17 Episode results for "Sam harris"

#243  A Few Points of Confusion

Making Sense with Sam Harris

09:42 min | 4 months ago

#243 A Few Points of Confusion

"A welcome to sense podcast. This is sam harris okay. I've had of few encounters recently on other people's podcasts and on social media that made me think that many people are confused about some of the views. I expressed on his podcast. Those of you who are using the waking up app probably have a better understanding of what. I'm up to. But i get the sense that many making sense listeners. Really don't know where. I'm coming from much of the time so clearing up. This confusion requires that. I say a few things about the role that meditation has played and continues to play in my life. I let me say that unless you're deep into it the term meditation almost certainly congress the wrong ideas in your mind. Meditation has no necessary connection to eastern religion. Say much less to beads or incense. Or and if the trappings of new age spirituality. Unless you're unusually well informed about it. When i use the term meditation as i do from time to time on this podcast i would bet that ninety nine percent of you get the wrong idea. Meditations just a bad word for the recognition of specific truths about the mind. It's a process of discovering what is already true of your own mind. Of course the discoveries one makes here are directly relevant living a more satisfying life. Which is the important part. And that's why i spend so much time recommending that people look into this benefit side more and more. I'm realizing that many of you can't understand the positions. I take on this podcast without understand in your mind. And these are positions which on their surface have nothing to do with meditation. My experience here is often the key to understanding my criticism of specific scientific and philosophical ideas. Like the debate about free will or the nature of the self or the hard problem of consciousness. Me as a person can follow the purely philosophical or scientific arguments and arrive at some of the same conclusions. For instance someone can understand how free will and the conventional notion of self. Don't make any sense in terms of ongoing neurophysiological changes in the brain but even most people who understand and accept those arguments. Don't really have the courage of their convictions because they still feel like selves. That enjoy free will. Most people don't have the respect of tools to discover that their experiences actually convergent with what makes the most sense scientifically and philosophically. So they're stuck trying to grapple with a pseudo problem. How can we make sense of our experience of an unchanging self. That has free will when we know conceptually that these things don't make any sense that's where many people are stuck quite unnecessarily meditations also the key to understanding my criticism of specific religious ideas. How can i say with confidence that most religious doctrines are not merely scientifically implausible. Many people can say that but they are also a perversion of a very real opportunity to experience self transcendence. I can say this because there's nothing hypothetical to me about the kinds of experiences. That people like jesus were rattling on about to anyone who would listen and when you've had these experiences and can have them on demand is not just a matter of having taken lsd a few times and dimly remembering. How different things were when. It's absolutely obvious to you. The conventional sense of self is an illusion. Then it's also obvious that are spiritual hopes need not be pegged to the idea that some historical person might have been the son of god who died for our sins. My experience meditation largely defines my politics to for instance. How can i be so sure that the explosion of identity politics that we see all around us isn't a sign of progress. How can i know that. It's an ethical and psychological dead end to be deeply identified with one's race for instance and then all the people who are saying that there's no way to get pass race in our politics are just confused. Well these. I know that a person need not even identify with the face. He sees in the mirror each day. In fact the deeper you examine your experience. The more you discover that freedom ultimately depends on not identifying with anything even with how you look in the mirror. How much more so is it. Unnecessary to identify with millions of strangers. Who just happened to look like you in that. They have the same skin color in light of what's possible psychologically and inter personally in light of what is actually required to get over yourself and to experience genuine compassion for other human beings. It is a form of mental illness to go through. Life identified really identified with one race is just a bad dream of course to say that as a white guy in the current environment is to stand convicted of racial insensitivity and even seeming indifference to the problem of racism in our society. I mean what greater symptom of white privilege. Could there be than to declare the we just all get past race as a retort. That i believe i can hear percolating in the minds of many listeners and most well intentioned people have been successfully bullied by that kind of response. How much easier would it be to back down here and just say sorry. I don't know what i'm talking about. I'm just a white guy. There are massive incentives to take that path but to insist upon the primacy of race is to be obscenely confused about human potential and about society's potential and i'm not going to pretend to be unaware of that so when i'm talking about racial politics on this podcast. I also talking about meditation even though the topic would never come up in that context and with some of my critics say that i'm just practicing my own version of identity politics. I'm in a position to say bullshit meant to be clear. Not claiming to be fully enlightened. I'm definitely still a work in progress but there certain things that i actually understand about my own mind and about the mind in general and the idea that racial identity is something that we can't get past his total bullshit insights into the nature of mind. Can't help but touch politics i. It's my attitude toward wealth. Inequality is born of the recognition. That no one is truly self made all these rich guys walking around with their copies of ayn rand thinking they're self made it's pure fiction and given how we do become ourselves given the overwhelming influence of luck in our world. We have to recognize that. We need an effective system of wealth creation. That doesn't allow people to truly fall through the cracks and as we get wealthier the floor beneath which no one should be allowed to fall. Should keep bryson. Compassion has to be built into capitalism. Because it doesn't seem to occur naturally otherwise totally normal people begin to resemble psychopaths in how they conduct themselves in business. So this just to say that one. I think i've learned to the practice of meditation influences. Many of the views i expressed on this podcast. But i can't get into the details here because there are so many other things to discussed. So that's what i'm doing over at waking up. What i'm building at waking up is the laboratory. We can run the same experiment for yourself and there's really no substitute for doing that. You can pretend to want to integrate your intellectual and ethical and political life or you can really want to do it and to discover all the ways in which you have failed to do it so far again. I'm not claiming to have everything figured out. I'm very much in the process of still figuring things out each of us negotiate the terms of our disenchantment with who we were yesterday and with the ways in which culture distracts and misleads. And that's what i'm doing over waking up so if you haven't checked it out recently i just want to invite you to do that especially if you think you know what meditation is and you think it's not relevant for you. I can virtually guarantee that you're mistaken about that and if you can't afford a subscription you need only send an email to support and waking up dot com and ask for a free one so please do not let money be the reason why you don't check it out as always thanks for listening a

sam harris confusion congress bryson
#227  Knowing the Mind

Making Sense with Sam Harris

46:48 min | 8 months ago

#227 Knowing the Mind

"Welcome to the podcast. Sam harris just a note to say that if you're hearing this you're not currently on our subscriber feed only be beginning partial episodes of the podcast. If you'd like access to full episodes you'll need to subscribe at sam harris dot org there you'll find our private. Rss look to your favorite podcast along with other subscriber only content and as always been everyone money to the reason why someone cans to podcast. So you can't afford a subscription. There's option as embarrass dot org to request a free account and we grabbed a hundred percent of those requests question. Okay no housekeeping. Today to dan presenting a conversation. I had with stephen. Laura's who is a belgian antecedents and neurologist. Here's a clinical practice as well and he's engaged in a lot of fascinating research which we don't actually talk about. That will be left for a future conversation. This time around. He wanted to interview me for book. He's doing and he wanted to talk about meditation. And as the conversation got into some interesting detail. I thought many of you would like to hear it. So this is me being interviewed about meditation. What it is and why one would do it. How can help us understand the mind. Scientifically and the ways in which it can't and now i bring you stephen. Laura's i am here with steven laura's steven nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. Sam so steven you're working on a book and You wanted to talk about meditation and consciousness and related things and so i'm happy to do it in and happy go. You wanna lead. Thank you for that. Yes indeed. I actually wrote the book i was invited to do so by a flemish small publishing company and the is about my personal experience. And then as neuroscientists how we studied the brain of these buddhist monks and how has enrolling gist. I now actually prescribe meditation and it turned out to do very well. It was then translated in french and other languages. The now it's coming out in english. And so i'm very very happy to have your testimony and and how when and why you started to meditate nice just so my listeners. Know you so you're a you're a neuroscientist. Nda neurologist so you have clinical practice now are your hospital. Yes right time in in the university. Hospital of lear's. I'm a an md neurologist. Our area of expertise actually is the damaged rain. So i created the coma signs group and now heads the gca countries nurse research unit. Were we tried. And from a scientific point of view basically to understand human consciousness which as you know is one of the biggest mysteries for science to solve. And we do that. Not only by looking at patients who have severe acquired brain damage after trauma or hemorrhage or survivors of cardiac arrest. So so that's coalmine related states also near death experiences. But then we also have a lap looking at what happens in your brain and mind when you are anesthetized when you're giving these narcotic drugs or psychedelic drugs for that matter and finally we have a strong tradition here and whole lap looking at hype noces and it's medical use. We have over ten thousand patients who had surgeries like taking out your turret or a tumor in breast where anywhere you would have general anesthesia or pharmacological coma but here people are undergoing his intervention while basically thinking about their holidays and in this hunt not a state. Wow you've had. Thousands of people have surgery without anesthesia. Under hypnosis yes yes this is a wonderful woman who scold maladies for mobile loser and these eulogist and see. She's really a pioneer who introduced time now. And as you know this. Is you know what we know from from television and theatre You know doing tricks. But it's also something that illustrates. I think again the power of the mind and and how as she she served shown you can use this in in the operating room during surgery but also now in the pain clinic so Yeah that that's what we do with the team. The talking about meditation for me is is something i it's out of my comfort zone. It's not something that i you know would've predicted twenty years ago. Yeah i'm happy to get into with you. So i think your your first question was how i got into it and It was in my case and this is really not unusual. My interest was first precipitated by a drug experience in my case it was. Md a otherwise known as x. To say and i think i was eighteen and i had an experience there which was not. What's the all too common one. Now i wasn't wasn't at a rave or a party. I wasn't really a recreational use of of that drug. I took it knowing. Its potential to reveal something interesting about the nature of my mind. And i took it very much in the spirit of investigating my mind and and seen what transformative experiences might be on the other side of my my ordinary waking consciousness and so the experience itself wasn't so directly relevant to what later came to consider the true purpose of meditation but it revealed for me the the fact that it was possible have very different experience of of myself and the world and and my sense of my being in the world and just as possible. Have a much better life than i was going to have by just living out the the implications of my own conditioning and tendencies at that point. So it said me on this path of self enquiry really where we've been you know explicitly studied techniques of meditation to try to explore the landscape of mind further directly through through introspection and i've taken other psychedelics since and and so psychedelics have been a part of this but they are separable. I mean perhaps you want to talk about that but it was. There's no question that but for that initial experience. It seems pretty likely the that. I may never have grown interested in in meditation or anything like so the the the the. When was you were eighteen years old curious and then taking these drugs to kind of explore changes in in self perception and then and then you turn to meditation and and he. What kinds of medicine did did you try. I had been given a book by ramdas. Who originally was named richard alpert and he he was along with timothy leary Lead some of those initial experimented harvard in the sixties studying. Lsd and was also fired from harvard. Along with tim leary for their Their misadventures in in handing out lsd to all comers a he then he he. I mean people know historic. He went to india. He met his teacher. He came back in with a very long beard and in address calling himself ramdas and he then was a kind of spiritual teacher for many many years. He he only recently died and so this was around eighty seven. I sat my first meditation. Retreat with him and There he was teaching an eclectic mix of practices and he was. It was really kind of buffet of spirituality but part of it was buddhist meditation in particular posner. Mindfulness meditation and that was the practice. I most connected with on that retreat and then i went on to sit explicitly buddhist the posner retreats in silence after that and spent a lot of time studying with my friend joseph goldstein. You know who is one of my first papasta teachers and sat with his teacher Side open data burmese meditation master and then eventually migrated away from strict fa- posner for some reasons. I probably talk about just the the the logic of the practice and the goal seeking that was built into it eventually seemed mistake to me or at least unnecessary and also a source of you know a fair amount of striving and psychological suffering and then i connected with the so-called nonfuel practices both within and outside of buddhism and that did change did significantly. Shift my approach to meditation. But that took a few years to happen so there were there were several years there where i was mostly an never exclusively but certainly mostly practicing you know what people in the west noah as mindfulness now but you know very much. Under kind of burmese teradata buddhist influence and then migrated to the tibetan practice of zog chen but also influenced by some teachers and teachings. I encountered of buddhism. And yet it's all of that. During my twenty s that absorbed a fair amount of time i spent about two years on silent retreat in in the decade of my twenties and had dropped out of school and and wasn't quite sure how i was going to integrate all of these things and then only after that decade did i return to school and get a phd and neuroscience and begin to get all of my my interests aligned. And it's taken some time. But i'm in a position to have the kind of conversations i want to have about the nature of the mind and what can be understood about it or not based on first person methods like meditation. Wow this is so how would you define these. Non jewel practices and how they defer differ from from mindfulness. I think it's best understood. Certainly anyone who has tried to meditate by describing the the usual starting point for the practice of meditation so someone decides they they want to meditate and they're taught a method and this this can be. Mindfulness is compete. you know. Some other method like transcendental. Meditation your mantra. Meditation could be a visualization practice. It can be any use of their attention but most of a start that project from a a specific point of view mean people tend to close their eyes. And you know if it's ordinary mindfulness practice they might be told to focus on the breath and so if you close your eyes and you try to pay attention to your breath most people will feel that their consciousness awareness is a kind of a locus of attention in the head. They're paying attention from some place and it's very likely in their head behind their eyes and they can aim their attention at the object of meditation. So if they're aiming their attention if the breath whether you're at the tip of the nose or in the the rising and falling of their chess store abdomen there's the sense of being a subject in the head that can now strategically pay attention to something and of course that the real obstacle to doing the successfully is distraction in lost in thought so thoughts continually rising. And you're getting pulled away from the object of meditation. And then you bring your attention back to the breath or sounds or to a visualization or mantra. Whatever you're focusing on and as concentration builds this can become more and more successful as you can. Actually let attention can rest on the object of meditation for longer periods of time. And if you're practicing. Mindfulness you can get good enough so that you can even notice thoughts arising as objects and consciousness rather than just be merely taken away by them in each moment and in many interesting changes in ones states of mind and emotion can happen here. But if you're practicing dualistic it more or less always feels like there's a meditative there is a subject who is paying attention. There's the subject which is the source of awareness itself and then there's the object of awareness and whether it's the breath or sound or whatever and that point of view that duality that subject object perception is an illusion. I mean that end. It is the primary allusion that meditation is designed to cut through. And if you're practicing really well in this dualistic way that will occasionally happen and it may happen a fair amount to make it happen if you go on retreat and you do nothing but meditate for twelve to eighteen hours a day and your mindfulness gets very continuous and effortless. You can find that this subject. Object distance collapses again and again and again. And so you'll hear a sound for instance and in that brief moment of just the impingement of the sound on your eardrum. You might notice that. There is no sense of one who was hearing the sound. There's just hearing there's no there's no you know you and the head listening to a bird out there is just this. Ineffable appearance of hearing that is unified the subject drops away and the object drops away really. And there's just kind of the unity of knowing and and disappearances but again it's haphazard you don't have any control over it when it stops happening you're left thinking. Oh that was. That was interesting. How how do i get back to that. And it seems under that way of practicing that the only way back to that is to once again. Summon this heroic level of concentration and continuity of mindfulness and What non dual paths of practice have understood is that there really is a fundamental allusion to cut through there. It really is not the case. You need massive sustained concentration to get to this experience of unity or non duality. in fact it's not the case in every moment of consciousness. My consciousness itself doesn't feel like a a center in the head. It doesn't feel like a spotlight of attention. Being aimed at its objects. There is no self in the head or or thinker of thoughts. There's just this open condition in which everything is appearing and it can be recognized as such directly and so that that recognition that released is the starting point of nawal practice practice like zogu chen and and really can't begin practicing it until you recognize that this is the way consciousness already is but once you do. Then you're you're mindfulness becomes synonymous with that recognition. What you become. Mindful of thereafter is not the breath or sounds or anything else per se. The though you're you may in fact be aware of the breath or salvage. Whatever happens to be appearing what you become mindful of is that there's no subject in the middle of consciousness. The practice itself becomes simply familiarizing yourself with this intrinsic property of consciousness that you basically have spent every moment of your life overlooking prior to learning how to practice in that way and so that that is the difference again. It's somewhat paradoxical to talk about and can be confusing to many people. But i think most people realize that whether they're trying to meditate or not they do feel like a subject they don't feel identical to their experience like they're the center of their experience. They're having an experience. They're appropriating it from a place in the head and as the illusion that is cut through in nado practice. Thanks so so. We briefly discussed the women. And how and you mentioned the why could be as i understood also mentioned to to try and live a better life. Can you say a little bit more why you continue to to meditate and whether your current favorite exercises while so so the why. They're really to wise which can be more or less important for people. The most common y. The y. That is certainly advocated by the buddhist. Tradition generally isn't really intellectual. Curiosity is much more. A matter of overcoming suffering we all feel unhappy to one another degree in our lives as not to say that happiness doesn't come but it also goes. You just can't stay joyful all the time and if you wait long enough you'll feel frustrated and annoyed and angry and sad and fearful and interest is. There's a lot of psychological pain that most of us experience fairly regularly and meditation is offered as a as a method of having some fundamental insights into that process such that you don't keep suffering to the same degree and and in all the ordinary ways and it certainly holds out the promise that it might be possible in some sense not to suffer at all to actually fully escape the logic by which you tend to make yourself miserable and it has a lot to do with with having insight into the nature of thought itself and breaking one's identification with. Oh i was so much of our psychological suffering is mediated by our thinking about the past and the future and failing to connect with the present. Because we're thinking so much and and not noticing that were lost in thought so get my motivation while it was always somewhat intellectual as well certainly was primarily about living a better life in the sense of not suffering unnecessarily mean just actually being happier at recovering from the ordinary collisions in life. That causes psychological pain recovering. More quickly and I think that that certainly is the most common motivation. And you know for me. You know both of these motivations continue was changed for me is that it's not so much sense of practicing deliberately anymore medication. You know i. I do sit and meditate but is much more sensitive always practicing in that my moment to moment experience has always been punctuated by. You know what. I would call meditation me. Will you know what would qualify as meditation. If i happen to be formally in a session of meditation at which is a say a recognition of the way consciousness is and it happens automatically. You know it doesn't happen. All the time. I i i spend a an impressive amount of time still lost in thought but when i'm not lost in thought the thing that i become aware of. Is this non. Duality of subject and object in consciousness figure and ground have flipped here a little bit which is in the beginning. I was trying to get to this. Experience and meditation was a formal attempt to do that. Initially i was. It was haphazard and then i was doing it more or less demand but now there's much more of a sense of this is the way consciousness is and much of normal life is might inadvertently overlooking that. But when i'm when. I no longer overlook it you know at any given moment. It is what you know what i'm restored to. It no longer feels like a practice of any kind in fact it's you know when one is actually really really meditating. One isn't doing something one is doing less than one normally. Does you know his is simply the absence of distraction. We are want once. You know what to pay attention to. It is simply the absence of being lost in thought for that moment. And you were you suffering as an eighteen year old. Were you in the crisis that deka of dropout was. What's your personal story there. I had had many experiences of intense suffering but completely ordinate nothing extraordinary just completely ordinary sorts of suffering that people experience in life. But i i'd had them as a teenager. You know when i was thirteen. My best friend died when i was seventeen. My father died when i was eighteen to just proximate to this experience with md. May my girlfriend had broken up with me in college and freshman year. These are very ordinary experiences now. I miss some people. Don't have anyone die until they're a little bit older than i was. But if you just you just wait around. The people are going to start dying on you. And so i was not living in a civil war or do really do nothing unusual happening in my life. I had a very lucky life at that point. All things considered but you know those experiences hit me really hard. I was really unhappy for instance after my girlfriend broke up with me college. You know. I was probably in some kind of clinical state of depression for several months. After that i was not myself and it was because i was thinking incessantly about what i had lost right. I just i was meditating on loss and loneliness and grief and had absolutely no insight into this process. A man was just a mere puppet being blown around by whatever the next train of thought would be right. And that's everyone's condition. If you do not see an alternative to be identified with the next linguistic or images appearance in your mind i mean the next emotionally laden statement. That you know seems to appear in the voice of your own mind you know whether it's self judgment or something that produces anxiety or something that produces sadness over a loss you've suffered if there's no space around this autumn activity of thought there's no alternative but to be living out the emotional implications of whatever the thought happens to be and most of us. Most of the time have at best mediocre thoughts were not tending to tell ourselves a story. About how good life is how grateful we are for all the we have. How beautiful the people in our lives are and how lucky we are to be with them to meet. You can decide to shape your thoughts along very deliberately. Wholesome lines that will will improve your mood. And that's totally useful practice. That is fina very much supportive of mindfulness and and these other practices were talking about but most of us don't tend to do that automatically most of us. Think about all of our disappointments. We notice everything that's wrong. We have a long list of things we wish would happen so we tend to be captured by a story of deficiency. Right things are not yet good enough and we're telling ourselves a story if only we could change these things about our lives have only. I could get a another girlfriend right. Could meet somebody. That was almost certainly a story. I was telling myself at that point or only could get back to the girlfriend who broke up with me. That self talk seems to promise something which proved to be a mirage. This idea that if we could only arrange our lives perfectly there would be a good enough reason for attention to truly rest in the present moment and be satisfied. But unless you have a mind is capable of that. That's not what happens when you get what you want. And you find that you simply want other things that point and again your. Your happiness appears to be contingent upon satisfying those desires. Saying it's better to get what you want them to have. Just one disappointment after the next. I mean yes there. Ordinary sources of pleasure and happiness in this life but none of them are durable sources of happiness. All of these contingent source of happiness need to be continually propped up by our efforts. Are they all tend to degrade and you know you accomplish one goal and no matter how you know. Wonderful and experience. It is to do that. You know doesn't take fifteen minutes before people are asking you. What are you going to do next right. I mean nothing. Nothing gets finally banked as the foundation upon which you can rest and be happy you know. Every moment thereafter so meditation is the practice of understanding something about the mechanics of this disatisfaction and the search for happiness and to deliberately step off the hamster wheel here minister. See that you know if you're running on this wheel on some level you're not getting anywhere and the only way to truly come to rest is to step off it that resonates with my own experiences. You mentioned your crisis losing your best friend. Your father go. Friend seems quite often the case that that we seem that seemingly need these difficult moments to go and discover things like like meditation. It's also what i see in my outpatient clinics. And maybe that's a pity people actually tell me it's it's it's a pity i had you know i. I had this burnout or depression. Or whatever and i wished. I would have discomfort meditation before that so strangely it. It's it's something that is i think. Also maybe with your community And your app is something that you must often hear that people come to this because they they don't feel or go well and maybe we should invest more in in prevention. And talk about this before we we. What do you think about again it. It's difficult to talk about because it is somewhat paradoxical misses the the line one continually walks in describing meditation and has benefits. Because it's not that nothing else matters right is not that there aren't ordinary requisites for happiness you want to recommend to people yet yes it is good to have good relationships being integrated into community and having people you love and who love you who can support you and who you in turn support. All all of that is for most people most of the time a necessary component of being a happy person and yet there is an illusion. Here it's not stable and all of that is made better by discovering that the true foundation for psychological wellbeing doesn't rest on even those relationships to have the best relationship to have the best marriage on some level. You really need to already be happy. You need to bring into that relationship not your need for companionship but your ability to simply love the other person is not transactional is not a love you if you love me it's you're already happy and you deeply want happiness for this other person. You're not extracting something from them for your own benefit though you are getting a lot of benefit by being with them. But you're already you're the center of gravity of your well. Being is already ovary your own feet where you stand. You're not leaning into them in a way that that makes the whole enterprise precarious but the this is paradoxical. Because i wouldn't want to say that it's not important to have the other person but there's no that relationships get healthier and healthier the more you on some level can be just as happy when you're alone in a room when the one you love leaves the room you know you're not diminished by that and this is going to two levels at which we can seek wellbeing and and one level is to continue to do all the things that that matter were seemed to matter for most people most of the time so yes it's better to be healthy than sick. It's better to be comfortable than uncomfortable. It's better to to have financial resources than to not have them. All of these things remain true and yet the deeper truth is you're only going to be as happy as you can be based on what you're doing with your attention in each moment and if you're just habitually lost in thought and thinking you know crappy thoughts about what just happened to you on social media in a whatever you're the actual character of your life you're not in a position to enjoy it and it is in fact also true that there are people whose minds are such that they can be deeply happy even in conditions. That would drive. Most people totally crazy. I have studied with people who spent decades in caves. Just meditating ryan you you put the average person in a cave and separate him or her from everything they they want out of life and everything they love in this world and they'll go insane and they'll go insane based on an inability to pay attention in a very specific way. You know again this. There's something paradoxical here but it's the paradox is resolved by are doing both sets of of wise things simultaneously. You want to have a good life you want to do work you find meaningful you want to participate in the world in ways that are fun and creative and connect you to other people and you want to recognize this thing about the nature of your own mind in my book. I argue for meditation courses in school. Maybe just the way. We have specific teachers teaching You know giving physical education and it's important to take care of our body. But i feel we. We neglect the emotional wellbeing in our educational system. There's wonderful things happening but but but nothing. Structurally at least not in in in europe. But i don't think it's it's the case in in the states that still education is very much about acquiring knowledge and and maybe we could ensure do better. What's what's your opinion on that. Yeah there's something. My wife on ika has focused on a lodge is taught mindfulness in schools in both the school that my daughters to and and other schools for some years and yeah. It's amazing. kids can really learn this. I think probably six years old. As 'bout the earliest it profitably start but he i mean kids can learn to initially simply become more aware of what they're feeling the six year old who can recognize specific emotions clearly and see how they motivate him or her to behave in certain ways that's An amazing skill to teach and me is is the first step toward the primary value of living examined life that was so central to western philosophy for you know at least a thousand years or so and then we lost it in the west and this is why so many people like myself have gravitated toward eastern traditions to at least initially to learn these techniques because the value of wisdom wisdom as opposed to mere knowledge is something that is not that it ever completely disappeared in the west but it got genuinely submerged by other priorities and it certainly has been the case for now. Centuries that if you're a western philosopher that carries absolutely no implication that you're doing something that entails living a better life there's there need be no connection between philosophy and wellbeing or living an ethical life being a benign person at minimum in this world. And so you can have some of the great philosophers of the western canon. Who were just you know almighty neurotics and toxic people and that says nothing derogatory about their philosophy rice. You have someone like nietzsche. Or schopenhauer may just you know. Schopenhauer through his housekeeper. Down a flight of stairs vitkin stein. Who just would beat pupils and treat his colleagues terribly. These are not people to emulate in terms of how they lived their lives. Obviously each of these were brilliant man and can be profitably read for their thoughts about other topics but there was an important by for -cation between what philosophy became in the west and its original purpose which was to understand something about the nature of being in the world such that it transforms your capacities as a person had the the actual moment to moment texture of your life so we have largely lost. That is i think the fact that even now it's really an afterthought or just it's of kind of new discovery that maybe we should be teaching children something about how to be such a become happier wiser more ethical people and i think that's the most important project we have and it seemed strange that we don't even discuss it for the most part at any point in education system And then just rely on people to figure it out for themselves. Once they become grownups absolutely it. It strikes even more As a caregiver. I'm supposed to take care of others but actually throughout my studies at university medical school and then specializing neurology. Never ever have learned anything about taking care of myself and listening to my own emotions and in we know. Caregivers are at risk for burnout. I've to colleagues who committed suicide. We know this for such a long time and still so little is happening. Structurally speaking in our faculty in our educational system. So yeah there's another point there. which is you know. We've all met doctors. Who are you know maybe brilliant physicians if certainly in my experience been recommended to me as as brilliant physicians who have terrible bedside manners the in no sense a healing presence as a person. And so you're coming to them. Essentially for their their expertise as physicians as diagnostician or people who could recommend a course of treatment where they might be brilliant surgeons writes. This is actually the pair of hands you want operating if it comes to that but you know these are people who are just on some level. Cancelling the healing benefits might be of actually connecting where they wise and compassionate physician. Because of who they seem to be you know in their own skin says know i. I don't know what they teach in medical school about how to be with patients but it obviously the profession of being a doctor selects for a range of personality types. And i'm sure that very specialties. Further select right. So it's your someone at the mercy of the personality that shows up there and again. Yeah it's it would be better if there was a more holistic understanding of just what it means to be in that role right. Because you're dealing again. I am not speaking from experience. I'm really just speaking as a consumer of medicine but you know depending on what specialty you're in your encountering people very often in the most vulnerable anxiety ridden your or even grief stricken moments of their lives and it matters what sort of person you are in those moments absolutely in in my field of expertise seeing patients off tacoma and their families and a lot of people die. Yeah it is a big challenge to do the job with with empathy and compassion. And as you said we were not selected for that we had no particular courses and and and that is that is a pity speaking of that in my job again. I see that on a daily basis. And how did meditation change your relationship with death. Well it's certainly traditional to frame the project. Meditation spiritual practice generally contemporary of practice very much in the context of getting ready to die on some level so this is part of the the explicit project. Which is you know. Death is inevitable and we spend most of our lives by default in a materially. Avoid in it for obvious reasons but also avoiding thinking about it this whole notion of death. Denial which i think has a lot to it and there's a wonderful book by that title. The denial of death by ernst bekker. We try to distract ourselves from this ever present. Reality and many of us manage to do that rather well. Raymond there people who don't think about death all that much because they're they're so busy trying to have a good time in life. And i would say that by tennessee. I've always been a person who who has not been able to forget about death for very long i. This is probably due to the fact that i did lose a few people close to me in a fairly early on so it was always obvious to me and released from thirteen onward. It was quite obvious to me that this was a reality in. This could happen at any time. There are no guarantees that you're going to live a long life and so it's something that i've always kept in front of me as a fact i may. I think more than than the average person and meditation is is a further way of doing that. It's it's it's a way of extracting the wisdom of doing that rather than than merely being made morbid by one's awareness of death is a method of recognizing just how much there is to be grateful for. You haven't died yet. Your life is right here to be enjoyed eh. It can only be enjoyed by you. Rhyme in this corner of the universe that is eliminated where you sit in only you get to make the most of that and how you pay attention to it. It really is the most important piece of that is not really making. The most of it isn't in the end. Radically changing what is already the case there is. It's really being able to sink into the experience of being in the world more and more and enjoy it and enjoy it in relationship to other people enjoyed in relationship to the the natural beauty of the world. Enjoy it by behaving more and more ethically. Enjoy it by having better better intentions with respect to your collaboration with other people and enjoined the quality of mind born of those good intentions right. I mean rather than seeing yourself in competition with others actually wanting other people to succeed and feeling good when they succeed rather than feeling like your happiness has been somehow diminished by someone. Got a slice of the pie that you wanted. I made using all of that to come to rest more. And more in the present moment i really do see that as the project and an awareness of death is a par in contact with with reality. Rhyming this is coming for all of us. It is the backstop that keeps you from just wasting all of your time and attention without an awareness of death. I don't know. I think it would be possible to just distract yourself as pleasantly as you could muster always right and have kind of know deeper priorities. The really something good about being aware of death but unless you can find that and use that it is easy to just feel like it's it's a source of of unhappiness. I mean every time you think about death you feel like okay. That's that's no place to linger. And i just want the project now is to forget about it and I think that's a a misuse of the actual opportunity. You referred a number of times to the buddhist tradition. If you'd like to continue listening to this podcast you'll need to subscribe. At sam harris dot org you'll get access to all full length episodes of making says podcast and two other subscriber only content including bonus episodes and ama's and the conversations. I've been having the waking up app. The making sense. Podcast is ad free and relies entirely listener support. And you can subscribe now at san paris dot org

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#202  May 11, 2020

Making Sense with Sam Harris

38:01 min | 1 year ago

#202 May 11, 2020

"Welcome to the PODCAST. This is Sam Harris. Just a note to say that if you're hearing this you're not currently on our subscriber feed only be hearing partial episodes of the podcast. If you'd like access to full episodes you'll need to subscribe at Sam Harris Dot. Org there you'll find our private. Rss To add to your favorite podcast along with other subscriber only content and as always. I never want money to the reason why someone can't into the podcast so you can't afford a subscription there's option as m Harris Dot Org to request a free account and we grant a hundred percent of those requests. No questions asked Sam how are you? Oh my Gosh Andrew. Yang launched my entire presidential run really. That's barely an exaggeration. That's that there's this period would everyone who is Supporting our campaign was because they they heard me on your podcast yet. While it's really it was it was amazing to witness and I was very happy to play a part in it. Obviously the the major assist was to Get you on Rogan's podcast after you did mine which Just completely blew up because he has an audience so large stream media has yet to even understand. What's happening podcast in? It was fantastic to watch your ascendancy and I can only imagine. It's the beginning of the Andrew Yang Show on various fronts. So I'm happy to see the vendors scrapie private. Well you've been a huge part of it Sam and I have to tell you that ice. I've I remember our conversation and then I remember watching your your conversation with Joe on a after you and I spoke right and then I realized. Oh my Gosh Sam was writing for someone like me where you've been talking about trying to prepare society for for years and you're like how the heck is this going to happen and I only figured out after the fact that you'd essentially paved the road for me before I'd even come along? I think any political cycle you would be a breath of fresh air but in the current environment. I mean now even more so but you know back when you first appeared what was so amazing and depressing was the juxtaposition between what should be possible in a US president and what is actual in the case of trump. Before anyone ever heard of you. We all knew that there are people in the world who understand science and who have read widely and who were deeply curious about the way the world works and who are normal human beings who fall in love with some person at some point in their lives you know who feel real compassion for the suffering of other people and people who are clearly moved by ethical arguments and the progress of ideas and you are clearly one of these people. You're someone for whom it's obvious that the last thousand years of human progress has meant something and what we have. In place of a person like that in the Oval Office we have a barren with a smartphone who appears to love nothing but fame and money and golf and an interesting thought has never escaped his lips yet. I mean. The juxtaposition is so grotesque the level of hope that Was You know hurled on? Your shoulders was kind of abnormal because of the context in which you're appearing but really it's the fact that you're not in any sense as a normal politician is wonderful and I. I hope we draw more and more lessons from how far you've got in the last campaign and I hope you stay in the center of our conversation about how to take out of cove land because obviously your primary plank in your campaign the the. Upi is an idea whose time has come and it was almost like you are a profit in light of what was soon to arrive in in terms of an economic cataclysm. See I'm I'm looking forward to talking through all of this with you. It's quite a moment we're living through. Yeah I thought we're going to automate jobs and send everyone home and it turns out that we're all home for a different reason right now. You know I was joking with someone who series. I do think that I had the only stump speech that referenced. The Spanish flu of nineteen eighteen for be. I was saying that that was the last time. American life expectancy declined for three years in a row. Right which we just had happened in the last three years but this time I have to say Samsung the things I was concerned about. Have all been compressed into a very short timeframe no instead of closing fifty percent of America's malls we've closed virtually all of them and now I know some of them are reopening but a lot of those jobs are going to be gone for good. Yes so I mean maybe we can talk about what you think. The covered pandemic has exposed in our society mean. Obviously it's accelerated the arrival of the future. What do you expect teen to be true? Once we emerge from this at whatever point and ugly in terms of the effects on the economy and how effective or not are pumping trillions of dollars into the system will be and how the postmortem on that might reveal incredible levels of corruption. What are you expecting to be true in six months or a year? I think these are catastrophic times for tens of millions of Americans and it's frustrating. That for whatever reason the gravity of the situation is not as clear to some people as it is to me or others. Who Know How tenuous hold. Many Americans already had on their month to month paycheck to paycheck ability to make ends meet and watching. Our government tried to send money to people. Even is incredibly frustrating. Because we're missing so many people the mechanisms we're using hearing these stories of people calling their state unemployment office day after day and does never getting through and because we're asking systems to things that they're not designed to do like the state unemployment office and not designed to all of a sudden take millions of inquiries and the thing that occurs to me as I think would occur to a lot of people listening to this. Why do people have to call a phone? Connect to a person in order to access these benefits that have been authorized Andrew. Let's drill down on that for a second because this is so bizarre in potentially such a missed opportunity your idea which doesn't originate with you but which you have brought into. Such prominence of universal basic income is that this is something that the government can do. Well right we should be able to just send checks to everybody but in the current environment. Where getting that. Even that isn't good enough. We need a digital infrastructure. That can directly. Give money to people and correct me if I'm wrong. Currently you can't even apply for this money unless you have a previous tax return which is going to leave out millions of people who most need money so maybe you can discuss how far were falling. Short of what should be possible here in terms of just getting money to people as quickly as we can. So I just want to relate my experience with my organization just a number of weeks ago. We were trying to get money into people's hands and we called cheapie Morgan Chase. We called City Group and said Hey. Can we get money to people in the Bronx? Who have accounts with you and need it? And they couldn't help us. We even ask them. Can we buy bankcards from you that we will physically get into people's hands? They couldn't help with that. We wound up working with a local organization that had people's Financial Info neighborhood. Trust and we sent a million dollars two thousand families in the Bronx through that organization and my direct experience with this is the same experience. We're having society-wide where the government saying. Okay let's send everyone money. Let's on everyone twelve hundred dollars and they look around and say well. How do we know where people are? How do we know what account to send the money to or address? If it's a check and the best information they have is through tax returns. That's the majority of the mechanism they're using and that MRS TONS OF PEOPLE MISSES IT turns out millions of people who didn't file taxes because they made below a certain amount or they're working in frankly some kind of informal environment. Where maybe they're cleaning people's houses and they're just getting paid cash and so you know they. They didn't file taxes because it didn't make enough or because frankly they were just like well like I'm just going to operate and pay my bills in cash so because we're using people's tax returns if you didn't have that connection to the government and a bank account on record for them to return your your tax refund to then you're not getting money and that's unfortunately that's tens of millions of the most needy Americans because if you can imagine the folks that aren't filing taxes many of them are quite poor. Yeah the thing about you which strikes me so much better than many remedies. That seem very much like it is that there's no question of means testing 'cause people worry we'll go. Does it really make sense to be sending? Jeff bezos a thousand dollar check. That seems like a waste of money but obviously if our tax structure were rational jeff would be pain. An enormous amount more than anyone back into the system and taxes wouldn't matter if he was also on the Dole getting UB. I right so it seems like we should just take all the friction out of this and get money to everyone in the right increments. Whatever that is yeah. We should be flooding the ZONE WITH MONEY. Honestly and the the incredibly frustrating thing. Is that if you really wanted to account for the Jeff's of the world you could just take out of their tax returns later it's like they can just get paid back in twenty twenty or twenty twenty one in their tax returns next year and I've talked to people who did not qualify for stimulus checks because their income was too high in two thousand eighteen and they're in desperate straits now and I was like their incomes on zero. Maybe they had a small business and so they're looking up saying like. Why am I not getting twelve hundred dollars? We should be giving them the twelve hundred dollars and if it turns out they didn't need it. We can always clawed back in taxes later though to me that even be that necessary but if you were going to worry about the Jeff's of the world you could always get it back after. The crisis has abated the theory being that right now where in crisis mode right. So my concern now is that this is going to increase wealth inequality in ways. That will be politically intolerable. And how we navigate that moment I think is everything hinges on that. I mean I. I worry about the loss of social cohesion. I worry about a level of political partisanship. That really seems to be indicative of a failing country and I feel like. We've been on the cusp of that really. Every day. Under trump with respect to the level of partisan rhetoric and the degree to which the two sides can't get on the same page for the purposes of ordinary political compromise. And you obviously at this point know much more about that than I do but I just worry that. In the aftermath of whatever's going to happen here economically the people who will weather this much better than anyone else are the people who are already very well off and whether a middle class exists in a year is really an open question and so I just wonder what your thoughts are about that. And what did you learn through the experience of campaigning? All that time and go into more American cities than I will ever go to in the rest of my life. You should join me next time. Sam Join the city. We could be tied in terms of number of town halls. It had to be an amazing experience. So what's your view of of our ongoing economic emergency between now and next year you hit the nail on the head where we are going to eviscerate. What's left of the American middle class? There is an executive in Silicon Valley. Vala who twenty twenty will vastly accelerate the adoption of and then he listed ten things. And you think about them. You're like Oh yeah. All of that's happening ECOMMERCE drone delivery digital contactless payments videoconferencing autonomous vehicles. Wearable health monitors three D. manufacturing voice mobile applications online learning smart robotics. Those things were already on the table. And now we've just read them up into overdrive because we need to do some of these things for public health reasons and if you look at autonomous cars and trucks. Wouldn't you rather get picked up in a vehicle that has been sanitized and a human has not sat in? Fortunately like all of the arguments go. You need a person for that like now. The person is a negative in terms of someone's confidence level in terms of not just the way we feel about it but the actual transmission rate of the corona virus. And so you're seeing companies that were on the fence about throwing people overboard and automating processes now make in making very very clear investment in these technologies and you can see what the stock market is saying. Where when people are announcing record layoffs? Their prices go up though the stock values go up because investors know that. If you can shrink your workforce then the returns on capital will be higher so this is going to be disastrous for tens of millions of American workers over time and the government is the only entity that can meaningfully try to resuscitate the middle class and the opportunities available to most Americans in the days to come and many people. Listening to this are not going to love the message. The government is going to be the center of the universe for these decisions. But unfortunately that's what we're faced with yet with. That's always the first sticking point we when you talk to someone who a fantastically wealthy person who recoils at the idea of pain more in taxes. Who doesn't like the concept of redistribution? Not because they're callously inconsiderate of the suffering of other people in not because they don't care about wealth inequality it really the first thing you encounter. Is that everyone has a fundamental scepticism granted. Some of this as well earned that the government can do anything right that it just seems like a waste of money to give the government more money to try to solve problems. And there's this you know the strain of libertarianism that suggests that should by default more or less always fall to the private sector to solve these problems but a few things. I think should be obvious here. One is that there are many problems for which the private sector can't produce a ready solution either because the incentives just aren't there or we just have a massive coordination problem. You just can't respond flexibly all at once and I I think you know. Responding to a global pandemic is certainly an obvious commercial for a problem that needs to be solved even beyond government and we need a global response to this problem. The lack of you know our internal leadership is galling terrifying but you're a complete abdication of any role in the wider world in coordinating response to coverted is also just embarrassing but so the idea that we should be starving. The government in the context. Where at any moment problems of this sort can appear dealing with you know a public health emergency an economic emergency simultaneously. And you know we have these piecemeal efforts of various well intentioned billionaires eater riding in white horses to solve some very local problem in delivering. Pp or something you know and in probably the most heroic as you have Bill Gates really doing great work inspiring in vaccine research. And or Jack Dorsey. A billion yeah. Yeah that's great but mean clearly that is not a surrogate for the wise use of government resources. And even if you think the government is just incompetent and can't spend your money. Well the answer to that problem is to create a better government. Yeah it's it's actually get it operating at a higher level not to say it's like oh well because like you said there really is no other answer to some of these massive problems so it's It's an incredible time. It's the impossible task. Man I remember when I was telling people I was going to run. There's a Silicon Valley CEO. Who said to me he was like what are you doing? You're going into the most useless it possible because he he liked to be like you know thought thought I was effective and he was like. Why are you running headlong into the universe of inefficacy and then I said to him I said look like it? Are Things working well in government known many many respects? But do we need to get a working at a higher level to avoid calamity? I say yes and I said this obviously before the krona virus crisis came. You know. It's funny Sam my wife and I. This is a little while ago but there was like an interview. You sat down for. And you were you were describing me and you said something about like This Andrew Yang Fellow. He seems like a a normal enough guy except that he's a crazy enough to ruin his life running for president. I don't know if you've ever saying that. Now he has. What are your thoughts on that front? I mean what was your. What's the net of your experience running and Do you think you will run again or find or seek some other role in government? What's the plan? Their motivations are the same as they've ever been and the problems have gotten bigger unfortunately like I I thought well it's unacceptable that we're letting this freight train just bear down on us and just ignore it. And in my mind the freight train was the progressive dehumanisation of our and I saw the numbers that we already blasted away. Millions of manufacturing jobs and there was no real feedback mechanism unless you count trump and his victory because most of those manufacturing jobs were in Michigan Ohio Pennsylvania Wisconsin Missouri like the swing states that trump all one and now the problems are bigger than ever. And you know my motivation is as high as it's ever been so I'm still trying to solve problems every day. And my capacity south problems is higher now than it was when. I started my presidential race. So so there's there's no change on that front. I mean I certainly learned a lot about becoming president apart by running for president where I have a sense as to what I'd missed when I sat down with you a couple of years ago and I didn't realize that the process was going to entail certain things but as long as the problems are there and and I'm able to contribute I'm GONNA do it and if that includes running for office again that's what I'm GonNa do. Is there anything you would do differently in hindsight? No it's really fascinating saying I mean I. I could definitely talk about this for a while. I mean one change I would make is that. I did not realize that there were a couple of hundred beltway. Journalists IN C. That had significant influence over the press narrative and. I did not sit down with most of them and most of them treated me like a marginal anomaly slash novelties slash ignore mental. Go Away Pick your and. I'm not sure if my sitting down with him would have changed that. Not all of them are as dot full as someone like you where you just evaluate someone based upon your own judgment of them at one thing. I figured out to is that there's so many people that represent these institutions. That didn't really think for themselves. They dislike operated on. Whatever the institutional incentives our motivations were so I don't know if my sitting down with these couple of hundred people would have moved the needle but I would have done that. The there is the there. Were so many learnings in Iowa and New Hampshire where we got my favorables up and this actually true nationwide where my favorability ratings were as higher higher than virtually any other candidate in terms of the people like me. Trust me. Think I'm reasonable thing well intended and we just couldn't get them over. The threshold of this person should be president like right now like we got a lot of people to a point where they were like really like Yang Really. Hope he becomes a cabinet member or something along those lines but we couldn't quite get people over a threshold of put him in the White House this year. And if I run again. That's one of the things I'm spending my time doing is frankly normalizing myself more where it just felt like a little bit too much change for some people right right he. I can imagine it was also the calculation of electability is like you. I want this guy to be president but I would imagine that the rest of the country might not are he. He's not GONNA be able to sell himself in this election cycle and so for anyone who's privileging getting rid of trump above all else that's has to be a factor. I mean that's how we wound up with Biden. Ryan is Biden anyone's first choice. I'm not sure but the electability and not trump calculus has gotten us here. I don't know if you WANNA plunge into a discussion of The remaining months of the twenty twenty election now or if you have a well I mean I. I'm on the same page. You are Sam where I think that. Trump's a total disaster and defeating him his job one. It's why Iran and now. I'm going to help. Joe Defeat him because Joe's going to be the Democratic nominee and to me any day trump's in office is bad for civilization. Your bad for humanity. Here well so let's jump into that do you. And you know a matter if your tongue is going to be tied on any of these types. I'm just GonNa just pushing until I hit a wall. Yeah obviously he's confined himself to picking a a woman for VP which he did not mention to me when I talked to him about this very tolerant right. That's funny so. Do you have a strong opinion about who you think? He should choose to make his chances as favourable as possible. No I know. Obviously we spent some time with amy coach. Iron and Kamala Harris I've met Stacey Abrams. Bhai don't know her. Well I don't know whitmer. The Governor of Michigan. I don't know a couple of the other people that we all know are in the consideration set. I like both Kamla and amy. They're good warm human beings behind the scenes. Oh Elizabeth Warren. I shouldn't leave her outside. I I know that she's also a Elizabeth has always been very generous to me as well wear. I don't know if you remember the debate exchange when she was when we were arguing over automation. I asked her to read my book and Actually Read. My Book that we talked about it. Like the next debate where she commended me on on on it. So I like the candidates that I know Elizabeth Kamala Amy in particular. I don't have any insight as to where joe go with that choice. Do you have a sense of what would be the best choice? Purely from the pragmatic point of view. Just getting in have to look at the numbers. Because I know Joe's must have numbers on this where they're running it and I don't have that data so I wouldn't wanNA play. Pundit it is funny it's like like you know obviously if anyone had run like hey should andrew gang run for President. Before the fight the answer always would have been no and so obviously. It wasn't a very data driven decision but it but it like when we were running. Did we try and get data for any opportunity that we had in front of us whether it was like how we're spending our money or who were targeting or what to name the freedom dividend or whatever the choices where. It's like when we get information we'd get information. There was a point. Thanks to you and other supporters where we actually could run private polls which we would do and they were very helpful and insightful. Like we kept figuring out you know one of the things. I was proudest of Sam as we got the approval for universal basic income up from something like twenty five percent to six percent in the state of Iowa and we. We knew that because we were asking people about it. And so yeah. It's like it is funny. It's like certain decisions you make based upon instinct and gut in what you think is right and then certain things you try and put a finger in the wind and gets a numbers for Rice or now how worried are you about the Biden campaign at this point for the the two major things that I see pulling the wind out of. His sails are Obviously the the sense that he's too old to be doing this and here. We have a the two forms of asymmetric warfare here in the first is I guess neurological. I'm say every one of his gaffes seems to suggest senescence on some level. Every one of trump's gaffes seems to suggest more trump and I have no doubt that Biden is signs of of age. You just have to look at video of him. Speaking twenty years ago to see that I also know I don't really care given the current circumstance and you know trump is whether you want to think of him in in neurological terms. Psychological Ones A. He's he's a deranged person and he's also a terrible speaker his his also word salad that you get out of him much of the time but strangely it doesn't suggest anything like a normal infirmity You know even to his tractor I mean. Trump has this preternatural energy. You know a three hundred pound child and on some level. There's an unfortunate comparison between him and Biden with respect to age and the inability to get to the end of a paragraph with something like one hundred percent confidence. They both show it but it just shows up very differently and it has different political consequences so that concern about Biden as he just too old to be in a debate with trump or to campaign successfully. And then there's the the metoo scandal or or incipient scandal. Will you left the Tar? Read allegations and again. He's up against somebody who can match him. You know ten twenty x for every metoo scandal but it doesn't matter in trump's world everyone has priced that in you know. I wouldn't even matter if we had video of trump mall in some young woman at a beauty pageant right amaze just he's functioning in a different political universe. Some just wondering how how you think those two issues that are dragging on Biden are likely to play out. How concerned are you? I want to say three things about this am and I've seen to Rogan's commentary on Joe. I had a thirty minutes down conversation with Joe Biden last week because I was on. His podcast should air soon and he is fine. Loosening strong like in that setting and having been on the debate stage with them a number of times then seen him to beat like. That's not easy. No like if you can just stand up there and does like debate on national. Tv or do a town hall for like you know our two hours. He still is very very strong in many respects. And I think that the concern around his aging is overblown from my exposure to him as a human being like. I've been around him and he's fine right now. It's like you and you actually could not do some of the things he's done. If you really were struggling in the serious serious way I mean of course you know. He's getting older the sense I mean. That's just empirical fact but but that stuff in my experience with him directly is not as much of a concern and it's been overblown for a number of reasons. I think the Internet's I wanted to parse something you could make anyone think seems very gaffe-prone. You know obviously job. He's you know he's had some turns of phrase that you'd look at and see that the you know they weren't ideal on the Tara Reid Front. You know the thing about this like like when we've seen other people in this circumstance like a pattern emerged. Where if you look at any of the serial predators. You know it's like it's it's number one it's like that there's just like this whole freaking drumbeat and in my mind like if you were to say. Hey Joe like sort of intruded on someone's personal space in a way that we're like you know rustled or touch the shoulder that sort of thing. It's like sure you know but to me. One of the reasons why the media is treating the Tara retaliation the way they are is that there's like this one isolated event that seems very very out of character and that if he was the sort of person that could do what he's accused of doing in my opinion the odds of there being other episodes that are similar to that sometime in the intervening twenty seven years would be like ninety nine percent plus because in every other instance. It'd be like if Harvey Weinstein did it to like one aspiring actress and then like never again out the way someone in that position of authority. Who's a true Predator would operate like you would see it would happen again? You know like months later months later. You know there'd be this whole freaking cascade that we've seen with other folks and which we've seen with. Trump may nineteen allegations is trump. And then it's like you know when you talked about this video of him like you know bottling someone at a pageant. I thought to myself it's like does that exist to me like we wouldn't be surprised if it did so to me. Those two concerns are not really the the main areas of this election where it's going to be contested. That lead me to the third thing. The third thing is that this really is going to become like it or not I believe like a referendum on trump and whether fifty percent or more of us say this is not the direction we want the country to be heading in we need to change and the funny thing is Joe defeated me among other people and Joe. One states that he didn't set foot in like there's like this familiarity and comfort. People have with Joe where this election I believe is going to be like an upper down. Vote on trump and I think that people are going to put thumbs down because we're trapped in our homes this. This pandemic has been mishandled at like. The highest levels have chaos the P. p. e. procurement markets with the federal government bidding states into swooping in and grabbing gear for a national stockpile and like rich dates are outbidding poor states. Even as the biggest public health problems are in poor parts of the southeast in Louisiana and Mississippi. So I think that Joe like you shouldn't evaluate it as like. Oh you know. Like in the the way where. Joe's campaign is limited right now because of the crisis like he's you know there's no NASA rally like I expected at this point in time where I'd be out there campaigning for Joe. Because we'd all be out there having rallies and and the fact that we're not is categorically not a good thing because it deprives Joe's campaign of the opportunity to make a case in conventional ways and have these great backdrops and have pressing surrogates and me and Dozen other people out there pounding the pavement making the case for him so all of that is not good but I still believe that. There's a great chance that Joe wins and trump loses because so many people are fed up with this White House. What how much should we blame the other Republicans and I guess I? It's an interesting question to put to you because it's pretty obvious that the way you campaigned and and your political intuitions here to be as nonpartisan as possible and then just to focus on problems and your recognition that there has to be. Bipartisan solution to these problems is fairly overt. But when you look at the way in which. The Republican Party has become a personality cult around trump people with real political reputations. You know people who used to be serious people even if you you know whether or not you agreed with their policies the way in which they have enabled this incompetent crime family the trumps and prop them up in the face of a deluge of scandal. Really but the daily has been so incessant. It's impossible to focus on any part of it long enough to blow it up into a proper scandal is just. This has not seemed like normal American politics. Everyone expects some degree of the nationality and complicity and cowardice and politics. But this is just it just seems like we're another universe where we are in some kind of Banana Republic territory with our politics has turned and it is the story of republican complicity. People like Mitch McConnell and so I I guess even beyond the election and I think if trump loses in the fall I think many people will feel like there should be some reckoning. Right me where I feel like. We're going to need a truth and Reconciliation Commission to process the toxicity of the last four years. And that's in the in the best case of Biden winning and all of us being able to to hit reset in twenty twenty one. There's no truth and reconciliation tribunal coming right politically. How should how should we walk that line in the next six months with respect to casting blame on neighbours and just in the case of Biden winning I guess I tended to say all right? We'll give it a Mulligan to everybody because there's so many problems we have to solve so you know. Remember those four years where you utterly destroyed the reputation of the United States on the world stage and flirted with the complete unraveling of our institutions. Well we're just going to give you no harm no foul on that and let's reset but I feel like the rancor may not end I think it just may not be open to us because we will finally confront what a horror show. This has been one thing. I disagree with you on Sam. This thing is becoming tonight at about one. And if you'd like to continue listening to this podcast you'll need to subscribe at Sam Harris Dot. Org you'll get access to full length episodes of making says podcast and two other subscriber only content including bonus episodes and Ama's and the conversations. I've been having the waking up APP. The makings has podcast. It's AD free and relies entirely on listener support. And you can subscribe now at Sam Peres Dot Org

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Making Sense with Sam Harris

Making Sense with Sam Harris

01:41 min | 8 months ago

Making Sense with Sam Harris

"Mm-hmm there's so much here that's confusing. So let's first talk about what went wrong and what could have not gone wrong. You hope podcast is about just having honest conversations about topics it's offensive to your and my sense of justice actually care. How has my mind been fundamentally worked. So the topic. Today is the threat of nuclear war. Slow erosion of the social fabric synthetic media revolution collapse of our economy. The role of religion in public life morality and moral disagreement breakdown uproot. I'm scared that us to in a room with egg each other on. You can't have a saga anymore. there's no place for nuance avenue. Last to be binary for the for the right people to agree and disagree. It's not a healthy place for society to be when everyone is afraid to say anything. I've to exercise censorship and in a way that is deeply disturbing. I do feel that. I should have to. I appreciate who you are really and you elevated me and those ideas. i'll never forget you for. We'll danger during the cold war. But blundering andrew nuclear. Roy and i believe that that is the same situation today. And with at least the same likelihood today you're so full of christmas cheer to begin with robert plummet. Your i reached out to jonathan. William j perry i am here with gabriel dance. Dr mukherjee david miller band. Graham would ricky gervais even fraud. James stan hair michael kamal. No ship welcome to the podcast. This is sam harris.

robert plummet William j perry Roy Dr mukherjee david miller jonathan James stan hair michael kamal ricky gervais Graham sam harris
#224  The Key to Trump's Appeal

Making Sense with Sam Harris

08:22 min | 9 months ago

#224 The Key to Trump's Appeal

"Off welcome to the making sense podcast. This is Sam Harris. Okay. Well it is the day before the presidential election. And I don't know why it has taken me this long to understand this but you'd be the judge as to whether this should have been at all hard to understand. As all of you know, I've been struggling for years to understand how it is possible that nearly half of American society admires or at least support Donald Trump. I've spoken with Trump voters in search of Illumination, but illumination never came. For instance. I had Scott Adams on my office cast to explain this to me and he described Trump as a master Persuader. Perhaps the best he's ever seen. But the problem for me is that I find Trump to be among the least persuasive people. I have ever come across whenever I see him speak. I see an obvious, man and ignoramus. In fact Trump seems to be so unaware of how people like me judge a person's credibility that his efforts to appear credible. Such Thursday are always make him look ridiculous and even deranged so it's a claim that he's a brilliant Persuader makes about as much sense to me as a claim that he's a model of Faith or Fitness would right in my world. The claim can be disproven at a glance and yet one thing is undeniable right half the country views him very differently. Now until a few minutes ago. I had more or less reconciled myself to never understand in this but I believe at this late hour on the very Eve of the 2020 election. I have discovered a significant part of Trumps appeal. In particular, I think I finally understand how he is supported because of his flaws rather than in spite of him. That really is the key. How are all the things I find Dispicable in him? Not merely things that people are willing to overlook but reasons in and of themselves why people support him That's what I didn't understand until this moment. Now I have repeatedly described the man's flaws on this podcast to my I he lacks nearly every virtue for which we have a word wisdom curiosity compassion generosity discipline courage, whatever your list he's got none of these things but his supporters know that and he's a paragon of greed and narcissism and pettiness and Malice real malice wage. I mean, this is a man who wears his hatreds on his sleeve and he will suddenly revile people who he claimed to admire only yesterday. So while he demands loyalty from everything around him really Above All Else, he has an amazingly disloyal person. All of this is right on the surface. So his appeal has been a total mystery to me, but I believe I have now solved that mystery again. I don't know why it took me so long because many of these slots have been a head since the beginning and I've certainly heard people describe some parts of this picture. But the whole image just fell into place for me. It's like one of those Magic Eye illustrations where you're staring at a random. Stereogram forever home. And then finally the embedded 3D image just pops out in this picture of Trumps appeal is really best understood in comparison with the messaging of his opponents off on the left. That's how you can see it in Stereo. That's how the image finally pops out. So taking the Trump half of this picture one thing that Trump never communicates and cannot possibly communicate is a sense of his moral superiority. The man is totally without sanctimony. Even when his faith every other ants is purposed towards self-aggrandizement. Even when he appears to be denigrating his supporters. Even when his calling himself a genius. He is never actually Communicating that he is better than you more enlightened more decent because he's not and everyone knows it the man is just a bundle of sin and God for and he never pretends to be anything more perhaps more importantly. He never even aspires to be anything more and because of this because he is never really judging you he can't possibly judge you he offers a truly safe space for human Frailty and hypocrisy and self-doubt he offers what no, priest can credibly offer a total expiation of Shame. His personal shamelessness is a kind of spiritual bomb. Trump is fat Jesus. He's grabbed them by the pussy Jesus. He's all eat nothing but cheese burgers. If I want to Jesus. He's I want to punch them in the face of Jesus. He's go back to your shit whole country's Jesus. He's no apologies Jesus and now consider the other half of this image. What are we getting from the left? We're getting exactly the opposite message. Pure sanctimony pure judgment, you are not good enough. You're guilty not only for your own sins, but for the sins of your father the crimes of slavery and colonialism are on your head. And if you're assists white heterosexual male which we know is the absolute core of Trumps support. You're a racist homophobic transphobic islamophobic sexist Barbarian tear down the statues and bend the sucking knee. It's the juxtaposition of those two messages that are so powerful. Now. I'm sure many of you have understood this before me but for whatever reason this image just became Crystal Clear needless to say everything. I said about Trump previously still stands for me. I consider him to be terrifying unfit for office and I consider most of his personal flaws to be public dangers. I think because of who he is as a person. He has harmed our politics and diminished our standing in the world to a degree that might take decades to repair. So I sincerely hope we rid ourselves of him tomorrow, but I believe I know I understand the half of the country that disagrees with me a little better than I did yesterday. And this makes me less confused and judgmental less of an asshole probably wage. There's always progress.

