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398: Guided by Beauty



Charles Eisenstein

Charles Eisenstein

Charles Eisenstein returns to the C-Realm Podcast to talk about the evolution of his thinking in his new book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is possible. He and KMO discuss how any seemingly objective metric that we use in pursuing a more just, sustainable and egalitarian world encodes our biases and justifications for existing power relationships and thus never brings about the world with think and hope it will. Charles explains why he sees the culture of American anti-intellectualism on the political right as coming from a place of valid rebellion, and how no course of action will achieve what we want it to unless it starts with an acknowledgement of the grief we feel over the wound of self-rejection.


Music by Stacco Troncoso.


You can learn more about the work of Christopher Alexander here.

5 comments to 398: Guided by Beauty

  • Glafkos Thrassakis

    What NPR radio program was Eisenstein recommending in this interview? I could not manage to write it down, and need more podcasts to listen to during work. Thanks.

  • Blow In

    I am glad that Beauty has entered into the conversation, or more accurately, re-entered the conversation. The appreciation of Beauty goes way back in the historical record and even, judging from artifacts, into the far distant past.

    Maybe our actual classification should be Homo Aestheticus cause we sure ain’t fully sapient.

    Thank You very much Mr. Eisentstein I will get and read your book when I get back to the States.

    Best Wishes and be careful around them thar Homo Narcissists.

  • acropunk

    No one can argue with aesthetics. It trumps logic and rhetoric. Because what we feel is beautiful is entirely personal. Its an argument no one can win, and it transcends morality.

    I feel that life is beautiful, and suffering is ugly. So I nurture rather than destroy. But who am I to declare that the sadist is ‘wrong’ on any objective, moral level? He is not wrong. He simply has contrasting aesthetics. Therefore if I wish to change his mind I must use force, or argument. Or I must lead by example. But the sadist is no more wrong than anyone else.

  • Peristaltor

    On science and rationality, I think Mr. Eisenstein is closer to their commonality than he realizes. Consider this excerpt from Rose George concerning the word “shit”:

    “It is a word with noble roots, coming from a family of words that also contain the Greek skihzein, the Latin scindere, or the Old English scitain, all meaning, sooner or later, to divide or separate. (Science is the art of distinguishing things by knowledge.)” [Rose George, The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters, Metropolitan Books, 2008, p. 11.]

    Science, the act of dividing and separating in order to determine what can be known, is exactly like rationalizing, the act of dividing into ratios—portions—and examining logically those elements divided from the whole.

    By contrast, “beauty” is perceived in the whole; one need not divide the beautiful to appreciate the beauty. It is irrationally perceived, processed by the non-logical, non-scientific parts of the brain, just as Mr. Eisenstein notes.

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