Monthly Archives: April 2021

Currents 030: Daniel Schmachtenberger on The Consilience Project



Daniel Schmachtenberger & Jim talk about his newly launched project, The Consilience Project. They start by covering some background for the project: why start it, primary focuses, cultural renaissance, the role of education & press, eroding knowledge commons, rapidly changing culture & scales, and learning from history. They then talk about the project’s approaches & strategies: bottom-up problems-solving processes, understanding externalities, identifying core problems, content strategy, narrative navigation, post-tribalism, epistemic commons, meta news, fighting confirmation bias, modern memetic dynamics, social media moderation, out-group reading, civic virtue, post-modernism, science, 1st 2nd & 3rd person epistemologies, the target audience, being a media role model, community building, and much more. Episode Transcript Expected 4/23

Daniel is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue. The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal. Towards these ends, he’s had particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science. Motivated by the belief that advancing collective intelligence and capacity is foundational to the integrity of any civilization, and necessary to address the unique risks we currently face given the intersection of globalization and exponential technology, he has spoken publicly on many of these topics, hoping to popularize and deepen important conversations and engage more people in working towards their solutions. Many of these can be found here.


EP122 Ashley Colby on Subsistence Agriculture



Ashley Colby

Ashley Colby & Jim start this episode by talking about her book, Subsistence Agriculture in the US: Reconnecting to Work, Nature and Community. They cover Gemeinschaft vs GesellschaftDual Process Theory, bottom-up change, arriving at paradox & the purist failure, creating social capital, food producer demographics & insights, modern industrial alienation, the value of shadow structures, the urban chicken movement, subsistence agriculture motivations, practical environmentalism, & doomer optimism. They finish the episode by talking about how & why Ashley started the Rizoma Field School, moving to Uruguay, and her plans for a future online marketplace to help the subsistence agriculture movement.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

Ashley Colby is an Environmental Sociologist who studied at Washington State University. In her book she explores subsistence food production as a potentially revolutionary act. She is interested in and passionate about the myriad creative ways in which people are forming new social worlds in resistance to the failures of late capitalism and resultant climate disasters. Ashley is a qualitative researcher so she tends to focus on the informal spaces of innovation. She is now focused on doing anything she can to foment local, decentralized networks of people who can get us to the next iteration of society, and fast. The most urgent of these initiatives is SuLoFair, a cooperative startup whose mission is to accelerate local economies.


EP121 Broke in America with Joanne Goldblum & Colleen Shaddox



Broke in America Authors

Joanne Goldblum & Colleen Shaddox talk to Jim about their book, Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending U.S. Poverty. They cover the “give a man fish” fallacy, poverty quicksand, two vs one-parent households, nurture vs nature, poverty’s impact on children, poverty definition & demographics, rural vs urban poverty, water access issues & pricing, malnutrition, low-cost food plan, time poverty, National Diaper Bank Network, affordable housing & zoning laws, building codes & tiny homes, gov. commitment to social welfare / security / health, UBI vs guaranteed income, a national jobs guarantee, minimum wage, poverty advocates & activists, and more.

Episode Transcript