Sean Esbjörn-Hargens is one of the sharpest and most insightful people I know, and an globally-recognized expert and pioneer in the emerging meta-discipline of integral theory and practice.
The former chair of John F. Kennedy University’s Integral Studies department, co-author (with Michael Zimmerman) of Integral Ecology, co-founder (with Mark Forman) of the international Integral Theory Conference, and now in his post-academic life, head of MetaIntegral a training and consulting company specializing in the design of wisdom economies.
“Expand your story! Expand your position! Expand your sense of self identity as to what you’re doing and why. Because you’re already doing it.”
Become conscious of the value and benefits you’re already providing the world – and then amplify that – by digging this great conversation…
(Cover painting by David Titterington.)
• Sean’s early interest in the scientific study of animal consciousness: philosophy, biology, AND psychology
• The intersection of human consciousness, worldviews, and values systems – and how nature appears differently to everyone
• Discovering Ken Wilber’s integral philosophy and its critiques of the retro-romantic “Back to the Garden” ideology of deep ecology and eco-feminism
• How many different approaches to the natural world are there?
• The problem of academia’s failure to properly accommodate trans-disciplinary, meta-disciplinary, synthetic, integral thought
• Economy as a sub-category of Ecology
• The Complexity Gap: the gap between our level of consciousness and our ability to manage complexity on one hand, and the amount of complexity we find ourselves in, on the other
• Simplicity on the other side of complexity: moving ecological and integrative thinking into business and organizational development
• What is Meta-Capitalism?
• Beyond the reductionism of triple bottom line thinking: purpose
• Integrating the sentience of other organisms into our understanding and practice of ecology
• Bringing the inner worlds of the first-person and second-person back into science and organizational development: experience, emotion, mutual understanding, and purpose
• Taking multiple perspectives on wealth, value, and the many forms of capital: not just the external metrics but the feelings and experiences of wealth, poverty, and power inequality
• How to teach organizations to see the value they’re already generating – and unaware of – so that they can serve a larger population with a clearer identity and more coherent actions
• The emergence of value-accounting software that can help us track impact across the myriad domains of capital
• Organizational coaching as collective shadow work and a kind of psychedelic therapy at the level of the group
• Making subject object: making perspectives an object of awareness and moving from experience to insight in meditation, coaching, and any area of personal or collective transformation
• Anchoring integration in the heart and gut – not just the brain, but really letting understanding sink and ripen in our feelings and our flesh and blood
• How learning to play the violin and sing at the same time can be a profound somatic practice of meta-level integration
• Dance and martial arts practices as a complement to being super heady…differentiating and integrating the body and developing an “eco-somatics” for moving consciously in the world
“It’s really only at the limits of the postmodern orientation that you begin to see the importance of integration. So as a culture and as a global society, we’re just now really entering into an integrative mode where the overwhelm of the information is forcing us to adapt strategies of integration.”
“More and more of our challenges and issues require some mode of integrative thinking and action.”
“There are lots of different kinds of value, and if you leave out one kind, you’re really doing a disservice to reality. It’s actually a violence against the cosmos.”
“Environmental rah-rah really serves a purpose, but until we really wrestle with capitalism, it’s almost like, ‘What’s the point?’”
“It’s more a clash of worldviews than it is a clash of facts. And how different worldviews relate to those facts.”
“How would our science of ecology change if we actually recognize the sentience of the organisms that are part of that ecology?”
“The resistance is good because it shows that you’re in the right ballpark. You want there to be resistance. I don’t really waste my time trying to convince anyone of anything. I try and work with people where there’s at least a basic level of interest, and then work with the resistance they have.”
“Things are going to get more fragmented, and things are going to get more integrated. And those two things paradoxically exist side by side.”
“Fragmentation usually has a negative connection because we think of it as dissociation. But if we think of fragmentation as differentiation, and we think of differentiation and integration, those two things go hand in hand developmentally.”
“Working with the meta-impact framework is, in a sense, doing shadow work for an organization.”
“I really want my life to be the transmission of integrated head, heart, and hara.”
This week’s guest is comedian Shane Mauss, whose psychedelic standup A Good Trip blew minds at over 100 tour stops last year, and whose documentary film Psychonautics takes us on Shane’s adventures in psychedelic therapies.
He also hosts the Here We Are Podcast, where he interviews scientists of all stripes and mines their research for standup inspiration…
Shane’s always been a rigorous thinker, a legitimate and respectable skeptic, which made his inquiries into the weird realms of psychedelia so interesting to me. He started tripping to self-medicate for his lifelong depression a few years ago but his
He and I disagreed for years about the nature and validity of the phenomenon known as “synchronicity” – that everything is linked behind the scenes, no coincidences – but this summer he texted me to tell me he’d had a revelatory experience and that I was right all along.
The next thing I heard from him, he was on Duncan Trussell Family Hour Podcast talking about how he had just gotten out of a mental institution.
So WHAT EXACTLY was I right about, again??
We go deep in this episode about the nature of reality and madness in this warm and funny conversation (in which he shared what he actually saw that put him in the psych ward)…
- How the universe is wearing stripes and plaid (just like in some of Alex Grey’s art).
- What’s behind that crazy look in someone’s eyes.
- Simulation theory vs. the brain’s innate virtual reality.
- What people are really seeing when people say they see God.
- A bunch of awesome trip reports from Shane.
- Shane getting courted as a clinical subject for new extended-state DMT trials.
- Time as a multidimensional landscape of rhyming moments
- Marshall McLuhan’s “invisible environment” as it relates to memory as a mutable substance, altered every time it’s accessed.
- Evolving through the layers of the multiverse from animal to human and beyond.
- The Evolution of God and how we’re all participating in the new empathy of a deity that does not have it figured out.
- A new kind of psychedelic science.
