Update on Sloterdijk / Spheres reading group

Dear @spheres readers: I apologize for the radio silence since we completed our collaborative reading of Bubbles in August. We had discussed starting up again toward the end of September, but obviously that didn’t happen. The main reason is that I have been preoccupied with a few other projects that are important to the overall trajectory of the meta-project here involving Cosmos, Metapsychosis, and this forum.

I am still committed to reading Volumes 2 and 3 with this group. I just need a few weeks for space to clear, and events set in motion to unfold, before I feel I can step back into a more literary and philosophical adventure.

Would it be OK for us to start up again in mid-November? If so, I will suggest a few times and create a poll so we can get it on the calendar.

In the meantime, I’d like to know who’s still in, and I’d like to invite a couple other folks to join us. Thanks for your understanding and patience. (One of the important sub-projects I’ve been working on is how to better communicate and coordinate these kinds of things.) May all manner of things be exceedingly well! :pray:

Thomas Saraceno, Cloud Cities. Thanks to @lgamboa.

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Hi Marco, I am buried in grant applications right now, so mid November is better for me, too. Looking forward to it - have been reading Simondon as one of my students is basing her work on his writings and I haven’t read his work. Interesting stuff, but possibly not mainstream for this group.


No need to apologize; with everything going on these days I’m glad I have any reading time at all!
November or even later works for me. I managed to finish Ingold this week and would like some “digestion” time. The detailed review of Spengler and Gebser I wanted to fit between Bubbles and Globes was probably never as likely as it seemed, but I have a ton of PDFs in my tablet on myth, art, and cognition I definitely need to get to before I take up Sloterdijk again.

November also comes with more days off. (!)
And maybe an alternating meeting time schedule will accommodate more people than one set time, but that’s a discussion for when we draw closer.

Be well, Marco. The slow and steady pace is the correct one for the long haul.


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Dear Marco,

I am still interested in reading book 2, and sorry I skipped last sessions
with the reading group. Can we target towards end of November?

On another note, finally I was courageous enough and published online one
of my short stories. I am planning to translate it into English and would
love to share it on Infinite Conversations :slight_smile:

Have a good day.

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I’m still interested in reading the next two volumes.

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I’m open to the next volume but hope we get started before the holiday
season. There will be a lot of distractions for me and so that is a
preference. I am open flexible about the time. But I’m not sure about what
the purpose is for reading this anymore. I guess it would be my personal
task to review my commitment. Having read the first volume, I feel
Sloterjdik seems a bit dated to me now

I realize others have a more relaxed attitude to the reading of this book
but I want to get closure on it and start reading other stuff related to
it. I just attended the Gebser Society conference this weekend and found
some interesting ideas floating around about the rise of nationalism just
about everywhere, in the US, China, Japan, N. Korea, Europe, fascism is a
really on the rise. Most felt that we are in a state of collapse and we
better get our act together as this is way beyond what the Mental/Rational
can fathom.

So I feel a healthy urgency to start connecting this reading with other
readings and start developing some action plans. If this is just a stroll
down memory lane I imagine . Theory without action is a waste of time,
That’s my theory. And we have little time to turn these bitter lemons into

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Gebser had direct experience with the horrors of fascism. He tried to
escape it. I don’t know that there is a place for us to escape to. I am
certainly open to a different course of events but what will we do to get
there. There are some at the Gebser Society who are making this a focus. If
I find something relevant to this reading ( as we are I believe going into
more political philosophy) there might be some cross fertilizations between
groups. I sense that has already started to some extent and I hope more of
that will happen.

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There’s no great urgency to reading Sloterdijk, that’s for sure. At least, I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment. Gebser’s character and spirit is completely different, in many ways more attuned to our present intensities. The comparison is not insignificant. Let us not forget, either, the contradistinction each embodies between time and space. Gebser mainly discusses space in terms of the mental consciousness structure. Sloterdijk regards time as passé; he is fluffy, subtle mental, winking translucence. Sloterdijk has insight and says interesting things precisely enabled by an artistocratic spaciousness that can dally with phenomena of history. We should not be jealous. By the same token, I think there is the possibility for a certain form of rebellion in the very act of exploring space spaciously, even three volumes worth. It builds capacity through generously practiced continuity of attention over time. It is a sort of anti-closure, which keeps alive a thread of possibilty that we might also enter the God-realm one day: but only after all our bubbles are burst and we come upon the final wild horizon, which I’ve heard (not from Sloterdijik, but from cross-fertilizing thoughts) might be some kind of 7-dimensional fractal donut made of light. This is why fascism will never win.

