Professors read reviews #1

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Inspired by the Jimmy Kimmel, “Celebrities read mean tweets” series, The Orion asked professors to read their reviews from

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Blue Bell Is Looking For Woman Filmed Licking Ice Cream & Putting It Back In A Store Freezer | TIME

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Blue Bell Ice Cream is looking for a woman seen in a viral video opening a container of the brand’s Tin Roof flavored ice cream, licking the top and putting it back in a store freezer.
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Blue Bell Is Looking For Woman Filmed Licking Ice Cream & Putting It Back In A Store Freezer | TIME


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Matteo Salvini has moved to end the Italian Central Bank, Jail Bankers and Repatriate it`s Gold. They are also opposing The Draconian Article 11 and 13. Good! It`s about time someone stood up to the EU!!

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Chatting with an Expert on Narcissism

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“Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. Narcissism is a concept in psychoanalytic theory, which was popularly introduced in Sigmund Freud’s essay On Narcissism (1914). The American Psychiatric Association has listed the classification narcissistic personality disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) since 1968, drawing on the historical concept of megalomania.” – Wikipedia

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Bill Nye Responds to Anti-Science Tweets

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Bill Nye “The Science Guy” wants everyone to understand science, even if they don’t love it. So PopSci curated a list of anti-science tweets and had Bill respond to them with real science…and he didn’t hold back 

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Rachel Feltman







I'm Bill Nye here in New York New York so I'm gonna read you some mean-spirited tweets somebody's got to stand up for science man I don't believe in evolution because then I'd have wings and I don't science sucks I'm not sure if you had evolution you have wings your bones are too heavy you got up hollow bones you have to have feather so you have to make some changes that branch and cladistics and the evolutionary tree you missed you missed that branch there's reincarnation for you come back as a bird way to go but if you don't come back you know I'm okay with that this guy says I hate how science lecturers bring evolution every chance they get there's a lecture about evolution I hope you'll expect that he goes on to say that you meaning me I the reader may be an ape but I am NOT all right mate well it depends what you mean by an ape we all have ancestors that were very ape-like but they were before we had bonobos chimpanzees Apes Gibbons all those guys there was a pre primate that you and I are descended from even if you don't believe in it the rest of us know that you are descended from it and reading this maybe you did miss a turn maybe maybe you're not as as intellectually capable as everybody else there's there's some evidence for that this is a mean-spirited tweet any claim humans can control the great forces of nature that create climate to a definitive degree is incredible arrogance humans actually now move more rock and soil than Mother Nature does and we have affected the chemistry of the atmosphere very very fast nature would change a few dozen parts per million over a few millennia humans have changed it 30 parts per million in just two and a half centuries no humans actually are had to have a huge effect on the earth and it's not only it's atmosphere but actually the soil and rock itself so while you think it's arrogant actually you're you're mistaken humans are changing the climate I'm sorry that you are working so hard to deny that here's proof that the earth is flat and it has a number hashtag 1742 giant humans do not exist in space that is a model Space Shuttle filmed in the 80s by NASA passed off as a mission well I really think you're completely entirely wrong about that and if you really think the earth is flat why don't you be the guy or the gal go out to the edge of the earth and take a picture it'd be great everybody you'd be an international hero you'd be acclaimed or you could be absolutely completely wrong I like that the second one all right let's see how is it possible to have barometric pressure in our atmosphere if we aren't in an enclosed system so somehow this person is equate encase Oda cans or beer cans and pressure cookers with a planet the atmospheric pressure would you call barometric pressure which is from the fabulous Greek word for weight is the result of gravity gravity holds the Earth's atmosphere on the earth it also holds us here and when we try to leave the earth which we do from time to time we have to fight gravity generally with very large chemical rockets but you can't just leave and and live out in space because there's no air there and you but you will notice that right away might be the last thing you notice keep us posted this one says bruh I hate science well I got a feeling the rest of us aren't crazy about you either who the hell decided scientific journals had to be so hard to read scientific journals are written to be accurate and reviewable by peers it's not a comic strip generally like they take thought and effort to understand like show some hustle okay I think farmers have every right to hate science after all misleading misleading protractors are but I understand this upon about protractors things to use to measure angles to understand that farming is science that farmers embrace science constantly continually that's why farmers want to buy next year's seeds they want to buy the latest and greatest seeds they want to use the right pesticides without wasting money and they don't want to over treat they don't want to under treat they don't want a waste fertilizer it's science and I remind you as much as you like this pun you rely on farms farming is not natural if you stop farming it goes back to some natural ecosystem so the house Science Committee Brett Bart News global temperatures plunge icy silence from climate alarmists I don't know what they're talking about but I'm sure they're cherry-picking some datum from someplace where the temperature was surprisingly cold hey Breitbart you're dead wrong and you're gonna kill a lot of us through your dingbat a coolness yeah you heard me you're leaving the world worse than you found it you

Niall Ferguson’s “The Square and the Tower”

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Recorded on November 9, 2017

With social networks like Facebook and Twitter in abundance, the effects of networks on society in the twenty-first century are inarguable. However, Niall Ferguson, author of The Square and the Tower, argues that networks are not a new phenomenon and have been impacting human culture from the beginning of history.

Niall Ferguson and Peter Robinson discuss networks and hierarchies throughout history in this episode of Uncommon Knowledge. Ferguson breaks down what he means by networks and hierarchies using the imagery of the Piazza Del Campo in Siena, where the Torre del Mangia, representing the hierarchy, casts a long shadow over the Piazza Del Campo, representing the network. Ferguson argues that this powerful imagery invokes the essence of his book and the intertwined nature of networks and hierarchies within society.

Ferguson goes on to discuss the importance of networks in social movements throughout history, including Martin Luther and the Reformation, Paul Revere and the American Revolution, Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union, and social media and Donald Trump. He argues that a networked world is a dangerous world, in that it allows movements and societies to advance in unexpected ways.

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Interested in exclusive Uncommon Knowledge content? Check out Uncommon Knowledge on social media!


About the Guest:

Niall Ferguson, MA, DPhil., is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies, Harvard, where he served for twelve years as the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of fifteen books, most recently The Square and the Tower.

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• ‘The Square and the Tower’ considers the staggering power of networks:
• Network Concerns:

I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas one of the cofounders of Twitter said recently the world would automatically be a better place I was wrong about that the response of our guest today if the Twitter co-founder had known his history he would not have been surprised historian Neil Ferguson on uncommon knowledge now welcome to uncommon knowledge I'm Peter Robinson now a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford Neil Ferguson has taught at institutions including Oxford Cambridge the Stern School of Business the London School of Economics and Harvard the author of a dozen major works on economics military history and diplomacy professor Ferguson has just published the square and the tower Neil Ferguson welcome to explain why this book is called it's the square in the tower the reader must come with me to Siena explain that Neil well this is a book about networks and hierarchies but I wasn't allowed to call it networks in hierarchies because hierarchies is one of those words publishers don't like on sells books and so I thought what can I call a book that is about the relationship between informal network social networks and hierarchical structures of power and I suddenly remembered Siena a beautiful town in Tuscany that reached its zenith in the century before the Black Death if you go to Siena and I urge all viewers to do this you will see the most perfect juxtaposition of a square and a tower that's all it's a manga which is this extraordinary beautiful Tower casts a great shadow of the main Piazza in the centre of Siena and and that's the the symbol I was looking for I hadn't been there since I was in my 20s but I've always thought of Siena when I've been trying to understand the relationship between government in the sense of hierarchical power structures and informal social networks of the sort that you find in town squares hmm we'll come to Luther in a moment but to quote again from that week it's big themes first the square in the tower this book distinguishes the long II pox in which hierarchical structures dominated human life from the rarer but more dynamic eras when networks had the advantage so explain that when we think of networks often we think of Silicon Valley you are taking a much longer view so give us give as I say Wellcome to Luther in just a moment but the longer view hierarchies tend to tend to predominate well what do I moved out to be a full-time Hoover fella at Stanford I became a next door neighbor of Silicon Valley and I was amazed this is just over a year ago now by how utterly indifferent to history people in that world are in fact in their view history began with the Google IPO of the founding of Facebook and everything before that is the Stone Age so part of the point of this book is to explain to the world of Silicon Valley you did not invent networks social networks go back to the very dawn of human history we are designed by evolution to network but for most of history in formal social networks have been subordinated to hierarchical power structures and there's a good reason for that a lot of human histories to do with conflict and early human structures but even before States simple villages had always to be concerned with defense and so a great deal of early human history is essentially about command and control networks informal networks are not very good at defense we can explore the significance of that for modern times in a minute but but back in the day if we go all the way back to prehistory somebody has to be in charge somebody has to give the orders and the foot soldiers have to obey so for most of history the tower overshadows the square deed that's part of Siena's symbolism the towers nearly always casting a shadow over the square there are just occasional periods in history we are in one of them now when technology and other factors empower the networks and weaken the hierarchies and one more of the major themes of the book you're a professional historian quote this book is an attempt to atone for sins of omission explain that well if Silicon Valley's ignorant of history I'm afraid historians are very ignorant about Network science and I plead guilty to having spent much of my career writing about networks without understanding the first thing about how networks function I've always been drawn temperamentally to study social networks I didn't quite know that about myself until quite recently but when I look back over 25 years of writing I've written relatively little about kings and queens and indeed governments I've written a lot more about networks like for example the network of Jewish bankers that was so important in 19th and 20th century or book there's a Rothschild the House of Rothschild and in the book I wrote about Sigmund Warburg yeah and I wrote a book about the British Empire which was really look about social networks and globalization okay good it's stop and explain all three of those the banking international banking networks why is a banking system and network instead of a hierarchy well a credit system by its very nature is a distributed network and whether it's a bank sort of simply borrowers and lenders there's not really that much hierarchical structure in a credit system now we invented relatively recently central banks to preside over financial systems but in practice when you look at the international financial system in the 18th 19th 20th centuries and into the 21st it's more readily intelligible as an enormous network and it became a much more complex network with the advent of Technology in the 1980s 90s and into the 2000s we ended up with an astonishingly complex financial network so complex that the people who thought they were running it the central bank's completely lost control of it for a time they didn't realize in 2008 there was one single node in the network called Lehman Brothers was so important to the network that if you let it fail the entire network of international credit would come crashing down that was an aha moment for me and indeed for some central bankers and I talked about this in the book in some ways the financial system became networked before everybody else did 2008 it was mostly people in finance who were truly networks the rest of us hadn't quite got there the network platforms that made social networks like Facebook possible came later now we're all as networked as the financial system was a dimension empire you get what I'm trying to do is draw out a clear distinction between networks and hierarchies yeah so I – my my if you say British Empire the first thing that comes to my mind is a almost a great chain of being Queen Victoria's at the top and the lowly sergeant major in some godforsaken village and India's at the bottom and there's taking orders all the way up and all the way down and you're saying that now that's the wrong way to look at the British Empire as a general statement I think it is true that most organizations have a kind of pyramidal structure and there's an org chart on the CEOs wall or indeed the Prime Minister's office wall that shows that the CEO or Prime Minister is at the top and everybody else is in a sense reporting to that person right and that was true of the British Empire – there are lots of lovely wall charts that put Queen Victoria at the top of a great chain of being that extends down to the lowliest Indian peasant but in all these cases there is another way of graphing the institution graphing the organization and that is its network structure who is really talking to whom who is really in a close relationship with whom that network whatever institution you're talking about will look different from the org chart and in the British Empire's case although officially Queen Victoria was the empress of all she surveyed that wasn't really how the British Empire worked it wasn't as if she issued orders that were then carried out in lowly villages actually the British Empire was built by networks of traders and networks of missionaries and networks of oxford-educated orientalists it was very decentralized it's pretty hard to control what's happening in India from London even today and in that sense I think you're right to point out there is not a perfect distinction between networks and hierarchies to be absolutely clear but a hierarchy is a special kind of network it's a kind of network where there are missing edges the nodes are not all connected most nodes can only get to the other nodes through a central node that's what a hierarchy really is whereas a distributor network is one in which most nodes are connected to most other nodes there isn't one single central node through which all the others have to go now that's the network science partner I can even understand when I was writing about networks 10 years ago but now do so it's a kind of summary opening statement is this fair that I'm trying to relate this to experiences that almost all of us have I'm thinking of my kids now who are just reaching at the age where they're getting their first jobs and here's the difference between a hierarchy and a network the hierarchy is the organization chart which is visible to every employee on his first day of his or her first day of work the network is composed of a series of those aha moments when you say oh so this is the way it really are exactly and that's the person you really need to talk to if you want to get that done right okay water cooler is in a place that reveals who really calls the shots I remember having that experience at Oxford University as an undergraduate discovering that really the college Porter expertly oh yeah thief yes the man who was president of madlyn had leased power of altar and in fact the university's a good introduction to this world because they're not really very hierarchical institutions at all formally there are people called Dean's residents and vice chancellors but they're really quite weak relative to all those impossible academics and yet impossible academics think of themselves as members of a republic of letters I think that's what attracted me to universities as a young person I always hated a command structure I loathed the military I didn't really like corporate life either I don't like having a real boss and so temperamentally I'm a networks person and one way of thinking about this which your viewers might find helpful is yes ask the question am i a hierarchy person or a network person do I instinctively think first of all of the chain of command I report to him and they report to me or do I more instinctively think of that network informal network of friends acquaintances and indeed family that that's the thing that a networker naturally gravitates towards and then real net don't believe in the org charts or at least they regard them as a kind of facade behind which the real past structures my as networks right alright now we come to Martin Luther five hundred years ago and even five hundred years ago because you're writing here about tension between hierarchy by the way I better stipulate the book is full of one historical example after another you've got you bring in Rome you bring in John Buchan novel green man I mean there it's amazing how your mind finds connections across a kind of vast compendium of his history this is a little television chat program and we won't get very far we will get to Luther 500 years ago he presents his 95 theses to the Archbishop of Mainz setting in train a series of events that you argue would anticipate the rise of Silicon Valley five centuries later Luther was his motive Luther was as much of a utopian as the pioneers of Silicon Valley in our own time utopian but the true upshot of the Reformation was not harmony but polarization and conflict alright give all of that to us but if we had to understand our own time we need to use the right analogies and I don't think our own time is much like the 20th century a time when very hierarchical states were an almost total control of social networks you need to go much further back in time to find a period when the networks really could challenge the hierarchies and that time was the 16th and 17th century a time when a new technology which was very network friendly called the printing press allowed the message of a heretic critic of the church Martin Luther to go viral if Martin Luther had done what he did in 1517 in 1417 he would just to be burned at the stake and we never have heard of him but Luther's message in 1517 could go viral not just in Germany but all over Europe because of the printing press so for me this is a really powerful analogy and there's some excellent academic work that shows the the impact of the printing press on say the cost of the printed were the cost of the page of the book and the volume of books produced was very like the impact of the personal computer in our time thus the same drastic fall in the price of information and increase in the volume of information it's very much the same pattern and it's had similar consequences I think now Luther as you said was a utopian he thought that if everybody could read a printed version of the Bible and have a direct relationship to God then everything would be awesome well he didn't quite put it like that he said there would be something like the priesthood of all believers yes which is a vision and early Christianity too except that's not what was produced by the Reformation in fact the Reformation produced polarization some people agreed with Luther some people wanted to go even further than Luther and Calvin for example but other people said no this is completely wrong and we need to fight this and then the counter-reformation adopted some of the techniques that Luther had pioneered and turn against the Protestants so we had a hundred and thirty years of religious conflict in Europe extending right into the middle of the 17th century in our time I think something very similar happened a new technology beginning in around the 1970s hugely transformed the public sphere in ways that we're only still gradually beginning to understand then as in the Reformation it was a utopian vision everybody would be connected there would be a global community Mark Zuckerberg phrase the founder of Facebook right do we have a global community today I don't think so what we have is the same phenomena polarization and crazy stuff going viral in the 17th century belief in witchcraft went viral as much as Martin Luther's sermons had in the 16th century in our time it's not just cat videos that get shared online it's fake news and extreme views and you also argue that the dream that the one component of this Mark Zuckerberg the Facebook motto used to be make the world more open and I've already quoted the Twitter co-founder Evan Williams who said once we're all connected the world will simply be a better place just because it will be alright one component of that hopeful vision was in one way or another we'd all be equal everyone would have access to information education would be and in one way or another incomes would tend to level out to the contrary we've got stagnation of middle-class wages in this country and vast fortunes tens of billions to Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Jeff Bezos the the moguls of of the networked world and you argue what that this is a temporary anomaly that more competition and more tech technology will come along and incomes will tend to be equalized or that inequality is a direct artifact output of the networked world the latter there's a reshuffle book-y well the dream it was a dream wasn't it we were all gonna be netizens and everybody was going to be as it were on a level playing field in a giant Network but in fact that's not what Network science predicted at all as social networks grow they don't grow in a kind of equal way where new nodes attach themselves randomly to the existing nodes in the network the new nodes have a preference to be attached to the well-connected nodes and so the already well-connected become even more connected the rich get richer the fit get fitter but connected get more connected so when you look at networks from the vantage point of a physicist like the great laszlo barabasi what you find is that the networks are the least egalitarian of structures as they grow the returns connectedness gets me get more and more concentrated in a few hands we who use social networks who are the users should be distinguished clearly from those who own them and the ownership of the giant network platforms incredibly concentrated and as you mentioned it has made billionaires of a relatively small number of people in Silicon Valley so one of the I think unintended consequences and there have been many but one of the most important unintended consequences of the Internet age has been to amplify to reinforce inequality by allowing connectedness to become an incredible source of wealth as well as influence dr. Kissinger the square in the tower it was as I reached the halfway stage of my biography of Henry Kissinger with volume one finished brilliant book we've spoken about it on this program and volume two half researched hurry up if you wouldn't mind that an interesting hypothesis occurred to me did Kissinger owe his success fame and notoriety not just to his powerful intellect and formidable will but also to his exceptional ability to build a network close quote I'm gonna come to the answer but first the question what was it about Kissinger that made you suspect there was something exceptional going on here that the network was unusual this is really why the book came to be written one book leads to another and Volume one of Kissinger left me with a puzzle how had this pre-academic individual become so influential so quickly after he entered government right in 1969 as Richard Nixon's national security adviser and the hypothesis was that's quite deliberately Henry Kissinger built a network not just of people in the administration with whom he works in fact he was kind of dismissive of the old chart of the federal government but more importantly with people outside it in the media particularly but even more eclectically to Hollywood and then of course to other countries to the leaders foreign ministers and ambassadors of other countries so my hypothesis and this will be a big part of volume two is that Kissinger understood that the world was moving away from mid 20th century hierarchies from the days of totalitarian leaders and imperial presidents into a new world in which networks would really be crucial and perhaps by instinct or perhaps by design he very rapidly became the most networked man in the world so that by 1973 this was being acknowledged I came across a terrific profile I think in Newsweek which makes this point about him that he is the most connected man in the world with the help of a very brilliant former student of mine Manny Rincon Cruz we actually graph the kissinger network which i which i actually going to display for you which i i glad you are showing because it's one of my favorite bits of artwork from the book and this was quite a labor of love looking at all the connections between all the people who served in the nixon or ford administrations and wrote memoirs that's the that's the set of people that I looked at so talk us through this network there's Richard Nixon right in the middle that's what you'd expect but what would you what is what is unexpected what is especially telling about Henry Kissinger is Network this is what's known in the trade as an ego Network it shows all the most important relationships that Kissinger has this is derived from his memoirs right so the number of times he mentioned someone's directly so we can see who the the important people were at least in Kissinger's memory of his time and government and what you find is not surprisingly that Nixon himself is the most important and Ford is also pretty important proximity and size of the of the node tell you those things but then you notice that that foreign leaders are as important as Americans in this network graph whether it's Brezhnev or the North Vietnamese negotiator Lee ducked oh so I think what you can do with the graph like this is be precise about which relationships mattered most to Kissinger now and this is a good illustration of why the network approach is helpful because he usually kind of casually makes statements about important relationships but this is a way of seeing who really mattered to him at least in retrospect it's fascinating to Bremen the Soviet ambassador to the United States looks as important maybe even a little bit more important than Gerald Ford right who became president exactly after Richard Nixon left office which is telling you that because annuity talks more about des Breen in the Soviet ambassador than he does about one of the two presidents he served and you could you could also make the point that foreign sector Secretary of State William Rogers is a very unimportant inode in this grave despite the fact that in the org chart of the Nixon administration was superior he was spirit and he was national security on the square in the tower you contrast you-you-you contrast Henry Kissinger is ego chart with Richard Nixon's Nixon's inner circle was that of a man confined within the walls of the White House he's talking to his staff and that's about it Kissinger by contrast mentions key foreign leaders almost as much as the presidents he served okay so that tells us Kissinger what does it tell us I mean there's almost a sense in which you want to just say he was a good schmoozer well a good schmoozer is a kind of disparaging words of pushing ears and and you could also say but of course he was Secretary of State he had a lot of relationships with foreign leaders but the next step was to look at the ways in which the different members of the Nixon and Ford administration related to one another like who mentions whom if you take the entire universe of memoirs written from that time and turret to be larger than I'd expected lots of memoirs from that period it's very striking how many people talk about Henry Kissinger in fact Henry Kissinger is the second most important node in that graph after Nixon himself and that's an important piece of evidence for the argument that Kissinger really was the second most powerful man in that period of American government and I think that's why this technique is useful it it it forces you to be rigorous when you're talking about relationships what you can't show in the graphs like this very easily is the quality of relationships it just shows you that people were connected doesn't tell you if they loved one another or hated one another or were in different to one another but I think this is a way that historians can be more rigorous in their analysis of social networks of relationships and after all that's what a lot of politics is about so in principle at least if we had enough letters if enough documents and letters survived you could do an ego chart for every member of the court of Henry the eighth's absolute and it would be very revealing and if that work is being done how is it done it'd be really some of the most enjoyable parts of writing this book where the reading of researched by often young scholars looking at network analysis of the court of Henry the eighth all for that matter of the Protestant martyrs who lost their lives under his daughter Bloody Mary Mary the first so I think this this tool is being deployed more and more part of what the square in the tower does is to introduce this quite academic and quite technical literature to the general reader and say you know what this is happening a lot of different places think of the Enlightenment Benjamin Franklin is a well known figure but did you know anything about his network of Correspondence you begin to see where Franklin fits into the Enlightenment Network well the network of the American Revolution which I got very excited about which reveals that Paul Revere really was one of the crucial figures in the revolution by measures of networks and trauma T now we can show that he was the connector in the network that made the American Revolution in Boston the reason Paul Revere's ride as famous is partly because it was Paul Revere people believed when Paul Revere said because they were connected to him they knew him I see the squashing of networks you know the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution and the founding of the Soviet state and the question is did the USSR have anything to teach us about hierarchies and networks and in your hands the answer is it most certainly did tell us the story of Oxford philosopher Isaiah Berlin and the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova Berlin an AK Matt over met a handful of times the most memorable of their meetings was in Leningrad in her apartment one night shortly after the end of World War two or 1945 November I think right immediately after this was a meeting of minds of kindred spirits the philosopher political thinker Berlin who himself had been born in Russia were born in the Russian Empire and Akhmatova one of the great poets of the 1920s who had been cast into outer darkness by Stalin because her her poetry was not in conformity with socialist realism it was an encounter between two intellectuals they spent the night talking about poetry reading poetry and and talking about art when Stalin got wind of this encounter he was furious and began to persecute Akhmatova again and her family it it led to her son being consigned to prison to the labor camps again and I tell this story because it illustrates that there have been times in human history when to network to be in a social network was itself a criminal offense that could even lead to death Stalin above all other leaders distrusted any kind of networking that did not go on with his or at least the Communist Party's approval his paranoia extended to eavesdropping even on a poet and and this is perhaps the quintessence of the hierarchical order that Wars totality rien ism the Soviet Union was set up in the mid 20th century so that nobody could network with impunity and you did is at your peril networking with that Stalin's approval could get you sent to the gulag and even get you shot a contrast and a tentative conclusion which i think is probably a little bit wrong but adjusted contrast with the Soviet Union is the United States and one of the things that Tocqueville writes about he visits the United States in the year 1830s and he is struck by the richness of private associations churches neighborhoods voluntary associations of all kinds and of course reading your book I think to myself Tocqueville is seeing networks he's seeing networks does the richness and variety of private networks in a nation represent a useful rough index of Liberty should it be should it be in some way an aim of policy to provide the kind of government that most easily permits networking yes and yes yes and yes really it was right the civil society was what made the United States successful as a democracy and the lack of it the lack of a vigorous associational life was why France kept making a mess of democracy in his time and I think that observation is one of the most profound of his career what he was seeing when he traveled in in early 19th century America was a networked society with a lot of very decentralized local decision-making being taken by citizens without reference to central government and Tocqueville was a great critic of the centralization of the French state going back to the 18th century and into his own day his constant warning was centralization is the enemy of Liberty associational life and decentralization is the friend of Liberty this turns out to be true unfortunately we didn't really heap Tocqueville in this country in fact if Tocqueville came back to the United States today and looked around he would conclude that the French must have taken over the United States at some point and created a very powerful central government in Washington DC where were having this conversation which increasingly resembles the Paris that Tocqueville wrote so critically about in the in the 19th century so we've we've lost that magic that made the United States different we've lost that vital associational life we've lost that default setting that Americans used to have when confronted with a low problem let's solve this together ourselves let's not call in the federal government to solve it for us Donald Trump China and what comes next this the the square in the tower candidate Donald Trump completely dominated Hillary Clinton on both Facebook and Twitter if the social media platforms had not existed Trump would have been forced to conduct a more conventional campaign in which case the greater financial resources of his opponent who outspent him by more than two to one would surely have been decisive close quote Donald Trump is president today because his campaign is networked while the Clinton campaign was hierarchical true that is the argument of my book and indeed it's something I've revisited in in recent columns more and more I think the Facebook and Twitter these social networks or network platforms were crucial to Trump's victory in 2016 and if they have not existed he would not have won now everybody has their own pet theory right as to why the election turned out the way it did but I think people who on the eve of that election called it right may be in a stronger position than the people who said that Hillary Clinton had a 90% probability of winning and then subsequently retrofitted their theories to the facts I think the decisive variable must have been the social networks because he gave Trump tools which were available to the Clinton campaign but simply weren't used so effectively to target advertising at key voters with great precision precision and at very low cost it is much cheaper to do this and more effective than to go for old-style commercials paid for on TV which I'm afraid the Clinton campaign was still heavily reliant so this all of this sounds very odd not wrong but odd the Democratic Party is the party of youth Hypnose call Hillary Clinton won by a large margin among those Millennials who chose to vote and you're saying that she was outmaneuvered by a septuagenarian real estate executive from queens so we simply have to say the association of youth and networking is superficial at best this is our home to anybody who wants to grab it it's more rich in irony than even you suggest because Silicon Valley itself if you'd asked nearly all the senior executives and software brought a lot of Trump supporters were all completely on board with Clinton the campaign contributions overwhelmingly went to her Eric Schmidt of Google was one of her campaign advisors there was only really a handful of people in Silicon Valley who backed Trump Peter Thiel being the bravest so what's amazing here is that the tools created by a liberal elite and they don't come much more liberal than Mark Zuckerberg were the key to the success of the populist candidate and tools that were thought to be the property of youth turn out to be a very powerful instrument to mobilize middle-aged and aging Americans in support of the populist candidate this is the great irony of 2016 but we shouldn't be so surprised exactly the same thing that happened just a few months before in June 2016 in the brexit referendum in Britain where Facebook was very effectively used by the leave campaign to get predominantly older provincial voters to turnout in massive numbers ninety percent turnout for voters aged 65 and older in the brig's that referendum percent really I hadn't heard that so some that the irony of all of this and I think it was it was Brad Pascale who was Trump's digital media director who observed just the other day that they had designed these networks never imagining that they could be used to advance the cause of a populist right-wing candidate and this brings us back full circle to your your Twitter found a quotation beginning you know we never thought that if we connected the world it would turn out this way Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook said not so long ago we never thought our tools could be used in this way you know history's great because it's full of irony this is Edward Gibbon class irony Silicon Valley built the tools that propelled Donald Trump a man they nearly all report into the White House Neal things concluding the square in the tower you write about national great the great nation states and the the tensions the rivalry between the United States and China but you also make the point that there is now there are now networks of economics and technology that extend across national borders and I'm going to quote you the key question is how far this network of economic complexity now poses a threat to the hierarchical world order of nation-states can a networked world have order in the light of historical experience I very much doubt it close quote explained well the typical utopian view is that it would be great to have a networked world anne-marie slaughter has written a whole book about this but in fact we should see that what happened the national level in the 2016 election can also happen at the global level if we leave it to the networks my argument is that a networked world is a dangerous world networks in the 18th century ran out of control in France produced a revolutionary eruption that turned Europe on its head what was the solution to the problem of the rampant revolutionary networks Napoleon Napoleon Bonaparte I'm I'm in charge of the return of hierarchy and then an even more elegant solution the pen turkey of five great powers that established themselves as the guardians of order at the Congress of Vienna now this seems to be very instructive because they said explicitly we five great powers are dominant the rest of you are subordinate to and we will establish the rules of international order my argument the conclusion of the square in the tower is that we need some similar order some similar hierarchical structure to the international order because if we just leave it to the network's if we leave it to Facebook and Twitter we were not going to end up with the global community of netizens all sharing cat videos we're going to see the polarization the viral manias happening on a global scale and not just in national elections plus we know from 2016 that bad actors whether it's Isis or Russian intelligence can very easily hack the networks I don't think Russia decided the election but Russia certainly did nothing to hurt Donald Trump's chances with its interventions on Facebook and Twitter so a networked world is not a stable world at all there needs to be some hierarchical order I think it's not yet clear what kind of order can emerge certainly with Donald Trump as president I don't see a strategic plan in place yet some people say it'll just be a to power world order the g2 or chai America China and the United States maybe that will be the outcome my own preference is that we take the existing pen turkey on the United Nations Security Council the five permanent members and make that the Congress of Vienna of the 21st century doesn't that can can we can we put up with France for another century well what's the alternative if you restructure yeah the UN permanent members you're going to end up with even more awkward partners the great thing about you don't want the Germans I have what I wasn't going to name any names but if you did it on the basis as population you'd be getting rid of France and and and bringing on India Indonesia we can get very complicated if you go by population the thing about the UN Security Council and those viewers are skeptical about the UN need to listen carefully here is it it does have legitimacy globally despite the fact that it's really quite an arbitrary remnant of past history that the five permanent members are who they are the five are proven title States Russia China Britain and France right the winners as it were of World War two just happen to have a privileged position than losers don't call us we'll call you Germany Japan this is a very interesting set up to me because it reminds me of the Congress of Vienna five powers that outrank the others permanently on the UN Security Council and it has legitimacy when the UN Security Council issues a resolution the world pays a lot more attention to an issue than when it doesn't take North Korea so I think one of the interesting paradoxes of our time is that an opportunity exists today to use the UN Security Council in a way that wasn't possible at all in the era after it was created because in the Cold War either the Soviets vetoed our resolutions or we vetoed theirs so one possibility here is that international order could be based on a pre-existing institutional structure that just hasn't worked before it's a long shot but if you think that China plus America is a better idea I've got bad news for you that's not enough I don't think that creates nearly enough legitimacy for the rest of the world to buy in a couple last questions where do you stand does the argument does your argument militate in the directness as much in the news lately in Silicon Valley where you and I both live these days where do you stand on the antitrust issue the notion that somehow or other the the legal framework doesn't seem to be adapted to it just now but one way or another it would be better for America if Facebook and Google maybe Amazon maybe Apple but the Giants were broken up in one way or at least constrained well this is an idea that's gaining ground on the left of the Democratic Party because they look back to the glory days of trust-busting and they want to bring antitrust back into their political vocabulary after appeared when it's been more or less non-existent I think it's going nowhere frankly I don't I don't think the law is going to be very helpful certainly the the tradition as the courts interpreted it in recent decades has been you have to show that consumers are worse off and try that with Jeff Bezos he'll show you that amazon has made consumers much better off I don't think that's where the big tech companies are vulnerable they're natural monopolies I don't think you can break them up the way Standard Oil was broken up but I think they are vulnerable to increased regulation and I will be amazed if there is not a significant change in the regulation in the course of 2018 because the status quo just seems indefensible right now Facebook is the biggest media publishing company in American history and yet it is regulated as if it is not one it's regulated as a network platform with no liability for anything that appears on the platform if that is still the case a year from now I'll be stunned and it will I think be a major mistake on the part of lawmakers because that's an indefensible anomaly and every time I hear Facebook executives say we're not a Content company we're a tech company we're a network platform I say pull the other one it's got bells on you are bigger now than William Randolph Hearst at the height of his power which leads to no I keep thinking this is going to be the final question I am adding one more what's the what's the longer-term prospect not even that good five years from now we now have a situation in which news is gathered and paid for by one set of entities the traditional news organizations and yet overwhelmingly the profits accrue to Facebook actually those to Facebook and Google advertising is shifted dramatically to Facebook and Google Facebook alone earned as much in advertising last year as all the other media companies all the traditional media companies in America combined and Google earned a multiple of what Facebook earned in advertising they don't pay for their news they just take it do we are we old-fashioned enough to believe that investigative journalism and pretty good commentary inform commentary remains essential to democracy and if we do believe that is the current situation tenable now the current situation is not just plain isn't it it's worse than you say ah because what happens when cheering me up what what 45% of Americans at the last can't get their news from the Facebook newsfeed right that is not some random aggregation of data what happens in the news feed is that the algorithm tries to decide what news the user will like or share and pay attention to literally trying to tell you what you want to exactly and what you like to hear and what you like to share because that's how Facebook gets paid by advertisers by showing that people are stuck to the content that they go to so we we've created filter bubbles echo chambers whatever you want to call them that completely disaggregate the old public sphere so that people have their own personalized news feeds there no longer is a common conversation in America everybody is in his or her own little bubble and I that's the most dangerous part of it look at my heart bleeds for the traditional publishers but what's happening to them happen to music publishers years ago it's just the latest internet disintermediation or disruption whatever term you prefer to befall a traditional business and I feel equally sad for the traditional advertising agencies that are being given the same treatment but we as citizens should be much more worried about what's happened to the public sphere in the age of Facebook and Twitter we've talked about how it's been polarized we've talked about how fake news and extreme views are more likely to go viral but I think the ultimate threat to the stability of democracy is the disappearance of a national conversation and the creation of multiple personalised filter bubbles that can't be until the first draft at a solution something I think a lot about well I do think that there needs to be at least a level playing field in terms of regulation you can't stop you can't go on pretending that Facebook's not publishing content right it's the biggest publisher of content reserve a being secondly I think that therefore has to be liability for that content thirdly that imposes a whole bunch of new costs on these companies because the sheer scale of the volume of content appearing on these platforms remember there are more than two billion people using Facebook all using it to post stuff and comparable large numbers of advertisers using it to sell stuff this is beyond editorial control and whenever they try to reassure us that they're going to hire ten thousand people to look out for bad content fake news or Russian propaganda my response is the same as I already gave you our pool the other one it's got bells on this is far far larger as a problem than ten thousand editors can possibly address so I think what we'll see is a level playing field increased liability for the the network platforms and a huge problem for them which is how do you curate and edit content in such vast volumes that we have never seen anything like it before we need to make that their problem and not our problem as citizens near last question it is in the nature of these programs that one really wants to end on and so I'm going to say to you Neil I hereby command you Neil Ferguson author of the square on the tower what's what's the most hopeful aspect of the development of this networked world for the United States of America the good news is that if you empower networks there are good things that happen to the printing press produced not only religious conflict it produced the Scientific Revolution it produced the Enlightenment it produced the American Revolution it produced the Industrial Revolution these great leaps forward in human understanding happened because intellectuals and innovators were able to exchange freely publish them or just correspond with one another in an enormous network that was global at its maximum extent and we have something very similar today the best thing about the Internet is that it enables innovation and creativity to happen without any central control nobody is calling the shots on how we try to solve the great problems that face us today and so when I'm being optimistic I tell myself it's all gonna be fine there may be disruption there may be polarization and crazy stuff may go viral that happened in the 17th century but remember what happened in the 18th century the greatest breakthroughs in our political understanding and the foundation of the greatest republic perhaps the greatest polity in all of history the United States of America I don't believe China ends up owning this technology and therefore the 21st century they're trying to because essentially the Chinese have their own network platforms that are under state control that won't be better than what we got here so the creativity of Facebook the creativity of Google these ultimately are assets to the United States if they as companies thought a bit more nationally and a bit less globally I think that would be good for them and good for us what is good for Facebook should be good for the United States and vice versa you could say that about General Motors in the 1950s you can't yet say it about Silicon Valley and it's high time that we did Neil Ferguson author of the square and the tower thank you I'm Peter Robinson for uncommon knowledge and the Hoover Institution thank you you

Sam Harris On Stoicism

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next question on stoicism you said you were disappointed in how you handled some recent battles what are your strategies moving forward to evolve and prepare when you suit up for the next one well many questions of that sort have come in since my recent misadventures on this podcast my conversations with Miriam namazi and Omer Aziz have definitely caused me to recalibrate a few things I'm going to pick my battles a little more carefully and probably anticipate the rough spots better than I have I was surprised by how badly and went with Miriam and probably shouldn't have been I was an am astonished at how she's behaved since circulating almost any terrible article about me that appears online and the most recent one where I was called a white supremacist there's no exception so I don't know that I could have anticipated that but with someone like Omer ZZZ I think I could have known and and would now know based on what he wrote that a productive conversation there was going to be impossible and I could have cut my loss as much earlier in the podcast many people were mystified by why I spent so much time trying to convince him that Majin and my motives for writing the book weren't mercenary we were not engaged as he said in a get-rich-quick scheme people bizarrely think that this has something to do with my being offended by the charge or my wanting to prove myself right or I mean just the criticism I've gotten although there hasn't been that much is mystifying the only reason why I was pushing so hard on that point was that it was the simplest possible claim about which there really was no basis for debate because I know why I wrote the book I know what the realities of publishing are and if Omer wasn't able to back off the charge at all in the face of my counter-argument and counter evidence I knew that the conversation was essentially doomed and it was essentially doomed but I persisted just on the odd chance that something used would come out of it many of you think something did many of you are happy I released that podcast you think it was useful why Omer thought it would be good for him to have it released is anyone's guess as far as I can tell no more than 1 in 10,000 listeners think he did a good job and came out intact but I would not willingly have that conversation again I don't think that conversation was good for the world I think it was an example of how bad things are frankly in the so-called moderate Muslim community the contempt he expressed or someone like Majid is so well subscribed that is genuinely troubling because maje it as you've heard I think if you've been paying attention it's as wise and rational a person here as you're going to find so I worry about the breakdown of conversation on these points and I don't think broadcasting our failures in the end is especially useful so I I would have been happy not to release that podcast I don't think I should have released the podcast with Miriam I think it did her lasting harm many people who used to be a Miriam namazi fan are no longer and that was not at all my intention in inviting her on the podcast so going forward I think I need to recalibrate a little bit I think I need to pick my battles better and should I find myself in a circumstance like that I plan to do a much better job on my side of the conversation and the problem really is that I'm at the end of my patience on this topic I just think that the problem of Islamic theocracy and the layer of liberal obscurantism that surrounds it is excruciating ly boring and yet hugely consequential there are a few things that that make me as impatient as that conversation if I'm going to have a conversation like that I have to be much more mindful of the circuits that are being tripped in me because it's just it's a recipe for what you heard which is me at my lease patient this whole area can turn me into a humorless jerk and that's not who I want to be so next question

The Handmaids Tale Part 1: Crash Course Literature #403

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In which John Green teaches you about Margaret Atwood’s speculative fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. John looks at some of the themes in this classic dystopian novel, many of which are kind of a downer. The world of Gilead that Atwood created looks at a lot of the issues that we deal with today, and the very human impulse to return to an imagined golden era, thereby solving all of our modern world’s problems. Yeah, it doesn’t work like that.