- Princeton Engineering Anomalies Lab and the possibility that the so-called future is actually present and accessible via longer wavelengths.
- and a bunch more…
“I found out years ago that I can just gobble up some mushrooms two or three times a week for a few weeks, and that’ll get rid of my depression for a few months or so…I started thinking, ‘What if instead of just getting rid of my depression, I could actually feel GOOD?’”
“The DMT world feels very ‘top down,’ very ‘creator’ type of thing…”
“Sobriety is not really a thing that works, even though I've got to do it for now…”
“Why try to envision Jesus doing something – why try to have a dream where you’re seeing Jesus and talking to Jesus, when it’s just in your head? Just BE Jesus!”
“A lot of this stuff gets pretty far away from the scientific method, you know?”
We’re living through a mass extinction – which is also one of the most awesome opportunities for creativity the Earth has ever seen. In this talk that I gave at Burning Man 2017’s Palenque Norte Speaker Series, I give a short tour of Great Catastrophes of Natural History and show how each of them was also equally the advent of new life, intelligence, diversity, and richness.
Studying how crisis is the mother of invention, it’s my hope that this talk will inspire you to see our turbulent, chaotic age as something to be celebrated. Learning what we can from evolution, we can shed new light on how to steer ourselves away from global ecological disaster – perhaps to even revel in our role as agents of epochal change in Earth’s amazing story.
In this talk I discuss:
• Going backward in order to go forward, the reclamation of the traditions and wisdom we have abandoned in our March of Progress;
• The importance of situating ourselves and our moment in the larger context of Natural History;
• The “Press-Pulse” Theory of mass extinction;
• The emergent forms of life and evolutionary creativity ignored by nearly every conversation about how we’re “killing the planet”;
• What The Great Oxygenation Event has to teach us about pollution and creativity as a response to danger;
• Why philosopher Galen Strawson doesn’t believe in free will;
• How the evolution of flowers was a huge catastrophe;
• Richard Doyle’s update of the Stoned Ape Hypothesis and the role beauty and seduction have played in the evolution of consciousness and culture;
• What the evolution of early birds has to teach us about the proliferating ecosystem of mobile devices;
• Hopeful developments in the area of plastic-eating microbes and fungi, and using living machines to digest pollution;
• The wilderness lives on in cities in the Anthropocene;
• And how awesome the film Shin Gojira (2016) is.
• PLUS: What if we are living in a giant galaxy-sized brain?
Bruce Damer, Jake Kobrin, Mitch Mignano, and more speak up in the Q&A.
“The story of life can be told as a series of nested singularities, nested horizons of knowing and understanding.”
“Sex is a far more effective R&D situation than clonal reproduction.”
“Everything that we’re creating now, we want to treat it with love, and an understanding that it has a life and a destiny of its own, and it’s not something we control.”
“Cultural realities are starting to seem less and less sufficient for describing and experiencing the full range of human potential.”
In a special episode so timely that I couldn’t wait a week to publish, I sit down with Jennifer Sodini (EvolveAndAscend.com) and Michael Phillip (Third Eye Drops Podcast) to cut through the technical jargon and discuss the economic, cultural, and even spiritual implications of blockchain technology.
Everything we took for granted is about to change…beyond Bitcoin and quick riches, there’s a new planetary culture based on the scalability of trust. This podcast explores what that means for you – and why so many of your friends think that this new evolution of digital money and contracts is one of the most important events of our lives.
Jennifer & Michael are two of the co-founders (along with Noah Lampert) of Cryptoseer, a new media company:
• Why this is about so much more than another hype bubble of speculative assets for tech nerds;
• What the blockchain economy is teaching us about how to surf exponential change;
• The democratization of financial and legal literacy, and how decentralization can nourish a planet-wide renaissance of non-coercive institutions;
• The importance of talking and storytelling about these new technologies in a way that people can connect to and understand;
• Reclaiming our authority, agency, sovereignty from the financial and governmental systems we created for convenience…but not without resistance;
• Looking at blockchain in an evolutionary and ecological context, and comparing what we’re living through now to historical precedents like 1967 and the end of the Age of Dinosaurs;
• The urgency of a decentralized Web 3.0 built on blockchain and mesh networks, to keep a Free Internet alive;
• What is all this going to look like when the artists get their hands on it?
• Blockchain to manage swarms of flying autonomous cars…
• What we can learn about the social construction of value from Dogecoin;
• Is Bitcoin an NWO plot…and would it even matter if it were?
And perhaps most critically:
• Can understanding blockchain help liberate you from the ego??
NOTE: You can listen to this with ZERO technical knowledge. But if you want some primers and interesting related links:
• Richie Etwaru’s TEDx talk, “Blockchain Massively Simplified”
• Bettina Warburg explains the blockchain to a 5-year old, a teenager, an undergrad, a grad, and an expert on WIRED:
• Our friend Noah Lampert (co-founder of Cryptoseer.com with Jenn & Michael) made a special episode of Synchronicity Podcast about it:
Once you’ve made it through those:
• My EPIC Facebook thread, “Kids, it’s time we sat down and had a talk about Bitcoin” (300+ comments):
• “The Collapse of the American Dream Explained in Animation”
• About “Johnny Appledrone vs. The FAA”
• And here’s an infamous video of Katie Couric talking about the Internet in 1994, the way people are talking about blockchains today:
On the relationship between BTC and OWS:
“If the SEC wants to investigate something, they should start with Wall Street and what happened in 2008. It’s definitely not sitting in a room full of servers. It’s time to have this discussion and I’m demanding that discussion starting today.”
- Jared Rice of AriseBank
Julian Assange: "Bitcoin is the real Occupy Wall Street."
