After Socrates Episode 24

 [00:00:00] Guy Sengstock: When you consider what these awkward, these awkward things called relationships are, they're the things that are how we become people. We've become people through them and they're inherently messy. They're inherently uncomfortable. If you think about all the, all the possible [00:00:20] things that could happen by you and I just engaging in a conversation, you could say something to me that I misunderstood that could hurt me so bad that I need therapy for 10 years, right?

[00:00:30] Guy Sengstock: Or you could say something to me that could enlighten me. Right? There's this, there's this range of possibilities that could happen in any interaction. And so that's [00:00:40] inherently scary. So if you make it optional, right, our nervous systems are just going to do the easier thing, right? And I, I think we see that all over the place.[00:01:00]

[00:01:12] Dr. John Vervaeke: Before we move into it, I want to express some gratitude. I want to thank all of you for hanging in. I want to thank the [00:01:20] fantastic crew for all the work they've done, the work of people behind the scenes. Casey and Chris, I want to thank all three of you who contributed in irreplaceable ways to [00:01:40] the content and the flow and the exemplification of the series.

[00:01:48] Dr. John Vervaeke: I want to thank you all.

[00:01:53] Dr. John Vervaeke: The series is, uh, it's been daunting throughout [00:02:00] and I've relied upon the support all of you have provided in multiple ways. So I just wanted to express my gratitude. My, my thanks. So we're going to move into

[00:02:18] Dr. John Vervaeke: something following up for where we [00:02:20] really tried to unfold what Dialectic Entity Logos is, the reverse engineering of something like how we could be Socrates to each other. And that sits within the longer arc of what the Socratic way is, how it relates to the Kyrgyz [00:02:40] Guardian and Christian way, how it relates.

[00:02:49] Dr. John Vervaeke: And I want to take all of that and turn it towards this question, which I wanted to share with these, these three friends, which is [00:03:00] the general observation that

[00:03:05] Dr. John Vervaeke: there's a family of things that are like dialectic entity logos, and that there's a family of things that overlap with it. There's authentic relating and there's circling, right? And there's, uh, there's things like empathy circling. , uh, [00:03:20] with Edwin Roy and there's Buddhist Insight dialogue and there's the amazing work that Thomas Startinger is doing in Germany.

[00:03:27] Dr. John Vervaeke: Uh, and, and, and, and, and, and, and so many more. I I, I don't wanna try and list everybody cuz I'll leave somebody out and if it was look looking like I was trying to be exhausted, then someone would be, would be offended. So I'm just gonna leave it at, so. [00:03:40] The question is why this, why now, why this, why now, and of course, if you happen to connect it to this thing called the meaning crisis, that would be wonderful.[00:04:00]

[00:04:01] Dr. John Vervaeke: But why this, why now? And I won't, I don't want to speak to the question first. I want to propose it and hear what you all have to say, whatever would like to go first. Given that we've just had this rich, not even taste, this rich drinking of what Dialogos, [00:04:20] Dialectic into Dialogos is.

[00:04:24] Guy Sengstock: Well, I would say this is not exhaustive, but I think it is, I want to see if I can distinguish that we're in a time in history where something's happened [00:04:40] with relationship and communication primarily due to the internet that has never happened before. If we want to, if you look at it like this, like before texting and emailing and answering with, uh, answering machines before all that.[00:05:00]

[00:05:00] Guy Sengstock: If you had to have exchange of information, you had to, you had to at least talk on the phone. You had to, uh, you had to do it through relationship. Now, there was, you know, television and radio where there was a one way communication, receiving of it. But the exchange of information always involved relationality.[00:05:20]

[00:05:20] Guy Sengstock: And because of that, to function required out of necessity, so much relationality just by virtue of functioning. I think that, I think the first sign of this where it was used like this, right, [00:05:40] was relationship and communication got uncoupled. With the answering machine was the first time, and then, then it went into email and then texting and social media and tick top and the multiple array of things such that we're actually at a time [00:06:00] where it's starting to occur for like, say the Gen X tradition, like the Gen Xers or not Xers, uh, is it Z generally, yeah, showing my age, um, who have, don't have a memory before Before, [00:06:20] synchronistic communication, right, was it, was optional, right?

[00:06:24] Guy Sengstock: They're, they don't even have a memory for that. Therefore, they don't even have it as it's, it's almost like relationship on some level occurs as this [00:06:40] unnecessary thing. Hm. Right? That I even, I just happened to go on YouTube and there was a, I saw a thing where it was a streamer, the guy who just streamed playing games and talks on YouTube all day, talked about his sex life.

[00:06:56] Guy Sengstock: And he's like, why would I actually go out and have a real sex? That wouldn't mean I'd have to [00:07:00] go out of my apartment and I'd have to go down and talk to people and go to the bar and then maybe meet somebody and bring them back and then I'd have to take my clothes off and I could just go to this discord server and I've already broken my computer, computer person persona sex, right?

[00:07:19] Guy Sengstock: I'm, I'm de [00:07:20] virginized there already. Why would I? So I think, and then, and then if you also think about it, where we're also at a time where all you need is an internet connection, right, a computer, and like you could literally have a ton of connections, no [00:07:40] mill, no millions of people, start a company, become world famous, make, become a billionaire, and you could do it without ever having to have an actual interaction.

[00:07:54] Guy Sengstock: We're at a time where that's possible. So whenever you uncouple [00:08:00] anything from anything else, the same thing happened with the industrial revolution revolution where it uncoupled, like machines brought the world right in front of us. So it uncoupled functioning from movement. Boom, you uncouple those things and then we have this that transformed our relationship to our body.

[00:08:19] Guy Sengstock: [00:08:20] I, I think something at a, at a basic level like that is happening with relationship. Now when you do that with this, when you consider what these awkward, these awkward things called relationships are, they're the things, they're how we become people. [00:08:40] We've become people through them and they're inherently messy.

[00:08:44] Guy Sengstock: They're inherently uncomfortable. If you think about all the, all the possible things that could happen by you and I just engaging in a conversation, you could say something to me that I misunderstood that could hurt me so bad that I need therapy for 10 years, right? Or you could say [00:09:00] something to me that could enlighten me, right?

[00:09:02] Guy Sengstock: There's this, there's this range of possibilities that could happen in any interaction. And so that's inherently scary. So if you make it optional. Right. Our nervous systems are just going to do the easier thing. Right. And I, I think we see that all over [00:09:20] the place. So I don't think it's an, I don't think that's the whole reason, right?

[00:09:25] Guy Sengstock: Why dialectic and the deal logos and everything that we're doing here. I don't think it's, it's the, it's the whole reason, but I think it's a big, it's a big reason why it's speaking to us, right? Because there's [00:09:40] an intuition that we have that something is missing. And what's interesting is I just saw, I just saw a, um, a series of papers come out about the epidemic of loneliness.

[00:09:54] Guy Sengstock: And what's really interesting about the particular kind of loneliness that people are experiencing is [00:10:00] it's a loneliness that they experience, but it's not a driver to go out in the relationship. It has them. Go further into isolation, right? Which is really striking to me. You would think, well, you're lonely, so you want to be around people.

[00:10:17] Guy Sengstock: So, like, you'd be moved to do that. But you're [00:10:20] lonely, but it's a kind of loneliness that actually does not presuppose to you to be driven to be around people. And so, I think that... There's a, there's a, there's, there's a pathology going on and underdevelopment going on with us that we only get through interaction and [00:10:40] relationship that is become optional.

[00:10:43] Guy Sengstock: Um, and so I think that's a big part of it. That's one proposal I'll make around it.

[00:10:52] Guy Sengstock: Wow. That's really

[00:10:53] Christopher Mastropietro: good. Yeah. I think that's a big chunk. That's a big piece. It might [00:11:00] not be exhaustive, but it's somewhere very near to the heart of it. I think it's interesting that last point about how the loneliness does not incentivize company and maybe one of the reasons for that is because in the absence of a manner of [00:11:20] sociability that authenticates itself, that actually invites intimacy and disclosure in the way that we've been trying to exemplify.

[00:11:33] Christopher Mastropietro: In the absence of that mode of engagement, company [00:11:40] is, I think, a more severe form of loneliness than solitude, right? Because there's a normative contrast, there's a tension. When you're in company, you ought not to feel lonely, or so you think. The fact that you do, when you [00:12:00] do, suggests that there's something wrong about reality itself.

[00:12:04] Christopher Mastropietro: There's something wrong with you. Or about the nature of what's happening. Something is out of sorts, but whatever is out of sorts is reflecting itself back on you. It's your fault, or so it feels. And I think maybe that's why a lot of [00:12:20] people, I know this feeling, I know this feeling from experience, I think most of us probably do, that if we're forced, if we're going to opt for one kind of loneliness or another, one kind of isolation for another, whether it's the isolation that comes in company or the one that comes with [00:12:40] solitude, I think the solitude seems far more appealing.

