I’m honored to once again be joined by Dr. John Vervaeke. Vervaeke’s first appearance on this podcast was back in Episode 83, and it was one of my all time favorites. If you want to know more about his backstory and work, then I’d encourage you to listen to that episode.

John Vervaeke is a renowned scientist and award winning professor at the University of Toronto. He’s produced groundbreaking research in the area of cognitive science & the experience of meaning. He has also become a cult internet sensation with his “Awakening From the Meaning Crisis” YouTube/podcast lecture series. That series is truly an absolute gift to the world- a gift I still can hardly believe that he just gave away!

While I certainly don’t want to oversell this and I generally despise hype, this felt like one of the most thought provoking conversations I’ve ever recorded. I strongly encourage you to listen all the way through. We build towards some really important questions- questions that get at the very core of religion and human experience. 

Some topics/questions covered in this episode include:

- What is a psycho-technology? How do they change our experience of consciousness?

-What is nature of consciousness? Can it simply be the result of “bottom-up” emergence in a purely material universe, or does consciousness require a “top-down” emanation from some transcendent source?

-Is God “Ultimate Consciousness” or “Necessary Consciousness”? 

-Does Vervaeke agree with his colleague Jordan Peterson on value hierarchies determining what is relevant and salient to us? 

- Can science make value claims devoid of religion? Can science tell us what is wise or ethically good without consulting a higher layer of reality? How do we access that?

-Are there intermediary agencies or forces between our conscious experience and the highest degree of consciousness (which Paul believes is “God”, and John is properly agnostic on) that can negatively affect our experience of consciousness and move us away from wisdom?

Plus so much more at the intersection of theology, philosophy, and cognitive science… including some fun moments of charitable disagreement!

Dr. John Vervaeke’s “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis” is available on his YouTube channel here:


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