As the P5+1 reached the outline of a deal with Iran to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions, modernists (orange altitude) celebrated in the US and in the streets of Tehran. Traditionalists (amber altitude), on both sides, warned that the other couldn’t be trusted. As Dr. Phil points out to heartbroken lovers trying to reconcile, you may not be able to trust the other to do what they say, but you can trust them to be who they are.

In this podcast Jeff points out that governments have evolved into greater complexity and cooperation—from clans to tribes to empires to nations. We are seemingly on our way to a federation of nations, a de facto world government, and you can see it happening now in many spheres, including the way the world has cooperated to keep the pressure on Iran, from the US and Europe to China and even Russia, a formal ally of Iran.

…there’s a modern America and a traditional America, and there’s a modern Iran and a traditional Iran. And all of four of these entities are negotiating with each other in a very interesting way. ~Jeff Salzman

Nobody wants more nuclear weapons on the planet, but especially nobody wants one in the hands of the theocratic Iranian government, so much so that it has trumped other geo-political considerations. Maybe Tehran wouldn’t consider using them as official policy, but the possibility that they could find their way to someone who would is terrifying. In the podcast, Jeff invites us to feel into the scenario of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Chilling, no?

Excerpt | Why are you negotiating with the devil? The premodern mind and the dangerous other

Modern technology in the hands of premodern cultures is one of the greatest challenges of our time (ISIS, North Korea, etc.). A pre-modern mentality is ethnocentric and is organized around defending against an enemy. At the traditional/pre-modern stage, Jeff says, “we are in a cosmic struggle with those who are on the wrong side of things. Not only other people but other powers, including transcendent powers.”

The traditionalists in Iran and in the US want to dig in their heels and fight the good fight. Meanwhile, the modernists are engaging with sanctions and diplomacy, which seem to have worked well enough. A deal was reached and thousands of people in Iran were celebrating on the streets and on social media. They are about to get relief from sanctions that have crippled Iran for a decade. A staggering 63% of Iran’s population is under 30 years old and they are dying to fully participate in the modern world, to share their “Persian-ness” as Jeff puts it — and we want them to!

While the keyhole view that the West has into Iranian culture via social media can skew our perceptions, according to New York Magazine the “tiny hardliner counterprotest” outside of the Iranian Parliament—200 men carrying handwritten signs—was “lifeless by comparison.”

The tension is clear in Iran. But the key question is: can this deal delay their progress towards a nuclear weapon long enough for cultural evolution to deliver a decisive political tilt toward modernity? Theocracies are tough to change, and even tougher to change peacefully.

Jeff talks about all of this in detail, and brings in a spiritual perspective. Plus, don’t miss the birthday dedication at the end from Ken Wilber, the crew at Integral Life, and a host of friends and fans…

Check it out, and join us on Tuesday evening for The Daily Evolver Live on Integral Radio.