Interview of Jeremy Lent ― Resistance Radio

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Hi, I’m Derrick Jensen, and this is Resistance Radio on the Progressive Radio Network. My guest today is Jeremy Lent. He is an author and founder of the nonprofit Liology Institute, dedicated to fostering a worldview that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on the earth. The Liology Institute, which integrates systems science with ancient wisdom traditions, holds regular workshops and other events in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to The Patterning Instinct, Jeremy is author of the novel Requiem of the Human Soul. Formerly, he was the founder, CEO, and chairman of a publicly traded internet company. Lent holds a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

So first, thank you for being on the program again, and second, thank you for your work.

JL: Thank you, Derrick. It’s always such a pleasure to be with you.

DJ: Well, thanks. It’s a pleasure to talk with you, too.

So today, you and I have planned on talking about how corporate capitalism, or the dominant culture more broadly, coopts everything. But before we get there, can you reintroduce The Patterning Instinct, both the book and the concept, because I’m sure that’s a concept we’ll be talking about through the rest of the interview.

JL: The book itself is called The Patterning Instinct and it’s subtitled A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search For Meaning, which pretty much describes what the book is about. It looks at the different ways in which cultures have made sense of the universe, all the way from earliest hunter-gatherer times to our present day, and in fact, even looking out into the ways in which the kinds of meaning we make may affect the future, which I think is going to be really relevant to our conversation today.

So, the pattering instinct itself is what I describe as the kind of instinct that we humans have, that we have to a far greater degree than other mammals. And it’s really the identifying characteristic that makes humans unique among all other creatures. And it’s an instinct that works to drive us to find meaning out of everything around us. Think of a little baby who hears the sounds around her, and feels and touches everything. Nobody says to her “You’ve got to learn language.” But because of this instinct to pattern meaning into everything around her, she learns how to speak and how to become part of her culture. So it’s an instinct that humans apply from the earliest days, when we first had language, maybe a couple hundred thousand years ago or so; to look at everything around, like the stars, nature, what was going on, and try to make some meaning out of it, and create stories about the universe.

And those are the underlying foundational structures of thought that led to different cultures, and ultimately led to bifurcation of cultures and to the culture that has become dominant today.

So today, of course, we use our patterning instinct in very different ways. But for all of us, it’s what we use to make sense of things. But what’s so critical is that it’s our culture that we’re born into that really shapes how we make sense of the world. So a big part of the book is helping us to recognize – it’s almost like an archaeology of the mind. Helping us to recognize where some of the things that we take for granted, where these ideas actually came from. Where the idea that maybe by recognizing them, we become more free to really question them, and perhaps even shift our values and our meaning-making to something that might be more harmonious for ourselves and for our place in the earth.

DJ: Thank you for that, and you’ve done a wonderful job of introducing, I think, the instinct in itself, and can you give – I’m going to say a silly example, and can you give examples of what you think are helpful or harmful patterns that we perceive. You can disagree with the words “helpful” and “harmful” too, that’s perfectly fine. I’m thinking of – obviously language is an example of the patterning instinct going right, that a child learns to speak, or that the parent knows that if the child is crying, that means there’s something wrong with the child and something needs to be fixed.

And then I’m also thinking – and I don’t want to disrespect lucky socks. But one can – you know, if a baseball player is in a slump and then they get three hits and then they don’t change their socks and they wear the same socks the next day and get three hits again, they could end up wearing the same socks for the entire…

JL: I love it.

DJ: Which may be – I mean, once again, I don’t want to disrespect lucky socks, but that may be a time where you’re seeing a pattern…oh, I know a great example, a better example, causation vs. correlation. You can go “Gosh, have you ever noticed that there are a lot firefighters at a fire? Firefighters must cause fires.”

JL: Right.

DJ: And so you’ve got a pattern, but you’ve seen it backwards.

I’ll shut up now, and can you talk about helpful, harmful, spurious, non-spurious?

