Dan Brown Talk Live – Need Ancient Wisdom and New Science to Navigate Turbulence


Below is an audio recording of Dan Brown’s talk in Amsterdam today, including questions and answers. Also a transcript of the question I asked him and his response (at 01hr 01min 01 sec on recording 🙂 ).

It was lightweight talk. He’s very friendly and refreshing. He talked much about his parents influence on the Religion – Science tension (mother was a church organist, father was a mathematician). He did dwell for a short while on the importance of the mystical traditions, but not for long. Also talk on the writing process and book to film process. If I hadn’t asked the question, I think the whole evening would have gone by without serious mention of the major global issues he raises in Inferno. When he did speak about it in response, he was authentic and powerful – but then lightened the atmosphere at the end again with a joke. Hard for him to hold the tension of what he actually knows and writes about.

Peter Merry: I’d like to ask about the relationship between two themes in your Langdon series. Firstly the relationship between ancient wisdom traditions and new science, which you identified earlier as having interconnectedness as common ground. Secondly the state of the world and an interlocking cascade of crises that you focus on in Inferno. It’s my sense that our ability to integrate the insights of ancient wisdom and new science in our thinking and practice will directly impact our ability to navigate the unprecedented turbulence ahead of us. What’s your opinion?

Dan Brown: You’re absolutely correct and let’s hope we have time. … In the case of Dante and making it relevant to the world, was putting overpopulation in the novel as a driving force. The idea that Dante’s Inferno is not history. It’s a prophecy that we’re headed for a very ugly future, if we’re not careful. In the last 80 years the population on planet earth has tripled. Some people say that the rate of population growth is slowing. Well, I’d say it’s like getting in your car, and driving 100 mph towards a cliff, and about 5 feet before the cliff you break a little bit. It’s a little too late. So you’re absolutely right. We’re going to have to navigate some very turbulent times. And I’m not talking 100 years from now. Turbulent times in the next decades. And let’s hope that our spirituality and philosophy can keep pace with our technology. Or else we’re in a whole lot of trouble.


Evolutionary Leadership interview

Here is a recording of an interview that Barbara Marx Hubbard did with me for her Shift Network course on Generation One. It was lots of fun and great to have Barbara asking the questions and holding space.

The Pain and the Promise – Recording and Transcript of Presentation

I am currently writing a new book called The Pain and the Promise.

Here is a recording of a recent presentation with questions and reflection that I gave for the Integral Leadership Collaborative, a great initiative with a vast array of Integrally informed folks (see http://www.integralleadershipcollaborative.com). It lays out the essence of where I am at now and what the book will be about. It is 2 hrs in total. My core presentation goes for c 35 mins from c 10 mins in. The questions and discussion also proved very rich.

Listen to The Pain and the Promise audio

Download The Pain and the Promise transcript

Transition Roles

A description of four core roles that need to be played in major non-linear transitions : protecting the good in the old, hospicing the old, enabling emergence of the new, and illuminating the choice. Initially named as such by friends at the Berkana Institute. With thanks to Helen Titchen-Beeth for asking the questions and holding the space.

Download audio file here.

John Petersen (Arlington Institute) Strategy for Non-linear Transition

Peter is currently involved in developing the Global Transition Initiative with the State of the World Forum team. As part of the development, he is interviewing some people to ask them the question : “what would you do to facilitate global transition?”. John Petersen is the first person he asked, being one of the world’s foremost futurists (President of the Arlington Institute), with a deep understanding of the processes of non-linear change and epochal emergence. In this interview, John shares an understanding which is hard to deny and yet very challenging to accept. Peter is committed to contributing to the strategy that John describes. (When this was recorded, the system failed to pick up Peter’s questions and comments, which is why the sequence might sound a bit strange sometimes – with some non-linear leaps!).

Download audio file here and click here for the transcription (including questions!)

Leadership in the Center for Human Emergence Netherlands

A recording of a short interview with Jasper Rienstra, the CHE’s Organisational Learning Officer, about how Peter sees his own leadership in the CHE. It came before a leadership scan feedback session. (Note that an understanding of the Spiral Dynamics colour codes is needed to understand much of this conversation.)

Download here.