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Zachary Stein (Part 2) – The Future of Education and Civilization: Navigating the Potentials and Perils of New Media, AI, Pervasive Propaganda, and the Looming Metacrisis
Episode 6226th January 2023 • Deep Transformation • Deep Transformation Podcast
00:00:00 00:46:04

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Ep. 62 (Part 2 of 2) | Educator, author, philosopher, and futurist Zachary Stein gives a startling account of the effects the digital age already has on education and where this is headed. Think AI tutors and students talking in 3D with Socrates. Zak sees education in a deeply philosophical sense as fundamental to the sustainability of our civilization, with implications for each component of the metacrisis. Who will be driving the technology stack that actually leads to a viable civilization? Can we maintain our psychological sovereignty in a sea of digital propaganda and know the truth?

Zak describes the metacrisis as a gestalt shift that allows us to orient toward the whole in an intuitive way and how this can give us traction in finding solutions. He finds hope for our future in the untapped potential of our collective human family and especially in the untapped potential of our youth, given the opportunity to make their lives meaningful and connected, working together to resolve the pressing challenges of our time. If you have a slightly outdated perception of the present, this impactful, far-reaching conversation may rock it squarely to the edge of present and future. Recorded November 30, 2022.

“A crisis at the root of the way we make choices about civilization itself—the metacrisis is a crisis of the mind.”

(For Apple Podcast users, click here to view the complete show notes on the episode page.)

Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2

  • How we ourselves are weaponized to spread propaganda (01:52)
  • Meditation as an antidote: coming back to our own fundamental present moment experience (02:58)
  • Algorithmic radicalization and how to stop the limbic hijacking that happens via the screen (04:20)
  • The future of education: AI tutoring, virtual reality, and talking with Socrates (07:50)
  • For the first time a generation could be raised by a non-human entity, creating a trans-human generation and fundamentally changing the dynamic of what a human is (12:31)
  • The “return of the human” and the bicycle analogy (16:51)
  • Who will be driving the technology stack that actually leads to a viable democracy in America and a viable civilization altogether? (19:06)
  • Education broadly defined is social autopoiesis—the way the social system identifies, reproduces, evolves (21:06)
  • Self-conscious evolution occurs through human education; our capacity for education makes us unique as a species (23:55)
  • The future of education involves the end of schools and learning to socialize doing collaborative work (26:50)
  • The adolescent mental health crisis: everyone senses schools are irrelevant (28:04)
  • Making the lives of adolescents meaningful and reviving the guild structure (30:30)
  • How do we foster virtue and maturity, and intelligence rather than only intelligence? (32:40)
  • The de-spiritualization of society and the need to reintroduce religious meaning making (35:00)
  • What gives Zachary hope: how much we underestimate human potential, and all the untapped collective intelligence that could come out of a cooperative approach vs a competitive one (39:31)

Resources & References – Part 2

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Dr. Zak Stein is a philosopher of education, trained at Harvard, co-founder of Lectica, Consilience Project, and Center for World Philosophy and Religion (formerly Center for Integral Wisdom). He is the author of dozens of published papers and two books, including Education in a Time Between Worlds.


Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell