Infinite Cafe - Mind Jam, Open Dialogue, Q&A [9/12, 6 pm MDT]

I don’t have a guest or topic for this week’s podcast, so I’m simply going to open up a space and see who shows up and what arises.

If no one wants to play, I WILL STARE INTO THE CAMERA LIKE AN IDIOT—and maybe say something, or maybe not. I reserve the right to delete the recording and pretend it never happened.

Some things on my mind lately:

  • A social media exit strategy —my decision to shut down my personal Facebook account on 9/20. Thoughts, critiques, opinions, your own approach or thinking on the matter?
  • The weather (or climate) —hurricanes, heat, earthquakes. What does it all mean? If it’s the end of the world as we know it, should we be talking about the weather?
  • Current events in the political sphere; perhaps a preview of our upcoming dialogue series, Transmuting the Trumpocalypse.
  • Any recently active topics on the forum—from donutology to altruistic societies to a return of city-states.
  • Recent pieces on Metapsychosis, other work in progress….

I basically just want to talk… as if we were meeting up at the local cafe.

I can also answer questions about Cosmos Cooperative and our related projects.

Please feel free to propose a topic in the comments, and let me know if you plan to show up!



It was a real pleasure to participate last night even if more belatedly than I had originally intended and certainly with less coherence than I would have liked. It’s so hard for me to avoid dissociated rambling while thinking on my feet, but practice does make perfect. The airing of half-baked thoughts has a wonderful way of leading towards clarity. Eventually…

So, some thoughts left in the oven a little longer:

  1. My personal journey through civilization analysis with the likes of the controversial Samuel P Huntington (of ‘clash of civilizations’ fame – or infamy), Toynbee, Philip Bagby, Rushton Coulborn, Matthew Melko, and others has been both insightful and frustrating. The most salient point is how the elusive nature of the concept of “civilization” forces thinkers to attempt to deal with equally elusive terms such as “society”, “state”, and “culture”. Collectively the works say more about how the meaning of history has been interpreted than about definitions.
    All of this should sound familiar to any who wrestle with the similarly multi-pronged idea of “consciousness”…
  2. I wouldn’t recommend Quigley for a group-read, to be honest. Many of his ideas are dated, or rather his generally reductionist (modernist) approach to history leaves little room for imagining future states of culture. In this he is being true to his profession; as I stated, prediction is the last thing you ask from a historian. (In that sense, Spengler the philosopher is more ‘relevant’ to our time.) Quigley came up for me largely because Young had seven stages too.
  3. That said, the book I would recommend (for next year at the earliest of course!) is Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. Near the beginning, he devotes a dozen pages or so to summarizing the literature I just mentioned and rejecting it for what he considers to be a too rigid overall approach to the human past, an attempt to define cultural process in terms of structures and essentially ethnocentric checklists. He then presents a fascinating series of vignettes of human interactions with place and time from all over the world and throughout strives to avoid determinism of any kind. The book is another tome at over 400 pages, but it is well-written, informative, and quite close to what I imagine post-perspectival (if not yet “integral”) history will be.
  4. My purpose and “desired outcomes” are really still kind of fuzzy: “I didn’t think I’d get this far…” (LOL) Very few, even in history discussion forums, are willing to devote much time to philosophy of history and in particular the effects our notions of the past have on where we may be headed. This is partly understandable, as I said above, because students of history rightly prefer sources to speculation. But questions of meaning/purpose have assumed greater importance for me over the years; I do know that our volatile (transitional?) times demand both the widest possible appreciation for our global past(s) and the willingness to use that knowledge to imagine the truly unprecedented. I’m exploring what that kind of synthesis (or “systasis”) would look like in the hope of contributing something to the conversation.

I, too, sorely miss the seminars of my yesteryears, so thank you Marco for keeping the mind-jam studio doors open!


And when your desired outcome is still kind of fuzzy, TJ, what would you like to have happen?

Articulating desired outcomes aren’t easy for most of us as we are usually told what we are supposed to want from a very young age. Articulating a desired outcome is a good exercise and can bring up conflict around having what we want, there is usually some internal voices that protest.

I have noticed that the antidote to the lack of agency that seems epidemic among many who went through the post modern is stating desired outcomes. It gets easier. As we are in such complex situations we can get stuck easily in problem spaces and attempted solutions that often create more problems. A desire outcome can activate the visionary capacities that are dormant in most people.

