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Back to the Future: Spectacle of Narcissism, Spectre of Psychopathy (Convo with Alex Kazemi)

Uploaded 4/15/2020, approx. 1 hour 6 minute read

Heyeveryone, this is Alex Kazemi here. I am a 25-year-old author, pop artist, cultural commentator and cultural deprogrammer, and I want to thank the incredibly talented, important and incredible legend and author and thinker, Sam Vaknin, for having me here as a guest on his channel today to express our deep concerns for human culture, the dangers of social media culture, the future of creativity and art, and how this all plays a role with the root source of a morbid, lethal, collective narcissism that we are seeing in our culture today, and I believe we will continue to see a progression of throughout the 2020s.

It's a true honor to be here with you today, Sam. Thank you so much.

Thank you for having me. A pleasure to talk to you.

I want to thank you so much for providing this intellectual space for us to talk about the things the mainstream fashion and art media will not allow me to talk about because it makes their young audience feel threatened and uncomfortable.

But I think in order to have progress and evolution in our culture, we do need to talk about things that are not always politically correct and sanitized by corporations.

I agree. I think the monetization of eyeballs has reached the point of censorship.

Yeah, it's very dangerous.

So I want to start with the hottest topic on everyone's lips, COVID-19.

I would think COVID-19 is the ultimate disruption to the global collective narcissism that is associated with the modern world in the 2020s because a narciss stomping ground, which is the material world, a Malkuth society, which is what we would say in Kabbalah, we are now seeing external supply is now being stripped from everyone. The free will to even exercise the narcissistic hunt is now being alchemized and pushed towards a new reality, the virtual reality, the simulation, the digital world, which would be, you know, hunting on sex apps or dating apps or Instagram, Twitter or whatever one wills in that moment by getting the digital vial of attention and narcissistic supply rather than the physical supply.

Talk a little bit about that to me about the alchemical process of what happens when the narcissist can't get his supply in his traditional way, like the COVID-19 apocalyptic state.

I think we should make a distinction, an age- based distinction.

Native digital people under the age of 25, which have been studied very extensively by the likes of Twenge and Campbell, they extract narcissistic supply almost exclusively from cyberspace. So native digital people will not regard this as disruption.

On the very contrary, they were regarded as an enhancement of the pathological narcissistic space because now they have a captive audience, an audience that has no alternatives, but to be online.

So many narcissists, especially younger ones, let's say under the age of 35, they are reveling. This is, they are, they're celebrating. This is wonderful for them because now, now you know, they can post to Instagram 10 times a day and, and each of these posts will receive attention.

Now they can upload videos and all the videos will have like 40,000 viewers or, or 400,000 views because no one has anything else to do. I mean, people don't have what to do. They are bored out of their minds and they're online. Online has replaced reality in, in many respects. I would venture to say that virtual reality is now the outside material, material physical world.

I agree with you. I agree with you. I 100% agree with you. I would say that, that this gluttonous mentality that they're able to exercise with the excuse of being in quarantine is almost their utopian world.

I've been saying this, they have all of this time now to exercise that narcissistic desire for supply on the digital plane. And it's almost, no one even questions it. They have permission to do it.

But I think it's different for older narcissists, older narcissists are used to extracting supply from flesh and blood bodies, warm bodies touse a vampire, vampire metaphor.

So narcissists need warm bodies, older narcissists and they don't have them. They don't have them right now. And it's a major problem for these narcissists and they are frustrated and they're converting frustration to aggression and they're trying to convert aggression to narcissistic supply, but they have a very limited audience.

Now all their narcissists, narcissists above the age of 35, they have physical pathological narcissistic spaces. It could be the neighborhood pub. It could be the church. It could be the workplace. It could be a political party. It could be, but it has to be physical and they don't know how to efficaciously extract supply from digital platforms, either because they are technophobes or because they're technologically challenged or because it doesn't have the right feel.

These are the kinds of people who still read books. They need the tactile.

You're describing the generation X archetype of the narcissist is what you're saying.

