“Knowledge is about overcoming ignorance. Wisdom is about overcoming foolishness.”— Professor John Vervaeke
John Vervaeke (@vervaeke_john) is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He currently teaches courses on thinking and reasoning with an emphasis on cognitive development, intelligence, rationality, mindfulness, and the psychology of wisdom.
Vervaeke is the director of UToronto’s Consciousness and Wisdom Studies Laboratory and its Cognitive Science program, where he teaches Introduction to Cognitive Science and The Cognitive Science of Consciousness, emphasizing the 4E model, which contends that cognition and consciousness are embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended beyond the brain.
Vervaeke has taught courses on Buddhism and Cognitive Science in the Buddhism, Psychology, and Mental Health program for 15 years. He is the author and presenter of the YouTube series “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis” and his brand new series, “After Socrates.”
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Want to hear another interview that ponders the nature of our relationship with reality? Have a listen to my conversation with Professor Donald Hoffman here, in which we discuss the science of consciousness, how perception may influence the physical world, the holographic model of the universe, panpsychism (and influential panpsychists), cosmological polytope, the use of hallucinogenic drugs to tap into deeper reality and interact with conscious agents, QBism, the probability of zero that humans evolved to see reality in full, and much more wild stuff.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with John Vervaeke:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
- After Socrates | John Vervaeke
- Awakening from the Meaning Crisis | John Vervaeke
- Consciousness and Wisdom Studies Lab (CWSL) | University of Toronto
- John Vervaeke’s Brilliant 4P/3R Metatheory of Cognition | Psychology Today
- John Vervaeke Summarising 4P (Clip) | Rebel Wisdom with Jonathan Rowson
- Affordance Theory (Gibson) | Learning Theories
- Dualism | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- How Semantic Memory Works | Simply Psychology
- Flow (Psychology) | Wikipedia
- Flow, Metaphor, and the Axial Revolution | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #2
- Daoism | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- T’ai Chi Ch’uan Philosophy | Wikipedia
- Qigong | Wikipedia
- Shiatsu | Wikipedia
- Searching for Bobby Fischer: The Father of a Prodigy Observes the World of Chess by Fred Waitzkin | Amazon
- Searching For Bobby Fischer | Prime Video
- Josh Waitzkin: 2004 Tai Chi World Cup Highlights | YouTube
- Josh Waitzkin — How to Cram 2 Months of Learning into 1 Day | The Tim Ferriss Show #375
- Socrates, The Monstrous | After Socrates #2
- Case Studies | Harvard Business Review
- Flow as Spontaneous Thought: Insight and Implicit Learning | The Oxford Handbook of Spontaneous Thought
- Jazz Improvisation Made Simple: A Step-By-Step Guide
- Christian Philosophy and Theology | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny | Amazon
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse | Amazon
- Fifth Business by Robertson Davies | Amazon
- Tai Chi and Qi: A Deep Dive by John Vervaeke | TaiChiUSA
- The Buddha and “Mindfulness” | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #8
- Ecology of Practices | After Socrates #10a
- Ecology of Practices | After Socrates #10b
- Vipassana Meditation | Dhamma.org
- Brief Instructions for Loving-Kindness Meditation | Metta Institute
- Sharon Salzberg, World-Renowned Meditation Teacher | The Tim Ferriss Show #277
- Rapture | Wikipedia
- What Is the “Unforgivable Sin?” | NIV Bible
- Socrates and the Quest for Wisdom | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #4
- Platonism and the Platonic Tradition | Encyclopedia.com
- The Axial Age: When the Greatest Minds Walked the Earth | Big Think
- Buddhism and Parasitic Processing | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #13
- Parasitic Processing — The Cognitive Science of Overthinking | Dismantled Mind
- No Free Lunch Theorem | Wikipedia
- Newell, Simon, and Shaw Develop the First Artificial Intelligence Program | History of Information
- Bounded Rationality | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- One of These Things | Sesame Street
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi | Amazon
- Educating Intuition by Robin M. Hogarth | Amazon
- Implicit Learning and Tacit Knowledge | Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
- Pattern Recognition | C8 Sciences
- Stoicism Resources and Recommendations | Tim Ferriss
- List of Cognitive Biases and Heuristics | The Decision Lab
- Lectio Divina: A Beginner’s Guide | Busted Halo
- Contemplation vs. Meditation (What’s the Difference?) | Mindfulness Box
- Meditation and Contemplation with Dr. John Vervaeke | Consciousness & Conscience
- Philosophical Fellowship: Demonstration of the Practice | Voices with Vervaeke
