Hello Mr. Wilberg. Thanks for accepting my friend request. I have read most of your books, though some of my favorite things you have written are your seemingly random essays where you juxtapose ideas in unique ways; I especially like the one on Nagas and the one on Marxism and Moksha. I appreciate the unique slant on controversial perspectives.
I admit that some of your work is just too close to my own for comfort, which surprised me when I first read you a decade ago! We have similar influences, both of us drawing from Seth, Hinduism, and continental philosophy–though I am influenced more by Deleuze and Aurobindo than I am of Heidegger and Tantra. And I have yet to even publish one book–still working on my first; it can be difficult, knowing how little people want to read philosophy these days–so far just writing and ranting on my website.
But indeed it is surprising that things have come so far this year. I always had a feeling germ theory was an important issue. Something in me would light up with passion when discussing AIDS, almost more than any other topic, after reading Seth at an early age and thinking deeply about the semiotics of scapegoating, not only surrounding the disease but also the scientists and journalists courageous enough to question the narrative. One of your sites turned me on to Janine Roberts’ “Fear of the Invisible” several years ago and that helped fuel my passion. I have long been disappointed that no academics ever touched the subject. I was big into Derrida for a while and tried in vain to find someone deconstructing virology. Besides one very guarded essay by John Protevi, no one in academia seemed to want to take on one of the biggest frauds and best opportunities for proving philosophy’s relevance since its marginalization over a century ago.
Not that it’s surprising. But it is unfortunate, especially now that this has emerged as the crucial issue of our age, with the future evolution of our planet hanging in the balance, (if Steiner and Theosophy’s 8th sphere myth has any truth to it). Though it has made for some interesting changes in cultural politics this year, with the New Age and the Right getting pushed together and the Left becoming completely submerged by mainstream liberalism. Except for a few unique independent people like you and my friends and I here in Eugene, Oregon, there aren’t many people out there that recognize conspiracy without framing it in traditional Right-wing conspiracy terms. But as the Left is squeezing out more and more people, I am hoping there will be more intelligent bridges built across what is becoming a divided country here and a divided culture across the Western world.
Even if things continue to get worse, more and more people are waking up. Thanks again for the work you have done. I didn’t think you were active on facebook but I checked your page because I remembered a pretty bold comment you made on one of your posts a few years back about the nazis and zionism. I am writing an immanent critique of culture/ counter-cultural dialectics and considered bringing up the problems discussing the holocaust and the origins of the “denier” smear being put to such effective use by technocrats today. I was pleased to see you had been on here posting again and thought I would connect. Thanks again for responding and for the inspiration. Blessings
Thanks for your message. I can make immediate sense of everything you write. Here a few miscellaneous thoughts in response and a bit more about myself and my books. Be interested in the ones you haven’t read, for nowadays tend to point people firstly in the direction of my ‘Memoir of Metaphysical Experiences’ , which can be read on my homesite www.peterwilberg.org but is also published as a book called Dreams, Music and the Many Faces of the Soul.
Interesting that you should like my ‘random’ essays since many of my books were assembled from these as best I could – albeit unfortunately without any editorial or even adequate proper proofing help. And whilst once or twice a year or more I used to have one to one students come to me for a week or two from all over the world (not that I ever advertised myself) I have enjoyed little to no of what you might call fruitful peer contact, besides my late mentor from the mid 70s, Michael Kosok, who first introduced me to Seth, and to whose own writings I created and dedicated a site.
It took time to dawn on me however, that what chiefly lacking in my students, however extraordinary or intense the experienced they had me, was any sense whatsoever of philosophy and meditative thinking, and how this limited their independent thought and questioning capacities and also the degree to which they could learn to embody their lived experience outside my work with them, conceptualise that experience and then come to an intense living experience of new philosophical concepts, all as part of an iterative learning process. All in all, my swimming in the Bermuda triangle cornered by Marx, Heidegger and Indian thought, but with Seth certainly most central, has borne much fruit, though as regards the huge body of the Seth books I never cease to be disappointed at how so very little, beyond fetishing the You Create Your Own Reality mantra, has been made of so much.
Not even Seth’s most interesting remarks on viruses. Though I retain a strong interest in philosophy of science, I steer clear of the scientific and New Age jargon of Quantum this and that, except to confront them both head one in ‘The Qualia Revolution’ and ‘From New Age to New Gnosis’. More recently my attention has been almost exclusively given to the philosophy and praxiology of medicine, and the new existential and meaning-centred approach to illness – and also to counselling medical patients that evolved out of it. My book ‘The Illness is the Cure’ is the only one to have been translated and published into a couple of other languages, not that that has brought much of a readership since it sinks in the market cornering triangle between practical and popular writing, purelyvacademic writin on existential medicine and the tidal wave of superficial New Age literature on health and wellness.
NB I am also a great fan of Ivan Illich’s critique of medical iatrogenesis. And even more recently, my focus has shifted to the phenomenology of death and dying – not an inappropriate theme for a now 68- year old thinker in the midst of a rather lonely death process himself. When I have the strength I write on this, work on my large but still far from complete or properly organised Archive of published and unpublished works, or add to a growing compendium of notes and quotes, in which I am seeking in a rather haphazard fashion, to gather and summarise in one final work what I feel are the most original insights to be found in all my extremely diverse essays and books.
There is a link to this on my homesite. My plan, which may be wishful thinking, is to find a literary executor and archivist with the necessary philosophical nous and appreciation of my work to create a library or bookshop of pdf essays, some of them drawn from a literal deconstruction of my published books themselves, many or most of which are assembled from chapters each of which could be made available as a stand-alone essay or ebook in itself. I am hoping my elder son, who has a PhD in philosophy, will take up this considerable task with the carrot of an income stream from it, but have my doubts about whether he will have the time, inclination or degree of dedication to do so.
PS Naturally I looked at your academia.edu profile. My interest was most piqued by the article on gravity, not least since I have long sought a place for it in my fundamentalist and immateralist ‘consciousness only’ Metaphysics of Absolute Subjectivism (albeit a subjectivity without a subject). Hence my book Event Horizon, based on the sci-fi movie with the same title, though the book is far from adequate in reconceptualising gravity in terms of what I call Subjective Science.
I have your “Event Horizon” on my shelf here and have read most of it. In fact, my best friend and I talked about that book together just before he died. He had been struggling with heroin and I hadn’t heard from him in a while, but he called me to talk about some of the books he had been reading. I had told him about your work because I think your books are in some ways very accessible reflections of the convergence of material I study but haven’t written much about yet.
