The Power of the Sixth Sense: How Can We Embody Gebser’s Structures?

@Michael_Stumpf and @johnnydavis54 use Clean Space to apply Gebser’s work to our own evolving personal knowledge. This is an episode of Cultural Somatics. Feedback is always welcome.

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@madrush Here is a research question which I want to develop some day. If you could watch this Clean Space practice with Michael and reflect upon the Clean Space session you and I conducted a couple of years ago, I could then muse upon the maturation of of the meta-communications in this community. I direct my question to you, Marco, as you are becoming one of the few persons on the planet who could answer this.

And is there a relationship between the practice of Clean Space and the practice of Permaculture?

I know there may not be time enough in the world for you to deal with this question but it is one that has been in the back of my mind for a long time.

@Michael_Stumpf And thanks, again, Michael for exploring Clean Space. As we live in a world of many maps and the territory is starting to blur, it is nice to know that there are still a few of us who wish to guard the territory from misplaced abstractions. As we explore with Clean Space we can re-construct a plurality of shared processes with an even more precise somatics .

I can imagine another Clean Space protocol. Find a space that knows about the following-

Practices ( procedures, methods)
Models ( what happens when necessary conditions occur)
Theory ( relationship of discourse to reality)
Meta-theory ( philosophy, ontology, epistemology, etc.)

Which is more concrete in this list, meta-theory or practice? I imagine that there is no limit to what we could come up with when we play an infinite game!


Something that seems to go along with our Cafe’:

Our Bodies are Life & the Universe having a conversation in Pluralistic- Infinite Ways of Play with Finite Times,it seems?

What “Matters” is the Openness & the lessening of Fear without losing Respect for it’s function to protect & preserve life!


Hi John, I revisited our session from…actually over three years ago (IC-Live: Clean Space Experiment with John Davis and MVM). I also listened to this recent session with Michael. There was a lot that came out in both sessions about the nature of the ‘integral structure’ of consciousness.

Although Gebser emphasizes time as key feature of the integral mutation, I think the exercises show how fundamental our embodied space is, as well. Where are you speaking from when you say that? Where is the center that holds all the structures (in dynamic unfolding)?

As a group, at the time, in 2017, we were reading Peter Sloterdijk’s Spheres—now we are focused (among other things) on the Consciously Evolving Language course with Lisa. I am glad we are still at it!

I think my session (which was one of our early ones) with you was like an awkward dance, which nonetheless went well enough. I was more self-conscious of the placement of my feet. I was playing along with the exercise (which seemed elementary to me), at the same time, hoping we would talk more, and more concretely, about those desired outcomes—which I could only articulate abstractly at the time. (Now they are more well-formed.) I may have been compensating for the shitshow debacle of the previous year (2016). I could see how you were helping me along, leading me into more of an embodied communication pattern.

We are in a trans-tragic phase of culture now. Only a god could save us now, but some of us are not looking to be saved by a god. Rather, we would save ourselves by giving ourselves to the future, giving ourselves to the Earth. We could call this salvation from below. You and we have done a lot of hard work creating conditions—building soil structure—in the meantime.

Regenerating the entwining of biological and spiritual culture is I think part of what Permaculture (who naming and identity I find unfortunate—since what about Impermanence? Immanence and transcendence?) is about. I would like to go back and revisit more of our pasts sessions (Cafés, readers and writers groups, et al) in the coming months and years. I think we may learn a lot by re-connecting with a living archive, which cosmically expands, deepens and refines itself over time.


This seems like the Field is being Seeded with New Ways to Move


I have often felt this way but have found very few people who are competent enough with Clean Language and with Integral theory to make an assessment. Both you and Michael, having experienced working with Clean Language and Clean Space over a couple of years are able to give me credible feedback about my own work and about how the community has developed.

When Marco first invited me to share these practices ( I prefer that to exercises) there was great resistance on my part. The technology of zoom calls was alien to me as I was unable to catch a rhythm as easily as when I was in real time, sharing an immediate environment. Making an adjustment to the new media has been slow and stressful for me. I’m glad I stuck with my desired outcome and found allies for this odd way of working in public spaces. I am now in a better position to make a comparative and phenomenological account. We have as a group worked through time as well as within time. We can co-evolve a different kind of cultural memory. This was a dream for Gebser and I would make a bold claim that we have begun to embody his dream.

I believe if three people in an organization, can figure out the difference between a problem, a solution, and a desired outcome, that those three persons can have a very big impact on the communications of everyone else. As working with a desired outcome is not a common sense notion ( most people prefer solutions to problems) I intuit that working with a Clean Philosophy, as we have done over the years, can greatly facilitate an alternate way of knowing our becoming in complex social panorama.

We have barely scratched the surface. If we had a small group who could choose something from the archive that they participated with and then ask," What do you know now that you didn’t know then and what difference does knowing that make?" I am sure we could create the conditions for an evolving network of future visionaries.

I quote from my colleague , Marian Way, who said that Clean Language is like Permaculture. Her words stuck in the back of my mind and I am glad to share them with you.

"When a permaculture designer is planning to change how a plot of land is utilized, they generally watch it for a whole year – through all the seasons – before starting to plan how best to use it. And when they do get going, they make minimal interventions, carefully noticing what happens before making any further changes or adjustments. So progress is slow, but always ecologically sound.

Good observation, along with good listening, is crucial in Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling, too. Key to the whole enterprise is that a facilitator helps a client to self-model – to discover how the system that is them operates. This involves careful observation of non-verbal information (pauses and gazes, twitches, gestures etc.) as well as listening to the words, and the speed and the tonality a person uses to convey their experience.

And, as with permaculture design, interventions are minimal. As we’ve already described, Clean Language questions are so-called because they are as free from assumption as possible, and are only used along with the client’s exact words. The facilitator’s intention is to ask a question the client is likely to be able to answer (albeit with a bit of searching sometimes). The facilitator is not attempting to change anything, just to draw their client’s attention to what is already there, and what is evolving, by asking questions.

The question that is really being asked is the same in both disciplines: “How does all this work?”


My feeling is, Michael, that these good folks are not working with Clean, yet. What they are doing is extremely valuable and mostly sit down in a chair, and discuss cognitive stuff. I am a great fan of both of them but quite honestly I learn more by moving around in a virtual space with you than I do sitting back and passively listening to a moderated dialogue where most of the participants have muted themselves.

As a wise man once said," You can’t learn how to swim by reading a manual. You have to get into the water." Once you have gotten in the water and felt the impact of water upon your breathing, the movement of the limbs, in a rhythm then that person has an embodied sense and can then say a lot about swimming that a person who has only watched a movie of it cannot know. I feel that we are overloading cognitive capacity, generating a lot of meta-theory without a grounding depth of practice. I believe our humble efforts developing cultural somatics are re-balancing our out of balance sensoriums. We have already been moving into uncharted waters, Michael. Social dreaming is a new reality that we are making up as we go along. We have collectively been splashing around in the shallow end of the pool for a long time but increasingly higher levels of abstraction will require deeper contact with the bodymind in motion within different kinds of space. There is action space, mathematical space, intuitive space, etc. This is a new art form.


I am Grateful for You & Infinite Conversations for being along the shore & sharing some swimming moves & coming back to shore to a Campfire to share a Beer, glass of Wine, & speak of the two Different Spaces.And at least Embrace a Relaxed-Alertness to Move More Freely as If Flying,yet Feet Walking Two Inches off the Ground…


P.S. I was remembering in my muscles that we use different ones walking-moving “up” than we do walking-moving “down”…" Knowledge is just a rumor Until it Lives in the Muscle" Saying from Papua New Guinea . And how tight did Einstein have his legs around the Beam of Light?


Yes. And you can put your belly on a piano bench and move your head and arms and legs in a rhythm and you will have the mechanics of swimming but it isn’t swimming, it is the abstract motions of swimming. When you get into the water it is a different world. Being able to contrast and compare different kinds of spaces and to do this with sense of safety ( we may have different descriptions) is a high level social skill. My feeling is that there are a lot of experts who are in deep waters who don’t know how to swim. Some of them are calling this stuck state a " narrative collapse." Actually, I believe they are just addicted to simulations without a desired outcome that is ecological enough to be embodied.

What has collapsed is the imagination of the pedantic crowd who study statistics and make predictions based upon profit motives in the short term. What we have identified as “deficient mental”. They are exhausted.

