“Free your mind… Recognize that your ways of making sense of the world that used to work don’t work, and you really really need to set yourself free to begin learning anew. Child’s mind. Beginner’s mind… And get as far away from ideology as you can. Your job is not to know what the fuck is going on. Your job is to be absolutely certain that you have no idea what the fuck is going on, and learn how to feel from raw chaos, from raw uncertainty, up.”
Rebel Wisdom has quickly become one of my all-time favorite podcasts and media platforms.
The organization exploded to popularity a little over a year ago as a result of a documentary they released called A Glitch in the Matrix: Jordan Peterson, the Intellectual Dark Web, and the Mainstream Media.
David Fuller, the co-founder of Rebel Wisdom, worked for many years for the BBC, and he’s truly a world-class interviewer and a formidable philosopher in his own right.
Fuller became extraordinarily fascinated with the Jordan Peterson phenomenon, viewing his meteoric rise and treatment by the mainstream media as a cultural moment of great significance.
Fuller began investigating and thinking a lot about Peterson, eventually interviewing him and deciding to make the first documentary about his story and its deeper meaning.
The documentary featured Peterson as well as Jordan Hall, a high-powered thinker, futurist, and one of the living humans I’m currently paying the most attention to. Hall’s capacity to make sense of our ridiculously complex world in 2019 is truly next-level.
Through the lens of Hall’s sense-making framework, A Glitch in the Matrix examines Peterson and the emergent Intellectual Dark Web—a loose conglomeration of thinkers who are trying to have a different kind of conversation, one unconstrained by tribalism and ideology, one which is impossible within the crumbling structures of traditional media.
The documentary proved to be extraordinarily insightful and subsequently went viral, amassing over one million views on YouTube. Fuller and Rebel Wisdom followed it up by creating Glitch in the Matrix II: The Origin of the Intellectual Dark Web, this time featuring Eric Weinstein—the polymathic genius who first coined the phrase “Intellectual Dark Web”—and other members of the Dark Web.
These two documentaries—and the Rebel Wisdom podcast in general—comprise one of the best efforts I’ve seen to make sense of our present earthly situation in 2019. These efforts at sense-making manage to exist within the non-dogmatic liminal space of true philosophical exploration, yet they provide a remarkably compelling framework for understanding what’s presently happening in politics, media, academia, and Western culture at large.
I can’t recommend them enough. Combine these documentaries with a few episodes of the Rebel Wisdom podcast, Future Thinkers podcast, Emerge podcast, Neurohacker podcast, Future Fossils podcast, New and Ancient Story podcast, and our own HighExistence podcast, and I suspect you’ll download an education that is vastly more robust and useful than that which our rapidly obsoleting formal education systems are capable of providing. And sprinkle in a few mind-destroying books while you’re at it.
I’m going to embed the two documentaries below (they’re freely available on YouTube), but before I do that, I want to include an excerpt from Glitch in the Matrix I, in which Jordan Hall provides a particularly profound and memorable articulation of how to make sense of the modern world.
Jordan Hall on How to Navigate the New World of 2019
David Fuller: “I mean, what advice would you give to people to navigate this new world?”
Jordan Hall: “The first is: Free your mind… Recognize that your ways of making sense of the world that used to work don’t work, and you really really need to set yourself free to begin learning anew. Child’s mind. Beginner’s mind.
Second: This by nature must in fact be exploratory, so: Swim. Do not make sense prematurely, in spite of the fact that the world feels dangerous. In spite of the fact that you may want to protect yourself in this dangerous world. Doing so too quickly does not allow the natural exploratory approach to do what it needs to do. Really just listen.
And learn—go all the way back down to human base. Turn inward. Learn how fear shows up in you. Learn how not to allow fear to drive the choices that you make. Learn how to listen to the whole way that all of you perceives what’s going on. Become more integrated with your own body. Go out into nature. Spend a lot of time not connected to the chaos that’s going on and a lot of time re-connecting yourself with your fundamental capacity to perceive reality in all the different modalities that human beings have the capacity to do.
Then relearn how to use other human beings as allies in figuring out how to make sense of the world. Really: Relearn. We have been abused and constrained by institutional frameworks that remove us from our own native capabilities. So relearn that: Understand how to be a friend and an ally—how to have a conversation with somebody where you’re really listening closely to get a sense of what their perspective brings to you, where you’re not obligated to agree with them, you’re not obligated to move out of what you feel is right to form some new consensus reality. But where you’re actually authentically recognizing that their perspective has some capacity to bring richness to your perspective.
This, by the way, is almost exclusively possible in person. What we’re doing right now is an okay version of it, but we need to be very mindful of the fact that linear broadcast is bad, and even interactive bandwidth like this is not good enough. You’ve got to learn from raw, physical.
And get yourself into places where your consensus reality and your habits are willfully destroyed. Get into human-to-human conversations. And get as far away from ideology as you can. Your job is not to know what the fuck is going on. Your job is to be absolutely certain that you have no idea what the fuck is going on, and learn how to feel from raw chaos, from raw uncertainty, up. Then and only then are you finally able to begin the journey of beginning to form a collective intelligence in this new environment. That’s my advice.”
A Glitch in the Matrix I: Jordan Peterson, the Intellectual Dark Web, and the Mainstream Media
Glitch in the Matrix II: The Origin of the Intellectual Dark Web
Cheers to Better Sense-Making
We live in a world in which it’s increasingly difficult to accurately perceive and make sense of what is happening.
Rebel Wisdom, the Intellectual Dark Web, and the other podcasts I mentioned are honorable efforts aimed at providing an antidote to the sense-making crisis.
If you want to understand what is happening in 2019, pre-packaged ideologies won’t get you there. Dogma won’t get you there. Polarizing tribalism won’t get you there. Pundits won’t get you there.
It’s time for us to activate ourselves as sense-making agents. It’s time to become humble students of life, oriented toward forming and perpetually refining our own models of reality.
As the great Terence McKenna put it, “You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding.”
I can’t say it any better than that.
Cheers to forever retaining a Beginner’s Mind, a holy curiosity, and an eagerness to learn from all people, situations, and experiences.
This is how we discover various forms of individual fulfillment and liberation. And this is how we transform ourselves into effective individual neurons collaborating to form a global collective intelligence capable of addressing the challenges of the 21st century and beyond.
Cheers to becoming the wiser and more loving humans capable of actualizing “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.”