After yet, another duel to confuse the heck out of each other, Ed…(Sigh)…Once again, YOU WIN, hands down!
Sorry 'bout that. I was only seeking clarity, and I certainly missed that mark … which doesn’t feel like winning. Oh well, maybe I’ll have better luck next time.
Maybe we should hash out our reading plans in a future Cosmos Café? We have three weeks left of Aurobindo and then nothing on the schedule—though lots of possibilities. I do not feel personally in a rush to jump into anything big. It might be good to let flowers bloom for a while and explore a few different directions, sensing for hidden resonances. I like all of the suggestions so far.
I suggested reading Gilead because of the beauty of the language I encountered in a the first few pages, an attempt to speak from the soul, I felt. I am also interested in the history of congregationalism, which seems to have a lot to say about democratic praxis and p2p spirituality.
I think there are also some interesting distinctions to be made between reading philosophy, theology, and fiction—the assumptions we make about ourselves and others when reading each. Perhaps another topic for a Café…
I would like to figure out how to better support a multiplicity of readings…I think creating those #co-op:playbook templates will help a great deal. Perhaps we could work on this during an upcoming co-working session, @KPr2204?
Cosmos Café [12/18] - Marilynne Robinson's Gilead
Good Men, Shitty Dreams, and Moving towards a Polyphasic Culture [CCafe 10/23]
Marilynne Robinson, as others identified, carries a wise soul in her pocket and has a way with language. Gilead was chosen as a must read from a Methodist preacher friend; he moved before we could fully discuss the book in person. Next best thing: an infinite conversation! We could use this book as a springboard into the philosophy of theology, or theology + philosophy + fiction. Her non-fiction work is stellar (perhaps even controversial or at least conversational fodder) and feel a few of her essays would make for great Cafes.
We do have many options, educated opinions on how to proceed with readings, reading groups. The Cafe is still open for tomorrow.
Thus far, it seems as though there are several Cosmos members interested in starting “Reader’s Underground” collaborative projects for the upcoming Fall/Winter. I have no idea how the process starts.
For example, Marco Mali is interested in facilitating a more detailed and intensive study of Aurobindo, incorporating Yogi practices in which he is familiar with. I sent invites to various Cosmos friends that may share his interest and, subsequently want to participate. As, he is my Brother and I want to support his vision.
What happens next? Do members have the capability to start a “thread” or “channel” as a catalyst for developing the group.
STEP (1): Enter the “Reading Suggestions” Channel/Thread (BTW. What the heck is the difference, anyway?) and type up a brief proposal about your “Reader’s Underground” (RU) text of interest.
STEP (2): Use the “Invite” icon at the bottom of your “Reply” and (one-by-one) enter the usernames of potential Cosmos members that may share your interest in participating.
**STEP (3):**Use the same “scheduling program” that the Co-Op Group used to “Vote” upon favorable scheduling days and times until a common and convenient meeting time is agreed upon (based on the “Vote” calculations) and make adjustments as needed to accommodate participants whose schedules do not coalesce.
STEP (4): The facilitator creates a Thread under the “Reader’s (RU)” Channel with a summation of the Text, Participants, Reading Assignment Schedule, Meeting Schedule (incl. all time zones), Chapter Lead Facilitators.
STEP (5): Set up a Zoom “Meeting Room” incl. recording prompts, etc.
This is only a draft of the process. However, it lacks precise details regarding “How - To”.