As I mentioned in our talk last night, when we can articulate desired outcomes we can then specify the necessary conditions, implement action plans and it often occurs that meshworks start to emerge, sometimes serendipitous events take us by surprise, we meet allies, etc. I have noted that many times we don’t specify what we want but then are upset when we get what we don’t want or something we are ambivalent about.

I like your book suggestion. I also think it would be great if you could lead us into the discussion. Also this is a naïve question, but I wonder if you could elaborate a bit on what the difference is between historian and/or civilization analyst?


Hey, John.

I’ll start from the bottom with a simplistic answer to your not at all naïve question. The historian tends to be concerned with primary sources (letters, diaries, diplomatic correspondence, parish records of births, deaths, and/or property, etc.) with which s/he constructs an investigative report of a city or region or political entity or socio-economic trend. The civilization analyst tends to deal with secondary literature (such as those historians’ reports) along with art, artifacts, literature, sacred texts and the like to paint a broad picture of large groups related, say, by a shared basic religious understanding or real or perceived ethnolinguistic affinity. Generally, the historian accounts for trees while the civilizationist relates impressions about forests, but of course a hard-and-fast line does not exist. Spengler was a cultural philosopher who thought he was a historian; Toynbee was a historian whose claim to fame was his theory; Gebser was a historian of consciousness who turned out to be one hell of a civilization analyst; Will and Ariel Durant were philosophers and historians at the same time…

Ultimately, history and civilization analysis (as well as studies of culture and consciousness) share important elements of world-view and narrative, shaping assumptions and expectations like any unifying myth and always having the potential, as we discussed last night, to influence us in constructive and destructive ways. Too often, and I am myself guilty of this when not careful, notions that what did not work then simply will never work end the dialogue, as if the follow-up question cannot even be asked: What would it take for it to work for just a little while given what we have learned since then?

You are quite right, so I will venture an articulation of desired outcome, visionary and bold to the point of laughable hubris: I am not qualified to add to the emerging “prolegomena to the story of the sustainable global village” – yet. First action step? Time to really start organizing these notebooks… :grin:

…And hosting a Fernandez-Armesto book discussion would make organizing imperative…


Margaret Archer, a Critical Realist, refers to SAC ( Society/Agency/Culture) and claims many are confused about a sense of Agency because Society has been gobbled up by Culture. During the Post modern wave, Culture dominated discourse, and the structures of the Social, which are probably invisible to most of us, remained even more hidden and obscure. As a poor boy from the wrong side of the tracks, I’m just trying to figure out how to get out of this mess.

As I try to add the term, Symbiopoesis, coined by Donna Haraway, who has a talent for coming up with pop ideas, into my vocabulary, I start to wonder about my own participation in all of this culture mania. I am fascinated by how words are used and which words make a difference and which words become buzz words or quickly drop out of circulation and become yesterday’s slang.

I wonder what keeps our vocabularies in motion? What are we, in our mixed media discourse events, obscuring and revealing? Most of this is out of awareness. Our use of story, analogy, and metaphor make us active agents in this communique from the fields we each draw upon.

A challenge for those of us who wrestle with SAC is we aren’t sure what to do with Nature. I sense that the ecology movement is starting to convert indifference into something more personal, as the Harvey and Irma debacles unfold, in our public sphere.

Whatever we decide to study together it would be important (imperative?) to frequently re-connect to some underlying purpose we share. Although this purpose might be vague, with gently curiosity and good questions we can bring them to the surface and externalize them through our speech acts.

As we are in the midst of these too rapid changes, we can end up passive observers or become distracted go getters in a race to nowhere. As more than just passive observers, we are participating, even by deciding what books we are going to read, what buzz words we use. I like to think of ourselves as in training for a responsibility to bring forward the best in current scholarship and since each of us can only read a small fragment of what is now available we need others to help us figure this out. Hence, my passion for crafting odd questions which leads to ever more odd meta-questions.

An odd question, perhaps…is there anything else about the seminars of your yesteryears that you sorely miss? What kind of seminars were those seminars?..

And is there a relationship between all of that and an ‘organizing imperative’?


