#05 Michael Brooks on Jordan Peterson, James Hillman, Integral Theory and Building Planetary Meshworks

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For the fifth episode of MUTATIONS, I am pleased to bring you Michael Brooks. Michael is a political journalist, integral thinker, and host of The Michael Brooks show. Together we explore the Intellectual Dark Web (the subject of his upcoming book from Zero Books) and Jordan Peterson.

We also consider the alternative depth psychologist, James Hillman (who arguably speaks more from the left), the applicability of Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory to politics, a need in the consciousness culture for a historic grounding in economic theory, and building towards authentic, bottom-up planetary meshworks.


  • The Michael Brooks Show on Patreon

  • Michael’s Twitter

  • The Michael Brooks Show on YouTube

  • Michael Brooks on Zero Books

  • James Hillman, We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy—And the World’s Getting Worse

  • James Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology (Recommended)

  • Rebel Wisdom with Doshin Nelson Roshi (apologies for the brain fog during the recording), “A Zen Master Talks About Jordan Peterson and the Shadow

    • Notes: This conversation and the heated, bifurcated response to it (200k+ views) is very interesting. So much so that there was a follow-up episode with Rebel Wisdom to reflect on why it hit such a nerve. Ken Wilber, in the late 90s and early 2000s, critiqued much of postmodern academia and the progressive left as “flatland reductionism,” “mean green meme” (via Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics), and “aperspectival madness” (an unfortunate hijacking of Jean Gebser’s term, ‘aperspectival,’ which means something completely different) many years before the Peterson phenomenon in popular culture. There is some substance in these criticisms, (i.e. “true-but-partial”). As we noted in this episode by way of Mark Fisher’s essay, or Angela Nagel’s Kill All Normies, a critique from within the left is needed, and as Rebel Wisdom says often, “the left needs to get its house in order.” I’m in support of this. However, a knowledge and literacy of leftist“theory” is something I often sense is sorely lacking in the integral movement. This is something that Wilber shares with Peterson: a postmodern “allergy,” a lack of progressive metabolism. Integral oriented thinkers from the progressive left desperately need to step forward and bridge that gap.

    • This is why I’m so interested in working with Jean Gebser’s insights into the aperspectival consciousness/integral culture to explore the phenomenology of our culture: the stasis of Gebser’s deficient mental-rational structure, and the crisis of late capitalism, co-inform my understanding of Mark Fisher’s capitalist realism and the Möbius strip of consciousness-economics-culture (much of the economic theory and critique of capitalism are arguably informed, in turn, by Gebser’s insights on the structures of consciousness and the larger process of cultural evolution at work). This is why we need a grounded-but-visionary counter-culture beyond the Intellectual Dark Web.

    • I appreciate Rebel Wisdom for holding conversations with the left, i.e. this conversation with previous podcast guest Matt Segall.

  • (Follow-up), “Back with the Regenade (Zen) Master

  • Mark Fisher’s article that Michael mentioned, “Exiting the Vampire Castle,” which struck a major chord at the time it was published

  • Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism

  • Angela Nagel, Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right

  • William Irwin Thompson’s Lindisfarne was a fellowship of economists, activists, mystics, poets, philosophers and scientists exploring planetary culture. In the spirit of Thompson’s work in the 70s and 80s, and the spirit of the integral movement’s underlying concepts and values, can we forge new meshworks today towards a genuine planetary culture(s)? What would this entail? How can movements such as the integral movement, or the contemporary consciousness culture, engage with the questions Michael is as a ‘public figure’? How can we bridge the gap? Can we offer an alternative to the IDW, economically grounded, but symbolically and spiritually engaged consciousness culture?


Featured artwork by Archan Nair

Featured music by Lightbath

Intro/outro, “Planars of Existence”

Intermezzo, “Cathedral Rock”

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