themes picked up in Barfield’s Saving the Appearances?

Even if not, it’s sound advice.

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Yes indeed. Barfield is another neglected author we could study. His books are short, articulate and to the point. Highly efficient!

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As I’ve said elsewhere before, I’m not completely satisfied with it, and Gebser himself is not very specific on this point. On p. 100 of EPO, he introduces it as the symbol of the Integral as part of discussion of (oddly enough) geometry, in particular what came out of the work of Desargues (whose work was furthered by the very young Pascal) who was challenging Descartes analytical geometry. Out of Desargues’ Theory of Conic Sections came a kind of projective geometry which abandoned “a prurely three-dimensional space in favor of spherical solid or ‘filled’ space, leaving behind the ‘emptiness’ of purely linear space and touching that dimension of fulfillment that is a precondition of, at the very least, the latent presence of the temporal.” He then goes on, “Here, too, we encounter for the first time the striking symbol of the integral structure, the sphere. In is in fact a kind of signature for the four-dimensinonality of this structure which we are to understand as a sphere in motion” [emphasis mine].

Later, in Part 2 (ca. pp 342-355) , he goes more deeply into his understanding of the fourth dimension and how it relates to time. I will not go into that here as it would probably better fit in the session you have imagined for this coming Tuesday. (At least that will give me a bit more time to mull all this over and check out the other 25 or so references to spheres/spherical he has strewn about the text.

What is most relevant in regard to your questions, however, is his conceptualization of this as not a “simple”, three-dimensional sphere, but rather a “moving, transparent sphere” in (at least) four dimensions. It seems the motion, the transparency and temporal aspects of this conceptualization were the deciding factors.


I would like to offer a case study to ground this question. You offer a good cluster of questions and what I offer in response, is what I would claim is emergent knowledge, which comes out of a direct experience of the mutating consciousness.

This article, which I consider a crude sketch, is an example of trying to model an alternate way of knowing. I hesitate to offer it as I am very reluctant to throw pearls before swine.

By that I refer to a remark by Jesus, and it is wise advice. Swine are not able to recognize the beauty of the pearl. It is stupid to wear for apparel what was intended as a curtain for the inmost soul.

Since I am convinced there are no swine here I submit this article, and hope for the best. I do sense that if we are better able to engage in discourse that allows the modeling of alternate ways of knowing, we could start to move mountains. But that could just be another crash and burn move.

And perhaps a less flattened ontology would emerge?

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"The AI Index, as it’s called, was published this week, and begins by telling readers we’re essentially “flying blind” in our estimations of AI’s capacity. It goes on to make two main points: first, that the field of AI is more active than ever before, with minds and money pouring in at an incredible rate; and second, that although AI has overtaken humanity when it comes to performing a few very specific tasks, it’s still extremely limited in terms of general intelligence. "
The Day the Earth Stood Still

I’m curious if there is a serendipitous learning happening here?

Developmental pressures may force us to figure out what a " general intelligence" is compared to the pseudo-intelligence of AI, which will probably be largely punitive, modeled upon the strict father archetype. Will we get re-programed by Darth Vader robots, who will nuke us, if we fight back?

Perhaps we can review our maps and discover together where is the edge of our maps?

I imagine our future selves will enjoy our paradoxes and will delight in sharing them when they occur.

I want to co-create research projects that will evolve us and that are going to be aesthetically driven.

Can we create freedom for time to develop knowledge rather than improve the profit margins for the few?

What needs to happen to create freedom for Time?

I got an interesting hit last night from astral plane. I brought back a symbol. I will scan it and add it to the archive.

“The Masters depend upon the creativity of the Slaves.”- Roy Bhaskar


This clip is wonderful! My journey to this Infinite Conversations site may have originated in Gebser and Metamodernism, but, since September, my ultimate line of thought is expanding upon what I am calling “forced enlightenment.” (and thanks to your modeling skills, the mental image of how this might fit into my personal model is expanding and achieving higher resolution).
It is a positive version of force (the seriousness love that prevents a child from crossing a busy street, for example)…could it be an enlightenment pill, a cranial device that trains us (similar to an invisible fence for dogs), that monitors our emotions and brings us into a “happier” state, rather than go down a depressive void for hours, days on end…etc. The problem, of course, is how do we ‘force’ this upon those who need it the most? Children and elders we have some control over…what of the mass population?