I need to start re-organizing my notebooks too! Could this be a Symbiopoetic moment? If only everyone would organize their notebooks and host a seminar the world would be a much better place!


A good talk by a great meta-theorist, Margaret Archer.

“What each and every person has to determine is what they are going to do in that situation.”


She is likely right. Note the ironic downside of extreme (sub)cultural identification: unwittingly reinforcing segregations rather than nudging the hitherto dominant narrative over a bit to make room for additional perspectives in a common society. Albert Murray warned against this unnecessary yielding to the status quo, for which divide and rule is standard practice. But people feel empowered by culture almost in inverse proportion to the amount of influence they feel they have in the social hierarchy, so it’s a phenomenal modern double-bind.
Michael Mann (The Sources of Social Power, Vol. 1, 1986) has the most interesting deconstruction of the concept of society that I have yet encountered: there is no “society”; there are shifting networks of interaction among varied organizations exercising power and influence over trade, war, law, ideas, etc., and the people subject to such organizations. This certainly stems from postmodern thinking, but with a “sympoietic” twist of which Haraway and Ingold might approve, I think. When we (again, collective) truly get a handle on how malleable our socio-cultural ‘formation(s)’ are and have always had to be, we might lay to rest the what I have long suspected to be false dichotomies of nature/nurture, or freedom/authority, or (dare I say) Left/Right…

I’m pretty sure such an approach epitomizes boundary-less ‘collective-making’.


This was an interesting find:


Wow! I am glad you shared this, TJ. I have to do more homework. Symbiopoesis and Autopoeisis are ideas that have been around for awhile and I’m looking forward to creating the conditions for a third wave of cybernetics, whatever that means. I’m studying lots of different stuff as we all are, finding lots of strange loops.

And how do we model the behaviors of complex, boundary-less, observing systems like ourselves? I’m not sure. I don’t think anyone has any good maps and yet being at the edge of our maps can be a good place to be as long as we can remember where we were the next morning…

" There is no such thing as a pure observer, an exo-observer who does not engage in participation. Neither is there a pure participant, as this state world not allow for an observer participant. Individuals who approach a state of pure participation would find themselves suffering from oceanic boundary loss or dreadful self-dissolution." -Suzie Vrobel.

This tension is, I believe, what Gebser referred to as an intensification ( rather than expansion) of consciousness. It seems we oscillate quite a bit.



It felt like a miracle when you two joined the call, and I’m glad we had a chance to speak.

It was a bizarre event for me, as you can see by scrolling through the video. The first hour is me just sitting there. I suppose it could be like a meditation, but I would not expect non-psychotics to watch the whole thing. I do make a few remarks about 40 minutes in, and then when @patanswer and @johnnydavis54 join, the conversation takes off.

This might best be considered an Infinite Conversations “outtake”—a performance art improvisation/experiment for the notebooks we still need to organize.


Our trio gets off to a bumpy start and then gathers momentum. I have jotted down a few key phrases and would encourage us to reflect upon our emerging meta-reflexivity in this episode. What kind of group identity, group activity, group ethos is emerging. in this session and between different sessions? What are the models, theories, shared realities, misunderstandings that we are coming up with?

I ask these questions as I observe how this trio works with various themes, motifs, vague agendas. I look and listen at the video and then the written conversations that follow . I wonder about the interplay between the video format, with the voices and faces, and the written words in the discussions that follow, a few days later…

It might be useful to start paying attention to what is unfolding and if someone picks up on a pattern or a meta-pattern, we could focus, a soft, friendly focus, upon that.,

I try to make it a practice to ask myself what did I learn? If I did learn something, appreciate that. I did learn a few things about my mood, and the mood of others, and how those various moods start to shape our conversations. There is also a kind of meta-mood, an affective tone, that comes with evening and relaxation, and( for me) a bit of vino, of hidden forces, that are seeking articulation…this is less about content and more about tone of voice…tempo/rhythm…the unsaid…shifts in the background/foreground…

and about morphogenetic groove…an existential knot…what am I committed to?

Momentum…flow…structure…autopoeisis/sympoesis…new vocabularies…

Mind Jazz…4 to 5 people…solos/riffs/ensembles…the genius effect…

Greg Thomas…Harlem Renaissance…Creating a culture…

Hurricane Harvey…Irma…collective trauma…Western Civilization…Spengler or Gebser?

