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Awakening from the Meaning Crisis

John Vervaeke is a cognitive scientist who recorded a 50-part lecture series melding existential philosophy, history, psychology, Buddhism, Greek philosophy, and Christianity to address the meaning crisis. He addresses what the meaning crisis is, its impact to society, and how we might address it. It's powerful, psychoactive, and engaging.

This lecture series has been one of the most meaningful works I've ever consumed, and I have difficulty recommending it—because it's a lecture, and around 50 hours. The payoff is long, though if Sapiens-style historical narratives are captivating, you may love it from the beginning. It's more of an undergraduate seminar, and should be consumed over a long period of time. This is not meant to be passively absorbed; it's not "background audio podcast" style content. In fact, he advocates for an ecology of active and participatory practices. I took notes of each lecture to understand his arguments as richly and deeply as possible, and watched this over nearly a year.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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