#140 | The Grand Narrative Of Progress: The Neoliberal Order & Participatory Politics w/ Jeremy Lent

In this episode, I speak with Jeremy Lent — integrator and author of ‘The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning,’ and the founder of the nonprofit Liology Institute, an organization “dedicated to fostering an integrated worldview, both scientifically rigorous and intrinsically meaningful, that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on the earth.”♢

In this conversation with Jeremy, we start off discussing Jeremy’s excellent critique of cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author Steven Pinker’s recent book ‘Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.’ Jeremy initially presented his brilliant critique in his widely-shared article ‘Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why,’ which we delve into in this episode. Jeremy unpacks the underlying assumptions implicit in Pinker’s ideas presented in his work, in particular regarding Pinker’s defense (through cherry-picking of data) of the capitalist neoliberal economic order, and more broadly of the “progress narrative” that justifies (or outright ignores) the widespread ecological devastation implicit in the expansion and maintenance of industrial civilization and the institutions that uphold it. In the later part of this discussion, we discuss the balance of participating in electoral politics while simultaneously recognizing its deep systemic flaws, and the importance of generating viable alternatives that exist outside of the logic and operations of dominant political and economic institutions of our time. 

Jeremy Lent is an author and founder of the nonprofit Liology Institute, dedicated to fostering a worldview that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on the earth. The Liology Institute, which integrates systems science with ancient wisdom traditions, holds regular workshops and other events in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to ‘The Patterning Instinct,’ Jeremy is author of the novel ‘Requiem of the Human Soul.’ Jeremy holds a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Jeremy is currently working on his next book provisionally entitled The Web of Meaning: An Integration of Modern Science with Traditional Wisdom, which combines findings in cognitive science, systems theory, and traditional Chinese and Buddhist thought, offering a framework that integrates both science and meaning in a coherent whole.☀︎

♢Source: http://bit.ly/LentAbout
☀︎Source: http://bit.ly/JeremyLent

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Jeremy and his work at his website: https://www.jeremylent.com

- Read Jeremy’s article ‘Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why.’ here: http://bit.ly/2MWuTmn

- Keep up with Jeremy’s writings on his blog: https://patternsofmeaning.com

- Learn more about Jeremy’s book ‘The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning’ here: http://bit.ly/PatterningInstinct

- Learn more about the Liology Institute here: http://www.liology.org

- Follow Jeremy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeremyRLent

- Follow Jeremy of Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeremyRLent

- The songs featured in this episode are “Frmnowhere,” “bodies[TOTW],” and “Noflowrs[Instrw]” by Knxwledge from the album Hud Dreems.

#74 | Patterns of Meaning: Jeremy Lent on The Patterning Instinct & Overthrowing The Selfish Gene

In this episode, I speak with Jeremy Lent. Jeremy is the author of "The Pattering Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning" and founder and president of the nonprofit Liology Institute. 

The premise of "The Patterning Instinct" is that culture shapes values, and that values shape history. Through this exploration, Jeremy has examined various cultures and societies and determined the underlying premises of their cultural stories, and how the underlying premises of these stories and metaphors informs how the collective patterns meaning onto the world and their place within it. 

We discuss the ways, through our understanding of humanity's pattering instinct, how our culture and society can begin to move away from the underlying premises that inform our patterns of meaning and begin to adopt more holistic understandings and relationships with our fellow human beings and life on this planet. 

We go over the response and underlying premise of Jeremy's widely shared, recently published article "The Dangerous Delusions of Richard Dawkins" published originally in AlterNet and picked up by Raw Story and Salon. We discuss the increasingly irrelevant theory of the "selfish gene" originally proposed by Richard Dawkins, and the reductionist worldview this meme supports, beyond it's biological roots. Jeremy explains why he wrote this piece, and why the article has received the response it has.

Episode Notes:

- You can find all you need to know about Jeremy's work on his website [http://www.jeremylent.com] and his blog [https://patternsofmeaning.com]

- To learn about Jeremy's nonprofit The Liology Institute, go to: http://www.liology.org

- Check out Jeremy's book "The Patterning Instinct": http://www.jeremylent.com/the-patterning-instinct.html

- Read Jeremy's article "The Dangerous Delusions of Richard Dawkins" originally published in AlterNet: alternet.org/belief/dangerous-delusions-richard-dawkins

- Read Jerry Coyne's (Dawkins' colleague and friend) response: whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/predictably-salon-publishes-a-new-dawkins-hit-piece-and-its-as-dreadful-as-youd-expect

- This episode features the instrumentals "Intro" "Take Notice" and "Let's Take It Back" by J Dilla from his album Ruff Draft.