At the time (a couple years ago) I hadn’t purchased that particular book yet. My friend was intelligent but not academic. He had a great heart that healed my broken heart with his friendship when I was young (18) and suffering from never having known selfless love and friendship. (At his funeral there were no less than 6 of us that called him our “best friend”). I was his intellectual friend though so he took my book recommendations to heart. I think he really liked the title and subtitle of that book, something about “terror” and the image of a dark horizon got his attention. I remember him saying so. We talked about the book which he liked so much and about him getting out of our hometown Peoria, Illinois to get away from heroin and start over. When his partner called me two days later I thought maybe they had decided to move and she was calling me for info, but instead I hear he was gone.
Looking back I think he knew he was going to die (though it was an accident, part of the fentanyl spiking problem). He was always a little in love with death, as all true philosophers are, and I think that “event horizon” was calling him too strongly for him to do the patient work of reaching it through spiritual practice. But he wanted to and I would like to think your book helped him, even if he didn’t have the will to quit drugs and really devote himself to practice, it may have helped him approach that “definitive journey” as Castaneda called it(we both loved Castaneda), with a little less fear. I definitely got that book soon after!
I am 40 and am just now starting to “gather” my thoughts enough for some definitive publishing. I am finally coming out of some chronic health issues and getting the energy to do some serious work. But even if I live to 80, another 40 years hardly seems like enough. I try to meditate for at least a couple hours a day and live so simply that I only have to work a couple days a week. But the days fly by faster and faster. I plan on doing a lot of writing the next few years while the stars are right for it. My “lots” point to a few year window of ideal astrological placement for that kind of work. I don’t want to spend too much time in intellectual pursuits. The higher and deeper regions call me. Yet “thinking” is so important, as you mention. I agree it is getting neglected in both the counterculture and the mainstream, both in spirituality and science.
I am called to work on many of the same intellectual problems you are. Though I tend to look at things within different contexts depending on the problem they address, and therefore do not tend to read you within the frame of your phenomenology, your “fundamentalist” metaphysics of “absolute subjectivism”, though I understand and accept the insights you are trying to communicate with such terms. If I were to frame your work I would probably try to emphasize the relational semiotics you have developed, your novel readings of culture, of medicine, and psychology, and your immanent critique and reconstruction of counterculture. If you notice on my website I mention you in my recommended reading section under modern spirituality and under my health links website, because your insights seem more grounded in a critical application of philosophy to spirituality and health (The counterculture) than any new philosophy or metaphysics.
I could say the same thing about me. I have indeed found your critiques to be the most useful. I really like your little book connecting Lacan and Tantra, your critique of Reich, your attempts at connecting Seth to Gnosticism, your little book on Spanda Karikas, your books on heidegger, psychology and medicine, your book on Hinduism and deep socialism. I guess the reason I like your topical essays and books the most is that I think the insights of your semiotics don’t necessarily flow from your most general principles, especially the”awareness principle”.
It isn’t that I don’t like metaphysics. In fact, I see the most important challenge for the thinking of the past century has been creating the metaphysics for the scientific age. You turned me onto Harrington’s “Reenchanted Science” and that helped me follow the development of Naturphilosophie that I think Bergson and Deleuze helped bring into focus. But coming from their line of thinking, phenomenology (and dialectics) seems to me too grounded in abstraction. Though I do recognize your attempts to ground awareness in a soma-semiotics that reminds me somewhat of Merleau-Ponty. You seem to be following a similar line as him if that line were to connect and critically rejuvenate what mainly has become countercultural, following the vitalist thread through countercultural science and psychology, critically reconstructing and grounding it in a a post-heideggerian phenomenology. But that is just my off-the cuff historicising of your work. It is indeed too rich to reduce to any one or two traditions.
I hope I didn’t come off as overly critical there for a minute. Like two of my heroes, Deleuze and Feyerabend, I think there is value in everything if it gets framed the right way. Which is part of Bergson and Deleuze’s reworking of the dialectic as doing negativity “differently”. When I said both phenomenology and dialectics are too grounded in abstraction I probably should have said that their abstractions just need more context. I think this is what semiotics is getting at.
John Deely’s work argues that the discovery and development of the sign is been at the heart of the story of philosophy and credits Peirce and Heidegger for ushering in a new age of knowledge that understands relationality and semiosis as fundamental. Deely and his hero Pierce see Modern Philosophy and Idealism as getting stuck in a solipsistic loop trying to find their own ground instead of developing the sign as the late latin thinkers were doing (though Hegel almost got out of the trap of this nominalism says Pierce). Rocco Gangle frames this struggle with the relational ground at the deepest levels of logic with a critique of set theoretical thinking by the diagrammatic logic of category theory. In category theory, it isn’t that there is no ground in abstraction exactly, but that every abstraction is an abstraction from other selections, so judging levels of any system is always relative to a particular abstraction not some fundamental ground.
Calling the fundamental ground a subjectivity without a subject as you do, could be seen as a way of gesturing towards the fact that it is consciousness that forms the ground through its perspectives and selections/abstractions. So when I read your “awareness principle” I don’t find anything wrong with it, I just tend to frame it as an important meditative insight over any fundamental idealistic metaphysics. I am particularly influenced by Aurobindo along these lines, who has been my biggest teacher in spiritual practice. He performed similar adjustments to Eastern philosophy and practice with his notion of Supermind and the psychic being. He felt there needed to be a realization of the heterogeneous structure both at the base of existence(supermind) and at the base of practice (psychic being) if yoga was not to get caught in solipsism.
It is difficult to summarize such a vast and deep subject but to get back to physics for a minute–part of the appeal of the Reciprocal System is it’s grounding in heterogeneous relations, rather than abstract discrete concepts like “force” or “field”. Using Larson’s conceptual foundations, there is no need for arbitrary constants and forces: everything is ratios. I think you are onto the same thing when you emphasize the tantric side of your thinking over the vedantic, with its grounding in fundamental sound. Deleuze calls these ratios, these linked rates of change, the “intensive” processes. Forces and fields are important to any physics or metaphysics, but they arise out of relations of motion and change, that is, relations of space and time arise as the intensive ratios become organized along a cascade of symmetry breaking transitions. Gravity is a logical extension of symmetry breaks at the affine level in Klein’s hierarchy of geometry. Once you get the idea of inward and outward, the pressure gradients create movements in both directions as consequent symmetry operations.
