Daniel Schmachtenberger (Part 1) – Developing a Deeper Understanding of Life: Opening to the Complexity, Wholeness, and Beauty of Reality

Daniel Schmachtenberger

Daniel Schmachtenberger, one of the most brilliant and integrative thinkers of our time, expresses here his deep love and appreciation for reality itself. Daniel’s inquiries have led him to perceive the intrinsic beauty of the wholeness of reality and to the realization that everything is interesting—just like when you love someone, everything about them becomes fascinating. Along with this deep appreciation comes the desire to serve and protect, and Daniel is focused on investigating the drivers of the metacrisis and how best to meet the difficult challenges it presents, a subject interwoven in this conversation with Daniel’s findings and ideas about reality, human psychology, education, and the future of the planet.

Daniel is a wonderful testament to the far reaching effects of the right kind of education. He relates how he was homeschooled by parents who set him on the path towards goodness, meaning, and beauty right from the start, and who were dedicated to facilitating his interest wherever it led, to include systems theory and how to create a better world. This is a beautiful, rich conversation filled with gems of knowledge and insight—about our human family (actually, the lack of one), the horrible deficit of fathering in modern culture, how we can orient to the sacred and the meaningful, the fact that we actually didn’t evolve to deal with the crises we face now but to negotiate successfully as members of a tribe of around 150 people, and much more. Recorded January 10, 2023.

 “I cannot imagine a context in which one’s choices matter more.”

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 1

  • Introducing brilliant integrative thinker Daniel Schmachtenberger (01:32)
  • Finding meaning in the sacred dimensions of our world and the integrated wholeness of reality (03:52)
  • Part of love is the desire to know everything about your partner—when loving reality, everything becomes interesting (05:47)
  • The fractal nature of reality, looking at it through different lenses and receiving different insights, and how the more perspectives you take, the more depth and richness you perceive (07:13)
  • Is there something about the nature of the effort to solve world problems that is at fault in their getting worse? (08:36)
  • Daniel’s homeschooling parents set him on the path to following what is good, meaningful, and beautiful right from the start (10:22)
  • If you facilitate children’s interest, they end up deep learning in many subjects  (12:24)
  • Daniel’s early education included systems theory and how to make a better world (14:46)
  • How did Daniel come to be such an integrative thinker? Compartmentalized education vs integrated education (16:32)
  • The decline of quality aristocratic tutoring has led to the decline of super geniuses (19:58)
  • Are we all the result of our education? Tutors and mentors (28:11)
  • Integrating across ontology and epistemology, and asking what is the generator function of novel insight? (29:07) 
  • Man’s greatest purpose is to serve the family of man: women, nature, children (33:07)
  • The gruesome deficit of fathering in the world and what Daniel learned about being a man from his dad (35:19)
  • On forgiveness, therapy, healing, catalyzing gifts (43:22)
  • How do spiritual depths inform our contemporary crises? Needing to ask why we should protect nature shows a real pathological deficit (49:37)
  • Orientation to the sacred and the meaningfulness of life forms through a deep bandwidth of connection and sensing (52:39)
  • Learning more about the field of conceptuality can both interfere with one’s connection to the Tao and enhance it (55:39)

Resources & References – Part 1

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Daniel Schmachtenberger

Daniel Schmachtenberger 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/. You can find more information about The Consilience Project at https://consilienceproject.org/.


Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell


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