Hi Katina, yes they do. But let’s map out the process! I started a wiki here to get us started: https://www.infiniteconversations.com/t/how-to-start-a-reading-group/2629
But just to quickly answer the questions about forum organization, here is what I wrote there:
Note that the forum is organized by channels, sub-channels, topics, and tags. Sub-channels are nested under channels, and topics can be created in any channel or sub-channel where a member has access to post. For an overview of all the channels on the site, see here: https://www.infiniteconversations.com/categories
A new reading group should usually be started as a new topic in the Readers Underground channel here: #metapsychosis:readers-underground
In the past, we have created new topics for each meeting of a given reading group. We then group these topics together using a sub-channel (for larger works, e.g., #metapsychosis:gebser - requires moderator or admin to create) or tag (more flexible categorization, and works across channels — any member can create). For example, see all of the meetings we had on Octavia Butler’s Parable novels here: https://www.infiniteconversations.com/tags/octavia-butler
However, it would be possible (and maybe preferable, depending on the amount of activity) to stick to a single topic at first. Example: The Book of the Lion and the Lamb - a Biblical exposition manuscript
Okay, Marco (sigh…)! You have given me a lot of cud to chew upon in putting together a visual template illustrating the process for creating a Reader’s Underground group. I esp. appreciate the links, as they will be embedded into the process template.
As I continue to develop this manuscript, what is the criterion for submitting for online publication into the “Metapsychosis” Journal? To whom do I submit it to for review? Esp., as it is an ever-developing text. Akin to an extended short story that unfolds (weekly, per se) in each issue. I have just completed Genesis 1 and am about to start Genesis 2. I would like for this tree to grow “by streams of water” accessing more feedback and in a place with more exposure to sunlight. So, how can I get it into “Meta”?
Great, have read through allmost the all of the comments – the discussion seems to migrate into further details on Katinas expose – so here im just gona go ahead and suggest some ideas I had for the readings
There are several books that come to mind and that I think would fit with those that have been already read in the groups – all books with a broad vision, an understanding of process and a view from 10000 feet/km above and beyond - like Sources of Self (Charles Taylor), The Listenig Society (Hanzi Freinacht) and I also would be absolutely on board for the last of Sloterdijks Spheres Trilogy, Foams.
After going through Aurobindos Life Divine I personal want to take a break from spiritual explorations but am still interested to explore other ways of making sense of culture and those inbetween worlds that dont fit into the big picture, or are somehow left out. And thats where my booksuggetion comes in.
I am somehow drawn to and would like to read Jean Baudrillards most popular work “Simulacra and Simulation”
You maybe know that before the shoot of the first Matrix Movie the Wachowskis gave all the main actors three books to read – One was Kevin Kellys “Out of Control” - Another one was by psychologist and evolutionary theorist Dylan Evans “Introducing Evolutionary Theory” and the third one “Simulacra and Simulation”.
In the first of the Matrix movies there is a scene in the beginning where Keanu Reves character Neo – beeing a hacker who does some hacking job for a guy who takes him out to a 90s Technoclub – hides his minidisc in a hollow copy of Jean Baudrillards book – you can see the cover in the movie
I somehow feel that his SimulationTheory would be an interesting topic of conversation, since it does explain a lot of the ways we relate to the media in the information age – and the hyper real worlds that are created in the process. - There are a lot of ideas that his approach triggers in me and I dont find those ideas picked up or developed by integral thinkers. My own meaning making process at least followed very similar ways for some time.
It is a very short book – about 170 Pages – and could be read in a few sessions. I would like to go through it not immediately but some time in the foreseeable future. If there is enough interest I would suggest doing about 4 sessions in total with 3 for reading and 1 for Q&A and/or introduction. If we do it I would make an active effort to contact a relevant expert on Baudrillard and try to get him or her for one of the reading sessions.
Is there any interest in getting into Hyperreality with Jean Baudrillard?
I like your suggestions, Tony. After Aurobindo, I am not in a hurry to start a new reading, but I am eager to support others in doing so, including @KPr2204 and anyone else with ideas. I would love to see a diverse garden blooming, with different styles of reading, and different content. However, it’s okay if the soil is fallow for a while. Maybe we could do an open meeting at the end of the month (11/29 has been proposed) where we discuss how to move forward. Who would be interested in that?
wow, me neither, that must be some of that synchronicity going on . At least not now. I just wanted to put this on the map for people as one of the possible future readings.