Transitions…phase spaces…break down…break through…

And then what happens?

I’m looking forward to future episodes!


John, thanks for the notes. Reb Zalman, in that video on age-ing and sage-ing, talks about ‘harvesting a life,’ but I think part of what we can do here is harvest our conversations. I don’t always go back and rewatch these, but when I do, as a rule, I perceive or learn something new.

I know the public/private membrane can be a bit uncomfortable, but I am increasingly coming to see the value of having this archive even of our bumpy and awkward moments in dialogue, or attempting to make music. Sorry to bring in a sports metaphor, but it’s also like a football team watching replay videos to hone their strategy ahead of the next game.

Symbiopoeisis…civilization analyst…mind ensemble…these phrases have been fluttering around in the sky of my mind the past few days, sitting on shady tree branches, trilling curiously.

I need to do some technical work on our set-up this evening, so no live talk. But I will almost certainly be planning something for next week.


And I have to learn how to spell and to pronounce symbiopoesis . I have, after using the word for a few days, come across an objection to the idea that is worth mentioning.

Margaret Archer, a theorist I much admire, warns against the symbiotic metaphor. Here is her reasoning. Symbiosis entails the mutual benefit of the parties involved, so that every symbiotic development is win-win for those involved. What , Archer asks, happens to those in any given population that are not involved? A new elite, good at mutually benefitting symbiosis, can become the catalysts for a more divided society…mmmmm…back to the drawing board.

I wonder how Donna Haraway would respond? There are lots of subtleties to Margaret’s arguments that I wont go into but I offer just as a follow up to our conversation at the Café. Perhaps future infinite café conversations could encourage a follow up from the previous conversations, creating a more continuous flow between and within each conversation? I think we can have flow, novelty AND a sense of possible social integrations.

Mexico and LA felt earthquakes, more storms brewing in the Caribbean, wild fires and lots more bad news. It rains today, a storm may hit New England and I feel it all in gut.

Today, my mind is like a turbulent sea, arising out of warm waters, seeing to re-balance and re-new the troubled relationships of many species…

My mind is also like a sting quartet playing the dissonant chords of Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue…,

And when my mind is like a turbulent sea, and the Grosse Fugue, what would I like to have happen? I would like to have a mind like sky ( borrowing Marco’s metaphor) for the next couple of hours.

And then what happens? I would be more calm and spacious, and could perhaps follow through with some commitments, I could better make living arrangements.

But my mind may be different tomorrow. Can I keep track of the metaphors I use for my mind? Can I track the metaphors others use for their mind? And what of the World Mind?

The value of exploring our multiple metaphors ( both conscious and unconscious) could perhaps lead to an integration of our vast diversity. This is a theme I suggest is worth developing. We are very good at deconstructing but what of the promised integration phase? Are we any where near that?

.I guess I am looking for some beginning, middles and some ends. I like that old fashion idea and also to ward off a zombie invasion could we focus attention on the one who intends and then performs a reasoned action?

Very interested in contemplating the use of action plans. And knowing what you know now what will you do?

How do we integrate Dreamer, Realist, Critic?. We need all three of them.

Just throwing out some topics for possible conversations-.


I have acquired a habit, as I withdraw from FB, of paying even more attention to the attention of our evolving meta-attention. I point this out as I have made this habit into a conceptual blend of discourse analysis and grounded theory. In other words, I want to catch a falling star and put it in my pocket.

It is like the work of a dramaturg, the one who does the deep research, for a theater company. The dramaturg reported to the director and other members of the ensemble, what was most socially /culturally relevant in the projects that were unfolding.

Erving Goffman, the famous sociologist, who pointed out the frames people use in groups, drew upon that dramaturgical tradition in some of his own research. The world is a stage and all the men and women merely players…

Lakoff and Johnson study the use of metaphors by leading Western Philosophers. Their influential books are written clearly and I believe it could be very useful to explore them in a future seminar. I could also present a kind of archeological investigation of how this kind of study could make for more purposeful behaviors, as we are I believe trying to overcome the undertow of the postmodern drift syndrome. My dream seminar would include some of this research.

