jonathan rowson

jonathan rowson.png

intro’d to Jonathan via this interview w Jordan..

livestream jan 15 2018

Twelve Rules for Life | Jordan Peterson | RSA Replay

with Jonathan Rowson @Jonathan_Rowson


11 min – diff between a center and the center.. that’s diff between sanity and insanity

i found the alt to group belief.. was the continual transformation of belief.. continual quest (itself)

bravery to change mind everyday

14 min – we are adapted to the group.. but we are simultaneously.. the revitalizers of the group.. even complex animals aren’t that.. so necessary for our social structures to reflect that.. or we do the wrong thing.. ie: put group before the individual

maté trump law

18 min – activists.. act like they care about big system.. idea is that you should clear yourself out first

20 min – cleaning your own room.. takes way more than you think

21 min – you risk inflating your own ego attempting problems of the world

22 min – realize that you are lacking and will make big systemic worse.. attend to your own competence/limits

23 min – on a 12 yr old (actually talking to 18 yr old).. you don’t have any responsibility.. you don’t have a degree.. you can’t think.. don’t know how to present self.. so shouldn’t change socio econ of structure..

wow.. that’s exactly what we need.. all you listed was toxic.. i’d rather talk to a 5 yr old

26 min -your bedroom is a microcosm of the planet

boyan slat a model for young people.. cleaning ocean in 5 yrs.. and going to make a profit.. not telling people what’s wrong (protest).. i’m going to go out and fix it..


28 min – you cannot fix a complex system unless you understand it..

(jonathan): the language of fixing is not helpful here.. because it’s not a mechanical problem..t

29 min – it’s compassion masking uselessness most of the time


rowson mechanical law

mufleh humanity law

chomsky serious law

(jonathan): someone says.. you don’t have sociological imagination.. no view of diff world and how to get there.. how to get people to not believe that..

have them read the book

man.. talk about ego.. humility.. yeah

34 min – we have to org society in ways people want to play.. and game can’t degenerate

35 min – you lay out a better game

(jonathan): which is

well that’s what this is all about

38 min – it’s just so hard to conduct yourself right now in a way that’s going to improve yourself in a week.. there aren’t that many pathways.. may be just one game like that.. but

let’s try this game: 2 convos.. as the day

a nother way


dec 1 2017 – perspective – systems/souls/societies

The Hidden Curriculum of the 21st Century We often hear that we should ‘be the change we want to see in the world’ and that ‘the personal is political’. But what do such ideas really mean, and what follows for what we should, you know, do?


many people are working on political.. and many are working on inner.. but these two world’s don’t connect very often.. i want to make that more mainstream..

got to be able to speak 1\ of the spirit and 2\ language of capital/power.. as part of the same language.. tried before.. this is not new.. but it’s neglected.. ie: ghandi and mlk..many ie’s of people combining personal and political.. how do you make this the norm.. for that.. you need an org vessel.. have events..books..  that’s a 100 yr project.. the point is to commit seriously for the long term..

? why can’t we just model it…

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

14 min – shoring up the liberal order is the mainstream curriculum.. i don’t buy that anymore.. i don’t think we can shore up.. i think we need to try something new.. not a revolution.. plan e..

the crisis we face is not just a litany of problems.. ie: the problem w saying everything is going to hell.. is that half the people don’t buy it.. because some things better..

why a crisis..  6 e’s: economic (underlying logic not working anymore); ecological (new term – nuclear hurricanes); [politics often stay w/in those two realms] ethically; epistemic (shared sense of what is true); emotional (how to feel.. gap between instincts w actual issues of day); existential (meaning of life)

plan e.. what would a world look like when understand those e’s coming together..

cv – course of my life.. how do we adapt/survive/transform/do-something-purposeful.. but hidden curriculum is partly waking up.. spiritually and politically.. the fact that we’re on auto pilot all the time..

21 min – growing up.. decide what is worth living for

22 min – wising up.. shaping of society thru institutions and cultural forms.. we create that together.. but we haven’t figured out how to do that yet.. if we can find capacity to look more deeply to selves/world..

a nother way

we need a new operating system of fixed econ.. a new social logic.. where will that come from.. social imaginary.. and how do we trust that what we create together be good..?

those are grand aims.. and that’s why it’s a 100 yr project.. and that’s what perspectiva is all about.. not optimistic/pessimistic.. rather realistic


rsa jan 2015 – on spirituality


4 min – 1\ we’re on auto pilot virtually all of the time.. we’re almost built to put ourselves to sleep.. in that sense.. waking up make sense

5 min – 2\ we live in two diff worlds most of the time  1\ analytical..  2\ holistic.. much of our culture is moving toward this obsession w measurement..

