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Podcast    H2'ed 6/20/14

Edward Slingerland; Trying Not To Try--

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Broadcast 6/20/2014 at 23:12:39 (17 Listens, 24 Downloads, 1424 Itunes)
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast

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Edward Slingerland is professor of Asian Studies and Canada Research Chair in Chinese thought and Embodied cognition at the University of British Columbia. He is author of author, Trying not to Try, and head researcher on a three million dollar international study on the evolution of religion and morality

Rough Interview Notes Mostly my questions

Rob: Can you talk about the book and the terms Wu wei and De (Duh)

Wu wei spontaneity, in zone or like flow.

De= charismatic virtue and attractive power.

Rob: and what is the goal of the book?

explain why it's helpful to have these two concepts. We've had this disembodied model of the self.

Rob: Is wu wei passive?

it's really about making yourself empty in a way that allows you to respond to the environment in an effective way. But your conscious mind is not in the way.

Rob: How would you drive in a Wu Wei manner?

Rob: related to my work-- positive psychology, flow, peak performance, consciousness, psychopaths, bottom-up and top-down

Rob: how is this different than Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's idea of flow?

Serafina Vinon

a sense of absorption into a valued whole"

talk about the Charismatic aspect of De that is produced by behaving in a wu wei way.

Butcher story

Butcher Ding

You mention Obey wan Kenobe's advice to Luke Skywalker-- trust the force.

Is intuition involved?

System two-- cold cognition

System one-- hot cognition-- implicit, knowledge that is not consciously accessible--- musle or basal ganglia memory.

slow, cold conscious mind vs fast, hot, unconscious set of bodily instincts, hunches and skills-- bigger, more powerful, deeper and more evolutionarily ancient

You've said that this Wu wei approach has actually helped civilization. How is that?

transition from tribal hunter gatherer-- to civilzation--

1- institutional model: incentive structure changed-- carrots and sticks

2-commitment or value based model-- change the way people feel and what they value. That's how you get people giving their lives for people they've never even seen, in wars"

What were the values?


Wu wei-- gets people being good citizens of the state

I'm not that comfortable with that-- good citizens make me think of obedient workers and soldiers"

John Haidt's work

Trust and psychopaths--

Psychopaths are often characterized as charismatic

authenticity and sincerity can be faked. And there are people who are better it and better at detecting it.

This reminds me a bit of the approach of one of my favorite revolutionaries-- Paolo Freire, who speaks about the problems with the western "banking" approach to education.

You say that scientists are beginning to emphasize the fact that the human brain is designed with a priority for guiding action, not for representing abstract information-- although it can also do this when necessary. Can you explain that?

You say that The Wu Wei approach is knowing HOW rather than knowing THIS or That

Gilbert Ryle

What makes a good person in west or east.

You say that westerners focus on conscious thought, rationality and will power"

What do the Chinese and their Wu Wei approach focus on?

training in ritual, imaginative stories, listening to right kind of music, interacting in dialogues with master and fellow students-- training a know-how.

It sounds like it uses bottom up practices to instill top-down practices.

about your research on evolution of religion and morality

Religion arose as a kind of cognitive mistake

In most small scale societies, gods aren't necessarily very smart.

Gods that can see inside you and punish you makes them powerful.

Groups that embrace religion "do better"

What do you mean, "do better" Seems to me you are talking about domination.

From what I understand you're an atheist.

What are the institutions that allow people to become atheist and not as dependent upon religion.

non-corrupt police and laws

Ivan Perkins The Vanishing Coup

Are there upsurges in religiosity when states fail?

studying indigenous people, brain imaging, historical data---

What about bottom up religions, as opposed to the top-down religions-- Christianity, Islam"

How do you avoid value judgments when you talk about religions dominating and destroying other religions?

Why are they so successful--

Top down religions enable ideas to spread".

Why are they so much better at it?

It's like a cognitive plague.

the point is it spreads.

Are there examples of Christianity and Islam where they don't engage in domination and destruction.

When you get strong institutions-- police forces" legal, judicial system, ways of dealing with inevitable conflicts that are note violent and have some rules to guide them.

But police in the US are becoming more militarized and less accountable.

What happens to police in other parts of the world?

America is both becoming more fundamentalist with one group, while another group is becoming less religious or atheist.

Existential security is much lower in the United States-- we don't have safety net like other nations have.

colleague Ara norenzayen Big Gods

Religiosity by zip code correlates with levels of insecurity

It seems to me that religions and corporations have an unholy alliance.

refers to George Lakoff's Don't Think of An Elephant

So in a sense, the right wingers oppose the kinds of things that weaken fundamentalist religion.


So we have one group that is becoming more atheist or non-religious and another group that is becoming more fundamentalist. Where do you think this will go.

How does atheism fit with Wu Wei and De?

it's usually associated with religion, so, for people like me, it's associated with a larger whole, not tied to a top-down way.

Do you think that a kind of bottom-up approach could evolve that is spiritual and wu-wei

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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity  

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization (more...)

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