Open Frame [Cosmos Café 2021-10-07]


At the end of “The Flesh of Language” Café, we concluded with a desire to reign in our desired reading direction.

Potential Reading / Watching / Listening

Can one speak from beyond the place where language ends? I would do so. I have spent five decades in exploring and learning and testing how to do so. There are many who would claim that no such thing is possible, and even if it were, they say, this would not be a good idea. When I point out that there were, in fact, any number of poet-seers in the past, they argue that these poet-seers would back up their position. If I present them with an esoteric poem, they will say, “This makes no sense. Why can’t you just say what you mean?” If I present them with a tightly argued but freewheeling visionary essay, they will say, “This is prose. Everyone knows that prose cannot express the inexpressible.” What is the poor poet to do? Should the seer see through someone else’s eyes? He already tends to do this, but he is not any less disturbed.

Seed Questions

  • What have you learned through your participation with the Cosmos Cafe over the last three months that has surprised you? Please list three things that you have learned. Which learning was most important for you? If you learned nothing that is an important learning, too.

  • Within the next three months, what are three things you might learn through your participation with the Cafe? And what is the first step that you need to take that will make that potential learning happen? And what happens right before you take that first step ?

  • And which of those potential learnings is most important for you to focus attention upon in today’s Cafe? And what support do you need for that to happen?

[more to come . . .post is wiki format.]


An unwitting contribution to our ongoing discussion from my English son-in-law:

A horse walks into a pub and orders a pint.

The bartender says, "You’re in here a lot. Do you think you might be an alcoholic?

The horse replies, “I don’t think I am”, and promptly vanishes from existence.

See, this was a joke about the famous Cartesian philosophical statement, “I think, therefore I am”. I could have mentioned that at the beginning, but that would have been putting Descartes before the horse.


What happened to the seed questions?


Space is now available for including any you would like to add, John.


I like the questions, and will be reflecting on them ahead of our talk.

The learning is often subtle, I would say, and reflects itself through shifts in attitude and attunement—it is social learning, collectively enacted and realized, rather than purely a personal attainment.

I am perpetually surprised that we manage to keep it going; such intellectual ensembles are precarious at best in the real world. But maybe we are no longer in the real world. Maybe Infinite Conversations is a kind of meta-world. That might be something to learn…

I’ll see if I can come up with three more specific things I’ve learned in the past few months for Thursday.


I am unable to attend today,looking forward to what grows from
the Jazz session though.

The Learning for me is finding a group of fellow explorers,curious enough
to be willing to share their pilgrimage(the course of life on earth).


Happy to participate in this Cafe and grateful for your primer @johnnydavis54 . posting now the unfinished thoughts for reference:

Seed Questions
What have you learned through your participation with the Cosmos Cafe over the last three months that has surprised you? Please list three things that you have learned. Which learning was most important for you? If you learned nothing that is an important learning, too.

Perhaps the most surprising element of our discussions is the depths of language. Language is now Language.

  1. Upon preparation for the Cafe, I am taken on a journey to the depths. The assigned reading is not enough. Eternal catch-up. Infinite name-droppings plopping upon the head, demanding entry.
  2. Upon the onset of the Cafe, all preparations are but background signals. Truth awaits front and center as we enter into the weave of individual contributions and collective accumulations. The chosen text is a useful backdrop but, more often than not, becomes something we must speak around or beyond or above.
  3. Upon the completion of the Cafe (and into the next or into the next leg of the journey), certain tidbits will remain. Lisa’s brief comment about tree roots and lung/bronchial structure opened up the passage to new branches of thought.

Within the next three months, what are three things you might learn through your participation with the Cafe? And what is the first step that you need to take that will make that potential learning happen? And what happens right before you take that first step ?

  1. That all future preparation builds upon or out of or off of the previous learnings.
  2. That there is a certain treasure to be found in our intimate settings. John is a prime example of the shared epiphanies and dreams and traumas and thought weaves that we so desperately need. I recently finished J. Kripal’s Secret Body and honor his intimate exploration of deep taboo topics. More of this is necessary to get the collective heads out of the clinched asses of stuffy secluded high horses.
  3. More specifically . . . I do not know. The unconscious and its connection to language, to the uncanny, to all of human endeavors still intrigues me and I will be exploring this along side of our explorations.

TO make this learning happen I will need a lifetime. I will need extraordinary thought. I will need personal space and time to explore and experience and I will need you to assist with this.

And which of those potential learnings is most important for you to focus attention upon in today’s Cafe? And what support do you need for that to happen?

The list we have I see as surface readings or temporary inclinations. We could browse the threads and compile a long list of books and essays and fictions that we had wished to explore: Haraway, George Por, William Irwin Thompson, le Guin, . . . We do not choose what is fashionable (Kastrup might be the closest to popular philosophy we have explored). I say that whatever we chose depends upon the reality to be shared in the possible futures of our explorations. We might chose to focus on the English ABC song and come out of it with a revelatory exploration of language.


Has the meeting started? I’m trying to join but it says it has not started yet.

The recording is now available above.

@ccafe : At the end of this Café we decided to round out the year with:

21st October: Federico Faggin’s essay from Consciousness Unbound entitled “Consciousness Comes First”

and, beginning 4th November we will begin a deep reading of Susanne Langer’s “Philosophy in a New Key” with the intent of using the remaining sessions for the year (more information to come as to how we will divide up the reading for Langer’s work). Both Faggin’s essay and Langer’s book are available here.

Our complete 2021 fourth quarter Café list looks something like this:

And, peering into the 2022 possibilities:

Upcoming Cosmos Café events – Q1 & Q2, 2022

  • 1/6 – open
  • 1/20 – open
  • 2/3 – open
  • 2/17 – open
  • 3/3 – open
  • 3/17 – open
  • 4/7 – open
  • 4/21 – open
  • 5/5 – open
  • 5/19 – open
  • 6/2 – open
  • 6/16 – open

This post is a wiki and the Café wants you to lead a Café! Insert your preferred topic into next year’s event list above. The designated time for Cafés is 12-2 pm Mountain Time (beginning 11am Pacific; 2pm Eastern; 7PM UK; 8PM German). As a reminder, the Café Zoom line is open to all and flourishes from insight and input from you! If you wish to lead a Café at an alternate time, reach out to @madrush or @Douggins to determine the logistics. It takes a bus full of creatives and intellectuals to fuel the journey :bus:


Becoming Transcendence

He wrote a letter
to the world
that never wrote to him

Step on a crack
break your mother’s back

May I read it? His mother asks

It’s a bit technical
He responds
as if he were playing chess
with a demon in an old
Igmar Bergman movie

She glanced at it with disapproval
Why can’t you be like the other boys?

Why can’t you act like my mother
rather than a spoiled girlfriend?
All you share is your grief.

Her face, made up like a kabuki mask
turns away from him.
He hands her a pen
Upon the paper
she makes her mark
The contract
like an old sublet
is not renewed

And before it began
God had said
Let there be cracks
Thou shalt not stand
above the middle

Somehow over the rainbow
I land in a field of green-



As I Listened to My Fellow Pilgrims talk & listen to each other from yesterday’s Cafe’, I heard this song Whispering as a parallel track.

Thank U All for the “Live” from Cosmos Cafe- Sharing Thinking Upon
Life in/on,around,above,within-out, This Moment on Earth!!!


Hi! Thanks for setting up this schedule. I see a schedule is forthcoming. It looks like there are 10 chapters at about 20 pages a chapter (some fewer, one about 10 pages more). I’ll plan to start on the first 2.5 chapters for Nov. 4 and will wait for any updates.

Also, I have some theoretical chapters of Ferrar’s Participation and the Mystery approved for sharing in a reading group like this one if we get to that one. No rush or urgency on that. :slight_smile:


Marco intimated he’d like to do the whole book in 4 sessions, which would mean just a little more aggressive reading, maybe up to 70 pages or so every two weeks.

Chapter-chunking the text, we could do this reading as follows:

  • Nov 04: Chs, I, II, III
  • Nov 18: Chs IV, V, VI
  • Dec 02: Chs VII, VIII
  • Dec 16: Chs IX, X

Any thoughts?


After viewing the video of our Open Frame, I was struck by how Doug and John shared nocturnal transmissions with the group that had similar vibes. What happens between society and the dreaming minds of its membership? Where are our boundaries?

Is there a Transcendent capacity we can further refine and develop or is the mind just another fact among many other computations? Philosopher Roy Bhaskar called arguments of inevitabilty (a common strategy of computationists ) a TINA formation. A dumb idea comes true by simple repetiton and the suppression of any alternative ideas . Bhashkar noted this tendency in then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s use of her oft repeated public rant, “There is no alternative!” She would declare this all the time. Her collection of falsehoods leads to what Roy called a “demi-reality”, a nightmare zone most of us are now very familiar with.

Thatcher and Reagan have gone to their graves but their language games have spawned a new theory of reality that many of us clearly reject. Our current civilization is moving closer to collapse And is that all there is?

From the liminal zones, as we triangulate from the margins, and entertain many models of the mind, there may be different visions that we want to make happen. Can we sing and dance different worlds into existence? What would happen if the driver of the bus finally woke up?


Shared dreams; traumatic events; hyper society. What is the difference between the dreams of the tribe and the dreams of a massive society? Dreams may lead to a source of food for its people; dreams may identify collective threats and traumatic events such as 9/11; or John’s recent dream of “algorytymic infinity” and becoming code. I often have retro-romatic dreams of becoming animal, communicating with my foreign fauna friends. We are what we dream we dream what we are. And we dream what we have been and will become.

I remember watching a Rushkoff documentary on the subject, The Persuaders, my first in-depth introduction to hidden advertising, political sloganeering, neuromarketing. Now everyone is enmeshed in the game of persuasion. We have studied psychology and yes, it’s true; we must persuade others that there is no alternative to our story in order for our voices to be heard, or in order for the beast to keep crawling forward. This is what we fear when we hear about Facebook paving the earth with a mirrorworld or a metaverse. I often wonder if the daydreams of techno-utopians and post-truthers align with their personal nocturnal transmissions.

I work for a contractor for the state. There are rules. I was close to being fired three years ago (we were also exploring Bateson and double-binds at this time) when I made an attempt to email a client’s document to a state supervisor. The client had no method of transportation to bring in the document (which the state had misplaced), a 30-minute drive. “There is no alternative” was mixed with a sense that no one was driving the bus. A rule is a rule, yet there is no one at the top who would have given any damn. The state supervisor had to abide by the rules made by distant unknown decision-makers; any alternative did not compute. I was told a week later by my supervisors during my write-up discussion to “stay in my box” . . .

The state will never wake up. The workers love to grumble and complain but when it comes to helping fellow citizens the rules cannot be changed. Who is in control? Who is driving the bus? The driver may be a sleepy algorithm. I saw a Twitter handle recently that I found ironically humorous: Sleepy Joe Biden. Sometimes the only song and dance our fellow citizens know are from NFL games and fun-time movies. Trance is preferred over dance. “What would happen if the driver of the bus finally woke up?” is a good question indeed!


[The thing she says at the beginning:
One of these nights at about twelve o’clock
this whole earth’s gonna reel and rock…
things thay’ll tremble and cry for pain
for the Lord’s gonna come in his heavenly airplane.]


If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with him
In all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?

And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that
you would have to believe
in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints
and all the prophets

And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

Trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome

And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone

Just trying to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome


Having lived out of a Bus (VW,a Air Cooled Engine) for a couple of years (26 to 28 years old) & wondered at times
of the Felt Sense of a Co-Pilot/Driver?!

Maybe Each one of us ?

And Feel the Intensity of/in the Light!!!



This reminds me of an uncompleted thought I had on the dream bus I was trying to put together in our group call. I quoted from sociologist Anthony Giddens who said something similar to what you said, Doug. Giddens said the State was too big to take care of the local and the State was too small to take care of the Global. So, no one is solving anything due to the incapacity to work with the appropriate scale. Since he wrote this in the 90s many rifts have occurred and deep fissures opened up in the middle ( where the lack of scale is obvious) and is burning and crashing, splitting open the State and it’s frozen laws of identity, spoiling its plans for dominance. Thou shalt not ignore the middle. Our classical logic and our classical physics no longer can paper over this abyss.

This question, Doug, can provide the energy ( not fuel) for the next wave of human space exploration and the destination will not be Mars or the Moon but the dream you will have tonight. Where are the boundaries between tribe and mass society? I can feel it at the grocery store when I pick up the packaged, processed food, and read ( in horror ) the labels and how much crap we eat.

I sense it when I visit a hospital and hold the hand of someone I love who is suffering from bed sores and has not been allowed to have visitors for a month. I smell the neglect.

And if God is one of us how does she want to be treated? I don’t think this is rocket science. And if we don’t find a way of working with human scale there is not going to be any rocket science.

And this is why the excluded middle ( our dreams and visions brought to you from the imaginal realms) must be negotiated with. How do we determine universal from particular? I have found the middle can be friendly but fierce when ignored.

And an Integral Age would know the difference between interior and exterior and stop slicing it down the middle and make artificiality our new Bitch Goddess to rally around. This Integral Age would be able to adjust to each man’s scale and each transperson’s scope. We would know which lens we are working with. An Integral Age would not be driven by narrow minded physicalists with adolescent ambititions to colonize and strip mine the galaxy.

" Current pictures of the planet are assembled through algorhythims-they cease to function as represntations and become operational images that do not represent an object, but rather represent part of an operation."- Lukas Rikovcan

Hence, my passion for Clean Language, and exploring the middle and the sanctity of the person ( God as one of us). I work with method. I am a practitioner. It is the human scale we tend to ignore to our peril in our views from a nowhere generated by AI. Each person ( beneath the surface) contains multitudes. This is the Geo-Poetics that I want to move towards. And it starts with what people actually say as they move thier eyes and hands in certain directions… listen carefully to her prepositions… the tone of her voice. She is perceiving the Real in this moment. What happens when she shifts into metaphor? She is making a conceptual blend. This is God happening in the moment at human scale.

My next project is to explore World, Earth, Planet, Globe, Spectral Earth. I have a method for doing this. Maybe we can flesh this out in our next Cafe on Faggin?