- Positivity: Groundbreaking Research to Release Your Inner Optimist and Thrive by Barbara Fredrickson | Amazon
- Christianity and Agape | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #16
- What is the Circling Method? | The Circling Institute
- Contemplating in Togetherness from Our Inner Depth | Deep Philosophy
- Omnipresence | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Ethics: With the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect and Selected Letters by Baruch Spinoza | Amazon
- Euclid’s Elements (The Thirteen Books) by Euclid | Amazon
- Disbelieve It or Not, Ancient History Suggests That Atheism Is as Natural to Humans as Religion | University of Cambridge
- The Religion of No Religion | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #39
- Dialectic into Dialogos and the Pragmatics of No-thingness in a Time of Crisis | Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture
- Dialectic into Dia-logos | After Socrates #3
- The Symbol, Sacredness, and the Sacred | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #35
- Plato and the Cave | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #5
- Religio/Perennial Problems/Reverse Eng. Enlightenment | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #36
- The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas | New Advent
- What Is Sufism? | Institute for Global Change
- Corbin and the Divine Double | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #48
- What is Poiesis? | Poiesis
- Embodiment and Auto Poiesis (Clip) | John Vervaeke
- Plotinus and Neoplatonism | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #18
- Vedanta | Wikipedia
- The Lost Way to the Good: Dionysian Platonism, Shin Buddhism, and the Shared Quest to Reconnect a Divided World by Thomas Plant | Amazon
- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry | Amazon
- Lonesome Dove | Prime Video
- John Vervaeke: The Book That Changed My Life | Rebel Wisdom
- What Is Ancient Philosophy? by Pierre Hadot | Amazon
- Awakening From the Meaning Crisis Book List | John Vervaeke
- Great Dialogues of Plato by Plato | Amazon
- Ah, Not to Be Cut Off by Rainer Maria Rilke | The Living Room
- Archaic Torso of Apollo by Rainer Maria Rilke | Vox Populi
- Ascension, 1965 | John Coltrane Quartet
- Agape and 4E Cognitive Science | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #38
- Cognition In the Wild by Edwin Hutchins | Amazon
- Distributed Cognition and the Experience of Presence in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission | Frontiers in Psychology
- Brain in a Vat — Making Philosophy Manifest by Steve Jurvetson | Flickr
- Steve Jurvetson — The Midas Touch and Mind-Bending Futures | The Tim Ferriss Show #317
- Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by António Damásio | Amazon
- Exaptations | Understanding Evolution
- The Brain Evolved to Guide Action | The Wiley Handbook of Evolutionary Neuroscience
- John Vervaeke: The Three Questions About Consciousness | Consciousness and Conscience Conference
- Qualia | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Relevance Realization and the Emerging Framework in Cognitive Science | Journal of Logic and Computation Advance Access
- Panpsychism | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Professor Donald Hoffman — The Case Against Reality, Beyond Spacetime, Rethinking Death, Panpsychism, QBism, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show #585
- Property Dualism | Rebus Community
- William Seager: How Strong Are the Arguments for Panpsychism? | Visualizing Minds
- John Vervaeke: Jordan Peterson & the Meaning Crisis | Rebel Wisdom
- Zen Master Henry Shukman — 20 Minutes of Calm, Plus the Strange and Powerful World of Koans | The Tim Ferriss Show #560
- Luke 15:11-32: The Prodigal Son | Bible Gateway
- Pageau, Vervaeke, Peterson: Deeper Yet Into The Weeds | The Dr. Jordan B. Peterson Podcast #277
- Nomology | Wikipedia
- Postmodernism | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Marxism and Crypto‐Marxism | The New York Times
- Awakening from the Meaning Crisis – Relevance Realization Meets Dynamical Systems Theory | Awakening from the Meaning Crisis #30
- Jordan Peterson on Rules for Life, Psychedelics, The Bible, and Much More | The Tim Ferriss Show #502
- Return to the Source Seminar | Evolve Move Play
- Other Minds | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Transjectivity: A Short Commentary on John Vervaeke’s Awakening From the Meaning Crisis (Episodes 31, 32, and 33) by Andrew Sweeny | Medium
- Famed Explorer Wade Davis — How to Become the Architect of Your Life, The Divine Leaf of Immortality, Rites of Passage, Voodoo Demystified, Optimism as the Purpose of Life, How to Be a Prolific Writer, Psychedelics, Monetizing the Creativity of Your Life, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show #652
- Epistemology | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- [05:31] The four ways of knowing (4P).