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hi I'm John Green this is crash course literature and last week we wrapped up our discussion of George Orwell's 1984 lately here at crash course we'd been a bit preoccupied with dystopias which is to say imagine futures where things have gone horribly wrong you know as opposed to the present have always loved a good dystopia they can show us the signposts pointing toward disaster remind us of the resilience of humanity help us to think through the consequences of social and political change and also fill us with pure and unadulterated terror which brings us to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale Ed Wood said that Orwell's 1984 was a direct model for The Handmaid's Tale which she began writing in the actual 1984 in a Guardian article she explained that she intended to present a dystopia from a female point of view the majority of dystopias Orwell's included have been written by men and the point of view has been male when women have appeared in them they have been either sexless automatons or rebels who've defied the sex rules of the regime which is to say they've been either the wife in 1984 or the mistress in 1984 today we're going to discuss the real despotisms that inspired atwood introduce you to her read cloaked and stony-faced protagonist off read and explain why the author characterizes her novel as speculative fiction if you like you can even turn on the captions and read along because reading is not illegal yet Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa Canada she's the author of over 40 books of fiction and poetry and essays she's also one of Canada's leading literary critics her 1972 survey survival a thematic guide to Canadian literature investigates what gives Canadian works their distinctive national identity she's also really good at Twitter oh it's already time for the open letter an open letter to authors Twitter accounts but first let's see what's in the secret compartment today oh it's nothing what a crushing disappointment just like most authors Twitter accounts dear authors Twitter accounts oh my gosh why do you have to ruin it there's such an incredible magic to reading a book that you love and that you're overwhelmed by the beauty of and you think I can't believe that this book was written by a person that person must be so amazing and then you go to Twitter and you look up their Twitter account and they're complaining about the wireless at Panera not working or their flight was delayed or they're enjoying their vacation in Cape Cod and it turns out that they're just like a totally regular person except for Margaret Atwood I almost universally find author Twitter accounts to be a complete disappointment and I have to say mine more than most and yet somehow a few authors retain their intimidating and intoxicating brilliance on Twitter and buy a few I mostly mean Margaret Atwood best wishes John Green Edwards childhood was tranquil and somewhat idyllic when not being homeschooled by her mother she trailed her father and entomologists through the backwoods of Quebec which sounds pretty great especially if you're into Canadian bugs Sara lot like American bugs except much more polite and also they spend half as much money on health care but get better health care are we still talking about bugs anyway given all of this you might be wondering what Atwood could possibly know of the real despotisms on the scale scene in the republic of Gilead the fictional government in The Handmaid's Tale well I'll let you in on a little secret of the authoring trade not all fiction is autobiographical although my most recent novel sort of is but anyway a related point it's also possible to respond to history that one has experienced from a remove especially if you're a genius and Margaret Atwood really is as for which events crossed Atwoods radar as she wrote in the mid-1980s there's a box labeled Handmaid's Tale background in the University of Toronto's rare book library it contains her notes for the novel Rebecca Mead of The New Yorker wrote about there were stories of abortion and contraception being outlawed in Romania and reports from Canada lamenting its following birth rate and articles from the US about Republican attempts to withhold federal funding from clinics that provided abortion services there were reports about the threat to privacy posed by debit cards which were a novelty at the time and accounts of u.s. congressional hearings devoted to the regulation of toxic industrial emissions in the wake of the deadly gas leak in Bhopal India an Associated Press item reported on a Catholic congregation in New Jersey being taken over by a fundamentalist sect in which wives were called handmaidens a word that atwood had underlined the events that occur in The Handmaid's Tale are based on these reports but filtered through an authorial lens that imagined a nightmare of inequality oppression and enforced ignorant let's go to the thought-bubble so The Handmaid's Tale is said in the Republic of Gilead an ultraconservative theocracy within former u.s. territory much of the land is radioactive or otherwise poisoned by toxic waste the birth rate has fallen dramatically aged are infertile women homosexuals political dissidents supporters of abortion non-whites and members of religious groups other than the brand of Christianity sanctioned by the state are forced to clean up this toxic material women who have been involved in extramarital affairs or second marriages prior to the revolution but seem capable of reproducing are forced to become handmaids their purpose is to provide healthy babies for commanders of the military class these women are renamed for the commander that they serve Atwoods protagonist is called off red which signifies her status as a possession she is of Fred the name also suggests that she is an offering she has been offered to reproduce the other classes of women that remain in gilead include wives married to commanders econo wives married to lower ranking men Martha's servants in the commander's houses and aunts instructors of handmaids and overseers of executions so the most part these women are denied an education the right to vote and the chance to work for pay most are also forbidden from reading the novel opens in the Rachel and Leah re-education Center a former gymnasium where the hand maids are trained for their life of service in mesmerizing and poetic prose the narrator describes the yearnings that haunt that place stances would have been held there the music lingered a palimpsest of unheard sound style upon style and undercurrent of drums a forlorn wail Garland's made of tissue paper flowers cardboard Devils a revolving ball of mirrors powdering the dancers with the snow of light there was old sex in the room and loneliness and expectation of something without a shape or name I remember that yearning we yearned for the future thanks thought-bubble so we all know that yearning for the future but in gilead this desire and so many desires have been completely perverted and the future that happened is in a word horrific handmaids whisper almost without sound to communicate as the ants with cattle prods slung on thongs from their leather belts monitor their every move so this future ended up looking a lot like some terrifying funhouse version of the past in which state sanctioned depression based on gender and race were the norm and that I think gets at something important in the novel in contemporary life we expect progress in the future we expect that over time human lives will become longer and healthier and happier and richer but in Atwoods future when we begin to experience regression the response is to seek restoration to some glorified past no matter how oppressive it might be this idea to make a fallen nation strong again or great again is one that we all feel at times and in The Handmaid's Tale we are shown one vision of what can happen when the yearning for the future takes the form of grasping for the past but so back to the plot Offred had been married to Luke a man who was married once before and after the couple and their daughter are caught trying to escape to Canada ah Fred becomes a handmaid she sent to the home of a military commander and forced to undergo a horrifying monthly ritual modeled on Genesis 30 in which Rachel and Jacob used their made Bilhah as a surrogate but let's not mince words here the so called the ceremony is state sanctioned rape and in the midst of that ordeal ah Fred makes two really powerful insights first she notices that the commander is quote preoccupied like a man humming to himself in the shower without knowing he's humming like a man who has other things on his mind it's as if he's somewhere else and then she observes that the wife Serena joy who was present for the so called ceremony continues lying on the bed gazing up at the canopy above her stiff and straight as an effigy Offred wonders which of us is it worse for her or me there's two things I want to highlight there first off Fred's empathy even amid this horror she is able to empathize with the commander's wife and even with the commander that shows that even at the height of the horrors of this dystopia off-roads Humanity is not taken away from her and when you contrast that with 1984 I think it offers a different vision about what governments can and cannot do when it comes to reducing people's humanity so there are many victims in gilead but there are also several heroines off-roads heroism is subtle but I think it's still very real because she refuses to relinquish what Orwell in 1984 called the own life she retains her individualism eccentricity and humanity shortly after the so called ceremony of copulating with the commander alfred spreads a packet of butter onto her hands and face as long as we do this butter our skin to keep it soft we can believe that we will someday get out that we will be touched again in love or desire we have ceremonies of our own private ones and although she describes this act as degrading to such devices we have descended finding a way to be comfortable in her skin helps Offred remember the desires of her past and to stay sane sanity is a valuable possession i hoard it the way people once hoarded money I save it so I will have enough when the time comes that sanity is critical to her survival as are her tiny moments of own life and resistance offered smother is another heroine a second wave feminist who fought for women's rights and before the Revolution she was a marcher and a sign waiver and a pornography burner but ah Fred's mother pays a steep toll for being outspoken she is exiled to the toxic colonies off Rhodes college friend Moira is similarly brazen in her resistance after staging a daring escape from the re-education Center though Moira is captured sterilized and forced to become a sex worker offered wants to believe that Moira will also escape this prison I'd like to tell a story about how Moira escaped for good this time or if I couldn't tell that I'd like to say she blew up Jezebel's with 50 commanders inside it I'd like to end with something daring and spectacular some outrage something that would fit her but as far as I know that didn't happen I don't know how she ended or even if she did because I never saw her again we see here offered trying to take control of the narrative trying to tell a story that is daring in spectacular where the protagonist wins or at least takes a lot of bad guys out with her but she can't those traditional narratives of the hero's journey aren't available to her because they aren't true to her experience we also never learned how offered mother or offered herself and but we do know that she finds a way to tell her story and that her story survives but aside from that we can only speculate which makes a kind of sense because The Handmaid's Tale is speculative fiction in a 2005 interview at would define the genre I'd like to make a distinction between science fiction proper and speculative fiction for me the science fiction label belongs on books with things in them that we can't yet do such as going through a wormhole in space to another universe and speculative fiction means a work that employs the means already to hand such as DNA identification and credit cards and that takes place on planet earth as to the point of speculative literature atwood writes literature is an utter Anor outer ring of the human imagination it lets the shadowy forms of thought and feeling heaven hell monsters angels and all out into the light where we can take a good look at them and perhaps come to a better understanding of who we are and what we want and what the limits of those wants may be understanding the imagination is no longer a pastime but a necessity because increasingly if we can imagine it we'll be able to do it part of the magic of The Handmaid's Tale is that it feels so real it belies the old-line that it can't happen here and reminds us it can always happen here in short The Handmaid's Tale is speculative and it is fiction but that doesn't mean it's untrue thanks for watching I'll see you next time crash course is filmed here in the chad and stacey emigholz studio in indianapolis and it's made possible by your support at patreon patreon is a voluntary subscription service where you can support crafts sports directly through a monthly donation to help us keep it free for everyone forever we make crash course with Adobe Creative Cloud you can get a free trial at a Lincoln description thanks to everyone who supports us on patreon and to all of you for watching and as we say in my hometown don't forget to be awesome

A Dark Side to Academics on Twitter

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Do you ever feel like everyone else is doing fine, and working harder than you, and coping better, and getting more done? This is a well-established phenomenon perpetuated by social media: you see everyone else’s carefully-crafted perfection, but only your own behind-the-scenes first draft. Here I talk about this problem specifically in academia, and how to stop it getting you down.

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Tim Urban’s ‘7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook’:

New video every Wednesday (ish), please comment if there’s a particular topic you’d like to see discussed!

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About me: I’m a PhD student at the University of Oxford studying the geology of Mars as a geographer turned geochemist. I’m a big fan of cats, terraforming, and talking openly about common problems. This morning I saw a heron, and it has made my day.

hey that's Lucy quick disclaimer I was in two minds about making this video in case I'm deemed too harsh but the whole point of this channel is to talk about matters in academia that are uncomfortable or unpopular that need to be brought up and I felt this fell into that category so here we go I am a big fan of social media as an academic I think it's a really cool way to showcase your research and an interesting and engaging way I think it's a great way to connect with other people in your field especially if that field is extremely neat it's also a great way to network can never hurt to know who you'd like to work with in future know when opportunities are coming up and better still to be on good terms with these people when they do also as a PhD student your world often feels very isolated social meters want me to reach out to other people who are going through the same thing as you are so I have Twitter and of course YouTube because I suppose this channel counts and I put a reasonable amount of effort into sharing cool space news and making little gifts of my experiments that in a nutshell is what I post about and I really like it and I'd really recommend having an online space of your own but there's a nasty side to social media that sometimes makes me stop scrolling and see what people are up to and I haven't talked about this of anyone because often is people I know and like who do this but it's something that it's insidious and I think harmful in the academic culture and I really wanted to discuss it academics on Twitter very commonly boast underhandedly about how hard they work let me explain with an example that paraphrase is the kind of thing I read often how should I spend my Friday night finishing off my thesis working on those reviews or starting a new experiment hashtag PhD life here's another me to my brain how about we just chill tonight and put Netflix on my brain no thanks let's learn two new languages take up judo and tidy the whole house sometimes I despair of myself haha hashtag how did you spend your Sunday the reason why these tweets make me so uncomfortable is because they're not serving anybody but the person who wrote it and worse they're directed had a group of people who as academics of no real clock on times are already struggling to define work-life boundaries I'm not saying don't talk about things that make you happy and that you're proud of if you've published a new paper please share how happy and proud you are that's really nice your colleagues will be happy for you or talk about how much you love your subject what I'm talking about here is different this is about actively making people feel bad why am I not working this for I was just gonna chill out but III guess I should be working on my data analysis I've got nothing better to do why don't I have the time or motivation to take up a new language I just collapse home of an evening that I need to be harder on myself I need to make time there is no basis for comparison in academia there's no normal map of hours to work or extra activities to take up so every time I read a tweet like those I feel guilty like I'm lazy or inefficient but I'm not I work hard and so do most academics I know way too hard have you asked me so nobody else needs to hear about how accomplished or hardworking or all motivated anyone elses if you use social media or are thinking of using it please be mindful of how your posts will impact others it's not like 140 character tweet is gonna push someone into a mental health problem but when it's your post-grad friends and professors that you aspire to be like and they're all talking about how they work every weekend they work every hour that comes you should aspire to spend your free time in the office this creates a false reality and expectations of productivity that not only have been not obtainable then aren't even real please be aware that these sort of posts need to be taken with a pinch of salt and that people exaggerate people boast and people have their own problems and they don't always deal with them in the best way a blogger I love called Tim urban has written a lot on this subject but in the context of Facebook and I'd really recommend checking out his posts the Whittier and more insightful than mine please let me know what you think about this in the comments below whether you think I'm being too harsh or whether it's something you've come across – thank you for listening and take you

Coding is Easy & Why you should learn coding | AeeKayPlus

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It’s a, short film on the need of teaching coding in schools. Listen to big techies like Mark Zukerberg, Bill Gates, and many gaints, explain the importance of learning coding right from the beginning and how It can impact society as a whole.

#Coding #python #WebDeveloper #AeeKayPlus

I was 13 when I first got act of a computer my parents bought me a Macintosh in 1984 when I was 8 years old I was in sixth grade I learned to code in college freshman year first semester intro to computer science I wrote a program to play tic-tac-toe and he was pretty humble beginnings I think the first program I wrote asked things like what's your favorite color or how old are you I first learned how to make a green circle and a red square appear on the screen the first time I actually had something come up and say hello world and it I made a computer do that it was just astonishing learning on a program didn't start off as wanting to learn all of computer science or or trying to master this discipline or anything like that it just started off because I wanted to do this one simple thing I want to make something that was fun for myself and my sisters and I wrote this little program and then basically just add a little bit to it and then what we need to learn something new I looked it up either in a book or on the internet and then added a little bit to it it's really not unlike kind of playing an instrument or something or you know or playing a sport it starts out being very intimidating but kind of get the hang of it over time coding it is something that can be learned and I know it can be intimidating a lot of things are intimidating but you know what isn't a lot of the coding that people do is actually fairly simple it's it's more about the process of breaking down problems then you know sort of coming up with complicated algorithms as people traditionally think about it you don't have to be a genius to know how to code you need to be determined additions subtractions that that's about it should probably know your multiplication tables you don't have to be a genius to code you have to be a genius to read even if you want to become a race car driver or play baseball or you know build a house and all of these things have been turned upside down my software but it is you know computers are everywhere you want to work in agriculture do you want to work in entertainment do you want to work in Manufacturing you know it's just all over here we are 2013 all depend on technology to communicate to bank information and none of us know how to read and write code when I was in school I was in this after-school group called the whiz kids and people found out they laughed at me and you know all these things and I'm like man I don't care I think it's cool and you know I'm learning a lot and some of my friends have jobs our policy is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find the whole limit in the system is just that there just aren't enough people who are trained and have these skills today to get the very best people we try to make the office as awesome as possible [Applause] [Applause] you're fantastic chef free food no free laundry snacks even places to play and videogames and scooters there's all these kind of interesting things around the office in places where people can play or relax or go to think or play music or be creative whether you're trying to make a lot of money or whether you just want to change the world computer program is an incredibly empowering skill to learn I think if someone had told me that software is really about humanity that it's really about helping people by using computer technology it would have changed my outlook a lot earlier to be able to actually come up with an idea and then see it in your hands and then be able to press a button and have it be in millions of people's hands I mean I think we're the first generation in the world that's really ever had that kind of experience just to think that I mean you can start something in your college dorm room and you can have a set of people who haven't built a big company before come together and build something that the billion people use is more their daily lives this is just crazy to think about right it's really it's humbling and it's amazing the programmers of tomorrow are the Wizards of the future you know you're gonna look like you have magic powers compared to everybody else it's amazing is it I think it's the closest thing we have to a superpower great coders are kitties rockstars [Applause] [Applause]

What is Social Network Analysis?

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You use social networks every day, but how can we understand how they work to affect our decisions, our careers, our health, and our histories? The field of Social Network Analysis is the dynamic and highly adaptable group of techniques that let us quantify and understand the complex structures and flows of relationships, thoughts, and things between people around the world. Look at your own social networks at these links:

Check your own personal Facebook social network with Touchgraph:
Check your own personal LinkedIn social network with Socilab:
Check your own personal Twitter social network with Mentionmapp:

Social Network Analysis can enrich the research of faculty and the studies of students—look for workshops run by the Duke Network Analysis Center and classes featuring graph theory, network theory, and social networks. Networks are everywhere—what will you discover with them?

what is social network analysis you've heard those social networks before from the online versions like Facebook and Twitter to the more traditional social networks of people in a fraternity or in a small town you've probably also heard about some of the interesting things you can learn about these networks when you analyze them from silly things like hearing how many degrees of Kevin Bacon one actor is from another or the slightly creepy like how Facebook's algorithms try to predict what products you want to buy or who to add as a friend when you start to think about the world in terms of different overlaying networks that connect and transfer friendships information money and power you start to see how analyzing things through the analysis of social networks can lead to new realizations about culture politics history and lots of other interesting topics we have an intuitive sense that the connections to the people around us are a huge factor in what we know how we think what we do but researchers using standard statistical methods don't have a really good way to account for the effect of these connections without social network analysis they see similarities and differences between isolated data points but social network analysis gives us tools to quantify those connections between individual points often in a visual format so that we can find patterns and the forces that connect us together as a society we can find out how one person is connected or disconnected from people groups or trends in a population you know those people seem to be friends with everyone well social network analysis can generate graphical representations that reveal individuals in a population that bridged different social groups I never had a friend who stopped hanging out with you once they got a new boyfriend or girlfriend with social network analysis you can study how individuals divide their energies between different social groups over time we can study what makes a group of strangers start to form distinct friendship groups and once networks are formed we can see how things like power beliefs or even an outbreak of disease flows through the individual connections as you can tell there are practical questions that can get quantitative answers and new insights with social network analysis that just weren't possible before this opens up an exciting range of new options one example is in colonial American history what do you think the social network of political leaders in Boston looked like at the time of the Revolutionary War Duke professor Kieran Healy looked into this and found several distinct social groups but name that bridged them together Paul Revere or in the topic of education how are friendships in the school affected by race and age in the data shown here when we see friendships colored through grade level it looks like there's pretty good diversity between the students of different class years but when we look through the same friendships colored the race the friendships start to look much less diverse if we happen to combine this information with data from other schools we can see what patterns keep repeating even in different environments and what makes unique patterns arise social network analysis is a very open field and there are lots of technical options to try out like adding Geographic mapping data to understand how physical environments change network dynamics and for math geeks it's still very new field with lots of room for creating new analytical algorithms that can create new forms of mapping network connections see the power of social network analysis in your own life right now by looking at the tools link below to your Facebook Twitter and LinkedIn networks you probably won't expect everything that you see which is one of the reasons that social network analysis is so exciting if you're a faculty member researcher or graduate student interested in learning more or applying this to your own research look for listings in the social networks workshop run by the Duke network analysis Center it's a useful pathway to see how this approach can stimulate new ideas for you if you're an undergraduate interested in social network analysis look for classes that use the term social networks network theory or graph theory in their descriptions and search for opportunities to join research teams through programs like bass connections Networks are everywhere what will you discover with them

How to Apply Stoic Philosophy to Your Life | Tim Ferriss

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Tim Ferriss on how to apply Stoicism to your life | Tim Ferriss


About Tim Ferriss:
Tim Ferriss is one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and an early-stage tech investor/advisor in Uber, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ other companies. He is also the author of five #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers: The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef, Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors. The Observer and other media have named him “the Oprah of audio” due to the influence of his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, which has exceeded 200 million downloads and been selected for “Best of iTunes” three years running.

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converse here author of the 4-hour workweek for our body for our chef tools Titans and so on and so forth I talk a lot about stoic philosophy they've had a lot of questions about stoic philosophy I produced audio books about stoic philosophy which have made their way into Super Bowl teams all the way from management to players and everything in between why do I talk about stoic philosophies so much well to a lot of people who are watching this and as was true for me for a very long time you hear stoic and you think maybe of a cow standing in the rain just accepting whatever tragedy and terrible circumstances befall it that is not what I'm advocating at all or maybe you imagine somebody with no emotion whatsoever also not what I'm advocating so the way we use stoic and modern English is is somewhat different from the way that it was used when it came from stoah which is actually porch and specifically I think that stoicism is a fantastic operating system for thriving in high stress environments what does that mean it means that it is a framework for making better decisions and training yourself to be less reactive it goes very well with different types of meditation whether that's TM or using an app like headspace for calm so on but you don't necessarily need both they're complimentary stoic philosophy and I should say that probably around 2004 I picked up a book that was the collected letters of Seneca Seneca the younger who's one of the real figure heads I would say in the last few years at least who has become very popular as a stoic thinker and writer has been popular for some thousand plus years but there's been a huge resurgence others would include Marcus Aurelius used to be the Emperor of Rome the most powerful man in the world of time and then there are others Cato and so on Epictetus who was formerly slave so you have a very wide spectrum of well-known stoic fingers and you should find the one that speaks to you best but I picked up this book of Senecas writing didn't really expect much of it and when people ask me now what is your favorite book of all time the book you've read the most the book you gifted the most I've gifted hundreds of copies of Senecas letters so the morale letters to Luke Ilyas Luc ili us the morale letters to Achilles by Seneca the younger he was very famous playwright one of the wealthiest people in Rome advisor to the Emperor that ultimately didn't work out so well for him but he was on the front line so what I appreciate about stoic philosophy is how well it is used in highly challenging circumstances and the some of the basics of stoic philosophy which have been applied in Super Bowl which had been applied in training of all different types have been applied by prisoners of war POWs in wartime like Stockdale for instance James Stockdale or I would say a few things number one it trains you much like the serenity prayer in a way but it's more systematic to focus on differentiating between things that you can control and things you cannot control and really only focusing your energy on the former so for instance if you watch your friends spinning out of control on social media freaking out about politics and all they do is bitch and whine and whinge about politics well if we sat down and thought about it the vast majority of those people are not going to be in a position normally and take steps to change any of that reality therefore is a lot of wasted energy and calories and brain cycles right so really really learning to repent it and repetitively consistently focus on things that are within your sphere of control that doesn't mean that you are passive and certainly the reason that people like Thomas Jefferson George Washington the founders of this great country of the United States of America were certainly rebels and revolutionaries and extremely aggressive and contrarian in many many ways went to stoicism is because they knew they had a lot of hard battles ahead and they wanted to make wise decisions right so number one you're learning to focus on and expand the sphere of action that you have the things you can control next you're going to systematically train yourself to be less prone to overreacting to say criticism so kato who is considered by some to be the perfect stoic fascinating character see ato would sometimes wear a tunic of an unpopular color so that he would be ridiculed in the senate and by other people he did this specifically and other things like it so that he would train himself to only be ashamed of those things worth being ashamed of so the superficial things he would experiment with and he would catalyze other people making fun of him or insulting him so that he would develop a tolerance for it this is very very practical and there are many corollaries to this as well as the next piece which is in effect practicing poverty and the worst case scenario so that they hold less power over you and that can take the form of say Kevin Kelly who's been on the Tim Ferriss know podcast fascinating technology futurist as well as founding editor of Wired magazine so he knows worst case scenario because he has done so much backpacking and lived off of instant oatmeal the worst case scenario he can always have his backpack instant oatmeal and a cup of coffee and he can be happy and he knows that because he's practiced it and Seneca in letter 13 of his letters to kill Lewis the moral literacy Lucilius which was I believe on festivals and fasting talks about setting aside a certain number of days and then paraphrasing here but a certain number of days during which you will eat the cheapest affair where the coarsest of dress etc asking yourself all the while is this the condition that I so feared so practically speaking I've built this into my own life by fasting by exposing myself to cold I have a practice of cold exposure which is done very safely I have different types of plan suffering and planned poverty's so that any type of unplanned suffering or unplanned financial hit will have less of an impact on me and this applies in many different fields this is I suppose a compatible ethos with the more you sweat and peacetime the less you bleed in wartime alright you want to prepare for the unexpected turns of fate by simulating what the worst-case scenarios would be this is very very practical and if we look back to Cato for instance while he would wear these ridiculous outfits you know I will spend time walking through say California in San Francisco okay hippie liberal central with a cowboy hat on just to see what happens because you will get all sorts of sideways glances and so on and I might then go to Utah I went to a very conservative part of Utah and I wore what I call my party pants for a day or two and party pants are these very flamboyant bright blue floral patterned pants from bonobos I don't really sell them anymore which effectually looked like the upholstery on your grandma's couch they are hideous and did that very deliberately to force me to interact with people in a way that would condition me to be able to take bolder steps or have more uncomfortable conversations in the future because all serious problems all important matters require uncomfortable conversations I think you can measure your success in many ways by the number of uncomfortable conversations you're willing to have and stoicism helps with that so I go down the list but there are very very practical steps to take and then you can translate that into your own life so for instance a lot of the advice that you might get from a former Navy SEAL commander like Jocko willing he wouldn't call stoicism but the mental toughness that he has developed and also trained in other people is very much not going to say identical but a close cousin to stoicism and if if you look at for instance advice that you would get once your rust into the public eye and a lot of these letters the Morel understood gills are long lines of dear Lukey Lewis I hear you're being slandered by your so-called friends so-and-so in the Senate and he did this but then he said this behind your back here's how I would recommend that you deal with the situation and I would translate that into for instance advice that I give people who are about to get a lot of public exposure and I say you never as bad as they say you are and you're never as good as they say or all right and I want to touch on a common misconception or maybe aspect of stoicism people find unattractive so you never as bad as they say are you're also never as good as they say you are and this helps you to keep a level head some people fear that if they if they adopt stoicism or study so sysm that they will become this very Vulcan like creature that has neither this certainly has has less of a dip in terms of the lows of life but that's simultaneously you're going to sacrifice the highs you won't have the peaks of joy that you experience as a normal person if you focus on stoicism to that I would say number one you are a thinking person and much like any book you would read you can pick and choose so you can pick and choose the elements that you find most useful you think are going to be most applicable to you and then you can test them all right so I happen to think of my own philosophies not as stoicism and not as a as an evangelist necessarily for stoicism to proselytize other people I pull from elements of say Buddhism resent Buddhism I also pull elements from epicureanism which was really seen as almost the opposite of stoicism but to be maximally content and to find joy in the small things I find that to be a very helpful counterbalance to some of the stove's looking which can get a little dry in somber at times but what stoicism will do if you embrace it in many respects and Zen Buddhism also very helpful for this is helping to develop a present state awareness so that you are aware of your thoughts and emotions before they take control of you need you to make very bad decisions whether that's lashing out at someone verbally whether that is making an impulse buy or sell decision or otherwise it is a fantastic insurance policy that allows you to have more consistent well-being throughout your life in all areas and that to me rather than a cow standing in the rain a stoicism and certainly I view it as one of the keys to any success that I have had in the last decade or more whether that is in the world publishing podcasting angel investing or otherwise I really think that this is a core underlying foundation upon which my best decisions have been built so I hope the same for you and PS I feel so strongly about the value of this and I want to thank everyone it is listen to my podcast or read anything I've written that I've put together three volumes of stoic writing primarily Seneca and I'm giving them away for free so I'm giving away as ebooks it's called the Tao of Seneca ta o the Tao of Seneca and there are gorgeous original illustrations that I had commissioned there is incredible calligraphy from both Japanese and Chinese masters so I want to show some of the parallels between philosophical schools that are dropped into this and it features I want to say at least 120 letters from Seneca to Luke Elias so you can find those for free and I really hope that you find value in them and share them with other people but that's the town of Seneca and you can go out and find it at your leisure so that for now is everything that I want to share on stoicism but it's taken me very very far and I hope and expect the same for all of you hope you enjoyed the video if you would like to see my favorite piece of content that I put out every week it is a short newsletter five bullet Friday it's free five bullet points with the coolest things that I've been finding using testing in a given week I put it out every Friday you can digest it five minutes take a look Bible of Friday

The Inevitable Consequences of Jordan Peterson's Character Assassinations.

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Have the Leftists throw mud at you, expect other left wing institutions to not offer to wash the mud off you. — Links: SubscribeStar: …

Doctor Jordan Peterson on People's Behavior on Twitter

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Doctor Jordan Peterson on People’s Behavior on Twitter If you have any complaint against my channel please send me an email to the email provided below …

MIT AI: Revolutionary Ideas in Science, Math, and Society (Eric Weinstein)

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Eric Weinstein is a mathematician, economist, physicist, and managing director of Thiel Capital. He formed the “intellectual dark web” which is a loosely assembled group of public intellectuals including Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, Steven Pinker, Joe Rogan, Michael Shermer, and a few others. Follow Eric on Twitter: and look out for a podcast that he may be starting soon.

This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast at MIT and beyond. Audio podcast version is available on

