episode 10

“Conscious Cultural Evolution”
with Carter Phipps

Listen Now…


For all the links

Listen Now…


For all the links


“We have to move culture forward without overthrowing the best of what’s come before.”

It’s time to discover conscious evolution. Carter Phipps explains how we can move forward while respecting and remembering our past. Learn why our cultural climate isn’t ready for solutions.

Duncan and Carter talk about the politics of pride and shame, and our feelings of grievance and gratitude. How do these influence our path forward? 

Carter suggests a way we can support depolarization on a personal level. Are you ready to find out how you can play a part in creating a better world? 

Watch the episode below:

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This episode and much more content is available in written form


  • Learn why we must engage in conscious evolution of ourselves, our system, and our culture.
  • Discover a political perspective that can help us understand our worldviews and appreciate the interdependence of views across the entire political spectrum.
  • Duncan and Carter talk about the politics of pride and shame. How can our feelings of grievance and gratitude help us move forward without forgetting our past? 
  • Uncover the secrets of a culturally intelligent relationship.
  • Carter explains why our cultural climate doesn’t allow solutions to flourish. 
  • Learn why there’s a tension between modernism and post-modernism and how it impacts society.  
  • Discover how we can all move towards living in a depolarized world.
Click here for the transcript

Duncan Autrey: Carter welcome to the Omni-Win Project podcast. Thank you 

Carter Phipps: for being here. Great Duncan. Nice to be here. 

Duncan Autrey: So Carter I and brought you on here today because one, I just appreciate,

you bring a deep understanding of the concepts of cultural evolution and developmental politics. You have a good handle on integral theory. And you have a think, you’re thinking ahead podcast, and you’re constantly thinking about the future of our society and our culture and so forth. And I think that understanding what this like developmental approach to politics, I think it could be really useful for people who are trying to think about how to bridge all of our political divisions these days.

Yeah. And honestly it’s a framework that’s foundational to my understanding of what’s going on. I think every time I look at any political conflict, I’m able to filter it through that lens. And yes. So that’s something that we’re gonna, I want to unpack with you and we can kind of unpack it together.

But also you’re the author of a really great book called evolutionaries and. The concept of evolution is fundamental to this project. My tagline, the shifts sometimes is that I’m accelerating the evolution of our democracy by bringing together various people who have ideas on how to do that. Yes.

And so I wanted to actually start with what is, what do you think is something about evolution that you really wish people understood? If there was this idea, which people might just like flagged at Darwin or something, or, yeah, sure. 

Carter Phipps: Most people see it as a biological process. Yeah.


Duncan Autrey: Yeah. So what is it that you wish people knew about evolution and its dynamics, and why you see it as relevant to our politics and our individual development? Yeah, 

Carter Phipps: sure. Well, I mean the book evolutionaries was, it was about the idea of evolution, how profound it is.

And of course, Evolution. And what most people think is a kind of Darwin and biological evolution and natural selection, random mutation. And it is all of that. And that’s primarily in some sense what it is, but it was sort of also saying, look, the idea of evolution, the idea of development, the idea, the things evolve over time is, comes to us maybe from, biology, but it’s a bigger idea and we can look at the history.

And so it’s kinda looking at the idea itself and the way it’s transforming fields beyond biology, including how we think about cosmology. I mean the evolution of 13.2 or 13.4, I never can remember which billion years of, cosmological evolution, the evolution of this, plant, the evolution of the biosphere and ultimately the development of human civilization.

And then one of the aspects you can look at. Is instead of looking at human culture as this sort of static thing, that’s just the technology’s changed a bit, but nothing else has changed really over the last 10,000 years, how has human culture itself evolved this dramatic transformation of human culture in the last 2000, 10,000 years?

5,000 years, 500 years, two, even 200 years. And, then unpacking that and looking at the, different values and worldviews and how, culture evolves. Right? So these ideas about how culture evolves through these values through sets of worldviews was part of the book. It was just part of the book, not all the book, but that, idea in particular, Is applicable to politics, cuz it helps us get out of helps us get out, just looking at politics through the, the ever present left right divide, which has some basic truth.

But you know, it’s not a very comp it’s overly simplistic way of course, to look at politics. So it helps us look at politics in a little more nuanced way and, understand some of this these tribal warfare that we’re in the midst of it helps shed some light. 

Duncan Autrey: Yeah. Thank you. That’s that is, is helpful.

And I appreciate that framing and I was thinking I was. If someone was saying do you believe in evolution? I, my response, I think right now would be, can you think of anything that doesn’t evolve? Right. 

Carter Phipps: Or my saying that point was everything evolves or everything evolves, right? Yeah. Right. You hope everything evolves into culturally and a human, you hope things evolve into, better and better.

And of course, that doesn’t always work like that. Evolution’s complex, tricky. It’s not just about higher and higher and higher, especially when we’re talking about human culture. It’s more, it’s much more complex than that. But nevertheless, we’re in this process of movement, process of things, changing process of developing individually, collectively, how do we negotiate that?

How do we recognize that and how do we support it? 

Duncan Autrey: Yeah, exactly. And,

I appreciate that. Yeah. Things change and sometimes things are adapting to. Really crappy stuff and it’s not necessarily feeling like an improvement. But you know, in the world of like integral theory, which is a foundational concept and yes, an idea of like developmental politics.

Yeah. know, We have these levels of development that we can grow as an individual. We can grow as a culture and they’re identifiable. They seem to be track across, the board at least how they played out on this planet and this time. And so there is a trajectory in a way. But then there’s also this process and I was looking at your book and I was reminded that Darwin was inspired by Hael and this dialectic.

And I’m fascinated by polarities and interdependent polarities. But this tension of here we are, we’re gonna, we have the, thesis we have where we are, and then we have the antithesis and then some sort of new thing, and then we have the correction to find the new synthesis and that this is like a process that we’re constantly in.

And if there’s anything I wanna get outta this conversation is just to remind everyone that, Hey, we’re all in a process here and yes, this isn’t adequate. You know, we have a problem.

It’s not adequate. We try something else. We adjust a little bit and now it’s a little better and then it’s a little better and we have very clearly been on that process. Yeah. So you know, it’s not just about natural selection and who wins and da, but it’s actually really about this constant process of.

Trying to grow and then grounding ourselves in what’s actual possible, and then trying to grow and yeah. Yeah. 

Carter Phipps: I, think there’s a couple great ideas or important ideas on what you just, in, in that description in the sense that like you, you asked earlier, like what would I like people to know about how evolution works and, especially culturally it’s like one of the ideas is.

Like you just said the idea itself that, we’re in this process, that we’re, that things are evolving. I mean, people tend to forget over the course of their own lifetimes or not understand the, his that, that larger perspective history and they often feel like things aren’t what they should be.

