"Second-order" culture & the Axial Age III

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“Angelus Novus” by Paul Klee (1920)

The Angel of History continues his backward flight into the future, none the worse for wear as the storms of time blow on. Harried by these same storms yet undaunted, the band (@achronon , @johnnydavis54 , @Michael_Stumpf , @Geoffrey_Edwards , and @patanswer ) plans to jam once again on the riff of The Axial Age and its Consequences, a collection of essays edited by Robert N. Bellah and Hans Joas dealing “with various aspects of the legacy of the ‘Axial Age,’ a concept-label attached to the historical period between 800 and 200 BC by the… philosopher Karl Jaspers.”

Cafe Zoom line: https://zoom.us/j/711610894
Monday, March 16, 2020, 1 PM EST

The present itinerary

As always, the plans of mice and men are but proposals to the council…

After last summer’s fruitful and fun musings on structures of culture, history, and persistent obstacles to integrative approaches, the question now turns to the meanings, implications, and consequences of the Axial Age (Chapters 8-15):

A Comparative Perspective” Religion, modernity, the births of ideas, and cultures outside the Eurasian “mainstream”
Destructive Possibilities?” Contradiction, conflict, and the potential for war in the name of peace
Reevaluations” The Axial age: a specific time in history, a timeless truth of history, neither, or both?

Or something like that…
Again, the goal is not a bunch of book reports but an exploration perhaps of the very idea of change in turbulent times. The following article helps for orientation if the “Axial Age” is a new concept for you, but any interest in the themes listed earns you a turn at the mic if you wish.

Some book suggestions

A glimpse of the roads being traveled by various members of the group (not! required reading)

  • Bellah, Robert N. (2011) Religion in Human Evolution , Cambridge/MA & London, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press .
  • Bellah, Robert N. & Hans Joas (eds.) (2012) The Axial Age and its Consequences , Cambridge/MA & London, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press .
  • Betti, Mario (2019) Twelve Ways of Seeing the World , Stroud, UK, Hawthorn Press.
  • Gebser, Jean (1986) The Ever-Present Origin , Authorized translation by Noel Barstad with Algis Mikunas, Athens, Ohio University Press.
  • Kripal, Jeffrey J. (2019) The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge , New York, Bellevue Literary Press.
  • Lent, Jeremy (2017) The Patterning Instinct , Amherst, New York, Prometheus Books.
  • Ong, Walter J., (2012) Orality and Literacy , 3rd edn, London and New York, Routledge.
  • Renn, Jürgen (2020) The Evolution of Knowledge , Princeton, Princeton University Press.
  • Wendt, Alexander (2015) Quantum Mind and Social Science , Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
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This sounds excellent, @patanswer. Count me among your eager audience. The wheel of time jams on.

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Is the Video on it’s Way?

tFlowing Healing 1

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Marco is looking into the reason why it states ‘still processing’ and has contacted our Zoom buddies. Just double checked again and … ‘still processing’… The recording is not lost at this point so we’ll have it up once able.

I sensed there was talk around a follow-up discussion. Though practicing minimal digital interaction at this time I would love a chance to catch-up with each of you outside of a deep reading. Perhaps we can arrange a Café that suits everyone’s timing?

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I think Zoom is overloaded with so many people suddenly working from home. I just tried to chat w/ support to follow up on my earlier message and the queue shows 224 people ahead of me!

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Thanks for letting us know, Marco. I am glad it has not been lost because we had a good conversation and I wanted to develop some of the ideas.

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Always a challenge, but I’m game. How might a 5 pm MT / 7 pm ET time slot work… maybe Friday, even the weekend?

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That works fine with me. Pattern interrupt is a very important ingredient in doing any kind of effective change work. You have to find the pattern, name it, and if it is dangerous ( smoking, drinking, etc,) you have to find a way to interrupt the pattern and re-direct attention. Just as when you have to put a child to sleep. ( not always easy).

