A new story from Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
First foremost I just want to say Richard. I don't think this this nervous to interview somebody. I've never owned a copy of someone's book for twenty years and then brought it to the interview to be signed. This is a first for me so I just WanNa say you know you're almost for me. A mythical figure and I've enjoyed listening to you over the years because you're sort of quite funny last night I I thought Oh. I'll revisit one of the SAM. Richard Live podcasts. And you're so funny and if you don't mind I'd like to. I make you a human before we talk about all your accomplish -CCOMPLISH work and your viewpoints on everything I see. You are a human in front of me according to a mythical figure they feel rather in your right Sirkin unethical do you watch. TV shows do you favorite TV shows. I I watch the recordings on net flicks and things like that. Yeah yeah same. Did you've been shows. Yes yes I binged Stephen Fry because I was giving him. I think all the Richard Dawkins award which which we give every year and this year. I binged injured Ricky Jehovah's for exactly the same reason And I love them both. Always opposite to each other in Stephen Fry's of Bain and cultivated rickie is kind of beyond the pale in many respects Equally funny I did not see the fry one but we loved the as one and obviously he is a brother in arms in the Kinda theus as well. Yeah he does a very good job of been honest stating his point of view and then putting a real nice comedic emetic spin on it. So it's Kinda digestible spoons. Full of sugar approach precisely right exactly what he does. Okay good so you watch television. Also you have a very unique childhood hood in that you were born in Kenya's do I have that correct. Yes it's not so unique for British people of my age. Actually if pretty common in where I went to school it seemed like about half. The boys are born in Africa or India. Oh really is for the younger listeners and myself truly that only exists the kind of colonial. Oh Africa that only exists in hemingway books or you know it's kind of a bygone era. Yes and it went gone very suddenly as well disappeared very quickly. Oh Oh really kind of overnight. Now what precipitated that I think just change Harold. McMillan called the wind of change. It was just a very very swift political movement. Yeah ah mean rather analogous to the way the gay movement in this country with very very swiftly transformed things turn things upside down in historical view. It happened in one and second. Yes right that's what we're hoping to do with atheism. I mean that because the present atheists are not able to enjoy food hold membership of society. Really they can't get it get elected. It's very difficult to get elected. And what we're hoping is that we can emulate the gay community you did and almost overnight historical terms transform things one hurdle I can immediately imagine is that there is a built-in sympathy for a group. That is so obviously excommunicated and it comes with such a price tag on the familial relationships and same with the civil rights movements that I've never seen atheist blasted the streets with fire hoses so we lack a little bit of sympathy. Does that get in our away with. It would be nice to think we get sympathy. I think we would get sympathy but for the extraordinary bizarre idea that you need to believe in a higher power in order to to be good and this rather dramatically shows itself in the fact that they don't mind whether it's wrong guard right as long as any God will do If you morality morality yeah when you think of anyone who currently is spending a great deal time in Church or dedicating a big portion of their life to their chosen religion all of them currently would look back on the Greeks in just laugh at the notion of Zeus and someone taking a chariot and rising the sun and that becomes very laughable and dismissable and yet that same ones can't really be applied to their own that's right. I've sometimes asked ancient historians in my college college at Oxford whether the Greeks really did believe in their gods the seems to be yes or at least they were sacrificed to the and they would pray to them And they would attribute misfortune or fortune to them whether they really believe there was a god called Helius who actually got up in the morning and drove of his chariot across the sky. I find that actually pretty hard to believe especially when you consider that simultaneous to that you're seeing the birth of democracy the birth of geometry. You're seeing like enormous leaps forward in the foundation of what is now science. Yeah yes of whether Plato and Aristotle really believed in I mean they talked about the gods but I suspect it may be somewhat in the same sort of way as Einstein. Yeah didn't believe in God but he used God language as a kind of metaphor for that which we don't understand and so when socrates you said something like do morals come from the gods the gods cover them worldwide if it was yeah. I'm not sure he really meant the gods where he was just using kind of language that his audience would understand Dan. Yeah I completely agree with. It is funny because you'll see people. co-opt Einstein quotes to serve whatever. And they have right. I would like to go back and shake Einstein and say why did you do that handing people on the plate. They they desperately wanted to hear but do you think he just maybe had a broader global view of like. That's that's not the thing I need to disrupt right now. That's not the hill. I'm going to die on so I'm just GONNA kite up placate or patronise the masses. I haven't read enough to know I think maybe times different and maybe didn't actually occur to him that it wouldn't matter that although he did get very annoyed at times when he would say I I do not believe in a personal and Gordon I said over and over again. He did actually get quite irritated sometimes but I think he only had himself to blame. Yeah now back to Africa Growing up there were you in his city or what kind of environment where