The Culture Dance Part 2

Newly posted events:

  • Family Constellations W/ Bertold Ulsamer. April 22nd @ 2:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • Shadow Sensemaking W/ Alyssa Polizzi and Arran Rogerson. May 12th, 19th, and 26th @ 6:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

An event to get excited about:

  • Black Feminism and Womanism: Soulful Critique in a Pivotal Time W/ Loretta Ross, Imani Perry, and Toni M. Bond. April 20th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here. 90 mins. 

Greg Thomas returns to The Stoa to moderate a dialogos on liberatory feminism and womanist ethics between three scholar-activists: Loretta Ross, Imani Perry, and Toni M. Bond. Topics may include call-out culture, reproductive justice, intersectionality, art and spirituality in liberation, and more.


April 18th, 2021

The culture war to the culture dance. That is the second attractor of The Stoa for year two. The culture war is people with differing views about what is and what ought to be, arguing and attacking one another. The culture dance is people with differing views about what is and what ought to be, dialoguing and enticing one another. 

As Daniel Schmachtenberger says: If we are gaining the power of gods, then without the love and wisdom of gods, we self-destruct. For this he suggests we need a cultural enlightenment, which is this culture dance thing.

For the upcoming Rebel Wisdom “Becoming a Live Player” course I co-designed and will be co-leading, we used the tripartite epistemic model that Schmachtenberger often mentions: 1st person epistemics (subjective), 2nd person epistemics (intersubjective), and 3rd person epistemics (objective), and we replaced the word epistemics with play. 

The capacities to begin the culture dance will be found in 2nd person play: really understanding the other person's worldview, with intellectual humility, while having the capacity to convey your understanding. The Stoa is chock-full with intersubjective practices which are in service towards building these capacities. 

The transition from culture war to culture dance has two components. The first component is to have a space (aka a “wisdom gym”) where 2nd person play can be practiced, and the second component is to have The Stoa be positioned as the “Switzerland of the Culture War,” and have all the memetic tribalists be warmed by its digital campfire, then start arranging conversations people have never seen before.

Of course I am totally biased here, but the “Stealing the Culture with Dialogos” series is probably where the best conversations in the noosphere are happening right now. These are conversational combinations you have never seen before, and the more The Stoa grows, and its daemonic mission continues, the more opportunities will increase to have conversational combinations you never thought could happen.

As mentioned previously, I think the most significant conversation that could happen right now—which will help transmute the culture war to a culture dance—is between Jordan Peterson and ContraPoints.  

I got word from ContraPoints's team that she is game to have a conversation with Peterson at The Stoa, so one conversational dance partner has been confirmed. I am also in correspondence with Peterson about him visiting The Stoa, which he seems open to. He is aware of the high-quality dialogos we are having here, recently tweeting out the excellent session on “being a man” we had on Monday.

The Peterson and ContraPoints conversation could be done elsewhere of course, but I sense that if it is going to be done right, it will need to happen at a place like The Stoa. I was talking about it with Laurence-Currie Clark, and I used a dumb internet saying: this is a conversation that could “break the internet.” He corrected me, and said: this is a conversation that could make the internet. 

I sense it would be best for Peterson to have a solo visit first, before attempting to arrange the conversation that could make the internet. I suggested to him that he visit and have a conversation with Daniel Kazandjian and I, and frame the conversation as: Two Stoics and a Therapist.

Daniel told me it is cool for me to reveal the following: we were both clients of Peterson’s clinical practice, before Peterson became famous, and it was actually Peterson who introduced the two of us. Daniel and I both happened to be Stoics, and we went on to create the Stoic community in Toronto, which soon became the largest Stoic community in the world.

I was talking to Daniel about Peterson’s visit to The Stoa, and the potential ContraPoints conversation, and he highlighted that there is narrative significance to all of this. I have never written about this publicly, but I was somewhat involved in Peterson being launched into the culture war.

The thing that launched him into the culture war was that he released a video on gender pronouns and Bill C-16 in September 2016. This is the thing that ContraPoints mentioned she’d like to talk to Peterson about when she was on The Stoa.

The thing is that Peterson actually released two videos at the same time, one on Bill C-16 and one on mandatory anti-racism training that was being rolled out at the University of Toronto. It was the former one that got the media attention, and the latter is something I made him aware of. I was working in administration at the University at the time, and I was the one who informed him of the training.

During our two years of conversation, we talked a lot about what was happening in the culture war, and he conveyed to me he did not have many people to chat about this stuff with. I was actually encouraging him to be more vocal, as he had the verbal capacities to do so. He said that was not his style. He was a different Peterson back then. I do not know how much I nudged him into the culture war, but I was there when he got launched into it, and I was actually in his office the day those videos got released. 

I have been trying to make sense of all of this since, and this is partly why I have been so obsessed with the culture war. Perhaps Daniel is right, and perhaps there is narrative significance to be found here: being a part of nudging Jordan Peterson into the culture war, where gender pronouns were the main issue, then arranging a conversation with ContraPoints, who is one of the most significant trans-figures in the culture war.

The daemon works in mysterious ways, and maybe this is a spiritual task to which I have been assigned. We will see what unfolds. The culture dance is not going to happen by itself; you’ll need a reality tunnel dance hall, and perhaps a spiritual DJ to get people to start grooving to a new way of being. A more delicious way of being.

I want to do all of this right though, which is to say I want to do this artfully. I do not want the culture dance to just be any dance. I want it to be a beautiful dance.


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