Cosmos Café: The Reflexive Universe, by Arthur Young [11/14]

Date recorded:

November 14, 2017



Hosted by @madrush via Zoom.


The Reflexive Universe: Evolution of Consciousness – by Arthur Young

Learn more: Arthur M. Young – The Reflexive Universe -

Seed Questions

(via TJ)

  • What are the implications if light is indeed “conscious”?
  • What is convincing—or not—about 7? Other aspects of the model?
  • Is the model of decreasing, and then increasing, levels of ‘freedom’ helpful when thinking about the interrelation of consciousness and culture building - or changing - or ‘making’? (i.e., how can a reflexive universe inform a cosmic cooperative? :wink:)
    Something like that…

Books mentioned

[@johnnydavis54, would you post the titles and authors of the books you showed us in the talk?]

Other Agenda Items

  • Future dialogues

See also: Consciousness Seminars planning thread - #8 by patanswer


To anyone joining us today, please note the update ZOOM link. The link there previous to today was for some reason showing as expired. The new link appears to be working. See you soon!

1 Like

As Marco requested, I list the books I mentioned in the call.


Since we live in a time when interruptions are almost constant it is odd to be in a public forum with so many skilled listeners who give their attention so generously. .In the hectic moment of the exchange it is sometimes difficult to be sure of what others are picking up on. Hence, the enormous value, of reviewing the video, to pick up on what I missed in the moment. As we shift from subjective to a more objective view of the overall performance, I get the sense of new organs of thought starting to emerge.

I got a little bit hectic at the end of the call, so my apologies for what I consider a bit of shrillness in my tone. I have found the model I was proposing that we work with in order to consolidate our serendipitous learnings. I learned this model from my friend, James Lawley, and I have used it over the years with great benefit. I hope it proves useful to others who want to train their meta-reflexive capacities.

A Perceptual Model of Serendipity

In the following model ‘E’ is the event which, with hindsight, proves to be serendipitous. E-1 is a time before E, E+1 is a time after E, and so on.

E-1 A prepared mind.
E An unplanned and unexpected event happens.
E+1 There is a recognition of the potential for positive significance in the future.
E+2 At some point action is taken which aims to amplify the potential for positive effect of E.
E+3 Over time there will be effects of the action and of other things happening, which can be utilised to further amplify the benefit of E.
E+4 The value of the original event and the subsequent effects becomes apparent — at which time serendipity can be said to have taken place.

Go thy ways in peace, good people, and may we all move towards the Light!


This is one on my reading list…might have to bump it up a few positions and give it a try…


Thanks for this … I wanted to comment on the Trumpocalypse conversations that while showing the book on video is a good start, the glare everyday lighting and the dynamic of the conversations themselves coupled with the on-the-fly acoustics (especially for ears as old as mine) doesn’t always get the necessary information communicated. (I decided against it so as not to disturb the flow of the conversation, but you helped me out here.)


It’s a wonderful book, some of the essays are simply stunning. I believe these scholars are putting down a new grove that we all can dance to. It might be fun to use one of the essays for one of our Cafe events.


Another fantastic scholarly book on paranormal psychology is this one. The chapters are dense but well written and I believe refutes the dominant Mental Deficient Science of Mind. They bring out the paradoxical nature of mind and offer some bold conclusions. Anyone with an open mind would have to agree with them. This is visionary.


It would seem that the Kellys and their collaborators are picking up – or at least trying to – where Meyers left off. Meyers’ book, even the more readily abridged version, is an interesting read, at least from an historical perspective. It showed that there was a time when there was still hope for science (and if Marco found Young a bit stodgy and dated in expression, he’d have a field day here as the language and style are so vastly different from our current mode of expression … sometimes when reading … reading anything late 19th, turn-of and early 20th century is like visiting another planet). Who knows, we may get ourselves turned around yet, but it takes fortitude and a bit of courage to put up with all the derision one encounters when it becomes apparent that you believe there’s more to the world than meets the eye.


Here’s a review of the book I found on Bernardo Kastrup’s website.

For those of you not familiar with Kastrup, you may want to visit his site. I’ve read a number of his books which are, in my view, extremely level-headed and well-written. And while I’m at it, here’s a very brief video in which Kastrup more or less summarizes his position, which I believe resonates very well with much of what we have been discussing here lately.


Quick Note on the Perceptual Model of Serendipity:

E-1: A prepared mind means not what I originally thought (as in having prepared material, then being interrupted by an E) but in having an open mind, ready and ‘prepared’ for the unexpected. Thank you for this model.