, Marco, your apt use of the sports metaphor, draws my attention. I don’t think it needs an apology. Sports metaphors are very common in our culture and probably for very good reasons. It takes something we don’t know and compares it to something we do know. Catch my drift?.


Many threads to tease out, and perhaps weave together here, John. As I’ve withdrawn from Facebook, I have also been reflecting with increased urgency on discourses, metaphors, and the behaviors or practices these support. If I am to be more deliberate, more creative/effective, and generally happier (if that follows) in these online spaces, what will that look like?

The idea of a seminar on various topics, authors, or books has been floated. How can this be brought into focus, given a destination and a path? If you are a dramaturge, I at times imagine myself as a sort of poet-impresario, the one who brings together the resources and people, and invokes a certain festive spirit, for an event.

The aspects of continuity, flow, and culture-creation, which involves a cumulative, but also self-pruning, reflexivity, are important to me—but also difficult because they counteract the tendency to drift and let the algorithms decide our experience. In other words, they require a level of agency to set a purposeful course and move in a determined direction. This leads back to our action plans.

I stayed up late backing up some exchanges from Facebook I wanted to be able to refer back to (mainly from the first reading group I ran, the “Summer of Jest”) and then I deactivated my account while live streaming, which was strangely poignant. Now it’s a new day, and how will I spend it?

I think we need a list in one place of the various seminar topics which have been proposed, and eventually an archive of relevant texts and associated conversations. I had asked at one point what ties our various interests together, and the answer seemed to be “consciousness”…but I don’t think that’s the only answer. I have some digital housekeeping to do today, and it’s also my wife’s birthday and we will hopefully do something fun, but I look forwarding to continuing the conversation.


A Case Study in Vision Logic.

Big question. How to revise the epistemology of Vision Logic?

Outline for a Strategy
Truth is not relative ( unless you are a post modern)
Some accounts of Truth are better than others.
How to figure out the best practice?
Develop the best models that align with the best epistemological theory.
What do I know from here?

Tonglen is Tibetan for ‘giving and taking’ (or sending and receiving), and refers to a meditation practice found in Tibetan Buddhism. In the practice, one visualizes taking onto oneself the suffering of others on the in-breath, and on the out-breath giving happiness and success to all sentient beings. As such it is a training in altruism.

9/21 The Experiment
I have felt ill the last few days, an ache in the body, a queasy stomach and a malaise brought on by personal distress and observing from afar the devastation visited upon Puerto Rico and Mexico. As a low level synesthete, I frequently feel no boundary. I somatize the suffering of others, like a cosmic sponge.

I awake in the middle of the night and feel that all the symptoms are gone. Resting on my back, feet propped up on pillows, slightly higher than my head I practice Yoga Nidra and when deeply relaxed I do Tonglen with all of my sorrows, I do Tonglen with all of humanity’s sorrows, Puerto Rico, Mexico City, the Gulf Coast, I feel the energy is balanced as I take in the suffering on the in breath and breathe out the equanimity on the out breath. I stop practice and feel a floating sensation, very pleasant I float off gently into another region, the higher astral, or the dreamtime, an extra-physical dimension, the subtle realm. I re-center into the secret body.

I end up in a bright city street, on a bus, like the ones they have in the UK, open on top floor, and I recall what I have been studying in paraconsistent logic and I look out the window and view a collection of squares and circles and rhomboids and dodecahedrons.

I say.” I want to explore the Existential Graphs of Charles Sanders Peirce.”

What follows is impossible to describe really as I become a series of connectives, and, or, if p then q, if and only if and I am acting out each of them and there are more connectives, many more than those in classic or modern logic and I become a process of experiencing kinesthetically the consortium of affective intelligences that connect language, mathematics and logic, as I become a liquid diamond like flow that enters into grids, graphs and containers within containers, hypercubes and much much more than my human mind can take.

I have amnesia, a profound not knowing, and then I find myself walking down a country road, autumn leaves, and it is a gorgeous view and on the road there are others but not necessarily in a human form, and I start to sing,” I’m alive!” And I raise my dreaming body off the ground and seek to soar upwards into the blue sky but I pause in mid air and I feel the pull of the sorrows of the earth and I sing,” I am also dead!” And I flow into the depths of the dreaming earth, and in the darkness of death I sing.” I am alive and dead and I can remember sky,” And I fly upwards. And the song is acapella with a simple melody, on an off beat, and I sing with a bright tone, as I float in a bluish light, among intricate lattice shapes, and I sing in a devotional mood, ” How do I let them know how much I love them?”