[00:12:47] Christopher Mastropietro: And this idea that relationships have become very, very transactional. I think a lot of it has to do with it's as trite as it sounds, [00:13:00] and it really does sound trite, but it, the, the loss of the meaning of friendship, Philea, I think has a lot to do with this as well, right? Even the term, it's so equivocal, what it refers to is so equivocal, right?

[00:13:16] Christopher Mastropietro: It refers to every shade of acquaintance imaginable [00:13:20] from the very remote to the very intimate, and I think that it's difficult. To understand that as a necessity, as something you need to nourish your soul, as a place you find yourself, as a place you find [00:13:40] yourself, not as something incidental, right, but something that is essential to you being able to uncover yourself.

[00:13:51] Christopher Mastropietro: And con, make contact with yourself, right? We've spent so much of this, so much of our dialogues in the series, and you've spent so much of your time talking about [00:14:00] this alone, that we make contact with ourselves by finding deep, deep level of acquaintance in the experience of being known beyond what it is that we could have known about ourselves, being touched in that sense.[00:14:20]

[00:14:22] Christopher Mastropietro: And, um, I don't even know if I could begin to speculate or enumerate the reasons why that is so scarce and in such short supply, that filia. A lot of, you know, a lot of people have made some very sophisticated arguments about it, I know. But [00:14:40] whatever it is that has brought that about, that has depleted it, its depletion, I think, is a, is a big piece of this as well, right?

[00:14:49] Christopher Mastropietro: Because of course we'll be, of course we'll be thrown back. And to solitude, if the only option is meaningless interaction, I have no desire for meaningless interaction. Right? [00:15:00] I'd opt for solitude over that any day. And I think most people would, right? You're going to choose an inward form of scarcity. Or a social form of scarcity.

[00:15:12] Christopher Mastropietro: One, I think, is often a little bit more repellent than the other because it suggests that there's something wrong [00:15:20] with you and something wrong about the way that the world is fitting together in the first place. And I think it's that. That, that is the, that quakes us sometimes. Yes.

[00:15:33] Taylor Barrett: Mm hmm. It occurs to me there's something about this [00:15:40] transition or this new oncoming, you know, Gen Z, but also previous generations spending more and more time online.

[00:15:46] Taylor Barrett: So maybe for Gen Z, there's a, a never knowing of what's possible. And then for the older ones, you know, getting Gen Y and into the Gen X and millennials, there's a forgetting as well, like a forgetting of what [00:16:00] that was like. Like maybe you had that. When you grew up, but you know, the way that, you know, that happens is you go through school and you, you build a life, you sort of distance yourself.

[00:16:10] Taylor Barrett: And then as the technology comes in, it creates a, a wider gap. So it occurs to me that the meaningless conversations are probably happening because there [00:16:20] is a forgetting or there is a never knowing of what's possible. And therefore, when people are coming together, they're not making contact. They're talking past each other or they're doing.

[00:16:33] Taylor Barrett: You know, perhaps even worse sort of engaging in more of a political, you know, the religion of politics, you know, the, you know, the culture war [00:16:40] sort of, you know, and that's the engagement. And then it's just like, I don't want that. So it makes perfect sense, you know, of why there would be that step back into solitude.

[00:16:51] Taylor Barrett: Yeah,

[00:16:56] Dr. John Vervaeke: I,[00:17:00]

[00:17:00] Dr. John Vervaeke: I think the, the, the way in which the emergence of social media, obviously there's a, there's a quantitative aspect that we've been talking about, but there's a qualitative aspect too, that I think is really important, which is[00:17:20]

[00:17:20] Dr. John Vervaeke: the idea, we have an idea of communing underneath communication as common union, as a process of. Continuing, we are the, we are the primates that have the longest childhood and we have to go through cultural [00:17:40] maturation, uh, which is as significant as our biological maturation. And that that process and the idea that that process, like nobody ever says, well, I'm mature enough.

[00:17:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: I'm done. Right. Um, and in fact, um, maturation is ongoing and it's interesting, John Roosen talks about maturation [00:18:00] as, you know, and notice the language we use, it's, it's a capacity to face or to face up to reality. And it's the face in right, which is an interpersonal thing. And that maturation is a process you catch agapically from other people.

[00:18:14] Dr. John Vervaeke: Right. And so we have lost the person making [00:18:20] maturation function of communing because we have put such an emphasis on the quantity of information and how rapidly we can transmit it to each other. And so this has been a big. Refocusing of what the point of communication is. The point of communication is this [00:18:40] pointless, how much information is being moved around such that the movement of the information can make different people wealthy or powerful.

[00:18:51] Dr. John Vervaeke: And that has lost out to, well, under, you know, it's the T. S. Elliott, where, where's the wisdom we've lost in the knowledge and where's the knowledge we've [00:19:00] lost in the information, right? And so I think it's not, I'm not disagreeing that it has had these practical effects. And, you know, I try to talk about this about propositional tyranny, but the idea is there's this fundamental notion that we have lost, we have lost [00:19:20] the, like the, Maturation person making functions of, and we've lost layers of that.

[00:19:30] Dr. John Vervaeke: We had friendship. We still have friendship. Although the number of crew friends that people has, has been regularly declining, but we've completely lost the category of fellowship, [00:19:40] which was a much more comprehensive co commitment to person making. And so I think there's this, there's this overall move towards.[00:20:00]

[00:20:00] Dr. John Vervaeke: There's this overall move towards this diminished. So you can see a, a, a parallel thing in, in which, like we talk about the horizontal and the vertical, right? And how they feed into each other. We've lost the contemplative sense of ratio as coming into right relationship with that, which transcends us and coming into right [00:20:20] relationship with that, which grounds us.

[00:20:21] Dr. John Vervaeke: And then we reduced it in Descartes Ruchet's book about how Descartes hated logos. And he proposed logic in it instead. Right? And we reduced the contemplative to the computational. And then we're now witnessing that the computational isn't even for what it was for Descartes, trying to get the truth. The [00:20:40] computational is now just the quantification of how much communication.

[00:20:44] Dr. John Vervaeke: And that's the only standard, it's the only number. So we've got this concomitment. Right. Reduction of ratio. We've got right of maturation of person making. And I think it means for [00:21:00] us that we are losing ourselves as anything other than instrumental in nature. So when, when you get, when you lose community.

[00:21:16] Dr. John Vervaeke: And when you lose contemplative ratio, you, you [00:21:20] lose the sake of ratio for its own sake or personhood for its own sake. If rationality becomes merely instrumental of communication becomes merely instrumental and we are the creatures of ratio communication. We are the creatures of logos. Then we ultimately become merely instrumental.

[00:21:39] Dr. John Vervaeke: And I [00:21:40] think that is a fundamental undermining of our capacity. To be the intrinsically inherently valuable and meaningful things that persons are and I think that is fundamentally what, like, what's driving this in a really profound way. We are losing, we are losing not in [00:22:00] some technical academic sense where we can give propositional definitions, but we are losing the existential deciding for oneself.

[00:22:10] Dr. John Vervaeke: of being a person and the phenomenology of what that is in a deep and profound way. We're hitting ourselves. Yes. We [00:22:20] are. We, we are losing that that way possibility. And this

[00:22:23] Guy Sengstock: is in that vertical and horizontal dimension is precisely what comes together in Dealogos. Yes. Yes. Right. Yes. Precisely what goes together in Dealogos.

[00:22:34] Guy Sengstock: Yes. Right. The communing, the, the Thylia. The friendship, [00:22:40] the transcendence, right? All of it comes together and to me, when all of that comes together in a relational context, right, that's nothing less than the profoundly sacred participating in the sacred. And here's the other part where in, in some sense, we've also lost, [00:23:00] um, where religion and religious belief is becoming less and less viable for people.

[00:23:06] Guy Sengstock: Yes. And that has been the, for the, the holder for fellowship for. Yes. Yeah. Thousands and thousands of years. And so we're in a time in history where, where that's declining, right? And [00:23:20] participation more and more rapidly. And cultural importance. Yes. Yes. And so. In some sense, we are, I believe what's happening in circling ultimately why people come in and participate in circling is to participate in the sacred, whether or not they call it that or [00:23:40] not.

[00:23:40] Guy Sengstock: Yes. It's to, it's to encounter, to dwell in, to find themselves in the midst of encountering the sacred and, and that seems to, Oh, it's like a rip in the universe and opens up that glows to them. Right. That they can't. That when they experience it, [00:24:00] it's not like they were looking for it. It's not like they knew to look for it or something, but when they found it, they realized that's all they had been looking for.