JL: That’s great. We can go one layer deeper and looking at what you’re raising. And just think about what is a pattern in itself? Think for example about, like, you look at the night sky. There are gazillions of stars out there. And if anyone has taught you your constellations; basically every culture looks at those stars and they identify constellations, and that’s like a great example of patterns. But when you make a pattern you’re doing two things. You’re including certain things in that pattern, and you’re excluding the stuff that doesn’t fit in that pattern. And it’s part of the way our patterning instinct works. Once we’ve created that pattern, we think in terms of it, which means we keep looking just at the stuff that fits in that pattern. And other stuff that doesn’t fit in that pattern, we kind of ignore, until maybe it becomes so critically extreme that we have to change our pattern in order to include that.

And so it’s important to realize that essentially any way in which we make meaning – and I love some of your examples, but any way we do that is never 100% right. Because by making the pattern we’re framing things, fitting some things in and some things out. The great example is to go back to language. Like you said, language is incredibly important for an infant to learn her own culture’s language. And what they found by a really sophisticated test studying infants is that as early as nine months, a baby has learned to notice the sounds natural to her country’s language and ignore those that don’t fit in that language.

We know that somebody who’s been born and raised in Japan has trouble distinguishing between “luh” and “ruh” sounds, which to us in English is kind of obvious. But because there’s no distinction about that made in Japanese, their patterning instinct wipes that out.

What’s so important about that is when we look at the ways in which we make meaning out of the world today, or the way the dominant culture makes meaning out of the world, it does the same thing. We can look at a certain pattern and somebody in the dominant culture might see one thing, and somebody from a different cultural complex might see something completely different.

DJ: You know, a really great example of that in my own life is that I was raised, like most of us in this current culture, to believe that evolution, natural selection is based on strict competition, and it’s basically survival of the meanest. Fittest. And I remember when John Livingston – I read his book and then interviewed him. And he argued that evolution is in many ways based on cooperation and fitting into your niche in the larger community. When he first said that I was thinking “God, he’s crazy! That makes no sense at all!” And it took a few years for me to come around to see it. And now, when I look at the natural world, I see all these examples of cooperation more than I see examples of specific, strict competition.

I’m just saying I used to see it one way, and then it was through other people pointing out patterns that had never occurred to me that I was able to start seeing it differently.

JL: Yes. And what you are describing, as I see it, is actually one of the fundamental, foundational flaws of what our modern civilization’s worldview is based on. It’s not just something that relates to biology or evolution. It’s something that people have inculcated in their lives. And that’s the sense that somehow because of this belief that evolution works through this, what Richard Dawkins is famous for, calling it the “selfish gene.” That actually it’s okay for humans to be selfish. In fact, that’s one of the fundamental philosophical justifications for capitalism. Since we’re all selfish, just like the way the world works out there – evolution works through everyone, through each gene and every animal trying to do its thing and be as competitive as possible. So capitalism is basically like the most efficient way for humans to evolve their society. And it’s completely flawed, and yet it’s such a powerful way for people to justify the incredibly unfair and destructive economic system we live in now.

So I do think that’s one of the foundations. And in fact, I’ve gotten in hot water in the last year or so by writing articles about what I call “The dangerous delusions of Richard Dawkins.” People get so upset! A lot of them email me back and say “He doesn’t support selfishness. He’s really a good person and you shouldn’t attack him like that.”

And I totally believe he’s a good person. I have no real question about that. But he’s really been promulgating bad science that has been outmoded now for decades. And that science has served as a foundation for people applying it to economics, and capitalism, in a very false way. Even highly intelligent people. This is not something people do without thinking about it, and I think it’s very dangerous.

DJ: What’s that line from the end of Casablanca? “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.”

JL: (both laughing) Right. Exactly.

DJ: I mean I really agree with you on that.

So before we go to how capitalism coopts everything, which you’ve really given us a good entré to, and I should probably take it but I want to do one more little parenthetical comment.