This week’s guest is Daniel Schmachtenberger of the Neurohacker Collective – one smart dude! Must be the nootropics. We have an awesome conversation about what it will take for us to thrive through our Age of Transition and into the emergent world that works for all, not just a few of us.
His company: http://neurohacker.com
His blog: http://civilizationemerging.com
Some Topics We Discuss:
• How he got started in complex systems thinking while working in (and watching the failures of) wildlife conservation;
• How he understands his work as participating in the emergence of a planetary renaissance;
• A vision for how to move beyond finite win-lose games with in- and out-groups between warring cultures and into infinite win-win games;
• His critiques of negative interest currency, universal basic income, and other system-wide economic incentives;
• His argument for why giving ecosystems economic value isn’t enough to stand up against a wave of exponential technology;
• How change can come from everywhere at once to vault us into a new era of whole-planet thinking that does not (continue to) collapse “complex” into merely “complicated”;
• The role of automation in worldwide economic transformation;
• How the next evolutionary transformation will emerge from the appearance of new ways to coordinate and align our senses, information processing, and action in the world – closing the loop between what we know and what we can do with it;
• How we can heal the broken information ecology, and what that means for the surveillance conversation;
• What incentives can we use in a totally redesigned global economy that benefits everyone?
Select Books Mentioned:
• Timothy Morton’s book Hyperobjects
• James P. Carse’s book Finite & Infinite Games
Select Daniel Quotes:
“We have a system where structural violence and externality are implicit throughout the system completely, so participation with that at all requires it.”
“It was clear that nothing less than a discrete, nonlinear phase-shift was adequate, so…what are the necessary and sufficient criteria of the post-transition world? And how do we support that emergence?”
“If you’re getting interested in economics as a philosopher, it just means you’re gaining insight into how structural incentive and structural value systems and disposition work. Which means you are NOT being a good philosopher if you are not thinking about those things.”
“We don’t know how to do civilization without war…we’re really talking about getting off win-lose game theory completely. It’s unprecedented. But unprecedented shit is actually the precedent of the universe, if you have a very long view.”
“Economics can be seen as the interface layer between our values and the way we build the world.”
“If we are gaining the power of gods, then without the love and wisdom of gods, we self-destruct.”
“Are the things that we THINK we’re optimizing for the right things at all? … How do I create an INTEGRATED system design that tends to everything that matters here?”
“The forty weeks of a baby in utero, if it continued, would kill itself and the mom. And the phase shift of leaving the birth canal and umbilical cord cut – it’s not predicted by the forty weeks before, if you didn’t know that thing was going to happen.”
“Anything you can write a process for, no human wants to spend their whole life doing.”
“The omni-win-win system actually outcompetes the win-lose system, while obsoleting win-lose dynamics itself.”
“We are living in a world where we have an amazing amount of sensory input possible, right? We can see stuff from the Hubble, we can see stuff in electron tunneling microscopes, and we can see input from everywhere around the world on the Internet – but that’s decoupled from sense-making, so I can’t tell if it’s fucking true or not! I can’t put it together with the things I know. And so I have a tremendous amount of sense input that I can’t make sense of. Then, to the degree that I make sense of something – like, okay, CO2 is actually a problem – then I have no idea how the fuck to act on it. And then do the degree that I act on things – like I go buy this laptop that we’re talking on, that comes from an industrial supply chain that affected life on six continents – I actually have no sense coupling to what the fuck was affected and HOW it was affected to inform if I want to make that choice or not.”
Special thanks to the Body Hacking Conference for their support of this episode!
BDYHAX.COM ("Body Hacks") is about human augmentation, personal expression, democratized medicine and bringing the DIY ethos to our own bodies. We bring together people from all industries who are interested in what's happening right now in bodyhacking all over the world to make connections, friends, and share experiences and resources in order to build the best possible future.
February 2-4, 2018 at Sheraton Austin in Downtown Austin.
Ayana Young didn’t even go camping until she was 25. Now she lives in a cabin she built herself in the redwoods of Northern California and manages a 477-acre native species nursery wilderness rehabilitation project (as well as an amazing podcast). This week’s episode is a candid, personal discussion about how awakening to our participation in nature is the key to both our survival and our spiritual salvation…
For The Wild is currently raising money to plant ONE MILLION redwoods:
We talk about:
• her transition from anonymous, germaphobic suburban consumer to restoration ecologist, activist, and dirt-working spokesperson for the world’s last remaining wilderness;
• being a person of place and cultivating a personal relationship with our wild (and not-so-wild) lands;
• love in a time of catastrophe and how to FEEL our impact on a planetary scale;
• what wilderness means in The Anthropocene and what ought to guide our decisions in restoration ecology (not just “restoring to 200 years ago” as if that’s the best goal);
• restoring not extinct ecosystems but biodiversity and resiliency IN GENERAL;
• the joy of personal sacrifice to a cause and purpose greater than yourself;
• what inspires her to keep going against all obstacles to the Good Work;
• how to be an empowered activist and servant in love with life and your imperfect self;
• picking yourself up after failure;
• and more. A totally inspiring conversation!
“If I’m so consumed by my self and my own life, then what am I willing to risk for others? That’s a question I ask myself a lot: ‘What am I willing to risk for that which I love?’”
“We don’t have reciprocal relationships with land, with Earth, with each other, with our lives. And how do you have a reciprocal relationship? Well, you have to have intimacy. You have to feel things. And I love when people say that if you’re not upset, if you’re not grieving, if you’re not angry, if you’re not feeling these strong emotions, then you’re not awake right now. If you were awake to the realities of what is happening in the world, you’d have no choice but to have immense amounts of feelings. But it’s not easy to unravel all of the conditioning that keeps us from feeling.”
