With the holiday weekend (in the USA) and the summer season (in the Northern Hemisphere) officially underway, I’ve been reflecting on the various projects on my plate—actually, books stacked up and papers piled all around me—and pondering how best to choreograph the play of research-creation these materials represent.
On Thursday, June 1, 2018 12:00 AM, we will begin our “Journey to Supermind” with an introductory session on Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine—with meetings every couple weeks tentatively planned, and concurrent or branching-off readings proposed for Savitri, The Synthesis of Yoga, and/or Debaneshish Banerji’s The Seven Quartets of Becoming (which seems like it could be a good bridge between Aurobindo’s metaphysics and contemporary philosophical thought)—depending, of course, on who shows up and what they want to do.
We are also continuing with our reading of Erin Manning’s The Minor Gesture (next meeting on June 6, 2018 3:00 PM) and finishing a reading of Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain on Friday June 1, 2018 6:00 PM, beyond which I imagine we’ll be adding more fiction and poetry (TBD) to our Readers/Writers Underground repertoire. This could also include some readings in psychedelic literature…maybe even developing a concept of reading as (a kind of slow time, endogenous) psychedelic experience.
I think it would be also be cool to some more explicit history later this summer or fall. A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History by Manuel De Landa (brought to my attention by @care_save) looks like a strong candidate, and I’m sure @patanswer would have an idea or two.
However, in the Café we have nothing really planned, and so at this time I’d like to make a couple proposals.
Donna J. Haraway’s recent book, Staying with the Trouble has come up a few times, and based on what I’ve read so far, it seems like it would provide an excellent way to follow through on many of threads we’ve been working with over the past few months, re: ecological thinking and our response to planetary crisis. It has 8 chapters, which I would like to suggest we read one at a time, weekly, for Café-style discussion during our Tuesday sessions. Here is the Introduction and Chapter 1, if you’d like to take a look: Haraway-Staying-with-the-Trouble_intro_ch1.pdf (493.8 KB) [You can Google for the entire book in PDF format.]
Sometime after Haraway, I would like to suggest that we take on the fictional Hanzi Frienacht’s manifesto for Metamodernism, The Listening Society, which multiple forum members have expressed an interest in, and would carry on the conversation about how a contemporary integral politics could be theorized and practiced.
Between these two readings, I wonder if we could schedule a session with Steven Rosen (as @Lisa has offered to coordinate), and I believe an exploration of genius (e.g., the chapter from Irreducible Mind) or creativity could also be in order. But I think we should schedule these in advance, and in the meantime (let’s say, starting on Tuesday, 6/5) begin reading Haraway. I do like open frames and Stammitsch sessions, but feel these would best come in between more structured reads. Thoughts?
I would also like to make a personal request that we change our Tuesday Café meeting time to an hour earlier (high noon, Mountain Time) so our first session on the Trouble would occur on June 5, 2018 6:00 PM. This would just work a little better for my schedule, and would also be slightly more Euro-friendly. However, I would want to tmake sure this still works for all the regulars. Objections?
Finally, I would also like to work on the format for our Cosmos Café talks, introducing more structure, but also opening it up participation by others in a hopefully friendlier way. Here’s my thought:
Do you really want to know?
On the one hand, we have a small group of regulars (and occassionals) that has developed some rapport, and I’d like to keep that. On the other, I’d like to welcome in new blood, but in a way that doesn’t disrupt the flow of our ongoing talks or unnecessarily put newbies on the spot. I realize it can be intimidating to jump into a live, recorded discussion on often-deep topics with people you probably haven’t met or talked with before.
So what if we create an intermediary, off-screen zone where people who are interested in the Cafés and would like to participate can ‘lurk’ for a while, and use the chat to participate, but then have the opportunity to come on screen at some point later in the call? The format I’m imagining would look something like this:
- First 60 minutes: discussion amongst regulars and present-occassionals on the day’s topic with newbies invited to listen in and share their thoughts/questions via chat. However, each talk would be led by a regular or occasional (with rotating leadership).
- At the top of the hour: we take a pause and read some of the contributions from the lurkers, giving this about ~30 minutes.
- The last 30 minutes: is open and newbies can join us on camera if they wish; or, at this point, we can just shoot the breeze or go in any direction.
Over time, as newbies --> occassionals --> regulars, we might split out other sessions (with other café managers, baristas, and cafeteers) who take advantage of our franchise opportunities. Yes, you too can start your own Cosmos Café with our easy-to-follow plans!
One more thing: I’m having ideas about creating a Cosmos Café “menu” that organizes our various topics into themes, which could be presented nicely on a web page.
This might be too silly, I don't know:
- Non-Linear Sandwiches (made with only Timeless Earth Wisdom ingredients)
- Space and Time Burgers (vegetarian)
- Future Falafals
- Astral Salad Bar (with optional bird poop dressing)
- Pataphysical Pastries
- Mereon Macaroons
- Paradox Pie (artificial cherry flavor) – served by the slice of genius
- Gluon-free Doughnuts (of course)
Please share your own suggestions and requests!
- I reviewed what’s coming up in the Readers Underground (which usually meets on Thursday or Friday), and suggested some future possibilities (esp. readings in poetry, fiction, and history)
- I proposed that, in the Café (which meets on Tuesday) we read Staying with the Trouble followed by The Listening Society. In between, we’d have room for guests or other interesting topics.
- I requested shifting the time of the Tuesday Café an hour earlier, so beginning at 12 noon Mountain time.
- I suggested a way we could format our Café session to maintain our core group coherence, while inviting newbies/lurkers to participate in a more gradual or graduated ways.
- I also made up some silly names for our Café menu.
Thoughts? Ideas? Feedback? Thanks for your attention!
*To any friends down under, sorry for the Northern Hemisphere-centric framing in the topic title.