I am a borderlander, holding the grief of earth/death/sky/ecstasy in a simultaneity and there is a sense of the Others in danger and in ignorance of their own nature and as I return to the familiar confines of earth mind, the boy who grew up in Texas and the older man, who currently lives in Manhattan, are awake in the same physical form, in the field of all possibilities. I stay in bed for a long time, basking in the after glow of my memory of my impossible dreamtime, teasing out the implications, accepting the contradictions, the mixed messages from different levels. How to sort all of this out?

Conclusion. I am looking for better words for different kinds of experiences. But I cant always find a new words so I recombine words and ACCEPT MY CONTRADICTIONS. I conclude the experiment is inconclusive.

And what kind of 'I" is that ‘I’ that makes that inconclusive conclusion?

It is an ‘I’ with access to a vast memory system.

“People who build castles in the air do not, for the most part accomplish much, it is true, but every man who does accomplish great things is given to building elaborate castles in the air…”-Charles S. Peirce



Thanks for sharing your Dreamtime reports, @johnnydavis54. I don’t usually know what to make of them, but I always find them interesting and suggestive, like some form of weird literature—astral travel porn?—which I think I’ve thought before is perhaps almost a genre unto itself.

I am curious about your practice of Yoga Nidra and wonder if you follow some instructions you once learned, or if it’s something you’ve always done more intuitively. I feel I may be missing an important part of life by not really intentionally cultivating a dream yoga practice—fear of missing out?—but you’re motivating me to perhaps take it more seriously.

I also mention: I have been feeling symptoms which seem to be tied to world events, and I have heard similar reports from others.

Here is what Fear of Missing Out might look like:


I’m not sure what to make of them either, Marco, and I would not recommend my experience to anyone. Being neurologically atypical has been a great source of pain and suffering. I had OBEs at a very early age, related to trauma. I was one of those people who could float to the top of the ceiling during violent episodes. I also consider these traumas rehearsals for more creative episodes that I have reported here, albeit with great reluctance. What has been most difficult for me is to reconcile my onw first person experience with the consensual reality which declares my experience unreal. The ability to stay true to what you know to be true is a challenge when you live in a society seduced by pseudo-science.

Since there is a big taboo around these kinds of alternate realities, and so much nonsense , these so called para-normal experiences are too often labeled and dismissed. For me, they are quite normal. I have always been a deviant and as I get older the symptoms are getting worse.

However, because it is important for many of us to jump start a more poly-phasic, visionary culture, I do share a few of the more uplifting ones. I do think God is queering humanity at the moment. This may appear to be porn to you, but to me it is often agony. I tend not to report the horrific but for every expansion there is often a big contraction.

I think the biggest taboo is the warning Jesus gives," DO NOT THROW YOUR PEARLS BEFORE SWINE." One should not, as Oscar Wilde said, interfere with natural ignorance.

I take these experiences very seriously and I don’t play around with these forces as a parlor game or to get high. Once you confront your own shadow, you then are compelled to confront your culture’s shadow and eventually the species shadow. I had to master these experiences or be swept away by them, an ever present danger, as Gebser reminds us. It has been a life and death struggle. I hope future generations, who don’t live under the shadows we do, may have a different relationship to nature. I dedicate myself to that remote possibility.

I imagine that if a enough people survive this ordeal, a new logic would arise, a VisionLogic could become the new norm. An inconceivable advance in our human development could occur as we shed our fear of death, balance the triune brain, explore deep time, adjust to the increase in energy.

Here is a good discussion on the differences between lucid dreams and OBEs, by two practitioners I respect.

Also Jeff Kripal’s new book is coming out soon. The descriptions he offers and the complications such experience create is quite compelling. He opens up a very deep space. He predicts, and I imagine he is right, that a new religious age is emerging.


John, I didn’t mean to be dismissive with the ‘astral porn’ comment, though it was certainly flippant. I think I was responding to what you described as becoming a ‘liquid diamond like flow that enters into grids, graphs and containers within containers, hypercubes,’ and being an ‘I’ with access to a ‘vast memory system,’ which sounds a lot like a psychedelic experience, yet also strangely intuitive, and I know has real implications for consciousness. The truth for me, though, is that I have plenty of reality to deal with even without out-of-body experiences.

