Adapting to Dystopian New Normal (Interview with Shot Magazine)

Uploaded 6/19/2022, approx. 1 hour 26 minute read

We are both recording, posterity is gratifying. Perfect.

Then I'm the owner of SHOT Magazine. We are here because we want to talk my opinion with a genius.

Let me look around. I'll try to get it for you.

It's true, it's true. And because you have a very rational opinion about society, development, future, and this is very interesting for us because we're working in the next issue to understand more about humans.

In the past edition, we talked more about sustainability, about the planet, everything, but we think if we don't go inside the human, we cannot understand the problem.

That's why we are here with you. Maybe something crazy happened and with us is Aaron, our director of the magazine.

Thank you for everything.

We are all together. I still a little bit let a ghost. The direction is more about Aaron, but I'm here and that's it.

How much of disposal? I'm in your hands. Be careful.

I wanted to say, dangerous game, I know.

As Alex has said, we will be focusing a lot on the themes of the human mind and introspection as a tool for change rather than external means, for example.

We would like to start by asking you to present yourself to an audience who doesn't know you personally, to the audience of our magazine.

How would you define yourself?

I was born when the last dinosaurs were going extinct. I had a lot of time and in this time, I completed several doctors, medical doctors, doctorate in physics, doctorate in philosophy, etc. I spend two decades as a venture capitalist, a businessman and economic advisor to governments and then I switched to psychology 26 years ago.

Ever since then, I'm a professor of psychology in several universities. I'm the author of books in every known discipline and a few unknown ones. Prior to that, I was a physicist and now I'm again a physicist. I returned after 40 or 30 years to this profession. I'm all over the place.

The human mind is one of my favorite topics. It is by far the most complex system, far more complex than the universe, which is my other favorite topic. It's an endless. It's a bottomless pit.

You could spend several lifetimes studying the mind and know nothing about it by the end.

So what do you believe has led you, for example, after all the experiences you've had in the past, what has led you in the direction of psychology and why did you choose to sort of focus on this?

I was diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder twice. It had destroyed my life several times.

And so at one point, I said to myself, it's time to put an end to it. It's time to get to the bottom of this and try to understand what is malfunctioning.

As I mentioned before this, I was an economist. I was a physicist. So I was used to more exact and rigorous and natural sciences, where the language is a formal language, for example, logic or arithmetic or algebra and so on. And there's no fuzziness or little fuzziness.

And the transition to psychology was very in itself very traumatic because psychology is not a science. Anyone who says the psychology is a science is misleading or himself or herself, above all.

It's a form of literature. It's a form of glorified literature. It's a system of observations, a taxonomy, very similar to how botany started with Carl Linnaeus in the 17th century, in the 18th century.

So it's simply a series of classified observations about the human condition, which is a good description of Dostoevsky's work, for example. He has done exactly the same.

And a very good description of Freud's work. Freud was a great author, a very poor psychologist, but a great author.

So when I entered this field, I started to write fiction and I published short fiction, award-winning short fiction, started to write poetry.

I discovered that I'm disintegrating as a scientist and reappearing more and more as a human being.

I was impressed by the transformative power of some of the insights of psychology.

And I decided to delve deeper and I'm still deep diving. I'm still scuba diving in psychology.

So, yeah, you spoke about the transition also, your personal transition from scientist to human person in a way.

And also it's a theme we're kind of trying to delve into in the next issue of SHOT, where we'll be talking a lot about, for example, this internal journey that people have to make inside themselves to spark some change.

So what has made you change in that sense, to go from, for example, the more rationalistic aspects of life, so the scientist might, to a more like human side of things.

So understanding yourself, what has led you to understand yourself more?

No, I'm still hyper-rational and I'm still very self-interested. And may I add, self-centered.

It's just that the previous prescription, previous regime did not work. The previous regime was what is known today as narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissistic personality disorder is an adaptation. It's an attempt to cope with the environment and to survive in it and to remain autonomous, agentic, self efficacious.

In other words, to be able to extract favorable outcomes from the environment.

So narcissistic personality disorder is a little like a recipe. How to cook your life so that the result is an excellent Italian dish.

But it didn't work. It didn't work. It brought me down many, many times.

I lost tens of millions of dollars. I lost my wife. I lost my life. I ended up in prison.

So I thought there are strong indications that narcissistic personality disorder is a problematic recipe.

And then I asked myself, why do people adopt problematic recipes? Why do they develop algorithms that lead them to the wrong search results and lead them astray and destroy their lives?

What is the malfunction of the bug or the glitch in the human code that allows such things to happen and to develop?

Because you see, this is in complete defiance of evolutionary theory.

In evolutionary theory, we believe that adaptations either lead to survival or they lead to extinction. There's no middle ground and adaptations are driven by mutations.

Of course, of course, you can have an interim phase, an interim phase of malfunction or disease, but you can never have a lifelong of malfunction and disease according to evolutionary theory.

And here we have an exception.

Human beings, many human beings, we are talking probably about 20 percent of the human population, spend their lives in malfunction, spend their lives as dysfunctional, counterproductive, self-defeating, self-destructive entities.

And there is absolutely no scientific explanation for this. On the surface, it's impossible.

So it was a challenge. It was an intellectual challenge.

The only thing I cannot resist is an intellectual challenge.

Yeah, I like what you were saying here about the human mind.

There is, for example, an Norwegian philosopher, Peter Rudzaffa, who says that the human mind is like a reverse.

I'm sorry, you were cut off. You were cut off.

Is that for the Norwegian philosopher? No, we talked about the human mind as antlers that weigh on the human being, for example.

So do you agree with us? Do you think that the human mind is kind of something that can condemn us or is it something that can save us?

I think the human mind is such a complex system that it has emergent properties. And I think these emergent properties are intended to experiment. They are geared toward experimentation.

So I think many of us are experiments gone awry.

Consequently, many of us are not going to procreate. Many of us are not going to have offspring. They're not going to pass on the outcomes of these experiments gone bad.

And there is a need for such experimentation on a massive scale because complex systems cannot be captured fully. There is no way to predict a complex system.

For me, that is Kurt Gödel. Kurt Gödel in the 30s came up with the incompleteness theorems. He said that if a system is large enough, it could either be perfect and allow us to predict things with certainty, or it could be incomplete.

But it could never be both. If it is complete, it's not perfect. If it's perfect, it's not complete.

This is the human mind. The human mind had reached a level of complexity that far surpasses anything known in the universe and the universe itself.

Consequently, there is no computing power available, even if we were to mobilize every quark and every atom in the whole universe. It would still not provide us with sufficient computing power to predict what you're going to do in the next minute.

So these kinds of systems, the only way is heuristics. The only way is experimentation. And nature kind of gave up on us in the sense that nature raised its hand and said, I cannot predict these things. It's out of control. I just have to sacrifice many of them in order to settle into a livable equilibrium kind of valley where some of them will survive.

It's not an accident that we have wars and we have self-inflicted pandemics and we have the contraceptive pill, which is a form of mass culling. It's kind of culling. It's kind of preventing birth.

Preventing birth is exactly like killing someone, philosophically speaking. It's exactly the same.

Therefore, we are subjecting ourselves to these experiments.

And of course, it's nature working through us, but we have multiple mechanisms, Malthusian mechanisms, cognitive mechanisms, other mechanisms, which are intended to experiment with many of us and which render many of us disposable.

Okay. If we sort of export this argument to, for example, our modern society, we have technology that does a lot of these things for us. So does technology in the same way, like say, as a human mind, is it a positive or a negative thing in our society? Is technology sort of prone to condemning us or saving us in a way?

Technology is a big word, of course. A little like love. It's a big word.