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the following is a conversation with Eric Weinstein he's a mathematician economist physicist and a managing director of teal Capital he coined the term and you could say is the founder of the intellectual dark web which is a loosely assemble group of public intellectuals that includes Sam Harris Jordan Peterson Steven Pinker Joe Rogan Michael Shermer and a few others this conversation is part of the artificial intelligence podcast at MIT and beyond if you enjoy it subscribe on youtube itunes or simply connect with me on twitter at Lex Friedman spelled Fri D and now here's my conversation with Eric Weinstein are you nervous about this specialist okay the bus policia you mentioned Kung Fu Panda is one of your favorite movies it has the usual profile master student dynamic going on so who was who has been a teacher that significantly influenced the direction of your thinking and life's work so if you're the Kung Fu Panda who was your Shifu oh well it's interesting because I didn't see Shifu as being the teacher who was the teacher who way Master Oogway the turtle oh the turtle right they only meet twice in the entire film and the first conversation sort of doesn't count so the magic of the film in fact it's point yeah is that the teaching that really matters is transferred during a single conversation and it's very brief and so who played that role in my life I would say either my grandfather Harry Rubin and his wife Sophie Rubin my grandmother or Tom Lehrer Tom Lehrer yeah in which way if you give a child Tom Lehrer records what you do is you destroy their ability to be taken over by later malware and it's so irreverent so witty so clever so obscene that it destroys the ability to lead a normal life for many people so if I meet somebody who is usually really shifted from any kind of neurotypical presentation I'll often ask them are you a Tom Lehrer fan and the odds that they will respond are quite high Tom layer is poisoning pigeons in the park Tom layer that's very interesting there's small number of Tom Lehrer songs that broke into the general population poisoning pigeons in the park the element song and perhaps the Vatican rag so when you meet somebody who knows those songs but doesn't know are you judging me right now aren't you harshly no but you're Russian so I dad as the you known Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky that's us yeah yeah that was a song about plagiarism that was in fact plagiarized which most people don't know from Danny Kaye where Danny Kaye did a song called Stanislavski of the musky arts and so Tom Lehrer did this brilliant job of plagiarizing a song about and making it about plagiarism and then making it about this mathematician who worked in non Euclidean geometry that was like giving heroin to a child it was extremely addictive and eventually led me to a lot of different places one of which may have been a PhD in mathematics and he was also at least a lecturer in mathematics I believe at Harvard something like that I just had dinner with him in fact when my son turned 13 we didn't tell him but his Bar Mitzvah present was dinner with his hero Tom Lehrer and Tom Lehrer was 88 years old sharp as a tack irreverent and funny as hell and just you know there very few people in this world that you have to meet while they're still here and that was definitely one for our family so that wit is a reflection of intelligence in some kind of deep way like where that would be a good test of intelligence whether you're Tom Lehrer fan so what do you think that is about wit about that kind of humor ability to see the absurdity in existence well do you think that's connected to intelligence or we just two Jews on a mic that appreciate that kind of humor no I think that it's up connected to intelligence so you can see it there's a place where Tom Lehrer decides that he's going to Lampoon Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan and he's going to outdo Gilbert with clever meaningless wordplay and he has forget the policy he's doing Clementine as if Gilbert and Sullivan wrote and he says that I missed her depressed her young sister named mr. this mr. de pester she tried pestering sisters a festering blister you best her resistor say aye the sister persisted the mister resisted I kissed her all loyalty slipped when he said when she said I could have her her sister's cadaver must surely have turned in its crypt that's so dense it's so insane yeah that that's clearly intelligence because it's hard to construct something like that if I look at my favorite Tom Lehrer Tom Lehrer lyric you know there's a perfectly absurd one which is once all the Germans were warlike and mean but that couldn't happen again we taught them a lesson in 1918 and they've hardly bothered us since then right that is a different kind of intelligence you know you're taking something that is so horrific and you're you're sort of making it palatable and funny and demonstrating also just your humanity I mean I think the thing that came through as as Tom Lehrer wrote all of these terrible horrible lines was just what a sensitive and beautiful soul he was who was channeling pain through humor and through grace I've seen throughout Europe throughout Russia that same kind of humor emerge from the generation of world war two it seemed like that humor is required to somehow deal with the pain and the suffering of that that war created well you do need the environment to create the broad Slavic soul I don't think that many Americans really appreciate Russian humor how you had to joke during the time of let's say article 58 under Stalin you had to be very very careful you know that the concept of a Russian satirical magazine like crocodile doesn't make sense so you have this cross-cultural problem that there are certain areas of human experience that it would be better to know nothing about and quite unfortunately Eastern Europe knows a great deal about them which makes the you know the songs of Vladimir Vysotsky so potent the you know the prose of Pushkin whatever it is you have to appreciate the depth of the Eastern European experience and I would think that perhaps Americans knew something like this around the time of the Civil War or maybe you know under slavery and Jim Crow or even the harsh tyranny of the coal and steel employers during the labor Wars but in general I would say it's hard for us to understand and imagine the collective culture unless we have the system of selective pressures that for example Russians were subjected to yeah so if there's one good thing that comes out of war its literature art and humor music oh I don't think so I think almost everything is good about war except for death and destruction right without the death they would bring and the romance of it the whole thing is nice well this is why we're always caught up in war we have this very ambiguous relationship to it is that it makes life real and pressing and meaningful and at an unacceptable price and the price has never been higher so just jump in a into AI a little bit you are in one of the conversation you had or one of the videos you described that one of the things AI systems can't do and biological systems can itself replicate in the physical world oh no in the physical world well yeah the physical robots can self-replicate but but you this is a very tricky point which is that the only thing that we've been able to create that's really complex that has an analog of our reproductive system is software but nevertheless software replicates itself if we're speaking strictly for the replication in this kind of digital space so I mean just to begin and you ask a question do you see a protective barrier or a gap between the physical world and the digital world let's not call it digital let's call it the logical world versus the physical world why illogical well because even though we had let's say Einstein's brain preserved it was meaningless to us as a physical object because we couldn't do anything with what was stored in it at a logical level and so the idea that something may be stored logically and that it may be stored physically are not necessarily we don't always benefit from synonymous I'm not suggesting that there isn't a material basis to the logical world but that it does warrant identification with a separate layer that need not invoke logic gates and zeros and ones and so connecting those two worlds the logical world in the physical world or maybe just connecting to the logical world inside our brains is brain you mentioned the idea of out out telogen s– artificial app telogen artificial intelligence yes this is the only essay that Jon Brockman ever invited me to write that he refused to publish an edge why well maybe it wasn't it wasn't well written but I don't know the idea is quite compelling is quite unique and new and at least from my view a stance point maybe you can explain it sure what I was thinking about is why it is that we're waiting to be terrified by artificial general intelligence when in fact artificial life is terrifying in and of itself and it's already here so in order to have a system of selective pressures you need three distinct elements you need variation within a population you need heritability and you need differential success so what's really unique and I've made this point I think elsewhere about software is that if you think about what humans know how to build that's impressive so I always take a car and I say does it have an analogue of each of the physical physiological systems does it have a skeletal structure that's its frame does it have a neurological structure has an on-board computer as a digestive system the one thing it doesn't have is a reproductive system but if you can call spawn on a process effectively you do have a reproductive system and that means that you can create something with variation heritability and differential success now the next step in the chain of thinking was where do we see inanimate non intelligent life outwitting intelligent life and I have two favorite systems I try to stay on them so that we don't get distracted one of which is the Oh freeze orchid subspecies or subclade I don't know what to call it a type of flower yeah it's a type of flower that mimics the female of a pollinator species in order to dupe the males into engaging it was called pseudo copulation with the fake female which is usually represented by the lowest petal and there's also a pheromone component to fool the males into thinking they have a mating opportunity but the flower doesn't have to give up energy energy in the form of nectar as a lure because it's tricking the males the other system is a particular species of muscle lamp bacillus in the clear streams of Missouri and it fools bass into biting a fleshy lip that contain its young and when the bass see this fleshy lip which looks exactly like a species of fish that the baths like to eat the the young explode and clamp on to the gills and parasitize the bass and also lose the bass to redistribute them as they eventually release both of these systems you have a highly intelligent dupe being fooled by a lower life-form and what is sculpting these convincing lures it's the intelligence of previously duped targets for these strategies so when the target is smart enough to avoid the strategy those weaker mimics fall off they have terminal lines and only the better ones survive so it's an arms race between the target species that is being parasitized getting smarter and this other less intelligent or non intelligent object getting as if smarter and so what you see is is that artificial intelligence artificial general intelligence is not needed to parasitize us it's simply sufficient for us to outwit ourselves so you could have a program let's say you know one of these Nigerian scams that writes letters and uses whoever sends it Bitcoin to figure out which aspects of the program should be kept which should be varied and thrown away and you don't need it to be in any way intelligent in order to have a really nightmarish scenario being parasitized by something that has no idea what it's doing so you you you phrase a few cots have really eloquently so let me try to uh as a few directions this goes so one first on the way we write software today it's not common that we allow it to self modify hope we do have that ability now we have the ability it's just not common it's not just common so so your your thought is that that is a serious worry if there becomes it's all Spotify encode is available now so there are different types of self modification right there's a personalization you know your email app your gmail is self-modifying to you after you log in or whatever you can think of it that way but ultimately it's central all the information is centralized but you're thinking of ideas where you're completely so this is an unique entity operating under selective pressures and it changes well you just if you think about the fact that our immune systems don't know what's coming at them next but they have a small set of spanning components and if it's if it's a sufficiently expressive system in that any shape or binding region can be approximated with with the Lego that is present then you can have confidence that you don't need to know what's coming at you because the combinatorics are sufficient to reach any configuration needed so that's a beautiful thing well terrifying thing to worry about because it's so within our reach whatever I suggest these things I do always have a concern as to whether or not I will bring them into being by talking about them so uh there's this thing from open e I said next next week to talk to the founder of open AI this idea that their text generation the new the new stuff they have for generating text is they didn't want to bring it they didn't want to release it because they're worried about the I'm kind of lighted to hear that but they're going to end up really yes so that's the thing is I think talking about it I'm well at least from my end I'm more a proponent of technology preventing techni so further innovation preventing the detrimental effects of innovation well we're a we're sort of tumbling down a hill at accelerating speed so whether or not we're proponents or it doesn't mean it may not matter but I do not well I do feel that there are people who have held things back and you know died poorer than they might have otherwise been and we don't even know their names I don't think that we should discount the idea that having the smartest people showing off how smart they are by what they've developed maybe a terminal process I'm very mindful in particular of a beautiful letter that Edward Teller of all people wrote to Leo Szilard where Ziller was trying to free how to control the use of atomic weaponry at the end of World War two and tell her rather strangely because many of us view him as a monster showed some a very advanced moral thinking talking about the slim chance we have for survival and that the only hope is to make Warren thinkable I do think that not enough of us feel in our gut what it is we are playing with when we are working on technical problems and I would recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it a movie called the bridge over the bridge on the river kwai about I believe captured British POWs who just in a desire to do a bridge well end up over collaborating with their Japanese captors well now you're making me question the unrestricted open discussion of ideas and AI I'm not saying I know the answer I'm just saying that I could make a decent case for either our need to talk about this and to become technologically focused on containing it or need to stop talking about this and try to hope that the relatively small number of highly adept individuals who are looking at these problems is small enough that we should in fact be talking about how to contain them well the way ideas the way innovation happens what new ideas develop Newton with calculus whether if he was silent the idea would be would emerge elsewhere well in the case of Newton of course but you know it was in case of AI how small is the set of individuals out of which such ideas would arise well the idea is that the researchers we know and those that we don't know who may live in countries that don't wish us to know what what level they're currently at are very disciplined and keeping these things to themselves out of course I will point out that there's a religious school in Kerala that developed something very close to the calculus certainly in terms of infinite series in in I guess religious prayer and and in Ryman prose so you know it's not that Newton had any ability to hold that back and I don't really believe that we have an ability to hold it back I do think that we could change the proportion of the time we spend worrying about the effects what if we are successful rather than simply trying to succeed note that we'll be able to contain things later beautifully put so on the idea of all telogen s– what form treading cautiously is we've agreed as we tumbled down the hill what can top ourselves can we can we cannot well form do you do you see it taking so one example Facebook Google what do want to I don't know a better word you want to influence users to behave a certain way and so that's one kind of example of all telogen s– is systems perhaps modifying the behavior of their these intelligent human beings in order to sell more product of different kind but do you see other examples of this actually emerging in just take any parasitic system you know make sure that there's some way in which that there's differential success heritability and in variation and those are the magic ingredients and if you really wanted to build a nightmare machine make sure that the system that expresses the variability has a spanning set so that it can learn to arbitrary levels by making it sufficiently expressive that's your nightmare so it's your nightmare but it could also be as it's a really powerful mechanism by which to create well powerful systems so are you more worried about the the negative direction that might go versus the positive so you said parasitic but that doesn't necessarily need to be what the system converges towards it could be what is it not hirsutism the dividing line between parasitism and symbiosis is not so clear that's what they tell me about marriage I'm still so I know well yeah I did we could go into that too but no I think we have to appreciate you know are you infected by your own mitochondria right right yeah so you know in marriage you fear the loss of Independence but even though the American therapeutic community may be very concerned about codependence what's to say the codependence isn't what's necessary to have a stable relationship in which to raise children who are maximally k-selected and require incredible amounts of care because you have to wait 13 years before there's any reproductive payout and most of us don't want our 13 year olds having kids as a very tricky situation to analyze and I would say that predators and parasites Drive much of our evolution and I don't know whether to be angry at them or thank them well ultimately they I mean nobody knows the meaning of life or what even happiness is but there is some metrics did you tell you again they didn't that's why all the poetry books are about they you know there's some metrics under which you can kind of measure how good it is that these ACI systems are roaming about so your mores you're more nervous about software than you are optimistic about ideas of yeah self-replicating Lars I don't think we've really felt where we are you know occasionally get a wake-up 9/11 was so anomalous compared to everything we've out everything else we've experienced on American soil that it came to us as a complete shock that that was even a possibility what it really was was a highly creative and determined R&D team deep in the bowels of Afghanistan showing us that we had certain exploits that we were open to that nobody had chosen to express I can think of several of these things that I don't talk about publicly that just seemed to have to do with how relatively unimaginative those who wish to cause havoc and destruction have been up until now the great mystery of our time of this particular little era is how remarkably stable we've been since 1945 when we demonstrated the ability to use nuclear weapons and anger and we don't know why things like that haven't happened since then we've had several close calls we had mistakes we've had brinksmanship and what's now happened is that we've settled into a sense that oh it's it'll always be nothing it's been so long since something was at that level of danger that we've got a wrong idea in our head and that's why when I went on the Ben Shapiro show I talked about the need to resume above-ground testing of nuclear devices because we have people whose developmental experience suggests that when let's say Donald Trump and North Korea engage on Twitter oh it's nothing it's just posturing everybody's just in it for money there's that there's an a sense that people are in a video game mode which has been the right call since 1945 we've been mostly in video game mode it's amazing so you're worried about a generation which has not seen any existential but we've lived under it see you're younger I don't know if any again you came from from Moscow there was a TV show called the day after it had a huge effect on a generation and growing up in the US and he talked about what life would be like after a nuclear exchange we have not gone through an embodied experience collectively where we've thought about this and I think it's one of the most irresponsible things that the elders among us have done which is to provide this beautiful garden in which the thorns are cut off of the of the rose bushes and all of the edges are rounded and sanded and so people have developed this totally unreal idea which is everything's going to be just fine and do I think that my leading concern is AGI or my leading concern is thermonuclear exchange or gene drives or any one of these things I don't know but I know that our time here in this very long experiment here is finite because the toys that we've built are so impressive and the wisdom to accompany them has not materialized and I think it's we actually got a wisdom uptick since 1945 we had a lot of dangerous skilled players on the world stage nevertheless no matter how bad they were managed to not embroil us in something that we couldn't come back from the Cold War yeah and the distance from the Cold War you know I'm very mindful of there was a Russian tradition actually of on your wedding day going to visit a memorial to those who gave their lives can you imagine this or you your happiest day of your life you go and you pay homage to the people who fought and died in the Battle of Stalingrad I'm not a huge fan of communism I gotta say but there were a couple of things that the Russians did that were really positive in the Soviet era and I think trying to let people know how serious life actually is is the Russian model of seriousness is better than the American model and maybe like you mentioned there was a small echo of that after 9/11 but that we wouldn't let it form we talked about 9/11 but it's 912 that really moved the needle when we were all just there and nobody wanted to speak we suddenly we witness something super serious and we didn't want to run to our computers and blast out our deep thoughts and our feelings and it it was profound because we woke up briefly there you know I talked about the gated institutional narrative and that sort of programs our lives that I've seen it break three times in my life one of which was the election of Donald Trump well another time was the fall of Lehman Brothers when everybody who knew that Bear Stearns wasn't that important knew that Lehman Brothers met AIG was next and the other one was 9/11 and so if I'm 53 years old and I only remember three times that the global narrative was really interrupted that tells you how much we've been on top of developing events you know I mean we had the murrah Federal Building explosion but it didn't cause the narrative to break wasn't profound enough around nine twelve we started to wake up out of our slumber and the powers that be did not want to coming together they you know the the admonition was go shopping and the powers would be was what is that force as opposed to blaming individual we don't know so whatever that whatever that forces there's a sound holdin of it that's emergent and there's a component of it that's deliberate so give yourself a portfolio with two components some amount of it is emergent but some amount of it is also an understanding if people come together they become an incredible force and what you're seeing right now I think is there are forces that are trying to come together and their forces that are trying to push things apart and you know one of them is the globalist narrative versus the national narrative where to the global a globalist perspective the National Bank's in essence that they're temporary they're nationalistic they're jingoistic it's all negative to people in the national more in the national idiom they're saying look this is where I pay my taxes this is where I do my army service this is where I have a vote this is where I have a passport who the hell are you to tell me that because you've moved into some place that you can make money globally that you've chosen to abandon other people to whom you have a special and elevated duty and I think that these competing narratives have been pushing towards the global perspective from the elite and a larger and larger number of disenfranchised people are saying hey I actually live in a in a place and I have laws and I speak a language I have a culture and who are you to tell me that because you can profit in some faraway land that my obligations to my fellow countrymen are so so much diminished so these tensions between nations and so on ultimately you see being proud of your country and so on which creates potentially the kind of things that led to Wars and so on they ultimately it is human nature and it is good for us for wake-up calls of different guys well I think that these are tensions and my point isn't I mean nationalism run amok is a nightmare an internationalism run amok is a nightmare and the problem is we're trying to push these pendulums to someplace where they're somewhat balanced where we we have a higher duty of care to those who share our log our laws and our citizenship but we don't forget our duties of care to the global system I would think this is elementary but the problem that we're facing concerns the ability for some to profit at the abandoned by abandoning their obligations to others within their system and that's what we've had for decades he mentioned nuclear weapons I was hoping to get answers from you since one of the many things you've done as a economics and maybe you can understand human behavior why the heck we haven't blown each other up yet but okay so well good I know the answer yes it's a it's a fast it's it's really important to say that we really don't know and a mild uptick in wisdom a mild uptick in wisdom that's well Steven big pink it wasn't who I've talked with his a lot of really good ideas about why but no I I don't trust his optimism listen I'm Russian so I never trusting I was that optimist no no it's just that you're talking about a guy who's looking at a system in which more and more of the kinetic energy like war has been turned into potential energy like unused nuclear weapon Beata Filipa and you know now I'm looking at that system and I'm saying okay well if you don't have a potential energy term then everything's just getting better and better yeah wow this has beautifully put only in physicists good okay not a physicist is that a dirty word no no I wish I were a physicist me too my dad's a physicist I'm trying to live up that probably for the rest of my life he's probably gonna listen to this too so you did yeah so your friend Sam Harris worries a lot about the existential threat of AI not in the way that you've described but in the more well he hangs out with Elon I don't know so are you worried about that kind of you know about the about either robotic systems or you know traditionally defined AI systems essentially becoming super intelligent much more intelligent in human beings and getting well they already are and they're not when seen as a collective you mean well I mean I can mean all sorts of things but certainly many of the things that we thought were peculiar to general intelligence or do not require general intelligence so that's been one of the big awakenings that you can write a pretty convincing sports story from stats alone without needing to have watched the game so you know is it possible to write lively prose about politics yeah no not yet so we were sort of all over the map one of the one of the things about chess that you'll there's a question I once asked on Quora that didn't get a lot of response which was what is the greatest brilliancy ever produced by a computer in a chess game which was different than the question of what is the greatest chimera played so if you think about brilliance ease is what really animates many of us to think of chess as an art form those are those moves and combinations that just show such Flair panache and and and insole computers weren't really great at that they were great positional monsters and you know recently we've started seeing brilliance ease yeah and so if you're grandmasters have identified with that without Fazil that things work quite brilliant yeah so that's it that's it you know that's an example of something we don't think that that's a GI but in a very restricted set set of rules like chess you're starting to see poetry of a high order and and so I'm not I don't like the idea that we're waiting for Asia a GI is sort of slowly infiltrating our lives in the same way that I don't think a worm should be you know that C elegans shouldn't be treated as non conscious because it only has 300 neurons and maybe just has a very low level of consciousness because we don't understand what these things mean as they scale up so am I worried about this general phenomena sure but I think that one of the things that's happening is that a lot of us are fretting about this in part because of human needs we've always been worried about the Golem right well the gums the artificially created life you know it's like Frankenstein to ash or characters it's a Jewish version and Frankenberg frankerz yeah that's make sense that's right so the but we've always been worried about creating something like this and it's getting closer and closer and there are ways in which we have to realize that the whole thing is kind of with the whole thing that we've experienced are the context of our lives is almost certainly coming to an end and I don't mean to suggest that we won't survive I don't know and I don't mean to suggest that it's coming tomorrow it could be three hundred five hundred years but there's no plan that I'm aware of if we have three rocks that we could possibly inhabit that are sensible within current technological dreams the earth and the Moon and Mars and we have a very competitive civilization that is still forced into violence to sort out disputes that cannot be arbitrated it is not clear to me that we have a long-term future until we get to the next stage which is to figure out whether or not the Einsteinian speed limit can be broken and that requires our source code our source code the stuff in our brains to figure out what we mean by our source code the source code of the context whatever it is that produces the quarks the electrons the neutrino our source code I got it so this is your idea best stuff that's written in a higher-level language yeah yeah if that's right you're talking about the low-level bits so that's what is currently keeping us here we can't even imagine you know we have Harebrained Schemes for staying within the Einsteinian speed limit you know maybe if we could just drug ourselves and go into a suspended State or we could have multiple generations I think all that stuff is pretty silly but I think it's also pretty silly to imagine that our wisdom is going to increase to the point that we can have the toys we have and we're not going to use them for 500 years speaking of Einstein I had a profound break that when I realized you're just one letter away from the guy yeah but I'm also one letter away from Feinstein it's well you get to pick okay so unified theory you know you've worked you you enjoy the beauty of geometry well I don't actually know if you enjoy it you certainly are quite good at its trouble before trembled before it that if you're a religious that is one of the can I have to be religious it's just so beautiful you will tremble anyway I just read I sign his biography and one of the ways one of the things you've done is tried to explore a unified theory talking about a 14 dimensional observers that has the 4G space-time continuum embedded in in it i I just curious how you think and how philosophically at a high level about something more than four dimensions how do you try to what doesn't make you feel talking in the mathematical world about dimensions that are greater than the ones we can perceive is is there something that you take away that's more than just the math well first of all stick out your tongue at me okay now on the front of that yeah there was a sweet receptor and next to that were salt receptors in two different sides a little bit farther back there were sour receptors and you wouldn't show me the back of your tongue where your bitter receptor with I'm sure the good side always okay that was four dimensions of taste receptors but you also had pain receptors on that tongue and probably heat receptors on that tongue so let's simply get one of each that would be six dimensions so when you eat something you eat a slice of pizza and it's got some some some hot pepper on it maybe some jalapeno you're having six dimensional experience dude do you think we overemphasize the value of time as one of the dimensions or space well we certainly overemphasize the value of time because we like things to start and end or we really don't like things to end but they seem to but what if you flipped one of the spatial dimensions into being a temporal dimension and you and I were to meet in New York City and say well where where and when should we meet say how about I'll meet you on 36th in Lexington at 2:00 in the afternoon and eleven o'clock in the morning that would be very confusing well so it's a convenient for us to think about time you mean all right we happen to be in a delicious situation in which we have three dimensions of space and one of time and they're woven together in this sort of strange fabric where we can trade off a little space for a little time but we still only have one dimension that has picked out relative to the other three it's very much Gladys Knight and the pips so which one developed four who did we develop for these dimensions or did the dimensions or were they always there and it doesn't well do you imagine that there isn't a place where there are four temporal dimensions two and two of space and time or three of time in one of space and then would time not be playing the role of space why do you imagine that the sector that you're in is all that there is I certainly do not but I can't imagine otherwise I mean I I haven't done ayahuasca or any any of those drugs that hope to one day but I said up doing ayahuasca you could just head over to building two that's where the mathematicians are that's where they hang just to look at some geometry we'll just ask about pseudo Romani and geometry that's what your interest is okay or you could talk to a shaman and end up in Peru and then it's an extra money for I won't be able to do any calculations if that's how you choose to go about it well a different kind of calculation so decide yeah one of my favorite people Edward Frenkel Berkeley professor author of love and math great title for a book said that you were quite a remarkable intellect to come up with such beautiful original ideas in terms of unified theory and so on but you are working outside academia so one question in developing idea as a truly original truly interesting what's the difference between inside academia and outside academia when it comes to developing such you know it's a terrible choice terrible choice so if you do it inside of academics you are forced to constantly show great loyalty to the Consensus and you distinguish yourself with small almost microscopic heresies to make your reputation in general and you have very competent people and brilliant people who are working together who are informed very deep social networks and have a very high level of behavior at least within mathematics and at least technically within physics theoretical physics when you go outside you meet lunatics and crazy people mad men and these are people who do not usually subscribe to the consensus position and almost always lose their way and the key question is will progress likely come from someone who is miraculously managed to stay within the system and is able to take on a larger amount of heresy that is sort of unthinkable in which case that will be fascinating or is it more likely that somebody will maintain a level of discipline from outside of academics and be able to make use of the freedom that comes from not having to constantly affirm your loyalty to the consensus of your field so you've characterized in ways that I could academia in this particular sense is declining you are posted to plot the older population of the faculty is getting larger the younger is getting smaller and so on so what's which direction of the – are you more hopeful about well the baby boomers can't hang on forever what's it first of all in general true and second of all in academia but that's really what what this time is about is the baby we didn't we're used to like financial bubbles that last a few years in length and then pop yeah the baby boomer bubble is this really long-lived thing and all of the ideology all of the behavior patterns the norms now for example string theory is an almost entirely baby-boomer phenomena it was something that baby boomers were able to do because it required a very high level of mathematical ability you know you don't think of string theory as an original idea oh I mean it was original to Veneziano it probably is older than the baby boomers and there are people who are younger than the baby boomers who are still doing string theory and I'm not saying that nothing discovered within the large strength theoretical X is wrong quite the contrary a lot of brilliant mathematics and a lot of the structure of physics was elucidated by string theorists what do I think of the deliverable nature of this product that will not ship called string theory I think that it is largely an affirmative action program for highly mathematically and geometrically talented baby boomer physics physicists so that they can say that they're working on something within the constraints of what they will say is quantum gravity now there are other schemes you know there's like asymptotic safety there are other things that you could imagine doing I don't think much of any of the major programs but to have inflicted this level of loyalty through a Shibboleth well surely you don't question XY question almost everything in the string program and that's why I got out of physics when you called me a physicist it was a great honor but the reason I didn't become a physicist wasn't that I fell in love with mathematics as I said Wow in 1984 1983 I saw the field going mad and I saw that mathematics which has all sorts of problems was not going insane and so instead of studying things within physics I thought it was much safer to study the same objects within mathematics there's a huge price to pay for that you lose physical intuition but the point is is that it wasn't a North Korean re-education camp either are you hopeful about cracking open Einstein five theory in a way that has been really really understanding whether it's the Uniting everything together with quantum theory and so on I mean I'm trying to play this role myself to do it well the extent of handing it over to the more responsible more professional more competent community so I think that they're wrong about a great number of their belief structures but I do believe I mean I have a really profound love-hate relationship with this group of people I think the physics side oh yeah because the mathematicians actually seem to be much more open minded and well they are in there aren't they're open minded about anything that looks like great math right right they'll study something that isn't very important physics but if it's beautiful mathematics then they'll have they have great intuition about these things as good as the mathematicians are and I might even intellectually at some horsepower level give them the edge the theoretically reticle physics community is bar none the most profound intellectual community that we have ever created it is the number one there is nobody in second place as far as I'm certain look in their spare time in the spare time they invented molecular biology well what was the original molecular biology you're saying for something like Francis Crick I mean a lot of a lot of the early molecular biologists well physicists yeah I mean you know the Schrodinger wrote what is life and that was highly inspirational I mean you have to appreciate that there is no community like the basic research community in theoretical physics and it's not something I'm highly critical of these guys I think that they were just wasted that you know decades of time with and your religious devotion to their Mis conceptualization of where the problems were in physics but this has been the greatest intellectual collapse ever witnessed within academics you see it as a collapse or just a lull oh I'm terrified that we're about to lose the vitality we can't afford to pay these people we can't afford to give them an accelerator just to play with in case they find something at the next energy level these people created our economy they gave us the rad lab and radar they gave us two atomic devices to end World War two that created the semiconductor and the transistor to power our economy through Moore's law as a positive externality of particle accelerators that created the world wide web and we have the insolence to say why should we fund you with our taxpayer dollars no the question is are you enjoying your physics dollars right these guys sign the world's worst licensing agreement and if if they simply charged for every time you used a transistor or a URL or enjoyed the piece that they have provided during this period of time through the terrible weapons that they developed or your communications devices all of the things that power our economy I really think came out of physics even to the extent the chemistry came out of physics and molecular biology came out of physics so first of all you have to know that I'm very critical of this community second of all it is our most important community we have neglected it we've abused it we don't take it seriously we don't even care to get them to rehab after a couple of generations of failure all right no one I think the youngest person to have really contributed to the standard model of theater article-level was born in 1951 all right Frank will check and almost nothing has happened that in theoretical physics after 1973-74 that sent somebody to Stockholm for a theoretical development that predicted experiment so we have to understand that we are doing this to ourselves now with that said these guys have behaved abysmally in my opinion because they haven't owned up to where they actually are what problems they're really facing how definite they can actually be they haven't shared some of their most brilliant discoveries which are desperately needed in other fields like gauge theory which at least the mathematicians can can share which is an upgrade of the differential calculus of newton and leibniz and they haven't shared the importance of renormalization theory even though this should be standard operating procedure for people across the sciences dealing with different layers and different levels of phenomena and so shared you mean communicated in such a way that this it disseminates throughout the different signs these guys are sitting both theoretical physicists and mathematicians are sitting on top of a giant stock pile of intellectual gold all right they have so many things that have not been manifested anywhere I was just one Twitter I think I mentioned the harbor man switch pitch that shows the self duality of the tetrahedron realized as a linkage mechanism now this is like a triviality and it makes an amazing toy that's you know built a market hopefully a fortune for Chuck Hoberman well you have no idea how much great stuff that these priests have in their monastery so it's truly a love and hate relationship for you yeah well it sounds like it's more on the love this building that we're in right here yes is the building in which I really put together the conspiracy between the National Academy of Sciences the National Science Foundation through the government university industry research roundtable to destroy the bargaining power of American academics using foreign labor with on microfiche not in the basement oh yeah that was done here in this building is that weird and I'm truly speaking with a revolutionary and a radical no no no no no no no no no no no at an intellectual level I am absolutely garden-variety I'm just straight down the middle the system that we are in this this university is functionally insane Harvard is functionally insane and we don't understand that when we get these things wrong the financial crisis made this very clear there was a long period where every grown-up everybody with a tie who spoke in a you know in baritone with the right degree in at the end of their name which talking about how we banished volunteer volatility we were in the Great Moderation okay they were all crazy and who was who was right it was like Nassim Taleb right Nouriel Roubini now what happens is is that they claimed the market went went crazy but the market didn't go crazy the market had been crazy and what happened is is that it suddenly went sane well that's where we are with academics academics right now is mad as a hatter and it's it's absolutely evident I can show you a graph after graph I can show you the internal discussions I can show you the conspiracies Harvard's dealing with one right now over its admissions policies for people of color who happened to come from Asia all of this madness is necessary to keep the game going what we're talking about just on where around the topic of revolutionaries is we're talking about the danger of an outbreak of sanity yeah you're the guy pointing out the elephant in the room here and the elephant has no clothes see how that goes I was gonna talk a little bit to uh Joe Rogan about this man at a time well I think you're you have some you just listen to you you could probably speak really eloquently to academia on the difference between the different fields so you think there's a difference between science engineering and then the humanities in academia in terms of tolerance that they're willing to tolerate so from my perspective I thought computer science and maybe engineering is more tolerant to radical ideas but that's perhaps innocent of me is that I always you know all the battles going on now are a little bit more in the humanity side and Gender Studies and so on have you seen the American Mathematical Society publication of an essay called get out the way and not what's what's the idea is that white men who hold positions within universities and mathematics should vacate their positions so that young black women can take over or something like this that's in terms of diversity which I also want to ask you about but in terms of diversity of strictly ideas sure do you think because you're basically saying physics as a community has become a little bit intolerant to some degree to new radical ideas or at least you you say that's changed a little bit recently which is that even string theory is now admitting okay we don't this doesn't look very promising in the short term right so the question is what compiles if you want to take the computer science metaphor what will get you into a journal will you spend your life trying to push some paper into a journal or will it be accepted easily what do we know about the characteristics of the submitter and what gets taken up and what does not all of these fields are experiencing pressure because no field is performing so brilliantly well that it's revolutionizing our way of speaking and thinking in the ways in which we've become accustomed but don't you think even in theoretical physics a lot of times even with theories X string theory you could speak to this it does eventually – what are the ways that this theory would be testable and so ultimately although look there's this thing about popper and the scientific method that's a cancer in a disease and the minds of very smart people that's not really how most of the stuff gets worked out it's how it gets checked all right so there is a dialogue between theory and experiment but everybody should read Paul Dirac's 1963 American Scientific American article where he you know it's very interesting he talks about it as if it was about the Schrodinger equation and Schrodinger's failure to advance his own work because of his failure to account for some phenomenon the key point is that if your theory is a slight bit off it won't agree with experiment but it doesn't mean that the theory is actually wrong but Dirac could as easily have been talking about his own equation in which he predicted that the electrons should have an antiparticle and since the only positively charged particle that was known at the time was the proton Heisenberg pointed out well shouldn't your antiparticle the proton have the same mass as the electron and doesn't that invalidate your theory so I think that Dirac was actually being quite potentially quite sneaky and talking about the fact that he had been pushed off of his own theory to some extent by Heisenberg but look we've fetishized the scientific method and popper and falsification because it protects us from crazy ideas entering the field so you know it's a question of balancing type 1 and type 2 error and we're pretty we were pretty maxed out in one direction the opposite of that let me say what comforts me sort of biology or engineering at the end of the day does the thing work yeah you can test the crazies away and the crazy eight well see now you're saying but some ideas are truly crazy and some are are actually correct so well there's pre correct currently crazy yeah right and so you don't want to get rid of everybody who's pre correct and currently crazy the problem is is that we don't have standards in general for trying to determine who has to be put to the sword in terms of their career and who has to be protected as some sort of giant time-suck pain in the ass who may change everything do you think that's possible creating a mechanism of those select well you're not gonna like the answer but here it comes song boy it has to do with very human elements we're trying to do this at the level of like rules and fairness it's not going to work because the only thing that really understands this yeah read that read the double-helix it's a book oh-ho-ho-ho-ho you have like to read this book not only did Jim Watson half discover this three-dimensional structure of DNA he's also one hell of a writer before he became an ass that no he's tried to destroy his own reputation I knew about the ass I didn't know about the good writer Jim Watson is one of the most important people now living and as I've said before Jim Watson is too important a legacy to be left to Jim Watson and that book tells you more about what actually moves the dial and there's another story about him which I do don't agree with which is that he stole everything from rosalind Franklin I mean the the problems that he had with rosalind Franklin are real but we should actually honor that tension in our history by delving into it rather than having a simple solution Jim Watson talks about Francis Crick being a pain in the ass that everybody secretly knew was super brilliant and there's an encounter between chargaff came up with the the equimolar relations between the nucleotides who should have gotten the structure of DNA and Watson and Crick and you know he talks about missing a shiver in the heartbeat of biology and stuff is so gorgeous it just makes you tremble even thinking about it look we know very often who is to be feared and we need to fund the people that we fear the people who are wasting our time need to be excluded from the conversation you see and you know maybe we'll make some errors in both directions but we have known our own people we know the pains and the asses that might work out and we know the people who are really just blowhards who really have very little to contribute most of the time it's not 100% but you're not going to get there with rules right it's using some kind of instinct I mean I to be honest I'm gonna make you roll your eyes for a second but and the first time I heard that there is a large community of people who believe the earth is flat actually made me pause and ask myself the question why would there be such a community yeah is it possible the earth is flat so I had to like wait a minute I mean then you go through a thinking process that I think is really healthy it ultimately ends up being a geometry thing I think it's an interesting it's an interesting thought experiment at the very least well is I don't I do a different version I say why is this community stable yeah that's a good way to analyze it what interesting that whatever we've done has not erased the community so you know they're taking a longshot bet that won't pan out you know maybe we just haven't thought enough about the rationality of the square root of two and somebody brilliant we'll figure it out maybe we will eventually land one day on the surface of Jupiter and explore it right these are crazy things that will never happen so much as social media operates by AI algorithms you talked about this a little bit recommending the content you see so on this idea of radical thought how much should a I show you things you disagree with on Twitter and so on in Twitter or at verse in it about these nice clothes yeah yeah cuz you don't know the answer no no no look we've been that they've pushed out this cognitive Lego to us that will just lead to madness it's good to be challenged with things that you disagree with the answer is no it's good to be challenged with interesting things with which you currently disagree but that might be true so I don't really care about whether or not I disagree with something or don't disagree I need to know why that particular disagreeable thing is being pushed out is it because it's likely to be true is it because is there some reason because I can write I can write a computer generator to come up with an infinite number of disagreeable statements that nobody needs to look at so please before you push things at me that or disagreeable tell me why there is an aspect in which that question is quite dumb especially because it's being used to almost very generically by these different networks to say well we're trying to work this out but you know basically how much do you see the value of seeing things you don't like not you disagree with because it's very difficult to know exactly what you articulated which is the stuff that's important for you to consider that you disagree with that's really hard to figure out the bottom line is the stuff you don't like if you are a Hillary Clinton supporter you may not want to you it might not make you feel good to see anything about Donald Trump that's the only thing algorithms can really optimize for currently everything no they can do better this is weird think so now we're engaged in some moronic back-and-forth where I have no idea why people who are capable of building Google Facebook Twitter are having us in these incredibly low level discussions do they not know any smart people do they not have the phone numbers of people who can elevate these discussions they do but this then optimizing for a different thing and they are pushing those people out of those rooms they're they're optimizing for things we can't see and yes profit is there nobody nobody's questioning that but they're also optimizing for things like political control or the fact that they're doing business in Pakistan and so they don't want to talk about all the things that they're going to be bending to in Pakistan so that we're involved in a fake discussion you think so you think these conversations at that depth are happening inside Google you don't think they have some basic metrics under user engagements you're having a fake conversation with us guys we know you're having a fake conversation I do not wish to be part of your fake conversation you know how to cool you know these units you know high availability like nobody's business my Gmail never goes down almost see you think just because they can do incredible work on the software side with infrastructure they can also deal with some of these difficult questions about human behavior human understanding human you're not you thinking I mean I've seen that I've seen the developers screens that people take shots of inside of Google yeah and I've heard stories inside of Facebook and Apple we're not we're engaged they're engaging us in the wrong conversations we are not at this low level here's one of my favorite questions why is every piece of hardware that I purchase and in in tech space equipped as a listening device where's my physical shudder to cover my lens we had this in the 1970s a cameras that had lens caps you know how much would it cost to have a security model pay five extra bucks why is my indicator light software controlled why when my camera is on do I not see that the light is on by putting it as a something that cannot be bypassed why have you set up my all my devices it's some difficulty to yourselves as listening devices and we don't even talk about this this is this thing is total yeah well I hope these discussions are happening about privacy this is their different more difficult thing you're giving it's not just privacy yeah it's about social control we're talking about social control why do I not have controls over my own levers just have a really cute UI where I can switch I can dial things or I can at least see what the algorithms are you think that there is some deliberate choices being made here is emergence and there is intention there are two dimensions and the vector does not collapse onto either axis but the idea that anybody who suggests that intention is completely absent is a child that's really beautifully put and like many things you've said is gonna make me connections can I turn this around slightly look yeah I sit down with you and you say that you're obsessed with my feet uh-huh I don't even know what my feet is what are you seeing that I'm not I was obsessively looking through your feed on Twitter because it was really enjoyable because there's the Tom layer element is the humor in it by the way that feed is Eric or once yeah i'm twitter edgar ik are weinstein answers it why why did i find any enjoyable or what it was I seeing what are you looking for why are we doing this what is this podcast about I know you've got all these interesting people I'm just some guy is sort of a podcast gift sort of vodcast you know you're wearing a tie I mean not even we're not even a serious interview searching for meaning for happiness for a dopamine rush so short term and long term and how are you finding your way to me what it what it what is I don't honestly know what I'm doing to reach you the representing ideas which feel common sense to me and not many people are speaking so it's kind of like the dog the intellectual dark web folks right they these folks from Sam Harris to Jordan Peterson to yourself are saying things where it's like you're like saying look there's an elephant he's not wearing any clothes and I say yeah yeah let's have more of that conversation that's how I'm finding you I'm desperate to try to change the conversation we're having I'm very worried we've got an election in 2020 I don't think we can afford four more years of a misinterpreted message which is what Donald Trump was and I don't want the destruction of our institutions they all seem hell-bent on destroying themselves so I'm trying to save theoretical physics trying to save the New York Times trying to save our various processes and I think it feels delusional to me that this is falling to a tiny group of people who are willing to speak out without getting so freaked out that everything they say will be misinterpreted and that their lives will be ruined through the process I mean I think we're in an absolutely bananas period of time and I don't believe it should fall to such a tight number of shoulders to shoulder this way so I have to ask you on the capitalism side you mentioned that technology is killing capitalism or it has effects that are unintended but not what economists would predict or speak of capitalism creating I just want to talk to you about in general the effect of even an artificial intelligence or technology automation taking away jobs in these kinds of things and what you think is the way to alleviate that whether the and rank presidential candidate with universal basic income ubi whether your thoughts there how do we fight off the negative effects of technology that aren't your software guy right yeah a human being is a worker is an old idea yes a human being has a worker is a different object all right yeah so if you think about object-oriented programming as a paradigm a human being has a worker and a human being has a soul we're talking about the fact that for a period of time the worker that a human being has was in a position to feed the soul that a human being has however we have two separate claims on the value in society one is as a worker and the other is as a soul and the soul needs sustenance it needs dignity it needs meaning it needs purpose as long as your means of support is not highly repetitive I think you have a while to go before you need to start worrying but if what you do is highly repetitive and it's not terribly generative you weren't in the cross hairs of four four loops and while loops and that's what computers excel at repetitive behavior and when I say repetitive I mean meat I mean things that have never happened be through combinatorial possibilities but as long as it has a looped characteristic to it you're in trouble we are seeing a massive push towards socialism because capitalists are slow to address the fact that a worker may not be able to make claims a relatively on languished median member of our society still has needs to reproduce needs to head to dignity and when capitalism abandons the median individual or you know the bottom tenth or whatever it's going to do it's flirting with revolution and what concerns me is that the capitalists aren't sufficiently capitalistic to understand this you really want to court authoritarian control in our society because you can't see that people may not be able to defend themselves in the marketplace because the marginal product of their labor is too low to feed their dignity as a soul so it my great concern is that our free society has to do with the fact that we are self organized I remember looking down from my office in Manhattan when Lehman Brothers collapsed in thinking who's going to tell all these people that they need to show up at work when they don't have a financial system to incentivize them to show up at work so my complaint is first of all not with the Socialists but with the capitalists which is you guys are being idiots you're courting revolution by continuing to harp on the same old ideas that well you know try and try harder bootstrap yourself yeah to an extent that works to an extent but we are clearly headed in place that there's nothing that ties together our need to contribute and our need to consume and that may not be provided by capitalism because it may have been a temporary phenomena so check out my article on anthropic capitalism and the new gimmick economy I think people are late getting the wake-up call and we would be doing a better job saving capitalism from itself because I don't want this done under authoritarian control and the more we insist that everybody who's not thriving in our society during their reproductive years in order to have a family is failing at a personal level I mean what a disgusting thing that we're saying what would horrible message who who the hell have we become that we've so bought into the chicago model that we can't see the humanity that we're destroying in that process and it's I hate I hate the thought of communism I really do my family has flirted with it decades past it's a wrong bad idea but we are going to need to figure out how to make sure that those souls are nirn nourished and respected and capitalism better have an answer and I'm betting on capitalism but I got to tell you I'm pretty disappointed with my team so you're still on the capitalism team you just uh there's a theme here graphical reticle capital right right on capitalism yeah I want I think hyper capitalism is gonna have to be coupled to hyper socialism you need to allow the most productive people to create wonders and you've got to stop bogging them down with all of these extra nice requirements you know nice is dead good has a future nice doesn't have a future because nice ends up with with goo legs damn that's a good line okay last question you tweeted today a simple quite insightful equation saying imagine that every unit F of Fame you picked up s stalkers and H haters so I imagine s and H or dependent on your path to fame perhaps a little bit but it's not as simple people always take these things literally when you have like 280 characters to explain yourself [Laughter] Soumya that's not a mathematical no there's no law okay okay I just said why I put the word imagine because I have loved a mathematician desire for precision you imagine that this were true but it was a beautiful way to imagine that there is a law that has those variables in it and you've become quite famous these days so how do you yourself optimize that equation with the peculiar kind of Fame that you have gathered along the way I want to be kinder I want to be kinder to myself I want to be kinder to others I want to be able to have heart compassion or these things are really important and I have a pretty spectrum II kind of approach to analysis I'm quite literal I can go full Rainman on you at any given moment no I can yeah its faculties of autism if you like and people are gonna get angry because they want autism to be respected but when you see me coding or you see me doing mathematics I'm you know I speak with speech apnea uh me right Debra dinner you know yeah we have to try to integrate ourselves and those tensions between you know it's sort of back to us as a worker and us as a soul many of us are optimizing one to thee at the expense of the other and I struggle with social media and I struggle with people making threats against our families and I struggle with just how much pain people are in and if there's one message I would like to push out there you're responsible everybody all of us myself included was struggling struggle struggle mightily because you it's nobody else's job to do your struggle for you now with that said if you're struggling and you're trying and you're trying to figure out how to better yourself and where you failed where you've let down your family your friends your worker is all this kind of stuff give yourself a break you know if if if it's not working out I have a life long relationship with failure and success there's been no period of my life where both haven't been present in one form or another and I I do wish to say that a lot of times people think this is glamorous I'm about to go you know do a show with Sam Harris people are gonna listen in on two guys having a conversation on stage it's completely crazy when I'm always trying to figure out how to make sure that those people get maximum value and that's why I'm doing this podcast you know just give yourself a break you owe us you owe us your struggle you don't owe your family or your co-workers or your lovers or your family members success as long as you're in there and you're picking yourself up recognize that this this new situation with the economy that doesn't have juice to sustain our institutions has caused the people who've risen to the top of those institutions to get quite brutal and cruel everybody is lying at the moment nobody's really a truth teller try to keep your humanity about you try to recognize that if you're failing if things aren't where you want them to be and you're struggling and you're trying to figure out what you're doing wrong which you could do it's not necessarily all your fault we are in a global situation I have not met the people who are honest kind good successful nobody that I've met this chick is checking all the boxes nobody's getting all tens so I just think that's an important message that doesn't get pushed out enough either people want to hold society responsible for their failures which is not reasonable you have to struggle you have to try or they want to say you're a hundred percent responsible for your failures which is total nonsense beautifully put Eric thank you so much for talking today thanks for having me buddy you

Top 10 Hotel Management Tips for Managers in the Hospitality Industry

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Hotel managers have the task of ensuring customers are satisfied and overseeing all of the different activities and departments of a hotel: banquet hall, restaurant, conference center, tourist attraction, fitness center, spa/wellness center, and more.

Here are the Top 10 Tips for Managing a Hotel:

10. Build and lead a great team. As a hotel manager, you are only as good as the team around you. That is why forming and fostering a great team is of utmost importance.

Focus on developing a company culture that reflects the goals of the company. Connect with workers and be present in the life of the hotel. As a manager, a compliment and a smile go a long way to developing a positive team environment.

9. Always learning and improving. Hotel managers are often a jack-of-all-trades because their position forces them to be: business manager, recruiter, teacher, trainer, cleaner, crowd controller, bartender, the list goes on!
8. Greet your guests.
The classic rock song Hotel California’s lyrics captures the power of a good first impression of a hotel manager, “There she stood in the doorway // I heard the mission bell // And I was thinking to myself // This could be Heaven or this could be Hell.”

7. Be Prepared for Emergencies.

The Radio Hailer Emergency Communication System

Because the availability of electricity is not always an option during these situations, it is important to have a communication channel that is not dependent on electricity. A battery-powered Portable Public Address System is the perfect option.
The Radio Hailer Emergency Communication System from AmpliVox allows users to communicate over a mile and to an audience of up to 5,000 people, while the Safety Strobe Megaphone will record your emergency message and play it back amplified.

6. Strategic Business Relationships.

Whether it be offering guests coupons to a local restaurant, offering discounts through tourist destinations, or partnering with local universities and corporations, strategic business relationships can be a powerful way to ensure a constant stream of people are coming through your doors.
5. Be internet savvy. There are several reasons why hotel and restaurant management professionals need to be web savvy.

1. Hotel Marketing: All hoteliers want to know how to better market and brand themselves.
Using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube is great way to connect with potential customers. An example of a useful YouTube video is to make a two-minute video that captures the top 5 reasons your hotel rocks!
Make your website locally optimized for search. This is an easy way to connect your hotel to those looking for a hotel in your specific area. Submitting your hotel’s address and website on Google Maps and Places will pay dividends for years to come.

2. Customer Service: More and more hotel reservations are booked online. For the convenience of your guests, offer online booking, and make sure your hotel is listed on sites like Expedia, Kayak, and Priceline. Connect your hotel management system to your online booking program and you are able to automatically build an email list for email marketing.

3. Reputation Management: Often times a small fraction of customers who had a bad experience are more likely to write a negative review than the overwhelming majority who had a great experience. This can pose to be a problem for those in hotel and tourism management.

4. Have the right equipment. Hotels need to have the right hotel supplies to be able to maintain their business and daily activities. It is important to have a hotel management software systems, transportation for airport shuttles, the right lecterns and podiums in your conference room, and the right public address systems within the hotel.

The Victoria Solid Hardwood Multimedia Lectern from AmpliVox is the perfect addition to any meeting or conference room. The classic style, multimedia functionality, optional built-in sound system, and portability makes the Victoria a favorite among hoteliers and presenters alike.

3. Boundaries.
2. The customer is always right. Always! Listen to complaints and don’t just fix them, fix the root problem behind them. Turn the weakness into a strength by using the complaint as an opportunity to improve the way your hotel functions. Do everything you can to turn an upset guest’s problem into a good story they will want to share of how you went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their good experience.
1. Have fun! As a manager, it may seem like you have a never ending list of things to do. Enjoy your guests, enjoy your staff, and enjoy your work.

the hotel industry is a fast-paced high-pressure environment that takes a whole network of workers and apartments to keep everything running smoothly serving a variety of purposes hotels have the opportunity to provide customers with a great memorable experience or be a dark spot on an otherwise great trip here are the top 10 tips for managing a hotel number 10 build and lead a great team as a hotel manager you're only as good as the team around you that is why forming and fostering a great team is of utmost importance this means you have to hire the right people with the right skills attitude and character that will help your team achieve your goals focus on developing a company culture that reflects the goals of the company connect with workers and be present in the life of the hotel as a manager a compliment and a smile go a long way to developing a positive team environment number 9 always learning and improving hotel managers are often a jack-of-all-trades because their position forces them to be if you do not already have an attitude ready to learn and innovate you need to work at developing that as quickly as possible developing a keen eye to spot problems and areas of weakness will greatly allow your hotel to continue improving and ensure your ability to offer a satisfactory customer experience number 8 greet your guests be present to those staying in your hotel and take every opportunity you have to give your guests the impression that you are on their side ready to ensure a great experience number seven be prepared for emergencies with the possibility of hundreds or even thousands of people staying in your hotel it is important that you have a clear plan for emergencies this includes evacuation procedures clearly marked in each room as well as a communication plan for any type of emergency because the availability of electricity is not always an option during these situations it is important to have a communication channel that is not dependent on electricity a battery-powered portable PA system is the perfect option the radio hailer emergency communication system from Ampex allows users to communicate over one mile to a crowd of up to 5,000 people and the safety stroke megaphone will record your emergency message and play it back amplified number six strategic business relationships when running a business or organization there is nothing as powerful as a mutually beneficial business relationship brainstorm different partnerships that you can form and benefits that you can offer to the potential partner and then go for it whether it be offering guests coupons to a local restaurant offering discounts through tourist destinations or partnering with local universities and corporations strategic business relationships can be a powerful way to ensure a constant stream of people are coming through your doors number five be internet savvy there are several reasons why hotels and restaurants need to be internet savvy and the three main reasons are marketing all hotel yers want to know how to better market and brand themselves using social media sites like Facebook Twitter and YouTube is a great way to connect with potential customers an example of a useful YouTube video is to make a two-minute video that captures the top 5 reasons that your hotel rocks make a website locally optimized for search this is an easy way to connect your hotel to those looking for a hotel in your specific area submitting your hotels address and website on Google Maps and Places will pay dividends for years to come as well number two customer service more and more hotel reservations are being booked online for the convenience of your guests offer online booking and make sure that your hotel is listed on sites like Expedia kayak and Priceline number three reputation management often times a small fraction of customers who had a bad experience are more likely to write a negative review than the overwhelming majority of those who had a great experience this can pose to be a problem for those in the hotel industry being aware of this and taking steps to fight this potential danger is imperative try offering incentives for guests to review your hotel on Yelp TripAdvisor and other sites where reviews are posted and respond to certain complaints professionally number four have the right equipment hotels need to have the right hotel equipment to maintain their business and daily activities transportation for airport shuttles the right lecterns and podiums in your conference room and the right Public Address systems within the hotel are important the victorious solid hardwood multimedia lectern from ample box is the perfect addition to any meeting or conference room the classic style multimedia functionality built-in sound system and portability makes the Victoria favorite among hoteliers and presenters alike number three boundaries because being a hotel manager is at 24 hours a day seven days a week 365 days a year position you need to make sure that you have the right boundaries in place so your job doesn't overtake the rest of your life you owe it to your family friends and help to block out time for important people in your life as well as time for yourself consequences of the failure to set boundaries are being burnt out and not enjoying anything you do number two the customer is always right always listen to complaints and don't just fix them fix the root problem behind them turn the weakness into a strength by using the complaint as an opportunity to improve the way your hotel and the number one tip tell me have fun as a manager it may seem like you have a never-ending list of things to do enjoy your guests enjoy your staff and enjoy your work good attitudes rub off on those around you and as a hotel manager you have a great opportunity to impact and influence your work environment and to foster hard work and fun in the workplace good luck running your hotel

The Perilous State of the University: Jonathan Haidt & Jordan B Peterson

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I recently traveled to New York University to talk with Dr. Jonathan Haidt about, among other things, disgust, purity, fear and belief; the perilous state of the modern university; and his work with Heterodox Academy ( an organization designed to draw attention to the lack of diversity of political belief in the humanities and the social sciences.

Dr. Haidt is Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a social psychologist. He studies the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. He has been described as a top global thinker by both Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines. Dr. Haidt is the author of three books:

The newest is The Coddling of the American Mind: How Bad Ideas and Good Intentions are Setting up a Generation for Failure
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
His writings on diversity viewpoint for the Heterodox Academy are at


Direct Support:


12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos:
Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief:


12 Rules for Life Tour:
Reading List:


Self Authoring Suite:
Understand Myself personality test:

