Transcending Political Polarization with Steve McIntosh

Steve McIntosh

Steve McIntosh

In this episode with author and integral philosopher Steve McIntosh we take on the question of how to transcend polarization in contemporary politics (and spirituality). This is a rich, profound and provocative conversation and we go deep into the issues and paradigms that underlie many of the challenges in our society. Hopefully, this conversation help craft a vision about what it would take to move beyond a left vs. right conversation and start thinking about how we all might work together across our diversity. It's also a unique approach to a complex and divisive topic. If you have thoughts, I'd love to open a conversation in the comments below. 

There are a lot of materials that connect to this conversation. If you found any of this interesting or provocative, here are some way to explore more deeply.

Steve McIntosh's personal author website is:
The website for the Institute for Cultural Evolution thinktank, which Steve co-founded is:

These two essays are directly related to what we discuss in the podcast episode:
"Overcoming Polarization by Overcoming both Right and Left: How Polarity Theory Provides a Path to Political Progress" by Steve McIntosh
"Depolarizing the American Mind: How America can Grow Beyond its Currently Polarized Politics" by Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps

Here is a video of a talk where Steve discusses his new book, The Presence of the Infinite. You can also find shorter video clips here. Clicking here will take you to videos from his talk about his 2012 book, Evolution's Purpose.


I first heard Steve on the To the Best of Our Knowledge podcast episode titled "Depolarize Now!" It is a great episode all around. Steve's interview is at the end of the episode and it's great. Another highlight of the episode for me is when political scientist John Hibbing talks about significant biological differences between studies of liberal and conservative brains. There is now evidence that people can't help what they think. For me that is further support for the idea that we need to accept that we're all in this together and learn how to get along. Here's a test from Hibbing's book Predisposed to test if you're hardwired to be liberal or conservative. 


Culture of Collaboration with Dave Savage

This episode is conversation with collaboration consultant and author Dave Savage. We talk about how the leaders of the future will need to be able to collaborate, we talk about his career spanning from energy executive to environmentalist and how social change needs to be profitable and innovative.

Dave can be found at

Dave is a friend and colleague of mine so the conversation is more intimate than usual. I get a chance to talk about what I call the three rules of conflict. Together we develop the idea of the rushing flow of change towards a future that we know is there but cannot see, like drops of water going to the ocean. 

Our business, the Collaborative Global Initiative can be found here. 

Dave's new book is called Break Through to Yes: Unlocking the Possible within a Culture of Collaboration. The first person to leave a comment about the episode and to sign up for the Fractal Friends newsletter will get a copy of the book. 

Dave Savage

Dave Savage


Healthy Food Systems with Nikki Silvestri

Nikki Silvestri

Nikki Silvestri

Happy Earth Day Everyone!!!

Nikki Silvestri is a force of nature and a force for nature. Her work in food and climate justice has brought her around the country and to the far edges of our culture. She is no ordinary activist though. She is a true thought leader as she has learned to see herself as a growing part of greater system. This opens her to an amazing degree of self-awareness and awareness of the whole. Her passion for working towards a better world is palpable in this conversation. It also becomes clear that she wants all of us to express our best selves. 

You can find her at her website:

And at Silvestri Strategies:

She also has an amazing TEDx Talk about building allies in social change movements: 

In this episode I play y'all a song on my new ukulele. It's by the band Cloud Cult, and I am super grateful for their music over the years and for allowing me to play this song on the podcast. The song itself is not easy to find, so I've shared it here:

I make a reference to one of my blog posts at the beginning of the episode. You can click here to find out what the deal with fractals is.

I also talk about Thich Nhat Hanh and a quote from him. Here is a blog post about that as well.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Don at Dewtone Recordings for his help in the production of this episode.

Recapturing Afro-Cuban History with Gloria Rolando

Gloria Rolando

Gloria Rolando

I present to you the fifth episode of Fractal Friends. This is one of a series of podcasts with Cubans that I recorded during a trip in February. This episode is a conversation with documentary filmmaker Gloria Rolando. In the conversation we discuss the power of story and film to bring history to the present. Gloria specializes in Afro-Cuban history. Her films can be found online here at

Here is a trailer for Gloria's film 1912, which we discuss in the episode:

My trip to Cuba was organized by a collaboration of the social change organization Art Corps (soon to be Creative Action Institute) and the conscious travel agency Altruvistas. I encourage you to check them both out. They can help you with leadership trainings, travel or just inspire you to dream big. 