And then they think, okay especially as we’re younger, I think we feel this often we feel these kind of revolutionary urge. Like we wanna remake the world to be what it should be and that’s an understandable dynamic but, I often say we lose. When we lose faith, that things are improving.

Things are changing for the better we we, reach for revolutionary solutions. So we lose faith in evolution, we reach for revolutionary solutions and sometimes revolutionary solutions. Aren’t always as helpful. Every once in a while they can be powerful and they can, but they can be also have tremendous downsides.

And so the more we can evolve and improve things as a culture, without overthrowing, everything that came before, right? The better things, the better will, I think the better will do overall. And cultural evolution often happens. I say, say, like with a hammer if you smash the thing that came before and you try to create something new.

it Turns out that’s really has its own massive problems. And you smash that a generation later and create something new it’s and often there’s wars in those processes. I mean, I’m oversimplifying but, as we go forward as a human culture, I think we have to get outta that mode of culture evolution.

And it doesn’t always, sometimes it goes backwards. That mode, we have to become more, do a more some people talk about conscious evolution. That’s kind of what they mean. It’s like we have to use a scalpel instead of a hammer. We have to appreciate more what came before its positives as well as respond to negatives, and, then that way we’ll be able to, like you say, move forward, adapt. Change without feeling like we just have to overthrow the status quo, completely remake the world, anew either frustrate ourselves and not succeed at all, or succeed way too much. And, who knows the, things we wreck on the way, to making the world a better place or quote unquote maybe we will.

But man, that, that is a way to, to lurch through history with a lot of pain and suffering and I think as we get technologically more powerful and more sophisticated, And as wars get more and more destructive at a global level. I just think we have to find a better way. And so part of that is what we’re trying to 

Duncan Autrey: approach.

I was a guest on my previous podcast, fractal friends Ashok Pannikar, and actually like your colleague and co-founder of the Institute for cultural evolution, Steve, it was the only guest that was on my podcast twice. And he has this metaphor for this where he’s imagine you move into this beautiful house in, Georgia.

And it’s an old plantation. You realize that it was built by enslaved humans and, you don’t like that. So you decide you’re gonna renovate it and just overhaul the thing. You tear out all that landscaping and you take the hammer and you start smashing down the walls and the things, and you start tearing it apart.

It’s as you’re swinging that hammer, be careful about hitting any of those foundational beams. Yeah. Cause if you’d knock out that foundational beam, the whole thing’s coming down. And so as we. Are in that grievance about how things are, and maybe things aren’t as far along as we would like. And, we have concerns about the past and da, remember that your ability to even have this conversation astounding on the foundation of some hard earned work, exactly. 

Carter Phipps: And we forget that we and, when we just have a perspective of a few decades, which most of us rarely have that much more than that in terms of what we’ve lived.

Sometimes we forget how far so easy to forget how far things have come. I, was watching a video today about this commune in the seventies and, they were interviewing all the participants in this commune. It was for this project I’m doing and, they were all talking about, the, culture in the us of the fifties and sixties and the way people talked about the culture of the us and how the hippie generation talked about that culture.

And it was fascinating to see cuz they said a lot of things was right. They talked about how it was ecologically problematic and kind of isolated and alienated and a bit soulless and a bit middle class lifestyle had no spiritual heart to it and all this stuff that a lot of I agreed with but if you take back another a hundred years a lot of the people who created that culture in the fifties came outta depression.

There was a middle class for the first time to that degree in human history, another 300 years we’d solved a lot of the survival issues. We began to solve a lot of survival issues of another era. Yes, there were tremendous problems starting with the, racial relations in the us, ecological disasters, you know you know, spiritual things that needed to be enriched in all kinds of ways.

But again, if you just over you just say that is bad that is, and it is like you kind of lurch from one thing to another. And so part of what we’re trying to do at this is, to say, okay, That’s true. That is one. That’s the we talked before the, we started here about dignity and disasters.

That’s the disaster of that era of that way of thinking about the world of that value system. That’s its pathology but, it, in order to change that we have to also recognize the tremendous progress that it made on what came before. And if we can do that, if we can BR if we can see both that picture, the way we move forward will be different.

The way we evolve now will be different. It will include more of what was healthy before. Not, throw out babies with bath waters, not lurch for not use the hammer not, be evolutionary, not so revolutionary. And hopefully we can begin to kind of take control of the wheel of history just a little bit more, and, have a few less wrecks on the way down the road of history that’s the goal is to not, just go forward because we hit both sides of the wall to actually go forward because we’re steering a little bit and that’s, a big challenge but that’s what we’re trying.

Duncan Autrey: Oh, I appreciate the use of that metaphor. I use that one often when I try to explain how conflict resolution works and that we have laws and I, they kind of function is the guardrails of our society. But in between. We’re just gonna have to negotiate this as individuals, and it’s don’t go over there and don’t go over here.

But in between, we’re gonna have to coordinate. And that is gonna be a bunch of tiny little micro decisions that keep us on the road and not smashing into each other. And, recognizing that we need to engage in that, like that constant, like renegotiation with every car that we’re encountering and recalculating, exactly. So I’m gonna try to take a stab at describing a developmental approach to politics as it’s developed in the developmentalist and the, from the Institute and cultural revolution. The way I explain it to people is that this polarity of left and right. Isn’t quite so simple, right.

That actually. Functioning in our culture, we actually have three big world views that are happening. We have kind of a traditional worldview, which was rooted in like the, origins of our country and our religious backgrounds, like value focused. We have a modern, which is the dominant worldview then of our generations right now of that’s basically based on science and inclusion of all the people and recognizing the global impacts like things and, and that gives us democracy and capitalism and things that secular culture and all secular 

Carter Phipps: science, totally democracy, the enlight, the values that came involvement.

Duncan Autrey: Yeah, exactly. And that’s in a way like the us is huge contribution to the world. I mean, we’re the, all this democracy in the world right now is a big idea to say we, the people at the beginning of the constitution and so. And then coming out of the sixties we have this kind of postmodern worldview and, yeah.

Or what we call the sixties. The, we have this postmodern worldview, which is saying, wait a minute, this industrial modern thing is dangerous and is gonna destroy the environment it’s kind of dehumanizing and all sorts of issues. And we actually need to start figuring out how we could be inclusive of all the different cultures, all the different religions, and also start carrying, bring the environment into the, into our understanding.

Recognize how all of our actions are having impact and that, even though we’re still really in a modern worldview, this post this progressive or postmodern or, worldview is. Very de jour these days, it’s very much dominating. It’s a very it’s ASCE.


Carter Phipps: ascendant or not, ascendent. Like it has all the power, but it’s very popular. Yeah. At least on the left. It’s very it’s very ascended. Yeah. It’s very influential. 

Duncan Autrey: Totally. Exactly And culturally in our media, in our, especially in the media and 

Carter Phipps: education systems it’s, influential.