I remember that you liked Castaneda, and I think he has a similar scheme, most relevantly “before” the beginning of the “Active Side of Infinity” where contrasts the syntax of beginnings and endings with the syntax of intensive variation. Given Deleuze’s use of Castaneda I thought this was interesting. I think your qualia are closer to Bergson in this regard, which Deleuze alters with his idea of the intensive which relates qualia more with the actual and in some sense the virtual. Your use of qualia remind me very much of Aurobindo’s psychic being which is his way of linking the supermental to a more accessible experience. Qualia seem well placed at the border where the intensive is being experienced by awareness or being actualized into the sensual qualities of awareness, but this is a complicated issue and probably depends on the process being discussed. Deleuze is trying to describe something more general than phenomenology with his concept of the intensive, to get at the roots of the generation of all things not just our experience of them (his attempt to one-up Kant).
In any case, I am most interested in giving the counterculture a better metaphysics, so I am naturally going to read you along those lines and consequently have some differences with you, since you seem to be interested in creating an accessible yoga and philosophy for people that speaks to contemporary needs and concerns. In that sense your “awareness principle” functions well. I am perhaps too concerned with justifying occultism to academics. But it isn’t just occultism, it is creative interpretation of reality. It isn’t just that creative thinkers like Steiner that are completely dismissed, it is any view that contradicts corporate science, as we are seeing. Creative thought is being scapegoated like never before in recent times. I think we need a creative semiotics to evaluate all thought without recourse to the structure of judgment. This was Deleuze and Feyerabend’s impulse as well. Always critical and creative, always transforming, never falling for the absolute judgment. I think the New Age has that potential.
In an interesting book called “The Problem of Disenchanment” Egil Asprem traces early 20th century responses to disenchantment and its failures both by occultists and late Modernist Naturphilosophie. Everyone was reeling from the successful marketing of scientists as the new authorities and there was some embarrassing scientism in philosophers and spiritual thinkers, not to mention failures at understanding. Bergson famously debated Einstein on time and is generally considered to have misunderstood the physics (though this is a complex issue). Philosophy after that has been pretty timid at trying to do science. It has fallen into the hands of less equipped thinkers as we see in much of the New Age. In Wouter Hanegraff’s “New Age Religion” he tries to capture the metaphysics of the New Age and draws on many bad authors and a few good ones like Jane Roberts.
But he doesn’t mention Castaneda, I think because Castaneda doesn’t fit the pattern. As popular and easy to read as Carlos is, his metaphysics fits less the structure of a popular religion than do most of the New Age. His training in hermeneutics put him on a similar track as Deleuze as a more “postmodern” mystic and philosopher of intensity. I tend to think Religion is just metaphysics for the masses. It isn’t wrong, it just leans on cliches that people can understand. Seth definitely has some of the deepest and most profound metaphysics, but he also uses simple language that is easy to construe along popular (now)cliched lines of thinking. Sure “you” create your reality. But what is this “you”? Seth is anything but simplistic about this. You can summarize Seth’s metaphysics as Hanegraff does, but the surface is misleading in great thinkers. Deleuze uses the language of post-structuralism but the ideas are deeply at odds with some of what is called “post-modernism”.
Note on my illness: I am in the end-stage of COPD (emphysema). I had some initial symptoms of breathlessness before the move from the UK to Prague in September 2015 and was diagnosed after acute attacks of breathlessness while doing a lot of strenuous uphill walking whilst apartment hunting here. But I managed fine for several years, still giving intensive one-to-one teaching sessions lasting up to seven hours, and still managing walks of up to 2-3 miles. It was only after my sudden, one day to next, and traumatic abandonment by my beloved 33-year long German partner Karin, that my condition, which is a progressive and ultimately terminal one – deteriorated extremely rapidly. I am now more or less confined to one square metre of space around my sofa and coffee table most of the day, with virtually no direct human contact or communication at all, and can now get breathless to the point of feeling my heart will burst walking just 3 metres when things get really bad. A period of treatment in hospital last December did me a lot of good but was no ‘cure’. It was followed within weeks by a major heart attack – a not unexpected somatisation of my utterly broken heart. And whereas in my hayday I could manage 10 hours of writing a day, now just sitting at my computer desk for an hour is all I can do on the best of days. Sometimes one minute is impossible. That said, I did manage for some time to write a daily phenomenological journal of my illness – though it doesn’t make for comfortable reading. Karin left me to live completely alone and with almost no direct contact with other human beings at all in a tiny wood cabin some friends help us build on a farm in the countryside, an hour by car from Prague. She says she does not regret one minute of our life together, but clearly some deep inner conflicts within her led to her decision – but also, I believe, a need for solitary respite from the years’ long accumulation of what was for us both were the wholly unexpected – and truly Kafkaesque – stresses of living in the Czech Republic, a country we had never even visited before our brave decision to sell our house in the UK and move here. But our retirement dream of finally living on the European continent and enjoying its cafe and classical musical culture has, I’m afraid, become an utter nightmare for us both. Unlike Karin however, I am now also faced with the dire prospect of embarking on “the definitive journey” utterly alone, an embarkation I do not think will take much longer that a few months or less – 6 months or more seems very optimistic right now, and is not something I actually wish for in the least. I will certainly never speak to a doctor or phone for an ambulance again – I am positively iatrophobic now – but do have some palliative medication to get by on. But it saddens me that because of Covid restrictions and my illness – which makes travel out of the question, I will likely never get to see my two adult sons again, nor meet my three grandchildren for just the first time.
What will, unfortunately, but most likely, be lost with my passing: the trained use of what I call the Yoga of the Face, Eyes and of Bodying to use the resonant ‘bipersonal field’ established through close-up ‘pair meditation’, not just as a medium of intensely sensuous but physically contactless ‘tantric’ soul-body intimacy and sexual intercourse, but also as a new methodology of subjective, soul-scientific and metaphysical research capable of inter-subjective validation. Unfortunately however, though I have many poetic testimonials from students to ‘Tantric Pair Meditation’, I have only one extant Soul-Scientific research paper, in which resonant pair meditation was used to enter the inner world and qualitative state of consciousness behind a particular colour shade.
The scope of this mode of research is as broad and deep as that of Steiner’s methodology of ‘Spiritual Scientific’ research into ‘Higher Worlds’, except that none of his followers, even those running the upper echelons of the Anthroposophical School of Spiritual Science, has yet been able to achieve the results that Steiner did – let alone extend Steiner’s research much beyond his own over-literalised description of the all ‘the results’ he described as stemming from it. My own method, is from the beginning an inter-subjective exercise that could be validated by other pairs of individuals. It is perhaps more comparable to what Seth calls ‘Mental Physics’, albeit less abstract and far more highly embodied than the term ‘mental’ suggests. It is perhaps better understood in terms of what Seth calls ‘The Conceptual Sense’, i.e. coming to a direct inner subjective experience of formal scientific concepts – such as ‘gravity’ – rather than merely seeking an abstract conceptual deconstruction or re-interpretation of them that is not rooted in an inner experience of their essence or nature. I think here also of my general experience and conceptualisation of the reciprocal dynamic or dialectic of thinking as an alternation between the (re-)conceptualisation of lived, subjective experience, on the one hand, and coming to a lived experience and embodiment of (new) concepts on the other.