Also, the world itself is so complex and there is so much information out there – like you said, there are bazillions of stars, and we have to choose some and leave out others in order to perceive “Orion the Hunter” or “The Big Dipper” or anything else. Life is so complex that it’s possible to project so many different patterns onto it, and even completely mutually exclusive patterns onto it, because the patterns that we can recognize are so less complex than the real world.

JL: Yes. I think that’s true. And in a way that kind of leads into the way in which, if you look at the modern mainstream way of looking at the world, making sense of it. And ultimately it’s something I can identify as reductionism. It’s this way of saying, essentially, starting with the scientific revolution hundreds of years ago, some of the most brilliant minds would look at this complexity, and they’d say “We want to try to understand it.” And at the time, they were the progressive ones who were really moving things forward. And they’d say “In order to understand it, we need to break it down, think of it like a machine, and reduce it to its specific parts so that we can really understand how these work.” And so cut this out, look at this, separate it from that, and we’ll understand it better.

And by doing that, looking at things by separating things out, thinking of them like incredibly complex machines, they did amazing things. They came up with this scientific understanding of the universe, leading to these amazing technologies, a lot of which we take so much pleasure from. Even right now, we have to recognize the fact that you and I are able to talk or share our ideas with people listening here, and through technology that only developed as a result of this reductionist approach.

But the thing is; they were so successful in what they did that they began to think that their pattern of separation that they were applying meant that the whole universe actually was that. They kind of mistook a particular technique for learning how to manipulate the natural world all around them and started to believe that technique was the actual reality. And by doing that, they lost the ways things connect. So one of the ways in which I think we have hope for the future is to focus our attention on the ways in which things connect up rather than the ways in which they’re separate. And that leads to fundamental shifts in our worldview. And I think it also relates a lot to the different ways in which earlier traditional and indigenous cultures around the world made sense of the world. They saw this kind of amazing distinction between, on the one hand, there’s so much disparate and incredible complexity to the world, but on the other hand, they sensed something unifying that pulled it all together.

That was sometimes called the riddle of the one and the many. And many different cultures tried to come up with a story of the universe that incorporated the one and the many. And that’s something that our mainstream reductionist viewpoint has absolutely lost. If we want to get to a flourishing place we have to find that again.

DJ: Yeah, I completely agree. And I’m thinking of a couple of things. One of them is that 14 years ago I wrote this thing – I was by a stream and I wanted to write about what a stream is. You know, when we give definitions, the definitions are, by definition, “this is here and this is there.” There is a square and there is a space inside the square and there is a space outside the square, and the lines delineate. And that’s real, that’s true. And then at the same time I wanted to define the stream by its relationships rather than by “here is the water, here is the bank.” Because I’d been talking to some people who really know rivers, and they were saying we misdefine rivers, because a river doesn’t really end at the bank. It reaches underground, and it’s also flowing under the bottom of the bank. And then where does the water end and the mist above it begin, the solid water? There’s this permeability.

And so that really helped me to try to start perceiving…where I am sitting is not in the stream. There is a stream and there is not-stream. But that doesn’t alter the fact that the boundaries between stream and not-stream are not quite so rigid as we believe.

JL: That’s so true, Derrick. And of course they’re related to the self. You know, another of these foundational views coming in our mainstream dominant culture, from a couple of millennia of western thought, is that the self is this fixed entity and that the self is completely separate from another self, and that the human self is separate from nature. And I think part of what we need to do is recognize, just like you were describing the river there so beautifully, that there is actually this really fluid interactivity. That, in fact, what I am as a self doesn’t end at my skin. Just physically, I’m absorbing things and putting things out there in the universe all the time. But even at a deeper place, in terms of this kind of connectivity, the things that I do, the things that I hear, everything that is affecting me and shifting who I am. Every single word, every single activity that I do out there puts out these ripples that become part of the world around us. And actually, once you begin to see the world in terms of connectivity, rather than separation, you begin to realize that there is no fixed self, that it’s amorphous, just like the river. And humans, in the same kind of way, are part of the natural world. Even as we’re destroying it, we’re also part of it in a way that makes it so much more complex.

