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

I would hope to join in on this one. Keep me up to speed in specifics (time, Zoom, no Zoom…). Looking forward to the close encounters…!


And in my less-dopamined (which was another nugget in the Welch interview) old age (yes, I’ve got a couple of year on you, John), you will understand why the torus is an exciting enough ride for me. :laughing:

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I thought we were doing Tuesdays whenever we were doing. Have I missed something?

Also, I didn’t find your post on Brown, and I’m not familiar with him. I’m not sure I can get smart by the beginning of next week as life’s making a few demands on me given that it’s the run-up to Thanksgiving, which is not, as you probably surmise, a holiday in Germany, but which gets celebrated in the Mahood household as close to the real day as possible, which is next Friday. I can’t miss a holiday that’s only about food, especially since I’m chief-cook-and-bottle-washer for the fest. There are probably rich connections here and pondering is never wasted time. Perhaps this is an organizational issue.


[In one of the Braveheart battle scenes, Mel Gibson’s William Wallace greets the defection of Irish mercenaries to his side with an extended hand and a “Glad to have you with us,” in Highland brogue. These circumstances are fortunately different, but I formally extend my hand in the same spirit…]

In the “Consciousness” planning thread, you mentioned that the mention of Aurobindo piqued your interest. Please forgive the late response, but this seems to fit better here:

“But if Science has thus prepared us for an age of wider and deeper culture and if in spite of and even partly by its materialism it has rendered impossible the return of the true materialism, that of the barbarian mentality, it has encouraged more or less indirectly both by its attitude to life and its discoveries another kind of barbarism, - for it can be called by no other name, - that of the industrial, the commercial, the economic age which is now progressing to its culmination and its close. This economic barbarism is essentially that of the vital man who mistakes the vital being for the self and accepts its satisfaction as the first aim of life… His ideal man is not the cultured or noble or thoughtful or moral or religious, but the successful man.” (pp. 79-80), The Human Cycle

Written one hundred years ago (while half a landmass away Spengler worked on The Decline of the West). Gebser would have avoided the connotatively charged words “barbarian/barbarism” by referring to “magic” as a consciousness structure (what Aurobindo calls ‘mentality’ in this context). But he would agree with the main point: the materialism which calls us to be mindless consumers (i.e., zombies) is fueled by “economic barbarism”, these days primarily driven by technology (i.e., magic operative through buttons and touch screens) and an underlying assumption that little if anything else in life should matter.
It always strikes me when insights are on point decades before events play out…


In the conclusion of this conversation William Brown is pretty sober.

. # 91 | William Brown: Holofractal Unified Theory, Quantum Mechanics and Unified Physics - YouTube


Consider me a student. I have much to learn from all of you, clear from the Infinite catch-up readings here on the site. And history is a brick wall for me…I suppose my current idea of history is Harari’s Sapiens…not a bad start, but I think you @patanswer are probably cringing quite harshly at this admission.

I must admit… its been 10 years since reading Aurobindo…a bit of rereading here and there. I made an attempt to jump into_Life Divine_again a few weeks ago, before finding the kilted-crew here…Aurobindo can be impossible sometimes! The Human Cycle seems perfectly fitting for our time and less daunting.

And though consumed with piecing together a presentation on Love, Power, Justice for tomorrow, you interested me enough with the quote above to “take a break” and reread a couple chapters of THC…I think these two works extend their hands to each other and go frolicking with similar language.


From one to another, then. :sunglasses: And the beauty is - since this cosmos of ideas is also expanding faster than light - we can do a lot of “catch-up” through everyone else while reporting in from our own galaxies. To wit, in what seems to be my emerging role as “history guy” (LOL):

Not at all. I haven’t read Sapiens, but Harari has a couple of TED talks which I highly recommend. I’m into big pictures and am quick to defend, especially these days, re-statement (and re-thinking) of the overlooked “obvious”. History is a brick wall for many, but really this is just a reflection of the lesser importance history as ‘sense-making’ has always held for the bulk of mankind than mythology. (Still most certainly true, as I’m sure you can attest - name one US Civil War best-seller that is not on some level a distillation of either “Lost Cause” or “Treasury of Virtue”, for example… The point is, though the modern rationalist tends to look down his nose from his area of expertise, the Gebserian seems to know better how real-life humans operate.) I’m no expert and have no right to cringe. As much as I enjoy helping take down a brick or two when able, sometimes the important thing is acknowledging the limits of how we see history in crucial times of change.

