About Project Indra

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Project Indra explores the best of ancient wisdom and modern knowledge to help leaders tackle humanity’s wickedest problems.

Learn skills, insights, and practices from the world’s traditions that can help you tap into your full potential – as a leader and a human. Rise to meet the challenges you face in your communities, organizations, and the world we share.  

The call for evolutionary leaders

We are at a crossroads. One path leads to conflict, upheaval, and quite possibly the collapse of civilization as we know it. The other path leads to the opportunity to create a world in which all beings can flourish. 

Taking the first path, also known as business-as-usual, means ignoring problems like climate change and the destruction of nature, armed conflict across the globe, the steady decline of democracy, amid increases in poverty, racism, and economic inequities. 

Taking the second path means designing economic, social, and political systems that respect people and protect nature. It means acknowledging past harms and seeking to remedy them, shifting from exploitation to integration, and finding ways of regenerating the planet that sustains us.

The future is not certain. 

We have a choice. We can give in to fear, anger, or distraction. Or we can choose to carve out a different path where justice, compassion, and reason prevail.

You’ve heard the call. Whether you’re just starting your career or leading a global organization, you are here to guide us down that second path.

It won’t be easy or comfortable. Evolution occurs when a species is under pressure, facing new and constantly changing threats to survival. Likewise, we need to transform ourselves if we hope to meet humankind’s complex challenges. We need to evolve as leaders. 

Fortunately, we have some great mentors to help guide us on that path.

The sage and the scientist

For thousands of years, sages from around the world offered guidance on how to live well. Faced with widespread violence prevalent across nearly every aspect of society, they taught peace and tolerance. Their insights into human nature and the benefits of compassion laid the moral foundations of modern society.

And then, several hundred years ago, a new kind of sage emerged: the scientist. Where the sages of ancient wisdom traditions looked within, the scientist primarily looked outside. They left no stone unturned in a quest to understand our world and the universe. Their insights led to the explosion of growth and prosperity we see today.

Both the sage and the scientist have made crucial contributions to elevating humankind. But neither is enough on their own in the face of our complex threats. The wisdom of the sage guides us to use knowledge in beneficial rather than harmful ways. The scientist’s knowledge leads us away from superstition and towards a society based on reason. With their insights, human societies have adapted to challenges and progressively improved the lives of millions of humans.

We inherit the advancements of both.

We can learn from the wisest teachers and brightest minds in history. And then, we must take that wisdom and knowledge and adapt it to create a world in which all people and all beings can flourish.

This is where Project Indra comes in.

Why Project Indra

Project Indra connects you to the sages and scientists of the past and present to help you tap into your potential as a leader. Indra gathers and presents perspectives, insights, and practices from the world’s spiritual traditions and modern scientific knowledge. 

Learn ways to calm your mind from the Buddha and methods for discernment from Aristotle. Learn how to embrace even the most difficult circumstances from Marcus Aurelius and how to make the biggest impact with the least effort from Lao Tzu.

Gain a deeper understanding of how your mind makes decisions (both good and bad!) from Daniel Kahneman. Learn ways to cultivate positive emotions from Barbara Frederickson. And learn how our brains evolved to address specific kinds of threats from Leda Cosmides.

Each week (more or less), check out new episodes from Apotheosis, a podcast that shares insights, reflections, and practices from these great minds.

 The Skills section of this site compiles insights to help you succeed as a leader and in life, such as resilience, clarifying your vision, and cultivating calm even under fire.

And dig deeper into knowledge from sages and scientists worldwide in the Traditions section, compiling insights from Buddhism, Taoism, Stoicism, psychology, big history, ecology, and more.

About the author

Ryan Thompson is the author and producer behind Project Indra. 

Many years ago, I had a realization while working on a cruise ship that we are in trouble. The levels of overconsumption on the ship are a modern society in a microcosm. Like a ship far out at sea, our planet is an island in the vast emptiness of space. It’s not hard to deduce that consuming too much while living on an island can’t end well. 

So I adjusted course, now working by day as a communications director for sustainable development. By night, I write and produce podcasts, combining my experiences at work with a lifelong love of learning and personal growth.

I live in Maryland with my wife and three lovely little humans.

Connect with me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ryandthomps/

Portrait of Ryan D Thompson, founder and author of Project Indra

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