“We can be artists as we farm. We can be artists as we grow food. We can be artists as we clean beaches. We can be artists as we put mushrooms on oil spills. I mean, there are SO many ways we can create and love each other and HAVE A BLAST while restoring the Earth. And I think it takes the sadness and the grief to get into that work – and then when we’re on the other side, we can put all of that rage and that fire and that sadness into doing something tangible.”
“It’s not about playing God. I think it’s more about being an herbalist for the Earth…I want to be more a support system than a savior.”
“How do we embody the dichotomy of large-scale urgency and also gentle deep-time thinking?”
“I don’t think we should wait until mastery to get involved.”
Special thanks to the Body Hacking Conference for their support of this episode!
BDYHAX.COM ("Body Hacks") is about human augmentation, personal expression, democratized medicine and bringing the DIY ethos to our own bodies. We bring together people from all industries who are interested in what's happening right now in bodyhacking all over the world to make connections, friends, and share experiences and resources in order to build the best possible future.
February 2-4, 2018 at Sheraton Austin in Downtown Austin.
This week’s guest is visionary artist Jake Kobrin, whose digital paintings explore a gorgeous, dark, evocative terrain of non-ordinary human experience and twist religious iconography into a metamorphic form well-suited to our psychedelic modern era.
We discuss his painting “Black Madonna” and the return and healing of the repressed feminine – not just women, but the body, the psychological shadow, marginalized peoples, death, and transformation…
We talk about Jake’s artistic intuition, nontraditional relationships, the reality of love, and my transformation from living in a haunted house to realizing the “ghost” was my own disowned soul…
If you are, or love, a witch, you’ll dig this episode.
Jake’s Website: http://kobrinart.com
More Topics We Discuss:
• The nonduality of the sacred and profane;
• Intuition and the creative process, allowing the art to speak through you;
• Eden & Apocalypse, with history in the middle;
• Light & Dark, Good & Evil as “conceptual impositions” that don’t really exist “in nature”;
• Mary Magdalene, Judas, and The Scapegoat;
• The evolution of cell division as failed excretion and the relationship between sex and death;
• James Hollis’ book The Eden Project: The Search for the Magical Other, and how we seek out lovers based on unconscious images of our idealized early childhood caregivers
• Being a better partner to yourself first before relying on lovers
• Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Mastery of Love
• Hakim Bey’s book Temporary Autonomous Zone and ontological anarchy versus the social ego (as a function of wilderness)
• B Catling’s book The Vorrh
• “cis-relational” “cis-racial” and other “yes I am this thing” labels
• Graphic Novel, The Wicked & The Divine, and japanese sun goddess Amaterasu
And Jake reads his short piece about the spiritual authority of the Black Madonna.
Here’s an AMAZING related piece by theologian Matthew Fox:
“Understanding that my self is kind of alien to me, and a mystery, I can’t really judge…”
“All things are inherently pure and it’s more like our projection onto that that is less than pure…The Christ saw The Magdalene in her essential purity.”
“Our lives and our relationships are these formless, complex, infinite things, and I would rather exist in that framework than try to limit myself to conceptual boxes about the way I see things and how I project ideas of what my life is.”
“What is considered manly – certainly, that projection within American culture – I don’t relate to that AT ALL, and it just makes me go, ‘ew.’”
“I think we can just let our experiences exist without NEEDING to put them in a category as ‘real’ or ‘not-real’…”
This week’s guest is my friend Lindsay Loftin, a professional mermaid who uses her performances to raise awareness of marine conservation issues. She also boasts 60 pushups in two minutes and the ability to transform phone-addicted schoolchildren into avid gardeners.
• How mermaid performances can help us transform our relationship to nature;
• Sea goats and other weird half-and-half creatures, and how the Capricorn’s ambitious in-between-ness was a prophesy of amphibians as an emblem of evolutionary “ascent”;
• Remembering in our bodies the importance of the health of our environment and our right relationship to nature;
• Ecology as a mystical experience or way of being awake;
• The changing definition of nature once you think of the atmosphere as an artifact created by primordial ooze;
• Epigenetics, landscape agency, cities as automatic outgrowths of the lithosphere, and the argument against free will from a planet’s point of view;
• Plastics and endocrine disruption related sterility;
• David Pearce’s anti-species-ist manifesto;
• Responsible tourist information about how to visit wild places respectfully;
…and much more. I go off the deep end and talk about the possibility of ACTUALLY BECOMING mermaids with CRISPR, and the social consequences of the end of a common “human” body.
Then we talk for another hour. Lindsay tells some AMAZING animal stories. She has never been injured.
“I want to be the Bill Nye of mermaids.”
“I think when little girls see me holding my breath for two minutes and swimming around Barton Springs, it blows their minds…they’re thinking, ‘Science is not what I thought it was.’”
“It’s our time to return to the water. At least in our focus and our awareness. Because you know, the way our culture is going is so far removed from any sort of connection to nature as I’ve come to understand it. So that’s a systemic illness, in my opinion. My work…lies with healing that rift, that illness.”
“No two people react to nature in the same way. The way I experience going out side is kind of like a landscape level. Which, as an ecologist, I’m mapping in my brain how energy is flowing from the air, into that tree, into me, into the soil – the water going across the landscape, where that’s going, what animals are here – I’m seeing all of that at the same time.”
“I can pretty much guarantee you that you drank plastic within the last week…essentially, we are becoming plastic.”
“As someone who works with other people’s children, I just cannot stand the thought of sitting here waiting [for plastic-eating bacteria to save the world].”
“I don’t even have an Instagram. People hear that, and they’re like, ‘But you’re a mermaid!’”
“Dangerous wildlife finds me, gets as close to me as possible, and then completely leaves me alone. I can’t really explain why, but that seems to be one of my gifts: that animals are A attracted to me, and B have no interest in eating me.”
“If birds get really loud, or suddenly really quiet, both of those are times when you should pause and evaluate your surroundings.”
