All Transcripts

Ep. 50 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Tillich and Barfield
In this last and final episode, Vervaeke draws together the framework for relevance realization and puts it into deep dialogue with the last two prophets of the meaning crisis. Tillich’s main response provides us with a guide to live courageously. We encounter a transjective and transformative process of realizing a God beyond the God of theism. Vervaeke then presents Barfield’s infinity of reality and poiesis as ekstasis in creativity. Through this critical but creative dialogue, we see a potential synoptic integration to awaken from the meaning crisis.
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Ep. 49 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Corbin and Jung
In this episode, Vervaeke picks up on his discussion of Corbin’s symbol and the divine double and integrates it with the notion of aspirational rationality. He presents problems of the non-logical identity and the paradox of self-creation. He bridges the relationship between S1 and S2 in moving from your self now to your aspired-to self. He proposes the term sacred second self and discusses Jung’s notion of individuation, which picks up on the processes within the psyche that’s conducive to responding to the meaning crisis.
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Ep. 48 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Corbin and the Divine Double
In this episode, Vervaeke continues delving into Heidegger’s work, encountering Eckhart’s non teleological relationship to the play of being. We see through Corbin’s work that the recovery of gnosis is bound up with imagination. Vervaeke makes the distinction between imaginary and imaginal and Corbin’s imaginal understanding of the symbol. He pursues Corbin’s core symbol and its relation to gnosis and dasein. He takes a look at the historical work and the transgressive mythology of the divine double. He integrates this with the process of aspirational rationality that is central to self-transcendence and central to us in becoming more rational and more wise.
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Ep. 47 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Heidegger
In this episode, Vervaeke pursues Heidegger’s work in-depth. He explains how we quest into our being to get a deeper understanding of being itself and come into contact with our modal existence. He discusses the notion of truth as aletheia and gnosis as a participatory knowing that is a dynamic coupling. He shows Heidegger’s criticism of the history of metaphysics and forgetting the being mode, which fundamentally misframes our relationship to being and subjects us to modal confusion, which is the heart of the meaning crisis.
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Ep. 46 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Conclusion and the Prophets of the Meaning Crisis
In this episode, Vervaeke connects wisdom to enlightenment, arguing that the wise cultivation of enlightenment is our deepest existential response to awakening from the meaning crisis. He draws all the machinery of relevance realization together into discourse with the central prophets of the meaning crisis. He shows Husserl’s phenomenology and argues that phenomenology is the reflective, experimental, exploratory, probative attention paid to perspectival knowing of the transjective relationship. Vervaeke agrees with Heidegger’s criticism of Husserl and shows us how to come into contact with our own modal existence in the mystery of being itself.
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Ep. 45 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - The Nature of Wisdom
In this episode, Vervaeke continues to offer powerful points of convergence and connection to different ideas to show how the machinery of relevance realization can help explain what it is to be wise and become wise. Vervaeke and Ferraro’s model explains how inferential and insight competencies coordinate together. However, he challenges the adequacy of this processing theory due to the lack of participatory knowing and transformational experience. He also shows that agape is the best form of sophrosyne. He details a theory of understanding and shows that profound understanding aligns and optimizes the relationship between propositional, procedural, perspectival, and participatory knowing. Finally he leaves us with an account of wisdom that draws the ideas of relevance realization together.
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Ep. 44 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Theories of Wisdom
Vervaeke continues to make his way through the theories of wisdom. He brings up important criticisms on Baltes and Staudinger’s work. From there, he then takes us to the important seminal work of Monika Ardelt. We see the distinction between having a good theory of wisdom and the process of becoming a wise person. She insightfully brings together the cognitive, reflective, and the affective characteristics that allow her theory to connect wisdom to meaning in life. He then explores the work of Sternberg, where we see a balance theory that invokes optimization which is very much like relevance realization.
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Ep. 43 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Wisdom and Virtue
Vervaeke makes his way through the theories representative of the central ideas in the psychology of wisdom. He starts by examining Schwartz and Sharpe to link wisdom to virtue and positive psychology. He argues that we need phronesis and sophia in a powerful opponent relationship. He sets aside their understanding of the notion of phronesis in terms of expertise. He then takes a look at the seminal theory of Baltes and Staudinger which invokes metaheuristics and both sense of pragmatics together to deeply presuppose the ability for relevance realization. Vervaeke challenges the relativism of values and priorities and instead proposes fallibilism linked to humility. Already, we are starting to get a sense of the fundamental machinery of what it is to be a wise person.