We are in the midst of a gigantic pattern interrupt. To my surprise, I think there may be an unintended learning from this stopping of the habitual routines. When we go back to the old routines, we may have a different meta-perspective upon those routines. Will we, on a vast scale, get a chance to reflect upon our collective efforts, our collective amnesia, as we turn to devices to keep our memories stored?

I worry about this as so much of the archive is available but when it is not what will we do as we have offloaded so much onto them? I think we are starting to glimpse into the dynamics of memory and collective memory loss-and give attention to what we decide to forget and what we decide to remember. I think/feel the body/voice is important and the language of the body is felt along the heart/lungs/hands/feet. What else will we have when our devices go dead?

This is a big theme, and we are now starting to wake up on a very large scale, as pattern makers coalesce, quickly, around new kinds of arrangements, as the stores and offices are all closed. The track in the late afternoon, over by the East River, is full of people exercising. People are running, striving to stay fit, breathing together out doors. The restaurants are closed. We have to shop and cook mindfully, make better plans. And entertainment? Luckily, I have lots of books and plenty of time. I hope we can all have a chance to recollect our energies and find a soft focus and work on something that you want to share in the midst of this gigantic human attention re-direct.

May we use this time wisely to by pass the scrutiny of the Masters who would steal our attention for their personal gain. They have a clear advantage but I am ever hopeful that the underground learnings we have inintiated will not be lost in the scramble that is now happening globally to make sense of this predicament.

We started to develop this on the last video that is being processed. My memory of the event is swiftly fading…what have you remembered? What have you forgotten? We remember and forget different things…we are no longer distracted by distractions…we have lots more time to find our own rhythm rather than adapt to someone else’s tune…

I have dropped out of many relationships because most people ( even very good friends) were unable to remember what they or anyone else actually said. I have tried to make a correction with mixed results. This is what a Second Order Culture would know how to do.

And then what happens?

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This is not required reading but the article speaks my mind (and Marco posted a video on the same mindset here) and is against continuing dangerous patterns:

(take away from the article):

So what will happen when the crisis passes? Yes, it’s worth asking yourself now, in the early days of this pandemic, how you might change your behavior, what temporary adjustments in your lifestyle you might adopt permanently in the after times—whether that’s working from home, or cutting back on airplane travel. But it’s also worth asking if we are willing to allow governments and corporations to return to business as usual. When everything’s back to normal, will we accept cities cutting off their poorest residents’ water, or evicting the sick, or throwing someone in jail because they can’t afford to pay a fine? …

… In a time of real anxiety, maybe this optimism is just grasping for something good to come of all of this. But that’s really up to us. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to see more and more absurd, or cruel, or counterproductive practices revealed. Pay attention when they are. Notice the statements the people in charge make when they effortlessly roll back their surcharges and threats, their punishments and impediments. Remember them. And when the time comes that the danger from the virus is no longer as severe, and those people try to quietly reinstate the policies that hurt so many around you, remember that for a lot of Americans, a “return to normal” is a scary prospect. Keep your giant bottle of hand sanitizer. You’re gonna need it to deal with all the bullshit that’s coming back when the pandemic finally passes.

I am reminded of those with bullshit jobs stuck on punchclock timeschedules who could be contributing their time to family and creative work that benefits people. An opportunity for real education. New work, new culture. An alternate reality…


I did not attend but I remember it so well. I know what was said and I know it was said well. It will not be forgotten that an event was planned, great minds gathered together in social isolation and created something that will reverberate in time and space for all time. I have learned much from what was said without having to hear it. Are recordings heard with the two ears or with the third ear?

During times in which I wish to shut all of this tech. down and seek out peace in internal abodes, realizing our larger intents to save the world deserve front page and a decent conversation.


I do think it would be fruitful to have a conversation. I will be able to make the set time and will likely have children involved as well (yes…easier said than done putting the children to sleep…what are those adults up to at night?)

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When do you go internal? When do you go external? Who decides? How do we communicate something that is post-conventional? And that odd metaphor we use may never have been said or communicated that way and may never again appear , in thunder, lightening or in rain.

