Village Idiot

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COURSES

DemoSapiens courses are designed to help nurture intelligent and thoughtful citizens who can help strengthen our vulnerable societies. The courses encourage higher-order thinking skills and dispositions that can help you develop a realistic understanding of our constantly shifting world. They are interactive and experiential and allow the participant or student to explore ideas that would not be allowed in formal educational institutions (or partisan gatherings).

coaching

Over the past few years I have had people ask me if I would help them make sense of the overwhelming complexity of life in the 21st century. I offer in-depth One-on-One coaching/tutoring sessions on topics I have significant experience with: Critical Thinking and Creativity, Conflict Management and Facilitation, Democracy and Pluralism, Geopolitics, History, Culture, and Civilization, and the Impact of Technology on Humanity. You will select the topics that you wish to learn based on your own interest and intellectual development need.

Thoughtful Thursdays

The weekly Zeitgeist Zero sessions are back - albeit with a new name and renewed focus on discussing contemporary issues with a Critical Thinking focus. THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS. Virtual Workshops will be every Thursday. 90 minutes. 10-11:30 am EST. Sanity in troubled times. Limited seats. For Zoom link, write to villageidiotstudio@gmail.com.


UPCOMING COURSES

Wisdom

Understand today's complexity and chaos, without it overwhelming you.

Creativity

Rediscover your inner creativity.

Systems Thinking

Learn how to understand the family, organization, society and democracy itself as complex systems with a hidden logic and rationale.


PREVIOUS COURSES

SURVIVING 21st CENTURY

Sharpen your ability to anticipate tomorrow’s turbulence.

Artificial Intelligence

Understand how AI will change hearts, minds, and relationships.

The 12 Laws

Gift yourself this timely reality check for activists and visionaries.

East & Liberalism

Empathize with the illiberal compulsions of orthodox societies.

Relationships

Change the way we understand our most important relationships.

Critical Thinking

Appreciate what it takes to be a thinking and wise human being.

CULTURE & DEMOCRACY

Discover the complex ways cultures and democracies collapse. 

I have taught diversity management since 1996; critical thinking and creativity since 1988; conflict management since 2000; and democracy and pluralism since 2016.

Unlike academics and scholars whose knowledge comes from extensive research and deliberation of abstract ideas, everything I know, I’ve learned through excruciating first-hand experiences. As a teacher and mediator, I have been privileged to help people understand their thinking processes, particularly when they are in conflict, feeling isolated, and most vulnerable. This has given me a deep appreciation of what it takes for us humans to get along with each other. Every functional relationship, I have come to realize, is a miracle of love, understanding, patience, and compromise. And of course, Democracy itself, is the broadest and most complex relationship you can ever have.

Ashok has a special gift of making complex issues simple to understand. His fresh insights and straight taking illuminates the world as it is — fractured, rife with conflict, at risk – while providing a path I can follow towards making a difference. Every class has left me with insights, and hope. You’ll be hooked!

Peter Shapiro, Boston

I have taken several of Ashok’s courses and I have found them all to be thought provoking. Ashok takes things you know (or think you know) and presents them from a different perspective, making you question assumptions and conclusions. And the discussions! They are fascinating and great fun. The students challenge each other and Ashok. Overall, these courses have all been great learning experiences and have helped me make sense of complex realities.

Kathleen DeWitt, Kurdistan

Discovering the Metaculture series is like stumbling into a roundtable of brainy humanitarians whose sense of urgency over globe-encircling threats to democracy compels them to screech to a halt, stand back, and try to clearly perceive this crisis — its causes and complexities — before leaping into action. My compliments to Ashok … for his astute and gracious leadership and guidance.

Meredith, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

If you are looking to be celebrated and affirmed in your opinions or worldviews, do not take this course. If you genuinely want to learn something new, and feel ready to challenge and possibly change your existing views, this course is for you.

Pilar Egüez Guevara, PhD

Having attended a number of Ashok’s classes over the years, I can tell you, with conviction, Ashok has transformed my understanding of the world’s systems under which we live — political, economic, or social.

Peter Shapiro, Boston

If you are interested and ready to push yourself to your limits and beyond, take this course. If you are looking for tools to think critically and creatively and a path to becoming wiser, take this course.

Pilar Egüez Guevara, PhD

Until recently, I had not known how to challenge myself and my own thinking. I was just scratching the surface. (At the) Meta-Culture I found just what I needed: a way to examine the thinking process and find my pearls along the way.
Check it out for yourself.

