Tasting the Pickle – A Personal Relationship with the Meta-Crisis

March 22, 2021

A conversation with

<h1>Jonathan Rowson</h1>

Jonathan Rowson

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Chess Grandmaster, philosopher, author, and social entrepreneur Jonathan Rowson joins Terry to explore our global, civilizational predicament from new angles — inspired by his recent brilliant essay “Tasting the Pickle: Ten Flavors of Meta-Crisis and the Appetite for a New Civilization.” They go beyond its more recognized features such as COVID, the climate emergency, and our economic and political crises to consider it as a crisis of civilizational purpose, a lack of a meaningful global ‘We’, and its various socio-emotional, epistemic, and spiritual features.

Then, Terry and Jonathan explore a more personal and intimate relationship to the meta-crisis. What does it feel like for each of us to live amidst its various energies and aesthetics? How can we learn to “taste” ideas, practices, and possibilities for their beauty and transformative power? What’s it like to interact with different worldviews in more playful and paradoxical ways? And lastly, we discover inspiration in considering the larger cultural project of building viable “we’s” that are meaningful, coherent, and effective in serving the whole.

Jonathan Rowson is a philosopher, author, chess Grandmaster, sensemaking entrepreneur and the Director of Perspectiva, a research institute based in London seeking to highlight the important connections between systems, souls, and society amidst our complex crises. Jonathan previously Directed the Social Brain Centre at RSA, the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture & Commerce. He is an applied philosopher with degrees from Oxford, Harvard and Bristol Universities. Jonathan is the author of multiple books including Spiritualise: Cultivating Spiritual Sensibility to Address 21st Century Challenges (2017) and The Moves that Matter – A Grandmaster on the Game of Life (2019). As mentioned above, Jonathan also very recently published a brilliant essay providing an overview of our civilizational predicament called “Tasting the Pickle: Ten flavors of meta-crisis and the appetite for a new civilization,” which you can find on our episode page on stateofemergence.org.

Here are some additional questions explored in the episode:

  • How does our use of language in describing our meta-crisis shape our experience and response? How does Jonathan’s humorous use of “pickle” invite a different experience?
  • As we attempt to understand our predicament, how can we “go meta” with our sensemaking in a way that also grounds us in direct experience and relationship?
  • Which emotional, cognitive, and relational capacities can enable us to navigate the cultural dissonance of our time?
  • How can we build more sophisticated and effective “we’s” at scale, and how might such work begin to impact our systems? 

For more information on Jonathan Rowson and Terry Patten, check out the following resources:

Join Us for the Next Podcast Q&A EventWe will be exploring this episode with Jonathan Rowson in greater depth during our next live State of Emergence live Q&A on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 12 noon Pacific. If you haven’t already joined us, simply register as a Friend of State of Emergence and you’ll receive access to our monthly Q&A sessions with Terry and other listeners. You’ll also help the podcast become financially sustainable. A vibrant community is gathering and we’d love for you to be part of it. Sign up and we’ll see you soon.

Guest: Jonathan Rowson
Jonathan is co-founder and Director of Perspectiva. He was previously Director of the Social Brain Centre at the RSA where he authored a range of influential research reports on behaviour change, climate change and spirituality, and curated and chaired a range of related events. Jonathan is an applied philosopher with degrees from Oxford, Harvard and Bristol Universities. In a former life he was a chess Grandmaster and British Champion (2004–6) and views the game as a continuing source of insight and inspiration. His book, The Moves that Matter – A Grandmaster on the Game of Life was published in 2019. You can find Jonathan on Twitter.
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Host: Terry Patten

Terry Patten is a philosopher, teacher, activist, consultant, and social entrepreneur. He is the author of  A New Republic of the Heart – An Ethos for Revolutionaries and the co-author with Ken Wilber and others of Integral Life Practice. Terry is the founder of the nonprofit A New Republic of the Heart and the creator of the State of Emergence podcast .

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