I'm here today in Manhattan talking to you dr. Jonathan Haight who's a professor at NYU and I have him here for a bunch of reasons Jonathan is an extremely interesting researcher I've been following his work on discussed and political belief for literally four decades it was one of the first people who started to do serious research on disgust which is its own emotional system and therefore very much worth attending to but we also have some other interests in common Jonathan also started this institute called the heterodox Academy which is attempting to bring back a reasonable diversity of views or what he regards as a reasonable diversity of views to university faculty and and campuses and discussions so I first met Jonathan it's gonna be just about 30 years ago 25 years ago in 2014 yeah 20 M cite the 1994 was in 1994 yeah yeah right right so yeah you came to do a job talk at Harvard to that for an assistant professorship position and I had been aware of your work on discussed then and and agitated hard for them to hire you because I thought it was of great significance which turned out to be exactly the case so what do you remember about that I remember I was so excited to have an interview at Harvard it was my only interview I didn't get that job I had no job for the following year and it was a very strange day in which I didn't feel particularly welcomed over wanted and then I had my session with you in which it was this guy who was it hadith he actually got a job at Harvard and he was studying young which is like almost taboo and he was talking about dreams of creativity and so I just that was the really bright that was the bright memory of the day was our hour-long conversation yeah well I was also really interested at the time man now in in the biological basis of behavior right and so and and in the and in the relationship between fundamental motivational systems and thought because obviously our thought is grounded and fundamental motivational systems and your work on disgust which maybe you can tell the viewers a little bit about was really interesting to me because it was an emotional system that hadn't been studied much I mean you were really one of the pie years in the in the psychological study of discussed well the way to explain it is that Paul Raza and my advisor at Penn is the pioneer in the study of disgust and he'd studied it as a food-related emotion he'd written a bit about it being a moral emotion and I was a graduate student at Penn and I was interested in morality and I was reading the Bible and I was reading anthropological accounts of different countries and different cultures and at the time morality was all about reasoning about harm rights and justice so Lawrence Colebrook was the leading figure in the field and because I was looking at morality across cultures and when you look across cultures it's not just about fairness and Harmon rights it's about menstruation and food taboos and skin lesions and it's very physical and I was you know why why do so many societies KITT why is it like the normal default way of geeing is to somehow bring the body into morality why is that and so I just happened to be at Penn where the world's expert in disgust was I went to talk to him and that started one of the best collaborations of my life and what it led to is is a broadening of the of the moral domain basically there's a sort of Western secular approach that you see in Western philosophers either morality is about harm and utilitarianism it's minimize harm or it's about rights and principles Immanuel Kant and a much better way psychologically I think about morality is virtue ethics it's just a lot of stuff it's just we have just a lot of stuff that we judge on and this led me eventually to realize that people on the left and people on the right care about different stuff everybody cares about harm and fairness but the stuff about keeping you know boundaries around the group build a wall protect the group hold the group together hate traitors you know everybody can do that but right wing morality builds on these additional additional foundations of these additional emotions and foundations so that work on disgust that I was just beginning to talk about them when we first met in 1994 led eventually to what we now call moral foundations theory and with might with about five or six colleagues if you go to your morals dot-org you can take our test you can learn all about it but it led to the perspective that ultimately was I think the right perspective as the cultural war was heating up and as left and right we're essentially becoming like different countries different cultures so so it's not obvious on first consideration why disgust would be a moral emotion so you know most of the work that's done that's outside of the disgust realm I would say is predicated on the assumption that the reason that conservatives in particular but perhaps people who are more authoritarian in general draw boundaries around their territories because they're afraid of the other but that isn't really that isn't really how it plays out as far as I can tell because conservatives for example are less neurotic than trait in the big five traits sense than liberals although it's um it's a minor difference but the disgust issue seems to be particularly relevant so so can you tell us a little bit about why disgust per se well first conservatives are a little less neurotic but they also at if you do very low level perceptual experiment just like a puff of white noise in the ear people who react more strongly to that to any sort of very low level threat are more likely to vote Republican in this country so they're you know there are all these interesting personality differences that lead to different politics but as for why disgust so I'm I'm a durkheimian I would say I love the sociologist Emile Durkheim and I'm also a social psychologist so I'm always thinking not about people as individual utility maximizers but people as members of social groups people who are totally focused on belonging in their social groups and people who have some pro-social motives about keeping the group together about doing things that are good for the groups so as I try to argue in my book the righteous mind yes we're selfish there's no doubt that we often will do things to advance our own self-interest at the expense of others but we're also really group –is– which means we'll do all sorts of things to advance our group at the expense of others basically we're tribal we evolved as a tribal species and we're doing we have all this software I would say oh there's all these predispositions predispositions for life in in tribes that are battling other tribes and that's why it comes out so easily if you look at the way boys organize themselves when they get a fraternity the hazing rituals when you look at the way it's especially clear in boys the way street gangs organized themselves girls tribalism is a little different but I would say this is and that's why again I love the Union approach of archetypes there's something there's just this weird stuff that is paying human even if it comes out slightly differently around the world there really is a human nature and it comes complete with a whole bunch of like pre-designed ideas so there was a new article I think it was published in Nature I'll try to find a link for it it's about a year old that was based on high-resolution imaging of neuronal connections and it's actually reviewed in Kurt's Al's Kurt's Wells book how to build a mind I think that's the name of it and so it turns out that the cortex is made out of these columnar structures that are pre organized units of neurons and they're replicated across the entire cortex it's basically the same structure and like the older let's say connectionist idea was that neurons that fire together wire together right that's happen of course that's pretty standard neurology but the the columns are already pre-wired so it's actually columns that fire together that wired together but there's but there's even more with the high-resolution scanning so it turns out that underneath the columnar structure there are these pre-built highways that are connected connective tissue that are pre pre-prepared so the columns have the option to connect to the to the underlying highway and then that highway can connect other columns so it's as if an implicit in the brain organization and this is at the cortical levels say nothing of subcortical organization there's already preexistent likelihoods that certain neurons will fire will wire together yeah so and and what else is cool is that this is actually architectural II quite regular so they found that the these super highways are arranged in lines and and and and in at right angles to one another so it's almost like a three-dimensional structure of wired cubes that underlies the neuronal structure so that's some neurological evidence for the archetypal ideal so let me just explain to explain to the viewers here why this isn't just some like psychological geek conversation this is actually really relevant to a lot of the things that we'll be talking about and that your audience adding cares about because one of the most contested ideas in the social sciences is the idea of innate Ness and yeah the idea is well if something is innate then it can't it can't vary across societies and if it varies across societies then it's not an eight and if gender varies if masculinity or femininity vary across aside it it's not an eight it's socially constructed but that's the wrong understanding of an eight –mess the definition that i use comes from Gary Marcus was actually neuroscientist here at NYU he says innate doesn't mean hardwired is almost nothing interesting that's hardwired innate means structured in advance of experience but then experience can still revise it and boy does that work for gender for almost everything yeah that's right almost everything that we're not a blank slate about anything and something I used to tell my students at UVA I taught at UVA for 16 years is you know everything's a social construction masculinity femininity cancer the Sun death everything there's a social construction for you won't find a society that doesn't have thoughts about these things but the fact that societies have social constructions tells us nothing about whether there's not also an underlying biological reality and in almost all cases there is well otherwise we wouldn't be able to communicate which is one of EO Wilson's comments right when I mean Wilson is the entomologist to study dance at Harvard and also wrote number of books about sociobiology that got him in trouble with the radical leftists and he said even if we could communicate with ants there would be nothing to say to each other because their fundamental mode of being in the world is based on motivations and interests that are so different from ours that there wouldn't be any structure for communication and you can kind of tell that with regards to the animals that we make friends with right we're much more likely to make friends with animals who has a who have a fundamental biological and social nature that's very close to ours like dogs because we can basically speak their language even though not completely a mammal language of love and you know I miss you and I want to play you yeah that's right yeah exactly and that bonding yeah okay so back to discuss back to discuss so so the fundamental thing that I learned from Paul Rossum is to see us as these amazing omnivores this is part of our survival strategy even more than other other Apes we are just brilliant omnivores and we have the Omnivore's Dilemma which is we've got to be interested in all kinds of new stuff we're not tied to any place we can roam on to a whole new continent so we're interested in stuff but stuff has all kinds of toxins and microbes so we have to be careful about that stuff and so these motives have to be in tension and this is actually an interesting way to understand the left-right difference you have to have both motives but if so imagine two siblings one of whom is set more towards trying new stuff seeking out new stuff and the other is a little more fearful then we're like whoa no let's you know let's not try that let's stay with what's tried-and-true I mean that's progressivism and conservatives and that's the origins of it and if you look at kids behavior at the age of two or three it does predict how they'll vote much later not hugely but there is a clear prediction there so so disgust is part of a regulatory system about our engagement with the world and whether we are just sort of out there and you know we we seek out variety and diversity we think diversity is just a great thing or whether we want a little more order structure predictability conservatives are neater then progressives if you take photos of their rooms you know you can actually you know cleanliness an organization you can predict how they vote disgust it turns out what's really cool about disgust in modern politics is if you look at all the different things that we're fighting over especially in this country our culture wars over you know going back a few decades you know sex drugs the flag immigration all of these things I have a study with my colleagues was led by Seneca Leyva in which we asked all these cultural war attitudes of people and we also had their scores in the disgust scale but one of the foundations of morality is sanctity impurity and it relates to discuss what we found is that if you know if you know what people's left-right how they place themselves in a left/right scale you can pretty much predict where they fall out on most culture or attitudes except for those that load on or implicate sanctity or purity so what I mean is flag-burning okay do you think you know do you think that people should have the right to burn the American flag or the country's flag as an expression as a political action what do you think people just give some answer not one to seven scale and people on the right think you know more like they say no people on the left with yes people are score high on loyalty are more likely to say no people who lower on it say yes and that's even taking account of where they're on the Left right dimension but here's the cool thing it's only if you add in the purity or sanctity thing that you can really understand what people are doing because some people see the flag not as just a piece of cloth they see it as having some innate essence some something sacred about it which must be protected and so so this is true they think of it as a unifying Center exactly that's right so if there's something sacred and this is that this is the central piece of my work around politics and morality is the psychology of sanctity if you hold something sacred then your team circles around it and it's only those who circle around with you and sometimes literally circle around like Muslims at prayer in Mecca they literally Circle the Kaaba circling is a very primitive ancient it feels right to circle something but even if even if you do it symbolically or you all bow at the same time that binds you together children do that with their mothers when they when they engage in exploratory behavior right well they use their mother as a center of the world and children differ in the degree to which they'll move outward from their mothers so they move out until they they they trip over there their uncertainty threshold is it a distance like it's a distance and so so the more exploratory kids who are lower negative emotion will go out farther before they come back to their mother so the mother's a center and you know that that would be associated symbolically with the idea of the center as a mother land or potentially as a father land that's right that makes sense so this way that we're we are incredibly symbolic creatures we're not just out to make as much money as we can we're symbolic and social creatures and this psychology of sanctity or purity has become really not just on the right it's always been important for especially religious conservatives we're beginning to see it even on the campus left and this is why I think we see some of the odd things we see on campus that the campus must be kept as a sacred and pure space one of the things that really alarms me about what's happened on campus the last couple of years is that the older idea we had that it's a place for contesting ideas it's a it's a zone of enormous choice people can take what courses they want to say what they want it's kind of a wonderful free-for-all with some with norms of respect it's now becoming much more of a religious zone where the perimeter of the campus is the boundaries and within its there are almost there blasphemy laws basically and I really started noticing this when you look at the videos of the Middlebury protests when charles murray spoke at Middlebury and as everybody knows he was shouted down so the students are chanting and they're chanting in unison and it seems like a religious revival meeting and they're swaying and they're saying they're sacred in a racist sexist anti-gay charles murray go away it's like a ritual incantation so that all I'm this faith the space is safe and it's safe and look I'm not mature yet so far all this happening is they're binding together they're moving at you know synchronous movement and call and response so it it's using a lot of tropes from religion and religious worship but here's the cool thing when the administrator I forget who it is comes on to say okay we have moved we're moving the talk and then you hear a couple people screaming up off campus off campus and he says to another location on campus and there's like oh no no because you know look no one had to go to this talk so everyone could have just stayed home and the students did succeed in shutting down the venue so they could have declared a victory but it's not a full victory unless he is physically off the campus we can't have him speaking on campus because that defiles us that pollutes us we must shut that down and that's where I started saying wow this is like full-blown psychology of religion durkheim sanctity purity blasphemy and that I think you know that doesn't describe most students that that describes a sort of the core those who really have their identities wrapped up in this okay so so was discussed I wanted to I wanted to ask you a couple things about that so you know the big five research into political differences basically shows that the liberals are high in trade openness and lo and trade conscientiousness and the Conservatives are the reverse but we've fragmented conscientiousness into orderliness and industriousness with a big five aspect scale and orderliness is strongly associated with disgust so so right right right exactly it does sound a lot like Freud but it but it also is in accordance with your observations that conservatives have metre spaces for example so so now in their meetings start on time yes and yeah exactly right right so so then the the nexus for political beliefs seems to be an openness it's not that exploratory tendency that you talked about exploration of ideas and creativity and low orderliness and so then I thought well why in the world would why would the political Nexus go across those dimensions which are some relatively uncorrelated then I thought and this is in keeping with your work on discussed is that it's an issue of borders which of course seems more or less self-evident in the wake of Trump's election when he talked about borders but you might say and I think this is reasonable that the conservative is someone who wants the borders between categories to remain intact no matter what level of analysis so its borders from the highest resolution level of cognition all the way up to the actual physical borders of rooms towns states countries all of that so the borders should be thicker and the reason they want that now there was a paper published in PLoS ONE I don't know if you saw it it was a couple of years ago it was a mind-boggling paper it should have been like front page news as far as I was concerned and what the researchers did was between countries and then within provinces or states within countries they correlated the level of of frequency of infectious disease with authoritarian political beliefs and found a walloping correlation was like 0.6 it was one of the highest by that for those of you who don't know social scientists never discover anything that's associated with anything else at a correlation of 0.6 other than heritability right other than heritability yes and so what they found was that the higher the prevalence of infectious disease the higher the probability of of totalitarian or authoritarian political attitudes and then they controlled for governance because one of the questions was was this top-down authoritarianism or bottom-up authoritarianism and the answer was that it was bought him up okay and so I thought about that in – from two perspectives simultaneously at the time okay so we identified disgust sensitivity with orderliness so it's a a fundamental sub trait and I was reading this book that was called Hitler's Table Talk and it was a it was the recordings of virtually everything he said at dinner from 1939 to 1940 – yeah so it's a spontaneous utterance assay and it's full of discussions about Jews and gypsies and all the people he tormented but what's really interesting is all the languages discussed it's not fear so so Hitler's basic metaphor was that the Aryan race and country was a pure body and that it was assaulted by parasites right and then I remembered what happened to the Native Americans when the Europeans showed up and shook hands what happened was that 95% of them were dead within 50 years right because of smallpox and measles and so that that border issue that separates conservatives from liberals let's say as the Conservatives say the novel is potentially contaminated it's not so much that it's dangerous that's different that's fear it's contaminating and the Liberals say hold on a minute if you make the borders too thick then information can't pass through exactly that's the Omnivore's Dilemma right there right right and and then since we have a biological architecture on which our cognitive platforms are erected we have the same attitude towards abstract information which would be ideas that we do to things like food or this right right and so we can think of an invading idea or a polluting idea or a contaminating idea that's right now I'm a big fan of George Lakoff metaphors we live by that we yeah we use our bodily our bodily schemata to think about abstract things like politics and like what our policies should be about borders and immigration there's a Canadian psychologist mark shallow he and his colleagues have developed what they call an account of these the behavioural immune system yeah right that we don't just try to you know microbes killed probably many more of our ancestors than did lions and tigers and bears and so whoever can keep themselves and their children from being exposed to fatal illnesses wins the evolutionary game and so a lot of that is judging carefully about people is he dangerous is she dangerous and that's both for sexuality for contact for all kinds of Association so yeah in a lot of ways our emotions and our bodily interactions structure how we think and feel about about well even with the black death in Europe I mean so the black death occurred in Europe when the Europeans started to move around the world and they brought back rats that were infected exactly so so what you saw there was both of those forces at work at the same time so the European expansion produced a tremendous interchange of ideas from all around the world that's globalization but it wiped out somewhere between 30 and 60 percent of the population at the same time so wouldn't it be good if in every society or every organization we had some people who specialized in specialized in saying hey what are the opportunities and their way to other people who specialized and saying well but what are the risks and it just so happens that a lot of people have trouble doing all that in themselves when we have systems that are well constituted with people who have different personalities and different motives and goals we actually can get better outcomes we can have a discussion between them yeah well that's exactly why that it's it's for that precise reason that that I've been so interested in free speech as a as a value because well even on the economic front it's pretty obvious if you look at things economically that the entrepreneur types who start businesses are lumped in with the liberal creative types we've done a lot of work on the prediction of entrepreneurial behavior and ability and its openness that's the big predictor it's not the only one its openness an IQ fundamentally but for managerial and administrative expertise it's oh it's IQ and conscientiousness so the Liberals start businesses and and but they can't run them because their their their interests flipped and they don't have the organizational ability and the Conservatives can run them but they can't continue to transform and expand them it yin and yang yin and yang yeah so so one more thing about what happened in Nazi Germany that that's very relevant and interesting because it's it's useful to get these motives right you know first of all if if something disgusts you if something if you're afraid of something then you run away from it or you freeze but if something disgusts you you try to burn it or dig or kill it right you try to get rid of it or expel it that's that's right though you want to get it away and destroy it what so when Hitler first came to power he put in a bunch of public health schemes like he had vans that went around and screen people for tuberculosis then he went on a factory cleanliness campaign so the factories were supposed to be tidied up and he washed he bathed about four times a day by the way it was also a great worshipper of willpower which is associated with orderliness and seems maybe to be associated with disgust sensitivity in some way that isn't yet understood yeah yeah I don't I don't understand that connection either so they he convinced factory owners in Germany to get rid of the rats and the mite and mice and the and the insects in the factories and also to clean them up and beautify them but the gas they used to clean up the factories was Zyklon a and it was the variation of that gas Cyclon B that was then used in yeah so you could see this ramping up date so it was yeah absolutely so it was public health then it was social cleanliness then he went into the asylums and cleaned them up and so it was just this expansion of of who was contaminated and who was impure and I think also his fascination with fire and his use of fire symbolism was also associated with that with that appeal to purification because the whole idea of purification by fire is a very ancient idea so okay so so how did your work on disgust change the way that you looked at it's fundamental I mean he gave some indication of that already but what else hasn't changed so since I was coming out of a psychological literature that was very focused on on sort of secular secular ethics about justice and fairness and then I began studying disgust and looking at the broader moral domain that almost all societies have that then also led me to think about well okay if disgust is a reaction to things that seem to be degrading so an interesting element of disgust is this notion of degradation there are always these vertical metaphors in which disgust brings us down and and disgust it so a lot of some religious practice and Judaism and Islam and and Hinduism is about preparing your body to approach God and purification and so that led me to think well if there's an emotion which is about seeing our lower base or animal biological nature is there an opposite emotion is there an emotion of that we feel when we see some manifestation or a higher nobler nature and I was just beginning to think this when I moved to UVA I got my first job at the University of Virginia 1995 and I read the set of Thomas Jefferson's letters and in one letter he describes he describes the feelings you get from reading great fiction he advises a cousin of his that he should buy fiction for his library not just you know serious works of law and philosophy and he described he says doesn't he describe the feeling of of having your sentiments be elevated does it not dilate your breasts give you an open feeling in your chest when you see these acts of beauty and kindness and gratitude I thought wow that's exactly it and so because I've been studying disgust I then started studying its opposite which I and some others called moral elevations so there's kind of vertical metaphor of elevation and degradation and it snaps onto the body – with regards to my that's right high low clean dirty yeah it's a beautiful pairing and so having this language of elevation and disgust just really has helped me see a lot of things I just I could just see a lot of things happening it allows me to like even you know manipulate like I've been applying for a grant proposal like I get very good at like has an elevating ending you know to to end with a notable uplift and so it just brought it's just broaden by thinking about morality and this was around 1995 and so again it just prepared me so that and I'd already been to India by that point I spent three months doing research in erisa in eastern India so it just brought in my thinking and that's what allowed me finally to understand conservatives because I had always been on the left I hated Ronald Reagan I thought Republicans were stupid and evil and it was only when I'd gone to India and really tried to understand a traditional religious hierarchical gender stratified society tried to understand it in their terms they didn't try to just bring in my own my own Western left you know left-leaning perspectives that I was and this was all under the guidance of richard shweder my postdoc supervisor at the university of chicago where did a postdoc it was only then that I was able to sort of get inside their minds and their moral system and see that there were alternative moral worlds they each had their own logic and that was the metaphor I came to it you know the time you know the Matrix movies were very popular so the metaphor the matrix as a consensual hallucination made a lot of sense it's waking up with the idea of just speaking with moral matrices which every different moral matrices that are grounded in biology their biology in the sense that gives us the potential it's like the building blocks of this matrix can't be just anything that comes it comes from our experiences our embodied experiences and again George Lakoff is the master of that thinking and so it was only then that that I was able to now listen to conservative talk radio and Christian religious radio and see rather than just saying oh those stupid terrible people say like oh wow yeah you know I can see that they're striving for a certain version right right so you started to understand their metaphorical language essentially that's right and that was like kind of like my you know I know Great Awakening or scales falling from my eyes but you know since well it took a few more you took a number of a lot more years but eventually I kind of just like pulled out the implants from my eyes and I stopped seeing everything so through a partisan lens and I'm not on any side now and just trying to understand what the hell is well it's really useful it's really useful to understand that there are actual reasons why people see the world differently and that you can't just easily say that one is right and the other is wrong because the Liberals are correct when it comes to borders that if you thicken them too much and diminish the information flow you risk making the society so static that any radical environmental transformation will sink it it's the case but the Conservatives are right in that you pay a big price with regards to newcomers and new information with regards to risk to exposure to contaminating multi contamination period but also to contaminating ideas and so then I've always thought you know the the environment itself moves back and forth like a snake in some sense and what we're trying to do is stay on the center of its back and the only way we can do that is by people by having people pull to the right and say be careful and people pull to the left and say well yeah but be open with that dialogue and the the exchange of information that that dialogue allows we can maybe specify the center of that moving target and stay and stay well and stay on the back yeah okay so that's a really complicated metaphor with the snake but I think it's a perfect way in to what's going on on campus and to YV point diversity is so important because that's I agree exactly with what you just said and so what I the view that I've come to in studying moral psychology is that we is that humans are ultra social Apes we we evolved to live in these small groups that are fighting with each other we evolved to have these low-level animistic religions that's our steady state that's the way we were for at least 100,000 years or much more probably Kosar a million in some form so that's sort of our design that's what we were designed for in a sense and in that sense where as individuals were really kind of stupid tribal creatures designed to do post hoc reasoning but if you put us together in the right way with the right checks with the right the right systems the the whole can be vastly smarter than the components that go into it which is true of the brain – the brain is composed of neurons each neurons really kind of a stupid little switch but you put them together in the right way and you get something really brilliant and in the same way I don't know all the history here but my understanding is that science begins or the culture of science the scientific revolution begins in Europe in the 17th century as you begin getting you get the printing press so people can share their ideas but you get communities of people who are challenging each other's ideas and that's what makes it so really is that is that people have to do their best we're really bad at disconfirming our own ideas it's very hard to make it's very hard to do that but you put your ideas out there and then everyone else is motivated to challenge them and so if you put us together in the right way the truth comes out and so adversarial systems of law journalists know this they have to listen to both sides scientists know this social scientists should know this okay what happened well the Academy has has always leaned left in the 20th century but leaning isn't the problem so people think oh viewpoint diversity we need we need everybody we need Nazis we need every Viet no we don't need everybody what we need is no orthodoxy that's what's fatal orthodoxy so if you have if you have to feel like sociology or social psychology in which it's two or three to one left to right that's totally fine with me that's totally fine because if someone makes some claim that's just like ideologically blind someone will say you know common sense other evidence that you've missed and then the system works but what what I learned when I started down this road in 2011 I gave a talk at the big conference of social psychologists I gave a talk about this problem that we're losing our diversity that I could only find one conservative in the entire field I gave a talk on this and and so what I've learned since then is that the ratio in psychology was between two to one and four to one left-right all the way up to the early 90s we've gathered together all the studies we could find so all the way up to the early 90s it's only three or four to one left or right which would be okay but then between 1995 or four and 2010 it goes to 14 to 1 you do you have any idea why and why that time yes so so you get the same story whether you look at republican-democrat ratios or liberal-conservative they're they tell the same story so the two the big things going on there are one is that the greatest generation which had a lot of Republicans so a lot of men go off to World War two they they're on the GI Bill they enter the Academy in the 1950s a lot of them are conservative or republican so you have a lot of them but in the 60s and 70s one of the main reasons to go to grad school in the social sciences is either a to stay in school to escape the Vietnam War draft or B to fight for social justice and against racism so in sociology and psychology in particular in political science maybe I'm not sure you get a huge influx of left-leaning people who are there to pursue social justice so you know the motives are fine and if it was balanced to be totally fine but as you get these young junior people on the Left come in in the 70s and 80s and then you get the older people that are more politically balanced retiring in the 80s and 90s by the time you get to the late 90s it's all baby boomers and so do you get up do you get a positive feedback loop developing in there like you said it's like three to one it's okay but maybe when it hits four to one it goes to like twenty to one then you said exactly so you so then you start getting hostile climate so I wrote a review paper on this with with Joe Duarte and Phil tetlock and Lee Justin Jared Crawford and and we so we reviewed everything that we could find we concluded that most of what's going on is self selection that is people on the Left and we're open to experience they're always gonna get self selection but then there's really good evidence that there's also hostile climate I mean it's it's undeniable now that if you are not on the left in a grad program there's just constant little subtle or not so subtle reminders that you don't belong and look in the Academy we're all about saying hey if there are subtle hints here and there you can't succeed right I mean that's what we do for a living is we say that little things will stop people well little things are put in the way of anyone who doesn't fit politically and so you do get hostile climate you do get over discrimination there's evidence of that and then there is also it is part of the story here that what it means to be a conservative in the 90s and especially to thousands have changed so it is true that you know that that concerns were not in any way anti-science until much more recent times now actually all sides are anti science about different Sciences but in America the the right wing the Republican Party had its controversial but I do believe that the polarization starts with the right moving further out so what it means to be concerned to be anti anti evolutionary which is actually what's happening on the left now – exactly that's yeah so every well is modern the talk to Brent Weinstein the other day and you know he one of his claims is that evolutionary biology has something in it to offend everyone so it's a it's a science that's very likely to be targeted by extremists you also brought up something that actually touches on the I on the difficult problem of how it is that you might define someone who's ideologically possessed let's say or ideologically rigid because the idea was that you can make a valid case for the utility of free information flow and and the free flow of people that would go along with that and you can make a good case for the danger of that and so the idea might be that if you're only making a case for the danger of that then you're tilted too far to the right and if you're only making a case for the utility of that then you're tilted too far to the left exactly that's right and so we can look at immigration as a nice example there was a recent essay in the Atlantic I think it was by Peter Beinart where he he reviews it starts with a lot of quotes that are pre nuanced positions about immigration from Barack Obama Paul Krugman and a bunch of other people on the Left who used to be able to say on the one hand you know compassion economic on the other hand you know we have to have a legal process and there's a threat to low-wage workers so people on the Left used to be ale to talk about immigration and talk about the pros and cons the pluses and minuses but buying art shows how in the last four or five years you can't if you so much as suggests that well maybe immigration is on net good but it might have some deleterious effects on certain classes of low-wage American workers you could get in big trouble right because that's instantly prej initial you know because immigration has become a sacred topic so this is the key thing that I want everyone to keep in mind we are fundamentally religious creatures were built for religion and it's a great achievement to create a scientific establishment and an academic establishment that keeps that way of thinking out scientific thinking is not natural thinking religious thinking is natural thinking and what's happening to us in the last few years especially is a flooding in of religious thinking and so let's get a bunch of social scientists to talk about immigration what are they going to do look at the data way up the pluses and minuses no they're going to many of them feel they're on a team and that team is fighting the right the right is anti-immigrant it includes racist elements therefore that justifies us in being Pro immigration and Social Sciences are always there's always ambiguity there's always conflicting studies yes there's multiple causal factors is that always in the social science study that's right so by nartz point was that the left used to be able to think straight about immigration clearly it had a you know it's generally Pro immigration but it used to be able to think straight but in the last few years a religious Orthodox mindset has overtaken it okay so we might as well also point out that it's a primordial religious mindset right because I mean there are very Christian or Jewish I mean ancient tribal small-scale lots of gods right right well so then one of the things that you might suggest is that when you throw out a sophisticated religious structure an unsophisticated religious structure comes in to fill the gap I do so that's true okay definitely worth thinking about so that's right so that's right the thing with religions we have to clarify fundamentalism is the problem not religion and so if you close I'm tribalism that's right if you get a fundamentalist you know I'm happy to say and if you have people applying to a grad program in psychology and I find out that they're Christian that's fine there's no problem but if they're fundamentalist Christian I would think well let's say let's say it's not psychology suppose it's you know geology so someone applies to a geology program there are fundamentalist young earth creationist are you gonna admit them no I don't think you should they're not able to do the right kind of thinking based on what we know to be the case they're not in a scientific paradigm not the center that's right so so if we wouldn't admit a fundamentalist Christian to a geology program why would we admit someone who is just as fundamentalist about certain moral and political issues into a sociology program or into a psychology program if they come in knowing what the right answer is committed to that right answer likely to get angry at anyone who contravenes that right answer and and showing signs of closed mindedness I don't think they belong in a yeah I guess the question is how in the world do you set up mechanisms to ensure that you're not swamped by fundamentalists of any sort so those are people who are reducing everything to a single cause it's something like that how can you implement a structure that protects the organization against that without the structure itself becoming totalitarian you know because these things these things spin out of control so fast yeah but so you know I think what we have to realize in the Academy is that we face I think we face an existential crisis we rely an enormous amount on public good will we get enormous tax subsidies direct research support and recent polling shows that while Democrats have always had a higher opinion of the universities and Republicans until two years ago everybody thought universities are a good thing they make life better so Americans have been very supportive of higher education they're been rising gripes on the right but it's only between 2015 and 2017 that now Republicans go from saying mostly universities are good things in two years they go way down and say the universes are bad things they're making things worse now how is this news greeted pundits on the Left are us that oh those Republicans are so anti science look how ignorant they are they now hate universities come on anybody who's been watching the news anybody who's seating the mobs to shout down to the illiberal behavior you know the metaphor I use is like you know Americans on the right and left are really supportive of the military we have it's one of the few institutions that we still hold in high esteem on both sides and so the Republicans more than Democrats so suppose you had Gallup poll and I showing Republicans like the military more than Democrats but both really liked it then suddenly in 2015 we started seeing video from all over military bases and military academies in which the military leaders are overtly right-wing they're there they're saying terrible things about leftists and progressives and the Midshipmen and the cadets and everybody is mobbing the occasional liberal and the behaving in a really despicable scary and intimidating way what do you think the left would now think about the military obviously support for the military would plummet that's what's happening in America with universities we are losing the support of half the country this is unsustainable especially in red states where you know they control the purse strings so I think we have a major crisis I think we've got to go into crisis mode and we've got to clean up our act so just as we're doing in psychology with replication project we recognize that our methods weren't good enough and we're doing a crash course thanks to Brian Nosek and others the open science project we're really trying to improve our game thank god we need to I think we have to do the exact same thing about partisanship and our duty okay so let's talk about heterodox Academy because you set that up this organization that you should tell everybody about in in precisely to deal with this issue and so I'd like I'd like to know about it oh it's growing what it's doing what your aims are all of that so I gave this talk in 2011 laying out the fact that we have no more conservatives in social psychology and why this makes it hard for us to find truth and in the months after that a few social psychologists resonated with the message they said wow I think that I think you're right I have some data on this so the five of us were six of us wrote this paper it came out in behavioral and brain sciences oh sure a lot of stir and I'm sorry was the sixth one that I forgot to add in before we got this paper published in behavioral brain sciences it came out it was sort of online in 2014 but it came out for good in the summer 2015 which coincidentally was the same summer that my article came out with Greg lukianov all that coddling the American mind that was about things going on with undergrads but our concern was entirely faculty was just the nature of the academic community the research community so we got these two things going on summer 2015 and then that summer I hear from Nick Rosencrantz a law professor who says we have the same problem in law is worse in law well it's really bad in Canada law okay because and as he points out we're training all these students they never meet a conservative then they have to go argue cases in front of judges half of whom were appointed by Republicans they have no idea what a conservative thinks this is malpractice we got a train so say and I hear from a sociologist Chris Martin same thing of sociology so the three of us said hey you know this is a problem for the whole have you looked at faculties of Education oh my god those are the worst by worse I don't know the numbers but in terms of the vindictiveness that the Incred the pressure put on any non-conforming opinion my impression I don't of data but my impression from the letters I get is that education schools and social work school yeah are the worst that's exactly in keeping with my my understanding as well it's hard to tell which of those two are worst I would say it's the faculties of Education because they have a direct pipeline to kids in terms of their effects yes farmer pernicious yeah yes yeah but but equally equally warp to let's say but but more pernicious and and the things that are happening in the Canadian education system as a consequence of that are so reprehensible it we should when today because it's happening here too with these ideas filtering down to high school I've been so focused on college now we're discovering the problem is actually baked in the liberal attitudes are often baked in yes and purposefully like in in Canada increasingly the the radical leftists have control over curriculum development and they're starting to develop social justice curriculums which is what they call them for kindergarten kids so it's really it's been another get back through the earlier grades so so the originally three of us decided to put up a website I invited all the other authors from the the BBS paper we invited a few other people working on this and so for the first year we had this project was called heterodox Academy org we put the site up on about September 10th I think it was 2015 and it was just a community of researchers who are studying the problem of the lack of you point of earth well five days later the protests start at Missouri so these are racially motivated protests or protests about racial insensitivity and racial problems at Missouri and at first it seemed like this is just a Missouri prom but coming in the wake of course of Ferguson and all the videos we saw of unarmed black men being killed by police the a lot of his concerns spread to other universities the protests aren't just about race but it was that fall of 2015 especially the Yale protest when the president of Yale validates their narrative that Yale's are racist place we have to reform Yale then it spreads nationally and now suddenly this is not just a faculty issue anymore so even though it had Rock's Academy will mostly focus on the faculty we're now seeing it's a complex ecosystem with all kinds of forces acting on universities so that between 2015 and 2017 the danger of speaking honestly about what you think about an academic or intellectual proposition has skyrocketed the risk of being mobbed ostracized formally investigated by title nine people for exert had nine people here we're sitting here at my you go to any bathroom I'll show you on this floor go to any bathroom there's a sign telling students exactly what number to call to report you or me if we say something that is that someone takes to be Elias act oh so you have bias you have bias investigation teams here that's right see we haven't got to that point that particular point in Canada yet so I think we're farther ahead down that path in some ways but not quite as far in others yeah that's really that's really unbelievable so things are changing very very fast it's not at all schools but then again things are changing so fast we don't really know we don't have good data on what's going on what I can tell you though is that at heterodox Academy when we started out in 2015 there was a lot of suspicion a lot of people on the Left were afraid like oh is this some right-wing group now very few of us are actually on the right but because we end up mostly speaking up for libertarians and conservatives who are attacked or silenced you know people will think oh we must be right-wing but we're not I mean I'm I've never voted for Republican in my life I've never given money to a Republican campaign I'm now increasingly calling myself a liberal now that we see a liberalism flourish but so when we started out there was a lot of suspicion of us from many professors but now that it's clear that the problems these are not just a few anecdotes this is the new normal and it's not just in the Universities as you pointed out that's right it's already it's like mad and it's not just in the u.s. it's spread when in 2015 I thought it was uniquely American profit yeah boy it's in Canada and the UK and it is really what New Zealand that's right it is a uniquely Anglosphere problem this is really interesting it's not on the continent very much at all what about in the Nordic countries no I mean they have so political correctness you have lots of places the unique thing that identifies this new culture is linking the political correctness with the sense of fragility and this is something America's pioneered the idea that so in Britain they've always had no platforming they call it so if there's an end there was an absolute British National Party's an actual fascist party you know so if a if a BNP member is gonna speak on campus you mob him you shut it down no Platt don't give a platform so you know you've had passionate politics certainly since the 60s so that's not new and that's everywhere what's new is the American idea that if someone says something and it could be a sincerely expressed idea not a racist rant just like well I don't know I think that maybe hormones do affect gendered behavior can you say that well what if someone takes that as as somehow essentializing gender and then saying that women are inferior or whatever if they yes well that happened to James d'amour for exact exactly exactly so so that's what's new is the idea that if someone says something that someone a member of a protected or marginalized group is offended by that person is harmed if that person is harmed we must protect that person and more ominously just in the last year or two it's not just that they're harming their suffering it's that this was violent yes right violence well that's part of the postmodern narratives they and this resistor thing to policy is so dangerous the the crossing the line into into violence it just occurred to me just like yesterday was thinking about this wait the state is supposed to have a monopoly on violence right but if speech especially his speech and her speech and the people the speech of those people in that academic movement or on the and that if their speech is violence well the state is supposed to have a monopoly on their speech then and and if it's violence well then we have a right to use violence back the state doesn't have an appellee on our violence because our violence is you know it's morally motivated so just the Orwellian and authoritarian implications of this move once you say that speech is violence you're unlocking you know you're opening Pandora's box I mean you're you're five steps down the road to hell and I'd say we're about seven steps down the road okay you so you're or you're that concerned about it okay so now tell me how many how many members if you don't have to discuss any of this obviously but how many members of heterodox Academy are there now we have 1,300 members so once we opened up its originally it was just four researchers who were studying this problem but we had lots of people wanting to join and so we said well okay why not and so we just said alright if as long as you're a professor that is you have a PhD you're living more or less the life of a professor you have a university affiliation so we now take adjuncts if they have a PhD we take postdocs basically if you're in the guild if you're living the life of a professor and you're concerned about the rise of intimidation frankly if you're concerned that our wonderful institution I love I love being a professor I love hmm and I feel like it's not just losing public respect it's losing its ability to to function it's losing its ability to teach and do research on politicized topics there are more politicized topics all the time that's right and there are few in the natural science it's not many but there are some in the Natural Sciences as well anyway my point is we're now growing very rapidly and something I'm very excited by is since we've started having more of violence on campus with beginning with birth and Middlebury we're seeing a pervasive sense among people on the left that there really is this problem here that something has to be done and so we are finding much more acceptance now from professors on the left so I like to think about there's the liberal left yeah just the great majority and there's the illiberal left we did a factor analysis of politically correct beliefs and found exactly that and that the and that the illiberal left was also high and orderliness that's interests the authoritarian exactly and also kind of markedly decline was also characterized by a market lack of verbal intelligence that's yeah it was about point four well that oh that's beautiful that's beautiful because one of the simplest formulations I've heard were the great formulation from Mark Lilla so Mark Lilla wrote this fantastic op-ed the New York Times week after Trump was elected saying identity politics is a really foolish thing to do it pushes lots of people over to Trump's side the identity politics is part of the problem well he writes this op-ed and one of his fellow professors at Columbia I forget how she does it but she basically says something about that you know the the mask with eyeholes falls from his face like you know he's a Ku Klux Klan member something like that and so Lulla Lulla who is in the humanities he's an intellectual historian Lilla has this simple formulation he says that's a slur not an argument and once I had that simple formulation I realized wow that's almost all the pushback I've ever gotten it's somehow you know oh you know you're winking at Nazi is he where you are yeah that's happened to me over and over I was just my neighborhood was just posters with all that get the intimidation so so this is really key we're supposed to be all about you can say anything you want you can make any argument you want if you can support it if you can back it with reasons this is critical thinking this is what we're supposed to train our students to do well and it's not only that you can say anything but you can say it there's a boundary on that which especially if you're a scientist less so in the humanities but if you're a scientist the things you say have to be vetted by people who are going to be critical of them right so so not only not only is a new facility that works is accountability that's built into it that's right so I didn't mean to say you can say you know are noises rant I mean you can put forth any idea you want if you can back it up what we're seeing with anything politicized is it's not about backing it up students are learning rhetorical techniques to link their enemies to something racist as well some of it contemptible you bet and that and that and those are the things that are not only worthy of being destroyed but that you have a moral duty to destroy that's oh that's right so it's almost like the immune system yeah how exactly works but there's some cell that tags a cell as you know enemy enemy and once that tag is put on the cell that attracts other I feel it what kind of cell – yeah mob it so we should look into this this metaphor of the immune system yeah because you know once they once you're labeled as a racist students don't have to read you that it doesn't matter what you actually say you will now be attacked well it's also – that once you're labeled that way if someone defends you the label is contagious right sergeant that's how we know we're in this super-religious territory of witch-hunts that if you stand up for someone you are tagged and then you will be mobbed right and that's that's why there's so much cowardice on campus among both students and faculty people are afraid to stand up even if the majority think that what's going on is nuts or is unfair they're afraid to stand up and that's in part due to social media because it's just I mean students today have been raised with various platforms that make it easy for people to join in attack someone they look at who liked what so if in that article we just saw on read there was a bit of a counter-revolution and read the students had to get together somehow and decide should I like that post how about we all like it at the same time then we'll get in less trouble okay like okay so to what degree so let's talk about the aims of the heterodox Academy so you've brought people together who are in principle interested in a diversity of openness and but but in what manner is that going to be utilized to – – I don't want to use the word combat but – but to deal with this emergent problem of ideological rigidity in the universities so two useful concepts here one is the emperor's new clothes we all know that story even if most people even if everybody sees this is nuts the Emperor's walking around no clothes they're afraid to say it until one person says it so and this is also the Asch experiment everybody says that that lion is the same as that line it's obviously not true if one person says the truth then nobody conforms after that so the mere presence of a group of people who say you know but we actually need a diversity of opinions and the fact that on our site we'll publish things so sometimes when professors are mobbed like when Brett Weinstein you know was mobbed you know so I wrote an essay that stood up for him we've done it for some of them it's happening so fast I can't keep up I can't I've got books to write like you know every week there's some new members getting mobbed and so we're gonna develop a team of people who will write but just knowing that there are people who will stand up for you knowing that there are people who will say wait a second you know this is not what we do in the Academy so that's one thing is we just stand up for each other um two is we develop products that we think can basically fix the situation so one of our products is called the campus expression survey it's a survey designed to actually measure who was afraid of speaking up about what topics and why what are they afraid of and it turns out everyone's afraid of the students more than the faculty they're afraid to mostly to talk about me what about the administrators everyone's afraid of the students they're afraid of this dude oh so I don't have we've not so made them I've only surveyed students I don't okay okay but from what we hear people are afraid of of the students hauling in its own manner like was that real your leaders where yeah that's for sure they let those kids come into the classroom the actual classroom and disrupt a class on an ongoing basis I mean yes and I couldn't understand that exactly I mean my response to that would be first I would tell them to leave second I would call campus security third if something wasn't done about it I just wouldn't teach the class so I don't understand like it seems to me that it's also up to individual professors to draw a line which is that if you're being intimidated by students why do you why do you show up and teach the class I don't understand that yeah so um again people are afraid to stand up if it means that people will call you a racist yeah but got it I mean it's it's weird in that situation though it scary – you're also authority to go to your class you know and there's a much more proximal threat there that's what I mean that's what I'm most alarmed by is the rise of intimidation intimidation is now a in many aspects of academic life and that's just terrible that's completely incompatible with what we do and who we are what's especially it's especially appalling given that whatever happens in the university campuses you know like one of the questions I've faced in Canada is well why should we care about what's happening yeah and the in the Ivy tile if you're gonna hire these people next year you are well yeah well they're it's the heart like what's happening in the campuses is going to happen in society in five years it's already that goes it's already happens this is actually important point I just gave a talk at a big law firm here in New York where they're very devoted to diversity but they're doing it right they're really thinking about diverse like why is diversity good and so they have a whole month on viewpoint diversity which is just fantastic and what I'm learning from talking to a number of people in the business world is that in the last year there are now all these pressures on leaders to endorse this condemn that sign this open letter that's right that's right but it's the same dynamic we have on campus and the answer to it so if anybody anybody watching here if you run a business if you have friends we're in business I think the only the there are only two stable equilibria one is that every organization is just either all right wing we're all left-wing but that would be disastrous you so either you just say okay we're on one side that we terrible the other is what we call the Chicago principles of free expression the University of Chicago has the best statement out there on how the University provides a platform on which multiple views can contest the university does not take any one side that's the only other stable alternative and I think leaders need to do this in business a certain that universities so we're encouraging every University to adopt the Chicago principles because a lot of what mass action is is an attempt to compel the authority to come in on your side and punish your enemies yeah and so that has to stuff so so how how effectively is the Chicago statement on on how effectively is the Chicago statement being disseminated how rapidly are universities signing up or or they're asked you signed on early in this whole crisis Perdue they're about 10 or 15 that have that have endorsed it or something like it it's not enough to just endorse something but if you have leadership that's committed to creating an open platform in which people can disagree and and I'm once in it's very encouraging I've been invited by a number of university presidents to come speak we have all kinds of innovations that hit rocks Academy to foster a more inclusive climate in which people can actually engage with difference there's a lot of interest so I think the university leaders were very slow to react they didn't want to alienate certain factions of students but they're almost all reasonable people they're almost all liberal left not a liberal they're horrified by what's going on they know they're sitting atop a powder keg they don't want things to blow up in their face as happened at Evergreen so this brings us to our another product the one that we're most excited by so it just went online actually today it's called the open mind platform if you go to open mind platform goerge you can find we've developed an app we have a whole library of readings and videos who developed an app that guides you through we don't just say here's how to engage with different viewpoints we start by saying why is it good and we make the case that you need this everybody needs this and too we remind people that were all basically self-righteous hypocrite so we have quotes from wisdom traditions around the world and we've all heard this so just a little bit of you know you can call it emotional manipulation if you like but just get people into a mindset in which they're willing to say oh yeah whoa you know calm down we're all we're all too self-righteous here and then we then we teach them some psychology about motivated reasoning and only then do we teach them to engage with views that are not their own so we've already run this in about 15 or 20 classes the results so far look promising that at the end of it the measures show that students are more open to other ideas so the open my platform we think is a tool that we think a lot of universities are going to adopt there's a lot of interest in it and if there's leadership if the professor's generally do support viewpoint diversity and open inquiry if we change freshman orientation so that students are trained first and foremost in how to step back get people that benefit of the doubt the open-minded if we do that first you know that's like behavioral exposure to some degree right the idea would be that if you're if you're afraid or disgusted by something that you don't understand the appropriate first treatment first of all the treatment is necessary because otherwise you'll you'll isolate yourself in the ways that you already described and second that brief exposure voluntary exposure is going to be the best curative that's the opposite of the safe space I exactly need to be the safe space the same space idea is the worst thing you could possibly do for the very people yeah exactly exactly I mean the psychology what you know the psychology behind safe spaces and microaggressions is just the exact opposite of what we should be doing if we want to create kids especially black kids gay kids women whatever if you think that they are vulnerable to more stigma more conflict if you think that they are vulnerable that's especially when a safe space will be temporarily Pleasant but in the long run bad boys right and that's the critical issue too with regards to safe spaces is that they're sacrificing the medium and long term of the students well-being let's say to the short term lack of fear and conflict they're infantile izing them essentially so yeah okay so all right so I was thinking about the the discussion idea I've got a personality test online now that's based on this big fire aspect scale but it might be interesting as something for us to think about to to find people who were high in openness and Lowe and conscientiousness are orderliness and offer them the opportunity to engage in dialogue with people who have the opposite personality traits you know because well first of all because they're gonna run into people like that always write in and and and maybe even establish a relationship with them inadvertently and so being able to tolerate that might give them the kind of insight that you said you developed when you realized that the conservative ethos was based on a reasonable but not complete set of of beneficial axiomatic presuppositions so alright so now this is pretty much taken over your life this heterodox Academy as well as the writing now you're writing a couple of new books I understand yeah so so since so I was in the psychology department at the University of Virginia for for 17 years and when my book the righteous mind was coming out I wanted to move to New York City for a year so I could you know do promotional work for it and I just had my second child was just born I knew it would be hard to fly from Charlottesville so I just happened to get a position a temporary position here at Stern at the business school and when I first arrived I wasn't that interested in business but as soon as I got here Occupy Wall Street happened and suddenly it was like everyone's talking about morality and politics and capitalism and business and then I started learning about the history of capitalism and I knew nothing about it was fascinating and I started seeing how free enterprise and free markets have helped raise weight raise living standards around the world yes poverty in a staggeringly rapid fashion that's completely unprecedented answer especially since the year 2000 that's right so since so you know here I was 48 years old discovering I had nothing about it was like when I first learned about evolution like wow this explains like everything in the natural world and learning about capitalism business explained everything about the built world and the world that we actually live in and they were also all these business scandals this was 2011 in the wake of the financial crisis and I saw a huge opening tooth begin applying moral psychology to help corporations have better ethics so I then everything I do is involves applying moral psychology to help complex systems work better so I've been focused on political polarization and governance for years before then and that led to the righteous mind and then I got here to stern they offered me a job during that first year and I took it and it's been fantastic it's been really exciting it's like a whole new you know almost like being back in grad school a whole bunch of new things to learn it must be a kind of a shock and existential shark to be in a business school in some sense it's not a shock I mean it's a different culture it's much more open in the sense that it's so diverse like the things people are doing there's not like a way that we do things here and it's much more open to applied projects to actually yeah to applied projects yeah and so is a perfect time for me like I just you know the righteous mind thing that wraps up like the first half of my career like everything I did is in that book and now it's time for something new and that new thing was going to be looking at how morality or more psychology both underlines or is the foundation for our ability to do capitalism like contracts reciprocity all sorts of things and how our left-right divide from the righteous mind makes it hard for us to figure out what's true like if you raise the minimum wage does that help or hurt the working poor right if you're an economist on the left obviously helps them they're economist on the right it obviously hurts them because you or them have jobs and you can gerrymander the measurement devices to exact produce the conclusions that you want which is a big problem that's right so I'm supposed to be writing a book called three stories about capitalism the moral psychology of economic life and so I started traveling around the world looking at how development is going in various countries I did a three-month trip to Asia in 2015 I came back from Asia my article came out with luque on off the coddling the American mind the BBS article was published and I thought ok now I can get back to this you know keep read this capitalism book and then the university is kind of began melting down in the fall and then we started heterodox Academy and so yes it has taken over my life it's it's basically a full-time job in addition to trying to write the I'm also working on a book so Lukie onif and I didn't want to turn our article into a book because we thought we'd said everything but man have things been happening we've learned so much more since we wrote that article and you wrote that article wind how long well we wrote it in late 2014 and then we you know edit it in early 2015 and it finally came out in August of 2015 and so in last October Greg wrote to me and said John I think I do want to turn the article into a book because we know so much more now and it's the problem is so much more serious then it was any evidence my god the evidence about mental the mental health crisis of adolescence when Greg my wrote the article we were you know we saw lots of hints that depression and anxiety were going way up yeah and we think that's related to the overprotection yeah ok so let's talk about that just for a sec and then go back to the book so I've got a potential demographic explanation for that in part well and I don't know if you guys have looked into this or not well there's there's two things that I think might be contributing to it one is two or three things one is the average age at which children are the average age at which people have children has gone way up why does that matter well because I think people get more conservative and cautious as they get older a little bit true but it's a very small effect okay and it's wait a second okay it's the halving of the kids which is what makes them more conservative when you have kids you are more threat sensitive you're more likely to vote for the right-wing party so just delaying child child birth wouldn't okay what about what about fewer siblings that would yes that's part of it and this is what we're seeing in Asia too when you have a lot of kids you're not quite as worried you don't have all your eggs in one basket well and you can you can write as worried and the siblings raise each other that's right right and then there's a lot of major key strategies that's right exactly it's the free play and the fighting the working things out for themselves those are essential skills of adulthood okay so good so then all right yeah let me only size is part of it right well and then also what's happening increasingly in schools is that kids aren't allowed free play and they're certainly not allowed rough-and-tumble free play exactly that's right that's one of the biggest things as well so the two that there are three giant there are a lot of closets I mean this is such actually it's really a fun puzzle because it's like the biggest social science puzzle our age what is happening that's making so many of our systems go haywire and I'm focusing on the university the big three I would say our one is the loss of free of unsupervised free play yeah okay and Peter Gray has been brilliant on this he's a Boston College showing how even among young animals they have to practice the skills for adulthood yeah and getting in concepts shown that – exactly so getting in conflicts and then dealing with it and sometimes losing and will come back having game in which there's a problem but you have to work it out with the game stocks that's what kids always did yeah it's only recently the nine beacon in the 90s that they're always supervised because we're afraid if we take our eyes off them they'll be kidnapped and it was never a risk was never you know I've kind of wondered about this gender flexibility issue as form of delayed fantasy play you get Freddy not me go ahead well because because it looks to me like that is you know when kids are little and three and four say three to seven they do a tremendous amount of identity play you know they pretend they're animals they pretend they're their parents they they pretend they're girls if they're boys they pretend they're boys if they're girls like they really do a tremendous amount of identity play and one of the things that's been really puzzling me is well what happens if that isn't if they never have an opportunity for that because they're not engaging in fantasy play maybe it's just delayed till adulthood so because played it's almost impossible to overstate the importance of that rough-and-tumble play and then the fantasy play that enables you to adopt different identities and then the negotiated games that you talked about that enabled people to handle both both victory but even more importantly loss that's possible that could well be I've note that I have no you know but the big three factors that I think are explaining to explain what's happening on campus are one the loss of the unsupervised play so that the kids have always there's always an adult present and so they come to college and they expect there to be an adult and Dean somebody if there's a conflict that's one two is social media which hit just as ijen so I gen internet generation this is gene twangy work you know we used to we used to think that we used to think that the millennial generation ends in 1998 or 2000 but gene twangy shows looking at four large datasets that birth year nineteen ninety five kids born in nineteen ninety five and after are really different their values are different they have much higher rates of anxiety and depression especially the girls boys have gone up girls gone way up and the reason seems to be that Facebook lowered its age so in 2005 you had to be a college student at a certain number of colleges to get Facebook in 2006 you could be any eleven-year-old who lies and says that she's 13 and you've got a Facebook account but then you're using on your parents PC and in 2007 the iPhone comes out and it saturates the market faster than any consumer product ever has so by 2010 or 11 a lot of adolescents have have Facebook and other social platforms and this is just devastating especially to girls because it's not texting texting is just me to you you know that's back and forth that's fine that you know weep and we were kids he called you friends on the phone that's fine the problem seems to be according to twangy it's especially platforms in which he put something out and then you wait and see what everyone says it right and that especially is damaging to girls who already are at risk of eating disorders and images okay okay so so girls become more susceptible to negative emotion when they hit puberty well they're there yes yes then there's another issue too with regards to female aggression so you know it's clearly the case that males are more likely to be physically damaging slash aggressive than females are but what females use is reputation savaging that's Nikki Strix work Nikki Crick passed away a couple years ago showed that if you add it all up boys and girls are equally aggressive but the boys aggression is more physical the girls the more relational so if you imagine a bunch of 13 14 year-olds in their middle schools and then you parachute in a whole bunch of iPhones everybody's got one in their pocket now what are the boys gonna do they're gonna play video games that doesn't hurt anybody yeah but the girls are going to use it to amplify the social interactions so this is 20 Twinkies explanation I think it makes a lot of sense so it's a it's a catastrophe it's a crisis and we're really hurting especially the girls so we've got to change something about that anyway but social media is is possibly the largest single reason why things are going haywire on campus the third big factor and do you think it's primarily Facebook or can you tell well it's it's a the kids use a lot of different platforms but from what I hear Instagram Facebook snapchat again the thing is it's one too many that's what's bad is anything if it's if it's you put something out there and you see how many people liked it right that's what's right and there's always the threat that it'll go viral in a terrible way so that's a hammer exactly there's the sword of Damocles one limit that's limit or damage unlimited downside to saying something so what is their fault right so I don't know if I want to like that post because you know I could get in big trouble for it right well the benefit to making it as minimal and the potential catastrophe for dis unless you're expected to like it in which case you better like it because you if you don't like it you'll get in trouble so it's a much more of a mob mentality kids are afraid you know I'm not blaming the kids I'm very sympathetic to me these are my kids you know my kids are 11 and 7 they're gonna come up into this so the kids been raised in a in a social environment that's much more about mob mob formation and mob attacks and mob defend defenses against mobs and then the so the third factor then is the political polarization and the purification or institutions so if you imagine coming up in the 90s when political polarization is going up we're beginning to hate each other more across party lines but it's not that hard not that that nasty but it's been getting much much more hostile so that now if someone like if someone is if someone goes to a campus Republicans meeting if it's a democrat who goes to a meeting of the campus republicans has happened at UC Santa Cruz a couple weeks ago and someone finds out you know that so the the hatred the cross party hatred is so much stronger now and many of our institutions are much purer so if you went to college the 90s there might have been a few conservative professors around but now there aren't so as you said before it's like exposure therapy if you've never encountered a conservative idea and then a conservative like Heather McDonald comes to speak on your campus well this is like a major immune response problem we got to get the tribe together and mob her and you know shut her down so those are the I mean they're many other reasons but the loss of unsupervised play social media and rise and polarization those are the three big ones right well those are big problems especially the loss of unsupervised play it's not it's not obvious at all how that might be addressed yes it is okay good good I everyone should buy everyone should just buy lenore scan Daisy's book rearrange kids and then they should loosen up and give their kids more unsupervised time now you can't do this alone you'll be arrested yeah I tried to get my son to go out across the street to you know buy groceries when he was you know nine years old yeah and he'd say like but you know daddy people look at me funny there are no other kids out there and so Lenore has started a fantastic organization called let grow so if you was go let grow dot-org okay we'll put all this in the description all of these things so I'm on the board of it as an adviser Peter gray an expert on play is on the board and they're doing these simple things simple simple things like you convince a school to just open up the playground an hour early or keep it open after school why should kids always have organized activities and soccer practice just give them a place to play where there's a nurse available if someone gets hurt there is an adult but he's not supervising he's just over there right so don't worry parents there is an adult but beyond that is what they want and they just started this a few weeks ago and the results are fantastic the kids are having so much fun they are becoming more independent they're more willing to do projects on their own it's working out great so oh that's really can't do this on your own but the thing is so those are very practical that's very practical piece of advice for schools it's like open up the unsupervised play facilities and and and facilitate their use that's right give give everyone a place which is safe and by safe I mean physically safe right never use the word safety to describe emotions and ideas safety means physical safety so you've got to provide a physically safe place for the kids to play and beyond that you let him go now there will arise problems of bullying so if it's repeated harassment oh you know well I know a book about that which it's by Dan always called bullying what we know and what we can do about it and it was written it's got to be 30 years ago and always cut the rope the the the the incidence of bullying in the Scandinavian countries down by 50% and he really really targets what bullying means so he's not a safe space guy by any stretch of the imagination I don't know what the origins of it are I know that evaluations of his program in America show anywhere from zero to 20 percent reductions yeah well like so this are much smaller in the u.s. in the u.s. yeah the question is whether or not they were able to implement them with rigor he did in the u.s. yeah but bullying programs are part of the problem because bullying clearly is a problem we need to do something about it but because we have what's called concept yes oh so it's now my joint concept creep looks like even yeah that's right so now it's the case that if if kids don't invite if some kids want to do something and they don't invite another kid they've excluded that kid right well that could be bullying right I've read of schools in Europe that don't allow kids to have best friends for exactly that reason yeah well because the this is also something that really bothers me about the misuse of the IAT because it's not that easy to distinguish in group preference which no one can know one when their right mind would want to eliminate in group preference given that it governs your choice of mate and your behavior towards your family members let's say to distinguish that between out group exclusion is no in no simple matter and to tell kids that they can't have a best friend is another thing that interferes with an important part of their that's right yeah I think both of us have spent a lot of time looking at ancient wisdom at the writings of people long ago and I often come back to Aristotle's claim that any virtue carried to extremes becomes a vice so inclusion is a good thing if people are being excluded because they have a physical stigma or because or they're overweight or their skin color so you know we need to be looking at the reasons why kids are excluded but if you say inclusion is the primary virtue inclusion over everything else and so if those two best friends are excluding others no more best friend all right this is madness yeah this is a vice so I think that inclusion again you know it's a virtue unless it's carried to extremes well that's probably a pretty good place to stop I would say unless you have do you have anything else that you wanted to talk about we were we talked about the role of religion mm-hm and in the fact that people are naturally religious thinkers yeah we talked about the heterodox Academy we talked about your work on disgust and your plans for the Academy you talked about your books is there anything else that that might be of interest that you can think of just that I'll just say that I'm actually optimistic about what's going to have on campus I think things might continue to get worse this year but I think there's an interesting phenomenon called preference falsification when you have people not speaking honestly they as you had under communism when you have a whole system or almost everybody thinks this is terrible I hate this but I don't dare say anything when you have preference falsification that's worked by timur quran and everybody hears everybody else's preferences so they think okay that's what everybody thinks when you have an unraveling it can unravel very quickly and that's what happened the communist countries because everybody hated it and it fell amazingly quickly and i think the you know the the push back at read last week or there was really last week so i think because most people we're starting to see is that a lot of people of color also is they you know you're not speaking for me i mean every group is diverse and so when you have a variety of people and you have progressive speaking you have a variety of people i think we're going to see more and more people standing up saying wait what's happening is this is not right this is illiberal this is opposed to the values of the academy this is not what I want for myself or my kids or my students so I do think that we're gonna start seeing a lot more people standing up and one of our goals at Hydrox Academy is to just help put out the ideas that people need and this is what you're doing to just put out the ideas critique the bad ideas and put out concepts in that that can contest in this space of ideas get good information so if people go to Hydrox academy org on our research pages we have all the information that what about the polls say what's the current information about about students attitudes we have the history of this we have a lot of research on who is more biased left or right well turns out both sides are about equally biased so we think that by just doing what we actually do well as academics that is research making arguments in common civil we actually think that we can turn this around so if anybody watching this is a professor I would invite you to join go to head rocks okay so let me ask you one more question I mean I'm that that sounds good and I'm it's good to hear that you're optimistic I mean I waver although I wouldn't say I'm pessimistic I just think we're in one of those situations where things could spiral in either direction very rapidly and that worries me what about the disciplines on campus that seem to be primarily devoted to the activist cause like because my view is or my fear is that we've subsidized the activist disciplines let's say women's studies as a good example but we could say social work and then the faculties of Education now as well I think they're in the same in the same bin let's let's let's put it that way the Women's Studies programs in particular their their Express goal expressed on their websites is to produce social justice radical left-leaning activists and so like for a while one of the things I proposed in Canada was that the Conservatives in particular cut the university funding by 25 percent so that the universities would have to sort themselves out but then that was that was a provocative claim obviously but then I thought well that's not a good idea because it opens up the door to political interference in the Academy and that's bad that's that's right but the Academy has done a very bad job of policing itself methodologically and we have these disciplines Women's Studies I think is a prime example and that's been very much criticized in Canada by Janice via menko who used to be yeah yeah she is and she's she's not in a natural milieu when she's doing such things you know she's a brave and tough person and she's gone after the women studies types on methodological grounds particularly but but there are people who are working full-time at doing nothing but producing the kind of poll so what do you have any thoughts about yes I do I think so here I teach in the business school here and I teach a course called Professional Responsibility and I teach my students about their fiduciary duties their duties to their employers the duties that we have to each other and fiduciary duty refers to a very very high standard of care if you're managing someone's money you know you you really have to be committed to doing what's in their interest not in your interest and I think we need that concept in the Academy we have I'm not sure if recall fiduciary duties or just professional duties but I think we have two primary professional duties that we must never never betray one the most important one in our role as scholars is our duty to the truth we must never say things that we think are false or allow people to say things that we think are false because we're afraid if we challenge them we'll get in trouble so we have a fiduciary due to the truth and political ideological commitments clearly warp us they make us do things they make they push us so we've got a whole we've got to recognize that if we let our systems get out of whack we are betraying the truth we're systemically what you want to do we ever at systemic truth is in problem we are systemically betraying the truth in many of our disciplines so I think we need an awareness of that and we need to hold herself to a higher standard then in our role as teachers we have and here we really can call it a fiduciary duty these are people's children who are sent to us to educate to enlarge their minds to teach them skills if we were to use them for our sexual pleasure it's obviously a horrific crime but what is it if we use them for our ideological purposes if we say you've given your children to educate I'm waging a political battle I'm gonna try to get use this as tools tools that is horrific that is unacceptable we are violating our duties so I think right but the the response to that especially from the postmodernist types is that that's all there is there's only ideological aspect so back to you regional question are their problem departments absolutely so I wanted to put forth these two commitments to truth and to educating not indoctrinating yeah and universities that embrace these highest goals like the University of Chicago I think is the best candidate will probably find that they need to do something about departments they don't live up to those goals other universities and I think Brown is leading the way on this one so far I mean the early 2015 the president at all kinds of statements about Brown is committed to social justice a fundamental bedrock commitment of social justice she said so if some universities choose to devote themselves to social justice that's fine just be upfront about it say so so students will know if you want social justice training you go to brown but if you want to actually be trained to find the truth to do research you go to Chicago and I think we're gonna see people flooding to Chicago and schools like it so what I'm hoping what I'm hoping so that's the mechanism there if they if they make it if they make their statements public that the choice of the students will be to go to the universities that hold the principles that you just described over the other one so it'll be a marketplace choice exactly that's right so that's why I said when I talk about the Emperor's New Clothes we have a situation we have a gigantic market failure in which our top universities are offering the product that most consumers don't want and so my prediction is that Chicago is going to see a huge surge of applications this year and if that's true I think other universities are going they're gonna take notice so I'm hoping that we'll see a schism in the American Academy between those universities that stand up and say this is madness we are committed to providing a platform we don't discriminate based on viewpoint politics that's the Chicago Way and those that say no we're about social justice come here and we will train you to fight for social justice and against the right so if people have clear choices then I think we're gonna see a big change and that's why I'm optimistic cuz I think we're gonna see that all right well thank you very much it was great talking with you

Campus Indoctrination: The Parasitization of Myth

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I was recently invited to the University of Wisconsin in Madison and gave this talk there. I was invited by the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy ( and would like to thank them for that. In this talk, I tried to marry my objections to ideology (particularly the radical leftist ideology that is currently dominant in the humanities and, to a lesser degree, the social sciences) and to explain how ideologies parasitize the cognitive structures and symbolic language that characterize truly archetypal and complete world representation.

Co-Director of the Center: Dr. Richard Avramenko


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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos:
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hello hello can I have everybody's attention please we're gonna be starting soon all right so first of all thank everybody for coming I really appreciate seeing all of your faces here makes me happy and it's kind of a sign that we're in the process of reclaiming sanity on our campus that you guys all showed up to this so thank you thank you I'm just gonna lay some quick ground rules for the event so first of all I want to thank Center first out study a liberal democracy Leadership Institute and undergrad political theory Association for all their support after this I'm going to give the mic over to Professor over menko and he's gonna announce dr. Peterson Photography is allowed but no flash photography please no signs are allowed besides a regular sheet of paper Petersen is going to speak until 8 p.m. after which we will have a short Q&A until 8:30 and everybody's going to line up on this side I will be holding the microphone actually we might not be able to use microphone since we only have one okay we should have a microphone for questions starting at 8:00 I'll have you all line up down here and we will be over at about 8:30 and after the Q&A event you guys are all free to leave so thank you very much here's professor Albert Mako [Applause] well good evening and welcome to our talk today which is called political indoctrination on campus I am Richard Avram Iancu associate professor of political science and co-director with John Sharples the English mental gentleman right here from the history department we are the co-directors of the Center for the study of liberal democracy the center along with the young Americans for Liberty and the undergraduate political theory Association organized this lecture today if you'd like to be in the loop regarding other events you can look us up on the intertubes and like I said our talk today is called political indoctrination on campus and I'm grateful to welcome John a dr. Jordan Peterson as our speaker this evening dr. Peterson is professor of psychology and clinical psychologist from Toronto Canada he cut his teeth as a professor of psychology at Harvard University and now is a professor at the University of Toronto where hopefully he enjoys the full protection of a robust tenure tenure policy he's the author of two books maps of meaning which is on my nightstand right now and 12 rules for life an antidote to chaos dr. Peterson is also the author or co-author of over a hundred scientific articles on issues such as alcoholism aggression and the neurology of political consciousness as I understand the titles because I didn't read 100 articles in 2013 dr. Peterson began recording his lectures personality and its transformations maps meaning the architecture a belief and uploading them to YouTube which have been very popular I will admit publicly that I listened to many of his podcast this past summer while on long training runs they don't do much for pace but they keep you going for a long time dr. Peterson made something of a public splash in 2016 when he made a couple of YouTube videos criticizing Canada's bill c16 which adds gender expression and identity as a protected class under the Canadian Human Rights Act dr. Peterson argued that a person could be prosecuted for refusing to use preferred pronouns a similar law has recently been passed in California which of course raises the issue of forced speech and the First Amendment after these videos dr. Peterson acquired some notoriety his YouTube channel has gathered more four hundred and fifty thousand subscribers and his videos have received more than twenty five million views as of October 2017 his classroom lectures on mythology were turned into a wildly popular thirteen part TV series on TV Ontario dr. Peterson also has a biblical lecture series on Tuesday evenings which are almost always sold out and if any reason to move back to Toronto for me that would be one of them finally I learned that like me dr. Peterson hails from Alberta I assume he's a right thinking man and Dustin Edmonton Oilers fan ladies and gentlemen dr. Peterson [Applause] thank you very much for inviting me can you hear me at the back yeah it's good all right well we might as well get right into this so I want to go as deeply underneath the problem as I can possibly manage tonight so I'm going to marry some of my ideas about what you might describe is the grammatical structure of belief with some more overtly political analysis concentrating on what actually what constitutes ideology because one of the things that I've been trying to figure out and I guess this is part of my attempt to wrestle with some of the actual problems that the post modernists opposed because I don't mean as people or as thinkers I mean conceptually because you always have to give the devil his due so to speak and there are elements of postmodern thought like the idea that there's an infinite number of interpretations for any finite set of facts that actually happened to be true and there aren't they're quite problematic and it's it's for good reasons as well as bad reasons that post-modernism has become such a dominant strain of thought and so it's necessary to take it seriously and I've been trying to one of the things I've been trying to figure out is is there a reasonable way of distinguishing philosophy from an ideologies and the Pope the post modernist answer to that is basically know that it's ideology all the way down like the turtles all the way down you never escaped from the from the grip of your of your viewpoint in some sense and and there's some truth in that but there's not enough truth that's the thing and one of the hallmarks I would say of both post-postmodern an ideological thinking is the proclivity to reduce very complex phenomena to single causes but anyways so we're going to we're going to go underneath things as far as we possibly can so the first thing that I'd like to point out is or like to discuss is the actual problem that were that we're all trying to solve in some sense including the ideologues who claim to have the let's say interests of either the working class or there were or the oppressed uppermost in their in their imagination in their heart or in their intellectual concerns and there's absolutely no doubt that there is oppression and and that there's no shortage of suffering in the world and I do think that's not only the fundamental the fundamental reality of the world and and this is an existential theme and it was developed at least to some degree by Martin Heidegger and Heidegger had a concept that he called throne Ness which is an interesting an interesting idea and throne Ness is is a brief description of the arbitrary nature of human being or even of being itself and the arbitrary nature it can be his the word he used for that which is a German word can be translated in other ways it can be translated as abandon or dereliction or dejection which obviously are much harsher words than mere throne this throne this is more of a detached term but what it means is that it's a characteristic of human conscious experience to be underpinned by arbitrary realities that have nothing to do in some sense with your choice as a being and so some of the elements of being thrown are that you're born at a certain time rather than a different time that seems like it's an irrational fact that's how young would describe it Carl Jung as it's an irrational fact because there's no real way of accounting for it from from a causal perspective not not subjectively speaking and you're born a certain race and you're born with a certain level of intelligence let's say although that can be impaired certainly with enough effort and you're born in a certain culture with a certain language and at a certain socio-economic in a certain socio-economic class and with a certain degree of attractiveness and those are things that are all handed to you in some sense they they make up the in some sense they make up the axiomatic structure of your being and some of the more advantageous and others are disadvantageous and you're stuck with them and that really is a problem partly because life in and of itself is a problem and a problem of suffering but also because it seems quite evident that well or at least that you could make a strong case that the the talents and catastrophes of life are by no means equally distributed and so in some sense there seems to be an intrinsic we might regard it from the perspective of the standards of human justice and perhaps human mercy as well as something intrinsically unfair unjust about the structure of existence itself now I like the exact existentialist take on that because what the existentialists do is attribute that inequality and injustice and say unfairness to the structure of being itself and pose that as the central problem of life and I find that very realistic I like this painting by Van Gogh I think it does a very good job of expressing that you know he's an old man and he's obviously sorrowful and and you know he's not rich as you can tell by his shoes and like it's rough and and he's a nexus of oppression and perhaps Oh a nexus of oppression in that he may have served as an oppressor but also someone who's suffering and oppressed as a consequence of the conditions of his life and so then the question might be well why is life like that and that's where and what might be done about it and that's where the differences really start to arise so we can start from the perspective of the fact that life presents a universal problem to those of us who are alive and conscious now there are various what would you call the Metta theories that account for the existence of this suffering my interpretation of the story of Genesis essentially which in some sense describes the introduction of suffering into the world is that what what seems to happen in the story of Genesis is that human beings originally emerge is a mythological rep so it's a deep fictional representation that's one way of thinking about it keeping in mind as you might that fiction can be more true than truth which is partly why we're so attracted to it because fiction distills truth and presents it in a much more concentrated form than than a mere description of everyday reality and in the Genesis story there's a there seems to be an association between the development of vision and self-consciousness and the awareness of death and the awareness of good and evil those things happen pretty much at exactly the same time and the consequence of that awareness of or that self-consciousness is a dawning awareness of vulnerability you remember in the story of Genesis when Adam and Eve opened their eyes or have their eyes opened as a consequence of falling prey to temptation the scales fall from their eyes and they realize that they're naked and then they immediately cover themselves up and of course the question is what does it mean to realize that you're naked and there's a variety of complex quest answers to that one is that well if you're naked a common nightmare is to be naked in front of a crowd and the reason that that's a nightmare is because well people don't like to have their full vulnerability exposed to the judgmental eye of the crowd and for good reason like everybody has what would you say it may be an inbuilt sense of shame about their fundamental inadequacy in relationship to the difficulties of life and so the story of Genesis which i think is a foundational story well I don't think it's a foundational story it's obviously a foundational story foundation story of Western culture suggest that it's mankind's knowledge of its own nature that leads to not only to suffering but to work you know because once you realize that you're vulnerable and that that vulnerability never really goes away you always have to prepare for the future because even if you solve the problems that are right in front of you this moment that doesn't mean that you've solved the plethora of problems that are likely to pop up for you tomorrow and next week and next month and next year and and that in some sense are beyond your ability to finally solve so but there's a different viewpoint I think that comes of the Marxist perspective and I'm going to talk to you about Marxism and post-modernism both of which I regard as variant strands of the same ideology and as I said I'll define why I think they're ideological and the the the thing that strikes me so clearly about the Marxist perspective is that the finger is always pointed at inadequate social order as the root cause of suffering and that just seems to me to be I don't know it's it's so naive that it's difficult to understand why people can possibly fall for it maybe it's partly because there's some hope embedded in it right there's an idea that well suffering might be transcended if we could just organize our societies properly but it seems to be number one that that's highly unlikely and number two as Dostoevsky pointed out even if we did organize our societies so that no one had anything to worry about from a material perspective so everyone let's say had enough bread and shelter that were the kind of insane creatures that would blow that apart and fragment that sort of static utopian perfection just so something strange and interesting might happen and I think that's a really that's a really devastating critique and you know no Dostoevsky formulated that back in the late 1800s he had thought through the consequences of communist utopia before it even manifested itself as a political force and I think put his finger on exactly at least one of its primary weaknesses so you know if we were delivered from suffering it's not necessarily clear that we would be happy about that because one of the things that does characterize human beings is this intense desire for experience that transcends the normative you know and people will go out and look for difficult things to do just for the sake of doing difficult things they climb mountains and they engage in extreme sports and they put their lives in danger and there's no technical reason for that and it doesn't seem like a very intelligent thing to do from the pure perspective of self-preservation but we're certainly capable of it and the problem the Marxists seem to lay the reason for suffering at the foot of inadequate social structure and but they go farther than that they also describe the social structure as it exists and this is where the idea the patriarchy is derived as far as I'm concerned as something that is necessarily an upper class or an oppressive class against the oppressed class and what the people who fit in those different categories can vary with classic Marxism it was the rich against the poor or the poor against the rich right the burrs was C against the proletariat and that's been transformed I would say by the post modernists using a fairly self-evident sleight of hand into identity politics where the oppressed oppressor narrative just takes different forms according to the identity that happens to be plugged into the same mediational structure and what seems to happen as a consequence of that and I mean there's pretty good data about this with regards to the genesis of intense intergroup conflict one of the things that predicts intense intergroup conflict like the conflict in Rwanda and certainly also happened in Nazi Germany is that genocide all activities are often marketed as pre-emptive strikes against an oppressor class right and so that would have been the Jews in Germany and in in Rwanda the same narrative emerged it's very common to to dichotomize this society as oppressor and oppressed and then for the oppressed to rise up and take out the so called oppressors even before anything of any of any particular violence occurs because of this enhanced sense of victimization and the moral high ground that it seems to provide the logic being something like if we're being oppressed and we have every right to to defend ourselves so to speak even against threats that are only in some way imaginary now I don't want to get to cut-and-dried about that because you know it certainly is the case that there isn't a political or economic system in the entire world that lacks corruption and so the idea that this the social structure is in part corrupt enough so that everyone who is embodied in that social structure doesn't necessarily have an equal chance to manifest their gifts say and rise to the top is certainly true because human beings are completely incapable of producing perfect social structures for a variety of reasons our own blindness the fact that we inherit structures that we don't really understand that are all demented and bent in one way or another and so there's always an element of truth to critical claims that if we just got our act together better from a social perspective that everything would be more fair and just but to say that is not to simultaneously justify the claim that all the reasons that human beings are suffering and that life is unfair and unjust is because the social structure is corrupt and oppressive right you got to think in multivariate terms if you have any degree of intelligence at all and for any complex phenomena there's generally a multitude of causes and they are not easy to differentiate I mean that's partly what social scientists is do is to take a look at a complex outcome suffering certainly being one of those and to look at the potential contributors of multitude of factors now it's very difficult because those factors are not easy to categorize and they overlap and so on and so forth but you have to be pretty what would you say motivated and stupid I would say both at the same time to use a univariate hypothesis to to talk to to account for a complex phenomena I don't care what the phenomena is and so that's another hallmark of ideological thinking is that the causal story collapses into a single dimension you see that often in psychopathology 2 where you know people who get obsessive about something can't shake like a particular idea that possesses them paranoid people are like that and people who have eating disorders especially anorexia are like that is their entire value structure collapses into the dimension of thin equals beautiful and good and it's very rigid and black and white and it does them absolutely no good so now some of the problems with with the Marxist perspective seems to be that victimhood the sense of enhanced victimhood tends to produce an intense sense of resentment and that's a very bad idea because resentment is a very toxic and violent emotion it's also very grateful which is one of the things I would really say about especially the radical left student types especially at Ivy League universities I mean it's really quite a spectacle to see people at places like Yale come out and agitate as a consequence of the realization of their own oppression when by any reasonable standard current or historical they're probably in the top 1/100 of a percent perhaps better than that of all the people who have ever lived anywhere ever and so it really it's really it's really quite staggering to me that the top point zero zero one percent can express their resentment about the top point zero zero zero one percent in such strident terms without noticing that exactly the same claims of privilege apply to them by as long as all you have to do is transform the the bin in which you're doing the the privilege comparisons and that becomes immediately self-evident and you know the fact that as Americans let's say us North Americans since I'm a Canadian that we're staggeringly privileged compared to the rest of the world is certainly a consequence of the of what you might describe is the arbitrariness of our political borders and so but to forget that when you're claiming a particular brand of oppression for yourself seems to me to be very ungrateful at the least and certainly motivated let's say politically because I think it justifies your expression of hatred for those that tiny fraction of people who are still better off than you and also a degree of historical ignorance that's absolutely staggering in its magnitude and a complete indictment of our education system which should be indicted in every possible way so now the Marxists might claim to their benefit let's say with this worldview of class struggle as being the primary driver of human history and the well-off socioeconomically because that's pretty much the only way they defined well-off which is also something I take great objection to because there's lots of hierarchies in the world and there are many important hierarchies and not all of can be reduced to socioeconomic status by any stretch of the imagination imagine if you were 80 years old and you had 20 million dollars you know you might be perfectly happy to get rid of all that money if you could be 18 again so it's and you know one of the best predictors of wealth in North America is actually age because you know young people haven't actually had much time to make money whereas old people have had quite a bit of time but the problem with being old and rich is that you're still old and that actually turns out to be quite a serious problem because no matter how rich you are you eventually die and so the money is the money has very delimited if delimited effect with regards to addressing the fundamental problems of the suffering of life and we know perfectly well from the empirical perspective that once you have enough money so that the bill collectors aren't chasing you around essentially something like the beginnings of a middle-class existence or maybe the upper end of the working class then additional money has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on your psychological well-being and that's actually an indication of the limitations of material comfort let's say as a medication for the for the suffering that's attendant on life it's another thing that's very weak about the Marxists and I think very interestingly contradictory because they're very anti capital in their structure but they're so damn materialistic that it's absolutely mind-boggling because the Marxists are actually more convinced that money is useful than most capitalists as far as I can tell because they believe that that money is in fact the solution to all life's problems the problem is is that just the right people don't have the money and I think that's a staggeringly naive perspective because there's many there's many problems in life that money just cannot solve and there's a fair number of them in that it actually makes worse so anyways having said all that you could also still make the case I used to work for a socialist party in Canada when I was a kid about six about time I was 14 till the time I was about 17 before I figured out what was wrong not so much with socialism per se but with ideology per se and I actually admired that the socialist leaders that I had the fortune to be introduced to because at that point they were very much voice for the working class a lot of union leaders and people like that you know so they're classic democratic socialists on the labor end of the distribution it's absolutely necessary for labor and the working class to have a political voice something the Democrats might keep in mind so and maybe they wouldn't lose their elections quite so frequently no I really think it's appalling you know because it's necessary for the working class to have a political voice so and to have that transformed into identity politics is a real catastrophe anyways I think that the people that I met many of them were genuinely concerned with the problems of the working-class and you know more power to them and so I think there are people on the Left who who genuinely are trying to make a difference for people who could use a fair shot at opportunity in life but at the same time I noticed that a tremendous number of the people especially the lower end worker party worker protestor types were more peevish and resentful than good-hearted and kind and it was about that time that I came across George Orwell's famous critique of left-wing thinking and in the UK when in a book called road to Wigan pier where he basically made the claim that the Socialists that he knew especially the middle class ones didn't give a damn about the poor they just hated the rich and that's I mean that is something we're thinking about for a very long period of time because hatred actually turns out to be a very powerful motivation you know and and if you think about the sorts of things that happened in the Soviet Union and all these places that were supposed to be workers paradises if you look at the outcome and you had to infer whether it was goodness of heart and kindheartedness and care for the working man that produced the genocides or outright bitter resentful resentment and hatred it's a lot easier to draw a causal path from the negative emotion to the outcome than from the positive kind-hearted benevolence to thou you just don't get goo lags out of benevolence that's just not how it works so I think the bloody historical evidence is clear although I have read the most convoluted pathological pathetic twisted rationalizations of what happen stay installing this Russia that you could possibly manufacture it's as if a stack of corpses that would reach halfway to the moon isn't enough evidence for the pathology of a certain form of belief so well some people can't be convinced by anyone's death but their own I suppose so so you know now I want to talk about post-modernism a little bit what seems to me that's much Michelle Foucault in the middle and a more reprehensible individual you could hardly ever discover or even dream up no matter how twisted your imagination and Foucault and Derrida I would say there's more but I would say they're the two architects of the of the of the post modernist movement and in brief I think what they did was in the late 60s and early 70s they were avowed Marxist some way way after anyone with any shred of ethical decency had stopped being a Marxist by that time even jean-paul Sartre had woken up enough to figure out that the Soviets hadn't assured in the kingdom of heaven you know he had evidence stretching back 45 years that he could have attended to if he would have been willing to open his eyes talk about bad faith which was his critical critique essentially is something quite staggering the post modernists knew that they were pretty much done with regards to pushing their classic Marxism by the late 60s in the early 70s because the evidence that stellen is Russia not only Stellina certainly Lenin was no no saint by any stretch of the imagination that the killing certainly got underway while he was still alive and and continued after Stalin was dead as well although perhaps with not the same degree of brutality and efficiency and then there is of course Maoist China where the estimates you know nobody knows how many people died under Mao but the estimates are run as high as a hundred million people which actually turns out to be quite a few people and the fact that we can't keep count accurately you know without an error margin of something in the tens of millions just tells you exactly how horrible the situation was they transformed the Marxist dialogue of rich versus poor into oppressed versus oppressor and Foucault in particular who never fit in anywhere and who was an outcast in many ways and a bitter one in a suicidal one his entire life did everything he possibly could with his staggering IQ to figure out every treacherous way possible to undermine the structure that wouldn't accept him in all his peculiarities and it's no wonder because there would be no way of making a structure that could possibly function if it was composed of people who were is peculiar bitter and resentful as Michele Foucault so you couldn't imagine this functioning society that would be composed of individuals with his particular makeup in any case he did put his brain to work trying to figure out a how to resurrect Marxism under a new guys let's say and B how to justify the fact that it wasn't his problem that he was an outsider it was actually everyone else's problem and he did a pretty damn good job of that and laid the groundwork for this for the what would you call it the rise of the marginalized against the center and Derrida's thinking is very much the same you know Derek even though Foucault and Derrida hated each other and and regarded each other as intellectual charlatans which was about the only thing either of them was ever really correct about so Derrida was also and Derrida in some ways is even a more treacherous thinker because he makes the claim in some sense that like a political system has a center around which the majority congregate let's say it's it's it's quite similar to two fuko's analysis and that there are there are people who are outside the category system and then which is obviously true because no matter how you categorize people there are certain people inside the category and certain people outside that's actually why you categorize things right because of every category holds every entity then every every cognitive operation is infinitely complex you can't manage that way to categorize you have to include and exclude in the very nature of categorization and you can't just scrap categorization because without simplification and categorization you actually can't function in the world you just died right you die of excess stress it's something like something like that happens to schizophrenic people because their category systems break down they're completely incapable of functioning in the world as a consequence of that anyways then fluke you know Derrida went and Foucault as well went a step farther and this is one of the incredibly crooked elements of their thinking I think another sleight of hand which was well category systems exclude political systems exclude economic systems exclude any hierarchy of value excludes obviously because if there was a hierarchy of value some things are more valuable than others and the less valuable things are excluded because otherwise it wouldn't be a hierarchy of value but the the next claim they essentially make is that the reason that those hierarchies of value are constructed isn't to produce whatever it is that's of value but to exclude and to maintain the structure of power that's intrinsic to the hierarchy of value and that's a that's an unbelievably crooked claim because there are multiple reasons why a hierarchy value might be put into place their hierarchies of beauty and there's hierarchies of competence hierarchies of intelligence and and attractiveness and and athletic ability and musical talent there's multiple hierarchies and in order for those things to exist at a high order in order for us to to to do laud what would you say musical genius we have to excuse all the people we have to exclude all the people who can only squawk their clarinet from the hierarchy because otherwise you don't have any music and there's no up and there's no direction and so to claim that the purpose of the hierarchy is to exclude is unbelievably crooked and it's a central claim for both for both Foucault and and Derrida it's one of those slights of hands that people don't quite notice but that have absolutely catastrophic effects now for Foucault and Derrida they you could here's how you could imagine their world essentially you know for the for the philosopher hobbes life was nasty brutish and short and people were at each other's throats in the state of nature right but hobbes really thought about that as a has the chaos of individuals and he believed that a central authority had to exert force in order to organize that intrinsic chaos so that some degree of peace could reign it's kind of the opposite of jean-jacques Rousseau's theory which was that human beings were intrinsically good and and the state the the government was intrinsically bad and that all of what made people evil derived from the state I would say if you put Hobbes and Rousseau together you actually get the truth even though they do seem to be coming at it from opposite perspectives because people are actually good and evil and social structures are also good and evil and you know it's paradoxical and we don't like paradoxical categories but that's still how it is what what Foucault and Derrida and the post modernists did was that they kind of added a collective element to that so they're Hobbesian world isn't a world of individuals struggling against one another in the initial state of warlike nature it's it's groups of individuals bound by whatever their identity happens to be struggling against each each other for power because in the postmodern neo-marxist universe there's nothing but power and there's a variety of reasons for that partly it's because the post modernists don't admit that there are any standards outside of arbitrary opinion essentially they don't really believe in the real world which is why they can generate critiques of science for example which is increasingly characterized as nothing but part of the Eurocentric patriarchy's what would you call desire to impose their power structure on the rest of the world despite the fact that it also makes planes fly and computers operate and well you know yeah exactly so and it's a rare bloody social justice warrior that doesn't have a an iPhone or a Android that wouldn't work if quantum mechanics wasn't actually correct because the fact that quantum mechanics is correct is one of the reasons why these unbelievably highly developed pieces of technology actually functions so they bitch and whine about the patriarchal patriarchal underpinnings of Eurocentric science and use the gadgets all the time to Agra to complain about it so it's really pretty appalling so anyways anyways the worldview of the of the postmodern neo-marxists is that everybody is basically not an individual because that's really a fiction and it's a Eurocentric patriarchal fiction at that but a member of whatever their identity group happens to be and there's no real possibility of communication between identity groups hence phenomenon like cultural appropriation and so it's a war of all groups against all groups and it's all it's nothing but a struggle for power and there's no higher order ethic to be referred to because for the post modernists there is no such thing as a higher order ethic there's no such thing as a uniting narrative that's that's a hallmark of their thinking now of course that doesn't work out in practice because without an ethic or a higher-order value there isn't anything you can do with your life because you keep undermining yourself if everything's just a whim and subjective there's and there's no hierarchy of values then what the hell do you do when you get up in the morning if one thing isn't better than the other you might as well just lay there and smother yourself with a pillow would be a lot easier than opening your eyes and struggling in the world so so it's completely it's a self-defeating philosophy and I think that's part of the reason why it's more or less self-evident that it's a mask for the continuation of Marxism because at least Marxism has as one of its advantages a direction it's an ethic right you have something to struggle against even though what you're struggling against is certainly one of the things that you actually rely on and second something that you have to oversimplify in a very ungrateful and resentful way to justify fighting against it to begin with and that's especially true in Western cultures because as pathological as they certainly are which is approximately as pathological as all of you are there are a lot less pathological than almost everything that's ever happened and pretty much everything that's currently happening elsewhere in the world and you can kind of tell that by the fact that people tend to cut to emigrate to the West rather than the reverse now you know the postmodern neo-marxists would have an answer to that which would be the only reason the West functions is because it's raped the rest of the humanity and the planet but you know the less said about that the better and Marx was wrong about this too the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains that actually wasn't true they lost their food they yeah yeah you might see that happening again in Venezuela where they where they're having a hard time the middle class are having a hard time getting toilet paper which is a lot less funny than it sounds they lost their families that's good they lost their land they lost their freedom they lost they lost their right to exist without pain they lost the right to honestly suffer and talk about it which is a terrible thing to learn lose and then they lost their lives so that was wrong and he can smile all he want about it but it wasn't very cute this is nice I saw this on Twitter today when Karl Marx died in 1883 the average Englishman was three times richer that he was when what Marx was born in 1818 that's world GDP per person in 1919 90 international dollars and you see that there's an unbelievable spike that happened at about 1895 which was let's let's put it this way it was precisely and exactly the opposite of what the Marxists predicted but you know when your predictions fail and you're an ideologue you just gerrymander the axioms of your theory because otherwise you'd have to drop the damn thing and then you're plunged into a state of existential chaos which is no joke and you have to reformulate yourself so you know you don't want to underestimate the difficulty of doing that but but it's still relatively amusing especially when you consider that that unbelievable increase in gross domestic product per person actually happened despite the best efforts of the Marxists to prevent it from happening and so god only knows we where we would be if 120 million people weren't sacrificed painfully and pointlessly in the 20th century to this idiot god of socialist utopia was turned out to be murderous beyond comprehension post-modernism an attitude of skepticism irony toward a skepticism towards everything but post-modernism I might add irony toward rejection of grand narratives that's a lot bigger a problem than you think because actually the things that unite people are grand narratives you know a narrative is a– as a cognitive structure that Orient's you towards an ideal that's what a narrative is you know if you go see a movie which is a narrative the hero is up to something first of all there's a hero because why the hell go to the movie otherwise you don't want to watch a bunch of people bumble around randomly there's no you're not interested in that at all you want to see someone who has a problem to solve and who who's applying an ethic to the solution of that problem can be a bad ethic that would be an antihero right could be a pathological ethic that's a good object lesson anyways but it's certainly an ethic and so it's grand narratives that unite people and when the post modernists becomes skeptical about the grand narratives what that essentially means is that they're demolishing the the hyper truths I would say the fictions the the the true fictions that unite us as people and stop us from being at each other's throats enable us to compete and to cooperate in a peaceful and productive manner at least some of the time which is a miracle in and of itself and should be regarded as such right I mean we're so blind in the West to the miraculous nature of our culture that it's well it's a consequence of being privileged let's say although I hate that word we could call it fortunate know when I and Hirsi Ali came to Holland one of the things that's really struck me when I read her book infidel she was very taken aback by the fact that you could stop by a bus a bus stop and there'd be a little digital display there that said when the bus was coming and when it but the digital display said the bus was coming then the bus would show up and she just couldn't accustom herself to that it was like an existential produced existential terror and it's no wonder because you just think about how bloody impossible that is that's impossible I mean the Dutch could manage it because they managed you know a dozen impossible things before breakfast they live underwater for God's sake so but you know she was also absolutely amazed that you could go ask policeman for help and they wouldn't just hurt you and take all your money and that is also another form of miracle the kind of thing that we just take for granted skepticism towards ideologies and universalism well we can scrap the ideology part including objective notions of Reason human nature social progress absolute truth and objective reality and it's an unbelievably corrosive it's an unbelievably corrosive system of thought because first of all it defines hierarchy as power and that's actually technically wrong even Friends de Waal who's been studying chimpanzee hierarchies has established quite clearly that the most brutal and powerful alpha chimp is not the one who establishes the most stable dominance harkey's let's call them social hierarchies because the brutal tyrant chimp gets torn apart by to subordinate chimps 3/4 as strong as him as soon as he turns a blind eye the more stable hierarchies even among chimps are ones that are that are governed by someone you know when a chimp that's got some physical power and some capacity for intimidation but who's perfectly capable of establishing reciprocal relationships with other male and female chimps so that he's got friends and allies around him it stabilizes as a rule so to speak so the idea that hierarchies in functioning societies are primarily a consequence of power is cynical beyond belief apart from being wrong so and it also destroys the idea of a hierarchy of competence which I really think is one of the reasons for the theory to begin with because we know even from the empirical data that in Western societies the best two predictors of long term life success our intelligence and conscientiousness and they do a pretty good job of predicting long term life success accounting for about 25 to 30 percent of the variance which is a lot by social science standards and it's kind of a testament to the integrity of our societies that complex jobs tend to be filled by intelligent hard-working people and thank God for that because who the hell do you want running them you don't want to be doing that randomly most of those things are incredibly complex and difficult and so you better have disciplined people who were willing to work 60 hours a week and who were super smart governing those things or or the lights go off and they should be off right now because it's impossible to keep a power grid functioning it's not like it it's not like entropy isn't trying to tear it to bits at every second right there are thousands of people out there working madly to stop this thing from doing what it should be doing which is to fail and so competence is everywhere and it's absolute mean you think about how many competent people have to be working behind the scenes so that you can all come here you know in your leisure fundamentally and sit for two hours peacefully in lecture it's absolutely beyond belief so I think that they were after the destruction of the idea of competence itself and we're getting we're walking down that road very very rapidly as well as trying to destroy the idea of the world and that's part of the what would you call it the attempt to to insist that there's no such thing outside the text which was one of Derrida's great statements there's no such thing outside the text and what he meant by that in some sense was everything his interpretation and there is a manner in which that's true but it's not the kind of final truth that the post modernists likes like to think it is they're a little too tangled up in language so and that's not a good thing so here's where we're at with regards to the to the spread of postmodern neo-marxist ideas and these are CI being true you know how you you can identify the right wingers you don't want to hang around with because they talk about white supremacy and maybe they have a swastika it's like that's a little science and if your conservative move away from those people and most conservatives do that you know I in the aftermath of Charlottesville for example shapiro immediately distanced himself from the radical right and William Buckley did the same thing in the 1960s 1970s when he divorced himself from the John Birch Society conservatives are pretty good at putting borders around things in fact that's a good definition of a conservative I'm serious I'm serious like conservatives like to have borders around things whereas liberals think well if you have too many borders information can't flow and that's true and the conservatives say no borders chaos and the and the Liberals say too many borders stagnation and those are both right so you have to argue about how thick the border should be but anyways liberals have a hell of a time drawing borders and that means they can't separate themselves from the radical leftists who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in sustaining the genuine liberals they just use them as useful idiots to take a phrase from the Soviet Union and here are the hallmarks I think of the pathological left I think that if but someone is pushing this quarter nity on you then you should you should be very suspicious of them in every possible way and you should resist it as much as you possibly can diversity inclusivity well you don't those are those are the minor demons of the radical left let's say equity it's like no we're not going there that's equality of outcome not equality of opportunity and equality of outcome I'll tell you why in a bit is an absolutely pathological idea there's nothing about it that's good it's impossible to implement it's fundamentally motivated by resentment and it's a lie so I like the fact that those three make the acronym die though because that seems to be approximately appropriate so and then the worst of the bunch is white privilege because as far as I'm concerned there's absolutely no difference between that statement and then outright racist slur they're the same thing so and it's quite straightforward why it's not doesn't take a bloody genius to figure this out I mean what constitutes racism it's the ascription of the hypothetical qualities of a group to all the individuals who compose that group so white privilege it's like even the interest people who are interested in intersectionality you'd think would have some problem with that it's like what about all the poor white people well they're more privileged than the poor people who aren't white I suppose but but you know that's a pretty bloody weak argument in my estimation and to call it privileges so something and to associate it with race per se is also something extraordinarily interesting and we'll get into that a little bit so let's talk about diversity okay well first of all we have to define it you know when Jonathan Hyde has been trying to define it as diversity of opinion I think it might be useful to define it as diversity of personality because there's actually more variability and personality within groups of people regardless of the group's than there is between groups of people so that should be said again there's more variability within groups of people then between groups of people and to state otherwise is to state something that is in fact categorically racist because if I said well there's more difference between groups of people than within groups then I'm saying that each racial group is an entity unto itself which could be true but happens to actually not be so the diversity definition is really quite interesting and right now that's being defined by race sex or gender sexual orientation and disability although there's a very large number of other potential dimensions of of difference that could be included in the list of oppressed versus oppressor that's actually why intersectionality has emerged you know because people figured out well you know you're having a harder time if you're black let's say and you're having a harder time if you're a woman depending on how you define harder time but you're even having a harder time if you're a black woman there's an intersection there it's like okay fine well where are we gonna stop with the intersections I figured out the other day if you if each of those categories could be differentiated into a hundred subunits you know who knows how many there are with gender sex there's an infinite number of them apparently then you need six dimensions before you're down to one in the billion so six dimensions of intersectionality brings you down to the level of the individual which is the flaw in what would you call it identity politics theory manifesting itself as an internal contradiction so I think that's very funny if you push if you push intersectionality to its final frontier you break down everyone to the level of the individual which is actually what I think Western culture figured out about 4,000 years ago is that the ultimate minority is the individual and the only and the fairest Society is one where individuals are allowed to rise to the level of their ability because how what are you gonna do you're gonna covary out all their differences it's impossible it's technically impossible there's a given postmodern logic itself there's an infinite number of ways to categorize a finite number of facts so how are you going to determine which dimensions of difference are the ones that should be adjusted for the individual since there's an unlimited number of dimensions of variability intelligence height attractiveness age personality there's five dimensions of personality socioeconomic class right degree of historical oppression you know that can be seriously multiplied endlessly so what are you gonna do control for all those it's like good luck that's never going to happen and then diversity in the service of what exactly you know the idea that a group of people that's racially diverse is better at problem solving than a group of people who isn't there isn't a shred of evidence to support that idea it's a presupposition a supposition and it also brings you back to something like racial essentialism right I mean so so in every possible way logically and practically it's a non-starter and I think the diversity issue is irrelevant anyways because I think the fundamental reason that the postmodern neo-marxist push diversity is because it's another way that they can attack the power structure