[00:24:07] Guy Sengstock: Yes. Right. In some

[00:24:09] Dr. John Vervaeke: sense. Well, how frequently like people in, like, for example, when we do the workshops, how people largely from secular, or at least [00:24:20] from the nuns, N O N E S, they start to talk about what's happening using religious, right. And spiritual terminology. And then how often they also pronounce, as you just said, this, this, this, this, this discovery of an intimacy, they did not know they exist, but they always longed for.

[00:24:39] Dr. John Vervaeke: And the 2 are [00:24:40] interwoven together. We keep seeing that again and again and again, but I think the 2, those 2 things, well, those 3 things, the, the, the, the, the, the decline in, um, Communication and then what I was trying to articulate in the disappearance of the possibility of personhood and then [00:25:00] and and then the decline of ratio and the loss of religion.

[00:25:08] Dr. John Vervaeke: I think I think those are all they they're all they're not separate phenomena. They are all interpenetrated and accelerating each other. Yes.

[00:25:17] Christopher Mastropietro: Yes. Absolutely. [00:25:20] There's something I'm noticing in all of this, which is that there's a theme of memory.

[00:25:30] Dr. John Vervaeke: Like in an anamnesis sense.

[00:25:32] Christopher Mastropietro: Maybe so. Um, let's, maybe let's, let's feel that out a little bit, like, cause you talk about this idea of having lost something, not lost [00:25:40] something in the technical sense, but it's more like having forgotten. You used it in this, you put it in those terms too, Taylor, this idea that, that we've been in attentive, attentive to the wrong things, right?

[00:25:52] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah. Irrelevance realization problem, you would say, right? Of course. It's like, we've lost the wrong details have become important. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I think [00:26:00] about this as a, this is really a verbal, this is an oral, this is an oral practice. It's an embodied, it's not just oral, it's embodied and it's recorded and whatnot.

[00:26:09] Christopher Mastropietro: I often wonder about that, I often wonder about, I mean, we're doing it right now, so, you know, I'm calling into question the very thing that we're doing. I guess that's appropriately enough, [00:26:20] appropriate enough though. I wonder sometimes about the value of recording something whose, whose import has to be understood existentially in the moment in an embodied sense, when it is embedded in a particular context and implicature.

[00:26:38] Christopher Mastropietro: I was having a conversation with [00:26:40] a friend recently where we were both sharing, um, you know. Instances of falling out with someone, memories of falling out with someone where you have, uh, you know, we've been talking so much about, about conversations that are edifying and transformative in a positive sense, but you know, [00:27:00] I'm sure we've all had instances of the opposite, where you have a conversation with someone that ruptures a relationship and that relationship rupturing ruptures you and you carry that rupture from that point on, it's there.

[00:27:16] Christopher Mastropietro: And it could be any kind. It could be a romantic relationship, it could be a close friendship. [00:27:20] Could be a family member. The point is that we were talking about the process of trying to come to grips with an experience like that and what tends to happen in the immediate aftermath of a fallout, especially if it happens in a conversation.

[00:27:35] Christopher Mastropietro: I mean, inevitably it does, right? And the way that memory [00:27:40] and your particular encounter with memory has a lot to do with how the experience integrates, folds back into you and becomes an affordance for change and transformation. And one of the things we were talking about is the difference between attending to the [00:28:00] memory of that relationship and its fallout at the level of microscopic detail, right?

[00:28:06] Christopher Mastropietro: What I said, then what she said, then what he said, then what I said, then what we did, then what happened, right? You know how when you have this falling out, the thing you do is you replay the [00:28:20] conversation at the minutest level of detail. And each time you do it, you find a different detail around which the whole thing could have turned.

[00:28:28] Christopher Mastropietro: But if I had just said that differently, it all could have been different. Or if I had just remembered that one detail, right? That could have been the Kairos. The whole thing could have turned around. That one thing [00:28:40] I said wrong, or that one moment I stalled, or that one thing I fanned on. And then, I think as time goes on, you begin to realize, consciously or not, that the That, that there is a truer form of memory, there's a way that you can remember that that is [00:29:00] actually more real, less factual, but more real.

[00:29:05] Christopher Mastropietro: And I think this is where the anamnesis comes in a little bit, right? Especially when we understand the reconstructive nature of memory and that memory is a creative act in as much as it is anything else. Memory is about the future. Right. And so. One of the [00:29:20] things that occurred to me, occurred to both of us when we were having this conversation is that it seems important to be able to overcome and work through a sort of a traumatic, I hate to use that word, but a very, a very injurious fallout with somebody, is to reset the level [00:29:40] of resolution on the memory.

[00:29:42] Christopher Mastropietro: Where you're not remembering the finest details, the things that were said, because they're going to get refracted anyway. But you're remembering something more impressionistic, something more essential to the character of what happened between you. The truth of the relationship doesn't lie in the [00:30:00] recorded details.

[00:30:02] Christopher Mastropietro: The truth of the relationship lies somewhere in the creative act of revisioning that relationship in such a way that it takes a place inside of your soul, if I can put it in those terms. What does it mean? What is its signification? That kind of [00:30:20] memory, that more creative, poetic form of memory, that can't be arbitrary.

[00:30:25] Christopher Mastropietro: But also can't be tethered to those fine details because you won't find it there. You won't find the church in the stone quarry, right? Even if it's built out of that stone. [00:30:40] One thing that we have now with social media, which trying to bring this back now, why am I talking about memory is that, you know, everything we say in that medium is recorded.

[00:30:52] Christopher Mastropietro: There's a lot of things that are recorded, the vast majority of which are irrelevant. We make a big [00:31:00] show of throwing out our propositions when we do D Logos, for a good reason, because the propositions themselves don't adhere to us and don't adhere to the process. They're instrumental, they pass through, and they're gone, and that's as it should be, they evaporate, they're supposed to, they're not the point.

[00:31:19] Christopher Mastropietro: And I think this [00:31:20] has a lot to do with the propositional tyranny that you often talk about. It's that our level of recorded memory, the kind of memory that we pay most fastidious attention to, Is the narcissism of small details, small differences, small differences, small differences, right? And when we pay attention at that level of [00:31:40] resolution, we deprive ourselves of the creative capacity to remember in such a way that we participate in the artful creation of what is most meaningful in such a way that we can discover it again.

[00:31:54] Christopher Mastropietro: It's a loss of the poetic spirit. And I think that in the way that that can happen to an [00:32:00] individual. Or between a couple of individuals when they have a falling out, I think in some sense that's happening perhaps to our relationships in general. Right? We're just paying attention to the wrong things because we've misunderstood the nature of what it means to remember ourselves and remember one another in [00:32:20] such a way that we can play a role in its significance.

[00:32:24] Christopher Mastropietro: You know, you used to be If you're, if you're going to, if you're going to tumble over a difficult topic, there's a big difference between going to the pub, having a few beers, tumbling over a difficult topic, [00:32:40] and then having all of the propositions vanish at the end of the night. Because what you're left with, what you're left with is the resonance of the contact that you can use as the raw material.

[00:32:53] Christopher Mastropietro: To envision its meaning for the future. But if what you're left with [00:33:00] is the letter of what was said, you will find fault and error and sin in every single word. And if that's what you attend to, that's what will be most real. And if that's, what's most real, then we're all in a lot of trouble and we're all implicated.

[00:33:17] Guy Sengstock: What you just described is that [00:33:20] you leave in all the property, propositions disappear, but you're left with, what did you say? The resonance. And that resonance you carry with you into the next conversation. To me, this sounds like practice to me. And this is sounds, starts to sound like practice.

[00:33:38] Dr. John Vervaeke: To me, this sounds like [00:33:40] Plato and the Phaedrus when Socrates is worried about writing, destroying actual theologos.

[00:33:47] Dr. John Vervaeke: And of course the irony is we only know of this because of writing. Right. And so it's, I think, I think what we're, I. I think maybe what we could say is we're [00:34:00] facing a Kairos because I agree with everything Chris said and of course in some ways I agree with what Socrates says there, but I also disagree with him because I'm in a performative contradiction if I completely agree with him, right?

[00:34:13] Dr. John Vervaeke: And so you see, you see, I would argue in third way, Platonism argues, you see Plato [00:34:20] trying with the dialogue format to try and bring beyond the propositions, the drama, The character, the effect of setting, time and place, and Plato's always, even within a dialogue, the Republic, he starts and then he starts again to let you know there's no absolute starting point, all the stuff that has been discussed in the series.[00:34:40]

[00:34:41] Dr. John Vervaeke: So I put, I put it back to you, Chris, that what have you, what you have described is the left hand of this, but there's the right hand that, but we could do better than the mere written text of the platonic dialogue. We can even better keep the recording. Of the [00:35:00] drama of the character, right? And so that's what I'm trying to now put it.

