Reading Suggestions


(Katina Press) #82

Well…hush my puppies, Ed! I stand corrected!


(Marco V Morelli) #83

I have nice little volume of stories by GK Chesterton called “The Poet and the Lunatics.” In each of the stories, you (the reader) have to guess which character is the Poet and which is the Lunatic. (As you can imagine, they are not always easy to tell apart.) Which is just to say, I don’t know about Orthodoxy (in fact, I may or may not be unorthodoxically open to it) but either way, GK is OK in my book.


(Katina Press) #84

Marco, did you recognize YOURSELF anywhere among the Poets and Lunatics, within the pages of that “nice little volume of stories”? I’ll bet that you did. The same type of narrative should equally apply to the Philosophers, who go around in a perpetual, head over heels state of unrequited love for a woman they could never wholly possess. Yet, she completely possesses them.


(Geoffrey Edwards) #85

I have also read just about every one of his Father Brown detective stories. Such a lovely writer! Whimsical yet serious at the same time.


(Katina Press) #86

So, then? Whaddayall say, eh? Is anyone interested in jumping onto this literary bandwagon with me, or no? Can we “officially” create a channel/thread space for a Book Club ZoomCast group focusing on Chesterton’s “Orhthodoxy” - in one of the deep, dark alleys of the “Reader’s Underground” platform, for this upcoming Winter?

Or are we still bouncing the beach ball around the Cosmos for “Reading Suggestions”, though Summer is long gone, now!

Oh, BTW - While I was online working today (I am on my 30-min. Break now), we have this REMARKABLE “Scoring Leader” supervising and supporting our scoring performance (as is the normal routine during a n online Rater Shift with Edu. Testing Services - ETS). He is such a GREAT Leader! So much better than I am accustomed to during a Scoring shift. He cracks jokes with us (the underling Scorers) and doesn’t penalize Scorers for “Deferring” responses for a 2nd opinion. He even gave us all longer Breaks AND allowed us to complete “Practice Training Sets” throughout our shift (to maintain our accuracy performance profiles).

I was so impressed with this guy, that I emailed him the following message during one of my earlier breaks:

SL-Patterson:

"You are the BEST Scoring Leader, ever! Is it possible for me to submit an evaluation for you, as I have been asked to do for other SLs in the past? Either way, your support, personableness and encouraging attitude go A LONG WAY in developing amateur Scorers like me! It is really a breath of fresh air! Especially when one is staring at the cold, mirror pixelated expressions of a machine for 8 hours. Thanks for putting the “human” back into “transhumanism”, SL Patterson. I wholeheartedly appreciate it."

What do y’all think? Was it over the top, or no? If so, - “Oh Well!” - too late, as I already sent it. I think that it will bring a smile to his face (as he has to mine all day). I do believe in the crucial necessity of (going out of one’s way and) encouraging others as a promotional act of love for humankind.

Anyways, just thought that you all should know!


(Marco V Morelli) #87

Way over the top, but it sounds like he (your scoring supervisor) would appreciate it.

What do you have in mind for the book? Would you be leading the talks? How many and when? I think if this is something you want to do, we should concretize it…see what works for the people who would be interested, which it seems there are potentially a few (including myself, depending on the timing).


(john davis) #88

What would attract me to this project is a contrast. If we do something orthodox Christian we might consider doing something that is unorthodox Christian, such as Rudolf Otto’s The Idea of the Holy My favorite religious thinker, Jeffrey Kripal,considers it a classic of weird spiritual literature. It would be interesting to read both at the same time or back to back, as they are both short books and could be read quickly. I have a post-religious spiritual orientation and this might give me a chance to revise some of my ideas around what the Divine is becoming as civilizations continue to clash, crash and burn.


(Katina Press) #89

I agree with both of you.

MARCO: If no one else wants to facilitate “Orthodoxy”, then I will do it. Though it would model the same format that you all used for “Aurobindo”, I would like to delegate “Chapters Leads” to participants on a rotating (availability) basis. Also, I would appreciate a quick tutorial on how to schedule and connect Zoom meeting rooms to be launched from a Cosmos link. (Uh, Douggins, perhaps?)

JOHNNYD54: I have never read Otto. Yet, I love your suggestion about contrasting topics. I like all of your reading suggestions. Esp., what you suggested about looking at the “other side” of materialism. It reminds me of a question asked by Stumpf in one of your recent ZoomCasts on “Dreaming…”, when he so genuinely queried, “What are our bodies for???” I LOVE that question!!! Yet, his question reflects a curiosity that resonates with the collective consciousness here on Cosmos. I see this pattern of inquiry resurfacing on and within several different platforms and domains of discussion.


(john davis) #90

Yes, Katina! There is so much going on and within and between platforms and domains. Is there a relationship between what happens in Life Divine and what happens in the Parables?