Further remarks in this context: 1. I feel the term ‘semiotic relationality’ is not fully adequate to describing the felt, bodily or ‘organismic’ side of what I eventually, after many earlier names, came to call ‘morphic resonation’, drawing on but in contrast to Sheldrake’s term ‘morphic resonance’. I feel strongly that the distinction I make between ‘signified sense’ on the one hand, and directly felt or sensed significance on the other, needs to become basic to semiotics as a new, but, for my liking, too specialised and at the same time too ambitious a discipline in academia, and aside from my work on ‘Soma-Semiotics’ feel wary about turning the still inadequately thought out concept of ‘semiotics’ into a lynchpin theoretical signifier in itself. 2. In good Tradition, I only felt able to begin my own most serious and prolific period of work as a writer after reaching the age of 40 – it having taken several decades to search for and find the first provisional terms and language (that of ‘morphic resonation’) with which to describe some of the life-changing experiences of what I blandly call ‘pair meditation’ and that are partly recounted in my Memoir. 3. I stress again and again that Karin’s tantric poetry – stemming from her experience of tantric pair meditation with me – is not linguistically or poetic or metaphoric but a quite literal description of sensuously tangible lived experiences(‘metaphoric’ though all lived experience may be, in certain terms, in itself.)
A note on Castaneda from my own con-textual and soul-scientific research: This was motivated by a curious resonance I sensed in the mood or tonality of Juan’s Matus’s language and pithy terms, and those of Martin Heidegger. And indeed, a clear lineage can be traced in his work that has nothing to do with that Mexican Indians or Toltec sorcerers but goes from the ‘ethnomethodology’ of supervisor Harald Garfinkel (himself an exceptional genius), back to the emigre Heidegger-student and social phenomenologist, Alfred Shutz – and thence to Heidegger himself – whom I believe is obliquely referred to in the final parts of the Florinda Donner book, and clearly indicated merely by its neo-Heideggerian title: ‘Being-in-Dreaming’. The question of whether or not his books were dreamt up fiction or literal fact is a wholly false one on one level but a wholly valid one on the other. It took a very lengthy soul-scientific pair meditation or ‘resonation’ session, using Karin as witnessing anchor, to eventually break through to the ‘inner worldview’ of Castaneda (comparable but less exhaustive and comprehensive that what Jane Roberts did with the afterlife worldview of William James). What I learned surprised me. Castaneda had with deliberate intent, deliberately ‘set up’ the literal facts and events vs dreamt-up fiction question in order, as in the teaching of the books themselves, to break down this very dichotomy. The further two ‘teaching’ or experienced ‘comprehension’ of his work I accrued from the meditation can be formulated as follows. As Castaneda concedes in one of his works, all the extraordinary events and experiences he recounts were recollected through what he termed ‘recapitulation’, rather like the recollection of intensely lucid and lived dreams. But this is no ‘concession’ to skeptics at all, but rather the opposite – an affirmation of the Sethian message that ‘actual’, ‘outer’, ‘factual’ or ‘physical’ events, are but the surface manifestation of “inner events” – psychic events which may also find more or less lucid and precise ‘virtual’ expression as dreams. The real teacher behind the Castaneda books is Castaneda himself rather than Juan Matus, i.e. Castaneda’s own soul entity, which he personified with genius, all the other characters in his books, Juan Matus included, being also personifications of that entity, but on a deeper level, playing a less central role than Castaneda himself. Harald Garfinkel too, I see as a key player in the whole drama – being also the first to provisionally state a central element and some basic practices of ‘the teachings’ – but was kept in the background in the books. But what a supreme achievement on the part of Castaneda, well read, as Florinda Donner noted in European philosophy, to span the seemingly huge gulf between arcane realms of Toltec sorcery and Heidegger’s Eurocentric thinking – using Garfinkel and ethnomethodology as the hidden bridge.
On ‘gravity’: Correct me if I am wrong but it seems from what you write about it that Larson’s work still inhabits the realm of an alternative purely ‘physicalistic’ understanding of the universe in which it is still presupposed that the starting point of thought is the existence of a ‘objective’ universe of bodies in space-time independent of consciousness, as if there were or could be anything ‘outside’ consciousness. “…there is no need for arbitrary constants and forces: everything is ratios. What I also detect here is the continuing Reign of Quantity (Rene Guenon) and calculative reason over meditative thinking, the very term ‘ratios’ as well as the word ‘reason’ having its roots the Latin reor – to reckon or calculate. “Forces and fields are important to any physics or metaphysics, but they arise out of relations of motion and change …”
I suspect some misunderstanding of my own fundamental position, which is that bodyhood, motion, change, inertia, momentum, acceleration, spatiality and temporality, pressure, density, gravity and levity, charge, luminosity and vibration, (emotional) charge, polarity and indeed etc. are all fundamentally qualities of consciousness, and not of anything physically pre-existing or external to it. And so within what I call ‘subjective science’ there already is “no need for arbitrary constants or forces” in the first place.
I believe we need to return to primary dimensions of phenomenal experiencing and recognise ‘gravity’ as a scientific concept, is, as a phenomenon, first and foremost not something ‘out there’ in an objective physical universe – but rather as a subjective mental and/or mathematical construct erected around a single but still unthought word.
At the time of Locke and Berkeley, it was the former whose thinking represented the hidden counterpart in thought of a rising industrial capitalist system in which calculative quantitative measurements and ratios – for example of exchange values – became dominant. In contrast, Locke’s famous opponent, Bishop George Berkeley, most elegantly in his Three Dialogues of Hylas and Philonous, asked the simply phenomenological question of whether there is anything at all in our lived, quality-less experience that corresponds to the quality-less abstraction of ‘matter’ or material ‘substance’. More recently, Samuel Avery (‘The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness’) has argued very cogently, that what we call ‘matter’ is nothing more than the tactile dimension of our lived subjective and sensory experiencing, embracing subjectively experienced sensory qualities such as hardness and softness etc. And since all experiencing is by nature subjective, I reject completely the notion that consciousness or subjectivity is in need of ‘objects’. Rather I see any such so-called ‘objects’ as nothing but forms taken by consciousness and within consciousness.