Along with many others!
In turn, I see I will have to order the Paul Tillich book this week. I notice he hails from what I see as a great age of theologian-philosophers in the late 1950s, along with Jacques Maritain and Reinhold Niebuhr…
May your presentation be fruitful for you and all who hear!


Well, even though William isn’t the most effectivce, or most polished, speaker I’ve heard, and while it was a real shame that I couldn’t make out most of what the interviewer was contributing, this was nevertheless a very interesting little piece and a real taster for more.

It seems Brown and those from the academy/foundation behind him are working developing alternative energy sources. I got the impression it was either fusion or free-energy, but I didn’t really catch which. This is a track worth following, at least in the background. I’ll have to look more closely at what they’re up to.

I was reminded of an anecdote I read in one of my books on Tesla (I’m not sure which) which told of a demonstratation in 1935, I believe, where Henry Ford had a modified Model-T ready and Tesla came and mounted, literally, a black box on it, and off they zoomed, driving wherever they wanted sometimes at speeds of 50 mph. When the demonstration was over, Tesla unmounted to box and took it with him. It was never seen again. That was obviously a free-energy device, which is why I was wondering whether there might be some overlap somewhere. Of course, Tesla wanted free-energy to be free, and we saw what happened to him. His other anecdote about us moderns and control of mobility fits in well here, too. The liberation which he keeps intimating apparently has a number of dimensions to it as well.

The paradox or conundrum of singularity-multiplicity, or the 1-to-many problematic also caught my ear. I think the clip shows just how much work still needs to be done getting people coming from the science/physics side talking to and with people who are coming at this from the mind/spirit side. The segment on the void/vacuum/space (and I think Brown said more about space in 10 minutes than our friend Peter said in volume 1 of his trilogy) really brought this out.

Your question, John about how we get our minds to work on this is a good one. We need to get more informed, of course, but we also need to kick these ideas around whenever and wherever we have the chance to do so. It’s one thing to read something; it is quite a different thing to try and make clear to someone else what it is you actually think you read. Our conversations, at least as I experience and understand them, help me to figure out what it is I’m thinking about.

As for Arthur Young … I think this would be right up his alley.


Thanks, Ed, for taking your time to get through the technical glitches. These intergalactic communiques can get garbled! And William is definitely soft spoken and struggling to make his research digestible. He has boldly stated the DNA of humans has been tampered with by more advanced societies than our own. Of course it is hard for a non scientist to verify what appears obvious to him. At least he is a regular guy in many ways and I trust his sincerity, which I cant say of most of the mental deficient, reductive, materialist science spokespersons and their formidable propaganda machine.

William is tracking I think some innovations that could become actualized but it is a struggle to get enough persons together to make this palatable. This is a political and social impasse we face as forces that many of us intuit are working behind the scenes to keep most of us ‘in the dark.’, are in the ascendant mode. But what must go up must come down!

I do sense that this is an important theme and I asked William if I could model him. He expressed interest but we have yet to set that experiment up. I need a little more practice in articulating my own vision. It aint easy to put the alternate realities we glimpse into a frame of reference that others can resonate with.

Scientists and lay persons are in mutual need of finding a different kind of space to conduct educational updates. Most of what appears on PBS and or comes out of MIT are mere advertisements for a high tech future that was supposed to arrive decades ago. As an imaginative little kid watching the Jetsons on Saturday morning TV, I was led to believe we were on the verge of big breakthrough Science. So I consider the hype around AI as sure to become another dud.