Duncan Autrey: Yeah, totally. And so then and then so we get to three and then realizing that actually even within that modern reality, we have a left and right within that, we have sort of like a fiscal conservative approach and sort of a liberal inclusion. And, that’s kind of been this dominant section of our political system, but that has its own left and right within it that we can actually think about as like traditional Democrats and Republicans, I think like very end.

Yeah. Right. One’s 

Carter Phipps: a little more swayed by traditional culture and one’s a little bit swayed by progressive culture, 

Duncan Autrey: exactly, And so then we ended up breaking it into four kind of world views that we have and that’s, and and we can see that polarity of the left and right also exists within.

Each of the within the left and right. So there’s a polarity within the right and a polarity within the left. And the way that this is fractal, actually we could get any two people and we can actually probably find that polarity again we really all the way down.

So all of these worldviews have something really important to contribute to our conversation. They have their dignity and also all of these worldviews have their shadow side, their disaster. And the thing that it’s like progressive things is risky. It’s anti-American you have very, could go really dark trying to hold onto our traditional values can become very nationalistic, jingoistic, racist.

It can get really dark that way too. Yeah. But we need this whole spectrum because we’re covering. The foundational parts of what makes us who we are. We have responsible physical thinking and so forth. We have a state that is caring for the people and we have, how do we grow and evolve as a world and try to be more inclusive.

So all of these are important. And so a developmental worldview would be something that is recognizing the value, the dignity of each of these worldviews, trying to mitigate the shadow of each of them. And if you’re in one of those worldviews being able to true up one’s own worldview. What would you add to that? 

Carter Phipps: a great description. I think cause sometimes seeing well evolution or cultural evolution about going, just going forward, going up higher, better but it is not really what we’re talking about. We’re talking more is about having a perspective is able to kind of maybe stand, outside.

Some of these different worldviews that you described and say, okay, let’s have a different relationship rather than one, trying to dominate the others and win the battle, win the cage battle for the future of the civilization where it’s kill the others or dominate the others.

Let’s recognize there’s some value in each of these perspectives they all have. And, there’s things we don’t want from each of those perspectives. And, in that way, like to have a more nuanced, intelligent cult, what we call culturally intelligent relationship to each of these sets of values so that we can pull out some of the best of them and help them.

They make up American culture. They’re not going anywhere. Right. Anytime soon so if we’re gonna have an American culture that works, we have to negotiate a new relationship between them. So one of the things we’ve been doing, for example, the Institute for cultural revolution is taking certain policy positions and breaking them down and saying, if we took this policy and we created a, so a, solution that would in some way, create a win, solution, meaning that traditional culture would get something out of this modern culture would get something out of this.

And the postmodern, progressive worldview would get a win out of this policy position. What would that look like? Starting to try to think in that way, because to to, step back for a moment part of what’s happened in culture is We had this post-war era, they call it the post-war consensus.

We got a lot done as a civilization. We built a middle class in a different way. One of the most successful periods economically his in history. We went to the moon, we did all this stuff we got along relatively well. Now there were deep shadow sides to all of that. Right. We can talk about American misbehavior, colonialism.

We can talk about the, our problems with empire. We can talk about racial issues. There are deep problems with all of that, right. And so a whole new generation came along and. The whole progressive generation say we have to that stuff’s that’s bad. We have to break all that, that we have to move.

And okay. There, there’s some reason for breaking all that and moving forward, but you have to be careful when you break things, right? , that’s something, when you break things now, we’re, it’s all broken. It all worked. All those hierarchy, old hierarchies are blown away. All that cultural consensus is broken, is gone.

It’s and we are now in a completely fractured situation, right? So we went from this kind of more consensus, orientated, integrated situation, where there was a lot of problems, but we were able to accomplish things as a society do things together and agree on things to a situation where.

We, we busted that up completely. And the opportunity is that we busted it up for some good reasons and we developed some better, some values that needed to be in the mix, be more social justice, more quality, more ecologically, responsible richer understanding of the spiritual legacy of our, of humanity.

All of the, all of those things are important, right? We, and the, they will help they, the health culture and add to culture, but we are in a situation where culture is so fractured that we’re in danger of a, kind of a, sort of cold civil war civil cold war, however you say, right. And, that’s no good either that doesn’t get us anywhere.

Right. We’re we’re hanging on a little bit by thread to have any kind of national consensus, right? So the opportunity is that we can create a, new consensus, a new way of thinking about the whole of America. That, includes more, it includes more of all that. Right. But right now it’s just, it’s everyone’s at each other’s throats.

And so trying to say, okay, America’s maybe bigger than it was. It includes more values than it did. And we have, to like, as individuals and as culturally recognize that find a way to build, alliances between those different value systems, a deeper set of consensus that ultimately be much better than it was in the fifties and sixties but, we can’t fuck everything up in the meantime.

excuse my language. You got it. Yeah. And if you’re just a partisan for your particular values or your particular worldview or your particular political position the concern is that you’re just, even if there’s a lot, some really healthy things in that we all have to start to take a little more attention to the whole picture to building this whole, to building these deeper, broader alliances.

Now that’s what we’re trying to do at the Institute is, help facilitate that kind of conversation and see what, that might look like. Now it may take a while, this, is this may do, but we’re trying to plant those seeds.

Duncan Autrey: Perfect. So I’ll just name that folks are wondering about this.

We’ve mentioned the Institute for cultural evolution and then one of your projects is the developmentalist and, so you can find it dev developmentalist.org. Am I right there? And yeah. And so that’s where we can, people can learn about, see these policy positions, see all these things and writing about this and yeah.

Actually, could you just explain a little bit what’s going on with that project or just what, people might expect, it’s kinda media 

Carter Phipps: site and portal for a lot of our, for people within our, the think tank who are writing for it, who are expressing some of these ideas. There’s some, a lot of explanation of our, like you say, our policy positions, our ways of thinking, and also just people who are trying to take this idea and apply it to very practical writing columns.

Things that are happening in the world in the world. Right. And columns about other thinkers. Right. And columns about climate. Right. And columns about issues in, American culture. And so it’s just, it’s kind of a media portal to express a lot of the things that we’re talking about, yeah. Originally it was called post progressive, we changed name to developmentalist, but it’s kind of the same basic idea, which is what we’re talking about. Trying to ha how do we, kind of knit together these, competing worldviews of American culture? What would that look like?

What would perspective look like that started to do that so 

Duncan Autrey: perfect. Yeah. I links in the show notes if you were interested folks. Yeah. So. There’s a piece of nuance that I wanna parse out here that know, we’re talking about this postwar, I think it was called the liberal consensus.

This postwar consensus where everyone’s let’s just all agree on behalf of America and yeah. And there was like this 

Carter Phipps: and after the war, that’s a natural thing. People there’s a lot of evidence that people after wars are, more willing to get along. As you can understand.

That’s inevitably, and now, no, one’s willing to get along. 

