Your world is evolving—find out how with Carter Phipps, co-author of the Wall St. Journal bestseller Conscious Leadership. He’s an optimist, a generalist, and an integrative thinker. Now he has an excuse for his insatiable book-buying habit—a show that explores the movements, trends, people, and ideas that are shaping the future. Phipps is also author of Evolutionaries, and cofounder of the Institute for Cultural Evolution. Through in-depth interviews and occasional rants and reflections, the show explores the many subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways that the world is changing and developing across a vast array of domains—from business and politics to science and technology to consciousness and spirituality.
Sergey Young: Are You Ready For Radical Longevity?
Would you like to live a bit longer, maybe a lot longer? Do you think it’s possible? Do you think it will be possible in the future? In this episode of Thinking Ahead, I want to introduce you to an individual who believes strongly in the potential for human longevity, in the near term and long term. His name is Sergey Young and his new book is called The Science and Technology of Growing Young.
Young is not a scientist or a researcher or even the founder of biotech company. He’s an investor—and specifically, an investor in startups working to increase longevity. He has formed several funds to invest in breakthroughs in the science and technology of aging. And that gives him a unique vantage point from which to observe and examine the many moonshots that are now underway to extend the human lifespan. But, as Young points out, the first rule of extending your lifespan is: don't die before your natural time—from accidents, mistakes, chronic disease, or bad choices. And so, any foray into longevity must include the means to be vital and healthy into our 90s. Then, we can consider the breakthroughs on the horizon in the next era of human development.
What would mean if we found a way to live well beyond our existing natural lifespan? What are the ethical and social implications? Join Sergey and I for an exploration of the unprecedented human potentials that may ripple through society in the next century.
Steve McIntosh: Building a Post-Progressive Movement
For this episode, I’m happy to welcome back one of the first guests on this podcast, my longtime collaborator and cofounder of the Institute for Cultural Evolution, Steve McIntosh. Since that earlier conversation (which you can check out here) Steve has continued his work to bring what he has called a “post-progressive” perspective to the political sphere. Recently, that work has taken an important step forward with the launch of a new media portal, The Post-Progressive Post. This site, to which I’m proud to be a contributor, is designed to bring a fresh, new perspective to politics—one that is neither left, right, nor centrist. Indeed, it attempts to synthesize the best of all three of these political positions by integrating the cultural values from each of America’s three major worldviews: Progressivism, Modernism, and Traditionalism. The launch of this site made it a perfect moment to have Steve back on the podcast and dive deeper into what a post-progressive approach to politics and culture might look like.
Here are a couple of links to items referenced in our conversation.
George Packer, “The Four Americas,” The Atlantic
Steve’s critique of Packer’s article
My first article for the Post-Progressive Post: “Who Wants to Skip the Civil War?”
Eric Wargo: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Precognitive Dreamwork
Last year, in episode 3 of this podcast, I interviewed Eric Wargo, author of Time Loops. I had gotten to know Eric at a conference a few years earlier at the Esalen Center for Theory and Research. I was impressed by him and his ideas, and spent many hours talking with him. I find his theories about precognition, retrocausation, the nature of the brain, and the role of dreaming fascinating. They explain a lot of esoteric experiences and data that are often pushed aside by mainstream researchers. While Eric is pushing the boundaries of our theoretical models further than most, he is also a rigorous and serious thinker who speaks well to those who sympathize with his ideas but can also answer and engage his critics. I always enjoy talking with him, so when I realized his new book, Precognitive Dreamwork and the Long Self, was out, I thought it was time to get him back on the podcast.
Carter's Rants and Reflections: Who Wants to Skip the Civil War?
What if the ethical challenge of our own time is not to have the courage to be a combatant for the last century's great causes, but to negotiate a much more complex set of moral issues, values, and worldviews? In this unique episode of Thinking Ahead, Carter reads his latest essay, written for The Post Progressive Post. Inspired by the recent movie A Call to Spy, Carter shares his reflections on America's troubled political landscape and weaves together polarization, Hollywood, World War 2, Sufism, and his own story. He calls for a new kind of heroism that transcends the archetypes of 20th century morality tales, a hero that can answer the ethical challenge of the 21st century.
Avi Tuschman: Can Wikipedia Save Social Media?
Misinformation. Disinformation. Fake news. Conspiracy theories. These viruses of the information age proliferate with frightening speed on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, sometimes with serious consequences. Over the past few years, as the scope of the problem has become unavoidable, there has been much debate over how to deal with it, and increasing pressure to do so. Should government regulate these platforms? Should the tech companies regulate themselves? Or is there another way? Avi Tuschman, a silicon valley entrepreneur and pioneer in the field of psychometric AI, believes there is. Last year, he published a paper outlining a bold and creative proposal for creating a third-party reviewing system based on a website everyone knows and loves: Wikipedia. Wikipedia, as he points out, is a remarkable success. It’s accurate to an extraordinary degree. Research all over the world rely on it. And its success is due to a unique formula: a distributed group of non-employee volunteers who write and edit the information on the site and, in conjunction with AI processes, make sure it conforms to the site’s high standards. In his paper, entitled Rosenbaum’s Magical Entity: How to Reduce Misinformation on Social Media, he suggests that we should use “the same open-source, software mechanisms and safeguards that have successfully evolved on Wikipedia to enable the collaborative adjudication of verifiability.”
It’s a proposal that potentially avoids many of the politically tricky consequences of getting government involved in regulating public platforms run by private companies. But how exactly would it work? Where does free speech come in? How much fact-checking do we want on our social media sites? And where do we draw the line between discourse that is merely unconventional and that which is outright conspiratorial? To unpack these questions and more, I invited Avi Tuschman to join me on Thinking Ahead for what turned out to be a thought-provoking conversation.
Deepak Chopra: Inside the Mind of a Spiritual Pioneer
There are few people in the world of writers, musicians, artists, and celebrities who are instantly recognizable by just a single name. Oprah, Sting, Bruce, Beyonce—to name a few. Deepak falls into that rarefied category. Ever since he burst onto the progressive spiritual scene in the late eighties with his unique mix of health, wellness, science, spirituality, and celebrity, Deepak Chopra has been a cultural force—writing, speaking, debating, and generally making himself a constant presence in the media. Today, his name has become almost synonymous with “spiritual but not religious” subculture heavily influenced by Eastern philosophy and Indian spiritual thought. Indeed, Deepak himself, a former student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the Beatles' guru), has been one of the most articulate and consistent proponents of what we might call a modern, scientifically informed version of ancient Hindu mysticism. On this episode of Thinking Ahead, I speak with Deepak about his recent article—It’s Time Reality Got a Makeover—exploring the limits of scientific materialism. But we didn’t stop there. In the end, we covered a lot of ground—materialism, idealism, consciousness, the brain, reality, psychedelics, UFOs, and even his own remaining life goals. Never at a loss for words or ideas, Deepak is unique thinker, and it was a pleasure to peer inside the mind of this spiritual icon.