Berkeley’s ‘immaterialism’ is nevertheless quite distinct from that of a modern physics which seeks to use the concept of ‘mass-energy’ to free itself from an older concept of ‘matter’ as some sort of notion of hard corporeal substance. I must emphasise that I reject the physicalistic concept of mass-energy in its entirety, seeing in it a reflection of what Marx saw as the immaterial ghost or ‘spirit’ of exchange value. Just as the ‘mass’ construct removed the last potentially qualitative dimensions of the ‘matter’ concept – the subjective tactile experience of impenetrable hardness, so does capitalism remove the primacy all that is sensually tangible from the so-called material realm through the dominance of the commodity form and its financialisation in the form of virtual or fictive money generated from nothing (a quantum vacuum in the most literal financial sense) by the banks. Similarly, the concept of ‘energy’ can be seen as a counterpart to what Marx called abstract human labour, i.e. ‘work’ (ergon) shorn and abstracted of any qualitative characteristics or particularity.
The question that Berkeley posed regarding ‘matter’ can be posed about ‘gravity’ too. The question is in essence a very simple one, requiring no hyper-complex conceptual systems to articulate. It asks us: is there anything in subjective lived experience that corresponds to these words, in this case to what is called ‘gravity’? The question itself needs addressing inwardly and subjectively, rather than by objectifying and accounting for gravity in any objectifying scientific or physicalistic manner whatsoever, mainstream or alternative. We might then begin to venture into dimensions of lived subjective experience that do in some felt sense correspond to the word or verbum. A starting point would be the understanding of the word as a verb. For example the experience of being held in the pull of something or someone in such a way that we find ourselves gravitating towards them (or else circle or circumscribe them elliptically in order to avoid falling too deeply and losing ourselves in the black hole of this pull or draw). The fact that we feel drawn to someone is not explained by some mysterious force or field of ‘attraction’. Rather the converse – ‘attraction’ (noun) consists in this ‘feeling drawn to’ (verb).
Historical note: the notion of gravity as a ‘force’ was long since rejected by Hegel as ‘barbaric’, He sought instead for the deeper, most essential ‘idea’ that constitutes its essence – a quest echoed by Heidegger by emphasising that “All explanation can only reach only so far as the explication of what it is we seek to explain.” This means also allowing language itself to speak to us here, rather than merely instrumentalising it to come up with new conceptual ‘explanations’.
Historical note: I feel strongly we should not be too hasty in regarding thinkers of the past as dated and favouring more contemporary thinkers and their conceptual systems. Doing so is what makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the scientist of today however, to understand the dynamic ontological idealism or dynamic Platonism of Hegel’s philosophy of nature, with its claim that only through philosophy can the essential idea of what any natural phenomenon essentially is be dialectically derived and deduced. For example, if there were only one body in the universe, it would make no sense to speak of gravity at all, the essence of which must therefore be to do with the philosophical relation between the One and the Many, the singularity and multiplicity of bodies. Hegel defines the idea of gravity ontologically as the being-in-itself of any body, but one whose being-for-itself can only be realised in relation to a multiplicity of other bodies whose ‘relative centre’ lies outside itself in a single central body. Gravity is the logical-ideational counterpart of the negative holding apart from each other of bodies, without which there could be no multiplicity of bodies. Motion is not a given, but the union or synthesis of the holding themselves apart of bodies as a multiplicity and their unity or oneness – manifest not as a purely singular but as single relatively central body and the gravitation or “striving out of itself” of one body towards another. To attribute the being held apart from each other of bodies as the result of a causal force of ‘repulsion’ however, is no less redundant than speaking of their immanent unity as the causal effect of a gravitational ‘force’ of attraction.
Question: as with the term ‘semiotics’ I admit to having some uncertainty about what is meant by the use of the term ‘topology’, and its relation to space (or ‘counter-space’) and its geometries. For as Heidegger also emphasises, the Greeks had no word for the abstraction of ‘space’, but only a word for a concrete ‘place’ or ‘region’ (topos). Hence also the Aristotelian notion that earthly things fall to the ground or earth because of their earthly nature – the earth being their natural place. Similarly, for the Greeks, phusis (translated in Latin as ‘natura’) was a word for ‘All That Is’ – for the totality of beings or phenomena, including not only natural ones but also the gods. Phusein referred to the ‘emergence’ or coming to presence of phenomena in the light of awareness. I myself, of course, and as you will know, understand all beings as individualised portions, expressions and embodiments of a universal consciousness, each distinct but inseparable from it, and belonging also to particular species and planes of consciousness. This in contrast to the later perception of natural phenomena, including trees, storms, stars, sun, moon and planets as mere objects of consciousness or even dead rocks in space, rather than as ‘gods’ – subjectivities or consciousnesses in themselves.
Your reference to my notion of Qualia. It is important to remember that this is based on a fundamental distinction between ‘soul qualities’ – understood as innately sensuous qualities or qualia of awareness itself, comparable to qualities of mood and feeling tone, and their manifestation in and as the sensory qualities of phenomena we are aware of – for example qualities of voice or musical tone. In contrast, the conventional concept of qualia identifies them only with these manifest sensory qualities. That is why emphasise the distinction through the differential use of the terms ‘sensuous’ and ‘sensory’ for these twin aspects of qualia.
On the politico-economic instrumentalisation of thought: I concur with Heidegger than any type of thinking that is planned or calculated in advance to achieve any form of social change, ceases to be thinking in the deeper philosophical sense. As Heidegger put it, the question is not what we can do with philosophy, but what it can do with us – something that may or may not bear fruit as new forms of practical political or scientific ‘theory’. As regards questions of social change or transformation in general, I hold to the concept of ‘Relational Revolution’, i.e. that neither society nor the individual are the locus or focus of change and transformation but rather the immediate modes of relating of one individual to another within larger social groups and contexts. This was, of course, Martin Buber’s position – namely that society and social relations are built of ‘units’ of one-to-one relation. The split between the individualistic spirituality of transcendent awareness or embodied ‘presence’ (Spira, Tolle and other gurus) and the politics of social transformation lacks a fundamental element – the ‘yoga’ of aware, ensouled and embodied relating to other individuals in their uniqueness or singularity. Our responsibility to others in society and society at large is always first and foremost a response-ability to specific others. Having something to say ‘about’ something (an It) is of value only in so far as in doing so we are aware and able of saying something to and attuned to a specific someone or group of individuals – a You.
Wow Peter. I am so sorry you are having such a hard time; I hope things will get better for you and you find you have more time, energy and strength than you feel at the moment. It is indeed a difficult time for all of us. Astrologer Barbabra Handclow believes this time period is the most intense in her lifetime, leading up to this Saturn/Jupiter conjunction.