Trump Sam Harris Scott Adams Donald Trump Jesus
#185  February 7, 2020

Making Sense with Sam Harris

30:03 min | 1 year ago

#185 February 7, 2020

"Welcome to the making sense podcast. This is Sam inherits just a note to say that if you're hearing this you're not currently on our subscriber feed and will only be hearing arshile episodes of the podcast if you'd like access S. two full episodes you'll need to subscribe at Sam Harris Dot Org there you'll find our private. RSS Feed to add to your favorite pond catcher along with other subscriber only content. And as always I never want money to be the reason why someone can't listen to the podcast so you can't afford a subscription. There's an option Sam Harris Dot Org to request a free account and we grant a hundred percent of those requests. No questions asked okay. I have palm bloom back. Paul good to hear your good to be back. I'll leave a couple of messages to clean up at least one mess to clean up from the last round where we I haven't gone back to listen to exactly what we said. But I got the sense that we disparaged peewee Herman somehow or at least minimize Dallas. The least of my attention. Nothing mean spirited needed but we had we diminished his stature or assumed that he was invisible or had had disappeared into obscurity in some way. Because we we haven't been paying attention to his career but someone pointed out and I quickly confirmed that the man is is selling out very large auditoriums with his the latest act. I mean he's he's has quite a career he's out there making a fair amount of noise so it seems we were wrong about Paul. Reubens well good to know good have no as has as I was walking to the studio ten minutes ago I saw Al Franken is coming to a new haven so you know I think he had a somewhat of a blow to his reputation but maybe yeah maybe redemption is more common than we had expected maybe cancellation is rarely permanent. That's good to know anyway. So no hard feelings Paul Reubens absol- absolutely absolutely no hard feelings horsepower. And the other thing I this is the other thing that that I just had in my mind to mention based on the last conversation. Uh we we started by talking about Kobe's death and you know the death of everyone else involved in that that helicopter crash and 'cause we recorded our last conversation the day after that happened and I didn't know this at the time but finding out about it is interesting ethical questions and so we. We didn't touch on this. I believe it is in fact true that TMZ the kind of Paparazzi inspired website announced. Kobe's death before the family even knew about it. That was the way the information came out. And I'm wondering who what you think about this. The ethics of that. I mean the interesting thing from my point of view is given that I've taken such a strong position against the advertising model title. And what that has done to digital media that the seems to me to be another symptom of it. I mean there were the race to publish is really directly incentivized advised by the kind of winner-take-all effects of Click bait journalism and with different incentives. That there wouldn't be the same kind of sense of time I'm pressure to publish. I was wondering what you thought about that because many people think well. Why does it matter you know if the tragedy is? You know you've lost your husband and your father this twenty megaton catastrophe however you look at it. Does it really matter that you heard about it on twitter because TMZ tweeted did and not you know through some sober channel but it seems to me to matter a lot. I'm wondering what you as a psychology. I agree with you. I mean I don't have the special expertise on this as a psychologist sort of common sense and decency. If somebody's father daughter. You know who I whatever dies you want to be told in a sober controls. Her chance you don't want to you know find it as a Hashtag here and I think for the most part news sources are often positively totally. Well behaved in this way. But some of them aren't and and there is a sort of Darwinian battle for clicks and for attention and so so some. Don't play by the rules and you know I think in some way. There's there's a question of what should be legally allowed which I actually think a lot not But there's also the question. What sort of morally atrocious and something could be? You wouldn't want to law to punish w one also say kind of despicable. Yeah no it really really is hard to imagine the the editorial call here when you when you have every reason to believe that. This information is minutes old and that the family probably doesn't know anything about it and you are racing to publish is just something something has gotten away from you there and again. It's the MM the incentives at your back. No doubt but a symptom of of our Digital ecosystem at the moment and definitely at the woman. I mean. We're both old enough to remember. When they were newspapers and rushing to get it out we rushing to get out the next day Y- and and for the last long while it's been a matter of minutes or seconds Rhonda Eh and so so that that's going to change everything okay? So now we're talking in the immediate aftermath of the trump impeachment acquittal and and the The high drama of Nancy Pelosi tearing up the State of the Union address and Mitt Romney breaking from the herd and voting To impeach. What do you think about all of this? Do you have a heartache. On on the politics of this I have the observations. Everyone else has which is if anything trump is is becoming more and more unhinged worn more confident in his abilities to to do whatever He pleases and and And so you know I think things are going to get worse and worse and worse until you know I hope was the next election get better and it is true that Democrats rats are responding in kind and people have. Otis doesn't work you know. Trump makes fun of your appearance. You Make Fun of trump's appearance you're just descend into his level but the thing is the history of battling trump. There's nothing works to highlight doesn't were too low row doesn't work. That's what is so strange about him and this moment politically because it nothing works and trying to understand why this is the case made it almost seems like a a supernatural phenomenon. Ray could I can't map it onto any normal experience. It's like the the obelisk in two thousand one right. I made us an. It's the superficial version of that. That was like a infinite profundity. Somehow that never had to be explained by this is just the singularity that at the heart of the Cosmos and and trump is like the inverse of all of that. So it's like there's no depth all surface and yet the surface is engineered in a way so as to reflect the worst in everyone this is. What's so bizarre about trump? And the response to him is. He has a capacity to tarnish the reputation of everyone who comes into his orbit right and this is again whether it's a supporter or critic and I mean I support her or is it's very obvious. I mean the fact is astonishing you have serious people with real reputations. The politicians and soldiers is and business people who have lifetimes of real accomplishment who achieve levels of personal hypocrisy and political coke cowardice in propping him up and in covering for his lives and in pretending not to notice his lies in just pretending that he's normal that we've never never seen before but then the flip side of it is that all of his critics are also diminished by how they respond to this and you now the case with Pelosi I think is an example of as many people are obviously celebrating. What she did but I think it does also diminish her right? I mean she's just she is left behaving in a way that a congress person shouldn't behave right and demeaning the office of the presidency because of its current occupant. And this is something so strange about this this term of disparagement that trump supporters used trump derangement syndrome in everyone has tedious There's something to that. Because he is a kind of super stimulus right. I mean the the reaction to him. This is exaggerated because it's out of proportion to his qualities as a person it's out of proportion to the bad things he's done and the bad things he aspires to do because he's not actually evil right amies he's not or he's not. He's not as scary as he might be and yet somehow he gets an even bigger reaction than someone would if they were just truly scary right so it's almost like his smallness as a person is invoking a bigger reaction reaction than you would ordinarily feel and I feel it myself I feel it personally. I've said this I find him more despicable than I found Osama bin Laden Right and that that's strange. This is psychologically true because with Osama bin Laden. It's just obvious to me that he could have been a mench in some sense right. I mean he's he's making serious sacrifices for ideas that he deeply believes in he's committed to a cause greater than himself L.. I don't doubt that. He had real ethical connections to the people in his life that he cared about him. He's a real person right. And and in some ways he is kind of moral hero in a very bad game right and so therefore he's kind of prototypical evil when viewed from my game but he's a person the actual substance he's just committed to the wrong ends whereas trump is the negation of all of those things and yet his president of the United States. And that's the perversity of that juxtaposition is just fucking crazy making and that's how you get this outsiders reactions. That's my interpretation of it so to some people. I agree with all of that. But there's some people who have made contact with trump and having been degraded. It's the very smallest you who's on that list. Well there's quite a bit conservative. Writers who who when trump came into power lay sort of said this guy clashes with all of our principles and even ever drunk on the never. Never trumpers like a Jonah Goldberg. For instance David Frum Yup and they said even notice is GonNa get me kicked off Fox News and lose some revenue my loosened fans that sort of stand up for what I believe and they paid a financial and sort of professional price for it and now we have you know Mitt Romney and my feelings feelings about Mitt Romney of always been complicated. I don't think he's A. He's quite disorder choirboy as people like to think of him as when he was running for president he was he was pretty rough and tumble but I have nothing but admiration for standing up against trump this time. So what do you do you think do you think. Would you put Romney. As as an exception he what I I should apologize for all the bad things said about Romney in the past because I I went fairly hard against Romney and his mormonism when he was when he was a candidate in twenty twenty twelve. And I'm sure at least once or twice mentioned that he he must be wearing magic underpants and and that we did not need a president who believed what he believed and and yeah my my concerns about his his religious beliefs. And you know the kind of the the inflexibility of mind that you would imagine. Imagine he would have given those believes I view those as valid concerns in any president entity is a his painfully ironic. To me that in all of my hopes. What's that trump would be impeached? The person waiting to assume the presidency is a religious dogmatism of the first order. Mike Pence who in another context would trip all of the switches in me that would worry about theocracy in in the US. So when after Romney for his religiosity in the past and I've noticed the same things about him that everyone has noticed that he's was clearly a political opportunist in many ways and and there was something truly a humiliating about his seeking to be secretary of state under trump after all that had gone down between him and trump. I mean that was almost a a Shakespearean experien- level of craziness at the time or you know attachment to political power. Still still if you want to full shakes Gopher Ted Cruz Ted Cruz yet in a personal deep humiliation by trumpet and he has to go back and beg him for various things and champion and we'll we'll difficult L. politics is will also were still at all. It was finally commemorated in the shot of him. Working the phone banks for trump on our resolve that photograph they had seen. Yeah so it's just awful right. Just where does one go to get a spine in the game but now text but now role neagle. Yeah Yeah so did redeem himself to some extent. Yeah that was all by way of saying that yet in this moment though is is hard to imagine that it's a political price that matters it is for is very real for him. I mean he's he someone. Now who's who's being vilified by his colleagues and his political tribe and probably worse. I mean he probably has the the maniacs trump's base sending him death threats and you have some of which are credible and I mean it's just the people who go against trump have stories to tell l. about what that's like when the mob turns on you so yeah it just have nothing but respect for how he's comporting himself in this moment and and certainly don't underestimate that it's in his world a real sacrifice so so let me switch gears for us and say something Nice about trump sincerely in the how how surprising. Yes and it's fronting from Tyler Cowen so Cowan one of my favorite writers and thinkers. He has a a little little piece. I think thinking Bloomberg News or something where he describes he talks about the best orators the last decade and he lists two of them discuss. He thinks Barack Obama's a third maybe a distant the third one is Griffin Berg. Who is an extremely unusual very powerful speaker descend usual process awesome and great moral seriousness that sort of juxtaposition between her being seemingly sort of a a a young woman and talking with such seriousness and gravity but but Thunberg second trump is I and yet when is an extraordinary orator extraordinary in scare quotes? But yeah I mean so so I don't mean to obviously I don't mean this sort of like oh I i. I don't mean us a moral as a moral good. I mean in terms of skill. No WHOA WHOA can be ascribed up to skill. I still stand by my my evil. Chauncey Gardiner interpretation here. I think there's there's far less method to his madness than than actual madness. It just happens to work in this context for whatever reason but and I certainly share your respect for Tyler. Cowen but don't agree here. I think he's there's no advantage to him or at least I don't see the advantage in him being incoherent for him to contradict himself over. The course of five minutes is not fourth level chess. It's just a mistake right. And and it just the fact that he pays the price for that mistake whereas you and I would pay a very a high price in the in the context of a conversation like this. He's managed to select an audience. That doesn't care about contradictions right. They don't they're not gonNA hold told him to the letter of any utterance because they don't I mean why why they don't i. It's still a mystery to me. I don't actually have A. I don't think I have an adequate theory of mind for the the people and their you know tens of millions of them who do not care when he says a indirect contradiction election to be or vice versa over the course of two minutes and and it may be on a topic that they profess to care about and yet they don't care that you he you can't actually follow both of those paths through his mind or any apparent reality a while ago philosopher Harry Frankfurt. You know US turn earn bullshit as a technical term. He says you know you know. There's people tell the truth. Then there's people who lie dinners bullshitters who are simply indifferent to the truth and and that that was coined before trump can ascended but but it works. It works well for him. I think you're you're holding trump to sort of a standard that his audience doesn't doesn't he's an entertainer Roman so let me just so just to give a sense of when talking about Cowan points out his speeches highly repetitive. Slow and ponderous. Yes I have a soft spot for slow and ponderous because I I am that but highly repetitive so when I watch him being highly repetitive. I see Z.. Neurological injury manifest right. I see someone who is in a visibly audibly in a holding pattern because they can't get to the next thought right an wars. What I what I see with him and I've commented on this before I see with him to a unique degree? I'm have never seen it this bad in any other person. I see him being prompted by and anchored to accidents in his utterances that he then is committed to shoring up and the way. I tried to illustrate this in the past and still I can't think of another way. But but it's almost like he's speaking in verse but he's extemporaneous and he doesn't know what how he's going to complete the rhyme but he's he's held all too it's a he'll just say something like there was once a man from spokane right and he doesn't know where he's going after this right but he's got spokane he landed on Spokane and and then he has to get to something that rhymes there from immigrants. We get too much cocaine yet. And he'll land on that and that is the message right. And it's born of a process back to Frankfurt here he's just bullshitting to remind people of this. Brilliant distinction that Frankfort made between a bullshitter in a liar. A liar someone who is fully aware of the logical expectations of his audience. He's fully aware of what reality he is and the departures. He's introducing from it in his speech and he's having to fit the jigsaw puzzle pieces in where they fit in real time right so he knows that you're expecting coherence. He knows what you know about the world. And he's engineering. His lies so as to go. Undetected did a bullshitter is just talking is not wasting any of the cognitive overhead to track. What reality is or what your expectations are of? You know his his fit to it and he's just creating a mood with the way he speaks and bloviating and confabulation and that's what trump is doing to a degree that is truly unsurpassed and in any other walk of life he would immediately be recognized as con man and a fraud and a bullshitter. And someone who can't be trusted and certainly someone who can't be given significant responsibility and yet it works in this country at this time in the presidency. So yes it's true that he's incredibly effective for the people. He's apparently effect before. But I do not understand. I think there's some sort of genius behind and I don't think he himself is a genius. I think everything you're saying. There is the feeling that you know idea what he's going to say next. He could drift everywhere he could find himself gives them laughter after from the crowd and sees on that. And it's so different from the standard Polish presentations. One gets from from Typical politician I mean the some extent. I've I've listened to my Jordan Peterson and Jordan. Peterson is a thousand times. More articulate and smoother and clear is somewhat of you get somewhat. The SELENA's feeling is hilarious. That because I've actually said the same point about talking in verse and completing the Rhyme I've said about Jordan to in my moments have the greatest opposition with him that there is equality where he's not doing the reality testing that I would want him to do is just sounds. Sounds good what he's saying. And if you but if you actually bring him up short and say okay what do you actually mean by you. Know God or faith or whatever it is in the sentence then it it goes into the ditch so there is that just kind of being carried away by the sound of your voice but with trump is so bereft of content. Right so it's at the level of a fourth grader. And it's en it's repetitive. At the level of a fourth grader. I mean no. Fourth grader repeats himself as much as trump does. But you can hear you can hear the trump derangement syndrome. This back to my point is like I stand by everything that I'm saying about trump now but the fact that I'm saying the fact that it's taking up this much of our conversation is even for the people who will agree with me. Certainly many of them. Thank you know. This guy is living rent-free in your brain and and this is bad for you and it's bad for us and it's bad for conversation and it's and there's something true about that. I think we have to you know. I don't know how we respond respond to that fact politically over the next nine months but there is something I really had to pick my moments with trump and just ignore him for many podcasts running because because it's boring to criticize him ultimately but allied allied one thing to my blasts of trump loan and we could leave. which is you know other presidents have have have phrases that are known for you know? The soft bigotry of low expectations are lot of Kennedy's lines and they were typically written by professionals. But but somehow I think these phrases were gonNA remember like fake news drain. The swamp make America great again make Mexico pay for it the things which you do sort of which which people know by heart and he could start him. Audience will finish them. These seem to be coming from trump's mind and it is it. Is there so little to respect about him but he has some ability some really extraordinary abilities. What he has a one ability is again? This is a whether you call this ability or a a symptom that's debatable but he is utterly shameless right. He's scandal proof within his own mind. He just cannot be derailed by. I been shown to be at odds with himself or with reality or an ad again. It's one of these crazy making things that he's just he can lie sixteen thousand times and they pay a penalty for what you're talking substance and I agree with that but I'm thinking about style and thinking about analogy. I was listening to a podcast by Jordan Prius Motel do but I just wanted to listen to what he sounds like what his book talk is an. There's something about it were you. Don't WanNa shut it off you. You have no idea where it's going and Peterson doesn't it. was trump doesn't which displays genuine curiosity and interest in energy a range of emotions. You don't normally hear in this kind of talk and there's something about. It is a very good speaker but there is a kind of free associative meandering as somewhat confabulation. Corey thing going on in that. There's not a rigorously honest reality testing and again I I liked Jordan a lot. So it's something I've said to his face and on stage and so it's you know this not me saying anything behind his back that I haven't actually said to him both in private and in public and has just on some level it's different and he has an account for why why this is a feature not a bug you know he thinks that you know I slash attachment to reality. Testing and logic is something that is a symptom of my own. You know rigidity and lack of awareness of certain truths that can be you know by Valence. Or you know. However I'm I'm not just making up words that that putting them in his mouth but he's more comfortable with Paradox and a myth? Oh poetic take on reality than I am. Certainly but none of that. I mean it would be amazing to know that behind closed doors. Trump is very different. Everything I've said about trump and this is amazing using this has gone on much longer than I anticipated but more trump derangement syndrome. Yeah no it is true. I've let me cop to it but I think it's I would add that. I think it's warranted everything. I've said about trump. And my you know evil chauncey Gardiner thesis is readily disconcerting -able. It could be disconnected -able in a matter of fifteen eighteen seconds. I mean he would just have to say something that I would imagine. He's incapable of saying if he just for a paragraph was tenfold more articulate than I've ever seen him be and said this is the way I talk with my friends behind closed doors but this is the way I talk on stage and then show me both versions. I would realize allies. He actually is a genius. Who has has calculated his effect on his audience? You know then I'd be prepared to believe anything he could be reading. The meditations of Marcus Aurelius behind closed doors and talking for hours about them in sight fully. But I know exactly what he's doing behind closed doors or at least I think I do right. He's just watching Fox and friends and shrieking people and you know the reports of what he's like behind closed doors certainly substantiate that anyway. Okay what we're we're going to pivot to something here which is really Adjacent to this topic and related to actually say it was synchronous. You mentioned Harry Frankfurt because he has also written about inequality and wealth inequality something that is has been very much on my mind and it is. It's really a pressing issue in our politics now and arguably the most pressing issue on the democratic side. I don't know which you think of the prospects of or nominating someone like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. In the general election but concern about wealth inequality would be the reason why that would happen. Yeah I you know. Putting aside the specifics of WHO's going to be next president. I think people think in a very confused way above about inequality I think for the most part people think they are very concerned about wealth inequality but they aren't really and and this guy she comes from Frankfurt. Who wrote a book on topic so Frankford you know? Says this isn't exactly his example. This is the idea. Jeff bezos content compared Jeff Bezos to your average average personal ten million dollars. They have a hugely unequal amount of wealth. Way More than than your average extremely poor person enrich person have an extraordinarily by by many magnitudes different than wealth. The nobody worries about I know he said Oh my God such inequality right except for the person with ten million dollars yea proximity to yes. This is this is true. Yeah but in general is not the biggest problem in the world. So I think this is Frankfurt's it's argument and I and I've developed as both technical papers and sort of casual papers when people say the word of inequality typically worried about one of two other things and a few other possibilities posssibility one is poverty. Poverty is terrible and and we tend to worry about poverty justifiably so we want oh a world in which everybody was you know well off can afford food and health care and recreation would be a wonderful world and if we're not world and some people may ten times as much as one hundred times as much I think we would worry a lot less sort of poverty in the second factors unfairness So there's a lot of laboratory experiments finding finding that even young kids get very upset at unequal divisions but these are always cases would unequal divisions arbitrary. If you switch it a bit so sir say one person works harder than another makes more money. The kids are happy with unequal divisions. And they get an annoyed when a divisions are equal and same thing thing for for adults for regardless of society people actually want unequal societies. If you offer them total equality reject it. They want unequal societies. So long as the inequality is calibrated to natural gives her effort or or some sort of thing. That doesn't seem unfair. Not many people are upset upset with J. K.. Rowling podcast you'll need to subscribe at Sam Harris Dot Org you'll get access to all full length episodes of making sense bond cats and two other subscriber only content including bonus episodes and Ama's in the conversations. I've been having on the waking up APP making sense. PODCAST is free and relies entirely on listener support. And you subscribe now at Sam Harris Dot Org

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#208  Existential Risk

Making Sense with Sam Harris

1:04:49 hr | 1 year ago

#208 Existential Risk

"Welcome, to the PODCAST. This is Sam Harris. Just a note to say that if you're hearing this, you're not currently on our subscriber. Feed only be hearing partial episodes of the podcast. If, you'd like access to full episodes. You'll need to subscribe at Sam Harris Dot Org. there. You'll find our private process. To add to your favorite podcast along with other subscriber only content. And as always been everyone money to be the reason why someone cans to podcast, so you can't afford a subscription. There's option as embarrass dot org to request a free account, and we grabbed a hundred percent of those requests no question. Okay! Well, the last episode was. Controversial. Episode two of seven on racism and police violence. we have since released an annotated transcript to that episode. With links to relevant videos and articles and data. I've seen some response some quite a of in praise. And some of it outraged. Which of course I expected. Many people also contacted me privately to convey their gratitude and full support. All the while making it clear that they can't take such a position publicly. And this is definitely a sign of the Times that concerns me. I'm talking about people who. In any sane society. Should be able to have the courage of their convictions. And some people thought it ironic. Even hypocritical for me to trump value of conversation in a solo podcast. But the truth is that podcast was just my way of starting. My side of a public conversation. I'm sure it will have proper conversations on this topic in future episodes. And I welcome recommendations about who I should speak with. But given what I perceived to be the desperate state of public irrationality at the moment. I wanted to say something at full length that was relatively well-formulated and compromise give. Rather than just lurch into a conversation with someone. And just see what came of it. anyways, it make clear in the podcast. That wasn't the final word anything. Apart from my sense of intellectual honesty has to be the basis for any progress we make here. And to that end, I will keep listening and reading and having conversations. Another thing to clarify here there now to formats to the podcast. And actually there's three types of podcasts that fall into two categories. The first is the regular podcast. which generally an exploration of a single topic, and that is usually with a guest very often based on a book here she has written. But sometimes it's a solo effort like my last podcast was. And the aim in this standard format is to say something of more than topical interest. Is Our podcast that I. Hope if you listen to them two years from now or even further in the future. They would still be worth listening to. And if you're seeing these episodes online, you'll see that they have a unique photo or piece of artwork associated with them, and they're titled in some way to reflect their theme and the second format which I've piloted with Palm Bloom and Caitlin Flanagan, but which have also used for other guests recently David from. Jonathan Height Andrew Yang. Ivano Harari. This format aims to be more topical. Is Not that we won't say anything of lasting, interest. But the goal is certainly to cover some events that are in the news, and to not linger too long on any one topic. And these episodes are titled Just with the date of the broadcast. So. I, hope, that clarifies fusion out there. Once he gave you wanted to get full episodes of the podcast. You need an account at Sam Harris Dot Org. And as there are no sponsors for the show. The fact that people subscribe is what allows me to do this. So thank you all for your support. Okay And now for today's podcast. Today I'm speaking with Toby Ord. Toby is a philosopher at Oxford, university. Morgan on the big picture questions that face humanity. He is focused on the ethics of global poverty. He is one of the young founders of the effective altruism movement. I previously had his colleague Wilma Casco on the, podcast. and He created the online society giving what we can, which has gotten as members to pledge over one point five billion dollars to the most effective charities. As current resources on the risks that threaten human extinction or the permanent collapse of civilization. Otherwise known as existential risk. And Toby has advised the World Health Organization the World Bank the World Economic Forum the US National Intelligence, Council and the UK Prime Minister's Office. And most important. Toby is the author of the new book. The precipice existential risk and the future of humanity. And is an excellent book which we cover only in part in this conversation. But we cover a lot. We talk about the long term future of humanity, the moral biases that we all suffer with respect to distance in space and time. The, psychology, of effective altruism. Feeling, good versus doing good. Possible blind spots inconsequential Azam. Natural verses human caused risk. The risk of asteroid impacts nuclear war pandemics. The potentially cosmic significance of human survival. The difference between bad things and the absence of good things. Population Ethics Derek Parfitt Dir. Parfitt was told his thesis adviser. The symmetry between happiness and suffering. Climate Change. And other topics. Needless to say, this is a conversation that. Stands a very good chance of being relevant? For many years to come. Because our capacity to destroy ourselves as only increasing. So without further delay I bring you toby ord. I am here with Toby Ord. Toby thanks for joining me. Great to be here. So, I'm very happy. We finally got together. There's been a long time coming. And I knew I wanted to speak with you even before your book came out, but your book has provided the perfect occasion. The book is the precipice existential risk in the future of humanity. And it couldn't be. Better timed in some way except one of my concerns in this conversation is that people learn a have without even thinking about it in these terms something like existential risk fatigue given that we're dealing with global pandemic, which is not in and of itself an existential risk as we'll talk about, but a had a bunch of podcasts on topics related to this like nuclear war and other big picture concerns that I felt have been remiss timed in the current moment and I- delayed this conversation. I feel like people have have acclimated to, if not the normal, a long emergency of some kind, and this now strikes me as the perfect time to be having this conversation because. As I'm sure talk about this really seems like a a stress test and a dress rehearsal for Europe much bigger problems that that may yet come, and so it's really an opportunity. For us to learn the right lessons from a bad, but ultimately manageable situation as perhaps to start here, you can just introduce your yourself and I will introduce you properly before, but how do you describe your work as a philosopher, and and what you have focused on up until this moment, and and perhaps how do you see the current context in which to think about these ideas? Yeah, I. I'M A philosopher at Oxford. University, where I specialize in ethics, although I didn't always do philosophy I. I used to be in science specializing in computer science, artificial intelligence, but I was really interested in questions, big big picture questions, which is not that fashionable in ethics, but questions about really the. What are the biggest issues facing humanity? And what should we do about them? About. Humanity over the the really long run and really global issues, so I found that within philosophy is a place where one can ask these questions. And I did quite a bit of work on global poverty in the past. As, one of the really big pressing issues facing humanity, and then I've moved in more recently to really be specializing in existential risk, which is the study of? Of Risks of human extinction or other irrevocable losses of the future, for example, if there was some kind of collapse of civilization that was so great and so deep that we could never recover, that would be an existential catastrophe anything in which the entire potential humanity would be lost, and I'm interested in that because I'm I'm very hopeful about the potential of humanity I. Think we have potentially. Millions of generations ahead of us and a very bright future, but we need to. We need to make sure we make it to that point He, A and I assume you do view the current circumstance, as in some says despite the obvious pain, it's causing us and the death and suffering and an economic problems that will endure for some time. On some level. This is a is almost as benign a serious pandemic 'cause. We might have experienced that in that sense, it really does seem like an opportunity to at least get our heads around one form of existential risk. Yeah, I see this as a warning shot the type of thing that. Has the potential to to wake us up to some even greater risks. If we look at in the historical perspective, it was about one hundred years ago. The nineteen eighteen flu was. Looks like it was substantially worse than this that was extremely bad, global pandemic, which killed we. We don't really know how many probably a few percents something like three percent of all the people in the world, which is which is significantly in excess of where we are at the moment, and if we go further back in the Middle Ages the the black death. killed somewhere between about a quarter and a half of all people, in Europe and significant numbers of people in Asia and the Middle East which may have been about a tenth of all the people in the world. So sometimes we hear that the current situation is unprecedented, but I think it's actually the reverse. What we'd thought was that since it was one hundred years since a really major global pandemic, we thought that that was all in the past, and we were entering an unprecedented era of health security. But actually you know it's it's not. We're actually still vulnerable to these things, so I think it's really the other. Other way round, so but before we jump into existential risk, just WanNa talk about your background a little bit because I know from your book that Derek Parfitt was your thesis adviser and he was philosopher who I greatly admire, and was actually had I was in the middle of an email exchange with him when he died I I was trying to record an interview with him and really consider it. A major missed opportunity for me because he's just he was such a had such a beautiful mind, and I know some of your other influences Peter. Singer has been on the podcast and nick. Bostrom been on as well. Have you single them out as people who have influenced you in your focus, both on effective altruism and central risk I guess before we jump into each specifically. They, strike me as related in ways that maybe not be entirely obvious. May I ask their related in the sense that in in both cases were talking about? The well, being and survival of humanity, but with effective altruism. We're talking about how best to help people who currently. and and to mitigate suffering. That isn't in any sense. Hypothetical is just to these people, specifically. The you know the poorest people on Earth who we know exist and we know are are suffering the consequences of. Intolerable inequality or what should be intolerable inequality in our world, and we can do something about it, and and the effect of peace in effective altruism is just how to target our resources in a way that truly helps and helps as much as possible, but then with existential risk. Were talking rather often about people who do not yet exist and may never exist if we don't get our act together. And we're also talking about various risks of bad things happening. which is to say, we're talking about hypothetical suffering and death for the most part. It's interesting because these are. In some sense very different by those measures, but they play upon. Deficiencies in our into it in our moral intuitions in similar ways, I'm not the first person to notice that our ethics tends to degrade as function of physical distance, and over any significant time horizon, which say we feel less of an obligation to help people who are far away from us in space, and in time we, the truth is, we didn't feel less of an obligation to prepare for our own well-being when we think about our future self, if we discount are concerned about our own happiness and suffering fairly. Over horizon. Let's talk about the basic ethics here and feel free to. Bring in anything you want to say about Parfitt or any of these other influences. But how do you think about? Proximity in space and time influencing our our moral intuition, and and you know whether or not these things should have any moral significance. So In terms of physical distance Peter. Singer was a big influence on me when it comes to that he has this brilliant paper, famine, affluence and morality where he asked this question about you know if you're walking on the way to work, and you passed a child drowning in a pond. In her and in order to go in and help them to save them are you'd have to ruin your shoes or your suit tour? Some aspect like this which is significant value say you're going to give a fancy lecture. And most of us, we without really much hesitation. We would go in and do this, and in fact, we might think is wrong someone. If they just you know, looked at their suit in their shoes and then kind of thought Oh actually. No, I'm not going to do that. Walked by, and he made this analogy to what about people in distant countries? There's some some question about exactly how much it costs to save a life in poor countries and. It may actually cost more than more than a fairly nice suit, maybe about a thousand dollars us, but. He he kind of asked this question about what's really different in those cases, and could the physical distance really matter. Could the fact that they're? They're a stranger matter. The he came up with a whole lot of ways of thinking about these differences in showing that none of them really could matter so. Yeah, he, he's either really helped. Challenge a lot of people including me about that. Now effective altruism is more general than just thinking about global poverty. It could apply to existential risk as well, and in fact, many effective outbursts do think in those terms. But it's about. This idea of really trying our lives to be aware of how much good we could do without activities such as donations or throughout careers. And really trying to think seriously about the scale of it so. I got really interested in this when I looked at at a a study, colva disease, control priorities and developing countries to ask catchy name DC to, and it had this table in it where they'd looked at over a hundred different ways of helping people in poor countries with the health. And If you looked at the the amount that you could help in terms of health like in terms of healthy life years for a given amount of money say thousand dollars there. Was this really striking difference where the the best interventions were about ten thousand times more effective than the least good ones and the the in fact, there about one hundred times better than the middle intervention. It was with a log normal distribution. So this was something where I did a bit of technical work on this, and and found a whole lot of interesting stats like that it obeyed almost exactly the eighty twenty rule. Where if you fund it? All of these these ways of helping people in poor countries, eighty percent of the impact would happen from the the twenty percent most effective interventions, and also if you had a choice between two interventions at random. And on average, the more effective one would be one hundred times as effective as the less effective one, so this is something where it really woke me up to this fact that. Way You gave can be actually even more important than whether you give. So if you're giving to something that say for a certain amount of money is enough to save a life, there may well be somewhere you gave. That would save one hundred lives, and that choice how you make it nine thousand nine people's lives. Depend upon you making that right whereas the difference between you, giving to the middle charity or nothing is only one person's life, so maybe it could be even more important kind of way you give then if you give in some sense well, obviously, it's it's. They're both important, and so it was really thinking about that. That made me realize this and within Mara Philosophy this view. UTILITARIANISM consequentialist him his kind of family views that take doing good really seriously, and they're not just focused on not doing things that are wrong, but also on. How much can you help but if it made me realize that the people? People who support other ethical views they should still be interested in doing much more good with the resources that devoted to helping others, and so you know I set up an organization called giving what we can try to encourage people to give more effectively, and to give more as well so is based around pledged to give at least ten percent of your income to the most effective places that we know of initially around global poverty and global health lower broaden that out to to include anything for example could be animal charities or any way of helping others as much as you can, and in fact we. We've. Now got more than four thousand people have made that pledge. They've given more than one hundred million dollars. The most effective charges they know of and of pledged more than a billion dollars, so it's actually a pretty big thing in terms of the the number of people who've embraced this message and a really trying to to really make charitable giving count. Yellow, your colleague William Casco who put together on the podcast a while back and. And that conversation was very influential on my thinking here. Because one thing you both have done in your thinking about effective altruism is. You have uncoupled. Sentimentality from a more hard headed concern about just what actually works and what saves the most lives? So much of philanthropy in its messaging and its tacit assumptions, and in the the experience of people, giving or deciding whether or not to give is predicated on the importance of. Feeling good about given and finding psychological reward their I'm convinced that still important and I think we should. figure out ways to amplify that. But at the end of the day we need to correct for our failures to be maximally rewarded by the most important contributions we can make. This is just a kind of a domain wide human, failing that the worst things that can happen are not the things we find most appalling and the best things we can do not the things we find most rewarding and surveying this landscape of moral error. We need to find ways to correct for the reliable failures of our intuitions, and so in talking to will. It occurred to me that that one way to do this just to automated, and you just have now spoken about this several times on the podcast, but it was such an instructive example for me because at the time. Will was saying the most effective or certainly one of the most effective ways of mitigating human death was to Give money to the against Malaria Foundation. hoped time. That was number one on the on the give. Well site might still be. And I recognize that in myself that. That was a cause which he struck me as deeply unsexy rise, not that it's I. Don't care about it i. do care about it when you give me the details, but you know buying insecticide-treated bednets, and giving them out is neither the problem, nor the intervention that really tugs at my heartstrings, and it's just obvious that shouldn't be the priority. If in fact, this is the way to save a life at the the lowest dollar cost, and so and so yes, I decided to automate my given to that that one charity knowing that it was, it was vulnerable to my waking up in a month. Not being able to care much about malaria, and so that that's the kind of thing that you and will and your in the movement you guys have inspired has made really. Salient and actionable for people to me that alone as a huge contribution, and so thank you for doing that work. Oh. That's that's exactly why we did it. I should say it's also the question of how much she give is another thing that to try to automate? Put in your so I used to like when I was a Grad student. I I used to because I was aware of these these numbers, and like how how much further my money could go broad, basically a roundabout I could do around about a thousand or ten thousand times as much good with my money by giving it to the most effective places abroad than I could by spending it on myself I. Why work this out? And? That meant that you know I became. Very, pain when I was at the supermarket, trying to work out whether to buy the absolute cheapest cereal or the second cheapest cereal, and that that's not really a good pathway to go down because you're. You're not that productive. If you spend all your time stressing about that so I took an approach instead of working out how much give and committing to give a large amount of money over the rest of my life, and then just living within my reduced means, and then you just basically just pretend that you're salaries or the salaries a bit lower. Maybe pretend that you took A. Job in the charitable sector or something you know with a with a smaller salary in order to do good or pretend. That you're being taxed a bit more because you know. It'd be good if some of our money was taken to to help people who much less fortunate than ourselves, and then just live within that reduced means near. You could pretend that you're working one day a week or one day out of every ten for the benefit of others. Yeah, that that's another way to think about it. And it turned out that I made a minute that the pledge it's based around is to give at least ten percent of your income to where it can help the most away. You think it can help the most. I went on to prescriptive about that, but ultimately I've given a bit over a quarter of everything. I've learnt so far, but the way I think about it is to think about actually what Peter Singer suggested, which is to set a amount of spending money on yourself, and then to give everything above it and I set that to an amount which is about equal actually to the median income in the UK at the time and a lot of journalists. Yeah would say well. How could you live less than eighteen thousand pounds per year? And it was kind of. Trying to point out that actually half of the population of the UK. So people lose a bit of touch on these things and that makes it. Ma- makes it clear. That is doable I if you think about it in those times. So. So, but it is useful to use techniques like these to make it easier, so you're not using all your willpower to keep giving instead you make lasting commitment. That's that's the point of making a long term. Commitment on this is due to tie after the mast and make it a bit. A bit less onerous to be reevaluating this all the time and we found that that that worked quite well. Initially, people said well no going to do this. No one's GonNa, make this commitment forgetting of course that there's been traditions of giving temps if income for a long time. But it's something where you know. We found actually that that there are a lot of people who would and as I said more than one hundred million dollars of being given and multi billion dollars pledged because it really adds up, and it's one of those things where if someone of shakes a can at you on the street corner. It's not worth spending a lot of your time trying to work out whether to give and also whether this is a the best 'cause you could be giving to, because there's such a small amount at stake. Bit If you're making a choice to give something like attentive your income over the rest of your life. You know that that's that's something like more than one hundred thousand dollars and you know it's really were really worth quite a few evenings of reflection about where to give it since I whether you're GonNa, do it and make such a commitment, but if you do you know this this a lot. Lot Steak, so we found that thinking that in these bigger chunks really zooming out on Joe Charitable giving of your whole life, and setting yourself in a certain direction on that really showed an and made it worthwhile to do it right here and one of the ways you cut through sentimentality. Here is around the question of what people should be doing with their time if they want to benefit. The most number of people, and and not that everyone should be rushing into the charity sector and working for directly for 'cause they find valuable. You argue that if you have a talent to make immense wealth some other way well, then that is almost certainly the better use of your time, and then you just give me more of those resources to the charities that you want to support. Yes Oh, my colleague will mechanical really mean. We talked about this right from the start, but he really took that a step further when he set up this this organization eighty thousand hours I with Ben. And They were they were going deep on this and and really thinking okay with we've got a theory for what to do with your charitable giving. How can you make that more effective and really actually helped more recipients, so help those recipients by larger amount. And eighty thousand hours was about. This, huge amount of time over your whole career and really trying to spend you know if you're going to spend eighty thousand hours doing your job. It kind of makes it obvious that it could be worth spending. Hundred hours or more thinking seriously about way you're going to devote that time and one of the things they considered was this idea of earning to give of taking deliberately high paid job so that you could donate a lot more, and in some cases you can do a lot of good with that particularly if you're someone who's who's well suited to such a job and also kind of. Emotionally resilient, there are a lot of people who want to do a lot of good in the world, but we're really wouldn't lost if they went into finance or something and everyone else. All of their friends were were off at the golf, course or something, and and this was scrimping and saving and couldn't socialize with any colleagues, and and so on and saw them living to excess could be pretty difficult, but if someone who who can deal with that or can can can take it pretty sensible approach, maybe give half of what you earn in finance and still live a very good life by any normal. Normal Standards and some people have taken that up, but that wasn't the only message. We're also really interested in in jobs in areas where you could do a lot of good for example working on a charitable foundation in order to help direct their endowment to the most effective things to help others. Also, we found that that people were very interested in a few different areas. They're kind of a few clusters of work which were on global health and global poverty. That cluster was really to do with the fact that the poorest people in the world live on about one hundred of the median US wage. So, and it means therefore because diminishing returns on on our income. That money can do roughly a hundred times more good to help those people. Then it can here. And if we if we do kind of leveraged things, such as funding the very most important. Healthcare that they can't buy themselves then. You know we can get even maybe a thousand times more effectiveness for people abroad the McCain for ourselves. So, that's one way to do good another way that as a cluster around animals welfare, noting that there's a market failure there where animals. Don't have natural constituency. They can't vote. It wouldn't be surprising if there were massive amounts of pain and suffering which were being neglected by by the general capitalist system that we're in. And indeed when we look at it, you know that there are so that was another approach, although it's it as a as you have to grab a little bit about how on Earth would you understand animal welfare companion human welfare in order to think about that, but you can see why could be a really neglected area, and then there's a there's a kind of branch people really interested in the long term future of humanity. And noting that only a tiny fraction of all the people who've who've ever lived are alive at the moment, and it's probably an even tiny fraction when you consider all the people who ever will live after. That you know, this is just one century. We've had two thousand centuries of humanity so far we could have thousands of centuries more after us if there are ways that we can do something now to have a lasting impact over the whole time, then, perhaps, that's another location where we can do. Really outsized amounts of good with lives, so we have often been thinking about those. Those three different areas are the trade offs here with respect to. The feeling good versus being effective calculus, because if you take a strictly consequentialist. Framing of this well, then it seems like well. You should just cut through the the feeling or the perceived reward and salience of various ways of helping and just help the most people, but the situation does strike me somewhat as morally analogous to the the failure of consequential to Parse why it makes sense for us to have a preferential love for our family. You know in particular are kids. It's often posed as a riddle. How is it that you can? Shower, more attention and resources and love and concern on your child. Then you could on to strangers or obviously the equation gets even more unbalanced if you talk about one hundred strangers and. That has traditionally struck many people just a a failure of consequential, either. We're not really consequentialist, or we can't be or we shouldn't be. But I've always seen that as just A. On some level. A failure to get s fine grain is we might about. The consequences I mean obviously there's a consequence to. Think through. There's a consequence to have a society or being the sort of social primate. Who could when faced with a choice to help their child or to strangers would just. Automatically default to the what seems to be the consequentialist arithmetic, of course I I'm going to care more about two strangers in my own child me. What do we mean by love? And the norm of being a good parent if that is actually the emotional response, right that we think is normative, and so it's always struck me that there could be something optimal anime only be one possible OPTIMA, but at least it's possible one to have every one. More focused on the people who are near and dear to them, and could reach some collective equilibrium together where the human emotion of love is conserved in that preferential way, and yet in extreme cases, or even just at the level of which we decide on on the uses of public funds and rules of fairness and justice that govern society. We recognize that those need to be impartial, which is when I go into a hospital with my my injured daughter I. Don't expect the Hospital of the give. Give us preferential treatment just because she's my daughter. And in fact, I would not want to hospital that could be fully corrupted by just answering to the person who shouted the loudest or gave the biggest tip at the door whatever it was I can argue for the norm of fairness in a society, even where I love my daughter more than I love someone else's daughter. It's a long way of saying that that's a seems to me to be somewhat analogous released potentially so to this condition of. Looking to do good in the world, and and noticing that there are causes. The helping of which gives say a much stronger feeling of compassion and solidarity, and keeps people more engaged and I think we do want to leverage that, obviously not at the expense of being ineffective, but I'm just wondering if there's if there's anything to navigate here or if you just think it really is straightforward, we just have to strip off the any notion of come romanticism and reward around helping and just run the numbers and figure out exactly how to prioritize resources. I guess I would say he three levels at which to think about this. So one approach would be to say yet. Just look at the the raw numbers. Let's from some study on how much different ways of spending our money could help people, and then just go with what that says a second approach would be trying to be a bit more sophisticated to note that there might be a whole lot of people who just kind of. Your, who aren't getting enough back from. Don't know feedback perhaps in their lives about the giving and the effect having on people. Such that they if they were to try to do the first one, they couldn't really sustain it. which could be a really big deal because I'm hoping that that people can make a commitment and keep it to give you know for the thirty years, and if they get burnt out after a couple of years stop, you've lost almost all the value that they could have produced. especially as they're probably going to earn more money later in their life, and be able to give, even more could be that you lose ninety nine percent of the benefit if they give up after the first couple of years. So you at least want to go this this one step further and have some idea or some sensitivity to the idea that if it's more appealing, or it can be more sustained than that matters and I'm thinking in that sense. Quite instrumentally in that that is just trying to take account of the the the fallibility of of the humans who give us it's not about flattering them or kind of like stroking their ego or something like that, but it's. The Way I think of it a lot of people when they think about giving in particular have focused. That's very focused on the give. I. Think of as give a centric. Donor centric kind of understanding of it for example norms against being public about giving I think a very donor centric there about who that would be Gauche to be public about it. Bit From my perspective I'm very focused on the recipients. And it seems to me that the all of this focus on the donor is misplaced. If the recipients would benefit more if the donors were public about it such that they helped to encourage their friends to be giving for example by talking about some of these causes, ideally Anna in a non annoying way. Then that could be good for the recipients, and similarly if there are aspects where inner, maybe if the donor somehow could follow through on a very difficult dry program of giving that'd be able to give more if in fact many during this fail to achieve that or they burnt out then that's bad for the recipients so this this approach is still kind of recipient focused, or you could go a step further than that and build it into the structure of what it means to be to be good at giving and to to say you know fundamentally for example people in your community, or it matters more to give to people who are close to you or something like that. I wouldn't want to go that extra step although I understand that that is where they're kind of intuitive position, perhaps is, and you do run into trouble. If you try to to stop it step to. You run into some of these challenges mentioning about. How do you justify treating your children better than other people so I don't think that this is all resolved, but I also want to say that. The idea of effective altruism really is to be broader than than just a consequentialist utilitarian approach, the people who are non consequentialist often believe that there are side constraints on action, so there are things that we shouldn't do even if they promote the good because it would wrong or be treating people rolling in order to do them for example that you shouldn't kill someone in order to save ten people. But. Since none of the ways we're talking about if giving or if the careers that were recommending people take none of them involve really breaking side constraints. It seems like we should all still be interested in doing more good. In that case as philosophies, we often focus on the interesting conflicts between the different moral theories. This is a case where I think the moral theories tend to run together, and so that's that's Al. focus going beyond they kind of just what would utilitarianism CEO something like that? Okay well, let's talk about the greatest downside protection. We might find ourselves and talk about existential risk. which again is the topic of your new book? The precipice, which is really a wonderful read, and it's great to have the complete picture pulled together between two covers, so a highly recommend that we won't exhaust all of what you say. They're off, flag some of what we're skipping past here. So you, break the risks, we face into the the natural and the anthropogenic, which is to say human caused, and it might be surprising for people to learn just how you wait these respective sources of risk to give some perspective. Let's talk about just how you think about the ways in which the natural world might destroy us in all on its own, and the ways in which we might destroy ourselves, and how you estimate the probability of of one or the other sources of risk, being decisive for us in the next century. Shore. I think often when we think about existential risks, we think about things like asteroid impacts. I think this is. Often the first thing that comes to mind. Because it's it's what we think destroyed the dinosaurs sixty five million years ago. But. You're not was sixty five million years ago. So an event of that size seems to be something like a one in every sixty five million years kind of event. It doesn't sound like a once a century event, or you'd have trouble explaining why it hasn't happened. You know many many more times. And I think people be surprised to find out. How how recent was that? We really understood asteroids especially people of my generation that in nineteen sixty. That's when we conclusively discovered that Meteo Craters caused by asteroids. People thought that maybe there were caused by some kind of geological phenomenon. vocalism it's amazing. And then it was twenty years after that on one, thousand, nine hundred. Where evidence was discovered that they dinosaurs had been destroyed in the KT extinction event. By an asteroid. About ten kilometers across, so that's the one thousand nine hundred. That's that's forty years ago. and then action you know things things move very quickly from that in particular is around about the same time as Carl, Sagan and others were investigating models for nuclear winter, and they realized that asteroids could have a similar effect where dust from the asteroid collision would dock in the sky. And could. In that way 'cause mass extinction due to stopping the plants growing. So, this is a very recent and people really leapt into action and astronomers started scanning the skies, and they've now tracked what the they think. His ninety five percent of all asteroids, one kilometer or more across. And one. Kilometer asteroid is tenth the size of the one that killed the dinosaurs, but it only has one thousand th of the energy and thousands of the mass. So, we could very likely survive that and they found ninety five percent of those greater than one kilometer across including almost all of the ones which are really quite big such as near five. Ten classes, and so now the chance of a one kilometer or more at hitting us in the next century is about one in one, hundred and twenty thousand. That's A. Kind of scientific probability from the astronomers, but it also wouldn't necessarily wipe us out even if it did hit us, and that's a probability that we really is very unknown, but overall I I would guess that it's about a one in a million chance of an asteroid just us in the next hundred years. And other things that have been talked about as extinction possibilities when you look at the probabilities that they're extremely low, so an example is a Supernova from a nearby star I would have to be quite a close star within about thirty light years, and it's extremely unlikely it's unlikely that this will happen. During the the life span of the earth, and exceptionally unlikely would happen in the. The next hundred years I, put chance of existential catastrophe due to that at about one in a billion over the next hundred years, and these are these are quite rough numbers, but trying to give an order of magnitude idea to the reader, and ultimately when it comes to to all of these natural risks, you might be worried that Supernova and gamma-ray bursts and super volcanoes asteroids comets. Actually is very recent that we've discovered how these things work. And the wherever really realized with proper scientific basis that they could be threats to us, so there's probably more natural risks that we don't even know about. Yet to discover a so, how how do you think about that, but there's this very. Comforting arguments from the fossil record when you reflect on this fact that. Homo sapiens has been around for two hundred thousand years, which is two thousand centuries, and so if the chance of us being destroyed by natural risks in fact. Put together was as high as say one in one hundred. We almost certainly wouldn't have made it this far. So using that kind of idea, you can actually bound the risk and show very confidently. That is lower than about one in two hundred per century, and most probably below about one in two thousand century. You also take further than that by reasoning by analogy to other hominids and other mammals that would have died in similar extinction events as well. Yeah that's that's right. And there's I I give quite a number of different ways of looking at that in order to avoid any potential statistical biopsies that could come up in general. It's very difficult to estimate to chance of something that would've stopped the very observation that you're making now happening there. There are certain kinds of statistical bias. He's they come up to its anthropic effects, but you can avoid all of that or most of it by looking at related species, and you get a very similar result. They tend to last a about a million years before going extinct, and so since her sapiens is a species that is much more widely spread across the surface of the earth and much. Less dependent upon a particular species for food. You know where we're very robust in a lot of ways. So. That's before you even get to the fact that we can use our intelligence to adapt to the threat and so forth. That it's is very hard to see that. The the chance of extinction from natural events could be more than something like one in ten. Thousand per century is where I put it. But. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the the anthropogenic. Risks! Yet and so let's was jumped to those. You put. The likelihood that we might destroy ourselves in the next century by making some colossal error or just being victim of our own malevolence at. One in six, rather than one in ten thousand, which is which is a pretty big disparity, one thing that's interesting, especially in the present context of pandemic, you put pandemic risk mostly on the the anthropogenic side. Maybe we should talk about that for a second. What are the anthropogenic risks you? You're most concerned about, and and why is it that you're thinking of pandemic? Largely in terms of what we do or don't do? Yeah, well, let's let's start with. With the one that started it all off with nuclear war, just briefly that I think it was in nineteen, forty, five the development of the atomic bomb that we humanity really entered this this new era. Which I call the precipice giving the book, its name explain that analogy because so. What's interesting here is that the anthropogenic risk? Existential risk is really just the shadow side of human progress. It's only by virtue of our progress technologically largely, although not entirely. Just the fact that we have crowded together in cities, and that we can jump on airplanes and fly all all over the world, and we have cultures that value that and you take the good side of globalization and culture, sharing and and cosmopolitanism. And Economic Integration. That is you're perfectly designed. It would seem to spread a novel virus around the world in about fifteen hours, and all the things that we've been doing right have set us up to destroy ourselves in a way that we absolutely couldn't have done. Even one hundred years ago and so this is, it's paradox that. Cast a shadow swords on the work of my friend. Steve Pinker. You know who as you probably know has been writing these. Immense, and immensely hopeful books about human progress of late saying the things are getting better and better and better, and we should acknowledge that and we should only have the decency to acknowledge that but. He's been. Criticized rather often things. He hasn't said he's not saying that. There's a law history that ensure that ensures things are going to get better and better He's not saying we can't screw these things up. But because of his emphasis on progress at the very least he can be convicted of occasionally sounding tone deaf on just how the risk that we will destroy. Everything seems also to be increasing image of the power of our technology. The fact that we're we're talking about a time where high school kids can be manipulating viruses you know based on technology could have in their bedrooms is just. This is democratizing a rather faustian relationship to. And Power and it's easy to see how this could go terribly wrong wrong in ways that again could never have been accomplished a few generations ago, so give us the the analogy of precipice to frame this. Yeah, if we if we really zoom out and try to look at all of human history, and and to see the biggest themes that that unfolded across this time then I, think that two of them one is this theme of progress in in our wellbeing. That's Steven. pinker mentions. And I think particularly in that case over the lost two hundred years since the industrial revolution that it's some it's less clear over you know. It was the second hundred thousand years of Homo sapiens better than the first one, hundred thousand or something I've I'm not sure, but in the last two hundred years we've certainly seen very market progress, and I think one of the. The the challenges talking about that is that we should note that while things have got a lot better, they could still be a lot better again and we have. We have much further to go. There are many more injustices and suffering remaining in the world, so we certainly want to to acknowledge that while at the same time we ignore acknowledge. How much better at Scott And we also. Wanted to yeah acknowledged. Yet both there is still very bad things that we could. We could go much further, but the other major theme I think is this theme of increasing power and that one I think has has really gone through the whole of human history, and this is something where they're being about ten thousand generations of Homo Sapiens. And it's only through a kind of massive intergenerational cooperation that we've been able to build this world. We see around us so from where I sit at the moment I can see zero things actually except my own body which were in the ancestral environment. It's something where we tend to think of. This is very recent, but we forget that things like clothing is a technology that was massively useful technology that enabled us to in Habich. Huge regions of the world which would otherwise be uninhabitable bias could think of almost like heater spacesuits, something like that for the earth you know massive improvements like this so many things that we developed before we developed writing, which is only about five thousand years ago so this this time like ninety seven percent of human history. We don't have any record of it and but that doesn't mean that they weren't great developments happening that was just have these any sequence of innovations that have really built up everything when I think about that, and and these how we kind of stand on the shoulders of ten thousand generations of people before us is really as humbling, and all the innovations that they passed on in this unbroken chain and one of. The aspects of this is this increasing power over the world around us, which really accelerated with the scientific revolution where we discovered the systematic ways to create knowledge, and to use it to change the world around us and the industrial revolution where we worked out how to harness the huge energy reserves of fossil fuels and to automate a lot of labor using this particularly with those accelerations, there's been this massive increase in the power of humanity to change the world. The you know often exponential on on many different measures, and that it was in the twentieth century, and I think particularly with the development of the atomic bomb that we first entered this new era where. We have our power so great that we have the potential to destroy ourselves. And In contrast, the wisdom of humanity has grown only falteringly. If it all over this time, I think it's been growing and by wisdom I mean. Both wisdom in individuals bit also ways of governing societies, which for all their problems are better now than they were five hundred years ago, so the has been improvement in that, and it has been improvement in international relations compared to where we were say in the twentieth century. But it's a slow progress and we're so it leaves us in the situation where we have the power to destroy ourselves without the wisdom to ensure that we Dutch and where the risks that we impose upon solves a many many times higher than this background rate of natural risks, and in fact if I'm if I'm roughly right about the size of these risks where I said one in six a die roll that. We can't survive many more centuries with risk like that especially as I think that. We should expect this power to continue to increase if we don't do anything about it, and and the chances to continue to go up failing irrevocably, and because our whole bankroll is at stake. You know if we fail once on this level, then that's it so that would mean that that this time period where these risks so elevated count lost all that long either we get our act together, which is what? What I hope will happen and we knowledge these risks and we make we bring them down. We fight the fires of today, and we put in place the systems to ensure that the risks navigate so high again either. We succeed like that all we fail forever in the either way I think. This is going to be a short period of something like a a couple of centuries or maybe five centuries. You could think of it as analogous to period like the renascent, so the enlighten mental something like that, but a time where. The have really cosmic significance ultimately. If humanity does survive it and we you know we live hundreds of thousands more years that will look back and that this will be what this time is known for this period of heightened risk, and it also will be one of the most famous times in the whole of human history. I and I say in the book that school children will study it, and it'll be given a name and I think we need a name now, and that is why I have been calling it the precipice. And the analogy, there is to think of humanity being on this really long journey over these two thousand centuries. You're kind of journey through the Wilderness, occasional times of hardship, and also times of sudden progress and hetty views, and that at the in the middle of the twentieth century we found ourselves coming through a a high mountain, pass and realizing. That we'd got us into this very dangerous predicaments, and the the only way on woods was this narrow ledge along the edge of a cliff with a steep precipice at the side and kind of you know inching our way along, and we've got to get through this time, and if we can, then, maybe we can reach much safer and more prosperous times ahead, so that's how I see. This gives a great opening. Illustration in your book looks like the style of an old woodcut of a of that precipice. which he you know, that's an. Intuition that many people share just based on. On extrapolating the pace of technological change. When you're talking about suddenly being in a world where anyone can potentially order DNA in the mail. Along with the tools to combine. Novel sequences or just just recapitulate the recipe for smallpox or anything else that that is available. It's hard to see how abby, even five hundred years seems like a an order of magnitude. Longer than the period here that we just crucially have to navigate without a major misstep, it just seems likely capacity for. One person or or very few people to screw things up for everyone is just doubling and doubling and doubling again within not just a lifetime of people, but within even the span of a decade, so yeah, it's and it's given cosmic significance as you point out. Because, if you accept the possibility, you know even likelihood. That we are. We are alone in the universe I. Don't know how honestly I don't have strong intuitions about that. And we both the prospect of us being alone, and the prospect of the universe is teaming with intelligent life. That, we haven't discovered yet. Both of those things seem. Just on audibly strange I. Don't know which a stranger, but there is a bizarre scenario where either of the the possibilities on offer seem somehow uncanny, but it is the former case. If we're alone then, yes, what we do in a few short years matters enormously. If anything in this universe matters indeed. Ultimately when thinking about this I see. A, handful of different reasons to really think it's extraordinarily important what we do about this moment it to some extent, it's just obvious, but I think it can be useful to see that you could. You could understand it in terms of. The badness of of the deaths at the time. If it meant that I in a catastrophe, seven billion people were killed. That would be absolutely terrible. But. It could be even much worse than that and you might think. Why does it need to be worse than that Shirley? That's that's absolutely terrible already, but the reason that that it could matter is gazette. We're not saying that there's a fifty percent chance of a particular events that will destroy us. The chances for some things could be lower for example. I just mentioned earlier the chance of an asteroid comet. Is substantially lower, but still important, still really important because it's if it did happen, it wouldn't just be a catastrophe for our generation, but it would. It would wipeout this entire future Manitou could have had where I think that there's every reason to think that barring such catastrophe humanity could live shelley at least a million years, which the typical lifespan of the species. But I. don't see much reason to think that we couldn't live out the entire habitable span of the Earth's. Of the Earth's life, which is about five, hundred, million or a billion years, or even substantially beyond that if we leave the US so. And there. The main challenges to things like space travel are in developing the technologies and in harnessing enough energy, but ultimately if we've already survived a million years, that's not going to be. As such an issue you know, we will have ten thousand more centuries to develop how science now technologies and to harness the energies so. Ultimately I think the future could be very long and very vast So that's a I for me. The most motivating one is everything we could lose, and that that could be understood in. Say Utilitarian Tom's as the well being of all the lives that we would lose. But it could also be understood all these other forms and Derek half it talks about this very famously near the end of his magnum opus, reasons and persons where he says that also if you care about the excellences of humanity. If that's what moves you, then, there's since most of our future is ahead of US I. There's every reason to expect that our greatest artworks now most just societies and our most profound discoveries lie ahead of us as well. So what it is that that you care about as reason to think that that most of it lies in the future, but then also you could think about the past you could think about the fact that human society is necessarily this intergenerational partnership as Burke put it. And that you know our our ancestors kind of. Built up this world for us and of you know ten thousand generations, and then have entrusted it to us, and so that we can make our own innovations and improvements in posit- down to our children and that if if we fail, we would be the worst of all these generations, and we would be betraying the trust that they've they placed in us, so you can think of it. In terms of the presence, the deaths, the future that would be lost the past it will be betrayed or perhaps, and also in terms of this cosmic significance if we're the only place where there is perhaps life in the universe or that the only place where there is. Intelligent life or the only place where there are beings that are that influenced by moral reasoning, so the only place where this kind of. Force in the universe pushing towards what is good, and what is just if you humans are taken out for all the value that there isn't the rest of the natural world, and I think that there is there is a vast amount. This does no other beings which are trying to make the world more good and more just, if wag on things, we just meander on their own course with animals, doing their own things so. There's a whole lot of different ways of seeing this and Derek. Profit also pointed out this really useful thought experiment, I think which is, he imagined these. Three different scenarios. There's piece. There's a nuclear war in which ninety nine percent of all people die, and as a nuclear war, in which one hundred percent of all people die, and obviously the the woolworth hundred people is the worst followed by the whirlwind ninety nine percent of people die. But, he said which of those differences is bigger, and he said that most people would say that the difference between peace and ninety nine percent of people dying is the biggest difference, but he thought that. Because with that last one percent, some kind of discontinuance thing happens where you lose the entire future, and that thus that was the biggest difference, and as this reason to be especially concerned with what are now called existential risks. Eso, obviously that final claim, the difference between two and three is is bigger than the difference between one and two that is. Going to be provocative for some people and I think it does. Does and other precipice of sorts as a precipice of of moral intuition where people. Find difficult to think about the moral significance of unrealized opportunity. On some level cancellation kids lesion. If you'd like to continue listening to this podcast, you'll need to subscribe at Sam. Harris Dot Org. 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#221  Success, Failure, & the Common Good

