The Meaning Crisis

Young Thoughts

From John Vervaeke's lecture series: Today, there is an increase of people feeling very disconnected from themselves, from each other, from the world, and from a viable and foreseeable future. Let’s discuss this, let’s work on it together, let’s rationally reflect on it.


Awakening from The Meaning Crisis, a 50 part YouTube lecture series from University of Toronto professor of cognitive science John Vervaeke, begins with the following introduction:

"...Today, there is an increase of people feeling very disconnected from themselves, from each other, from the world, and from a viable and foreseeable future. Let’s discuss this, let’s work on it together, let’s rationally reflect on it..."

The series explores the Western-centric modern person's struggle to grasp profound meaning in life. One element that stood out in this series was Vervaeke's emphasis on the importance of pursuing wisdom:

"...Wisdom is about realising - in both senses of the word, becoming aware and making real - about realising the meaning of life in a profound way..."

Wisdom is not mere intellectual capability, but a dynamic process of realisation. First, it's developing awareness. Awareness of the nature of existence, of the human condition, of the causes of suffering. This part is about exploring what it means to be conscious. For this, Vervaeke suggests drawing from various domains, including science, philosophy, spirituality, and art (and this is what GYM seeks to do).

The second part is translating that understanding into a way of being, into something real. Here Vervaeke suggests engaging in an 'ecology of practices' collected from those domains, whether rituals, community engagement, ethical actions, meditation, journalling, or others. Whatever appeals, doing these, in a sustainable way, over a lifetime, is the goal.