You said, when you reached an impasse, " I don’t know…"

And when you don’t know what happens to watching the children?

Your eyes went up to the left ( a somatic cue) and you spoke of a child’s focus as they prepared for walking.

We can only learn to do what the system knows how to do…adding abstractions upon a feeble perceptual field is not going to awaken a greater cognitive capacity. We are more likely to awaken a fascist dictatorship which is what almost happened in the recent USA election

If we can hold the perceptual and conceptual spaces of our evolving humanity-with-microbiomes in our gut…and we might find a different kind of ecological awareness opens up…what Sri Aurobindo called a new organ of perception…

And find a space that knows about a new organ of perception!

And this is a very good question, Michael. You are starting to model Einstein’s creative process. Perhaps we are moving towards the exploration of a Seventh Sense?


I am not sure it is New in the sense never Been within Us since the Dawn on Creation?
What may be New is a Willingness like that of a Child Give Attention to Move around in More & More Space Engaging the Unknown without a Tightness of Desired Outcomes (Not no outcomes).

One Result of this as Growing Adults is having to do some Housecleaning of Stuff that gets sticky (Beliefs,Ideas,Abstractions -that seem to help at the time) this is the Interior work I Feel-See your use of Clean Language (A Way). Another is Practices of Shamanism,Mindfulness ,Active Imagination Etc.

What these have in common from my experience ( which has a Perspective-View) is engaging an Inherent Ability to Give Attention-Awareness over a Applied amount of Time-Movement to EXPERIENCE that Arises from Within & Without in a Flowing Wave.This Without a Doubt involves

What I am attempting to bring forward from within my Body-Mind-Ecology is a “Work in Progress” Feeling that We as Humans Are Always Stuck in the Middle Between Spirit & Matter,What a Amazing


We are engaged in a social experiment, Marco, in the midst of a pandemic. We have been working upon many themes for a number of years. And rather than asking what the world is made of ( fire, water, air, earth, subatomic particles, etc.) I am asking for a pattern that connects. This is a Batesonian idea, a consortium of ideas, that some of us connected to, a year before the pandemic…

And find a space that knows about Sloterdiik. And what do you know from there about the Pandemic?

And find a space that knows about Sri Aurobindo. And what do you know from there about the Pandemic?

And find a space that knows about Ken Wilber? And what do you know from there about the Pandemic?

And find a space that knows about John Milton? And what do you know from there about the Pandemic?

And find space that knows how to write a poem? And what do you know from there about the Pandemic?

Find a space that know about all of those spaces…and what do you know from that space there about the Pandemic?

Elementary, my dear Watson! I hope we can begin to conceive of where a new organ of perception could come from?

Space is the new frontier…but what kind of space is that?


And what happens when imagination of the efficient mental re-enters the space of the magical imagination?

And is there a difference between the imagination we were told we had too much of and the Imaginal realm that the shamans and poets and scientist can conjure up and work with?

This, it seems to me, can be worked with safely in a public space if you have a methodology for that. In my view, we do not have such a methodology, we have a train wreck of mixed messages, a bus with a driver who claims to have no identity. Without a qualitative research practice ( which I am painfully developing here) we will have lots of great ideas that have nowhere to land.

So, we need some good soil or our seeds will get lost in the wind. I think Jesus had a parable about this…I am doing my best in this worst of times to create conditions for an adequate theory of the Imaginal and in my view none of our maps are very reliable. However, I am not falling into despair ( which is a fashionable move that some call surrender) I pay attention to what you are paying attention to and work with that. It seems our ancestors were good at sharing attention and it is out of that capacity that our next wave of infinite awareness we will ride…but we need, in my view, to train that meta-attention. Hence, the value of exploring the complex structure of our imaginal spaces in public rather than behind closed doors. This is something new.


Another recent post from Cynthia Bourgeault which I find very helpful which Jeremy shared. This is relevant to our explorations here.

