The Kernel is our multi-week committed-group offering for engaging in an Ecology of Practices (EoP). We call it the Kernel as it offers access to several ‘ways of knowing’ to help build a strong foundation in relational dialog. The sub-title for the course is ‘Tools for the Meaning Crisis’ as we see the course as a call and contribution to responding to the meaning crisis.
“The Meaning Crisis is at the root of modern crises of mental health, the response to environmental collapse, and the political system. We are drowning in bullshit – literally “meaninglessness”. We feel disconnected from ourselves, each other, the world, and a viable future….” – John Vervaeke PhD.
We use two foundational concepts that underpin the curriculum for the Kernel.
The first comes from a theory on transformation as detailed by Ken Wilber and Dustin DiPerna in their “Toward a Deliberately Developmental Civilization” whitepaper. The summary of which suggests that a ‘whole person’ has to integrate structures of consciousness, states of consciousness and the shadow. We see this structure as very convergent with ideas offers in his “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis” YouTube lecture series, which suggests a large reason for why we are experiencing our current meaning crisis, is due to the modern myopia towards the scientific method (structures) and the growing exclusion/indifference to spirituality (states). As such it’s expressed throughout the 50 episode series, a reintegration of science and spirituality, with an emphasis on the non-propositional, might afford us a way through this meaning crisis.
“…don’t tell me what you believe… tell me what you practice and tell me how those practices are making you more wise and more compassionate or capable of self transcendence and more capable of transforming the world to deal with the situations we’re dealing with.” – John Vervaeke PhD.
Therefore within the course we offer structures (theory) and engage in states (through practices/serious play) while keeping a keen eye on the shadow to support (re)integration towards wholeness.
The second underpinning concept picks up well here using John Vervaeke’s ‘4P’s of knowing’. The propositional (knowing that something is true), the procedural (knowing how to do something), the perspectival (knowing via) and the participatory (knowing ‘how to act’). In the Kernel, we include all and try to strike an appropriate balance between them. In the earlier sessions we’ll often propose a map or theory connected to human behavior, development or relationship and then jump into an exercise or practice to give us access to build that participatory and perspectival knowing. As we progress through the course, having reasonably exhausted some foundational propositions, focus even further on the participatory and perspectival as sessions become almost entirely practice-based.
“We’re really allowing people to return to the presumption of innocence in discourse… not of perfection, not of infallibility, not of certainty, but of innocence; and allowing people to return to that without some romantic, childish notion of innocence but a profound one that restores our capacity to see and be so that we can fall in love with each other and the world again… so for me there’s a philosophical and cultural significance of what you’re proposing in this course that really needs to be put center stage.” – John Vervaeke PhD. (New Course on Training Dialogos w/Taylor Barratt – Voices with Vervaeke – January 7, 2022)
There are several configurations for the Kernel material. Please check the course write-ups for the list of commitments and expectations specific to that configuration.
In general they are:
- Sessions often include a balance between concepts and theory, followed by experiential engagement/practice. While you might want to take notes, we are not going to dive so deeply into the theory that anyone should persistently feel lost or confused. It’s our hope that through presenting the concepts and engaging with them, individual participants might be motivated to further explore certain topics in between sessions.
- In some configurations there will be about 60-70 minutes of peer-organized partner-practice per week and after a couple sessions some short (10-20min) homework tasks.
- We expect everyone to attend all the sessions they can, and miss the ones they have to, however due to the progressive nature of the course, you must attend the first session and if you know you can not make more than 2 of the sessions, we ask you not to apply. When someone is absent, and when possible (online), the theory portions of the sessions will be recorded and provided to those who could not make the session. Any partner work or homework tied to that session is still expected to be completed.
- While we will canvas for some agreements within the group at the first session, we do expect your fair attention and engagement with the material and practices. This course is a collective process.
- For configurations where there is reading (and viewing) materials provided, we hope you will engage with those well in advance of the start of the session(s) such that any clarifying questions can be addressed ahead of time, maximizing the space for emergent discussion and questions during the live sessions.
- Engagement with any offline materials and ‘home’ practices provided are a part of the full course offering. And we understand not everyone, for various reasons, will engage with them at all times. While we still expect you will get value, despite sporadic engagement, realizing the full potential of what’s available here will be diminished.
Is This Course For You?
While we take a beginners approach at the outset, we do so to establish some common experiences and language as we progressively layer on more complexity.
While there is nothing about the course material that should make it exclusionary to the general public, it’s possible there are some presuppositions in place that may provide some challenge. If after reading the contents of this site and digesting some of the video material you’re left with some confusion, please feel free to reach out to us for clarity or for recommendations on other courses that may better set you up for a future iteration of this one.
Beyond the content, we think it’s also fair to say having an underlying love of learning/growing and having an open mind to new ideas is crucial to experiencing the totality of what the course can offer you. If you’re frequently overworked, ill, taking two or more other courses or prone to trigger, dissociation or heavily medicated, chances are it will be challenging for you to fully engage in the course.