Tired of the same old left /right arguments? Want to throw your shoe at the shouting heads on cable news? Then join Jeff for a look at current events and culture from an integral perspective. Each week he explores emerging trends in politics, economics, science and spirituality, all with an eye toward spotting the evolution and up-flow of human consciousness and culture.
A Post-Progressive Approach to Climate Change - Guest: Steve McIntosh, President, The Institute for Cultural Evolution
This week political philosopher Steve McIntosh joins me to discuss global warming through the lens of cultural evolution. We focus on solving the “political will problem” that is currently stymying our collective response to the climate crisis. Steve argues that the progressive agenda on climate needs an upgrade:
“Preserving the health of our natural environment is crucial for our collective well-being, which is why we can no longer indulge in the idealistic fantasy that America’s economy and energy systems can be immediately and radically transformed. Some prominent progressive voices are calling for the overthrow of capitalism, but this kind of absolutistic rhetoric only serves to block the formation of a larger national consensus around the most timely and realistic near-term approaches.”
Steve’s ideas are fully fleshed out in the Institute for Cultural Evolution’s Policy Paper on Climate Change. It is one of a series of innovative “Win-Win-Win” policy analyses created by the think tank that address the issues of the day with the goal of providing key “wins” for each of the three major worldviews. I hope you enjoy the episode! – Jeff Salzman
Steve McIntosh is president of the Institute for Cultural Evolution and author of Developmental Politics, How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself. I am a senior fellow of the Institute and a member of its board of directors.
ARMED INSANITY: Getting real about guns and criminality
This week I share our collective outrage and heartbreak over the shooting of the Texas schoolchildren and teachers, and manage to offer some hope that this time it will be different, that this shooting will heighten a social pain-point – unstable young men equipped with weapons of war – sufficiently to transcend political polarities. In this episode I ponder:
* America’s enneatype, frontier culture, “traditionalism with guns”
* Integrating the MSNBC and FOX News worldviews
* Recognizing budding criminality
* Matthew Yglesias’s positivity blowback
* How about the first part of the second amendment?
* The ever-widening circle of moral consideration
* What our grandchildren will know
* Blessings to all
This is my last regular weekly episode of the season – see you in September!
– Jeff Salzman
Frances Fukuyama: Trajectory Without Teleology - What’s driving the “long arc of history”?
Frances Fukuyama is one of our most prominent political philosophers. He is famous for his argument that liberal democracy and free-market capitalism represent “the end of history,” a thesis widely criticized (somewhat unfairly, as I’ll explain) in light of the rise of 21st Century autocracies, especially China and Russia.
In his new book, Liberalism and its Discontents, Fukuyama updates his argument, which he sums up in his recent feature article in the Wall Street Journal: “The Long Arc of Political Progress: A democratic world order is not the inexorable outcome of historical forces, but even amid setbacks, societies are clearly evolving towards equality and individual freedom.”
I’m always happy to see any ideas of cultural evolution reach the mainstream, and Fukuyama does an excellent job of tracing the patterns of human history, including the herky-jerky nature of progress. He makes a strong case that human conditions are getting better in the aggregate. But … what is powering this development? In human terms, how is it that an eight-year-old becomes a twelve-year-old? Is it just because they “make better choices” or “social structures change”?
Alas, this is territory that Fukuyama and most mainstream political writers do not explore. In this episode, I add some insight that I think creates a more integral view. Enjoy! – Jeff Salzman
Illuminating Our Stage Structures - Guest: Developmental Psychotherapist Kim Barta
Sometimes in our psychological development the way forward requires us to go back, to re-explore earlier stages of life to see what is distorted or left unintegrated.
This is the theme of the work of my guest today, developmental psychotherapist Kim Barta. He discusses his approach to personal growth, which is based on the STAGES Model of Development created by well-known developmental theorist Terri O’Fallon (who is also Kim’s sister.). Using psychotherapeutic practices, shadow work and meditation, Kim has devised a comprehensive system of self-exploration with stopovers at every stage of development, designed to bring the gifts and powers of that stage online.
Shoring up our developmental scaffolding in this way makes us able – and worthy – to grow into the higher stages of integral consciousness, which Kim and the STAGES model also beautifully illuminate. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Kim Barta!