I would say people above the age of 45, above the age of 50. I think these people are in serious difficulty right now. They are tactile. They react to the real world truth.

Would you say, is it a coincidence that so much of the modern behavior we see in modern society can be traced back to your research on narcissism, how you've been talking about narcissism for decades? Do you see narcissism as the malady of modern behavior and modern society?

Well, I wish I could take the credit for that, but I'm just the last in a very long chain.

The first to seriously warn against narcissism as an organizing principle and an explanatory principle of modern life was a guy called Christopher Lash, and he published a book called The Culture of Narcissism. And before Christopher Lash, six years before Christopher Lash has published his seminal tome, there was another guy, a Frenchman called Guy Debord. And Guy Debord in 1968 published a book called The Society of the Spectacle.

Yes, that's an amazing book.

It's an amazing, difficult to read, very, because it's written in a very peculiar manner. But essentially what he said is that appearances are going to replace substance as the principle of existence.

And then before him, there was Emile Durkheim. Emile Durkheim, he was a sociologist in Vienna. Durkheim described for the first time what he called anomic societies. These are societies whose principles of organization and institutions crumble, either as a result of an external shock like COVID-19 or as a result of internal dynamics.

And then he predicted that two things will happen. Suicide rates will skyrocket, self-mutilation, self-harm, suicide. And on the other hand, narcissism will skyrocket. He didn't call it narcissism.

He used other words. So I'm just the last in a very long chain.

It seems that narcissism has three functions.

On the individual level, it caters to a series of survival needs. We can talk about it later if you wish.

And on the collective societal level, it provides, as I said, an organizing principle. I mean, narcissism today is used to organize people.

Yes, I agree with that.

To put them together, to motivate them, and to generate institutions.

And the second function of narcissism is an explanatory principle, hermeneutic principle, a principle which endows existence with meaning and endows your being with meaning. This is very powerful because this is the first time in human history since the invention of religion where we have a principle that is both hermeneutic, both exegetic, explanatory, and organizing.

If you look at religion, for example, look at Islam. Islam is both a religion and a state organizational principle. Islam is, and Muslims, they are members of something called Ummah. Ummah means the nation. All Muslims, all over the world, are members of Ummah by virtue of being Muslims.

It's the same with the Jews. Judaism is a religion on the one hand, but it's also a nationality. It's also a culture. So religions were both organizing principles and principles that gave meaning to life.

And they bring order to chaos.

Brought order to chaos, exactly.


And the second time this has happened is now with narcissism.

And that's why I bring narcissism to religion.

Because I agree with you so much on that point. And I think narcissism is a substitute for religion. It's a substitute for spirituality. It's a substitute for love. And I think something I have a huge concern about, which connects to the Society of the Spectacle that is not talked about in the mainstream media and as a young artist who has no social media accounts or social media presence, I have obsessively examined my creative peers.

And I've noticed that the majority of them have decided to alchemize their creativity to being about the self. Whether it's at tweets or posting artistic references that they believe makes them special or different or unique. Everything is for the purpose of their ego or anything that doesn't require a level of empathy for something outside their own experience and a level of disassociation.

So you know, building a fictional character and writing fiction in films traditionally requires a level of curiosity, empathy, and going into a world beyond your own. I find that with the young artists today, they want to immerse themselves in their own world, whether it's their Twitter feed, their Instagram feed, their TikTok videos, their podcasts. It's a hyper reality of them and they're only getting positive feedback. And they are never the enemy and they're essentially painters pasting pastis of their lives and they cannot do anything wrong. It's just all cupcakes and flowers.

Would you say the brain's hyper focus on this self aggrandizing behavior is dangerous for the evolution of creativity in oneself?

It's not always self aggrandizing. If the artist is a narcissist or has narcissistic tendencies, it's self aggrandizing.

But many artists are not actually narcissistic or narcissist. It's an attempt to be noticed. It's an attempt to be seen as babies. We need to be seen. If we are not seen by mommy, we die. It's a survival. It's a survival instinct.

And in a world with 8 billion people, it's very difficult to be seen. So people have this need to be seen.