Here’s maybe a good practical question: Is there a way (in terms of timing, structure, and realistic expectations) that we could continue with Sloterdijk while at the same time exploring other thinkers and affording connections with other readings? I liked the idea of seminars generally about “consciousness,” and am almost through Albert Young’s book. But I would also like to range through other literatures (fiction, poetry…Goethe has come up; I am curious about Afrofuturism; I would like to start a Cyborg Literary Society). I get restless. I have books piled up everywhere. I need long-term commitments (to not merely play the dilettante); but I also like mixing and spicing things up. To stay out of ruts, to keep moving, seems imperative. But what matters? What could make a difference? How does one read in a fascist time?


For me this can easily become a vanity affair. It is nice to know I can plod through this volume and savor the bon mots and get high on the super rich, sugary titles, but I don’t think this is for movers and shakers. If you are into highbrow ( and sometimes I am) reading him is a treat, a blast from the past, and driven by a kind of nostalgia for the good old days when servants ran around and picked up after you and poured your coffee into elegant little demitasse cups.

The only reason for me to read Peter is comparatively. He needs to be contrasted with someone more lean and mean, like Gebser, or more adventurous thinkers, like Aurobindo. They were also mindful of fascism and its effects in ways that I doubt Sloterdijk seems to register. I may be wrong or even unfair but I feel a need to work against Peter’s expanded spaciousness, the kind of spaciousness that comes from watching the servants re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. By the way, I’m not jealous of his time and leisure but I am envious. Peter’s well managed media persona is infinitely clever. I just wish the guy who wrote YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR LIFE would change his own.

The value of the reading would of course come from sharing the insights that you and the group would generate but I would hope for a more brisk reading, as we did in the Gebser reading. Could we read this a bit faster than we did last time? Now that most of us are familiar with the tempo of the author I think he and we would be better served by a quicker pace. There is no need to drag this out too long. I don’t know if I can slog through the long winter of our discontent with Peter’s largo rhythms . I would like to swallow the red pill ( or is it blue?)and move onto more adventurous fare. And have the next two volumes finished by the Spring. Then we could have a symposium, break out the booze and have a ball.

Aurobindo was using his psychic powers to defeat Hitler, while Jean Gebser was hanging out with Lorca and Picasso, writing his own interesting poetry. It seems now is the time to find the roots that clutch and I don’t get that from Sloterdijk. He seems like he comes already from another era, he wrote volume one in 1999,and I feel a distance from his project, and it is kind of spooky. These are just raw feels that come after a deeply nourishing exploration with the Gebser Society.

It is time for me to die to the body of the ego and be reborn into the infinite subtle body. This is happening for some people and they/we need help. I had hoped Sloterdijk could offer some guidance but I think he took the wrong, neo liberal turn.

As voraciously as possible! :smiley:

Fascism, in my oversimplified nutshell, is about fear of difference giving license to violent exclusions. We declare war on fear with ideas, arguments, presentiation, and statements both bold and subtle. So, I like the idea of a seminar on “consciousness” more and more as I think about it. With a leaning if not a focus on specifically promoting - and modeling - complex and informed ways of seeing each other and our world(ing).

In any case, I second John’s suggestion. It seems fewer sessions devoted to larger sections of Globes should suffice. As it is likely Sloterdijk will continue to remind each of us of other encountered works, we might profitably leave room deliberately for larger questions. Young and Ingold have things to say about “space” and macro-cultural configuration, too, for example…


I find that an appealing direction to go in, TJ, and invite you to elaborate. Also I’m interested in the topic of how to develop a sense of Agency in a world run amok and that would have some resonance I believe with a seminar on consciousness. I have a keen interest in inviting us to consider what the efficient Integral would be like? This was a question posed by a presenter at the Gebser Society event and here is my impromptu answer.

It would be like moving through the twist in a Mobius strip, dropping into the (w)hole of the Klein bottle. We would be adept at working with the ‘Fourth Dimension’, and dealing with the indeterminate and uncanny, able to flow through the (w)hole and remain stable.

