Rebel Wisdom

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The Philosophy of Rene Girard, Luke Burgis

One of the most frequently referenced names among many of the thinkers we've been following on Rebel Wisdom has been that of Rene Girard. He was a French polymath, historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science, who introduced the idea of memetic desire, and an explanation of the function of the 'scapegoat' in organising societies. He was described as the "new Darwin of the human species". 

Luke Burgis has just written a book about Girard's work called 'Wanting, the Power of Memetic Desire in Everyday Life': 

He joined us to introduce this fascinating thinker and to answer RW members' questions about why this work is so significant now.

Demons & the Machine, John Vervaeke & Jonathan Pageau

This is part 2 of an exclusive conversation between Jonathan Pageau and John Vervaeke recorded in Toronto recently. 

In it John and Jonathan reflect on the recent ‘War on Reality’ piece with Paul Kingsnorth and Mary Harrington: 

They ask whether we have replaced virtue with value. They also take a turn into the question of the occult, where Jonathan and John talk about whether concepts such as ‘demons’ can be explained as independently existing patterns of reality.

Time for the Irrational, Layman Pascal

In the conversation Rebel Wisdom has been tracking, what's missing?

Layman Pascal believes we're not paying enough attention to the irrational, the realms of the imaginal and the occult. 

"Layman Pascal was incarnated on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. He used to be a meditation teacher, yoga instructor & public speaker — but he's feeling much better now."

He is one of the hosts of the podcast The Integral Stage: 

Jordan Peterson, An Integral View: Ken Wilber

In this conversation with Rebel Wisdom's David Fuller, Ken Wilber reflects on the turbulent dynamics of the last few years, and particularly the trajectory of the figures in what was called the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) including Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin.

This is released shortly after a recent Substack piece by David Fuller called 'What Happened to Jordan Peterson?': 

Ken Wilber is the creator of Integral theory, it attempts to place a wide diversity of theories and models into one single framework. The basis is a "spectrum of consciousness," from archaic consciousness to ultimate spirit, presented as a developmental model.

This is a follow up to conversations we recorded back in 2019, which were published as:

Ken Wilber: 'Jordan Peterson and the evolution of thought': 

Ken Wilber: The Intellectual Dark Web, an Integral Conversation? 

Reflecting on the Pandemic, Zubin Damania

A wide-ranging conversation on the experience of sensemaking during the pandemic, with Zubin Damania (ZDoggMD).

Zubin first came to my attention with a viral video at the start of 2020 where he channelled some righteous anger at the medical establishment's response to the pandemic, and said he hoped that the crisis would be the trigger to “burn this broken system to the ground”. For years he's been arguing for a significant change to the medical system, away from treating people as interchangeable parts in a machine and towards a more holistic vision of what he calls Health 3.0.

During the pandemic we compared notes on what we were seeing, through shared frameworks like Ken Wilber's Integral Theory and Jonathan Haidt's “moral tastebuds”. He argues for nuance and complexity, and dubs his political perspective as “alt-middle”.

0:00 - The Pandemic & the Information Ecology

04:02 - Zubin & Health Care 3.0

08:09 - The USP of Rebel Wisdom, curating a conversation

10:09 - The pandemic was a stress test that we failed

14:03 - The internet leaking out into the real world

16:37 - The religiosity of the Covid debate

19:53 - The rise in conspiracy narratives

22:56 - Questioning our own thinking

29:33 - Public intellectuals going off the rails

32:48 - The hermeneutics of suspicion

39:00 - A culture of bullshit

44:14 - Conspiracies thrive in the gaps of the mainstream

46:31 - The pre/trans of the insurgency after 2018

53:34 - Paradox of being outside the institutions - audience capture

58:27 - Warping effects of the tech platforms accelerated on creators

01:00:37 - Attention hijack as opposite of mindfulness

01:02:41 - The tragic arc of Jordan Peterson

01:06:55 - The return of the repressed

01:14:14 - The return of psychedelic medicine

01:18:57 - The limitations of psychedelics

01:22:51 - Meditation & Awakening

01:29:36 - Ayahuasca

01:32:14 - Culture War 2.0 & the memetic tribes

01:43:06 - Post Pandemic Awakening

01:46:39 - The English Taboo Against Earnestness

01:49:30 - Mutual Appreciation Society

Curiosity & Wonder, John Vervaeke & Jonathan Pageau

This was a special in person dialogue between the cognitive scientist John Vervaeke and the symbolism expert Jonathan Pageau.

They reflect on what each finds valuable about each other's work, the nature of the conversation that they have been part of, good and bad criticism, the nature of symbolism and much more. 