Really enjoyed this video discussion…I am typically a 2x speed viewer/listener of videos and podcasts, but there is something about the conversation and connections you all make that demands “real-time.” :thinking:
…Pardon my English, but what John is saying towards the end is that we need to take this shit seriously. The cycles are in place, the days of the weeks set on our calendars, the daily grinds and the universal rotations are what they may be, so it comes down to what we can control. We can control our ‘flow,’ we can stop time so to speak in order to improve our timing. It is the freeze frame seen in movies, it is the instant replay we share with ourselves when we reflect upon our past writings, thoughts…
I do feel there is a movement occurring, as we have seen in past comments when referring to the groupings popping up globally and noticed more readily thanks to technology. Take the work flow “movement”…how many books are out now banking on flow at work, do this schedule and change your life, diet and exercise to tap into the real you, see Benjamin Franklin’s schedule and apply it to your routine to discover electricity! These are mostly well intentioned but seem to be focused in slightly the wrong sector (say capitalizing on capital gains or sexing up the body and mind, Tim Ferriss, etc. etc.)
…what these are missing is the deeper, more authentic definition of flow, maybe…these self-help-style books will improve your life but not necessarily in the same manner as what we are getting at here. What John is demanding is the work to be done, the tedious process of the technical difficulties of conversation in order to reach a higher space together. You would have made a pretty solid Russian gymnastics coach, John!

On the Cafe proposals: I like Geoff’s idea of a general topic. And I like the idea of specific readings.
And I really think starting with an idea or a reflection on something learned (as John states after Pat mentions time vs timing around 1:49 mark) and amplifying it and getting feedback is a great place to start. Personally. I resonate with this…for too many thoughts are lost into a cycle, we repeat the same thoughts, even our best ones, but never bring them into the light. Even typing right now I want to jump to a few other grand ideas I have about all this…but to remain with one thought and work with it, build upon it, allow others to add another perspective…it is the “honoring” of the thought.
…Uh, any thoughts?


Thanks for posting this review. I read the book a year ago and am inspired to read it again today so that I can correlate with our recent adventures in the study group . I have also read all of Kastrup’s work, who is a a physicist and an excellent critic of the positivist world view and a clear spokesperson for an Idealist view that I find persuasive.

But my main interest is in Phenomenology. Unless we can get clear about observing observing systems we will be stuck in the grid forever. So my fasciantion with Steven Rosen’s topo-dimensioality is my current study. My sharing of clean space and clean language exerericse when performed in a trusting group greatly accelerates serendipity and synchronicity. This is I believe what concresence is all about.

“…rather than being unusual, paranormal activity is occurring all the time, but at a subliminal level.”

This,statement from the review summarizes precisely my own intuition. I recounted my Impossible Dream synchronicity to underscore the acausal connecting principle. I share my meta-normal experiences as an antidote to the pervasive sado masochism of current materailsit clap trap. They would have you assume that reality is meaningless and we are without a purpose so sit back and let the experts take care of things for you are powerless and too stupid to make any changes in your life. But when time and timelessness co-specify, through the heart mind of actual persons in relationship, all bets are off!

I would love to look at Meyers work and William James, a great hero of mine as is Charles Sanders Peirce. We have a rich tradition and the encounter with other kinds of prose, and speech-rhythms is a useful stretch. Aurobindo, also, has an Edwardian kind of prose style but is a vigorous thinker. Whitehead is another brilliant contributor. Eric Weiss has written some excellent essays, available on line, that link up Aurobindo and Whitehead. He makes these two grand masters more accessible.

We got seriously sidetracked by behaviorism and Freudian psychoanalysis. Most of AI, in it’s earlier incarnation, along with the Human Genome project, was supposed to wipe away all our tears but none of that has come to fruition. We are being turned into happy turds floating in hell, our brains in huge vats, we are the ghosts in the machines. This unfortunate propaganda is epidemic and I believe we need to increase our resilience by focusing attention on what is made so generously available in these volumes. There is plenty of evidence to support the meta-normal claims many of us have been trying to give voice to.

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will be peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest.

We come from the future!


Do you mind “selecting” an essay or two from Beyond Physicalism that we could/should direct our gaze (and not necessarily as a suggestion for discussion here or on the Cafe video-convos)…which one(s) do you find most intriguing?


OK, that’s it, John, I’m ready to start a pool on books you haven’t read. Who’s in? :rofl:


Thank you, Douglas, for your kind attention. I sense that you get the intention behind my sometimes chaotic rendezvous with words and alternate realities in the making. Many of us ( especially if you live in NYC) speak at a breakneck speed which only compounds the difficulty. It is much easier to sing, dance and draw than it is to put into words but the constraint of wording our experience is of primary importance. We can develop language to “mentalize space and spatialize mind.” Hence my fascination with creating conditions to support self-generated metaphors, a practice that I have tried to present here with varying degrees of success. Self Modeling is something that we do all the time in an ad hoc kind of way. I am driven to make explicit what most of us are doing ‘on the fly’.

So how do we glide, fly, spy, with the ephemeral personal pronoun “I” which is at the Eye of every storm?

I really love Eric Weiss work, which is in this book. Also Loriliai Biernacki’s Conscious Body is one of the best updates on what the subtle body does. Her take on Abhinavagupta’s Tantra is stunning. We are on a continuum and we are the continuum. It is our almost universal belief in our smallness that inhibits this great power from being widely experienced.