“Could plastic-eating bacteria be used to generate the electricity required to mine Bitcoin?”
In one of the most QUOTABLE episodes of Future Fossils yet, this week’s guest is Eliot Peper – a “novelist and strategist” writing fiction and consulting businesses about the social implications of disruptive technologies. In addition to writing a steady stream of sci-fi inflected techno-thrillers like True Blue and Cumulus, he’s an editor at Scout.AI (one of the cooler speculative fiction websites I’ve seen out there).
• The power of science fiction to help us imagine future scenarios;
• The possible social impact of radical life extension (gerontocratic radical conservatives vs. an emergent mature wisdom culture);
• The Superstar Effect and how it might play out in the digital age;
• The awesomeness of Cory Doctorow’s latest novel, Walkaway;
• Eliot’s skepticism of mind uploading and conscious AI;
• The specter of technological unemployment;
• Science fiction’s growing significance to corporate think-tanks and creative labs in a future-facing society;
• How science fiction is like traveling to a foreign country – and teaches us more about our own moment than it does about the future;
• And More!
“We don’t call it ‘life extension,’ we just call it ‘healthcare.’”
“I think there is a very misleading public discussion going on around these topics [mind uploading and conscious AI], for a very simple reason. And that is – and I know this as a storyteller – metaphors matter…the human mind is very poor at distinguishing metaphor from reality. That’s what makes art fun! That’s what makes novels entertaining. We experience them as if they are real. Money is that. It only exists because we can build these complex shared fictions. However, those fictions can come back and bite you in the ass. And one of the ways they do it is, we take the metaphor too far.”
“[Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein] takes the extension of the Industrial Revolution into the imagination of dystopia. And I think we’re doing that right now when we’re talking about uploading our minds, and about creating general AIs…I just think we’re taking the computer analogy too far.”
“Technology is most useful to the extent that it is inhuman.”
“The whole point of technology is that we can accomplish what we want to accomplish more effectively – or, said another way, we can do less of what sucks.”
“Getting better at the skill of putting yourself in another person’s shoes is really important, and fiction is a great training ground for that. It can illuminate so much about why we do what we do that we can apply in our lives.”
“I think what makes science fiction as a genre interesting is its insights about the PRESENT.”
“I seek out discomfort. I seek out novel experiences that challenge me and that are not always fun. And I try to talk to people from different fields and learn from them, because I’ve learned that in my own life that having a really strange and somewhat random set of life experiences allows me to have a fresh perspective sometimes on a new problem.”
“The most important things about the world and about what it means to be human are very obvious and very old. And I think it’s especially important to remember that when we feel like we’re in the midst of a whirlwind of change that we don’t understand. And that the world we want to build and the lives that we want to lead – either today in 2017, or in 2117 – is that we need to be kind to each other. We need to help our friends out. Even more important, to help out strangers. To pay things forward instead of trying to think about the benefits that accrue to us. To make sacrifices – meaningful, painful sacrifices – financial, emotional, or otherwise – to help each other out. I think that building a better world is just a thousand small acts of kindness.”
This week’s guest is master community builder, singer, and human spirit animal Magenta Ceiba of the Bloom Network.
Magenta’s Personal Website:
- The adoption of regenerative culture practices;
- Cultivating planetwide resiliency in an age of thousands of years of unprocessed grief and trauma;
- Web native permaculture psychedelic anarchy;
- Communicating across HUGE political gaps (esp. with family);
- Cool Bloom Network community initiatives happening around the world;
- What will it take to adapt our technological environment to suit a more humane and grounded ecological society?
- The relationship between the Wood Wide Web of interspecies partnerships and the maturing World Wide Web of human making.
- How can we be good ancestors?
- A “relational, omnidirectional nowness where we embrace as our own body the other organisms on this Earth and the cosmic cycles of stuff through space”
- Synchronicity & Diachronicity
- An academic angle on decolonizing consciousness. :)
- the inspiration for Intergenerational Psychedelic Dialogues Podcast
“Another key is coming to this conception of time that is relational and omnidirectional, and this nowness in which we embrace as our own body the other organisms that are on this Earth and the cosmic cycles of movement of stuff through space…”
“We’ve disconnected from some of the fungal and soil networks and if we’re going to continue to survive, and that layer of machine-embodied intelligence is going to survive, we need to learn to be in symbiosis with the Earth that we’re on. If we’re going to make this leap to colonizing other planets, to star travel…”
This week’s guest is philosopher Kerri Welch, whose doctoral thesis from CIIS (and current book-in-progress) explore a fractal model of time. If you have ever wondered about time, this episode is for you. Instant classic.
Kerri’s Academic Papers & Talks:
We take a wild tour through the layers of the human brain and mind, examining the correlations between different brain waves and their correspondent states of consciousness – and speculate on our experience of time as an evolved response to a far more complex and awesome world than we can possibly conceive!
Twenty minutes in and we’ve already covered the fractal nature of time and we’re on to explaining what happens to the modern self and its boundaries in the torrent of novelty that awaits un in a digital age. Then we go deep for another hour and a half…
• Fate vs Free Will in light of Chaos Theory
• The relationship between technology and our experience of time, overstimulated, interrupted
• How Jean Gebser’s structures of consciousness overlay on EEG data
• The nature of synchronicity & time vs. timelessness
• The effects of ayahuasca, illness, aging, and other time-warping events on the passage of time
• Singularities and our asymptotic approach to transcendence
• Narrative collapse, fake news, and the end of history
• Relativity, scaling laws, and city time vs. country time
• What was before TIME?
• Pet telepathy as a matter of referential framing
• The “future” causing the “past”…
• …and the physics (and psychology!) of how to feel the future.