All structures of consciousness have their center of gravity, a core value or “moral mainspring” around which all else is ordered. Often unstated and even unrecognized, it nonetheless establishes the yardstick by which value is measured and priorities are assigned within that structure.
In the mental structure of consciousness the skew is definitely toward THE INDIVIDUAL.
This orientationl should come as no surprise; it is essentially built right into the hardwiring of this structure of perception itself. Perspectival consciousness comes into being part and parcel with the establishment of a perceiver, the artist who stands outside of his or her canvas and orchestrates the entire artifice from a perch slightly beyond it. It bursts upon the world stage joined at the hip with the capacity for self-reflective consciousness, the ability to stand outside of oneself and look back upon oneself and upon the world as if in third person. This slightly removed viewing platform is the ego, the crowning achievement of the mental structure of consciousness, and Western Civilization has ridden to glory on its back.
By “ego” I am not referring here to what religious folks are all too quick to demonize as “sinful self-will.” I am using the term in its phenomenological sense, to denote a fundamental structure of perception and the sense of selfhood emerging from that structure. For Jung (the first to really develop this usage), consciousness was unthinkable without an egoic structure to mediate it; in Jungian psychology “ego” does not equate to “sinful self-will” but to the fundamental vehicle of conscious agency. It is in this broader and more forgiving way that Gebser, too, approaches the meteoric rise of egoic selfhood within the mental structure of consciousness. Only when the ego becomes “hypertrophied”—overgrown and barricaded (as opposed to merely boundaried) is there cause for concern.
We all know the strengths and weaknesses of the beast: on the upside, tremendous powers of abstraction, synthesis, and mastery. On the downside, objectification, alienation from the whole, and that chronic, background anxiety caused by having removed oneself from the world in order to perceive it. I have maintained that there is a chronic EXISTENTIAL DISTRUST as well, resting on those two shadow features of ALIENATION from the whole (I don’t believe that we can directly experience belongingness in this structure of consciousness; it overpowers the operating system) and that pervasive sense of TRICKERY built right into the perspectival artifice (“What if it’s all just a ruse?”) Small wonder that the "hermeneutic of suspicion” and post-modern angst should reach their zenith in present times, as we slide toward what Gebser calls the “deficient” phase of the mental structure of consciousness, the twilight of its cultural hegemony.
But the individual self remains its crowning achievement, and as obedient children of this structure, we still walk mostly in its light. When this powerful new unfolding of the Ever-Present Origin first swept onto the stage of Western history with the dawn of the Renaissance (and note that “renaissance” is by no means a value-neutral term!) we saw—and celebrated—the sweeping away of the “superstition” and “feudalism” of the medieval Catholic Church before a rising tide of free-thinking, self-empowered human beings. Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, Copernicus, Martin Luther: what’s not to love? The individual had asserted himself (still “himself” at that point, but the axe was already to the root). As we rolled on into the Enlightenment, more and more of the ancient collective institutions that had once defined the building blocks of ordered society in the mythic structure of consciousness—caste, gender, slavery—fell by the wayside before the compelling image of the emergent individual, fully endowed with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In the two centuries since the founding of our American democracy these “inalienable rights” have been gradually (often grudgingly) more widely extended—to white free men, then to slaves, then to women, then to people of “non-traditional” (by the old rules) gender orientations, and now to people of color. None of these breakthroughs comes without considerable social upheaval, but the overall direction has been steady, based on our prevailing perspectival consensus that the individual is the fundamental building block of a well-ordered society, and that individual rights are synonymous with human rights and are to be protected at all costs. That is the “moral mainspring,” the fundamental priority as viewed through the perspectival structure of consciousness.
Not saying it’s not true….BUT…if we are serious about traveling down the path that Gebser opens before us…
It would seem to me that PERSPECTIVAL HUMILITY begins by acknowledging this leaning as an inbuilt bias of perspectival consciousness, not an eternal and unassailable truth, let alone the measure of our human “evolutionary progress.” We need to relax our stranglehold on the values themselves, at least long enough to begin to look directly at the filter we’ve been looking through.
And I’ll bet that not many of you are willing to go there just yet. But only by taking that risk, I wager, will we begin to make room for the inbreaking aperspectival structure, where the resolution we’ve all been yearning for actually lies in wait for us.


What AWE-SOME way to Be Touched-Moved on-with this Magic Carpet ,where I can Share Attention & Social Dreaming with John,Cynthia,Jeremy,Marco all Beyond the Boundary of my Skin using the Organ of Touch-Perception with the skin of the Mental, with Attention to the deficient Rational that values an Enclosed Perspective more than an Open,Vulnerable & Curious Perception!!!