The (I feel) increasing difficulty of being ‘embodied’ is part of what makes alternate experience so attractive. But you are sure right that conventional existence has its own rules, and it can be agonizing that these worlds are not reconciled (thus the sorrow of the earth) and, moreover, that ecstatic/visionary experience is disregarded and relegated to margins along with other economically unproductive excess.

VisionLogic remains a wonderful term which I first encountered in Wilber, but somehow got lost in the shuffle. I’m glad you’re bringing it back. In my experience, the vision part can be plentiful, but it’s not always easy to get the logic, which can be, as you put it, inconclusive, contradictory; hence the indication of acceptance, even without the better words.


I’m not sure what anyone means, Marco, by being ‘embodied’.

As I walk the streets of Manhattan, I observe that very busy, conventionally behaved people, are no where near their bodies. Most conventional people are dissociated and are cut off from the senses,

I ride a bike through the streets and almost always nearly collide with a pedestrian who doesn’t watch where they are going. I notice that the vast majority of such reckless pedestrians are often a young woman, beautifully dressed, wobbling in high heels, with ear buds, handling shopping bags while texting. Her multi tasking is not the same as effective sensory acuity.

But the greatest danger is that her devices block her from becoming a fully, self reflexive agent. To become a meta-reflexive you must be aware of your inner dialogues, dealing with the complexity of a self , with multiple perspectives, seeking coordination. Most people are not, unfortunately talking to themselves and developing healthy meta-cognitive capacities. They are instead hypnotized by externals that numb their loneliness and alienation. I worry about the pressures young adults have, with so many more options, to distract them from themselves. Unfortunately, the elders are not in a position to transmit much that is useful or relevant to their lives, as they are just as lost in the labyrinth. This intergenerational distraction creates conditions for a man with multiple personality syndrome to become President of the USA.

And an alternative experience compared to what? I, too, use the words like ‘alternative’ which is pretty vague and because I sometimes lack the poetic gift to make up new words. We use a kind of short hand, ‘Out of Body’ is a misnomer but it is commonly used to cover a wide range of phenomena that is often too complex to capture unless you draw upon metaphors in common usage. Whitley Strieber playfully says his visions of ETs would be much more pleasant if Hollywood would make better movies about ETs. We are often trapped by cultural expectations.

For those who have such alternative experiences (( I never do drugs except for coffee and red wine) and are compelled to discuss them, it remains a challenge to put into words. I draw upon metaphors for that is the only way to communicate at all the significance of moving between dimensions, with many different language games that could be to be deployed. The analogical is much richer than the digital and there is always an overload of information that only metaphor can capture. The analogical mind and the digital mind are in close proximity, however, and I am a great lover of accurate language. And with out the left brain logic we couldn’t report on any of these visionary experiences at all. But I believe we need to develop a Deviant Logic

I like Wilber’s VisionLogic but I find too many Integral practitioners are trying to fit too little data into too big a category. I rarely when I hung out with Wilberians sensed that anyone was really in a transformational process. Mostly they didn’t venture too far away from a color coded pie chart to explain what other people, like Plotinus and Kant, were doing. They had lots of logic but they had no visions at all. I thought the articulation of a robust first person account was often suppressed.They were even more dissociated than the young woman who walks blithely into traffic with headphones on.

The whole notion of ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ is confusing even in conventional experience. For those who have other than conventional experiences, neuro atypical, para-normal, whether they are ostracized or trivialized, it is difficult to get a handle on this mostly uncharted territory. We have few coherent maps for this territory. We are, as Wilber said, a performance by the territory. And this can be terrifying.

I have no problem, Marco, with flippant, and my apologies for the long rant. And I appreciate your ongoing sponsorship of meta-reflexivity in groups. This can be a lot of fun. I actually think of the outer world as a treasure that I take with me into the inner worlds and play around with different trends. I spend a lot of effort in putting messages together to be used when I am in another reality structure. I pose questions and make demands.I notice with delight that some of the architecture in these other realms look as if they were designed by someone who has seen a lot of star trek. And fasten your seat belt, for turbulence is up ahead-.