New Series: Viewquake Book Club
Hey beautiful people,
The world’s first ever Thumos Awareness Week wrapped up this morning. Wow. We had our resident breath expert design a new thumos breath technique, our favorite Integral philosopher blow our minds, and three academic scholars discuss thumos through the lens of Plato, Aristotle, and Homer. If anybody ever asks you, “So, what is this thumos thing all the deeply embodied good-looking people are always talking about?” You can now respond by sending them this playlist …
The purpose of this week was partly to help Daniel and I design the praxis for the third iteration of the Beyond Self-Discipline course: the Thumos Bootcamp edition. This course starts on September 3rd and patrons of The Stoa will receive a massive discount. Reply to this message if you have any questions.
Now, moving on to a very exciting announcement about a new series starting at The Stoa …
THE VIEWQUAKE BOOK CLUB
What is a viewquake?
This is a term our friend Robin Hanson has coined, referring to “insights that dramatically change one's worldview, making one see the world in a new way.”
A viewquake book club is going to be a club where we will explore books that are known to cause viewquakes. Here are some examples of viewquake books I’ve read during my formative years …
Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse
A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber
A Language Older than Words by Derrick Jensen
What a blessing it was for me to have been able to host each one of these brilliant authors at The Stoa (here, here, and here). So, imagine this: a book club where we read a book, have a session at The Stoa to discuss it, then have a second session where we have a discussion with the author that blew our minds. 🤯
And this is not going to be any normal book club either. This is going to be a very Stoa-esque one - weird, experimental, and knife’s edgy. We will be experimenting with the following elements …
An incredible Rebecca Fox-inspired ritual to open and close the session.
A 10-minute presentation of the book that includes the central argument, mental models, and the main viewquakes. [So basically, this is going to be a book club where you actually do not have to read the book! 😃]
A slow collective reading of a select passage in the spirit of “Lectio Divina.”
Collective Presencing style breakout room conversations.
A closing Collective Journalling exercise, where we silently craft a question to the author.
Wow, eh? I am getting filled with thumos by typing this out! The book club session will be followed by a second session where the author actually visits The Stoa , giving Stoans an opportunity to ask the deliciously embodied meta-questions they have become known for.
We have six sessions scheduled for the series …
Viewquake Book Club: Hyperobjects. October 2nd @ 12:00 PM ET. Patreon event. 90-120 mins.
“Having set global warming in irreversible motion, we are facing the possibility of ecological catastrophe. But the environmental emergency is also a crisis for our philosophical habits of thought, confronting us with a problem that seems to defy not only our control but also our understanding. Global warming is perhaps the most dramatic example of what Timothy Morton calls “hyperobjects”—entities of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions that they defeat traditional ideas about what a thing is in the first place. In this book, Morton explains what hyperobjects are and their impact on how we think, how we coexist with one another and with nonhumans, and how we experience our politics, ethics, and art.”
Viewquake Book Club: The Collapse of Complex Societies. October 30th @ 12:00 PM ET. Patreon event. 90-120 mins.
The Collapse of Complex Societies w/ Joseph Tainter. November 2nd @ 6:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
“Any explanation of political collapse carries lessons not just for the study of ancient societies, but for the members of all complex societies in both the present and future. Dr Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory that accounts for collapse among diverse kinds of societies, evaluating his model and clarifying the processes of disintegration by detailed studies of the Roman, Mayan and Chacoan collapses.”
Viewquake Book Club: The Dictator’s Handbook. December 4th @ 12:00 PM ET. Patreon event. 90-120 mins.
The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics w/ Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. December 6th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
“Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith's canonical book on political science turned conventional wisdom on its head. They started from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don't care about the "national interest"-or even their subjects-unless they have to. This clever and accessible book shows that democracy is essentially just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind but only in the number of essential supporters, or backs that need scratching. The size of this group determines almost everything about politics: what leaders can get away with, and the quality of life or misery under them. The picture the authors paint is not pretty. But it just may be the truth, which is a good starting point for anyone seeking to improve human governance.”
You can watch this excellent viral video based on the book, Rules for Rulers.
I am so excited about this series. This is probably one of the funner and more innovative book clubs you’ll find. I am so ready for us to lovingly get our minds blown together. 🥰
ps. I am a big fan of supporting viewquaking authors. I also am a fan of the freeconomy. It is a delicious tension to have, but as always, I trust Stoans discernment here.
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