In this conversation, John Vervaeke & I discuss:
The meaning crisis as a crisis of interiority
The religion that is not a religion
Socioeconomic policies as forms of psycho-technologies
The cognitive science of capitalist realism
The tension between wisdom and commodification
John is a professor of cognitive psychology & science at the University of Toronto. He recently completed a 50-episode lecture series on Youtube: Awakening From the Meaning Crisis.
The series is a wonderful integration of cognitive science and ‘spirituality’, for lack of a better term. He develops a framework for understanding what wisdom is, how to cultivate it, how central the cultivation of wisdom was to societies in the past, and how the usurpation of wisdom by knowledge leaves us adrift in a meaningless cosmos, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
One way of thinking about the meaning crisis is as a crisis of wisdom cultivation. The monasteries are gone, the commodification of schools is diluting what passes as ‘education’ to mere preparation for uncertain labor markets; where else do we go for wisdom?