We had a great pleasure to interview John Vervaeke, a lecturer at the University of Toronto in the departments of psychology, cognitive science and Buddhist psychology. John’s excellent lecture series on YouTube called Awakening From the Meaning Crisis has inspired us to invite him on the show and discuss how to overcome the meaning crisis in today’s world.

In this interview we also dive deep into the topics of integrating scientific and traditional views of the search for meaning, multiple kinds of knowing, and the ecology of transformational practices. We also draw on various resources from cognitive science, psychology, philosophy, religion and spirituality that you can check out in the links section below.

This interview comes in two parts – in Part 1 we talk about what is the meaning crisis, why it has emerged and what are some of the practices and solutions to deal with it.

In Part 2 we talk further about self-transformation, transcendence and strategies for creating meaning.

Illusions are intended. We shouldn’t look for a final solution to meaning. Your ongoing, evolving fitedness to environment, to yourself, to the world - the process itself IS the meaning. -@vervaeke_john Click To Tweet

In This Episode of Future Thinkers:

  • What are the symptoms of the meaning crisis and how we can recognize it
  • The two components of the meaning crisis – scientific and historical analysis
  • Why we no longer fit into a scientific worldview and what are some of the ways we search for meaning in post-religious societies
  • The lack of wisdom institutions and the traps of auto-didactic search for meaning
  • Why training deep, systematic rationality is key for overcoming self-deception
  • Different psycho-technologies for integrating science, spirituality and society
  • The importance of serious play and commitment to the process instead of the result
  • The place of mindfulness, meditation and contemplation practices in the search for meaning
  • Psychedelics as radical frame-breakers in the process of self-transcendence
  • The role of deconstruction of meaning and why it’s inseparable from meaning creation
  • Participatory knowing or we-knowing as a gateway to the creation of new meaning
Serious play is very important. Our culture doesn’t know how to deal with play. We either trivialize it into entertainment and fun, or we think it must be work. - @vervaeke_john Click To Tweet

Links and Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Book Recommendations:

More From Future Thinkers:


Say Hi!

Our mission is to help people wake up, evolve, and adapt to the changing world.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?