The Psychological Drivers of the Metacrisis | John Vervaeke Iain McGilchrist Daniel Schmachtenberger

This is a conversation between Iain McGilchrist, John Vervaeke and Daniel Schmachtenberger, recorded at Merton College, Oxford, in September 2023. With no planned objective or agenda, the discussion sought to outline the cognitive and spiritual components of the metacrisis. The metacrisis is the total ecosystem of all global crises and the common underlying dynamics that generate catastrophic and existential risks.

This is neither a comprehensive theory of the topic, nor an approach to addressing it. The conversation was simply an opportunity to explore in real time how the speakers, with their different worldviews and pre-existing frameworks, would approach this deep and challenging domain. As Iain, John and Daniel all happened to be in Oxford with availability on a single afternoon, they had not discussed or prepared the approach at any significant length in advance. As a result, a shared understanding emerges only towards the very end of the film. The content is incomplete and partial, and should be viewed as a potential entry point to a far deeper conversation (which may or may not be recorded at a later date). A complete transcript can be found here.

Meaningful communication between two large bodies of work can take time, and becomes exponentially harder with three. This inherent challenge was understood in advance, but given the fundamental multipolarity of the dynamics of the metacrisis itself, it felt like a challenge worth accepting.

00:00 Introduction

08:26 McGilchrist’s Opening Thoughts

21:21 Vervaeke’s Opening Thoughts

40:41 Distinctions for an Ontology of a Meaningful Universe

1:08:15 The Challenges of Binding Power with Wisdom

1:57:49 Can we Imagine a Civilization with the Wisdom to Steward Exponential Power?

02:39:04 The Problem of Scale

2:59:00 Reimagining Education for the Cultivation of Wisdom

3:14:23 Closing Thoughts