Now I am nowhere near to that possibility yet, however, with a metaphor in mind I can discover/create shapes and sizes and patterns where the Mental Rational sees nothing at all. I believe we can model our best selves in action and then we can start the hard work of untangling our weaved up folly, and stop giving away power to the constant fear mongering. I imagine this is what Gebser was predicting would happen. I have lots of experiential stuff to present that would help us concretize this possibility.

Bringing efficient archaic for example into the daily practice is rather easy. Just go into trance consciously and intentionally, twenty minutes a day. Self trance is fairly easy to develop. Most people are using deficient trance states, drinking beer in front of the TV or entering deficient Mythic by rallying around the flag. These deficient forms are highly addictive.

I wonder if this seminar would run parallel with a reading of Sloterdijk? I do like reading him but I don’t want to read him for the wrong things. He is a versatile writer and I have much to learn from him as long as I am reading voraciously other thinkers. Just putting ideas on the table and hope others will do the same.


A topic for a possible seminar would be to view a performance of what I would argue is an Integral play. Medea, one of the greatest and most torturous plays of all time, has a leading character who is the ultimate Terrible Mother, who has haunted the imagination of many generations. Jason and Medea are alive and well and live in a neighborhood near you!

I would invite us to contemplate this performance in light of what we have learned through reading Sloterdijk and Gebser. I do believe both authors cover similar territory, but with different kinds of maps. It is useful to compare these maps and discover what we can do with them.

This could be a practical practice. As we embark on the next phase of our human journey, grappling with the Anthropocene, the famines, fires, floods, ecological disasters, the collapse of nation/states, the status of refugees, the gender battles, the fight, flight, or flee mechanisms so hard wired in our nature, it might be useful to study this strange play again. It has it all.

I have seen many productions of this play, and this one is not without controversy, but it has the virtue of a straightforward interpretation, without postmodern pretentiousness. The structure of the play is intact and we can resonate with the clash of the Magical, Mythic and the Mental happening all at once. The play is staging these stages of consciousness in a way I would argue that renders them transparent to the audience. Euripides was very close to the efficient Integral. I don’t believe that in art we ever make any progress. This ancient play is as good as it gets. An efficient Integral is implied in such performances, through out the history of art there have been breakthroughs but it has never been realized collectively on a large scale. Until now. We now have access to more libraries and art works and performances than any people in history but what to do with this excessive exuberance?

This could be the start of a seminar (maybe not). I am just putting this out on the table as an exhibit of what efficient Integral has been, what it could be. How are we to use art and history in a neo-fascist time?


I will watch the video, John, when I have a free evening later in the week. I may have been shown this version in high school by my 10th grade English teacher Mr. Pierce. It has been a long time! I wonder, as well, if there is any transtemporal meta-dialogue between Medea and Aronofsky’s new film Mother! which I haven’t yet seen.

My instinct w/ Sloterdijk (or any thinker, really) is not to rush him just for the sake of getting through. I’ve gotten a lot from Sloterdijk but I don’t need to study him intensively. However, I do want to remain attuned to and be in conversation with the field of thought he represents and embodies (aka ‘continental philosophy’). At the very least, I find he gives me provocative images and thoughts I can use in other domains. Moreover, I think his conservative (immunological) impulse should be examined carefully. I am also intrigued with the notion of the ‘monstrous’ he left us off with at the end of the last book.

What if we did something like a 1x/month extended-length reading of Globes (and Foam), reading maybe a couple hundred pages a month, so we can explore the material mostly on our own time, while having a regular anchor via monthly discussion? That would leave another 3-4 weeks open a month for any number of seminars or other forms of voracious exploration.

I’m quite open to ideas…as long as I can manage the work and reading load. I am a slow reader and I like to pore over words. I would also like to choose a time when at least 5-7 people can make it.

Lastly I’ll just mention that @PaulBogle, who read Shantaram with me and a few others over the summer, expressed an interest in reading The Life Divine, and I would love to explore that possibility for next year. He mentioned maybe reaching out to Dr. Eric Weiss (whom I’ve never met but has been mentioned to me previously, if I recall correctly, by @johnnydavis54 ) to be a facilitator.

So that’s another potentiality to put on the table…


This is an anecdote about theater history and knowledge acquisition.