So it is a big challenge to find ways to build bridges between different research paradigms. How to get grounded is going to be a personal responsibility. And lay persons and non traditional scientists will have to conduct together modelling processes, as the institutions of higher learning are starting to crack under the strain of trying to serve too many masters.

We will need enough people to act as translators for the trans-disciplinarian initiatives that we are discussing here and elsewhere. This is an art and a science. For me, I want to become a more skillful researcher and develop a discourse that is driven by grounded theory. Whenever I see a sign of life I try to contact the person and let them know we are watching you!

We need to become performers, not just passive observers, and that is why I find our all over the place meetups so valuable. We are the audience that we sometimes seek. We can review our performances and go deeper into our own discourse events and connect to the group dynamics of larger groups in a more disciplined way while keeping the open flow states going.

And we also need as I said to get off our asses and do something but not do something heroic and stupid and self defeating but more along the lines of a shared secret among a community of the competent. We may need to nurture the odd and the off center moments and pay attention to the more subtle cues that our senses can register. We do need to slow down, and embrace the different rhythms our sensoriums are capable of. The Dreamer, the Realist, and the Critic can sit down at the same table and share notes and a cup of coffee.

Yes I think Arthur Young would be pleased.


This was a much better result than the other interview. At least Brown was allowed to ramble down those paths that seemed most relevant and important for him.

There is a lot of “stuff” in here, and there are enough poignant topics to get totally wrapped around the axle over, from the understanding of space as an empty arena in which stuff happens to the notion that space is the one thing that connects all things, even if it is for the most part empty. For me very crucial was his acknowledgement absolutely fundamental and critical role that the “quantum of action” plays in all this.

“We are immersed in a sea of infinite energy,” is a take-away quote, and his emphasis on the work of John Archibald Wheeler should not be overlooked nor taken lightly.

His narration on the micro-oscillations in space, and how significant these become in near absolute-zero conditions was eye-opening. I found his characterization of these as a kind of quantum space-time “foam” quite interesting in light of our recent Sloterdijk gyrations. Again, from the curmudgeon. good ol’ Peter ignores all of this of course, hence the foam he envisions must be more than just qualitatively different from this one. This is one place where I’d say the choice of words in more coincidental than synchronistic. As he says, “At an extremely small scale, space is multiply connected; temporal domains become causally connected.” This is anything but the mutual and over-agitated jostling of spheres that Peter conceives of.

His take on our technology outpacing our spiritual wisdom (~44:20) is worth revisiting, and ties in well with our own musings on advanced IT and AI. He, like John and I, is more concerned with its “nefarious implementation” than anything else.

His thoughts on the generation of novelty and novel ideas (~58:00) dovetails well with @care_save’s musings on creativity and where it might be a cultivatable skill. (I’d say most certainly; I think William would agree.)

And, I agree with John that he gets rather sober at the end. Both he and I have our trouble being optimistic about the future … fair enough … but he’s wrestling more with the free-will issue than I am. I believe without it, you’ve got no universe as we are beginning to envision and understand it. We may be goal-oriented but that in no way means that we are goal-bound. He is wrestling very much with his own recognition that when it comes to behavior – and that’s what conscious entities manifest – is not predictable; to me that is an essential feature as well of creativity and “true” novelty and novel ideas.

The long and short of it is, however, there is much herein to ponder and to keep paying attention to.


I have felt “behind” the past few days, as this topic has grown like a coral reef—talk about future fossils! That was a great podcast episode. I listened to a few of Michael’s early shows, but it’s been a while and I was impressed by the leap in quality and coherence of the overall presentation. And Kerry Welch rocks. It was nice to be introduced to her in this medium. I have been obsessed with time for the last twenty years, but these two gave me some new ways of thinking about it, especially through superimposing the wave-state model of neuroactivity with Gebser’s consciousness structures, and linking their dynamics with the amplitude or frequency of information in our daily rhythms, amid our cultural dysphoria.