Making Sense with Sam Harris

46:47 min | 10 months ago

#221 Success, Failure, & the Common Good

"Welcome to the podcast. This is sam harris. Just a note to say that if you're hearing this you're not currently on our subscriber feed only be hearing partial episodes of the podcast. If you'd like access to full episodes you'll need to subscribe at sam harris dot org there. You'll find our private. Rss look to your favorite podcast along with other subscriber only content and as always been everyone money to be the reason why someone cans podcast. So if you can't afford a subscription there's an option as embarrass dot org to request a free account and we grabbed a hundred percent of those requests. No question too. Damn speaking with michael sandel. Michael teaches political philosophy at harvard university where he teaches the quite famous course on justice that has been televised and viewed by tens of millions of people and he is the author of several books the most recent of which is the tyranny of merit. What's become of the common good and that is our focus in today's episode. We talk about the ethics of success and failure in our society the enduring problems with capitalism. How college has become a sorting mechanism for a new kind of caste system. We cover what i have come to think of as the pernicious myth of the self made man and we discussed the paradoxes which come from valuing excellence all the while recognizing the role that luck plays in producing it. It's a very timely conversation. As we struggle really throughout western society to deal with the politics of humiliation and injustice and the rising levels of wealth inequality to which they are anchored clearly. We're going to have to get a handle on this sooner rather than later. And now i bring you michael sandel. I am here with michael sandeel michael. Thanks for joining me. Good to be with you. Sam so I will have properly introduced you here but give me your short-form bio you're a man of many honors and talents. But how do you describe yourself in an elevator with a stranger. I teach political philosophy at harvard. And you also. If i'm not mistaken teach was often described as the the most popular course at harvard This course unjustice justice. Do you still teach that. I'm teaching this semester adapted to include new examples of justice and ethical dilemmas arising from the pandemic and from this moment of racial reckoning. Nice you have you have a new book. The tyranny of merit. What's become of the common good which I want to focus on but another colorful fact about you. Which i only just learned was that in. Nineteen seventy one at the age of eighteen. You debated ronald reagan. When he was the governor of california. That had to be amusing. But i also recall the you and i once debated seasoned michael sandel somewhere around. I think it was two thousand and five. Do you recall that we. We met at Either pomona or mean harvey mudd college. Yes i do. So so we've met once and and i remember that being quite a Collegial and amicable debate on Surely must have been on religion at that point. I think that's right. And i think about the the role of religion in public life if i remember correctly Yeah well nice to meet you At albeit at some distance here on a new topic and the topic that i think we substantially agree on. Although i must say there's something so counter intuitive about a criticism of utah crecy. It makes the topic itself surprisingly elusive once. You think you have the thesis in hand and you agree with it. It's almost like you wake up and can no longer find your purchase on the felt sense of the argument anymore. Because this is something so ingrained about this notion that the the only flaw in meritocracy which is to say you know truly valuing differences in competence and excellence and rewarding people along along that continuum is that we flaw is generally thought and felt to be that we haven't achieved it really don't have a fair society with real anything like equality of opportunity but if only we could give the opportunity they deserve. Well then what could be wrong with. Just letting people rise or fall based on their own merits right. Let's start there. How do you think about this notion of meritocracy at this point. Will you write sam. It is a counter intuitive idea because merit on the face of it as a good thing even an ideal what could be wrong with trying to assign people to social roles and into jobs based on their merit based on arbitrary factors or the accident their birth or whom they know connections and so on. And if i need a a surgeon if i need surgery i certainly want a well-qualified searching to perform it not someone who's poorly qualified so on. The face of a merit seems an unqualified good and yet when merit comes to be a governing philosophy a way of determining access to opportunities. It has a dark side and the book tries to bring out this paradoxical feature of merit. I would put it this way if we had a perfect meritocracy if we could one day overcome all of the that hold people back of the prejudices. Wouldn't that be a good thing. Well it would have this feature that the winners of the race this fair race would believe understandably that they deserved their winnings provided the races run fairly and that the losers deserved wound up and here when we think about a society and economy and a democracy us where the flaw in the ideal arises i. It's a good thing to bring everyone up to the same starting point in the race but if we could it would be predictable that the fastest most gifted runners would win and would believe they deserved all of the benefits and the material rewards in the honors that the society bestows upon them but a question. One question could be asked is do. We deserve in the first place. The talents the gifts that enable us to flourish in a in a market society like ours or is having those talents matter of good luck. Take for example. Make it concrete lebron james. He's a great basketball player. Just helped lead the lakers to the nba championship. He works hard to cultivate his great athletic talents but does he really deserved those talents. And all the benefits that flows from them or is having. Those talent certainly. It's not his doing that. he's gifted in that way. Sad his good luck but more than that. Sam it's the fact that he lives in a society that loves basketball. That too is hardly his doing if he looked back in the renaissance. They didn't care much for basketball then and they preferred fresco painters. So that too is a matter of contingency and good luck so for these two reasons. It's a mistake for the successful to assume that their success is the measure of their merit and that they therefore deserve all of the benefits that flow from the exercise of their talents. And here's where the dark side of it comes in especially when we think about our current society in our politics as the successful come to believe that their success is their own doing measure of their merit. They tend to inhale too deeply of their own success. They forget the luck and good fortune. That helped them on their way and they tend to look down on those less fortunate than themselves believing that their failure is their fault. And i think this is hubris among the the successful meritocratic hubris. I call it and the humiliation demoralization. Among those left behind accounts for some of the resentments that have gathered in recent decades against elites resentments that we saw bob'll up and find expression in the populist backlash of two thousand sixteen so there's a lot here so there's the the ethical case and then the the political ramifications of right right or wrong here and so you've just sketched that in brief and your in your book really goes into it that we have this sense among successful certainly that they desperately want to believe that their success as morally justified right. There's this notion of justified advantage. Which by the very you know. Logical nature of the claim that gets this notion of justified disadvantage right. The people who are not winners. I e the people who are losing to one another degree also deserve their lot in life. And right this leads to a kind of you know resentment. And populist anger that we've seen and the attendant politics of personality and trumpism and also this now pervasive and totally destabilizing distrust of institutions and expertise now where we're living in a kind of shattering of our public conversation about basic facts because so called elites are despised to degree that they are in the media and in academia and various institutions. Than i am. I'm quite sympathetic with much of this criticism because the elites have played their side of this terribly and maybe we'll touch on some of the specifics but before we get into the politics of all this let's linger on the the ethical case. Because i totally agree that we should view differences in in success in general as a kind of multi variant lottery. That's being run you know. It's not just a matter of the normal forms of good luck. Everything can be ascribed to look in the media. You know you you down to your jeans and all that they do to determine who you are down to the environment and all that it does in concert with your genes to determine who you are man. No one made themselves. No-one created the society into which they were born. Take the perfect example of someone like lebron james. He neither created a his physical attributes that allow him to succeed as a basketball nor did he create they world in which basketball would be valued or even deemed interesting and so he has won a kind of lottery and yet they're does still seem to be the problem in how we deal with differences in ability that we value and will inevitably value. Because you take something like basketball if you value basketball if you enjoy watching the sport almost by definition e will value the foreign end of the continuum of the bell curve of basketball talent more than you'll you'll value the mean red and so no one wants an nba or everyone gets a chance to play and everyone gets a trophy. At the end of the season. I mean that annihilates the principles by which one would even capture your attention. A you know as a sport if you could wave a magic wand and reset all of our our ethical and attentional dials here. Just what would be our experienced. Take the limited case of basketball. You know thinking about basketball value in basketball buying tickets and rewarding the obvious merits of a player like lebron james if i were recruiting basketball and nba team. I would still go. Sam for the best players i would. I would want the bron james. I would want the best players so that's not really the the question. The question is what moral desert we attribute to those who enjoy material rewards as well as honorific rewards for excelling in this or that way so in in the narrowly contained realm of basketball. The the hiring practice wouldn't be different. The recruiting practice wouldn't be different but when we look at the society as a whole and when we look at social roles and when we look at who gets to govern and gets to have greatest voice and who makes the most money. There's the tendency to assume. Let's take the economy. There's a tendency to assume the money people make is the measure of their contribution to the common good but this is a mistake because there are all sorts of contingencies that determine who makes a lot of money and who makes less contingencies that are in no way related to differential contributions to the common good and when we ask about who governs us. We want in broad terms. Here's the basketball analogy. We want to be governed by the people who were best at governing or representative democracy. We want to be represented by those who who are best at that role. But today essentially we we are governed by only a segment of the population those who have managed to get four year university degrees overwhelmingly in democracies in the us and in europe parliaments and executive branches are dominated by overwhelmingly by those who have degrees even though those of us who have such degrees represent a minority of of our fellow citizens. Most most people don't have a four year university degree. Nearly two-thirds do not in the united states and in europe. So if we're talking governing this touches to on your point about expertise sam in the backlash against elites and i think that the the we've confused talking about meriden governing. We have confused the virtues necessary to govern well in the democratic side with technocratic expertise and but that's distorting much too narrow so in many of the domains whence we outside of basketball. The problem is that we have woefully misconstrued. What counts as relevant merits. Said that's why the basketball illustration is helpful up to a point but when it comes to distributing economic rewards and when it comes to governing what we tend to regard. His merit actually misses the mark by quite a long way. Okay so i think it's helpful to grab the ethical side of this before we talk about just descriptively what's happening at the level of our politics and society at large so a here in part of this criticism a criticism of the notion that there's any direct causal connection between wealth and value creation the cartoon version of in a blameless wealth. That one would get in a libertarian circles. Perhaps above all rise notion that the only way someone becomes spectacularly wealthy is to create a commensurate amount of value for the world. I mean that that is how a free market would reward human excellence and value creation and the the way that gets deranged. Obviously we don't live in the in the cartoon their ways this. This is not reflective of reality. But i think there is a core truth to it right now. You might say that we value the wrong things right so someone can open an instagram account. And flaunt their body and if they're young and beautiful the have millions of people following them or at least some of them will end. They may be able to leverage that into vast wealth as have the kardashians. It's not to say it's the it's the all the assets but there's question they are being rewarded by some notion of if not value created for society is the capturing of attention there is a a machinery. Here there's working. Based on what people the choices people are making and the resulting effects in the market and money is flowing in what is deemed to be the right direction. That's the case where we i think we might say. Okay well people are just valuing the wrong things and other people becoming amazingly wealthy based on this distortion in priorities. But then when you have something you have someone else who has become immensely wealthy by a purely creative act that has just brought nothing but joy to the world. I mean someone like jk rollings. He writes her books. People line up at midnight to buy them in in in front of bookstores. all over this world. that was fairly pure register of the value being created and she became among the wealthiest writers in history as a result. What are you suggesting could change about our current system with references. Someone like jk rowling. Shouldn't we reward her in precisely the way the way we have and esteem her in the way that we do based on her creative output. Well they're two reasons that the answer might be yes that we should reward her and the way we do though. It's important that you drew this distinction. Just at the end of the question. Sam between rewarding her monetarily and rewarding her with steam and the answer may be different in the two cases but the the if she is providing something that is valued and that is worthy of being valued then she should be rewarded certainly with esteem for having done that now as thera to regions we might wanna reward or one is to encourage her and people with creative gifts like hers to continue to exercise them by writing books that we love to read or our children love to read. That's the reason that reason has to do with providing an incentive to her others like her to continue doing what they're doing because we like the stories that that she writes but it's important to notice that that reason the incentive reason has nothing necessarily to do with whether or not she morally deserves all the money. She makes writing harry potter stories. That's a further question. And so the second question is should we reward her in the sense that not only does she get a lot of money for selling the lot of harry potter books but we also consider that she morley deserves the money that she makes thanks to the market success of the books and that's the further question that's a that's a harder case to make now why your mention of esteem matters. You might decide that. She deserves a steam for having written beautiful and compelling harry potter stories and yet it could very well be a further question whether she should make ten times more than other. The writers or pulling other professions or one hundred times more or a thousand times more or ten thousand times more. It's it's hard to claim that is a matter of moral dessert. She deserves to make x times more than where x is in to her actual earnings relative to other people. Where as it. I think it's easier to say. She's certainly worthy of admiration for the creativity. She brought to bear writing these stories. If i could just add. I think you put very well when you said part of the objection is that we value the wrong things part of the objection to assuming that the money people make is the measure of their contribution to the common good. It's important to keep hold of this question because it's a question that that the free market. Libertarians you've mentioned beg they ignore. But here's a simple concrete example to test it. I don't know. Sam if you were a fan of breaking bad younger white walter. White started out as a high school chemistry teacher and he didn't make much money. He had to work when he wasn't teaching at a second job at a car. Wash and then as we know. He broke bad and became a meth dealer he. He used his talents as a chemist to make perfect methamphetamine and made millions and millions selling this methamphetamine because there was a great market demand for it so here would be the test for the the the pure idealistic free market libertarian. Assuming there were a competitive market in high school chemistry teachers and in meth cooks and walter white made thousands of times more cooking in selling meth than teaching high school chemistry. Would we conclude from that that his contribution as a meth dealer was thousands of times greater more important than his contributions as a high school. Chemistry teacher probably not be pretty hard to make that claim. So part of what. I'm suggesting is that really to understand the the question of merit when we're talking about the economy economic rewards we have to We have to address the question about whether we are valuing the right kinds of things in in the design of markets and in the allocation of rewards the so many things that to store this notion of value or the notion that design linear relationship between the value being created by someone's efforts and their monetary rewards or their reward in with respect to esteem. I mean you take the case of someone who saving your life. You're having a heart attack. You know the paramedic shows up and saves your life well in that moment. This is the you know the most valuable job on earth for you right but that doesn't suggest that we could have a society that paid paramedics twenty million dollars a year for working their trade right. Because it's it's more of a trade than finding the the outlier in the nba can be thought of as a trade or the outlier with respect to writing novels. I don't see how we get away from this. Seemingly crazy outsized rewards structure for the people who are on the far tale of the continuum for things we we value. What you rightly or wrongly there. Is this larger criticism. We could explore and a society that that is just captivated by the wrong things. And that's a much longer conversation that will will outlive both of us. Had we want the things you we should want in the end. How do we live lives altogether and that we won't regret that in in hindsight will seem sane. And how do we avoid you know. Just a colossal waste of time and opportunity collectively but in a world where people can freely spend their time attention and money on things they want and in a system that maximally incentivizes a creative. And you know hopefully ethical response to those wants right amir if we wanna be able to give everyone at all times what they want what they really want as quickly and as efficiently as possible something like capitalism seems like the best answer we've ever arrived at and something like global technocratic. Capitalism is where we've landed again the we can point out flaws in this they're obviously negative externalities to various business practices that you know free. Markets don't account for and we want some kind of regulation environmental and otherwise. But it's hard to see that if you're going to be writing novels that are so creative that people want to open theme parks in order to explore the consequences of your ideas right and people by the tens of thousands of show up at those theme parks every year to buy the merchandise that is derivative of your of your ideas other than just decided in a similar. Jk rowling needs to pay more in taxes. that we should have something like a wealth tax since attacks so progressive that you know very very wealthy people pay the preponderance of their wealth back into the system if we just had our tax codes straightened out. Wouldn't that be a sufficient remedy for this particular lottery problem. Well that certainly would be one way of responding to it. By considering a revamping of the tax system a wealth tax would be one possible way of dealing with this. But i would also say if we're thinking now practically and moving into the world in which we live. I think we should have a public debate about whether it's fair or desirable to tax earnings from labor. The work people do in the real economy at a higher rate than earnings from interest dividends and capital gains. Why should we tax workers at a higher rate than than investors from the standpoint of of merit or desert and contribution to the common good more dramatic example of this would be. I think we should have a debate about whether to trade off the all or part of the payroll tax which after all attacks on labor paid partly by the worker and partly by the company and make up that lost revenue through a financial transactions tax or at least one on speculative financial activity unrelated to improving the real economy. You're high-speed trading the actual way in which enormous income and wealth is generated. The t the characteristic way is not the jk rowling way. Or even the lebron james way it's to do with for looking at broader trends over recent decades the financialisation of the economy. We see this in the us. In britain which is the tendency of a greater share of economic activity of gdp and especially of corporate profits accounted for by financial activity rather than providing goods and services that people use. Now there'd be nothing wrong with this or with the rewards that people in the financial industry reap if that increased financial activity corresponded to productive contribution to the real economy but increasingly the financial activity that has exploded in recent decades especially with financial deregulation in recent decades contribute little if anything to the real economy the social purpose of finances to allocate capital two productive activities new businesses enterprises factories home schools hospitals roads and so on in the real economy but most financial activity in advanced financial systems such as the us and the uk is not that productive kind. It's been estimated by no those no more about it than i do. That only about fifteen percent of financial activity consists in investment in new productive assets for the economy. Eighty five percent consists of simply bidding up the price or or betting on the future prices of already existing assets or increasingly synthetically created derivatives and. Other the fancy financial instruments that have precious little to do with making the economy more productive so in some ways the standard defense of a laissez faire free market distribution of income and wealth drawing on. Jk rowling or lebron. James misses. what's actually going on. For the most part with the with the growing inequality in in our economy and so in debating the tax system. I think we should. We should confront that directly. Henson i would suggest. In addition to a wealth tax a a financial transactions tax to offset to enable us to reduce taxes on work in the ordinary sense. Now i could just add one more thing about sam. This isn't only for the sake of redistributing income from the wealthy to those who need it more that would be one advantage. It's also to prompt a broader public debate about the earlier topic. We were discussing. Which is whether the purpose of an economy is to help shape the way we value different contributions to the economy in the society or whether the point of the economists simply to accept whatever evaluation seemed to be implicit in the existing system. And i'm i'm hoping by these and other proposals to prompt a broader public debate onto the terrain that you said rightly is contestable in and we could be debating about for a very long time. What is it mean to value the right kinds of things. What does it mean to to encourage certain contributions to the common good and to discourage others. I think that should be a part of our public debate. And one way of making it. A part of our public debate to raise questions for example about the role of specula- diplomats by comparison with the productive contribution of people who produce valuable goodson serve truly valuable goodson services. Yale that's a obviously a very important distinction there so many areas of the economy. Where if we could be fully transparent as the contributions being made by that economic activity we would want to rethink you. Know what we're incentivizing and hauer rewarding people because there's so much rent seeking behavior and there's just so much Administrative body in whole sectors of our economy suffocating. Under this apparatus we put in place and you take the medical system and just what you know just how much time doctors have to spend dealing with insurance companies. We spend more on medicine than any society earth and we do not get the return on our investment. So yeah i. There's a lot to straighten out there. But even even the pure case is hard to think about and and puts us up against certain moral paradoxes. So you're for instance. Just imagine a society where we hid decided. Okay we we've gotten past this notion of of mir equal opportunity because we know that even if we could open the doors perfectly and give every child starting right now an equal opportunity to get into harvard. Say well they'll still be masked massive differences in their ability to avail themselves of those opportunities because of all of these other disadvantages but the the paradox. Here is that the thing that's under our control. The environment we perfectly tuned that if we gave everyone from utera onward all of the same environmental benefits right. This is magic right. We can't we obviously can't do this. But even if we could where that would land us is in this dystopia in counterfactual world. Where now what will have the date on our the the massive differences in genetic endowment grimy if you perfectly secure the environment against disadvantage will then all you will see is a kind of tyranny of genetic differences i will be in some kind of gatica like dystopia and that would be if with the best of intentions we could create perfectly equitable and enriched environments for everybody. Do you can take that case in. Do with what it what you will with it. It almost seems like a kind of mirage here to figure out how to actually solve this problem given a perfect ability to do so. Well i think. I think what the with the mirage like feel of this thought experiment brings out. Is that even a perfect. Meritocracy would not be adjust society because the winners would still be determined by factors that were not their own doing and yet to make matters worse the closer we came to providing truly opportunity the greater the tendency for the successful to believe that their success was their own doing the greater the tendency to forget or to overlook or deny the luck and good fortune. That helped them on their way. And the greater the tendency to look down on those who are flourishing less and to say their failure must be their fault so what goes along with. The meritocratic picture is a sense of human agency so thorough going that we tend to attribute moral responsibility for one's fate for where one land in life notwithstanding the persistent contingencies. That you've just described in that we've been discussing the attitude towards success and failure toward winning and losing as we became as we approach more closely. Perfect equality of opportunity. Those toots towards success and failure would become all the sharper more pronounced in. What i'm suggesting is from an ethical point of view and you've rightly invited us to distinguish the ethical from the political dimension sub. This ethically the hubris leads those on top to forget not only the luck and good fortune but also their sense of indebtedness and a as well as looking down on those less fortunate than themselves. so that's the ethical problem. That's the dark side of meritocracy morally speaking. It's the hubris rather than the more we appreciate the more we would be alive to the the role of accident and lock and fortune. Damore we would be toward a certain humility toward of success toward winning and this openness humility humility can open us also to a greater sense of responsibility for those less fortunate than us. Those who struggle those who who may be left behind through no fault of their own. So that's the ethical side of it but politically even though we haven't realized the perfect meritocracy that you've just described and that we've been imagining. It has so this ideal. This picture has so dominated public discourse that it has shaped the response to the deepening inequality of the last four decades. And i think it's no accident that meritocratic modes of public discourse and moral argument have strengthened their hold at the very same time that inequalities have been coming. Wealth have deepened with kind of market-driven globalization. We've had in recent decades and has fueled the the anger the resentment of those who have lost out. It's one thing to to feel that you've lost out because the system is unfair. The system is rigged. That's it worry about fairness. Humiliation is a deeper kind of demoralization. Because it's a system. Where the the attitudes toward success and failure lead those who struggle to believe well. Maybe i don't work hard enough. Maybe i'm not talented enough to land where they landed. That's deeply demoralizing. And maybe that's why they're looking down on me. One of the most potent sources. Sam i think the populist backlash that we've seen most dramatically in two thousand sixteen is the sense among many working people that elites look down on them and this has a specific meaning in the context of american politics because for four decades the meritocratic promise was yes there may be deepening inequality but you can rise. Everyone can rise through individual effort in training provided you go to college then you too can compete and win in the global economy. What you earn will depend on what you learn. So the response and this includes democrats and republicans the response to the deepening inequality was to offer individual upward mobility through higher education. Which on the face of. It seems inspiring. I'm all for proving access to widening access to higher education but as remedy for the inequality that we've seen it's a pale inadequate solution and it contains what seems an inspiring message. You took and rise if only you go to. College contains an insult and implicit insult. And the insult is this. If you don't have a university degree and you're struggling in the new economy your failure must be your fault and this politically is folly when we recall that most most people don't have a four year college degree so instead of focusing on arming people from meritocratic competition. I think we should be focusing. More on affirming the dignity of work and having a public debate about what it would mean truly to enable everyone to flourish whether they're in blue collar jobs or whether they're in and well whether they're well-credentialled people in professional jobs here so let's focus on the problem of college because this is in some measure the whole problem in microcosm but it's also the the longest lever that has separated the fates of winners and losers in in our society. Every college on your account. Other people have have hit this topic. Daniel markovits was on the podcast. Couple months ago yeah. Mccollum has become a kind of sorting mechanism for a new caste system in our society. And again as you point out. This is not just a problem with in one party or the other. This comes from from everywhere that this is the way you will successfully compete in this increasingly global state of economic nature. And it's not only something that is offered more or less to everyone and everyone who will claim the opportunity can sort of get it in hand but there's something you know generally fair about a how all of this shakes down because of course the elites right. The best of the best in any field will wind up and should wind up at the best universities. The how else would the best universities select their student body and if they you know if this gets gamed occasionally and occasionally perversely with people buying their way in. There's a program attached to that but in the general case it's hard to even optimize that because the schools are fantastically expensive to run. And if you know if you're not going to give alumni any any advantage will then why would they be donating year after year to you to harvard's endowment right so it's the something while it's not ideal many people look at this and think. Well how else could it be. So i ask you you know in our closing chapter here. What is the problem with college. And how should we fix it. The main problem with college is that we and by we. I mean the society as a whole not just higher education community. We have made if you'd like to continue listening to this podcast. You'll need to subscribe. At sam harris dot org you'll get access to all full length episodes of making says podcast and two other subscriber only content including bonus episodes and ama's and the conversations. I've been having on the waking up app. The making sense podcast. It's ad free and rely entirely on listener support. And you can subscribe. Now at san peres dot org

basketball michael sandel four year Sam harvard nba lebron james jk rowling michael sandeel bron james harry potter sam harvey mudd college sam harris jk rollings hundred percent white walter pomona ronald reagan twenty million dollars
#241  Final Thoughts on Free Will

Making Sense with Sam Harris

44:00 min | 5 months ago

#241 Final Thoughts on Free Will

"Making sense podcast is san harris. Just a note to say that if you're hearing this you're not currently on our subscriber feed and only be hearing the first part of this conversation in order to access full episodes at the making sense podcast. You'll need to subscribe at sam harris dot org there you'll find our private. Rss feed to add to your favorite podcast show along with other subscriber only content. We don't run ads on the podcast. And therefore it's made possible entirely through the support of our subscribers. So if you enjoy what we're doing here please consider becoming one as always and everyone money to be the reason why someone can't get access to the podcast so if you can't afford a subscription there's an option at sam harris dot org to request a free account and we grant one hundred percent of those requests. No questions i have said and written a lot about free will over the years and i wanted to get all of my thoughts or my most effective thoughts all in one place many of you find my argument against free will to be very provocative and even off putting and many of mistake it for a philosophical argument that doesn't make contact directly with experience. So i wanna see if i can do this all in one pass and actually bring some of you along with me into the end zone here. So here's the starting point. Most people believe that they have a self which enjoys something called freedom of will and in fact this feeling of self and the feeling that we have free will really two sides of the same coin. But here i'm going to focus on free will because in many ways it's easier to deconstruct. Now i found my surprise that this is a very sensitive topic and so here. I want offer the usual disclaimer. If it makes you uncomfortable to think about these things you need to be the judge of whether this discomfort is healthy and worth president to or whether it's actually bad for you in the latter case just skip this journey with me and it's probably not an accident that many people find the prospect that free will might be an allusion to be provocative because the idea of free will seems to touch nearly everything people care about morality on politics religion public policy intimate relationships feelings of guilt and personal accomplishment most of what is distinctly human about us seems to depend on our viewing one another as agents who are capable of free choice. I say seems to. Because i don't think it does really but it can take a little while to see this now. Most people believe that the challenge is to reconcile a subject of fact the fact that we experience free will with of reality the way physical causes and events arise in the universe. But i want you to examine this. What i hope to impress upon you is at the illusion of free will is itself an allusion. The no illusion of free will and there are no subjective facts about it to reconcile with the truths of physics and neuro physiology in fact our conscious experience is perfectly compatible with a scientific picture of reality. The does not stop or change character at the boundary. Our skin many people worry that the consequences of dispensing with free will must be negative now. Obviously this wouldn't suggest that free will actually exist but generally speaking this claim about negative outcomes isn't true either. Losing one's belief in free will can actually have very positive consequences for one it removes any rational basis for hating people and will explore that later on. Let's begin at the beginning. The popular conception of free will rests on two assumptions. The first that each of us was free to think and act differently than we did in the past. Which does abe we could have chosen be. He became an accountant. But you could have decided to be a firefighter. You had chocolate ice cream last night but you could have picked vanilla. His certainly seems to most of us that this is the world. We're living in. The second suction is that we are the conscious source of many of our thoughts and actions in the present. Your sense of deciding what to do in each moment seems to be the actual origin of your subsequent behavior. You feel you want to reach and pick up an object. And then you do the conscious part of you that wants an intense and perceives seems to be in control of at least some of your thoughts and actions however there is every reason to believe that both of these assumptions are false. Of course there's very little disagreement over the fact that events have causes everything that arises seems to be born into existence by some previous state of the universe. Now maybe there's someplace to stand. Were all of this. Proves to be an illusion. Maybe there's some way to view the cosmos as a whole or reality itself and to say that nothing has ever actually happened right that it self. The process of cause and effect itself is an illusion but lesley that possibility aside for the moment most of the time things certainly seem to happen. Lightning strikes a tree and a fire starts a few lines of computer code. 'cause your phone to ring people are born. They grow old and then they die everywhere we look. We see patterns of events and all these events have prior causes which is to say they depend materially and functionally and logically on other events that preceded them in time and most relevantly for our purposes all of our conscious experiences. Our thoughts intentions desires and the actions and choices that result from them are caused by events of which we are not conscious in which we did not bring into bean. You didn't pick your parents. You didn't pick your genes therefore and you didn't pick the environment into which you were born and yet the totality of these facts determines who you are in each moment and what you do in the next and even if you think that you have an immaterial soul that somehow animates this machinery. You didn't pick your soul. The next thing you think in do can only emerge from this totality of prior causes and it can only emerge in one of two ways lawfully that is deterministically. Like one domino. Just getting knocked over by another or randomly. Now randomness is a very interesting concept. And it's not clear how pervasive it might be. There are arguments against terminated him especially in quantum mechanics. The suggests that subatomic particles themselves make quote free choices which is to say. There's nothing in the prior history of the universe. The tells them what to do. Next and for a particle does next. Doesn't depend on the past will then there's no theory that can predict what it will do next. I'm not taking a position against this at the level of particles but i am claiming that this kind of independence from prior causes would not give people the psychological freedom. They think they have it for two reasons. The first is that there's every indication that larger systems like human brains behave more deterministically but more important randomness of any sort would not give people freedom of will. There is no will in randomness. If you ever did something that was truly random that had no relationship to prior states of your brain if it literally came out of nowhere. That wouldn't be what you or anyone means by free. Will you would think what the hell did. I just do right. And why did i do it. Such an action would be precisely the sort of thing we would deem out of character because it would be by definition out of character to be in character is to be discernibly in line with prior tendencies follows a pattern. Something truly random would be on. Analyze. -able right there. There would literally be no answer to the question of why you did it. With true randomness. There is no why. That's not what we mean by will much less a free one right that is not psychological continuity through time. The problem is that neither determinism nor randomness nor any combination of the two justifies. The feeling that most people have that goes by. The name of free will the feeling that they're free to think and do more or less whatever they want in the present in a way that allows them to be something other than a mirror. Concatenation of causes or mysterious influences to be something other than a natural phenomenon. People don't want to believe that they are in any sense like a wave breaking on the shore but this is how causes propagate or seem to propagate many scientists and philosophers have acknowledged the problem here but most appear to think that we must live with the illusion of free will or euphemize about it. And i'm arguing that this is a mistake so what most people mean by free will well. There's controversy over this among philosophers and scientists. But i think the central false intuition is pretty clear and a result from our subjectivity structured or appears to be structured again. The feeling of having free will is directly connected to the feeling of being a self with respect to free. Will it amounts to this. Most people feel that the conscious part of their minds. The one that is experiencing their experience thinking their thoughts feeling. Their feelings is in control of their mental life and behavior in some real way. They feel that they are the source of their intentions and actions not merely that these mental and physical states are rising in their bodies somehow but that they are initiated by their conscious minds. In some way. The fact that something's happening in a person's body isn't really the point where people do not feel free to beat their hearts or to stop beating them. They don't feel that they're causing their cells to divide or to metabolize energy. They don't feel they're in control of their livers right but they do feel that they are the source of their thoughts and voluntary actions. In any given moment they feel that they are free to think and do something else now. Perhaps you feel this. Perhaps you feel that if you could rewind the movie of your life and return the universe to the precise state it was. In a moment ago you could think and behave differently. I think there's little question that most people presume this about themselves and about other people not philosophically but implicitly as a felt sense of how they exist in the world this seems to be the very essence of what it means to hold ourselves and others morally responsible for our actions. If someone does something to harm you intentionally you feel. They shouldn't have done it right. They could and should have done otherwise. And you have a grievance against them that is very different from how you feel about a malfunctioning piece of machinery or a gust of wind. The might produce the same harm her. So the reason why discussions about free will or so fraught is that declaring free will to be an allusion strikes at the very heart of what people feel is true about their own subjectivity in each moment and seems to have implications for a wide variety of moral norms as will see the implications are not. What many people think are you there. A morality actually improves was recognize. It free will doesn't make any sense but again the consequences of believing in free will or not or quite separable from any claim about what is true when simply can't argue for the reality of free will based on the imagined good effects of believing in it and with respect was true. The problem is there's absolutely no reason to believe that free will exists. There's no objective reason. And there's no subject of reason either in the end a belief free wills analogous to believing that if you rewound this piece of audio. I might finish the sentence. Some other way as i said traditionally this has been viewed as a philosophical impasse. We know we have free will because we experienced directly. We just can't see how to make sense of it in terms of physical causation. But as hope to show you there is no impasse. Because there's no experiential reason to believe in free will either the experiential you the conscious witness of your life the one who's hearing these words right now you aren't the author of your thoughts intentions and actions rather thoughts intentions and subsequent actions simply a rise in her noticed. But this doesn't mean there's no difference between voluntary and terry behavior there is. Let's take a closer look at this reach for something and pick it up now and pay attention to what the experience is like now with. You're aware of it or not. Voluntary behavior is structured by intention and expectation. Your brain produces a forward-looking model of what's about to happen and if the model is violated you'll notice you know what it's like to reach for something to accidentally knock it. Over for instance the successful manipulation of an object feels different than just banging into it and produces different results and voluntary actions can be consciously interrupted. Which is we can experience. An impulse to stop them. And his impulse is effective. And of course they can be deterred by other people and by legal penalties and involuntary action. Such as a muscle. Spasm or reflex or a seizure or tripping and falling. Can't be deterred so there are many differences here okay. What someone does voluntarily says more about him about what he wants for instance and but what he's likely to do in the future then an involuntary action does doing something on purpose reveals. Something about one's purpose in life. We don't need a concept. Free will to notice these differences. And as i'll make clear later on. Most of our ethical judgements remain unchanged. When we give up the illusion of free will but not everything remains on change and if you things do change are actually quite important. Kinda wanna flag. What is novel about my argument here. Most philosophers and scientists believe. We have an experience of free will that is undeniable and the challenge is to make sense of it in terms of a picture of causality that seems not allow for it whether that's deterministic random. I'm claiming that we don't have the experience we think we have. There is no experience of free will. So let's look more closely at her experience. Consider how your thoughts arise because they're the basis for most of your complex behavior. Certainly your most deliberate behavior. If you pay attention to the process of thinking you'll see that your thoughts simply appear in consciousness very much like my words in fact you can observe that you know more decide the next thing you think. Then you decide the next thing i say. What are you gonna think next. You don't know. Get your thoughts determine what you want and intend and do next your thoughts determine your goals and whether or not you believe you've met them they determine what you say to other people and what you say in fact thoughts determine almost everything that makes you human now. Most people feel that they are the thinker of their thoughts and therefore their author and this is one way of describing the feeling of self subjectively speaking as a matter of experience. There's no thinker to be found in the mind apart from thoughts themselves. There's no subject in the middle of experience. Everything including thoughts and intentions and counter thoughts and counter intentions is a rising all on. Its own and the feeling that there's a thinker in addition to the flow of thought is what it feels like to be thinking without knowing that you're thinking is the feeling of being identified with the train of thought that's passing through consciousness in this moment but if you pay attention to how thoughts arise you'll see that they simply appear quite literally out of nowhere and you're not free to choose them before they appear. That would require that. You think them before you think them. So here's the question if you can't control your next thought if you can't decide what it will be before it arises and if you can't prevent it from arising where is your freedom of will meet this moment you might be thinking. What the hell is he talking about. Here's what i'm talking about. You didn't choose that thought either. If you're confused by what. I'm saying you didn't produce your confusion. You didn't decide to be confused conversely if you understand what i'm saying and you find it interesting you didn't create that state of mind. Either if mind is just wandering to thoughts of lunch and you missed half of what i just said. You didn't choose to be distracted. Everything is just happening including your thoughts and intentions and desires and most deliberate actions. You are part of the universe and there is no place for you to stand outside of its causal structure as we'll see there's no one to stand there either right you're not a self in the end you're certainly not a subject in the middle of experience or on the edge of it. You're not on the riverbank watching the stream of consciousness. Because as a matter of experience there is only the stream and you are identical to it. This is not a metaphysical statement. I'm not talking about how consciousness relates to the physical universe. I'm talking about your actual experience in this moment. As a matter of experience you are not having an experience from someplace outside of experience. There is only experience. You're not on the edge of your life looking in. You're not sitting in the theater of your mind watching a life movie and the feeling that you are the feeling that you can stand apart from everything that's happening and this feeling of being free to choose the next thing you do or the next thing you notice. The next thing you pay attention to this feeling is itself part of the movie yet. More appearances in consciousness. There's just consciousness and its contents in this moment again. This isn't just a philosophical point. Most people think that free will really exists as hard to map onto the physics of things or doesn't exist and we just have to admit that we're living in the grip of a powerful illusion. But that's not what i'm saying i'm saying free will doesn't exist and in fact it's such an incoherent concept that it's impossible to say what would have to be true of the world for it to exist. The really is no way for causes to arise. That would make sense of this notion of free will but making a much more fundamental claim about the nature of conscious experience. I'm saying there is no illusion of free. Will if you pay attention you can see that. Your experience is totally compatible. With the truth of determination or determined. His employees randomness run a little experiment. Just close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and now think of a movie it can be one you've seen or just one you know the name of right doesn't have to be good can be bad. Whatever comes to mind doesn't matter and pay attention to what this experience is like few films of probably come to mind. Just pick one and pay attention. What the experience of choosing is like and the first thing to notice is that this is as free a choice as you're ever going to make in your life you are completely free. You have all the films in the world to choose from and you can pick any one you want and you can pull us this audio and take as long as you want. Hell let's do that again. Her i want you to become sensitive to this process so forget the first film and choose another and again pay attention to what you actually experience. Here what is it like to choose. What is it like to make this completely free choice. He got a new film. Okay do it one more time. Purchase clean the slate. Think a few more films and choose one. Did you see any evidence for free will hear of. It's not here. it's not anywhere price. We better be able to find it here. So let's look for it. I let's set aside all the films you've never seen or heard about and his name's and imagery are unknown to you right. Needless to say you couldn't pick one of those and there's no freedom in that obviously because you couldn't have picked one of those if your life depended on it but then there are many other films whose names are well known to many of which you've seen but which didn't occur to you to pick for instance you absolutely know that the wizard of oz is a film you just think of it and if he thought of the wizard of oz apologies right but you get my point. He can swap in the seventh seal or mission impossible where the deer hunter there. And you're hearing this for the first time and you thought of all those films will then. We really are living in a simulation and it's all about you apparently so consider the few films that came to mind hard in light of all the films that might have come to mind but didn't and ask yourself. Were you free to choose that which did not occur to you to choose as a matter of neuro physiology your wizard of oz circuits. Were not in play a few moments ago for reasons that you can't possibly know and could not control based on the state of your brain. The wizard of oz was not an option. Even though you absolutely know about this film and if we could return your brain to the state it was in a moment ago and account for all the noise in the system adding back any contributions of randomness. Whatever they were you would fail to think of the wizard of oz again and again and again until the end of time. Where's the freedom in that. It's important to see that whether the universe is fully determined or admits of randomness. The pictures the same determinism gives you no freedom. Obviously it would just be mere biochemical clockwork but randomness gives you know freedom. Either if you knew that your next choice of a film would be the result of a random process. Some quantum roll of the dice that would be the antithesis of what most people mean by free. Will there's no will in that. And if that same random influence appeared a trillion times in a row. Just by chance you would think of the same film a trillion times in a row just by chance no matter how we think about causation whether things are determined or random or some combination of the two. There's no place for you as the conscious subject to stand that isn't downstream of causes that you can't inspect or anticipate everything is just appearing in consciousness again. Focus on the experience. Here you can forget about the metaphysics. Free will is an enduring problem for philosophy science for one reason people think they experience it. They feel they have it. Do you experience again if it's not here. It's not anywhere the only constraint you've been given is to think of film and you can pick any one you want and you can take as long as you want. It is likely that every other choice you have made in your life has been more constrained than this one. What job to take who to marry whether to have kids who to vote for most choices. Life are much more obviously constrained by other variables than this one. So if you're not free to simply pick a film right now. I don't know where you're gonna find. Free will anywhere in your life so really pay attention to the experience. Do it one more time. Pick a film and he film okay so we can use my films here to describe the experience. I thought of chinatown and once upon a time in hollywood and alien. And let's say. I thought i'm gonna go with chinatown right. But then at the last second. I thought no. I'm gonna go with alien. This is the sort of decision that motivates the idea of free will. He goes back and forth between two or more options. And then you settle on one the suffering the obvious coercion pressure from the outside world is just you and your thoughts right and you appear to be doing everything so i pick alien. Chinatown appeared entirely free to make that choice. But when i look closely i can see that. I'm in no position to know why these films occurred to me in the first place or why chose alien over chinatown. A man might have some additional story to tell about my choice. Am i now think everyone says chinatowns a great film. But it's actually a little boring. So i picked alien which is not born but of course we know from a vast psychological literature that these sorts of explanations are often pure fiction and when people are manipulated in lab. They seem to always have a story about why they did with a did and it often bears no relationship to what actually influence them is simply a fact that our judgments about the causes of our own behavior are often unreliable. Generally this comes courtesy of the left hemisphere of the brain. But even if i'm right in this instance about why picked alien over chinatown. I'm in no position to know. Why memory of chinatown being boring had the effect that it did. Why didn't have the opposite effect. Why didn't i think i'm gonna go with classic whether it's boring or not. The thing to notice is that you as the conscious witness of your inner life are not making decisions all you can do as witness decisions once. They're made no matter how many times you go back and forth between two options no matter how many other thoughts arise to give color to this process giving way to one option or the other. The process itself is irreducible mysterious. From your point of view and whether these mental events are fully determined or in part random the experiences the same everything is just happening on its own. i say. pick a film and there's this moment before anything has changed for you. And then the names of films begin percolating at the margins of consciousness and you have no control over which appear none really none. Can you feel that. You can't pick them before they pick themselves. Miss someone else might as well be whispering the names of films in your ear for all that you did to some of them and the same can be said for the process of choosing among the that do appear even if you go back and forth between two choices for an hour any meany miny moe. You can't know why you stop on the one that you finally choose you pay attention to your thoughts arise and how decisions actually get made. You'll see that there's no evidence for free will not only no evidence. It's impossible to make sense of the claim that free will might exist. What could it refer to forget about the physics of things. What in your experience could it refer to. Everything is simply springing out of the darkness. What will you think or intend or want or ignore or forget and then suddenly remember next. Our experience of being an acting in the world is totally compatible with the truth of determinism or determine employees randomness and this has implications not only for our sense of self but for our ethics in our view of other people and this insight can be extraordinarily freeing. Psychologically it can lead to much greater compassion both for other people and for ourselves and far from causing us to become passive an insight into the illusory of will allow us to behave much more intelligently in life as we will see. I've been arguing that there's no such thing as free will. So what is there. Well there's luck both good and bad and there's what we make of it. Actually that's not quite true. What you make of your luck is also just more luck once again. You didn't choose your parents. You didn't choose the society into which you were born. There's not cell in your body or brain that you the conscious subject created nor is there a single influence coming from the outside world that you brought into being and yet everything you think in do arises from this ocean of prior causes so what you do with your lock and the very tools with which you do it including the level of effort and discipline you manage to summon in each moment is more. In the way of luck i mean. How do you explain your capacity for effort. How do you explain when you're lazy. How do you explain when you're lazy. But then you suddenly get inspired and make great effort. You can't the you that experiences sudden inspiration or a doubling of effort or a failure of nerve the you that rises to the occasion or chokes isn't in the driver's seat in each moment there's a mystery at your back and it's producing everything that you can notice. Your thoughts intentions desires inhibitions and all of the behaviors and course corrections that follow from them. This is an objective truth about your subject of experience. You can't inspect your causes now. Most people resist this idea seemingly at any intellectual cost and yet this single insight is the antidote to arrogance and hatred and provides a profound basis for compassion. Both for other people in for oneself is the basis for real forgiveness again for other people and for oneself it is literally the path to redemption. And it's the only view of human nature that cuts through the logic of retribution. This notion of punishment as justified vengeance and it allows us to simply consider what actually works changing people's behavior for the better so that we can achieve outcomes in the world that we actually want but before we get into the ethics. We need to clear away. Some more confusion at this point many people begin to wonder about the importance of choice and decision making. If there's no free will how do we do anything. And why do anything wanna just wait around to see what happens. There is no free will but choices matter. And this isn't a paradox. Your desires intentions and decisions. Arise out of the present state of the universe which includes your brain and your soul if such a thing exists along with all of their influences. Your mental states are part of a causal framework. So your choices matter whether or not their products of a brain or a soul. Because they're often the proximate cause of your actions imagine that. I want to learn to speak mandarin. Kay how is that going to happen. It's not going to happen by accident on the to attend classes or higher native speaking tutor or travel to china on need to study and practice and this will entail a lot of effort. I'll get frustrated and embarrassed by my failures. How have to overcome my frustration and embarrassment and keep learning my decision to learn mandarin and all of the efforts that follow if they persist long enough will be the cause of my speaking mandarin at some point in the future badly. I'm sure it's not that. I was destined to speak mandarin. Regardless of my thoughts and actions determinism isn't fatalism. Choices reasoning discipline. All of these things play obvious roles in our lives despite the fact that they're determined by prior causes and again adding randomness to this machinery doesn't change anything but the reality is that i show no signs of making an effort to learn. Mandarin simply isn't a priority for me in my freedom make it a priority when some ways yes but not in the crucial way that the common notion of free will requires. I can't account for why. I don't want to speak mandarin more than i do. I can't decide to make learning this language. My top priority. When it simply isn't my top priority and if it suddenly became the most important thing in my life i wouldn't have created this change in myself. I would be a mere witness to this change. It would come over me like a virus. If i read an article tomorrow. The convinces me that the best use. The next few years of my life is to become competent in mandarin. I will not be able to account for why this article had the effect that it did me. I've already read articles like that. And they haven't moved me if the next one does. Where is the freedom in that it would be like being pushed off a cliff and then claiming that. I'm free to fall the fact that i might enjoy. The feeling of the wind in my hair doesn't change the situation and so it is with any other influence. A conversation with person or deep conversation with oneself simply has the effect that it has and not some other effect. You are free to do an almost infinite number of things today free in the sense that no one will try to stop you from doing these things or put you in prison if you do them. But you're not free to want what you don't in fact want or to want what you want more than you want it. You're not free to notice what you won't notice or to remember what we've truly forgotten again. Consider your experience in this moment. Are you going to spend the rest of the day. And tomorrow and the day after that and onward for days uncountable struggling to master a skill that you don't happen to care about. Are you going to learn mandarin with a violin or fencing. Are you going to take up room collected. Why aren't you more interested. In rocks there are people who are all in for rocks. Why aren't you one of these people. If you suddenly became one of these people and began spending all of your free time looking for interesting rocks freely doing what you most want to do your now. Rock collecting to your heart's content. Where is the freedom in that and your interest suddenly dissipates. Such that you no longer care about. Rox where is the freedom in that you are being played by the universe but choices still matter because causes matter change matters and a capacity to make change matters biological evolution and cultural progress have used our ability to get what we want out of life and to avoid what we don't want a person who can reason effectively and plan for the future and choose his words carefully and regulate his negative emotions and play fair with strangers and participate in various cultural institutions. Is very different from a person who can do none of those things but these abilities do not lend credence to the traditional notion of free will people sometimes ask. There's no free will. Then why are you trying to convince anyone of anything. People are just going to believe whatever they believe. You're very effort to convince them. That they don't have free will is proof that you think they have it again. This is confusion between determinism and fatalism. Reasoning is possible. Not because you're free to think however you want but because you are not free reason make slaves of us. All to be convinced by argument is to be subjugated by is to be forced to believe it regardless of your preferences. Think about what. It's like not to know something. And then to know it to learn something despite your prior ignorance or presuppositions to the contrary to be placed in the grip of an argument that is valid and true to be led step by step over foreign ground without spawning an error without seeing any place to put a foot or a hand to arrest your progress to then be delivered to the necessary. Conclusion is the antithesis freedom. Your bad is free as any prisoner. Who has ever led to. The gallows is the lack of freedom. That makes reasoning possible. That's why i know an argument that worked on me should so work on you and if it shouldn't work on you it shouldn't have worked on me either. Reasoning is all about constraints. Two plus two equals four. Where's the freedom in that it matters. The two plus two equals four and it matters that we each can be made to understand that by being forced to think under the same logical constraints. Are you free not to understand. The two plus two equals four. Not if you do in fact understand it. Are you free to understand it. If you don't understand it again no right. Not until the understanding itself dawns in your mind so whether understand something or not isn't under control but the difference matters absolutely and knowledge on all fronts matters absolutely. It's every bit as important as we imagine it to be. in fact it's probably more important than most people imagine it to be the physicist. David deutsch has argued that knowledge can produce any change in the universe. Could change if you'd like to continue listening to this conversation. You'll need to subscribe at sam harris dot org once you do. You'll get access to all full length episodes of the making sense podcast along with other subscriber only content including bonus episodes and ama's in the conversations. I've been having on the waking up app the making sense. Podcast is ad free and relies entirely on listener support. And you can subscribe now at sam harris dot org