The police robot is definitely an outdated idea (this movie was created in 1951, says internet)…I would hope that we slaves could come up with something more creative and have it come to fruition.


I hope so too! Thanks for your feedback. I am aware the cultural metaphors for alternate ways of knowing are usually derived from Hollywood generated sci fi which is very narrowly focused.

I recall that budgets for teachers were cut in California back in the 80’s because the use of computers would eliminate the need for reading instruction. Computers would teach kids how to read.

It was later discovered this was premature. Computers dont teach children how to read. Parents with a child on the knee are the best teachers. The kid joins the world of the parent through the language game and the cognitive/affective capacities of the child are activated, so that reading can start. Shared attention and the ability to point ( with the finger) is the key to almost all cognitive development.

Reading is not something that computers do. Nor do they tell jokes or summarize particularly well.

I have heard a lot of hype before from the Deficient Mental Science and I am so far underwhelmed.

But maybe that is the edge of my map…


If the ever-reliable hint “follow the money” holds true, this is not surprising at all, but when those minds are linked to money (which could very well be why the minds are pouring in), it doesn’t bode well for an AI that will be the least bit intelligent, generally or otherwise, for even the specific aspects will be profit-related in the end.

Which is really all those who are “calling the shots” know. Richter (in the book I just read) calls it the “God complex”, we could probably also call it the “Superman syndrome”.

The '51 version of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is one of my all-time favorites, I must admit. No big effects but a lot of classy dialogue.

I’m still old-school enough to believe that “knowledge”, as I think you are using the word, is human-based/bound. Time doesn’t need freedom, it is unbound by its very nature. Maybe the question is, “How do we get humanity time-free to develop the knowledge we need?” (for we need it fairly quickly, the curmudgeon reminds me).

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But, a very persistent idea nevertheless. Isn’t force, as the expression of power (cf. @care_save’s essay series), our standard operating mode. And most newer sci-fi that I have seen (and as I’m not a big effects fan, I’m sure I don’t see enough … and what I read tends to be more classical in nature), hasn’t improved on the idea yet. Even here it’s the same pale, stale, patriarchal minds that are spreading around all that enticing cash to make sure we slaves stay submissive, says the curmudgeon. If there was ever anything I would like to be downright wrong about, it’s this kind of stuff.


Manfred Spitzer, perhaps Germany’s pre-eminent (and most hated) neuro-cognitive researcher, has repeatedly argued, based on sound, verifiable, empirical research, that sustained interaction with computers will dumb down anyone and is physically and developmentally harmful to children before they reach puberty. (You can imagine how well-liked he is.)

One of his most poignant reports is about the Chinese who also went down that path. To get competitive they digitalized a lot of their early education. Every couple of years they do a massive study to assess reading levels in the 4th grade. Traditionally about 25% were found to be reading below grade level (i.e., having reading difficulties). Since the introduction of computers, this has increased to over 45%. In traditional instruction, students had to practice calligraphy in order to get the ideograms right. With computers, they enter the “root”, say “li” and are shown the up to dozen ideograms that might reflect that pronunciation; they pick the “correct” one from the options presented. It appears an increasing number of students are not learning ideograms at all.

Things, of course, are not all that different in America. Last I heard, 23 states have already eliminated cursive writing from the grade-school curricula. Students are expected to learn to type by the end of the 3rd or 4th grade instead, for this is the input-method of choice for using computers. Literacy rates are dropping drastically. All those loop-the-loops and circles and fine spirals we were required to practice actually serve an important physiological, brain-based purpose. We’ve got science on that, but who cares?

In both cases the long-known, and well-documented link between the language and haptic centers of the brain are not only underutilized, from what we know about brain plasticity and its ability to rewire itself, it is often found that this traditional connection is actually broken down, which results, of course, in many cases in a reduced ability to process speech and text.

