A Conversation with Layman Pascal, Part 2 – Pursuing Integral Wisdom

Aviv Shahar with Layman Pascal

February 1, 2024

We’re living in a time where increasingly we see what’s happening in the world around us and have to wonder how, or even if, we can find deep truth in the age of the “deep fake”. Artificial intelligence can distort or manipulate many forms of data and information we take in through our physical senses. Sights, sounds and “facts” on a page can all be faked. How then do we with confidence make sense and meaning in a life when even what we see with our own eyes may not be true?

There are clues in the name itself: “artificial” intelligence. What about natural intelligence? We know from Portals conversations that the human is designed with the capability to connect with larger, universal sources of intelligence, creativity and inspiration, beyond the reach of even the most powerful AI.

It’s a deep truth explored throughout history by spiritual teachers, shamans and wise men and women attuned to the finer, energetic, subtle realms as a living reality. Sources of profound revelation and learning that can transform lives and communities, and reconnect the human to its natural birthright.

In this conversation we are once again fortunate to have as our guide Layman Pascal, a leader in integral thinking and teaching, and a prominent voice on the Integral Stage YouTube channel and podcast. He joins Aviv Shahar for part two of their conversation, begun with Protecting the Sacred.

Among their ponders:

  • AI is going to touch everyone and every type of reality, with inevitable distressing effects, including a reduction of cognitive capacities, and an increasing distrust in all information sources.
  • How do we bring the spiritual and sociological closer together? Integrate a life of deep spiritual practice, freed from dogmatic interpretations, with an emerging cultural and community experience?
  • How do we balance the notion of God with our current notion of reality? Or of creating healthier existing religious structures versus cultivating new emergent religion-like experiences?
  • A big-picture model of deep history shouldn’t accept mainstream neo-liberal media or academic consensus as reality, but be open to surprises and anomalies that could reverse consensus going forward.
  • We don't want to be naive utopians, but also not nihilistic, pessimistic, or to give up. Let's invest our imagination, heart, and actions in trying to figure out what a better world actually looks like.
  • Just because someone can enter or produce a state — an unusual chemical, energetic, or psychological condition — doesn't mean they have an established stage of development.

This conversation is part of the continuing Portals discovery into what is emerging on the frontiers of human experience in this time of profound change. Information about upcoming special events can be found on the Events page. Also visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Along with this conversation, Layman Pascal hosted Aviv in an exploration in search of The Fifth Quadrant, shared here

The phrase 'naturalize the sacred and sacralize the natural' goes along with trying to bring the rational and the intuitive together. We embrace a natural science universe, not a reductive natural science universe. At the same time, it's only relevant if it can produce the cultural meaning and individual transformation that's necessary for a human life.
Layman Pascal

Layman Pascal

Layman Pascal

Layman is a feral philosopher in Northern Ontario who is known for his work on the Metaphysics of Adjacency, the Integration Surplus Model & Planetary Shamanism. In the philosophical space around Integral Theory, he has developed the Coaxial Stages model, elaborated the dynamics of Metaprogressive Politics and foregrounded the ethical, relational, ecological and subconscious features of multidimensional developmental theories. He is the host of The Integral Stage podcast, senior teacher at the Metamodern Spirituality Retreats, co-editor of Perspectiva’s series Dispatches From a Time Between Worlds, co-chair of the Foundation for Integral Religion and Spirituality. He used to be a committed yoga and meditation instructor but he’s feeling much better now.  
Aviv Shahar

Aviv Shahar

Aviv serves as the Portals' sherpa. He curates transformational journeys and is a storyteller of the epochal evolution culminating at this time. Aviv is the Founder of Aviv Consulting, helping leaders unleash strategic innovation, and is the author of Create New Futures: How Leaders Produce Breakthroughs and Transform the World Through Conversation.

Visit: Aviv Consulting