The Atlas Project

Conversations That Navigate The Now

About the show

It’s a new world. To navigate it, we need new maps. Each episode, best-selling author Chris Kutarna and Scott Jones soar 50,000 feet above the immediate headlines in politics, economics, science and society. The Atlas Project aims to reveal the big picture of where humanity is headed, and the choices we all need to face.

Episodes and Blog Entries

  • Episode 42: Build Back Better

    Episode  |  February 14th, 2021  |  1 hr 12 mins

    In this episode we talk about this month's Basecamp theme: Build Back Better.

  • Episode 41: What Has 2020 Revealed To You?

    Episode  |  December 15th, 2020  |  35 mins 50 secs

    We recorded this episode right after the January Basecamp meeting. We took the time to unpack the same question all of our campers grappled with together. It was a really fun, engaging, and revealing conversation. We hope you enjoy it!

  • Episode 40: Does Democracy have a Shelf Life?

    Episode  |  November 18th, 2020  |  1 hr 4 mins

    In this episode we ask about the enduring power of western style democracy. Does it have a long shelf life? What threat does China pose to it's claims to being a healthy, robust structure for social order and human flourishing?

  • Episode 39: The New Normal....?

    Episode  |  October 31st, 2020  |  35 mins 17 secs

    In this episode we return from our summer break to consider what it means to live in "the new normal." Is the idea of a new normal even helpful or is it misleading?

  • Episode 38: What Would You Give Up?

    Episode  |  July 24th, 2020  |  26 mins 59 secs

    In this episode we talk about what we've had to give up in the midst of the Covid Pandemic. Then we ask, what would we be willing to give up in the future to make the world a better place?

  • Episode 37: Can Humans Manage Risk?

    Episode  |  July 11th, 2020  |  54 mins 9 secs

    In this episode we talk about risk. When there's a pandemic and you have choices of what to do and where to go, how do you make them? Are we good at assessing risk? What kind of factors influence what kind of risks we're willing to take? As things begin to slowly open up, can we be trusted to make good decisions in the age of Covid-19?

  • Episode 36: What's the Difference Between Us and Them?

    Episode  |  July 3rd, 2020  |  49 mins 43 secs

    In this episode we talk about the Us/Them dynamic in the world right now amidst a pandemic and racial and societal unrest.

  • Episode 35: Is There Still Room For Debate?

    Episode  |  June 18th, 2020  |  49 mins 18 secs

    We live in intense times right now. How do we negotiate pandemics, systemic racism, police brutality and a host of other important and urgent issues? Does call out culture stop constructive conversation too quickly? Inspired by a piece from Andrew Sullivan we talk about the nature of the public square in a liberal society. What ideas get boxed out of the conversation and why? How do we listen to the voices of the marginal and acknowledge the effects of racism in the public square at the same time allowing for robust debate about those same systemic realities? Can the liberal democratic handle all of this, or is liberalism ready to be put on the dust bin of history?

  • Episode 34: Corona and Complex Systems, with Michael Garfield

    Episode  |  June 11th, 2020  |  1 hr 2 mins

    In this episode we talk about complex systems and the Corona virus with Michael Garfield. Michael is host of the Future Fossils podcast and the social media strategist and podcast producer for the Santa Fe Institute. He recently wrote a piece entitled "We Will Fight Diseases of Our Networks By Realizing We Are Networks."

  • Episode 33: The Corona Virus and the Future of Democracy

    Episode  |  June 4th, 2020  |  54 mins 44 secs

    In this episode we speak with Harry Pearse. He works with the Center for the Future of Democracy at the University of Cambridge. We talk about the relationship between scientific experts, policy makers, and the broader public in the midst of dealing with crises like pandemics.

  • Episode 32: The Art of Shaping a Conversation

    Episode  |  May 29th, 2020  |  47 mins 44 secs

    In this episode, leading up to another Basecamp related gathering, we consider the art of shaping public and private conversations.

  • Episode 31: Health Care, Social Welfare and the Common Good, with Sophia Ikura

    Episode  |  May 21st, 2020  |  28 mins 52 secs

    We are excited to have our first guest on the show! Her name is Sophia Ikura. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Health Commons Solutions Lab in Toronto, which works at the intersection of public health and social welfare. She's also a part of the Basecamp movement. We talk with her about what she's learned personally and professionally from the pandemic.

  • Episode 30: Faith, Doubt and Certainty

    Episode  |  May 20th, 2020  |  20 mins 15 secs

    In this episode we talk about a book called "Proper Confidence." It's a book that deals with the relationship of faith and doubt in the human quest for truth and flourishing.

  • Episode 29: Mapmaking and Making Meaning in a Pandemic

    Episode  |  May 18th, 2020  |  25 mins 4 secs

    Back from a hiatus we're talking about what the new normal as we all deal with the Corona virus. We also announce an exciting initiative that will open up something called Basecamp to our listeners, inviting them to a virtual community where we can make maps together.

  • Episode 28: Do We Need Democracy?

    Episode  |  March 6th, 2020  |  46 mins 37 secs

    We begin this episode with this quote from the great 20th century ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr: "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." We spend the rest of the podcast unpacking it and reflecting on its implications for anthropology, politics, and public life.

  • Episode 27: What's Really Real?

    Episode  |  February 20th, 2020  |  41 mins 17 secs

    In this episode we talk about Brexit, the American Presidential election, and what both tell us about political discourse. We wonder what is real to most voters and why, and why it seems like things that can't be quantified or measured are consistently absent from political speech.