Even when we have the science, we very often opt to ignore it because it doesn’t fit well with the official lobbyists’ positions (large corporations like Google, Apple, and Microsoft smell a lot of profit in education), and the unofficial lobbyists, the AI and digitalization cheerleaders are hyping the public into believing that computers are actual learning devices. They aren’t.

Reading (and since it’s unavoidable when dealing with topic, learning to read) played no small role in the work I was doing at the university in Giessen. Granted, that was 35 years ago, but at that time, for example, the hot-topic debate was using phonics or word-recognition methods to teach it. All the research that I found on the subject pointed to only one significant factor in a child’s learning to read. The only variable with any statistically sound correlation was not method, it was the personal relationship between teacher and learner. (Yes, John, a parent’s knee or the next best thing, a teacher you like, is not only key, it’s crucial.) We had the science then, and we ignored it. We’ve had more science in the meantime, and it would seem we’re ignoring that too.

And some people are amazed that I’m curmudgeony. Go figure.


Oh, my…I see the 12/5 Cafe subtopic (Or, Superman vs. the Cosmic Void) and, with minimal understanding of the philosophical Ubermensch, am now waiting for the real Superman to be revealed.

From Globes, Conversation 1 thread:

…maybe this is what @madrush has in mind for the Cafe discussion…hope to make it there!

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Great. I have sensed this too, with the Zuckerburg involvement in philanthropic education (New Jersey public education - see the book The Prize)

From inside flap of The Prize

When Mark Zuckerberg announced to a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the downtrodden schools of Newark, New Jersey, then mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie were beside him, vowing to help make Newark “a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” But their plans soon ran into the city’s seasoned education players, fierce protectors of their billion-dollar-a-year system. It’s a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark’s children.

Dale Russakoff delivers a riveting drama of our times, encompassing the rise of celebrity politics, big philanthropy, extreme economic inequality, the charter school movement, and the struggles and triumphs of schools in one of the nation’s poorest cities. As Cory Booker navigates between his status as “rock star mayor” on Oprah’s stage and object of considerable distrust at home, the tumultuous changes planned by reformers and their highly paid consultants spark a fiery grassroots opposition stoked by local politicians and union leaders. The growth of charters forces the hand of Newark’s school superintendent Cami Anderson, who closes, consolidates, or redesigns more than a third of the city’s schools—a scenario on the horizon for many urban districts across America.

Russakoff provides a close-up view of twenty-six-year-old Zuckerberg and his wife as they decide to give the immense sum of money to Newark and then experience an education of their own amid the fallout of the reforms. Most moving are Russakoff’s portraits from inside classrooms, as homegrown teachers and principals battle heroically to reach students damaged by extreme poverty and violence.

The Prize is an absorbing portrait of a titanic struggle, indispensable for anyone who cares about the future of public education and the nation’s children.


Granted, his kids are too small still, but as soon as he’s willing to send his own progeny to Newark’s schools, I’ll believe his actions are more than a “hey-look-how-great-and-generous-I-am” gesture.


[“On the Development of Human Representational Competence from an Evolutionary Point of View” in Symbolizing, Modeling and Tool Use in Mathematics Education, pp. 277-293 by James Kaput and Donald Shaffer] cited here:
On the Development of Human Representational Competence from an Evolutionary Point of View | SpringerLink

Based on Merlin Donald’s model* (Origins of the modern mind, 1991) of the evolution of cultural mind-sets, James Kaput and Donald Shaffer argue for a coming ‘virtual’ phase of culture now that we can interact with our devices, computational algorithms taking place ‘outside’ of the human brain, as it were. For them, a general precedent is found in the emergence of mathematical symbology independent of the representation of speech which helped to shape the era of modern science.

from p. 283 of the article (p. 15 of the pdf)

In particular, it is now possible to design and build human-computer interaction systems that take advantage of the highly sophisticated physical and perceptual competence of human beings. Hence it is possible to create manipulable worlds with increasingly arbitrary ‘reality’—but without the constraint of physicality (Kaput, 1996), particularly with freedom from the time and size scales
of the physical world.