- [10:15] Affordances.
- [13:04] Semantic memory.
- [13:37] Flow.
- [27:03] Did John find Tai Chi, or did Tai Chi find him?
- [29:46] Leaving Christianity.
- [34:42] Wisdom vs. knowledge.
- [36:54] Self-deception.
- [41:53] When is logic the illogical choice for solving a problem?
- [46:05] The powers and perils of intuition.
- [55:05] Spotting patterns that need breaking.
- [59:18] Meditation vs. contemplation.
- [1:05:30] Misunderstanding love.
- [1:06:36] Circling.
- [1:12:28] “God is related to the world the way the mind is related to the body.”
- [1:14:34] A non-theist in the no-thingness.
- [1:24:03] Responsive poiesis and Sufism.
- [1:27:31] Neoplatonism.
- [1:29:16] Seminal moments.
- [1:31:36] Pierre Hadot.
- [1:32:43] Two books.
- [1:34:38] Potent poetry.
- [1:37:40] The four Es.
- [1:42:38] Two bonus Es.
- [1:45:24] Heretical beliefs.
- [1:54:12] Panpsychism.
- [2:00:56] Most unusual modes of cognition.
- [2:02:37] Jordan Peterson.
- [2:10:27] Opponent processing.
- [2:13:53] How to support friends endeavoring to lead meaningful lives.
- [2:17:50] After Socrates.
- [2:21:44] Western words.
- [2:25:11] John’s changing perspective of experienced reality.
- [2:28:01] Something old, something new.
MORE JOHN VERVAEKE QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“Knowledge is about overcoming ignorance. Wisdom is about overcoming foolishness. So you understand wisdom by understanding foolishness, and you understand foolishness as not identical to ignorance.”
— John Vervaeke
“Stop demonizing any faculty and stop deifying any faculty. Your intuition will lead you as much wrong as your reason, as much wrong as your emotions, as much wrong as your logic.”
— John Vervaeke
“The very processes that make us intelligent problem solvers [and] make us so adaptive are the very same processes that make us prone to self-deceptive, self-destructive behavior.”
— John Vervaeke
“We pick up on all kinds of complex patterns that are not real and we form intuitions around them, but when we don’t like our intuition, we don’t call it intuition, we call it bias or prejudice or racism or sexism or a whole bunch of other things.”
— John Vervaeke
“Logic does not tell you how to go from a weaker logic to a stronger logic. I can do all the possible manipulations within predicate logic and it won’t get me to motor logic. I have to do something outside of that to actually increase my logical competence. So there’s no panacea.”
— John Vervaeke
“Yes, your emotions can lead you astray, but try living without them and see how rational you can be.”
— John Vervaeke
“I don’t like the argument that goes, ‘Consciousness is weird, quantum is weird, therefore consciousness is quantum.’ That’s just ridiculous. Now, panpsychism is a different thing. And you don’t have to be convinced about quantum stuff to be a panpsychist.”