Raju Bhatt, Boulder, Colorado

I have particularly enjoyed Ashok’s ability to create a space for learning and exchanging openly. I like knowing that when joining Ashok’s workshops, I will have a group to discuss the complexity of our current world.

Virginie, Paris

I have done two (courses) so far- “Relationships and Civic Relationships” and “The 12 Laws of Democracy”. Both were very different from the other, a testament to the breadth of topics Ashok is capable of addressing- and yet always bringing his unique insights and viewpoint to the topic.

Shalini, New Delhi, India

Ashok is passionate about planting the seed of critical thinking for participants to actively engage into a reflective process around democracy, pluralism, and diversity, as well as the complex dynamics of communities and conflicts.

Virginie, Paris

Ashok is not just a teacher. He’s a facilitator of critical thinking and learning of the finest caliber. Take his courses if you wish to cultivate unflinching understandings and critique on the toughest queries facing our tenuous democracy.

Merrick Hoben, VA

I have taken several of Ashok’s courses and I have found them all to be thought provoking. Ashok takes things you know (or think you know) and presents them from a different perspective, making you question assumptions and conclusions. And the discussions! They are fascinating and great fun.
The students challenge each other and Ashok.

Kathleen DeWitt, Kurdistan

You probably won’t get answers, but you will understand!

Michael Oghia, Belgrade

Attending Ashok’s courses has been a sheer delight. He also listens deeply and brings to the surface the nuggets which are lost in conversation. I have always looked forward to attending his workshops and courses.

Dhruv Sen, Bangalore

His courses provide both depth and holistic understanding of some of the toughest challenges we face as a species, yet he seamlessly weaves together multiple complex issues by highlighting their interconnected nature.

Michael Oghia, Belgrade

Be it ‘democracy’, ‘diversity’ or even the much-contested discourse around ‘critical thinking’, it wasn’t simply about discussing theories and having debates, but about challenging ourselves to step into the shoes of others, even if felt uncomfortably wet.

Shriya Dayal, Florence, Italy

Ashok’s courses are not for the faint of heart, but for those with a genuine interest in learning. Having known him for over a decade, I can attribute much of my adult critical thinking skills and rich insights into the complexity of society to his mentoring and teaching.

Michael Oghia, Belgrade

Besides Ashok’s brilliant style of teaching and engaging students, the content of the classes and discussions inspired me to think about topics in ways that conventional media/education had not encouraged me to.

Shriya Dayal, Florence, Italy

Even when Ashok and I disagree, I frequently find my perspective expanded and deepened in my discussions with him. Indeed, Ashok’s workshops demonstrate how people with differing perspectives can come together in these polarized times without demonizing the other.

Brad Roth, NYC

His courses promote curiosity, honest inquiry, a raised awareness, and passion for learning – all things we need in these challenging times.

Gaby Sappington, NYC

What strikes me most is Ashok’s approach: he refuses to offer ready-made solutions. Instead, he guides us in honing our questions – an essential tool in today’s world where we’re overloaded with answers- yet starved for the right questions.

Mohammad Ali, Bangalore

Ashok inspires thought provoking internalization so that each participant is stretched to considering concepts not necessarily part of one’s normal paradigm. By continually asking questions, and giving helpful hints when needed, participants are guided through a twisting pathway that Ashok has carefully researched.

David Wood, Canada

Being in Ashok’s sphere, I was gently coaxed out of my echo chamber – a step that proved to be one of the most impactful on my journey.
He taught me that true growth stems from challenging our perspectives and embracing differing viewpoints. 

Arif Vakil, Bangalore, India

Ashok presents complex concepts with somewhat alarming simplicity but with deep sincerity. He manages to integrate all of his “students” into a thinking team whereby all of us are tried, tested and tweaked to a new level of understanding. I would recommend (these courses to) anyone with even the slightest interest in how our society is created, structured, and maintained.

David Wood, Canada

Ashok’s vast academic knowledge and his ability to engage and encourage participants from around the world (allows us) to question “automatic” beliefs or convictions. These result in stimulating (cross-cultural) conversations and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the complexities involved.

 

Gaby Sappington, NYC

Ashok’s courses can sear one’s mind and heart…however painfully, for the good… So, hoping to learn more, I sign up for Ashok’s next course! Every time.

Susan Farrell, Washington DC

Ashok’s vast academic knowledge and his ability to engage and encourage participants from around the world (allows us) to question “automatic” beliefs or convictions. These result in stimulating (cross-cultural) conversations and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the complexities involved.

Gaby Sappington, NYC

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