Monthly Archives: October 2021

EP145 John Vervaeke Part 3: Awakening from the Meaning Crisis



John Vervaeke joins Jim for the third of a five-part series examining the ideas put forward in Vervaeke’s popular YouTube series, Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. They discuss altered states of consciousness, phenomenology as clue to functionality, fluency, weakening egocentrism, ecologies of practice, the Solomon effect, complexification, Buddhism’s intervention in parasitic processing, a corrective reading of dukkha, Alexander the Great & post-Alexandrian domicide, Stoicism as therapy, eros & agape, St. Augustine’s grand synthesis, Thomas Aquinas’s solidification of two-worlds mythology, Galileo’s murder of the universe, the Enlightenment & Romanticism, genocidal implications of the True Self, and much more.

John Vervaeke is an Associate Professor, in the teaching stream. He has been teaching at the University of Toronto since 1994. He currently teaches courses in the Psychology department on thinking and reasoning with an emphasis on insight problem solving, cognitive development with an emphasis on the dynamical nature of development, and higher cognitive processes with an emphasis on intelligence, rationality, mindfulness, and the Psychology of wisdom. He is the director of the Cognitive Science program where he also teaches courses on the introduction to Cognitive Science, and the Cognitive Science of consciousness wherein he emphasizes 4E (embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended) models of cognition and consciousness. In addition, he teaches a course in the Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health program on Buddhism and Cognitive Science.

He is the director of the Consciousness and the Wisdom Studies Laboratory.  He has won and been nominated for several teaching awards including the 2001 Students’ Administrative Council and Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students Teaching Award for the Humanities, and the 2012 Ranjini Ghosh Excellence in Teaching Award. He has published articles on relevance realization, general intelligence, mindfulness, flow, metaphor, and wisdom. He is first author of the book Zombies in Western Culture:  A 21st Century Crisis, which integrates Psychology and Cognitive Science to address the meaning crisis in Western society. He is the author and presenter of the YouTube series Awakening from the Meaning Crisis.


Currents 044: Zak Stein on Propaganda and the Information War



Zak Stein

Zak Stein & Jim have a wide-ranging talk inspired by two recent Consilience Project essays on the information warpropaganda. They discuss the culture wars as a case of mutually assured destruction, distinguishing education from propaganda, developing widespread resistance to propaganda, epistemic nihilism, key indicators of propaganda, the function of thought-terminating clichés, a typology of propaganda, leaders’ failure to educate rather than propagandize regarding Covid vaccines, modulating noise & chaos in the information ecosystem, redirecting technological innovation toward new goals of educational development, and much more.

Zachary Stein is a writer, educator, and futurist working to bring a greater sense of sanity and justice to education. He studied philosophy and religion at Hampshire College, and then educational neuroscience, human development, and the philosophy of education at Harvard University. While a student at Harvard, he co-founded what would become Lectica, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to the research-based, justice-oriented reform of large-scale standardized testing in K-12, higher-education, and business.

He has published two books. Social Justice and Educational Measurement was based on his dissertation and traces the history of standardized testing and its ethical implications. His second book, Education in a Time Between Worlds, expands the philosophical work to include grappling with the relations between schooling and technology more broadly. He writes for peer-reviewed academic journals across a range of topics including the philosophy of learning, educational technology, and integral theory. He’s a scholar at the Ronin Institute, Co-President and Academic Director of the activist think-tank at the Center for Integral Wisdom, and scientific advisor to the board of the Neurohacker Collective, as well as a co-founder of The Consilience Project.