It’s just the cost of it. The. It’s that’s one way to get culture, to change and people to appreciate what it means to get along. Right. All those things and it kind of allows you to remake your institutions. It resets everything in a way, but that’s a huge cost it’s like we, we have to try to find ways to evolve without clearing the playing field with a civil war or a world war.

I mean, it’s just like anyways, but you’re right. That is often in the past how things would kind of move forward, exactly. Yeah. Or, be a disaster for a hundred years, 

Duncan Autrey: So, this is actually a distinction again in the world of conflict resolution and transformation between negotiation or compromise and collaboration.

And compromise is let’s meet 50 50 in the middle and we’ll split the baby and we’ll both get mostly what we want and and we’re willing to do that. Yeah. In our current politics, people aren’t willing to do that anymore. And we’re not gonna go back to let’s just figure out where the middle point is.

So when we’re talking about this consensus, that’s coming out of this worldview or this, developmental worldview. Yeah. It’s about a consensus. That’s actually honoring all of the different perspectives. That’s kind of, I don’t know. I, it’s hard to conceptualize, but it’s we have this and do we go to the middle or do we find the circle that holds the whole thing?

Yeah. And there’s something about zooming out and being like, oh, okay. All of us are gonna be here. We’re not gonna get rid of the, this we’re not getting rid of the, far, right. We’re not getting rid of the far left. We’re not getting rid of the center. We’re not all these folks are gonna keep on being here and they all have something valid to contribute.

How can we hold all of that without any of us giving something up and yeah. And something that I want to somehow I think since I’ve been engaging with you and Steve in this whole world is we have processes for that. We have people and skills and tools that can get diverse groups of people to come together to have effective conversations and actually come up with consensus from a lot of diversity and things like that.

Yeah. And so again, like for those of you out there listening that are mediators are wanting to sort of think about. Like this lens can kind of help you think about what it would look like to get all these folks to talk to each other. But then for people who are with this lens, it’s also worth remembering that we have experts and, practitioners that are able to have these kinds of conversations.

And so I just wanna there’s all lottery based democracy and actually I’m gonna jump right here to your most recent article that’s on the developmentalist about making governing. Great again. Yeah. And you talk about how there’s expert, like trying experts are great be because they have a very specific expertise, but they are not good at governing because governing is a nuanced, complex multilayer thing.

Right. And so we can’t just have rules from experts, be the thing that’s directing us and I made me think about there’s good evidence that the smartest person is the group right. That, that if you can get the crowd kind is the crowd is actually the, smarter than any individual.

They can solve problems. Yeah. I mean, in 

Carter Phipps: politics, it gets more complicated. I think cuz sometimes crowds can be the passion of the crowd is not always what you want in your politics, but yes. Sometimes, it’s true. 

Duncan Autrey: Right. Well, yeah. And so I guess this is where like some of the tools come in and this is something I think we could probably unpack forever.

But an example of this that when my mentor gives is if you take a like a jar bowl of jelly beans and you ask people guess how many jelly beans there are. Yeah. Lot of you’ll get a huge range of guesses. Yeah. With the average. Is usually right? Yeah. That’s a cool thing, huh. And and similarly, if people are trying to solve some sort of puzzle or problem if you can get them into a process where they’re actually having a thoughtful conversation that are listening to each other and allowing theirselves to be moved by different things, the consensus that can kind of come out of that often will be sort of the right answer to a problem if it has a right answer, but also I don’t know, there’s something about getting people from all these worldviews across the perspective.

One of the processes for this is like a lottery based system. So you basically get a representative sample of the population and take them through a thoughtful, deliberative process, the facilitator and some structure. And over time they can come up with something that they can all agree on.

And so we have processes for generating this, that doesn’t just have to come out of a think tank. I think that’s just what I want. ’em to name there. I don’t know. 

Carter Phipps: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that’s look, I think there are various forms of deliberative democracy, like you’re saying, I know some of those projects there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of great ideas about how to have an impact on our current impasse politically, right.

And our current struggles to make any kind of consensus or get things done at a national level or even local, even smaller state levels, and I think that part of what, and there’s ideas about all kinds of issue, campaign finance and this and that and all these things. Right. That, and I’ve seen some that I thought, wow, that’s a really, that’s a great idea.

That’s that could be really good. That could really work, but it’s very hard in a cultural climate like we have now to implement those things. So it’s sort of a chicken and the egg thing you have a lot of good solutions, but you’re not in a cultural climate that is allowing the solutions to flourish.

So I think we’re. So it’s, so a lot of people have really good ideas, but they just, they can’t get the needed, whatever it is, the needed X, Y, Z factor to, for them to, be implemented or to move forward. And so I feel like it’s sort of chicken, the egg, as culture moves forward. If culture gets to that point, there’s suddenly gonna be a lot of new solutions available for us to use.

And I think they could be very helpful and functional. It’s like the, culture’s not, it’s not yet in a place where they’re, as long as we’re screaming at each other and the way we are is like none, all those kind of break down a bit. And so how do we get beyond that? I think we’re trying we’re, our conviction is a lot of those solutions and a lot of the politics are downstream from culture.

So if you can have a little bit of an impact on culture, even a little bit, maybe you can free up a lot of the energy for all, for some of those solutions to work. Now maybe may who knows exactly how it’s gonna happen. These are all different forms of solutions. They all might happen in different ways.

We can’t predict it, but at least that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to help that process. So, yeah, there’s a lot of great solutions out there. There are whether it’s, and as you’re saying, there’s yeah, you mentioned a few. 

Duncan Autrey: Yeah, it’s interesting. What I mean, the question I wanna will come to just a second is about.

How, like, how do we start making that shift? What actually do we needs to happen to, to move culture, to, to sort of get us out of this place where people don’t even wanna get along at this point, or how to raise awareness that these lenses or approaches or even impossible. And one thing I wanted to say is, so I’ve actually organized my thinking about around the Omni win project with a four quadrant perspective and so and for integral people, you’re gonna get this real quick.

We have the internal things, we have the external objective, external reality. We have the individual and we have the collective. And so on the I kind of think about how we have processes. For communicating across differences, we have the tools and so forth, and those are skills that we can learn and behaviors that we can learn.

We have systemic changes. As you mentioned, people are trying to make all these reforms. Yeah. We can change this. We can add this into the system. People are trying to tweak the system. Yeah. And then we have a cultural shift that needs to happen. And we have lenses to sort of think about how we evolve as a culture to collectively say, Hey, we’re all in this together.

Aren’t we Don we wanna get along. And let’s see if we can be inclusive whatever that cultural shift would be. And then we have this personal work. Right. And, that each of us need to do to be able to admit that we don’t have all the answers to open up to different perspectives to yeah.