I believe these two essays plus the one by Shaw on Plotinus are my favorites but all of them are brilliant. I think studying a chapter from the Eneads might be a useful stretch for us too. The ancients had lots of techniques and methods that induced this extra-physical awareness that we have lost but we may be able tor reconstruct some of this. Most of Plato is incomprehensible without access to those techniques. As we model our own metaphorical constructs, and become more facile at concertizing our abstractions we can rest in our Ever Present Origins.

The structures of Gebser can be mapped onto the EEG. Kerry Welch describes this in her excellent dissertation and there is a good interview with her on Fractal Time that is worth listening to. let’s prepare our minds together!


Couldn’t agree more, John. I think Marco’s ‘list of dubious words’ (my phrasing) pointed out quite vividly that even (I’ll go a bit overboard:) politically incorrect or stodgy or antiquated language doesn’t obscure the message if the message is (a) intelligible and (b) worth being heard.

I could well imagine a café session or two – not regularly, but every once in a while – focused on one of the truly greats – and you mention a couple of the most relevant ones: Peirce, James, Myers, Whitehead – would be a worthwhile exercise in not only expanding our content-horizons, if you will, but our linguistic and expressive horizons as well. I have found, for example, that reading German sometimes simply shatters complacent cognitive (and affective!) structures that I’ve been schlepping around and that are getting in the way. It’s the radical change in vocabulary, diction, concepts, and approach that de-center us in a most positive way. (I’ve read the first couple of chapters of Tillich’s Love, Power and Justice and there, too, one senses a continental-germanic mode of analysis that is quite different from the Anglo-American. Not that one is “better” than the other … no, they are only different … but it helps getting that slightly different perspective on one’s own view of things. (I know I rail against the (predominantly French) postmodernists – and justifiably so, IMNSHO – but, even they get me off-center enough to appreciate, if nothing else, that off-centeredness.) Older styles can be every bit as effective as foreign languages.

A little related anecdote:
Back in the early 80s, during my first sojourn in Germany, I took a course to get a teaching credential for protestant (as opposed to Roman Catholic) religious instruction (still a course in German secondary schools). While we were working through the block on biblical exegesis of the New Testament, we read about John the Baptist wandering through the desert (which could have been anywhere, as anyone who’s ever been to Israel/Palestine would know) crying “Repent, repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (or so says my KJV). Well, in German, what he’s proclaiming is – according to Luther – Kehr um, kehr um, denn das Reich Gottes ist nah. (lit. “Turn around, turn around, because the kingdom of G-d is near.”) In English, “repent” has a very definite, and if I may say so, rather pejorative, negative connotation. “To turn around” is much more inviting, to say the least. All it says is, "Hey, your pretty focused on where you’re headed, but if you just (stopped) and turned around, you just might find what you’re looking for. It turns out that this “turning around”, or just looking at things quite differently than you have been, or maybe even just opposite of what you’ve been thinking. That’s a whole different ballgame than (ugh) repentance. When you look in the original, in the Greek, what he’s saying is metanoiete (lit.: “change your mind, or change your thinking”) and all of sudden, the rather poor Latin and Greek scholar Luther is closer to hitting the nail on the head than all those Jacobian/KJV scholars.

My point is, of course, that encountering and dealing with and engaging other styles and registers can often be helpful getting us to think in different directions from our usual, comfortable modes. I know a lot of folks avoid older texts for precisely this reason, but it may be more important than ever that we make the effort to deal with the archaic, if for no other reason than it may sensitize us to whence we came.


BTW: your link is only a JPG … the podcast doesn’t automatically start.

I think this one will work:

… But a bit of patience: you have to wait through the adverts. The guy wants to be able to provide this kind of stuff, too.

(And again, BTW, CIIS is a real “hotbed” of – I’ll go out on a limb here – real thinking instead of “pulp faction”. I mean, you’ve gotta love 'em: they haven’t got a football team.)


Steven Rosen says something similar when he points out the failure of physics to deal with the observer. To do so we need to direct our attention to what is inside us rather than what is outside us. This of course is a great taboo in science. To turn around and look within is resisted and so we are paralyzed in the split between physics and psyche. Turn around and note the Personal Pronoun 'I" and follow where it is located in brain, heart, gut…then we can start to appreciate where the topo-dimensions arise from. And there is the mysterious Light! And a shimmering, deep darkness…

Of course this may not have anything at all to do with what Luther or John the Baptist were doing and that is why poetry and prose of different times and places is so important to study. I have no doubt that the rythems of Shakespeare and the King James Bible have set in motion all kinds of adventures in millions of us. We need to embrace this practice of speaking in other tongues. I recite the 23rd psalm a lot when I am nervous or perplexed. In moments of great grief a line of the Bard will settle me down into a deeply shared human reality that has no boundary.

That we don’t really understand how this happens is okay with me. Words slip, slide with imprecision, as dear Mr. Elliot, once said and I am quite happy with that mysterious process.


But of course, this has everything to do with Luther and John the Baptist … it’s precisely why poetry and prose of different times and places are so important. D’accord.

It is even more than mysterious.


I think this link works to the Kerry Welch interview. I’d love to hear your response to this podcast Ed. Much food for thought.