Join John and others at a wisdom intensive called Circling + Dia-Logos as described on the Tim Ferriss podcast.  Please click here for registration.

Welcome Tim Ferriss Fans!

Dr. John Vervaeke is on a mission to cultivate wisdom, utilizing a blend of ancient and modern practices alongside modern cognitive sciences. His work has drawn the attention of a growing group of tech entrepreneurs who are seeking solutions to life’s greatest conundrums without necessarily adhering to traditional religious beliefs. Dr. Vervaeke’s unique approach combines philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to create a comprehensive framework for developing a deeper understanding of oneself and the world. His teachings are designed to help individuals cultivate wisdom and a sense of purpose, providing guidance on how to live a meaningful life. By bringing together ancient wisdom and modern science, Dr. Vervaeke is paving the way for a new era of personal growth and development that is accessible to all, regardless of background or beliefs.

Please view our media and links below to go deeper into Dr. John Vervaeke’s work.

Show Notes

“Knowledge is about overcoming ignorance. Wisdom is about overcoming foolishness. So you understand wisdom by understanding foolishness, and you understand foolishness as not identical to ignorance.”— Professor John Vervaeke

John Vervaeke (@vervaeke_john) is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He currently teaches courses on thinking and reasoning with an emphasis on cognitive development, intelligence, rationality, mindfulness, and the psychology of wisdom.

Vervaeke is the director of UToronto’s Consciousness and Wisdom Studies Laboratory and its Cognitive Science program, where he teaches Introduction to Cognitive Science and The Cognitive Science of Consciousness, emphasizing the 4E model, which contends that cognition and consciousness are embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended beyond the brain.

Vervaeke has taught courses on Buddhism and Cognitive Science in the Buddhism, Psychology, and Mental Health program for 15 years. He is the author and presenter of the YouTube series “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis” and his brand new series, “After Socrates.”

Please enjoy!


  • Connect with John Vervaeke:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube


  • [05:31] The four ways of knowing (4P).
  • [10:15] Affordances.
  • [13:04] Semantic memory.
  • [13:37] Flow.
  • [27:03] Did John find Tai Chi, or did Tai Chi find him?
  • [29:46] Leaving Christianity.
  • [34:42] Wisdom vs. knowledge.
  • [36:54] Self-deception.
  • [41:53] When is logic the illogical choice for solving a problem?
  • [46:05] The powers and perils of intuition.
  • [55:05] Spotting patterns that need breaking.
  • [59:18] Meditation vs. contemplation.
  • [1:05:30] Misunderstanding love.
  • [1:06:36] Circling.
  • [1:12:28] “God is related to the world the way the mind is related to the body.”
  • [1:14:34] A non-theist in the no-thingness.
  • [1:24:03] Responsive poiesis and Sufism.
  • [1:27:31] Neoplatonism.
  • [1:29:16] Seminal moments.
  • [1:31:36] Pierre Hadot.
  • [1:32:43] Two books.
  • [1:34:38] Potent poetry.
  • [1:37:40] The four Es.
  • [1:42:38] Two bonus Es.
  • [1:45:24] Heretical beliefs.
  • [1:54:12] Panpsychism.
  • [2:00:56] Most unusual modes of cognition.
  • [2:02:37] Jordan Peterson.
  • [2:10:27] Opponent processing.
  • [2:13:53] How to support friends endeavoring to lead meaningful lives.
  • [2:17:50] After Socrates.
  • [2:21:44] Western words.
  • [2:25:11] John’s changing perspective of experienced reality.
  • [2:28:01] Something old, something new.


“Knowledge is about overcoming ignorance. Wisdom is about overcoming foolishness. So you understand wisdom by understanding foolishness, and you understand foolishness as not identical to ignorance.”
— John Vervaeke

“Stop demonizing any faculty and stop deifying any faculty. Your intuition will lead you as much wrong as your reason, as much wrong as your emotions, as much wrong as your logic.”
— John Vervaeke

“The very processes that make us intelligent problem solvers [and] make us so adaptive are the very same processes that make us prone to self-deceptive, self-destructive behavior.”
— John Vervaeke

“We pick up on all kinds of complex patterns that are not real and we form intuitions around them, but when we don’t like our intuition, we don’t call it intuition, we call it bias or prejudice or racism or sexism or a whole bunch of other things.”
— John Vervaeke

“Logic does not tell you how to go from a weaker logic to a stronger logic. I can do all the possible manipulations within predicate logic and it won’t get me to motor logic. I have to do something outside of that to actually increase my logical competence. So there’s no panacea.”
— John Vervaeke

“Yes, your emotions can lead you astray, but try living without them and see how rational you can be.”
— John Vervaeke

“I don’t like the argument that goes, ‘Consciousness is weird, quantum is weird, therefore consciousness is quantum.’ That’s just ridiculous. Now, panpsychism is a different thing. And you don’t have to be convinced about quantum stuff to be a panpsychist.”
— John Vervaeke


Show More Show Less

John Vervaeke, Ph.D. is an award-winning lecturer at the University of Toronto in the departments of psychology, cognitive science, and Buddhist psychology.

He has published articles on relevance realization, general intelligence, mindfulness, flow, metaphor, and wisdom.

Awakening from the Meaning Crisis

Millions live disconnected and without a sense of homeanxiety within, alienation without, and a sense of absurdity with the world.

The scientific world gives us tools for innovation, but it cannot tell us how to live. Few of us know where to turn to develop the transformative wisdom necessary to cultivate a meaningful life.

Subscribe to John Vervaeke’s Newsletter

Get updates on new videos, lectures, and interviews along with a sneak preview of the first three chapters of John’s upcoming book Awakening from the Meaning Crisis.

Join our Patreon to support John’s work, join in Live Q&A sessions, and get early access to videos and more!