To, and to also be willing to evolve or grow. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So, oh, I know I said there’s two questions. We can go either way. So we could either like, as we’ll come to the individuals next. How do you see, as you’re trying to do some of the shift in cultural thinking what are some of the strategies or steps that you’re thinking that might be necessary to help a cultural shift?

Carter Phipps: Well I, think like what you’re saying, it’s there’s there’s different things at different, in different, we can, things we can do individually but the Institute we’re working on culture.

I mean, that is okay, culture’s upstream from politics there’s times when, you know, so that’s kind of our main focus, but it is like, look, we’re, where’s a. A small think tank. There’s not, we’re, not we’re not the Brookings institution. We don’t have those kinds of resources.

We’re not some of these bigger, but we hope, but you know, sometimes little changes can make, a big difference. And this is a time when, we need new ideas and we new ways approaching. So we’re hoping we can have a real influence in, here and there and influence the influencers in some ways, and influence the conversation and start getting people to think about these issues and start, like getting in the mindset of, we have to build like more robust win-win solutions to our political.

We have to, we have to, rethink the way we’re partisan. It doesn’t mean we can’t be partisan. It doesn’t mean we can’t have strong opinions. And then we mean, we can’t condemn. The other side that we are, whatever the other side from us, from for the things where we feel they’re wrong or they’re, inappropriate, but we have to make the the, effort to also appreciate the healthy positives of, the the other side, or there are different, worldviews different values, and trying to raise those up and trying to enrich those and trying to, build, to understand that we need to build build different forms.

Of like you say collaboration and consensus than we’ve built before. If we’re gonna get, if we’re gonna build this, if we’re gonna kind of build a culture where we can get along, doesn’t mean we just all pretend to get along. We can still argue and we disagree about all kinds of things and we can even fight about those things, but it’s different than like the fight to the death kind of thing.

Tho those people have to leave the country for me to be happy it’s yeah, we have to get beyond that. And we can’t and we not just by I’m gonna pretend to be okay. We have to get beyond part of the way you get beyond that is by understanding these different relationships of values.

And so you can see, oh, I see there’s some really healthy values here and I can still don’t like these, I can condemn those, but in that appreciating those, there’s some healthy values and some of these other world views that, and I, in general, don’t identify with, or don’t have great affinity for, even by appreciating those healthy values, you can see, oh, we have to preserve those in important ways, even while maybe we condemn and, be partisan in other ways.

And so when people get that, that changes how you relate to the culture war it really does. Yeah. And I think that’s a huge, important, dramatic transformation in how we kind of approach this whole, the whole political sphere, 

Duncan Autrey: oh, yes. Wow. Thank you. You know what part of what you’re saying is reminding me of something that I guess I got from Ken Wilber, like back when I was first exploring into growth theory and cuz I, so I agree, I, that the point that you’re making that culture is upstream from politics is I think is important, right?

That like what is our cultural value system? And part of what we would like to add into this cultural value system is that we would like for there to be a win, win, world. Right. We wanna build a future for our country that is holding all of these truths and bringing forward the best of them.

Yeah. And that’s a, value that would be with you. I y’all like would like to infuse into our culture. Right? Yeah. And so the question changing culture, Is the most durable change that we can do, but it is also the hardest, cuz it’s a, the hardest, it’s the hardest. Cause people can’t really see culture.

That’s part of, it’s like the sea, the ocean of the fish and the ocean. Right. That, yeah, it’s hard, hard to see. Right. Really hard to see. It’s hard to become that cultural awareness and just all one big 

Carter Phipps Video-1: soup 

Carter Phipps: people. Don’t, it’s very hard to make sense of it. 

Duncan Autrey: Right. So what I’m remembering though, is that chemical pointed out or that it was only about 10% of the world.

believed in democracy or believed in this democratic, modern reality when the United States was born and they were able to get this, they were able to be the leaders to sort of bring this new worldview into reality. Yeah. And so part of it, like we’re trying to change the culture. Part of what we wanna do is get there to be just enough that critical mass or that of people that are looking in a new way at the world, this kind of world.

Yeah. Yeah. 

Carter Phipps: But yeah, he makes that great point. He says, One of the unique things about United States was sort of one of the first countries in the world, like built from the ground up on modern, what we call it might call modernist principles. Right? So meaning that the constitution, all the were built on kind of secular new secular valley values based on the enlightenment.

We weren’t like in Europe where they kind of arose out of these kind of tribal affiliations or or national affiliate or or other cultures around the world where, because just because of the way the, us came. It was one of the first countries in the world was kind of based on modernist sort of principles that had derived from enlightenment this new at the time, that was kind of new worldview.

That was a rising in the era. They had a whole set of ways to restructure our political world based on these enlightenment values, right. Based on these kind of modernist worldview values. And he kinda makes a point that it’s not like everyone was at that state that most most people are probably more still traditional religious people and those kind of reli Royals enough people were yeah.

Enough people had those values that you had critical mass. We were able to create a national consensus of that allowed it to, move forward, right. And so that was so it’s not like you, not like everyone has to be in a certain place for something to really happen to move forward.

If you go back to the renaissances, it’s probably, or it’s there wasn’t enough. That was also a flowering of sort of early modern some modernness ideas, but it probably wasn’t in deep enough in the culture to have for that to be sustainable or, some other cultures in history.

But by that time in the us, it was and, you were able to, not only was it, you have enough people, but you’re to create, you were able to cut structures and institutions in society that were derived from this new worldview. So, so the country itself was sort of help the gravity of the country to hold to that.

Duncan Autrey: Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. And we can see now that even though it’s actually pretty small subset of our population that is in the progressive worldview lens, like the really Postmodern lens and, or very small slice that is considers themselves anti-racist or there’s enough that the gravity’s starting to pull and very influential, right.


Carter Phipps: it is new and. Look there there was a, tremendous FRA moral fragrance. We might say to these ideas for the most of the last few decades, because I think the culture as a whole, mostly recognized that they were important ideas, right. We needed to do something about race in America.

We needed to move forward on that. We needed to do something about the environment and ecology and we and there was this kind of flowering of this sort of spiritual, but not religious movements and all that. I think there was a recognition that those were morally fragrant ideas and, ethically important.

And we needed even across multiple world views. There’s a recognition of that. And but like you say, it’s not like the whole, it’s not like the whole country became postmodern or progressive, or it drop the values of the hippies or whatever, 

Duncan Autrey: obviously not yeah. 

Carter Phipps: yeah. Quite the opposite. It caused, it also caused a big black backlash but, we can see that, that those values have become more and more influential in the culture.

And, it’s only been more so recently with what happened with George Floyd and the whole thing over the over COVID that was a a huge another kind of surge in the among young people too of the influence of a whole set of values. And that kind of built they’re different.

They’re a little different, they’ve evolved in the last 40 years. They’re a little different now. We, and that’s its own thing. We can talk about that but, you can see it’s I don’t know what, how, what percentage of the country? 10, 10 million, 20 million, 10%, 20%. 30%. I, don’t know, but they’re very influential in certain parts.