But I would say that in the history of human technology, we had a period which had lasted about 50,000 years, starting with the first Flintstones. And this period had ended in the 1990s, not long ago.

And then we entered the second era of technology.

We are undergoing so many unprecedented, unparalleled transitions that it's no wonder that we are falling apart individually and collectively, because there's too much happening.

But take, for example, technology.

For the first 50,000 years of technology, the aim of technology was to extend the human body and the human mind. Nothing else. Just to extend the human body and human mind.

Think about any invention, any conceivable invention, and you will see that I'm right. They were all about extending human capabilities, human organs, the human body and the human mind.

Then in the 1990s, something, a tectonic shift had happened. Technologies after the 1990s were focused not on extending the human mind or the human body, but on escaping from reality.

The organizing principle of technology today is to evade reality, to reframe it, to falsify it, to escape it.

Of course, a smartphone or a laptop extends your mind, but it extends your mind mainly to allow you to escape reality.

Of course, some things extend your body. I don't know, a speedboat.

But increasingly, even all the technological inventions are used to escape.

When people invented the boat, they invented the boat in order to sail the oceans and go fishing or go colonizing. It was an extension of the body.

But today, most boats in the world are actually used for leisure and entertainment. That's a fact.

So it's an escape from reality. Of course, no need to tell you that the metaverse, for example, the forthcoming metaverse is absolutely about an alternative reality.

I'm recording.

So you were talking about here technology as a means to escape reality and our modern society.

I actually answered your question.

We can go on to.

I would like to ask, what are we escaping?

It is not the first time that we are transitioning from reality to less reality.

The first time was about 10,000 years ago when we transitioned from agriculture to cities, the process of urbanization. The city is a virtual artificial space. It's less real than the land or the farm or the village. It's constructed according to fantasy and imagination and a plan, which is entirely inside the human mind.

In other words, the city is an extension of an image in the human mind.

First, the architect imagines the building and then he builds the building. So it's an extension of the human mind.

It's not the same with a farm. In a farm, you have the land and the land is the constraining factor. There's very little you can do.

So when you are a farmer, when you are in agriculture, you are much closer to reality.

So the city was the first time that we started to escape reality.

People in the city did not produce their own food. They did not do much, actually, except administration and entertainment. These were the two main functions of the city.

In a way, the metaverse is a similar transition from more reality to less reality.

What are we escaping? I don't think we are escaping from. I think we are running towards.

We are creatures of limitless potential, even the most stupid among us. We are creatures of infinite potentials. And of course, we try to create environments which will allow us to self-actualize in many ways.

We are going from less potential to more potential.

And in the 1980s and 1990s, we made an amazing discovery. There is much more potential in the human mind than in reality.

We are addicted to potential. We are creatures of dreams and fantasies.

A human being is a fabric of dreams. You can take away from a human being food. You can take away drink. You can even take away air. You can even take away his freedom and he will survive. You can torture a human being and he will survive. You take away his dreams and he will die by his own hand or just naturally.

We are made of dreams. We are stardust. Internet is a new religion, something like that. Internet is the reification.

Metaverse is the new paradise.

Yes, in a way. I keep saying that narcissism is a new religion. And this is, of course, an extension of narcissism.

But we just found out that if we are into dreams and fantasies and potentials and so on, which we are, that's the human species, then the great theme park, the great Disneyland is the mind.

And so we are going inwards rather than outwards. We are in a process of going inwards.

The metaverse and long before the metaverse, I think, as you said, the internet, social media and so on, it's about realizing the fantasies of the mind. It's about playing with the imagination and what the mind has to offer.

And so by comparison to our imagination and our fantasies and our capabilities of our mind, reality looks very dull, very limited, very boring.

And I think that's the overriding sentiment of this age.

And we, boredom. People are mostly bored.

Now they call it entertainment and so on. But it's not entertainment. If you think about it for a minute, what do you do? What are you doing when you're watching a Netflix movie? You're consuming another person's mind.

And similarly, when you're reading a book, you're consuming another person's mind. We are creating exchanges of minds. We're creating big marketplaces where we are trading with each other the products of the mind.

And this is the allure. This is why it's irresistible. That's why people are going to get sick already, God and are going to get seriously addicted because the mind is infinite. The universe is finite.

But compared to the mind, the universe is nothing. It is a seriously boring structure compared to the mind.

And I know both intimately.

So would you say, sorry for interrupting, would you say, for instance, that technology, for example, or all these mechanisms that we've found to explore the mind, not only ours, but are there excuses for making connections with other people and their minds or is it excuses to lead with our own mind?

Until the 1990s, we were under the illusion, which was essentially dictated to us by society. It was through the process of socialization. We were under the illusion that if we want to explore the mind, our mind and the minds of other people, we have to somehow socialize with them. We have to pay the price of being with another person in order to enjoy the fruits of that person's mind.

These fruits can be minimal, like I don't know, a like on Facebook. And these fruits can be maximal, like a beautiful novel or an amazing series on Netflix or Game of Thrones.

But we were under the erroneous perception that if I want your mind or the fruits of your mind, I have to socialize with you. I have to be in a relationship with you.

It can be a minimal relationship or a maximal relationship. It can be romantic, it can be social, it can be collegial, but I have to interact with you somehow.

And this was a price. This was the price that we had to pay.

No one liked it. No one wanted really to be with other people. Other people are paying in the ass. Other people are annoying, boring, demanding, entitled. It's not pleasant to be with other people. That's the dirty secret of psychology. That's the taboo that no one dares to break to admit that being with other people sucks big time.

But we thought we have to pay this price.

And then we discovered through technology, enabling technology and the technologies of self-sufficiency, we discovered that we don't need to. We can exchange the products of the mind without suffering the consequences of having to be with other people.

And that's, for example, exactly the reason why people don't want to return to the office after the pandemic. They don't want to go back to the office. They want to stay at home alone. And they want to work from home because they don't want to be with their colleagues anymore and coworkers because it wasn't a highly unpleasant experience.

So well over 60 million people in the United States alone refused to return to the office and another 54 million had resigned rather than go back to the workplace. It's called the Great Resignation.

It just proves exactly what I'm saying.

Additionally, 2016 was the first year, first recorded year in the United States where majority of people haven't seen a member of the opposite sex for whatever reason, including sex. It was the first year.

Given the chance, people prefer to be alone, Aristotle was seriously wrong about this when he coined the phrase zoëlogy, political animal.

We are not social animals. We were coerced into social structure and cooperation by the exigencies of the very difficult environments we found ourselves in, like the savannah.

But no one ever liked this.

In famous experiments on rats, the rat colony experiments.

We scientists, scholars demonstrated that even low level animals, lower level animals such as rats react very badly to overcrowding and to the need to interact with other members of the species.

Generally, I would say, I can even generalize and say that as we ascend, as we ascend the genera and the species, as we ascend the biological ladder, the more complex and sophisticated the animal, the less it wants to be with other members of each species.

So if you go really, really down, you reach ants and bees.

Ants and bees have colonies.

Humans don't survive well in such environments.

They much, much prefer to be alone.

But they want to consume the products of the minds of other people because that's the greatest thing, part ever.

We have constructed technologies which will allow us to do exactly this, to remain at home, cocooned, atomized, self-sufficient, never leave it, never leave this cell, and still to be, to have access to all the riches and to all the thin-park attractions of all the other minds, of all the other humans.

Is it an accident that when we have finally gained access to the minds of all humanity simultaneously through the internet, suddenly we started to isolate ourselves physically.

The two trends are coincident, but it's not a coincidence.

I would like to ask, in an age of, for example, fetishizing even the individual, in an age of individualism, of being atomized, of being sort of separated from others, what are the costs of not living with other people as much anymore?

Do we not lack or start to lack empathy, for example, and what is the cost of that?

