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:


Marco called this a community theater project and I like that metaphor. Do we have a stage manager who can provide a temporary link to the video? I trust that we are finding a good tempo-rhythm for everyone. I would like to review the last rehearsal to get a feel for the etheric energies generated and perhaps share some notes I have on Voice Theory. Can we call this, perhaps, a Quantum Poetica Production of Paradise Lost?

I confess I am becoming a Milton freak, moving faster than the speed of light. As always thanks to the brilliant cast! I have a lot of questions I would like to ask.

For example, Heather mentioned the patriarchal presence of the text and of our performance. How can we develop that?

I am curious about the androgynous nature of the Son and of the Angels. A potential queer reading?

How can we juxtapose and embody the feminine/ masculine/androgynous archetypal energies?

Can we find the elemental qualities in our voices? Fire, Air, Earth, Water…and what is in between?

Did anyone notice that Milton lets God off the hook? God does not sacrifice his Son. His Son volunteers. Is there a subtext going on here? What kind of Trinity is this? It seems kind of weird and full of Family Mind dynamics.

Gnostic voices are everywhere…there are bouts of amnesia…who is keeping track of all of these shifts? Is this what is meant by a crisis in information? What determines noise-signal? How are the differences sorted?

How are these ephemeral qualities conveyed through the voice? Can we tune into somatic syntax implied in the text? Can you sense the gestures through the language?It feels much like reading the score of an opera. And it is very hard to sing without your hands. There is an overlapping of the senses. More on this later.

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Video from our event yesterday, processing:

I am out the door but look forward to reflecting on your questions, John, and replying when I’m back with a little more time.

Quantum Poetica Productions sounds fab to me :smile:


Sorry, Marco, that link doesn’t work. Have a great day!

It works! Thank you.

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And when we tune into the CosMos, what happens to the Voice?

The Voice is neither inside nor outside, but both, a biofeedback that reveals each of us to one another.

Here in this weird performance the alien voices of human and non-human intensify. The sounds imprint upon our bodies, subtle and physical, as we make contact in the liminal/criminal zones.

Notice that the lion and the poet are separated by bars. But who I wonder is the prisoner?

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It is easy to roar with the lions when they are on the other side of the bars! Nonetheless, the poet seems to be able to establish some rapport with the other creatures. By the end of the poem, everyone is roaring in unison.

I was wondering about God the Father and the Son of God—how contrived their entire arrangement is portrayed (at least to my ears)—in Milton. The Son sacrifices his glorious state and volunteers to save humanity knowing that he will triumph over death and be even more glorified in the end. Where is the drama in that?

It seems to me the real action—the unknown edge—remains with Satan’s quest to pervert humanity; the beauty of good versus the ingenuity of evil; and the potential of human beings to fall or leap to a higher level. I also wonder: when does Milton go beyond good and evil? Is there marriage counseling available for Heaven and Hell? An amicable arrangement?

My word this week, courtesy of Paradise Lost, is glozing, present participle of the verb gloze, as in, to gloze, to make excuses for, to conceal, to mask, to hide.

Onely begotten Son, seest thou what rage
Transports our adversarie, whom no bounds
Prescrib’d, no barrs of Hell, nor all the chains
Heapt on him there, nor yet the main Abyss
Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems
On desperat revenge, that shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now
Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way
Not farr off Heav’n, in the Precincts of light,
Directly towards the new created World,
And Man there plac’t, with purpose to assay
If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By som false guile pervert; and shall pervert;
For man will heark’n to his glozing lyes,
And easily transgress the sole Command,
Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall
Hee and his faithless Progenie: whose fault?
Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.

(Book III)

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And is there anything else about that rapport?

Steiner speaks of elemental beings alive in plants, animals and minerals. Is the rapport the poet co-creates with the lions similar or different from the existence of the elemental world that Steiner claims is behind the physical world?

How is the sound the lions and the poet make together a communique from an elemental world?

Is there a relationship between the pride of a lion(s) interior when he roars and the interior of the poet when the poet roars?

Is this a form of mimicry? Or is it a sincere performance drawing upon an ‘as if’ frame? How do groups of different species co-refer to each other’s interiors? The zoo is the wrong environment to know this kind of difference. The zoo adds a layer of artifice that make the man’s performance rather tame, though well intentioned, in comparison to a performance in the wild. The man wants to be a member of the pride but the conditions are not there, yet, as he is in a false environment. Perhaps the sounds they make together are the sounds coming from a lost world? The performance comes from a series entitled The Ghost Tantras.

The main job of males in the pride is defending the pride’s territory. A male’s roar, usually heard after sunset, can carry for as far a five miles (eight kilometers). The roar warns off intruders and helps round up stray members of the pride

And that roar after sunset that can carry five miles? Can we who are human sense where that roar is coming from?

Wittgenstein said that if a lion could speak we would not understand him.

A roar is not speech ( a lion has a different physiology and anatomy) but it is meta-communication perhaps between species that a human can intuit in the same way we can get a wordless melody we have never heard sung by a stranger.

The lion’s roar creates a boundary that protects intruder and members of the pride.

A cobra before it strikes spits…a rattle snake rattles…there are signals…these are certain signs to know faithful friend from flattering foe…


Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way

And what kind of restraints are those that Satan can break?!?

And wings his way?
And what kind of wings?

I sense that that Satan has bat wings…and Nagel, the philosopher, once asked what it is like to be a bat?

He said this is not a question we can answer…but he was talking to philosophers not to poets. This can’t be answered rationally.

I think poets, actors, children, lucid dreamers and dowsers can know what it is like to be a bat. They can tune into the elemental…

And is there anything else about what is it like to be a bat? To use sound/echo to navigate?

And not far off…and this seems to make God the Omnipotent, perhaps…a bit annoyed?

Are the macro and micro orders…the above and the below…out of synch? There seems to be a difference in scale…a difference that the Son, rather than the Father, intends to bridge…

And is the Son before or after Christ? Does the Son learn, as Adam and Eve do, that restraints create new kinds of love, new kinds of freedom?

And this before and after is a question about different kinds of Time. Where are we?

Some contemporary physicists ( like Kastrup) suggest that space-time is not fundamental. Before we decide to genetically modify another species or our own we should press the pause button?

Maybe amnesia is a necessary restraint upon our memory so that we can evolve?

And what happens right before we remember?

And what happens right before we forget?

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Hi, Friends,

I’m not gonna be able to make the call this morning. I have a headache and some background anxiety that I don’t want to subject you all to. I’ll listen to the video after. I also still have to get caught up on the earlier Milton calls, which I should have more time to do this weekend.

I watched American Dharma this week, which I talked about with Marco a month or so ago. I found it interesting that Steve Bannon likes Milton’s Lucifer. Some of the images from the book found their way into the film too.

Hope it’s a good call—


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