I decided to give Matthew's linked writings a thread instead of being a tangent in the Spheres thread. Some of the latter posts from that thread are below to kick this off.

Matthew: Hey Balder, I noticed footnotes2plato was linking here, figured I'd come see what the conversation was about. I have not read Sloterdijk's Spheres, but so far your friend Bobby is right about The Hermetic Deleuze. I'm only on page 61, but Ramey's treatment of the hermetic tradition (with which I am familiar rather familiar) steers clear of piousness while still capturing its imaginative power and ongoing relevance; and his treatment of Deleuze (who I am far less familiar with) is clear and compelling. I did indeed recently take one of Jorge's classes, co-taught with prof. of philosophy and religion Jacob Sherman. I wrote a paper for him that might be relevant to theurj's concerns. I'll post it below.

Theurj, I'd be curious to know who you were studying during your initiation into the regressive, retro-romantic, metaphysical sludge of contemporary hermeticism? Could you offer some examples of the baggage you felt was too heavy to carry? 

I share your concerns with the so-called perennial tradition, and I think any retrieval of hermeticism has to pull this strange philosophical mix of alchemy, astrology, and magic free of any supposedly pure origins in some long lost wisdom from the beginning of time. Hermeticism is hybridic by its very nature, borrowing from anything that proves useful in its pursuit of eudaimonic psyche- and physis-transforming arts and sciences. I wrote a paper for Jorge Ferrer on an example of how hermeticism can be creatively retrieved to aid the study of chemically-altered (alchemical) consciousness.

theurj: P. 5 of this thread contains some discussion of this. See that post and several others on that page following.

Mary: Theurj wrote: "they [the perennial tradition's interpretations & practices] are hand-in-hand of a metaphysics of the most ontotheological kind and will only serve to contaminate, and ultimately defeat, a postmetaphysical project."

Wow. Ultimately defeat? The stuff's that powerful, eh?

theurj: Capitalism is one of those metaphysical demons and yes, it can and is defeating a postmetaphysics of immanence that promotes democracy, humanity and environmental protection. Hence all the fuss about capitalism by Deleuze, Hayles etc. as sorcery.

Matthew, in addition to the below perhaps this thread on James' Varieties of Religious Experience will be relevant. I haven't had time yet to read your referenced article but will soon. I see that you mentioned James and I find him to indeed be the father of the transpersonal psychology movement, as well as seeing some of the perennial tradition's metaphysics in James and his progeny.

Mary: I appreciate this explication. I just still don't grok the rigid metaphysical / postmetaphysical distinctions. Capitalism could be understood as sorcery (or greed, idolatry, etc.) by those with metaphysical perspectives. Likewise, an immanence-promoting democracy (embodiment, presence, brotherly/sisterly love) could be fostered by those with metaphysical perspectives. 

theurj: Good point, in that for me one aspect of postmetaphysics is exactly that there aren't rigid dividing lines between suobjects. That their boundaries are more porous, that there is a lot of interchange, or as I call it, a/crosscorporeal trans(en)action. One way I define metaphysics is this strict dichotomy between suobjects, one example being absolute/relative. So while postmetaphysics still accepts ontology (metaphysics in that sense), it rejects metaphysics' rigid dichotomies that often create a separate heavenly realm of eternal forms from immanent embodiment.

And yes, there can be all kinds of combinations thereof. As you note some religious perspectives can be metaphysical in the dichotomous sense (heaven) and still promote democracy etc. And I often praise them for so doing, like the Catholic bishops and nuns who find Ryan's budget immoral. Or in aiding the poor and downtrodden. In kennilingus, we are all at different levels in different lines, as well as in different contexts.

Matthew: I appreciate this clarification concerning "postmetaphysics." I agree that the sort of metaphysics that leads to a dichotomy between two worlds or domains is dangerous spiritually, politically, and just incoherent philosophically. We would still need to engage in metaphysical discourse in order to heal any such split, however. Iain Hamilton Grant's book Philosophies of Nature After Schelling (2006) does an expert job articulating why it is Aristotle, and not Plato, who should be blamed for originating a dualistic metaphysics. Grant unpacks the Timaeus to reveal Plato's attempt at a "physics of the idea," and shows how Aristotle misinterpreted Plato and ended up reducing logic to a discourse on abstract generalities rather than rooting logos in cosmogenesis, a.k.a. "the becoming of being."