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#178  The Reality Illusion

Making Sense with Sam Harris

1:07:10 hr | 1 year ago

#178 The Reality Illusion

"Making sense podcast. This is Sam Harris Okay housekeeping well last housekeeping was intense. That's new music. All of you are dealing with emotionally custom grief over the new music. Let's just hang out with it for a while. See how I feel in the New Year. Also dropped a paywall on the podcast for those. Who Need my rationale around all that you can listen to the last housekeeping escaping in the public? Feed those of you who are subscribers. Never even heard it and it would make a long story short unless you subscribe into the podcast. Through Sam Harris Dot Org you will only be getting partial episodes now for instance. Today's podcast his around three hours long. But if you're listening on the public feed you'll get the first hour merely so if you care about the conversations stations. I'm having here and want to hear them. In their entirety subscribing through San Harris Dot org is the only option. 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Just like the APP and if you can't afford it you can have it for free okay. So today I'm speaking with Donald Hoffman. And I'm joined by my wife Hannukah. This is the first time I am. We have jointly interviewed a guest and Sure it won't be the last Hannukah's interest in this topic definitely helped us get deeper into it. Donald Hoffman is a professor of cognitive science at the University of California Irvine. His writing has appeared in scientific American and on edge DOT ORG and his work has been featured in the Atlantic wired and Quanta and his new book is the case against reality. Why evolution hid the truth from our eyes and there was an article in the Atlantic profiling him that made the rounds? He also had a Ted talk that many many found bewildering as you'll hear he has what he calls a user interface theory of perception and many people. Find this this totally confounding and it can seem crazy at first glance and even at second glance and I must say when I first read the Atlantic article and watch his Ted Talk. I wasn't entirely sure. What Hoffman was claiming as you'll hear on got very interested in his work and had several meetings with him and then we finally decided to do this podcast and it is a fairly steep conversation? I do my best to Defined terms as we go along but for those of you for whom this is your sort of thing. I think you'll love it over the course of three hours. We really leave virtually no stone unturned in this area. We talk about how evolution his failed to select for true perceptions of reality we talk about Hoffman's interface theory of perception talk about the primacy Z.. Of Math and logic and what justifies our conviction there talk about how space and time cannot be fundamental to our framework. We talk about the threat of pyschological skepticism. Causality is a useful fiction. The hard problem of consciousness agency free will pass Ike ISM. What Hoffman calls? The Mathematics of conscious agents philosophical idealism. Death Breath psychedelics the relationship between consciousness and mathematics and many other topics and now on a gun and I bring you Donald Hoffman. Oh we're here with Donald Hoffman. Donald thanks for joining us. Thank you Sam's a great pleasure. So this is this is unusual as the first time that on my wife. WHO's lonely? been on the PODCAST. Once many of our listeners will remember that podcast is the first time anyone has heard me laugh out loud and in a decade so you came to my attention on the basis of Atlantic article. I I think that was making the rounds. And you'll say Ted talk. I don't know which preceded the other but then on Scott completely obsessed with what you're we're doing and you know maybe once a month or so. I would hear that. There was some export from a conversation. She was having with you. So it just seemed like you know it would be professional malfeasance for her not to really anchor this conversation so absolutely so on and that was all in the context of my writing my book I was doing research for my book and Don was working on a book on a similar topic or really on the same topic just different perspective and so yeah so I so I had wanted his input on my manuscript on was honored that he trusted me with his manuscript. And we Kinda we actually gave each other. We were kind of in the writing process together so gave each other notes and then don was extremely generous with his time and continued to meet with me as I had many. Follow up questions and yeah yeah put put up with with my curiosity even though those grim now. I'm not sure any of it was helpful to you but I it was it was it was great for me to very much fun for me and and very very helpful because you also give me feedback on my book and really help bring my book to a broader audience as well so I was grateful and I was really grateful that you did all the driving right before we jump into your thesis. Which is has the virtue of being on what I think is perhaps the most interesting topic of wall and some of the points? You make are so counterintuitive is to seem crazy on their face so it's going to be fantastic wade into this with you but what is how. How do you summarize your academic and intellectual background before we get started? Well so I I did my undergraduate bachelors at Ucla in what was called quantitative psychology was like a a major in psychology and a minor that had like computer science math courses in and while I was doing that I took a graduate class with professor at Carterton which we were looking at artificial intelligence and ran across the papers of David Marr. wrote this is like seventy seven seventy eight and his papers just really grabbed. My attention. Here was a guy that was trying to build visual systems. That worked with mathematical precision. Just waving leaving your hands. But actually writing mathematics and something that you could actually build eventually into robotic vision systems so I found out he was at MIT IN AI lab. I've been what's now the brain and cognitive sciences department and I was lucky enough to get to go there and work with him he. He died a little over a year after I was there so I only got to work with them for fourteen or fifteen very young. He was like thirty five or thirty five eight. He had leukemia. But but I did get to work with him and see how I was mind works. It was revolutionary was a wonderful time yet. Mit and then my mother visor. Whitman Richards the David. Marin witten enriches were Roy joint advisers and then women was my soul advisor after mar died and so I was very entrusted. Going there in the problem of you know. Are we machines. It's not figured what better way to get at that question. Then doing something in an artificial intelligence lab where we try to build machines and understand the scope and limits of what machines could do so. I was always very interested in human nature. And how you know. Artificial intelligence is related to humans. Are we just artificial intelligence Belgian ourselves just machines or is there something more and I didn't want to hand wave. I really wanted to understand what it means to be a machine and what might be different or not about humans humans and so so. That's sort of my mind electric background and what I focused on because you know of of Mara was perception visual perceptual. Say he wrote a book that was is was quite celebrated very early detailed look at visual perception. which I it's it's amazing? What contribution he made in such a short time decades after his death you know? His book is still recommended as as a must read book in Cognitive Science Neuroscience absolutely it was brilliant and he was brilliant in person who the the lab meetings were were electric. He had assembled this world class group of scientists of around him. They congregated around him. I just was so lucky to be watching this new science me of being revolutionized by by this young man Yad it thirty-five he. He did all. This and died was truly stunning. Neha you're not Irvine as professor right at University of California Irvine. You're the and you have been meeting over the years with some of the great lights in consciousness studies for lack of a better word. There was these meetings of love. The helm holds society. Is that what you're the homeless club. CLUBE so In that had Francis Cricket and I never met Francis but Joe Bogan who you write about in your book is somebody who I did meet. And he was quite a character. fund dinner. Yeah he's he was the neurosurgeon. Who did the bulk? The split brain procedures for which Roger Sperry won the Nobel Prize. And that's right and Iran's Idell was involved in that work and Michael Xanada. Yes yes and before we jump in. I want our listeners. To be sensitized to how seemingly preposterous Chris some of your initial claims will be and I can guarantee you that on certain of these points the sense of their counter intuitive nece this will wear off and there's something thrilling about this the thrill that was exemplified by Ana Kaz obsession with your work. I know his spread to other people. We have a friend who perhaps I shouldn't name. Who claim that she she accosted you at some function and just completely fan girl do as a as a Groupie so we know that I think once you start wearing sunglasses indoors you you will have started a cult and and what the word out against you but In in the meantime perhaps the best place to start. I would imagine we just track through with the way you do it in your book starting with the interface theory of perception. But you can start wherever you want want and we. We just want to go through it all and we'll have questions throughout right so most of my colleagues who study perception assume that evolution by natural selection has shaped us to see truths about the world. None of my colleagues think that we we see all of reality as it is but most of my colleagues would argue that accurate perceptions what we call vertical perceptions perceptions at tell us trues about the world will make us more fit so accurate perceptions. Vertical perceptions are fitter perceptions and the argument that's classically given is actually actually quite intuitive. So the idea. Is that those of around sisters who actually were better at feeding fighting fleeing because they could see reality as it is were more more likely to pass on their genes which code for the more accurate perceptions and so after thousands of generations of this process. We can be quite secure for that. Our perceptions are telling trues about the world of course not exhaustive truth but the truth is that we need we see those aspects of reality that we need to stay alive and reproduce it seems like a really compelling argument seems very very intuitive how could it go wrong. So at first glance it seems some measure uh of verticality. Some measure being in touch with reality as it is would increase an organism's fitness. There must be a fit between tracking rally as it is and adaptive advantage exactly. That's that's the standard intuition for for most of my colleagues Steven pinker has actually published papers. where he points out some some contradictions to that idea but most of my colleagues would go the idea that yes? It's better is more fit to see reality as it is at least part of reality well. I began to think that that might not be true. Because my initial shaw intuition was that maybe would just take too much time and too much energy to see reality as it is so evolution tries to do things on the cheap so maybe the you pressures to do things quickly and cheaply would would maybe compromise our ability to see the truth and so I began to work with my graduate students. Justin mark and Brian Marian run run two thousand eight or so two thousand nine and I had them write some simulations where we would simulate foraging games where we could create worlds as with resources and put creatures in those worlds that could roam around and compete for resources and some of the creatures we let see all the truth so they were the vertical creatures and others. I didn't let see thrall. We had them only see the fitness payoffs. We can talk about with fitness payoffs. That's an important concept but what we found was us in these simulations that the that the creatures that saw reality as it is couldn't out compete the creatures of equal complexity that that saw none of reality and were just tuned to the fitness payoffs and so that began to make me think there was something real here so now I should say what fitness pay your your mm-hmm so think in evolution you can think of evolution by natural selection much like a video game so in a video game. Your focus is to collect points as quickly as you can without being distracted by other things and if you get enough points in a short time you then might I get to go to the next level otherwise you die in. An evolution by natural selection is very similar the instead of the game points you have fitness payoffs and so you can go around collecting them as quickly as you can and if you get enough you don't go to the next generation but your genes get passed to the next generation and so so it'd be a little more specific. Think about the fitness payoff. That say a T. bone steak might offer so that if if you're a hungry lion looking to eat that T. bone steak offers lots of fitness payoffs. But if you're that same lion in your full you're looking to mate all of a sudden not bone steak offers you know fitness payoffs whatsoever and if you're a cow in any state for any activity but t-bone steaks not gonNA is not a fifth thing for you whatsoever and and so that's gives you an intuition about what we mean by fitness payoffs in evolutionary theory fitness. Payoffs do depend on the state of the world. Whatever the objective reality might be? They do depend on the state of that world but also and importantly on the organism it state and the action so fitness payoff functions are very complicated functions and the state of the world is only one of of the parts of the main of that function. There's lots of other aspects to it and so they're really really complicated functions of the state of the world and the organism state on. Its action was now. I think you should introduce the desktop analogy. Because against what you just said can sound suspiciously similar to more or less what every Marie life scientists and certainly neuroscientists would agree is true which is whatever reality. is we see some simulate grim of it that is broadcast to us by the way our our our nervous system sections of the world. So you know. We see within a certain band with light light. You know bees detect you know another bandwidth and we by the very nature of this. Don't get all the information that's available to be gotten so we don't have a complete picture of the thing in itself or the reality behind appearances but implicit in that kind of status quo assumption. Is that the things we do see really exist out out there in the real world in some basic sense in space and time again. It's not clear. How much lost in translation? But there is some conformity between what we see as a glass of water on the table and a real object in the world in third person. Space how how is your vision of things departed from what is now scientific. Commonsense yet does depart dramatically from that that standard view. The Standard. You as you said is that we may not see all the truth but we do see some aspects of reality accurately and what the evolutionary simulations and then later theorems that at my colleague Jay Tom Kosh prove indicate is that our perceptions were shaped by natural selection not to show us just the little bits of truth. We need to see but rather other to hide truth. Altogether and to give us instead a user interface. So if you you know a metaphor like to us as if you're writing a book and and the icon for the book is blue and rectangle in the middle of your screen. Does that mean that the book itself in your computer is blue. Rectangular in the bill of the computer will of course not anybody who thought that really misunderstands the point of the user interface. It's not there to show you the truth. which in this metaphor would be the circuits and software and voltages in in the computer the interfaces they're explicitly to hide the truth? If you had to toggle voltages just to to write a book you'd never get done. And if you had to toggle voltages to send an email people would never hear from you. So the point of user interface is to completely completely hide the reality and to give you very very simplified user interface to let you control the reality as much as you need to control put while being utterly ignorant about the nature of that reality and that would the simulations that I've done with students and the theorems are done with with John precaut- Josh indicate is that that natural selection will favor organisms that see none of the truth and just have the simplified simplified user interface so be very explicit spe three dimensional space as we perceive it is just three dimensional. Desktop is not an objective reality independent of us. It's just a data structure that our sensory systems use to represent fitness payoffs. And how to get them and three. Three dimensional objects like tables and chairs even the Moon argest three-dimensional icons in that interface. So once again. They're not our species representations of a true glass. That's really out there or true table that's out there. They are merely data structures that we're using to represent fitness payoffs. And how to get them so so yes in this first description of this wonderful analogy us with the desktop and also of how evolution gives us this false picture. What the deeper reality actually is? I have a few questions here. I'm GonNa Start All. I'm not quite sure where where we'll go there. At least three things that have been brought up so far that that I feel like it's important for us to get clear on terminology and framework for I start really disagreeing and I should say that that I you know you and I've now spent many meetings together. I spent a lot of time challenging you mostly because I actually think there's something very interesting that you're doing and I think you're onto something and so you know in the same way that in my editing work I give the most notes to the books I'm most was passionate about. It's it's in that spirit so so beginning with evolution. I've actually said to you many times that I don't actually think you need the evolution arguments given to make your case for your theory So some of the some of this pushback is actually moot. But I still think it's interesting. I think I agree with this with this evolution. Asian argument up to a point so my first question is really digest. Get us you know on the same page or see if we are on the same page as a starting point. I know that you believe that. Or you're hopeful optimistic about the fact that we can ultimately understand what that deeper reality is this and so that so there must be boundaries to the systems that we're using our brains which have evolved where we can actually get access to the truth so so up until to appoint our brains are giving us all this false information but there's some sense in in which we can actually get access to things that are true about the nature of reality so my question is where do you draw the boundary of an evolved system system that by definition gives us false information about the nature of reality so that outside that boundary is where we might be able to gain access to information that delivers us the truth. And there's kind of a second part to that which is where we might disagree. I believe we've already begun to cross that boundary the science and so the way. I follow your evolution. Argument is simply about direct perceptual information that we get rather than ideas scientific experiments so so if you just take light light I think is always the simplest example. We have not evolved oft perceptual systems to really understand what light is right. Everything everything we've learned about light through the sciences up to quantum mechanics where it gets completely -pletely mysterious and we really don't actually know what light is so so we can kind of all agree and not just the three of us in this room but all of us you know most scientists would agree that ultimately were still. We still don't have this information about what the fundamental nature of reality is. We're we're we're still title stuck there but I would say that we have learned we've gotten much closer to that by these processes that I think are outside outside the boundary of this evolved system that is by definition delivering us. False information right great question and there is a a couple of points about it. I the the the arguments that I've given from evolution. Natural selection against vertical perceptions do not hold against math and logic So that's fervor different than some other let Christian apologists logist like Alvin planting Who've made an argument that sounds very similar to mine that they say that if our census if our cognitive capacities of all they would be unreliable? Reliable that includes our theory building capacity in there for the theory of evolution is unreliable in there for evolution is false. I'm making such arguments right. I'm it is further. The furthest listing from my mind. I'm focused only on the senses and the reason why the argument that says our senses are not vertical doesn't hold for math and logic is that there are evolutionary pressures for us to reason about fitness payoffs two bites of an apple. Give you roughly flee twice the fitness payoff of one bite of Apple. Whatever objective reality might be? We need to be able to reason about fitness payoffs and so whereas the selection pressures are uniformly against ridicule perceptions. There are not uniformly against some elementary competence in math and logic. I'm not of course arguing. That natural selection of shaping to be geniuses math and logic far from it his just at the selection pressures are not uniformly against ability. And every once in a while. You get a you your genius. Go but don't we think the math and logic are giving us space time. I mean th th. There's this can get into a deeper question. Because of course we we now have quantum mechanics which was putting all this into question and many physicists. If not most or talking about space time being something that emerges out of something being more fundamental but they would still say that it emerges and so it seems that it's hard to take so I guess my my argument demint with where you take. This evolution. Argument is as far as space time itself because it seems that we don't yet know you know whether space time is a true true allusion in in some sense but I would say our math and logic has has taken us that far not simply our perceptual systems. Actually let me see if I can add to this point because it's something that came up for me as well so so if we can find this to perception for me is no longer counterintuitive but again. It'll it'll be counterintuitive for many many people but this so the claim is that fitness trump's truth so fully that apprehending the truth perceptually is. It's just not an evolutionary stable strategy. You're going to be driven to extinction among creatures that are optimized for fitness and that it sounds a little crazy. But when when you think of what fitness this means fitness means simply being optimized for survival and procreation right. So as long as you're optimizing for that it's easy to see the U.. Successfully out compete anything that isn't optimized for that and there's also this additional piece which you mentioned which is there's clearly fitness this value I e survival value in throwing away information. That isn't related to fitness right. So that you know every organisms are going to have some bandwidth with you know limits and metabolic limits and tracking every fact. That's out there to track catch priority. And then there's this additional component which is if the ability to make certain distinctions doesn't relate to increase fitness evolution would not have selected for that ability to make those distinctions riser. Oh so he'll expect organisms to be blind to Certain features reality just in principle but there is a sense in which your thesis does bite its own tail and seems to at least potentially subvert itself in that the moment you start to say that okay. Space and time. They don't exist their data structures therefore our notion of objects is a pure interface. Issue is just. It's like a trash can on the desktop. It doesn't really map onto reality as it is you just bracketed logic and rationality which may be defensible sensible but it may itself very notion of natural selection is more than just rationality. It is a causal picture and we might say that causes houses and the the the notion of cause and effect right or the notion that causes precede their effects rather than some notion of teleology. These things are also just data structures so that like every piece you WanNa put on the board given a Darwinian account of anything does sort of fall in the been of more more space and time more objects and so how does this thing completely subvert itself and land you in something like just global skepticism. Which says you know? We're we're in touch with some seeming reality which we really can't ever know anything fundamental about yet great question both both so so so the idea I F that evolution natural selection as we all know in love it involves things DNA and organisms in space and time time and so forth. So how could I ever use the revolution to show and claim to show that things like DNA are just data structures. They're just interface symbols The the reason we can do that is because John Maynard Smith actually took the theory of evolution natural selection and mathematics at he realized we could abstract away from all of the sort of the extraneous empirical assumptions of space in time and DNA and so forth and we could look at. What would he calls just evolutionary game theory theory and so that the logic of natural selection itself can be reduced to competing strategy? Where you make no oncological assumptions whatsoever about the world in which those strategies are playing so so it allows one when someone says natural selection favors true perceptions evolutionary game theory provide you precisely the tool you need to ask how to assess that question independent of all these other empirical assumptions that are standard standard biological evolutionary theories? And so. That's that allowed me to to do this. Now there's another aspect to the argument at a strategy that I'm taking in here and that is that one reason that I went after the evolutionary argument was I actually announced the interface theory my book Nineteen Ninety Eight Visual Intelligence and people like the book except for the chapter on the interface during the thought that was not and and I realized I wasn't going to get my colleagues to pay attention to that idea and less. I talked to them in a language they really understood. Was that that motivated me to go after the evolutionary argument a few years later so the reason I use evolution is not because maybe it's the best argument argument is because is the argument that I knew my colleagues would listen to so i. I'm abstracting away from the whole apparatus of biological evolution to just the the the nuts and bolts of evolutionary game theory which doesn't bring the ontological assumptions and second mighty to the scientists toward any scientific theory as they're just. It's the best tools we have so far. I don't believe any scientific theories including my own. I think belief is is not a helpful attitude. This is the best tool we have so far. Let's look at what this stool says about the claim that natural selection favours vertical perceptions. And whatever deeper so what that tool is sang to me is. There's just no grounds for thinking that any of our perceptions of space and time and objects in any way capture the structure of whatever objective reality algae might be and went one thing. That's nice about this mathematics as well as you might say. Well how in the world could you possibly show that the structure of our perceptions. It doesn't capture the structure of the world unless you knew already what. The structure of the world is immune archie. Shooting yourself in the foot there and and it turns out. You don't have to it. It's really that got wonderful in the mathematics that you can show that whatever the structure of the world might be the probability is zero. That's what we're seeing right and that that makes sense to me too. I'm still stuck on how it extends all the way to space time and and I think which was shouldn't spend too much time time on the evolution piece Mo- mostly because I actually think you don't need it but just from a philosophical perspective. I think it's very interesting and I'm still curious myself can how far this goes visas. Clearly true up to a point at least so if Darwinian evolution by natural selection Shen is a theory about objects in space and time. I mean this is this is this is just a question for you about how you how you view this. Where can you stand outside outside of Space Time and matter to talk about evolved perceptual systems but more specifically what does evolution? You look like or how do you even talk about evolution outside of Space Time. So what are we saying is evolving. What are we saying is surviving what what do evolution and survival even mean in context outside of space and time or is that just an abstract idea that you haven't noticed that starts to look the right question and and that's the power of Evolutionary Game Theory? What John Maynard Smith was able to do was to show? We could talk about abstract strategies competing not not in any particular assumption about space and time. We can get. He was able to abstract away from all the the details of biological evolution in space and time and organisms and so the essence of the Darwin's idea are these abstracts strategies. And we can look at how these strategies compete so you're not abstracts that surviving it. It's an idea it's a mean it's what is the what you do. Is You have an you imagine that there are. There's a population of entities that are competing using these strategies so they're abstract entities in an abstract space with these strategies strategies. And what you do is you you. Just there's something called the replicator equation and what you find in the replicator equation. Is that the number of entities. Is that have a good. Fitness strategy will start to increase. Their proportion will increase the strategies. That have a bad strategy or let you know a lesser strategy tragic and so what you have is. The proportion of the population that has various strategies goes up and down. Well then I guess my question goes back to what what do you you mean by entity so these are just abstract entities that in evolutionary game. Three you don't need to know what the entities are there just place markers eight-year imagining their their entities entities outside of space time best and. That's what the mathematics allows you to do. Well it let me just piggyback on this. You're getting tag team Oh let's talk before so Woah. I apologize in advance. But isn't the very notion of competition in differential success based on parasitic Harrison on the notion of time per se on the notion of causes preceding their affects an entity. Is You know I think what honor goes fishing for their as entities as seem somehow derivative of objects at least the the concept of an object. I mean we're talking about something that's discreet. That's not merely a continuous tenuous reality right. Things can be differentiated. So are how are we not using the same cognitive tools that they've got hammered into us by evolution who's process has only nice selected for fitness and therefore left us a pyschologically close to native reality APPs absolutely. So you're right that the evolutionary the replicator collision itself does have a time parameter right or at least a sequence parameter dimension whether you do it discreetly or or continuously and so that's going to be built into it absolutely doing so by the way is I said I'm not committed to the truth of evolution by natural selection. I'm just using that theory itself to say that whatever the structure of the world is the that theory says the Chances Zero ended our perceptions actually have captured that structure. It leaves it open to ask. Is there a deeper theory of objective. Reality that will give back. Evolution by natural selection as a special case within what I call her space-time interface and that. That's actually what I'm hoping for us. Have a deeper theory that will have that. Go beyond space and time and it'll be on time in the sense that there will be sequence and there will be perhaps a notion of 'cause following a fact but not in a global space time temporal framework. It'll be completely asynchronous and so forth north and we'll get will we call causality in like Minkowski space tyneside's minkowski space or general a terrific curve space time as a projection of a much more deep very of reality in which the very notion of dimension doesn't hold in which time doesn't hold but we can show that though that sulfur. I'm I'm thinking about a dynamics on on abstract graphs in a synchronous dynamics but that can pre projected and simplified into what we call space time in its causality soon mcaliskey spinks I think it's just useful as as a launching off point to to replace. We'll go from here to just say that At the very least think this evolution argument is very useful in terms of opening our eyes to something that I actually think we in some sense we already no and and again you know looking at something like light is a good example where we clearly. We have not been given any tools. Perceptual tools to understand. Understand how electrons operates how you know what is actually happening at a fundamental level and of course. They're all these theories now from everything in string theory too many worlds trying to sort out all of these things that we see through through our science that we have absolutely no intuitions where we have no insight into. We're just getting at through math and logic and and so clearly we haven't evolved systems that help us here. And so I feel like we can agree to two two points that we can move from here onward and the first one is that we can all agree him and you know scientists in general. We don't know what's fundamental the mental nor do we perceive the truth about the fundamental building blocks of reality and to this is where I I'd like to set this up for where consciousness consciousness it is going to who is about to come in. We can agree that physical science has not given us an explanation for conscious we have no understanding of how consciousness arises out of physical processes and so it seems that we can at least agree that it's a legitimate question are it's a limit Jim. It project to wonder if consciousness Nisa something that's more fundamental in that. Were missing that piece in that we thought about it backwards on this time right now is one of the things that I think is so great about your work in his is a very important accordin project. Okay before we get to consciousness which is central to our interest and where there's more controversy at least in in my mind. I want to anchor. What you've said to a very straightforward perception so that our listeners can get in touch? With how counterintuitive. Your thesis is so when you know the three of us are in a room together. Apparently they're objects we can see. What is the status of those those objects like a glass of water when none of us are looking at it and what is is is it status lettuce given the fact that it apparently is always there for any one of us to look at? We have some kind of consensus inter subjective language game aim. We can play here that can reference the glass of water you know at will. How does that map onto your theory of non vertical perception right so I think a good way to see what I'm saying and how counter to but it is is to think about say playing a game like grand theft auto but with virtual? She'll reality out on Syria. You're a headset. And you're seeing a three dimensional world of cars and your own steering wheel and so forth and and it's it's a multiplayer games other people around the world that that see the same car that you're driving and see all the other cars that UC and in that case there of course is no real car that anybody seeing there's just some in this metaphor a bunch of circuits and software and so forth that that's the objective reality in in this metaphor but all the players. There's will agree that they see a red corvette chasing in Green Mustang down the highway at seventy the all agree. Not because there's literally Red Corvette Rebecca chasing a Green Mustang. There is some objective reality. But it's not as it's not corvettes and mustangs that's what we each see. An each person with their own headset headset. He is getting in the example. photons you know thrown to their eyes and their rendering in their own mind the corvette chasing the Mustang so there are as many corvettes mustangs as there are people playing the game because they each see the one that they render and I might be looking at the at the Corvette Ed and I. I'm I look away and I'm now looking at my steering wheel. I no longer see the corvette. I've I have garbage collected the corvette. I'm not making that data structure anymore now. I'm rendering a steering wheel. And now I look back over at the Corbett now. I'm re rendering the corvette so so it looks like the corvette was always there because you know why look away and look back. It's it's right where I expect it to be. But in fact there there is a reality is not corvettes as not mustangs. It's not during those so so an now. So here's the counter-intuitive claim. I'm claiming we all have a headset on all of us and we all have this space time physical objects in the glass of water. Those are all things that I render on the fly when I look at them and then I- garbage collect them in in this part of the evolutionary argument I- garbage collect him because I'm trying trying to save energy and time and memory so I- render it only as I need it and it's really just the glass. I'm seeing a representation of fitness payoffs. Those of the fitness is pay off. I need to pay attention to now. Now I'm throwing that fitness payoff description away. Non Looking fitness payoffs over here so it's it's a rapid rendering a fitness payoffs in real time. So here's one of the areas where I worry that the language that you're using the terminology you're using may actually give a false impression of what you're saying saying they were. Some of my notes came in. I don't know how how many of these notes you have taken her or we'll take but I worry that actually think I agree with you there but but there's something something about the way you're saying at that. I think gives a false impression of what you're saying so if you say you know the the race car isn't there. The Moon is an example. You give off an I I mean you you also will say which which I think is is more accurate and closer to what you're saying is something exists. Something is. Is there in reality that my perceptual captial systems are kind of turning into this. This site of moon and I think it's confusing to readers and listeners when you say it doesn't `existence as if the fundamental nature of reality behind whatever that moon is doesn't exist that there's that there's nothing there for point so it seems more accurate to say we simply don't understand the deeper reality behind the moon and behind apples and that this is something in in a way they like. It's less controversial. Something we can all admit given our our current understanding of the physics and so I the part of my my gripe there I think is just with the the language that you're using and there's something incredibly interesting about that that that something is there there's something I'm interacting with the example. I often like to use with you when we need is a tree. We we plant a tree and leave it it is. It is out of our conscious experience. They're all these processes that will be taking place in what we call them. How we view them has water and nutrients being sucked up from the earth and it will grow and we'll come back in a year and all of those processes would have taken place whatever they are at bottom we we may not understand understand but something is going on in the universe that we have our access to however far from the truth it is? There's something taking taking place there and so to explain it as when I leave. There's absolutely nothing there and there's no tree and then I come back in. Somehow I create create this. As if it's you know I think it's very important clarification. So I I I agree with you completely that I'm not saying that there isn't an objective. Reality that would exist even if I don't look at it. There is an objective. Reality is just at the Y.. What I see is utterly unlike that objective reality and and in the the metaphor that I was giving burchill reality I might see a red corvette the reality in that metaphor would be circuits and software? That aren't read. The don't have the shape of a corvette utterly unlike a corvette but but when interact with that objective reality that's there even if I don't see the corvette I then we'll see the corvette so that's how different think it's potentially attention confusing as an analogy. Only because as a user of video games you can try you can turn the video game off. It's not a self sufficient world world. It's not reality that that continues on and does does its thing. Reuther released it. Yeah it gives a slightly false impression. So Roy I agree that the reality is continuing continuing on regardless of what I have rights right in and and the reason have life insurance is because I agree with you that there is reality that will continue to go on. Even if I'm I'm I'm not here right right okay. So Lemme make that point with a slightly different topspin because those concessions seemed to bring bring us back to the standard consensus view of science in some ways. So there's this appearance reality distinction. There's our sensory experience. which is our interface? Ace which everyone agrees does not put us in direct contact with the thing in itself or underlying reality. But you're conceding that there is an underlying reality and there must be some lawful mapping between what we see on the interface end that underlying reality which actually renders our mutual perceptions of things like trees glasses and cars predictable where we can can both agree that if we go to look for the same object each one of us is likely to independently find it whatever. The relationship is between that interface data structure A.. And reality itself. So there's there has to be some kind of ice morphism between our virtual reality experience and reality itself even though so we don't have by virtue pollution all of the right conceptual tool so as to say what it is. There is going to be a mapping between objective reality and and our perceptions and that mapping will be as complicated or more complicated as mapping between all the circuits and software in a virtual chill reality machine and the actual like grand theft auto world that I that I perceive and if you think about it there's going to be hundreds of megabytes of software all these complicated circuits. All I'm seeing is is simple cars and so forth so there's going to be in computer science all these virtual machines that you create many many levels of virtual machines between what you see in in the grand theft auto game and the actual objective reality in this metaphor going on there and so I'm saying that that the idea. Yeah that that the reality is going to be more to space time is too simplistic right. Is it. There's going to be some agree that there's going to be some systematic. steamatic mapping is going to be quite complicated and so another way to put. Is this if I said to you. I want you to use the language of what you can see in your interface her face in the virtual reality so the pixels that you can see the colors and pixels. That's the only language you can use. I want you to tell me how this virtual world works. You can't do it. Because the language of pixels is an inadequate set of products to actually describe that world and I'm making the very strong claim that whatever object a reality is the language Regis Space and time and physical objects in space and time is simply the wrong language There is a systematic mapping. But but the language of objects in space and time I could not possibly frame. A true description of that objective rallied the strong claim. So it's similar to the J. B Here's holden. The famous physiologist gave us a an aphorism that almost contains this thesis insead form which is not only as reality stranger ranger than we suppose. It's stranger than we can suppose by giving a deflationary account of our notion of space and time you are saying whatever. Never this mapping is between appearance and reality we are so ill equipped to talk about it. Based on being this interface analogy that had it is on some level far stranger and far more foreign to the way in which. We're thinking about things than anyone. Anyone has a claim isn't actually so I'm just trying to get at what is truly novel about your claim one thing. That's novel is the the expectation that evolution has selected for some approximation. To what is true. Seems false right. So fitness is trump's truth and as a result. Whatever this mapping is to underline reality? It's we are afar greater state of ignorance about than most people expect that that's right. We should absolutely you nailed it on the head and I would say this that. It's the relationship between a visualization tool. And whatever it is that we're visualizing right so so there's going to be the subject of reality that's out there and we evolution just gave us very very dumbed down. Species specific visualization tool. The very language of that tool is probably I mean. The whole point of a visualization tool is is to hide the complexity of the objective reality. And just give you a dumbed down tool that you can use and so the very language of space space and time and objects is just the wrong language for whatever the thing that just like I would say though that you know as far as I understand most up to this point And now we're GonNa talk about consciousness and then we'll get into different but up up until this point everything that you've just said I think most physicists would agree with and is is part of the conversation in quantum mechanics right now and many. Physicists are are talking about this problem of space time and of space and time independently as well clearly not being the final answer to what is fundamental and and everything we see out of quantum mechanics gives us a a a real philosophical problem similar to the one you're describing being which is it seems that the fundamental nature of the universe with the Universe is actually made of it is not anything like what we experience set all the way to the point of space time the that's right and so it's really interesting because if you look at our biggest scientific civic theories in Physics General Titi in also special relativity are about space-time right space time is is assumed to be an objective reality and a fundamental and quantum field theory as well the fields are defined over space time and an so physics as a new Marconi. Jimenez has put it in. He's a professor at the Institute for study at Princeton. He's pointed not that for the last. Few centuries. Physics has been about what happens in space time but now they're realizing that to get generality and the standard model of physics to play well together they're going to have to let go space time. It cannot be fundamental. And he's not worried about it and he in fact he says most of his colleagues agree right that space time is doomed. And there's going to be something deeper and that's wonderful because we're about to learn something new. There's a deeper brainwork for us to be thinking about physics and Space Time. We'll have to be emergent from the deeper and deeper framework. Actually I watched a lecture of his recently. And I I wrote down this short quote. He says all these things are converging on some completely new formulation of standard physics where space time and quantum mechanics are not our inputs but our outputs and I thought that was that was very well set. But but that's so so as far as I understand where physics is at at this point. I think all of these physicists would would agree with you up until this point and I think now we can probably crossover one other. They might agree for a different reasons. Right they're not using absolutely but there's nothing intrinsic in what don is saying about how. How false our view of the fundamental nature of reality is that it is that that it that you can actually take all the way to space time and that? We're probably wrong wrong. And all of those assumptions about what we think. I agree and I think about this really interesting that the pillars of science are all saying the same thing. Evolution by natural selection is saying we need to let go space time and then the physicists trying to general relativity and quantum field theory to play wreck. They're saying you have to let go space time when our best us science is saying that that's it's time for an interesting revolution as can be fun. Be Very excited to see what what happens when we go behind. Space Time so counterintuitive. They'll right we. We've just assumed that our our our story is facetime. Came into existence. Thirteen point eight billion years ago at the Big Bang it was the fundamental reality. Were saying Zang. There's there's a deeper story. That story is only true up to a point. There's a much much deeper story. And that's more like an interface story That's the projection of a much deeper story. We're GONNA have to find and that is tremendously fun. Yeah well so a net. We're now gonNA move onto consciousness. which will be interesting? I just I guess I WANNA flag my lingering concern that your rationale if taken in I'm deadly ernest may still kick open the door to Piss them logical skepticism for me at least because I think you know if one space and time timer dispensed with causality and kind of an evolutionary rationale does this. This is kind of the planting. Go argument you referred to is. He's just once you start pulling hard at those threads. I'm not sure how much the the fabric of epistemology can be defended. So I agree with you Sam in in the following sense i. I think that that might actually go that way. Just on the evolutionary arguments alone So what I'm going to want to do is to whatever the deeper theory of reality that I propose it needs to be such that it will not fall into the epistemological problems that you're raising so the the deeper theory needs to avoid those epistemological problems and show why by that deeper theory looks like evolution by natural selection when we projected into our space time interface rather words so that these kinds of problems might arise is because evolution by natural selection itself is not the deepest theory is just an interface version of a deeper theory roof. Yes so on this this topic of causality in in time. And whether this project even make sense which I know is a place you and I have gotten to before in our conversations when you say things like the the brain and neurons are not the source of causal powers and that we need to find another source. My question is why would you assume that there are causal causal powers at all in the fundamental nature of reality. So it's not clear to me. It's not clear to me why we include causal powers as part of a fundamental fundamental reality. If Space Time doesn't exist to I don't quite see how there is causing without time at least in the way that we typically think about it and we just to take an example which is kind of standard physics although often neglected the notion of a block universe. Ride the notion that you know the future exists this just as much as the president as as the past and so that there really are no events. there's just a single datum which is the entire cosmos in connections so he's causality on under that control is really an illusion. That's right and and without endorsing the block universe spew I would say that causality in space and time is a fiction It's a useful fiction that we've evolved in our interface that but the strictly speaking causality in space and time is is not because space and time is not the fundamental reality. The appearance of cosmetology like my hand pushing this glass and moving. It gives the appearance that my my hand has causal powers in his causing the glass to move but but in fact fact. That's that's just useful fitness like if I drag an icon on my desktop to the trash can in delete the file it looks like the movement of the icon. I'm on the desktop to the trash can cause the file to be deleted. Well for the casual user. That's a perfectly harmless fiction to believe if you move the icon to the trash trashcans causes. The FELTON is perfectly harmless but for the user for the guy who actually wants to build a software interface for this go under the hood that fiction has to be let go so so. I'm claiming that that within space and time. All the appearance of Khazal is a fiction. Now in terms of the deeper theory. When you're asking a deeper through what about 'cause my my argument is that causality is parts of the illusion of time? Assuming time is some sort of allusion and time is is not fundamental at least as far as we usually talk. I mean I can think of. This is a conversation of how we can almost redefine causality. which in my review I have? I think there's a way to talk about different things being connected but in terms of the way we are definition of cazalet in how we use it is dependent on on time. It is a part of things that play out in time. You need something You need something to happen in the past to cause something to happen in the future it. It's this it it is this direct relationship in time and so I don't even know how you would talk about causality without time. It it it needs. It's time for its own definition so I think if we're redefining causality which I think is kosher. Actually I think that's something we can talk about. I'm not I've never been clear whether that is is what you mean. Are we kind of redefining. What causality is and is it? More like connections between things rather than one thing happens and and then another thing happens in response also added another aspect here which is the notion of possibility may a B spurious right so that it may in fact be that nothing is ever possible. There's only what is actual right. There's only what happens happens. And our sense that something else might have happened in any circumstance that just might be a again part of this newsroom interface that that has seemed useful because it is useful to try like when we were apparently making decisions between two possibilities and we need a model counterfactual counterfactual thinking gain is incredibly useful and yet what if it is simply the case as it as it would be in a block universe that there's just you know the novels already written. And you're on page age seventy-five but page one hundred and sixty eight exists already in some sense and I. I don't think you need the block universal because I think just one way. They've getting the yeah I mean. It's a good visualization at ending. Most physicists will have some argument about it being described that way but I think the the analogy holds and I was just reading Carlo Ravelli's book on on time and he. He makes this point as well that that at a certain level there is no difference prince between past and future and essentially. I mean his thesis in the book is that time is an illusion it is it is not something. I'm I'm so sorry I got so yeah. I think that that will need a notion of causality. That's outside of space time. That is not going to be dependent on time. It'll it'd be more like relationship as as you talked about. Okay and and in terms of the counter factuals possibilities I. I think we'll want to have a conversation. Nation about probability and how we interpret probabilities in in scientific theories whether they're mean so there are probabilities that that are epidemic mic in the sense that maybe there is a deterministic reality out there and I just don't know enough about it so so it so. The police are subjective. His mind my lack of knowledge there's frequency ency but the our sense of probability may be Spurious that's right but then if if there are probabilities in which no matter how much my knowledge increases the probability will not disappear and so we often call those in science objective. Chance and I think we'll have a conversation rotation of about how we think about probabilities and objective. Chance it will. It will actually take us into the question about free will and so forth my version of a versions of free will versus determinism. So so I think that that's going to be an interesting conversation. So so I I agree that we need a notion of causality that transcends ends time and I I'm proposing one but by the way it's interesting I know you. Yeah Glad Glad you talk with Judea Pearl. And he's got of course. He's directed a cyclic graphs chiefs models of of causal reasoning. which are brilliant? And they've actually given us a mathematical science for the first time of of causal reasoning. But when you you know in in his book Pearl doesn't define Kazadi. He refuses to to define the notion of cosmetology in some sense. What we're facing dissing here is that every scientific and this is this is really important idea? I think No scientific theory is a theory of everything. There's no such thing. Every every scientific theory makes certain assumptions. We call them. The the premises were the assumptions of the theory. And only if you grant the theory those assumptions can it go. Oh and explain everything else near. And and so we're going to have an every scientific theory certain primitives that are unexplained. They they they D- they are the miracles vis-a-vis that theory now. You may say I can get you a deeper theory for which those assumptions come out consequences but you will have a deeper set of assumptions. Options here is going to be an axiom somewhere. The bottom absolutely and that's that's a humbling recognition for scientists to realize that we will never have a theory of everything. I think we will always have a miracle Refu- miracles we want to keep them as few as possible. I don't like that you call the miracles. I would like to have the records show. I understand that we call them. Call them axioms or yeah. We'll because I I WANNA really my place where I think people might actually be confused about what you mean which is why I am sure. I'm glad to protect you for. I'll I'll just say that there are things that the theory cannot explain so and there will always always be things that every scientific theory cannot explain an. It's a principal problem so the interesting thing will be in a deeper theory. Will we have something that we. That's like a causal notion that will be primitive of the theory that may not be dependent. On time it'll be there will be primitives in an explanation will stop I guess so. My question in my issue really is why use the word causality when you're speaking and more fundamental terms so why not say something like connections relationships to me so much more much closer analogy is and so to say what we view as causality is in fact something more like a connection action or a relationship on board level. I agree with you completely. I think deeper theory. We may think that the the term Khazal is just not a very useful term anymore. It was useful. He was useful in space and time in connection or influences a better term level okay so onto consciousness and free will and other obtain joyous topics. What in your view is the connection between consciousness? If you'd like to continue. Can you listening to this podcast. You'll need to subscribe at Sam Parents Dot Org. You'll get access to all full length episodes of the podcast and two other subscriber only content including including bonus episodes and Ama's in the conversations. 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Bonus: Yelling at Sam Harris

Serious Inquiries Only

52:23 min | 8 months ago

Bonus: Yelling at Sam Harris

"You're listening to serious inquiries on Okay fox sam harris dying right after so. I'm glad i'm so glad you're willing to come on and do a bonus episode with me where i l about sam harrison. Maybe let you talk a little bit. We'll see. I'm not sure a lot of yelling. Do thank you for joining me. Yeah this i did this episode back. Canley pulled back from the brink. You know i listen to it at the time and i started like working on it was one of those things whereas like all right. This is mid cove. This is a lot going on. You know mentally for me. I i you know i. There's a lot happening here and back. At that time. I listened to it. And i was like i should do a response to this. I start writing stuff down and very quickly. I'm like there's too much there's just too much and then my mind is like yeah. You get your kids. You get your cova. Do you got you all the stuff to do other podcasts. I kinda got overwhelmed. As i just can't the number of things you'd have to respond to look up. You know i. I just was like in the end. I was like okay. Everyone knows sam. Here's is a piece of shit right anyway. Like everyone who listens to me knows that. I don't need to do this but then when Finally you know we we got together and wanted to do the debunking of those papers which is excellent as like okay. I'll go back and listen to this episode. so i've written some notes I basically kind of as i was going through the episode wrote down some stuff. And i mean it's maddening. First off lindsey. I think we need to start with ten minutes. About how look this is. I'm terrified to talk right now. I i'm i'm i. People are so scared they can't even their opinions can't even say no they'll be kills. They'll be executed by firing squad in the streets. Especially sam harris white man who has his own billion dollar podcasts. That depends in no way on anyone else but him and like you know like his audience already knows that he is an asshole who you know Miss about race and all this stuff. So he's been chilled. It's priced in. There's nothing that. Sam harris is going to say about police violence. That's going to do anything to him. It's the he spends ten minutes. I'm terrified i thought about. I wouldn't even do this episode. It's too scary i. Everyone can't even talk. You can't even say anything without a shut up. He has spent the last several years specifically building an audience. That would like this exactly last person to be part of the fucking victim. Narrative twenty four seven conservatives. I this is what signals to me that he's among this crowd and getting information from this crowd because all it is all day is white victimhood about how you can't say anything because you're gonna get in trouble all the time. Meanwhile he has a zillion dollars. Giant massive podcast. That is in no danger of getting in trouble from saying stuff in fact as you say i mean this is the audience. He has probably got more subscribers after that episode. This is so he does this happen. I'm gonna go through my notes and you know we'll see we'll see what we get to but yeah i'm so scared to tell my secret. Truth is the first ten minutes or so. I'm just so scared and then it's like oh social media that's the issue here we and over the course of this. I want to. I want to outline on a illustrate sam. Harris's theory of mind of protesters is atrocious. Yeah it's it's so telling them maybe the most racist thing about this podcast episode of is if you take all of what he says and construct what trying to reconstruct what he thinks. A protest black lives matter. Protester is it's it's so condescending. It so insulting. They're all idiots is the only word. Yeah who are out there for wrong reasons. And so and then by the way he started off. And i kind of wish i had done the upset at the time because he starts off making a bunch of claims about how. Hey we're in the middle of covert and these protests are going to be great for trump. And he's going to win the election because these protests any gave the trump voter thing and i'm at the time and so this has been complicated now in the in light of the election because yes it's true the polls were off yet again but no. It's not the shy trump voter that that isn't the there's there's no such thing as a trump if you've met a fucking trump voter they're not afraid to tell you that they support trump in they fly. Eighty trump flags on their stupid truck with the blue lives matter flag as well in on it. They're not around a doctorate. He already it signals to me okay. You didn't actually look into what happened in two thousand sixteen. it wasn't a shy trump voter. Yes it is true. That trump voters maybe people who support trump are not responding to survey calls as much. But they're not. It's not because they're answering the phone call and saying oh yeah. I support biden. Because they're scared of saying that's not. it's not a shy trump voter. It's that you know when you're a group of people who has Been told by your demagogue that all institutions are bad and journalists or evil. And all that. You're not gonna answer your phone. You're can participate in a survey which is much different than than what he says. Which is well the polling. Good for biden. But i don't trust it because of trump voters not now not. That's not what happened. But whatever it's a minor point now because you know it is true that the polls were a bit off but for slightly different reasons and Also here's a quote. Trump has made. It seem like white. Supremacy was ascendant. I love that. Yeah you mean the white supremacists in the white house. Who has fucking still had. Steve bannon in there. Who had stephen miller doing you know like the most policies regarding immigration and all that that. Oh yeah just only seems yeah only seems like white supremacists ascendant god and then by the way another quote. Oh just imagine because he spends the first part like the protests are going to be so bad like need goes to great pains to actually talk. This is what's so it's simultaneously. It's it's better than nothing but also frustrating about same harris is multiple times during this. He'll talk about real problems. They'll say look at the wealth inequality which is something that by the way he's been on for a long time actually really respected that about him back in two thousand twelve just blog on his website and one of the things he wrote about was like check out. This wealth inequality. This isn't good. We can't have this. I was like well. Yeah good point and even go reference like a bunch of systemic in the episode but then but then the point is that he's focusing all his attention on this bigger problem of seeing racism. Word isn't yeah. It's just it's totally. Yeah the emphasis is all wrong. And it's very telling. I think he released this. Like how long after george floyd was that it wasn't that long. Yeah right right around it right after. And he's like oh this is just where you we're on the brink of collapse while on and i also pulled another quote where he said just think of what. An act of domestic terrorism would do politically. And i'm thinking. I'm not entirely sure what he meant there But like kyle rittenhouse was after this. And what did that do do that. Like we have domestic terrorism dude all the time. It's just not the kind you're thinking of. It's the kind perpetrated by white. People who think white people are persecuted minority essentially. Yeah that reminds. Oh i got. I got short sure Quote hashtag all lives matter in. I'm going the same. Here's voice in. The current environment is being read as a naked declaration of white supremacy. It's a pretty good. That's pretty good. That's how weird. This moment is. Close quote how the fuck ignorant has become seriously. This used to be one of the things i this is. This is why started following saint harris in the first place. It always seemed like he was doing his research and trying to at least when he disagreed with things not respond strowman nothing in this episode indicated that he knew anything about what he was talking about. Yeah he has he has. He has used your study that you already showed you know not not only was it retracted. The study. should you talked about in the last episode He's used that one thing to construct an entire fucking narrative that's just so out of touch and heart of his main thesis. Here is about the fact that look. He's a white man but that should matter should matter that he's white man it doesn't matter the colors and it's like yeah yes no my dude. Yes and no. It's not that because it's not that what you're saying is wrong because a white person is saying it's that you're wrong about this whole thing and it's connected to the fact that you're white person yes and i will give specific examples later on so one last thing on these protests which you see so up in arms about i can't believe these protests because corona virus corona virus and. I think even back in june. We knew this was not a fucking problem. But he he says here These are rough quotes. i typed them. You know as i'm going. But i hopefully. I captured the spirit of them This is a mortifying piece of hypocrisy. Especially since the pandemic has hit the african american community the most how many people with these protests kill. He says because he's anticipating that's going to spread the virus. Well unlike a bunch of fucking idiots who support trump black lives matter. Protesters tend to actually believe in silent science overwhelmingly and it's outdoors. It's ventilated many of them. Were masks and wouldn't you know it. If you google it right now if you look at the data it doesn't seem as though any significant virus spread was caused by these protests. Yep that's so that. Fake concern is obviously fe concern. Probably we knew that then But you know. I was a little worried. Like oh shoot is this gonna. Don't blame him for being worried about that but didn't turn out to be the case so don't worry that should be a load off your mind. Sam harris and then more notes on these conversations are so dangerous. I'm just trying to have conversations. More dangerous is so dangerous. What we're doing right now. Lindsay is so dangerous. It's dangerous we're going to be probably killed for trying to have a conversation because the radical left doesn't allow it already. Yeah and then okay here. This is a so. Here's here's some. Here's where we get to Again a lot of criticism about this but he. Here's a quote quote. Some people are protesting for reasons. I defend okay. How the fuck do you know who is protesting for what this is. The biggest thing that drives me nuts about the stupid episode. He comes up. Here's another slightly we later. It seems to me he says it seems to me that most of these protesters are protesting on the basis of identity identity politics and he also said another quote quote now of course we need police reform and quote ha. So here's the problem we need. Let me laid out. Sam harris agrees. We need police reform. Some of the people are protesting for reasons. He defends but then other people are probably not. Because i believe maybe they're not protesting for the right reasons like yes. Here's what i want to tell you. How is fucking police. Reform gonna hap. You've already agreed that we need police reform. How's that going to happen. Are we one or two episodes of the waking up. Podcast away from police reform happening. Is that how it's going to happen if we have a calm conversation about it. Is that how it's going to have an or is it gonna be because we fucking protest. I think i think i had. I had this thought. I listen to it that the thing he objects to is people protesting on the basis of anecdotal evidence. So if we would all get riled up about studies that actually show really systematic ways. That there are anti-black. He'd probably be all for that. Yeah right here's exactly so. He's so he's already granted. Wealth inequality is granted. Know all these things. So here's the theory of mind of the protests according to sam harris it's again we've we've granted that in his opinion race doesn't matter my tell you why it actually does matter and why. He's wrong because of his race. Essentially in his experience it's not necessarily as raised per se. But it's like his experience as white man has has shielded him from what's really happening here. So what. Sam harris thinks is happening. Here's here's this there and this is not a strong. I assure you got listen to the fucking thing now. It may be put in a. I might put this in a way. That's not to be entirely. Flattering to sam harris but it is essentially what he believes in what he's saying if you actually take it to. Its logical conclusion. So what he thinks is happening is that there's a bunch of people everybody's fine going about their daily lives. There isn't really much of a problem with racism at all. We're all pretty much. Okay except for the things. He already grants but apparently they're not a big enough deal to be protesting about according to him like or are they it's unclear because again some of the protests are good but overall he hates the protests. It's very mealy mouth but anyway yes but then. Here's what happens lindsay. What happens is we see a video of a police killing of a black man. Okay and then because of social media and people you know like not putting proper context on things are making assumptions or whatever we then all of us in the country then think oh no police are killing black men you know without cause and it must be and furthermore according to him we must think it happens all the time like it's every day every black man or something and because of those incorrect assumptions that again not all the protesters apparently have but enough of them for him to be just whining about protests for an entire episode. We then start protesting just on the basis of these videos. Like that's it it's just. I saw this video. George floyd i'm gonna go protests and i'm doing it for the wrong reasons except for some of them. Apparently according sam harris aren't doing it for the wrong reasons but but that's the that's the mind of the protest. That's the mind black lives matter. We use this one point which is a video. That's all we know. We're idiots apparently and we see that like there must be an just an epidemic of black men being killed by cops and then we go yell and protests and we don't listen to what he has is the actual evidence he actual numbers he's got the actual studies site that you've already debunked retracted studies. Yes retracted say that. Joe actually action. It's a well actually study well if anything White people were killed more. You've already talked about why this should be debunked and these are just facts. Yeah just the facts and so everybody is wrong. They and they and furthermore they're unwilling to hear the secret facts that only white men sam harris has except unless you're by the way the only people who can have a proper conversation about this are his four or five examples of black men. Who are you know hold. These was thomas chattered williams second by the way i love this coleman he used to like coleman like an undergrad or something like he's like a grad student maybe but because he wrote some opinions for quill let about how. Actually there's no racism all of a sudden he's like a form. He's like a nobel prize winning expert in the in the republican community. Even though he's a fucking grad student no offense to grad students but it's amazing how high up the ranks in certain segments of the society. You can go in the conservative media ecosystem. How high you can go. How fast if you are a black person willing to say that race isn't a problem. Yep i agree. I don't apologize. I don't know why you're here. I should let you talk more. You had your. You had your turn with the science now time for the yelling. Yeah so. I thought i thought when we started the particular point i thought you were going to talk about when he was like talking about his collisions with the cops and how he's white so he didn't have to worry and and for a minute there yet is going about. You know he was like in. This makes me lucky. If i were black you know probably more counters. And i was like okay. Maybe he's maybe he's making a point and then he follows that up with. If i were black i probably would have seen those interactions racist even though they weren't wow yup. That's an interesting way to finish that sentence. Yeah he does he. He does a good job. here's what he's good at. He's good at trying to throw as many little. I don't know what you'd call it little concessions or signals like. Oh my god here. I i actually am okay with you know. I'm like i'm woke a little bit. You know even though he would never say that but like he tries to throw these little fig leaves of woke kness like oh yeah white privilege. The part of the white privilege is. I don't have to see the cops a lot because you know my people don't commit crime essentially like that's well wait. Can i compare them to keith. Now is that. Oh yeah yeah definitely absolutely yes. Because because it's that maneuver. That i think is so much like keith. Because throughout the episode there's just this maddening like like just ricocheting between these navaly ignorant and racist statements. And then he'll he'll immediately move to you know i'm acknowledging that racism still very real issue and never say that it wasn't a real issue in systemic recently doesn't use that word but he talks about that are essentially systemic racism Then he goes right back in to the the painful ignorant racist statements. Now that he's credentialed like like you said like yeah he's woke just goes terms and like it so reminded just hit me the last time i listened to got to listen to this episode too many times so stupid. It's like six hours of my life. I've fucking same hair. So i hope you're listening at least one point five x because actually one point five x sounds like a normal person. He's a slow talker. he's a very. I wasn't to one point five accent. I don't notice that it's like it. sounds normal. sounds like an. Yeah so this last time because now i've watched all the dow and the the other one seduced unlike and listening to him. Do this like holy shit. This is exactly what keith did at those lake. The part yet you brought this up. And i was gonna do an example for lindsay. I need you to notice notice feelings. Shit notice your your mind. I'm going to say i'm gonna piece of shit. I'm gonna say some things i want you to notice your reaction because reaction your emotions lindsay. The they don't they don't signal that i'm wrong. They don't really tell ya. I'll give you an example notice. Your feelings okay. It might be really cool to eat a baby. Yeah now notice. I bet you just had. I bet you just had a big negative reaction that lindsay. When i said it might be cool to eat a baby. You probably have this feeling of like how gross you white man talking about eating baby. That feeling is not an argument. Lindsay xiang argument so they are born. I guess ipso facto. Eating babies is cool god. It's so infuriating. It's so condescending. You all right. That is exactly like keith. That part where he's like. When i saw i'm going to reveal my secret truth that actually black people aren't you know disproportionately killed or whatever. According to the again redacted paper. This now retracted rather retracted. Paper review my super tooth. And i bet you're gonna have a negative reaction but it's okay you know that's not really an argument that's just the woke people who've conditioned you via social pressure to feel this things as like. Oh no or maybe you're just fucking wrong you asshole and somebody's wrong in a racist way. You both know that they're wrong in a rational but also you're really reacting emotionally to the fact that they're insufferable asshole added. Both those things can be true. You insufferable asshole jays s. Yeah it's the best. It's i think that is gasoline. Yes absolutely absolutely yes okay. so that. that's what his theory again. That's his theory of the protesters. That were all everything's fine. We wouldn't be producing at all but for this video and this is what he couldn't couldn't be that this is just like a really visceral example. They kind of got everybody motivated and that we all knew that this was a problem for a long time or at least some of did yeah he he already again. It's so confusing. Because he already. And i have another bullet point here where it's essentially protests are fine but the problem is they're based on confusion so he says like he's like protests are getting right to protest is great even brings up the trump like you know. He trump cleared out the protesters in front of the church. And that wasn't good and protests are good but again. Not if they're not exactly it's like if we're all out there protesting lindsay and we're all protesting for you know. Police reform police police farm defunding play. Whatever sure apparently if we don't all exactly agree on like precisely what policy measures need to take place. then it's invalid and we gotta fucking go home then. It's a waste of time. It worse than that. Because i wrote down something about the defunding police thing and i remember him saying like you know what imbecile would think. Police should be less well. Trained totally on board with like you know. Mental health professionals funding them. More not having cops. Do jobs aren't trained. Actually i don't think he said that. Did he say that. That might have been the second episode. Because i didn't hear him say that i do. I heard him say the first thing you're saying but i don't remember him saying that we ought to have mental health professionals because i specifically it was going to say that he didn't say that he did it he no he did. He did say that at some point. Oh i'm sorry. I must have missed that. He talked about defend the police at two. Different points though. So it's shit but but yeah and then and then yeah. It's completely absurd position. That police should not be what who is saying that. Who's saying that other than his friends that call themselves classical liberals and that's exactly black people so fucking stupid though. Look the way society. This is what drives me. nuts is again. he has such a problem with these protests. He's so concerned about these protests. He's so concerned about. Despite the fact that some people might be protesting for the right reasons. He has no fucking way of knowing who is protesting. We do we need. Does he have to personally verify the motivations of every protester for it to be an okay protests and the learn. He's putting he puts an overwhelming burden on just everyday folk. Who are fed up with this bullshit. And i wanna protests. He puts all the burden. Would they apparently need to be. You know well researched. They gotta have all these policy paper. They got to know their white papers and their statistics and by the way again. The paper references has been retracted. So he's fucking astle who doesn't have the right data but again assuming that he did. He's putting all this pressure on a massive people and not on politicians police unions. All these different people who actually have power to take the data to take this civic response and translate it into action. Yes that's where the fucking burden should be and it's so tiresome it's such a fox news mentality to zoom in on the old look at this protester they just broke a window whole thing must be bullshit then or something. It's like fuck ya you. That was annoying to. he kept. He kept moving back to like and this is just it. Just focusing on the destruction of property thing is though like this outweighs like the violence that has been done to the black community for right. Oh i have that one written down to. He's like oh looters and or whatever like simply dude you're gonna hold all of democrats or the left. Whatever accountable to looters to by the way plenty of footage over the course of all of those protests. And all that of actually white people starting the looting or white people starting the violence to try to poison the well to make it look like the protests. Were violence violent. Because it's so easy to do. Because they know that the right wing media will jump on that. And then it'll be presented as look at these violent thugs blah blah blah blah blah blah. Your putting all the burden on the masses of people by the way he's already acknowledged the atrocious income inequality wealth inequality and the fact that like like what kind of impact that might have. Well you know what imagine if you have a population that's just been beaten down by racist policy after racist policy over policed over incarcerated to the point where so many black men or just have disappeared from lifelike. Black fathers black husbands because there there've been jailed because they've been whatever i got any member about that. Yeah same here and you're gonna put the burden on that oppressed group of people to what perfectly like. Okay this protest needs to be just they got to publish a magna carta or of detailed policy proposals and then they have to protest in exactly the right way or else it can't be heard or it's invalid or blah blah blah blah blah. It's such a stupid fucking way to put the burden. And he does it again when we talk about looters vilo. There's the police He talks about the police. Backlash one of the good things to come out of these protests back in june was newspapers and in newspapers fucking magazine. It's not really newspapers anymore. But online sources of media they finally wrote the headlines how they should be written. Which is police erupt in violence and that was one of the good things that have police erupted by sarah harris presents. It as well. Yeah what are you going to do. They got there being. You know they he. He sort of excuses the cop a little bit and one of the major problems with all of this is it goes and whether we're talking about the protests or whether we're talking about just daily. Police interactions we. He's putting the burden on the person being arrested or whatever protesting and not. The person whose job gets paid. Their job is to try to manage these things. Yeah i'll let you talk. What was the thing you hours. I wonder if i because like i guess. We mentioned this for a second on the on the other episode but But yeah like his th that was one of the most infuriating moments in his episode for me was when he was like. Just patiently explaining to these imbeciles in black lives matter right not just black people black americans who just don't understand that there's a correct way to interact with police officers. Yeah like how does he. How does he not here himself when he says shit like that. I mean first of all. I don't even know that. I doubt that that's like a significant proportion. What's going on but like the fact that that's where his emphasis. I think says fucking everything so you were talking about the you know the fact. That mass incarceration father absence because you know financial all that stuff. So in the second episode where he has The guest on talking about these things. He specifically talks about those issues and makes the claim that like no those are the the effects of those things are too far removed to be considered does. Oh yes so. I'm not telling you listen to that episode but like there were i'm remember. I enjoy a whole episode of me yelling. And if they really really do. I'll listen to that one and then i can yell again but i don't know you heard it folks. Let me know in the second facebook group or something. I don't know yeah. It's the worst. Yeah because that to me like that's that's most of it right. Yeah the years of fucking well. That's the problem that's why it's systemic said in the last. Yeah it's a big thing and it's really hard. It's easy if you're an asshole to try to focus in on one thing and say look. Was this one thing. Direct interpersonal racism. Maybe not therefore as it happens the protests. Yeah even i have to go into this. He this is the part where he says. Now sorry this is my only maybe funny. If anybody listen to the episode my point here is turn off your mind. Relax and float downstream. Because he goes into this thing about listened to. Your mind is just as i say this. You're gonna you're gonna have a reaction. Yeah motion actually goes into that. Whole gas lady was like nah. Yeah i need to put on. Was that revolve no. That's what is no that sergeant pepper. Yeah the end of pepper there. Right can fall back now. i'm blanking anyway it's That's one of my favorite beatles albums. And i can't remember what it is. That's a bad sign too. I'm too Too agitated that's why bay when he does to turn off your mind. Relax and float downstream into my fucking racism. Then he goes like dust. The killing of visit quote does the killing of floyd prove. We have problem of racism doesn't even suggested and so. Here's here's here's the thing if there is an example of a white person who was killed by cops in a similar manner and they'll go home and he says the persons named four hundred times. I can't remember the person's name and therefore and here's how he breaks down. The george floyd killing do you think that Fuck in officers. Visit chauvin cab assholes. Do you think that he went into that. Thinking i want to see is a white cop. Want kill a black person. Maybe do you think you wind up. No i've got other evidence. There's also cops who did the exact same thing and this other situation to a white guy therefore if so fatso. This one thing doesn't mean that there's racism yep and so therefore incredible the whole in his mind this matters for some reason because the whole protest in his mind all the protesters came out that day. Because of this one video like there wouldn't have been any other like if it weren't for this one video everybody would just been sitting at home happy not a care in the world because racism is pretend except when it's not yes so that but also the fact that it happened to a white person does not mean that race wasn't a factor when it happens to a fucking black person. Yeah it is different. The fact that he's trying to be like so therefore it couldn't be a factor if we had exactly the same case and he had been a black person. It couldn't be a benefactor. Because what are you talking about. He has to know that's not true he has to. He has to know that. I don't know. I just don't fucking care and again. I think i've already said this. Do you think george. Floyd gave a shit whether or not derek chauvin had individual personal racism. You're right you're killing me. Hey are you killing me for racism or not. I just need to know as fucking dying. God doesn't matter dude. No it well but it does. I mean that's the problem with this fucking episode is that there are so many layers of badness to every statement that he makes because interpersonal racism. I agree it's the systemic issues that are that are more the problem in the vast majority of these cases. Those are the things that we ought to be focusing. I totally get that. But also the the cleaned that he's making to demonstrate that lake interpersonal. Racism doesn't matter is also absurd. It's all bad it's all bad. Yeah his three pronged approach to disproving individual racism and police shootings is the you know here's an example of white person being killed and then the hypothetical do you think officers should bag wanted to be a murder in broad daylight and so that that's that's the logic that they do this all the time. Well i think he was being raised. You think how stupid would he be if he wanted to. Just racially execute someone in racial murder. In brazil police officers never face consequences for thanks. Dan and it's also like a complete disregard for human life but but has nothing to do with race because there's examples of them doing that to white people and also the other one is hey turns out when you look at the data non white cops might shoot non white people even more slightly than people extended. I was attracted so well was that i think there may even be true. I like i honestly don't know maybe the kid who cares it doesn't from what i got from. This could be true. But it's probably it's probably just like a spurious relationship because Like a population right areas where there are more black cops. There's probably more it's because of the population has more black people. So you're going to get more this encounters. That's at least what. I got from the stuff that i was reading for this but i haven't read every article on this. Yeah here's the here's a quote quote. I find it very unlikely that he was intending to kill. George floyd oh okay. Everybody go home. He didn't mean it didn't mean to do it. I feel better. Yeah yeah oh god and so. Here's the point. Here's the here's the main crux of the matter. No sam. this isn't all based on these fucking videos. It's not and so any brings up the example. He's like oh. I don't know any of the names of the white victims of police shootings you know. That's i agree with that. I agree that a okay. It's actually true that more white people die by cop than black people because they're way more white people in the country so you would expect that and it's about your disproportionality but it's also true that like a white person killed by cops. It often doesn't really take off. I really and all that that's true. That's not some secret sign of hypocrisy or like or whatever. Here's here's my theory about this and you can tell me what you think. I'm it's about emotional resonance and it's about all the other factors going on. You know when you have the aforementioned wealth gap that sam harris already fucking agrees with and brought up multiple times when you have white people with a tenth of the wealth median wealth as sorry black people. The tenth of the meeting wealth is white people and you have a severe segregation underfunded schools. You have a over policing black populations statistically. I been trying to track this down. I can't fucking fine statistics anywhere but but you know i. It's it go. I think it's uncontroversial. True like i i. I don't know that anyone would argue. Even sam harris that black people are encountering police often. In fact i think it's key to his argument which is all the disproportionality is because of the encounters. But you got over policing you've got the idea that like Think about this If you're another white person listening to this think about the fact that like for my. I'll just take my privileged existence. The only times i ever interact with police at all is if i have a traffic violation the two three times in my life. I've had a traffic violation. That's my interaction with cops. And that's patrol. That's an asshole who wants to write me a ticket. That's mu who. Yeah i probably was gone. Fuck in too fast or whatever and i'm just like yeah ticket. Yeah that's that's the extent of mine action police. You know why because. I live in a nice suburb. I'm privileged. i am doing fine financially and my kids will likely go to a good school. And that's all and that's my life and so if there were a new story about how white person got killed by a cop or something. I'd be like weird. It's there's no residents to me. Because i'm not i suck. I'm not worried about like. I'm not intimidating that phoebe and arlo spend every day getting pulled over by cops and stopped inappropriately and they might they are. Are they going to friends. Who have weapons or do they have weapons or they have like. It's not on my mind. Because i have an over abundance of privilege whereas if you're black in this country and you're over police and by the way for black men it's one out of three of them will be arrested sometime in their life or something. It's crazy. I'm trying to find that stat. I know i've heard that somewhere. But it's something like that. Their interactions Are are way higher with police like if you look at the stats of Just essentially male disappearance and that puts a number of things so either being killed by police or being incarcerated or stuff like that if you add it all up. It's something like one out of six. I just saw and again. I'm i can having hard time finding the right sources. But they're they're fucking find it An anecdotal it makes perfect sense. Like you add it altogether. Imagine how much more resonance that has. If you are a black parent a black child a black mother father whatever it is and you see a story you see a video of a traffic stop. A cop is just like oh. I think he has a gun bang dead. You know. we've totally that's gonna fucking resonate because in your mind you're like oh shit. This could happen to my child tomorrow. Of course it's going to resonate more exactly and so that's why you're experience is actually a factor sam harris. It does matter that you're white. It absolutely matters that you haven't had the experience and and it makes it's so painfully obvious in the way that he talks about these protests as though they're all because of one fucking video. Yeah yeah no. There was a moment in this that that made me think about this issue in his episode. He's talking. He's like quoting somebody. We saw an interview or something Asking somebody who is you know supporting defend the police and the person was like what do i do if you know police in someone's breaking in my house i can't call the police. And the person responded label. You know what that right. There is a statement of privilege. And i wrote that down. Yeah clearly we know what they mean by that right that like you have the confidence in the police if you call them they're going to protect you instead of like shooting you in the face right like that's privileged privilege and sam harris. Here's this quote and says this is so absurd and the idea that the fear one feels is privilege is where the left goes to die like clearly that is not the point and clearly yes. That is how he can't see past his own experience privileged experience far enough to actually hear what's being said here. It's it's infuriating. Yeah that was like the minnesota councilwoman or something like gave that answer to somebody and then had to go back on it. Something like that. That's what yeah no it is actually. Aoc made this point. You know where she was like. I think she tweeted or something. What would not abolishing the police like. I i'm not in favor of completely abolishing the police. I'm sure we have a listener to probably is. I don't really think that's feasible. I think you can do plenty with just diminishing their role and having them. you know. there are select times when you'd want someone to respond with a gun like you. you know. There's a fucking random. There are bad crimes in this society. We have too many guns for their not to be. There are going to be active shooter. Situations there are going to be hostage. Situation are going to be robberies or they're going to be you know domestic violent whatever it might be. There are going to be situations where you do want a cop with a gun to go respond. They'll still probably terrible fucking job. Because i don't believe in them or their training and they're they're not good at it and then they'll probably shoot people still and then they'll get away with it because the police union there's a lot we have to fight but still there are going to be select scenarios. But what we've already seen and you know the The back and forth over this was pretty good. during the protests it was. Hey why don't we just replace you know like like I'm blanking on the name but there was that other murder by a cop who was the guy who was like falling asleep in his car in the drive through. I think it was. Yeah and the whole thing like it's disturbing because you can hear a lot of the interaction and most of the interaction was fine and then the guy like tries to run away or i think even stole the you might have stolen the tasers something and runs away and so the cop of course shoots him in the back and kills him as he's running away because that makes sense. Yeah and it's like okay. What if instead a mental health worker had responded to that call. There was no danger in that scenario. Accept what the cop brought. It's like the fucking cave and star wars. There was nothing. There wasn't a weapon. There was no anything except what the cop brought to the situation right. And how many scenarios. Yeah how many scenarios are there where that could be replaced by social worker mental health worker. Whatever which by the way we could fund better we shift funding absolutely and a lot of that dialogue was getting sars. Bring up the point you know. She said getting rid of police. Or reducing police are defending. Police isn't radical. It would look like what already exists in the suburbs which is totally true. I don't see the police ever. I never see them in. So let's do that but for more places you know or or figure out how to make that work or or by the way. That's that's another frustrating. Part of this. A lot of the problem could also be you know other sources i mean income inequality and joblessness and all this other stuff that those are all parts of the problem you know and so it's like yeah yeah. No one thing is going to solve all the problem and the protesters. It's not protesters job to go out there. And say here's my eighteen point plan for how to fix things. Protests are sign of people being like fucked this. We've had enough and it's ball. Titians job to translate that into action. So if you have problems with protesting with protesters sam not knowing all the fucking details of all the research that again. You're wrong about but like say there some research. You're right about for example. Hypothetically the problem isn't with the protesters. The problem is with us as a society at politicians and the people in power needing to translate that Fed up nece to action and we never do not god. It's so frustrating. It's the worst. Yeah look toward the while. Here's another thing. After throwing toward the end he talks about brianna taylor. And he says guess. What guys wasn't a race thing he says that was a problem with no knock raids. No knock warrants. No knock roots I wonder why did a no knock raid. Yeah could it be because their suspect. Who by the way didn't live there but set that aside their suspect who may have been like receiving packages of that locate whatever the fuck it ended up being. Could it be because that was a black guy. Maybe could that have any influence or or could the neighborhood that she was living in Had any influence on the fact that they obtained a no knock warrant. Yes i think so. I'm sorry but did you know that there was one time a no knock rated a white person's house. I don't even think he had that example. But why aren't we upset about those cases. Why don't we know their names. That's what god it's the worst and so closing here. He again says he says here. Here's a quote as i hope. I made clear we need police reform apology. I know of yelled a lot. How are we gonna get asked. How are we getting police reform because your solution of no absolutely no protesting anybody because you might be wrong specifically about thinking protozoan. But i'm going to have a conversation. Thomas chatterton fucking williams or whatever. Is that getting you police reform. Is that doing fucking anything or is the only time we get any progress on any of this with a bunch of people go out on the streets and say fuck. This were fed up with it. Yep god amen wouldn't even know about brianna taylor if it weren't for the protesters and the people who made it clear to everybody we wouldn't know and the end like simultaneously. He relies on these self reported. Police statistics while i think even he acknowledges like oh you. Don't get the false. Where like we wouldn't know the full fucking story. So how many times in those statistics. Lindsey that you've referencing these papers that they reference. How many times is it like. How could we even trust this. We were getting is from the police and we've seen time after time after time that their story ends up being bullshit. Right guy you know. I had that exact note several times as i was making notes on those articles like they were they were claiming to dispense with some of these criticisms about racial bias. Coming into other levels but they were like. But we controlled for this. And i was like. Yeah but they're all fucking officer reported like of course not a police officer would never lie about whether a suspect threaten them back. That would never happen. It's never happened at all. God overall not a big fan. Not a big fan of the i. Guess to summarize. All of it lindsey. M one out of five stars wouldn't recommend. Yeah now same. I'm embarrassed to admit that. I kept supporting his podcast for as long as i did but like this was the episode that i was like all right done. Send him seventeen paragraph email. But why isn't Dickhead cat it shouldn't have done that earlier. Well we'll see we'll see how this episode. Sorry i well. I think i was pretty clear about what this would be so going into you. What you folks. I found this very cathartic. Okay well i'm glad you. Maybe this is just a podcast. among friends. hunan osh infuriating. I used to love him. I really did. I used to be a huge fan and it just. It's so far up his own ass and it's it's his friends and it's not taking blame away from him like he. He's responsible for that for for half but like when you look at module not was talked about in the last episode is re tweeting q. Level fucking cunanan level conspiracies about the election and shit and this was sam's best fucking friend on some of these issues you wonder. What is this little. Circle of friends. And dave rubin is among that circle of friends and that fucking asshole from the uk That applies to a few mary. Douglas murray is in that simple. Where do you think they're getting their fucking information. Do you think they're getting it. From good sources are they reading the same right wing sources that get piped around and then they all form this little ecosystem. I think that's what happened. I mean he has. It's very clear it's been clear to me for a long time. That his immediate circle of the people that he's hearing from an responding to an you know in fairness this is a tough problem to solve as a humor. You know you ever around. Whoever's making the arguments you know whoever you're more exposed to you tend to respond to that more you know. And and that's just kinda how it goes but he you know when you have podcast like he does and you purport to be the super rational person who's having all these hard conversations maybe have more hard conversations with people who aren't fucking thomas sowell or however you pronounce it or charon williams or whatever's select people that don't he's decided are the only people who have the right opinions on stuff who coincidentally all have the same opinion. All hold a kind of a minority opinion on these issues. I don't like to explain things like that purely through through laziness. But it's just just and i'm sure it's a lot more than that here but in part. It just seems like fucking laziness. I mean this used to be the reason. I liked him in the first place was because he didn't do shit like this. At least it felt that way. Maybe i'm wrong. I've questioning everything now. But in the beginning at least it seemed like it was better. He didn't do this and and now now he does. And he's in a weird universe. Now that i don't recognize yep is super depressing. Well lindsey thanks so much for joining me. I appreciate these He's been saving up this rage for like. I feel a lot better now. Actually good me to feel better to well. We'll see if it's worth getting into the other episode that he did. I know you're listening to it. I haven't gotten to it. It's too much it's not listeners. I hope patrons. I hope you enjoyed this We'll see if this ever goes out on the mainframe. Maybe it will just keep it patriot only for now but we'll see Thanks so much. What's that i was gonna say. Maybe somebody else sent to. Sam harris will decide that difficult conversation and he is declared. He had one conversation with ezra klein. Who fucking mom. The floor with them and he said never again. I'll never because you know why because they're radical left or something. Yeah yeah all right. See folks next time. Thank you so much for listening to serious inquiries. Only if you like the show the absolute best thing you can do is support us at patriotair dot com slash serious pod. The second best thing you can do is please. Share it on social media or by word of mouth speaking social media. Follow me on twitter at serious pot. If you'd like to be facebook friends. Send me a request at facebook. Dot com slash thomas podcast. If you're not up for that level of intimacy that's fine. Maybe you wanna join the discussion at facebook dot com slash groups slash sl. Oh members thank you again for listening. We'll see you next time