[00:35:06] Dr. John Vervaeke: What I'm getting from is the possibility. And I think this is almost like a Kierkegaardian choice. It's at least a from the end choice, right? Of, of, right. We could do it. We could, we could be misdirected by this and, [00:35:20] and, and the way it's. It, it's antagonistic to the creative, the creativity within reconstructive memory.

[00:35:28] Dr. John Vervaeke: We could be misdirected and enhance the propositional theory. That's what I hear you saying. The left hand, but then I also want to say, but we could write even, we could, we could do something even better. I [00:35:40] don't mean artistically, but I mean, we could do something even better in terms of memory than the platonic dialogues by the way we can record so much of the nonverbal, so much of the embodied, so much of the drama, so much of the way character and context and timing is showing up.

[00:35:56] Dr. John Vervaeke: And then, so that's the, I think the right hand, [00:36:00] uh, just to use one of Jonathan Pegeau's ways of talking. That's the right hand of what we're being offered here right now. And so then I think the, the, the, the issue might be,

[00:36:17] Dr. John Vervaeke: it's not just, [00:36:20] I don't know if you intended this, Chris, but so it, but it's not just a reflection on why this, why now. I think what's coming out of this also is, what is the choice before us now? What is the choice before us now? Because there is the possibility of the exacerbation, I [00:36:40] think Chris made an eloquent case for it, and then I'm trying to say this is, this has a perennial aspect to it, um, that's in Plato and that we can in some sense offer the choice that Plato offered us.

[00:36:52] Dr. John Vervaeke: We could appropriate this medium, at least this one. Um, in such a way that we could [00:37:00] choose to go this way, the platonic way rather than the propositional tyrannic.

[00:37:06] Christopher Mastropietro: It reminds me of, uh, there's a line I always loved that Nick Mount said of good literature, good poetry specifically, which is that its job is to strive for its own extinction.

[00:37:16] Christopher Mastropietro: And I agree with you. It's like what it seems to [00:37:20] me that the choice that Plato made was to create a form. Of recorded dialogue, a form of, of a form of record that could undermine itself and in undermining itself could create from itself a process that people could participate in [00:37:40] and symbolically work

[00:37:41] Guy Sengstock: through and notice this dialogue right now we're in some sense.

[00:37:48] Guy Sengstock: We're talking about the impossibility of what we're doing as we're just as we're doing the very possibility that's being expressed,

[00:37:58] Dr. John Vervaeke: that yes, [00:38:00] parabolic nature precisely makes it not a dialogue because dialogue in the everyday sense of dialogue Yes. Never calls itself into question. Yes. As an entity. Yes.

[00:38:10] Dr. John Vervaeke: In service of something beyond itself. Like what we are proposing here with

[00:38:14] Guy Sengstock: Via logos. Yes, yes, yes, yes,

[00:38:17] Christopher Mastropietro: yes. Absolutely. [00:38:20] And we just spent the previous, um, Dialogos, or Dialectic into Dialogos, trying to propose around Dialectic. And we were struggling over that, right? We were struggling over a process that is...

[00:38:34] Christopher Mastropietro: That is bi directional, right? That is moving away from itself as it moves toward [00:38:40] what it's after. Yeah, and I think that's what you're proposing in response to the problem I

[00:38:46] Dr. John Vervaeke: raised. Yes, yes, and so I'm thanking you for raising it to a notch because, and I don't think we should leave the first level behind, the first level of What's the ideology?

[00:38:56] Dr. John Vervaeke: What's the causal factors that are at work making this [00:39:00] happen? I think those are, I think those are relevant and they should be integrated. But the second level, they should be integrated with this second level. The second level is, yeah, but above and beyond that, above those historical Factors, right?

[00:39:11] Dr. John Vervaeke: There, there, there, there's something much more perennially structural at work here that we need to properly address. That's what I heard you say. [00:39:20]

[00:39:20] Guy Sengstock: Absolutely.

[00:39:21] Taylor Barrett: Yes.

[00:39:25] Taylor Barrett: I mean, it occurs to me that the sort of the answer, the answer to what's, you know, what do we do now is it's sort of that movement of recognizing, you know, where the salience landscaping of say, social media has gotten us. And maybe [00:39:40] suggesting that it has us moving away from wisdom. So what does it look like to move towards wisdom in terms of social media, in terms of technology, in terms of the platform, the medium, the practices?

[00:39:51] Taylor Barrett: To me, that seems to be the direction that we need to be moving in and reinforcing and, [00:40:00] you know, paying attention to the right things where we were paying attention to the wrong things.

[00:40:05] Guy Sengstock: And there's, yes,

[00:40:05] Dr. John Vervaeke: this is something just to, like, this has been one of your themes that this, I mean, you once explained to me that circling emerged from out of how can I enact Heidegger and how can I enact Heidegger's critique of [00:40:20] modernity and technology and the loss of the logos and the forgetting of being.

[00:40:24] Dr. John Vervaeke: And so I think what you're proposing in consonant with that is how do we situate the, the choices The left and the right, it's like, how do, what do we do now? And part of it is properly seeing how [00:40:40] this is part of that larger project, right? And I'm pointing to you because like you're an exemplar of trying to do, and I've been trying to do that through this whole series, right?

[00:40:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: How can we recapture the full Socratic platonics and, and put it into practice in a way that a draft allows that framework to come to [00:41:00] life. So that whole framework and critique all of. The modernity and the technology and the surveillance capitalism and all of the problem and all the pseudo religious stuff that's emerging, et cetera.

[00:41:12] Dr. John Vervaeke: I just, I just wanted to get that in before you said something, cause I really wanted to point to how you have exemplified this.

[00:41:19] Guy Sengstock: Right. [00:41:20] Right. And it's interesting because as how all that started was a group of, of our friends started to have these interactions. That something glowed that was, that struck [00:41:40] us as deep and significant in, in deep and significant in a way that was a different kind of deep and significance from all the other deep and significant things that we're doing at the time.

[00:41:50] Guy Sengstock: Um, and then we just noticed it and then started following it. Right. And as he's talked about, I started to reverse engineer what [00:42:00] exactly was happening, but it was, it, the important thing to get about this is like no one came up with something, right? Like no one. Kind of looked at something and then go, okay, how do we market this?

[00:42:11] Guy Sengstock: And like, how do we make it digest something like that? No, it was, it was in the. encounter with it and being surprised by it. [00:42:20] Something exceeded us. It was a surplus of something. So there's a

[00:42:24] Dr. John Vervaeke: positive, sorry, there's a positive reason for why now the negative reasons we were articulating, but there's also the positive that you just put your finger on as well.

[00:42:33] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. Right. So we're getting sort of three kinds of answers and I think they're all important. We're getting a historical [00:42:40] answer and then we're getting a I'll just label it a perennial structural answer. And then we're also getting, but there's a positive phenomena that's also happening. That's also explaining why now.

[00:42:50] Guy Sengstock: Yes. Yes. And I think it's precisely in some sense, if you want to bring in Heidegger around this, it's, I think the thing that caught us essentially is what Heidegger would call [00:43:00] being right. And in the being that's, that is forgotten in the, in the substance metaphysics that we're all indoctrinated in.

[00:43:10] Guy Sengstock: Yeah. organizes our thinking and therefore conceals that there's something about relationship and the dynamic [00:43:20] of I vow when that starts to unfold it. It, it's a breaking free of this metaphysics in some way. And, and the thing that withdrawals in metaphysics like shows itself, right? And you can't not ever, it's like out of the corner of your eye and it, and then it moves and you try to articulate [00:43:40] it, but you can kind of just do the outlines of it.

[00:43:44] Guy Sengstock: But there's something around that, that there's a, that what's interesting around that is that, is it, is it draws communities around it, right? It's like. It's like, it's some, it feels like they're the seeds of culture or something. Well, [00:44:00] common

[00:44:00] Dr. John Vervaeke: unity. Yeah. But it's not a unity of we, of the one, like of a thing or even a set of proposition.

[00:44:06] Dr. John Vervaeke: It, it, like it's a common wanting, right? Yes. Right. There's the wanting of being tutors you in the wanting of with, with each other in some really hard to like articulate or, or turn [00:44:20] into a method, but there's something, this is, well, this is at least the Neoplatonic coming into communion with, you know, a fundamental wanting.

[00:44:28] Dr. John Vervaeke: Empowers you, tutors you, induces you into better one ing yourself and one ing with others. Yep.

[00:44:36] Guy Sengstock: Yep. Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:44:39] Dr. John Vervaeke: I cut you off a [00:44:40] minute ago. Yeah. You know, it

[00:44:41] Taylor Barrett: was just sort of occurred to me, you know, a few phrases were coming up with sort of you talking about that, that contact point sort of occurred to me as like, the really real, like, that's how I sort of experienced it of like, Of sort of the not knowing, but then sort of the remembering and the engagement of it.