that they regard as patriarchal and oppressive say well it's in the service of the working class and the oppressed it's like we already covered that a little bit with regards to the Marxist claims to be working on the side of the working class when in fact what really happened was that many of them perhaps most were killed and the ones that weren't killed were certainly at least made extraordinarily miserable which maybe is even better than killing them if you're particularly malevolent today and see one of the things that's happening that's quite pathological is and very interesting is that mmm-hmm the post modernists and this is I think a direct consequence of training of activists in universities and the universities have more be ashamed of than you could list in a two-hour lecture I think someone estimated today that about 4,000 colleges and universities will go bankrupt in the u.s. in the next ten years and as far as I'm concerned the faster the better so so the Toronto District School Board announced recently that it will now give priority to the hiring of diverse staff especially in racialized backgrounds why in I don't know I suspect it's because the people who wrote the damn policy are functionally illiterate but you'd certainly think that if you looked at the intelligence of their policies and so what's that priority to the hiring of diverse staff especially in racialized backgrounds what the hell did that mean I tweeted that if you weren't gonna hire straight white sisters it's I guess this gender does the same thing but we use it just because it's such a hateful phrase if you're not going to hire straight cisgendered men as teachers why the hell do you let them into the faculties of Education to begin with you might as well just exclude them before they waste four years on your what would you call them ideologically rigid pseudo education a little nonsense equity this is something I really like there's the little happy thing equality of opportunity on the Left versus equity on the right you see the little kid gets to lift up and eat the Apple isn't that lovely but what happens really in equity is that everyone gets to have exactly the same depth of grave and they're perfectly equal when there's six feet under and if you not if you don't believe that then you can look at what happened in the Ukraine in the 1930s during the whole of Madore when the the Russians decided that with the Soviets decided that it was perfectly reasonable to ascribe class guilt to the successful farmers and wiped them out and then starved six million Ukrainians to death thus establishing a certain equality this woman she's I remind this is the Shakespeare quote one I think it's from Richard the third but I'm not exactly sure one can smile and smile and smile and still be a villain and you know she's a lovely looking old grandmotherly type of creature but that doesn't mean that everything that she did wasn't pathological beyond leaf and it was her her what would you call them second-rate pseudo-intellectual opinionated meanderings that produced the the the concept of white privilege and what she did was make a list of all the ways that she felt that she was particularly privileged in society that was her bloody methodology and that's the sort of methodology that these pseudo disciplines that have invaded the universities get away with because the rest of the faculty you're too damn timid to stand up and say the emperor has no clothes better stand up and say something about it pretty soon because you can bloody well be sure that they're coming for the physicians and the evolutionary biologists and psychologists next and they're not weak and they're well organized and so it's a very terrible thing so anyways these papers rely on personal examples because we know how methodical a rigorous that is of unearned advantage as maket but that whole methodology thing that rigorous methodology that's just another manifestation of the Eurocentric patriarchy so you don't have to be concerned about your damn methodology when you have your personal experience to rely on and so here's the privileges I can if I wish to arrange arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time if I should need to move I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford in which I would want to live I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me unless they know that I'm the author of the fundamental paper on white privilege I can go shopping alone most of the time pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed it's like well the first thing is as lot of those so-called privileges are just the consequence of living in a reasonably civilized society and apply to pretty much everyone and the second thing is is that there's no reason to associate this with race that's another one of these absolutely pathological slights of hand how about we call it majority privilege you think that's not the case for for the majority members of every society that's ever functioned that's actually being functional obviously there's a majority advantage if there wasn't a bloody majority advantage people wouldn't make societies the whole point of making a society is so that the people within this society have the advantage so now you might say well when people are being integrated into this society they should be given those advantages are provided with those advantages when they join the club so to speak as rapidly as possible and obviously that's the case but to attribute this level of civility and safety to some hypothetical construct like white privileges well it's exactly what you'd expect from people who who whose response to the idea of methodology is that that's just a social construct like everything else is theirs the class enemies from the Ukraine the kulaks right they were the farmers who were productive in the 1920s and before had me recently emerged from the peasant class they were all rounded up and shot raped and robbed and then sent to Siberia to freeze to death or to die of some infectious disease because to them guilt was attributed as a consequence of their membership of a class and I can tell you if there are people around you that are attributing guilt to you because of your membership in a class they are not your friends in fact they're the Friends of no one and they're contributing to this intense state of political polarization and racial disharmony that seems to be me to be expanding at an exponential rate it's not good I really like this juxtaposition of pictures so when the Soviets collectivized the farms in the Ukraine they take took all the grain that the Ukrainians had had had produced which wasn't very much because they had collectivized the farms and they shipped it all to the cities and then the rule was that if you were a starving Ukrainian woman who had children and you went out in the field and you picked up individual half rotten bits of grain to feed your kids that that was a that was an offense punishable by death you were supposed to turn that into the local authority so they could ship that to the city too so on the one hand you have nice picture here of the bags of grain that were heroically going into the cities and on the other hand you have a picture of the bodies that were the cost of doing precisely that so let's look at the failures of this system well UK you could list them forever the death of the kulaks that was right off the bat which is why I use it it was very very early in in the collectivization process then the Ukrainian famine which I mean I don't know how often that's taught in high schools in the United States and Canada but I would suspect never is the answer to that the rise of the gulag state because it turned out that the bloody Soviet Union couldn't function unless they enslaved everybody and made them work the death of tens of millions it's uncountable the 56 crackdown on Hungary the 68 invasion of Czechoslovakia not to mention the whole cold war that put the whole goddamn world at risk from 1962 to 1989 and that still rear is rearing its ugly head with our current dispute with North Korea which is a the last remaining let's call it GU leg-like Soviet state so there's the death counts perhaps that's a relatively conservative estimate 8 to 61 million in the Soviet Union it's quite a margin of error wouldn't you say that's the red tear the Great Purge the national operations of the NKVD later the KGB the great purge in mongolia soviet killings during world war ii the People's Republic of China land reform land reform that's how that's how you that's what you call it when you take land that grows food and turn it into land that's just full of corpses that's land reform and the suppression of counter revolutionaries the Great Leap Forward that was a good one the great proletarian Cultural Revolution Cambodia and the killing fields and then a list of other countries every single place where these pathological ideas were put into practice became what you might describe as the literal equivalent of Hell on earth so rapidly that it was a kind of miracle in and of itself and yet we still you know what is it 1 out of 5 social scientists in American universities regard themselves as Marxists it's like what the hell really really what is going on with that I don't understand that in the least you know I don't understand why that pathological ideology that's so murderous so intensely murders and so closely tied to the genocides from a causal perspective can can cannot have accreted to it the same what would you call unalterable an honorable state that Nazism has accrued to itself what's going on why why don't we see it that way I don't understand that I mean maybe it's because of the hypothetical universal utopia that the damn Soviets were aiming at maybe you could get away with that in 1895 you know or maybe after World War one when things were brutal and and the monarchies of Europe were collapsing and everything was chaotic you didn't know that your utopian ideas were gonna result in an absolute catastrophe but it's a hundred years after that now almost to the day and when the evidence is clearly in I'm a Marxist it's no you're just jealous because you don't make as much as a bloody investment banker so that's why you're a bloody Marxist if you are paid four times as much you'd be a capitalist so fast it would make your head spin I'm gonna talk for 15 more minutes because we started a little late and I do want to get through this so what's the problem well we already discussed it and I want to show you a different way of conceptualizing it this is based on some of the work that I've done on archetypes and I think of I think of archetypes as imagistic representations of the axioms of thought that's a reasonable way of or maybe of the axioms of being itself there are categories of being pain is a category of being for example suffering limitation finitude those are all categories of being and they're very realistic they're the fundamental elements of existence essentially it's a different different in some sense than a materialist viewpoint you know because the materialists make the claim and perfectly reasonable in some sense that the fundamental realities are material but they're only the fundamental realities in some sense if you define them that way not that that isn't useful and not that you can't derive objective truth that's pragmatically useful from that but the fundamental realities of life have a lot more to do with motivation and emotion especially with regards to suffering and so that is the unsolved problem of human existence and we talked about the different ways of conceptualizing that and I want to walk you quickly through some of my thinking about the root the true roots of suffering and human vulnerability and I think of this as an antidote to ideological possession I think that this is the fundamental map of religious belief and I'll walk you through it very quickly and that what happens what happens in the case of an ideology as an ideology takes a fragment of a religious belief system and expands it up into a totality and has its mode of power because it draws on these underlying religious / archetypal narratives for its power so for example you know that the idea of the future socialist utopia is very very similar to the idea of the kingdom of heaven on earth it was always you know that's a cardinal element of may of of the three Western major religions so here's a way of conceptualizing existence and each of these levels of conceptualization have their own symbolic representations and you can see these what portrayed consistently throughout the narratives that we use to guide our existence even the ones that we don't understand explicitly they come up in in in movies and in and in books and in myths and and the stories we tell each other in our dreams in our imagination constantly so they're really the categories of the imagination and so the first category and the one that's most difficult to understand I called the dragon of chaos it's sort of the outermost circle that's a good illustration of it there the dragon is a very large very common symbol worldwide and an anthropologist / biologist who I recently read called it a snake cat bird which I really liked and he thought about it as an amalgam of the of the idea of predator you know because our tree-dwelling ancestors and after that were basically preyed on burb by birds of prey by predatory cats and by snakes and so well and god only knows how much how many times fire did them in as well so a fire-breathing tree cat tree snake bird is a is a very good representation of the category of everything that's out there in the unknown that can do you in and that become elaborated over the course of time into the idea of the dragon that hoards gold or the virgins for that matter the idea being that human beings are half prey and half predator and so that we have to make a representation of that which exists beyond our comprehension that can do us in and so that's the the dragon of chaos let's say but also come to understand that confronting that voluntarily is the appropriate way to gather new information and to survive and that's really the fundamental human story the fundamental human story is to go boldly where no one has gone before and what you encounter are the terrible dragons that exist beyond your field of comprehension and if you can manage that forthrightly then you gather the kind of information and riches that enables you to develop yourself character logically and to benefit your community that's the fundamental story of mankind the fundamental positive story and that's the underpinning of the hero mythology so which is a lovely antidote to ideological presupposition so that's the outermost the other outermost reality you would say that's the unknown unknowns that donald rumsfeld referred to and nested inside that are the terrible things about life that you actually encounter that you they're not the hypothetical things that might get you there the actual things that you encounter that you don't know and some of those are positive and some of those are negative you know and that can even flip because sometimes your life is turned upside down by let's say by a rejection from someone you love should be a good example of the terrible mother that's the great mother on the outer ring but that can mature you and make you wake up as well and so the the encounter with with these with the things that transcend your what would you call it your competence are also things that can make you grow and mature so you could think of the great mother as nature and the great father as culture and the individual as the person who's enveloped by culture and by nature when you move to the fringes of your culture you encounter nature itself and that's the case let's say geographically but it's also the case conceptually right because if you're the master of a field of endeavor which is a geographical metaphor you move towards the fringes so that you can stand on the unknown encounter something that's new transform what's new into inhabitable territory and extend the dimension of human capacity and so it works on a practical geographical level of representation but also on a on a on an abstract level and so you can also think about it as a person on an island in an ocean that's a good way of thinking about the human condition except the person has two elements and the island has two elements and so does the ocean and the person's two elements are classically speaking the good and evil that wars in their heart because it isn't so self-evident exactly where your enemy is and it might be the class structure that's so pressing you but it might be the snake in your own heart and it's certainly the case that if you read people like Viktor Frankl and Alexander Solzhenitsyn just to take a start who were very perspicacious interpreters of the catastrophes of Nazism and and and the Soviet Union both of their conclusions was the fundamental problem with both of both of those systems is that the individuals within the systems allowed themselves to be corrupted by what was in their own hearts and so one of the things that's absolutely horrible I think about the Marxist and postmodernist viewpoint is that it doesn't attribute any of the pathology that's all all projected onto the social world to the individual him or herself and you might say well that's where the fundamental battle takes place and I would also say that the idea that existence is a battle between good and evil and it's the battle of the soul is a consequence of the symbolic realization of Western civilization that the evil that has to be confronted most forthrightly is actually the individual that obtains that the evil that obtains to the individual and that it's primarily an ethical issue at the individual level and that's what you take responsibility for it if you forget that you project it onto other people you take no responsibility for it and you end up thinking that you're the good guy and you probably shouldn't think that because if you thought for about 15 minutes about all the stupid things that you've done in your life you could and malevolent things as well you could figure out for yourself quite quickly that the probability that you're the saint and that everyone else is the villain is is is only an indication of precisely how villainous you are so and then with regards to the social structure well obviously it's pathological and tyrannical and corrupt and deceitful you know it's it's partly a structure of the Dead and people are corrupt to some degree and willfully blind and so that's an archetypal truth that's part of the thoroughness that we discussed earlier you have this infrastructure that surrounds you both physical and conceptual and you're its beneficiary and its victim it's partly pathological and corrupt it's always been that way and you're damn lucky that it isn't just purely corrupt because that's frequently the case and so what your job is not to whine about the fact that it's corrupt that's self-evident your job is to straighten yourself up enough so that you can straighten up the culture and that's the old motif of rescuing your father from the belly of the whale let's say which is part of the necessary process by which people become fully developed individuals what you're supposed to be doing in university and the humanities you don't just study the great ideas of Western culture you just you you study the pathology of history and know that it's about you and then maybe you try to culture yourself and discipline yourself to the point where you have enough of an internal ethic so that when you take your place in the patriarchy for lack of a better word you're going to be a force for good rather than a force for evil and then maybe the damn thing tilts a bit towards the good instead of the catastrophe and then maybe you've done something that's worthwhile and then nature well you know if you it's very easy to romanticize nature especially if you're a city dweller who's never had to you know wander out in the northern woods in the middle of the summer and get eaten by black flies and mosquitoes starving to death while trying to track down an animal it's very easy to romanticize nature of course cancer and other diseases tend to disabuse you of the pure beauty of nature and nature is a very very destructive force it's it's against us all the time as well as for us and another thing that's really not well balanced in our society is the anteye humanism that's become part and parcel of radical discussions everywhere human beings are regarded as a cancer on the planet to to quote the what was that the Club of Rome worrying about the population explosion and we're all guilty because we're destroying things as fast as we can possibly manage it's like Jesus everything around us is always trying to kill us most of the time we're just trying to stay alive I mean we're not perfect we're corrupt and so our social structures and people get greedy and careless but it's not like nature's all shining wonderful young lady waiting in the wilderness to embrace us positively it's the old hag that's going to kill you every possible way and you need to defend yourself against that and you know human beings have only been in a position since 1960 since we ever had any conceptualization of our potential to change the planet on a planetary scale it's been like four generations you know back in the 1890s Thomas Huxley was commissioned by the English Parliament to to investigate the carrying capacity of the oceans and his he was a great biologist his report was that there are so damn many fish in the ocean that every human being could fish every day for the rest of his life and catch everything he possibly could and we wouldn't put a dent in it and that's how you know that's only a hundred and twenty years ago we only woke up to the fact that we became a planetary force and in 1960 it's like what the hell do you expect from people you know we're trying to get our ourselves together as fast as we can and might be decent of us to stop with the anti human rhetoric which is only going to lead to a bad end you know if human beings are nothing but a cancer on the planet then it's the bloody hero who obliterates them isn't it because it's the hero who gets rid of cancer and then people watch the school shooters and the mass shooters and they think well what is it that motivates people like that witch so they could figure out about half an hour if they did the proper reading just read what they wrote human beings are a cancer on the planet being is evil intrinsically I'm going to take out everything I can to show my displeasure with the structure of reality and then I'm going to shoot myself just to show you how little I care and if you can't understand that then you haven't looked very deeply into your own heart because there could be a time in your life believe me where something terrible enough happens to you so that you'll be able to understand that perfectly there's a Christian representation of the same thing right so the great mothers on the outside that's nature and then the father's in the middle and in that representation which I really like that's from the 13th century you see God the Father who's a representation of culture holding the suffering individual who simultaneously transcends his suffering that's the goal to be the suffering individual who simultaneously transcends his suffering that's why all those people on the inside of the open version which is what that sculpture is called are gazing at that image because they're trying to figure out what the hell it means well people have been gazing at it for 2,000 years trying to figure out what it means and one of the things that you can be sure of is that that story and what that image represents is absolutely central to the integrity of Western civilization five more minutes this is an image of I would call it the patriarchy and it's a lovely image it's God the Father and he's assimilated to the Sun because well because consciousness which is associated with light is the Builder of culture and he rules over the walled city and and so he's the centering idea you might say that that unites a culture that's another way of looking at it and he's got two hands I described them as security and tyranny all together order and you know if you're in a university the U of T students complain about this all the time there's 60,000 U of T's students right they feel like numbers they feel ignored and no wonder cuz they're numbers and they are ignored it's no wonder they didn't feel that way you know and there's huge classes of 1,200 people and they get lost and they think god that's a pretty evil structure and and uncaring it's like yeah that's exactly right but by the same token you know you get to purchase four years of intellectual freedom and you have all these people who could at least in principle teach you something and you get an identity out of the deal and if you have half half a bit of sense you're in the library trying to read great things and maybe you're not quite as dopey and useless when you come out as you were when you went in and so it takes with one hand and gives with the other and you got to understand that about your position in relationship to society it crushes you and molds you at the same time it limits you and furthers your compute capability at the same time and it's up to you to determine how to establish a harmonious and productive relationship with that because that's one of the fundamental demands of life that sort of splits into these two things but that's the king who devours his son I love that picture and that's well that's a society that's become tyrannical right and the son of the king is the thing that regenerates the king the king's old and he's blind and he's stupid and he's corrupt and he has a son and the son is lively and awake and alert and can see and if the father's not pathological then he tries to make the Sun strong so that the Sun can grow up and revitalize the culture and if he's a tyrant well then he devours him and then he gets old and corrupt and everything goes into chaos and then there's the benevolent King who's got that properly balanced and you see in this picture he's got a globe in his hand with the cross on top of it and that's means the same thing that of that other symbolic image did which is that the proper society supports the suffering individual in his or her attempts to transcend their suffering and attain a proper ethical perspective and then the son of the Father is the hero that's Hercules I really like that picture so Hercules goes out into the darkness and he's got this container and maybe you could think of that container as a cultural artifact you know because the culture protects you from chaos and then the question is what are you supposed to do with that protection and the answer is you're supposed to wear the garb of the lion right that's the king of the beasts so that's supposed to be you and you're supposed to go out there into the darkness with your bloody eyes open so you can discover what's in the darkness and share it with everyone else and he's got a club there in his hands and the club is covered with eyes those are eyes NOT barbs and what that means is that you should bloody well pay attention and that well the other element of that that's not expressed in that image is that you should also speak carefully pay attention and speak carefully and then you're the proper son of the proper father and you can keep things functioning and that makes you into this right so the city is always threatened it's always corrupt and threatened and there's always something outside that's going to take it down always and that's what's represented by the dragon that little twist in its tail is something that represents infinity and the courageous individual goes out of the damaged city to confront the dragon of chaos and to gain something valuable as a consequence and that's what human beings are supposed to do that's our destiny that's our soul that's a better way of thinking about it and some of that terrible dragon is just the catastrophe and suffering of life and our continual attempts to transcend it but a tremendous amount of it is also the malevolence and the evil that exists in our own hearts and in society and perhaps to some degree even in the world itself you're supposed to wake up and strengthen yourself and stand up properly and fortify yourself so that you're a light that can shine in the darkness and that's something that can withstand malevolence and tragedy and what did what's your alternative you're gonna let life crush you and make you weak and make you resentful and bitter and then murderous you'll take out your rage on everyone you can and it'll only be limited by your capacity to obtain power that's not a good thing and so it's this way or it's this way or a way that leads directly to hell and we've certainly seen that plenty of times in the last hundred years and you'd think we might have learned our lesson but it takes a lot for people to learn and we're in danger of repeating exactly the same mistakes again so you know it's one thing to complain about the political polarization and it's another thing to point fingers at the post modernists and the neo-marxist even though they they roundly deserve it in my estimation it's another thing to try to figure out what the proper alternative is and the proper alternative is not in my estimation to contribute to political polarization it's not good and it's not that the radical right is the solution to the radical left it's just another catastrophe and the only solution that I've been able to figure out and this is as a consequence of much reading and much thinking is that it's up to the individuals in our society sort themselves out and to strengthen themselves and to become wise and alert and to shoulder the responsibility of being and the demand the ethical demand to push back malevolence in their own hearts and in their society and I also believe that you know it's very difficult for people to respect themselves because they're weak and vulnerable and pathetic and malevolent and so it's know when they're not what they could be and they know it and so it's no wonder that people don't respect themselves and some of that's nature and some of that's culture and some of its individual weakness but one of the things that I've learned and it's about the only optimistic thought I've ever come across is that if you have enough courage to forthrightly accept the fact that you're vulnerable and malevolent and you're willing to do something about it to overcome it you can develop enough respect for yourself so that the terrible weight of being will not make you malevolent and corrupt and I don't think that you have anything better to aim for unless you want blood in the streets and a pathetic life and so you might as well straighten up and get your act together and maybe we've got some chance of getting through this intermediary period of chaos that we all face and make something better out of it instead of something worse so that's what I have to say about that so thank you [Applause] [Applause] I've dr. Pederson has agreed to do with 30 minutes of question answer still so so I should just unplug it or shut off the recording okay oh yes yes right yeah you might say that reluctant would be one way of putting it yeah so the question is I had thought about making a website well the website was actually made because you know if I'm trying to decide whether to do something usually what I do because it's really hard to figure out if you should do something just hypothetically right so one of the ways to figure out if you should do something is to do it almost completely and then it's there and then you're actually thinking about something real and I talked to a bunch of people about it after it was built and thought that I wasn't sure it would cause more that would do more good than harm so I put it on hiatus now you know one of the unfortunate things that happened was that the University of Toronto Faculty Association accused me of making this website you know on the basis of things I had said about three or four months ago without talking to me about it because why would they talk to one of their faculty members being the Faculty Association and you know so I would I would I was wavering back and forth about whether to not to do this and then they came out and attacked me and the problem with that is that now if I say I'm not going to do it it looks like they won and that's and first of all I don't see this as a win-loss situation I don't like it to be construed that way but the truth of the matter is is that when the Faculty Association came out and said that you know it would be wrong for me to do it my first response was see how well you bastards I'll be doing it now you can be sure of that but that's not a good that's not how to think right that's how to react and so you don't do that you have your little emotional meltdown and then you you think for like a month and you get people to talk to and you try to come at it from a level-headed perspective so I I don't know I probably have most luck with YouTube videos and I have a book coming out I'm supposed to bring a flyer for all of you but you know I forgot so like I always do so and hopefully that'll be helpful because it's about individual responsibility fundamentally and and truth in particular which i think is what would you say well if you want to adapt to reality which is kind of what you have to do then falsifying it is probably not the most effective strategy as far as I can tell and it's certainly the case that if you allow yourself to speak bent words that you'll end up with a bent character and then God help you so you know I talked tonight about what I think are the words that are most dangerous diversity equity inclusivity white privilege so maybe you know the people who are watching the videos can think about how they might want to orient themselves in relationship to the mid-level bureaucrats in particular who are pushing this sort of thing forward with as much force as they can possibly manage so we'll see that's that's the plan at the moment yep ha you never know hello students like they have today I'm talking about people like we could loop on the board though they are some of them steeped in Marxism they in the sense that though there are power hierarchies and structures though admittedly not all powerful that do we define human interactions that do dominate people and that do in a sense or at least in their words alienate people from themselves probably the most prominent papers the medium is the message production of new technologies the technology itself and the content it reduces we can think of newspaper articles in a newspaper the distribution of newspapers is itself content as well and how that defines well the first thing is is that it's not particularly useful necessarily to conceptualize them as power structures because there are structures with multiple purposes and there are multiple structures and so collapsing it to power is a very bad idea the second is that we're in a human beings are in a constant state of alienation from the world and from what they produce it's that's what human if you had to define human beings that would be the definition those creatures that are in a constant state of alienation from themselves culture and the world now why that is exactly I don't know I think it has something to do with the fact that we're self conscious but it's an existential reality rather than an indication of the pathology of a given cultural construction you know that that's one of the reasons I really like well Heidegger in part but the existentialist in general they just throw that out in front of you and say look yes of course you have those problems like that's it's always been that way the ancient Egyptians had a God that represented the corrupting they're corrupt the corruption of the state and the corrupting influence that produced that corruption that was set and set is the is set the word set eventually becomes the word Satan I mean we've known this the Mesopotamians knew this they had a god Kingu who was the king of the monsters out of whose blood human beings were made it's like the idea that we're a lien ated from what we create it's like yeah right absolutely that's true so get up and do something about it you know it's it's not like you're unique in your subjugation to the pathology of culture and it's also not the case that culture is only pathological that's the other thing that's so that's so disturbing I mean you have glasses on that's a good thing you don't bump into walls you know and so and that's a cultural artifact you know and I'd be dead six times over if it wasn't for various medical interventions and so you know leavening the fact that you're oppressed with a little bit of gratitude is a really wonderful thing and one of the things that just staggers me about the the radical fringe that's that's that's characterized by these ideas that we discussed tonight they have absolutely no gratitude for anything and that's really something remarkable you know what Ignatius a human being is intolerable unless he has two things cleanliness and gratitude well maybe they manage the first count although not always but they certainly sorry about that but they certainly don't manage this second so yeah published this morning a letter to the editor by a student government the legislative affairs committee in which they make several claims which what struck me as an attempt to slander things that happen with the c16 billing things like this but they make the assertion that you essentially abused or hide behind the banner of free speech in order to be safe or to allow yourself to all types of speech I wouldn't say I'm hiding behind the banner of free speech precisely so that would be the first error in that I don't think that you can characterize what I'm doing is hiding it isn't it isn't exactly it isn't exactly self-evident that the right to free speech has protected me I would say a certain amount of good fortune a certain amount of caution with my words and a tremendous amount of public support is what's protected me I also think that the ideological types who pen those pieces of nonsense have have a common what a constant theme is anyone who disagrees with with them is pathological in some manner and uses the right of free speech to exercise that pathology well you know no that's just that's sorry that's not the case it's not the case and you know most of what's being leveled at me in terms of slurs are they're low resolution and ill-informed you know I'm a transfer by the bigot what else I'm a racist I'm a Nazi that's a good one I've been teaching about Nazism for thirty years you know trying to tell people that they probably would have been Nazis had they been in Germany during the 1930s which is at actually trying to convince them of that which is something that you might need a trigger warning for before you enter the class you know so it's it's it's palpably absurd but it doesn't matter because if the war of ideas is about power it doesn't matter whether you represent either side with any degree of accuracy it's just part of the Hobbesian nightmare and you know whoever spins the best story wins so yeah anyways I've been weirdly fortunate because every time the radicals have come after me and they really came after me last October it's reversed every single time so and I'm not counting on that to continue but it's been rather blackly comical as it's been occurring so these articles it's like as far as I'm concerned they're a dime a dozen I don't even have to read them anymore that's the thing about reading something in ideologue rights you just have to look at the first sentence and infer the rest you know it's true man it's actually this is one of the things that Solzhenitsyn did a brilliant job of analyzing in the Gulag Archipelago he said that's the consequence of turning your god-given soul over the human dogma you're just a puppet for these ideas that are operating behind the scenes you think you have the ideas it's like think again they have you and they're doing with you what the ideas want to have done with you and when they're done with you they'll discard you you can be sure and you'll be lucky if there's anything left of you when that happens so and the universities are absolutely complicit in this they take young people whose minds are are who are looking for an identity and no wonder and they teach them this algorithmic idiocy that anyone with any brain could learn in a week that the the dictums and dogma of the oppression versus oppressed narrative god it's unbelievable you know a decent chatbot could write most of the postmodern papers that's why that's why they that's why the typical humanities 80% of humanities papers now Garner's zero citations which means the only person who ever reads them is the person who wrote them and even they don't do a very good job of reading them so yeah [Applause] are you are you actually serious oh well I'm sorry I was a little hard on you actually it I would say I'm more hard on your professors so it's very brave of you to be standing there by arbitrary and it's not the arbitrariness of nature but rather the arbitrariness structures of society like maybe nature lends its fair that's why you get educated it's to separate the wheat from the chaff you know because you're a historical creature right I mean it's outside of you and inside of you and some of its dead and corrupt as you just said and estranges for no reason no no functional reason counterproductive Lee but until you can until you understand the structures for better or for worse you're in no position to to do anything but make them worse fundamentally the purpose of a liberal education is not to turn you into an avatar of capitalism or of or of democracy for that matter the purpose of a liberal education is to enable you to comprehend the history in which you're embedded and then to act as an agent to to reconstruct and revitalize that hierarchy but that's a serious matter like at 18 say and right out of high school with no experience whatsoever in life and no real education you're in absolutely no position whatsoever to be protesting about the structure of the Western world it's like no sorry you know your your observations about the fact that people are alienated by structures like absolutely of course and it does sort and it sorts harshly and of course because you're young you tend to be sort of near the bottom except that I would point out that you're young and there's really something to that you know and you might think that you have no power because of that but I could say well you have all the power that youth gives you and that's not trivial so where power doesn't lie where it's obvious you know it really doesn't and people have more power than they think but they squander it and he often squandered on ideology when they're not just wasting their time so anyway so it was very brave of you to stand up and ask me a question and to take all that criticism [Applause] composition agnostic atheism there is no or at least no God human computers today is intellectually hard to assail still there is good evidence religious behavior was an advantage produced by natural selection do you think that self critically acting in a way if God exists is sufficient to deliberate evolutionary wisdom or faith that's a good question one of the things that that I read when I was reading Carl Jung he made this claim which I really liked was that whatever sits atop your pinnacle of value is functionally equivalent to God that's good that's really smart and I like it's smarter than it sounds which is the case with most of the things that you wrote because it actually does turn out that our category systems are not so much about subdividing the material world into its appropriate entities but about carving up our experience in two categories of tools and obstacles so that we can attain certain valued goals and so we're always directing our action towards the attainment of a goal and so that means we're immersed in the value structure and so Jung's point was whatever sits at the pinnacle of your value structure serves the function of God now you might have a fragmented value structure which means in some sense that you're psychologically polytheistic and the problem with that is that then you're a house divided amongst itself you're pulling in multiple directions simultaneously impulsive people are like that right and they don't understand themselves because one day they go left and the other day they go right and you know they they have no control over themselves at all now you said well there's no objective God and that seems to be a reasonable hypothesis the question then I suppose becomes to what degree our subjective experience is real and that's a matter of definition I think the religious impulse is an inevitable consequence of the fact that it's necessary for people to live inside hierarchies of value and that we feel a sense of awe the sense of all we feel with regards to the highest values is no not distinguishable from the existence of the value itself now and there's real advantages to the idea of a detached God in some sense and one of the things I've learned about archaic concepts of sovereignty is that detaching the idea of ethical of ethics itself and ethical power from the holder of power is an extraordinarily useful thing to do because otherwise the king becomes the embodiment of the God and then the King can do no wrong then you have a tyrant if the idea of power and sovereignty is detached from the individual and set up as a higher virtue that even the sovereign is is responsible to then the sovereign at least in principle can never put put himself forward as absolute and you can think about that just as a development of humans capacity to abstract right we can abstract the idea of sovereignty we can abstract the idea of ethics in virtue we can we can hypothesize that as an ideal we can embody it as a personality it's actually quite useful because it's something we have to act out now you might say well what relationship does that have to you know to the existence of something transcendent in the religious sense outside of that abstract conceptualization and the answer to that is we don't know if you if you familiarize yourself with the writings of people who've had profound religious experiences its chronically the case that they describe encountering something that transcends them and that they describe it as more real than anything they've ever encountered now whether or not that constitutes proof depends on how you define proof so I'm not making a case for it one way or another but I mean Jung himself I mean when he talked about god when he was being careful he didn't talk about god he talked about the god image in man and he was careful never to formally state that the fact that there's an image of the ideal in the soul let's say an archetype that that provided concrete proof that such an ideal existed you know in some transcendent manner but the world is a weird place and it's not something I would rule out so it's not like we understand the world very well and the materialists you know they try to they try to encapsulate the entire world within the materialist philosophy and like more power to them it's been an unbelievably successful tool but we haven't cracked consciousness in the lead and there is something about consciousness that's world creating and there's something transcendent about consciousness and it also seems capable of a kind of infinite expansion and it isn't obvious why any of that is the case not obvious at all so yep hello okay before they were writing this stuff criticizing Marxism itself and those ideas to get right post-modernism is serving objective realities so I mean what do you make well well okay so two things I mean there's been a number of attempts to revise Marxist theory right and so you pointed to one that's the cultural theorists and that was after World War two when it became painfully obvious at least to the first round of people who were oriented towards the radical left but opened their eyes that there was something rotten in the state of the Soviet Union and so they did they did their best to revamp the central doctrines of Marxism using Freudian theory and so forth and as you said they were very influential among the student radicals of the 60s and it was them that gave birth to the modern crop of say postmodern neo-marxists i think that you know i couldn't cover all of that obviously in one lecture but your your point is well-taken now you yet you ended that with a different question so but I don't remember exactly what that question was oh yes well look I mean look the ultimate minority is the individual and the individual always stands in opposition with his or her truth to that of the mob so that's true is that it's very frequently the case that truth is held by something outside the general consensus now falsehood is – right so I mean if you if you have a structure that's reasonably functional you like a little walled city and you have a hundred people outside yelling about how pathological it is 99 of them would make it worse and one of them has something useful to say and so you can't just dispense with the minority so to speak because the majority of the minority is going to be wrong in their opposition because the one person in the minority who isn't wrong is absolutely vital and that's the tension that's always the tension between the group that's partly the mythological hero really has two roles one is to go out and conquer the dragon of darkness and to gather information and to disseminate it but the second role which is equally important is to stand up against the corrupt culture which is what Horace does for example in the ancient Egyptian stories demolish what's what's corrupt and then rebuild something in it's in it's in it's in the aftermath you do that psychologically – you know because you have an interpretive structure through which you view the world and now and then you run into something that's like a minority a fact that doesn't fit and but it's but it's actually a fact it indicates that part of you needs to die and come encounter chaos and reconstitute yourself and that's why there is this dynamism between the group and the individual and also why the individual is held in the West to be a power let's say that's super ordinate to the state the state has to recognize the validity of the individual because the individual does in the final analysis hold the redemptive truth but to put that in minority groups that's a whole different issue that's a sleight of hand as far as I'm concerned so all right all right well thank you very much [Applause]


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Identity politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege

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I was in Vancouver Friday November 3rd talking at an event sponsored by the very active University of British Columbia Free Speech Club (start one on your campus — if you’re a student, that is :)).

I wanted to delve more deeply into the ideology on the radical side of the leftist spectrum, and to specifically address the idea of white privilege. Hopefully that’s what I did.