Where they seem to trail off and begin to decompose is on the question of what really is the “integral,” which to me is closely related to the question of how we can have a common aperspectival reality. Michael brought up the problem “narrative collapse” and “fractalnoia” (which must come before metanoia, yes?)—but what’s promising is the possibility to “seize the day” with new meta-narratives, and even more so, the spaces for metanarratives to co-exist with our embodied waveforms through creative processes of intensively differentiating self-similarity! I admire the flight of thought, and also the landing…

Kerry was careful not to equate the integral with gamma. It’s not a higher frequency level—though it includes a more sophisticated mental parsing (which surely, in my view, could be aided by AI)—but rather, the integral implies a relation to the whole, the spectrum itself, from deep delta (archaic) to high gamma (metamodern???). To riff…we could experience the integral as a play of states in ensembles or temporal “chords.” The question of death and the evolution of the individual soul, which Arthur Young thought to be the point of the seventh level (more so than a collective consciousness), could be fruitful to consider from this polyphasic, transtemporal, meta-physically embodied point of view.

For the record, let me state that I actually am a big fan of “dubious words,” and fully welcome contemplating old theological nuggets such as “dominion,” when describing an ultimate ontological order, even when encountered in a pre-deconstructed text-state; all the better. Bring on the 19th-century empiricists of consciousness, and the 1950’s theologians!

@johnnydavis54: I’ve added those books, Topologies of the Flesh and Beyond Physicalism to my wish list, but they are quite expensive! My first real philosophy teacher in college, Professor M.C. Dillon, studied with Merleau-Ponty and argued against the “semiological reductionism” he saw proliferating in cultural discourse, in favor of an existential ontology of the flesh. The essay in Beyond Physicalism by Lonliai Biernacki looks like it could be especially relevant to our group. The review on Bernadro Kastrup’s site says:

In Chapter 10, Loriliai Biernacki connects the modern theory of Panentheism with the tantric views of medieval Indian yoga Abhinavagupta (this may be overly simplistic, but as I understand it, the “pan” of panentheism signifies that God and the universe are one, while the “en” denotes that God at the same time transcends the universe, which is seen as being “in” God, as in St. Paul’s declaration that God is “He in whom we live and move and have our being”). This is a very rich and well-written chapter, though it is quite dense and will require a lot of careful study for those not familiar with Indian philosophy…

I think it would be interesting to read the “en” of panentheism through the lens of Sloterdijk’s musings on “in-ness.” (I still think he is getting at something deeper than geometry.) As well, a familiarity with Abhinavagupta could serve as a stepping stone to Aurobindo. I have a friend who recently began teaching yoga philosophy at Naropa University, who wrote his Ph.D. on Abhinavagupta, if I’m not mistaken. He might like to join us for this dialogue and shed some fine-tuned scholarly light. Perhaps there’s a standalone version of the essay available somewhere?

I have also been pondering our performances here. This is definitely a kind of performative research, where we ourselves are subject and object. Who are we performing for? How are we entangled? This thread has really got my mind turning—Kehr um, kehr um! Thanks…


Thanks again for taking the time to study these interviews with me. That we have free will is obvious to me (and to Arthur Young) but it is not free without constraints. There are always constraints and these are factored into all ascending/descending currents. Even in OBE where there is no gravity to deal with there are constraints. Communicating with others in these far from equilibrium states is far from stable, there is lots of noise and finding a mutual signal can be difficult.There are more constraints in some ways on the astral than in the physical.We are rearranging a living arrangement at many levels. We need to deal with these paradoxes of the Self, if we dont we can blow a fuse. The ego is needed if we hope to become an adequate channel for these higher energies. Ego free as Gebser says, not ego less. Our participation is obviously important and part of the plan. I think our friend, Mr. Brown, is dealing with that paradox.