[00:44:58] Taylor Barrett: And it's like, this is [00:45:00] more real, like this has more gravity. This has more substance, you know, going back to sort of like a trust, like there's, there's something inherent where it's just like inside. It's like a yes. Yes.

[00:45:11] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah.

[00:45:11] Guy Sengstock: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. That,

[00:45:15] Taylor Barrett: that. And I think I get the sense that it's the thing that continues to sort of call us that [00:45:20] when people have that experience, there is some form of remembering.

[00:45:23] Taylor Barrett: Um, even if it's more of a evolutionary biological remembering, it is something about that that we've lost. Yeah. And so coming into contact and in these particular ways in which we do, yeah, yeah. It seems to just flip

[00:45:36] Guy Sengstock: that switch. And I think it's important, right? We can, we can talk [00:45:40] about the loss. The loss of organized religion or, or the, the way in which we've lost that, but there's also a way where in some sense, what that used to hold in some ways is wiggled free from the structures that, that, that, that held it before.

[00:45:59] Guy Sengstock: And I [00:46:00] think there's an opportunity there, right? I don't think that that's just a mistake or something that just maybe went wrong, but there's an opportunity there. That seems to be part of the movement of all this, it's itself in some way, right?

[00:46:16] Dr. John Vervaeke: Because I think that

[00:46:17] Guy Sengstock: the, it's like it become democratized in [00:46:20] some, well, I was going to go in

[00:46:21] Dr. John Vervaeke: exactly that direction.

[00:46:22] Dr. John Vervaeke: We, we, with the rise of things like democracy and science, where we see the dynamic self organizing power of distributed cognition and collective intelligence, and then what we have is [00:46:40] powerful analogs in our technology. Right. The internet and the interfacing of, interfacing of computers so that we release the power of distributed computation.

[00:46:51] Dr. John Vervaeke: So we're, we're, we're getting, we're getting all these hints of this power and its capacity to [00:47:00] grasp. Optimally grip hyper objects, the aspects of reality that are inaccessible to our own individual cognition, like evolution or global warming or the United States of America, right, or something like that.

[00:47:17] Dr. John Vervaeke: And so what I'm saying is I think [00:47:20] what's what we have is we have the disclosure of the possibility. Of the power of the collective intelligence within distributed cognition to be educated so that it can more and more better coordinate the [00:47:40] optimal gripping on aspects of reality that are unavailable to individuals.

[00:47:43] Dr. John Vervaeke: And I think that has a sense of more real and realness to it that was typically only held by. The Distributed Cognition of the Ecclesia, where I don't just mean the church, I mean also the [00:48:00] temple, the mosque, whatever, right? These were, these were, you'll allow me, these were the cultural cognitive, distributed cognitive, Machines that allowed people to grok or right aspects or dimensions of reality across generations [00:48:20] across space and time between the imaginable and the sensible and the imaginable, the intelligible that individuals on their own could not do.

[00:48:28] Dr. John Vervaeke: And so. What I'm saying is all of this has the present possibility of constellating together in a way in which the functionality that was [00:48:40] previously held by religion doesn't have to be held by religion, but it still can be made available and functional in people. That's my attempt to articulate the wiggling free.

[00:48:51] Dr. John Vervaeke: So there's a light side also to all of this in its capacity. I don't know why I keep speaking on behalf of the light. I'm usually the [00:49:00] dark guy, but right. There's a light side in all of this because if it's disclosed, because, because of the speed and the connectedness, we can now see possibilities that we could only realize when we were, when we were, when we were within religious fellowship.

[00:49:15] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yes. That's what, that's what I'm proposing to you.

[00:49:17] Guy Sengstock: Yes. And also. [00:49:20] I, I, I may be off with this, but there's also something too with this where technology actually can be a place where a platform is created, right? Such that, and we were talking about this, you [00:49:40] brought this up earlier about, what are these conversations for?

[00:49:43] Guy Sengstock: Are they for us here talking? And you propose that

[00:49:47] Dr. John Vervaeke: like, these are cathedral, these are cathedral building, right? You're building

[00:49:50] Guy Sengstock: cathedrals. Yes. Yes.

[00:49:52] Christopher Mastropietro: Yes. I have such a reaction to you saying that, that it's visceral. Because it's, [00:50:00] because

[00:50:02] Dr. John Vervaeke: the... The generation building it is not building it for that, for themselves, nor are they going to see the fruits of it.

[00:50:09] Dr. John Vervaeke: No,

[00:50:09] Christopher Mastropietro: I understand. I understand. But I think we need to address the reaction and the offing that comes as a consequence of a statement like that, right? You know, one of the [00:50:20] differences between the, you know, the traditional, the traditional religious, the traditional sacred canopy that you're describing that was embedded in the Ecclesia and this, this sort of these, these Systems of collective intelligence that you're describing in the [00:50:40] now are separated by degrees of acceleration that are like momentous, you know, um, and the idea that maybe this is the seed for something that will Bear its fruits and the far flung future is is one thing that's a it's a [00:51:00] remarkably fascinating thing to imagine, and it's there's a certain like there's part of me that is enthralled by that.

[00:51:06] Christopher Mastropietro: Make no mistake. But I also think that, like, we need to be very, very, um, attentive to the magnitude of risk. That comes as a consequence of that displacement, like when that [00:51:20] wiggles loose, it can careen, and when it careens, this is a powerful, like, Promethean destructive force, let's not forget that, right?

[00:51:29] Christopher Mastropietro: You

[00:51:29] Guy Sengstock: get the Battle of

[00:51:30] Dr. John Vervaeke: Kursk from this, I get it. Yeah,

[00:51:31] Guy Sengstock: yeah,

[00:51:31] Christopher Mastropietro: I know you get it, I know you get it, but like, I think, like, we need to, like, there needs to be, there, there, there always needs to be that sort of countervailing response. [00:51:40] That countervailing sense of restraint, which I think is a Socratic restraint as well, as much as it is anything, when we face the sort of the, the, the, when we face the impulse to be triumphant in the face of that open without having the tradition that without having the tradition that grounds it out and that [00:52:00] This and this, because, you know, the traditions that you're talking about, right?

[00:52:03] Christopher Mastropietro: The syncretism of those traditions is something that gathered itself together over a, over an enormous amount of time, like centuries and centuries and centuries, right? We've spent so much time talking about, about the sensing around error and how incremental that process [00:52:20] is, right? And this idea that we now have the affordances to scale this in ways that maybe were never, were never available, you know, all of the possibility that it tends to that as enthralling as it is, it is just as dangerous.

[00:52:38] Christopher Mastropietro: I

[00:52:38] Dr. John Vervaeke: don't disagree, but it's [00:52:40] unavoidable. Yes. Okay, that, so I, I don't disagree. Um, but I think the, the power that the acceleration gives us to do in days, what took people years to do is, is not going away. And so we can either let it run at the behest of who it's running for now, the [00:53:00] state, the market, or we can try and find a way to appropriate it within a project of trying to conduce, right.

[00:53:10] Dr. John Vervaeke: That. What, whatever we want to call it, I'll just that, that, that, that, that Ecclesia towards the individual and collective cultivation of wisdom. [00:53:20] And, and, and, and right, the, the thing that we have going for us is we do have the history and, and, and we have like. We have to avoid both, I keep saying this. We have to avoid both the nostalgia and the utopia because we've learned the deep lessons about how those [00:53:40] put us into fundamentalism on one hand or the Promethean endeavor on the other.

[00:53:44] Dr. John Vervaeke: I totally agree with that. And

[00:53:51] Dr. John Vervaeke: we also like, think about this, this is collapsing privacy and publicity. [00:54:00] It is collapsing, written and speaking. It is collapsing, uh, the, uh, a time, a, a, a spatial temporal bound conversation and a meta conversation that's taking place in, in conceptual space rather than in like, it's, it's collapsing all of those.

[00:54:17] Dr. John Vervaeke: And so what I, what I, I [00:54:20] guess I take seriously what you say. So I'm going to try and put this as I hope, and I hope the hope is a rational hope, and that's a weird meta hope, but I hope those new powers and the lessons we've learned about nostalgia. And utopia mean that we can offer a better [00:54:40] choice for how to appropriate the acceleration than the one that is being currently made, not for us, but without us, by the cultural machinery that's at work right now.

[00:54:54] Dr. John Vervaeke: So that's, that's my response.

[00:54:55] Guy Sengstock: And I, and I would say that there's one other thing kind of going for this, right, is [00:55:00] that although this may arrive via technology at people's screens, I don't think this is technology. What we're doing right now. This is not, this is what we're doing right now is that we're not, this is not increasing technology, this conversation.