I appreciate you taking what little active-time and energy you have at your disposal to respond to my thoughts. I hope you know that whatever happens to your name and the work that it signifies, your accomplishments will live on. I wrote this verbose justification for writing a while back as I started planning my book projects, pondering the point and end of any effort to commit my thoughts to writing: http://www.creativecoherence.org/book-preview/
But I am sure it is nothing you haven’t thought about before. I think you and I are coming from very similar soul/consciousness-threads and having both been so influenced by Seth, I know you know that nothing is really “lost”. The “Sethian” distinction you were using between the inner and outer event concerning Castaneda is oh so central to the question of what really matters in the end, and hence all ethical questions. I made it the central motif in my essay “It Could Have Been Otherwise”, starting with a quote from Seth on the distinction you are referring to. It is central to Deleuze’s philosophy too, which often goes under the name “the event”, like here:”When time passes and takes the instant away, there is always a meanwhile to restore the event.”
And in my last essay “Sacrifice and Repetition”, this concern with legacy came up again as a central theme. It seems that every time I go to write something more formal it comes up, in that essay in the form of asking: what is really new, what really lives on? it is interesting that we are talking asyou are approaching this transition. I remember sending you a message many years ago and I didn’t get a response. You may have just not seen it since we weren’t facebook friends and messages from random people sometimes get lost, but regardless, I am glad I am getting to talk to you now.
And I don’t mean to belabor this point about death and legacy, but I find it interesting that it has been a theme in my life and those close to me, perhaps more intensely now as Jupiter conjuncts Saturn. Bruce (the dialectic theorist I mentioned) dropped off copies of his latest book the other day to a few of us here in this house. He has been working hard to complete his life’s work before he is too old, but his work is so difficult, so dense with his symbolic algebraic script, that I don’t think anyone but him even knows how to read it, let alone wants to read it, haha. But I believe there are beings on some level that do understand and value his work as much as I value his friendship and value making him defend his work to me, since I so love pit my Deleuzian ideas against the dialectic.
One of my main motivations for even having that website is just having a recommendations page since I so like to help people find the good books and work, especially the underappreciated work of independent thinkers that are getting neglected. One of these fellows that was helping me with Larson’s physics died this year. He was the guy running the main site devoted to preserving and furthering Larson’s work. Luckily Larson had a trust set up so there are people still taking care of both of these guys’ important research.
…. a major point of my last couple essays has been to explore how what really lasts is that which is picked up in new developments. Steiner’s followers indeed cannot reproduce his results because that very desire is contrary to the spirit of the soulful creativity he sought to help inspire in people. It is one of the major problems with spiritual culture. The master attracts “students” which are usually the people least likely to attain the level of individuation of the master. It is the same with psychotherapy. People that are attracted to a therapist usually are still trying to overcome their oedipal issues. Deleuze and Guatarri’s Marxian critique of Freud and Lacan was that they universalize this paternal arrangement of the psyche which is more of a by-product of capitalist alienation than a universal psychic structure. The therapist often plays into the insular arrangement of transference, merely socializing them into the symbolic order of the big other rather than helping the dependent person individuate. Spiritual teacherstend to be much worse, especially with the guru tradition. Castaneda’s disciples killed themselves after he left. Ouspensky went from being a confident theosophist to a conflicted and traumatized disciple after his relationship with Gurdjieff.
Maybe the guru tradition worked before everyone was so fucked up by capitalism but in modern times there is no guru that has left any disciples remotely approaching their own level. It isn’t the disciples that carry on the work of a great soul, even though there are many good masters who have helped many poor souls in modern times.It is other strong souls that carry on the master’s legacy. Steiner may have been poisoned by the nazis, but he also may have just died so young from being overworked. He supposedly could never say no to people coming to see him (he had a bit of martyr-complex after his Christian conversion).
Aurobindo went the other direction and refused to see anyone, confining his contact to letters. But I have read several thousand pages of his lettersto his disciples and I can tell he was getting tired of it. He had his partner Mirra, herself worshipped as a guru by their students, taking care of thestudents in person but he complained of being turned into a “letter-writing machine”. Mirra eventually felt trapped by them and now they have made areligion out of these two brave souls that would have been appalled at such a thing.
My friend Debashish Banerji may not be Aurobindo caliber in yoga or scholarship, but he carries on his ideas into new fields and forms. Steiner hasinspired people in so many fields. Dewey Larson, who you mentioned did indeed have mostly a physical theory—though he did write a book of metaphysics—was taken up by the most esoteric thinkers in alternative science. Larson’s students had their own little civil war, with the sycophantsresenting the new direction these equally brilliant men were taking Larson’s ideas. It’s an old story.
But to address your concerns about Larson’s physics in more detail, I would say that although Larson did make a distinction between the physical universe and the universe “beyond space and time”, his vision of the physical universe was not one made up of objects in space and time. He realized objects are made up of abstract changes that are actually ratios of space to time when viewed within a reference frame. Others would later go on to make his ideas even less bound to traditional notions, but he had the basic insight to question, as Steiner did, the primacy of objects and matter in a container of space and time, and realize that “speed” as both Larson and Steiner put it, is prior to objects and motion in a reference frame. This can get complicated so I will just say for now that your immediate impressions are misleading, for although “ratio” is indeed a quantitative notion, we are talking about physics, which is indeed and unavoidably concerned with quantity. But what much of spiritual science is about is grounding both quantitative and qualitative distinctions in the deeper music of the spheres.
I agree Steiner was way too literalistic and scientistic in the presentation of his ideas. It was a common mistake of the time period, as I mentioned. Semiotics I like as a signifier when dealing with interpretation because I do believe it has been well thought out logically as an alternative to representational and set theoretic logic if you see it as a form of category theory. Here is Gangle’s book on the philosophical implications:
I call my method of occult interpretation “occult semiotics” because I can’t think of a better term for using the non-standard, immanent logic of people likeDeleuze and Feyerabend to evaluate different metaphysics. I could use Laurelle’s terms but I think they are too gimmicky and scientistic. But I agree withDeleuze’s critique of Peirce, that despite his genius, he failed to get past the signifier. In Peirce’s crusade against nominalism, he perhaps stayed to closeto realism, and underestimated the value of idealism. In any case, the whole point in immanence is getting beyond the either/or logic of judgment andrepresentation. And though semiotics has a bit of a representational sound to it, hence the recent trend in Theory towards affect and continuity, I thinkwe need room for both, as Alexander Galloway defends here: https://youtu.be/eq4CDLNAvXU
Galloway actually points out in that video that the contrast between analog and digital thinking can be illuminated quite well by looking at the etymology, something you might find interesting. Suffice it to say, both the sign and ratio are indeed “digital” notions, that is, more associated with the Logos, withthese more analog notions of affect and “felt meaning” having some relation to a kind of proportionality. Logos and Analogos, ratio and proportion, areinteresting ways of coming at this difference you are trying to get at between kinds of sense and the relation between them. Deleuze wrote a whole bookon these issues concerning the “event” and the logic of sense.
