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Today we take a step away from science per se, to look at the role of story in the formation of our world views, for generations our only method alongside direct experience of understanding the world, as opposed the more modern method of hard data from scientific research that we tend to examine on Chasing Consciousness. So we’re continuing the all important job of our first series: to establish the limits of what science can know. And today we’re going to start understanding how some of the story like information found in the psyche, and perhaps in the way our lives unfold, can give us clues to the nature of human reality and so support our scientific research in psychology. 


So who better to help us navigate this troublesome academic area than award winning social anthropologist Dr Carla Stang! Carla earned her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.  She has held the position of Visiting Scholar at Columbia University and Associate Researcher at the University of Sydney, and was awarded the Frank Bell Memorial Prize for Anthropology from Cambridge. Based on her fieldwork with the Mehinaku, Carla wrote a book called “A Walk to the River in Amazonia” which we’ll be talking about in a bit. She writes for the Dark Mountain collective which advocates ‘uncivilisation’, and has created a mysterious new project ‘Imaginal Futures’. Most recently she co-created the first Masters of Philosophy at Schumacher College, and is currently at work on a new book, an ecological, cross-disciplinary and collaborative project.


What we discuss in this episode:

Part 1

00:00 Tarzan of Greystoke

08:00 Cultures that live life with more fullness 

10:00 How much of a problem is our propensity for narrative over fact?

14:00 Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey or Monomyth examined

22:00 The influence of Indo-European cosmology circa 3000BC on western story

24:00 Critiquing the destructive power and domination of others presented in the mono myth 

26:30 Contact with the mystery of the unknown

29:00 The consequences of individualism 

35:00 Including more stories in the narrative

38:00 Jung’s Redbook: Using structures and theories to trick ourselves into feeling better about the unknown

40:00 The uninitiated: we’re a society of children

42:00 The consequence is no ones thinking about the consequences

45:00 Relationship with ancestors and answering the questions of the dead

47:00 Is facing the terror of the unknown a rite of passage in itself?

49:00 The Heroine’s Journey, Maureen Murdoch and healing the wounded feminine

53:00 Pushing back on the new age oversimplification of masculine and feminine 

55:00 Different types of ‘events of consciousness’ and mythos


Part 2

1:05:30 The importance of interdisciplinary research to get big picture understanding

1:08:00 Competition in academia obstructing the sharing of knowledge

1:12:00 The risk of anthropological theories forgetting they are academic projections

1:17:00 What’s quotidian Amazonian life like; ‘A Walk to the River in Amazonia’ Carla’s 2011 book 

1:20:00 Mythical and cosmological worldviews can totally change the experience of quotidian life

1:23:00 The absurdity of viewing another person’s experience as more ‘primitive’ than your own

1:26:00 The world isn’t dead for the Mehinaku. When was that ‘glow’ robbed from us?

1:30:00 James Hillman’s ‘Aisthesis’ - breathing in the world as it speaks to you

1:37:00 Uncivilisation and The Dark Mountain Project

1:40:00 Humans are often not at the centre of stories, it doesn’t need to be a self centred Hero’s Journey.  

1:44:00 Post-enlightenment materialism and finding the humility to save the world

1:49:00 Considering indigenous theories of existence in modern science

1:50:00 Carla’s new project ‘Imaginal Futures’

1:53:00 Imagining the stories of the future we want, we can form the world

2:00:00 We’re not imagining out of nothing, as we listen to the world we imagine



Carls Stang ‘A Walk to the River in Amazonia’

Imaginal futures, created by Carla Stang, Rachel Flemming and Emma George

Eugène (Eugeniusz) Minkowski 'Vers une cosmologie. Fragments philosophiques'

William James quote, ‘Live life to the fullest’  

Ben Okri quote ‘We are story beings’

Joseph Campbell quote ‘follow your bliss’

Sonu Shamdasani Historian and Redbook publisher 'Lament of the Dead'

James Hillman Jung scholar and founder of the field of 'Archetypal Psychology'

Freddy’s ‘Rites of Passage’ podcast show

Maureen Murdoch 'The heroines Journey'

Novalis - ‘The true history of the world’

William James idea-  intimacy is only made possible by individuality

William James - ‘Noticia’

Henri Corbin book - Mundis Imaginalis

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