Kaput and Shaffer hold out hope that the more “integral” possibilities of a brave new world will manifest. But even they note that commercial forces usually end up driving things forward…

*((hominid?) episodic → (homo erectus?) mimetic → (homo sapiens) mythic → (beginning with the Greeks) theoretic
Donald’s model does not map exactly to Gebser’s consciousness structures, but there is some overlap. Notably, Donald also insists that previous “stages” (“mutations” for Gebser) fully remain in the toolkit. Donald believes that mimetic representation is the dividing ‘line’ between ape-like memory and human abstraction, but is pre-language, so he would likely include Gebser’s magical and mythical structures in his “mythic mind”. The theoretic mind very closely corresponds to Gebser’s mental structure. For Donald, further modifications of theoretic culture seem more likely than a “post-human” “independence” of information.)


Thanks for this great article, TJ. Here is an interesting talk by Donald. His work informs what we are doing with Maps of Time. Through our maps we are creating external memory systems. This is the dawn of the hybrid mind!

Deacon is also an interesting voice, Both of these authors would be worth a cafe conversation.

Perhaps we can focus our attention on the interplay of these theorists with our own map making efforts? I have some great models for working with different kinds of memory because I have worked with aging persons and dementia.

A suggestion. If we did a workshop for our circle, I would like to offer something experiential while you could do the meta-theoretical part. I am just putting that out there as an adjacent possibility, suggesting that, perhaps, as we are getting more meta-skilled , we will need to get ready to do some really heavy lifting!



Only the neuromaniacs still believe it all happens “inside” the brain. (Cf. Kastrup.) :hushed:

(Aside: I wonder how these guys feel about the approaches to teaching math that I’ve seen critiqued in relation to Common Core, etc. Are students learning more effectively or are they simply being exposed to notions they’re not developmentally ready for? My grandson won’t be faced with this for a couple of years still, but I’m concerned that what’s happened to kids’ heads (and hearts!) when they get too close to formal learning environments.)

I have often wondered: Is this so really different? If mathematics is a “language” then it would seem to me that it would follow similar developmental rules and processes as so-called “natural” language? I was only a math major for one semester (a l-o-n-g time ago, but I taught pre-algebra, algebra and geometry (up to congruency theorems for triangles) for eight years, so I don’t feel qualified to speak authoritatively on “how we understand” math, and I certainly have no idea how we understand what math is saying to us. (So, what is it about de Broglie’s equations that reveals the positron, or whatever? Just how does that work?) I’m starting to think that maybe there’s just too much that I need to get smart about if I’m going to understand the simplest things.

I think this is a bigger issue, if not problem, than all of us want to admit. This is definitely a curmudgeony contributor.

As I’m not familiar with either Donald or Deacon, I’ll have to check out the vid links @johnnydavis54 has provided and give it all some serious thought.

(It probably won’t be today, though. It’s 2nd Advent Sunday and we’re off with the grandson to the Fairy-tale Christmas Market in Kassel today. (Shows you where my level of engagement is located.) We live in Brothers Grimm country (Snow White was from the Kassel area, but the theme of the market this year is Hansl & Gretl; the seven basalt cupolas strewn out over the rolling plain to the East of us are called the Seven Dwarves … but, I’ll admit it, I’m a big fairy-tale fan (not the sanitized Disney versions, the real grim Grimm versions).


This clip was exceptionally stimulating to watch. Thanks for posting @johnnydavis54

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I’m sure you will a magical time with your Grandson!

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Where could I learn more about Maps of Time and creating external memory systems, @johnnydavis54? Could we do a talk / workshop / study circle on this? (or if that’s already happened, could you point me to the thread where?) :slight_smile: Thanks!

(Very relevant to Cosmos and to individual growth in awareness/skills!)

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You may want to check out the recent Maps of Time experiments we have recently explored at the Cosmos Cafe. We are developing some of the ideas we discussed when you were in New York. I loved our conversation! We have another meet up on Tuesday and I hope to bring some of the maps together and contemplate what happens next. I would love to see you there!