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Ep. 42 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Intelligence, Rationality, and Wisdom
In this episode, Vervaeke jumps off of Stanovich’s work to define psychotechnology and active open-mindedness. He talks about need for cognition and problem finding as being crucial to wisdom. He explains the dual processing theory in depth as well as the role of active open-mindedness and cognitive leaping. He shows us how rationality is ultimately an existential issue and how attaining a clear path to becoming rational can make us much more wise.
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Ep. 41 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - What is Rationality?
In this episode, Vervaeke continues his discussion about the rationality debate, revisiting Cohen’s argument about performance errors and discussing Cherniak’s computational limitation. He then talks about Smedslund and explains fallacy and misunderstanding. He uses Stanovich and West’s work to show what’s right and wrong with these arguments. Rationality is an existential issue that is constitutive of our identity and mode of being in the world. He explains to us that active open-endedness is the cognitive style most predictive for doing well on reasoning tasks.
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Ep. 40 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Wisdom and Rationality
In this episode, Vervaeke continues to look at McKee and Barber’s convergence argument. He then talks about two aspects of wisdom: how you know what you know and interpretive knowledge. We see that wisdom is deeply perspectival and participatory. He then introduces Stanovich’s work on rationality. Rationality has to do with reliably and systematically overcoming self-deception and potentially affording flourishing and optimization in achieving our goals. He discusses the rationality debate to show the deep connection between wisdom and rationality. We see that rationality is a deeply existential thing and he calls on us to expand and revise our notion of rationality to help us come back and deepen our understanding of wisdom.
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Ep. 39 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - The Religion of No Religion
In this episode, Vervaeke delves into the religion that is not a religion. He explores the relationship between credo and religio in the determination of our mythos. He suggests an open-ended credo where people create ecologies of practices and psychotechnologies to communicate how to adaptively set the criterion and constantly re-engineer the creation of meta-psychotechnology to promote both bottom-up and top-down functionality of an ecology of psychotechnology. He develops an account of wisdom that legitimizes and situates that ecology of practices necessary for cultivating responses to the meaning crisis and for using, interpreting, and grasping the significance of the cognitive scientific framework.
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Ep. 38 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Agape and 4E Cognitive Science
In this episode, Vervaeke discusses the interaction between the historical forces and perennial problems as well as the loss of the three orders. He explains how meaning making is transjective and that we should cultivate, realize, and appreciate agape. He uses the insights afforded by third generation and 4E cognitive science to address the loss of the three orders and worldview misattunement. An account of wisdom is needed to cultivate a response to the perennial problems and use this science. To respond to the historical forces, he also touches on transcendence into rather than transcendence above.
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Ep. 37 – Awakening from the Meaning Crisis – Reverse Engineering Enlightenment: Part 2
In this episode, Vervaeke continues to reverse engineer enlightenment by expanding the discussion on the perennial problems. He reiterates that the experience of sacredness, the attempt to activate, accentuate, accelerate, articulate, and appreciate Religio should address our perennial problems. We will see ways in which the ecology of psycho-technology addresses parasitic processing, modal confusion, reflectiveness gap, absurdity, anxiety, alienation, and existential entrapment.
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Ep. 36 – Awakening from the Meaning Crisis – Religio/Perennial Problems/Reverse Eng. Enlightenment
In this episode, Vervaeke moves on from strong foundations of talking about sacredness and how the experience of sacredness - the attempt to activate, accentuate, accelerate, articulate, and appreciate religio should address our perennial problems whereby the very machinery of religio that makes us adaptive also makes us perpetually vulnerable to self deceptive, self destructive behavior. We take the first step towards solving the meaning crisis before Vervaeke completes a breakdown of these Perennial problems and lays out plans to proceed by reverse-engineering enlightenment.