Im definitly at the last Aurobindo meeting and would be very interested to discuss how to move foreward…
I wasn’t able to continue with the Aurobindo group because of a schedule conflict, but I’m interested in future conversations and collaborations. I like the idea of discussing recent or relatively recent books dealing with big issues, e.g. the nature of the modern world. Regarding the latter, I’d say that the two most important are Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined and Francis Fukuyama’s 2-volume The Origins of Political Order and Political Order and Political Decay.
Fukuyama just published a book on contemporary politics, Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment. It’s very short and could provide a basis for one meeting, if that kind of thing is of interest, i.e. a series of meetings devoted to various shorter books. Another candidate for this would be Francis Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro’s Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy From Itself (a policy- and reform-oriented diagnosis of our political dysfunction) or, a more philosophical work on the current crisis, Martha Nussbaum’s Monarchy of Fear. Also Ronnie Beiner’s Dangerous Ideas on Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the alt-right.
If it’s big and ambitious philosophy that’s wanted, thinking of some of the best or most talked about of just the last decade or at least post-2000 in no particular order: Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice, Charles Taylor, A Secular Age, Tim Williamson, Knowledge and Its Limits, L.A. Paul, Transformative Experience, Tyler Burge, The Origins of Objectivity, Alva Noe, Action in Perception, Derek Parfit, On What Matters (not as good as his Reasons and Persons, but that’s from the 80s).
Hi Fred, I’ll read any of the shorter books above in February or March of next year, if you’ll pick the book and lead the session. I would commit to one book, and one meeting. (I am refraining, for now, from longer commitments so I can focus and writing and editing in the new year); but I would like to continue exploring contemporary philosophical perspectives on “big issues, e.g. the nature of the modern world,” as you suggest, and as we were doing in many ways with Peter Sloterdijk’s Spheres. I’d like to continue on the arc of that circle, but widening it en route.
An idea: perhaps various smaller groups (2-4 members) could read a few shorter works, over a few months, as prelude to a larger group returning to finish Sloterdijk’s trilogy with Foams later in the year (maybe next Fall?). I don’t know if you’d be interested in that, or if you would want to have read Bubbles or Globes first (though I think the idea is, you could begin on any part of the sphere’s surface)—but I imagine there are places where these conversations could converge. That would add to the interest for some, I’d wager.
How might we weave multiple threads, divergently and convergently, at the same time? Let me know if you’d like to weave one of those threads; I’ll try to facilitate the interconnections.
Returning to an earlier suggestion, I have started reading Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. It seems like the right season for this novel, for me at least, and I’m reading a little bit each night before bed, as the nights get longer and colder here in Colorado.
It’s a beautifully written book: humble, spare, sympathetic, dare I say ‘integral,’ not in any theoretical or developmental sense, but as soulful, honest, and wholesome, not showy. I’m finding it puts me in a prayerful state and wraps my sleep in a cocoon which is not metaphysical but intimate and understanding. I feel well cared for as a reader with this novel.
If anyone wants to read along with me, I would propose a single meeting—on 12/19 or 12/20—to share our thoughts and reflections on the book’s spiritual, theological, and literary themes. Anyone interested, just let me know and let’s put it on the calendar.
I have not previously read any of Robinson’s work, but it’s a pleasure spending time with her prose, getting to know her way (or her character’s ways) of looking at things. You may enjoy this interview she did with Robert Harrison for Entitled Opinions:
They start off talking about cosmology and quantum physics, then cover a nice swath of the 19th century American literary and religious tradition, touching on Poe, Emerson, Dickinson, Melville, Calvin, the Quakers, Lincoln… I am really impressed with her thoughtfulness and erudition—and I always enjoy Harrison’s ‘opinions.’
Agreed. I think ‘integral’ is an excellent characterization.
BTW, should you get a moment … could you check something for me. When the narrator introduces his much older brother Edward, he mention’s Edward’s book on Feuerbach, and he mentions that he had to hide it so his father wouldn’t know he was reading it. What did he hide it in? (It’s mentioned at the bottom of p. 27 in my English paperback edition.) I’m rather curious. Thanks.
