Breaking Free of Societal Systems in Order to Revitalize Them

Jeff Savage, a non-academic-minded-academic, discusses the challenges of growing beyond three stagnate and authoritarian systems—academia, schooling, and the organized religion of his youth.

All institutions–in fields as diverse as business, government, charities, and churches–inevitably morph from serving others to self-service and self-preservation. This episode focuses on three specific systems: academia, schooling, and religion. Once established, these institutions become stagnate and stifling, seeking primarily to maintain their supremacy. They turn bureaucratic, systematized, and tyrannical. By eradicating Chaos, they erase the vitality they need to survive, to better serve the needs of the community. Jeff Savage, a non-academic-minded academic, discusses the challenges found in leaving these systems, in order to inject new life into them.

While earning his Ph.D. in Business Strategy, he drifted away from the stale and insulated realm of Academia, reaching for more meaningful and real-world approaches to knowledge. He explains which incentives keep academics mired in their ivory towers, talking to a small handful of other experts, rarely branching out to the public, leaving a limited impact on their surrounding communities. Few intellectuals become public influencers. Few directly communicate with the larger society.

This drove him and his wife to separate their children from the traditional public education system, choosing to unschool them at home, leaning on student-directed learning models.

Drawing inspiration from the archetype of Abraham, the biblical patriarch, he recounts his excommunication from the Mormon church, which came in response to his attempts to “find God” beyond the orthodox authority of the church system. This has turned him into an influential member of the Remnant movement. With admirable graciousness, he explains what his relationship with the Mormon faith community looks like now, and what he hopes will come about as more people challenge these hyper-orderly mindsets. Not unique to Mormonism, he also expounds upon how the erasure of the Feminine Divine or Mythological Feminine from the Abrahamic religions created this environment.

Many systems have become corrupted, calling for restorations, and he anticipates a swing of the balances toward the mystical, unique, free, and local, in contrast with the logical, uniform, structured, and global.

We need a harmony of both chaos and order, he argues, in religion, education, politics, and culture.

(Featured image source: Faustin Tuyambaze/Unsplash)


Jeff Savage grew up in Northern California. He gathered a pair of accounting degrees from BYU and was swept off his feet by a woman studying Mechanical Engineering. The safe life of an accountant didn’t appeal, so he and his wife moved East for a graduate degree, each at the University of Illinois.

He and his engineer wife now have four kids, two dogs, two cats, and 14 chickens. They reside in the Bible Belt where she homeschools their children and he teaches stranger’s children at the University of South Carolina.

Give These a Try
David O. Mckay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Gregory Prince
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos by Jordan Peterson
Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray

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