First of all, no one says that you should have empathy. No one says you should have anything.

All human traits and behaviors are functional, they're goal-oriented, and they are reflexive over and adapted to highly specific environments.

For example, if you were cast alone on an island, you don't really need empathy, do you?

So it's not like something that should happen inevitably, ineluctably, in all environments, regardless of what happens. It's an acquired thing, it's a learned thing.

And yes, in the future, in the world of the future, we're going to need a lot less of these qualities.

Empathy, the ability to communicate, the ability to compromise and negotiate, all these will be much less needed.

The ability to cooperate. These were good for the first 50,000 years of homo sapiens.

But these traits are now not necessary for survival or adaptation.

We are entering homo sapiens 2.0, and homo sapiens 2.0 is a very fancy way of saying narcissists.

The men and the women of the future are going to be narcissists, and a smaller minority of them are going to be psychopaths.

And this is the positive adaptation of the future.

This is the adaptation that will allow these people to survive, prevail, accomplish and rule.

Now I know this is a very dystopian view, but it's dystopian only because you have a memory of the past.

To the members of these generations, it would look totally normal. They wouldn't think anything about it.

It's like promiscuity.

If you are under the age of 35, you think nothing of promiscuity. You don't have any problem to sleep with strangers, you know?

But if you are above the age of 35, you regard promiscuity as dystopian, as a problem, as an indication of pathology, as a dysfunction.

Why? Because you have a memory of the past.

Now, our technologies are hell-bent, are constructed to accomplish three goals.

Self-sufficiency in an atomized world, number one.

Number two, an eternal present, no past and no future, an eternal present, also known as mindfulness in psychology.

And the third goal is the ability to share the minds of other people and to start with indirectly through social media.

And I believe in the future of the metaverse directly, people will begin to access each other's minds directly.

You can't access the mind, but you can access the fruits of the mind directly.

So these are the three goals of the new era of technology.

And it's about to be realized now, in this kind of world, the best adaptation, the mental health, the paradigm of mental health is narcissism and psychopathy.

There is no such thing as mentally healthy and mentally ill. There's no such thing. There's only adaptive, not adaptive, functional, not functional, dysfunctional, happy, not happy, or what we call egosyntonic and egotistonic.

So what today is narcissism, tomorrow will be the normal, the new normal.

And today's empathic people will be treated in clinics because empathy would be a negative adaptation.

In this sort of utopian or dystopian, accordingly, world, how can you justify human interaction?

For example, is empathy not a sort of fundamental element in order to enable people to sort of comprehend each other?

And even if we're enjoying, for instance, the minds of other people, we need to empathize with those minds and experiences in order to understand them.

Is that not the case?

You're preoccupied with the demise of empathy.

Empathy has three levels, reflexive, cognitive and emotional.

Now, reflexive empathy you're born with. As a baby, you smile when mother smiles at you. This is not something you can get rid of.

Cognitive empathy, you develop because without it, you cannot survive. You have to read other people. You have to anticipate their actions.

And to put yourself to some extent in other people's minds, we call it a theory of mind. You have to construct a theory of mind.

And if you are incapable of doing this, for example, if you're autistic, that hampers your ability to survive.

So reflexive and cognitive empathy will never disappear.

But emotional empathy will because it's no longer needed. Even today, it's no longer needed.

It's happening to sex. Sex has become emotionless and meaningless. The dominant sexual practice nowadays is casual sex.

And in well over 20 percent of the cases, with people that you have met less than one hour before, that's a fact.

But we are already seeing signs of empathy draining out activities which choose to involve empathy, such as sex.

In such a world, for example, in the future that you envision, for example, where is the space for intimacy? And should we find spaces for intimacy in the first place?

Why do you need intimacy? You see, the problem is that you're borrowing organizing principles, structures and concepts from a period in history that is dying and that will have no place within 10 years. Why do you need intimacy? 31 percent of adults in the West, 31 percent, are lifelong singles. They don't have intimacy. They don't have a single relationship all their lives. That's 31 percent.

Another 15 percent, depending on the country, 15 to 25 percent, depending on the country, have very fleeting short relationships, like one month, six months, two months, two weeks, you know, this kind of thing. I call them pseudo relationships.

And then they end up actually alone. So already half the human species in industrialized developed countries and in some developing countries, for example, China, already half the human species had opted for a lack of intimacy as a ruling principle of their lives. They organized themselves their lives around a lack of intimacy and they seem to survive, actually.

Now, what replaces intimacy?

Well, consumerism, self-indulgence, entitlement, making love to yourself.

In the future, in the near future, virtual sex, you don't need intimacy. Intimacy was a way to bind with other people because if you did not bond with other people, you were dead. That's why you needed intimacy, but it's no longer needed.

You don't need to bond with other people to survive. Everything you need, you have at home.

You don't grow your own food, so you don't need to collaborate with other people in the field. You don't make everything you need from entertainment to food, from water to gas and everything you need is delivered to you.

What you do need to do is you need to work.

But about 40% of all professions and vocations are solo, alone. Single employer, single employer businesses are the majority, actually. 80% of businesses in the West are owned by a single individual.

Why do you need anyone else?

And if you don't need anyone else, why would you invest scarce resources? Why would you invest your energy, your time? Why would you invest these in intimacy?

That would be against evolution. If you don't need other people, investing energy in intimacy is contrary to survival. It's not good for survival.

You need to retool your brain because I know it's very difficult. I know it's very difficult.

Perhaps it's easier for me because I'm a narcissist. It's easier for me, I think, because I'm a narcissist. I never had empathy, never had access to emotions. So I dig this world. I glom this world much better. I've seen it coming. I've lived this way since I was nine. I have been in this future world long before anyone else, 50 years ago. So I grasp it and I see clearly where it's going.

The statistics are absolutely unequivocal.

Now, of course, people, even your age, find it terrifying. They find it, they are apprehensive. They're anxious about this.

They don't know because it's like exiting your comfort zone. It's like having to learn a new set of rules. And it's like giving up on behaviors and traits and effects and emotions and cognitions that erroneously you were told were part of your identity. They're not part of your identity. They're learned. They're acquired.

But you were told, you were deceived or brainwashed into believing that they were part of your identity.

Intimacy is not a part of anyone's identity. It's a learned behavior skill, set of skills, actually.

Therefore, it can be unlearned.

I think this view maybe stands quite in contradiction with just human experience in general because there is no such thing as an existence and isolation and complete isolation.

I think this is the direction maybe our modern world is allowing us to access through technology, through social media, through all these things.

But I still think that in order to fulfill very basic needs, for example, we need to interact with people. And it seems quite egodystonic maybe if someone desires such things.

But I think it's quite impossible also to avoid human communication.

Well, of course, you don't avoid human communication. You type a text to get pizza. So you get pizza. If you call this human communication, you don't avoid human communication.

But also in the sense of, for example, the moment we're born, we're in a space of intimacy even. It may be a positive space, it may be a negative space, but it's still a space of intimacy.

Let me give you two statistics.

60 years ago, a typical child was raised by 4.3 adults, including grandmothers, grandfathers and parents. Today, a typical child is raised by 0.7 adults. 43% of children are raised in single parent families.

Second statistics. In 1980, a typical person had 10 friends. We made studies. We asked people, if you're in trouble, who are you going to call? And they made the list. The average list was 10 friends.

In 2020, a little before the pandemic, we asked the same question. And people were very, it was very difficult for them to come up with a single name. They couldn't come up with a single name.

The number went down from 10 to 0.9.

Another statistic, as I told you, 50% are lifelong singles.

Another statistic, most people are single, single employed in single-employed businesses.

