Meeting Minutes from InspireSeattle Social on October 4, 2014

The Political Mind, Climate Crisis, and a New Science of Social Change

Have you ever wondered how popular support for sensible gun laws, universal health care, and financial reforms that serve the majority of people continually fails to deliver policy outcomes in America? Yes, there is systemic corruption in the U.S. Congress. But this doesn't explain why the people are unable to reclaim our democracy.

Answers that work will require that we look within ourselves -- at the workings of the political mind and the power of language for shaping the debate. The great linguist, George Lakoff, has brought attention to the vital role that cognitive science plays in this effort. Together we will look at the findings from this cross-cutting synthesis of studies in psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, and related fields to see how our political minds work.

We will then apply these findings to one of the most "wicked problems" facing humanity -- the climate crisis brought on by human activities that threaten the future of our global civilization. We explore the moral beliefs, social values, and broad perceptions that have hindered collective action in the past. And we will explore a new science of social change that may be the vital missing piece that has kept our democracies here and around the world from functioning up till now.

Please join us for this important discussion!

Guest Speaker:

Joe Brewer, Culture Designer:

Joe is the Founder of Cognitive Policy Works and a protégé of linguist, George Lakoff. He has three bachelors degrees in physics, mathematics, and interdisciplinary studies and a masters in atmospheric sciences. He is a complexity researcher, innovation strategist, experience designer, and serial social entrepreneur who brings a wealth of expertise to the adoption of sustainable solutions at the cultural scale. Among his notable achievements are the creation of an undergraduate degree program in Earth Systems, Environment and Society at the University of Illinois and design of new collaboration protocols for strategic communications among European NGO's with WWF-UK and Oxfam, Great Britain. He was an active member of the Center for Complex Systems Research from 2001 to 2005, where he studied pattern formation in self-organizing systems. He was a research fellow at the Rockridge Institute in 2007-08 analyzing political discourse in the United States. He contracted with the International Centre for Earth Simulation in Geneva in 2010-11 to help build a globally-focused high performance computing facility dedicated to holistic simulations of the dynamic Earth. His experiences as a social entrepreneur and cross-disciplinary scholar weave together a combination of skills dedicated to open collaboration, interactive design, and empowered civic action for catalyzing change toward greater resilience in our turbulent world.

Learn more at one of his websites:

Follow him on Twitter at @cognitivepolicy.

Many thanks to Joe Brewer for the fascinating talk, Bill Bradburd for arranging and hosting this event, and Dave Gamrath for emceeing.


Speaker:  Joe Brewer


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