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Ep. 35 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - The Symbol, Sacredness, and the Sacred
In this episode, Vervaeke continues to expand our understanding of Sacredness, by developing an account of what symbols are. He shows how they are ‘participatory act’ in the sense that that participation has a deep connection to a profound kind of metaphor whereby we are reversing exaptation machinery in our brains to then re-exapt cognitive processes in a resonating way. He shows how this resonance goes towards deeper appreciations in our myriad of experiences.
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Ep. 34 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Sacredness: Horror, Music, and the Symbol
In this episode Vervaeke continues exploring Sacredness, developing a clear insight into how there is distinct opponent processing between it’s opposite aspects of it homing us from, and exposing us to horror, and how this all can show us our true limits through awe, horror and humility. Music is then used as an example to show how the serious play with the Relevance Realization in this machinery of Sacredness is pervasive in our lives, although somewhat trivialised in a widespread sense. The symbol, equally trivialised, is then introduced.
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Ep. 33 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - The Spirituality of RR: Wonder/Awe/Mystery/Sacredness
In this episode John develops the right side of the convergence diagram on Relevance Realization, putting forward his plausibility argument for an account of the central features of, and trying to explain many of the facets found within, Human Spirituality. He goes on to address something that is still missing from this comprehensive account, and to distinguish between The Sacred and Sacredness.
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Ep. 32 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - RR in the Brain, Insight, and Consciousness
In this episode John delves deep into trying to show how you can give a naturalistic explanation of Relevance Realization through a look at Self Organizing Criticality and Small World Networks in the brain and how this pertains to insight and general intelligence. He leads on to show how functional and phenomenological aspects of consciousness are quite the same. All this in a lead up to a connecting of all of this machinery to human spirituality in the next episode.
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Ep. 31 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Embodied-Embedded RR as Dynamical-Developmental GI
In this episode John looks at the how many of the processes that are central to our intelligence are dependent upon Relevance Realization. He makes the argument that at some fundamental level RR is a unified phenomenon, showing how it performs well with General Intelligence through an investigation of dynamic tradeoff relationships in organisms’ virtual engines, building on the analogy of Evolution by Natural Selection.
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Ep. 30 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Relevance Realization Meets Dynamical Systems Theory
In this episode, John starts to break down how we can explain a theory of Relevance Realisation, beginning by examining the distinction between a theory of Relevance and a theory of Relevance Realisation, arguing for the latter and against the former. He starts to then build a powerful analogy, using Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection, to move forward with the discussion of Meaning Making.
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Ep. 29 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Getting to the Depths of Relevance Realization
In this episode John really delves into the central issue of realising what is relevant, beginning by establishing a sturdy guiding principle for the investigation and moving on to break down the different aspects of what could possibly represent our ability to realise relevance with various arguments relating to representation, computation and modularity.
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Ep. 28 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Convergence To Relevance Realization
In this episode, John takes us through a series of arguments to highlight just how central the idea of Relevance Realisation is to our ideas of not only intelligence but, historically, of the Meaning Crisis itself. After a thorough breakdown of how Relevance Realisation is at the very heart of the multiple, interacting aspects of our intelligence, John introduces a proposed leap back into what we are searching for in the Meaning Crisis by using the very same convergence construct of Synoptic Integration on Relevance Realisation, grounded through analysis, formalisation and mechanisation to help find what we are looking for.
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Ep. 27 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Problem Formulation
In this week’s episode John picks up with explaining the Problem Space which leads us to an analysis of how we come to appreciate Relevance Realisation which helps us avoid wasting time in Problem Solving through Combinatorial Explosions - relatively infinite possibilities in otherwise simple looking problems. We delve further into Cognitive Science by establishing that there are well defined problems and, more commonly, ill-defined problems, the latter of which is our introduction to Insight which helps with understanding and developing both our intelligence and artificial intelligence.
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Ep. 26 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Cognitive Science
In this episode, John re-introduces us to the different levels of the mind and their associated disciplines, explaining equivocation in detail and focusing on one specific version of Cog-Sci where we look at a re-integration of all these different levels, using a new ‘bridging vocabulary’ through the model of Synoptic Integration. Using this model and an in-depth analysis of our long standing ability to use Metaphor, we break down a solid definition of what Cognitive Science actually is before moving on to appreciate what Intelligence is as well as looking at an introduction to our ability to Problem Solve.