What is inside, outside, is not obvious, when we chunk down and chunk slow. At finer and finer degrees of resolution there is not a clear enough boundary to predict what is self and what is other. That is what makes the virus such a weird event, for the virus, isn’t alive but it is intelligent ( or is it stupid?) Whatever the virus is it is not the agent of change, the host that allows the virus in is the agent of change.

We have different ways of working with the sensorium, working with the noise in the nervous systems, the misuse of tech that amplifies noise without much signal. At any level we choose to participate at we are working with signs, signals and symbols and the inner and the outer in my view are under constant re-construction. We will not always have the nervous system to play with. I take full responsibility for the time I have left, and the time I may have wasted.

And I do not ask for whom the bell tolls…

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The link took me to Marco’s profile page, not to a video.

Does the link refer to the Klein clip? I hope so … it was a good one: optimistic as she ever is, but even to a curmudgeon there’s something to be said for optimism when things look so dismal. The dismalness doesn’t create either stress or fear in curmudgeons and true pessimists: it’s the norm.

The Slate article made more than one valid point, that’s for sure. Almost all the policies regarding air travel were arbitrary measures to aggravate, not to induce safety. It’s almost always about keeping the masses in check, not about ensuring they aren’t going to get sick or injured or killed by a terrorist. ALL those rules, those policies, those retributitive actions were bullshit. Maybe we just love hand-waving. Maybe it calms our troubled natures in threatening times. I’m not saying we don’t have a chance. We have a wonderful opportunity before us. I personally doubt, however, that enough people are going to get it enough to reach any kind of tipping point. Just like with the coronavirus itself, my guess is it is going to get worse before it gets better. But that’s just me.

Friday at the envisioned time could possibly work for me. I mean, I’ll be here, that’s for sure, but I don’t know yet, how awake I’ll be nor how easy it will be for me to forego a couple of hours sleep as the next day is business-as-usual for the chief cook-and-bottle-washer in a 10-person household.

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yes…link fixed now, I believe.

This is an idea that this little point of consciousness reflects upon daily. I could link a TED talk of Bill Gates …perhaps categorized as more influential than most folks out there …discussing the urgent need for a plan of action for after the Ebola virus in 2015.

Hope you can make it. You did once claim that you could still tune into and participate in intellectual endeavors as a child even as chaos ensued all around you within the household. What’s a couple of hours of sleep?

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Reply from Zoom customer support:

Hi Mindful,

This is John with Zoom support. I understand that your recordings are stuck in a processing state. I do apologize for any inconvenience, but this is a known issue that is currently being investigated and worked on by my engineering team with the top/highest priority. I’ll reach out to you once the issue is resolved. You can also track this issue on our status page: https://status.zoom.us/incidents/5hdzb14vhxyv

I’ll reach out to you once the issue is resolved.

This ticket will remain in an “On Hold - Internal” status until you’re contacted about the resolution.

I apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience!

Update 2020-03-23

re: cloud recording is stuck in processing

Hi Mindful,

I wanted to follow-up with you and let you know that your recordings from the 16th and 17th should now be processed. Again, I do apologize for any inconvenience. See, after a Zoom meeting/webinar ends the raw data files of the recording are sent to an automated system where these raw data files are turned into tangible readable files that we can read, see, and hear. The problem with this known issue is the automated system didn’t process these raw data files in a timely manner.

Also, my engineering team has improved our cloud recording automated system to ensure that this issue will not occur for your future Zoom meetings or webinars. And going forward cloud recording processing time should be a lot faster than before (not including this week). Feel free to check your recordings from Zoom.us. If a recording is still in process, please let me know the date/time and the meeting ID.

And with any regards, I look forward to hearing from you.

With gratitude,

John W.
Zoom Support

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2 posts were split to a new topic: Title TBD - Zoom Meet-up for general discussion Friday 20 March 2020 2 5pm MT/ 7 pm ET