These questions John in my way of relating to them are Implicitly based in How we Give & Move with Attention in the Experience arising-generating within & without the Body(organism as Human) is from the Get Go a Liminal Space it seems to me.

The methodology that U speak of needing is important. I struggle with this for the reason that when encountering uncertainty there is no certainty,only a open practice of listening,feeling into,receiving what Imagination might be giving in response to the Uncertainty.This seems to put each & everyone of us Responsible for creating a methodology within ourselves, which at times we need to revise maybe?

This is what has been Helpful in working with U around Clean Language John,& yet I relate to Clean Language as one of Many ways of … Just listening with no need to go anywhere is what I find as helpful in Sharing Attention at times, along with sharing your passion…Hey It’s probably a East Coast-West Coast Thing which is nothing but … California Dreaming/New York,New York!


A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” the 'Whoever has ears let them hear" is the kind of Surrender I Come From… And I have Listened to U & will continue.

This much I know in my Gut,Heart,Mind & Ecology the World Turns & I 've got my Legs not to Tight,not too Loose for the Ride that’s left for this Finite Game called Michael Stumpf.

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Clean Language is a revival of all of these orientations. Clean Space is doing what shamans and magicians and performers have always done, they use space psychoactively in order to stabilize transcendendent, meta-stable awareness. The boundary between these different ways of accessing deep time, multisensory, multidimensional capacity is very thin. I feel there are many family resemblances and we are in the unique position to be able to draw upon the vast archives of knowledge creation that humans have struggled with for thousands of years. Let’s use all of our knowledge and use all of it well.

I use Clean Language as a practitioner. It took me years to study it at great personal expense. It has been worth it.

For you, Michael, I offer my skills as a gift to you. You can do with whatever you learn through this practice in your own way. I do believe that we can turn polarity responses into interesting contrasts. This is not a neat and tidy technique, as you may have noticed, modeling in the moment is very complex and takes good timing. The flat screen is the wrong medium for this practice, but it appears that this is the dominant medium and I have learned to accept that time is getting shorter and I am quite happy to offer this to others and benefit by sharing it. It makes me smarter on every level. Of this, I am certain. I wouldn’t practice it if it wasn’t good for me.

For you, Michael CL is a way and you can take from the practice what helps and discard what you don’t care for. And that is fine. And I would encourage you to continue to do that and do it even better. Discrimination is important value with both share.

For me, it is my way. And it is a blend of everything I have studied and practiced and refined over six decades of struggle and when I leave this world I plan to take nothing with me. I will have given everything that I have to give. And I take Jesus admonishment seriously…* I don’t throw your pearls before swine.*

I agree. I also believe that you can’t revise unless you can follow a procedure. It is like trying out a recipe for the first time, and adding stuff that aren’t in the recipe and then blaming the recipe that you didn’t follow for the bad taste. Visionaries know how to follow a script, healers to focus attention. And then you can become more aware of the subtleties of the background-foreground dynamics that you would totally miss if you constantly changed the parameters of the practice. You can when you have followed a hundred recipes and performed well come up with your own recipes. This seems a natural inclination when we mature in our practice. And that may take months or even years to pull off an innovation in a complex field.

Thanks for the meta-reflections upon your own certainty/uncertainty biding pattern. Certain or Uncertain, Both Certain and Uncertain, Neither Certain nor Uncertain. And as we enter the eternal Klein Bottle the subject and the object flow together and drift apart…

I am sure we are both sensitive to the tempo-rhythms of both places. I have been to California many times and have a profound appreciation for that place. Bukowski said in California iif you are down and out they will give you the couch to sleep on. In New York if you are down and out they kick you to the curb.

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Being Bodies: Buddhist Women on the Paradox of Embodiment


This Particular Book planted so many Seeds that I Felt Moved to Share it,
and have pull it from my many Boxes of Books and Retrospect Feel-See the Blossoms in my life Today.

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GRATITUDE is Flowing in My Heart for All I’ve come to Know Beyond My Skin of Body-Mind & Ecology Over this Cyber-Dreaming Engagement!

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