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Ep. 25 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - The Clash
In this episode John talks us through the final steps in the evolution of Philosophy up to and through the point in history that has left us with the Meta-crisis that we face in the world today. We see how, post-Hegel and specifically in Germany, the politics of the early 20th century lead to the wars that devastate our search for meaning when all the different philosophical undercurrents meet, coinciding with the clash of the pseudo-religious titans, the diametrically opposed Nazism and Marxism. John details how, after these events, we cannot return to Religion, but that we need it or an equivalent where none exists, and how we’re therefore left with nowhere else to turn to fill the void it has left us, and so we are introduced to the study of the Mind to find answers. We are introduced to Cognitive Science.
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Ep. 24 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Hegel
In this episode John takes a look into the development and workings of Hegel’s massively influential Grand Synthesis of Myth, Philosophy and Science which serves to offer a secular alternative to Religion in the form of a total, systematic, explanation and guide, setting himself up as the Godfather of “Totalitarian Ideologies”. With such a grand and pivotal moment in the development of Philosophy within the History of Ideas, and with it’s implications to the Meaning Crisis, there are of course critics who follow and who bring differing arguments as to how Hegel has missed something crucially important that goes to the core of Human Meaning Making.
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Ep. 23 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Romanticism
In this episode John delves deeper into the historical developments around Kant in a discussion about how math ultimately isolates us from reality, allowing for Romanticism to emerge and re-unite us with Reality through irrationality. Introducing Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, we get a tantalizingly near-complete model with a potential re-connect with “religious style”, Axial-Age Self-Transcendence, whilst moving into more of a secular, scientific world view, but for still facing the problem of Self-Deception.
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Ep. 22 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Descartes vs. Hobbes
In this episode, John Vervaeke delves into the correspondence between Descartes and Hobbes to get to the heart of what exactly the is difference between Mind and Matter, with particular reference to the development of AI, and bringing in the famous “I think, therefor I am” argument at this very crucial philosophical turning point. The result is a total deconstruction of the self and a total disassociation of self from the universe, stranding us in an existential crisis like that at the beginning of the Axial Revolution.
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Ep. 21 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Martin Luther and Descartes
Welcome back to Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. Last time we took a look at the advent of the Scientific Revolution and we looked at the work of Copernicus and how the important advent of a scientific description of reality had with it the consequence that most of our experience, our sensory experience, was questionable […]
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Ep. 20 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Death of the Universe
Welcome back to Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. So last time we took a look at how Augustine drew all of this development, this very complex, sophisticated articulation of the Axial Revolution, drew it all together into a Nomological Order that brought with it the best of Aristotelian science, a Normative Order that brought with […]
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Ep. 19 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Augustine and Aquinas
Welcome back to Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. Last time we were talking about this interaction and confluence between nascent Christianity, the transformation that's undergoing the Platonic tradition in Neoplatonism and Gnosticism. We had ended up by talking about Plotinus and how he brings about this grand unification of the best science of the time […]
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Ep. 18 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Plotinus and Neoplatonism
Welcome back to awakening from the meaning crisis. So last time we were taking a look, uh, at a group, um, of people, uh, as I said before, the Gnostic shouldn't be understood as forming like their own community or group. Although there might have been some Gnostic churches, we should think of them more […]
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Ep. 17 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Gnosis and Existential Inertia
Welcome back to Awakening From The Meaning Crisis. Last time we tried something somewhat pretentious - I hope it was still valuable! We endeavored to discuss the contributions to the notions of meaning and wisdom that were made by the advent of Christianity. In particular, we looked at Jesus of Nazareth and the exemplification of […]
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Ep. 16 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Christianity and Agape
Welcome back to awakening from the meaning crisis. So last time we had begun to take a look at the transformation that was occurring in the Eastern Mediterranean around the time of the advent of what was going to become Christianity. Of course, this figures upon the person of Jesus of Nazareth, a very controversial […]
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Ep. 15 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Marcus Aurelius and Jesus
