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***See below for a complete topic breakdown.***

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The entire universe, and all of existence as we know it, is a delicate balancing act between chaos and order.

The very capacity for life to be on this plant, for example, rests on a fantastically unique and unpredictable series of (probably) random events of order dancing with chaos — a dance that lead us from a lifeless rock floating through space to the ecology of planet earth, our intelligence only one part of its vast majesty.

“When reality falls apart but you’re already used to it” [source]
It is this order that holds us together as a planet and as a people. Without some order, some patterns that hold sturdy, we would come apart. Our planet’s ecosystem would unravel, unable to maintain life as we know it after a global temperature change of only a few degrees. Civilizations across history have apart when the underlying memes of what it meant to be human and alive, as held together by culture, lost their footing. Even our very sense of who we are, our identity, would (and does) come apart with even subtle distortions of its neuropharmacology.

And yet, too much order can close us off to growth and hinder our resilience. There is excellent order in a concrete alleyway, but an earth of concrete will fail to sustain life. There is excellent order in authoritarian regimes, be they right or left, but the zest of human creativity and wonder suffocates. There is excellent potential of focus in a well-ordered mind, but a mind too closed to chaos often collapses in on itself in the form of mental illnesses such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression.

Balance is needed between order and chaos for life as we know it to survive. This is the foundation of a problem we are facing as a global civilization: the once well-ordered pattern of group perceptions we might call ‘objective reality’ is dissolving away in the modern era of digital news media, massive access to information, and the (justified) questioning of cultural traditions that forged us into who we are.

This dissolution of objective reality, as our guest Erik Davis puts it, is worrisome but also, perhaps, a great opportunity for the positive transformation of human society and its relationship to the planetary ecology we are intricately woven into. He is on the show to share what he sees are the essential skills we need to navigate the chaos of a reality liquified.

Erik Davis is an American writer, scholar, journalist, public speaker, and host of the Expanding Minds podcast. His “writings have run the gamut from rock criticism to cultural analysis to creative explorations of esoteric mysticism. He is perhaps best known for his book Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information, as well as his work on California counterculture, including Burning Man, the human potential movement, and the writings of Philip K. Dick.” [wiki]



Episode Breakdown

  • Playing with chaos during festivals
  • Festivals to psychological growth psychedelic
  • A definition of objective reality
  • The dissolution of objective reality
  • What this looks like in the modern political world
  • The dangers and opportunities of a consensus reality liquified
  • Learning to centre in the chaos
  • The value of levelling-up your intellectual community
  • What psychedelic teach us to do cognitively
  • Flat earth as an example of falling into dangerously false conspiracy theories
  • Circular reasoning and The limitations of reasonable dialogue in breaking us out of our thought prisons
  • Become a sceptical animist
  • Safe consumption of digital media
  • Encouraging skills over claiming solutions

Relevant Links

here you will find a full list of Davis’ wirings, podcast, lectures and so forth. It is the one-stop shop for Eric Davis.


Expanding Minds (Podcast)
Techgnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information (book)
Reality Liquified (lecture given at OZORA 2018)

Follow Eric Davis on Twitter @erik_davis



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