you're not in a city with hardly wearing cities it was fairly primitive in some respects next. We have no electric light. We had no indoor plumbing on the other hand we had lots of servants okay and so it was sort of curious mixture. It's like going back hundred years. Yeah so your memories mostly just like going to school and going to catching butterflies beautiful flowers. Yeah but I didn't see elephants or lands or anything like that right for me. I just go. Oh if a guy grows up in Africa not shocking to me that he ends up with an interest in zoology in evolution is to think that I think that's unfortunately the truth. My father was a biologist so I think later on moved to England. I think he taught me to think like a scientist and think like a biologist but no the African childhood was. It just didn't really feed it. I think to what later became in a big way and did you have any awareness that you were an ex pat or living in a country that if not your origin. was that something you were conscious. I left when I was seven so I'm not sure that unless I was very precocious I would have thought in those terms because you round. These is your reality right. You kind of take it up. Yeah he's value. When you're young? Yes yes so. You moved to England at seven or eight depending on whether I believe you. Or what's it's written about my eighth birthday on the ship. Oh no kidding so both true really and so your father had served in World War Two and then he inherited in a state. That's right in one thousand forty six years. She inherited it but assume that he would never actually live there. It was tenants did and the lady who was the tenant died actually while we were on the ship and he may perhaps on your birthday and my parents were greeted with the news that she had died and they then had to make a decision whether to go back to Africa which they wanted to do originally agonizing nothing. They decided they would stay. My mother ahead soften very badly for malaria and almost died. And I think that was another reason for not going back. Yeah but the family lawyer and both their parents. It's both sets of grandparents. Strongly advised them to go back to Africa and they didn't take that advice they actually found the place. It hadn't been found for longtime properly. Yeah my my father made quite a success of it as a proper commercial thumb. A lot of these estates get passed down in a lot of people live quite poor in these amazing estates and just everything is spent on maintaining them and it can be a real burden to inherit low that I mean the word estate or rather give a full impression. It's not biggest date like okay do something instead of just Downton Abbey playing in my head just honest with Seoul wrong. I know it's early about two hundred and fifty acres and in-home wasn't outragous on it. There's a big issue house which was a bird. Actually family lawyer advised her to pull that down right. And and my parents didn't actually touch it into flats apartments. Oh and They specialized in English people. British people coming back on leave from the colonial service constantly filled with people from Africa and India Erin. bummer places is like a decompression chamber and getting back in England. Right yes yeah. They had to have been intoxicated with the notion of being out as like people who went westerly here or anything else right as a very adventurous lifestyle I suppose hose yes but of course it was very much government regulated. Were they were pioneers. In that sense that the earlier people went out to farm the settlers close. They've quite different. They were more like pioneers but my parents were not they were government servants and the people they mixed with the government servants right so they were they were. We're not part of the sort of happy valley crowd they knew. Some of that crowd You were raised Christian in. I went to Christian schools. It was difficult not to write but it was Anglican in and I would imagine in part because father was into science in biology in. Did you have a good relationship. Asian trip with him. Did you want her to be proud of you. And yes I had a very good relationship with him. He was the buffs in it so he knew all about wildflowers. In New the letter names my sister and I love to here. The Latin names of all the closet didn't remember them necessarily but yeah any children liked to hear long words they don't know the meaning of maybe wrong about that. Oh absolutely we'll think Expeditious Doses California. Everyone loves that word means nothing so long. Now I would imagine when you're being educated. You're probably you knew Latin or you do. Do you did lesson for years. It doesn't mean on new it. Do you think it's good or bad that they've abandoned that I think it's good to learn. Language is is a time would be probably better spent learning French and German somewhere. You could go use it. Yeah yes I mean. People say that Latin is good for learning old Romance Romance Languages and no doubt it is but I suspect that any romance language would serve that purpose in Spanish would be good for learning Italian. French and friends will be good for leading Italian Spanish and so on. Yeah Yeah so a romance language would be a very good idea. A GERMANIC language would be a very good idea. I am ashamed of the British and actually American. We Anglos we. English speakers are so bad at languages. Oh Yeah and when I go to places like Holland and Scandinavia and in a even bus drivers and Tenders Speak Perfect English. Yeah we'll all get real judgmental of US and feel pretty bad about the whole ordeal and then then another side of my brain goes. That's just the privilege of the hegemonic society. Germans were the hegemonic society. They probably wouldn't know any other. Do you think maybe some four the true I think that is. I don't think we're shittier. The people in general doesn't got shows itself though in arrogance the thing we didn't need to learn. I had a colleague when when I said I was trying to learn German. He said Oh you don't want to do that. The only encourages them..