6 min – 3\ we live in our bodies

4\ we live w other people

7 min – we find what matters changes.. we find our status matters less than our sense of being alive

ontological rootedness.. love of belonging..

maté basic needs

love, death, reorient us

self (problematic.. when slow down.. see that you are chattering all the time).. and soul (no self.. soul has been forgotten).. it’s not easy to bring back soul into public language.. but we all kind of feel it.. we know soul when we see it.. don’t let fact that it isn’t clear and contested and lacking institutional roots.. don’t let that stop us talking things that matter most in our lives..t

story about people grokking what matters



Jonathan Rowson (@Jonathan_Rowson) tweeted at 3:11 PM – 21 Jun 2018 :
I learned a lot from trying to form a view. Overall I am disappointed by Peterson, because he doesn’t offer answers for society as a whole. But I’m even more disappointed in those who reject him based on social media fragments, without taking time to understand his worldview. (



find/follow Jonathan:

link twitter

Philosopher, writer and chess Grandmaster. Open Society Fellow. Director . Research Associate  & . Father of sons.


his book spiritualise:

pespecteeva site:

No single story of how things should be makes sense anymore, unless it is a story of stories. Therein lies the renewal of hope for our world.

on people page:

Dr. Jonathan Rowson is co-founder and Director of Perspectiva. He was until recently Director of the Social Brain Centre at the RSA where, over the course of six years, he authored a range of influential research reports on behaviour change, climate change and spirituality, and curated and chaired a range of related events.

Indy Johar – advisor

wikipedia small

Jonathan Rowson (born 18 April 1977) is a Scottish chess grandmaster and author. He is a three-time Scottish Chess Champion and the No. 1 ranked Scottish player as of October 2017.


Dr Jonathan Rowson is Director of the Social Brain Centre at the RSA. After degrees spanning a range of social science disciplines from Oxford and Harvard, Jonathan’s Doctoral research at the University of Bristol featured an analysis of the challenge of overcoming the psycho-social constraints that prevent people becoming ‘wiser’. He writes for The Guardian’s Behavioural Insights Blog, was formerly a columnist for the Herald newspaper, has authored three books.


Jonathan Rowson (@Jonathan_Rowson) tweeted at 2:27 AM on Wed, Mar 07, 2018:
Delighted to share that a labour of love over many years has found a home.
My book, *Seeing what Matters: A Chess Grandmaster on the Game of Life*
will be published by @BloomsburyBooks @BloomsburyPub
in the spring of 2019.
(*working title)


Glad to see this again. I had completely forgotten about it!

Original Tweet:

“Christmas has become the question to which consumerism is the answer, and it should be the other way round” – A lovely meditation on Christmas by Jonathan Rowson via @wordpressdotcom

Original Tweet:

consumerism is what capitalism does to consumption — it turns a simple human activity into something culturally hegemonic.

hegemonic – ruling or dominant in a political or social context

consumerism is unsustainable, unrewarding and ultimately absurd. Yet it endures because it meets a range of emotional and social needs, and because it is conveniently operational — ‘it works’ in a bureaucratic sense, or at least it seems to. It is certainly hard to imagine replacing it. And yet we have to sail our imagination in precisely that direction

there is a sense in which we try to create the significance of Christmas through what we buy, as if the consumerist frenzy was an attempt to make real something that we feel should be real.

It seems we often associate ‘special’ events with the amount of money we give to them. So if we know or at least sense that Christmas should matter more than other times, our cultural logic now seems to demand that we spend more than usual as a result.

Consumerism is not just rooted in greed and lust for novelty, but in generosity and desire to find a material symbol of love and care.


adding this here.. (since seems to bash roy and rowson most.. but also rutt, hall, game b, et al): []

while some good points.. and indeed.. we should question everything/one.. the issue isn’t one person over another.. it’s .. how to include all of us.. how to undo our hierarchical listening ie: 2 convers as infra

ie of his (cooper’s) questioning not going deep enough.. so he’s doing the same thing he’s blaming/questioning others for:

Roy claims that “transformation” (at least her version) is “not predictable”, but rather “emergent”. She then outlines the “first steps” (again with the fresh start, for a future fantasy under her auspices) to restart communities around “village learning”. What Roy calls “special work-to-college programs” actually just sounds like child labour when you really think about it. She has no awareness of the actual large scale transformation that is needed, including free education all the way through university.

the large scale transformation wouldn’t have us ‘educating’ anyone – red flags et al

If it has not been made clear throughout this essay and my work, I cannot stress enough the importance of supporting actual critical intellectual voices, cutting through the hypocrisy; this is how we solve the meta-crisis.

yeah.. intellect ness is killing us.. another red flag

what we need to focus on is augmenting our interconnectedness.. which means everyone is good to go today.. no need to ie: train anyone

Rowson likes to say I am “self-defeating”, which wrongly assumes that I am playing on his terms. I am not. I am changing the game. Check, mate.

yeah.. not a binary chess game.. questioning everything.. great.. winning ness.. not helpful.. has to be across the board [to get to the roots of healing.. it has to be all of us]