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hello everybody my name is Angelo and I am your emcee for the evening and on behalf of the UBC free speech club we would like to welcome you and thank you for attending our third dr. Jordan B Peterson event now I know you're all very excited to hear the man so I'm gonna keep these opening remarks very short the UBC free speech Club is devoted to the sanctity of Liberty in our society and the necessity to keep Liberty safe from those who want to destroy it within just the year our club has grown to over a thousand members and is now in the process of incorporation so that we may continue to bring speakers and host events such as this one none of that would be possible without dr. Peterson who has inspired countless students all over North America to start speaking up on their campus and in fact this club sprung up around the same time when dr. Peterson publicly came out against the bill c16 that was just over a year ago and since then his philosophy of cleaning your room and sorting yourself out has bettered and influenced the lives of countless people he's an accomplished psychologist professor and author his book maps of meaning is an analytical window into the myths and cultures of humankind and now he has written a new book it's called twelve rules for life and antidote to chaos and is available for pre-order on Amazon with the release date of January 23 2018 and on that note on behalf of the UBC free speech club we would like to introduce you all to dr. Jordan B Peterson [Applause] well thank you very much for that that's that's quite something all right there's a house Mike great I don't need this one okay well then let's just move it out of the way great so I'm gonna talk to you tonight about the ideological nexus of post-modernism and Marxism and I want to get into it fairly deeply so I can have a thoughtful thoughtful talk and then discussion afterwards so it's a confusing topic because it's not obvious by any stretch of the imagination why post-modernism and and neo Marxism or Marxism proper would be aligned because post-modernism is an anti grand narrative philosophical movement and Marxism is a grand narrative and so the fact that those two things seem to coexist in the same space needs definitely need some explanation and it's a very tricky thing to get to the bottom of so we won't get to the bottom of it but we'll get farther to the bottom of it then I've got before and hopefully farther than many of you have got before so let's see what we can figure out here so I'm going to start with some some definitions hmm I'll return to them as we continue you know with philosophical movements then they're often not named by the major thinkers in the movement they're sort of named afterwards the name covers a very large range of ideas and actions and perceptions like it's not that easy people talk about existentialism for example it's not that easy to come up with a one paragraph summary of what constitutes existentialism my sense for the existentialist is that it's a it's it's fundamentally a movement that's predicated on the idea at least in in this psychological sense that you know Freud tended to attribute human suffering and mental disorder to good trauma it's more complex than that but that'll do for a for a quick overview but the existentialists thought that there is enough suffering intrinsic in life so that it wasn't insanity that was the question it was sanity it was how was possible for people to be sane and and and and let's say normal for lack of a better word given that there was brutality and malevolence intrinsic in life and the fact that you had to rise up as an individual and and stand in relation to that relationship to that is part and parcel of what constitutes existentialism and there's all sorts of different people who were thinkers who are existentialist some of them atheistic some of them deeply religious like Dostoyevsky but so it's not I'm using that as an example to show you how difficult it is to bring a set of thinkers under one umbrella you're bound to oversimplify but we'll go ahead and oversimplify post-modernism you can think about it as an attitude of skepticism irony towards and rejection of grand narratives ideologies and universalism including the idea of the objective notions of reason that's a big one human nature that's a big one social progress absolute truth and object of reality all those things being questioned I kind of think of the head Joker at the top of the postmodern hierarchy as Derrida Foucault is often mentioned as are a number of other people here's some other attributes of postmodern thinking there's a recognition of the existence of hierarchy that's for sure and there's an echo of that idea the recognition of hierarchy and the term patriarchy because of course patriarchy is a recognition of hierarchy now it's a very particular kind of recognition but the post modernists also tend to define hierarchy as a consequence of power differential and so the world they envision as far as I can tell it's something like a it's a sociological II Hobbesian nightmare so Hobbes thought of the philosopher Thomas Hobbes thought of the natural state of human beings as every individual in some sense at the throat of every other individual so that the basic state of man mankind unlike the Rousseau e'en state of say virgin innocence and and and the primitive garden of paradise was an all-out war of everyone against everyone else and that that required the imposition of the social order to keep peace essentially so it's a it's a fairly dark view of of humankind Rousseau on the other hand would think of people as intrinsically good and the social order as intrinsically tyrannical you can actually think about Hobbes and Rousseau in some sense of as as as opposites that need to be paired together in order to get a relatively comprehensive view of human nature well the postmodern view is like the Hobbesian view in some sense except you want to replace the individual with with with pyramids of of social organization so hierarchies of social organization that are based on group identity and that the landscape in which those pyramids exist is one of unbroken enmity and inability to communicate so it's a very dark view as far as I'm concerned and I think it's fundamentally wrong and in many ways I mean it's right in that there are groups of people and there is some difficulty in communication between them and that power is an element in the formation of hierarchies but you can't reduce hierarchy or group relationship to those premises it's too simplified because people also cooperate we're also not groups many many of us belong to many groups so it's to the actual situation is far too complex to reduce it to that degree to reduce it to that degree even though you can come up with a good explanatory story if you do so it doesn't capture the nuances and they're not just nuances it doesn't capture the essence now the thing is is that when you make the presupposition that the reason that hierarchies exist is because of power then essentially what you do is turn every hierarchy into a tyranny and so if you if there is hierarchy then you assume it's a tyranny well that's really the patriarchy the patriarchy is hierarchy assumed as tyranny and that's also just not true except in pathological hierarchies so for example we know from the psychological literature that the best predictors of long-term life success our intelligence and conscientiousness in in Western countries at least and well that's what you'd hope for right you more or less if you want it even to set up a society even if you weren't particularly smart or hard-working you might want to set up a society where intelligence and hard work we're good predictors of success because then the people who were smart and hardworking would produce a bunch of things that you could have if you could trade for them and of course that is actually the situation that most of us are in so and of course the other thing about people who believe that hierarchies in the West are only composed of of power and tyranny is that their own actions belie that because whenever they make a decision to interact with that hierarchy they attempt or to make a purchase or to make a trade let's say or to obtain a server a service of any importance let's say a medical service they are going to definitely act as if there are less and more competent people within that hierarchy and seek out the ones that are more competent obviously which you don't do if if the hierarchy is only composed of tyranny and power there's no point looking for competence but anyways in the West and in functioning societies the hierarchies are basically predicated on competence and not power and and you might say well that's pretty naive it's like no actually it's not very naive I'm not saying at all that in appropriate power plays don't play a role in corrupting hierarchies of competence that happens but generally what happens is if the hierarchies of competence get corrupted enough by power then they crumble because they can no longer function so then though you know the evidence that our hierarchies of competence work is everywhere because everything around this works all the time ayaan Hirsi Ali tells that to two interesting stories in her book infidel which is a great book by the way she came from Africa and and from a country that wasn't very functional and when she came to Holland said there were two things that really amazed her and this really struck me because you know now and then you get lucky and you can see the the world you live in from an outsider's perspective right you get to see through someone else's eyes she said the first thing that knocked her off her feet was waiting for a bus in in Amsterdam and on the you know she's standing at the bus stop and there's a pole there and there's digital sign on the pole the digital sign says when the next bus is going to come and countdown and then when it hits zero the bus appears and she just she just she absolutely could not believe that that would happen that there could be a sign that told you when the bus would come and that it would change and the bus would actually appear and you think well yeah no that's a miracle man that's an absolute miracle it is it is you've got to think that through you know the amount of timing and organization and and reliability mechanical reliability and sociological or social organization and dedication on the part of the bus drivers in the entire company and the organization of the whole city in the state to make that possible is absolutely beyond belief especially when it's time to well perhaps not the second but to ten seconds or something like that that is absolutely beyond belief and her inability to comprehend that was the correct response and then the other thing she was amazed by was that you could go talk to policemen and they would help you that was just that was just a no-go for her because for her ik her experience was policemen were there to shake you down and and hurt you and so you think well you know well I won't I won't dwell on that point any longer the point is is that it's absolutely ridiculous blind to make the assumption that the hierarchies in functioning Western democracies are fundamentally predicated on power and tyranny and then you know I can use a biological example to which would place me outside of the postmodern realm of argument because the postmodernist don't believe in biology but but they act like they do because they all die so so this primatologist named well I'll tell you two stories okay cuz these are these are really useful so the ones about rats and I got this story from yok panksepp who was a great neuroscientist he wrote a book called effective neuroscience which by the way is on my reading list that's on my website it's a really good book affective neuroscience he's a great scientist he was one of the people who he learned that he learned that rats laugh they laugh out ultrasonic li-like bats so if you're gonna you tickle them with a pencil eraser they laugh but you have to record it and then slow it down and then you can hear them and you might think well rats laugh like what would be a big grant for that what kind of idiocy is that it's like no no no just don't don't don't get ahead of yourself here you know he was showing that that that capacity for social interaction for social interaction that was mediated by physiological touch mm-hm activated the same excuse me activated the same circuits in rats but a dozen people and that those are actual biological circuits and we share them even with rats now rats are quite similar to human beings as it turns out I could say especially post modernists but I won't and and and so the fact that that you know that little rats giggle when you tickle them is is actually extraordinarily important he also identified hmm surprising I've been talking too much lately he also identified the primary play circuit in mammals and that's a big deal too from a scientific perspective that's like discovering a new continent like discovering a whole brain system that people really didn't know existed that's a big deal so here's a little story about rats so young rats like to engage in rough-and-tumble play especially juvenile males it's also the case for puppies if you've ever had a puppy dogs are like that they like to wrestle and it's one of the things that male human beings tend to do with their offspring and it's a really really good thing like rough-and-tumble play with children really help socialize them because helps them figure out the difference between touch and even rough touch and pain you know because one of the things you're doing when you're rough and tumble playing with the little kid is you know you throw them up in the air and you wrestle around I built my I had two couches when my kids were little that were sort of face to face so we built this little wrestling ring and I used to go in there and pound them half to death every night you know so they loved that I mean they get so excited about that they love that so much it's just crazy but the reason for that is like you're stretching out their bodies and you're showing them that they can't put their thumb and your eye and you're teaching them to be graceful and and and you're teaching them the difference between something new that's happening to the body and something painful you're really teaching them to dance and it's this really complicated physiological dance that that is indicative of a socialized being and that's partly why women like men who can dance by the way because it's CIO's that you can pay attention to someone else first of all that you're coordinated but even more importantly that you can take the fact of your coordination and coordinate that with someone else's coordination so and that's very primal and physiological it's built right into your body and rough and tumble play helps without a lot anyways rats also like to rough and tumble play for much the same reasons and sort of sort of pretty much all social mammals so you can tell that rats like it see how do you know if a rat like something well he'll work for it and one of the ways you can figure out if a rat wants to work for something is that no you get him in a state where maybe he's desperate for whatever he's working for and you can put a little spring on him and figure out how hard he pols to go somewhere he knows where he's going to get that and then you can measure the force that he's willing to apply and that gives you a rough estimate of his motivation or maybe you have to borrow press like a you know like a coke cocaine addicted rat to to receive the reward and you can count rate of bar pressing and you can get an estimate of how excited the rat is to go do whatever it is the rats going to do and so panksepp used to put rats he'd pair them one rat against the other in kind of a play arena not a very big thing and and these were juvenile males and they would work to do that okay so they liked it and and maybe one rat was 10% bigger than the other and then when you paired them the big rat would beat the little route because 10% weight advantage was enough to make the bigger dominant okay so then they established basically dominance and Submission you might think about that as a power relationship and to some degree it is but it's more complicated than that and this is very important so so the rats play together once and the big rat pins the little rat really very much like wrestling there's rats wrestle just like people wrestle and if you pair them together then the big rat can pin the little rat okay so now you got dominant rats subordinate rat roughly speaking and but then you see if you stop the experiment there you'd think while the rats play to establish dominance and Submission but the thing is is that rats don't just play once they play many many many times and that's also the case with human beings is that you don't just play once you play many many times and there's a difference between the rules of a game and the rules of a set of games and that's so unbelievably important so you keep that mind because we'll return to that so anyways the next time the two rats get together the little rat has to ask the big rat to play because rule basically is subordinate entity asks dormant identity to play and so the little rat does what mammals do to play you know they kind of put their paws down and put the rear end up bit up in the air you see dogs do that and unless you're completely clueless you know that that doesn't mean he's going for your throat means he wants you to whack him on the side of the head so he can sort of pretend to bite you you know it's it's pretty obvious if you've played with dogs and children so and I make that comparison because dogs and children understand each other right they're pack animals they follow the same basic rules they know how to play they can become friends otherwise you wouldn't have them as pets I mean the dogs not the children so anyways the little rat asks the big rut to play and big rat things yeah yeah okay they will play they wrestle and you pair them multiple times well if you pair them multiple times what you find is that less the big rat let's the little rat win 30% of the time the little rat don't ask the big rat to play anymore and that do you think well who cares what like why is that important it's like it's really important that's a really important discovery because it shows you that that even rats have a set set a sense of fair play that emerges across iterated games it's it's it's an ever it's evidence for the biological instantiation of a social morality it's a big deal man that's a big discovery and and it shows you that even at the level of rats they're very social animals by the way the interactions between rats are mediated by something like a sense of fairness or justice and so that's extremely cool because you know we tend to think of animals as having dominance hierarchies and that's predicated on power and that idea even though the bloody postmodernist don't believe in biology they extend that analogy up to human beings it's just not true ok well the same turns out to be true of chimpanzees so friends do all who's a Dutch primatologist a very smart one too he's been interested in the biological basis of morality as well and he's written a lot of good books on on primate behavior chimps in particular temps are brutal creatures man like they go to war a and so in if you have a chimp territory out in the jungle then the juveniles will the males in particular they'll band together in groups of four or five there's often but not always a female or two with them and if they come across chimps from another troop that aren't within their hierarchy let's say they will if they're if they outnumber them because they can't really count but they can estimate magnitude visually it's not the same as counting but if they outnumber them they will tear them to pieces and chimps are at least twice as strong is a really well developed human male and so they can tear you up pretty good and chimps are perfectly capable they hunt they're carnivorous like human beings and they hunt they hunt colobus monkeys often they weigh about 40 pounds and they'll basically eat them alive but monkeys screaming away like mad because you know it's in pain because it's being eaten and that doesn't slow the chimps down a bit there's no cross species empathy stopping them from having their knack and so chimps are very brutal creatures and it isn't obvious they have a lot of internal inhibition of their aggression at all most of the inhibition as sociological it's out in the hierarchy and so the reason chimps aren't always aggressive with one another is because they know who can pound them and and who will gang up on them and who won't they establish their hierarchy anyways you know you think about a chimp hierarchy and you're talking about a fairly strong and aggressive creature you might think it's biggest ugliest meanest most vicious irritable unpleasant chimp that rises to the top well that's kind of the postmodernist view of human society but that's not the case it happens sometimes but what happens and DeWall has documented this quite nicely is that tyrant chimps lead unstable regimes now you know you that might sound familiar because the same thing of course is true human beings and why is that well it's because you know people don't like tyrants chimps don't like them that much either and chimps are actually quite reciprocal in their social interactions so they don't just dominate each other they groom each other they have friendships they can track social relationships over very long periods of time no and and they do that and so they engage in in reciprocal interactions let's say pro-social in reciprocal interactions and you might think well what's the what's the weak point of the biggest ugliest toughest chimp in the troop and that is he doesn't have any friends and so you know maybe he has a bad day he's a little hungover or whatever from eating fermented bananas or whatever he is partying with and two of the slightly less ugly's less slightly less mean chimps decide well this is a good time to take them out and they tear them to pieces and so one of the things do all is pointed out quite nicely is that if you want to have a stable chimp dominance hierarchy let's call it a regime the stable ones aren't ruled by the tyrants because the tyrants get taken out by by paired up friendship dyad something like that so that's really worth thinking about too you know because because it indicates that even in creatures that have less complex sociological orders and they do because one of the things that predicts how complex your social order is is how big your brain is compared to your body it's a encephalization essentially and the more encephalitis the creature the larger the social groups it can track and of course human beings are very highly in cephalo so we have quite complicated group we have quite complicated group organizations but even in simpler group organizations like the chimps it isn't the tyrant who rules stabili and that turns out to be also incredibly important okay so mmm-hmm so you know so much for the idea that power is the only game in town then you got to ask the question is well this is actually a postmodern question so you know get one of the things Derrida said the main postmodern Joker is that by categorizing you you you privilege one concept and you prat you foresaw the concepts out to the margins and so he believed that when you constructed a hierarchy of power that the hierarchy of power privileged certain people and marginalized others and you know that's really not that brilliant at observation as far as I'm concerned it's rather commonplace all it means is that when you categorize something that there are things that are in the category and a bunch of things that aren't and so you actually can't categorize anything which means you can't perceive anything which means you can't think or live without making some things in the middle and everything else on the outside it's it's part of categorization itself and so maybe the post modernists would go far enough to question the utility of categorization itself and I think to some degree they do that do that but the point here is is that if you you have to ask why it is that you would if you were a postmodernist yourself why it is that you would privilege the idea of power above all else it's exactly what is it that you're pushing to the margin and so that's something that we're going to talk about now here's one thing you might push to the margin let's say that you believe that hierarchies are a consequence of power well then you push competence to the margin and then applying the post margin mark modernist logic you might say well the reason your privileges so that you can produce so that you could push competence to the margin and so you want to keep that in mind too because that's going to become important as we discussed the relationship between post-modernism and Marxism maybe you're after the destruction of the idea of competence itself all right so role game postmoderns and we talked about it a little bit we'll return to it now we're going to talk a little bit about Marxism I've got a quote here from Marx the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains well that was pretty good for like 1880 or 1890 or whenever it was he wrote it somewhere around that period of time turned out the proletarians had a lot more to lose than their chains they had their lives and their families to lose and that was demonstrated amply as a consequence of the what would you call it the sociological movements that were put into place when the marxist presuppositions began to govern societies like the soviet union so all right so let's take the same post modernist approach so here's some basic tenets of Marxism its Berge Razia against proletariat the bird was the a or the capitalist the property owners those sorts of people the proletariat working-class for all intents and purposes the basic idea is that history itself is nothing but the what would you call it the documentation of the struggle of one class against the other okay no like that's wrong but it's okay because it's too simple obviously it's obviously too simple there's all sorts of motivations that people have some of them are economic some of them are associated with power but that's okay we'll leave that let's give the devil his due and say well yeah fair enough there's still a fair bit of tension between the haves and the have-nots have nots and maybe that was even more intense in previous societies than it is now and it's no there's no doubt that economics plays a role in in virtually everything that human beings do in a fairly significant role so let's let's accept that as a potential theory it's it's simple but maybe it's practically useful and then there's kind of an offshoot of that theory which is that well if you're a Marxist that means you have sympathy for the working class right because that's what you're saying all the time it's like well the poor working class they're all oppressed the poor poor proletariat you know and and then you're also saying well we're the good guys because we're standing on the side of the oppressed and so then you might also ask what you're marginalizing when you claim that you're the good guys because one of the things that you would be marginalizing is all of the ways in which you're not the good guys but we can leave that aside for a moment too so but there's the claims is that you know there's the working class against the ruling class another claim is the ruling class is the ruling class because they exploit the working class basically stealing their excess labor from them another very very what surface lis attractive claim that lacks any reasonable justification you know because it's predicated on the idea of the world as a zero-sum game and clearly the world is not a zero-sum game so when someone creates wealth when someone is wealthy it can be at least at times because they created it not because they swiped it from someone else I think you know you can think of someone like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs is a good example of that you know they're there what they produced had a value that far exceeded what they garnered as a consequence of their production even though what they garnered was very substantial so anyways but we'll get like I said we're gonna give the devil his due okay it's the Burj huazi against the proletariat we'll accept that it's class warfare is the primary historical mover no problem now but here's one I'm not willing to give away so easily we have sympathy for the working class primarily and we're good because of that no I'm not going to just like give that away so simply so let's investigate that a little bit let's see if we can actually figure out if that's true we'll say use a pragmatic approach because I'm a pragmatist in that William James Sansa or maybe you could think about it even more deeply and anciently there's a statement in the New Testament I think it's by their fruits you shall know them fine so we're gonna walk down that road before we do that so now that's another thing you have to keep in mind before we do that I want to make one more detour okay so I like making detours and then tangling them all back together so I want to give you a bit of a history of theories of suffering and I'm going to compare the Marxist theory of suffering to the judeo-christian theory of suffering and the judeo-christian would be and the reason I'm doing that is because I think the judeo-christian theory of suffering is actually one of the foundation stones of our entire culture and so it actually matters why you think they're suffering and so the story that describes the entry of suffering into the world the mythological story is the story in Genesis the story of Adam and Eve and basically what happens in the story of Adam and Eve is Adam and Eve are unconscious to begin with and they're sort of in this paradisal state there's no death or at least there's no knowledge of death there's also no knowledge of self and then Eve eats the Apple that the serpent gives her and the scales fall from her eyes and she gives the Apple to Adam and heats it as well so she makes him self conscious they both wake up the first thing that happens is they realize that they're naked and they cover themselves up and the second thing that happens as a consequence of that realization is that they come to know the difference between good and evil and I mean that's a insanely complicated story that's dealing with a absolutely incomprehensible number of complex phenomena simultaneously but it basically goes something like this is that to be aware that you're naked is to be aware of your fragility and your mortality when when you have a nightmare about being naked in front of a crowd it means that you're exposed to the crowd all your flaws all your mortal vulnerability is exposed to the crowd for for them to see for you to be ashamed of for them to judge that's partly why we're all clothed that's partly why human being how human why clothing is a human Universal there's many human universals by the way clothing is one of them although it's used for many different purposes so Adam Nev cover themselves up and so it's because they've realized that they're that they're vulnerable they're naked and vulnerable that's self-consciousness human beings are self conscious animals we're really the only self conscious animals other animals have the glimmerings of self-consciousness some of them can identify themselves in a mirror for example but we have whole theories of ourselves we have whole articulated verbal and philosophical theories of what a human being is and what we each are as individuals so really those aren't in the same conceptual universe it's a whole different it's a qualitatively different issue in the case of human beings we're self conscious self consciousness loads on trait neuroticism technically speaking which means that self-consciousness is primarily something that manifests itself in the form of negative emotion and we all know that you're on stage you get self-conscious is that a good thing no you can get so self-conscious that you're tongue-tied right it's not good you don't want to be self-conscious on stage or maybe ever you get self-conscious in the in the face of someone you're trying to impress you turn all red you stammer it's like self-consciousness is a rough business it's no wonder because you know yourself for the for the fragile fool that you are it's even worse than that because see it took me a long time to figure out why it was that when Adam and Eve woke up they also developed the knowledge of good and evil I just couldn't figure that out because didn't make sense to me well how self consciousness knowledge of vulnerability and the knowledge of good and evil were tangled together or even really what the knowledge of good and evil meant but I figured it out eventually I thought Oh get it I get it it was like a real revelation to me as soon as you know you're vulnerable you know the difference between good and evil because as soon as you know you're vulnerable then you know everyone else is and as soon as you know that everyone else is vulnerable you know how to hurt them and so that means you can consciously know how to bring suffering into being and that's the knowledge of good and evil and you know that because let's say that you're really good at torturing people and there's no doubt the number of people in the audience who are actually quite good at that and maybe you all have a bit of an affinity for it if you're married I'm sure your partner would testify to that so if you're going to hurt someone what you think essentially is okay what would really hurt me and then you think well I'll just do that to them it's like that's that's that's a that's a good theory it's very sophisticated so anyways so okay so what happens Adam and Eve wake up they weren't supposed to do this God told them that they were gonna be sorry if they did that but they did it anyways because that's what people are like and because we always learn things that that knock us out of our present paradises right we're curious and we won't leave things alone and maybe things are not so bad and then you you know ask some questions that maybe you're not so happy about asking once you find the answer and you fall out of your little paradise into history and you got to work to set things right again and anyways God gets wind of this and and he chases Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden but he says some interesting things when he chases them out he says all right now you know what's the consequence of that and he says to Adam you're gonna have to work now that's cool that's really cool well he is God after all you know also he he knows what he's talking about he says you're gonna have to work so why would you have to work now that you knew you were vulnerable well the answer that is well if you know you're vulnerable that stretches out into the future you know you're going to die you know that you're fragile it's like maybe all your problems are solved right now you're all sitting here you're safe you're not hungry you don't want anything to drink etc but what about tomorrow what about next week or next month or ten years from now it's like just because you got all your problems solved for this second doesn't mean you've got them solved for the rest of your iterations through time so you got to work and the work is the sacrifice of the present for the future and so that's exactly right you have to work now you think see what's interesting about that this is the theory that I was going in it of course God tells that Eve well you've really you know screwed things up – you're gonna have these big brain babies and and that's a big problem you're gonna suffer in childbirth and then they're gonna be dependent on you forever and because of that you're gonna be dependent on this man that you just woke up and that's not gonna be very pleasant for either of you but tough luck and so that's it that's the curse in some sense and it's exactly right but the thing is there's a theory in there there's an interesting theory of suffering that's implicit in that story and the theory of suffering is that suffering is built into this structure of self-conscious being it's built right into the structure so if you're a self conscious being that's your lot it isn't someone else's fault it isn't a consequence of sociological oppression it isn't the consequence of the fact that our society isn't organized properly it's just part of being alright so that's a big deal because that's a that's an important theory because one of the questions is well well you know why is there suffering or what are you gonna do about it and it's a big it's a lot different if it's just the way it is for you and if it's actually your fault that he's suffering those are or maybe it's the group's fault that you're suffering those are major those theories are really really different than in the second story and Cain and Abel Cain makes sacrifices to try to get it in good with God and Abel make sacrifices and the sacrifices are kind of archaic from our perspective they're burnt offerings so the smoke goes up where God can detect it because he's up there somewhere up there where the stars are and God rejects Cain sacrifices and we don't really know why but it kind of looks like Cain is a second grader and then God came goes and complains to God and says like what kind of stupid universe did you make here I'm breaking myself in half trying to get things together making the proper sacrifices and nothing's going well for me and Abel well you know he's everything he touches turns to gold everyone loves him he's even a really good guy it's like so annoying what's up with this place you built and God tells Cain don't be coming and telling me that the entire fabric reality is wrong because it isn't working out for you says sin crouches at your door like a like a sexually aroused predatory cat that's basically the metaphor that that God uses and he says and you let it in and had it and let it have its way with you and that's really an interesting way of putting it because what God says to Cain is that you know you're all bitter and resentful and really it's no wonder because you know things aren't going well for you and then you've got Abel who's over shining you in every way and but yeah it's your fault this terrible thing waited at the door and you let it in and then you entered into a creative union with it and you produced something as a consequence and that's this tormented spirit that you have now and it's polluting your relationship with reality and that's why things aren't working so out very well for you so go put yourself together before you come and tell me just exactly what's wrong with the structure of reality and Cain isn't very happy about that because really is that really what you want to hear that's right like you have more misery than is necessary because you really didn't put your act together and you know it and you've done it creatively and so Cain goes and kills Abel that's the story of how resentment enters the world and it's the first story in the judeo-christian canon let's say about actual human beings because Adam and Eve were made by God so they don't really count Cain and Abel were born so that's something so that's a reaction to suffering right the necessity of sacrifice and the consequence of the necessity of sacrifice is that some sacrifices work and others don't and then if your sacrifices aren't met with the with the good will of God let's say well then that makes you angry well of course it does you can take God out of the story if you want if you're not happy with that kind of mythological or narrative statement but it doesn't really matter because the whole point is is that if you make sacrifices especially if there's second-rate things aren't gonna go very well for you and you're gonna get bitter and resentful and murderous and maybe genocide 'el and it's really interesting you know because Cain has descendants and if you bug if you transgress against them they don't just kill you they kill seven of you and then his later descendants kill 49 of you there's this exponential growth of murderous nests as a consequence of Cain's primary primal fratricide and then the next story is the flood and that's not an accident there's nothing in those stories is an accident okay so now you've got two different theories about the nature of suffering you've got the one I just laid out it's called the foundational story of suffering and malevolence and you have the Marxist story which is well there's oppressed people and the reason they're oppressed and suffering is because the oppressors are oppressing them those are not the same theories right and there's a utopianism that's implicit in Marxism which is if you could just get the damn oppressors to stop oppressing the oppressed then the Utopia would arrive and so not only are the oppressors responsible for the suffering of the poor they're also responsible for the fact that the utopia isn't here for everyone and so how reprehensible can you get well then that certainly justifies that degree of malevolence justifies pretty much anything you'd like to do to them so anyway so let's take this apart in a little more detail don't do the Marxists have sympathy for the working-class George Orwell was interested in this question and so he wrote this book called Wigan Road the Wigan pier which I would highly recommend it so on a reading list I made that's on my website you can check that out those are books that have been particularly influential to me and so Orwell was a socialist he wrote the book for the left book club which published a kind of a socialist book once a month Orwell by the time he wrote this book he was already awake you know by in the 1920s after the Russian Revolution no one really knew what to make of what was happening in what would become the Soviet Union right I mean it was after World War one planet was in ashes pro intents and purposes the old aristocratic order was crumbling it was a horror show and these revolutionaries came out with these new ideas and tried to give the in principle give the working class a break and everybody watched to see what would happen and the honest people and the intellectuals watched and I separate them for a reason but by nineteen twenty twenty-one twenty-two something like that it was obvious already that something was rotten in the state of Denmark Malcolm Muggeridge went over to the Soviet Union to check out how the collectivization of the farms was going and he found out it was actually pretty murderous right because what this what the Communists did was round up all the successful farmers and raped them and kill them and steal everything they had and send them off to Siberia which turned out actually to be a pretty bad idea now you think you think about it those people were or serfs not very long before a couple of generations at most they were so not much more than slaves and some of them had risen up to the point where the me had a nice brick house and a couple of cows and maybe a person working for them or two and there was a small proportion of the agriculturalists in the soviet union that we're producing most of the food and that's just how it goes because that's a pre distribution issue in any field where there's human productivity a small proportion of the people produce almost all of the output it's actually the square root of the number of people in the field produce half the output so if you have a hundred farmers ten of them produce half the food but if you have 10,000 a hundred of them produce half the food okay so what happens when you kill all the good farmers you starve six million Ukrainians to death in the 1930s and you know that's not something that's all that widely known but if you want to provide some additional fodder for your nightmares you could go online and read about what happened to the Ukrainians in the 1930s so without underneath that under the collectivization principles so let's say you're a mother and you were starving to death so are your children and you know the Communists had come in and forcibly collectivized you and then they took all the grain that your collective farm had producing they shipped it all to the city saying so that's all done and you think okay you know the city's gotta eat so then you go out in the field to pick up the grains that the harvesters missed so that you can you know the ones that they've been lying there they're not so good there's not that many of them you go out and glean you pick up the seeds that weren't picked up so you can feed your kids so they don't die and so what's the punishment for that death because you were obliged under the collectivization orders to turn in any additional grains that you happen to pick off the ground to the authorities so that they could be well who knows but at least so you so they could be shipped to the cities I suppose which is of course absurd because of course that would never happen but it was mostly so that you could just actually die so okay anyways back to the road to Wigan Pier now I'm gonna read you a little bit about about from the book so Orwell went out to this mining town in the northern UK and coal miners Orwell had sympathy for the working class he really worked on that his whole life because he was a middle class upper middle class snobby type Englishman and he knew it and he tried really hard to overcome that he he he served in the Spanish Civil War he wandered around as a tramp he worked in in in low end restaurant he worked as a low end worker in restaurants in Paris and and in London he has a very good book I think it's called down and out in Paris in London that describes that he was seriously committed dude and really a smart guy and so he's going up to these terrible towns in the northern UK where the coal miners worked and have their families and you know they had hard lives they had hard lives and that's just saying nothing you know that coal miners that he met they didn't have any teeth by the time they were thirty he said the women he talked you said teeth are just a misery it's better to get rid of them as soon as you can and and and they went and the man went in mind coal and that was rough you know they all have black lung by the time they were 40 and they were they were done fundamentally but here's a just a bit a bit of a story about how hard their lives were so they had to go in the mines during the day so they never saw the day so that's one thing they had to go to the mines and then they had their like not coal off the walls that's hard with hammers and picks and all of that and they had to move it but that was that was their job but there was the commute so here was the commute so imagine that the typical tunnel was about that high something like that and the typical coal miner was about that high that's a problem eh because you got to walk through those tunnels to get to work so you have to walk like this then the question might be well how far do you have to walk to work and the answer is three and a half miles and that's how far you have to walk back from work after you put your eight-hour shift in at the coal mine and they don't get paid for the commute and so huh or well said that was more or less like climbing a small mountain in the morning before you went to work and then climbing another one at night before you went home and so that was just I mean believe me I'm telling you very little about how tough their lives were but that gives you a little flavor like so one day like that for a modern person you're just you dad pay or you wish you were dead anyways and so Orwell talks about going up there to stay and terrible places he lived in while he was up there in the terrible food he ate and and the miserable wretched scenes that he saw and here's one of the miserable wretched scenes he's on a train through the neighborhoods he says the Train bore me away through the monstrous scenery of slag heaps chimneys piled scrap iron fouled canals paths of Sindri mud crisscross by the prints of clogs this was March but the weather had been horribly cold and everywhere there were mounds of black and snow as we move slowly through the outskirts of the town we passed row after row of little grey slum houses running at right angles to the embankment at the back of one of the houses a young woman was kneeling on the stone poking a stick up the lead and waste pipe which ran from the sink inside in which I suppose was blocked I had time to see everything about her her sack apron her clumsy clogs her arms reddened by the cold she looked up as the train passed and I was almost near enough to catch her eye she had a round pale face the usual exhausted face of the slum girl who's 25 and looks 40 thanks to miscarriages and drudgery and at war for the second in which I saw it the most desolate hopeless expression I have ever seen it struck me then that we meaning the middle class at that time our mistake and when we say that it isn't the same for them as it would be for us and that people bred in the slums can imagine nothing but the slums for what I saw on her face was by no means the ignorant suffering of an animal she knew well enough what was happening to her understood as well as I did how dreadful a destiny it was to be kneeling there and the bitter cold on the slimy stones of a slum backyard poking a stick up a foul drainpipe all right so thore well rates the first part of the book and it details the lives of these people and then he makes an argument he says like how can you read about this how can you know about this without having some sympathy for redistribution schemes and social and socialist ideas and so he's actually asking himself this question it's not just a rhetorical question he's I mean he's a serious guy right he went he goes up there and he tells you a story that you have to have a heart of stone if you if you don't if you read that you don't think man something should be done about this it's really awful so he's set up this situation where your sympathies are completely with the people that he's describing but socialism wasn't all that popular in Britain at that time and and so and socialists weren't all that popular with Orwell didn't really like them that much he was trying to figure out why that was so this the second part of the book now this got him in a lot of trouble they didn't want to publish his damn book after he wrote the second part but he fought with them in he got it published and it's a classic and and people still read it and you should read it because it's a great book and Orwell's a great writer and Orwell is another one of those people that intellectuals who woke up pretty early in all Orwell wrote Animal Farm in 1984 he wrote 1984 in 1948 wrote Animal Farm approximately around the same time he knew what was happening under Stalin and he wasn't afraid to say it but it was a message that in some sense fell on deaf ears especially among the intelligentsia and there's complicated reasons for that but but it wasn't like the facts weren't there for people to see them if they wanted to and has already said Muggeridge Malcolm Muggeridge had made it pretty clear in the 1920s and that was widely publicized by the way throughout the UK what was happening during decolonization the cool acts being the farmers that I talked about earlier who who had committed the unspeakable sin of crawling out of their serfs status over a couple of generations to the point where they weren't mere property and half starved so this is what Orwell had to say about Socialists it might be said however that even if the theoretical oriented book trained socialists is not a working man himself at least he is actuated by a love of the working class he's endeavoring to shed his burgeois status and fight on the side of the proletariat obviously that must be his motive but is it sometimes I look at a socialist the intellectual tract writing type of socialist with his pull over his fuzzy hair and his Marxist quotation and wonder what the devil his motive really is it's really difficult to believe that it's a love of anybody especially of the working class from whom he is of all people the furthest removed the truth is that too many people calling them socialists revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves it means instead a set of reforms which we the clever ones are going to impose upon them the lower orders on the other hand it would be a mistake to regard the book train socialists as a bloodless creature entirely incapable of emotion though seldom giving much evidence of affection for the exploited is perfectly capable of displaying hatred sort of queer theoretical in vacuo hatred against the exploiters hence the grand old socialist sport of denouncing the Bruges wozy it is strange how easily almost any socialist writer can lash himself into frenzies of rage against the class to which by birth or by adoption he himself almost invariably belongs now I worked for the NDP when I was a kid and I had privileged access to the leadership for provincially and federally for reasons that I won't go into and I thought that many of them were honorable people who were really striving to give the working-class of voice and I believe that the working-class needs a voice a political voice for obvious reasons I think the Democrats in the United States have made an absolutely dreadful abysmal mistake replacing their working-class political ethos with identity politics we're going to talk about that and and I don't think the situation has changed that much I think one of the things that's happened in the United States is that world stability and peace in some ways has been purchased at the expense of North American working class well-being no because the Chinese have got rich compared to thirty years ago 40 years ago 50 years ago the in the Indians have got rich again same comparison basis there's more middle class people in India now than there on the United States the trade arrangements that have been in North America allowed for the rise of middle classes globally at the same time they opened up the working class in North America to competition from those low-wage sources and maybe that's a good deal it's hard to say right because it's not such a bad thing that the Chinese aren't starving and it's not such a bad thing that the Indians aren't starving and that those societies are transforming themselves actually into communities that are quite wealthy it's like hurray for that it's an absolutely miraculous transformation it's the most rapid growth of human wealth in the history of humanity so we should be pretty happy about that but we should also remember at least to some degree who's paid the price for it and so as far as I'm concerned the working class needs a voice and it isn't obvious that they have one at the moment having said that however it isn't obvious to me at all that the people who purport to stand for the working class actually do so or that if they do so that the reason they do so is because they're all compassionate and sympathetic and loving and kind and saint-like I'm more convinced by Orwell's argument so back to the NDP the people I met at the leadership level a lot of them I had a fair bit of admiration for but as I worked with the party over about a five year period there is this contradiction that came kept emerging for me and that was that I didn't really like the low-level party functionary activist types like they just weren't personally appealing to me they seemed peevish and resentful and then at the same time I was going to college I was about 17 I got elected to the sit on the College Board of Governors and at that time Alberta was conservative politically right it still is of course but they it was part of the Progressive Conservative Empire because they ruled Alberta forever and all the Board of Governor members were basically nominees right they were conservative nominees so these were conservative people and I was an MVP member and I thought when I'd worked for small businessman – who weren't NDP they were they were conservative he can never figure that out but I'll tell you about that in a minute but I had a bad case of cognitive dissonance because they actually turned out that I admired the people on the Board of Governors and they were mostly it was in Grand Prairie it's not a very big place and it's not very old and so if you were reasonably successful in Grand Prairie the probability that you would inherited your money from the Rs 2 crore aristocracy was like zero because there wasn't one write it the whole damn town was 50 years old so if you had any influencer or wealth you were a small businessmen small to middle sized businessman and you'd you knew what you were doing and I actually admired these people I thought well that's not very good I admire them and I don't share their political views and then there's these other people with whom I hypothetically sure political views and I don't admire them at all what's going on and then I read road to Wigan pair and I thought oh that's it they don't like the poor they just hate the rich it's not the same thing it's not the same set of motivations and so let's say that you're a post modernist and you privilege compassion for the oppressed think well what do you push to the margins well what are you doing with all your hatred and your resentment and your evil it's like you don't have any of that that's a bad theory that's a really bad theory okay so fine so you can say well yeah you can say that but I don't buy it I still think that the people who stand to speak for the oppressed or in fact motivated by empathy and sympathy their hearts are in the right place see I don't really buy that either because I don't really think generally speaking that it's a credible claim for someone to make that their heart is in the right place now you can ask that of yourself and if you think your heart is in the right place well more power to you you know I I I can't see the halo from here however [Laughter] and so given that you're just as malevolent as your neighbor or maybe even more so and that that's actually pretty malevolent given the intrinsic nature of human beings I can't help but wonder what you're doing with all those traits that you're not admitting to but you can you could even object well you know that's a pretty pessimistic view of humankind it's not by the way it's just not naive but anyways you could object that and you could say no actually the weight of moral authority is in fact on the Left even the radical left with those who identify with the oppressed and who are working to better their conditions ok fair enough so then let's say well let's give those people some power and if they're actually motivated by compassion and empathy and desire for the working class if you give them power and you give their ideas power then as those ideas unfold in real time you're gonna find out like do things get better for the working class let's say or do they get worse because we could we could consider that like an experiment we could consider the outcome proof I I don't know what else you would do I don't know how else you would you would come to your decision because it's just theory till you see it happen now Nietzsche said back in the eighteen late 1800s that after he said that God was dead and I suppose that would also mean the theory that of suffering that I outlined at the beginning that is at the basis of judeo-christian civilization that God was dead and that people had killed him and that we'd never find enough water to wash away the blood it's a paraphrase but I've got the basic message right and he also said there'll be two consequences of that nihilism because there's no transcendent meaning and a move to totalitarianism because people can't tolerate nihilism they said the most likely pathway to totalitarianism would be communism essentially he didn't quite use those words but he meant that he they words are close enough he said socialism but I'm going to use communism to distinguish in it distinguish it from democratic socialism and he said that probably tens of hundreds of millions of people would die in the 20th century as we played out that experiment and then he said but it might be worth it if we learned something from it rough man I mean and and unbelievable like I cannot figure out how in the world he knew that that was going to happen especially so far in advance but Dostoyevsky knew the same thing he wrote this book called the Devils or the possessed you could read that that's a great book it takes about a hundred and fifty pages to get going but once it like everything everything snaps together after that you know and then it moves and it's basically his prophecy about it's an examination of the kind of person who had arisen in the aftermath of the death of God in Russia who would lead the Communist revolution that's essentially it and it's brilliant it's it's it's terrifying and it's a great intro to Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago which describes what did happen when those sort of people took over the revolution so let's look at what happened after the Revolution and we might say well this how about we replicate the experiment a few times because you know how it is if you're running a scientific experiment you want to find out what something does if you allow it to behave you don't want to just run it once because well maybe there is something specific about those conditions that led to the outcome you want to generalize it across multiple circumstances so we might say well let's take this set of ideas and let's let's run it on a large scale over a very long period of time in a variety of exceptionally diverse cultures and languages so let's do that okay well we could first start with the with the Soviets people even now because it's like the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution or celebrating Lenin it's like that's not good that's like celebrating Hitler okay I'm dead serious about that it's not good and the fact that people can dare to think that that's okay means that there's something wrong with the way that we look at history Lenin was a monster and if you want to know about that you can read souls and instance writings about Lenin because they Communist apologists say well I wasn't Lenin Lenin was a good guy he was all motivated by love of the working class it's like well his henchman was Stalin and if your henchman is Stalin you're not a good guy and and Lenin was around during the early collectivization and if you read what he wrote you'll find out that he is perfectly willing to have any number of people die as long as his ideological system could be brought into being so there's no celebrating Lenin there's no work cool young Marxist hip revolutionaries and he's our Idol it's like there's none of that not if you know anything not if you're decent well there was death of the cool acts I told you about that there was the Ukrainian famine that's 6 million gone there there was the rise of the gulag state because it turned out that Russia the Soviet Union couldn't run on the principles that it had that it had laid down as sacrosanct they just didn't work so you had enslaved everybody and run your economy as a slave state essentially and try not to kill the people in the gulags so fast that you can't suck some productive labor out of them was the death of tens of millions of people we don't even know the estimates range from 15 to 60 million and like we won't get to Picayune about the numbers because after the first 10 million you kind of made your point and the fact that we don't know between 15 and 60 is actually an indication of the horror of it because our count is off by tens of millions and that's only within the last century and then there was the 1956 crackdown on Hungary and the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia then was the whole like thermal nuclear holocaust thing that was going on at the same time in the fact that in 1962 and in 1984 we were seconds away from complete annihilation right during the Cuban Missile Crisis the keys were in the intercontinental ballistic missile release systems and Castro as he admitted to Jimmy Carter in case any of you are Castro fans which you shouldn't be that he was perfectly willing to have Cuba annihilate it if it would have meant the defeat of the United States and then in 1984 approximately I may have the date exactly wrong the Russians received an indication from their early warning systems that the Americans had launched five thermonuclear missiles and one Russian decided that it was a mistake and refused to launch the retaliation and he just died about two weeks ago so you know that was pretty close and so that was experiment number one let's say that that wasn't good that experiment let's put it that way it wasn't good it was exactly the antithesis of good it was precisely the antithesis of good but that wasn't all I mean there's the People's Republic of China that's a different country like seriously a different country right different tradition different language how many people died in China under Mao no one knows same issue with the Soviet Union although mile was a bigger monster than Stalin and that's that's impressive you know because there's Hitler there's Stalin and there's mile and of the three mile was probably the worst he's still revered in China maybe that accounts for their affinity for North Korea which could still destroy us all the remnants of that horrible state maybe a hundred million people died in China during the Great Leap Forward that's a hell of a leap forward well maybe it wasn't a hundred million you know maybe it was only 40 million but as I said before when you're counting in the tens of millions your points already made and then there was Cambodia and the killing fields and Bulgaria and East Germany and Romania and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea that's North Korea and Vietnam and Ethiopia Hungary etc etc etc there was never a successful communist state Cuba I suppose came closest but it was radically the Soviets poured money into Cuba so that doesn't really count so then the first question was well are these Marxists motivated by love or hatred well is it love or hatred that produces a hundred million dead people is that enough evidence or not and if it's not enough evidence if you think to yourself well that's not enough evidence it was never really given its proper a proper try it's like well what would have been a proper try see I always think when I hear someone say that I know what you think you think in your delusional arrogance that you understand the Marxist doctrines better than anyone else ever has and that if you are the one implementing those doctrines you would have ushered in the utopia that's what you mean when you say that and you know they say and there's an idea in the new testament that there's a sin it's the sin against the holy ghost if you commit that sin no one really knows what it is that you can't be forgiven and i would say well if you want a candidate for the sin against the holy ghost in the 21st century the statement communism real communism was never tried with the underlying idea that if you had been the person implementing it it would have worked i think that's a pretty good contender for something for which you should never be forgiven all right so that's Marxism so let's go on to post-modernism we talked a little bit about it now hypothetically it's an attitude of skepticism irony towards rejection of grand narratives ideologies and universalism criticizes objective notions of reason human nature social progress absolute truth and objective reality it's predicated on the idea that the reason that you categorize especially that the reason that you categorize is to marginalize you categorize to marginalize to obtain power powers pretty much all there is there's other elements of post-modernism one of them is that human nature is merely a social construct see the reason for that as far as I'm concerned and this is a postmodern critique as well I'm going to move the center to the margin and the margin to the center's why would you think that human nature is only a social construct well here's why it's because that means you could construct it any way you want to that was a very common idea among us among the communists you know they that's why Moll wanted to wipe out Chinese history that's why the Red Guard went around in China and tried to destroy everything every element of China's history prior to approximately 1960 at that great culture thousands and thousands of years old as well so you could bring in the new man but what is the new man well was whatever slave Mao happened to fantasize about or it was the utopian person you take your pick but like I said if you take a look at the corpses you can pretty much figure out which of those two it was so what's up with these people these deconstructionist sees post modernists what are they up to exactly well here's the first thing they came about pretty much when Marxism was no longer credible no longer tenable as an intellectual a set of intellectual propositions now if you were a French intellectual you had to have a lot of corpses piled at your feet before you were willing to think that you were wrong so here's an example I don't remember his name he was the architect of the killing fields in Cambodia it wasn't Paul Pott it was one of his advisers unfortunately I can't remember his name he took his PhD at the Sorbonne and he developed the thesis set in the Sorbonne what Marxist thesis that the cities were parasites on on the land you know it's an extension of the whole bourgeoisie proletariat thing the cities were full of bourgeois types educated and educated parasites essentially who were doing nothing but stealing what was rightly the farmers so when he came back to Cambodia he put that into action and emptied out the cities and put all the intellectuals and the city dwellers either to death or to work which generally resulted in death and killed about one-sixth to one-quarter of the population but he got his PhD from the Sorbonne and that's a good story because that's exactly how complicit the Western leftist intellectuals were in facilitating the horrors of the 20th century and it's not like we've learned anything since then quite the contrary we just gone underground and that's what I see that's what I see when I see post-modernism so what happened was despite the affinity of Western intellectuals for Marxism maybe because they weren't paid as much as bankers let's say if we're being cynical about it because I've often thought that if you paid sociologists as much as investment bankers they'd be capitalists very rapidly walls which is also to say that you may under pay intellectuals at your peril and you know that's actually dangerous because one of the things that's happening is that as the universities have become corporatized and corrupted in a variety of ways more and more of the professor's are adjuncts right I think it's up to 30 40 50 percent something like that now they've got no tenure they've got no job security and they're paid like $24,000 a year it's not a good idea to radicalize the people that are teaching your children but anyways by the end of the 60s so much data on the catastrophic failures of communism had accrued that even the most intransigent of French intellectuals had to admit that the jig was up but that's a problem because that's the whole ideology right that's the whole raise on debt he says in this terrible Alberta French you're gonna just give that up what are you gonna do after that well what happened was post-modernism was invented and so it's a sleight of hand as far as I can tell so and and with post-modernism identity politics and so the postmodern transformation is well we're a little wrong with the working-class thing turns out that communists killed them all and capitalists make them all rich and that's actually exactly the opposite of what we predicted but maybe there's still a way this could be salvaged how about if we we don't say working-class capitalists we say oppressor oppressed well just we'll just trance transform the terminology a bit and we'll start thinking about all the other ways that people are oppressed and then and all the other ways that people are oppressors and then we can play the same damn game under a new guise and now look the post modernists were Marxist so let's make no mistake Derrida himself said that post-modernism was a transformation of Marxism I'm not making this up the question is why well yeah because you could say well post-modernism is a valid philosophical school and we'll get into that for a minute and they make some valid claims one of them for example this is a central post modernist claim is that there's an infinite number of ways of interpreting the world and that actually turns out to be technically correct part of the reason that we've had a very difficult time building robots AI robots that can operate in the real world is because perceiving the real world turns out to be so difficult that we really can't figure out how human beings do it because it is susceptible to an infinite number of interpretations so that's actually correct now I'm not going to give the post modernists a tremendous amount of credit for discovering that because it was discovered simultaneously in about five disciplines at pretty much the same time but you give the devil his due so so what's the logic it's something like well there's an infinite number of interpretations of the world you can't tell which of those are canonically correct correct the basic narrative of human struggle is oppressor versus oppressed we use category structures to constrain that infinite number of interpretations because the basic narrative is oppressor versus oppressed we choose those narratives that serve our function as oppressors so it's deeply cynical but credible you know and you can say if you're not naive that people are motivated by power and that our interpretations of the world can be self-serving I mean we do want to serve ourselves after all because otherwise we die and so and we are centered in one place and so we can't see everything and we're biased so so there is the probability that the way that we look in the world at the world will be tainted by narrow self-interest and maybe even tainted by in-group interests beyond narrow individual self-interest and we know the is true but it's also not all bad you know like we a good person takes care of his or her family what does that mean what means you prefer your family to outsiders you we're gonna get rid of that it's a form of prejudice like it really is like your choice of sexual partner is a form of prejudice right I mean maybe it should be distributed in an egalitarian manner hey that would be a lot funnier if it isn't a possibility like in in in in in Huxley's brave new world that was the rule you you shared yourself with whoever asked because it was rude not to and you know what it is actually rude not to it's seriously rude now is that something you want to take away from people you want that to be distributed in an egalitarian fashion how prejudiced are you when you choose someone to sleep with you choose that person and not everyone else it's the ultimate in prejudice if they you say well that's not prejudicial oh yes it is you usually go for the most attractive partner you could find usually go for the healthiest partner you go for the best person you can find who can tolerate you it's prejudicial in every possible way so well so ok so you're self-serving and you construct a view of the world that serves those self-serving causes and some of that has to do with power fair enough that doesn't mean it all has to do with power though it means that some of it has to do with power it's like racism people are kind of racist or maybe people prefer their in-group it's not that easy or maybe people prefer the familiar to the novel you know that IAT that the social psychologists have come up with implicit association test that measures unconscious bias we don't know what the hell that measures the people who invented that bloody thing they know we don't know what it measures they know it's not reliable they know it's not valid enough to be used as an individual diagnostic instrument that's technically the case they also know that you can't train people out of their own car just biases because there is not much difference between unconscious bias and instantaneous perception but they don't really care I've written to mahzarin banaji he's one of the inventors of the IAT several times saying how about you come out in public and say what you already know which is that people are misusing your damned tests silence well that's partly because her discipline Social Psychology is a corrupt discipline as the social psychologists have discovered over the last four years and be turning themselves inside out trying to rectify which they haven't anyways we're giving the devil his due there's an infinite number of interpretations of the world and it's highly probable that you'll lay a self-serving one on top of it yes and also that'll serve the interests of your group however you define that yes but it only accounts for a fraction of your behavior there's all sorts of other things at work as well and you don't get to reduce all human motivations to one motivation power and then you might also ask well why would you want to reduce all human motivations to power it's so you can use power that's why you can justify the use of power that's force you don't have to engage in civilize debate you don't have to give a damn about the facts especially if you're not a postmodernist because you don't believe in facts anyways and you might ask well why don't you am not kidding I'm not kidding post modernists don't believe in facts they believe that the idea of fact is part of the power game that's place played by the white dominated male patriarchy to impose the tyrannical structure of the patriarchy on the oppressors it's like I'm not making this stuff up it's embedded right in the theory all you have to do is read it and you find this out so they don't believe in facts while facts would constrain the use of power at least that's how it looks to me okay so fine we gave the devil as dude there's an infinite number of interpretations and you're likely to use biased compression algorithms on the world and they're likely to be biased in your favor true but only partly true and the difference between an ideologue and the thinker is that a thinker knows the difference between things that are only partly true and things that are completely true things are complicated like I like to think everything is as complicated as a military helicopter you have to like I think it's eight hours of maintenance to keep those things in the air for one hour because they don't fly their rocks they plummet it's really hard to keep them in the air and they're full of parts and you and if you don't know all those parts you don't go in there and monkey about with them because it's just wreck it and that's just a helicopter like everything is way more complicated than a helicopter so you don't just do luck about in there hoping you're gonna make it better that isn't how it works you need to be competent all right so look here's where the postmodernists are wrong I think there's three places and they're serious errors the first is that there is an infinite number of interpretations but there is not an infinite number of viable interpretations there's a very finite number of viable interpretations and I don't think that this is theory I think that game theorists have already demonstrated this to some degree and it's going to be built into AI systems very rapidly okay so what are the constraints okay first of all you can't have an interpretation that leads to immediately to your death or you're dead now if you want to be dead that's fine but if you don't want to be then you've got a lot of limited options right you don't get to run naked across an eight-lane freeway at night blindfolded because probably you'll be dead that's a bad interpretation okay so you might say because you're fragile and vulnerable and mortal that there's a limited number of ways that you can look at the world that don't result in let's say death or serious damage or agony that's a bad thing agony is a bad thing most people agree on that so you're constrained by pain and anxiety at least your interpretations are constrained by pain and anxiety and you know you can make pain worse or better by thinking about it to some degree but only to some degree when push comes to shove pain is your master okay so that's a big constraint that's a big big constraint well but the constraints are worse than that because not only do you not get to have an interpretation of the world that produces anxiety and suffering right now but you don't get to have an interpretation of the world that if you iterated across time produces pain and suffering and so that's that's a big problem because there's lots of you could go out tonight and get yourself blind drunk on cocaine and sleep with six hookers and you know maybe that maybe that'd be a good night you know you might not think about it being so good tomorrow but then maybe you're dead of AIDS in a year or maybe you're addicted to cocaine or maybe you're a street alcoholic or whatever it's like as an iterable game that's a down hill and the thing is you play iterated games you don't play one you play iterated games and so your interpretation of the world has to be one that will sustain multiple iterations across time because you have to worry about 40 year old you and 60 year old you and that's a big problem that's a lot of used stretched over a long period of time and it's worse than that because it's not just you it's like you and your family right and not only so not only do you have to take care of yourself now in a manner that allows you to take care of yourself when you're 40 you have to take care of yourself now in a manner that takes care of you when you're 40 so that other people are happy to have you around now and continually so that they'll cooperate and compete with you in a positive way and so that's getting ridiculously complicated it's not just you now and you in the future it's you surrounded by other people doing the same thing now and in the future and there's a lot of other people it can't even just be you and your family you know like like the psychopathic burglar mob that's just not gonna go so well right other people are gonna object and the world is gonna object and so fine there's an infinite number of interpretations that doesn't mean there's an infinite number of viable interpretations in fact they're hardly any they're hardly any playable games now Piaget Jean Piaget the developmental psychologist who's a very smart guy he pointed out something very interesting he said now Janu ran a set of iterated games as a competition and in one iterated game the rule was you bloody well do what I tell you to and the other one is well we'll all get together and decide how we're going to do this okay now we run the competition well PJ's claim is you do what I tell you fails and the reason for that is I have to impose force in order to keep you cooperating and the imposition of force is a cost it's an efficiency cost and across time that efficiency cost is going to multiply and the equilibrated state solution which is the one where we all agree it wins now that's worth thinking about you think you think about that locally so you've got you're trying to organize your family you have a little family conference about who's doing what in the household and what do you if you want peace and harmony and an iterated game you get everybody to say well here's the tasks and we they have to be done people have to agree on that and then you say well which task would you do you have to some how about you and you know which task would you do and everybody agrees and then you say well unless you can come up with a better solution that's the one we're gonna go with and then people can be a little resentful and angry about the conditions of existence where they have to work but you can't really blame that on anyone else and maybe that's the best solution you can come up with and that was PJ's idea of the equilibrate estate it was like it's a voluntary agreement that can be iterated across time that works at multiple levels of social organization man that's a serious serious serious set of constraints and BSA by the way was looking for a way to reconcile science and religion he was looking for a biological origin to morality and he thought he found it in the idea of the equilibrated state that's even deeper than that so imagine this equilibrate the state ideas actually there's something to it that if you set the state up properly it will iterate across time so long that it becomes a permanent part of the environment hierarchy is exactly that's exactly what a hierarchy is hierarchies are 350 million years old they're not the patriarchal invention of white European Christian males in the last 300 years there 350 million years old they're stable they're stable solutions to this iterated game problem and they've been around so long that we're actually adapted to them and that's part of the reason we have archetypal representations of the social structure so and we also have archetypal representations of the relationship of the individual to the social structure your job as an individual in relationship to the social structure is to embody the social structure but also to serve as its eyes and its mouth so that can update itself when necessary so you take on the mantle of your father let's say but he's dead he's the past he can't see you can see so you take the structure that's already there and you modify it where it's necessary and that modification process is necessary or the state becomes too static and collapses and that's why the state has to be subordinate to the individual and that's what Western culture has discovered and we can't just let them go that's the idea the logos that's a big idea and you'd want to live somewhere where you want to live somewhere where the individual is subordinate to the state it's like hey go right ahead there's lots of places like that man emigrate go there 90% of the world's countries are like that if you want to live like that man go find out what it's like you don't see immigration going there that's for sure okay so that's a big mistake that the postmodern is made it's not trivial that's a big mistake but it's not the only one here's another one they don't like inequality but who does I'm against poverty you know that's like classic protest sign it's like really it's like I'm Against Torture it's like it's so obvious you don't get any brownie points for being against poverty no one in the right mind is for poverty you know you ever watch The Simpsons you ever see they're the Republican Party in the Simpsons they all meet in an old haunted castle at night with like lightning bolts going off and there's a vampire and a crazy text and then even the Simpson Republicans don't sit around in the haunted Tower at midnight saying hey we need more poverty here's an interesting thing so one of the postmodernist claims is that diversity is necessary and they make it racial and they make it sexual they make it ethnic and all of that that's actually technically incorrect by the way because I study individual differences so those are the differences between people and I know the literature so you know about James des Morris memo right from Google he wrote that partly because he was watching my videos which is why he wanted me to interview him and I'm a believer that there are biological differences in temperament between men and women apart from the other obvious differences and that they're actually non-trivial and that they maximize in the societies that have the most have moved farthest to producing egalitarian states the Scandinavian countries and that the reason for that is that there's two reasons why men and women differ in temperament one is biological and the other is environmental and if you remove the environmental variation which you do if you make the stadia latarian you maximise the genetic variation and that's been demonstrated in the scientific literature over about four decades and no one wanted it or hoped for it and they weren't biased in looking for it because that was exactly the opposite of what social scientists wanted to find because social scientists lean heavily to the left and what they wanted to find was you flatten out the state so that everyone has equal opportunity and the differences between people disappear that is not what happened the opposite happened that wasn't wrong and no one was happy about it and no one's happy about it now you can actually when you've discovered something in the social science because you're not happy about it but if you take let's say there's a big difference between men and women in terms of trait agreeableness compassion and politeness on average women are more agreeable than men and the difference is approximately this if you take random pairs of men and women out of the population let's say you had to make a bet on who was more agreeable if you bet that it was the woman you'd be right 60% of the time well that's not that much means you'd be wrong forty percent of the time that's almost fifty percent of the time so this is a big difference by social science standards but that's the magnitude of the difference there are some differences that are bigger like the difference between men and women's interest in people versus things is actually bigger than that that's the biggest difference we know but it's a big difference let's say the agreeable this difference but still they the shared attributes of men and women far outweigh the attributes that differentiate them because you could ask are there more differences within groups or between them now the postmodern answered that is between them that's why you need diversity by group right that's why you need different races that's why you need different ethnicities and sexual preferences and all of that well that's wrong there's moral difference within the groups than there is between them you don't get diversity by crossing the groups you get diversity by by selecting across individuals in fact the idea that there is more differences between groups that there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea it's the fundamental racist idea which is well let's say you're Asian Oriental to use the old word to discriminate the one type of Asian say from the other you're so different from me that there's no overlap between our groups and you're also so different and there's so little difference within your group that now that I know that you're not me you're not one of mine I actually know what you're like no technically that's incorrect that's wrong that isn't how you get diversity now diversity is actually necessary because people differ in intelligence and they different temperament they different skills and so you actually need diversity because otherwise you can't take advantage of all those differences so you need diversity but you need genuine diversity and like what would genuine diversity mean if you're trying to put together a work team you want enough you want people of sufficient diversity so that they more or less so that you gather together the appropriate talents to produce the implement that's necessary to work properly in the world that's a competence marker because otherwise your business is gonna fail and so the proper diversity with regards to employment is the diversity that meets the the requirements of the business essentially obviously that's why you try to hire people carefully and not randomly let's say third error first errors there's only a finite number of valid interpretations second error is that there are real differences between groups of people but there's more difference within the groups than between them third difference is social status and payment especially in a free democratic capitalist society is based more on competence than on power in fact we would say that when a person in a hierarchy starts to act like their position entitles them to power then that hierarchy has become corrupt Harvey Weinstein is a good example of that I'm serious it's like he acts acted like a tyrant what happened to him it's not good not good for him what he did was not good but it's an indication it's revealed it's an indication that that misuse so he's competent fine he gets to have position because we need people who are confident but that doesn't mean you get to turn into a tire if you turn into a tyrant then that overshadows your competence and out you go that's the definition of a functioning state and our state essentially functions it's not perfect that's for sure but compared to what that's the issue compared to your hypothetical Marxist utopia well compared to your hypothetical Marxist utopia I mean we're living in Osh wits but you're but your actual Marxist utopia is indistinguishable from Auschwitz so we're not listening to that comparison we're gonna take a look at what we have and we're gonna compare it to other places that actually existed in time and geographically and by those criteria it's like is there another time you'd rather live another place you'd rather live I mean a real place in a real time I mean you want to live back in 1895 even in the Western world where the average person lived on less than a dollar a day and today is money you want to live like those coal miners it's like the answer to that snow if you have any sense you should have some gratitude that's another problem with the postmodern neo-marxist like zero zero zero gratitude it's all oh my god i'm oppressed of course you're oppressed but you're not impressed by the patriarchy for God's sake so you have status in a hierarchy you might say well that's like a reward so you're you're a high status person it's a reward the reward should be shared equally it's like a badge of merit that you get it's a privilege it's not the reason that in a capitalist society filthy selfish capitalists put you in the position so they can extract maximum productivity from you and that's exactly why you're there you get paid you get paid so you keep working why do we want you to work because your work is actually valuable to us and so we're gonna pay you so you don't quit it's not a reward because you're a good guy it's not a privilege that's not what it is you don't hand those things out like merit badges that's not how it works the society is set up on selfish principles we pay people who are competent so they won't stop striving because we want what they can produce so you don't just distribute that like like it's a gift it's not a gift it's not a gift at all so that's another place where they're wrong social status and payment is the consequence of the selfish desire of individuals and the group to extract resources of intellect creativity and industriousness from those who possess them in excess now of course it's not a hundred percent like that there's incompetent people who rise to the top you can fool people and you can manipulate them and you can act like a tyrant and you know we might say maybe the system is like 30 percent warped something like that it's not much more than that because we can account for people's success across life by looking at their individual differences intelligence conscientiousness emotional stability creativity we can do a pretty good job of predicting their trajectory so there's error some of its health right because sometimes you've got what you need but you get cut off at the knees or your family members do or you know some tragic thing befalls you with there's a randomness in this system that accounts for a fair bit of it and then there's a certain amount of corruption fair enough but not so much that the lights go off okay what time is it 8:15 and I started win sorry it's me 6:30 I should stop them I'm gonna go for five more minutes and then I'll wrap this up I want to talk about intersectionality and and white privilege a bit so so I first said well we analyze Marxism we have analyzed post-modernism I suggested that post-modernism was a way for the Marxist to keep going under a new guys I suggested that Marxism was fundamentally based on hatred rather than sympathy and an empathy I suggested that the corpses were the evidence for that I told you why I think post-modernism is fundamentally wrong but now I want to talk to you a little bit about white privilege so the first thing that I can and I haven't got this quite figured oh yeah I can't quite figure out why the post modernists have made the canonical distinctions they've made race ethnicity sexual proclivity sexual gender identity let's say those are four dimensions along which people vary but there's a very large number of dimensions along which people vary right in fact given that there's an infinite number of ways of interpreting the world you could immediately point out that there's an infinite number of dimensions along which people vary and so then the postmodern question is why would you privilege some of those dimensions over the other and I would say well because it sustains your bloody Marxist interpretation that's why but you're not gonna say that because it marginalizes right you've marginalized that so you can ignore it so that's one of the fun things about post-modernism you can you can I have a very vulgar image in my mind but I won't share that with you but you can infer it here's some ways people differ intelligence temperament geography historical time you live now and not a hundred years ago attractiveness that's a big that's a big one that's a big one but you imagine you you could you won't go there either you he it's it's advantageous to be young you've got potential it's advantageous to be old you've got wealth health that's a good one sexes women have advantages men have advantages maybe one has more than the other it's not self-evident women live about eight years longer they're multi-orgasmic athleticism well family structure friendship education well then there's the classic you know postmodern once race ethnicity etc why not those other very dimensions of variation there's no evidence that they're less important in fact there's quite a bit of evidence that they're more important so like why not consider them then you get intersectionality this is one of the things that's really comical I think because the post modernists identity politics types actually realized this they thought well okay race and gender fair enough what if your what if you're a black woman that's a problem because well now you've got two dimensions of differentiation what the hell are we gonna do about that what if your what if you're gay and black and female well then what if you're not very bright and gay and black and female and then what if you're ugly and not very bright and gay and black and female and like you can keep playing that game you can keep playing that game an infinite number of ways because there's an infinite number of ways to categorize things as the post modernist already pointed out and so the intersectionality theorist came along to plug the hole but they don't know where they're going they don't understand that the logical conclusion of intersectionality is individuality because there's so many different ways of categorizing people's advantages and disadvantages that if you take that all the way out to the end you say well the individual is the ultimate minority and that's exactly right and that's exactly what the West discovered and you know the intersection list so get there if they don't kill everyone first so onto white privilege so it's really interesting to find out where these ideas come from because it's usually the scholarship is so awful you just cannot possibly believe it it's just absolutely it wouldn't in at the University of Toronto in the psychology department the original paper on white privilege wouldn't have received a passing grade for the hypothesis part of a undergraduate honors thesis we're not even close there's no methodology at all the person who wrote it it was called white privilege and male privilege a personal account of coming to see correspondences through work in women's studies well first of all personal account is like sorry no so she she listed a bunch of ways that she thought she says these are personal personal examples of her unearned privilege or unearned privilege that she saw as she experienced in the 1970s 1980s so this by the way that so this idea is the opinion of one person who wrote one paper that has absolutely no empirical backing whatsoever which is a set of hypotheses which has never been subject to any statistical analysis like if I ask you a bunch of questions it's not obvious how many questions I'm asking you because I could say how tall are you or I could say if you're laying on the ground how extended would you be it's like that two questions it's like no it's one question it's just asked two ways and the way you figure out if you ask someone a bunch of questions how many questions you're asking them is by doing something called a factor analysis which is kind of an elementary form now of social science investigation if you make a questionnaire you have to subject it to a factor analysis because you got to find out how many questions you're asking because you might think it's 60 but it's probably not it's probably five that's the big five by the way anyways who cares about that there's no such thing as methodology anyways that's all part of the oppressive white male European patriarchy so we can just not bother with that and we can pen a few notes about how we think the world is constructed and then we can screw up the entire political system two decades later okay so here's your white privilege list some of it there's like 50 things I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time if I should need to move I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live that's actually a well thing by the way I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me I can go shopping alone most of the time pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed I can turn on my television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my waist race widely represented when I'm told about our national heritage or about civilization I am shown that people of my color made it what it is there's 50 of those I think something like that okay is that white privilege is that like majority privilege is the same true you go to China you're Chinese it's the same true if you're Chinese this is a majority privilege and if its majority privileges like isn't that just part of living within your culture so let's say you live in your culture you're privileged as a member of that culture well obviously that's what the culture is for that's what it's for why would you bother building the damn thing if it didn't accrue benefits to you now you might say well one of the consequences that it accrues fewer benefits to those who aren't in the culture yeah but you can't immediately associate that with race you can't just do that say it's white privileged there's many things that could be certainly could be wealth and the intersectional people have already figured out that there's many things it could be so like what the hell seriously well what's going on well we let these pseudo disciplines into the university because we're stupid and guilty seriously and they have no methodological requirements and plenty of power and plenty of time to produce nonsensical research and produce like resentful activists and now we're bearing the fruits of that it's not pretty so white privilege well the other thing you might notice is that to attribute to the individuals of a community the attributes of that community on the basis of their racial identity is called racism that's what racism is there's no other way of defining it it's attributing to the individual the characteristics of the group as if the group was homogeneous now the intersectional people have already decided that's not a fair game there's so many differences between people but the postmodernist don't care about logical coherence because they regard logical coherence here it comes again as a creation of the white European male patriarchal structure that's designed to oppress the oppressed and that's technically the case so logical in coherence it doesn't matter and you could say well if you act out your logically incoherent ideas in the world you're gonna run face first into a brick wall and the postmodern answer to that is there's actually no real world it's all interpretation so there's no there's no having that discussion but the post modernists don't care because they don't believe that discussion between people of different power groups as possible anyways so here we are well so I made a case tonight you know I'll go over what's the case the post modernists are wrong they're philosophically naive they're right about an infinite number of interpretations and wrong about a finite number of viable interpretations and that's like that's that's death that's the end of post modernist theory and that's not the only way in which they're wrong they're wrong in a bunch of other ways but they're more subsidiary the Marxists they're not just wrong they're wrong and murderous or wrong murderous and Jenna Seidel unless you think murderous and genocide 'el doesn't mean wrong and you you can think that there's lots of would-be revolutionaries who would be happy to have blood running in the street if they had their chance for revenge and the opportunity to move up the hierarchy of tyranny so you can you you don't have to think that murder and genocide is wrong especially if the right people are murdered and genocided right that's actually part of the part of the whole equation but if you're willing to think that murder and genocide on a mass scale across many cultures over many decades is wrong then Marxism is wrong and the post modernists don't get to just come along and a dot Marxism as a matter of sleight of hand because they're marxist theory didn't work out and they figured out a rationalization they don't get to get away with that because it's too dangerous it's too dangerous to the rest of us and we don't and it isn't necessary for us who are trying with the small part of our hearts that might be oriented towards the good to allow people who are manipulating us with historical ignorance and philosophical sleight of hand to render us a god damn guilty about what our ancestors may or may not have done so that we allow our shame and our guilt to be to be used as tools to manipulate us into accepting a future that we do not want to have then that's [Applause] it's that work okay so we're just gonna do the we're gonna move on to the Q&A now but before we do the venue wants to do a little announcement sorry my name is Cameron we going the the co managing director heard the chance at her as you are all leaving tonight please be aware of something that's come to light tonight outside the building there is an individual impersonating a UBC security guard it is not in the building it was in the rose garden there was no damage done nobody was hurt but there is an impersonator out there so just please be aware of that thank you very much so for those of you in the first two rows you can either line up here or at the mic over there and ask your questions and also try to keep it short because we don't have that much time hello Jordan B Peterson um huge fan in your lectures use the term post-modernism interchangeably with cultural Marxism nihilism and moral relativism I wonder if you've considered or heard alternative beliefs that the term post-modernism is not necessary is necessarily always congruent on a one-to-one scale of these other terms and in some limited circumstances is positive specifically the idea that wouldn't you'd use the term post-modernism to vilify is by some others referred to as pseudo modernism whereas some would call what you endorse to not be modernism but in fact meta modernism postmillennialism or post post-modernism which unfortunately has a terrible name and then I have very brief definitions of those words if you need me to well no as I said tonight you have to give the devilís do and so we'll do that so yes there is a very large number of ways of interpreting the world there's no doubt about that yes people use biased interpretive lenses too as means of interpreting the world to put their own priorities forward without necessarily knowing that they're doing so and that that can corrupt them and society the psychoanalysts figured that out way before the post modernist so they don't get any credit for that like really none so it's useful to keep those things in mind it's when they're put but it's when they're put for it is absolute truth that disturbs me it's like yes people are probably racist they might even be implicitly racist although we don't know what that means and we don't know how it's related to their explicit behavior and we can't separate it from in-group preference or necessarily from reaction to novelty so it's a tricky business you know and we don't know how to separate stereotypical racial perceptions from perceptual heuristics we don't know how to do that because you're always oversimplifying the world because you're not smart enough to live in the world as it is you have to oversimplify it so yes there are times when post-modernism is useful i used it quite useful ii tonight to deconstruct post-modernism in fact so but but weights when it's turned into an absolute especially a moral absolute that it and when it'll eyes itself with Marxism it's like sorry guys know you don't like grand narratives you don't get to go there well that's where you that isn't where you went that's where you came from you never you never left there so that's that's basically what i have to say about that thanks hello dr. peterson thank you very much and my question is regarding ADHD which is something i haven't heard you speak a whole lot about maybe a little bit now it seems to me that we or at least maybe just me do not quite understand ADHD too what could be its full capacity maybe and because there's many many voices saying that it's an over diagnosed overblown small mental variance that's prevalent in boys or it's just young boys being young boys and then there are some that would fight and advocate for very different treatment in the academic world and I was wondering what you what your thoughts are on ADHD itself and on the whether you think it's over diagnosed and maybe advice for me as someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD on how to overcome it without maybe becoming completely reliant on prescribed medication okay so first of all it's definitely over diagnosed second it's it's a very unreliable psychiatric diagnosis many psychiatric diagnosis are unreliable and that's because psychiatric diagnosis aren't precisely scientific categories they're weird hybrids right first of all psychiatrists aren't scientists they're engineers engineers are trying to do something rather than to describe the objective world and psychiatrists are trying to make people healthy whatever that means it's actually partly ethical it's very complicated we don't know how to distinguish it from temperamental variation so for example if you're high in openness and high in extraversion and low in conscientiousness low and agreeableness conscientiousness and and high in neuroticism you're likely to manifest symptoms of ADHD it's because you're exploratory you don't like to sit down you're full of ideas your attention scatters across a wide variety of topics and you're not very stable temperamental variation it's also much more common among boys panksepp showed same guy with rats that if you deprive young rats of rough and tumble play which is what the young boys are deprived of in school let's say that they get hyperactive and then their prefrontal cortexes don't develop very well because they're not having the right kind of experiences and that you can treat that quite effectively with psychomotor stimulants like ritalin so that's kind of an interesting bit of scientific information that no one pays any attention to there is also absolutely no evidence whatsoever that long-term use of psychomotor stimulants produces increases in cognitive gain zero and there's plenty of evidence that it's harmful so then the second part of that was what about adjustments for in the academic world say we disability adjustments it's like that's a such a rat's nest that I don't want to even discuss it I mean it it I'll discuss it for like 15 seconds there is a never-ending multiplication of disabilities that's what's happening right now the disability offices and the universities are swamped like I know some people have it rough like believe me I know that I was a problem I seriously know that I've dealt with extraordinarily damaged people in my life here you're bloody hard pressed to find someone who doesn't have a serious problem or who doesn't have a his problem in a close family member it's like where do you draw the line with regards to disabilities well you can't you can't they multiply just like LGBT identities multiply just no really technically just like that just like intersectionality categories of oppression multiply it's it's it's inevitable the way that you deal with it is you have objective standards you apply them to everyone not because that's fair it's not fair if you if your criteria for fairness is that everyone has the same outcome it's not fair at all it's not even close to fair it's just less tyrannical than the alternatives now we don't know that yet because we haven't seen the full range of the tyranny of the alternatives manifest itself not in our culture but it certainly did in other cultures I think it's a bad idea now I don't want to be absolute about that like it's tricky you know because if you have a disability that would allow you to do the work in the university and in the workplace with a modification then perhaps the modification could be made but I think that was done a lot better when that was in the hands of the professor's and not in the hands of these crazy bureaucratic structures that have risen up around the disability issue like they're one of the ten things that are going to kill the universities or maybe have already killed them possibly because they mean they're walking corpses as far as I can tell zombies so and that might be wrong but it's what it looks like to me first thing I want to say thank you so much those an amazing talk and I was wondering if you could elaborate what I noticed a lot I go here the EBC is that a lot of students and young people they're often desensitized to for example the atrocities that communism or ideologies that Forge terrorism and maybe it's some sort of Stockholm Syndrome that I'm seeing where it's like people are just their cat they're like trapped and they can't do they feel in a way they can't do anything about it and then they start to like like like communism or they start to see more social sort socialist policies that in the end will get them killed we'll get them hurt as long as you kind of like elaborate down on what you think can be done about that or even if something can be done it will not respect well I think something can be done I mean I've been trying to educate people about the horrors of the Nazi regime and and the Soviet regime in particular I've concentrated mostly on those two because but that's good enough and trying to let people know that it was through the fault of people much like them that those systems arose and and that there are steps you can take to limit the probability that you would participate in such a thing and that those steps are associated with trying to be truthful in your speech and actions because the stability of those systems depends on the willingness of individuals to lie and and also on your willingness to take responsibility for the malevolence in your own heart that manifests itself in those social movements and so that when I don't when I do my lectures when I do talks like this when I put them on YouTube what I'm trying to do is exactly that because that was the best pathway forward through such things that I could think up over 20 years of thinking about it no one is so habituated to suffering that they can read the Gulag Archipelago which is actually quite hard to read without having it affect them like your psychopathic if that book doesn't affect you you know it should if you read it properly it affects you deeply and it's not the only example of that kind of literature so the people who are habituated aren't they've just been shown low resolution representations of things they don't understand that look vaguely bad they don't know a damn thing about them and our education system has done a tremendously appalling job of educating young people about the Lieut catastrophe of radical left isn't now it's not much better with regards to say the actions of the Nazis although I would say on average people are more aware of that but they don't but it's shallow shallow knowledge so you make the knowledge deep and deep knowledge changes people and wakes them up you know I mean the only reason that I ever got convinced that they're that good and evil were real more more real than anything else wasn't because I learned that good was real that's hard that's that's hard it's hard to learn that you have to find examples of transcendent good you know they're rare evil all you have to do is look read history a bit and read it like it's about you and there's no way that you can do that without a transformation but people won't do it it's like you want to imagine yourself as an ostrich guard that's a rough thing you see because you have to figure out see young said if you confronted the shadow which is the dark side of people the aggressive side the malevolent side that it it really reaches all the way down to hell and Dante sort of was trying to put forward the same thing when he wrote the inferno right with the levels of evil right because it was a voyage through the levels of evil right to the bottom he thought the bottom was betrayal it's pretty good the most the center of malevolence is betrayal I like that because to betray someone you have to get them to trust you and Trust is a moral virtue right especially if it's courageous Trust because it it puts you in alignment with other people and allows you to move forward into life and if you betray that you really it's like a knife in that it's led knife in the heart through the back especially if it's someone who loved loves you betrays you and especially if they betray you for your virtues that's a really nice twist so I believe because I think that people are capable of good that if they know enough about evil that that will straighten them out so but who wants that you know this is one of the things I really like about young he's often regarded as a New Age thinker that's wrong he's no New Age thinker he knew that the the pathway to enlightenment was barred by the necessity of a passage through hell and that no one was going to do that that's why there isn't a world full of enlightened people you might say like it was just a matter of doing nice things following your bliss let's say however you might put it then why wouldn't everyone walk up the stairway to heaven that isn't how it works that's not how it works at all I don't think you can be convinced of the necessity for moral action until you understand exactly how dark and terrible things can get and that it's your fault that they're getting that way who wants to think that so you can think it though but not not without it burning you so thanks so much hello dr. Peterson thank you for coming we all appreciate it a lot I wanted to get your opinion on censorship that we're seeing on the web it's accelerating you were a very notable example you were locked out of your Gmail in the entropic account part of me oh yeah Trump just got deleted by an errant person you know now they're saying that perhaps this was just a contractor and you know maybe someone from Twitter who's gone in a very far left direction a YouTube has gone in a very far left direction I'm just wondering I've started an alternative to youtube called pew tube what kind of what do you see for possible solutions and just here's it's a crazy thought but I'm gonna tell it to you anyways so I was just reading one of reycarts Wiles books I think it was called how to make a mind I really liked it actually it helped me understand how the brain compresses information cuz the world's really complicated a so you have to make a low-resolution representation of it to live in it and he actually explained to me in a way that I hadn't really understood how the brain might do that neurologically so that was cool but you know kurtzweil is this guy who thinks that he's a smart guy very smart guy and he's invented a fair bit of high-end technical technological software and hardware and he's the guy that thinks that we're heading towards the singularity and so the singularity is you know how processing speed doubles every 18 months and like hard disk capacity every year and there's a bunch of doublings going on a huge number of them and they accelerate exponentially and so it's probably we're probably three years away maybe even less then from building a computer that has the capacity to make as many calculations as reasonable estimates of the calculating capacity of the human brain are currently set at 18 months away two years away something like that and then we're eighteen months away from having one that's twice that fast and then 18 months away from having one that's twice as fast is that so that's like say six years and and we've got something that's eight times as smart as human being but there's a twist on that and this is Kurtz whales twist which is as soon as you make a machine smart enough to make the next machine that's smarter than it which is sort of what we're doing because computers are so fast that that will scale up to near infinite commuted computing power almost instantaneously now you think No probably not and Ellen gates partner has written critiques of kurtzweil and you know you might think if something is impossible then it won't happen even if you don't know why and there's reasons to not think that that will happen but Kurzweil is traced to back the doubling of computing power way before the existence of the transistor and it's been ridiculously stable crazily stable so god only knows what we're coming up with here you know and you don't know what something of infinite computing power might be like like you seriously don't know and there are serious people who are very very very worried about that they're very worried for example that companies like Facebook and Google will manage that first and you know those companies are already making censorship AI bots and that's what that's smart it's like making really fast robots that can shoot people it's not that smart and we're doing that too very rapidly and you know I know some guys who worked in advanced AI and you know how you look you watch the term Terminator movies and you see the robots that miss when they shoot at you like they're not very bright because the bright ones not only shoot at where you are but they estimate where you're gonna be when you make your escape moves and they shoot there simultaneously and their death rate is 100% and so there's no war against the robots I mean when those things get going they're gonna be so much faster than us that will look like we're moving through molasses to them so you know so maybe what we're deciding now with all of our individual decisions about censorship and the way that we're going to construct the world and all that is exactly what kind of super intelligence we're going to bring into being and I would suggest that we try to bring one in that's good and moral rather than one that's evil and demonic right so what can we do about that the there's only one answer that as far as I know that works is gay Rock together you're gonna be the person who's working in AI right I know some of these people it better be good people because they're gonna build whatever they're like into their machines so they better have their heads screwed on straight because they're going to get amplified like mad and I don't like what's happening with Google and Facebook and YouTube they're building censorship BOTS predicated on a certain kind of ideology the kind of ideology that we outlined today it's a very bad idea hopefully good people will stop that so then that what that means is that your moral obligation is to be good and the way you do that is first by stopping being bad and everyone can do that a little bit so I hope that's what everyone does because the consequences of not doing it are not going to be pleasant they never are thank you hi this question is about your biblical lecture series I like that one because it's about Genesis which is usually ignored as being were this post enlightenment society we don't need these ancient creation myths and also I thought revelations kind of gets the same treatment as being dismissed because it's the crazy hallucinogenic trip of some isolated madman in the middle of the Mediterranean mm-hmm so I was wondering if after you're done with Genesis if you were thinking about doing revelations not without traversing the geography in between okay yeah I want to walk through the whole thing if I can do that before I expire so I mean I've read it and thought about it and like it's such a strange book because it's really big among the evangelical Republican types and you'd think really that really that's the book that's but you rely have you read it it's it's it's a it's it's a crazy hallucinogenic trip that's what revelation is no that's not to play it down because god only knows about crazy hallucinogenic trips that's for sure I mean there's there's accruing evidence I would say that a tremendous amount of the religious orientation of human beings you know that deep mythological symbolic orientation is in no small part a consequence of humanity's experimentation with psychedelic substances I think that's that the evidence for that I think has become virtually overwhelming so anyways I will get there maybe probably not because at the rate I'm going through the first stories it'll take me forever to get there really but that's okay so thank you dr. Peterson thank you first of all it's great pleasure being here it's awesome to see you live I basically got into your works just earlier this year and I had an original question in but your talk today kind of made me decide to change my mind was can ask do you feel as though would you agree with me in the sentiment that the left is pushed so hard for a total control of our society over the last however many years it's almost to a point we're saying 2013 was a different time would you say that because they pushed so hard they've created this backlash and the backlash created caused them to backlash back again so they doubled down with their ideology and then they get they lose another argument they lose another ideological war they news lose another me more and they double down again and they double down again and again and they can't seem to meme they can't seem to argue they can't seem they can't they don't want to have an intellectual discussion and as an interpretation of what you were saying there is no there's doesn't seem to be any any any care of what's right with them they just want power they just want they just want to win do you would you agree with the sentiment that they're burning themselves out and creating the mass red pilling of the conservative movement that we see going on would you possibly think that maybe they've committed suicide and and talks like this people like yourself ben shapiro and others who talk to people like what the subjects that we do the taboo of nowadays possibly that this this is the answer to defeat the the leftist stranglehold it's not okay so first of all well first of all the first observation is a really interesting one because you know that things can go out of hand very very rapidly yeah and the reason they do that is because of positive feedback loops know the thing that kurtzweil talks about is a positive feedback loop an intelligent machine makes another intelligent machine that makes another intelligent machine that's a positive feedback loop and that can spiral upwards out of control very rapidly and that's what polarization is it's like I tap you you tap me I slap you you punch me well up it goes well I think that's partly why in the New Testament for example there's an injunction that's turn the other cheek resist not evil why because otherwise you get into a positive feedback loop and then you better look the hell out and things can tilt very very rapidly I mean no you have to do look at what happened in World War one no one expected that it was like one one relatively minor member I think of the aristocracy if I remember correctly was assassinated in one minor little country it's like bang everything fell apart and that's positive feedback loops right and so that's what we're in right now and we got to be and that's a really chaotic time and so I would say maintain self-control and don't aim to win a matte piece because winning that's that's not peace it's better to aim for peace you know I've got this tour coming up in November 11th I'm quite worried about it because I know there's going to be protesters there and that they've been emboldened by the fact that they shot the talk down before and I want to make a video I'll probably do it tomorrow telling everyone that comes to that meeting to like watch their bloody step and stay out of the gutter because you just we're at we're at we're at a point now where under the wrong circumstances if the wrong person does the wrong thing that the consequences will be very grave now we can't predict which action is going to precipitate that and or even if that will happen but it's chaotic enough so that it could happen so you know so govern yourselves accordingly now the problem is is that there are people who would be happy if there was blood running in the street they're the same sort of people that shoot up high schools or kill innocent you know elementary school kids just to show what they're made of and what they believe and that's a big problem but for the rest of us like hopefully calmer heads can prevail and so it really is important not to win it's like fighting with your wife you don't win you can't because you have to live with her you can't win but maybe you can solve the problem and bring about peace and so you gonna practice doing that practice restraint no and remember too that these people that you're talking about who erotica leftist is most of the time they're not like they're 95% like you and if you pull them out of the mob they're just like your your neighbors nineteen year old kid who's kind of clueless and rebellious right and who you might even like you put them in the mob it's a whole different thing and so you got to remember that to out of fear of social isolation no it's just that they're possessed by these ideas but but only partially you know you hardly find it full-blooded absolutely committed radical leftist activists you know like there are some but not very many most of it it's just fragmentary behavior and you have to remember that like when the students come out to protest me there's a case particularly at McMaster I have to remember these kids they're not much different than my kids they are when they're in a stupid mob behind a hammer and sickle flag you know but but but you don't want to make a low-resolution homogeneous representation of them and so and so you that's why again I think instead of winning you turn to your own development you turn to your own development you do what you can to stop doing the things that you're doing that aren't good because you're not gonna hurt anybody if you do that all you're gonna do is help and otherwise you'll participate in this polarization and that's unless you want that and you know there's a dark part of people that it's part of the part that voted for Trump would like to burn things to the ground it's like to hell I know well how people felt when they went into the voting booth it was like Hillary Hillary to hell with it Trump you know and that's a that's a hell of a thing to say to hell with it you know although I could I could certainly understand that sentiment so we have to be careful and all of you people who are here who are advocates of free speech and who are theoretically happy to come hear me speak it's like I really do believe it I truly believe this and this is something I learned in part from social Nets and in part from youngest that the way that you set the world straight is by constraining the malevolence in your own heart and that's no joke man that's no easy thing and that's a good voyage for people to go on if they want something difficult and worthwhile to do so thank you very much okay time for pictures so your unless your yours is the last question okay so sorry to everybody else but you're the last one okay hi dr. Peterson thanks for coming my question is a little bit off-topic from everything else tonight but I really want to hear what you had to say about it I work in Residence Life here at UBC and in the community where I am we were recently affected by a suicide of someone who lived in our community and I was upset about it not just because obviously it's a horrible thing to have happen but also because res life in the university like they talk all this talk about like self care and your mental health is so important to us but then things like this still happens so I wanted to know like if you think like what do you think the university should be doing to keep stuff like this from happening in the future well it's not self-evident that it's the university's responsibility and the reason for that I'm not saying it isn't okay I'm saying it's not self-evident that it is because different institutions can only do so many things you know and we're already requiring that the universities to educate and to act as substitute parents increasingly and to take on the role of judge jury and executioner as there are more what should be criminal cases being handled within the university say having said that you could ask the broader question is will what do you do to help people be sufficiently in love with life so that they don't wish to end it no and I've tried to puzzle through that for a long time and that's partly why I've written the things that I've written it's partly why I've produced the online programs that I've produced no and so we know that if you do if you have students do the future authoring program for example they're much less likely to drop out of university about 30% less likely and their grades go up and that's especially true if they're male and marginalized it has a bigger impact on those communities and so you know I've tried to get universities interested now the data is there but they're not and it's very difficult to get a big bureaucracy to move a like big big is a mobile so I'm not sure there's anything they can really do about it it's certainly possible that the things that they're trying to do about it are making it worse now that's another thing that you learn if you're a good social scientist just like there was evidence and I don't know if this is still the case but but there was good evidence I looked into this about 15 years ago say you want to prevent suicides put a suicide hotline in your town and you advertise it what happens suicide rate goes up because you're advertising suicide right and lots of lots of interventions are like that it's really really hard to make things better and it's really really easy to make them worse and so that's another problem you get these big bureaucracies let's say and they're hypothetically motivated by positive intentions and I would say hypothetically again because it takes an awful lot of work to help someone straight now it's no joke especially if they're in real trouble and they put in place these structures that are designed to help but they don't ever evaluate them and they could easily be making it worse so so I don't have a straightforward answer to that question I think that well that's that's the only answer I have yeah thank you okay yeah so that's the end of the show if you're in the first heroes you can stick around and get some pictures otherwise drive safe and yeah [Applause]