DJ: That seems to me a good place to transition into how the dominant culture co-opts everything. Because I agree with everything you’re saying. You put it beautifully and wonderfully. And then I have also seen people argue, then, for example, that because humans are part of the natural world, therefore the fact that humans are killing the oceans is O.K. and natural.

JL: Yeah.

DJ: If you want to, we can talk about that specific example, but what I really want to get to is that it doesn’t matter what idea we’re talking about – I mean, Christianity is such a great example. That you have – let’s pretend that Jesus is real for a second. It doesn’t matter if he was or not. He’s saying “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and he’s talking about all this peace, love, groovy stuff, and within 400 years, or 300, however long it took; you’ve got Constantine saying “Let’s go out and conquer under the sign of the cross.” And you have untold millions of people dying. Indigenous people given the choice of Christianity or death.

It doesn’t matter. We can talk about love, or we can talk about this connection. But there’s this – it seems to me that you are the person, in the entire world, to talk to about how this patterning instinct leads to the cooptation of everything. Do you see what I’m trying to get at?

JL: I do. I absolutely do. The book The Patterning Instinct really is tracing, almost like a detective story, tracing where, how this happened, from where humans first evolved to where we are now. And I do think that you can actually detect a few key stages. I’ll name them briefly, but I want to focus on the later stages. I don’t want to go into too much detail on the earlier ones. But there’s this stage when humans developed this advanced prefrontal cortex, giving us this patterning instinct, and developed language and stuff like that, giving us essentially an imbalance of power over the natural world. So even hunter-gatherers, who saw the world as like a giving parent, and saw themselves as being in harmony with nature, caused some of the greatest mass extinctions in all of the earth’s history. So we have to look at that as an imbalance created from humanity’s unique powers of this patterning instinct.

Then the next big stage is when agriculture first arose, about 12,000 years ago, which caused a significant major separation between humans and nature and between humans and other humans, and ownership and hierarchy. And a lot of the things that we take for granted now are only really 12,000 years old in human history.

Then the next big step came with the scientific revolution in Europe around the 17th century, and that’s where I want to begin to focus a little more, because along with that scientific revolution was this Puritan value system about the individual making wealth and using private property, like improving the land, was considered to be fulfilling God’s command on this earth. This became the fundamental value structure for the United States. Puritans and Protestants were some of the earlier people to invade and colonize the country and take it away from the indigenous people who lived here. I think we have to look at those underpinnings to get a sense of what’s happened right now, how those layers of thoughts arose. I think it’s around the beginning of the 20th century, late 19th and early 20th century in the U.S., that you see the rise of what’s become this massive global corporate takeover of humanity that we’re experiencing in the world today.

So that’s from a big picture point of view, the way I see how things developed stage by stage to where we are now.

DJ: I’m going to throw out a cynical statement that I say when I am feeling not particularly optimistic about the future, which is that sometimes it feels to me like humans spend a lot of our intellectual energy rationalizing our pre-existing, I’ll use a nice word, predilections? Rationalizing what we want to do anyway as opposed to actually thinking through a subject.

There’s another thing here, too, which is I always think about how they ended chattel slavery in the United States in 1865. And then it didn’t take very long for the Jim Crow laws to be put in place. And then once they started getting rid of the Jim Crow laws, you have the prison-industrial complex arising. It’s like whack-a-mole. Every time you succeed in stopping one form – this relates to cooptation. I’m sorry this is such a broad and terrible question, but it feels like there’s a connection between this cooptation question and this question of underlying bigotries ending up manifesting again. And we can of course talk about this in terms of hatred of the natural world, too.