sam harris george floyd Sam harris lindsay sam harrison Canley keith sam harris white Steve bannon sam kyle rittenhouse saint harris biden stephen miller Lindsay xiang coleman astle lindsey sarah harris chauvin
#219  The Power of Compassion

Making Sense with Sam Harris

48:16 min | 10 months ago

#219 The Power of Compassion

"Welcome to the PODCAST. This is Sam Harris. Just a note to say that if you're hearing this, you're not currently on our subscriber feed only be hearing partial episodes of the podcast. If. You'd like access to full episodes you'll need to subscribe at Sam Harris Dot Org. There you'll find our private process. To add to your favorite podcast along with other subscriber only content. And as always, we never want money to the reason why someone cans podcast so you can't afford a subscription. There's an option as embarrass dot org to request a free account and we grabbed a hundred percent of those requests. No question to answer. Okay, no housekeeping today. How will jump right into it? Damn speaking with James Dodie. James is a professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University. And the director of the Center for compassion and Altruism Research and education. He is also philanthropist who is funded health clinics throughout the world and his endowed scholarships and chairs at multiple. Universities. And he also served on the board of a number of nonprofits. And as you'll hear, he has a very unusual background he grew up in real poverty and faced a number of challenges. And seemed by no means guaranteed to succeed in life. But as you can hear, he has accomplished quite a lot. So we talk about how he did that. And how we might better understand and facilitate. The human capacity to come obstacles and. Bring more compassion into our lives. And to generally make the world a better place. And I bring you James Doty. I'm here with James Doty. Jim Thanks for joining me. It's pleasure to be with you. Thanks for having me. We're GONNA spend a lot of time talking about how you came to be the gym. Dodie. Who's WHO's now speaking with me. But tell me how you summarize what you're up to. Now I may professor of neurosurgery at Stanford probably more. Germane. For our conversation is I'm the founder and director of the Center for compassion and altruism. which is part of the school of Medicine and of which the Die Llamas actually the founding benefactor. And I'm also an inventor and entrepreneur and philanthropist at times and I have really an interest actually and. What drives people to be good if you will. Okay well, let's begin at the beginning. You've written a very poignant. Into the magic shop, which covers your childhood, which really is not the usual childhood right? I can only imagine it's not the usual childhood for someone who who has the breadth of your your life experience. At this point I mean your memoirs Oh it's almost like a fairy tale of challenges I mean just it entailed an incredible amount of stress in your earliest years your father was an alcoholic your mother was clinically depressed and often suicidally depressed, and then you had this transformation based on an encounter you had in a magic shop literally a magic shop. So let's talk about. How you began this journey of yours in life, how would you describe? Your childhood and what happened in the magic shop. Sure. Well, of course, when a child grows up in poverty with a father who was an alcoholic mother who's had a stroke peril partially paralyzed clinically depressed. The big factor is that. In some ways, you're in a war zone all the time because you never know what's going to happen. You know I wouldn't know whether my father was going to not come home or come home trunk. Or whether I would come in from school and my mother would be passed out from an overdose and I would have to call an ambulance. So of course, when you grow up in that type of an environment, it's quite chaotic and as you know, there's something called adverse childhood experiences. And this is essentially a technique where you sort of collect these. Events that a child lives with growing up poverty drug and Alcohol Abuse Mental Illness. Etc. and. The higher, the number. The less likely that child is going to, if you will succeed by societal norms and more likely that the child themselves will have drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness and a variety of other. Obvious negative events happen in their life. And at the age of twelve, I was filled with hopelessness despair anger and obviously it was affecting me and in fact, I was becoming a juvenile delinquent. And I had had an interest in magic in what would happen is when an event would happen at home. That was. Not, particularly pleasant I would get on my stingray bike and. Ride, as far away as possible and on one of those adventures I. Happened by a strip mall and at the Strip mall was a magic store which I went into. And the thing was that when I walked in, of course, my interest was in magic in the store. And there was a woman sitting there who had long flowing gray hair and her glasses on the tip of her nose and a chain around her classes reading paperback and she looked up at me. and. She had this. Really extraordinarily radiant smile. And I asked her about the magic that I was interested in and she said, well, I, don't know anything about this. This is my son store. I'm just here for the summer but this lettuce really to a conversation. That ended up being quite deep and one frankly which I wasn't used to, and the reason the conversation happened was because this is a person who. Made me feel psychologically safe I wasn't fearful of her. I wasn't fearful that I was being judged and she actually spoke to me as if I was an equal. And that my opinion actually meant something which. For a child from my background was somewhat unusual. He is just so. We'll talk about meditation and compassion and all of these interests that you you and I have in common and you're obviously your connection to training the mind was. Initiated in. In this dialogue with with Ruth and the magic shop. But what she was teaching, you was not in some ways it was kind of a standard meditation practices, but in other ways it. It wasn't. How would you summarize what she taught you there? Well I. Think there were four parts and and I have to tell you I mean. When she offered over the period of the six weeks to meet with me. and. If you will train me a which isn't really what she called it but I actually. You know had some concerns even about showing up and I showed up not because I had self-awareness or inside I showed up because she was giving me cookies and frank client absolutely nothing else to do. But I did show up and the first thing she taught me, which is a technique that now we would call a body survey and And a breathing technique and I did not appreciate that when you're stressed in your anxious. And your mind is all over the place that. With intention doing this technique of relaxing the body and then slowly breathing in and release in your breath really had a profound physiologic effect. This was in nineteen, sixty eight, and of course terms like mindfulness or meditation or Neuro plasticity or certainly not commonly used at all. And? After a few weeks of doing this practice I felt in some ways much calmer and it was interesting because. While the first few weeks. I didn't really notice anything as I did it more I did notice something and but one of the things I was having challenges with was. As I did this and sat with my own silence. I would have this negative dialogue going on in my head. and. It was one that said I wasn't good enough. I wasn't smart enough, etc etc.. And what she explained to me was that. That dialogue was not truth and that negative commentary if you will sticks to us because they're the things that potentially put at risk. And that in fact that negative commentary could be changed and this is what she called training the mind or taming the mind and Basically. It's what we would now call self compassion. This technique that has been advocated by Kristen F and others. To be kind to yourself I realized. that. I was always beating myself up and blaming myself for my situation. And so with that technique and she described it as listening to a radio station if you will that, you could change it, I changed it from one of negativity. To one of self affirmation and self acceptance. And that in fact, I was worthy. I to tell people that. When you make these types of negative comments to yourself. It's as if you're laying these bricks down, that are creating a self imposed prison. And very much giving your power way or agency away to. Change, thanks in your life. Because every time you say I can't it's not possible. The reality is that and I did not even understand that at the time and so by changing that dialogue was extraordinarily helpful to me. For a couple reasons, one is many of us have shadow self that we don't want to admit to and thanks that we don't like about ourselves. Thanks that discussed us about ourselves our failings. And For many people, they have a tendency to try to push it away from them or hide it somewhere. and. It doesn't go away and in fact when you're troubled or have difficulties. That's when it shows itself and this is real. You can relate it to addiction when you're particularly stressed that addiction comes out and so she taught me to accept that as a part of me and don't deny it and just be aware of it. And the other thing is that because I was so critical of myself, it made me hyper critical of everything and everyone around me, and what I found is that because of that when I interacted with others. Or try to accomplish something I would take a negative view of it. And what I didn't appreciate is that human beings have this unique ability to intuit emotional states from facial expressions voice intonation body habit as even smells. And when you carry yourself in that fashion, people don't WanNa be around you or they shy away or they're not open and they're not generous. And as a result, what I tell people is that. When I changed how? I looked at myself. It changed how the world interacted. With me. The other. Side effect of that was that. I cared a lot of anger and hostility towards my personal situation, my parents. And, of course, that was not fruitful in any way. And what happened was that I was able to see them in a much different way. I saw them as human beings who had their own pain and suffering. And the tools that they had to deal with them were not effective at all you know hiding your pain behind alcohol or. You know taking pills to get rid of the pain and hoping that it would keep it away isn't helpful and I in some ways forgave them and accepted the situation not trying to. Hope, the situation would be different and that change in perspective which I think is important of these practices is really very, very important. Well. She taught you something else in the magic shop which on the. Can Sound Pretty Spooky I mean it's in line with what you just described directly in terms of changing your concept of yourself, and she asked you to list what you want in life and to visualize yourself having adamant truly inhabit the person who already has these things whether it's great wealth or great success or you had a list of things which was fairly adorable for twelve year old. including. Having a Porsche and a rolex, but she wanted you to not see it from the outside but really see it from the inside and to practice this visualization that really this is a fait accompli you're guaranteed to arrive at the desired station in life, and what you need to do now is inhabit the the psychology of that and make it real for yourself and either as you walk a line in in your description of this, that is to my eye on on the right side of rational. Here because there's a rational way to understand how this can benefit a person, but it could also just tip into sounding like the secret I don't know if you remember that Oh no that look and that movie the movie by the name that is the appropriate target of opprobrium at the center of new age irrationality. But the idea that if you just visualize things or think it's true or assert that it's true it will become true whether it's you know attaining well losing weight or anything else but. Described me how you think about. The power of visualizing certain outcomes and how that enforces change in one's basic neurology or ones associated behavior and the kinds of opportunities that present themselves in life. Sure. No. I. Think you're right. I I will be frank with you I'm not a fan of the secret or the Selah Stein prophecies. Etc.. I don't believe that there's a magic external power. And we just need to tap into it and everything will be wonderful. What I do believe and in some ways I said earlier is that Each of us has extraordinary power we just don't. Realize it, and you know negative self dialogue limits that power what she taught me and what I realize is that when you? Utilize your senses and I think we see this now sports psychology and people think about the athletic event they're going to do over and over and over again, and the reality is as an example, you know it's been shown in a variety of studies that when you think about us, an example lifting weights, you actually increase to a small degree, your muscle mass just by thinking about it. And when you repeat something in your head over and over and over again. It starts setting down narrow pathways. When you utilize all your senses to do that. You write it down you read it you verbalize it. You think about it etc etc. then I would say that. If there is a possibility of it happening. That is the best technique to help that manifest and I'll give you an interesting example as a neurosurgeon. Of course, I see a lot of patients who have right if conditions. But most of the patients who see me we'll say something like, wow, doctor is. Of that. And then I, see them a few months later in the go you know it's the most amazing thing since we talked about I found that I have that I've run into five people who in fact do have that And the reason is is because you have put a sub-conscious primer. Out there and they're now at tuned to that, and in many ways, this is like the technique that rooftop taught me I, put into my. Subconscious this idea this possibility, this potential opportunity, and then I am attuned. To events that will allow that to occur. I don't know if you've seen the book guy named Bob Niece, it's called the power of fifty bits. No, well. The premise is as follows is that we? Have about six to ten million sensory inputs happening every second. But we're really only able a process about fifty or hundred. and. So when you put these things into your subconscious in some ways, you're creating a folder with that sang in it that sits out there and that's one of the things that you're going to pay attention to but it's not necessarily on a conscious level. And I think that is how you're able to have these things manifest but it's not you know praying to a power and hoping it happens. There's actually a process here and you know if you look at the placebo fact, if you look at how different individuals are able to make things happen as an example of course, we know monks who can control their heart rate or their body temperature. All of these things are available to us. It's how do you get access to it and what's the best way to get access to it to have it manifest he th there's a fact here which explains a lot of this. And it's that the brain. On some level doesn't know the difference between what's real and what is merely a simulation I mean they were the brain is a kind of simulation machine and the dreaming brain and the wakened brain share a fair amount of real estate apart from their frontal reality testing mode. That kind of goes off line when you're dreaming so to visualize something vividly. Is Not nothing for the brain right? It is. You are training something and there many levels of this phenomenon. We can witness some deliberate in some nod. Change you noticed in your patients, everyone has noticed in their lives when they decide they're they're looking for a new car or looking for a new anything that class of objects in the world suddenly become super salient to them, and they're noticing that brand of car that type of dog or or anything else that they have suddenly become interested in their noticing that thing everywhere and it it looks like there's been a change in the frequency out in the world knows just you're just filtering based. On that class of information, it should be very easy to see how negative self concepts become a kind of self fulfilling prophecy. If you think you're the kind of person who isn't good at parties can't socialize effectively with people a person who no one likes while of that's yourself talk. You can imagine just what your ramified in relationship with people out in the world and the way that becomes self perpetuating and the opposite obviously can become the case and what you're describing is a practice of. Seizing the reins deliberately and Starting a virtuous cycle of self-fulfilment in just changing this yourself concept. No I that's exactly right and and you know what's so unfortunate is that This is free and available to everyone and what's unfortunate is as you point out, people get into the cycles of these negative emotional states and ruminate on them. And again unfortunately, it just reinforces that again I, was fortunate in that. With Ruth's intervention if you will. That changed everything and it made me see. The issue wasn't me the issue was my negative self talk and once I got over that and truly believed if you will of infinite possibilities than that allowed a whole series of events to happen was. So then you went on to go to college as improbable as that seemed given your background and it really did seem improbable even even with all your visualization, you barely got an application in hand and then you not only went to college. You went on to become a a neurosurgeon. Let's talk. For a few minutes about the choice to become a neurosurgeon I I I actually have as you know a PhD neuroscience but I don't know too many neuro-surgeons well I mean I. Know a few but in terms of actual friends who are neurosurgeon. So what I know about the culture of neurosurgery is from the outside. I remember reading this book a while back when the air hits your brain I don't know if you've ever read this book by Erta. Sick. I don't know how. He captured the culture, but he really does paint the culture of neurosurgeons as a culture of gunslingers and Frat boys seems to be a specialty that selects for a kind of high testosterone arrogance and you you and you are certainly in your residency as you were as your visualizations were actually working there was a fair amount of arrogance that came online for you. Tell me what it was like to become a neurosurgeon and how you view that field of expertise. Well, I would. Say That over the last number of years the that has changed somewhat. But. But you're you're right I mean, this is a group of people and who are comfortable. With somebody's life in their hands realizing that a false move can destroy someone's life. And with that power in some ways, for many people come to sense of arrogance and a belief of infallibility and. And so. Of. Course, the system selects for those types of people. The other interesting thing about it is, of course, not only to be intelligent hopefully, you have good judgment and technical abilities. That's not always the case. But the thank for many of these people as most decided, they were going to be a neurosurgeon I mean literally in high school or in college, and it was this driving force that made them want to be a neurosurgeon. My situation was quite a bit different in that I was actually interested in plastic surgery specifically and caring for children had craniofacial deformities and I thought being a neurosurgeon. Would be helpful for that I realized I. Wasn't that interested in general surgery, which is usually the path to then to a fellowship in plastic surgery. So I was if you will very late to the game. And it was never a burning desire of mine to be a neurosurgeon for the typical reasons. So my view was. Somewhat different, but I would also suggest. It's an extraordinarily demanding specialty and I tell people. If there is absolutely nothing else you can imagine yourself doing. That's great. Become a neurosurgeon otherwise if there's anything that interests you beyond that, you should do that. 'cause this is a lot of hours and hours of training I mean neurosurgery is now seven years. Certainly. If you're going into academics or many people just regardless to fellowship of one to two to three years sue now ten ten years down the road from college and it's a specialty that. Requires intense focus and immense amount of diligence and frankly heartache. Nothing is you know more painful than to have to tell someone that their loved one either is devastated dennard survive you weren't able to do what you were going to do. Now, interestingly, I know colleagues who? For them those types of statements are just another day at work and INS like water on ducks back for me. I take it much more personally. He I can hear so I wanted to ask you about that because obviously we're we're now get into the topic of compassion and I, was wondering how much your experience as a surgeon which really again from the outside manny kind of surge bag I think neuro surgeon is may be the ultimate example of this and Piatra neurosurgeon one of your the beginning of your memoir puts us in the or where you're operating on a brain tumor in a child. I. Just can't imagine. Having those conversations with. Parents. Who are understandably in-extremis I mean, this is the height of a fear of uncertainty before surgery and obviously in those cases where it goes well. It has to be a joy second to none but when it doesn't go, well, that has to be truly heroin. You. Just raise the topic that was wondering about if compassion. We need to talk about compassion defined and differentiated from other states of mind but. Before we get there, I'm just wondering if compassion is the only tool, you need to navigate moments like that or if. If there's something you know less ideal American imagine there's there's almost a kind of benevolent or fortuitous psychopathy that comes online for many surgeons. It's just like this is just the job right you can't take this to heart every time or even generally because this will destroy you if you're moved around too much by the outcomes here. And it sounds like some surgeons do this to a fault. They are kind of checked out emotionally around the reality of the situation for the parents or. Patients. How do you view the the range of emotions that are ideal in this circumstance and how do you had you navigate that? Well, it's interesting because. It is a a broad range. There's a subset of people who. Frankly may be on the ASPERGER's spectrum who they're great technicians there. They know the literature, etc, etc.. They have no emotional connection and it is a job and they do the job. And then they're gone and of course. If you're talking about a doctor patient relationship, there isn't one and I've even had people say, well, I know he you know he's not very nice and he's abrupt and proske and Erica basic search. Okay and then you have you know the other extreme where Someone's highly engaging, very sensitive and connected. And suffers with you, but the key is to be able to. Understand the limits of your abilities, and as long as you can tell yourself, I prepared into the best I can. Then, there's no more of a discussion that's all you can do and you're okay. And I, think in my mind of course, that would be the ideal situation as in my book I talked about a woman who was an opera singer who had an aneurysm a, which is A. Of A blood vessel in the brain near her speech area. And asked me to operate on her, and by this time she had seen a few other people we'd become friends. And when I had the aneurysm exposed and really literally true is about to rupture you could see the blood swirling in in the annual because it was. So it was paper thin. And during that moment I started thinking about her. Versus the technical aspects of doing that job. And my hands started shaking to the point where I had to stop and actually go into a meditation. To essentially become a technician and displaced my emotional connection to her out of the picture, and once I was able to do that. I was a then able to effectively treat her and she did fine and that's really One of the few instances where. Connecting with their humanity. Does not, allow you to do your job, and that is job of being a technician. Well. Let's talk about I. Think I do WanNa touch on your? Kind, the other side of your career where you you've been an entrepreneur and someone who's run a company and had got interesting adventures in in wealth and philanthropy. We'll jump to that after we talk about compassion and how you came to focus on it, and just what it is how did compassion I become a primary focus of yours and what is it? How do you think about it as a a mental state and capacity well on some level I It was always there I just an quite understand what it meant but what had happened was at one point. I had left Stanford and an I had been intermittently involved with Stanford since I think ninety seven. But I had left to run an entrepreneurial company than the DOT com crisis came and I used to consult for setting up if you will neuroscience centers of excellence. And went to a hospital in Mississippi. And ultimately agreed to actually go there to build this program for them. But during that time. I had an experience with a a child who was not cared for adequately and as a result had an infection in his brain, an abscess in his parents waited too long to bring him in. And he even with my best efforts he died, but it put me into a period of reflection about all of these things and. When I went back to Stanford, I decided to explore this a little more and try to understand it and Interestingly, when I initially talked to my colleagues. At Stanford in psychology and neuroscience. Actually I was told that the academic exploration of compassion was a dead end and that if anyone made that the center of their. Academic endeavors they were not gonna go very far. The fortunate thing was that I had some financial resources which allowed me to fun what we initially called project compassion, which product group of psychologists and neuroscientists together. And we started a journal Club looking at the literature and then did some studies and really it was evident that actually these practices. Or if you will the nature of compassion was quite profound in regard to how it. Affects your emotional state how it can affect your physiology and a whole variety of both brain and. Peripheral physiology measures. And this led to the creation ultimately of at compassion cultivation training program, which we did some studies on. And also. I think led to some interesting studies and And then of course, over time. And I think if you look over the last. Twelve to fifteen years. This idea of the importance of compassion combined with are already significant interest in mindfulness practices really is one of the things that are at the forefront. I mean years and years ago when we started this. You would talk about compassion for many people. It was completely pooh-poohed especially by the corporate community cousins looked as a form of weakness. People run over you if you're too nice if you're compassionate. and. I think now people recognize that it is in fact extraordinarily powerful. Yes, let's talk about what the mental state is because it's often conflated with empathy. And sympathy and pity, and it needs to be differentiated even from something that's integral to it. Something like loving kindness also gets operationalized differently in different studies so that the neuroscience as far as I can tell still little fuzzy because some studies they're done in irreconcilable ways some asked just to generate the state of loving kindness essentially without any stimuli and then some present subjects with images of human suffering to which they they respond and so. I think that at least in my view that generic definition of compassion is loving kindness in the presence of suffering where we're we're. Human. Suffering or animal suffering is taken as its object and it includes this desire. The motivation alleviate the suffering of others. It has a few things bundled in here is directly cognizant of suffering. So it has a kind of cognitive empathy. But it doesn't have the same kind of emotional contagion is not like. You're sad when the object of your compassionate sad or you're depressed when the object of your compassion is depressed is a highly pro social and. Even positive. Emotion is not morbid. It's not A. Of Collapse, you're not feeling diminished psychologically by proximity to the suffering of others in faggots expansive state that has the feeling tone of loving kindness. But it has this extra topspin of wanting to respond to the suffering of others by alleviating that suffering does that. Yeah, I think you're exactly right I i. think you know if you were to make a a graph and you put agency in effort on one and you put understand and engage them on the other. Sort of in the downward left corner would be pity and this is I'm sorry for you or. And it's invariably related to I'm superior to you. I appreciate your situation it has nothing to do with. Empathy or anything else it simply has to do with your recognizing it and you know you feel bad for them. But doesn't reply imply you're going to do anything for them while? Sympathy. Is. Less than empathy, it's I on a cognitive level if you will. Understand that you're in pain and I feel for you. But it requires no agency. Per Se. While, empathy is actually taking on the emotional. State of another. But it has no valence it can. You can have empathic joy. And that can feel very good or. As A to record will describe WHO's a Buddhist monk who I'm sure. You probably know he says when you know I take on pain and feel for the others pain it is so painful to myself that I can barely stand it. Compassion is different in the sense that it is associated with suffering it requires your take on that emotional state but. You have a very strong motivational desire to alleviate that suffering and I. think that's Really, the key there is that you are motivated to alleviate that suffering now interestingly, Jimmy Zaki who wrote a book on kindness recently. Says empathy is the same as compassion or he uses them interchangeably. Discussions about that but I think some people do have Tennessee to use that but I would not use it that way. He added the terminology here is uncertain enough that even my friend Paul Bloom could write a book against empathy differentiating two different types of empathy we in one of which I I agree with him is not a good guide for moral deliberation, which is the again, just more pure emotional contagion side of it, which is just being taken in by suffering and feeling it as your own but in a way that is causing you to actually not be. Able to respond effectively or even think rationally about what would help you know their problem has become your problem and you know you're you're yet another drowning person who does know how to swim and needs to be rescued? Yes. So, then how did you get connected with the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist in this vein? Yeah. So and this. May sound like magical thinking. And I hate to do that too. I was involved in this work with the scientists. And we had begun some initial research studies. And we were thinking about having a conference and I was walking through the Stanford campus one day. And Again literally. An image of the Dalai Lama came into my head. and. Frankly. I had zero interest in the Dalai Lama per se and more interestingly my wife was huge fan and in fact. She had bought tickets for us to go to an event and I actually refused to go because it didn't interest me. But for some reason, this image state in my head. And I decided that. It would be good to. Invite the Dalai Lama to this conference that we were thinking about doing and he had been at Stanford once previously. Discussing a dictionary craving. And I tracked down the person in Buddhist studies who had invited him. And then connected him to one of His Holiness as translators. who had a PhD from Cambridge and Former mock and. took the jumper exactly yes. Yes. And and pod then arranged for this meeting and and so at this meeting and I, it's always interesting how things go because it was just me with this idea but when I was meeting with the Dalai Lama. The Dean of the medical school. The Associate Dean, you know became an entourage. And We met with him and His Holiness as you know as very interested in neuro science and was very very interested in this topic. And was immediately engaged in our fifteen minute conversation ended up that was scheduled ended up being an hour and a half. And at the end of it, he began a very animated conversation with Upton. Gen. Paw. and. I thought actually I'd somehow irritated or You know made the Dalai, Lama angry which, of course, a very embarrassing thing to do. That would be a feat. Take that as a feather in your cap. Although I, have seen him angry Y-. But at the end of this animated Dialogue Gen pop turned to me and he said. His Holiness is so moved by. This effort that he wants to make a contribution, and at that moment he made the largest donation to Non-tibetan 'cause he had ever made. which shocked everyone there and I was quite overwhelmed and move myself. And then shortly, thereafter to other individuals made significant donations and that actually created the center. Nice Nice and and how much time have you spent around him since have you met him on multiple occasions us Many. Occasions in different parts of the world I've spent time with him and have chatted with him. Ultimately I also became chairman of the Dalai Lama Foundation for several years. So I was fairly involved with him and it's interesting because You were talking about emotional states I can understand why people want to be near him. And in some ways, it's like what ruth offered me which is. Unconditional acceptance and love without qualification. And very few people. Actually. Give that out in a in an interaction with them and when you're in his presence, what I tell people is that. In Modern Society, which is different than how we lived few hundred years ago a few hundred years ago we lived in a village. We typically. had multi generations in the village everyone knew from the time you're a child growing up. You didn't move away. You had incredible support system. You had a community, and that community is extraordinarily important to your mental and physical health I think and. In Modern Society, we don't have that at all You don't have your parents around. You don't have your siblings. You don't have loved ones and proximity, and so as a result, we have a tendency to. Create the shields that we carry around which are the ones that say I'm this I'm that I've accomplished this etc etc etc. But there's no true authenticity that has ever released and when you're with somebody like the Dalai, Lama. You know immediately that you were unconditionally accepted and loved, and it's really quite profound because when that happens, it's almost as if this weight is lifted off of you and this natural joy and exuberance about being alive in some ways. Is released and so. I. Think you know when you look at people who strive to be near these types of individuals. You can perfectly understand why. Yet. Is still somewhat mysterious to explain but it is. It's a genuine phenomenon of I have spent a lot of time with great meditation Masters, and spent some considerable time albeit briefly focused over the course of a month with the Dalai Lama. Met Him on a number of occasions but strangely got to be one of his bodyguards rick for a trip through France. So he he was he was done at a tour of France and for whatever reason I got to be part of the buddist retinue that was the buffer between the real security guard. When he's in France he get early says that point he got you know their version of secret service protection something he did not get in the United States. So they're like four guys with guns who are you? Know, really protecting him and there was this buffer of essentially students have meditation and and you know people who had sat three year retreats in France with various llamas, and the may be of us, and ironically we you know we had the most conflict with the general public because we were the buffer between the real bodyguards and and the public it was a surreal experience to walk into a room. More or less continually focused on what could go wrong? who was untrustworthy just basically radiating bad vibes of of suspicion everywhere and to have over your shoulder the Dalai Lama beaming unconditional acceptance and love and just general ease and it was. It was a bad job that's really not where wanted to be in one's. Thinking alongside him but is where one had to be I mean because he really does did have security concerns and it's amazing. The number of weird people who show up when his presence is announced somewhere but it would it gave me a chance to spend some time with him and see what he was like again and again, and again mingling with strangers of all sorts and. Yeah he's a he's very impressive person. In that way, he does have a kind of laser focus on just connecting with people. You know albeit very briefly meal walk into the lobby of. Hotel. If. You'd like to continue listening to this podcast. You'll need to subscribe at Sam Harris Dot Org. You'll get access to all full length episodes of making says, podcast and two other subscriber only content including bonus episodes and Ama's and the conversations I've been having on the waking up APP. The making sense podcast it's ad free and relies entirely on listener support. And you subscribe now at San Peres Dot Org.

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#466 - Response To Sam Harris