Welcome back to awakening from the meaning crisis. So last time we finished up our look at what was going on in Buddhism and then we moved back to the West and we started to take a look at what was coming after the axial revolution. And we saw that Aristotle's disciple Alexander ushered in […]
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Ep. 14 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Epicureans, Cynics, and Stoics
Welcome back to awakening from the meaning crisis. Last time we finished our look at the Axial Revolution in India. We took a look at what was going on in The Buddha's state of enlightenment. We took a look at some of the Cognitive Science in such awakening experiences. And then we moved to interpret […]
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Ep. 13 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Buddhism and Parasitic Processing
Welcome back to awakening for the meaning crisis. So last time what we did is we finished up a cognitive scientific exploration of higher states of consciousness, awakening experiences, these kinds of mystical experiences that bring about massive transformation. We saw how we can give a psychologically adequate description of these processes that explain both […]
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Ep. 12 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Higher States of Consciousness, Part 2
Welcome back to awakening from meaning crisis. So we have been engaged in a very long discussion because we're talking about a topic that is central about the possibility of Enlightenment, and to try and make that something plausibly accessible to us. Rather than something wrapped, and shrouded in mesmeric mystique. Instead we've been trying […]
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Episode 11: Higher States of Consciousness, Part 1
Welcome back to awakening from the meaning crisis. Last time we were discussing the Axial age within ancient India. We were focusing in on a pivotal figure of Siddhārtha Gautama; The Buddha. And we had been talking about his particular story. We talked about the two modes of being that were being represented in his […]
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Episode 10: Consciousness
Welcome back to awakening from the meeting crisis. The last time we were talking more about mindfulness and trying to get an account of how mindfulness can bring about an insight. Not just a single insight into a single problem, but a modal insight, a systematic insight that is fully transformative of the Agent and […]
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Episode 9: Insight
Welcome back to Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. So last time we continued looking through the myth of Siddhartha's awakening and we talked about him leaving the palace, the having mode, his attempt to rediscover, recover the being mode, and the difficulty he faced in pursuing self-denial as passionately as he had pursued self-indulgence and […]
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Episode 8: The Buddha and "Mindfulness"
Welcome back to awakening from the meeting crisis. So last time we took a look at the second half of Aristotle and his further developments of the Axial-ages understanding meaning and wisdom. We took a look more at what you might call the world side of things. And we took a look at Aristotle's world-view; […]
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Episode 7: Aristotle's World View and Erich Fromm
Welcome back to awakening from the meaning crisis. So last time we began our discussion of Aristotle and how he has contributed significantly to our understanding of meaning and wisdom. And we talked about how Aristotle was centrally concerned with something that he thought Plato didn't give an adequate enough account of: change. But importantly […]
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Episode 6: Aristotle, Kant, and Evolution
Welcome back to awakening from the meaning crisis. So last time we discussed the important and foundational work of Plato. The grammar of Western civilization is basically made up of the Bible and Plato. We'll keep coming back to both of those repeatedly in certain ways. And we talked about Plato's notion of wisdom and […]
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Episode 5: Plato and the Cave
Welcome to the fifth episode of awakening from the meeting crisis. Last time we talked about how the Axial revolution came into Greece. We first reviewed Pythagoras and then we concentrated especially on the figure of Socrates and the Socratic revolution. And we saw again how issues of meaning, wisdom, self transcendence are so tightly […]
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Episode 4: Socrates and the Quest for Wisdom
Welcome again to awakening from the meaning crisis. This is episode four. So last time we discussed the axial revolution and in particular how it moved into ancient Israel. We talked about the advent of the psycho-technology of time as cosmic history, as a narrative in which there is an open future and in which […]
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Episode 3: Continuous Cosmos and Modern World Grammar
Welcome back to "Awakening from the Meaning Crisis". This is our third time together. Last time we were talking about more what was going on in Shamanism and the Upper Paleolithic Transition. We talked a lot about the flow experience and how it integrates altered states of consciousness. Something like, or at least on a […]
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Episode 2: Flow, Metaphor, and the Axial Revolution
This time we'll be talking about the connections between meaning making, enhancing cognition, altered states of consciousness, wisdom.
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Episode 1: Introduction
In this episode John Vervaeke lays out what will be covered in this series
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What is the Awakening from the Meaning Crisis Series​
This page presents what the meaning crisis is in the view of John Vervaeke
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