One of the things that gets to me is that over the last 30 years the environmental movement has really been coopted from being about trying to save wild places and wild beings, into “sustainability,” by which is meant, by the sort of technotopians, sustaining this culture. So somehow the environmental movement has been coopted into serving the high tech system. So how does the patterning instinct relate to this – do you see what I’m trying to get at? How does it relate to this sort of constant cooptation?

JL: Yes, I do. I totally get what you’re saying. It’s something I think we touched on when we talked last time, how even where we’ve seen major shifts in cultural norms – like you say, the great example is the end of slavery, which turned into yet another boon for capitalism. And then even in the last few decades we had a real shift away from patriarchal value structures, since the 1960’s and 70’s, and that’s great progress culturally. And yet somehow the capitalist system will just absorb any kind of shift that happens culturally and go: “Great! Let’s make this another way to start some new disruptive company that makes billions of dollars and destroys the earth in some new way.”

I do think that in order to look at how that happens, we have to look at what are the underlying structures that enable it. When I look at what evolved in the last 120 or so years since the beginning of the 20th century, we see a couple of things. One is this implicit acceptance of the notion of the corporation as being an entity that is necessary and valuable in our world. Everyone thinks “Well, the only way things work is you have to have corporations doing stuff for us, and look what happened with communism. What a disaster that was.” As if the only two choices out there for the global economy, or for humans, to start to organize themselves, are capitalism or communism. And parenthetically, communism is just intent on destroying the natural world as capitalism, every bit as much.

So when you look at that, you begin to realize – you can ask these questions. Why is it considered acceptable for this kind of artificial entity called a corporation to be created, to serve just the ends of making more money for its shareholders, with no other ethical obligation whatsoever? How can we allow that? And I think that is one of the – that’s become this sort of tenet of capitalism. That you have to allow these gigantic corporations and give them the power to do what they want to do. And I think that’s really one of the major things we have to look at.

I wrote an article just a few months ago talking about – a lot of the time you’ll read the newspapers nowadays and some of the leading scientific thinkers will be talking about the risk of AI taking over, artificial intelligence. There’s this theory that we can try to develop an artificial intelligence that is there for humanity’s good, but there’s a risk that it can become so powerful that its goal can be different from humanity’s and it can end up destroying the world. There’s one futurist called Nick Bostrom who gives as an example “Suppose we develop a super intelligence with just the goal of manufacturing paper clips? And then it turns the entire earth into a giant paper clip manufacturing facility.” And that’s what they’re worried about. My article said, basically: “It’s already happened. Artificial intelligence has taken over and it’s called the corporation.” We created this structure, of our society, that gives this incredible power beyond any kind of political organization, beyond any kind of government, to essentially turn the world into a kind of paper clip, which in this case is commodifying the world, to create more and more shareholder value, as they call it. And returns to investors, by taking human activity, taking the natural world, and transforming it into the monetized economy.

And that’s what’s out of control. And until we look at some of the structural levers to control that – that’s where it can take over everything, including environmentalist groups, as you pointed out.

DJ: I think everything you said is completely brilliant. I love it. It’s so great. And I’m going to focus on maybe in some ways the most innocuous word, or maybe the most dangerous word, that I think you said in that whole beautiful commentary; which is that at one point you said the word “somehow.” Do you see where I’m going with this?

JL: I do.

DJ: You were talking specifically about slavery. But slavery’s not the point here. The “how” of how this happened. The end of slavery somehow got turned into a means – became profitable, even more profitable for capitalism. And we can say “Somehow the corporation got hold.” What’s the relationship between that word “somehow” and your entire, big, beautiful book?

JL: I hear what you’re saying. Again, we look at the underlying value. The “somehow” is that we live in a society whose roots are in western Europe and that has now become a global, sort of globally prevalent, which is based on the core values of competition. That humans are meant to be what they call “selfish maximizers” of their own financial needs. A society that applies status to what somebody is earning, how much they’re consuming, how much they can be seen to be consuming, and that destroys some of the core values of what humans actually evolved to live according to. Things like community, connection. Connection with each other, connection with the natural world. Even connecting within ourselves.