[00:55:18] Guy Sengstock: It's not collapsing [00:55:20] distances and making, making of resources. This is. These are these long meandering dialogues, right? That may or may not like make any sense at the end of the day. It, this is not an optimization of something. Right. So I think the, that's what I'm really interested in this of like, I don't, I [00:55:40] don't know exactly what to think about it, but it's like that, that we can in some sense, bring this on a technological platform that that technological platform show something fundamentally untechnological.

[00:55:54] Guy Sengstock: Right. That doesn't lead to just more technology and makes it available, right. And [00:56:00] what we call this quarter, this quarter of, on the internet, little quarter of the internet. Yeah. I don't know what to think about all of that. Right. Speaking of which, but that

[00:56:07] Christopher Mastropietro: just strikes me. Persigian insight too. Yeah.

[00:56:09] Christopher Mastropietro: Really good Persigian insight. Yeah. I, I agree with you. Like I don't think, I think that there is, I think that there's very, very good reason to think that, that [00:56:20] the technology, that the technology doesn't have to be technologizing. Yes. But,

[00:56:24] Dr. John Vervaeke: but, but I mean, I didn't mean my response and I think this, I want to, I want to and add that to what I said to Chris, I didn't want my, I didn't want, like, I wasn't trying to like, like refute you or anything like that.

[00:56:38] Dr. John Vervaeke: Because I take [00:56:40] seriously what you said, like, I want, I want to hear more of a response. I take very deeply what you said, like when we very deeply, you know, this, when we unmoor this stuff from religion, we face huge dangers. But what the two things I'm saying is given technology, leaving it more to religion also subjects us to [00:57:00] fundamentalist.

[00:57:01] Dr. John Vervaeke: Right? Uh, right. Fundamentalist nostalgia and Promethean totalitarian utopias too, right? And so, like, I want to hear more what, like, I think the risk is, I think you are right to, to, to speak, to give voice to that risk. Yeah. But I want, I, I, I'm sorry. I'm not giving you anything specific. I just [00:57:20] want to draw you up.

[00:57:20] Dr. John Vervaeke: Well, I

[00:57:20] Christopher Mastropietro: guess it's, you know, I, like, I mean, if I didn't, if obviously, if I, if I, if I didn't think that there was a gathering, if I, if I didn't think that there was Logos in this enterprise, then, you know, I wouldn't be sitting here with you. So, I think that, but that reminder, that, that, that Socratic doubt, I think is [00:57:40] just, has to be a perennial, Yes.

[00:57:43] Christopher Mastropietro: Irrepressible feature of this work. Yes. In the way that the, uh, that the dialectic and to deal logos corrects the proposal each time it cycles and the way that the proposal is dissolved and reformed and dissolved and reformed and dissolved and [00:58:00] reformed. Okay. Yes. That the faith in this has to be ultimately must ground out in a faith in the logos itself and the true, the good and the beautiful, right?

[00:58:09] Christopher Mastropietro: This is a bone, the bonus centric movement. If there is a way, and I think that we're committed to the idea of, committed to the project [00:58:20] of keeping that at the center, always, and I think that, but doubt, doubt in ourselves, doubt in the enterprise, and doubt in, in, doubt such that we remain vigilant to the end.

[00:58:36] Christopher Mastropietro: Myriad of unintended motives and [00:58:40] consequences and very, very real human frailties and digressions that creep into the best laid plans and the, and the, and the, and the most decent of intentions that just has to remain a feature of this work. And so in giving it voice in this moment. What I'm doing is I'm making [00:59:00] sure that it becomes a feature of the very work itself, and that's what makes it dialectical.

[00:59:06] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right? I

[00:59:07] Dr. John Vervaeke: think you're absolutely right. I, I, I'm glad...

[00:59:10] Guy Sengstock: And if we lose that,

[00:59:10] Christopher Mastropietro: then we're guilty of something very severe. So, then,

[00:59:13] Dr. John Vervaeke: then, then, let me return to my interjection. But I think that was properly what was truly happening when [00:59:20] people were building cathedrals. I think you're right. Right, right.

[00:59:22] Dr. John Vervaeke: There is the, there is the... Non equal centric commitment to the, the true, the good and the beautiful. And so if you'll allow me to put that back into what I was saying, that's that I think it's, I think I'm being honest when I'm saying I was trying to also [00:59:40] convey that, but I think, but I think this idea of, and you're right.

[00:59:45] Dr. John Vervaeke: You, and you, you all, you, you call it out. Right. Right. And this is, you know, we see this in Socrates and in Kierkegaard that this, yes. Continual reminder of the need to suspect [01:00:00] ourselves of being guilty of hubris or despair in ways that we're not understanding or acknowledging and how that can drive us into totalitarianisms in very powerful ways.

[01:00:10] Dr. John Vervaeke: I think that's really, really powerful and I hear you and I, and I hear you even doing this when we were doing the series within the series, I hear you. [01:00:20] And this is meant as a compliment. I hear you trying to articulate this new and different non Cartesian sense of doubt. And I think, like, I think, like, I think there's a deep calling in you to this and I hear you carefully and incrementally in the positive sense of the word coming back to this [01:00:40] again and again and again.

[01:00:42] Dr. John Vervaeke: And I just want to afford you the opportunity to maybe take. Take another step at it, or another stab at it, or whatever is the nonviolent metaphor that's appropriate, right? Like, you, you, you really resonated when I, when I gave that back to you as a proposal. Like, you're trying to, and I think this is right.[01:01:00]

[01:01:00] Dr. John Vervaeke: I think part of what we're doing here is trying to, not, it's not the only thing we're doing, but a proper corrective part, a proper, a proper normative part of what we're doing here is trying to articulate a non Cartesian Non merely skeptical, non merely cynical notion of doubt that is needed [01:01:20] now. And I want to give you, and I'm not, I'm not trying to say, Now, Chris, do it, finish it, come on.

[01:01:26] Dr. John Vervaeke: I'm not doing that, but I want to give you the opportunity. To take another step at trying to articulate that because that's like, I feel like that's what needs to be heard from you right now, amongst other things, but like, it seems to be really landing with you, like you're trying to articulate and [01:01:40] I hear that all through what you and I were doing with Kierkegaard and I didn't get a chance to bring it out, but this seems.

[01:01:45] Dr. John Vervaeke: Perfectly opportune. You're trying, you're like, there's this non Cartesian, non post modern sense of doubt that is needed here. Call it Socratic doubt. Yeah, but, but, but that's to name it correctly, but that's not to [01:02:00] explicate it properly. Right? Is that

[01:02:03] Christopher Mastropietro: fair? It's, it's beautiful. Thank you. I, I, um, I really appreciate you seeing it and inviting it and valuing it and seeing it as an essential, I Ingredient in what we're doing.

[01:02:17] Christopher Mastropietro: I really appreciate that. And I knew, I knew, I know [01:02:20] that's true of you. I know that's true of you. Um, but I appreciate you calling it forth that way. I really, really do. I really do. I think how to explicate it. I mean, I don't know. I, I, I, we've done so much of that already through the series within the series.

[01:02:38] Christopher Mastropietro: I mean, to maybe just to put [01:02:40] it very simply or to begin to put it very simply. I think you've already done it in a sense that. This kind of reflexive suspicion, and that doesn't need to be self loathing, and I know that you're wary, you're wary of regressions or digressions into self loathing, and I'm sensitive to that, and that's not really what I mean.

[01:02:59] Christopher Mastropietro: It's not [01:03:00] affectively what I mean, it's just a recognition of finitude, properly speaking, right? And it is a Socratic self doubt, because it's the recognition that we, each of us, as individuals and collectively, do not comprehensively know ourselves. We cannot take comprehensive account of ourselves. Not simply [01:03:20] because our perspective of ourselves is finite, but because we're always changing and unfolding in a Heraclitian way.

[01:03:26] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah. We can't get a final and exhaustive purchase on our capacity to elude our own expectations. And that's why the commitment, the commitment to whatever perspective is supernal to [01:03:40] the sum of interests that we have at any one time is a decision we have to make at every single moment. And the minute we don't make that decision, we make the opposite.

[01:03:51] Christopher Mastropietro: I mean, that's really the Kierkegaardian point, right? That's the continuance of the sin or the continuance of faith is that every single moment that we don't make that [01:04:00] decision to renew that commitment to the logos and to renew the artful and. Sapiential suspicion toward ourselves, which is also a hope in both aspects dialectically always, always the minute we don't renew that the minute we don't renew that we've lost it.

[01:04:19] Christopher Mastropietro: And [01:04:20] so that's a hard thing. Like it's difficult. Like what I'm what I'm asking of us and myself is something that's very, very difficult to do. Um. But, um, but but so is the scope. So I mean, the scope of what it is that we're proposing and you're proposing. And I think there's a lot of there's a lot of beauty [01:04:40] and valor, um, and wisdom to the proposal and to the project.