They’re influential in younger the younger generations they were they have a big influence on media. They have a, I always, I like to say sometimes. Post modernism runs the media and, or runs the culture of media and modernism still runs the economic world, but they’re kind of you can see there’s a great deal of tension between those two worlds.

Duncan Autrey: Yeah, exactly. Well, so I think what I’m coming thinking about now is that if we wanna take the lesson from these past, from these other evolutionary leaps that we’ve made, that if we wanna bring forward developmentalist integral post progressive, or a new layer of cultural layer of thinking a new world view that wants to hold all this and look for the win, win, solutions.

Yeah. Part of the strategy would be to get enough people to think and feel that way. And sorry, kind of one kind of question I wanna wrap with is. If you are there individuals out there that are like, oh wow, this is really making sense. Or I’m interested in this. How would you what actions might you invite or, yeah.

What actions might you invite the listeners to, to think about if they want, if they’re in taking on a more integral perspective or being more of an evolutionary, like how, if they wanna be inspired, how can they, where yeah. What advice would you give for people who are wanting to grow along the trajectory and sort of contribute yeah.

To that win win, future. 

Carter Phipps: Great question. And I, think that, I, think. Some of the ideas that we’re talking about can seem to people more intellectual and there is some, and you can go very deeply intellectually with some of these ideas, but I, you don’t have to, embrace some of them.

But I do think you have to spend a little time thinking about them and trying to understand what we’re talking about. It’s worth it to, to pursue it a little bit, either through some of the resources we’ve talked about, you certainly visit our, work and our website. But, part of this idea is okay, how do I wanna live in a less polarized world, how do I, depolarize my own thinking a bit and it doesn’t mean you can’t have strong opinions or be partisan for, values.

You really care about it really doesn’t, but it might mean that you have to question also question some of some convictions that you have either about your own values or about the other side, that, whether you’re particular, whatever the other side of you, of your positions are. You might have to rethink some of those or look a little deeper at some of those or reconsider some of those.

And we have, there’s some resources on that we’ve developed that help people do that and help people think about those and they can go to this side. They can, there, there are opportunities to, to learn and to educate themselves. And there’s some tests and things that people can take. They’re kind of fun to sort of question help kind of question your own yourself and your values and the way you look at the world and give you another perspective on it and help you think more deeply about it.

Hopefully. All of that. So I, I think people it’s like we kind of invite people to try to depolarize themselves as well as the culture and not again, not just win the culture war. We, we’re not again, we’re, we need to get out of the winner, take all battle for the future of American culture.

We all have to live here and it doesn’t mean we have to succumb to the lowest common denominator, whatever we hate about the other side. but, we do all have to live here. and so we need to go forward with that with trying to build a society we can all live in and that may look different than today’s society, but it can be, but it can work.

And so 

Duncan Autrey: Yeah, 

I appreciate that. That invitation of the depo ourselves, and, we most, I think if you ask most people, what’s the problem, polarization, do you like it? No. What do you do? Look inside your heart. And, I I should reminded by a piece of advice and my father gave me growing up, which was it’s if you’re in a fight with someone take some time, and then he gave this little caveat to make it accessible.

Even if it’s just, when you’re taking a shit in the toilet by yourself to consider what, why the other person might think the way they think, right? What is actually a reason if they are a. This person might actually have some reason to sort of be thinking the way are and take some time to reflect on that, and then I think that would be sort of, yeah, I’ll add into your advice. Just think about, well, why might someone think that way? Is there a reason why was it Steve says people have where that we are people of good faith and, assuming that these people are really care and trying to do good in this world.

Yeah. Why would they be taking this totally different approach to things and and open to that and yeah, and also give a shout out to all the great quizzes and stuff over here, website they’re really . Yeah, 

Carter Phipps: they are. They’re good. Exactly. I think we’ve done some good job with that. Steve’s created some of those and he’s done a really good job.

And, I think some part of it is I’ve, been more influenced by the progressive world. And I feel like I understand that world a little better. In some ways, even though I grew up in a more traditional world, I grew up in Oklahoma.

So it was a little more of a traditional world. But because I’ve been in that progressive world a little more I, feel like I understand that. And I I would invite people to again find ways to move culture forward without, without overthrowing. The best of what’s come before even unintentionally even accidentally.

And, some of the, even what I know a lot of my progressive friends maybe consider completely misguided political positions sometimes come deeply from an effort to preserve some of the good of what’s come before so I feel the more we can on the more, we can appreciate even as we condemn some of the sins of history, Right, right.

The more we can appreciate that, that there was a lot of good that’s happened over the last 150 years, a hundred years, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 years in America. Let’s just talk to America for a sec. A lot of good that’s happened. And a lot of that has created this all kinds of this creative foundations.

Of the world in which we can make all those criticisms, believe me, why wasn’t we weren’t living in these nice places or these nice rooms or this kind of we wouldn’t be able to do this, yeah. So it doesn’t mean we can’t remake the world again and remake the, and create a better world, but it’s, harder than people think to make the world better without making it worse at the same time.

I, was in a group last night where someone was talking about Bucky fuller Bucky fuller had this great line where you said, don’t try to change. What’s there, build something new and make what’s there, irrelevant build.

And there’s something great about it build new things and it will make what’s there irrelevant. And that’s great, but the culture it’s tricky. You have to be careful about that because you can’t just remake the world in your image and hope that the world’s gonna and get rid of all that we have to.

We have to climb on the we have to, we can’t just cut the ladder out from underneath us we’ve, we, we are creatures, all of us of this cultural evolution that’s happened and we contain all that history. In ourselves, in our culture, all the sins of that history, all the dignities and breakthroughs of that history.

And there’s some way as we move forward, we have to sort of come to terms with that and coming to terms of that doesn’t mean just throwing it overboard and trying to remake the world anew. That is a, that can, that has its own kind of disaster associated with it. So let’s evolve let’s not, let’s evolve more than we, we have to do.

We have to, let’s, be, evolutionaries not revolutionaries, as I say, and there’ll be some revolutions along the way, but if our focuses on evolution, I think those revolutions will be more, they’ll be healthier and they won’t set us back a hundred years or whatever it is, or who knows maybe more if, we, if the more technology we have.

So, so I guess that’s the, thing is let’s, find ways to do that. Let’s find, and look, it’s gonna be a, it’s a fractious contentious era, right? But it’s partially fractious and contentious because we’ve changed, right? Because culture has evolved in some way. Yes. But it’s broken up culture.

It’s broken, it’s blown apart. And we thought it was a great idea to blow apart. Now we’re paying this pain for the, what we did. What we did meaning like what progressives did essentially they broke the culture apart, but the opportunity is there to recreate it in a way that where’s richer and better than before.