Deleuze is often called a “materialist” but as you have found with Marx, that term can be misleading. I was put off both thinkers in my early years because I was too attached to thinkers that were explicitly “spiritual”. I am glad I spent my thirties studying science and western philosophy, not because I think they are superior to the East and the more “consciousness”-orientated thinkers I studied in my twenties, but because I think everyone has something to teach us. As Feyerabend said, “there is no idea, no matter how ancient or absurd that cannot add to our knowledge”. Some of course more than others, but it greatly depends on the context. Deleuze’s tradition he constructs along the theme of “immanence”, which deals with a similar problem as your concern with representation but in a different way. In this tradition he chooses Spinoza and Nietzsche over Berkley and Hegel, not because he rejects all of absolute idealism, but because he finds reasons to emphasize a kind of realism and a variation on pantheism over idealism. The reasons are complicated but can be framed as the comparative advantages of different routes beyond representation. The pragmatics of these distinctions have nothing to do with calculative thinking but actually signify the necessities of truly thinking differently than the calculative mode. Idealism’s route beyond representation had a hard time getting very far past its generic categories and mono-centered lines of development. Deleuze calls Hegel’s “infinite representation” nothing more than “orgiastic representation”.
I would simply say here that empiricism ultimately made idealism irrelevant not because it was, but because it was unable to extend phenomenology to science’s own “orgy” of concept creation that it became obsessed with. I see you trying to remedy that and reground science in phenomenology. Much of what you have written, both in your books and in your email, I completely agree with and recognize in my own thought from different angles. I indeed try to trace what Deleuze calls minor or nomad science and what today might be called alternative science to romantic and Goethean science and hence to a kind of phenomenology. I can just take the concepts you are speaking of, like Hegel’s concept of gravity, and give it more determinate content, I can link it with physics and critique physics by putting it on philosophically coherent grounds which indeed undermines its notion of fundamental objects, or even the equally substantive notion of “field” (no matter how abstract they try to make the notion).
Indeed topology and projective geometry are important in this regard for they concern the generation of space and our experience of space. Deleuze’s integration of idealism and realism, the continuous and the discrete, empiricism and transcendental philosophy, he sometimes calls “transcendental empiricism” because he is trying to complete Kant’s attempt to explain the generation of experience, and following Bergson, the genesis of space and time. Steiner also recognized the power of projective geometry in this regard, though since that time, topology has extended projective geometry’s still somewhat phenomenological framing. You indeed can get many of the basics with your phenomenological approach without delving into the admittedly complex subjects of group theory, topology and complexity theory itself. But when done right, these things do indeed scale down to intuitive”felt meaning” as I tried to do initially with my essay on gravity but more fully with “It Could Have Been Otherwise”, where I explain some of these things with the help of popular sci-fi shows without going into any “hyper-complex” subjects.
Suffice it to say, topology and group theory, especially as they are understood by the theorists I draw from (the deleuzian and the Reciprocal System people) formalize and extend our phenomenological intuitions about the meaning of embodied events into a plane that transcends individual beings and embodied events without getting lost in the abstraction process, without generalizing from relations of particulars that obfuscate the relations that scale and point to all other events and phenomenon. If you want to get into the specifics I can certainly go into more detail.
I saved an in-depth conversation I had with the now deceased theorist of the reciprocal system named BrucePeret. Peret and I debate terminology here and the value of certain concepts in alternative physics, but ultimately agree that “topological” is a good termfor what Larson was talking about. It might be hard to follow though if you don’t have some background or familiarity with this stuff: http://www.creativecoherence.org/2018/03/10/conversation-on-the-concept-of-scalar-with-bruce-peret/
Also, I just want to say that info on Castaneda was very cool. I knew about his links with Heidegger, which is why I mentioned hermeneutics, and had formed almost the exact same perspective as you did through your psychic experiment. The “event” is so important a concept and these pseudo-Marxists like Badiou don’t understand it at all. Seth nailed it so well without all the fancy language of these French intellectuals. I suppose I just want to help bridge the esoteric scene and the intellectuals so bad because I think the future of the planet is at stake, which requires more than just critiquing science from within a spiritual perspective, but necessitates as Steiner put it, a “spiritualization of the intellect” and of science itself. To that end I am doing my best to make coherent sense out of not just the future of science but the future of religion, which is going on right now in esoteric UFOlogy.
To illustrate I will just add a few things about Hegel’s ideas on gravity which I appreciated you sharing. I had never heard it put quite like that. Where does he discuss that?
Part of the benefit of science is how it has challenged some of our more common sense phenomenological conceptions. One problem has been that science has all these supposedly empirically derived concepts that have become divorced from any phenomenological experience due to the rapid expansion and increasing mediation of technology and the knowledge it has created which transcends the bounds of immediate experience. Steiner made the point that thought must rise as far above nature as technology has descended below it, and I think he means something related here. We must extend intuitive thinking to new regions, extend experience and concept creation to the same level that science is penetrating with its technics. As far down as physics drills with analysis we must ascend with synthesis. But this is not patchwork integration, which is basically what most cosmologists and theoretical physicists do, and which is basically just more calculative thinking taken to the extreme.
Science often extends common sense notions until they don’t go any further, until their limits are found and new concepts are created. This is part of why Deleuze says empiricism has an orgy of concept creation—which sounds like his characterization of Hegel indulging in an orgy of representation, but creating concepts for him is different than merely opposing conflicting representations (which only represent they do not create a multiplicity like Deleuze’s “concept”) even if those oppositions do often lead to a new synthesis. Dialectics often “explicates well what it seeks to explain” but can miss certain key differences (as Somers-Hall points out in his comparative study of Hegel and Deleuze as he applies both approaches to biology and morphogenesis). In my last essay I classify three modes of production with asexual replication(firstness), sexual/dialectical reproduction(secondness), and the triadic”tantric” creative extrapolation/transformation as three levels of successively more refined modes of negation and development, with the third level being the most characterized by the creativity at work in the background of the previous two levels, which in terms of knowledge creation becomes an overcoming of the gaps in representation not by synthesizing or expanding contradictions but through symbiotic and triadic transformations.