[01:04:46] Christopher Mastropietro: And I think that in order for it to have a chance, I think it needs to be paired with an equally rigorous commitment to that kind of reflective and reflexive scrutiny that cannot yield [01:05:00] itself even for a

[01:05:00] Dr. John Vervaeke: moment. I think you're doing what you, yes, and to us, but I think if you'll allow me, you're also offering another answer to why, why now, why this, why now, which is the advent of this doubt that is most needed is new kind of [01:05:20] doubt that is most needed right now.

[01:05:22] Guy Sengstock: Can I ask, I think that to bring in another dimension to this doubt that I think is an important part of this. And I, I mean this, I feel this personally. I sense this personally in you, but there's something deeper than just [01:05:40] the personal around it. There's, there's some kind of grief or sadness about the loss of the church, the loss of the, all the institutions.

[01:05:58] Guy Sengstock: There's some kind of, there's some [01:06:00] kind of grief that, that I feel. I felt it in this conversation. It was funny as you, as you were talking about this, I think I felt it in you and I realized I was feeling it as well. That feels important around us. You said this in the

[01:06:15] Dr. John Vervaeke: car. You have to put a face on grief before you can grieve.

[01:06:19] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. [01:06:20] Yeah. This is us trying to interface to put a face. Oh,

[01:06:24] Guy Sengstock: so, so just the fact, the fact that we're bringing very, you know, the books, all of this, it's like, That face is there, that face is there that these things were once implicit built into the architecture and different [01:06:40] in these ways and the people have died over it and the traditions and there's a tremendous grief that that's dying and in many cases dead, right?

[01:06:53] Guy Sengstock: That I think.

[01:06:57] Guy Sengstock: Seems part, [01:07:00]

[01:07:00] Dr. John Vervaeke: I think that's right to, I think you often, I think we share this, but I, you profoundly, I remember when you did this on, when we were talking with Paul about this, the, you, the, the hauntingness of the dying star metaphor you used, which was a metaphor of grief, profound grief. I think like, I think that like you are that [01:07:20] I think I, and I agree, I think the two are bound up together.

[01:07:23] Dr. John Vervaeke: I think part of what the, and why this could be offered to the culture as a whole, part of offering the new kind of doubt is a way of trying to, to face the grieving that is needed properly.[01:07:40]

[01:07:41] Guy Sengstock: Hmm.

[01:07:48] Guy Sengstock: Yeah. This, this silence that just opened up seems

[01:07:52] Dr. John Vervaeke: important. I think we should just stay in it for a bit. Yeah.[01:08:00] [01:08:20]

[01:08:27] Dr. John Vervaeke: I'd like to ask Taylor, who was. Giving a lot of really pregnant ms while the three of us were doing that what was happening for him? Yeah Could you say that

[01:08:38] Guy Sengstock: another way?[01:08:40]

[01:08:44] Taylor Barrett: I'm left with,

[01:08:51] Taylor Barrett: there's something here, like I'm always, so my hmms were me sort of trying to connect to the grief to try to follow the through line that you guys are weaving together. [01:09:00] And where I landed just before you spoke was, like it occurs to me that the screams of the grief have been the latching onto these other false religions, the move towards politics, the move towards whatever these other poor [01:09:20] replacements for what has been lost.

[01:09:24] Dr. John Vervaeke: And you're not a religious person by any means, right? No, no,

[01:09:26] Taylor Barrett: not at all. I've been to church twice, I think, maybe, in my life. Yeah, I know. And it's like I can sort of like sense into it a little bit. [01:09:40] You know, if I take a breadth of experience of being with people, and like the despair, or the anger, or the frustration, or the trying to keep it together, and there's something about this idea of grief, it's like a through line that runs through.

[01:09:57] Taylor Barrett: All these experiences that turn up the [01:10:00] volume on all the unpleasantness that we seem to be seeing.

[01:10:08] Dr. John Vervaeke: What do you see, what do you think of the proposal I made of Chris's, you know, exemplification in [01:10:20] progress of a new kind of doubt as related to getting us out into what we need to be in in order to properly face the grief?

[01:10:34] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah.

[01:10:35] Taylor Barrett: So my experience of the discussion of the doubt, [01:10:40] I went back to something Guy was saying and it's like, well, that's why we practice, right? We continue to practice so that we, we do the asanas so that we turn around and integrate and come into more optimal gripping. You know, more of a responsive state such that we are [01:11:00] not going, you know, some part of me is like, we're not going to fall into that.

[01:11:03] Taylor Barrett: And yet there are still things on the fringe that I think the doubt is very useful for. So that was how it was for me then. And then when I was, you were trying to make like the need for the new doubt, something about that seemed like at first, like really [01:11:20] mysterious to me. And then with the grief coming online, it's something about like, you know, a once bitten twice shy sort of situation where it's just like, I think, I imagine people are aware of their experience of that loss of meaning of their [01:11:40] disconnection from the traditions without a suitable or adequate facsimile or replacement available and I would be Really suspicious, hermeneutics of suspicion and really hesitant and would want for me to extend trust.

[01:11:58] Taylor Barrett: I think I would need to [01:12:00] see the doubt. I would need to see the self analytical, uh, accountable movements. It has to be a feature of the community, the fellowship. The practice that I'm about to move into, which I think again, speaks to that idea of like moving towards wise practice, wise [01:12:20] community,

[01:12:21] Dr. John Vervaeke: right?

[01:12:21] Dr. John Vervaeke: That's what exactly. In addition to the, our perennial fallibility towards vice, there is the historical moment of profound grief that makes us additionally susceptible to self deception manipulation, et cetera. And therefore we need a new kind of [01:12:40] doubt beyond. The perennial forms or the forms of modernity in order to address this specific dimension that confronts us.

[01:12:48] Dr. John Vervaeke: Does that land for you saying it

[01:12:50] Christopher Mastropietro: does? I mean, I don't think it's new. I might I might challenge that. Um, I think you mean new in the sense of, you know, new to [01:13:00] New to maybe a great many people. New to, uh. Yeah, I don't

[01:13:03] Dr. John Vervaeke: mean new to humanity, but I mean new in sort of a post Nietzschean new. Yeah,

[01:13:07] Christopher Mastropietro: I mean, it's, I think there's, it's a very, I think the kind of doubt that, you've described it very, very eloquently, um, and I think that the doubt that you're describing [01:13:20] And the doubt that is so necessary is a doubt that has always been an aspect of faith.

[01:13:26] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yes. Yes. Yes. I, I, I, I, yes, I totally acknowledge the perennial aspect, but I'm trying to get at also something that I think Taylor's putting his finger on that, you know, and the guy said we're, we're, we are in the rain shadow of [01:13:40] God. Yeah. Right. Or at least the traditional theistic. Well, the traditional modern theistic, not the traditional classical, it's classical theism and modern, the modern theism are very different from each other.

[01:13:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah, yeah. But we're in the rain shadow of the death of the, like, of the classical, uh, sorry. Of the modern monotheistic God. Right? Yeah. And so, [01:14:00] I think that brings with it, uh, I mean, and, and Nietzsche had a pre sentiment of this. Like, how can we become worthy of it? We need to do festivals, but then he precisely did not tell us how to grieve.

[01:14:09] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. Right. He did not help us. Yeah. How to grieve. And this is one of my critiques of Heidegger too. Yeah. I don't see Heidegger properly. He's, he's in, he's, he's doing the death of [01:14:20] God, but he's not really.

[01:14:21] Guy Sengstock: Let's look at, let's look at what grief kind of is, the structure of grief and see, and see what this looks like.

[01:14:27] Guy Sengstock: So I'm going along, I'm in a relationship with you, or I'm involved with something, and I've been involved for years, and I'm close, and I'm, we've, you and I have had bonding [01:14:40] experiences and qualities of experience, and like, while we're friends, I have a future of those qualities with you. And then you die, or you go away, or the thing falls apart.

[01:14:52] Guy Sengstock: And then there's this whole period where my mind, the mind, or the nervous system has [01:15:00] it fused. That they're the qualities of life or qualities of being get, are fused with that person or that thing. Right. And so when that person suddenly goes away. Or that thing falls apart, there's this whole period where you lose, not just the qualities of being [01:15:20] feel like they go with them, right?

[01:15:22] Guy Sengstock: But also the future of having them. Yes. And so that gives, that's what makes grief, not sadness, like that's literally painful. That's agonist. And in the. And my understanding is the process of grief, the process of like the denial, the [01:15:40] anger, right? The sadness, the grieving, the rage is this process of your nervous system basically uncollapsing the image of that person or that, that, that, that relationship from there, the experience of being right.

[01:15:58] Dr. John Vervaeke: I would, I would tweak it. [01:16:00] I think the experience of grief is growing into a kind of person in which those possibilities become available to you again. Yeah. And so that you can pull them apart and so that you can get a future again.