Yeah. But we, if we can avoid a civil war along the way, if we can avoid the greater downsides of an incredibly fractious time it will all be work out better for us. I hope we can do that. There’s no guarantee we can do that. We could enter to a culturally difficult period that could be at last for an extended period of time.

Yeah. But the opportunity is to recreate some kind of new collaborative context, some kind of new consensus at a higher level, really that at a level that includes more, that makes the, that does make. Culture better. It does make it richer. It does include more of the concerns that progressives wanted.

They wanted more ecological concerns. They wanted to be concerned about climate. They wanted social justice and they wanted a more spiritually rich culture. Right? We could have that in many ways, but we can’t have that. If we just try to overthrow the past and try to get rid of all that we need those foundations, we need those tra that traditional culture.

We need the wealth and prosperity that that, free markets and capitalism brought us even, if we, respond to the ecological downsides of that, so, so it’s like we have to knit the world together in a way that includes a lot more. And if we can do that, the opportunity is tremendous, but it may take us some time to get there.

May, this may take decades, to, get to something else. And we may go through some rough periods in that process, but we, can’t, we have to start now. 

Duncan Autrey: Absolutely. And I think that there’s, something about, we need to buy into our role in the journey. Right. Cause like I am benefiting from the, past and the fan wonderful fancy world that I get to live in.

I’m benefiting from all the struggles for justice. I’m benefiting from all the struggles for, all, so much. And and people who gave their lives for this. Right. I mean like really remembering that. And then, yeah. And to say this history is some evil thing that I don’t want everything to do with, and I’m gonna go over here.

There’s that wi this part of the deep polarizing of ourselves is to not otherwise. So we otherwise our national history we’re otherizing ourself. Yeah. Right. And absolutely. And one of my quotes, I, I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but it’s spin off of when you’ll recognize. If you’re not part of the problem, you can’t be part of the solution.

Right. You have to recognize, oh, I’m a member of this country. I’m benefiting from I, my ancestors own slaves and I benefit from colonialism and yeah, I don’t like it, but that’s part of me. Yeah. And I’m not gonna just try to say that all the bad stuff is out there and all the good stuff is in here instead recognizing that man we’re all trying to figure this stuff out.

And there’s 

Carter Phipps: polar there too. Right? It’s like that balance between I, own this. This is part of me is part of my family. It’s part, my history. It’s part of my nation. It’s part of our culture. Especially for those of and then but then not, we also don’t wanna, I guess we don’t wanna flip the other side where it’s just, it’s all bad.

We, have to recognize it’s therefore I’m just, I’ve got nothing to offer. I have to be, have to kind of collapse in the shame either that doesn’t, that just kind of, then you, flip. And so holding both that, that polarity of both, it’s my, my colleague wrote a great article about America called the politics of pride and shame.

We got pride in America for its great accomplishments. They’re unusual in they’re exceptional in terms of history, we can have shame for America for his great disaster. Great problems and the things that did wrong. And so many problems. And so many things in so many, so much karma that was created over the centuries.

We can look at it both ways, but if we only can look at it, one of those ways where it’s gonna be that’s a that, in itself is a problem. Cuz that’s, an untruth. 

Duncan Autrey: Right? Exactly. Yeah. That’s It was a little note that I made on your the article about governing great, was that like our politics is a process. Science is a process. Any person, a friend of mine recently said, if someone is saying that they know the absolute truth and it’s undeniable, they’re wrong. we don’t even know how knowledge works, there’s a way that if you try to get that fixed position, like this is the right choice. That’s where things get messed up. It’s like recognizing the word in a dynamic evolving process. When we try to make the fixed points, that’s where we get into trouble. And 

Carter Phipps: And, then the solutions we find are always in relationship to what came before.

Even the way we wanna overthrow everything is usually in relationship to what came before. And so but we, have enough sense of history and I look at all that and kind of from a bigger perspective and, have some appreciation for that and not just get caught up in the moment. And, I understand.

The solutions of another era were, that they weren’t perfect, but they weren’t response to what came before. And the solutions of this era, we, can look at a bigger, we can look at a bigger sweep of history now and maybe build solutions that are a little more durable for our, for the whole culture, because look it doesn’t look like one side, I guess the other way you could say, if it’s one side just vanquished the other, right. That would be the other way to solve the polarization problem, but that doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen anytime soon. And I’m not sure that would create its own problems.

Duncan Autrey: The logical conclusion of I have the right answer and they have the wrong one. Yes. Is dark, that’s dark, whoever we are. Right, right. Whatever group’s trying to get rid of the other half is, I mean, that’s where we get into dark things. 

Carter Phipps: I, wrote a, I wrote that like a.

An article in, recently called, who wants this kid, the civil war, but it was kind of based on idea that There are moments in history when for whatever reason, a dark force arises that we have to defeat, and world war II we can talk about was like that other points in the history like that.

But I feel like sometimes the mythos of our culture is so based around that, that we all we all wanna be actors in that drama. In our own wives and that’s usually not what the actual issues are about. And certainly at this time in history, I just think that’s a poor mythological template to act out right now is to be the hero in a drama of defeating the evil of history.

I just think we have to be careful about that mythological drama right now. Cause I think it’s a much more complex situation. And if we, and we try to act out that drama right now that’s a very tricky situation. That’s a, I think that could leave us in some bad directions. 

Duncan Autrey: We’re looking for that north star. Like where, what is our trajectory going towards? The more true, the more good, the more beautiful. And and we have a counterpoint, which is not that and we are the ones who are choosing this, right?

Like what direction do we wanna go? Do we wanna make sure that there’s space for everyone? And we’re the leading edge of time and existence and the universe. We have the benefit.

One of being in contact with everyone on the planet, different than times in the past. And we know our history and we all win or we all lose it’s we either are gonna figure that out. How we all make this planet work and humanity keeps on going and, or it gets real dark and, but it’s our choice.

Carter Phipps: Yeah, I feel like that. Again, I think the, lurching toward utopia is, it won’t lead to utopia probably at this point. I think the, kind of unconscious lurching and hitting the two sides of the guardrail continuously until we pummel ourselves into submission and move forward a little bit.

It’s probably not the, is not the, I don’t think that I’m not sure that’s gonna work anymore in history very well. I think we have to be a little more conscious about how we move forward. A little more awake, a little more aware of where we come from a little more intentional about how we go forward and how we engage with each other.

And I think then we can then I think that’s, what’s gonna take us forward in a way where the, just the, kind of the drift, the kind of unconscious drift of, how we’ve gotten here is probably not enough to get us where we need to go 

Duncan Autrey: cause we know that we’re evolving and so we get to do something that hasn’t happened in the past as we get to consciously evolve, right?

Yeah, Amen. Carter. Thank you for this. Thanks Duncan. It was fun.