I liked the exploration of interior-exterior; large-small; whole-part; collective-individual from this past Open Café. The particular and the universal. The artificial divisions and the indivisible middle. Scale and scope with adaptable lenses. There is the opera of the techonoscientists’ operations, laced with covert intentions (or if not so covert, intentions that are too big to fail, impossible to stop). In the opera-tions of the humanities, opera lenses are provided for all.

I have been taking glimpses into Susanne Langer and like the meandering journey of this exploration. An essay by a favorite author of my teens, Walker Percy, focuses on Langer’s idea of the symbol as “need”. He speaks of Gabriel Marcel’s alternate take on Descartes’ “I think”, shaping it into “we are”

When I am told as a child that this flower is a lupin, when you name something for me and I confirm it by saying it too-what I know now is not only that the flower is something but that it is something for you and me. Our common existence is validated. It is the foundation of what Marcel calls the metaphysics of we are instead of I think.
~ from “Symbol as Need” in Percy’s The Message in the Bottle

A complementary quote from Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry for Gabriel Marcel:

Marcel was consistently critical of Cartesianism, especially the epistemological problems with which Cartesianism is mainly concerned (such as the problem of skepticism). Like many of the existentialists, his critique was motivated by a rejection of that account of the nature of the self which was assumed in Descartes’ overall approach to the question of knowledge, and how the mind comes to know reality. The Cartesian picture of the self assumes that the self is a discrete entity with a neatly defined “inside” and “outside,” so that our ideas, which are “inside,” can be fully understood without reference to the world, which is “outside.” “Cartesianism implies a severance … between intellect and life; its result is a depreciation of the one, and an exaltation of the other, both arbitrary” (Marcel, 1949, p. 170). Marcel agreed with other thinkers in the existentialist tradition, such as Heidegger, that the Cartesian view of the self is not ontologically basic for the human subject because it is not a presentation of how the self actually is.

I have not quite grasped the scope of Langer’s project, which to me seems quite ambitious. I am happy that “we are” exploring Philosophy in a New Key together. If not together, it would remain in the category of “I think” . . . and I think that we are much better off when we are thinking together.

A project to be reckoned with. We have explored Connolly and the Planetary; Sloterdijk and the Globe; various sessions in which we explored personal “space” via Clean Langauge and compared our drawings. The individual interior depictions, though worlds apart, tended to influence others’ spaces. This is resonant with what you say above, “this integral age would be able to adjust to each man’s scale and each transperson’s scope”

We mentioned in this Open Frame session that you and I would like to perform a preliminal piece before the next Cafe. I am open to exploring the subject this Friday or over the weekend. I am quite occupied during office hours this week. later in the week I can be free (and this will allow me a chance to review Faggin which has already slipped its way into some slippery memory spaces). let me know what you think, John.


I like Walker Percy, too. I’m sure I read Marcel, once, long ago. And , yes, Langer had many contacts with her contemporaries and may continue to resonate with ours, even if we ask different questions. What you quoted from Marcel reminds me of what I’m reading this morning on Charles Saunders Peirce, the patron saint of semiotics. I paraphrase Peter Och’s description of Peirce on imagination.

“Peirce found the elements of diagramming are three; the initial act of drawing something ( monadic), making another drawing ( dyadic) , and then linking the drawings together ( triadic). A sign is something that stands for something to someone. This meaning is not simply projected out into empty space, but is offered to some being for some reason. Meaning is an aspect of relationship. A sign relates beings together.”

As we have shared drawings that emerged out of clean language processes, I consider these shared experiences to be an application/ practice of a Peirean styled Semiotics. I believe we can reveal enormous depths through drawing, movement, metaphor, depths that evade us when we constrain ourselves with conventional conversations that try to put new wine into old wine skins. Transcedence doesn’t work with conventions very well. Symbolic modeling is a primary need for me. Symbols, signs, gestures have a half life in movies and especially dreams. Take for example the one I had last night.

I am outdoors in a formal garden with tall green plants that blocks my view but I see through the greenery an elderly man sitting at a table and he looks like a greek philosopher, he wears a toga, and has a good physique. He gets up and comes close to me. I know that he is a mathematician. I say," I’m not a mathematician but I can sense what happens in the bodymind when the answer is correct. The bodymind recieves it first, then the ego recieves it. The ego is always the last to figure it out." The man is delighted by my response and gives me a kiss and this startles me as I am aware that he has ignored social distancing guidelines. His kiss is a defininte sign of approval and high regard.

And is there a relationship between dream kiss received from the mathematician and Langer’s Symbolic need and Marcel’s we and Peirce’s diagrammatic imagination?

Let me know what is best for you, Doug, as I am most flexible with my time. I will need some time to think about what we are thinking about as we move across, within, beyond these non-orientable surfaces. I look forward to this next re- iteration, as we find a style that works for us.