• Schizophrenia as possibly a disorder of time perception
• Dopamine levels and the experience of duration
• Human chronobiology adapted to other planet’s days
• Integrating the rational mind with transpersonal experience
“We actually can’t get precise enough to bring the level of predictability that physics once thought it could.”
“Children have to be indoctrinated into time, right? They’re not born into linear time. They’re born in a timeless space, and that’s where they live, and then they live in this hypnagogic dream time, which is all present moment. You’ll hear kids say, like, ‘I remember when you were little’ to their parents.”
“When we restrict ourselves to linear causal thinking, we are coarse-graining the present moment. We are glossing over the infinite depth of richness available within the present moment. And of course it’s paradoxical: we coarse-grain it by dividing it more finely.”
“What we’re experiencing in our culture right now is the entrainment to the fast frequencies. We’re not letting the long slow frequencies have the greatest amplitude. What does that look like? It looks like hanging out with rocks and trees and elders. And that’s the integration that we need in order to nest our super-fast frequencies within, in order to give them direction…if we can nest within the natural structures of the long, slow frequencies that surround us, it will guide these fast frequencies in healthier directions.”
“We REALLY just have to get better at holding multiple realities. AND recognizing what’s important about them.”
“The dog comes and sits by the door half an hour before the owner comes home because to the dog, the owner’s already home. Their moment is big enough that it’s happening already. But we’re so finely dividing things that we’re like, ‘It’s half an hour away! It’s an eternity!’ But for the dog that’s been sitting bored at home all day…”
“Free will comes from a future influence we can’t see. That’s one way I would interpret it.”
“The definition of human experience is, to me, the limitation of infinity, in order to have experience.”
This week’s guest is tattoo artist Christopher Sheehan, who regards his practice as a sacred act and tattoo as a kind of binding of time in the body.
We talk about:
• how he became a tattoo artist and came into “transformational tattooing” as a way of communicating with and programming the subconscious mind;
• other ways we bind time into matter with earthworks art and pre-Columbian mounds;
• the difference between choosing your own tattoos and the more traditional style of having them chosen for you by the artist;
• the virtue and value of The Ordeal in personal transformation;
• seeing skin art as a transcultural phenomenon connecting us to other tribes and traditions across time and space;
• and the future of tattoo as an art form and a culture, in which skin art merges with speech as part of a new, richer, more embodied language…
“If you had to put something in your bathroom mirror…what would you want in your bathroom mirror FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE? That feedback loop with the imagery with which we surround ourselves is TOTALLY game-changing and shifting.”
“What identity do I want to imprint upon my life? What connection to something within me do I want to see empowered and enhanced? And the tattoo becomes this living reflection of that enhancement, that empowerment, that connection, alignment.”
“So much of our cultural perspective is about comfort and convenience – and to do something that is physically taxing, emotionally and mentally demanding on a level of momentary transcendence – it’s new for a lot of people.”
“The tattoo artist and the machinery that they use are going to become more and more intuitive and integrated…kind of like when I oil paint, or even when I get into a flow with dot work and stippling, I don’t even feel like I’m doing it. I’m watching myself INTEND it.”
This week we continue the special two-part conversation with historian, poet, and mythographer William Irwin Thompson. Author of dozens of sweeping works of synthetic insight, Bill Thompson’s greatest work may not have been a book but a community: The Lindisfarne Association, a post-academic “intellectual concert” for the “study and realization of a new planetary culture,” which anchored in various locations across the United States as a flesh-and-blood meta-industrial village for most of its forty years.
In his latest and last book, Thinking Together at the Edge of History, Thompson looks back on the failures and successes of this project, which he regards as a “first crocus” budding up through the snow of our late-industrial dark age to herald the arrival of a planetary renaissance still yet to come.
This episode pivots from a contemplation of Lindisfarne’s history to our navigation of the turbulence between two world eras – how will we weather all this change, and what new life and worldview awaits us on the other side?
We talk about surfing the “winds of creative destruction” in a highly volatile digital economy; the emergence of the elemental spirits of the land into our demon-haunted crystalline electronic infrastructure; the future of parenting in a world too fast and too complex for public schooling or the nuclear family; the tension between emergent new media and art forms and the traditional forms of novel/poem/painting/song/etc.; the relationship between improvisational speaking and spiritual channeling; and the experience of being an “entelechy,” a multitude of smaller agencies comprising an ecology of self, an endosymbiotic “Homo gestalt.”
Bill speaks candidly and fluently about his unusual life history as a parent and living journey as an aging mystic, bringing erudite historic overview together with a surprisingly frank perspective on his transpersonal experiences. It’s an honor to be able to share this discussion with you…
“Mysticism is relevant now because it’s a good description of the daily news; it’s just responsible journalism that there is this mystical quality to an ethereal economy that is electronically blipping wealth back and forth in this computerized online banking world.”
“When you have an oxymoronic culture with the djinn inhabiting the computers and moving into the cognitive space symbiotically with human beings, the definition of the environment is changing and that which is invisible to the materialist or the industrialist is now recognized as an endosymbiont with us – so it becomes like the cell with the mitochondria.”
“Depressions and catastrophes are transitions from one system to another in complex dynamical systems, so you have to step back and look at the big picture. And if you try to keep the accounts in a small container, where you say, ‘Nothing is stable! Nothing can be held’ Well, why is Buddhism so popular? Because that’s exactly what Buddhism is saying! If you attach and you’re grasping, you’re going to suffer.”
“We see [the change] but we always see it negatively. We see the crash but not the imaginary future that’s emerging.”
“When the family always lived together in the nuclear family, what do you have? They were always arguing and fighting…compression isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s what Whitehead would call ’the fallacy of simple location.’ So I embrace that the environment is now planetary. It’s person-planet. And through Skype and things like this, I’m in constant communication with the family, and that’s okay.”