When I was a lad, I saw Judith Anderson, who plays the Nurse in this film, on stage in the leading role. Anderson, in her prime, was a much better Medea than Caldwell. My favorite Medea was Diana Rigg’s, which I saw on Broadway back in the 90’s. Now that was amazing. But that is another story!

So, as an impressionable ten year old, I saw Dame Judith, on stage, sometime in the mid sixties. The next morning, over breakfast, before school, I discussed the play with my parents. I asked a naïve question, about the play, which changed my life.

" After Medea killed the kids," I asked my mother, quickly, trying to catch an idea before it disappeared," she tells Jason that she loved him more than she loved them. What did she mean?"

My mother corrected me," Medea says to Jason,’ I loathed you more than I loved them’."

" What does loathed mean?" I asked.

" Hate," my mother replied, " to loathe someone is to hate them." I had seen that mix of emotion in my mother’s eyes before, I had heard it in her voice, felt it in my gut. I was shocked. How could you hate someone more than you love your own children?

I have pondered that question for decades. I became aware that you can hate the same person and love them at the same time. I have, in my ripe old age, become aware that what most people call love is pretty much the same thing as hate, that they are coming out of the same energy. Relationships suck. Deviant Logic.

Eric Weiss, I like a lot. He read one of my astral porn stories and said it resonated with his philosophical views. He knows Gebser, Whitehead and Aurobindo really well. He is a good scholar.

I am perhaps a sloppy scholar and tend to read fast and more than one book at a time. I also make it a habit never to re-read anything. I have a pretty good memory of what went down but most of the need for a good memory is staring to vanish as we have our devices to remember everything for us.

Reading for me has been a means of survival. I read voraciously because my enemies were many and I needed to figure out how they think. I was lucky and managed to find loop holes in their arguments. Sharing knowledge, rather than quick information, continues to be a big challenge in our current mania for mash ups.

So, Mad AI, keep up the good work and I will see you on the Astral-


May I defer here to a series of timely, brilliant essays by @care_save ? … :wink:


You can count me in as an interested party to this reading, however you decide to organize it in the end. Just in case you’re making a list of who to notify later. :slight_smile:


I feel an urgency about studying Aurobindo and Gebser in tandem. I post below a recent talk at the Gebser Society conference I attended a few weeks ago. I wish you had been there, Ed!

What interests me most about Aurobindo is that he intervened with his psychic powers against Hitler’s regime. He intervened in the Battle of Dunkirk! In his diaries he recorded his experiments with spiritual powers. Unlike Gandhi, he took sides against the Nazi’s, even though that appeared, at the time, to be pro-British. Gandhi also made a disastrous decision of partitioning India and Pakistan. I’m not a scholar of Geo-Tantric-Politics but I have had direct experience of thought forms and I have created them and dissolved them.

I imagine that most people are seduced by these thought forms and are being intruded upon by nefarious as well as benevolent forces. The use of the Internet has amplified our naivety about such powers ( we all have them). Humanity is still in an adolescent phase in the use and development of such powers. Cosmo-ethics is not highly developed.

This reminds me that CIA psychic spying operation in the 80’s and 90’s targeted foreign leaders. Psychics were instructed to kill with their psychic powers. Russell Targ collaborated with the successful psychic, Ingo Swann, and this has been documented.

Whether or not these are examples of deficient or efficient forms of Magic is controversial but the remote viewing efforts of the CIA had a success rate of 86% which was s much higher success rate than the use of satellites and conventional espionage.

It is too bad we would have to wait another year to get this Aurobindo reading started. I feel the future in the instant.


Well, John, I certainly would have liked to have been there, I can assure you. I’m sure it’s a different kind of experience being around people who have at least heard of Gebser. Most often, it’s just me, and playing to blank stares can get to be a challenge.

And you’re right, John, there is more to our thoughts than mainstream – or even alternative – science is willing to admit. I took part in a screening at Stanford Research Institute while in CA. They were looking for research candidates for – well, they were touting it as – remote viewing (but it was obvious it was more). I didn’t qualify, of course, being the psychic blockhead that I am, but that’s a different story.