And I think that when we look at how slavery got coopted into basically a new form of capitalism, or how even some of the advances in social concepts of the last few decades got coopted into capitalism. It’s because those underlying values are still what people live their lives according to. Those are the rules by which people live their lives. Those are also the messages people get from when they’re infants looking at a television screen or a video screen all the time every day as we watch the news. The messaging that comes at us all the time is messages like “Humans are fundamentally selfish.” We’re meant to compete against each other and outdo each other. Our society is happy when it’s growing more. Growth is good. We can grow indefinitely. Don’t even think about any limits to that growth. And we can grow through this kind of notion of freeing, of freeing markets and freeing society so that wealthy billionaires can do whatever they want and ultimately that’s good for all of us because it enables more growth.

And these are some of the fundamental values that we have inculcated in us, and the rules according to which we live our lives unthinkingly. And both those values and those rules have to change for us to shift the trajectory of that. And they can change. It’s doable.

DJ: So what I’m hearing you say, the image that was coming to mind as you were saying all that is that there are layers. And these layers are going to be miscible some. It’s not just a bottom layer, but sometimes the bottom layer moves up through the next two layers. You have all these layers of beliefs and patterns. And you can have the pattern that says it is acceptable to enslave others, and that belief system, and then you can chip away at that. And so you outlaw slavery within a nation but if you still have the belief below that, that whites are fundamentally superior to African-Americans, and the belief that those with white skin are entitled to the labor and lives of those with other-colored skin, then you’ve gotten rid of chattel slavery but you’ve still got this pattern belief that those are, that they are entitled to their labor and lives.

So as long as that other layer still remains, it will find some new way to manifest itself. Am I understanding you correctly?

JL: I think you’re describing it really beautifully clearly. And then you can keep going down those layers. Imagine what the world fleetingly felt like when Obama was elected president. And we can imagine even in a positive direction of some of those cultural norms going forward. Imagine a world where it’s generally agreed on that there is no difference between people based on the color of their skin. Where that kind of horrendous racial prejudice has become so weak that it’s no longer dominant in driving society.

But as long as you still have some of these fundamental capitalistic precepts, which basically say that the right way for society to work is for people to compete against each other, and that there’s something intrinsically good about each person seeking their own end at the expense of others, because it leads to a more efficient society and a more efficient economy and that’s ultimately good for everyone. As long as those underlying implicit patterns of thought remain, we’ll still be in this trajectory towards complete collapse of our civilization and disaster for the natural world.

So something has to shift where we look at these deep underlying values that our capitalist system is based on and make new rules up to control the corporations, based on a different set of values. And also instill – cause media to change so that those destructive values are not instilled in our children from the earliest times that they begin to make sense of things.

DJ: So what I hear you saying now is that even if we were able to get rid of this overt racism – well, shoot: I just won’t exploit the African-Americans. Instead I will exploit the Syrian refugees who are coming over and are desperate for a job, or the people from Mexico. Or poor white people. Doesn’t matter to me, as long as it’s cheap labor.

JL: That’s right. And that’s how the world currently works, so that – basically nations will compete against each other just to try to entice some corporation to open some new manufacturing facility in their country, to get the pollution and virtual slave labor just because they’re so desperate to compete in this marketplace where it’s the corporations that essentially choose what they do and essentially make their own rule books.

DJ: So we have about ten minutes left. You have brilliantly, I think, discussed the cooptation. And can you now, for ten minutes, discuss the “somehow” of moving away from this, considering that those with this perspective own the major forms of media, considering the effectiveness of their propaganda. So somehow we need to change these values and help people – I love the line “Unquestioned assumptions are the real authorities of any culture.” And that’s one of the beautiful things that your book accomplishes, is that you help us to question some of these assumptions. So how do we do this, how do we somehow move people or help people move themselves to perceiving the world in these different ways? And that also manifesting in the real world?