Having just skimmed the posts on James, I think it would be rather easy to criticize any past thinker for not being up to speed with current trends they could not have foreseen. I don't know how fair it is to lift a thinker out of their cultural milieu/historical habitat in order to compare them with our own. But if we were going to do so, I think there is much that James could have taught contemporary cognitive scientists, especially those still working on computational and/or representational accounts of mind. I find the enactive/embodied/embedded/extended/emotive paradigm in contemporary cogsci as inspiring and liberating as anyone, but much of what is claimed to be entirely original here was already articulated, at least in germ, by James. If I recall correctly, Evan Thompson largely agreed on this point when he visited CIIS a few years ago. A good example of what I mean would be to look at Thompson's colleague Alva Noe's recent book Out of Our Heads. The general shift in perspective towards enaction, embodiment and, if I may, enworldment that Noe calls for was also called for by James. 

As for his philosophy of religion, this post offers my perspective on his genius. I would offer a critique, both on James' and Whitehead's approach to religion, and that is that they both focused too much on what individuals do with their solitude and not enough on how religion binds communities together. 

theurj: If I recall correctly, I think I did qualify James saying pomo was before is time and hence his metaphysics can be excused in that regard.* But it seems at least some of contemporary transpersonal psychology maintains some (much?) of those same metaphysical views, certainly the Kennilingam as I've expounded elsewhere (one example). Btw, also in the linked thread I use Derrida's reading of khora, which he indeed got from the Timaeus. But the neo-Platonists generally went metaphysical.

* Yes, I said on p.1 February 23, 2011 at 6:49am: "James was obviously writing before the pomo revolution, so his metaphysical commitments seem obvious to us now."

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In "Participatory Psychedelia" I appreciate the 'second wave' of transpersonal psych starting with Ferrer's RTT, which has several of the same critiques of kennlingus as I do, foremost of which is the dualistic metaphysics inherent to the perennial tradition. Granted I give Kennilingam credit for his postmetaphysical turn, but he still maintains a lot of the traditional dualism.

I also appreciate the expanded definition of rhetoric, which I've done with my notion of rhetaphor. We started a discussion on this on p. 57 of the OOO thread (May 30, 2012 at 8:42am) and it carried on for several pages before I decided on rhetaphor for my neologism.

I like this:

"It is also important to note that by designating non-ordinary religious consciousness as 'unitive,' Bellah does not mean to equate all such non-ordinary events with the realization of some nondual ultimate reality. Rather, 'unitive' refers to the way in which the dichotomous subject-object consciousness of ordinary space and time is transformed, such that formerly sharp boundaries become relativized in a whole variety of ways."

This thread on a postmetaphysical approach to states of consciousness might also be of interest. Sorry for all the links but we've covered a lot of the same ground here in the past few years.

I like the neologism.

Yes I highly recommend Doyle's book Darwin's Pharmacy. I sense a bit of Deleuze in his style. Doyle is explicit about the influence. 

theurj said:

In "Participatory Psychedelia" I appreciate the 'second wave' of transpersonal psych starting with Ferrer's RTT, which has several of the same critiques of kennlingus as I do, foremost of which is the dualistic metaphysics inherent to the perennial tradition. Granted I give Kennilingam credit for his postmetaphysical turn, but he still maintains a lot of the traditional dualism.

I also appreciate the expanded definition of rhetoric, which I've done with my notion of rhetaphor. We started a discussion on this on p. 57 of the OOO thread (May 30, 2012 at 8:42am) and it carried on for several pages before I decided on rhetaphor for my neologism.

Lahood is cited in Matt's paper. Recall this thread on one of Lahood's works. I don't recall that he directly mentions James, but much of the latter transpersonal movement is addressed. And I trace a direct line with them back to James, including some of the unacknowledged metaphysical dualism.

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