In The Web of Meaning: Integrating Science and Traditional Wisdom to Find Our Place in the Universe, Jeremy Lent explores some of the biggest questions: Who am I? Why am I? How should I live? In a narrative which connects discoveries from fields including modern systems thinking, neuroscience and indigenous wisdom. It is a truly remarkable book, which the author hopes can inspire a shift to a more integrated worldview.
Lent is a writer Guardian journalist George Monbiot describes as ‘one of the greatest thinkers of our age’ and after sitting down to talk to him earlier this year on the Inside Ideas podcast, it is easy to understand why.
Speaking about his hopes for the book, he told me: “My biggest hope really is a pretty large one, which is to really help to lay the foundations for a fundamentally different worldview that could lead us to an absolutely different future for humanity on this earth. So – it is a pretty big vision to hope that a book can do that, but basically we have been living, for the last few hundred years, according to this particular paradigm – this worldview of disconnection. It is a worldview that has led to all kinds of positive things such as the development of science, and incredible improvements in many elements of the human experience, in understanding of hygiene, and improvements in technology whereby you and I can speak to each other from thousands of miles away. All kinds of positive things have arisen from it so this is not to disparage elements of our worldview but it’s been a worldview of disconnection that is driving our civilisation right now toward a precipice, and driving many of us in our own lived experience to a place of isolation, alienation and a sense of meaninglessness in our own lives.”
He added: “We absolutely have to shift the direction of where we’re going and my hope for this book is that it lays a very solid and intellectually rigorous, coherent foundation for this different worldview of interconnectedness. That, if enough of a critical mass of people can begin to absorb and start to instil into their own lives, we actually still have the possibility of shifting humanity’s trajectory.”
Catch up with the full podcast for more from the pages of The Web of Meaning.