JL: Such important and profound questions, Derrick. I think the first place for each of us to begin is really looking at our own unquestioned assumptions, which is obviously hard to do. The very fact that they’re unquestioned makes them very difficult to even identify. Just like we were saying about the constellations. Once you see these constellations in the sky, you don’t even realize there are other stars out there to even look at. So I think that all of us have to look at what is it in our lives, what are the ways in which we’re choosing values, choosing what we do that has been ingrained in us as part of this dominant system and is destructive.

And of course many people listening to this kind of discussion have already done a lot of that work and are aware of some of the fundamental things that need to be reoriented and have already changed a lot of things in their lives. And that’s where we have to recognize that because these big corporations own the mass media, it is so incredibly important for us to work on the power of the network, the power of our self-organization as human beings to relate to each other and to work together. Even if it’s below the surface.

You know, an analogy that I really love is this sense of, you know, in a forest, when you’re walking through a forest you can see the trees, and if a big tree falls down everyone can see that, you know what’s going on, but what you don’t know is happening is this mycelial network, this fungal network, and below the earth the trees are communicating with each other. Well, they’re actually helping each other, and they’re actually using these networks to transmit carbon and different nutrients from one tree to another and there’s all this kind of communication going on, and that’s the thing that actually allows the health of the forest. And I think we, as humans, are involved in these kind of mycelial networks, through things just like what we’re doing today, these kinds of conversations with each other, helping each other become aware of what’s going on. And when we do that, I think what’s so important is to not judge others, to not make them feel bad about the ways in which they are engaging in destructive behavior. Because then that just leads to further separations. It leads people to close off.

But to really connect with people’s sense of humanity, with their sense of kindness, their sense of these deep human virtues, of empathy and compassion, and really bring people into that mycelium network, invite them in to recognizing that we can do things in a different way. There are possibilities for us. And then begin to offer some possibilities, visions of what is possible. A world that is really different from the one we live in today.

DJ: Well thank you for that. And we have like two or three minutes left. To sort of wrap up, do you have any workshops coming up? How can people learn more about your work? And also I’m going to throw in a joker here. As well as that, how can people move from the level of these personal mycelial networks to organized political action? And I’m sorry to drop the big one in.

JL: (laughing) I love that. I’ll try to get to all of that in two to three minutes. But thanks for that, Derrick. I guess first off, if anybody wants to connect with me and my work, a good place to begin is my website And if you want to look at a different kind of worldview that I’m talking about, one that can lead to a sustainable flourishing, I have another website to do with liology;, which you might find really interesting.

Something that I do have coming up fairly soon: if anybody happens to be in Seattle, I’ll be in conversation with David Korten Sunday February 25th. Also in March, in Sonoma in California I’m co-facilitating a series of three workshops on just this issue, on transitioning culture, understanding the patterns and reshaping them for a flourishing future. So you can find more information on my website about that and if you happen to be in the area that would be great.

To answer that bigger question: How do we, if we have these different values and we want to kind of plug in to what is possible – I do think it’s important to connect up with organizations that are out there, that are doing really important things to shift where we’re going.

I’ll just give a plug for one that most people may not have heard of. It’s to do specifically with climate change but it works at a much deeper level. It’s called “Climate Mobilization.” You can find it at And what I love about them is that they are recognizing that we are heading at an absolute existential crisis, and we can’t just be looking at incremental changes. And what we have to do is mobilize society. They use as a kind of metaphor; what FDR did after Pearl Harbor in 1940 in the U.S. Where he transformed society in order to face an existential threat. And that’s what we need to do to face our world now. I love the way that they’re shifting this kind of metaphor of meaning in a way that I think Americans even outside the environmental movement can get and understand.

DJ: Well thank you for that, and thank you for your work. And I would like to thank listeners for listening. My guest today has been Jeremy Lent. This is Derrick Jensen for Resistance Radio on the Progressive Radio Network.

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