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Steve McIntosh (Part 1) - Consciousness Evolves, Politics Can Too: Beyond the Culture War
Episode 207th April 2022 • Deep Transformation • Deep Transformation Podcast
00:00:00 00:51:32

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Ep. 20 (Part 1 of 2) | Steve McIntosh, philosopher, author of the groundbreaking book Developmental Politics, and co-founder of the Institute for Cultural Evolution, outlines an extraordinary framework to make sense of our political conflicts—extraordinary in that it points to ways through and out of our persistent polarity consciousness. Steve convincingly argues our opportunity is right now: to create a synthesis, a cooperative agreement space, that transcends and includes thesis and antithesis, left and right, individual and community. Steve’s is a passionate and prophetic voice; there is hope for politics. With vertical development we can recover a common sense of truth, a common sense of goodness—transcendent ideals could become social norms. Steve ends with an invitation to listeners to investigate this new concept of cultural intelligence and the implications of the new truth: consciousness and culture co-evolve. Recorded on September 8, 2021.

“Almost every problem is a problem of consciousness.”

Topics & Time Stamps - Part 1

  • Introducing Steve McIntosh and Developmental Politics (02:08)
  • Normality is not the ceiling of development—more like a collective form of developmental arrest (04:04)
  • We can keep growing, not only personally but politically and culturally; right now we have the perfect conditions for the next phase to emerge: a cultural renaissance (06:22)
  • Progressive spirituality: the intersection of science and spirituality (08:08)
  • Spiral Dynamics, the Cultural Creatives, and Integral consciousness (10:51)
  • The emergence of the post-progressive worldview and the profound truth that consciousness evolves (13:02)
  • A calling to apply the new worldview to politics, climate change: founding the Institute of Cultural Evolution (15:17)
  • Making the ideas and political philosophy of developmental politics accessible to people, so people can recognize their worldview and the positive and negative of other worldviews too (20:23)
  • The structure of emergence in the noosphere: America’s trajectory in the world is not done yet—we can grow our way out of this and give birth to a new worldview (25:10)
  • Breaking out of modernity: progressive postmodernism breaks the spell of the old establishment (29:04)
  • Our bedrock values have energetic properties like magnets, attracting and repelling. How can we create new forms of agreement so we can all work together in a new type of culture? Cultural intelligence (32:19)
  • Recognizing how the hinges of history continue to animate our political climate and that the dialectical pattern of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis is in the structure of emergence itself (34:58)
  • Worldviews oscillate between focusing on the whole/community and focusing on the part/individual (36:33)
  • Tug of war between moral systems on either side of modernity with traditionalism pulling on one side and progressivism pulling from the other (37:49)
  • Our current opportunity is to create a synthesis, a new cultural agreement space, that includes traditionalism, modernity, and progressivism, characterized by interdependence (39:07)
  • How can we overcome hyperpolarization if people have their own facts? (42:49)
  • Transcendence is the key to reclaiming a sense of common good and restoring sufficient unity for a functioning democracy (44:37) 
  • Higher ground rather than common ground: a new political agreement space, where people can begin to appreciate that the existential polarity in politics is permanent and interdependent, where people can embody the left and the right in themselves, preserving what’s right and fixing what’s wrong (47:07)

Resources & References - Part 1

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Steve McIntosh, J.D. is author of Developmental Politics—How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself (Paragon House 2020)and co-author of Conscious Leadership—Elevating Humanity Through Business (Penguin 2020), with John Mackey and Carter Phipps. McIntosh is president of the Institute for Cultural Evolution think tank, which focuses on the cultural roots of America’s political problems. His work has appeared in USA TodayReal Clear PoliticsThe Daily BeastThe HillAreo Magazine, and The Developmentalist. He has been interviewed on NPR, Oxford Review, Rebel Wisdom, and many other podcasts. His author website is:


Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell