Jeremy Lent

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Jeremy Lent
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CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma mater
  • Emmanuel College
  • Cambridge University

Jeremy Lent (born 1960) is author of The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning, and founder of the nonprofit Liology Institute[1]. Earlier in his career, Lent was founder, chairman, and CEO of the internet company c:Special:UploadWizard.[2].

Personal and Education

Lent was born in London and earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, University of Cambridge in 1981. After leaving the UK for the United States he earned an MBA from the University of Chicago.[3]

Business career

In 1996, Lent founded NextCard, a pioneering internet financial services company, which was the first to enable consumers to apply for a credit card over the internet and be approved in real time.[3]

As chairman and CEO of NextCard, Lent took the company public in 1999. However, due to his first wife’s illness, Lent stepped down as CEO in 2000 in order to care for her.[4] After Lent’s departure as CEO, NextCard suffered serious setbacks and was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2002.[5] Along with the other board members of NextCard, Lent was involved for several years in shareholder litigation. In 2005 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dismissed fraud charges that it had originally made against Lent.[6]

Writing career

Lent’s first book, a science fiction novel Requiem of the Human Soul, was published in 2009 by independent publisher Libros Libertad.[7]

In 2017, The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning was published by Prometheus Books, with a Foreword by Fritjof Capra. It is a cognitive history of humanity, tracing how different cultures have patterned meaning into the universe and their effect on history.

The book’s thesis is that “culture shapes values, and those values shape history.”[1] This approach is in contrast to the predominant geographic determinist approach to history, exemplified by historians such as Jared Diamond, Ian Morris (historian), and Kenneth Pomeranz. Lent argues that “the cognitive frames through which different cultures perceive reality have had a profound effect on their historical direction.”[8]

The book conducts what Lent calls an “archaeological exploration of the mind,” using findings from cognitive science and systems theory to reveal the implicit layers of values that form today's cultural norms. Evaluating the current crisis of sustainability, Lent argues that it is not an inevitable result of human nature, but is culturally driven: a product of particular mental patterns that could conceivably be reshaped. [9]

Guardian columnist George Monbiot has called The Patterning Instinct “the most profound and far-reaching book I have ever read.”

Lent founded the nonprofit Liology Institute in 2012, with the aim of fostering an integrative worldview that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on the Earth.[10]

In his articles and talks, Lent argues that modern civilization is on an unsustainable trajectory and needs to be transformed at a foundational level. He has critiqued Steven Pinker, among others, for his optimistic assessment of progress while ignoring unsustainable factors.[11] However, he contrasts his position with the Deep Adaptation agenda of Jem Bendell, arguing that collapse is not inevitable but could be averted through societal transformation to an ecological civilization: one based on ecological principles that is life-affirming rather than wealth-affirming.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Website of Jeremy Lent – Author of The Patterning Instinct". Jeremy Lent ​Author and Integrator. Retrieved 2020-12-17
  2. Statement of Treaties and International Agreements. Statement of Treaties and International Agreements. 1999-04-30. doi:10.18356/82255d16-en-fr. ISBN 9789210593687. ISSN 2412-1010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ibid
  4. NextCard Mixes Good News, Quicker Profitability, With Bad, CEO's Departure. The Street, Peter Eavis, Jul 24, 2000
  5. NextCard: A Look Back at the Rise-and-Fall of an Early Lender. First Annapolis, John Grund and David Woynerowski, 2016.
  6. SEC Litigation Release No. 19903, November 8, 2006
  7. Requiem of the Human Soul, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, Canada, 2009.
  8. Patterning Instinct Preface in Origins: The Bulletin of the International Big History Association, Volume VI, Number 8, pp. 17–24
  9. Monbiot, George (31 January, 2018). “Stepping Back from the Brink.”
  10. "The Liology Institute". The Liology Institute. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  11. Lent, Jeremy (May 21, 2018). “Steven Pinker’s ideas are fatally flawed. These eight graphs show why.”
  12. Ahmed, Nafeez (November 22, 2019). “The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun.”

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