When physics reached a most important impasse, Bohr took a different route and refused to integrate, thus breaking with the tradition of classic synthesis in interesting ways but also setting up a tendency of future physics to back down from any attempt at creating concepts to bridge the gap. David Bohm tried but his concepts only covered over the gap that stayed strongly marked by Bohr’s concept of complementarity that remains the dominant sign of this gap between representations. My hero in the philosophy of science is Paul Feyerabend whose approach can be characterized as finding the connection between theories as a process of selection—finding multiple starting points and theories that can make different kinds of sense of different but overlapping phenomenon and finding a way through an impasse not by contradiction but though multiplicity illuminating the source assumptions creating contradiction.
So gravity was considered an attraction as an analogy with phenomenon from psychological experience but was it the correct analogy? Was it the best concept? As the phenomenon was explored such an analogy broke down not because it was wrong but because it was not sufficiently understood—for what is this thing we feel as an attraction? Hegel was right to critique Newton’s vague concept of force and his intuitions of gravity and space seem to build well off of Leibniz and Kant. But given the social investment in Newtonian physics, no one cared or developed a better physics for gravity until Einstein created one that broke with the vague analogies of Newton but further complicated matters. Larson called his book dealing most centrally with gravity “Beyond Newton” because he wanted to go back to the core analogies that plagued Einstein’s thinking. His concept of gravity connects with different analogies, and similar concepts emerge from all corners of thoughtful science surrounding fundamental physics. One of my favorite scientists in recent years is the late Mae Wan Ho, also recently deceased. My website name is more of a play on her terms than Deleuze’s more complicated terms and complicated relationship with the term coherence. Gravity has a lot to do with coherence (or perhaps incoherence).
But to get down to the basic felt meaning of what you discussed as gravity’s true sense, it is helpful to imagine how our sense of space represents our inner closeness or nearness with something. As we come into coherence with something, space and time can seem to disappear. Gravity is not an attraction to another body in space so much as the elimination of space, i.e. “counter”space. But it has a limited kind of aggregate coherence and therefore is mostly balanced by the expansive motion of the universe. All the more interesting processes play out in the elctro-magnetic domain as coherences develop within the pressure gradient medium set within the wombs of gravity that develop within the expanding universe. All so-called forces are nothing but shear stresses in the more fundamental mismatches of motion that arise in the processes of individuation immanent to the heterogenous continuum that is reality, but which get striated into separate entities as “consciousness” assumes distinct reference coordinates as we descend “down” the gravity well created by entropy and a subjective reference point formed as the projective stratum becomes the affine geometric stratum and assumes an in/out distinction (for a connection between projective geometry and esoteric ontology see Steiner’s lectures on the 4th dimension or anthroposophist Olive Welcher’s book “Projective Geometry”). Along these lines we can see as eccentric inventor and neo-platonist Ken Wheleer does, how magnetism is part of the secret to everything from visible structure to anti-gravity, for the same illusion of “attraction” and repulsion is at work there but so much more powerfully. Also I would add is superconductivity, which repels all external magnetism in a “Meisner field”.
In any case centripetal “forces” are about levels of coherence that cancel or stabilize the centrifugal “force” or “push” responsible for both entropic dispersion and (when balanced)membrane stability. What results is a “pull”, though the dynamics and magnitudes are much different in different cases, especially between the very dispersed and seemingly weak gravitational effect and the often very powerful effects of electromagnetism. Attraction therefore becomes more of a handy metaphor that can nonetheless obfuscate an even more primordial intuition of a sucking down the drain, a pull towards a mutual center that gets defined as the space between gets negated. Attraction is always a bit of a puzzling feeling, is it not?, riddled with mystery and a desire that can never quite find its center. I prefer the tantric path of navigating variations in intensity and pressure without beginning and end.
…And thank you again for such an inspiring conversation. I hope my ramblings aren’t taking too much of your energy. I would love to continue drilling into our differences and reactions to each other, but I also don’t want to take too much of your energy. If only I had a Jane Roberts caliber medium at my disposal, then we could shelve this conversation until you have taken your definitive journey (hopefully not too soon) and then we could pick up the conversation from the other side; we could continue the conversation for years to come and I could put your ongoing messages from beyond the grave on a subscription substack! haha My friend John David Ebert did a series of youtube interviews with philosophers (including Heidegger) channeled through the medium Shruti Kamble. She is pretty good! But no Jane Roberts. I think she gets some spot on impressions without knowing anything of philosophy, but without knowing more philosophy, the content is of course rather limited. Nothing like Roberts’ amazing work with William James and Cezanne, especially Cezanne because she claimed to know so little about painting beforehand.
Starting to go through your memoir. Wow…it is very rich. I remember how I started to read it at some point and meant to come back to it. I might have to just order a physical copy to read it more closely. You have had quite the life! And you do such a good job of bringing the ideas of Seth to life and taking them further. They already represented an advance in occult/spiritual culture and you have definitely advanced and fleshed out some important aspects of the Seth material. The Seth and Castaneda material both represent a beginning of spiritual thinking starting to pass beyond the modern(theosophical) and ancient (religious) modes into complexity(so-called postmodern, post-essentialism), in that they open up a way towards an understanding and appreciation of the differential structure of the soul.
Your experiments with your friends remind me of similar things I have experienced with friends, but only on drugs, and not as sustained and cultivated as with you and yours. My early drug use actually damaged my health pretty badly(on top of some childhood trauma and even older karma), and consequently my spirituality the past couple decades has been much more concerned with preparation and purification than the irresponsible experimentalism of my youth. But as I have now reached the age of maturity and am finding my ground and equilibrium, I look forward to experimenting again soon, not with drugs, but with the wonderful group-soul dynamics that Seth, Castaneda and you have developed.
My younger brother Giordan and I have long planned to start a spiritual retreat and education center. My youngest brother Austin is a Taoist internal arts and martial arts fanatic and the three of us are strongly connected at the soul level. Austin is the most psychic and suffered many bizarre possession and channelling episodes when he was a young child. I got him into tai chi to help ground him and luckily he has been much more grounded with all that Taoist emphasis on the lower tan tien(hara) to balance him out. But the feeling is strong that we will be able to get some kind of experimental community together some day. Giordan is the business guy, spending too much of his time trying to make it big so we can do some of our dreams. With the current political situation our community might end up being more insular than we had thought. But ever since my earlier experiences I have had a strong desire to bring the right people together as Castaneda does in the later books. Astrology has helped me study the alchemy of interpersonal dynamics but the magic of it is indeed a deep mystery that you seem to have explored in some detail. I am glad you put your experiences in writing. For while no experience or idea is ever lost, it is nice to have a culture of exchange to further these important structures for our future.