Another statistic, and very pertinent one, 2016 was the first year that people didn't meet another member of the other, I mean, the signs are clear and indisputable.

You can't argue with numbers. You can't argue with data.

Yes, of course, if you want to order pizza in some locations, by the way, not everywhere, because I've been to Canada now, I've been to Canada, and I spent two weeks without seeing a single human being. And I ate well, and I laundered my clothes, and I watched movies, and I've had a very busy time, and I haven't seen a single human being. Two weeks.

Yes, to order the pizza, I had to send a text.

Of course, the pizza delivery guy came and left the pizza at the reception, and there was once, it was an uneducated pizza delivery man, he left the pizza at the door, outside the door.

I'm misleading you. I saw a person, one person, in two weeks.

That was the neighbor. He came out with his dog, and when he saw me, he apologized profusely and ran back into his apartment and slammed the door. He thought he was invading my space. He thought it was faux pas. He thought it was horrible what he did, that he forced me to see him.

That's Montreal in Canada. That's a more gregarious place, much better than Toronto.

Of course, this is where it's going.

Young professionals live like that all over the world, all alone, in 20, 30, 40 square meter apartments with Netflix and two cats. Cats and dogs. That's the face of the future. And many of them like it.

Can I just move into the next question?

With this framework, for instance, what is happiness then for the modern human being? And is happiness even important if we're aiming for a world with no emotions?

I think happiness had been largely replaced with gratification.

So when people are gratified, they say that they're happy.

And most people are gratified via consumption, by consuming goods and services, and other people.

Also, you consume other people. The consumerist mindset applies to other people as well.

We consume other people and we discard them as we would discard, you know, an old smartphone or something. Sometimes we discard them after one night. Actually, often we discard them after one night.

So we consume.

Consumption is the new source of happiness.

The problem, I think, why was it so easy to replace happiness with gratification?

It's because happiness had never been defined adequately. No one really knew what happiness is, and there were huge debates.

And you know, when you don't agree with something with this white disagreement, it's easy then to discard this concept and come up with another concept which is much more certain.

Gratification is clear cut. You buy a new television, you're gratified. There's no doubt about it. You cannot argue. No one will argue with you.

So I'm happy that I bought this television, you know.

But what is happiness?

The previous explanatory principle, it's called hermeneutic principle in philosophy, the previous explanatory principle, which was happiness, was so fuzzy and vague and ambiguous that it was utterly useless and meaningless.

And on the first opportunity, people discarded it and moved into what Guy Debord called the society of the spectacle.

In the first opportunity, people said, okay, happiness is something we don't understand. Love is something that causes pain in the biscuits, and we don't understand as well.

Reality sucks. Other people suck. So let's adopt a new set of principles.

And so people are now focused on gratification.

The great thing about gratification, to be happy, you need other people. To be gratified, you need only yourself.

It's another example of self-sufficiency.

By staying on the same line of thought, let's say.

So we are, for example, a magazine that is very focused on fashion and luxury and wealth in this sense.

But is there not also in this mentality of consuming, is there not something that makes us realise there's a difference between having, for example, having possessions, having things to consume and being something? Is there no distinction between this?

As many philosophers, for example, have advocated, do you believe there is a distinction between having and being?

Not anymore. Of course, there used to be such a distinction. But even then, in times gone by, you couldn't be unless you had.

Having was a precondition for being.

Not only having property, but, for example, having academic qualifications, having a belief in God, having you needed to have in order to be.

And so the transition was easy.

And today we identified being with having.

So to be is to have.

And if you don't have, you're not.

For example, we don't see the homeless. We all need to be seen. We realise that we exist through the gaze of others.

If everyone made a conspiracy to pretend that you don't exist, that you're made of air, by the end of the day, you will begin to suspect whether you exist or not.

These are real experiments. You'll begin to suspect whether you exist or not.

We pull all the looks and the gazes and the input from other people and we reconstruct our existence on the fly. Our being is a process of becoming.

It's a constant on-the-fly process.

So we have learned to identify being with having.

And today, if you don't have, you're not.

And I gave the example of the homeless. The homeless doesn't have, so he's not seen.

Now, you need to be seen because as a baby, if you're not seen, you're dead. To be seen, to be noticed, is instinctively associated with existence, with survival.

In order to survive, you need to be noticed and to be seen.

It is so crucial that people escalate on TikTok and Instagram, they escalate behaviours just in order to be noticed and seen.

And if the organising principle of society is consumption, then if you do not consume, then you're not.

Your very identity crucially depends on perpetual act of consumption.

Consumption is a ritual. It has very little to do with what you consume.

That's why people keep buying things they don't need. It's not about the things they're buying.

It's about the act of buying. It's a ritual, it's an affirmation of belonging. It's an integration into a collective spirit that's side-guarded. It's being accepted.

It fulfills all the functions of mothering, being mothered, and all the functions of religion.

And of course, this consumerism is a religion, as Amok said, it's the shopping malls or the temples and so on.

And all this ties into narcissism.

Because as I said, gratification and consumption can be practised without other people in isolation.

So you could be your own God. If you're practising religion and you are the source of your own gratification and ritual, then you are your own God.

And if you are the fount and the reason for your own happiness, then you don't need anyone else.

And by virtue of not needing anyone else, it renders you superior to them.

Because what is superiority?

Superiority is not needing other people because you have what it takes. You have more than they do.

Intelligence, money, power, whatever.

So this whole shift has engendered narcissism.

And narcissism is definitely a religion.

Maybe I will explain it because the time is about to run out.

We can try to.

Yeah, but again, let's take five minutes for the file to be saved.

I mean, if you want to continue, I don't know.

No, it's better for you.

We can restart again.


So I'm shutting off and saving the file in the nanomobile.

Record a neuron.

You can record a neuron if you wish.

Yeah, OK.

I want to say something because I hear everything and I'm a little bit more optimistic about humans grow.

Because we have to understand also, we do the last two years only with computer, only with internet.

Then the pizza, what you say about Canada, is something happen now.

But I travel a lot and now I see a lot of people moving and go back, try to go back because people are very confused. I see it's not back like before.

But they try to go back like before.

Then also, if we're going to look at the stock of Netflix, for example, they grow up in some period, but now it's going down because people is not anymore on front of Netflix.

Then I think what we do also with our magazine, but not only with our magazine, I have a project to try to reverse the final destination.

I don't think the final destination is psychopath or narcissist for everybody.

I think maybe start to team fighting to have the leadership of something.

Of course, psychopath have a power because they don't care.

And the others, they have limits probably. And psychopath probably going to win with humans.

But I think what you say is specifically now, in this present, after what happened with COVID, with war, fear, manipulation, communication, very heavy for every mind.

I don't know.

No, no.

These are trends that are 40 years long before the pandemic.

For example, the diagnosis of narcissism among young people went up five times.

So these are trends that are much, much longer than much before the pandemic.

The pandemic accelerated, you're right.

Let's talk about intimacy.

And we talk about benefits.

Here is only about benefits.

Which kind of benefits can I get if I do that?

Or it's only about benefits, right?

Intimacy is a benefit.

I think so.

But in my opinion, we have to start with intimacy with myself, for example, not with others.

If I start with myself, to go inside myself and I find intimacy with myself, maybe I can learn how to look at the others in different point of view.

Then I don't know how to reverse the process, but maybe the bigger travel is not the universe, but is inside our mind, our soul, our past, our childhood, our everything.

I don't know.

Unfortunately, the data don't support what you're saying.

There is clear picture in the past 40 years, long before the pandemic.

Intimacy is a benefit, of course, in some environments.

Everything is a benefit in some environments.

In Nazi Germany, it was a benefit to be a psychopath.

So everything is context dependent.

So in environments where you have to collaborate with other people, for example, to raise children, then, of course, intimacy is a benefit.

What we call it positive adaptation.

It's a positive adaptation because you have to raise children or to build a company together or to travel together or whatever.

Intimacy is useful.

But in a world where the need to interact with other people will be minimized to the point of zero, to the vanishing point, you can be on the metaverse from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.

And you can work on the metaverse. You can have sex on the metaverse. You can do your fashion shopping on the metaverse.

They're already developing fashion applications for the metaverse, by the way, which is an interesting topic.

Did you trust metaverse?

No one tried the metaverse. The metaverse doesn't exist yet.

Exactly. It's being put together.

But we have things that are very new to the metaverse.

For example, Second Life and SIEM and other, which came pretty close to the metaverse.

So if the incentive to be with other people is reduced, then intimacy becomes the opposite of benefit.

Did you get intimacy in your life?

Me, personally, or generally?

Yeah, exactly.

No, no, you, exactly, personally.

Or in your life, you make sex only all about sex.

Or you feel intimacy with someone in your life?

I, personally, did not experience intimacy.

But I don't have to have cancer to study cancer.

So I studied intimacy the way other, I mean, you don't have to be transgender to study transgender.

Most of the experts on transgender studies are not transgender.

So it's a common blame and mistake to think that if you don't have a personal experience, you cannot, some of the greatest child psychologists never had children.

So that's not a prerequisite. It's not a precondition.

It's best to ask you because probably when you balance benefits, maybe it's a lack, I don't know.

I follow you also, I saw you in a lot of video and it looked like when you grow from two to six years, you create your real core.

But now you're going to say, internet, create new core for new narcissists.

But we burn from two to six, maybe there is no internet.

Yeah, but if the world will change, you will raise your child to be a narcissist.

In July 2016, the famous magazine New Scientist had a cover story. And the cover story was parents teach your children to be narcissists.

New Scientist said that the world rewards narcissism. If you're a narcissist, you will become president of the United States.

So it's a good thing to teach your child to be a narcissist.

The process of socialization and acculturation, that's when you teach your child how to be a social being. And when you teach your child what is the prevailing culture.

So when you do this, if you look around and you see that narcissists make more money, they are more gratified, they travel more, they study more, they occupy all the positions of power.

I mean, even if you don't want to, you will try to push your child to be successful in life.

And the positive adaptation would be narcissism.

So already you see in the education system in many Western countries that narcissism is the leading, the main topic actually, because the teachers tell the children, you are special, you are the best, you're amazing, you can do anything. You are number one.

I mean, there's indoctrination of narcissism in schools, in education system.

Similarly, parents are doing this.

So it's a social process.

It's not that, and everything you think is universal was always like that. It's not true.

The environment changes, we change.

Luckily for us, environment changes, we change.

Sometimes the changes are reversible.

For example, I agree with you that sociability will return after the pandemic. I agree that people will socialize more after the pandemic.

But some changes are not reverse.

For example, I don't believe the technological environment will ever go back to what it used to be in the 1950s.

So you have to adapt to technology.

People think that technology is adapted to them.

No, technology is the world. You have to adapt to technology, not the other way.

And if the technology reflects certain mental health constructs, for example, social media, they encourage you to be alone. They encourage solipsism and isolation. They are called social media. It's Orwellian newspeak.

But actually it's exactly the opposite.

Why do they do this?

Because they need your eyeballs. They need to monetize your eyeballs. They need your attention. If you are paying attention to your girlfriend, you're not paying attention to Mark Zuckerberg, and you're making him less rich. He wants you to pay attention.

So they created platforms which are addictive and platforms which condition you to have less intimacy, fewer relationships, to remain glued to the screen, to make them richer by monetizing your eyeballs, bombing you with advertising.

So the technology is structured in some ways, and you have to adapt.

It's easy to prove that you have to adapt.

Because if you don't have social media, people think you're crazy, and they push you to have social media.

Already, after 10 years, already everyone is adapted to social media.

If you talk about, I don't know, good relations between the genders, try.

Try to do that in the United States.

Pick a group of 10 women and talk to them about good relationships with men. See what they're saying.

Already, there's a new ethos of gender war.

But your personal hope is to have more human in the future or more psychopath in the future.

Your personal hope.

There was a saying in Rome, everything human is not strange to me. It's not alien to me.

So psychopathy is a human condition.

Narcissism is a human condition. They're not human. They're not subhuman. They're humans. For sure. That's for sure.

It's an adaptation. It's simply a way of relating to the world and to other people, which gives you the best results.

Let me say again, you prefer more empathic humans for the future.

You hope we become more empathic in the future or you hope we become more mechanic.

Has it been like referencing me?

What do I prefer?

Yeah, what do you prefer?

I would prefer a world with love, with intimacy, with empathy.

I don't know what is empathy.

I prefer, for example, to have an intimate partner.

I would prefer to have intimacy in my relationships.

I prefer to have long relationships.

I prefer not to have casual sex.

I'm a strong opponent of casual sex.

It has enormous mental health damages, not to mention body possibilities for body damage.

So I would prefer to see many of these things reversed, but I have an obligation as a social scientist to the truth and to the facts, regardless of my preferences.

Only a bad scientist mixes his opinion and his preferences with the science.

So you're not talking to me, I think.

Maybe the whole conversation is mistaken.

If you're talking to me as a human being, then of course I may give you totally different answers.

But if you're talking to me as a social scientist, the picture is so overwhelmingly clear that there is no way for me to say otherwise unless I'm seriously misleading you.

Let's talk for a minute about victimhood and narcissism.

Campbell, the sociologist, said that we have transitioned from the age of dignity to the age of victimhood.

Everyone and his dog or cat are victims of someone.

And if they can't find someone to victimize them, they will victimize themselves.

Drug abuse, substance abuse, suicide, and so on.

Victimhood is an organizing principle of modern society.

What are we discovering?

For example, studies by GABY, G-A-B-Y.

Studies by GABY in 2020, studies in British Columbia in 2020-21.

What are we discovering?

We're discovering that most of these social activism movements, like MeToo, Greta and the environment, Black Lives Matter, most of the participants, most of the activists, actually have a much higher level of narcissism and psychopathy than the average population and much lower level of empathy.

This activism is respectable. It's definitely a manifestation of growing narcissism.

Ironic, but true.

Now, victimhood, as I said, is an integral part of narcissism.

And narcissism is a new religion.

We are not faced only with a social construct or psychological, but we are faced with a new religion.

On the individual level, the narcissist as a child sacrifices his true self to a new God. This new God is the false self.

It's a private religion.

The more narcissists you have in society, the more you have these gods and worshippers, and the thing becomes ritualized and rigid and embedded gradually in the culture and in society.

And then you have secondary manifestations of narcissists.

Every narcissist will tell you that he's a victim.

Even if he is president of the United States, he's a victim.

Every narcissist will tell you this.

Donald Trump was a victim of everyone, of everyone. He victimized everyone, but he was a victim of everyone in his mind.

Victimhood, empaths, all these bullshit online, these are rank manifestations of narcissism.

So it's the age of the grievance. You live alone. You gratify yourself with consumption. You're self-sufficient. You have no – you're decreasing – diminishing empathy. You have no intimacy. You consume other people, their bodies, for example, in one-night stands, you know.

And at the end of the day, you still feel that you had been victimized by someone.

And so you organize yourself around this victimhood principle.

You become maybe passive-aggressive or you become violent and you shoot people at schools.

So we see an increase in narcissism and its attendant phenomena.

And I don't think any of the things I've said is deniable. The numbers are overwhelming.

We are not talking about 3%, you know. We are talking about something like 30, 40% of the population, for example, of the United States.

The situation is much worse in other countries.

People say, oh, it's in the United States.

They don't know what they're talking about.

You go to Russia. I've lived in Russia now for four years, five years.

The situation there is much worse.

You go to many countries in the Balkans where I've spent 20 years.

Much worse. You go to Africa where I've worked for four years.

Much worse in the United States.

Ironically, the United States is maybe – Probably when something goes up, it collapses.

Like, I see younger people don't use social media like the older, for example.

Then I hope sometimes it's a poison, right?

But I don't – I'm optimist about trends can change.

Because I see friends, 16 years old, 14 years old, look totally different than boomer like me or something.

Then tell me more about this.

Because new generation grow different than me.

Then they look totally different.

I don't know when these guys have the power, the experience, the role in the society, how they can change the rules.

I saw your social – you talked about social media in one session of YouTube.

And you say maybe we can fix something if we make time, for example, for hours only to look at the screen of Instagram.

Then if something is going to change, probably also our mind can change again back.

Yes, probably.

As I said, you're right. If the environment changes, the adaptation, there will be a process of adaptation.

But the problem with the younger generations, the studies of younger generations are not supportive of your optimism.

I see that you're very distressed. You're very distressed. And it's understandable.

I'm older than you, I'm almost sure. And I'm distressed. I live in a world which feels like an alien planet. And I'm a narcissist.

Imagine. It's bad even for an old narcissist.

The world today looks dystopian to an old narcissist. You can imagine how bad it is.

But studies don't support these.

And I think the main reason with younger generations why the optimism has to be very cautious is that they look at the older generations.

And they say, for example, relationships are a bad idea. Look at my mother and father. Look at my grandmother and grandfather. Look at the rate of divorce. Look at the rates of cheating and extramarital affairs. Look at the betrayal and the pain and the hurt.

These younger and very young generations, generation Z and younger, these generations have witnessed the utter failure of all the strategies of earlier generations. And their reaction is not to say, we need to change something good.

Their reaction is to avoid.

They don't say, for example, okay, older generations didn't know how to manage relationships. So they ended up divorcing and they ended up hurting each other.

So we are going to manage relationships much better.

That's not what they're saying. They're saying we are going to avoid relationships.

That's it.

Relationships are really bad, really scary, guaranteed to fail. We're going to avoid them, you know?

Similarly, they look at the workplace and they say the workplace is slavery. It was a way of slavery.

And they don't say, okay, we're going to redesign the workplace. We're going to, instead, they're saying, we're going to shun the workplace. We're going to avoid the workplace.

We are not going to go to work. We're going to work from home. We're going to fit into the gig economy. Members of these generations, 25 and younger, refuse most of the job offers they receive. They prefer to work in McDonald's, flipping hamburgers, gigs. They're looking for gigs.

Members of these generations under age 25 have far fewer sex, far less sex, I'm sorry, than my generation, and far fewer sexual apartments.

There's an epidemic of sexlessness among these young generations, which is an exceedingly bad sign because exactly as Freud said, sex is a prime barometer, indicator of life, the force of life, libido.

These people don't have sex anymore. They engage in activities like video games far more than previous generations, which are escapist, not goal-oriented activities that are numbing, just numbing.

So what I'm trying to say is that, yes, you're right. The younger generation had witnessed all the failures of the previous generations, and they are not likely to repeat these failures.

I agree with you on this, but that's because they rejected life. They gave up on life. They simply gave up on life.

Can I just take it from there?

I would like to counter both sort of Freud's idea of libido with the concept of death, and I would like to hear your thoughts on what you think about death and if the thought of death can be a sort of liberating thing or a constraining thing, a thing that sort of closes us up in our fear.

We have, as a civilisation, we have chosen death over life because we have chosen to emotionally invest, cathect, emotionally invest, in inanimate objects, in dead objects.

People break up in relationships, and it's painful, but if they lose their smartphone, they want to commit suicide.

Ironically, some people react much worse to losing a smartphone than to losing a boyfriend.

Okay, that's just an illustration, by way of my twisted sense of humor.

But it's not very far from the truth.

Look how people react when they lose an object.

We're emotionally attached not only to objects but to the process of requiring objects, and we are hoarding.

The phenomenon of hoarding has exploded.

People in a typical home, something like 80% of the objects are never used and they are just there.

So it's a form of hoarding.

Hoarding, we know, is an anxiety reaction.

When we are anxious, we buy things, because it makes us feel safe.

We control the purchase. We control the process of purchasing.

So it's anxiolytic. It's self-medication with objects.

We also self-medicate with other people, like in casual sex, for example.

So the death had become the prevailing mood, the prevailing ethos of our civilization.

We value money and objects, physical objects, much more than we value human beings, or life, not only human beings, life in general.

So, for example, we pillage and plunder and destroy the planet, which is life, because we want to create more, unneeded, unnecessary physical objects.

It's absolutely a ritualistic death count.

We live in a death count.

Now Freud and others, said that there is always a battle between the libidinal forces, the forces of life.

Eros, which is the force of sex and love, is a part of the libido.

It's a sub-sub.

So they said there's a fight between libidinal forces and thanatic forces, the forces of death.

And later it was called destudo.

So there's libido and destudo.

But they didn't mean it this way.

What they meant was people are self-destructive and self-defeating, and given enough stress and frustration and given enough abuse, especially in the formative years and early childhood, between zero and six and so on, people will carry in them time bombs.

Later it was called the empty schizoid core.

They will carry an emptiness inside them and gradually they will implode. They will fall into this emptiness.

Imagine you have a black hole and you are like light and you fall into the black hole and you can never emerge again.

That's a thematic principle.

But I think civilization itself, we were in a titanic battle between the forces of life and the forces of death.

The enlightenment, which started in the 17th century and was preceded by the Renaissance, these were the forces of life.

They were about life.

Ancient Greece, ancient Rome, aesthetics, beauty, art, sculptures, science, it was all about life.

It was all about integrating with the environment, getting to know it better, having intimacy with the world.

That was the enlightenment.

And then there was a reactionary thematic death force.

And I'm sorry to say that it prevailed.

The battle was lost by the forces of life and light.

And I'm talking about the world wars, the two world wars. I'm talking about the Holocaust.

I'm talking about everything that has happened since.

But above all, I'm talking about the society of the spectacle when we moved from substance to appearance.

And I'm talking about consumerism. And I'm talking about narcissism.

These are all forces of death. And they are all focused on showing, demonstrating appearance.

And so that battle seemed to have been lost.

I agree that maybe there's a war still ongoing.

So maybe the next battle will be won.

But this battle is decided, it's lost.

Maybe we have to wait for some generations to perish. And the new generations will somehow make things right.

As things stand now, we gave up on ourselves. That's why we are cocooned.

And the only reason Netflix is down is because HBO Max and Disney Plus and all the others and Apple and even Amazon are way up, compensating by far for the world.

So we have given up.

It's the society of surrender.

Ironically, there's a monotheistic religion which is centered around surrender. It's called Islam.

The word Islam means submission in Arabic, in a type of Arabic called fuhr.

That's the meaning of the word Islam.

It is not by accident that this is the fastest growing religion in the world, including in the West.

Because it's about giving up, about surrendering, and about the battle between the life of force, the force of life and the force of death.

With clear intimations that we are tantalizingly close to surrendering to death, that we are like, we are, by the grace of God, we haven't kind of given up completely to death.

But the forces of death in the Quran and in the scriptures of Islam, they're very dominant, very prevalent, much more than, for example, than in Islam.

They're very dominant, very prevalent, much more than, for example, than in Judaism or Christianity.

No, I'm not Muslim. I'm an atheist. I'm an agnostic.

I'm just saying.

And people find not only Islam, but cult, sex, the occult, the esoteric, the irrational, the disbelieving authority and expertise, detesting science, attacking the intellect and its fruits, anti-enlightenment.

We are regressing very fast to the darkest periods of the Middle Ages and not all of them were dark.

So when you reject science, when you reject the intellect, when you reject enlightenment, you're rejecting life.

Of course you're rejecting life.

By the way, ironically, my hope is the same, that maybe a generation yet to be born or just born, maybe they will reverse all this.

Maybe they will engage.

The current generations, Z and younger, are not engaging.

They refuse to grow up.

We have numerous statistics about this.

We have studies by Twenge and Campbell and Lisa Wade.

And I can give you a whole list.

Young people under the age of 25 refuse to grow up.

They're beginning to have sex later. They're having sex much less.

They refuse to get a driver's license, which is shocking. A driver's license was the hallmark of maturity and graduation, matriculation into adulthood in America.

And yet people under age 25 refuse to get driver's license.

They don't even drink. They don't even use condoms.

All the hallmarks, they refuse.

One third, one third of people under age 35 live with their parents. One third.

The figure was 3% in the Great Depression.

When you talk to young people, and I'm a professor, I teach young people. When you talk to young people, you ask them, why do you still live with your parents?

They will tell you, oh, rental is very expensive, housing is very expensive. I can't get, you know, I can't have privacy, I can't have intimacy, I can't have a family, I can't have a relationship. The world sucks, I don't have a job, I would never have a job, and so on and so forth, and all this is true.

But mind you, during the Great Depression, the economic conditions were much worse. And yet only 3% of people under age 35 lived in the same family.

The number now is 35%.

They refuse to live home. They're terrified by this dystopian world.

They don't want anything to do with life. They want to play video games. They want to do coke, the fortunate ones. They want to sleep. They want to get drunk. They want to have the casual romp once a year, or not at all. Or not at all.

A majority of young men and women did not have sex the preceding year. Not even once.

They've given up on life.

What's the therapy you use to save?

One guy has this kind of problem, like they don't wake up, they play only with video games, or are really depressed. They take drugs.

Not about the society, but let's close the circle in one person.

Which kind of work psychology can do in one person?

Well, we'll be done in one minute, this session.

So maybe we'll have the final session after this one.

Alright, I'm so cool. I will close, save, so it will take again both weapons. I'll be back with you.

Let me answer your question first.

You cannot treat, there was a guy called Emil Dukheim.

Emil Dukheim in the 20th century described what later came to be called anomie. A nomic society, societies which had lost the consensus on normative behavior. That's why it's called anomie, non-nomics.

In such societies, Emil Dukheim had warned well over 100 years ago, the rates of depression, anxiety and suicide were skyrocketed.

And so in anomic societies, there is no way to treat the individual efficaciously.

Of course, we keep selling self-help books and therapy and so on, but that's because it's good for business.

The reality is that we are very impotent, helpless against the overwhelming societal forces that shape the mental illness or lack of mental health of the individuals comprising the society.

So we need to look at societal solutions.

Here the message is a lot more optimistic.

As I said from the very beginning, if you reshape the environment, nothing in the human nature or the human mind is cast in stone. Everything is reversible. Everything can change dramatically, sometimes within 10 years, not a big deal.

But you need to change the environment.

The two things that need to be done require a lot of political will and courage, a lot of social mobilization, giving up on addictions to anything and everything.

So while I'm very optimistic that if these changes are implemented, we will see an increase in mental health, we will see an increase in the restoration of intimacy, functioning relationships, precipitous decline in anxiety, depression and suicide.

While I'm very optimistic that if we re-engineer society minimally, we will have disproportionate good outcomes, like in chaos theory, you know, the butterfly and the hurricane.

While I'm optimistic about this, I'm very pessimistic that these changes will actually be implemented.

The recipe is known, the will is not there, because there are too many business interests involved.

The nexus between politics and money has become totally corrupt and pernicious. The very structure of society is sick.

I am not very optimistic, but I can still point out what I think may not only reverse the trend, but restore humanity as we had known it, let's say earlier, 50 years ago, 60 years ago, when I was born.

So I think two things need to be done.

One, we need to accept that some forms of speech are toxic and some ideologies are dangerous. And we need to act against them, either by banning them outright, and yes, free speech is not an unlimited thing, or at the very least, by countering them, as we are doing, for example, with terrorism, with ISIS messaging, trying to counter it, but I'm trying to deprogram people belonging to this cult.

Cult-like ideologies had led us where we are today, and I'm talking, among other things, for example, about third wave feminism, not first wave, not second wave, and not fourth wave, but third wave definitely.

It's an example of a toxic cult that had led us where we are today. I'm talking about the exaltation of consumerism, including the advertising industry and so on. What Althusser called interpolation, Althusser said that the advertising industry essentially is interpolating us, forcing us to behave in ways which would conform to certain messaging. There are, there's a list of about 20 such ideologies, and these ideologies need to be fought fiercely or, which is the optimal in my view, suppressed completely, because the social outcomes and the outcomes to individuals of these ideologies are beyond any doubt as far as our studies go. We don't need additional evidence. We know that these ideologies are detrimental to mental health of people. Why we allow them? Still, because of this relativism, you know, every opinion is allowed. There are no facts. Truth is, you know, you have your facts, I have my facts. Alternatively, you have your reality, I have my reality, and everyone has an equal footing. I call it malignant, malignant egalitarianism. But everyone is equal to everyone. There are no experts, there are no authorities, there are no... This is sick. It's also counterfactual. It's not true. But it's definitely dangerous. So the first thing I would do is an ideology, a banning of ideologies and so on. And the second, only two things, by the way, two steps. Not the whole agenda, not, you know, just two steps. The second step I would do, I would implement, is to limit the usage of technology and to ban certain technologies. Now you could say, what are you talking about? I have a surprise for you.

Technologies are banned all the time.

For example, you're not allowed to clone a human being, although that's utterly possible.

I think for me, I think the solution is to verify all the action in the Internet. All the users have to be verified.

And you do the same things you do in the normal life because you are responsible of your action.

This can change a lot of things.

For me, for example, if this happens, change a lot of things.

Yes, that's one of my recommendations in many videos.

Identity verification, I suggest to introduce blockchain, blockchain technology into the Internet.

Because blockchain allows you to verify your identity and no one can hack it or falsify it.

But yes, when I say limit the use of technology, it's a slogan, but I have quite a few highly specific ideas in mind.

For example, I would limit the use of social media to two hours a day. I would not allow you to be friends on social media with someone you don't know or haven't met in real life. I would force you to verify your identity either by submitting documentation or by blockchain and many other things. I would ban the use of likes, which create envy and competition, anxiety and depression and suicide. Documented in the studies of Twenge, 2008-2018.

So I would ban this altogether. I would not allow Twitter to limit speech to 140 characters because this creates aggression.

We have studies that show that if I limit your speech, you become much more aggressive.

So when I say limit technology, I mean regulate it, regulate it and limit its usage, limit its features, and force it to conform much more closely to reality, to become an extension of reality, not an escape from reality.

For example, with a metaverse, I would not allow any event in the metaverse to be translated into an event in reality because this blurs the lines. It makes it very difficult to tell the difference between metaverse and reality.

If you make money in the metaverse, I would not allow you to convert this money to US dollars because it would confuse you. You would begin to think that the metaverse is real.

So there are many such things.

It's not a big deal to come up with this limitation of technology.

And with ideologies, I would either ban speech outright. You are not allowed to deny the Holocaust. That's banned speech because people keep saying, oh, but there is free speech.

Not true. There is no free speech anywhere in the world. It's a myth. There's no such thing. You can't shout fire in a crowded theater. You cannot deny the Holocaust.

There are many things you can't say. And if you do say them, you end up in prison.

Ask David Irving. The Holocaust denial.

So I would identify based on studies and everything. It has always to be evidence-based.

I would identify ideologies that lead to adverse social and individual outcomes. And I would either ban them outright or launch campaigns to counter the toxic, pernicious, and counterfactual messages of these ideologies.

You make these two steps. You implement these two steps.

And a lot of the damage would be undone. A lot of it would be undone.

There are other objective issues.

The economy, housing, yes.

There are many other objective problems.

No question.

But objective problems existed all the time.

What is the difference between the 14th century and our century?

Barbara Tuchman, the famous historian, wrote a book comparing the 14th century to the 20th century. And she asked, what's the difference?

In the 14th century, we had the Black Death. It was bad. It was as bad as it gets. One-third to one-half the population of Europe had died. That's bad, I think.

And yet, it was not as bad as today.


Because they had institutions.

If you lost your family to the Black Death, you could still go to the church and receive support. You had your pastor. You had your extended family. You had the village. You had your community. You had your feudal lord. You had where to go. You had who to talk to.

Today, you are isolated. You have a single friend compared to 10, 40 years ago. You have no family. You have no father and mother. It's a mess.

And all these are results of these ideologies. People cope with economic problems. People cope with environmental problems.

You are never broken by the fact that you don't have money. This never breaks you.

But what breaks you is the feeling that you're all alone. You're atomized. You have nowhere to turn to and no one to talk to, no one to share with, no one to live with.

So in this, the situation today is the clear unequivocal outcome of a series of ideologies which pushed us to where we are today.

Why should we give these ideologies the benefit of the doubt?

I don't give communism the benefit of the doubt. I don't give Nazism the benefit of the doubt. Nazism is forbidden.


It's free speech. Because they failed. They failed us as human beings.

I think third-wave feminism failed us as human beings.

For example, I can give otherism.

So these ideologies need to be counted or suppressed.

The minute people feel that the air is clear ideologically, and the minute they cannot use technology to escape reality, they will be forced into reality and into each other. And the social fabric, which had disintegrated completely, will reintegrate.

It's like a wound. Humanity is wounded. There's a wound. We need to let it heal.

What do you do with a wound?

You clean the wound.

That's the ideology.

Then you don't touch the wound. You don't scratch it. That's the technology.

And then the wound heals by itself. Gradually, the fabric heals.

I'm a firm believer in the potential for healing and for going back to a functional situation between people.

What I don't believe in is the will to make this happen.

It's possible.

I think Metaverse Project is going to die very fast. And I hope to start a new era called Inverse.

Let's see. I think maybe Erin have a last question.

We've only got a few minutes, so I'll make it fast.

But I would like to ask what you think about the fact that young people today, for example, the younger generations don't have a sort of cult around death anymore and what impacts can this have?

I'm not sure this is true to say that they don't worship the death cult. They're very focused on material goods. They interact within animate objects, not with each other. They isolate themselves in physical objects, known as rooms or apartments, which are dead. And the closest they get to life is a pet, a cat or a dog or a goldfish or whatever. I think their integration with the death cult is even worse than previous generations. And the pandemic didn't have, I agree.

The pandemic pushed all of us to the point where we isolated, our habits were broken, our communities were broken, and we began to regard ourselves as objects through the gaze of governments and experts and so on. So we were treated as objects. There was no choice.

OK, they had to cope with the pandemic, but we were treated as objects, anonymous objects.

So I don't think the situation is better with younger generations. I think it's much worse actually.

And I mentioned statistics again and again, less sex, less social interaction, not seeing other people for all year, etc.

The picture is not good.

But again, implement these two steps and everything will be reversed in a decade. I'm sure.

And what about the distinction, for instance, death as the distinction of existing and non-existing, for example?

The minute you cast yourself as a victim, which a majority of young people do, victimhood movements are mostly populated by people younger than 30 years old.

That's the statistics.

The minute you cast yourself as a victim, you cast yourself as an object. A victim is an object. A victim is a passive person.

Things are done to the victim. He's a passive recipient of malevolence or malice.

So self-objectification is a very important feature of today's world.

We self-objectify sexually, like women, for example. They become sex objects of men. That's the slut, the slut walks in the wrong culture. They become sex objects of men.

It's like I think Britney Spears said or someone, she said, I'm sexy but I'm not sexual. It's a sex object.

So we tend to self-objectify.

And victimhood movements are about self-objectification.

And young people are especially integrated in victimhood movements.

So I don't think it's going well with young people.

There's always this eternal hope that young people will change everything. And so I don't see that they are changed.

I see that they have given up.

Not even surrender.

Surrender is sometimes good.

They didn't surrender.

Surrender is an active act. It's an action.

They didn't surrender. They simply signed out. They opted out.

And so I don't know. I'm much less optimistic than both of you over there.

I come across them day in and day out. They're dead. They're dead inside.

And I can generalize, definitely, because I'm seeing thousands. And I'm seeing thousands of them on many countries on three continents.

They're dead inside. They have been killed, killed by a toxic environment, the hopelessness of the future, the materialism, and the fact that they have an alternative to reality that is numbing and self-satisfactory, gratification in consumers.

They just checked out. They're no longer with us.

You know, like Elvis is no longer in the room.

And I can't say this about previous generations.

Whatever you say about previous generations. I mean, they fucked up big time. They destroyed the planet. They are horrible.

The relationships divorced. We did a horrible job. We did a horrible job.

My generation destroyed the world. Literally, end of story. But we still destroyed the world. We were engaged somehow. We were in the world. We did a bad job, but we were in the world. And we did try our best. We have limited knowledge. We know much more.

But these, they're young and not. They're not in the world. They don't want anything to do with the world. They think it sucks. And they're right.

I'm not disputing this. But I'm disappointed that they are not much more competitive, much more gold oriented, much more reform oriented, much more gung-ho. The victimhood movement is bullshit. It's a spectacle. It's a show, like any other show. It's a reality. It's reality TV.

So true.

Then, perfect. We are safe.

Don't cut your wrist after this interview.

No, no problem. I'm 42.

And I see a lot of things.

But my story, because there is different stories, my story is I burn in Africa. I still in Africa from 2 to 14.

Then I burn in different place than here. Then that's why maybe I talk with this mood.

But I don't know. I don't know what to say.

But we have to wait and see what can happen.

Because many things can change. Many things can change very fast.

I can tell you one thing. If there is any hope, it's not in the West. If there is any hope, it's that some parts of the world are still far more human and far more connected in the West.


So these are the centers where transformation can begin and spread.

Unfortunately, the West monopolized the media, social media, show business, mainstream media, alternative media. It's all Western.

And through these vectors, the West is distributing its poison everywhere. So you'll begin to see similar trends to the West.

You'll begin to see Mexico, in China, in India, in Egypt, in Israel.

But there's still hope because there are enclaves. There are reserves of humanity and connectedness in many parts of the world.

But China is lost, for example. I don't know if you are following. I mean, China used to be far more human than the West. Far more.

But today is even more Western than the United States. The ethos is it's dead. China is dead. China is worse than the United States.


So if China was infected, then what hope do you have for Africa or Asia or I don't know. I went to Russia. I lived in Russia for five years. Russia used to be a traditionalist, conservative patriarchal, misogynistic society, bad parts and good parts. And I went there and it's totally Westernized. It's far more Westernized in New York or San Francisco. It's totally Western, in the sickest sense of the word.

It's like a virus. Absolute virus, pandemic.

OK, sorry, I couldn't give you a light and hope and, you know, but I'm committed to the truth. Don't worry, don't worry, don't worry.

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Take care. Very nice discussion.

Yes, thank you. Thanks so much. Thank you.

Thank you.

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