“As you develop your subtle bodies through yoga…when you reach a certain point, you get what I call a ‘matching grant,’ like how a foundation gives matching grants, and if your evolutionary sheath reaches a certain point, then a being comes to cohabit-ate with you in your auric extended ecology.”
“You don’t want to have a hungry ghost as a daemonic guide, so discrimination is definitely called for.”
“Some [bacteria] you need in your stomach to digest, and if they get in the wrong place and they’re out of timing, they’re not so good. If Godzilla tramps through Times Square, it’s not a good thing. If he goes for a walk in the Jurassic, it’s okay.”
Again, here are the links to the first two chats we had in 2011 and 2013, as well as to my video remix of one of Bill’s lectures with footage from Burning Man. Enjoy and be sure to check out Bill’s awesome books, as well as his extensive lecture series archived online with the Lindisfarne Tapes!
This week’s guest is one of my greatest inspirations: the historian, poet, and mythographer William Irwin Thompson. Author of sweeping works of synthetic insight like At The Edge of History (a finalist for the National Book Award in 1972), The American Replacement of Nature, and Coming Into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness, Bill Thompson’s greatest work may not have been a book but a community: The Lindisfarne Association, a post-academic “intellectual concert” for the “study and realization of a new planetary culture,” which anchored in various locations across the United States as a flesh-and-blood meta-industrial village for most of its forty years.
Lindisfarne’s roster reads like a who’s who of influential latter-20th Century thinkers: Gregory Bateson, Lynn Margulis, Ralph Abraham, Stuart Kauffman, Paolo Soleri, Francisco Varela, David Abram, Hazel Henderson, Joan Halifax-Roshi, James Lovelock, Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Maurice Strong, and Michael Murphy were among them. In his latest and last book, Thinking Together at the Edge of History, Thompson looks back on the failures and successes of this project, which he regards as a “first crocus” budding up through the snow of our late-industrial dark age to herald the arrival of a planetary renaissance still yet to come.
Bill’s wisdom and humility, vast and inclusive vision, and amazing skill for bringing things together in a form of freestyle “wissenkunst” (or “knowledge art”) made this and every conversation that I’ve had with him illuminating and instructive.
For anyone who wants to know what happens after universities and nations lose their dominance and both economy and identity “etherealize” in a new paradigm of ecological human interbeing that revives premodern ways of knowing and relating – and/or for anyone who wants to help build institutions that will weather the chaotic years to come and help transmit our cultural inheritance and novel insights to the unborn generations – here is a conversation with one of the master thinkers of our time, a mystic poet and professor whose work and life challenged our assumptions and proposed a powerful, complete, and thrilling view of our emergent role as citizens of Earth.
We talk Trump and our future-shocked need for charismatic strongmen, digital humans and the tragicomedy of the smartphone takeover, technocracy versus the metaindustrial village-monastery and “counterfoil institutions,” the “necessary exercise in futility” of dealing with rich and influential people to fund important work, how the future arrives unevenly, and how to get involved in institutional work without losing your soul…
Also, cryptocurrencies and universal basic income as symptoms of the transition of the global economy from a liquid to a gaseous state;
“Austin is, of course, an air bubble in the Titanic…”
“The counterfoil institution is a fractal…it’s the individual and the group, kind of like Bauhaus…it had an effect, but it was very short lived. So I argued in Passages [About Earth] that these entities [including artistic movements like Bauhaus, but also communities like Auroville and Fyndhorn] were not institutions, but ENZYMES – they effected a kind of molecular bonding and effected larger institutions, but they themselves weren’t meant to become institutions. And so Lindisfarne, which was a temporary phenomenon of Celtic Christianity, getting absorbed by Roman Christianity, was my metaphor for this transformation.”
“When you’re getting digested and absorbed [into the system], it can either be thrilling because you really WANT to become famous and you want to become a public intellectual, and you want to namedrop and be part of the power group…but if you’re trying to energize cultural authority, then it’s difficult in America. You can get away with it, I think, more successfully in Europe, where there is this tradition of Great Eminences, and in Paris, once you’ve done something of value as an intellectual, then you’re part of it for your life. It isn’t like, ‘What are you doing next? Do it again, do it again, do it again.’ So American culture, based on this kind of hucksterism and boomerism and success culture, is very resistant to that sensibility.”
“We’re always a minority. If we look at The Enlightenment, we’re talking about, what, twelve intellectuals in all of Europe? If you’re an extraterrestrial and you flying-saucered into Florence in the 15th Century and said, ‘Hey, I hear you guys are having a Renaissance?’ And they said, ‘What?’ What do three painters mean? It’s still the Middle Ages for them. And so everybody’s in different times’ laminar flow. Some are faster and more ultraviolet and high energy, and others are very wide, slow, and sluggish. And that’s how nature works.”
“Each person makes his own dance in response to the laws of gravity…if we didn’t have gravity, we wouldn’t have ballet.”
“If you’re running a college, or a dance troupe, or an orchestra, or ANYTHING – someone in the group has to learn how to deal with money. And I think I failed, even though I succeeded in raising millions, by being a 60’s kind of countercultural type who was suspicious of money. I crossed my legs and was afraid of violation. And I didn’t come fully to understand the importance of money. But now that we bank online…”
This week’s guest is Andrew J. O’Keefe II – documentarian, archivist for Singularity University, devoted recordist of the emergent planetary culture, and a dear old friend I met back in the Dawn of Time when he was working as the personal assistant to Android Jones.
We talk about the motivations for preserving and reliving the significant (AND insignificant) moments of our lives.
From the role of “tapers” in the success of The Grateful Dead & STS9, Terence McKenna and Robert Anton Wilson, and The Exegesis of Phillip K Dick…to how a donation of 600 books started Harvard University…to a vision of our artificial intelligence augmented descendants living in a world of totally recorded life and currently incomprehensible richness and insight…this is a conversation about why we “save” things, and why we should treat our record-keeping as the sacred task it truly is.
