Navigating the Potentials and Perils of New Media, AI, Pervasive Propaganda, and the Looming Metacrisis
“A crisis at the root of the way we make choices about civilization itself—the metacrisis is a crisis of the mind.”Zachary Stein
Educator, author, philosopher, and futurist Zachary Stein gives a startling account of the effects the digital age already has on education and where this is headed. Think AI tutors and students talking in 3D with Socrates. Zak sees education in a deeply philosophical sense as fundamental to the sustainability of our civilization, with implications for each component of the metacrisis. Who will be driving the technology stack that actually leads to a viable civilization? Can we maintain our psychological sovereignty in a sea of digital propaganda and know the truth?
Zak describes the metacrisis as a gestalt shift that allows us to orient toward the whole in an intuitive way and how this can give us traction in finding solutions. He finds hope for our future in the untapped potential of our collective human family and especially in the untapped potential of our youth, given the opportunity to make their lives meaningful and connected, working together to resolve the pressing challenges of our time. If you have a slightly outdated perception of the present, this impactful, far-reaching conversation may rock it squarely to the edge of present and future.
Recorded November 30, 2022.
Topics & Timestamps: Part 1
- Introducing Dr. Zachary Stein, educator, author, philosopher, futurist (01:12)
- What exactly is the metacrisis? (03:30)
- The main risk to the planet is our inability to make the right decisions (06:06)
- Creating a world philosophy that would be adequate for sustaining civilization, and shifting to an intuitive gestalt of the planetary whole rather than addressing only the parts or individual crises (07:10)
- The metacrisis is also about existential risk and catastrophic risk: the near-term future is precipitous (09:07)
- Where is the hope? What can we do as individuals? (10:14)
- The metacrisis does not imply anything faulty about humans (11:09)
- It’s as a result of our successes that we need to rebalance the domains that need attention
- The metacrisis hyperspace is so complex, it forces you to look at it intuitively—consulting the analytical and then returning to the whole gestalt (16:05)
- The sensemaking crisis and the booby trapping of the ecosystem of information (17:54)
- Public sensemaking, propaganda wars, the issue of trust with the news and politicians, cyber troops, and social media (20:03)
- The behavior manipulation machine, the thought terminating cliché, and how propaganda targets the intuition (24:05)
- Propaganda is the evil twin of education (32:28)
- How do we find our way through? Psychological sovereignty says a human being can know the truth (37:47)
Topics & Timestamps: Part 2
- How we ourselves are weaponized to spread propaganda (01:52)
- Meditation as an antidote: coming back to our own fundamental present moment experience (02:58)
- Algorithmic radicalization and how to stop the limbic hijacking that happens via the screen (04:20)
- The future of education: AI tutoring, virtual reality, and talking with Socrates (07:50)
- For the first time a generation could be raised by a non-human entity, creating a trans-human generation and fundamentally changing the dynamic of what a human is (12:31)
- The “return of the human” and the bicycle analogy (16:51)
- Who will be driving the technology stack that actually leads to a viable democracy in America and a viable civilization altogether? (19:06)
- Education broadly defined is social autopoiesis—the way the social system identifies, reproduces, evolves (21:06)
- Self-conscious evolution occurs through human education; our capacity for education makes us unique as a species (23:55)
- The future of education involves the end of schools and learning to socialize doing collaborative work (26:50)
- The adolescent mental health crisis: everyone senses schools are irrelevant (28:04)
- Making the lives of adolescents meaningful and reviving the guild structure (30:30)
- How do we foster virtue and maturity, and intelligence rather than only intelligence? (32:40)
- The de-spiritualization of society and the need to reintroduce religious meaning making (35:00)
- What gives Zachary hope: how much we underestimate human potential, and all the untapped collective intelligence that could come out of a cooperative approach vs a competitive one (39:31)
Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos
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About Zach Stein
Dr. Zak Stein is a philosopher of education, trained at Harvard, co-founder of Lectica, Consilience Project, and Center for World Philosophy and Religion (formerly Center for Integral Wisdom). He is the author of dozens of published papers and two books, including Education in a Time Between Worlds.
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.
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.
Thanks @corey-devos. Yeah Zak was talking about similar themes at the recent Consilience Conference. And just yesterday, I listened to the 3rd part of your appearance on Deep Transformation, which was really inspiring. I need to get one of your woodwork pieces for my room. I appreciate everything you’ve done for Integral.
Yeah also at the Consilience Conference, which was an online conference that took place last Friday and Saturday, Zak Stein joined a 2 hour symposium with Lene Rachel Andersen and Brad Kirshner, where the three of them talked about new education models. Zak talked about some of the themes that he did in this recent podcast episode but he offered more updated analysis of education and AI. That technology changes almost every day and our perspectives need to scramble to keep up.
Is this available online somewhere? Google failed me. So I’m asking an actual human.
The relationship between education and civilization is one of my central preoccupations. So all of this was very on point.
On AI, propaganda, and architecting of the cultural stack, here is my compressed response - AI is not the next big thing. Human intelligence is the next big thing. The most powerful information technology is the human body/mind. Program/debug/upgrade that stack first. AI is a tool you can use in that process.
You can get to the link here tinyurl.com/utokconf but it already happened and the videos aren’t available yet. Gregg Henriques said he is going to charge $50 per person to access the video library but he will allow those who presented to re-distribute their own video for free if they want. I presented on Enlightenment 2.0 and I plan on uploading my video to YouTube and I’ll post a link to this forum when it’s available. I mentioned Ken’s definition of enlightenment and also several other notable people like Vervaeke, Hanzi Freinacht, etc.
Continue the discussion at community.integrallife.com
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