William Irwin Thompson discusses the new planetary culture he sees emerging from the cracks in the old civilization of industrial nation states. William Irwin Thompson is known primarily as a social philosopher and cultural critic. He has made significant contributions to cultural history, social criticism, the philosophy of science, and the study of myth. He describes his writing and speaking style as "mind-jazz on ancient texts". He is an astute reader of science, social science, history, and literature. He is the founder of the Lindisfarne Association. Biography Thompson was born in Chicago and grew up in Los Angeles. Thompson received his Ph.D. at Cornell University and was professor of humanities at MIT and then at York University in Toronto. He left academia to found the Lindisfarne Association, a group of scientists, poets, and religious scholars who met in order to discuss and to participate in the emerging planetary consciousness, or noosphere. Thompson finds his role as a cultural historian to be a potential vehicle for transcendence: Anything can deliver us from our lost memory of the soul; science, history, art, or the sunlight on the grass taitami mats in the Zendo. And anything can enslave us: science, history, art, or the militarism of a Zen monastery. But if we are lost in time and suffering racial amnesia, then we need something to startle us into recollection. If history is the sentence of our imprisonment, then history, recoded, can become the password of our release. The concept of performance is central to Thompson's approach. Performances either open new horizons for the future or close them down, and should be judged on that basis. Thompson thought that with the emergence of the integral era and its electronic media expressions that a new mode of discourse was required. He sought "to turn non-fiction into a work of art on its own termsâ.