John Vervaeke has a lecture series on YouTube called Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. I thought it was great, so I'm arranging a lecture club to discuss it here on Less Wrong. The format is simple: each weekday I post a comment that's a link to the next lecture and the summary (which I plan on stealing from the recap at the beginning of the next lecture), and then sometimes comment beneath it with my own thoughts. If you're coming late (even years late!) feel free to join in, and go at whatever pace works for you.
(Who is John Vervaeke? He's a lecturer in cognitive science at the University of Toronto. I hadn't heard of him before the series, which came highly recommended to me.)
I split the lecture series into three parts: the philosophical, religious, and cultural history of humankind (25 episodes) related to meaning, the cognitive science of wisdom and meaning (20 episodes), and more recent philosophy related to the meaning crisis specifically (5 episodes). Each episode is about an hour at regular speed (but I think they're understandable at 2x speed). I am not yet aware of a good text version of the lectures; I also have some suspicion that some important content is not in the text itself, and so even if I transcribed them (or paid someone to) it'd still be worth watching or listening to it.
I think the subject matter is 1) very convergent with the sort of rationality people are interested in on LW, and 2) relevant to AI alignment, especially thinking about embedded agency.
- Flow, Metaphor, and the Axial Revolution
- Conscious Cosmos and Modern Grammar
- Socrates and the Quest for Wisdom
- Plato and the Cave
- Aristotle, Kant, and Evolution
- Aristotle's World View and Erich Fromm
- The Buddha and "Mindfulness"
- Higher States of Consciousness, Part 1
- Higher States of Consciousness, Part 2
- Buddhism and Parasitic Processing
- Epicureans, Cynics, and Stoics
- Marcus Aurelius and Jesus
- Christianity and Agape
- Gnosis and Existential Inertia
- Plotinus and Neoplatonism
- Augustine and Aquinas
- Death of the Universe
- Martin Luther and Descartes
- Descartes vs. Hobbes
- The Clash