Dogma Debate

1:48:31 hr | 1 year ago

#466 - Response To Sam Harris

"Skip, the commercials and get extra-long shows with behind the scenes access at Patriot dot com slash David C smalley. For more than ten years, he's built a reputation of exploring the leafs and changing lives. And with today's division, it's time to resurrect nuance. And bring back the art of conversation. They'll make you laugh. You may upset you. But most importantly. He'll make you think. From Los Angeles. California this is David C slowly? Today. Is June T. Trump add little. Did I know when I joined Kaiser? Permanente that it would be on my top ten list for what has made this year. Great I can see my physician. I can be referred to the lab. I can be referred to the pharmacy on the same building. You've got it all I mean it's. It's quality of care. Kids Compassionate care. It's convenience care. Every medical cases unique as companies. States twenty one St Rockville Maryland two, zero, five two. Removed for containing Nazi symbol. The president of the United States. Had An ad removed. For containing, Nazi, symbol, And then trump claims that he made June teen famous. The celebration of the end of slavery. Trump made famous. Yet trump just because you didn't know about it. Doesn't mean you're teaching the world. Things are tipping point right now. And Sam Harris recently published an episode of his making sense podcast, regarding police, black lives, matter and all the impossible conversations around the issue. If. You haven't heard that. Go listen to it. It's episode number two seven, and at the time I'm putting this out. It is the most recent. podcast he has available. Now I've been taken out of context on other podcasts, and I would never want to contribute to that. Sam lays his arguments out and thoughtful way, and with lots of preamble and prefacing. He shows where his heart is. In a way that I can't do justice. So, don't just take my word for what Sam said. Go listen to it in full context. I like him. I in our time together in Toronto. Where I had the honor of hosting event with Sam and Sarah Hater before three thousand attendees, it was a blast. Sam is a great guy. He's very nice. We had dinner before we had drinks after. We even hung out in his dressing room and talked. He was never too important to talk to us. We shared inside on podcasting even equipment, software and talk to adults who just share similar passions. His fame did not go to his head. So if you're wondering if Sam is one of the good guys, the answer is yes. But my feelings towards Sam and my appreciation for what he's done for. Critical thinking shouldn't dissuade me from addressing the points he made with a clear and open mind. In that episode, Sam Calls for us to be emotionally detached from these issues. The best we can, as we navigate these uncertain times and sensitive topic, so I'll heed that advice from Sam and I'll address my agreements and disagreements with him without bias. The beautiful thing about those of us in the secular world is, we shouldn't have sacred cows and I know Sam agrees with that. So I'll start by saying I actually actually do agree with a lot of what Sam said. Race isn't the only thing going on here. But My biggest disagreement with him is that it's not a relevant factor. In fact, he seems to disagree with that by then. Sharing stats that support the statement that race is one of the major issues and I'll get into that a little bit later. He's right. that. We do need to keep a calm cool head. We should be allowed to talk about this. He emphasized the importance of discussion which I often call for on this podcast. But. The question is. What do you do when talking doesn't work? When. You've talked for a hundred and fifty five years. There are multiple issues swirling around each making the other worse, and no one seems to listen to your plight. Do you just continue talking? And hope the oppressors decide to give you a moment of their time. Sam starts by saying social media makes things much worse and I have to agree. The lashing out the anonymity, the Straw man arguments that virtue signaling the I'm Walker than you are in our block. You approve it nonsense. The talking past one another and We've come to a situation where insults become products served in exchange for like, says currency. And that's not a way to move forward. When Sam says, people with a platformer terrified to take a wrong step. Never be able to recover. He has a point. People will listen to a portion of this share a clip out of context boom. My livelihood is at risk. But I've never been afraid terrified to do a show because I just accept that people will be angry, they will unsubscribe. Some will try to get me canceled. In fact, atheist liberals have tried to get me canceled far more than the religious right. Both have tried on some level, but. I've felt a far greater attack from my own camp and that's disturbing. Those liberal, so marched with for years proclaiming that we deserved a voice at the table, even if our views weren't popular. They suddenly changed their mind when I disagreed with them. I was no longer the perfect activists in their search for purity I didn't fit this identity of the person they felt should be speaking on a specific topic and I just kept doing it anyway. I've had people. Stop listening to me because I was too liberal. Some called me as social justice warrior others have left citing me as a conservative Schill. So I'm GonNa Address Sam's concerns here today and I'm going to attempt to answer the questions. He said he had no answers for. And try to make some things work that he said were unworkable. So less jumping. Sam. Called his episode. Can we pull back from the brink? My response. No And we shouldn't. Because the break we're standing on is inflamed. It's better to jump off and learn to fly on the way down because that's better than turning back to helpings of been, and I'll explain what that looks like. Civil discourse has broken down. Yes and that's why shows like mine and Sam's are so important. This is how you get the long form nuance version of ideas. Sam asked the question. When an officer kneels with protesters who have been berating him? Is that a show of solidarity or is at the beginning of the breakdown of our social structure. Here's what that does. It shows that we're all human. It shows that the uniform doesn't define the person. That people are more important than beliefs and jobs and titles and badges and tribalism. It shows that they're listening. A. Knee isn't a surrender. It's a symbol of love and respect and understanding. In fact when Colin Kaepernick began protesting than the national anthem on the sidelines of NFL Games. He was originally sitting on the bench if you remember in. A veteran road into him. And complained about it. He was upset. You Colin Kaepernick did. He met with that veteran and they had a discussion. Colin listened. The veteran asked him to kneel instead of sitting, because kneeling showed a sign of solidarity and respect for our military while making his point about police brutality. So. When the national, guard, or police officer or police chief kneels, that's a major sign. That they hear you. Now in some cases. That officer could fall right back into the same behaviors as we've seen. What officer was photograph kneeling in? The next day was caught on video, spraying peaceful protesters with pepper spray. was faking it. Some of you may think so. There's no way to know for sure. What exactly is going on as it in in in his head, I don't i. don't think so. I don't think he was pretending. I think when he kneeled. Or Knelt. He wasn't under stress. And he he did what he felt. In, his heart was right at the moment. But the next day when tensions were high, your, he was in warrior. Mode in warriors. Don't have time for your feelings. because. That's what we've done with our police. We've trained them to be an occupying force. WHO dominates the unruly instead of protecting and serving? I don't blame individual cops for this and I don't buy into the mantra that all cops are bad. That's absurd. The system is failing all of us. Even the cops and it poisons the well. The system asks too much of them. They will tell you the same thing. We want them to be fighters and peacemakers. Them to be there immediately and also stay the hell away. We ask them to know all of our rights. All of their rights, all of the laws and be able to quote the penal codes a will make them look ridiculous on Youtube. We want them to chase down our dogs, and of course get those drugs off the street. Unless were the ones drinking. The system asked police officers to be therapist. Problem solvers cat savers, EMT's and even Uber's. If you're having a tough night. I actually have a solution for this, and it may be hidden in a place that you'll never expect. I'll get into that in just a moment. When same talks about trump? We are one hundred percent on the same page. Especially when he says that this chant of being the law and order president is unlikely path to his reelection. If one exists. I quote this all the time on my show Napoleon Bonaparte said religion is great stuff for keeping common people quiet. But why? Because of fear. So if trump and Fox, news and OEM can make you terrified of the big bad boogeyman rioters. Then you begin to dehumanize them just as Hitler, did with the Jews in Germany, it happened slowly over time with certain coded language. And it ended up engulfing entire culture. It's okay to exterminate that which you see vermin. And it's okay to dominate those who you paint as criminals. So when rioters, light fires, and smashed windows and loot Sam's right. That helps trump. Which is why on several occasions far right? Activists have actually been. The ones caught inciting violence. That's something. I really wish same would have mentioned. They know it helps trump. Some of the efforts have also been ANTIFA which he rightfully calls them maniacs. And there are a number of videos showing standalone white activists, causing damages and being stopped by black. Who Don't want to be blamed for the carnage. There's a video of two white girls caught spring L. on the side of a building, and they were stopped and berated by young black woman who yells at them, she she says A. They're not gonNA. Put your face on TV when they show that they're gonNA put mine. We didn't ask you to do that. I think one of the girls response. We're doing this for you. She's like I didn't ask you to deface property for me. And then, of course, there's a video of a black man smashing out a car window of a police car with a trash can. While the COP is still in it by the way. That's not a good look, and you better believe that Fox now plays that on repeat. As with all parts of this, it's complicated. But, we are seeing a breakdown in our society like never before. As vehemently as most of us are against the violent protests, the fires. The that scary feeling. When a mob of protesters is headed toward your neighborhood. I have to ask. Do. You really think we'd be seeing sweeping police reform in multiple cities, conservatives, joining liberals and removing confederate monuments, and even trump listing the names of black people who had been killed by police, and then signing an executive order on even minimal reform. If they held signs on a sidewalk and. Ask Nicely and head peaceful conversations. I don't think so. They've been asking nicely since eighteen sixty five. Remember. The police keep saying. They, use force because we don't comply. Well. We, the people are in charge in this country. The police having power is an illusion that we allowed and played along. And they are taking advantage of it. And what you're seeing now is. We're tired of the abuse. And I know Sam mentioned the statistic that only one in ten thousand arrests INS in a shooting. But I'm not just talking about police who kill. For saying, stop telling me I can't film you in public. Stop saying you don't have to identify yourself. Stop covering your name and your badge number. Stop trying to take my phone and bully me. Intimidate me with your gun. In your hand or your pepper spray out? For saying stop demanding to see my ID when I haven't committed a crime, stop your unconstitutional civil forfeiture where you can just take my property in all of my cash, even if I've done nothing wrong. Stop lying on the police reports to cover for your buddies and stop your brutality. Don't make me and my neighbors, the victims of your lack of training. And we, the people are not asking. We are demanding and if you don't comply. Will have to use force. Sam, said. That having trump is president seem as though white supremacy is ascendant. I don't think it just seems that way I think that hateful people across society. that. We have shamed into the shadows. Finally felt safe to come out when trump got elected. He brings them out. Deal Hugely said that trump isn't the problem. He's a symptom. He's the flashlight that shows us the worst of America. And I agree with Sam that we need to defeat him in November. If we spiral into complete unrest. He'd Sam's warning that restoring order will become the focus of his election. If, that does. Trump has a chance. So to those of you protesting, please be mindful. That you want to disrupt. You want to make change, but you don't want an entire collapse. Because if that's what we lose Sam's right, that's all that's going to matter to the most of America to restore order and then start policy changes. That could be trump saving grace. On social media shocked to see that be him. Donations are going to democratic campaigns almost like they think they're exposing someone's lie. You're donating the black lives matter, but do you see how much went to Bernie? Do you see how much winter Joe Biden's campaign? What do you think the money is for spray paint? Window smashing sticks. Matches. Anyone surprised by this. Understands via limb about as much as creationist understand evolution. BLM. is about reform. Legislation sweeping change building up minority communities. Conservatives aren't banging that drum getting rid of Donald. Trump in his many conservatives, as possible is the best concrete way of improving lives of African Americans period. Sam Rightfully says that the difference between lucky and unlucky in this country shouldn't be as enormous as it is. And then he asked the question that interest him most which is. What should we do next? And then he says he doesn't have the answers. I have some very clear answers. That I'm going to lay out in this podcast. When people screamed from the rooftops. At all cops are racists or using the HASHTAG AAC cab a C A. B. which stands for all cops are bad on some forums. All cops are bastards. They're confused. They're hurt. They're angry. That's not the appropriate response. The cops, her cogs in a corrupt system that many of them don't even realize that part of. Their on a myopic level, just going through the motions, trying not to die day in day out day themselves are victims of bad training in some have an inability to recognize their own racial bias and that. Can turn deadly. Not to say there aren't racist cops as Sam also acknowledges out there looking to do harm to people in the black community, but that's not the majority. And if you turn the focus of the movement to that, you're gonNA. Miss the Bullseye. So let's address all lives matter. which seems to be prominent in my family back home in Texas? And Sam discusses. Showing that he is shocked. His quotas the Hashtag lives matter in the current environment is being read as a naked declaration of white supremacy. Okay. Fair point. All lives matter doesn't mean Heil Hitler. So. I'll ask. What do you think it means? If you're in an argument with a loved one, and they yell at you in the middle of the argument, and they say my feelings matter. Are they seeing yours, don't. Or they saying that they feel like you're not behaving as though their feelings matter. If someone says that to you in an argument, you should stop everything you're doing. and think about the pain. That person is feeling even if you didn't 'cause it. Black lives matter is a movement of validation. They WANNA be heard. They want to be acknowledged. And replying with all lives, matter is an outright refusal to listen to someone plight. So Sam if it's not racist, what do you call the refusal to listen to the plight of marginalized communities? I agree. It's not a naked declaration of white supremacy. But it sure as hell contributes to it. BY ATTEMPTING TO SILENCE THE MINORITY Pass a disabled vehicle on the side of the road and instead of stopping to help them. Your fellow human. Just. Yell Out Your Car Window. My cars just as important and then drive away. What have you done? But ignore. The distress of a fellow human being. On its face, it may be hard to apply. All lives matter directly under the racist category. But it sure is ignorant and embarrassing. And and yet to Sam's point, the galaxy player who was fired for what his wife tweeted. I think it's I. think that's insane and I don't agree with that and he likely has a lawsuit. I think all of us have been embarrassed by something else cetera did. That could. Expose, his views as well. Maybe, but do you have enough evidence to terminate someone's position based on that I think i. think would be hard. Pressed in a society I were supposed to be getting away from the witch hunt. To say that. His wife's to. Is a direct reflection of his views. Now. Regarding the protests. Sam says quote the perception that the color of a person's skin or even his life experience matters for this discussion is a pernicious illusion. He goes onto, say neither the skin color or life experience matters at all. Well. I'm no proponent of identity politics. I've been in trouble with the left many times for being outspoken against it. But I strongly disagree with SAM on this part. Well I understand I shouldn't be silenced into submission on this issue because of the color of my skin, just like I'm allowed to have opinions on abortion without a uterus and people with long flowing locks allowed to have opinions on how I should care for my shiny head. I think that. My conversation with Brian Fisher, she was exactly why. Sam is wrong on this one. It's often said that. Our perception is reality, so if you have a blinders on due to certain privileges in your life. At the very least that needs to be taken into consideration when evaluating your opinions. Brian for example is a sixty nine year old, conservative Christian radio host. A Stanford graduate with a Master's degree and who grew up in Oklahoma and he does very well for himself. This leads one to conclude that he he has very little in common with a sixteen year old, black, good in the in the Baltimore projects. Or a single black mother raising two kids on government assistance. So I had Brian on my show. And I explained to him that when I visited Baltimore after the Freddie Gray killing. And I noticed that there were no employment opportunities for miles around and no places to get real food or solid education, which fuels the violence and inner city crime. His response was well. We need to teach them to be better parents. And their fathers shouldn't leave them, and they should wait to get married and have kids. It took me a moment to try to put the pieces together of how being better parents or waiting to have kids could suddenly create opportunities of employment. In fact that was a few weeks ago and I'm I'm still trying to put that together. It's a complete non sequitur. And when I referred his answer is tone deaf. And told him that if he hears complaints about his privilege answers like that or probably why? He got furious with me and hung up. The first time I've that happen in ten years of having my show. So, equating Brian's input on how the projects could reform with that of the local black community leaders in Baltimore. Who Know what it's like to grow up in the inner city? The seems idealistic to me. We're not all exactly equal. Were unique. And the civil rights leaders marginalized community members in in those leading the fight against inequality or far better qualified to address the concerns. Of oppressed people than a man who has been a beneficiary of that systematic oppression. No This is not just a race problem. As Sam. points, out. All of the leadership in Baltimore where Freddie, gray was killed were black. Including, some of the officers who caused his death. So if this entire issue were solely based on racism meaning that white cops are out to murder black men, and that wouldn't be the case. And that Tony Tempa, a white man in Dallas who was killed by white police also wouldn't have happened. There is also a systemic policing problem. And I'm going to address. Some reform measures that I think we need to take in this podcast. Sam, pose the question. If George Floyd wight, would he be alive today? If Tony, temple is any example I don't think so. I don't believe there is any evidence to suggest the Derek show. WTN's set out to murder a black man that day. And that's why they're not going with first degree murder charges. But when SAM says there was no intention. I don't agree. A lower ranking officer can be heard on the body Cam, saying he doesn't have a pulse and then Derek stayed on Floyd's neck for three minutes. After knowing there was no pulse. Intention doesn't have to be days in advance or hours in advance. There was no attempt to resuscitate. So did chauvinist act recklessly with indifference to life and. Sought to dominate as keeping force and didn't really care. Or was there a brief moment of intention? Was He afraid to look guilty or weak in front of the citizens by rendering aid? A lot of people were screaming at him to get off. Get off. Get off and maybe felt that if he did get off he. Would have looked weak. If fluid were white. Would Derek have been more likely to render aid? and seeing a a bit of himself in a fellow tribe member. And how do cops instigate situations that lead to forcing someone down to the ground? Are they trained in the psychology of force, their own potential biases, and how that escalate situations from a biological perspective. There is no requirement or mandate or standard for cops to receive such training. Yet it is crucial to this topic. Same says the police kill more white people than black people. That's true. Because, there are more white people. From the data we have and I don't believe for a second that we have all the data on police deaths. Because of a lack of mandated reporting. The percentages of the population tells the entire story. When we break this down per one million citizens. The police homicide rate for blacks is six point six. And three point eight for Hispanics, and only two point five for whites. But blacks are only thirteen percent of the population. So while a fewer number of blacks are killed by police, the likelihood of being killed by police if you're black. Is Staggering And same addresses this, but he lands on the fact that blacks commit fifty percent of the murders in this country. So should cops just ignore that? And here is the core of the issue. And this is really a two part problem. The first being that the statistics do not show a correlation between high crime areas and police shootings. I'll say that again. In case you're driving or zoning out her. Checking your phone or text messages, this is important. The first issue here. Is that. The statistics do not show a correlation between high crime areas and police shootings. A prime example is Buffalo New York. They have a violent crime rate of twelve per one thousand. And fifty percent of their population is black. Based on this and Sam's inference of violent crime, leading to police shootings. How many people do you think? Buffalo police killed during the three years of study. Go ahead. Take a guess. How many people at twelve violent crimes per one thousand? How many people did, but I police kill the answer. Zero, not a single person was killed by Buffalo Police. But in Orlando Florida. With, the violent crime rate is lower just nine out of one thousand and a black population of only forty two percent. Cops killed thirteen people in the same timeframe just three years. The second piece of this. Is the notion that blacks or simply more violent. They. Get shot more because they behaviors. We often hear from the right. If black lives matter really cared about black lives. They address black on black crime. Same touch on this, but he doesn't put it in that way. How can they address that exactly? Who would they protest against? The guy in jail for killing his neighbor. Are they going to protest against him outside the prison? They're addressing on a policy scale by donating to liberal causes with the hopes that they will help rebuild those areas and communities through policies and new opportunities in high crime areas, so they do care, and they are addressing it. In this points me back to my visit to the Baltimore projects, and how the lack of opportunity in those areas lead the violence. This goes back generations and we can't talk about crime in black communities without discussing redlining. For many of you this may be the first time you're hearing that term. and. Please don't take my word for it. Go and do your own research. You may have heard the term redlining. But as with many times as Sam Harris says race isn't the issue we should be focusing on. It bears explaining right now. In the Nineteen Thirties FDR created a loan program to help people buy houses. In to decide which neighborhoods would get approved for loans? They color coded them on maps. Green meant that loans were easier to get in. The red areas were nearly impossible to be approved for a loan. Can you guess who lived in the Red Areas? This was the first step in creating the common ghetto or projects that we hear about an America. White families in the green areas were able to buy homes while the red line communities in with with blacks and Hispanics. They found it nearly impossible to survive. Let alone get ahead or by house. Developer William, Levitt in nineteen, forty seven. Included this clause in his leasing agreements. It, says quote. Levittown homes must not be used or occupied by any person other than members of the Caucasian race. This this. Continued across the nation, it even had support from the federal government. And what happened as a result was from nineteen, thirty, four to nineteen, Sixty, eight, ninety eight percent of federal home loans were provided to white families. This is the core of the issue from nineteen, thirty four to nineteen sixty eight. So for three decades. White families in white. Were selling their homes to other white families who were approved for new home loans, and the families who sold their homes, were buying bigger and better houses with that equity. That growth, of wealth. Was Past Generations, it brought in businesses, it increase jobs and opportunities and hair salons and grocery stores and access to resources and additional education, and all of that perpetuated that success, those young white people had access to getting jobs getting education and making more money because those businesses were paying more. And let's not forget. Public Schools are funded by the property taxes in the area surrounding that school. So what does that mean for teachers salaries for quality of food for textbooks for playgrounds, extracurricular activities, and after school programs which help kids stay out of trouble. And learn trades to into the workforce. The redlined neighborhoods remained stagnant as wealth. Inequality got so much worse. These policies were essentially overturned eventually on the federal level, but The segregation continues. Seventy years after levittown was built, it is still today less than one percent black. And, a study from two thousand twelve reported that blacks and Latinos experienced four million incidents of housing discrimination each year. I didn't say nineteen sixty. I said two thousand twelve. And that includes being charged higher interest rates for mortgages, even having the same credit scores. As their white counterparts. Doesn't take a statistician. Draw conclusions. Regarding education and crime. The higher level of education reached the lower chance. You have of committing a crime. Unless of course you count Wall Street. But for most of us in America. When you struggle to get an education in struggled to get food and he struggled to find a job. Your likelihood of breaking the law goes up based on survival. And again I have some ideas in a moment that may help to rectify this by addressing an issue that Sam says he believes is unworkable. and. I think I have a very workable solution spoiler alert it involves reparations, but in the form of community building rather than individual cash gifts. And I'll get into that moment. Sam. Interestingly. Quotes. A study that shows wants an arrest is being made. A COP is more likely to shoot a white suspect than a black suspect. Okay. That's new to me. And I learned something. Maybe, that's the case although. It doesn't seem to be in line with the rest of the data. For starters, even if it is the case, black areas are over policed so the fact that more blacks are killed per capita by cops is still true. Because that data that SAM brought up only comes into. Play when the arrest has been started. But if black people are more likely to be stopped and frisked. And harassed and grabbed. Then you're GONNA have higher instances of it happening to black people anyway, so the wants to tick that once an arrest is being made. An individual officer is more likely to fire a gun at a white person. Is kind of just skewing reality. But. How does it make sense anyway? The cops are more likely to put hands on black people and more likely to point guns at black people, but less likely to shoot them. That seems to run contrary so. I would like to know more about this study that he quoted. It also seems to fly in the face of other statistics. He mentioned that that blacks and Hispanics. COPS are more likely to shoot black suspects. How does that COMPORT WITH COPS? Being more likely to shoot white suspects? I'm not sure I completely trust this data and to be fair. Sam Did admit that it was incomplete so. I'll leave that there. San Poses another question. If cop should ignore what he calls high crime areas and I think Sam is stopping short of the bigger question. What exactly constitutes a high crime area. More documented cases of arrests. Well if cops are more likely to stop blacks more likely to put hands on them more likely to search them more likely to find more shit and arrest more blacks. Than that area looks like a high crime area. How many wealthy white people have cocaine on them right now and won't be searched by police. How many white businessmen have their weed in their cars and are driving right past the cops on their way to work and don't get pulled over. Crime is a lot like Noah's Ark. There's never been a group of people set out to find it. Who didn't succeed? The crime will always be where you look. Proclaiming that blacks are more violent, so we should expect to see more citizen contact by police in those areas just doesn't hold up. And the statistics show that. Pointing back the same question on fluids murder, and if he would be alive today if he were white. Same, says the video does not suggest that show van was a racist cop who intentionally murdered George Floyd because he was black. No? It doesn't and if that were the case. The district attorney would be going for first degree murder and a hate crime charge, but he's not, but several studies do suggest that cops tend to care less about black people and see them as more of a threat which likely led to show vinick storing floyd cries for help, which is inherently racist, even if chauvel doesn't know it. According to the American Psychological, association and it's examinations of police psychology. Disparities and race don't actually arise from the fact that black Americans are more likely to commit crimes. Dr Filip Gov at the University of California Review Data from twelve police departments and found that black residents were more often subjected to police force than white residents, even after adjusting for whether or not, the person had been arrested for violent crimes in the past. Other data shows that black people are also more likely to be stopped by police Stanford University Social Psychologist Jennifer. EBERHARDT and her colleagues analyzed data from the Police Department in Oakland California. And found that while black residents makeup twenty eight percent of the Oakland, population. They accounted for sixty percent of police stops, and black men were four times more likely than white men to be searched during a traffic stop even though officers were no more likely to recover contraband when searching black suspects. Same says people have to stop resisting arrest? When a COP wants to take you into custody. Negotiation you don't have a choice. He's right. But imagine. Imagine the reality of being black in our country. Imagine knowing ahead of time you're more likely to be stopped repeatedly more likely to receive a harsher sentence less likely to be given leniency more likely to be convicted by a jury more likely to be grabbed than have guns pointed at you. Tell me. If you're black. Why would you have any reason to trust the legal system? Those officers were taking you to. I'm not condoning resisting arrest and I. Know it may sound like that, so please don't misunderstand I'm trying to offer insight as to why the mindset of a young black man in Orlando Florida who has been harassed multiple times by police and Frist, and held at gunpoint might have a different reaction to being arrested than a wealthy white author and neuroscientist doing podcast in Los Angeles. and think for a moment what it must feel like to be constantly put in a fight or flight response by police approaching you like that. When people think back to Eric Garner? They just they just think of the phrase. I can't breathe. But remember, he also said. Why are you always harassing me? This is not about the one incident that gets caught on video. This is the daily life of being black in America. Now Sam is known for his books on Atheism. Philosophy and Rightfully so. He has a philosophy degree from Stanford, but he also has a PhD, neuroscience from UCLA. He understands the brain. Which is why? I listened to his podcast on this issue. Just kept wondering why he wasn't connecting the dots. I don't need to tell Sam this, but. When someone experiences stimulus that could result in death. There's a fight or flight response which happens in the ironically titled Sympathetic Nervous System. What goes on there? The hypothalamus near the bottom of the brain sends a signal to the muscles for rapid movement first of all, and also there's a chemical signal to the adrenal gland in more, specifically, the Adrenal Dula in the center of that gland, which gives off Adrenalin or epinephrine. that. epinephrine begins coursing through the body. As the rate increases, it continues to flow. That increases the glucose release. which is our energy source? So now you have the heart. Racing Epinephrine is pumping more. Blood is flowing to the muscles and the energy source is primed for full function. This is fear. A fear of violence. A fear of death. Perhaps in some cases, the bad guy just wants to get away I get it. But when you make a hobby out of watching police chases an stops like I. Do you find one common denominator when they finally catch the guy? You know what he says. I was scared. Sam, talks, about having unpleasant experiences with police. While if you're like me, you've had lapd draw down on you. With Two Forty Caliber Glock Twenty Three's pointed at your head, and you have no idea why. As their each screaming, conflicting commands at you and threatening to kill you if you don't follow the individual commands. Then you definitely know what it's like to experience that fight or flight response. And in that situation I have to tell you. Flight is off the table. If you run, you get shot. You know supposed to, but we see it happen. All that officer has to do right in the report. I felt he would be a danger to society of escaped, and there is a Supreme Court precedent to back that up as an official defense for that officer. So, they drag my body off to the morgue. My daughter grows up without a dad and that cop continues terrorizing the neighborhood. Plus in my case I was sitting in my car with my hands up. The Dome Light was on. The windows rolled down all for their safety. One officer was on each side of the car with a gun to my head. Flight wasn't an option. So, what's left? A ferocious anger that I can't explain. An, anger, almost worth dying for. The feeling of confusion being bullied. Simultaneously being helpless and you know it's not your fault. Mine ended with an apology to me. And it only happened once. If you're black. Cops are twenty four percent more likely to point those guns at you than me. Not once but time you're stopped. The cops are eighteen percent more likely to grab you control your movements by force if you're black. So the police, tactics and training are the primary problem. But blacks are unfairly the focus of police more often. The police with their lack of training. Instilled societal fear of the scary black man, the reckless treatment of others and racial bias to the tune of twenty four percent, and are now somehow surprised when black people run from the cops or fightback. With that officer, not realizing the suspect is sick to death of this happening, because it's the third time this dam month over license, plate, light, or a tinted window or a fucking lane change violation. The cops escalate the situation. Not fully understanding what they're doing to the brains or the bodies of the people they're encountering. And then we as a society retort well, you shouldn't fight the police. Do. What they say don't run stupid. You don't know what it's like to live that life into constantly be in fear of the occupying force in your neighborhood. So when I hear Sam. Say people have to stop resisting I have to ask if he would apply the veil of ignorance and be willing to trade places with black men in America and just let the cops take you every time they harassed you. How many times would it take? What would be your breaking point? I mean it's dangerous for all of us and I believe that's mostly due to police unfairly escalating minor situations with a threatening presence. But. It's especially more dangerous for black people in this country. Sam, says that black lives matters should be teaching the concept. If you fight with the COP, he has to perceive that fight is a fight for the gun and subsequently you're likely to be shot. Okay. Let's address that. and. Let's see if the system has any culpability. And perhaps that that is what needs to change rather than what black lives matter teaches. Now to SAM's credit. He did say that. Police reform is necessary. But he seems to. Continue to be willing to play by the corrupt rules of the broken system and teach others to fall in line or risk death. And that's just not the way change happens. If I'm. Playing loud music. Let's say and I'm not aware that my neighbor can hear it. I know we've been used to this, but just stop and ask yourself. Why do three armed men with Glocks tasers ABS- pepper spray in bulletproof vest. With AR, fifteen in their cars need to come. Bang on my door with a four pound flashlight like trying to knock it down. Why the aggression. Why the escalation. When protesters peacefully assembled. Why the riot gear. The helmets the sticks the shield, the pepper balls and rubber bullets. If you go watch videos of when? Police came out in plain clothes, identified themselves and said let's march together. There was not violence in those areas. But unnecessary escalation is the core of this problem. In, while race isn't the only factor it does affect minority populations more drastically because everything does. The Financial Crisis Job. Loss Corona Virus Crime Violence Homelessness. Drug abuse lack of education. Was Not a single negative thing that hits our nation. That doesn't affect minority communities on a greater scale. Sam points out that only one in ten thousand arrests in-depth. Is this to make the point that that deaths are overblown by the media. It's not really as dangerous as they make it seem. Well for perspective, only one in eleven million. Airplanes crash. Yet there are tons of restrictions oversight federal regulations Databases Required Reporting The entire FFA in immense training to become a pilot and pilots aren't even usually the cause of the accident. So if we're going off of odds to speculate, danger in regulation. Wise, is it that it takes four years of college two years of flight school and fifteen hundred hours of flight to be a commercial pilot. Yet! Most police academies are four to six months with no federal requirements, no oversight and no regulation. And remember that one in ten thousand is only the deaths. We haven't even talked about the broken jaws, the fractured wrists, the nerve damage the pushing shoving the intimidation. The pepper spray in all the other incidents that make people fear the police. So, let's get into the statistics on race. The same brought up. He says in the city of Los Angeles Twenty nineteen was the lowest use of deadly force by police in thirty years. But nationally the numbers up I mean I'm happy that in our city of La that's the case, but. According to the Department of Justice, it shows that nine hundred ninety two people were shot by cops and twenty, eighteen and two thousand nineteen saw one thousand and two shooting death by police. So I'm not sure we need to get into a pissing match over the individual cities to make a point, but this is a national issue and pointing to one city, committing slightly fewer murders of its citizens just isn't impressive to me. And remember. He caveats that with police shootings. George Floyd wasn't shot. Eric Garner wasn't shot. Tony TEMPA. Wasn't shot. Freddie Gray wasn't shot. SANDRA BLAND WASN'T SHOT Much like. The Bible. These types of statistics can be. Carefully displayed to paint a picture that you've already framed to fit your bias, so let's be careful. As we review these and not try to avoid deflection from the bigger picture. Same, says that many of those deaths by police. Are what he calls entirely justified. And if you look at the statistics that are available in, it'll say ninety nine percent of police involved. Shootings are justified. Some are. Sure, it'd be unreasonable to that. Cops would never ever have to shoot anyone. But what is this based on exactly? Internal Affairs reports where cops invested their buddies. Are Basing it on the reports written by the cops involved with the incident and were not caught on video and claimed it was justified. He reached I thought he had a gun. He went for my gun. He grabbed my Taser. As we just saw. With the shooting in in Atlanta. They have now realized and the police officer admitted. That when the man was running from him, and was holding his aaser that the Taser was out of ammunition. Both rounds from that teaser already been fired. He was not a danger and was shot in the back anyway. Now imagine if there was no body Cam, no Dash Cam. And we weren't in the age of technology where that video became available to everyone that would have been reported. He grabbed my Taser and I shot him and that would be listed as a justified homicide by police. Sam mentioned the killing of Walter Scott and acknowledged it was unjustified. But what he didn't mention was at the COP, wrote in the police report that Scott took his Taser and was about to use it on him. That would have been considered a justified homicide as well if it weren't for one person with an iphone. You can clearly see in the video that the officer deployed the Taser. Scott who tried to run in the officer opens fire. Killing him. It's very disturbing video. Then officer then walks over to Scott and drops his Taser next to Scott's dead body. And falsified the report. Yes he was sentenced to twenty years. Which Sam says isn't enough and I agree. But what would have happened without the video? That would be a justified homicide by police. Megan Sheehan was standing in a customer service window. When police approached her, she ended up being slammed to the ground very hard and arrested. When she claimed excessive force was used, they checked the report. On the police report, the arresting officer wrote this suddenly she turned towards me and began violently, punching me with a closed fist at my face to protect myself from her attack. I used an arm bar takedown in guided her to the ground. What the officer didn't account for was surveillance cameras. Were, you can see him. Walk. Grab her from behind. And when she turns around and says, don't touch me like that. He grabs her arm and slams her face to the floor. It is incredibly violent. So how many of those will happen in small town America where there are no body cams? Or Dash Cams no surveillance footage or a serious lack of iphones. People who have those iphones but are afraid to film police because they didn't threaten to take your phone. Would you walk up on a serial killer committing a murder and let him know you're filming. You might be next. And what about the situation where the COP, related the basic traffic issue or license plate light by grabbing his gun or talking down to the driver and being disrespectful bullying, reaching into the car, unconstitutionally threatening violence, and then shooting the driver when he defends himself from this unconstitutional bullying. That's listed as justified in Sam's statistics. Because there's no oversight, we just don't know. There is no federal investigation required. I quote Sam Harris when I say justice demands that we be connected to reality. Now regarding police tactics. Sam makes a strong point. Going hands on to restrain a suspect is elevated in its danger factor by the officer, having a gun on his hip. If I have a gun. I don't want to engage you in hand to hand combat, because if I lose, that could mean my life. Sam Takes the angle of essentially defending or understanding the use of force by police. Because they need to be mindful of the fact, their gun could be used against them if they lose the fine. This keeps happening as I discussed this issue. EITHER WITH COPS or my family members or all lives matter activists, and now in responding to Sam here's. The pattern here is your all used to failed system. Mike Cop Friend who I'm not allowed to say his name because we talk in depth about these issues every time the happened. Ill sometimes want to quiz me on what I do. In the situation when I would shoot a suspect. But puts me in situations. He thinks avoiding the answer, but he's putting me in situations. Several seconds into the incident first assuming also participate in all the bad tactics that led up to that and it's hard for me to get in line with that. Because, yes, if I'm backed into that wall of already made those mistakes. Then then, yeah, people are going to die I. Don't think it starts at my hand on my gun and the person is popping out from behind. It started several minutes ago. It started years ago training. Yes in our broken system. COPS have to hit you back first before you have the chance to knock them out because they have a gun and you might take it. But I'm talking about full change. Here I'm talking about revolutionizing policing. It sounds like the gun is the escalating factor. I'm going to ask a question that many of you may find irrational at first. But hear me out. And much like Sam, warned of a visceral reaction to him, being a white guy and offering some statistics. I must offer the same morning as a non peace officer. But the data alone and won't lie even after I propose my absurd question. Hang on with me for just a moment. Take this. Take this ride that you disagree with. Remember that Aristotle said it is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it. So just entertain this. You don't have to accept it right away. Why do traffic cops. Need guns. Okay. You're probably thinking that. Traffic stops are incredibly dangerous for cops. Right Well, you'd be wrong. If. Sam's point is that it's irrational to fear police, because only one in ten thousand arrests ends in death. Then traffic cops have no justified reason to be afraid of US enough to carry guns. According to a study by the Journal of Criminal Justice in this is no accident by the way the chances of an officer being assaulted, not killed assaulted on a traffic stop is one in ten, thousand, two, hundred and fifty six. The chances of an officer being killed is one in twenty million on the low end and one in nine point two million on the high end. And that's around the same likelihood of being in an airplane crash. So if we use the same police logic. Saying traffic. COPS need guns. Is like saying every passenger on every plane should wear a parachute. Just as I mentioned that guys with guns and sticks and bulletproof vest don't need to show up to ask me to turn my music down. This is the case with traffic violations. So what if? What if we cultivated a world where a traffic stop was more like a a parking violation by a meter maid? All the cars have dash cams and cameras so killing the meter maid doesn't help. You just adds a murder charge. We already have your license plate vehicle personal description, so if you run reported to investigators, who will track you down? There are no pursuits. They walk up to you to hand you a citation and they see drugs in the car. They have the option of reporting it to investigators. Who can contact you later? And then armed forces may have to address you at that point. What if you were guaranteed to only receive a ticket even if you had some narcotics in the car? What if you were guaranteed to not be subjected to the possibility of being thrown on your face in having your belongings gone through, and all your cash seized and your car towed. Even though your mom needs it for work in the morning because you smoked a little weed in your car at launch, and it still smells like it. The motivation to run or become violent is dramatically reduced because there is no imminent threat to the driver's safety. The fight or flight response is removed from the equation. If the only real function of traffic officers was. To site and release the incidents of hand combat, and the threats of death to either party dropped tremendously. But what about stolen Cars David? What about kidnapped victims and felony stops. The traffic officer calls in armed officers for that plain and simple, and just like a security guard at the traffic. Officer feels they're endanger. They can just leave and report the information investigators. The cops wait all the time. They sit there with their lights on and call in for backup and don't approach the car until somebody else comes. It happens all the time. Again. This is an issue affecting everyone in the population and I agree with Sam that the media should also show white people being killed by police. I could line up fifteen black people to interview on the show who are part of the black lives matter movement in each of them might have a different strategic plan for black lives, matter or or a different ideas on how to use the money. This is how human beings think differently. I personally happen to think that from a strategic perspective that the Hashtag police brutality or police reform would be more effective, more inclusive and less susceptible arguments than black lives matter. I also for the record, think that black lives matter to would see less resistance from all lives matter because it makes the statement redundant. But these are strategic leadership and marketing decisions for groups I'm not a part of. And while I can watch from afar and even Mark Martin solidarity in. The reality is I'm not based on percentage of any population at the same risk of dying by the hands of police that black men are. So while I do care about police brutality as a whole. Right now black lives are in more danger, and the movement is cultivating the change I wanna see so I'm on board. Even if I'm not driving. You have to understand. NASCAR NASCAR has now created a diversity department. They've hired a black vice president for that department. They've banned the confederate battle flag from their events. They've banned gun sponsorships. They've created a black lives matter car with a black driver. They're allowing the pride flag to be flown at their events, and they're even participating in pride events with giveaways. You can check the diversity page on their website for details I've already linked it on my twitter. That is change. That is reform. But we need more. That's that's one company their own part. So here's my idea. For sweeping reform I would call it a plan, but. I'm not in a position to put this into action but yet. Are Our failed. Criminal Justice System. Has Been a thorn in my side since college. And things like this definitely. Make me want to consider some sort of. Run for office. I don't WanNA leave this planet without making some sort of contribution. To the efforts of Of Justin. So. In that context if I did have the power, here's exactly what I would do. Well we start by acknowledging on a federal level that we have a problem. This is number one. Trump just signed an executive order police reform that does not mention the words, racism or bias. When cops are twenty, four percent, more likely to point a gun at a black man and eighteen percent, more likely to go hands on with black man both statistics, by the way were taken directly from Sam's episode where he cited the source. There is a clear bias here even among black and Brown officers. Both of those actions by police unnecessarily escalate situations. Number two. We stand with police by saying. You're overworked. Let's take some of that stressful workload off of you. And we reallocate a portion of police funding to higher unarmed code enforcement officers to handle noise, complaints, neighbor disputes and violent police calls. We hire more social workers to handle the mental health calls, and if the person is being violent or as a history of violence, then an armed officer goes on the call for backup. Three. We develop a credited federal training requirements for police with input. From civilians. No Mustang to let Karen train the COPS. But if we can do focus groups on the logo for the Kardashians we can certainly have citizen input on how it feels to be held at gunpoint for no apparent reason. I'd like to be a part of that one. Why, not pay people who we've wrongly convicted to consult on investigation tactics, and if you're rolling your eyes, saying those people have no police, training or experience. Exactly? That's why we're here. We've been letting bad habits. Run the show for way too long entrenched other officers to be even worse, and it's time to gut the system. We institute a mandatory fifty two week police academy that includes no militarized training, but rather conflict resolution, racial bias, diversity, and MMA style hand to hand combat such as Brazilian Jujitsu. The training should also include a community building basic psychology. Socratic Style de Escalation. The point is we don't want killing machines policing us. We want mentally stable community members. We can trust number five. We create a mandate that all police involved. Shootings are investigated at the royal level, no more buddies sticking up for bodies with internal affairs. For. Six We put a federal mandate on all reporting of police, behavior and complaints in a national database. Trump's current plan is to just offer incentives for reporting. That's not enough. We should make it a crime for police not to report complaints. Per Seven. We listen to the de-fund police movement. The reasonable people on that side are not actually looking to completely abolish all cops forever have them as part of the discussion on how to better allocate funds. Camden New Jersey's already done this and I'll explain that in a moment. This is not a crazy idea that should be ignored. But, we're talking about reallocating funds removing responsibilities from police, and then de escalate tensions where we can by reducing citizens interactions with law enforcement officials that are carrying deadly weapons or threatening attire. Braid And this addresses one of Sam's main concerns. We offer reparations. Not Individually. Like many of you are probably thinking. But in the form of major contributions to low income, blackened native communities. That were once red line. We do this to enhance their education. Enhance their parks, their safety and their employment opportunities. We build up those communities that we once red line gerrymandered and turned into food desert with no way to make a living other than crime, and we give this generation a chance to get ahead. Remove marijuana as a schedule one narcotic. So many cops use the site of weed as a reason to search or harass people, and it escalates to violence and for what? What is the gain. If the person then goes to jail, they're back out in hours and now they have a criminal record. We invest in mandatory drug rehabilitation programs instead of jail. I can't tell you how many times I have been astonished and disgusted at someone being arrested for opiates or Meth they get arrested. Clearly, they are wrecking their life to get this drug and we go throw them in a metal box. If someone is caught with opiates or meth. They don't belong in boxes were they can learn to become criminals? They have a medical condition and they need help and right now we throw them away instead of being humanist in helping to repair the damaged people that are struggling. Then we make it easier for felons to get jobs. Limiting the resources forces them back into committing crimes. Which is why the US Department of Justice shows that are state prisons have an eighty three percent recidivism rate. Eighty three percent recidivism. And that's up from seventy seven percent when I I wrote about this topic in two thousand six. That means right now. Five out of every six inmates who are released from state prison. Get arrested with a nine years of their release. We just keep limiting their opportunities and then pretend to have no idea why people commit crimes and can't get their lives together. Number twelve. We got an privatized prisons. It is one of the greatest crimes against humanity to make imprisonment of four profit corporation. It's beyond disturbing. And number thirteen, and yes I put it here on purpose abolish slavery. For real this time. The Thirteenth Amendment States, that slavery is abolished unless one is convicted of a crime. And you can use slavery as a punishment. Thereby making it legal to enslave a convicted felon. And when you couple that with privatize prisons. You get a massively corrupt organization of crooked judges shuffling. Free Labor to private corporations called prisons. Profits to make sure those crooked judges stay in power. Thanks to a lack of campaign finance reform. So Those are my immediate thirteen actions that hopefully answer Sam's question of what to do next. We're in the situation now where? When all you have is a hammer. Every problem looks like a nail. So, our mindset is more cops. More guns dominate them. It clearly doesn't work. We can't just address the police problem without dealing with the ripple effect of other issues in our society that lead to crime. Sam Touches on this I have to concur. We have to also address education which drastically reduces someone's likelihood of being involved crime. If we take the reparations path I mentioned and build up those communities. And put funding into the education systems of low income areas and create new opportunities and pay the teachers better with better textbooks and better classrooms, literally, millions of young black men and women will be far less likely to be involved in crime. And something simple as raising the minimum wage would go a very long way. Let's think about the absolute desperation that must be going on in some of these communities. Think about this for a moment. According to the Economic Policy Institute. Minimum wage was originally designed to be raised on a regular basis to keep up with inflation. Otherwise, there's no point in having won. If minimum wage were a nickel today. It wouldn't matter. But there is no federally mandated schedule. Or dollar amounts. For our social safety net that is the minimum wage none. The states this very long quote. Stick with me. Since its inception in nineteen, thirty eight, the federal minimum wage has been adjusted through legislated increases nine times. From a nominal value of twenty five cents per hour, nineteen, thirty, eight to the current seven dollars and twenty five cents an hour, or it has remained since two thousand nine. These increases have been fairly irregular varying in size, and with differing links of time between increases yet aside from a very few brief deflationary periods in the post. World War Two era prices of items have consistently risen year after year. Each year the minimum wage remains unchanged. Its purchasing power slowly erodes until policymakers decide to enact increase. This haphazard maintenance of the floor has meant that low wage. Workers of different generations or indifferent decades have been protected by significantly different wage standards in quote. Now. That's a very professional way of saying that things are way more expensive now in poor people keep getting poorer. If the minimum wage actually kept up with inflation. It would be twenty dollars in twenty four cents an hour right now. How many of you? Know Somebody. or You yourself make less than twenty dollars and twenty four cents an hour. Then you are below minimum wage as it pertains to inflation that means that back in nineteen thirty eight. When the minimum wage was created at twenty five cents an hour, it should have been three dollars and eighty one cents. And shockingly that also means that three dollars and eighty one cents had the same purchasing power and nineteen, thirty eight that twenty dollars and twenty four cents has today yet. Our minimum wage is seven twenty five. Think of this on a simpler level. When your teenager runs up to you and says hey I'm going to the movies with my friends can have twenty bucks. Give them seven dollars and see what happens. You couple this with red lining that happened generations ago and passed down poverty like a ball of Shit Rolling Downhill ANYTHING THERE'S NOT GONNA be exponential crisis in these neighborhoods of color. You think there's not going to be. More crime high tensions drug sales. Family splitting apart over stress in financial arguments were the primary causes of divorce. The need for section eight housing, and then guns to protect yourself from your poor desperate starving neighbors who want your shit? Gun owners especially in the south joke a lot about needing guns for the Zombie Apocalypse. Why does that make sense? Limited resources. Desperation. Doing what it takes to survive. You have no idea how many millions of people right here in this country are damn near living in their own Zombie apocalypse right now, and that's why the kill each other at alarming rates. And then we step back and proclaim. They're so violent. Of course they get shot more the responsible for all this crime. Of course they get police more. Your City issued handgun is the Hammer. But you are patrolling neighborhoods with humans. Not Nails. By addressing these things. Dealing with income, inequality, homelessness and ending the war on drugs. We can take a much better step in the right direction than our current administration is doing. And I think those issues would go a long way in reducing the Ferguson effect that Sam brings up. Just not policing high crime areas, just not policing anyone at all. Immediately by itself. As the Ferguson, effect has shown that will make crime worse. We're not just saying de-fund police and keep everything else the same. That's a complete misunderstanding of the argument and according to rappaport rules which Dan it speaks of. You should be able to understand someone's argument so well. You can repeat it back to them in a way that would make them say. I wish I would have thought to put it that way. Before you can rationalize an argument against them. And unfortunately I. Don't believe. Sam has of comprehensive understanding of the defunct police movement or the crime statistics enough to form these arguments. I believe he's an intelligent person, a thoughtful person and a humanist at heart, and my true motivation is due in doing this is that he will hear it and will rethink his position. And analyze that data. And will ultimately change his opinion. That race isn't relevant issue in policing. Now? Sam begins to wrap his podcast. Saying the following quote. Racial leising speak about the problem of police violence where race isn't actually the relevant variable. has highly negative effects. Sam. When you said this I have to be honest. Even checking my emotions as you requested. My jaw dropped. Not, not for reasons that you may expect. I wasn't offended. I didn't WANNA cancel you. But. I have so much admiration for your research abilities. For your critical, thinking for how you treated me as an individual and what you've done for skepticism science. So from a pure methodological standpoint. How can you quote the statistics? Acknowledging that blacks are pulled over more manhandled more more likely to be thrown up against a wall. And have police pull in aim their guns. And with your understanding of what the fighter flight response does to the human brain. The heart the muscles and reactions and the disparities you mentioned. Regarding, crack versus cocaine when you acknowledged it disproportionately affects the black community. which you know then leads to more arrests, worst criminal records longer history of prior convictions and more obstacles to obtaining housing and employment. How can you possibly say that? Race isn't a relevant factor in policing. You're right when you say there is no evidence that white police officers are hunting down black on a regular basis, but Sam, this goes back a long way. In the words of Angela Davis. What does it mean to be a criminal in this country? Even back to the thirteenth amendment. Allowing slavery for punishment of crime. It's coincidence that are prison. Boom started around the same time that slavery ended. Our. Country is home to five percent of the global population, but twenty five percent of the world's prison inmates. That's one in four humans on Earth. In our prisons. When a nation is built on an economic system, a free labor and those laborers are suddenly no longer force to work. There's a panic that ensues just from an economic standpoint. Just like we say with the pandemic. How can we get the workforce back to working before the economy crumbles? That's what was swirling around in eighteen, sixty five with that loophole in the Thirteenth Amendment, the answer was arrest the former slaves and make them work for free. These newly freed people had no homes, no jobs nowhere to be. So things loitering and vagrancy, which is just being homeless. We're made illegal. It was illegal to be homeless. Knowing that four million. Black people were just released from slavery and had nowhere to live. So I set you free with no home in that I. Make It illegal to be homeless and go pick you up. Put the shackles back on and save the economy. That put four million former slaves at immediate risk of being arrested. There's an amazing documentary on Netflix Card thirteenth that everyone should watch. And Sam. I think it would address a lot of your hesitation to confirm race as a problem in policing. Racism. is a hidden foundation of policing in our country. We don't talk about it openly. Nobody wants to address it, but if I could recite every word of that film in this podcast, I would it is a must watch for every American. And I can't do it just as here so please just go watch it in fact, check it in use your critical thinking skills to ascertain fact from fiction, but please watch it. One particular thing addresses is how our prison population was three, hundred, Fifty, seven, thousand in nineteen seventy. When the Nixon administration brought about the idea of law and order a war on crime, the war on drugs. Nixon said, and I quote. There can be no progress in America without respect for the law. It wasn't about listening or change or real progress. It was about domination of the unruly. And blacks were painted as unruly because they had been treated fairly for so damn long, so their anger, their desire for fair treatment was seen as anger, and you needed to dominate the angry unruly blacks. From slavery to being counted as three fifths of person to the Jim Crow era, not being allowed to vote segregated schools whites-only libraries whites-only water fountains. It was damned near made illegal to be poor. The this is not something that happened eons ago. My mother was born in one, thousand, nine, hundred, fifty two. She remembers the whites only signs. My grandparents on my Dad's side flew a confederate battle flag in front of their house. I, remember seeing it when I went over there. I have a cousin on my mom's side with a massive white power tattoo across his back. When my niece Rene was born in one, thousand, nine, hundred ninety. A huge portion of my family in Texas, refuse to see her a little newborn. And told us not to stop by if she was in the car because she was half black. Now I get it. This is just my family's racist roots in Texas. In Sam. You're obviously not denying racism exists. But who do you think was becoming police officers? And City Council members and detectives in Mayors and governors and legislators. Those members of the community. I have to quote one more thing. That I've read elsewhere, but again it does show up in that documentary thirteenth. It's a quote from the Nixon administration official. His name is John Hayman and This is verifiable. Go look this up. Because it is shockingly. Shockingly showing you the mindset of the war on crime. He says and I quote. The Nixon campaign in nineteen, sixty eight and the Nixon White House after that had to enemies. The, antiwar left and black people. We know we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana, and the blacks with heroin, and then criminalising both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders raid their homes. Break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did. We know we were lying about the drugs of course we did. End Quote. And just like that. In ten years from nineteen seventy to nineteen eighty, we had a forty four percent increase in our prison population. Why. Blacks were made to be feared. To look like animals to make America great by locking up the scary people committing these crimes. And you know there were seventeen year old white kids watching this happen. Wanting to protect their families growing up seeing the news of black man locked up by the thousands and portrayed as being dangerous criminals. will by the nineties though seventeen year olds were twenty-seven-year-old police officers. And now today they're sixty year old legislators, attorneys governors mayors city council members. And in two thousand twenty. We have two point two million people in prison. Thirty eight percent of those people are black. And, they're only thirteen percent of the population. Whites are sixty two percent of our population, but only thirty five percent of our prison inmates. That's no accident and Sam. It does not mean that blacks commit more crimes that they are caught more because that's where the cops are looking. As one example. Blacks and whites consume marijuana at the same statistical rate. But black people are arrested four times more often for weed than whites. Why? How could that beef race was at the relevant problem in policing. Same crime same drug four times more likely to be arrested. And remember once you're a convicted felon in forty eight states. You lose the right to vote while in prison. In twenty one St, you lose the right to vote even after you released and you have a chance of getting it back in eleven states, you'll never get it back even when convicted of only one felony. And in Your Mind Right Now, felony may be justified in that regard. But a felony is just anything that essentially carries a minimum of one year in jail. In three states, any amount of marijuana is a felony, a joint, a blunt a tiny bag. In most cases anywhere from one to four ounces of weed is a felony. Five grams of Meth will get you five years in prison. In some states, a person found in possession of what's deemed an illegal firearm or war, illegal ammunition, which could just be a bullet if you're not allowed to have a gun at all. You can be charged and serve five years per bullet. Even if there is no firearm present if you have two bullets in your pocket with no gun. And you are prohibited from carrying a firearm. That's ten years in prison. That vandalism of my personal vehicle that I talked about in a previous episode that was caught on video. That was deemed a felony. because. It caused over four hundred dollars in damages. Don't want the guy punished. Absolutely do I want restitution. Damn Straight, as should be paid back for the damages caused. But should he lose the right to vote for the rest of his life? That is absurd. So throwing people in prison in mass over these ridiculous crimes in unnecessarily escalated charges takes voice away. They lose control over their future and the future of their communities and children. And this is true across the political spectrum. From, Nixon Reagan and Bush using code words to instill fear and launched the war on drugs and tough on crime bills, and and then on the Democratic side with Hillary Clinton in her superpredators, comments and Bill Clinton with his mandatory sentencing requirements which which prevented judges from making fair assessments of someone's character in crime history, which by the way he has admitted read the problem worse and apologized for. He said he was wrong to do it. But of course, race is a relevant factor in policing. And it has been since you started in this country. It's not the only factor and as you said Sam. Bad police tactics are a main cause, but when blacks are the focus of traffic stops. And Investigations and citizen, contact and blacks are more often searched. Even though they don't have more drugs again, do you think will be most affected by those bad tactics? Sam. I've been on your side multiple times. Even when you didn't know it. When Ben Affleck pulled his nonsense on you. during Bill Maher Show I was screaming and my television, and in fact. I can't take him seriously as an actor to this day for how he referred to you and ignored reality. I've lost listeners and subscribers and leftist friends for defending you. But I still stand by that today. You are not a racist. You were right in what you said to been. But on this issue I think you're mistaken. One in three black men can be expected to be in prison at some point in his life. and. Here's my proof Sam That you know race is irrelevant factor. Imagine that we did away with all police murders. Imagine that. We got rid of all guns in some perfect. Progressive Utopia. Blacks would still get more tickets. Blacks would still be grabbed more thrown up against walls, more and searched more. They'd be more likely to runaway reveal arrest for fear of that violence and harassment. Even if they weren't being killed, we would have a massive race problem in this country at the hands of police. So. Sam. If all the murder stopped. You still wouldn't want to trade places with blacks in America. You wouldn't want a police officer to see you as black when you got pulled over. And? That's how we know. Race is at the forefront. You mentioned that. Some of US started out on third base. WHO GETS to decide. WHO GETS THE HEADSTART Is it random. You know not random. And this is where the whole concept of equality versus equity comes into play. This concept about the layout, a found to have success in bridging this gap. With conservative politicians on my podcast with Adam, Corolla, as he conceded this understanding of it when I went on his show and explain it. Because, he began denying that white privilege was even a thing, and then later acknowledged existed after laid out this concept. And the same happened in conversations with our mutual friends. People Gordon and Dave Rubin. And even Dennis. Prager acknowledged this. So I WANNA. Try to explain it here as well. We can look at laws right now and we can say there is no system policy that says blacks can't do X. or that blacks must be punished for be. Therefore, there is no systemic racism I see. Candice Owens saying things like this Larry. Elder saying things like this. and. That's what he quality looks like the most people. But. Imagine that we're racing on a football field. And all things are going to be equal for fairness and the race starts at four. PM Sounds Fair so far, right? So. Let's see who can get from one goal line to the other goal line I. But at three fifty five PM. I jog out to the fifty yard line. Now to keep things fair and equal. We should run at the same speed. And at four, pm we begin running. And what if that goal line that we're running toward just keeps getting further and further away. You started at the opposite goal. Line I started on the fifty yard line and we just keep running perpetually. At first, it's obvious that it's unfair by cheated. But after a few generations come and go, it just becomes accepted that some people just faster than others. Sounds a lot like victimhood when you fifty yards behind me, start bitching about this, not being fair. Hey, don't blame me for something to happen to long time ago. Blacks in this country did not get a fair start. And as a result, consistently targeted by those with authority. You ask how we can recruit good cops and get rid of the bad cops without negatively affecting the good cops or the community and again. This stopped short. I'm no longer buying into this idea. Of Good Cops and bad cops mentalities I i. just I just don't think that's the case, and I don't think all cops are bad or racist either. Demonstrated here. You can be a good cop today in a bad cop tomorrow and turned back into a good cop before anyone notices. And to demonstrate this, I'll quote. You. When you said, most people think there are a lot of bad people running around the world. There aren't a lot of bad people. There are a lot of bad ideas and bad ideas are worse than bad people because bad ideas are contagious. Bad ideas get good people to do horrible things. Exactly Sam? This is not about the quality of humans near as much as it is about fixing a broken system created with bad ideas that allows bad behaviors to go unchecked. A good person can do a bad thing and then panic and continue to do bad things to cover up that bad thing because he fears losing his job and that would be a really bad thing. And a good guy gets his friend. Make a mistake and then join him out of respect for the Brotherhood backing the blue and help cover up mistakes even if people get hurt. So, how do we? ARATU kate these bad ideas from policing? I'm not going to say I don't have any answers. The answer is we need to rethink everything. We've done to build this corrupt system. When people scream to dismantle police forces. This is what they're talking about. The idea is to dismantle and rebuild. To abolish and replace with a better structure of policing. This is about reporting monitoring oversight and collecting mandatory data, so that history does not continue to repeat itself. Most people. Not Camden new. Jersey did just that. They had one of the nation's highest crime rates, and they completely eradicated their police force and started over. They now have a policy of community policing. The cops literally walked the streets, having cookouts and meet the community, and they know the people there policing and the crime in Camden is now one of the lowest in the country. So while just hearing, abolish police sounds terrifying. It's not it's been done and the areas who have done this still have police today. So again, maybe the marketing the terminology is not on point, but. This. Entire podcast wouldn't fit on a protest sign. Look into the movement. Read the examples of where it's happened in the historical accounts. Let's replicate those improvements for the betterment of society. You finished your podcast by saying why now. Police shootings have gone way down. What do you mean by this? You said in the beginning that it's been about one thousand deaths per year by police, and that's been pretty steady. You also said that the data is incomplete and that there's no reliable national database. So we don't even know if we can trust that reporting. So. How can you possibly make the statement that police shootings are down? Based on what? That one statistic in our city that shows a thirty year low. La had a good year. I! Maybe I'm wrong here, but that's just seems like such a stretch to me. And perhaps it's what's known as availability bias. Drawing conclusions from recent experiences rather than the holistic data. Just like when there hasn't been police brutality in several months, and then one video services, and then the media loses their collective minds and access. If this is a daily occurrence. You're right that it's not as frequent as it seems on TV, but you're wrong that it's trending downward. It's not. However it's important to note your concern of mass hysteria. And the media bias. The camera angles the politics, the rhetoric, the partial clips of protests partial clips of police videos that we all need to be careful not to fall victim to. But that doesn't negate the need for immediate and drastic change. And we don't get there by pretending. That race isn't one of the major obstacles, if not the driving force. The looting and violence should be kept to a minimum because it can only help. Trump make the case that we need alone. Order President, you are spot on with that and as a stand up. Comedian I'm happy that you said what you did about us. Not being constantly on guard against the bad joke or the awkward compliment or the tweet that didn't age well. The idea of the woke EST religion scares all of us and if it doesn't scare you, it's because you haven't been victimized by them yet. We can't let extremism win. Making everything about race is a problem. But constantly saying racism isn't the problem like you did in. Your podcast is also a problem in itself. I agree that I'd like to see a time. Where skin color is like hair color, but we have to fix the problem before it goes away. Ignoring it, it's only going to get worse and allow those who seek the damage people of color to begin doing so once again in the shadows. Donald Trump has exposed more racist than any activist ever could. They come out of the woodwork to show their true colors and support for him. And if we ignored them, they'd go back to working behind the scenes. These companies. You refer to as singing from the same hymns by standing with black lives matter. There simply showing Solidarity Sam. They are showing the white supremacists that they're not welcome in their stores and establishments that they don't want commit customers. Remember when I sat about black lives matter being a movement seeking validation. These companies are showing that the black community is being heard for the first time in a long time. They're acknowledging the validation that beal has been seeking, and that is a positive thing. So. Finally. To end on a positive note. Of Agreement that I have with you. Trump. Is a modern Nixon. You said, and I quote. We have to vote trump out of office to restore the integrity of our institutions. And with that very much agree. So let's do it. So Sam thank you for doing your episode for providing statistics forgiving your insight in your opinion. The, please take this information and do the most good with it. Tell me where you think I'm wrong. Change your positions. Where you see the data, points otherwise, and let's continue to have the peaceful discourse in dialogue that you so desire. Then hopefully will result in positive change for our listeners. The conversation continues at Patriot Dot com slash David C smalley. I'd love your support to keep the show going. Please drive like you know each other. Off The chain everything in one place for you. Your x Ray will be done there. The doctor will see you there. The labs are there for you, and then the nurses that work with you at Kaiser they make you. Dare to meet your needs. I wouldn't be alive today if I had I've had highs of H. I feel really really great knowing. There's a place that I can go to make sure that I can maintain good health. Medical is unique as your punish experts to substance regretful. Maryland two, zero, eight, five two.

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#220 - The Information Apocalypse