And what happens between fiction and faction ? Faction is the kind of literature that is a blend of both fact and fiction. Is this not what has happened in every spiritual tradition?

Jesus has his vision in the desert, while being tempted by the Devil, ( get Thee behind me Satan!) and Buddha has his vision under the Bodhi tree and another vision came to Mohamed in a cave and every religion comes out of a Vision. that gets elaborated in some way.

The people perish without a vision. Art and Religion and Science have all relied on this human-divine capacity. One vision does not fit for all of us, even within Christianity. How are we to deal with the intensity of new revelations? Or do we brand the new heretical and throw them out of the village? Our Christian track record has been pretty poor in this regard.

And if you have been thrown out of the village do you really want to return? I imagine we could come up with a seminar with some readings ( including your work) that would invite others to hold the tension of the paradox ( as Christ did) rather than demand allegiance to a religious orthodoxy.


(Katina Press) #91

Don’t be a village idiot, JohnnyD! (What can I say, you walked right into that one!). If a village kicks you out, go and build your own village. And invite the ones who kicked you out to YOUR “Village Opening Barbecue”. Show them how hospitality is really done.

“Orthodoxy” only examines some of the paradoxes of Christianity and in the process, inverts several of its truisms in a very witty fashion. I like the book because it challenges the culture to examine some of the major themes of Christianity and how we use these ideas in an effort to make sense of life.

Please try not to perceive the “Authentic” Christian faith AS CHRIST INTENDED IT, as anything remotely in common with the “evangelicals” and “700 Club” malarkey. Chesterton does a pretty good job at illustrating how some Christians “think” through their faith and apply it to real world experience.

Chesterton is the one who responded to a newspaper ad summoning essay proposals about “What is Wrong with the World?”…Chesterton submitted an essay to the contest which, very briefly read:

"Dear Editor: My answer to the question regarding ‘What is wrong with the world?’ is this: I am."


(Marco V Morelli) #92

Whatever exactly we read (I would like to toss Gilead by Marilynne Robinson into the hat) I think we could use this occasion to create a praxis template for ongoing/future use: “How can I start a reading group on Infinite Conversations?”

Then we can publish it in our #co-op:playbook.

Would you like to collaborate on this with me, Katina? Let’s write up a nifty guide so that anyone can do it, with a little help…


(john davis) #93

I did read Chesterton in my troubled youth as I was drawn to religion and loved Jesus. I still do! But the politics poisoned much of my passion for religion so I jumped ship. Many smart young people are in that predicament. I do remember that I enjoyed the read. I have not read Otto Rank so am not an expert on him. It looks like a short book but rather deep and into the history of theological arguments. I have no interest in debate style contests so I only propose this book as complimentary to one you suggest. There may be a mutual attraction between the two books and we could be matchmakers!


(john davis) #94

I have yet to read that one but I have read other books by her. She is a fine writer.


(Ed Mahood) #95

And I couldn’t agree more.

These flare up all too often when purely secular subject (e.g., philosophy) are involved, and perhaps because we know that whatever the writer is presenting is their own personal view of things, and this view has been thought out (sometimes even through) by them based on any number of factors, most specifically their underlying presuppositions and assumptions. These are clearer in some cases (e.g., Young’s Reflexive Universe) than in others (e.g., Sloterdijk’s Spheres Trilogy).

The dynamic – at least in my experience – is somewhat different when theological subjects and issues are involved. As Rick Muller pointed out in his presentation at the most recent Gebser conference, our identities are often intimately intertwined with our beliefs, and theological discourse is much closer to this domain than the mere philosophical from which it is easier to distance one’s self (that’s just what that person thinks, not necessarily what they believe). Having said that, I am of the opinion that heartfelt and tolerant discussions of such topics and matters can go a long way in helping to clarify one’s own beliefs and why one holds them. (That is, I also think, what we should be doing with the philosophical, but there things get debate-like very quickly, as we all know.)

It is for this reason that I’m a bit gun shy when it comes to discussions, such as the one being suggested here. I have deep respect for everyone’s beliefs, even if they seem silly to me (e.g., The Flying Spaghetti Monster), for these beliefs, consciously or (as I think is more often the case) unconsciously, deeply inform one’s actions in the world (and how one acts in the world is much more relevant, I believe, than what one believes or thinks). If the aim of the reading and discussion is in the direction of deeper insight and understanding into what we – individually, collectively, culturally, etc. – and why we may believe that as opposed to something else, I’m all for it. It is my own personal conviction that we are better off as individuals when we are aware of our own beliefs and why we hold them, being at the same time tolerant of what others may believe.

It seems to me that generally speaking, religions (which I understand as a particular product of the mental/rational consciousness structure) have an extremely potted history when it comes to tolerance, and the post-Judaic Abrahamic religions have the worst track record. Granted, the others do what they can to hold their own in this regard (cf. the Hindu-Buddhist aggression after Indian independence, or what’s happening to the Rohingya in Myanmar), when not trying to advance in the ranking tables.