Below are some historical images that are related to the Gloria's film 1912. They include: the poster for them film, the group portrait of the Independent Coloreds Party, graphics depicting the massacre of the party, and a photo of the banquet celebrating the massacre.

Letting Life Show Up with Barbara Bash

Welcome to Episode #4 of Fractal Friends. This episode is a conversation with artist and calligrapher Barbara Bash. She is a brilliant teacher of both communication practices and of meditation. She was also a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who was very influential in bringing Tibetan Buddhist teachings to the West in the 70's and 80's. 

Barbara can be found and contacted at

The conversation takes us on a deep exploration of both art and spiritual practice and the intersection points between the two. One of the recurring themes here is about finding the courage to slow down and let life show up and the various things that we discover when we do that. When we listen and open our eyes to the world, the world comes alive around us. As it comes alive we find that the world is reflecting ourselves back at us, and as we engage we also find ourselves mirroring the world around us. The internal and the external meet at some place and collapse into one. There is something profound this, and it was lots of fun to explore this with Barbara.

At the beginning of the episode, we talk about a scene that unfolds in Barbara's book True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude. Here is that scene of water beetles eating a dead fish. She prefaces the images with these words:

I sit by the water's edge and wait.
It appears that nothing is
happening when I first arrive.
That's how impatience
expresses itself.
If I stay in one spot long enough
the world begins to open.
Excerpt from Barbara's book True Nature, p. 41.

Excerpt from Barbara's book True Nature, p. 41.

We also talk about Barbara's decision to not enter a fabulously intricate mosque while on a trip in Istanbul and to instead make a study of these tiles. These can be found here in Barbara's visual blog, also called True Nature.

This episode also includes music by Steve Gorn. Steve is a virtuoso on the Bansuri flute. He is also a student of Chögyam Trungpa and is Barbara's husband. I hope that you enjoy his music. You can find more of Steve's music and information about him at his website here:

Martial Practice for Wellbeing with Matt Lucas

Matt Lucas

Matt Lucas

Fractal Friends episode number three, and we are leaving behind the hippies... for now.*

This episode is a conversation with martial arts teacher, musician and body worker Matt Lucas. In this conversation we talk about the importance of being able to be with life as it is: with stress, sex, aggression and all the things. Matt makes a compelling argument that martial arts can profoundly serve us as we strive to ground ourselves in our bodies and our lifelong journeys.

Here are some links that can help you get in touch with Matt.
This is Matt's blog, music and personal website:
This is Matt's martial arts website:

*Next episode is with Barbara Bash, buddhist artist and calligrapher, where we talk about the value of art, 

Building Utopian Futures with Johnny Druelinger

Hello Fractal Friends!

For this second episode of the podcast, I interviewed an old friend. Johnny Druelinger is living a lifelong journey dedicated to leaving a positive impact on the world. This journey has brought him through music and into career working on sustainable buildings (high-performance buildings and passive houses to be specific). We have a lovely conversation about the nature of growing up and integrating our past and present wisdom into our future. We also explore the themes of sustainability, creativity and strategies for social change. 

Johnny Druelinger

Johnny Druelinger

Johnny's music can be found by following these links:

For information about passive houses and building sustainable buildings you can visit: 475 High Performance Building Supply. 

Thank you for listening. Feel free to leave comments below. I'd love to hear your feedback.


Original Blessing with Danielle Shroyer

This is the inaugural episode of Fractal Friends. It is a conversation with Danielle Shroyer. She is a Christian minister and author from Dallas, Texas. In this conversation we discuss the humanity of Jesus and the divinity of humans. We discuss atheism, the holy land and how awesomely awkward Jesus might be at a dinner party. I hope you enjoy. 

Danielle's website is

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Danielle Shroyer

Danielle Shroyer