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.☀︎
- 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.