Making Sense with Sam Harris

47:58 min | 10 months ago

#220 - The Information Apocalypse

"Welcome to the PODCAST. This is Sam Harris. Just a note to say that if you're hearing this, you're not currently on our subscriber feed only be hearing partial episodes of the podcast. If you'd like access to full episodes you'll need to subscribe at Sam Harris Dot. Org There you'll find our private RSS. To add to your favorite podcast along with other subscriber only content. And as always been everyone money to be the reason why someone cans to podcast. So if you can't afford a subscription, there's option as embarrass dot org to request a free account and we grabbed a hundred percent of those requests. No question. Welcome to the making says podcast. This is Sam Harris. Okay no housekeeping today. Today, I'm speaking with Nina Schick. Nina is an author and broadcaster. Who Specializes in how technology and artificial intelligence are reshaping society. She has advised global leaders in many countries including Joe Biden, and she's a regular contributor to Bloomberg Sky CNN and the BBC. A speaks seven languages. And holds degrees from university and University College London. And her new book is deep fakes. which explores the terrain were about to discuss we talk about the epidemic of. And disinformation in our society now and The coming problem of deep fakes. which is when you imagine it in detail. Alarming. We get into the history of Russian active measures against the West the weaponization of the migrant crisis in Europe. Russian targeting the African American community. Trump and the rise of political cynicism. Cunanan the prospect of violence surrounding the presidential election. And other topics. Anyway this is all scary stuff. But Nina's a great guide through this wilderness. And I bring you. Nina. Schick. I am here with Nina Schick. Nina. Thank you for joining me. Thanks for having me some. We have a lot to talk about your. You have a very interesting background which. I think suggests many common interests and overlap in life trajectories. I. Don't think we're going to get into that because you you have produced so many. Urgent matters in your in your recent book that we need to talk about. But to get started here, what what is your background and personally but also just what you're focusing on these days that gives you a an expertise on the topics we're GONNA talk about. Well, it's a really interesting and crazy story one that could only happen in the twenty first century. I'm half German and I'm Hof Nepalese. My father was a German criminal defense lawyer who in the seventies decided. He was going to seek spirituality and travel east and took his car through in a few books. Did that big journey that a lot of young people did back in the seventies through Afghanistan in and then ended up in Nepal, which at this time was still this hermetic kingdom fell in love with it. And met my mother there briefly after a decade or so and basically my mother came from this totally different universe she grew up in Nepal as a member of this community in a Himalayan tribe had no running water electricity shoes when she was growing up and because she met my father, they fell in love and they kind of decided to have us my brother and myself and I grew up in Katmandu in the in the ninety hundred, and then eventually I came to the UK. To go to university and I went to Cambridge and UC l., and my kind of discipline is really in history and politics of always been fascinated by history and politics, and especially at this time when the political science seemed to be shifting in such a dramatic way. So my career of the last ten years has really been working. At the heart of Westminster as a policy analyst journalist and an advisor on some of the key political shifts around the European Union. So this includes the time what happened with Russia and the invasion of Ukraine and twenty thirteen. Subsequently, the migrant crisis in two thousand fifteen then obviously is very tied into the work here in the UK around brexit helping to advise the government on that in two thousand sixteen. Then of course, the election of trump in two, thousand, sixteen, then I went on to. Advise Emmanuel macron's campaign, which was also interestingly hacked by the Russians. Finally got to a point in two thousand eighteen where I was working with the former NATO secretary general and he covened a group of global leaders. which included Joe Biden and he wanted to look at how the twenty twenty election might be impacted by what we attain in two thousand sixteen in how the new kind of threats were emerging, and this is really where I came to deface and dot is really the starting point for my book. So I've. In geopolitics politics, information warfare, and my area of interest is really how the exponential changes in technology and particularly ai are rewriting not only politics but society at large as well. So. Yeah. You are a citizen of the world. It's quite amazing. Did did you grow up speaking Nepali and German? He I I grew up with? Four languages. So Nepali German among because my mother is. An ethnic minority group in Nepal, which actually is closely related to Tibetans. So tongue is a completely different language so Nepali driven among and Hindi because everybody in Nepal speaks Hindi India's the big brother on the border. So that was. Something I. Wish I could give my daughter as well. I live at the UK. Now, at most people in the UK we speak English. That's All too well, I can hear so you're your your English betrays, none of that colorful backstory. It's quite amazing. So. Yeah. I I know we have common interests in the kinds of Things that brought your father to Nepal in the first place in the meditation and forming a philosophy of life that is aimed at deeper levels of wellbeing than than is often attained by people but we've such a colossal mess to clean up in our society. Now with with how are information ecosystem has been. Polluted and deranged that I think we're just GONNA ill do another podcast on the happy talk of what we could share when we get past these increasingly terrifying dangers and self inflicted wounds is really it's it's amazing to see how much of this is our own doing and we'll talk about bad actors and people who are consciously using our technology against us to really destroy the possibility of living in an open society. But so much of this is a matter of our entertaining ourselves into a kind of collective madness and what seems like it could be a coming social collapsed. I realized that if you're not in touch with these trends, you know if anyone in the audience who isn't? This kind language coming from me or anyone else can sound hyperbolic but it would really going over some kind of precipice here with respect to our ability to understand what's going on in the world and to converge on common picture of shared reality because we're in the midst of an information war and it's being waged against democratic societies by adversaries like Russia and China. But it's also a civil war that's being waged by factions within our society and new their various political colts, and there's the president of the United States himself. All of this is happening. On the back of and facilitating and utter collapse of trust in institutions and global decline and democracy, and again, we built the the very tools of our derangement ourselves in particular I'm talking about social media here is so your book goes into this and it's organized around this this new piece of technology that we call deep fakes and the book is deep fakes the coming in Info Lips. Which that's not your coinage it on the page is is very easy to Parse when you say it. It's hard to understand what's being said there, but it's really you're talking about an information apocalypse just remind people what deep fakes are and suggests what's at stake here in terms of of how difficult it could be to make sense of our world in the presence of this technology yes. Absolutely. So a deep fake is a type of synthetic media and what synthetic media essentially is is any type of media can be an image it can be a video can be a text that is generated by and this ability of to generate fake or synthetic media is really really nascent were only at the very very beginning of thin synthetic media revolution It was only probably in about. The last four or five years that this has been possible and for the last two years that we've been seeing how the real world applications of this have been leaching out from beyond the research community. So the first thing to say about synthetic media is that it is completely gone transform how we perceive the world because in future all media is going to be synthetic because it means that. Anybody can create content to a degree of fidelity that is only possible for Hollywood studios right now right and they can do this for little to no cost using APPs or Software various interfaces, which will make it so accessible to to anyone. And the reason why this is so interesting another reason why synthetic media so interesting is until now the best kind of computer effects, CGI do you still can't quite get humans right so when you see CGI to affects where you're trying to create robotic humans, it still doesn't look like it's cold you know uncanny valley, but it turns out that. When you train your machine learning systems with enough. They're really really good at generating fake humans are synthetic humans both in images I mean when it comes to generating fake human faces. So images still images. It's already perfected dot, and if you want to kind of test that you can go and look at this person does not exist dot com everytime refresh the page you'll see a new human face. To the human eye to you or or me Sam we'll look at that and we'll think that's a authentic human whereas that is just something that's generated by a human that doesn't exist, and also now increasingly in other types of media like audio and film. So. I take essentially a clip of a recording with you Sam and I could use that to train my machine learning system and then I can synthesize your voice. So I can literally hijack your biometrics I can take your voice, synthesize it, get my I can a machine learning system to recreate that I can do the same with your digital likeness. Obviously. This is going to have. Tremendous commercial. Entire. Industries. Are. Going to be transformed. For example, corporate communications advertising the future of all movies video games. But this is also the most potent form of misinformation which you're democratizing for almost anyone in the world at a time when our information ecosystem is already become increasingly dangerous corrupt. So the first thing I'd say about synthetic media is it is actually just heralding this tremendous revolution in the way that we communicate. The second thing I'd say is that it's coming at a time when we've had. Lots of changes in our information ecosystem of the Pasta two years. So you know that society hasn't been able to keep up with from the Internet to social media to smartphones, and this is just the next step in that, and then the final thing this is where I come to deep fakes is that this field is still so nascent and emerging that the taxonomy around it is completely undecided yet and as already kind of pointed out or touched upon. There will be legitimate use cases for synthetic media, and this is one of the reason reasons why this cat is out of the bag there's no way we're back in because there's so much investment in the kind of commercial use cases ever since I think there's almost two hundred companies. Now that are working exclusively on generating synthetic media. So we have to distinguish between the legitimate use cases of synthetic media and how we draw the line. Very broad brush in my book say that the use an intent behind synthetic media really matters and how we define it. So I refer to deep fe as when pieces synthetic media is used as a piece of missing information. There is so much more that you could delve into their with regards to the kind of the ethical implications on the taxonomy, but broadly speaking that's how I define it, and that's my definition between synthetic media and deep fakes. Well. So as you point out, all of this would be good clean fun. If it weren't for the fact that we know there are people intent upon. Spreading misinformation disinformation and doing it with a truly sinister political purpose I mean not not just for amusement although that can be harmful enough. It's something that state actors and people internal to various states are. Going to leverage to further divide society from itself and increased political polarization but it would. It's amazing that it is so promising in the fun department that we can't possibly even contemplate putting this cat back in the bag made is just that's the problem where we're seeing on all fronts sodas was social media. So it is with the the ad revenue model that is selecting for. So many of its harmful effects mean we just can't break the spell wherein people want the cheapest most fun media. And they wanted endlessly and yet the the harms that are accruing are so large that it's it's amazing. Just to see the dishes no, there's no handhold here whereby we can resist are slide toward the precipice just to underscore how quickly this technology is developing. In your book, you point out what happened with the wants. Martin, Scorsese released his film, the Irishman which had this exceedingly expensive and laborious process of trying to de age its principal actors, Robert De Niro and Joe Patchy and that was met with something like derision for the the imperfection of what was achieved there again, a great cost and then very very quickly. Someone on Youtube, we using free software. Did a nearly perfect de aging of the same film is just amazing what what's happening here, and again, these tools are going to be free, right? I mean they're already free and the and ultimately the best tools will be free. Absolutely, so you already have various kinds of software platforms online. So the barriers to entry have come down tremendously right now if you wanted to make a convincing fake video. You would still need to have some knowledge some knowledge of machine learning, but you wouldn't have to be an expert by any means but already now we have apps that allow people to do certain things like swap their faces into scenes. For example, we face I don't know if you've come across that. I don't know how old your children are. But if you have a teenager, you probably come across it you can basically put your own face into a popular seen from a film like titanic or something. This is using D. power of synthetic media but experts who I speak to on the generation side because it's so hugely exciting to people who are generating synthetic media think that. By the end of the decade. Any youtuber any teenager will have the ability to create special effects in film that are better than anything. A Hollywood studio can do and that's really why I put that. Anecdote about the Irishman, into the book, because it just demonstrates the power of synthetic media, I mean Scorsese was working on this project from Twenty fifteen. He filmed with a special three rake camera. He had this best special effects, artists, post production work, multi-million dollar budget, and still the fact at the end wasn't that convincing it didn't look quite right and now one youtuber free software takes a clip from Scorsese's foam in twenty twenty. So Scorsese's film came out in two thousand, nineteen this year he can already create something that's far more. When when you look at it looks far more realistic than what Scorsese did. This is just in the realm of video as already mentioned with images, it can already do it perfectly. There is also the case of audio. There is another youtube, for example. Who makes a lot of the kind of early pieces and thank media have sprung up on Youtube there's a youtuber called vocal synthesis who uses an open sourced AI model to train a trained on celebrities voices so he can. Something that he's done that's gone. Many many views on youtube is he's literally taken audio clips of dead presidents and then made them rap NWEA's for the police Ronald Reagan FDR. He very interesting. This is. An, indicator of how complex these challenges are going to be to navigate and future because another thing that he did was he took. Jay Z's voice and made him rec- rap recite Shakespeare's to be or not to be an interestingly Jesse's record label filed a copyright infringement claim against him and made him take it down. But this is really just a forebear of the kind of battles we're going to see when any anonymous user this can take your likeness can. Take your biometrics and make you say or do things that you never date, and of course, this is disastrous to any liberal democratic model because in a world where anything can be faked, everyone becomes a target but even more than that, if anything can be faked including. Evidence that we today see as an extension of our own reality and I say evidence in quotation marks video film audio then everything can also be denied. So the very basis of what is reality starts to become corroded. Of course, reality itself remains. It's just that our perception of reality star become increasingly clouded. So. What are we gonNA do about this again we're GONNA get into all of the evidence of just how aggressively this will be used given everything else that's been happening in our world. We'll talk about Russia and trump and Cunanan and other problems here but many of us can dimly remember is twenty years ago before covid when the Bush audiotape dropped and trump sort of attempted to deny that the audio was real of him on the bus but we were not yet in the presence of such widespread use of deep fake technology that. Anyone was even tempted to believe him. We knew the audio was real now apparently didn't matter given how corrupt our our sense of everything had become by that point politically. But we can see the resort to claiming fakery that we will be relied upon by everyone and anyone who is committed to line because it'll be so much of it around that. Really it's you know it will only charitable to extend the benefit of the doubt to people who say listen to that wasn't me? That's just perfect. Simulate grim of my voice and even my face but you actually can't believe your eyes and ears at this point I would never say such a thing in any of your conversations with experts on this topic. Are, any of them hopeful that we will be able to figure out how to put a watermark on digital media in such a way that we will understand is providence and. The able to get to ground truth when it matters. So I think the problem of what we do about it is so huge that. We can only fight the corroding information ecosystem by building society wide resilience, but the solutions if you wanted to term it that way broadly fit into two categories. The first are the kind of technical solutions. So because synthetic media is going to become ubiquitous and we as humans will not be able to discern because of the fidelity, the quality whether it's real or fake, so you can't rely on digital forensics in the. Sense that somebody goes through and clicks and looks at each media and decides Oh are the is blinking correctly do the ears look a little bit blurred because these are what we do now right because the generation side of synthetic media is still so nascent. So we're not going to be able to do that second the sheer volume when you talk about at the scale at which you can generate synthetic media means that. Humans are never going to be able to go through it. All never going to beef able to fact, check each each piece of media so we have to rely on. Building the software to detect, for example, fakes, and right now there is an interest and increasingly, there are certain experts and groups who are putting money into being able to detect deep fakes. However, the problem is because the adversarial nature of the A and the way that it's trained every time you build a detector that's good enough to generate to detect the fake the generation model can also become stronger. So you're in this never ending game of cat-and-mouse where you know the, you keep on having to build better detectors and also given the various different models and ways in which the fakes can be generated. There's never going to be a one size fits all model. There's a hypothetical question which is open still in the research community about whether or not the fakes can become so sophisticated. So we already know that they're gonNA meet humans they already basically do, but is there a point where the fakes become so sophisticated that even a and e. detector can never detect in the DNA of that fake that it's actually a piece of synthetic media we don't know yet is the answer to that but I will say that there is more research. Going into the generation side because like so much in terms of the information ecosystem, the architecture of information ecosystem in the information age, it has been driven by this almost utopian flawed vision of how these technologies will be serving an unmitigated good for humanity without thinking about how they might amplify. The worst sides of human intention as well. The second side and you touched upon that is building providence architecture into the information ecosystem. So basically embedding right into the hardware of devices whether that's a camera phone de Authenticity watermark to prove the that piece of media is authentic you can track it throughout its life to show that it hasn't been tampered with or edited, and this is something that for example, adobe is working on along with the on its content initiate authenticity initiative. So there are. Technical Solutions, underway both insides in terms of the -tection and the providence side of the problem however. Ultimately this is a human problem to the extent that. Disinformation are bad information didn't. Just, come about at the turn of the Millennium. It's just that we have never seen it at this scale. We have never seen at this potent and we have never ever been able to see to have it as accessible as it is now so. Ultimately. This is a human problem. There's no way we can deal with the challenges of our corroding information ecosystem without talking about human quote unquote solutions. How do we prepare society for this new reality and we are way behind where always reactive our reactions are always piecemeal and the biggest problem is the information ecosystem has become corrupt to the extent that we can't even identify what the real risks are right with too busy fighting each other about things without seeing what the real existential risk is here. Yeah Yeah I. Mean that that is a symptom of the problem itself the fact that we can't even agree on the nature of the problem There's so much disinformation in the air. It makes me think that one solution to part of the problem I don't think it captures all of it but certainly, some of the most pressing parts of it could be solved if we had lie detection technology that we could actually rely on just imagine we real-time lie detection and you could go to the source you know if some awful piece of audio emerged from me and purported to be A. Part of my podcast, our I said something you know very reputation cancelling. And I say that will last a fake that wasn't me the only way to resolve. That would be to tell whether I'm lying or not were forcing our selves into a position where it's going to be a kind of emergency not to be able to tell with real confidence whether or not somebody is is lying so I we're gonNA. Addition to the arms race between deep fakes and deep fake identifying a i. i. think this could inspire a lie detection arms race. Because there's so many other reasons why we would want to be able to detect people who were lying having just watched the presidential and vice presidential debates in America. One could see that the utility of having A. Red Light go off over someone's head when when he or she knows that he or she has line but if we can't trust people and we can't trust the evidence of our senses when we have media of them saying and doing things convincingly delivered to us in Torrance it's hard to see how we don't drift off into some a horrifically dystopia. Dreamworld of our own confection. Absolutely, and this is really why. I wrote the book I wrote it in a way that was very accessible to anyone to pick up zoom through an afternoon because I think without this conceptual framework where we can connect everything from Russian disinformation to the increasingly partisan political divide in the United States. But also around the rest of the Western world and understanding how now with the age of going with the age of synthetic media upon us how our entire perception of the world is going to be changed in a way that is completely unprecedented how we can be manipulated in the age of information where we had assumed that once we have access to this much information that you know surely. Progress is inevitable but to actually understand how the information ecosystem itself has become corrupt I think is the first step and to be honest with you, I do tend to think that things will probably get worse before they get better and I think the US election is a great case study of that because it's almost no matter. The outcome, right? Let's say that trump loses and he loses by large margin. You know that he could still refuse to go even if the secret service will come and take his bags and ask them please Mr Trump, there's the door he has this influence now where a lot of his followers genuinely believe that he is, you know the the say this kind of savior of America and if he asks them to. Take arms and take to the streets I mean this literally already happening right now right you have armed insurrection militia kind of patrolling, the streets of the United States on both the left and the right for their political grievances so. If Biden wins let's say Trumka's quietly in Biden wins well, then you still haven't addressed the bigger problem of the Info clips where the information ecosystem has become. So corrupt and so corroded and the synthetic media revolution is still upon us so. I Okay I'm hopeful that we still have time to address this because like I said this technology. So nascent, we can still try to take some kind of action in terms of what's the ethical framework how are we gonNA adjudicate the use of synthetic media? How can we digitally educate the public about the risks of synthetic media but? It is a ticking time bomb and. The window is short. As. If to underscore your your last point had time we're speaking here there's there's a headline now circulating the thirteen men were just arrested including seven members of a right wing militia. Plotting to kidnap the Democratic Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer for the purposes of inciting civil war one can only imagine the kind of information diet of these militia members. But this is the kind of thing that gets engineered by crazy information and pseudo facts being spread on social media and this the kind of thing that when even delivered by. A mainstream news channel. One now has to pause and wonder whether or not. It's even true because it's been such a breakdown of trust in in journalism and the so many cries of fake news both cynical and increasingly real that is just which was dealing with a circumstance of such informational pollution. Let's talk about Russia's role in all of this because the Russia has a history of prosecuting what they call active measures against us and and we really have for a long time. But in in the midst of an information war, which essentially a psychological war and Russia is increasingly expert at exploiting the divisions in our society especially racial divisions. So maybe you can summarize some of this history. Yeah I mean I, start my book with Russia because. I my career intersected a lot with what Russia was doing in Ukraine in two, thousand fourteen and the kind of information war they fought around the annexation of Crimea and Eastern. Ukraine where they basically denied that it was happening at all and the same with the shooting down of MOH seventeen. This was the Malaysian. Aircraft that was shot down over eastern. Ukraine. which now has been proven to have been by Russian military services. But at the time they were saying this had nothing to do with them and that this was pro Russian Ukrainian separatists who who had shot on the airliner. So what Russia did with information warfare around Ukraine Crimea around Europe in two thousand fifteen when Putin and Assad stepped up their bombardment of civilians in. Syria unleashing this mass migration, which basically led to the US migrant crisis five years ago I don't know if you remember those images of your people just arriving at the shore you know and some of them were refugees. But as we now know a lot of them were, there were also terrorists economic migrants and how that almost tore Europe apart and the information war that Russia. Fought around those events where they perpetrated these stories about, for example, girls Germany who had been raped by supposedly raped by arriving migrants and stories like this legitimately did happen but this story was completely plummeted. So to finding the Lion Eunice blurring the line between what's real and fake. But what was also very interesting for me was that I worked on. or I studied and I worked on the Russian information operations around the US election in two thousand sixteen and the first thing to say about that is to me it's an it's a we can see how corrupt information ecosystem has become to the extent that does information operations have become completely partisan event in. America. Right. Some people say that Russia's behind everything and others deny that Russia did anything at all and this is just nonsense do for sure the Russians intervened in the two thousand sixteen election and they continue to intervene in US politics to this day, and I, suppose what was very interesting to me about what Russia was doing was how? This information warfare strategy, which is old and it goes all the way back to the cold war was becoming increasingly potent with the weapons of this modern information ecosystem and one of those was social media. What, they did in Ukraine and then Europe around the migrant crisis, and then around the US election was influence operations on social media where they actually posed in the case of the United States as authentic Americans, and then they over year is by the way this wasn't just them getting involved in the weeks running up to the election they started their influence operations in the United States in two thousand thirteen they build up these tribal communities on social media and built up well, basically played identity politics built up. Their pride in their distinct identity and interestingly this wasn't. Just, Russians targeting you know right wing kind of trump supporters. They did it across the political spectrum and as a matter of fact, they disproportionately focused on the African American community. So they built these fake groups, pages communities. Where you? You Imbue them with your distinct pride in your distinct identity, and then as we closer to the election, those groups were then sporadically injected with lots of political grievances. Some of them legitimate to make these groups feel alienated from the mainstream and again, the primary focus of their influence operations on social media was the African American community who they were basically targeting so that they felt so disenfranchised and disconnected from Hillary. America large that they wouldn't go and vote in the election, right? and. What has happened now four years later is that those operations are still ongoing, but they've become far more sophisticated. So in two thousand sixteen might have been a troll farm in Saint Petersburg but in twenty twenty, one operation that was earlier this year, which was revealed through CNN twitter facebook. A joint investigation was that the Russian agency which was in charge, which is in charge of the social media operations. It's cold the Internet research agency. Ira They hid basically outsourced their work to Ghana with the headsets up what was. What looked extensively like a legitimate human rights organization, they had hired employees in Ghana, real authentic Canadians, and then told them. You know you're going to have to post build these groups and communities. Here is basically a re. The same memes, the same ideas using twenty sixteen they were basically recycling in twenty twenty. So I start with Russia because what is really interesting is that their strategy of information warfare is actually something called is A phenomenon where they flood the zone with a lot of information. Bad information across the political spectrum. So they're not just targeting you know trump voters, for example, and this chaos this bad information. This chaotic information has the effect where it's called sensors they do censorship through noise. So this chaotic bad information overload gets to the point where we can't make decisions in our own interest of protecting ourselves, our country, our community, and that's very spirit of information warfare. Has Come to characterize the entire information ecosystem. I start with Washer I map out how their tactics are far more potent, but you cannot talk about the corrosion of the information ecosystem without recognizing that the same. Chaotic Spirit has come to imbue our home grown debate as well. So I actually thank you know, of course, the Russians are intervening in the US election in two thousand and twenty. What's also very interesting is that other rogue and authoritarian states around the world are looking at what Russia is doing and copying them. China's becoming more like, Russia? But this is also happening at home and arguably the domestic disinformation misinformation and information disorder is far more harmful than anything that foreign actors are doing. Want to cover some of that ground again because it's easy not to understand at first pass just how sinister and insidious this all lives because the fact that we can't agree. As a society that Russia interfered in the twenty thousand sixteen presidential election. Is One of the greatest triumphs of the Russian interference in our information ecosystem. The fact that that you have people on the left over ascribing to Russian influence causality and you have people on the right denying any interference in the first place and the fact that each side. Can Sleep soundly at night convince that the other side is totally wrong. That is itself symptom of how polluted our information space has become. Kind of singularity on the landscape where everything is now falling into it and it's It's happening based on the dynamics you just sketched out whereas if you mingle wise of any size and consequence with enough truths and half truths or you know background facts that suggest applause ability to these lives or at least you can't you can't ever ascertain what's true. It leads to a kind of epistemological breakdown and a cynicism that is the goal of this entire enterprise not merely to misinform people, which is to say, have them believe things that are false? It is to break people's commitment to being informed at all because they realize how hopeless it is, and so we all just tune out and go about our lives being manipulated to who knows what end. So you know the some of the history which would go through in your book as. Relates to the fact that you know that for a long ago long before they had any tools to really to work with certainly didn't have social media. The Russians planted the story that AIDS was A. Bio. WEAPON COOKED UP IN A US lab and with the purpose of performing a genocide on the black community and they targeted the black community would this lie and to this day in a disproportionate number of people in the black community and the US believe that AIDS was made in a lab for the purpose of wiping out black people. But the reason why that is so clever is because it has an air of plausibility to a given the history of the Tuskegee experiments in the syphilis experiments where. African Americans who had syphilis were studied and not given the cure even wants to cure penicillin emerged. They were then studied to the of their lives with what amounted to the the ethical equivalent of the Nazi cold water experiments trying to see the the effects of. Syphilis on people. I most at an absolutely appalling history. And it's in the context of that history that you can make up new allegations. Should seem Peyton the insane. They're so evil but they don't seem pain insane given. The points of contact to surrounding reality that. That is fact based and and so it is with. The the current leveraging of identity politics in the US where they create black lives matter. facebook groups that are fake and they can they. I think there's There was one protest in Times Square. They had like five thousand or ten thousand people show up and it was completely fake I mean that the organizers were fake you know they were Russians there was no man on the ground who was actually a real leader of the sing and people went to this protest never realizing that they were characters in in somebody's dream scape. Absolutely. This is why it is. So dos thirdly, and as you pointed out. The Russians or even the Soviets going back to the Cold War very quickly identified that race relations is a sore point for the United States, and they abuse that to great effect and the operation infection. The lie that you already correctly pointed out that the CIA invented h the HIV virus as a way to kill African Americans was something that in one thousand, nine, hundred, eighty s took about ten years to go viral but when it did, oh boy, did it grab a hold of the imagination to the extent that it still? Plays a challenge when you're trying to deal with HIV public health policy today where you have communities african-american communities, you disproportionately believe that the HIV virus is somehow connected to a government plan to. Commit. Genocide. And in two thousand, sixteen, I suppose what happened is that the the strategy was the same we want to play identity politics. We want to hit the United States where it hurts we know that race is the dividing factor, but in two thousand, sixteen, it became so much more powerful because operation infection, the HIV lie was a single life whereas in two thousand sixteen what's happening in twenty twenty is numerous groups, communities, pages where it's not only about spreading one lie, but it's actually about entrenching tribal divisions, entrenching identity politics and. In the context of what's happened in twenty twenty very interesting. Some of the other kind of information operations that have come out that have been exposed. Is Unsurprisingly given your interest assignment kind of the culture wars woke nece is that a lot of kind of Unemployed American journalists who had lost their job due to covid were now working for kind of social justice oriented left-wing news news network in favor of Blm and it turned out that actually that entire network was fabricated and the Russians were behind it. So these unwitting Americans who genuinely have good intentions are being co opted into something that is actually being run by Russian intelligence and I suppose with our information ecosystem right now it's so much easier to actually infiltrate public life. In the United States in a way that wouldn't have been possible in the one, thousand, nine hundred. So we can't. We don't even know what we're starting to see the impact of these operations on society. That's not to say that you know the Russians created the problems with race of course not but do they exploit them absolutely and our other countries also other rogue authoritarian nation states seeking to do the same absolutely. Russia is the best at this kind of information warfare but. Are Learning quickly and what's been really interesting for me to watch is, for example, how China has taken an aggressive new interest in pursuing similar disinformation campaigns in western information spaces. This was something that they didn't do until about last year when the protests started in Hong. Kong and then obviously this year with with covert. I think you say in your book that Russian television RT is the most watched news channel on Youtube? Yes. It is. This is another example of how. Quick, they were to recognize that the architecture of this new information ecosystem, right which developed or the tournament. If you'd like to continue listening to this podcast you'll need to subscribe at Sam, Harris, dot org you'll get access to all full length episodes of making says, podcast and two other subscriber only content including bonus episodes and Ama's and the conversations I've been having the waking up APP. The making sense podcast AD free and relies entirely listener support. And you can subscribe now at San Paris Dot Org.

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#256  A Contagion of Bad Ideas

Making Sense with Sam Harris

1:27:06 hr | Last week

#256 A Contagion of Bad Ideas

"Welcome to the making sense. Podcast this is sam harris okay. Well today's podcast is yet another. Psa there have been many of them of late. Needless to say if you want to support what. I'm doing here. The way to do that is to subscribe to the podcast. At sam harris dot org. It's really the subscribers that Make all of this possible. But given the kinds of topics i touch here is with some regularity that i feel the need to put out a podcast in a form where the most people will hear every word of it and today the topic. That could not suffer. A paywall is what is now universally described as vaccine hesitancy and the general condition of misinformation and disinformation that surrounds vaccines general. But the co vid. Amarna vaccines in particular. I think anyone who has listened to the podcast in the last year or so. We'll have no doubt about where i stand on the topic of the covert vaccines. But i haven't focused on it because it seemed like there really has not been all that much to say and Just a general era of futility around persuading anyone who has decided for one reason or another that they're really worried about the covert vaccines and not all that worried about covert. That's the bifurcation here. We have a very large cohort in our society who think that co vid is Not an especially big deal at minimum. The dangers of it have been exaggerated. Of course there. Many millions of people who think it's a hoax and that there is in fact no problem. At all any case there's a spectrum of opinion on this side wherein people are really not at all concerned about getting co vid. But they're quite concerned about the dangers or imagine dangerous associated with the vaccines for covert. And then there are the rest of us who have the the valence on. Those terms flipped and were quite concerned about govan and not especially concerned about the risk of vaccines rather we were incredibly eager to get vaccinated and to get our kids vaccinated and we are fairly aghast at increasingly troubled by the thinking and unjustified certainties coming from the other camp if people agree about anything on this topic it's that you can't shame the other side into compliance right and to talk down to them to cast the vaccine hesitant as stupid or uneducated is generally deemed counterproductive and it's also in many cases. Just not true because there are many smart people who fall into this camp as will become obvious and with the fact that this is possible the fact that one can be smart and aggressively misinformed and misinforming of others attest to just how bad the problem of misinformation has grown in our society. Anyway i was avoiding this topic because again. I don't think there's that much to say on it but it's pretty obvious. Now as the pace of vaccination has slowed to a crawl in the united states and the need for vaccination globally is fairly excruciating and the delta variant as tipped us into a condition. Where even those of us who are vaccinated can no longer enjoy the light at the end of the tunnel because we have been pushback into that tunnel by frankly the confusion of our neighbors the tipping point for me. The other day was i was. I was eating at a restaurant and noticed that About half of the waiters were wearing masks and half warrant. And i. I asked one of them. What was the policy here. We wearing masks or not wearing masks and he said well that the policy the restaurant was that if you're vaccinated you don't have to wear a mask and if you're not vaccinated you do i Chewed on that for a few minutes after he walked away. And and then. I i looked at all of these young men. They were all men with kind of a fresh set of eyes and realize that there is no reason. These guys aren't vaccinated. But for the fact that they have some spurrier's memes and bad ideas bouncing around their brains and they were very likely. Put there by some of my friends. So my fellow podcasters Who have either gone down this rapid hole themselves or just platforms people who spread misinformation about vaccines and about koefoed and not known enough to push back in real time against these ideas and in city in this restaurant looking at these waiters who are all podcast listeners. I just know it have spoken to a few of them about it and they're advertising. They're dangerous confusion on their faces by wearing masks would otherwise be unnecessary for them. This was before the explosion of the delta variant in my city. I just figure. I have to say something. So the goal of today's podcast is to present a very simple case which hopefully stands a chance of persuading some number of the vaccine hesitant and the punchline. Is this even if you accept the worst claims about the risks of the amarna vaccines which are almost guaranteed to be false but even accepting them the case for getting vaccinated is absolutely clear-cut. Given what else we know but the effects of the vaccines in preventing disease and about the effects of covert itself right. It's a very simple argument but it requires that we get into some of the details here about what's being claimed about what we know. Thus far from what is really one of the largest medical experiments ever performed. We now have over one hundred million people in the us alone who are fully vaccinated. Have an extraordinary amount of information about the dangers. Here or lack thereof so anyway wanted to produce a document that could be spread around to the people in your life who may still be hesitating to get vaccinated and help me. Do this decided to speak with doctor. Eric topol. Eric is a truly world renowned cardiologist. He's also the executive vice president of scripts research and one of the top ten most cited medical researchers his author of several books. The patient will see you now. The creative destruction of medicine and deep medicine how artificial intelligence can make healthcare human again and even more relevantly for our purposes. He's been very active on twitter for the last year. And a half or so countering some of the crazy ideas that had been spread around covert and round vaccines and you can follow him on twitter at eric. Topol he r. I c. t. o. p. o. l. And i recommend you do that. He's continually surfacing useful articles. But i thought eric was one of the best people. I could find to walk me through what we currently know or have every reason to believe about vaccines and about the state of our response to covert. We discuss the general problem of misinformation the political and social styling that people experience in our society we cover concerns about mri vaccines the emergency use authorization by the fda what that means and what it doesn't mean and the false claims made about it took about the effectiveness of the vaccines and differentiate vaccine efficacy from effectiveness. We discussed the delta variant the misuse of the vaccine adverse events reporting system the bears database. We discuss concerns about the long term side effects of the colvin vaccines bad incentives and medicine ivermectin government and corporate censorship and Touch upon vaccine mandates and other topics. Anyway as you'll hear in the discussion. Neither i nor eric have any conceivable conflict of interest here. In fact eric has distinguished himself in the past for going after big pharma he had his career fairly derailed at one point in his battle against merck over viaducts and he was very much on the heroic side of the good in that battle. Neither of us have an idealized picture of the pharmaceutical industry or the incentives that might drive in a specific decision. They're the only reason for this. Podcast is i'm growing increasingly concerned about misinformation leading to needless illness disability and even death in our society and the world over so with that said i hope you find this podcast useful and i bring you eric topol. I am here with doctor eric. Topol eric thanks for joining me again. Great to be with you. Sam so Let's say you. You've been on the podcasts. I forget when that was it was a while back. But let's briefly introduce you properly. How do you. How do you describe your background and current purchase in medicine. Well i'm an old dog. I've been around for a while now. you know in the early years i well. As cardiologists research was more on clinical trials and then in the mid nineties switch genomics and digital medicine And so the i'm at scripts research A professor of molecular medicine here and also executive vice president of the script research institution Nice nice why so i. I'm talking to you today. Just because i know you're a wonderful communicator of science and and medicine and just huge you help people think about what is rational on this topic and also you've been very active on twitter throughout the pandemic just forty articles. Which you you. Helpfully highlight for people and just You know cutting through what has become a truly a deluge of misinformation and disinformation and conspiracy thinking you know malignant fantasies. It was just a. We're we're now dealing with a an information space. That is so contaminated by you. Know the digital entrepreneurship people with various area with various convictions. That it's very difficult to get anything like ground truth around. Cove it vaccines. And you know southbound public health advice in this is coupled to a pervasive distrust in institutions now with people people distrust the government they distrust the media they distrust science and scientists. You know our our medical journals have have lost us standing. Certainly organizations like the cdc in who Have fairly immolated their their reputations over the last eighteen months or so and some of this is understandable. I mean there really has been some terrible failures of public health messaging and instances of hypocrisy and double think but rather than performing an autopsy on all of that. I want us to see if we can have a conversation about vaccines and vaccine hesitancy and starting pretty much from first principles and from what we can be reasonably sure about in the current environment. So i'm you know. I have other things i wanna say by By way of getting us started here. But is there anything you want. Wanna say just to kick this off. Well your points in intro here are spot on sam The vaccine progression from the sequence of the sars kofi to in january january tenth to the clinical trial executed completed november and rolling out vaccines. All in a matter of months is of historic significance. There's never been a vaccine. That's been short of eight. Years is the average And many many fail so what we have. Here is one of the greatest triumphs in biomedicine in history. And it's very sad to see that being compromised by miss and disc information So let let's just talk about a few background facts here so first despite that triumph of rolling out these vaccines at record pace. The vaccination rates in the us have now plummeted around two hundred fifty thousand shots First shots given day. Now which is like something like one tenth of where we were at our highest rate and We'll we'll focus on the us here but anything we say will apply to other countries where vaccines are available and where a significant percentage of people don't want to get them. But i think we we. We have to recognize that everyone is very likely to be in a bubble of sorts. Here so i think. I mean i i honestly think i only know a few people out of the the hundreds of people i know personally. I think i'm only aware of knowing one or two who aren't vaccinated. And i'm sure that anyone who isn't vaccinated is very likely surrounded by people who are not vaccinated right so this is analogous to what happens with With smokers right. I think. I only know one or two people who still smoke cigarettes whereas if you smoke cigarettes i i imagine you many of your friends or smokers. So we're we're impressively silos here and this is all making it very difficult to talk about. What is rational and responsible because the silo in is not just socialist with respect to to information and sources of information that one deems credible. There's one different kill about that sam. I think you're you're making an app comparison to the smoker circle or meat versus the nonsmokers but differences that the smoker circuit isn't directly trying to hurt the nonsmokers. Where whereas here we have. We have a harm that serious. Unfortunately yes it's worse than secondhand smoke coming from xactly exam vaccinated her it to flip of the model. You know the way. It was supposed to work. Sam was that there was this famous herd immunity Lot of people had never heard of until they heard her money. And then the idea was if just get seventy percent of people vaccinated than the other. Thirty percent would benefit because the virus wouldn't be able to find hosts so that they're the majority the one bubble would help the smaller one. But what's happened. Unfortunately is that we have. We have a much more transmissible. Contagious version of the virus would delta uses. We've seen it flip that model where the unvaccinated because it's substantial minority are now leading to infections in the vaccinated and that's not the way it was right. Yes so this is a bit of a stretch. Psychologically to build a bridge between where we are and where the unvaccinated at the resolutely unvaccinated are right. So i mean. I'm living in a world where i and all of my friends were profoundly impatient to get vaccinated and many of us were going to vaccine centers early on and lining up for hours. You know even whole days hoping to get some overflow vaccine right. These are now months ago and now vaccines are are ubiquitously available and we have people who don't want them right and Murray so but i do think you know rather than stigmatize the unvaccinated or put the onus on them in Very judgmental terms. I just. I want see if we can give me the. This is a pointless exercise if we can't say something. A stands at chance of bean persuasive for these people. So worry i mean. I i think to understand who these people are. There's been a fair amount of polling on this. I'm drawing these comments from the kaiser family foundation vaccine monitoring website so that there are a few ways in which our society is segmented here The first is obviously political right. There's a left right. Divide politically that account for a lot of this difference. So two percent of democrats say they will definitely will not get the vaccine whereas twenty three percent of republicans say that so there's a significant significant effect and no surprise There's about a thirty percent difference in vaccination rates among democrats and republicans eighty six percent democrats have received. At least one does and Only fifty two percent of republicans have and you know there have been exceptions to this with respect to public messaging miss some republicans and right wing media figures have said oh you know what i would consider the reason. The reasonable thing but many have tended amplify the message that coveted itself is not really bad. It's just a flu or maybe maybe even a hoax but these newfangled cova vaccines are dangerous. And then you have people like trump slinging off to get vaccinated in secret without using it as an opportunity to actually a a helpful public health message so politics are are definitely part of it. But it's not the whole story. Age is also a major variable so people over sixty five or much more likely to be vaccinated than the young. This is actually fairly rational because people over sixty five understand ya. They're much greater risk for serious illness or death from kovin and is also a rural urban divide which is again somewhat if not rational understandable because those people living in crowded cities are more likely to get exposed to covet and and they're more likely to be vaccinated as well and there's you know there are other cuts you can make this. The education is a variable. College graduates are more likely to be vaccinated than than those who haven't finished college or or never went. And there's some stratification by race weizer more likely to be vaccinated than blacks or hispanics but the effect is not that great. And they're weird pockets where there's a very strong anti vacs sentiment like the yoga community. Apparently is is very wary of getting vaccinated for covert and the reasons when when you pull people in these various groups the reasons they give for not being vaccinated tend to focus on concerns about the newness of the vaccines right and fear of side effects. You know these are new vaccines. They they could not have been fully tested because were produced so quickly and therefore they're likely to be dangerous right and then you add to this distrust of the government and You and also just a belief that they don't actually need a vaccine because the risk of covert has been greatly exaggerated. This is basically the picture you get of. Why people are are not getting vaccinated. So i think there's two prominent things that you've mentioned that deserve emphasis sam. So i you did. Cite the kaiser family foundation survey a large survey of americans. And in that one of the most important reasons that people gave. And you can understand is that the fda didn't give full approval yet Still being categorized as an emergency use and so that you know you can understand people being skeptical when out without this final blessing by the fda than the other thing. I think you've alluded to but can't be emphasized enough. It isn't so much the problem with the unvaccinated. It's the problem of the information being fed to them which they actually believe these things because a lot of this purposeful a lot of this. Is you know intentionally. Trying to prevent the benefit from being actualized. So i think those are factors that i consider you know pretty high on the list for where we are right now but what. What do you mean. I intentionally trying to get the benefit from keeping the benefit for being actualized. Well you know in the political specter as you've mentioned there's such a remarkable dichotomy between the republicans and the democrats and there was a great cartoon by one of my favorite cartoonists bureau. Bill bramhall who said a biden. He's out there. You know sunglasses and he said says on the cartoon vaccines are bad and that's how you get. Republicans go get vaccinated. But there is clearly a movement among many republican leaders in congress and states to not be supportive of the vaccine friend and only in recent days. Interestingly have they started to come out with the message that this is important and that we're facing a very serious delta wave right now so this is of course very late in the game where we're now you know highly dominant with this very formidable version of the virus and so the the the messaging from politicians to buck. No the a lot of things have been blocked politically. And it's not an area that i wanna even get into as far as you know politicization of the vaccine but enforcing it has happened and you to you cited other other service at suggests. It's even worse than that. So you know never. Before has axa nation in this country been so highly political. And i remember you know as a kid. I know i'm older than you. I think sam. But when i was a kid in getting polio vaccine. Everybody got the polio vaccine. There was there was no politics and you know if you go back in time. We've never had anything like this. And it's the sad. Part is the people who are not getting the benefit of the vaccine. A lot of is because they're just they're on social media. They're getting fed misinformation and by the way we also know the russians are involved. This is part of this. You know mission of their divisiveness and we haven't had a counteroffensive in this country to all this misinformation and in fact i pleaded with vivek murthy our surgeon general back in may to do that and i think he saw just last week he he did make that announcement that they're there but it hasn't really been aggressive. It is calling out the sources of this. So what we have is a problem of allowed of misinformation some of it quite deliberate and lack of a counter. Yeah the reason why this is so upside down as you you have many. Many millions of people who believe some combination of the following that the risk of cova de disease has been vastly exaggerated right cova homes or. It's just a flu or just not a factor but the vaccines are scary and dangerous right. So it's the we just haven't been literally tens of millions of people who are totally saying win about the prospect of catching coverted but really averse to the idea of getting vaccinated for covert and you obviously from our point of view. That's totally upside down. But this is the balance that has to be you know the results of which have to be fairly judged on the one side you have the risk of call vid plus the effectiveness of the vaccines weighed against the risks of vaccination. Because i mean this is. This is really a forest choice for all of us as easy. If unless you're going to be perfectly in hiding you're going to be exposed to the novel corona virus and is some variant or many variants thereof. And you can either be exposed having been fully vaccinated or not having been fully vaccinated and this should be simple to talk about and know the comparative risk should be simple to assess now because we we have many many millions of people who have run this experiment. We've got millions of people who have caught co vid without the benefit of a vaccine. We've got millions of people who've been vaccinated and we can assess the negative side effects of getting these vaccines all can be assessed again. This is happening in a context where many many millions of people believe that for instance everything that has been going on here has been part of a vast totalitarian conspiracy in there people who think that the lockdowns and the masking has been not for the purpose of mitigating real illness. The whole point has been to acclimatise otherwise free societies to regimes of extreme. social control. right and then you have the at you into that paranoia. The belief that any emphasis on vaccination rather than treatment of kovic with existing compounds like ivermectin. That's based on a pure profit motive coming from big pharma and and the mercenary manipulation of government. Right we're all doing the bidding somehow visor on haruna right. I mean so. I can say for like for instance. Someone's going to think that of us in this conversation a should go without saying that i have absolutely no entanglement with big pharma. And there's no pressure on me to do a podcast about the benefits of vaccines. So it's you know this is just a pure. Psa from my point of view. But that's the environment in which we're having this conversation. Yeah i would add. I have no connections conflicts with pharma but even everyday people on twitter. Say you're a tool your show for farmers when in fact i've been attacking them out in fact before vaccines were approved. I was attacking him for not posting their protocols red earn visor and all the rest of them and also more recently for a premature pronouncement of need for boosters. And no this is this is all as you say. Just part of that can a multidimensional conspiracy accused and theory. And it's really. It's saddening to to to watch in a way. Be part of that. Yeah okay so so. What do we know about the effectiveness of the vaccines at this point. Right so the vaccines. When we had the first trials that came out in november december was a formal review. We learned that they were ninety. Five percent effective both pfizer and then subsequently shortly after madeira that was against any infection or as it turned out which wasn't the primary endpoint of the trials The same was at least Against any severe illness like death or hospitalization so the trials were just designed seventy five thousand participants. Multi country needs the largest trials ever performed in vaccines and they showed us. You know remarkable. You may recall. Sam that at the time when the the trials were done the fda hit set the bar for fifty percent if fifty percent right now are enough confidence intervals. That would qualify approval. Here we had ninety five percent striking. There's only one other vaccine in history. That's been this level of of efficacy efficacy. So then you have of course different world which is effectiveness when you put vaccines in the real world. And which striking wherever you look whether it's israel or the uk or you know the various centers that are reported in the us. We see the same effectiveness as efficacy. Now that's unusual too because what's happened near is the real world isn't that ideal situation of you. Know the the inclusion criteria the exclusion criteria the right way the vaccines were given. You know frozen into the moment and all the perfect things. Usually you see a drop-off ineffectiveness and in fact it's held up now that was with the original strain and of course. There's been some evolution. I would you know from what was what is called the ancestral wuhan's drain to the d. Six point four g. Which had a little bit more transmission and then we went through this alpha beta gamma and finally now to delta now delta there is i small drop-off in effectiveness. We don't have an efficacy trial. We have now effectiveness in the real world and what we're seeing now is a five or six point drop so instead of ninety five percent. It's like eighty a ninety percent effectiveness. That's exceptionally good Against any symptomatic infection and ninety six percent against death or hospitalization which is extraordinarily. So here we have you know what would most would consider the best vaccine and data sets in history. And it's ironic that we have such as a substantial number of people or as you position it bubble that just are still not believing this and of course to safety has gone along with that yes. There are many a natural experiments happening here. So one thing you can do is compare the rates of hospitalization and death for the faxed and unvaccinated amid grant their context in which this can be misleading. Obviously in a society where a hundred percent of people are fully vaccinated will then one hundred percent of people who are hospitalized or dead from cove it will also be fully vaccinated so he but presumably. There'll be very few of them if the vaccines actually work. But we have many situations where around fifty percent of people are fully vaccinated and fifty percent aren't and We can compare what's happening at the hospitals and morgues and you take a place like virginia. Where about just under fifty. Four percent of the population fully vaccinated. If you look at the hospitalization data over ninety eight percent of the people hospitalized are not fully vaccinated and over ninety nine percent of the deaths or for people who are not fully vaccinated. So it's just our hospitals are not fill lane would the vaccinated in places where there is a you know comparable cohorts of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. So what we have is a what we appear to have now is a a raging pandemic among the unvaccinated and of course some number of vaccinated people will experience breakthrough illness and even severe illness and death. But the numbers are are minuscule by comparison. Is there any way in which this this doesn't speak to the effectiveness of the vaccines emilia's is to say well. Yeah i mean. I think you're you're bringing up. What has been used again by the same people who are the anti vaxxers anti-science But what is being used is the increasing number of breakthrough infections with delta so in prior delta we know has a viral load or the number of copies of replicant virus. That is a capable replication Thousandfold or more compared with the ancestral strange. So we know it's a more challenging virus much more contagious transmissible. Now with that the breakthrough infections of people lining up in the hospital with prior variant Version of the virus was less than one percent and even a fraction of one percent and something like point one percent for death. Now it has gone up some for delta. That is you know. Now it's a couple percent you know few percent hospitalizations and you know. Perhaps it will. It will approach one percent death but the point here is that this is a formidable now version of the virus and what we have is a problem with mathematics because people who don't understand that for example. Let's say in israel where you have more than half of the current breakthrough infections. People are in the hospital and say oh look at vaccines aren't working well. That's just because in israel among people that are being looked at the you know. Eighty nine percent of adults fascinated have been vaccinating. Yeah there's no one else so there's no one likes to get sick right right. It's that whole point. If one hundred percent of the people were vaccinated. And everybody's you know anybody who's in the hospital obviously had to find a breakthrough on the so. People are missing the point about denominators ing infractions. But the if you calculate vaccine efficacy as has been done in the uk and in effectiveness. I should say it stays at the ninety percent level that has never changed with delta. So here i think is again whenever. There's just a slight of hand with statistics. It's being used in a way by an baxter's in what i consider to be delivered. A lot of. These people are intelligent. They know better but feeds their narrative. There's another comparison here which should be pretty straightforward and we we have something like Hundred and fifty nine million people now who have been fully vaccinated in the us right and we have probably a similar number of people who have been exposed to the corona virus. I mean there's only thirty four million confirmed cases according to the cdc but we we know it's got to be higher than that so we can compare and we we have you know. Tens of millions of people in each cohort people who've been vaccinated and people who've gotten coverted now. If the people have gotten coverted we have around six hundred thousand who have died. The for the people who've gotten facts needed when we ask how many people have died as a result of getting vaccinated. Mrs is just a a comparison of just how dangerous his covert compared to the danger of getting vaccinated. These days are kind of hard to get your your hands around because it seems like there's just there reports of people dying after getting vaccinated without any being any real assessment of whether the vaccine was causally responsible for their death and people haven't dropped from something after being vaccinated and that the highest number i've seen there is twelve thousand. Yeah but that that is is probably twelve right. Yeah how many if it is. If it's that many. But i this is the problem you're bringing up is this. Is this unfortunate situation. You know we all like open science open data. But the cdc when they set up the mayor's this is the adverse event reporting system. They didn't they didn't recognize this was going to be used by anti vaxxers because the these cases aren't are not adjudicated. They not as you say not been reviewed. They have no idea whether the death has any linkage. Because we know you know people when you have one hundred sixty. Two million americans which we have out as of today who are fully vaccinating. You know some people are gonna die naturally vaccination and so these are people part of the various reporting system. Now what is extraordinary. Here's that this is used on a daily basis. The likes of fox news tucker carlson. Laura ingram you know. Mainstream television stations and lots of other entities are using this data. It's obvious misuse because unlike the clinical trials where no one die of vaccine vaccination is to safety was it was just extraordinary. No one died of the vaccine. In either madonna or pfizer. When seventy five thousand page trials because every case every potential side effect is is reviewed by in events committee. Now you know. Have one of the ways you could die of a vaccine would be if you had. Nfl access Profound allergic reaction but there's been multiple reports of the people who had an f. alexis with the specifically with the our vaccine and two haven't died. I mean they got treated and a for a small number to get hospitalized but that would be the one thing you could link with death now. There are these exceptionally rare. Rare side effects. Like you know with the jj and astrazeneca this blood lauding issue which is called vaccine induce tomba side a peanich thrombosis more what we have seen very rare a myocarditis in young people particularly men with 'em aren't vaccines. These are exceptionally rare guillaume beret. With johnson johnson hundred cases among twelve million people vaccinated. So if you just look at these rare things first of all they don't die. Most people don't die. They recover myocarditis. Almost all retur and very mild with the blood. Clotting issue well if it does occur where there's a cerebral sinus storm says. Yes that has a high fatality. But it's incredibly rare. You know one in hundreds of thousands of people with astrazeneca or with john jay not seeing with mri so just to review the composite here. The safety is overwhelming but the bears open data registry of unadjudicated data is what's causing the problem because his being basically By us by people who don't know or unknowingly are using it to spread false information right. Yes so i take all of those points. Undoubtedly that's the correct way to look at it but even if we took the bears numbers at face value even if we acknowledged that twelve thousand people have been killed outright by these vaccines it still makes covert look a hell of a lot more dangerous than the vaccine for covert marie. Miami says. it's like you're still talking about when you have on the order of one hundred sixty million people who who've been fully vaccinated twelve thousand people diamond. It's less than one in ten thousand people dine based on this intervention. it would be a depressing number but it's so much better than the number for getting coverted without having the benefit of the vaccine. That people still have this upside down even taking those numbers at face value. Which of we can't do. I couldn't agree with you more. In fact you're looking at overall with respect to the exceptionally rare side effects. That i mentioned the chance of having any of those from covert is considerably higher orders of magnitude higher so yes across the board. Their relationship between getting coverted risk versus any risk of the vaccine. It is overwhelming that vaccines are providing exceptional net benefit and. That can't be question. That's real data. That's the most solid evidence. Data said that i that i've known in my thirty five years in academics. And it's just it's important to realize that when you're talking about numbers that this large when you talk about a hundred and sixty million people being exposed to any intervention there will always be some number of bad reactions then if you focus on those without understanding the background statistics you could make you know irrational person and otherwise rational person nervous about that intervention. But the truth is if we were giving people peanut butter as a prophylactic against if peanut butter were one hundred percent effective against covert. Some number people would die out right from peanut butter. That's right. I mean that's just that's the the nature of human biology. Obviously it would be. We would consider an absolute gift beyond words if peanut butter could prevent this disease. Well when one other thing. I just want to mention because what you're saying so spot on but the issue about the concerns of long term effects of the vaccine. I do want our dress. Because let's do. It will say. Well you know i i think the data look good but what about could something happen later you know and the answer there is i think pretty astounding in that in the history of vaccines. There is never been something that showed up beyond two months after the vaccine were in common use. Okay we're now beyond seven months so there is never. There is no reason to think that these vaccines going to be different than vaccines that have been going on for many many decades and so many different diseases and platforms so the long term people should have confidence in vaccines. Because we're not gonna. There's no more surprises you know. The surprises have been unveil either in the clinical trials or the first two months when they get into. You know you have one hundred. Ninety million americans who've been exposed to at least one dose we have hundreds of more millions around the world. We know what dissections do. There's no long-term surprises that we could see at this point but even if we were going to give a hostage to Paranoia here and grant that we just. We don't understand the long term implications of the vaccines. You still have this head to head comparison with the actual disease of coverted which makes the vaccines look. Comparatively benign right lake. So if you're worried about the long term possibilities of vaccines you should be doubly worried about the long term possibilities of having caught cova without the benefit of having been vaccinated. You know if you're worried about know people you there's people circulate in an article that suggests that the spike protein porn of the amarna vaccines could be bad for the blood brain barrier right but it what does cova due to the blood brain barrier right with. I mean firstly that that is absurd. You know. I saw this Through commentary that brett weinstein put out that people who get a headache as a side effect of a cobra vaccine which is not uncommon to get a headache that that could be a brain fog from the m. Aren't getting into the brain. This is totally unsubstantiated totally and to try to make a parallel where the true brain fog that is the cognitive effect a hit to people who do get covert so-called long covert or long haulers which is happening at least ten percent of the people with confirmed infections. And you know i. I know many people colleagues people. I work with who are affected by long kobe. Who have a brain fog and have profound fatih have difficulty breathing. You can't even go on a long walk that they used to be healthy athletic so for anyone to posit that people who get a headache is having 'em arnie going into the brain. That is totally irresponsible. It's reckless it. Sick and an a. Casts unnecessary doubt to these people. The innocent you know. It's in a way sam. I have to say it's predatory it's taking people who wanna believe in a conspiracy or don't know what to believe and making vaccines look like they're intended talk with no evidence. What so ever. It's really sad yet will absorb there's a conspiratorial frame of mind here which is given just enough pavlovian reinforcement to be almost impossible for people to break out of. Because the there are occasional conspiracies. There are certainly bad. Incentives that can be detected where it's easy to allege a profit motive on the part of miss you you you reference the fact that pfizer was prematurely recommending. Booster shots right. Well the reason for that. Is you know the the the cynical reason for that is fairly obvious disea- because this would mean literally billions of dollars fall into their bottom line if that were that were our health policy and so there's this background concern about a prophet motive in medicine. That is to arranging people's thinking here and the brett weinstein is is an example of this. I know that he's very concerned that the emergency use authorization for these vaccines required that there be no valid therapeutic for co vid in order to get triggered and so by definite at the sun his account by definition it had to be judged that there is nothing in the armaments areas of of medical science. They could treat cova in principle in order to fast track these vaccines and therefore we overlooked the near panacea of ivermectin. A eight old compound that is generically available and from which no pharmaceutical company stands a chance of profiting. And so they're in brett's mind you have the perfect storm of bad incentives and greedy pharmaceutical executives driving policy toward a windfall profits and disregarding the lifesaving opportunity of handing out ivermectin to one and all and driving toward some kind of abyss of novel risk right because on his account these m. are vaccines are are new and therefore Have to be assumed to be dangerous because they by definition are you know untested or or. We're testing them on ourselves. Now on his account. So this is where we have to deal with the the claim about ivermectin and How why it's not A rational alternative to these vaccines. Yeah well i do want to go over this because the notion about the emergency use authorization is incorrect. Firstly that is the definition in the setting of a pandemic or crisis for the fda is may be effective. That's all it takes may be effective. It doesn't have to be that there's no other treatment illnesses. Something may be effective in an emergency situation. The fda has the ability to push forward as they did. You may recall. They gave an e you eight for hydroxy clark. They gave any. Ua for convalescent. Plasma there are other things you know like for example when the convalescent plasma was granted which was wrong and had to be withdrawn as was hydroxy chloroquine. Both of those were there. Were other things out there for treatment. That is when the plasma there are already so you know we. We've been through this where there were all sorts of sense whether it was then president or other people following president hydroxy chloroquine was you know some magical drug and approve nali to not have an effect but also have some dangers accomplice. Plasma where over six hundred thousand. Americans got convalescent plasma because of torture data analysis without a randomized trial that was given an emergency use authorization which promoted hundreds of thousands to get. The treatment may have actually helped to spur on these variants. Because they were getting these poly clone. You know antibodies. That certainly wasn't helping the situation helping them. So you know then comes ivermectin. Now i've review that data carefully because you know on twitter. If i puts anything on twitter. I usually get at least some comments about. Did they get ivermectin or if only they had ever met they all had ever made a. No one needs a vaccine. This kind of stuff right. I sent joe. Where does this come from so it turns out you know there. There are a bunch of small studies. Right and they've been meta- analyze Multiple times by different parties. And you know. I think the best raking over of the data was by the show gideon meyer wits cat. Who put together is ivermectin for kobe. Nineteen based on fraudulent research. And that was just you know earlier this month unknown a medium now in it. He takes unbiased view and very careful view of ivermectin which is an anti parasitic medicine. As you mentioned it has been used for river blindness. It has used for lice. It is used for no various parasitic diseases. And it's relatively safe. I mean there are some serious side effects. But they're uncommon Now the point here is that. What about these trials. Do we have any large trials trials. Like you know i i. I did one of the largest clinical trials in in medicine with Forty thousand patients in eighteen countries around the world for heart attack. And i know what a large trial is when i see it mega trials over ten thousand. Which is what you want and would. Uk has done in the recovery trials. We haven't had one large trial in the whole covert nineteen pandemic done in the united states. But these trials these trials have. I remarked are exceptionally small and the largest one was this one from egypt which gideon meyrowitz cats show was highly irregular. One third of the people who died from kobe in a trowel. Already dead when the research has started to recruit them. I mean you just don't see this kind of stumbling time machine to on that trial you have a quote. If this outright fraud the ethical concern to randomize people enter clinical trial before the ethical approval. Come through is enormous and you know his piece. You know takes us hard in terms of the fact that this trial from egypt the largest which isn't large at all. I mean this you know. Few hundred people in either arm of ivermectin. The this is not what you would call any evidence for making ivermectin a standard drug. Now i i see a signal there that i could be beneficial. I don't know why. I don't know the mechanism and i would also hasten to add that you know our place and many others have raked through every drug known to mankind for repurposing. That is draw. Almost molecules drugs have been characterized. We know their structure and we can match up whether it would work against this virus and ivermectin is never shown up despite hundreds of others that have for having an antiviral specific qualities but putting the biology side did looks like there's a signal but for anyone to say that this should be given universally and as brit weinstein has said and others said it's ninety nine percents effective. This is there is there is no drug was ninety nine percents effective not man and then to say it reduces mortality. Your improves survival. By seventy eighty ninety percent. These are impossible. Ahah never occurred. This is just not acceptable ear. While as i. i'm was conspicuous. Here is what. I am not saying in breads defense. I mean bread. Bread is somebody who i consider a friend. he's definitely a colleague. he's moderated some of mine debates. I know his brother merrick. Very well He's a fell upon gaster. We'd been on each other's podcasts. I guess i would say that. I haven't heard everything he has said on this topic and he's gone on for many many hours. I know i've heard enough to be very uncomfortable with what he has. Put out there. And i do consider it dangerous. Will what strikes me as frank misinformation getting pushed out there to millions and millions of people but it is in a in in breads case born of almost a character logical bias against institutions at. This point was some of which i do understand. And so like for instance. One thing that it's really animating him is the they response to what he's doing from the big tech companies right to the fact that youtube will d monetize the episodes of his podcast where he discusses ivermectin. I'm torn even here. I don't i don't know what youtube and facebook and all of these companies should be doing. I mean there's certainly a straightforward argument that they should be censoring what is obviously misinformation. But the problem here. Is that in many things that were wrong. Yesterday are considered good information today. Ryan it's like very unlikely to get censorship right you know what is outlier thinking and can be deemed dangerous or irresponsible can in the fullness of time proved to be the only correct view so it is difficult problem they show no sign of being able to solve and brett and everyone who's listening to him incredibly animated by their clumsy efforts at censorship. Because it make they can always point to the incidents where what they censored was actually is is now. Cdc policy writing like at one point cdc was was against mask wearing right. And you're what you're going to censor. The people said. We should have been wearing masks a year ago. It was just obvious. We should have been wearing masks. It's a hard problem to solve in terms of a response and is easy to see how people get freaked out by the authoritarian implications of having these virtually monopolistic companies closed down conversation on specific topics. But it's absolutely it's a nightmare. What's happening in terms of how friction free the spread of of misinformation has become. So i i don't know what your thoughts are on the front of. What what we should be doing and also just to close a on brett's concern here. It's not just that the big tech companies are doing it but there really is a conspiracy. That's happening out in the open where you have a government asking the big tech companies to do this where i right. It's not that no one ever conspires. Even in this case they even admit that they're conspiring but certainly viewed from one side. It seems counterproductive. As bad as the misinformation and disinformation problem has become. Yeah not. I am sympathetic To the point that everyone should be heard and things shouldn't be censored that that i think is clear however when it is come to a point where it's leads to harm of people then you have to say well his crossing the line when you're harming a lot of people. Now i think the conspiracy theories and theorists get tremendous amount of fuel when this happened so for example if we go back to the lab leak origin versus the natural zone attic origin of the virus from two from zone. Onic to human. You know there were a lot of people who initially in the science community advance that this had to be a natural nado league at the wuhan virology institute and then as time went on they were more and more regularity. Still no definitive evidence either way and we may never get definitive evidence but basically people's voices who were not being heard regarding the wuhan institute lab leak assuming an accidental adly. They got more. It got more concerning substance and then to conspiracy theorists would say There you go right and they were saying that at the beginning and so now you have another parallel where you know whether it's ivermectin or you know vaccines you have people who are pushing these agendas and you know what i don't have a problem with pushing ivermectin as advancing an as a candidate drug that we need totally. There's two thousand two hundred people in randomized trials. Most of the randomized trouser twenty. Forty six people two thousand people to say it should be given universally has ninety nine percent effective. That's not you can't make that assertion and you know. I listened to brett a couple of his podcast interview with tests laurie. One of the uk scientists who he has been aligned with. And i can tell. He's an intelligent fellow. I mean he's bright follow but he doesn't know how to do clinical trials and he shouldn't be passing himself off as an expert to interpret that data. These are not what we consider definitive trials. Now it should be pursued. Ivermectin is very inexpensive and relatively safe drug and it may indeed have very positive effects. But shouldn't be you know Having emergency podcast and then the people that he brings together like for example the dr kirsch who the covert vaccines have caused more deaths than have all other vaccine combined over the last thirty years this is somebody brought on as a guest or gay. And then you have an also lined up with the front line. Covert nineteen critical care alliance for an emergency podcast with joe rogan. Making these claims. There's something serious afoot. The public is largely unaware they have been placed in kind of danger. Ninety nine percents effective ivermectin. The pandemic would end in a month. That is complete balderdash okay. The pandemic will not end in a month and there is no drug or no vaccine. Ninety nine percents effective. So the problem here. Sam i see is that he has overstepped that is he's aligned himself. Had guests who are are saying things that he then has a large following and instead of taking a critical view he. I'm sure he's upset with the center. I i would be too but it doesn't mean it should go. You know across the line as to advancing things or people who have an saying things like for example the headache. Which is you know. The m are innate. Crossing into the brain these are unfounded and things and they're dangerous things. And that's where i have a concern. What do you make of the fact. That some of these people who he's brought on his show and at least one. I think he was on with rogan with one of the person these people are. Md's with seemingly relevant credentials in caring for people with covert. And i mean he's not md's who've been sidelined for malpractice years ago and they should be credible sources of information here and it is should it is. It's it's genuinely bewildering. Even to very smart people to see an md who purports to be close to the data and in one case on at one as people who even claim to be the originator of 'em aren a vaccine technology. Yeah i don't know how species that claim does this is. This is actually wanted chief offenders lead. You mentioned it. Sam is dr malone dr baloney who put out that he was the inventor of the are vaccines. Well guess what. He wasn't the inventor and what he does is he's now the person who is leading the charge against the vaccines and people unknowingly because he identifies themselves as the inventor. there they they. This is the perfect fuel for the conspiracy. The incredible you. You couldn't make this stuff up that person who positions himself as the inventor having you know decades ago On a path but he is not the inventor of either of the amarna vaccines. Okay and then you also you know the frontline doctors. The frontline doctors that One of which One of whom. I should say Was part of this. They are the ones who are suing the government right now at vaccines should be taken off the market. Okay so we have a problem here. You know this is. This is a group of people who are hard either. Unwittingly or knowingly harming people who don't know better who i have to say you know. They're they're channel of disinformation is is i consider predatory because it's not based on the right evidence to data and i don't wanna see centered but i also wanna see tone down and stick with the facts. Don't make stuff up. He has people are gonna find this hard to adjudicate because on the one hand. It's you and me talking about this. And you know you're an md with a seemingly relevant background and were up against brett weinstein and his md's and a. He said she said situation. Where is her. Have to pick the authority. Who you trust. But that there's more information than that. That's a standoff. But we're living in the presence of the the largest vaccine and disease experiment ever run right. We're talking about tens of millions. Even hundreds of millions of people getting the disease under conditions of the vaccinated or not and the disparity in the results is so clear at this point and again even if you take the worst numbers from the most vaccine avoidance as the ground truth for what these vaccines do. It's still an easy decision. To get vaccinated. I to mitigate your risk. Yeah i mean when you have a vaccine trials done around the world you know the first to the amarnath some seventy five thousand people and then you know since that time. Hundreds thousand more participants randomized double blind trials. These the real deal then you have you know. Twenty two hundred people in all of the ivermectin trouser total. You know around the world. I mean there's a little bit different in the weight of evidence that totality of evidence also with the safety. And i think that is that should drive people if they if truly are data driven evidence based even if you're not with a medical or science background you wanna see totality of evidence and you don't want to see things that are just either made up or you know Fueled by these. I would say you know. I a good example of somebody who i know known from the past. Is alex berenson okay. He's formerly an excellent near times journalist. He then wrote a bunch of novels were highly successful and spy thrillers. And now he's a regular on fox news talking badly about vaccines and and making stuff up and using data manipulating data. Okay and of course you know. He's he's a hit with this group right but he has no he has no background. He has no clinical trials background. No science background but he is a donkey of those who wanted to be fed with this kind of for hat. But how do you eric. The people who do have the relevant background going this far down the wrong rabbit hole immediately. The md's who bred house and his Stable what are they up to me what what has happened one way to explain. It is a fairly invidious thing to say. But there's some percentage of md's and phd's and people who have all the right credentials on paper who snap for one reason or another. I mean they're just they're going through You know some inordinate stress in their life or they're actually delusional. Basically have a background level of schizophrenia. In any human population of one percent right so you will occasionally find crazy. Md's and phd's who will testify about anything now not making a specific allegation with respect to the people we've named but you have to expect that you can always find a crackpot ph d. or md for any you can find them to defend big tobacco there people who will either cynically based on some derangement will back any cause and put their credentials to that purpose. But you have any other sense of of what's going on with with these guys. Yeah you're making a really valid point year and that is we have seen people who have a medical degree who are not supporting the body of data that seoul overwhelming regarding safety of vaccines or the lack of adequate proof for example in the case of ivermectin. And you know the the answer for that is difficult to come up with a why. But i think that the thing that hasn't been done i'll go back to something. We discuss early on in our conversation if we had a counter-offensive to the for the fact that is if if we had said you know remember when trump which was very frequently lying and there was a fellow on cnn that was the official fact checker and he would take them on one by one and get the facts appear in. He did an exceptional job at east pretty busy. You have to say throughout the time of the twenty thousand documented lies or something right right well anyway. We don't have that in in the pandemic. if the people were called out for lying offer fact fact free you know they may they may back off but when when they have a license to just make stuff up or twisting. 's you know to not acknowledge that the various registry is none. None of has been adjudicated. None of it. We know of any event are. We know that they actually happened. In what was d- potentially known root cause of the of these events but they they don't do that. They used that data set abuse and an highest way. But there's there's something about being contrary to. I mean you know you're a minority. You're in a different circle. That people in this group are are a very you know seemed to be close knit and You know kinda spurring each other on perhaps the fellowship of of being in this. This group is alluring. I just don't know it's sad to see though. Because i know he's people are intelligent and they must recognize the lapses in what dear. They're pushing yell. What would. I don't think people recognize on people who have a conspiratorial style of of explaining anomalies. Don't tend to recognize that their explanations don't actually run through. I mean there's no plausible background said of incentives that could explain a given conspiracy coming together. So you take the nine eleven truth conspiracy as an analogy utah conspiracy minded people on that topic. And they'll they'll toss off one claim after another without acknowledging the truly insurmountable obstacles around getting people whose incentives are not perfectly aligned to collaborate in such an awful project rice like who rigged the twin towers to explode like just what it just. How many hours does it take to go into those buildings unobserved and rig them to explode right and you know how do you get hundreds or thousands of people to collaborate in that project of murdering their neighbors on a bright fall morning and then never breathe a word of it afterwards. I mean no one feels guilty. No-one no-one Divorce their husband and then spill the beans. I mean it's just perfect. Silence perfect collaboration and so it is with many conspiracies that get alleged in in this context writing just like the influence of big pharma. The truth is is absolutely no conspiratorial explanation. For what you and i are doing on this podcast right. There's no like like. I've got no connection to big pharma. I will criticize big pharma in the next podcast on another topic with absolute freedom. I've got no fear of youtube. Demonetizing me i mean that's just. I'm completely free. This am doing exactly what i want. And you're the person i wanted to do it with. And this is what we're doing. And as you know. Sam i am was maya career almost ended back in two thousand four to five because i took on merck. About riots brent. Yeah no i i. I am the least person in the world. it's pro forma. Okay and i have taken big risk about taking them on. And i still ham during the pandemic so now that we're trying to play this thing straight trying to you know go with. What is the body of evidence that is extraordinarily we are in a momentous time in life science where we learned how to develop vaccines in at scale in a time velocity that no one could ever have imagined and to basically end the pandemic we could have had. We been able to get vaccine widely distributed throughout the world. Odin vaccines drought. The early on the pandemic would essentially be over now. Okay we wouldn't have a delta variant. We wouldn't even have beta and gamma right. We probably would have just been able to arrested largely and contain it at the alpha stage. The problem is though we we aren't able to make the vaccines at for for seven. Plus billion people right at not fast enough but the other problem is in the united states which is far worse than any other place than i know of in the world. We have a very significant proportion of of these anti vaxxers conspiracy theorists in science. It started a course before the only endemic but it's been guy a much higher levels so we are not reaping the advantages and protection. Here that we could. And you know i have to say. I was really looking forward to the summer this time of year. Because i thought you know what we could get right back to pre covert life. I could stop having to put my attention on covert and get it back to the things that much more enjoy and basically it's been screwed up because of delta. It's now going to last a lot longer. We'll get through delta. It'll take a couple of months. We'll get over this wave but the toll it will take on the deaths on the hospitalizations and particularly the large number of cases. We're gonna see with long. Covert that was unnecessary. Had we not had so much resistant and hesitancy and anti vaccine for the people who will be part of the protection instead of part of the liability and vulnerability okay so let's conclude on some recommendations or confessions of uncertainty about what we should do going forward before we talk about vaccine mandates and related matters. What's taking so long with the the full. Fda authorization of the vaccines wise. That not already accomplished yeah. Well i've been pushing hard on that in she saw hit a new york times op-ed few weeks ago and prior to that trying to get dr woodcock. Cousy acting commissioner to come out and talk to us knows what's going on. So i know the former fda commissioners well some of them a few of them. I've spoken to at some length about this. And as you know. I've been on several. Fda advisor committees over the years. So i know the workings. And i understand what's happened here. Is that the usual so so-called biologic licensing application as the full approval that is one hundred thousand plus pages document it requires plant inspection is not just a clinical trials. It's not just to disagree. Does the vaccine work and is it safe. It's it more than that. But in this case because of this pandemic crisis back in december when the when the are vaccines were given their emergency authorization. The company started submitting packet by packet to get fda review. And so we've had seven months. Since that time. For the fda to have complete their completed they review and indeed in speaking to fda commissioners. They believe should have been done by now. Okay in fact. It should have been done in june at the latest and we now have heard just last week from dr woodcock that this could be take till january. Well we can't wait till january. This should have been done now. There is no excuse except that this is not the number one priority and as saw. There was an alzheimer's drug that was approved highly. Irregular concurrent with this and so it's really unfortunate. We do not have an fda that functioning had to level it needs to in the midst of this pandemic especially as the us is confronting this very formidable formidable version of the virus. Yes and in defense of the people who are worried about the quality of information the truth is we need institutions. We can rely on and it's pretty clear we don't quite have them. When the fda the who the cdc all of them have at various moments cover themselves in embarrassment in the last eighteen months. So that's again. There's there's a rational way to understand that. And then there's the paranoid way to address the nature that problem but Yeah we do need a rebooting of our our institutions here in this question. What do you think we should do around requiring vaccination in in the public or private sector in various contexts soliah mandates in schools or hospitals or businesses or For travel what. What are your thoughts about it really. It's really tied in sam to question. You just asked about the full approval because general counsel of our health system. And if you talk to private large companies municipalities even know. There have been some that have said like for example the university of california you have to be vaccinated and you can't come on campus. Can't be a student. He can't be on the fact but that's the rarity right now the day that we get full approval which should have happened by now. All these things open up and there will be a requirement for vaccination or they'll be accommodations for those who don't wanna get vaccinated. You have to wear a mask at all times at work and you have to get tested on a frequent race. And i would submit to you. That the people that opt for the non-vaccination after a couple of weeks you're not gonna wanna go through that and they'll go ahead and get until i actually think. Tens of millions of americans soon after full approval will be required to be vaccinated or will be given option that is unpalatable he had. We should acknowledge that there are some people who actually can't get vaccinated. I mean there are people in various stages of cancer treatment. I believe they're people who just have weird immune systems who go into the nfl access over vaccines that are as benign as possible and break so you heard. Immunity is only way to protect those people because they can't get vaccinated and under any regime. Vaccines are required. There would still be a medical exemption for certain people right. Yes yes and but you know those same people want to have protection with grass. They wanna have protection from like for example if they did get infected from testing they were found to be if they wanna to get monoclonal. Antibodies to the virus as soon as possible because they don't have an intact immune system. So yes you're absolutely right. Some people can't vaccinate very rare but they they for for them. That same option of mask and frequent testing is parliament of defense. You know if we didn't have the anti force we would have passports right. We would know that you had an option either. You had your vaccination digital proof or you had a rapid antigen tests very soon around that time. You had proof that you're good to go whether it's to restaurant or to work or on a trip on non a plane whatever. We are against passports in this country. Just like we've had the anti-forest against mask and and vaccines and and stay at home when things were really rough. So that's unfortunate but several countries as you are adopting passport system and it's working. Well i mean there there. There are countries like in denmark. They rely heavily on rapid tests and while they were getting their vaccinations up to the highest level. It's working extremely well for suppressing infections and and many other places as well so we aren't taking advantage of the rapid testing side which we should i mean a lot of these companies are are us companies. But that's another misfire. I wish we could do that. It would help the situation. Where in writing eric to my ear. I feel like we've covered it. I'm sure not to the satisfaction of the people who are unpersuaded. But is there anything else left to be said in your view on this topic. Well you know. I just think when we go forward years from now well after this pandemic is over and hopefully we're will be at a time when we can really be reflective we'll think about this momentous science advance giants and medical fans of vaccines and the extraordinary proof. Track record of potent efficacy safety and will wonder what happened. Why did the us who failed as a country and early part of the him with as you said six hundred thousand and more deaths still. Why did they not become the world model for blocking the the viruses harm and i think a lot of things we discussed today sam will will be written about for years to come because we have the potential to just show the world that we could build the delta wall of immunity whether it be from the vaccines or as you mentioned one hundred million plus people who had prior covert at had some natural immunity. How did we botch it up. Had we become as vulnerable as we are right now and in the weeks to come. It's really unfortunate. And i maybe maybe. After all of this will will have a movement back to being data driven evidence based and not allow for the misinformation to propagate which something that should be emphasized. We know that the the misinformation get spread far. Better than jerus- right that's been documented. So maybe maybe out of all this. It won't happen now but in the years ahead we can get back to where we were where we were in the olden days when the polio vaccine is being rolled out. And all the other one as always eric. Thank you for your wise counsel and your time. I look forward to the next occasion. We'll we'll talk about a happier topic loyal to talk about human health somehow rather than Our needless misadventures and own goals around disease. But until then thank you so much. Thank you same. Real real pleasure. I look forward to the next chance That we get to talk long