What is important to keep in mind is that these thought forms must be fed if they are to exist. Individuals generally don’t get too far, personally that is. As Gebser himself noted, it’s a point-like phenomenon, so one-on-one can work. But, beyond that it would seem that you have to get lots of folks tapping in if you want to move something on the dark side on a large scale, and that was the thing with Hitler (or anyone else … choose your personification of evil): it wasn’t so much Hitler himself, it was all those countless others who were willing to do what they thought he wanted done and who were willing to transfer their personal power to him. It always fascinates me how ready and willing so many people are to pass theirs on to someone (or something) else.

I don’t think these examples are controversial. I think they are quite obviously deficient Magic forms. That’s what spell-casting is all about. Granted, we moderns or postmoderns or postpostmoderns or however we want to characterize ourselves these days don’t like to admit that any of this even exists, but denial has never been a determiner of reality.

Unfortunately, the link you posted won’t let me view it. It sends me to YouTube itself and there are a variety of clips available, so I’m not sure which one in particular you intended. I appreciate that such streams are all produced voluntarily, so it is not really a criticism to say that I can’t spend five hours looking for something specific and there are no pointers, indicators or other aids to let one know what is there or how to get to it should one be interested in something. Obviously, the technology is still driving us, not vice versa.


I marked the video to start at 2:06:46 at the beginning of the presentation on Aurobindo. It is about 45 minutes long.

Yes I agree with your assessment but just want to point to the distortions and generalizations of ordinary discourse is amplified when you add a few spells and potions. Evil is alive and well and comes in many shapes and sizes. I believe each of has access to subtle energies. How we cultivate that access is unique to each of us. Most of us are flying by the seat of our pants and so it is a good thing that we are not able to register effects on a grand scale, as did Hitler or Rasputin. We are prone to want some one to be in charge and we give away lots of power to these nitwits.


Again, thanks for the assistance …

The aspect of Brandt’s talk that I found most compelling was his including of Aurobindo (who for obvious, Gebser-related reasons has long been on the to-read list) and I think overall it reinforces what we’ve been kicking around here and elsewhere that an in-tandem consideration of these two thinkers would be very rewarding.

I’m sensing that Aurobindo raises much avoided topics in the non-physical realm, such as the etheric, the astral, as well as the spiritual, but even this latter in ways that are unfamiliar to most people … unless, that is, you’ve spent a lot of time in the Western esoteric underground, then it’s not all that strange at all. The fact that most of what he did has been documented; that is, verified and corroborated to some degree, makes it difficult to deal with and therefore for most mainstream thinkers (and scientists, of course) easy to ignore. The time is more than ripe to get these topics out in the open and to deal with them with the seriousness and focus that they deserve.

One of the obstacles to overcome here, though, is the fact that when Eastern approaches are foregrounded (and this applies mutatis mutandis to what Andrew Venezia presented from the Tibetan Buddhist perspective, hence to Aurobindo’s Hinduism as well) is that they tend to get very technical very fast; there is then – at least for me – a whole lot of unpronounceable, and thereby unrememberable, concepts involved and as many different techniques are there people advancing them, along with a whole new metaphoric that I (personally) find it difficult to resonate with. (Yes, exotic can be nice, but it can also be distracting.) It is too easy to lose sight of the forest for all the trees. But for as helpful as I am sure it is, we do need to keep in mind, as I mentioned over in my last nation-state-thread posting, that the shift in consciousness that Gebser speaks of is universal, not individual. It’s not about you or me or he or she but rather all of us. So whatever it is that makes the integral integral has to be readily available and accessible to every single human being on the planet.

We should keep in mind that Gebser is unabashedly spiritual and doesn’t hesitate for a moment to make that clear. It is, I am convinced, one of the reason Gebser hasn’t been as widely accepted as he perhaps deserves to be. On the other hand, there is too often a short-circuiting of anything non-physical direct into spiritual, and for too many people, spiritual is short-circuited into religion (which isn’t helped when the vehicles in question are Buddhism and HInduism … Taoism is still to obscure to confuse most people). I think it is necessary to be more discerning and discriminating when we move into these realms and I think that a lot of what’s been going on in the areas of physics, quantum physics, and consciousness can also be helpful, and the degrees of intensities that are also present in, say, the etheric/astral/spiritual would complement these nicely, as would much that has been put forth in the realm of western esoterism, if for no other reason than the metaphorics may be more accessible to some of us. It is something to keep in mind.

That’s what Brandt’s talk got me thinking about, at any rate.