I intend to stop using the word ‘Integral’ for at least a month. This will probably bring my attention what happens right before I want to use that word. I am open to using other words that the term Integral has started to obscure. There may be a new discourse that wants to emerge.
I remember the transition I made in the 80s when ‘queer’ started to replace the term ‘gay’. There were new patterns that emerged as the vocabulary changed. I was offended by queer just as I had been offended by the term _homosexual_which was a clinical, pathologizing term. Sort of like sodomite. This was a cultural dilemma. How to use words that mean different things to different people and maintain some kind of social stablity? Queer had been used as a word to attack just like faggot By using the word queer created a different mood among us and that changed how others who were hostile could use the word. In an odd way switching from gay to queer was a generational shift, and a way to re-imprint the collective trauma of certain population that had no status as a group except as outcasts from society.
I bring up this personal reflection to wonder a bit on language and emerging communities that re-emerge out of different kinds of discourse. I personally have found myself bored with the term Integral. And so I want to stop using to try to capture feedback from a transcendental schema. Currently, LGBT, Gay, Queer can be used for different purposes.
No one has called me faggot in about ten years. I was called faggot for many decades on a daily basis. Also, I have noticed that no one has asked me what I do in bed. That at one time was a mystery to a lot of people. I am open to the possibility that new kinds of inter-subjectivies might start to happen. Maybe not.
The big book that makes sense for me to read with this group is Charles Taylor. He fits this group dynamic in a way that Pinker does not. Pinker has said the same thing for thirty years, from book to book, and has basically ignored his critics. This is not a trend I am interested in pursuing. However, Taylor is a very different kind of thinker that merits our shared attention considering our history.
That’s my two cents.
Which of his … Sources of the Self, perhaps?
I am responding to these suggestions by Friedrich. I have read Sources but have not finished A Secular Age. I like Alva Noe but he is covering a different kind material than Taylor. Any way, I do not want to read Pinker under any circumstances. He has said the same thing for twenty years and has never responded to his critics. I find his tone deaf dogmatism not very necessary. There are new materialisms that are not so reductive that could make sense to study but that is a specialized kind of interest perhaps. That might be better met in small groups with smaller books. Big books are not the only kind of books to read.
I would like to finish Foams but I am in no hurry to step back into that stream. Taylor has a very different kind of style that I am drawn to.
Thanks, John. Without a quote or link to Frederick’s post, I wasn’t aware that the statement was actually larger and broader than Taylor.
On a similar note, however, I, too, gave up on Pinker long ago. The man has nothing to say that I find worth listening to, though I do consider him a good example of a bad example.
And, I think it goes without saying, I won’t be foaming with you folks.
Well I won’t quibble over Pinker. I agree he’s a bit of a know-it-all and that can be annoying. In any case, I understand that we all have allergic reactions to certain things. For my part, I have absolutely no interest in Baudrillard or any of the other French frauds. I read all that in the 70s and 80s (and I knew most of the principals), badly overrated it then, and have no desire to revisit it. In general, postwar French philosophy satisfies Harry Frankfurt’s technical definition of “bullshit”: an “attempt to persuade without regard for the truth.” The bullshitter is not averse to stating truths if doing so serves his persuasive ends, so not everything the bulshitter says is necessarily false. But he is not averse to arguing for untruths if he thinks that will persuade. The bullshitter is simply indifferent to the truth. To be sure, Frankfurt’s definition doesn’t capture the specific type of bullshit deployed by Baudrillard and the rest, for whom the goal is often not so much to persuade as to overwhelm, disorient, and demoralize the reader.
It looks like we might agree to A Secular Age – there’s certainly food for thought there. But I also like the idea of something short. Maybe something topical? Everyone’s weighing in on the Trump phenomenon, and the books tend to be compact.