Our guest in this episode is Joe Brewer, Executive Director at the Center for Applied Cultural Evolution. Joe is a complexity researcher, cognitive scientist, and evangelist for regenerative culture design. We invited him onto the show because we felt that our ideas about adult development, rites of passage, and overcoming the chasm of nihilism strongly resonated with his thinking and work on cultural evolution. This interview turned out to be very dense and we talked about complex subjects, so we divided the episode in two parts.

In Part 1 we talk about what kind of education we need in order to prepare for an evolutionary transition, why even intellectuals can’t wrap their heads around climate change, and the importance of the grieving process for psychological and spiritual growth.

In Part 2 we talk about modern versions of rites of passage that can be relevant for young people today and why they are important. We also discuss the ways to support cultural evolution and develop regenerative cultures that are capable of dealing with global problems and existential risks.

In This Episode Of Future Thinkers:

  • How studying mathematics, physics and atmospheric sciences can lead to philosophical and esoteric inquiry
  • Behaviour of clouds as a great starting point to learn about systems and complexity
  • What is cultural evolution research and how it relates to complex systems theory
  • The gap of perception that many people have in understanding climate change
  • What is terror management theory and how we can be traumatized by our own thoughts about future
  • The grieving process as a necessary path to managing planetary collapse
  • Why finding something sacred to us plays a crucial role in crossing the chasm of nihilism
  • The importance of going through rites of passage in order to prepare for uncertain future
  • What are some new versions of rites of passage that would be relevant for young people today?
  • Prototyping educational processes for global collapse – permaculture, restoration programs, train the trainers models
  • How humanity can learn to lead itself through an evolutionary transition
To cross the chasm of nihilism requires of us to do something in preparation, and that is identifying the sacred - something more foundational than myself to be in service to, so I can tolerate the nihilism. - @cognitivepolicy Click To Tweet

Links and Resources:

Today and in the next ten years, humans have to figure out how to guide ourselves through an evolutionary transition of astronomical scale. - @cognitivepolicy Click To Tweet

Recommended Books:

Each individual is a cosmos of organs, each organ is a cosmos of cells, each cell is a cosmos of infinitely small ones; and in this complex world, the well-being of the whole depends entirely on the sum of well-being enjoyed by each of the least microscopic particles of organized matter. – Pyotr Kropotkin

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