How to Heal a Culture That Has Lost Its Soul

Truthfinding, Sensemaking, and the Psychedelic Renaissance

Rebel Wisdom co-founder Alexander Beiner has his finger on the cultural pulse of our times. Here he explores key challenges we face as a global community: sensemaking and truth finding in an culture that has lost its coherence as well as its sense of the divine, and what role psychedelics might play both therapeutically and spiritually in healing our culture. He discusses the need to go beyond the intellectual to find clarity and coherence, using embodied practices like meditation and inquiry, and explains how modalities such as these are an essential container for therapeutic psychedelic experiences.

What if deep, spiritual, psychotherapeutic group processes were to inform political decision making? Are commodification and economics going to subvert the benefits of the psychedelic renaissance? Let’s start asking, what do we want these substances to bring to the culture, and who has the authority to decide what psychedelics are used for? Ali brings keen insight and the wisdom of a dedicated contemplative to asking the important questions and offering up some answers as well.

Recorded September 27, 2021.

Topics & Timestamps: Part 1

  • The evolution of the internet—from optimistic to dark and addictive—and its effect on culture (03:50)
  • The crisis of trust in institutions creates a Wild West of narratives: Where do we get truth from? (07:03)
  • Rebel Wisdom asks, how can we use the attitudes of the personal growth world and ancient wisdom to help us get into a new dialogue with each other? (08:50)
  • The necessity to go beyond the intellectual to find clarity and certainty: that’s where practices come in (like meditation and inquiry) (13:35)
  • Rebel Wisdom’s online course Sensemaking 101 moves from the inside out, creating a state of presence before tackling making sense of the news (15:55)
  • The value of contemplative practices: they help you zoom out to a metaperspective and cultivate perspectival fluidity (17:07)
  • The importance of bringing the spiritual worlds and political worlds together (people in the spiritual worlds are reluctant to go too far into the political and vice versa) (20:02)
  • Danger of using meta as a “bypass”: focusing on how to make a better world rather than focusing on the realities of what is happening right now (20:57)
  • The cycle of withdrawal and return: going within to come back to the world with more wisdom to give and going without to connect more deeply with ourselves (22:20)
  • On allowing deep, spiritual, psychotherapeutic group processes to inform political decision making (23:52)
  • What would an effective meta practice for people entail at this point? An ecology of practices (27:26)
  • The therapeutic potential of the psychedelic experience combined with different modalities, i.e. inquiry + psychedelic experience (30:58)
Topics & Timestamps: Part 2
  • The developmental process involved with engaging with the contemplative world (01:30)
  • The psychedelic renaissance and learning how best to use psychedelic substances as part of our spiritual practices (02:24)
  • Legalizing MDMA (03:46)
  • Bringing psychedelics into mainstream culture: the biomedical route (04:23)
  • The need to consciously build a psychedelic metaculture and Ali’s Psychedelic Value Survey (05:52)
  • Are economics going to subvert the benefits of the psychedelic reemergence? (07:59)
  • We need to start asking, what do we want these substances to bring to the culture and who has the authority to decide what psychedelics are for? (10:59)
  • Are churches embracing the use of psychedelics? (13:15)
  • Religious, spiritual, and therapeutic uses (14:50)
  • Karma yoga: the interface between the contemplative and the cultural, the spiritual and the political (16:25)
  • The current meaning crisis, the lack of cultural coherence, and the need to commit to something higher (19:12)
  • What’s missing culturally right now is a sense of divinity and the ability to surrender (20:34)
  • The global coordination issue (24:14)
  • The crucial motive of self-transcendence (Abraham Maslow), meta motives and meta pathologies (25:02)
  • The crisis of sense making and understanding that making sense doesn’t happen only through thought, it’s an embodied process (29:09)
  • Fostering complexity tolerance and resilience in not knowing (32:02)
  • What gives Alexander hope? The idea that humanity is at its best under pressure (34:11)