— John Vervaeke
- René Descartes
- Josh Waitzkin
- Usain Bolt
- Roger Zelazny
- Hermann Hesse
- Robertson Davies
- Leonardo Ferraro
- Allen Newell
- Herbert A. Simon
- Nelson Goodman
- Jerry Fodor
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Robin M. Hogarth
- Arthur S. Reber
- Guy Sengstock
- Christopher Mastropietro
- Barbara Fredrickson
- Ran Lahav
- Baruch Spinoza
- Martin Buber
- Maximus the Confessor
- William James
- William Blake
- Thomas Aquinas
- Henry Corbin
- Johannes Kepler
- Galileo Galilei
- Albert Einstein
- Thomas Plant
- Robert Duvall
- Pierre Hadot
- Jonathan Rowson
- Jules Evans
- Rainer Maria Rilke
- Gerard Manley Hopkins
- William Butler Yeats
- John Coltrane
- Jalal al-Din Rumi
- Haleh Liza Gafori
- Dan Chiappe
- Read Montague
- Evan Thompson
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
- Steve Jurvetson
- António Damásio
- Michael Anderson
- David Chalmers
- Thomas Nagel
- Chad Foreman
- Roger Penrose
- Stuart Hameroff
- William Seager
- Michael Levin
- Jordan Peterson
- Jonathan Pageau
- Jacques Derrida
- Michel Foucault
- Rafe Kelley
- John Kennedy
- James J. Gibson
- Wade Davis
- Arthur Versluis
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12 Replies to “Professor John Vervaeke — How to Build a Life of Wisdom, Flow, and Contemplation (#657)”
ah, the crossover episode we needed. the world will be a better place if Vervaeke gets more mainstream
Amen to that.
That was exceedingly difficult to listen through. I tried for 10 minutes, then skipped around to intriguing timestamps, and then gave up. I love most episodes but sheesh.
I am a regular listener, and I found this to be a slog and could not finish.
This episode is incredible, unfortunately the crowd is far behind.
I concur. This was flowing amazingly well, a plethora of juicy topics, wealth of information, etc. Still a ton of new info and concepts I marked for myself to research and dig into on my own but that’s literally the point of me listening to these podcasts.
Not sure what people who are complaining expecting. Just because people are talking about complex concepts and are not starting from complete zero doesn’t mean the podcast is bad. It means you need to study up to understand and appreciate it.
Tim, you never fail to deliver in your choice of guests nor in the way you interact with them. This podcast is one of the most important things I’ve ever heard. I’m on my third listen and I’ve just bought a copy of Plato’s Republic to reread ‘decades after the first time). I always mean to say thank you after dipping in to your work and I’m sorry I haven’t gotten around to it in the past. Let me say it now. Thank you. All good things to you and the people you love.
Absolutely loved this episode. I have listened about half of his awakening from the meaning crisis lectures and I am excited to delve into After Socrates.
Tim, thank you for another excellent podcast. The idea from Spinoza about earth, g-d, body and mind reminds me of one from H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama in Mind of Clear Light (2003): “The mind rides on wind like a rider on a horse.”
Thank you Tim,
Would like to hear John Vervaeke and Sam Harris engage in a meaningful conversation some day. Can anyone here recommend a conversation between John and someone else who has views on Nondualusm similar to Sam Harris? Or is my take on John all wrong? Not criticizing either John or Sam Tim. I am just very interested in John’s work thanks to this excellent podcast episode that you produced.
Highly recommend his two conversations with Jules Evans on the Rebel Wisdom podcast (also on their YouTube channel) – one on “street philosophy” and the other is “the book that changed my life.”
This was a wonderful episode. I discovered Vervaeke via the Rebel Wisdom community and podcast, and he has been a life-changing, paradigm-shifting teacher for me. He’s not always easy to follow, especially when he veers into verbal footnotes and callouts to the influences and teachers who make up his canon. There is so much packed into this conversation, and those who persist will be well-rewarded. Consume it in small bites if you need to.