It was recorded in Toronto during the making of the forthcoming Rebel Wisdom documentary about John Vervaeke's thought. Some behind the scenes pictures, and a second part of this film is available for subscribers on the Rebel Wisdom Substack: LINK HERE

John Vervaeke's YouTube channel is here: 

Jonathan Pageau's work can be found here: 

Timecodes for the conversation:

0:00 - What does Jonathan appreciate about John's work?

3:55 - What does John appreciate about Jonathan's work?

9:35 - What is the nature of the wider conversation you are both part of?

16:10 - The nature of criticism & "civility porn"

24:09 - The need to go beyond the political layer of analysis

26:19 - Paranoia fuelled by the 'Hermeneutics of Suspicion'

35:16 - Dialogue, Curiosity & Wonder

48:25 - How Symbolism breaks the frame and rewires our thinking

54:36 - A parable is to a narrative what a koan is to a question

57:35 - "I want to help people fall in love with Being again"

01:05:23 - The moral of Socrates and Alcibiades

01:12:56 - Patterns of Being; love, faith & beauty

01:21:32 - Freedom cannot be absolute

The Religion of Productivity, Oliver Burkeman

For years the journalist Oliver Burkeman became obsessed with productivity and personal growth, documenting his explorations in a weekly column. Finally it struck him that this attempt was a deeply religious quest, tied into ideas of perfectibility and salvation. When he realised this, he was finally able to find more peace.

"For me, the obsession with productivity was totally tied up with this weird self-worth question. [There's] this whole notion that it's all focussed on some moment when everything's going to be alright…there's something about that feels like it's got something to do with justification and salvation, and that feels very religious to me." 

Oliver is someone who has had a similar path to Rebel Wisdom’s founder David Fuller, working for the legacy media, and also very interested in personal growth, and they sat down for a wide ranging and fascinating conversation which we are releasing now as a special preview for all Rebel Wisdom subscribers.

Check out Oliver's latest book 'Four Thousand Weeks', a sobering allusion to the average human lifespan: 

Embodiment and Flow with John Vervaeke, Schuyler Brown, Rafe Kelley and more

Learning how to come to our senses and connect to our bodies is essential in an information landscape that highjacks our attention and pulls it away from what matters to us. 

Our new course 'Embodiment and Flow' helps you reconnect through breathwork, mindfulness, cultural embodiment, movement, rhythm and flow training. In this launch film we play clips from the course faculty - John Vervaeke, Schuyler Brown, Nicola Price, Roger Jackson, Dr. Shama Rahman and Tom Morley - as they explain different ways we can connect to our bodies and get into a state of flow.

Read more and sign up here: 

Learn practical embodiment tools you can apply to your life, and to making sense of culture in a completely new way. Learn how embodiment makes it easier to tap into a flow state - that space of being 'in the zone', where time slows down and we move seamlessly with your environment, performing at the best of our abilities. Find out what your unique embodiment needs are and learn how to meet them with the support of world-class teachers and participants from around the world.

Comedy & Wisdom, John Lloyd

John Lloyd is a legendary comedy producer, who produced some of the biggest comedy hits of the 80s and 90s, including Not the Nine O Clock News, Spitting Image, and all four series of Blackadder.

After a mid life crisis he realised that his success wasn't making him happy, and this led to a lengthy search for meaning and wisdom. 

This conversation with Rebel Wisdom's David Fuller covered everything from comedy, to the nature of creativity, and the meaning of life. 

They also discuss his relationship with his former flatmate and writing partner Douglas Adams, the creator of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


00:00 Intro
05:17 Personal Life
11:59 Knowing Nothing
16:32 Religion & The Origin of Ideas
26:11 Quite Interesting
30:01 Depression & Focusing on the Other
38:34 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy & Douglas Adams
45:29 Religion & Secular Rituals
54:02 Science & Spirituality
01:02:44 Intelligence, Comedy & Wisdom 
01:12:01 Paradigm Shift
01:20:17 Closing

Conspiracy Theories, Russia & Cancellation, Daniel Pinchbeck

This is a wide ranging conversation about conspiracy theories, the occult, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and more with the writer Daniel Pinchbeck. 

Over the years Daniel has spent a lot of time investigating alternative narratives including conspiracy, and has been critical of Rebel Wisdom in the past for not taking these seriously enough. 

Alongside this conversation we are publishing a long written piece about the subject of conspiracy theories, with special focus on the recent high profile interview of Maajid Nawaz on the Joe Rogan podcast: 

We also talk about Daniel's high profile sex scandal and 'cancellation'. 

You can find Daniel's writing on his Substack here: 

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