– Jeff Salzman
Kim is launching an intensive year-long program, “Shadow and Light” for a cohort of 16 people. (As always when I discuss a product with a guest, I get no compensation.) You can find out more about Kim and all his offerings at Kimbarta.org.
APOCALYPSE ALWAYS - Doom, Post-Doom and Beyond
This week I address a listener’s question about a fascinating subculture arising in the environmental movement: the “post-doomers”, people who, as she writes, “hold the idea that the collapse of civilization as we know it is already well underway, is unstoppable, and will be felt by us here in Comfortable Land through disruption of many kinds in the not-too-distant future.”
Post-doomers find meaning in surrendering to this inevitable doom, much as a hospice patient might find peace – even joy – in the acceptance of their death. Or that their loved ones might find in reconciliation and mourning.
I’m not a doomer. I’m an “I-think-we’ll-muddle-througher” and a chronic both-sidesist. I am allergic to alarmism as well as to those who dismiss their opposition.
But might I be a post-doomer? Can one get the transmission without swallowing the doctrine? Yes, there is no end to environmental suffering, and any path to sustainability will continue to be painful and frightening. Witnessing and grieving this along the way makes us worthy to create a new and better world.
Evolution proceeds through destruction and creation. Fortunately, since the Big Bang, at least, creation wins. I have not only hope but faith that will continue.
Enjoy the episode! – Jeff Salzman
Integral Oratorio Debuts in London - Steve Banks on “Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio”
My guest today, Steve Banks, is an accomplished, integrally-inspired composer who is about to drop a fantastic new piece of music that is both classical and cutting edge. It’s called Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio and it will be performed for the first time in London next month.
Blue Pearl is itself a fascinating example of integral consciousness arising in an established art form. In its structure it is a classical oratorio, defined as a “large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices, typically a narrative on a religious theme, performed without the use of costumes, scenery, or action. Well-known examples include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Haydn’s The Creation.”
While Bue Pearl is rooted in the western sacred choral tradition, Steve’s spiritual inspiration is explicitly integral. Fusing several musical styles, his work celebrates the unity-in-diversity of the integral vision. The central image is of the earth as seen from space, the ‘blue pearl”, a fragile, living, conscious planet. The lyrics come from writings by Ken Wilber, Thich Nhat Hanh and Steve himself.
The world premiere is May 14th at the St. Giles Cripplegate Church in London. It will be performed by the London Mozart Players and two choirs: the Excelsis Choir and Vox Farnham Chamber Choir. You can check out Steve’s website, Stevebanks.info for a prototype of the work, all the lyrics, and information on how to attend in person or online.
I hope you enjoy my conversation with Steve Banks as well as his wonderful new work, Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio. – Jeff Salzman
Down to Earth Integral Wisdom
In this podcast, Jeff examines current events through the lense of integral theory, relying most heavily on developmental stages (often using the language of Spiral Dynamics) and the four quadrants. I read many of Ken Wilber's books before I began listening to The Daily Evolver, and while they were illuminating in many ways, they didn't do a great job of helping me understand how the concpets of integral theory actually apply to on-the-ground, real life events, which is where The Daily Evolver excels. It has personally helped me to get a better felt-sense of the various developmenal stages as they manifest through political figures, public discourse/debate, social movements, etc. The podcast has also given me a more hopeful sense of the "beautiful but not pretty" arc of history, which Jeff frames as moving, overall, towards greater complexity, truth, goodness, and beauty, and does so in a convincing way. The Shrink and the Pundit series with Dr. Keith Witt is also superb, and has helped me to get a much better sense of how integral theory can be effectively applied to psychology, relationships, and therapy. Some of the episodes, such as the one on regulating anxiety, have been very helpful to me personally. And they're just so fun to listen to! A frend of mine said they are like the Click and Clack of psychology.
Perspective on world events
Jeff is great at using world events to help apply and understand integral theory. The clarity I have gained his greatly reduced my anxiety about what is happening in the world. It is also help to guide my interactions with those I may not agree with.
Very well done!
A hidden gem. Please keep em coming, Jeff! Recommending to friends.