“If we don’t preserve what’s important to us, then we run the risk of not sharing it ever again. Nobody might never even know that it happened.”
“What exactly ARE our priorities?”
“The control of where this stuff is headed is out of any one organization or individual’s hands. On the other hand, we have these central systems of control…if we don’t find a way to decentralize what humanity has developed up to this point, we’re probably going to lose it.”
“If we let market forces run [the world]; if we let meaningless trends of shit, surface level culture that’s not even real culture, that’s like iterative loop culture, if we let that dictate things, then as everything gets increasingly out of control or asymmetrical, what the hell else do we have to fall back on?”
“I think the paradoxes of living in society are only going to increase at an exponential rate. It’s going to terrify people; it’s going to cause mass chaos in unprecedented ways because we have these centuries-old resentments that technology is not going to erase. It’s only going to make further asymmetrical. The history of all borders: there’re losers. Those people are upset…have a right to be upset. Both psychedelics and the ancient modalities of healing…are going to be the most critical tool that we use to move forward.”
This week’s guest is Hunter Maats, host of the Mixed Mental Arts Podcast and co-author of The Straight-A Conspiracy. We talk about the future of education and human collaboration – moving past a world of routine factory-worker indoctrination and the “insane cargo cult” of the academic system, and into a new model for the transmission of knowledge that suits a truly planetary culture.
The value of myth, ritual, and other deeply-ingrained but often-maligned premodern human activities.
How to make sense of authority, expertise, and accreditation in a world where the dominance of academia (and the legitimacy of so many other institutions) is losing hold.
How do we structure a “global village?”
What is post-academic education? What comes after the fall of the Ivory Tower? How do we recruit premodern impulses into the project of contemporary life without repressing magic, ritual, and myth?
We also talk a lot of smack on Richard Dawkins for being the totally irrational pope of Anti-Religion.
Hunter mentions my article on the evolution of creativity:
“The walls of the Ivory Tower have been falling down for the last thirty years. There are now 60 million scientific papers, 130 million books. It’s literally too much information for a tiny cadre of individuals to try and make sense of. It’s going to take seven and a half billion people to really make sense and draw signal out of that noise.”
“If you’re reading a blog post, you’re getting an hour or two of distilled thought. If you’re reading a book, then you’re getting hundreds or thousands of hours of distilled thought. The question is, what is your information diet, and what are you sharing, and what are you engaging with?”
“You should structure a global village a lot like you structure an actual village…”
“Biologically, we want ritual, we want myth, we want belonging, we want a sense of embeddedness. BUT, we have all this cool stuff now…”
“People like [Richard] Dawkins, even though they bang on about reason all the time, are in my assessment not very reflective individuals.”
“The flag of science has, for a really long time, been in the hands of narrow minded bigots who have drawn a line around their tribe and said that all other tribes, which they call ‘religion,’ or some kind of primitive savagery, are worthless. And I have no desire of living that way, and I don’t consider what they do ‘science.’ Because science is about changing your mind in light of all available evidence. It’s not about petty tribalism.”
Alfred Russell Wallace
This week’s guest is singer-songwriter and music therapist Marya Stark, whom I met at the Global Sound Conference in Los Angeles in 2008. We discuss the future of the feminine, relationships, and reproduction – and laugh a lot.
- Long Distance Relationships in the Internet Age
- The Pre-Trans Fallacy & Getting Back to The Land
- The Future of Sex in the Age of Machines
- Industrial Medicine & Birth Trauma
- Terraforming & Artificial Wombs
- Tradition vs. Innovation
- Rudolf Steiner’s Lucifer & Ahriman
- Artificial hormones in the drinking water feminizing songbirds
- Intuition of Altitude
- Dancing between the organic and digital: how can we hold both ends of this without succumbing to either?
- Reclaiming the sacred traditions of premodern femininity
- Bloodwork, Moon Lodges, and the revival of the Sacred Feminine
- Adopting a “Bit Torrent” model to our mixed ethnicities and identities, as a response to concerns about cultural appropriation and “buffet-line” spirituality
- Building a “Literacy of Empathies”
- The moving target of “wisdom,” “experience,” and “adult” through the ages
- Soul Retrieval 101
- dealing with the emotions of the intuition of A sole connection from a parallel universe or alternative timeline & The perils of “astral polyamory”
“Just because the wisdom is ancient doesn’t mean it’s the most effective.”
“Sometimes when we’re in a distortion paradigm, our strategies for wholeness create more distortion.”
“Are we all going to have this magical Golden Age wake-up call? I’m still rootin’ for it.”
“Honor the thousands of shoulders that we stand on to be able to host some of this information. Because they were committed to the lineage. They were committed to carrying it through, no matter what. They’d give their lives for it. I have meditation in my life because of those individuals. I’m not going to shit all over them because I think their cultural context or whatever doesn’t match my fucking modern idea and ideals. So how do I hold the complexity of that conversation in my heart while not spinning my ego into circles about how cool I am because I’m a meditator?”
“I have to have a prayer for our species that we are connected to an evolutionary architecture…”
“It’s as if the pain that everyone is in is the same. And it’s rooted in disconnection and distortion of what they’re capable of.”
- Up From Eden by Ken Wilber
- At The Edge of History by William Irwin Thompson
- Alien: Covenant (film)
- HR Giger and The Zeitgeist of the Twentieth Century by Stanislav Grof
- Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck & Christopher Cowan
- “The Tower That Ate People” by Peter Gabriel (song)
- Videodrome (film)
- Homo Deus by Yuval Harari
- Team Human Podcast with Douglas Rushkoff