Carter Phipps profile facing to the left.
Carter Phipps

About this episode’s guest

Carter Phipps is the author of Evolutionaries and coauthor of the Wall Street Journal Bestseller Conscious Leadership with John Mackey and Steve McIntosh. He is co-founder of the Institute for Cultural Evolution, which addresses political polarization though focusing on the cultural roots of America’s challenges. He hosts the Thinking Ahead podcast and is a former award-winning journalist who has been interviewed on BBC Radio, MSNBC, and NPR.

Connect with our guest

Guest Resources


Book Cover: Evolutionaries

Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea

In this groundbreaking book, Phipps introduces a movement of visionary scientists, philosophers, and spiritual thinkers who are quietly forging this new understanding of evolution. Their contribution, he posits, may one day be seen as equaling the Western Enlightenment in its dramatic, culture-changing power. He calls them “Evolutionaries,” and his book provides the first popular guide to these exciting minds who are illuminating the secrets of our past and expanding the vistas of our future.

Book Cover: Conscious Leadership

Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business

Carter Phipps teams up with Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and his Institute for Cultural Evolution cofounder Steve McIntosh for this follow-up to the bestselling Conscious Capitalism.

Each chapter of Conscious Leadership challenges readers to rethink conventional business wisdom through anecdotes, case studies, profiles of conscious leaders, and innovative techniques for self-development, culminating in an empowering call to action for entrepreneurs and trailblazers—to step up as leaders who see beyond the bottom line.

Thinking Ahead Podcast

Carter’s podcast, Thinking Ahead, is a show that explores the movements, trends, people, and ideas that are shaping the future. Through in-depth interviews and occasional rants and reflections, the show explores the many subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways that the world is changing and developing across a vast array of domains—from business and politics to science and technology to consciousness and spirituality.

Here are some episodes that relate to our conversation:

Podcast Cover: Thinking Ahead with Carter Phipps


Here are some articles by Carter that discussed during this episode:

“Can We Make Governing Great Again?”

Perhaps Our Crisis of Expertise Is Really a Crisis of Governance

“Who Wants to Skip the Civil War?”

What if the ethical challenge of our own time is not to have the courage to be a combatant for the last century’s great causes, but to negotiate a much more complex set of moral issues, values, and worldviews?

The Developmentalist

The Developmentalist is working to advance the evolution or American democracy. It is a project of the Institute for Cultural Evolution.
As promised, here are some of the personal developement quizzes from The Developmentalist website.

What is Your Worldview?

Take this 7 minute test and find out which “values frame” describes you best

By answering these 17 questions you may learn more about your own worldview, as well as about the worldviews of others. Your answers will indicate which of the four major cultural worldviews (defined below) describes you best, as well as the worldview to which you are most opposed.

What is your Portrait of the Good?

The point of this free exercise is to encourage the practice of virtues. This ancient practice develops your character and helps make you a better person. The exercise asks you to reflect on the people and things that matter most. This process helps clarify your highest ideals.

By asking you to identify the people and things you truly love, the exercise reveals the basic moral obligations you owe to yourself, to others, and to that which you recognize as transcendent.

An example of a Portrait of the Good is shown to the right.

Are You a Developmentalist?

Take a 2-minute test of your political developmentalism, and see your “transcendence and inclusion score.”
This simple test asks you to select your level of agreement or disagreement with twelve political statements. The test results will indicate your inclusivity score, your transcendence score, and the extent to which you are a developmentalist overall.

What is a Developmentalist?

In 100 words:

    1. We want to help mend the torn social fabric of American culture.
    2. Our position is neither left, nor right, nor centrist—we’re exploring higher ground.
    3. Our perspective is post-progressive, which transcends progressivism’s downsides, while carrying forward its important upsides.
    4. We advocate cultural intelligence, which integrates values from across the political spectrum.
    5. Our strategy is to foster cultural evolution by showing how America can grow into a better version of itself.
    6. Our theory of change is that culture and consciousness coevolve when people expand the scope of what they can value.
    7. We’re working to pave a new path forward for American politics.

Omni-Win Project Resources

Videos & Essays

Here are some essays and videos from the Omni-Win Project about topics we discussed in the video.

Leadership & Polarization – Old Way vs. New Way

Topics Discussed in Episode

Integral Theory

Integral theory, developed by Ken Wilber, is a school of philosophy that seeks to integrate all of human wisdom into a new, emergent worldview that is able to accommodate the gifts of all previous worldviews, including those which have been historically at odds: science and religion, Eastern and Western schools of thought, and pre-modern, modern and post-modern worldviews.

A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber is an excellent introduction to integral theory.

Learn more by visiting the well-curated “Quick Introduction to Integral Theory” from the Daily Evolver. Starting with this video:

Hegel & The Dialectic

These two videos from The School of Life do a fantastic job of distilling down the essence of Hegel’s great philisophical contributions. 
Excellent summary from Alain de Botton:

“Growth requires the clash of divergent ideas, and therfore it will be painful and slow. But, at least, once we know this, we won’t have to compound our troubles by thinking them abnormal.”

Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself

by Steve McIntosh

American politics are badly broken. Yet to solve the seemingly intractable problem of hyperpolarization, we need to look beyond the gridlocked politics of Washington D.C. In Developmental Politics, Steve McIntosh shows how this growing rift in the fabric of American society is a cultural problem that requires a cultural solution. He presents a pragmatic yet inspiring solution to our national political dilemma through a new cultural approach to politics―one that goes right to the heart of this entrenched, complex issue. McIntosh offers a variety of innovative methods through which citizens and political leaders from across the political spectrum can reach agreement and achieve consensus.

Wisdom from Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

“I’m not trying to counsel any of you to do anything really special except dare to think. And to dare to go with the truth. And to dare to really love completely.”

“I am a passenger on the spaceship Earth.”

– R. Buckminster Fuller

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” - Buckminster Fuller

About The Omni-Win Project

The Omni-Win Project is a multimedia effort to raise awareness of the myriad existing and emergent opportunities to improve our democracy and heal our political culture.

Our mission: facilitating the healing and evolution of our democratic systems and political culture, so that we can co-create a future that works for everyone.

Meet The Host

I am omnipartial: I am biased in favor of the success of everyone and the whole. I believe it is possible to improve systems of communication and interaction in ways that will allow humanity to thrive and evolve through our complexity and diversity.

My purpose in life is to support an omnipartial revolution. How? By helping the world understand the fractal nature of conflict and how we can transform conflict into a positive and inspiring experience. We are all in this together. I firmly believe we can do this complex dance through life with much more grace and beauty.

I am specifically committed to transforming how we work together in teams and organizations and how we experience conflict and collaboration in our democracy.

Fractal Friends

Duncan is also the host of the Fractal Friends podcast. An exploration of our self-similary across our diversity.

Fans of the Omni-Win project podcast will enjoy this collection of episodes: https://www.fractalfriends.us/transforming-politics about Transforming Politics and Healing Democracy

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