In other words, this is an area of discussion that requires perhaps added effort in the otherwise open, honest, tolerant, insightful and non-threatening manner of discussing things that IC has become known for.

My sole intent here is simply to boldface what @johnnydavis54 has said, for I think it is worth taking to heart, and not just noting. I, of course, would be interested in participating actively (should the session timings fit into my schedule) or passively (after the fact in the forums), as the case may be. All of the suggestions thus far (Chesterton, Rank, Robinson) would be of interest, even more so in combination than only individually.


(john davis) #96

And also why one changes them. I have let go of lots of beliefs, kept some, and am ready to be open to some new ones. We have a clusters of beliefs, some are like families, nested in hierarchy, defensive, and some are like weeds that grow on the side of the road, without water or much of our attention, and eventually wither and die. Like representative democracy. Monitoring the life and death of our belief jungle is a good ecological practice. Beliefs transition us towards Knowledge ( with a capital K).

Out of beliefs emerge identity, mission and vision. These are the areas of our nature that engage our sense of agency. We rally around themes that are dear to us, mobilize others who are like minded, and hopefully keep our wits about us so that may do the right thing. As we look beyond the horizon we discover that what we do and the consequences that we suffer or find satisfaction in are not really about us.

I think Chesterton and Otto Rank are books of the same kind and make a good comparative study. Robinson is a novelist and perhaps she should get her own spotlight.


(Katina Press) #97

I’ll write as you instruct. Sure! Tell us more about “Gilead”. I like the red-lenses.


(Katina Press) #98

HaHaHaHaHaHa!!! Yeah, RIGHT! Philosophers are way more clever at clandestinely imposing their beliefs upon others - and disguising it as a “quest for wisdom”. Appetite hijacks reason all the time no matter how long since one has ascended from the Cave.


(Ed Mahood) #99

I’m not sure I understand your laughter here, as I was not making a joke, but it is equally apparent that you misunderstood what I was trying to say.

For the most part it is easier to analyze, critique, disassemble, and possibly reject philosophical positions simply because they are not necessarily so identity-determining. What philosophers may be attempting to do and what they actually achieve may be very different things. On the other hand, many of us are more hesitant to assail theological positions simply because there is a greater likelihood that these are more identity-related. I may be – and it wouldn’t be the first time – incorrect in my assessment, but I was simply trying to make clear why I think there is a difference in, say, coloration between philosophical debates and what could be productive theologically related discussions, if these are handled with due care.


(Katina Press) #100

Perhaps, I did, Ed. I only responded to that one quote I pulled out, as it struck me. And I DO think its funny that people are “more hesitant to assail theological positions simply because there is greater likelihood that these are more identity-related”.

This is extremely hilarious to me because it presents some type of irony. It almost implies that folks find philosophy more “approachable” and are more willing to engage due to some silly illusion that the philosophical discourse has more credence than the theological one.

Yet, REAL Philosophy doesn’t discriminate about the source of one’s conviction when extracting knowledge or wisdom. REAL Philosophers LISTEN intently BEFORE engaging in discourse. They listen to the beliefs of others in search of harmony or resonance with , either, their own beliefs, or universal principles.

Pure philosophy will even go so far as to “adopt” the belief of another (b/c it is just as valuable to get inside someone’s heart as it is one’s “head”), for the sake of connecting in an way that produces a fruitful offering upon the altar of Wisdom. True Philosophy is inspired by love and will go to any means to make that connection. Theology, rooted in “logos” is more lacking in personal identity as it has more rigidity associated with it than philosophy.


(Ed Mahood) #101

Then it was simply taken out of context.

And I still don’t know what is funny about that, but senses of humor differ greatly.

Perhaps as you see it, but that was not where I was coming from. In fact, I was operating on the premise that philosophical discourse is more easily challengable because it is never given as much credence as the theological one. It is – at base, at least to many – very akin to what we consider opinions to be: it’s just what one thinks. This is not to say that there are many serious philosophers who have to put up with a lot of unreflected criticism. This is certainly the case. And, discussions of philosophical texts and positions – at least in my experience – are much more easily engaged in than theological ones for that reason alone.

And with all due respect for your reflections on “pure philosophy”, I am not sure when these take place and who participates. I don’t hang out in those circles and am not sure I would recognize a pure philosopher if I ran into one. You could very well be absolutely correct.

Admittedly, I find it odd to use a religious metaphor (“altar of Wisdom”) to describe a secular act (accepting the thoughts of another). Are you implying there’s no difference in intention between theology and philosophy, that both fields are after the same thing? It could be. I have been operating on the assumption that they are different, but that’s just an assumption.

I didn’t understand that sentence.