In a world in which there are no mess-free options, says Jeff, “I’m so happy to have an evolutionary view” when trying to make sense of things like the killings in San Bernardino, the first terror attack on American soil with the fingerprints of ISIS. While it’s objectively true that violent deaths in the U.S. (and the world) are declining steadily, public shootings have become horrifyingly common here (26 mass shootings just during Obama’s two terms in office). These create a special kind of anxiety and terror, one that we are evolutionarily programmed to pay outsized attention to.

In this podcast Jeff looks at the range of responses that we’ve seen in the weeks following this most recent attack–responses that tell us a lot about our country, our candidates and ourselves. A predictable (and evolutionarily potent) controversy is underway as to what the U.S. role should be in responding to ISIS, and how we should fight back militarily, culturally, even in cyberspace.

Donald Trump called for a halt to Muslims entering the country, apparently determined to keep anyone from getting to the right of him on issues of national security. He taps a long history of xenophobia when Americans have felt threatened, from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the Japanese internments during WW2, to Operation Wetback in the 1950’s. But America was a center-of-gravity traditional (amber altitude) country then; we are a center-of-gravity modern (orange altitude) country now. Those of us in the modern majority look back on these historical acts with regret. But the minority of people who are traditionalists feel little misgiving and believe that tough times call for tough measures. These folks now have an unambiguous, unapologetic, tough-guy champion in Donald Trump, to whom they can hitch their wagon…and ride with him to abject defeat. Which will create more modernists (defeated people usually grow). Isn’t cultural evolution wonderful?

Speaking of which, President Obama has taken a lot of criticism for his nuanced, Jeff argues integral approach to dealing with ISIS. Jeff offers his analysis of Obama’s style.

The perennial foreign policy question facing integralists is how to help guide premodern cultures into modernity—a crucially important fulcrum, as violence drops dramatically at this developmental milestone. Jeff advocates an approach similar to that of a parent. “I wish I could think of a better analogy than parenting,” he says. “It feels like it’s condescending. It makes my green alarms go off that one country could presume to be a parent to another. But from an integral perspective, it’s literally true.” He explains in the podcast.

Jeff also touches on gun control, the polarity between security and freedom, and how it is we allow ISIS to use the most powerful tool conceived by modernity: the internet.

Plus, a seasonal message of love and renewal.

“Here’s a thought and heart experiment: assume that we are living in a world where there is a loving intelligence leading us to ever-new unfoldings of goodness, truth and beauty. And that while we are living our lives, we are also being lived by life. Let this experiment be your practice as we enter this beautiful season of love and renewal.”  ~Jeff Salzman

Have a wonderful holiday and we look forward to seeing you when the Daily Evolver live returns January 5th.


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