And so that's one reason.

The second reason is we used to have institutions, social institutions, which guaranteed that we are seen. We had a family and of course every member of the family saw us, noticed us. We were living in a village and of course everyone in the village knew everyone's business. We had communities.

And today there's nothing. There are no institutions left, at least not functioning ones.

So we are left to our own devices today. The underlying organizing principle of society is the individual, even in countries like China, it is the individual now, all institutions that gave the individual meaning that let the individual know that he or she is an individual in the sense that it is distinct, it is special, not unique. Unique is narcissism, but special. All these institutions are gone.

And so we are forced to, we are forced to self-cater, you know, we are forced to become self-sufficient. There's no one will do it for us.

In the past, when I was growing up, I'm, you know, as old as some of the dinosaurs. So when I was growing up, I had a family, my mother, my father, my siblings, they gave me the feeling that I'm special, that I hada neighborhood, I had friends, I had to date, there's nothing, there's absolutely nothing.

Majority of people, totally isolated, literally physically isolated. They have the only friends they have are Facebook non-friends. They're a disaster. Society has been atomized, atomized completely and it's alienation in the Marxist sense.

Well, this is what makes sense to me. What you just said is that there's this burning desire to belong and have an identity or your place in the world.

And the way that they're creating avatars or RPG characters of themselves is a kind of way for them to feel, to get that desire to be seen and that survival instinct to be seen.

And I guess their creatives, that's their way to do it is through their public invention of themselves and through their art.

And I find a lot of modern young artists today are very preoccupied with image and aesthetic rather than creating something intentional, substantial or provocative.

There's this preoccupation with achieving the feeling of how something looks and making sure it looks cool rather than creating something that is challenging or emotional.

Does this rumination and obsession with treating life like a vogue fashion shoot come from constantly engaging with the emphasis on aesthetics, on social media, in their brain and the overnight normalized concern right now of how to look and how to perform?

Well, if all you want is to be seen, then of course you will emphasize visuals.

Generally, if you look at human history, we have spent 99.95% of the existence of the species with visuals and images.

When you go to the Altamira cave in Spain or I mean, what you see, people painted on the cave walls. They didn't write, they didn't write. Text is a new, text is a very new invention. Text originated in Phoenicia about 4,000 years ago. It's a very new invention.

And so what happened is there was a short interlude of text and then we reverted to form. We reverted to our roots and our roots are in visuals and images.

And if you want to be seen, obviously you will emphasize aesthetics rather than content. Content is intimately associated with text.

The rise of text, the rise of the alphabet, the rise of text was associated with the rise of, for example, Greek philosophy.

So, and with the rise of religions because Judaism originated 4,000 years ago. So all meaningful system systems, all semiotic systems, they are constructed around text and images don't carry real content. Images carry messages about themselves. Images are self-referential. Text is always other referential. Images are self-referential.

And of course, in a world of self-reference and narcissism, images rule.

Today, 70% of all searches online originate with YouTube, not with Google.

Yeah.

This is so interesting to me. So it's almost like this innate human desire to be seen has now cross-contaminated with the way our visual minds work.

And now we're seeing in real time this visual language, this visual world being created where we're communicating ourself through fragments of images and references.

And we're saying, you know, this Madonna picture from 1995 is how I feel. You know, people are talking in references.

Yes.

I think we are regressing precisely.

If you look at the development of a typical human being, babies until a very late age don't use language. They react to visuals and images and they are very associative and they have libraries of network interconnectedness.

But these libraries are self-referential. They're self-contained.

And so also the world of imagery that we are creating is ever enriched. I mean, we are adding images all the time.

But all these images are intimately interconnected. And if they don't have a reference to previous images, they're meaningless.

And so artists today are very derivative, very derivative, very much more preoccupied with imitation and emulation, because in the absence of these backward references, no one will understand what they're trying to say.

This is an enormous regression.


Wow, you just hit a huge one that this is an infantile state. They're in a culture. They're regressing as creatives.

And like you said, we can even lead it back to being a baby in the way the brain is working.

