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Canyon of the Elders by Bruce Brenneise

This essay is inspired by the brilliant work of John Vervaeke. For the full experience, I highly recommend his series, Awakening From the Meaning Crisis, here.

Thank you, John.

The year was 1177 B.C.

Small remnant societies barely clung to survival, placing huge demands on cognition. What emerged from this age were mental tools forever transforming our ability to think and communicate.

This pivotal moment in history came to be known as the Axial Age. Before…


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Yellow-Red-Blue (1925) — Kandinsky

The game always starts the same way. It’s 6:00 AM. I wake up to a crisp Saturday morning in Los Angeles. The spring air feels unseasonably clean as house sparrows chirp and trill to stoke the rising sun. I set a stopwatch and unplug all lights & sounds. No phone, no TV, no speakers. Food isn’t allowed either. I’m left with water, black coffee, and salt. And time…

Watching Paint Dry


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I recently read a Smithsonian article about catastrophic mouse experiments in the 1960’s. One researcher’s utopian dream became a decadent nightmare. I realized the same dynamics are currently playing out online, and they’re having the same effects. While I doubt we can stop it, at least we can understand it…

Mouse utopia and the collapse of culture.

Using mice as subjects, researchers studied the effects of abundance on behavior.


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This essay is inspired by the brilliant work of Hanzi Freinacht. Following the legacy of Piaget, Beck & Cowan, Carol Gilligan, Ken Wilber and others, Hanzi puts forth a fascinating developmental framework. In this essay, I describe his model and its implications for humanity.

I highly recommend Hanzi’s first book, The Listening Society, available here.

Thank you, Hanzi.

A Brief definition of Metamodernism


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I’m Fascinated by Cognition

Short for Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, BDNF is a protein that builds new neurons and synapses in the hippocampus, cortex, and forebrain.

Of all the factors I checked, the most profound impact was exercise. Exercise increases BDNF levels by 2–3x compared to resting. And it’s not just about growing new neurons.

BDNF is a key mediator of exercise-induced benefits on the brain. It influences learning and memory, plays a role in neuronal…


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Huntington Beach in the 1960s (Wikimedia)

Based Leftists


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When awake, our minds wander 50% of the time. That’s 8 hours a day. Adding intention to “wander time” is the secret to insight.

What is Insight?

The liminal quality of insight means we can’t see the logical steps we took to make the connection. Insight occurs when we’re in the flow state, deeply engaged and in the zone.


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Our culture is at war. A battle over values that form our worldview. Which should be primary? Duty, achievement, and responsibility? Sensitivity to cultures, the planet, and the marginalized? In this essay, I explain why privileging certain values is a bad idea. Instead, I provide a solution to harmonize both perspectives. This essay is made possible by the brilliant work of Clare Graves, Carol Gilligan, Ken Wilber, and many others. Thanks for lighting my path.

Introduction


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The health industry needs a North Star.

Data needs framing

To gain insight about health, longevity, and fitness, we must funnel knowledge into a framework to better optimize our lives.

Here’s my situation. I love intermittent fasting, especially Ori Hofmekler’s warrior diet, where you only have a 4-hour eating window. I don’t eat gluten because humans can’t digest it, and it’s terrible for us. I love steam rooms, cold showers, bodyweight training, walking, and cycling. I also take a few supplements: a multivitamin, L-theanine, and Fish oil.

It took ten arduous years to develop this approach. The reason it took so long is…


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What is a symbol?

Symbols are images that let us hold complex ideas in mind. In this way symbols gesture beyond themselves toward something greater. They’re imaginal bridges mediating between abstract and physical worlds.

Take the example of Lady Justice. Each detail conveys a different theme. Her scales represent the balance of support and opposition in court. The sword portrays her authority. The blindness shows impartiality. The toga reveals her Greek philosophical legacy.

This image compresses several ideas and relates them to one another, helping our brain efficiently connect information.

Chris Perez

Cognitive science, health, and society.

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