Visionary Voices Read Aloud (Milton, Blake, Whitman) - Jan. 8, 2020

With Marco (@madrush) still absent and Heather (@hfester) cancelling for today (December 11th, 2019), I waited 15 minutes but no sign of @johnnydavis54 either. Since the next scheduled event is December 25th, I am declaring a holiday break for the group until January 8th, 2020, at which point we will pick up the Milton again. Happy hols, everyone!


Sorry, Geoffrey, internet service was down today. Have a great holiday!

Is this still happening? And is there a link? Thanks.

Yes, sure. The link is on the Metapsychosis site, this should work, though :

Video Conference Link:

I’ll let Heather and Doug know, Marco as well, though I doubt he will be able to attend.

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Here’s the videotape:

Geoffrey, John, and Marco ring in an apocalyptic new year with Satan’s flight from Hell into Chaos and Night, on his way to Earth to plot the fall of humanity.


" They also serve who stand and wait."-Milton

Satan and Adam never stand and wait, they fall in vertigo. We can read, Paradise Lost as a crisis of information. We could read Milton, while we appreciate echos of past study groups, of Nora and Gregory Bateson, of Davor Loefler, of the New Axial Age. I have tried to open up our groups to a Second Order Systems Theory.

We could review the Law of Requisite Variety as we read Milton. If we are embedded in systems that hide variety, dampen variety, or offer too much of the wrong kinds of variety, we will be doomed to perpetual instability, chaos, and catastrophe, I think this is a fun way to think about our truly weird performance of this hugely relevant poem.

Satanic fires in Australia consume people, plants and animals. Earth quakes and hurricanes swamp Puerto Rico. The Middle East on the brink of war, as Saudi oil fields and and human beings are destroyed by drones. Confusion, now, hath made his masterpiece…

Can we reflect upon these complex , unstable, dynamic systems we are immersed within? How do we absorb variety in our own complex, social networks? Can we, by distributing variety, move to a Second Order? Or do we stay in fight/flight/flee? Rather that staying stuck in a First Order, that is trying to control and dominate diversity, we might create different kinds of conditions. This remains for us to figure out. We may have blown a fuse. I remain curious. We are a cosmic fractal, shaped by facts and factoids…

" Only variety can absorb variety." said Stafford Beer, a poet and systems theorist. He was prophetic when he made these comments in a 1972, “There is an evident risk in installing a model of the public in the computer, since the return loop might be misused by a despotic government or an unscrupulous management. In considering this however we need to bear in mind the cybernetic fact that no regulator can actually work unless it contains a model of whatever is to be regulated. Much of our institutional failure is due to the inadequacy of the contained models. It is perhaps more alarming that private concerns are able to build systems of this type, without anyone’s even knowing about their existence, than that democratically elected governments should build them in open view and with legal safeguards.”

" Satan and his fellows generate false data. The Archangels Raphael and Michael generate true data. Adam and Eve generate questions. God, through the Son, generates the possibility of approaching with infinite, Zeno-like pains, an infinitely receding galaxy of answers. If we accept this informational ordeal, Milton seems to say, we shall somehow live the life of angels…" Angus Fletcher

Marco says, " Some people find Milton boring." I am at the edge of my seat, as I start this Third Book.


Referring to the preponderance of noise in the system, the addiction to prefabricated images presented on small screens—which in a sad way, reduces to endless variations on the same habit of distraction and avoidance—and the evacuation of literary consciousness in the public sphere, I should have added, “… but those are not my people!”

What I am finding so fascinating in Milton (like Blake, Whitman, Dante, and all the truly great Poets) is the tremendous cosmology he is able to invoke, which recasts an entire cultural inheritance and universe of experience in the music of a beautiful, new language.

I am with Nietzsche in this, who said that without music, life would be a mistake. I am searching for a new music, which sings our fallen Cosmos and the glimmerings of a great unknown beyond our Modern minds. And I hear the echos of our social dreaming: “Give up form!” And I feel like I am falling through vast regions of Chaos and Night…


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I need the Zoom link for the call today. Can someone post it here? Sorry to not have it ready!

Or, are we not meeting this week? Since I am joining late, I don’t think I have all the details on how this group works.

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We are next week for the Milton I believe. Every two weeks, Heather, at 10 am EST. Geoffrey can correct me if I am wrong but I believe Savatri is happening on the alternate times. It is confusing! I hope you will join us for Book Three. We may review book two which we started to do last time or plunge ahead into Book Three which is my preference. I am eager to get into the zone with Milton again, he is contagious. We are treating this like a play rehearsal, in which we all read different parts, stop and start, and this sort of works. Some of the passages are simply electrifying. I had no idea this dusty classic could create such a strong current. Your insights, Heather, and your voice are appreciated. We need a room of our own and a voice that can be heard. Luckily, we live in the Age of the Internet. How odd is that? The public and the private converge in odd ways these days. Milton would love it.


@hfester and all: Our next meeting is coming up tomorrow at 10 am EST.

Here is a link we can use which will redirect to the right Zoom line:

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