[01:16:11] Guy Sengstock: Yes. Yes. Mm-hmm. . Yes. And that the restoration of those qualities Yes.

[01:16:14] Guy Sengstock: Again, in the future. Yes. And it's, and it's, but that's also how tr grief can be transformative. [01:16:20] But

[01:16:20] Dr. John Vervaeke: you, but you can become Mrs. Samp who. Great expectations. She was jilted at the altar and she'd leave the room. Right. Won't allow it to be changed. Right. And she's like in the, oh, perpetually in that moment, walked into the moment of the loss of the beloved.

[01:16:39] Dr. John Vervaeke: And [01:16:40] like, and she's just a collapsed individual and profound way. Right. Or that you, or you have the opposite. You, you, you, you have.

[01:16:52] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. I didn't really care. And then you just keep, right. Yes. Right. And so there's something about. And I'm trying, I think this is really good where you know, I'm trying to [01:17:00] map that on. Yeah. How does that, which I think is what you're proposing, it's like what Plato does in Republic. Yeah. How does that map onto our cultural situation, avoiding those two extremes?

[01:17:09] Dr. John Vervaeke: Is

[01:17:09] Guy Sengstock: this fair? Yeah, this is fair. Okay. So I've just, I just wanted to lay that out of, of just that sense of the restoration of those qualities again in our [01:17:20] future. But when they come into our future. And after going through that, they come into our future in a much greater, fuller way. They can. Right? Yes.

[01:17:29] Guy Sengstock: Like if you really go through the grieving process, right? Yes. Yes. And it's this in the, in the process has to do with like, how do you, how do you go through it? You cry. You, you, you, [01:17:40] you, you, you sit in the emptiness, you talk about it, you get pissed off, you like, but it's this process

[01:17:48] Dr. John Vervaeke: of like, it's that, but you also rely.

[01:17:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: On ritual. I did this with Bruce Alderman and Damien Pascal, the funeral and the wake, like there's

[01:17:58] Guy Sengstock: a ritual. Yes, yes, [01:18:00] and crying is a social practice. Yes, yes. Crying is a social

[01:18:04] Christopher Mastropietro: practice. I think it comes back to memory again. You have to find a way, we were talking about this before, you have to find a way to participate in the rebirth of the very thing that is lost in such a way that it passes [01:18:20] into the eternal.

[01:18:21] Christopher Mastropietro: And it passes into the eternal in its loss because of how it becomes part of the new person that you are, that is simply more of yourself. Yes. Right? It's like, who am I in the wake of this loss? Who are we all in the wake of this loss? We don't know. [01:18:40] But I think the grief has something to do with the commitment to discover precisely that.

[01:18:45] Christopher Mastropietro: So

[01:18:46] Dr. John Vervaeke: we could appropriate grief as a cultural aporia. Yeah.

[01:18:50] Guy Sengstock: Yeah. Yeah. Yes. And there's something, I would say one of the commonest experiences I have of dialectic in [01:19:00] the Dialogos is these glimmerings of a sense of a future, of what we're dialoguing about, being deeply in my future. Right? That sense of the eternal, right?

[01:19:15] Guy Sengstock: And that, that starts to light itself up. Right? There's, I would almost [01:19:20] say like these. The actual ritual of this process, whether or not we actually, it feels like, or we talk about grieving or if any of that stuff's explicit, right? This very process really interesting to look at. This is the process of some kind of grief.

[01:19:36] Guy Sengstock: I've never really looked at it like that, but I can start to see something [01:19:40] like that now.

[01:19:43] Guy Sengstock: Well,

[01:19:43] Dr. John Vervaeke: we're going to have to draw this series to a close and perhaps it's going to lead me in a bit of grief. Um, but, um, I, before I say the final word, I'd like to give each one of you, in whatever you wish, it could be responsive, [01:20:00] uh, provocative, it could be summative, but each one of you an opportunity to just say what is called to your mind and heart right now as we're bringing the series to a close.

[01:20:11] Dr. John Vervaeke: Maybe we'll start with Chris.

[01:20:13] Christopher Mastropietro: Well, first of all, thank you. I mean, it's been a very, it's funny, it's, it's a, [01:20:20] to me, it's been a very instance of following the Logos because I don't think I had a real idea of what it is that I was participating in until we came to be in the throes of it, right? Until it actually unfolded.

[01:20:36] Christopher Mastropietro: Um, I trusted in its, I trusted in [01:20:40] the idea and possibility of it, but that's just my trust for you. That was easy to come by, but it remained very mysterious in its, in, in what it contained. And, um, and it's a beautiful, it's, it's a beautiful example to me [01:21:00] that we, you know, we enter into something not knowing.

[01:21:06] Christopher Mastropietro: What it is and who we are in it and what it means to us and what we mean to it, right? We just We have an inkling that it's worthwhile before we understand why it's worthwhile. And that's [01:21:20] the very way a dialogue, or a dialectic, into Dialogos begins. And, um, so to me it, the, the journey of, The journey undertaken exemplified its purpose and its character and um, and it was just [01:21:40] a real joy, a real joy.

[01:21:44] Christopher Mastropietro: Thank you. Very welcome.

[01:21:47] Guy Sengstock: I just got flooded with images and memories and emotional memories of two people. My grandfather and, and Jerry [01:22:00] Candelaria, the guy that I co discovered Circling with. And I'm just, it's so interesting. I'm just flashing back to just these particular, basically Dio Logo's moments, right?

[01:22:12] Guy Sengstock: Of week, we, we called it aspecting, right? When, when it was just Jerry and I going off to the beach, staying up all night, [01:22:20] having the kind of, these kinds of, kind of conversations. I just had this moment of where both of them, like, in fact, they just looked at boobers eyes and it reminded me of kind of Jerry's face somehow.

[01:22:30] Guy Sengstock: And I just had this sense of just, they just winked at me. And that, that just means a lot. Thank you. Thank you. [01:22:40] Hmm.

[01:22:42] Taylor Barrett: I like that. Yeah. It feels sweet. Uh, I'm just so grateful to be a part of this. Like thank you. I really appreciate this series. I, I think I've said to you, I see it as a call to action and, uh, I just love that it's, [01:23:00] I'm, I'm a bit of a rubber meets the road kind of person.

[01:23:02] Taylor Barrett: So I love that you've built this and filled in my gaps in knowing as well. I think it's going to make me and has made me a better, uh, facilitator and leader. Course designer. So internal gratitude for that. And for you guys is just a blast to, [01:23:20] uh, like hang out and have conversations. And I just had this thought, you know, I think this is a saying that.

[01:23:26] Taylor Barrett: something that you said before. You know something about like the essence of circling of sort of like, or something about like what marks a good circle is like, um, coming out of it, seeing the world just a little bit differently. Mm-hmm. and I just sort of realized in this moment like, oh, [01:23:40] that's actually not also unique to circling.

[01:23:42] Taylor Barrett: Mm-hmm. , this is also happening and this conversation, there's like, something is opened up. So it's, we're not just talking like I am now changed. Mm-hmm. , I will now be looking through. Uh, my experience of, of culture and society, and I will be looking [01:24:00] and checking like, what are the signs of grief that are there?

[01:24:04] Taylor Barrett: So I mean, it's just a great testament to what it is that we're doing here. Um, so yeah,

[01:24:11] Dr. John Vervaeke: thank you. So I want to again, repeat my deep appreciation, gratitude [01:24:20] for all of you and Chris for the series within the series. And for the amazing crew and all the people working behind the scenes, um, and for all the people that have preceded this series and from, you know, from Socrates to Nicholas of Cusa to Buber to [01:24:40] Kierkegaard, right.

[01:24:40] Dr. John Vervaeke: And the intense gratitude, um, and then

[01:24:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: this is a bit of a preposterous compare preposterous comparison. So I asked for charity from everybody, but Handel said when he wrote the Messiah, [01:25:00] he felt as if heaven had opened and he had seen the face of Christ. I think, and I'm not saying I composed this the way Handel composed the Messiah, but being able to participate in this is something open for me, and I was able to see the depths of the Socratic way that I could never have [01:25:20] realized on my own.

[01:25:21] Dr. John Vervaeke: Something shone forth. And, um, and

[01:25:29] Dr. John Vervaeke: it's something that I feel accountable to and accountable for. Um, and I'm very appreciative of the way. [01:25:40] You all embodied it and enfleshed it and just made, gave it, gave it a face, um, so that we could look deeply into the eyes of what is being offered and what is possible for us. So I want to thank you all.

[01:25:53] Dr. John Vervaeke: I want to thank everybody here. And for the last time for this series, I want to thank you very [01:26:00] all, all of you very much for your time and attention.