Not that one! The other one. Community. Despite all the hype and enthusiasm surrounding it… It's a bitch. You can barely throw a fedora these days without hitting someone "calling in community."
How what cognitive scientists call "Motivated Reasoning" shows up in drug advocacy, crypto and SBF, OneTaste, and Effective Altruism. Once you see it, the telltale signs are everywhere.
First thing first: That long term happiness study at Harvard that you've been hearing so much about? Just released some new findings, and wouldn't you know it?Community = HappinessEven more than health and wealth. "Even for those of us with less-than-ideal genes," this recent article states, "thrown into a less than ideal environment, human connection is the trump card. So why are we forgetting to play it?" Which is kinda cool, because here at FGP, deepening community has been our central mission this year. We remembered to play it and glad we did!
Wow. We're backed up on adventures lately that we still haven't had time to share. We just wrapped another fantastic training adventure in the canyons of Utah that I wanted to share some highlights and reflections from.
If you're wondering how our dear, sweet democratic republic (the US of A for you foreigners on the list) got so thoroughly sideways of late… it all comes down to three key legal decisions, stretched over the span of a century, that have conspired to nearly destroy American democracy.
And that's when I had to marvel at the sheer relentless effectiveness of the market economy. It explores, exploits and expands into any underutilized niche it can find, and it simply will not rest until it has consumed all carbon in its path (whether from clear cutting jungles, extracting nutrients from the soil, or tapping fossil fuels). The story of civilization is the story of our hunt for ever-denser energy.
Or please burn after reading? Which way does that saying go, anyway? I get confused. Just to be safe, probably should do 'em both. Just back from Burning Man which was a super gratifying gathering of friends and family from around the world, a true confabulation of fabulous proportions...
Wanted to take a moment, as we do once or twice a year, to clarify our thinking behind our communicating (i.e. writing and talking that you might come across here and online). It's important because if you don't know the Why, it's gonna be easier to stumble over the What(TF)???
Burning Man is a hot and dusty ball-ache to get there and live there, but despite the snark, disillusionment and temptation to dismiss, it remains a Big Ass Novelty Engine of Epic Proportions.That's why we're going, for the sheer anthropological spectacle of it all. If any Grace descends upon our friends and family, all the better. [Photo by John Chandler]
Given the utterly baffling fact that even in the developed world only half of pregnancies are on purpose, (#sprayandpray) you could say we're increasingly obliged to take a look at human reproduction and see if we can reduce harm for current and future humanity.
This is a super thorny one. May take a minute or two to unravel. But as far as "third rail" topics––the ones that no one will touch with a ninety-nine and a half foot pole––Eugenics (AKA population control) ranks right up there with trans rights, slavery reparations and whether or not it's still OK to watch Annie Hall.But touch it we must, as it has everything to do with our future odds of thriving and surviving.
Just wrapped a three day conference here in Austin that was ostensibly focused on existential risk, systems theory, and human development. A bunch of well-meaning folks convened from all around the world, to try and save it. And boy howdy! I've never experienced a bigger disconnect from the actual stakes and the conversations to be had, in my entire life.
Been pondering this dynamic for the last year ever since I read Richard Powers' Pulitzer winning Overstory and Kim Stanley Robinson's much heralded Ministry for the Future. Both of these books came out within 12 months of each other and were widely regarded as profound commentaries on our current environmental and political crises––while still offering a measured dose of hope for the road ahead. But I couldn't help but notice that both of these books from fingers-on-the-pulse thinkers, included eco-sabotage as core plot points. [Img: KALI by Android Jones]
The ecological crisis, which has always been a fraught affair, with Tree Huggers to the left and "Drill Baby Drillers" to the right, has now schizo-fractured into a million tiny pieces. At this point, it's impossible to tell who stands for what, let alone get to a consensus on fixing things.
Was just listening to some friends, trained as biologists, who host a podcast of their own. Over the past few years, they've been drawn increasingly out of their specific academic field and into the deeper, weirder waters of vaccines and the New World Order. I hadn't heard any of their stuff in a while, so I was curious where their inquiry had been taking them.
That was the topic of a panel I recently led with National Geographic explorer/Harvard anthropologist Wade Davis, trauma specialist Dr. Gabor Maté and Dutch-Indonesian activist Indra Adnan. The hope was, in these times of trouble, where cries to #burnitalldown are rising from all sides of the political spectrum, to explore if there's something in this Enlightenment experiment worth saving, or if the whole project has been tainted and doomed from the start.
If you think about our models of health and wellness, most of it focuses on us as isolated individuals, processing our traumas, talking through our "unconscious" repressions and desires, setting our dreams and goals, and then being magically ushered into a lifetime of easeful, effortless existence. But there's a deeper level to feel here, bigger than any of us, and longer in the making than any of our own personal lifespans. (aka History and the Human Condition).
Just got back from our first major overseas trip since the BeforeTimes, to a fascinating gathering on the coast of the Aegean Sea.
Hopefully by exploring these Third Rail topics from a fresh perspective, we can model how we can still come together and find higher ground, in time to do what needs to be done for the good of all. (plus, the frameworks that we teach in our courses directly inform these insights and arguments, so hopefully you can get an embodied sense of those tools put to good use in complex and consequential situations).
Wanted to share that Big Think has just released parts two and three of their mini docuseries on Recapture the Rapture.We shot these with the intent to make these accessible in a punchy shorter format… and in terms of sharing with friends and family, these might be our best vids yet!
It's Palm Sunday, Passover and Easter time of year again, so queue up the platitudinous reflections on death, rebirth, hope and springtime!
There's been a strong movement in the past 5-10 years to abolish shame. In all, it's been a really positive and powerful movement that has given folks permission to reclaim suppressed or denied parts of themselves into more honest and empowered expressions. And...there's increasing evidence that we might have overshot the mark. We're veering into the realm of the shameless, and it's crippling our society.
TRIGGER WARNING: hopscotching through all the landmines of the culture wars here. This is hopefully a safe space to have unsafe conversations, and we hope to provoke all sides equally! Before penning righteous email replies, please read the whole thing, and see if we can’t all meet on higher ground on the other side?
How spirituality has been so thoroughly captured by lifestyle influencers, instagram shamans and seven-figure manifesters. They're not optimized for Truth, or even remotely interested in it. They're optimized for fitness––likes, clicks and bucks. And that works way better.
This past week, as all eyes turned to Ukraine (and all recently self-anointed Covid experts became overnight European military strategists #becuzcontent), other stuff happened too...
How is it that so many tweets, YouTube comments and that sad sad place where reason goes to die, Telegram are certain? And not just certain. Absolutely certain they're certain! In two words, egregores and schizo-genesis.
In our latest installment of Post-Truth Hottakes, here's one that's been rattling around everyone's newsfeeds this month...and it provides some teachable moments on how we're making sense of things these days, and how we can hopefully do it a little better.
Today's a good day to reflect on the strange and curious customs surrounding the Mating Game, and to understand with clear eyes what's exactly at stake, and who's pulling whose strings.
But let's be realistic here, sometimes, wandering around will absolutely get you lost. And as we stumble through the meta-crisis, it's happening to more and more people.
You see, EB, or Expedition Behavior, is a term from mountain guiding, and it has to do with how good a person you are to have along on a hard trip.
This here's an announcement and an invitation to the project we've been working on for all of quarantine, and really, our whole lives––the 2.0 version of Recapture the Rapture, a six week digital community gathering.
What follows is a 10-15 minute read that distills about 36 months of research and reading into one pithy and irreverent read––so consider it the Campbell's Condensed Soup can of your new year. Would recommend reading it through and then going back to any/all of the links for deeper dives into the content.
Just got back from a whirlwind trip to NYC which was maybe the most fun I've ever had in that bustling town.Consider this an update instead of live tweeting or oversharing on social media along the way––just can't bring myself to interrupt real life for nattering about it in digital.
Last week, I took a swing at un-ironic communication. I laid out my wobbly efforts to make sense of this Whole Shooting Match called modern life, and did my best to remove any ironic distance in speaking it truly. But later on, I began to think "you know, irony is actually amazing, essential in some cases––we'd be dead on arrival without it."
So here's a few thoughts I had in the Utah canyons with the irony and the distance backed out of the equation. I hope they resonate, or at the least let you locate the thinking and feeling behind the writing and talking.
Not sure about you lot, but it seems that in the past few months, my social network has lurched sideways several extra clicks into conspiracy land...
Can we keep up with everything? With all sorts of things unspooling at a rapid rate...
In the past few days, we've been involved in helping some members of our community try and get a bunch of Afghan girls out of Kabul...
Welp, we just got back from a super fun and potent week at Camp Omega in the mountains of Aspen, with a hundred rad humans. We set out to answer three questions...
So, if you've kinda wondered why/how we've all got festering splinters in our minds these days––here's a bit of what's been happening...
In spiritual and alchemical circles, there’s always been two roads you can go down, but in the long run, they both end up at the same place. (And if yours is seeming a little dull or confining, there’s still time to change the road you’re on ;)
Stoked to introduce a new course we’re offering with our friends at The Alchemist's Kitchen. If interested, keep reading…
By now, you might have heard of an obscure branch of legal theory that got its start forty years ago at Harvard Law School. It's known as Critical Race Theory and is all about unpacking the social and cultural obstacles to a true post-racial society–even after the laws themselves might have changed (Civil Rights Act of 1964, etc).
Howard Thurman, the civil rights activist once famously said "don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and go and do that, because the world needs more of us who have come alive."
Headed up to the mountains about a month ago for one last lap of spring skiing, and had an "unstuck in time" kinda moment.
As many of you may have been following, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was the site of the most recent tensions in the Arab-Israeli conflict––that are now escalating to concerning levels.
In many ways, we're all Cosmic Orphans––thrust into this mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, with barely a say in the matter. Homesick for a place we've never seen, but still, somehow, remember.
Happy Passover, Easter, Equinox and all things Vernal! It's the time of year for celebrating what was once given up for dead, now sprouting with renewed life. We've been at this little song and dance for thousands of years now, east and west
Today we’re going to riff on dying. And since we only get one shot at that in our lives... we’re going to talk about a little known discipline: Death practices.
What is it about so-called "spiritual" paths these days that leaves so many people uptight and unhappy?
I realized something painfully obvious––that vague "6-9 months" of drift I'd placed wasn't right––it was a very specific 12 months, and it's been happening to all of us, slowly, insidiously, so incremental that it's really hard to note exactly how it has invaded and corrupted our minds and hearts.
Just had a killer exchange with Dr. Matt Johnson that I wanted to share as it's super germane to what's going on more broadly in the therapeutic space.
"What makes this hope radical," he explains, "is that it is directed toward a future goodness that transcends our current ability to understand what it is."
Time (or Chronos) has been getting thicker and thicker. And that's causing as much or even more of our grief.
Wanted to wrap up our 2021 New Year's updates before we get out of January so everyone can grok the landscape ahead and choose where and how you'd like to plug in along the way.
An invitation to the project we've been working on for all of quarantine, and really, our whole lives. Think of it like blockchain––open-source, flexible and scalable––but for transformational culture, not finance.
If you're getting lost in the parking lot, you probably shouldn't come on the expedition. The closer to the gate, the fiercer the dragons. And if someone's coming unspooled on social media memes, the Screaming Abyss will eat them alive. Kinder and better they stay home.
As we slide into home plate on this rough and tumble year, wanted to share a few thoughts on what was an especially weird week.
The origins of new thought, magical thinking, and good vs. evil.
If you really want to see how powerfully these primitive mating signals shape our desires, consider how ingeniously we modify what we’re given.
Some thoughts to share on Aristotle, the nature of friendship and its relationship to contemporary transformational culture.
This is a 5-9 minute read that took 2-3 hours to write––promise it's not like anything else in your feed today. Will be worth it if you stick with it!
Welp. Things keep getting curiouser and curiouser out there, with all signs pointing to an even weirder and more turbulent second half of the year than we've seen so far.
If your only touchpoint with ol’ Charlie was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a little backstory may be in order...
To be sure––there are all the geopolitical actors, tech platform algorithms, fringe conspiracy theorists, etc. jacking things up almightily––but these seeds are landing in extra especially fertile soil in our minds right now––and here’s why...
Goethe said it best: “Until you know the secret, ‘die and become’ you will remain forever a stranger on this earth.”
If we want more group Flow, Communitas, or whatever we want to call it...How do we get there, in spite of ourselves?...