Evolute Institute

Catalyzing systemic change through altered states & attuned leadership? (Prof. Bennet A. Zelner)

In a thought-provoking conversation with Bennett Zelner,  Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, we delve into the transformative potential of integrating altered states of consciousness with leadership practices. This discussion explores how such integration can drive systemic change, addressing complex global challenges through a new paradigm of leadership.

The Intersection of Altered States, Leadership, and Systemic Change

Zelner, working at the intersection of regenerative economics, leadership, and psychedelics, provides unique insights into how altered states can unlock profound leadership capabilities. The conversation highlights the role of psychedelics and mindfulness in fostering a connected attunement—a sense of deep interconnectedness with oneself, others, and the environment.

Altered States and Leadership Development

Exploring Zelner’s journey from a traditional economist to a pioneer in applying psychedelic experiences for leadership development, the dialogue uncovers the transformative impact of altered states on personal growth and systemic vision. Zelner shares his epiphanies on the dysfunctionality of current economic systems and how psychedelics prompted a shift towards regenerative economics.

Regenerative Economics and Systemic Dysfunction

The discussion delves into the core issues of today’s economic systems, characterized by extraction and disconnection, and contrasts them with principles of regenerative economics. Zelner articulates how a shift towards systems that mimic nature’s regenerative processes can address systemic dysfunctions.

Attuned Leadership: A New Paradigm

Central to the conversation is the concept of attuned leadership—a leadership style that emerges from an understanding of the intrinsic interconnectedness of all beings and systems. This section explores the characteristics of attuned leadership and its potential to drive innovative, empathetic, and impactful decisions.

From Mechanistic to Symbiotic Attunement

The dialogue further examines the transition from a mechanistic worldview, where individuals and organizations operate in isolation, to a symbiotic attunement, emphasizing collaboration, empathy, and systemic health.

The Role of Psychedelics in Cultivating Connected Leadership

Zelner discusses the ongoing research on the effects of psychedelic-assisted experiences on leadership qualities. This section highlights how psychedelics can enhance creativity, decision-making, and the ability to navigate complexity, contributing to the development of connected leadership.

Ethical Considerations and Future Directions

Addressing potential criticisms, the conversation touches on ethical considerations in using psychedelics for leadership development. Zelner emphasizes the importance of supportive settings and intentional use to foster genuine transformation.

Conclusion – Towards a Regenerative Future

The dialogue concludes with reflections on the possibility of steering systemic change through attuned leadership. By embracing altered states and fostering a deep sense of connection, leaders have the potential to catalyze a shift towards a more sustainable, equitable, and interconnected world.

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