That is so disturbing.

But of course, if you look at the metaphor of screens, consider screens for a minute.

We started with a huge screen. And 2,000 people congregated around the screen. They ate popcorn, they made out, they talked, they laughed, they smoked. This screen is a cinema. Then we made a smaller screen. We created a smaller screen. And now only 20 people could eat popcorn. And I don't know what, make out or whatever. And that's the television. And then the screen was smaller and smaller and smaller.

Until today, the prevalence screen is a one-man screen. You can't truthfully share your smartphone with anyone else. The experience of your smartphone is only yours. It's idiosyncratic. You are programming your smartphone from the second you wake up. You're programming. You choose what to see, which news to read, what apps to open and what apps to close. You have become a programmer. Where prior to that, programming prior to that was a collective experience. And screens allowed sharing.

Today's screens isolate you, atomize you and force you to be self-sufficient.

And they cut you off from empathy a lot too, because like you said, you're being programmed in your own individual world all the time. You're tailoring your news. You're tailoring what you're looking at. You're not really thinking of outside perspectives.

A metaphor I have for social media is that it's like eavesdropping on this huge dinner table conversation along with looking at 25 TVs stocked on another, trying to grasp or process the amount of information that is happening all at once.

I think this is ultimately a problem for the young artist and the young person who needs a kind of stillness in the world to find some peace and a voice.

Would you agree?

I think this ambient noise is white noise in the sense that it carries no information. There's no signal to noise ratio because there's no signal. It's not possible to generate a signal in a noise that is utterly random.

And social media by definition, they're utterly random. Even if you select your friends, even if your friends are selected, what they generate is utterly random. And whenever we increase randomness, I'm a physicist, whenever we increase randomness, we lose signal. We know that.

So now we've reached the apex of randomness, total randomness, and of course, zero signal.

Well, I would say also with a lot of modern artists today, there's a lot of self-professed projects of grandiosity on social media that are not actually real. It's very bizarre.

I have a modern saying called, is your art real or where is your art?

Because people are constantly talking about these projects that they're creating on their social media pages, but the art isn't real and it doesn't have a real release date. It's a figment of an extension of their virtual self and avatar, but they post about it and they get congratulations over things that aren't real.

I see that as a kind of sickness and delusion. Is that connected to narcissism? How does that work? What is going on there, Sam?

Again, some artists are narcissistic and narcissism is a motivation. It's not a modus operandi. It's a motivation.

So we need to ask the question, why are they doing this?

So some of them are doing it because they want to garner narcissistic supply, attention.

But many of them are doing it not because they are narcissists. Many of them are not narcissists. Many of them are nice people, not narcissists have empathy, have emotions and so on.

Many of them are doing these things because I think they have transitioned in their minds to a kind of an autistic space where they correspond and interact with themselves.

And this is, by the way, a superb definition of psychosis. Psychosis or psychotic disorder is when you confuse your internal objects with external objects. When you have voices in your head, it's normal. Everyone has voices in their heads. It's called introjects.

But when you make a mistake and you think that this voice is external talking to you from the corner of the room, you need medication.

Exactly.

I literally have, I've felt this way about the way people use Twitter and they're talking to themselves. I find it to be a kind of psychosis.

Yeah, no, no. And I'm happy that you said that because that's so needed to be said right now, Sam, because a lot of people, because it's so normalized that behavior, people, people don't see it as psychosis.

But to hear that from an academic like you is really great. I find that creating art, as you know, since you've written so many incredible books and are an incredible writer is that it requires a level of discipline and focus and delayed gratification and sometimes pain and suffering and it requires beating the resistance and self-doubt within.

I find that a lot of very creative artists today are using social media and using technology addiction and the internet and YouTube and pornography and Instagram and TikTok binges as a means of pain management to not go through that excruciating process of self-discipline and focus to create their great works of art.

And Robert Greene in his book, Mastery, talks about this a little bit about how the modern artists greatest malady will always be choosing self-involvement over mastering your craft, sharpening your tools or whatever it is that you want to manifest in this world and how self-involvement is ultimately a distraction of artists.

