Awakening from the Meaning Crisis || John Vaervaeke

May 11, 2023

Today we welcome John Vervaeke. John is an award-winning professor at the University of Toronto in Psychology, Cognitive Science and Buddhist Psychology. His academic interests include wisdom, mindfulness, meditation, relevance realization, general intelligence, and rationality. He is the author of Awakening from the Meaning Crisis Youtube series and co-author of Zombies in Western Culture: A 21st Century Crisis.

In this episode I talk to John Vaervaeke about the meaning crisis. There is a growing number of people who are struggling to find purpose in life. Society seems to be losing touch of its humanity. John argues that we can address the meaning crisis by appreciating and grounding ourselves in reality. We can find relevance by deepening our relationship with the world and the people around us. In turn, this reverence affords us peace of mind, while recognizing the interconnection of all things. We also touch on the topics of transcendence, mattering, narcissism, spirituality and artificial intelligence. 

Website: patreon.com/johnvervaeke

Twitter: @vervaeke_john


  • Meaning and mattering
  • Relevance realization
  • Grounding and peace of mind
  • Horizontal and vertical transcendence 
  • Wisdom is overcoming dichotomy
  • Measuring rationality
  • Zen Neoplatonism and Daoism
  • Spirituality is what remains 
  • Care is essential to being human
  • The next Buddha is the Sangha 
  • Reverence realization
  • The meaning crisis

2 Responses to “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis || John Vaervaeke”

  1. Yuri Zavorotny says:

    Jesus: I came to bear witness to the truth!
    Pilate: What’s truth?

    And here we are, two thousands years later, no less confused about the meaning of truth, the meaning of consciousness, the meaning of meaning… The real question should be, “How can we even function like this?”

    Well, not too good… that’s the short answer. Now, I do believe we can do better. But then again, so did Jesus… Still, this is good news. Still.

  2. Matt says:

    Love it! Do Shamil Chandaria next!

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