We’ve explored many different problems on Your Undivided Attention — addiction, disinformation, polarization, climate change, and more. But what if many of these problems are actually symptoms of the same meta-problem, or meta-crisis? And what if a key leverage point for intervening in this meta-crisis is improving our collective capacity to problem-solve?
Our guest Daniel Schmachtenberger guides us through his vision for a new form of global coordination to help us address our global existential challenges. Daniel is a founding member of the Consilience Project, aimed at facilitating new forms of collective intelligence and governance to strengthen open societies. He's also a friend and mentor of Tristan Harris.
This insight-packed episode introduces key frames we look forward to using in future episodes. For this reason, we highly encourage you to listen to this edited version along with the unedited version.
We also invite you to join Daniel and Tristan at our Podcast Club! It will be on Friday, July 9th from 2-3:30pm PDT / 5-6:30pm EDT. Check here for details.
Daniel is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue. The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal. Towards these ends, he’s had particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science. Motivated by the belief that advancing collective intelligence and capacity is foundational to the integrity of any civilization, and necessary to address the unique risks we currently face given the intersection of globalization and exponential technology, he has spoken publicly on many of these topics, hoping to popularize and deepen important conversations and engage more people in working towards their solutions. Many of these can be found at http://civilizationemerging.com/media/
For more information about The Consilience Project at https://consilienceproject.org/
Generator functions of existential risk? Exponential technology? Epistemic capacity? This episode is packed with insightful frames, which we’ll be starting to use in future episodes. So, along with the edited version of this episode, we highly recommend listening to the unedited version.
The Consilience Project is developing a body of social theory and analysis that explains and seeks solutions to the unique challenges we face today. It focuses on the deeper generator functions beneath the world’s major problems, drawing on the best of social theory while showing where existing theories and institutions are no longer adequate to fix the current problem landscape. The aim of the project is to help catalyze a cultural enlightenment that will develop a new set of shared values and capacities adequate to the needs of our time.
This is a featured article from The Consilience Project. It makes the case that democracy cannot function without an epistemically healthy public sphere, and that only a new movement for cultural enlightenment can reboot our ailing institutions, create new ones, and ultimately restore our democracy.