Unfortunately there is no manual to consult that is free of cultural baggage. Blending these different waves can open the third eye and the third ear. Our topodimensional becoming can be tracked more safely and securely with metaphors and maps that are current to our particular situations.But without a strong sense of location and situatedness we can get lost in the fields of all possibility

The horizontal moves ( adequate translation) are as important as the breakthroughs and breakdowns generated by benevolent or oppressive hierarchies. It is the small nameless unremembered acts of kindness and of love that keeps us going not grand theory making. I recall Jane Jacobs said what keeps civilization together is the sidewalk.

As we pass each other on the street, that smile, that nod, the courtesy of opening a door, all of that small stuff is profoundly important and that is I fear getting lost in the constant over-connection to global events while being disconnected from the humble street corner.

We can stay relevant by staying situated. That is what modeling is good for. As I have been modeling this community on line it is important to keep this dazzling technology in check. It is in many ways a curse. We have to learn how to turn it off and go sit on a big slab of rock in the park and feed the squirrels.

So I hope as we continue to share what inspires and perplexes us, through books, videos, podcasts and personal musings upon the nature of things that we find a momentum. I sense that we can re-enchant this brave new world we are making rather than feel perpetually thrown by the endless distractions.

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I agree, Marco, and perhaps in the cafe we can put a package deal together, buy one, get one free.

If we prepare for that ascent into Aurobindo’s Surpamental I can make a small list of things we will need. There are some great supplemental readings that are short enough to study in our cafe before we do that big book in the Spring. Biernacki has edited a book on Panentheism, ( which I read) and Eric Weiss has a load of short, easy to read, essays on Aurobindo, Gebser and Whitehead. He also has lots of video and audio. I will look up all of these links and offer them to the group.

I wonder what kinds of states that Aurobindo will generate in a group that is sensitive to Gebser’s structures? Fasten your seat belts!


I wanted to respond to something brought up by Marco in the last video about the Post Constructivist view. I want to elaborate a bit on that.

This may be a subject for a different thread. I offer it here because I believe the antidote to suffering is beauty. I dont think we have the ghost of a chance to get out of this impasse unless we have a capacity for new narratives arising out of the long dead past. We need, desperately, to tune into healthy masculine archetypes.Our world hangs in the balance.

This is an excellent commentary on the film, Moonlight, a popular and critical success. The commentary draws upon the interplay of the Masculine Archetypes, developed in Gillette and Moore. These archetypes are also experienced by women. We are forever entangled.


You are truly a healer, a genius, @johnnydavis54. Nothing more; nothing less.

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Sounds like a sound approach. I’m in.

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It takes one to know one, Douglas!

Yes I do think of you as the history guy! Keep up the good work. I hope you can join the cafe on Tuesdays. DO you have that flexibility? It is nice to have the chance to consult with your encyclopedic mind in the moment.

My background in theater makes me nervous about getting the chemistry right. We need to take on a role, drop it and sometimes assume a new role. In a rep company this kind of thing is possible. That way no one gets stuck in type casting.

Having said that, most of my history, comes from art books and Hollywood, probably not the best sources, so I need your scholarly attitude!


I live next to the Strand, a great used bookstore, and so have access to lots of discounted scholarly books but it is labor intensive finding the good deals. When I was gainfully employed, instead of putting money the bank, I bought lots of books.

Now that I have more time on my hands I have plenty of things to read in my own library but I still use an excellent inter-library loan service to get expensive titles that I cant afford. I have also found that as I have read so many books I can skip through a lot of material without getting bogged down so I dont need to own a book if I am only going to read a couple of chapters.

Still I love to own a book, to scribble notes in the margins, to smell the binding, etc, very sensuous, even erotic for me. I’m a confessed bookaholic.


It’s much more attitudinal than scholarly, I can assure you! (LOL) But thanks for the vote of confidence - and I say that because it doesn’t quite feel like “type-casting” when the ‘part’ found you… a long time ago…

Yes we do. And it does.

I have developed an appreciation for the convenience of my tablet (phone screen is too small for aging eyes).
But heaven still looks something like this: