Facing the Metacrisis: Conflict, Metamodernity, and Construct Awareness

Jonathan RowsonAudio, Cognitive, Deep Transformation, Defenses, Free, World Affairs Leave a Comment

“Let’s be careful what we’re talking about because we’re creating a world…”Jonathan Rowson

Jonathan Rowson, brilliant, driven, articulate, shines a bright light of understanding on the metacrisis we face today, what feeds it, and what could help us find our way through. What is metamodernity and what does it have to offer? Is the ecological crisis fundamentally an educational crisis? Can we grow into our problem rather than thinking of ourselves as “failing beings” as the climate collapses around us? From the metaperspective to the deeply personal, Rowson shares his wisdom, including life lessons he gleaned from being a chess Grandmaster, before becoming a philosopher, research fellow, nonprofit director, and author.

Recorded on November 17, 2021.

Topics & Timestamps: Part 1

  • What are Jonathan’s daily practices (while also being very much “in the world” these days)? (05:37)
  • Being a cartological hedonist: intellectual mapmaking (10:27)
  • What does Christianity have to offer that we should be paying attention to? (11:58)
  • Becoming “construct aware” in the political spectrum and elsewhere: cultural progress depends on it (14:29)
  • The UK Brexit quagmire: what are we talking about when we say democracy? (18:32)
  • Why developmental psychology may not be the best lens to look at our culture and politics (20:15)
  • What is the most strategic contribution you can make? (29:45)
  • Progressive imperialism: assuming everyone is or could be on the same page—but conflict and opposition will always be a feature of the world (32:04)
  • Who is included in the word “we,” getting people to face up to the fallen nature of the world, and the Manichaean worldview (34:51)
  • The contemplative perspective and our fundamental state of delusion (36:30)
  • Underlying delusion in the progressive community that there is a fundamental “right” way or that we will come to a common agreement on issues like climate (38:28)
  • The imperative to mobilize to face the epistemic crisis as well as the environmental crisis (40:23)
  • How do we work together in a context where we may disagree and dislike each other: making friends with conflict (42:05)
  • The metacrisis, confusion, and the bottomless mystery: a time between worlds (45:08)
  • Carlos Castenada’s 4 traps for the person of knowledge: fear, power, clarity, old age (47:57)
  • Confusion is not necessarily a bad thing (48:35)

Topics & Timestamps: Part 2

  • What is metamodernity and what does it have to offer us? (01:04)
  • The “cultural between”: serious about the meaning of life (04:48)
  • The political “after”: an antidote to hyper modernity, returning to basic human sensibilities and a time-rich relationship with life (06:22)
  • The mystic beyond: a return to metaphysics (08:28)
  • What does “a time between worlds” mean? (09:32)
  • We’ve got to perceive the context clearly in order to orient ourselves: our interiors, our capacity for growth, bio precarity, technology innovation, and more (12:50)
  • On the nuances of confusion (14:27)
  • Can we grow into our climate collapse problem rather than thinking of ourselves as “failing beings”? (17:07)
  • The importance of Bildung = transformative, civic, and aesthetic education (18:17)
  • Is the ecological crisis fundamentally an educational crisis? (20:18)
  • What chess taught Jonathan about life: jewels of wisdom from The Moves That Matter (23:42)
  • Concentration = freedom (25:31)
  • Making peace with our struggles: we’re always going to be a work in progress (30:38)
  • Successful underachievement and living with regret (35:42)
  • Living in an algorithm-driven culture (40:52)
  • Longing for a clearer sense of relationship with the divine, the cosmopoetics of life (43:59)
  • Our unbidden tears are the best of us (46:03)

Resources & References

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Jonathan Rowson

About Jonathan Rowson

Jonathan Rowson, Ph.D. is co-founder and director of Perspectiva, an organization committed to understanding the relationship between systems, souls, and society in theory and practice, with a view to help overcome collective immunity to transformation in a time between worlds. He is also an open society fellow and a research fellow at the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity at the University of Surrey. He was previously Director of the Social Brain Centre at the RSA, where he authored a range of influential research reports on behaviour change, climate change, and spirituality, and curated and chaired a range of related events. By background, Jonathan is an applied philosopher with degrees from Oxford, Harvard, and Bristol Universities. In a former life he was a chess Grandmaster and British Champion and views the game as a continuing source of insight and inspiration. His book, The Moves that Matter: A Grandmaster on the Game of Life, was published in 2019.

John Dupuy

About John Dupuy

John Dupuy is co-founder and CEO of iAwake Technologies, a company that creates cutting-edge, high-tech brainwave entrainment soundtracks that support the healing of emotional/shadow issues, deepen meditation, mental focus, creativity, and flow states, and enhance a daily integral transformative practice. John has been working personally and professionally with brainwave entrainment technology since 2004, and travels internationally to teach and inspire on the subjects of Integral Transformative Practice and Integral Recovery®. John is also the author of Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction (SUNY Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Award, and co-host of the popular Journey of Integral Recovery podcast. John also hosts the online series Spiritual Tech Talks 2.0, in which he converses with leaders, pioneers, and inventors on the current wave of emerging spiritual technologies.

Roger Walsh

About Roger Walsh

Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., has spent nearly a quarter century researching and practicing in the world's great spiritual traditions. His critically acclaimed book, Essential Spirituality, is a summary of that wisdom, outlining the seven spiritual practices common to the world's major religions.