Eric topol eric sam harris fda twitter koefoed Topol us Topol eric kaiser family foundation sam Sam cdc
#184  The Conversational Nature of Reality

Making Sense with Sam Harris

29:19 min | 1 year ago

#184 The Conversational Nature of Reality

"Making sense podcast. This is Sam Harris. Just a note to say that you're hearing this. You're not currently on our subscriber feed and will only be hearing partial episode of the podcast. If you'd like access to full episodes episodes you'll need to subscribe Sam Harris Dot Org there. You'll find our private. RSS Feed to add to your favorite pond catcher along with other subscriber only content and and as always. I never want money to the reason why someone can't listen to the podcast. So if you can't afford subscription there's an option Sam Harris Dot Org to request a free account and we grant rant one hundred percent of those requests no questions asked okay no housekeeping today to Dan presenting a conversation originally recorded for or they waking up APP and while podcast subscribers already get access to those conversations through my website. It seems to me that this episode might be of more more general interest so I'm releasing it now on the main podcasting feed too damn speaking with David White. David is a poet and the author of ten books of poetry along with four books of prose and he holds a degree in marine. Zoology and has travelled very widely and has as. You'll hear a sensibility. That is quite relevant to questions of awareness us the nature of the self what it means to live in examined life and other topics that are central to my concerns. Here it really was a great a pleasure to speak with him and he has a wonderful voice so now I bring you David White. Oh I'm here with David. White David thank you for joining me. Seh pleasure so a recently discovered you. I think I was I was I was actually at the Ted Conference where you spoke a couple years ago but I think I was not in your session and just heard echoes of you've the effect you had on the rest of the crowd which was quite positive and then I subsequently saw that talk when it came online and I don't know saw something some another place where you were speaking and reading and now have have read One of your recent nonfiction books of prose books the three marriages averages which I want to talk about. But you're primarily a poet and inside just to begin I can you describe how you view your career as is a writer and some of the other things you're doing so I know you're not just working as a writer you also worked with organizations and you have an interesting way of Interfacing with the world. So tell me what you're up to. Yes I suppose there's two ways of looking at my way as a writer. One is looking back on and looking at the astonishing journey. One is the frontier that I'm on now and I've always seen portray intimately intimately connected to good thinking a tendency to think that poetry is on the arts side and Afar. You leave your strategic mind at the door but it's actually a good poetry as very very practical and looking at the phenomenology phenomenology of of the conversation of life in other words. What happens along the way when you try to deepen that exchange and Coleridge said No. No poet begins in philosophy or they write very bad poetry and it's very true but He also then said but every part becomes a philosopher also interesting and so yes the practice of verbal acuity connected to listening and in visual acuity starts to read you for larger and larger understandings. And I suppose the work of the Pau to invite create language that invites everyone else into that understanding at the same time. And I I in a beautiful way actually not just a not just quotidian Tidiane mechanical way but in a way that actually enrich as you as you end to the experience you have a background around in. Is it marine zoology. I do indeed job. I had a ten year excursion into science sciences. From when I was seventeen. Seventeen to twenty seven or so. how Di worked as a guide in naturalist thirty Stein the Ecuadorian National Park System in Galapagos? I felt like I I actually I actually experienced all of my ambitions being fulfilled and and left Galapagos wondering what I would do for the rest of my life really. And that's when we return to you could say that the states of attention that I experienced Princeton Galapagos also began my restarted my poetic career. Because I've written PARTICI- six or seven years old probably clearly under the influence of my Irish mother and then I wrote seriously through my teens until seventeen or eighteen when my science is overwhelmed named my time for writing and it was good to have that hiatus but when I was in Galapagos I started to understand that there were five different levels of attention attention that I could identify. Of course many many more Tibetans have gradations of hundreds of them but but there were five that I could identify on they were. I noticed that the deepen my level of attention for the world the more that my identity as a person actually changed and also deepened and on widened. And you could say that I started to understand that That a person's identity didn't depend on their inherited beliefs and I've always felt actually that a person's beliefs the least interesting thing about them. Would most people realize that exactly yes and That take your identity actually depends more on how mature tension you're paying two things added other and people that are other than you and of Kashirin disciplined the plan here of interviewing which is a real discipline of listening to to those that are other than you. Yeah I I've begun to say that really are true. Wealth is not even in the coin of time. It really is. It's cash the value is in what we do with our attention because we all know what it's like to guard our time and then to squander it by misusing our attentions really your your life becomes the substance of it moment it becomes what you do with your attention and yes and with regard with regard to your Your metaphors with time. The great thing about the deeper and deeper states of attention lead you into the timeless year and the untrammeled Jess we have evolved surface language around time. Now that you can as if he that we will kill time as if it that would be possible. We as if we could make time as if that would be plus awesome and We have all kinds of language. which actually don't doesn't bear examination when you apply it to time and so I think one of the reasons poetry is so is so coming to the fore in the twelve of instagram and and the falling away of our previous structures is is. It's invitation nation into a timeless in the untrammeled here. We have so many children in the developed world who are bullied into their adulthood just by the way that we educate them and the the amount of coercion around learning. And there's there's something about poetry that allows you to have your own language into set in that sets you free. Do you have a background in meditation or any contemporary tradition. Unlike in Buddhism you just mentioned Tibetan Buddhism. So what's your background there in eastern or Western spiritual traditions while my fast background and was spending an enormous amount of town time by myself out in the woods and fields and hills of Yorkshire where I grew up the north of England. I had a kind of West wealthy in childhood I had a very fierce education to the kind of the last gasp of the old classical world classical classical teaching. But I We had marvellous countryside. Around where I grew and I spent a lot of time alone and listening and and watching and I was always entrenched by landscapes. So that was my first introduction and then I started when I was at university to get really interested in the more more esoteric forms of meditation and I tried all kinds of things myself when I think back it was it was quite drawl what I was telling my mind too but then I discovered Zen sitting in Zen teachers and I I sat Zan quite seriously for many years with a very serious teaches reaches And so I feel like that has stood me in good stead actually over the S. Even though I don't have a a zen teacher now I feel like it's in my body. Awesome and what about psychedelics. Did you have a Phase or in you are you in a phase now where you have used the Pharmacological logical advantages of of Phase yes I did and I found them very very helpful. which did you take while I was in South America and so I Had experiences with various forms of mushrooms and then with with ecstasy and my first experience one that was really really rejuvenating and that was with LSD. When I was at university and I hadn't realized until I took it and in had that experience that and it was just one experience actually towards the end of my time at university but I hadn't realized how much I'd been in morning my childhood and my childhood visions of Asian? I should say of the world and that experience on ally. Steve really restored my the bridge between the young man. I was becoming and the child that I had bean gene and So that was really remarkable. I'm very thankful to so I've never. I've never been a drug take. But every now and again I've had these special moments which of which have deepened my experience? Whenever I have taken anything I've always just wanted to be alone actually you so so I often find company quite distracting? No matter how much fun you might be having I always feel this incredible invitation to the underground ground to the you know to the to Grounding it in my body and grounding it and understandings and insights and saw most often just take takeoff by myself walking. Nice Nice. Well it was at before you got into zen practice. Yes yeah and a couple of experiences after a while. Yeah well Yes it's I. I know I know wherever you speak. I did not have a wordsworth end childhood to be called back to but but Still the vividness of the natural world is is available on the other side of many of those compounds. Exactly yes so actually. Let's start off with a poem. I'd like you to read the bell and the blackbird because this is one of these palms where the connection between your work and pain careful attention to the world and you know the the subsequent changes in one's consciousness when one does that. Hey so obvious so maybe you could give us I will. I'll recite it to have it in my memory. Actually and and just a little context for this The Palmas Call as as you said. It's called a balance the blackbird and it's really the inherited understanding in the Irish tradition. I I could say the Celtic tradition but particularly in the Irish tradition. That human beings are constantly choosing to early in the conversation that is strategic mind throws out these black and whites and binary questions because that's the only way it can approach things but Almost always the way forward is actually holding them both together. All the way between things and the image Harry's of a meme in the Irish traditional of which occurs again and again of a monk in the old Irish church which had a tremendous relationship with the natural world among standing on the edge of monastic precinct. And hearing in the morning and hearing the bell of the Chapel calling him to program around and he says to himself that is the most beautiful sound in the whole wide world. Which is the call to silence to depth depth to another context beneath the context that you've established in the wild and he's just about to turn towards the chapel? When doesn't he here from over the wall? He has the call of the blackbird from the fields and the woods and then he says himself and that is also the most beautiful sound in the world and the lovely thing about the story in a very Irish way as you're not told which way he goes because actually we don't get to choose if you think think about it. The fast call list to a deeper understanding of ourselves. You know. Should I play my insured. I rehearse more before I play my instrument it in public. If I'm a musician should I- deepen my understanding. Should I educate myself more. Should I get a degree before I hold myself at the at the the job world and the other one is the call of the wild just as you find it just as you hear it just as you see it and perhaps even more are important and they just as it sees and hears you. So this is the piece the Berlin. The blackbird the sound of a bow. Now still reverberating a sound of a bell still reverberating Hara BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD calling from a corner of the field. Asking you to wake into this life are inviting you deeper into the one. That waits the sound of a bell still reverberating still reverberating BLACKBIRD blackbird calling from a corner of the field. Asking you to wake into this life are inviting you deeper into the one that waits I the way takes courage either way wants you to become nothing that self that is no self atoll. I want you to walk to the place where you find. You already know. You'll have to give every last thing away the approach that is also the meeting itself without any meeting at all that radiance you have always carried with as you as you walk both alone and completely accompanied in friendship by every corner of the world. Crying Alleluia Nice Nice I I love your style of recitation. I perhaps other our poets do this and I haven't noticed or is this really your own Innovation but you you repeat lines in a way that are. It's kind of obvious when you hear it especially obvious when you see it on the page that these lines are not repeated in the written form of the poem itself but you you so you kind of reach reverse your steps again again in and it has a kind of incantatory quality to it and it really just. It demands that your poems is really be recited by you and that's the format which to consume them. Well if you think about it it's actually I mean it's it's it's it's seen as an innovation in but it's actually a real innovation because it's how poetry would have been recited in the old and the old traditions and the chorus is was in the Greek theater. For instance was something that was that the gods sad and therefore it had to be repeated because he couldn't be understood fully the first time yeah and I often say poetry language against which you have no defenses. So you have to actually say it in ways which against which are no defenses. If you hear a good marital argument you'll hear both sides. Repeating things usually three times the poetry of anguish exactly in three different ways because because the other person must hear it or more. Poignant more poignantly if you're bringing very bad news to another person of the loss of a loved one you will always be very careful about how you say and you will say it three times in three different ways on your Lee silence between between the lines. Yeah and you'll have this tremendous physical connection to the listening ear. So that's the way that's the way poetry should be read d-actually and it's a great pity that it isn't an so many poetry readings because people turn up at Porsche reading. Perhaps for the first time and they hear something remarkable from the pot mono woman and before they know it the parts onto the next line when they haven't even they haven't even actually caught up with what they just heard near so many poetry readings can be actually quite violent to the listener. So we need to treat the listener with a deep kind of respect. Give them space. Yeah give them some silence. You don't even even know what you've written yourself so you need to hear it to you don't you don't understand fully the implications of what you said and if and if you do it's not good poetry. It always leads to broader and wider immense patience of urine standings or many lines signs every cited for twenty years. And then suddenly you're standing somewhere in a hall or rule mark and you say my God. I never understood that and twentieth of reciting there it is. Yeah you are literally trying to overhear a yourself say things. You didn't know you knew that's the discipline of writing portrait. So you you speak about what you call the conversational nature of reality in various places. What what do you mean by that? Well it just seems very obvious to me. Whatever a human being desires ask themselves will not come about exactly as they fast imagined it off as laid out in their minds equally? Whatever the world desires of you will not happen no matter how coercive that world is what always happens? Is the meeting eighteen between what you desire from your wild and walked the world desires of you. It's this frontier where you overhear yourself on you over here. The world hold and that frontier is the only place where things are real. That's that to me is the is the conversational nature reality and the discipline disciplined stay on that frontier as fully as you can. Does that relate in your mind to this this opposition you sketched in in the poem the The distinction between you know hearing the summons of the bill and Yellen into work on yourself. And you who've your craft and prepare err rehearse yeah and not yet enter the world that you know as opposed to actually train your gifts such as they are in in public and for better or worse yes lovely relief actually to realize you. Don't get to choose. You always have to rehearse you always always have to deepen you always have to practice. You always have to find the next level of generosity and near being or your cell and you must meet the well. Justice finds you now to with. What have you got rope and I think once you actually follow hello that frontier conversation? The conversation itself actually starts to deepen you on after a while you realize well actually. I don't need to do the work. I just need to be in that exchange in that meeting place in many ways. That's the way my career has gone. It's only career in looking back. It's kind of frontier. Otherwise in which he just tried to keep a kind of integrity and grounded nece while keeping your eyes and your voice dedicated towards the horizon that you're going to all the horizon another person that you're meeting here that that actually describes however you my career as well it really is a yes because I'm now spending most of my time doing things that I never envisioned doing and if you had told told me yeah you know five or ten years ago that I would be spending my time in precisely this way I would not have believed you. He asked had you shown me the path into the future. Sure actually it would've not only been unfamiliar to me would have. I would have had reasons why that could not be the yes. Yeah that's very well said I always think ah good work always leads you into well. You could not have imagined for yourself you know. I grew up from Irish and Scottish in Yorkshire sides of this it kind of Blood Allergy to To all hierarchical powers Come from long lines of Irish Scottish and rebels and Yorkshire Luddites and So you can imagine when I first went full time as a poet on I had my first invitations into the Copper Weld. My first reaction was to say no because my only my only understanding was that I would have to compromise myself and compromise my work and create some kind of propaganda that worked in parallel with whatever the organization wanted so so it was is a powerful upsetting and subversive surprised to find that. I didn't have to. It would have been quite. It would have been much more comforting to found that I didn't I need to compromise and therefore I could say no but I was actually led into the into a world that I I never imagined I would I would belong onto Yes well it seems like a nice point of Segue to your book the three marriages. And there's one you should say what those three marriages are. But I'd like to start with what you have observed to be the illusion of work life balance he. Yeah because it's the strikes me as a yeah unusual and and very useful observation. Yeah it's another binary that just has his more stressed. So I'm not only supposed to be this. This incredible inspirational center of charismatic understanding in the workplace. But when I come home. I'm supposed to be this parag enough. Perfection as as a partner in a love relationship or as a parent learned in our family so just has his working harder all the time so. It's really interesting to think that we live. Then breath actually between different marriages and We have times where work is naturally the central Val life another times where I'm nasty come first and knowing when those rhythms appear and disappear as is really part of being able to go oh through the doorway of happiness and satisfaction and understanding so the first marriage to my mind is is the one we normally talk about out in the Jane austen wholesome carriage marriage but in today's world that's also a love relationship with another person whatever agenda Omid gender you are so that's the fest marriages a love relationship with some with one other person and someone who you make yourself physically vulnerable with and that's what of course what sexual relations does is as undermine our sense of physical frontier as why you have arguments switched our intimate loved one that you don't have with anyone else in the world so that's the first marriage and the second marriage is as is the marriage with your your met with your vocation with your wack. I often think what must be a marriage. Because why would you have stayed so long in your work. If it wasn't marriage and you must have you must have committed. You must've tomato promise to something that was greater than the nits and grits and the difficulty of the everyday insanity of work just is like a marriage at home are a committed relationship if you were to take any one day in your work life as the reason why you're in that work you'd lock yourself up independent room quite often and never come out you know about walk. Keeps a marriage say no relationship saying our work saying is the horizon. Listen to which we've dedicated ourselves. That swap keeps the difficulty of keeping the conversation alive with another the mono woman. That's what keeps US alive. And keeping the compensation the heartbreaking conversation with our work alive and and then the third marriages the marriage the relationship with that tricky movable frontier called yourself who like another person his his constantly surprising you as to who it's becoming on what it wants from life. Yeah I always say you always meet the new you in the mirror in the form of a stranger ranger and you always telling away from that stranger to begin with just like you always turn away from the surprise that your partner seems to inflict on you when they suddenly want something completely different while we have that. Same aim surprise with ourselves as we go through the different thresholds of our life in through mid thirties to mid forties through mid fifties and and And you have to get to know the person you're becoming like you have to get to know again. Ah You'd like to continue to the podcast. You'll need to subscribe at Sam Harris Dot Org. You'll get access to all full length episodes. So it's making sense podcasts. and other subscriber only content including bonus episodes and Ama's in the conversations. I've been having on the waking up APP making says this podcast is ad free and relies entirely on listener support. And you can subscribe now. Sam Harris Dot Org.

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#154  What Do Jihadists Really Want? (2019)

Making Sense with Sam Harris

54:19 min | 2 years ago

#154 What Do Jihadists Really Want? (2019)

"Welcome to the making sense podcast. This is Sam Harris. Okay. I have a town hall event in Los Angeles coming up in may may ninth at a curly undisclosed location this going to be a small club. I think it seats two hundred a more intimate venue than normal and we're going to broadcast this town hall online, and I'm hopefully video experience. It's gonna be good. It's going to be an ask me anything episode of the podcast. But rather than take questions merely from you all online, I'm expecting attendees to bring their questions, though, I will take some online questions, and I'll get a chance to think out loud. So I'm looking forward to that. This is an experiment. If you are a subscriber to the podcast that is a supporter you should have already received an Email about this event and you'll receive another Email on Friday, the twenty six when tickets go on sale. And those tickets will go very quickly. So if you live in Los Angeles and want to attend live. I would jump on that. But if you're not in L A or can't attend the live event, you'll find the video in your subscriber content online as ham, Harris dot org. There's also going to be a policy change coming soon. Here where you'll need an active subscription to get content behind my pay payroll, the policy with respect to free hasn't changed. If you really can't afford to support the show. I don't want money to be the reason why you can't get access to my content as you know, this is also true on the waking up, but we need to move to an active subscription model here. So those of you who gave one dollar once when that was possible or those of you who supported the show on patriotic will need to start a monthly subscription through Sam, Harris dot org or. And us an Email at info at Sam Harris dot org, telling us that you can't afford to and then we'll open a free account for you. Okay. So today, I am rereleasing an old episode which unfortunately is highly relevant this week. The episode was originally forty three of the podcast, titled what did you haunt us really want and the original release date was August seventeenth twenty sixteen. So a little more than two and a half years ago. And in the aftermath of the recent bombings and tree Lanka. I decided to listen to it just to see if there was something more I needed to say to make sense of the current situation. And I find that there isn't I did about as good a job as I can in trying to get you the listener to see Jihadism, though, I do and the way I believe jihadists see themselves and must say, I'm also given further motivation. Having just been at Ted and having had the usual collisions with the woke nece there with a great conference. I had a lot of fun, but I had one meeting with a Muslim apologist. I would call her who I won't name. It was a private meeting organized by Chris Anderson, and he had some hopes that we would have a meeting of the. Minds. I think we didn't have much of one. It wasn't a waste of time. But it was also an experience where I confronted all of the usual denials and non sequiturs one encounters. When one tries to say something rational about Islam at this moment in history. So it was a frustrating experience. And now punctuated by an enormous atrocity. I think the current counters three hundred fifty have died in Sri Lanka and the details. We have so far proved yet again that the problem is not a matter of economics or politics. It's belief. These suicide bombers were middle class and mostly well educated they had other opportunities. The problem was that they were convinced of the truth of specific religious, ideas ideas. That are not in the Anglican communion, Warren Mormonism or in Scientology. All I ever argue for on this topic is that we acknowledge the power of ideas and Islam has more than his fair share of bad ones. So if you want to confront the problem of jihad ISM and Islam ISM as we really all must and as moderate Muslims the world over must you have to be honest about these things and what I encounter among apologists, and among all to woke leftists is to some degree self-deception, no doubt. But it is with disconcerting frequency a commitment to actually lying about the problem and to to faming anyone who won't lie about it. So I'm reopen this podcast because if I had to say this all again, I don't think I would change a word and all of these observations are once again relevant. So what did she haunt us really want? Well, as I said in my last podcast, ISIS just released a remarkable document in the latest issue of their magazine Dhabi, which is named after a city in Syria where they believe they will wait your final battle against a crusader. Army and usher in the end times. So I promised to discuss that in a separate podcast, which I'll do. Now, the whole magazine is fairly astonishing. I'll provide a link to a PDF on my blog. But I warn you that some of the pictures are disturbing a photograph of a man getting his head cut off, which leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. I'm going to read some relevant parts of the magazine on this podcast and one thing that should alarm you is how well written. It is the the writing in. This magazine is actually better than you'll find in your average, salon article around the intercept in fact, it's well written as for what? Gergiev new book on ISIS published by Princeton University, press and the copy editing in this magazine is actually better than in that book. I'm not exaggerating. I spotted a typo in the Girgis book in the first few pages. I haven't seen any Typos in this copy of w and it may sound like a strange thing to say, but good writing and good copy editing is a very bad sign. K it tells you something about the caliber of people they've managed to recruit the article, I'm going to focus on and read in its entirety is entitled why we hate you. And why we fight you. And I think it will inevitably be said that there's something self-serving about my reading this to you because it confirms more or less everything I've been saying about Jihadism for the last fifteen years, and perhaps there is something a little self serving about it. Because as you know, I've been pilloried for my views on this topic for about as long, but. This really isn't a matter of my just sane. I told you so I actually think it's important that if you have any lingering doubts about whether or not ISIS and Jihadism generally is a religious phenomenon that you clarify those doubts and just listen to what members of ISIS have to say for themselves. But before I get into that article in particular. Here's what I think any honest reader will get from this magazine as a whole the fundamental concerns of these people are theological the claim they want to press and substantiate in nearly every paragraph in which motivates everything they do is a claim about the exclusive legitimacy of their religion every other way of life leads to hell, they really believe this now most of you, I would wager have no idea what it's like to believe that either paradise or an eternity in fire awaits you. After death. And because you have never believed this you probably waste a lot of fuel wondering whether anyone actually does I want to recommend that you stop doing that. And simply accept that. Jihadists believe what they say, they believe just accept it as a working assumption pay if you do that you will suddenly find that everything they do, including suicide bombing makes perfect sense. So I recommend the simply listen to what these people have to save for themselves as he would any other people who are making extreme sacrifices toward some end the disposition not to do. This is really strange let let's say you went to medical school. And you ask students why they were pursuing careers in medicine. How disposed would you be to second guess their answers? And what they're doing is fairly difficult are they're spending all this time in school. They're incurring massive student debt. They're spending their days indoors. Dissecting cadavers when they could be at the beach, what on earth are they up to? But if you ask them, they will tell you, and you won't waste any time wondering, whether they have some other motive that bears no resemblance to what they say that there might be some diversity of reasons, but ninety percent of medical students will give you more or less the same story. They'll say that they want to help people. They want a meaningful career where they know. They're doing good in the world. They wanna high prestige career they want to be paid. Well, can they might have scientific interest in biology and medical research, you'll hear answers like this? And these answers make sense of their behavior. You won't hear someone say I wanted to be professional football player and found I just wasn't quite good enough to turn pro. And so I decided to find the thing that was closest to the thrill of sacking quarterback. And so I became a dermatologist, right? That wouldn't make sense. It wouldn't make. Sense to imagine that was the underlying motive. So why did you hottest do what they do? Well, they are telling us ad nauseam. The telling us, even when we don't ask a magazine like big advertisers, their concerns and aspirated with utter clarity. And you might wanna say is just propaganda, and it is propaganda. But it only works as propaganda because many Muslims share these aspirations and concerns and believe the same doctrines to call it propaganda. Doesn't mean that it's dishonest for these ideas to successfully recruit, people means that they find these ideas compelling, so whether Abu Bakar Alba Danny believes every word in this magazine, isn't the point the point is that this material is a highly successful means of recruiting foreign born jihadis the point is that many. Any people find these ideas persuasive, and that's not an accident now recruiting and inspiring jihadis overseas is obviously different from getting Iraqis and Syrians to fight for ISIS at home. And there's no question that many locals have been recruited out of fear fear of Shiites with whom have been locked in a sectarian, civil war and fear of what ISIS will do to them if they don't support the caliphate. So who knows what percentage of local soon knees really support the extreme Salafi Jihadism of ISIS is probably terrifying percentage, but it's not everyone. But here we're talking about the spread of Islam ISM and Jihadism globally. Kate was so we're talking about persuasion. We're talking about the power of ideas. We're talking about a world view that must be argued for and which some percentage of Muslims in any society will find compelling, and when you read this magazine, you find that above all jihadis are. Concerned about religious error. They really are concerned about the deviance of Christianity, which they consider a form of paganism and about rival interpretations of Islam and needless to say they're horrified by secularism in eighth ISM and homosexuality. They're concerned about the worship of anything beyond the single reality of Allah. Whether it's the worship of Jesus or the Virgin, Mary or more metaphorically things like money and pleasure in the arts and science, and the writers of this magazine, go on at great length about how irrational it is to believe that a world has orderly as ours could have arisen from chaos, they give a long argument from design that is at least as lucid or is silly, depending on your view as any offered by the discovery institute, they consider every sign of order in our world, including the beauty of nature and the cuteness of babies and the neurobiology of vision the details of energy metabolism in the body. And the functioning of our. Hyun systems as well. As the faculty of reason itself to be evidence of a benevolent creator on their account the harmony between man and nature cannot help. But attest to the reality of a just God. And this is spelled out in great detail in a magazine that prominently celebrates the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people tree. This magazine is to discover that the oft macht line. There was delivered by George Bush in his Texas drawl. They hate us for our freedom is actually true. It is especially true, if you include freedom of speech and believe and those among you who think they must have some other motive they must hate us for our foreign policy as any rational people would in the aftermath of colonialism while you're simply wrong and dangerously. So as they make absolutely clear to everything that has been said and written by people like gnome Chomsky and Robert pay and Glenn Greenwald and the dozens of prom. Muslim apologist about the motivations of jihadists, this whole pornography of self doubt that they've been peddling for more than a decade. All of this is pure delusion, the people who are attracted to the Jihadist 'cause are actually concerned about the work of Darwin and Marx and Nietzsche and Dirk and vaber and Freud who they call quote, the engineers of western decadence. They are revolted by the quote Sodomite pride. They see on display in the west. There's a testimonial. From a European convert to Islam that's worth pondering a woman, actually, and she talks about what it was like to convert in Finland and about how Christianity never made any sense to her. Because of course, it doesn't make any sense. And Jesus is both a man and the son of God and God himself, he's divine and all powerful. And yet he gets crucified and humiliated. This is ridiculous. Christians haven't been able to make sense of the trinity for two thousand years Islam actually is more straightforward than this which is a real advantage. There's just God. And you are his slave get with the program or burn in hell the magazine actually contains a long article on biblical criticism. That does a very good job of dismantling Christian doctrine the level of theological concern. These people have the absolute primacy of their claim to be metaphysically. Correct is really impossible. Able to exaggerate they care about nothing else. There's only one question that makes any sense. How can you avoid hell and get into paradise after you die? That question is the black hole at the center of their world view, that sucks everything into it. So this finish woman who was born Christian rights. What struck me most is. I was reading the Koran with verses about hellfire and the punishment in the hereafter in quote, which isn't surprised obviously. Because the whole point of the Koran is to admonish you to submit to Allah or else go to hell, and she talks about how she converted to Islam, and our parents disapproved, and then she married a Muslim man and had a child and then the happy family decamped to the caliphate. And then she writes, quote, I can't even describe the feeling when you finally crossed that border and enter the lands of the caliphate. It is such a blessing from Allah to be able to live. Under the caliphate. There's so many people who made several attempts to come. But just haven't been able to make it yet. Of course, when you come to the caliphate after sacrificing everything for the sake of Allah, you'll continue to be tested. You're going to see hardships and trials, but every day, you're thankful to a law for allowing you to perform hid DRA, that's migration and to live under the sharia life in the Islamic state is such a blessing you face difficulties and hardship, you're not used to the food or the change of live. You may not know the local language you hear bombings and the children make it scared. But none of that takes away from the gratitude, you have towards a law for allowing you to be here. Also, unless you're living here, you don't realize what kind of life you had before the life. Here is so much more pure when you're in Dr coup far, the lands of disbelief, you're exposing yourself and your children too so much filth and corruption you make it easy for Satan to lead you astray here. You're living a pure alive and your children are being. Raised with plenty of good influence around them. They don't need to be ashamed of their religion their free to be proud of it and are given the proper creed, right? From the start after four months of being here. My son was martyred. And this was yet another blessing every time. I think about it. I wondered to myself if I stayed in Dr alco, far, what kind of end would he have had what would have happened to him? I'll Hamdullah praise be to God. He was saved from all that. And what could be better than him being killed for the cause of Allah? Obviously, it's not easy. But I ask a law to allow us to join him and quote. Let's a fairly chilling passage. I'm going to read it again because you weren't ready for it. As you listen, again, assume that this is a psychologically normal person who simply believes in the reality of martyrdom in paradise, which is to say she believes that this life is fundamentally unimportant. It's merely a test to faith believe the wrong thing, and you will go to hell for eternity believed the right thing and you'll go to paradise attorney is all that matters. I'll read the relevant part again, of course, when you come to the caliphate after sacrificing everything for the sake of Allah, you'll continue to be tested. You're going to see hardships and trials, but every day, you're thankful to a law for allowing you to perform hit Tra and to live under sharia life in the Islamic state is such a blessing you face difficulties in hardship. You're not used to the food or the change of live. You may not know the local Lang. Guage here bombings and the children make it scared. But none of that takes away from the gratitude you have towards Alah for allowing you to be here. Also, unless you're living here, you don't realize what kind of life you had before the life. Here is so much more pure when you're in DARA coup. Far the lands of disbelief, you're exposing yourself and your children too so much filth and corruption you make it easy for Satan to lead you astray here, you're living a pure life. And your children are being raised with plenty of good influence around them. They don't need to be ashamed of their religion their free to be proud of it and are given the proper create right from the start after four months of us being here. My son was martyred. And this was yet another blessing every time, I think about it. I wondered to myself if I stayed in Dhahran coup far, what kind of end would he have had what would have happened to him a Hamdullah praise? Be to God he was saved from all that. And what could be better than him being killed for the cause of Allah? Obviously, it's not easy. But I ask a law to allow us to join him. What is it? So picture what happened here? She had a young child who four months after her sojourn in the caliphate got blown up crushed by falling concrete who knows? But she thinks it's the best thing that could have happened to him case. She's from Finland right, which incidentally, has one of the best school systems in social safety nets on earth. And rather than raise him there to become a doctor or a novelist or an entrepreneur or to become one of those things herself. She moves to the hell hole of Iraq as the wife of some religious maniac and decides to live in a cloth bag, and now celebrates the fact that her son who could have been anybody is now dead, and his death doesn't even rise to the level of some of the other inconveniences. She. Lists. You're not used to the food the change of life, a local language, the sounds of bombs. Oh, and my son got killed after four months, but that was actually a good thing. This is the world. These people are committed to building a fantasy world of gratuitous religious bullshit that strips all the value out of life where the death of a child who was intentionally deprived by his parents of every real opportunity in life is a cause for celebration. This is the enemy not some psychopath who would be killing people anyway. And who's now merely doing these things quote in the name of Islam. No, the enemy is any ordinary person who becomes infected by these extraordinarily stupid ideas. The enemy is someone just like you who simply got convinced. That the only things that matter in this life are martyrdom or victory for the one true faith. They want to conquer the world for Islam or die trying. So they can't lose really they can't lose. Can you imagine? How good it must feel to know that you can't lose. Think of all your concerns in life. Think of everything you want think of everything you don't want and everything you want to avoid you probably care about your career or your children's education. You don't want to many pesticides in your food. You want political stability in your society, you'd like your favorite museums or movie theaters or restaurants, not to close for lack of funds, you probably want to get in shape or stay in shape. You certainly don't want to get cancer from something that a nearby. Chemical plant has released interior your groundwater, think of all the ways you can lose. And now imagine that you have a belief system that nullifies all of that. Oh, my son died. Good. What a relief now. He's safely in paradise. And I hope to be there soon myself, if you don't understand the power of that you have no idea. What we're dealing with. And you'll lack empathy. You haven't been able to get into these people's heads because you are stuck in your own. And they have made it so easy for you to get into their heads. In fact, you have to make every effort to stay out. You have to imagine that they are lying endlessly line for some inexplicable reason when taking their claims at face value makes perfect sense of their behavior and went impugning other motives to them makes their behavior entirely mysterious. So just listen do your best for the next few minutes to see the world through their eyes. Why we hate you? And why we fight you. Shortly following the blessed attack on a Sodomite crusader nightclub by the Mushahid. Omar Mateen American politicians were quick to jump into the spotlight and denounced the shooting declaring it a hate crime an act of terrorism and an act of senseless violence, a hate crime. Yes. Muslims undoubtedly hate liberalist Sodomites as does anyone else with any shred of their fit tra- fifth rose human nature that recognizes good and evil as does anyone else with any shred of they're still intact an act of terrorism. Most definitely Muslims have been commanded to terrorize the disbelieving enemies of Allah. But an act of senseless violence, one would think that the average westerner by now would have abandoned the tired claim that the actions of the mujahedeen who have repeatedly stated their goals intentions and motivations don't make any. Sense unless you truly and naively believe that the crimes of the west against Islam and the Muslims whether insulting the prophet burning the Koran or waging war against the caliphate won't prompt brutal retaliation from the mujahedeen, you know, full well that the likes of the attacks carried out by Omar Mateen, LaRosa Bala and many others before. And after them in revenge for Islam and the Muslims make complete sense. The only thing senseless would be for there to be no violent fierce retaliation in the first place notice the order of their grievances. Insulting the prophet burning the Koran or waging war against the caliphate. These people don't have ordinary political concerns about the Palestinians or anyone else. This will become even clearer by the end of the article back to the text many westerners, however already aware that claiming the attacks of the mujahedeen to be senseless. And questioning incessantly as to why we hate the west. And why we fight them is nothing more than a political act and a propaganda tool. The politicians will say it, regardless of how much it stands in opposition to facts and common sense just to garner as many votes as they can for the next election cycle the analysts and journalists will say in order to keep themselves from becoming a target for saying something that the mass is deemed to be quote, politically incorrect, the apostate imams in the west will adhere to the same tired cliche in order to avoid a backlash from the disbelieving societies in which they've chosen to reside. The point is people know those foolish, but they keep repeating it regardless because they're afraid of the consequences of deviating from the script. There are exceptions among the disbelievers, no doubt people who will unabashedly declare that jihad and the laws of sharia as well as everything else deemed taboo, by the Islam is a peaceful religion crowd are in fact, completely as Lama, but they tend to be people with far less credibility. Who are painted as a social fringe? So their voices are dismissed and a large segment of the ignorant masses continues believing the false narrative as such it becomes important for us to clarify to the west in unequivocal terms yet again, why we hate you. And why we fight you one. We hate you, first and foremost because you are disbelievers you reject the oneness of Allah, whether you realize it or not by making partners for him in worship, you blaspheme against him claiming that he has a son you fabricate lies against his prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices. It is for this reason that we were commanded to openly declare our hatred for you and our enmity towards you quote. There has already been for you, an excellent example, and Abraham and those with him when they said to their people. Indeed, we are disassociated from you. And from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have rejected you, and there has arisen between us, and you enmity and hatred forever until you believe in Alah alone. And quote, Furthermore, just as you're disbelief is the primary reason we hate you. You're disbelief is the primary reason we fight you as we have been commanded to fight the disbelievers until they submit to the authority of Islam either by becoming Muslims or by paying the jizya. For those Ford this option and living in humiliation under the rule of the Muslims. And for those who don't know the jizya is a protection tax that Jews and Christians, the people of the book can pay to live as Jews or Christians under the boot of their Muslim overlords. Thus even if you were to stop fighting us, your best case scenario in a state of war would be. That we would suspend our attacks against you. If we deemed it necessary in order to focus on the closer and more immediate threats before eventually resuming our campaigns against you apart from the option of a temporary truce, this is the only likely scenario that would bring you fleeting respite from our attacks. So in the end, you cannot bring an indefinite halt to our war against you at most you could only delay at temporarily, quote and fight them until there is no Fitna paganism. And until the religion all of it is for Allah and quote too. We hate you. Because you're a secular liberal societies permit the very things that ally has prohibited. While banning many of the things he has permitted a matter that doesn't concern you because you separate religion and state thereby granting supreme authority to your whims and desires via the. Legislators you vote into power in doing. So you desire to rob alive? His right to be obeyed, and you wish to surp- that right for yourselves, quote legislation is not but for Allah and quote. Your secular, liberalism has led you to tolerate and even support quote gay rights to allow alcohol drugs fornication gambling and Ussery to become widespread. And to encourage the people to mock, those who denounce these filthy sins and vices as such we wage war against you to stop you from spreading your disbelief and debauchery your secularism and nationalism, your perverted liberal values. Your Christianity and atheism and all the depravity and corruption they entail. You've made it your mission to quote, liberate, Muslim societies we've made it our mission to fight off your influence and protect mankind from your misguide. Had concepts and your deviant way of life. Three. In the case of the eighth Theus fringe, we hate you and wage war against you. Because you disbelieve in the existence of your Lord and creator, you witnessed the extraordinarily complex makeup of created beans, and the astonishing an inexplicably precise physical laws that govern the entire universe. But insists that they all came about through randomness, and that one should be faulted mocked and ostracized for recognizing that the astonishing signs we witnessed day after day are the creation of the wise and all knowing creator and not the result of accidental occurrence, quote or were they created by nothing or they creators of themselves and quote, your disbelief in your creator further leads you to deny the day of judgement claiming that quote, you only live once quote, those who disbelieve have claimed that they will never be resurrected say yes by my Lord, you will surely be resurrected. And then you will surely be informed of what you did. And that for Allah is easy and quote for. We hate you for your crimes against Islam and wage war against you to punish you for your transgressions against our religion as long as your subjects continue to mock our faith in salt, the prophets of Allah, including Noah, Abraham, Moses Jesus and Muhammad burn the Koran at openly vilify, the laws of the sharia, we will continue to retaliate not with slogans and placards, but with bullets and knives five we hate you for your crimes against the Muslims. You're drones and fighter jets bomb kill and maim. Our people around the world, and you're puppets, and the U surp- plans of the Muslims oppress, torture and wage war against anyone who calls to the truth. As such. We fight you to stop you from killing our men women and children to liberate those of them who you imprison and torture and to take revenge for the countless Muslims who have suffered as a result of your deeds. Six we hate you for invading. Our lands and fight you to repel. You and drive you out as long as there is an inch of territory left for us to reclaim. She hod will continue to be a personal obligation on every single Muslim. Now. Lest wishful, thinking obscure interests, and the usual pseudo journalist masochists mistake, those last two reasons for rational political objectives, the authors of this essay quickly close that door. So listen closely to this what's important to understand here is that. Although some might argue that your foreign policies are the extent of what drives our hatred. This particular reason for hating you is secondary. Hence, the reason we addressed it at the end of the above list. The fact is even if you were to stop bombing us imprisoning us torturing us, vilifying us and usurping our land. We would continue. In you to hate you. Because our primary reason for hating. You will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. Even if you were to pay the jizya and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation. We would continue to hate you. No doubt. We would stop fighting you then as we would stop fighting any disbelievers who entered into a covenant with us. But we would not stop hating. You what's equally? If not more important to understand is that we fight you not simply to punish and deter you. But to bring you true freedom in this life and salvation in the hereafter freedom from being enslaved to your whims and desires as well as those of your clergy in legislatures and salvation by worshipping your creator alone and following his messenger. We fight you in order to bring you out of the darkness of disbelief and into the light of Islam and to liberate you from the constraints of living for the sake of a worldly life alone. So that you. You may enjoy both the blessings of worldly life and the bliss of the hereafter, the gist of the matter is that there isn't deed a rhyme to our terrorism warfare ruthlessness and brutality as much as some liberal. Journalists would like you to believe that we do what we do because we're simply monsters with no logic behind. Our course of action. The fact is that we continue to wage an Escalade, a calculated war that the west thought it ended several years ago, we continue dragon you further and further into a swamp. You thought you'd already escaped only to realize that you're stuck even deeper within its murky waters, and we do so while offering you away out on our terms. See you can continue to believe that those quote, despicable terrorists hate you. Because of your lots as and your Timberland's and continue spending ridiculous amounts of money to try to prevail in your unwinnable war or you can accept reality. And recognize that we. Will never stop hating you until you embrace Islam and will never stop fighting you until you're ready to leave the swamp of warfare and terrorism to the exits we provide the very exits put forth by our Lord for the people of the scripture Islam jizya, or as a last means of fleeting respect, a temporary truce and quote. Now, I think it really is difficult for many of you to appreciate how attractive this message is for those who are susceptible to it. It really is the total package, especially for men as we've seen even women can be recruited to this cause, but the attraction for men or a certain type of man is much easier to see this worldview has everything from the pleasure of contemplating the beauty of the universe to the brotherhood of fighting alongside one's fellow soldiers for just cause to the illicit thrill of being in the mob and not having to take shit from anyone to the joy of being able to endlessly split hairs with your fellow amateur theologians. It's like, you're a spiritual JAMES BOND. It's like you get to be a navy seal end, a priest you get to worry. Really worry about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And you get to carry an AK forty seven and use it to your heart's content fully convinced that the creator of the universe wants you to do it. So you get to be a total bad ass and feel spiritually pure at the same time. Did you ever know anyone who got really into yoga? They just got obsessed with it like it was the answer to all their problems. I got into the subtleties of it. They they were really thinking about their shockers opening in the energy centers in the body. And they spend a lot of time adjusting their diets eating only pure foods because our bodies were. Now, this these instruments of spiritual realization, they just had to be tuned perfectly. So picture that level of infatuation. Imagine a man who's just totally into yoga. And he's convinced that he's found this ancient path to wellness and enlightenment. But then he discovers another aspect to it just as true in addition to all the purity and subtlety and the refinement of his understanding of the body just the preciousness of that whole enterprise he learns that he gets to kill the bad guys. He's not some pussy in a Leotard. He's a yoga assassin. He gets to kick ass. He's in the mob is actually one testimonial in this issue of w from a convert from Trinidad who said that his family back home when they when they get any hostility from anyone they say, you better watch out, we have a son in ISIS. Right. And that gives them street cred. So he's a wise guy now, right? He's a made man and he protects his family from far merely by the power of his reputation for violence, that's part of the attraction. And then there's the problem of. Women right. Imagine being a guy who's grown up in isolation from women or never felt confident with them. So he's either in a traditional Muslim context where contact with the opposite sexes is highly circumscribed or is someone who felt isolated socially by a lack of confidence and a fear of rejection picture, a young man who spent his entire life being the least confident guy in the bar. But now he's been recruited into a cult that gives him a new understanding can all those hot chicks who he was worried about rejecting him will now they're his slaves, whether they're his wife or wives he actually can have more than one or his actual sex slaves. He rules. He is to be feared and obeyed. So he might have been bored with his life before and he might have seen destined for life of boredom, but now has life has. Has suddenly become this massive first-person shooter game where he's been inducted into a fraternity of tough guys and given absolute dominion over women picture, the emotional attraction of that to a certain type of man, and then add the intellectual or pseudo intellectual component to it. So it's okay. So whatever his actual intellectual accomplishments at the level of his mind. Now, he suddenly, a philosopher and a scientist, and a priest all rolled into one because God has simply given him the truth about the cosmos in the Koran, and this is the truth about which every infidel in history, including Einstein and Darwin, and Richard Feinman was ignorant, and they will pay for their ignorance in fire for turn ity, but our hero has escaped their errors and. Arrogance K. So he he's better than a genius without doing any real work. His humility has made him better than everyone. This is the biggest humble brag in human history. I'm just a lowly worm. But I'm better than you. And I'm sure as hell better than an infidel. Like, Stephen hawking. So imagine a person's estimation have himself being exalted by all this. That's what we're dealing with now, ordinary Muslims and their apologists will recoil from these observations. They will point out that there are millions of devout men and women even within conservative Muslim societies who do no harm to anyone. Right. Most Muslims don't want sex slaves. Even though they're sanctioned in the Koran and then they'll they'll flip. This coin and insists that people in other religions and people at every point on the spectrum of belief and unbeliev commit atrocities from time to time. This is all true, of course, and truly irrelevant as I wrote somewhere. The groves of faith are now ringed by a forest of non sequiturs. Kate. Here's the basic picture. Whatever else may be wrong with our world. It remains a fact that many of the most terrifying examples of human conflict and stupidity would be unthinkable without religion. And some religions are worse than others. This finish woman's celebration of the quote martyrdom of her child. That's religion. And it's not every religion. That's what a belief in paradise gets you. A Hindu wouldn't believe that a Buddhist wouldn't believe that a Jew wouldn't believe that and needless to say an atheist wouldn't believe that and this belief, and it's horrific implications is not the product of US foreign policy or perhaps one of you wants to ask Noam Chomsky. Whether we've dropped too many bombs on Finland. And the other ideologies that inspire people to behave like monsters, whether it Stalinism or fascism or crazy cargo cult that we see in North Korea. These political movements are dangerous precisely because they so resemble religions his sacrifice for the dear leader, however, secular, he might be is an act of Kulta conformity and worship whenever human obsession gets channeled. In these ways, we see the same ancient framework upon which many religions were built in our ignorance and fear and craving for order. We created the gods and ignorance and fear and craving keep them with us. Now, what defenders religion cannot say. Is it anyone has ever gone beserk or any society ever failed because people became to reasonable or to intellectually honest or two unwilling to be duped by dogma and demagoguery. This skeptical attitude is all that an atheist like myself recommends and it's typical of nearly every intellectual pursuit apart from theology and bad politics only on the subject of God. Or when indulging rank political tribalism can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence, even as they plow them under. Now, nearly fifteen years have passed since a group of mostly educated and middle class men decided to obliterate themselves along with three thousand innocence to gain entrance to an imaginary paradise. And this. Problem has always been deeper than the threat of terrorism. And are waging an interminable, quote war on terror is no answer to it. Yes, we must destroy Al Qaeda, and ISIS and similar groups and given the significance that jihadists throughout the world. Now plays on the caliphate. I think smashing ISIS. Decisively would be a very good thing to do as things. Currently stand hottest still imagine that they're in the process of conquering the world, we should make that impossible to imagine. But humanity has a larger project to become sane. If September eleventh should have taught us anything. It's that we must outgrow our attachment to divisive mythology, we must find our consolation in our capacity for love and creativity. And a real understanding of ourselves in the world. This is possible. It's also necessary and the alternatives are bleak. But in the meantime, we have to admit that we're at war with Jihadism and Islam is the accuracy in a way that we're not at war with any other strand of religion and Muslim moderates wherever they are are at war with Jihadism and Islam is theocracy. And if they're not they're not moderates. Finally, I'm going to give you the closing passage from this issue of wtkk, just to give you a final sense of how clear these people have been about the kind of world they want to build when you listen to statement of this kind and hear them you will understand that seemingly crass statements like you're either with us or with the terrorists are true. There is no middle ground here. Just listen. This is not only what they say they want. This is what they say. So as to successfully recruit others to their cause, and it works if ever you hear someone say, this is just propaganda. You have to recognize what a meaningless rejoinder that is it's propaganda that works. It's propaganda. That is believed. These are honest. Confessions of a worldview, and they are attractive, quote, the clear difference between Muslims and the corrupt in deviant, Jews and Christians is it. Muslims are not ashamed of abiding by the rules, set down from their Lord regarding war and enforcement of divine law. So if it were the Muslims instead of the crusaders who fought the Japanese and Vietnamese or invaded the lands of the native Americans there would have been no regrets and killing enslaving those therein, and since those mujahedeen would have done so bound by the law. They would have been thorough and without some politically. Correct. Need to apologize years later, the Japanese for example, would have been forcefully converted to Islam from their pagan ways. And if they stubbornly declined, perhaps another nuke would have changed their mind. The Vietnamese would likewise be offered Islam or beds of napalm as for the native. Americans after the slaughter of their men. Those who would favor smallpox to surrendering to the Lord, then the Muslims would have taken their survive in women and children as slaves raising the children as model Muslims and impregnating their women to produce a new generation of mujahedeen as for the treacherous Jews of Europe. And elsewhere those who would betray their covenant then their post PU Bessant males would face a slaughter. That would make the holocaust sound like a bedtime story as their women would be made to serve their husbands and fathers killers. Furthermore, the lucrative African slave. Trade would have continued supporting a strong economy, the Islamic leadership would not have by passed laws permission to sell captured pagan humans to teach them and to convert them as they worked hard for their masters and building a beautiful country. Notably, of course, those of them who converted practice their religion, well and were freed would be treated no differently than any other free Muslim. This is unlike when the Christian slaves were emancipated in America as they were not afforded, supposedly government recognized equal rights for more than a century and their descendants still live in a nation divided over those days all of this would be done not for racism, nationalism or political lies, but to make the word of Allah supreme jihad is the ultimate show of one's love for his creator facing the clash of swords and buzzing of bullets on the battlefield seeking to slaughter his enemies, whom he hates for Allah's hatred of. Them a religion without these fundamentals is one that does not call as adherence to fully manifest and uphold the love of the Lord and quote. This is followed by a picture of a man getting his head cut off. Well, I hope it's clear that these are not people we will ever be able to negotiate with and they have already told us that they would view any truth as an opportunity merely to just gather strength for further attacks against us. So the really are some circumstances. Where war is the answer. Now, the question of how to wage this war is a genuinely difficult one, and it would be much much better. If Muslim armies who did not share this ideology, we're turning their guns on this death cult. But in the absence of that effort, non Muslim armies are clearly going to have to do this. And until that's done until the caliphate has no more until the jihadists have suffered a defeat so resounding. The no one can even pretend they're 'cause is still viable. We're going to continue to see the violent machinations of religious lunatics directed at us. They've told us as much and we should take them at their word. And on that happy note. I will see you next time. If you find this podcast valuable, there are many ways, you can support it you can review it on I tunes or Stitcher or wherever he happened to listen to it. You can share it on social media with your friends, you can blog about it or discuss it on your own podcast, or you can support it directly, and you can do this by subscribing through my website at Sam Harris dot org, and there you'll find subscriber only content like my ass. Manny thing episodes as well. As the bonus questions for many of these interviews, he'll also get advanced tickets to my live events, you'll find all of these things and more at Sam Harris dot org. And thank you for supporting the show listeners. Like, you make it possible.

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