In the bigger picture, do you agree that a lot of people are using social media as a drug to regulate their emotions?

Well, first of all, I beg to differ with Greene. I've read this book and it is a masterpiece, but I beg to differ with him because self-involvement motivated very big artists, very great artists in literature, for example.

Marcel Proust is by far the most in self-involvement ever.

So self-involvement in itself is not a problem. The problem is craftsmanship.

Today, we have extended the definition of art to the breaking point.

Yes.

Today, we have a problem of discoverability. We can't discover true art in the mountains of unprocessed raw material, of trash, of when we have converted everything into art, we have converted art into nothing.

Exactly.

And this started not now, I regret to say, this started at the end of the 19th century when the relativization of art, art was made relative and relativization of other things like morality, nevermind, but relativization of art led to its disappearances as a distinct rigorous set of criteria and procedures.

And today you don't need criteria, anything goes, you don't implement procedures, and there is the issue of immediacy and lack of delayed gratification, as you just noticed.

You want to see the end result now.

So the first step is also always the last step. And there's nothing in between. It's an art or void.

Today, we don't have art, we have voids, simply voids.

It's a vortex of nothingness, and it's very interesting to hear how that progressed.

And what you just said.

I must compliment you on your maturity, by the way. You're 25.

Oh, thank you so much. It's pretty amazing. I never give compliments, by the way.

Oh, thank you.

I will compliment you forever. This is something that actually transitions into what I wanted to talk to you about.


So Camille Polly always talks about how Princess Diana was obsessed with her image and manipulating the media. And now she was an architect of her public narrative using the resources of the tabloids, press appearances, any airtime to cultivate a message that is ultimately calculated and planned, whether it is to target an ex or someone who hurt her, but she used the media in a very passive aggressive way to televise crypto messages.

The famous image in 1992 of her in front of the Taj Mahal to portray loneliness and to vie for sympathy from the viewer in retrospect was prescient of a behavior that we would see be displayed in the human condition.

Before social media, like in the late 1990s, there was that one MTV Olympian arena where there was a separation between us, the audience and the stars. People didn't have access to having a public image unless you were in the media. You were a celebrity. You were elite.

Today you have a public narrative, but you did nothing to earn it. Now that you see that these young people today have the tools to be micro celebrities, they are a part of the media. They are the media and they can be passive aggressive. They can send crypto images and accentuate tragedy and drama.

And there seems to be a kind of addiction to self mythologizing and pathos and using the fragments of your life to build a false self, a false fantasy character along with falling in love with the false self on your screen.

Do you trace this grandiose desire back to the collective narcissistic wounding?

I think it would be more beneficial to discuss the confusion that rains nowadays.

Yes.

The overriding state of mind today is confusion. If I had to characterize the last 50 years, I would say I would call this period in history, the era of confusion.

So it pertains to your question as well. We confuse action with message. The action becomes the message.

You don't need to have a message. If you act, that is your message. And that's why celebrities are known for being famous. They are known for acting. And so crafting a message in itself is the message.

So the message could be hollow, could be null, a null hypothesis, could be nothing. But the very fact that you have taken the effort and had documented the effort to create this message, which ultimately came to nothing, that is the message.

So confusing action and message.


The second confusion is between reality and the representations of reality. And of course we have hybrids like reality TV, and we have a reality TV star in white house and we have a comedian as president of Ukraine because for 10 years he had portrayed the president of president of Ukraine on television. So we confuse reality and its representations, which is exactly what Gideon predicted.

And finally we confuse inner states with the representations of these inner states.

We have come to a point where empathy broke down is no longer a useful tool.

Empathy is always very good when there is authenticity, but when the emphasis shifts from authenticity to representation, empathy can be very misleading.

So people stop using empathy because they can't trust what they see anymore. They can't trust the signifiers, in semiotic terms, they can't trust the denotate and connotate as one and the same, a link somehow.

So in other words, to simplify what I'm saying, if I see a woman crying, she can be crying for either of two reasons, either because she's sad or because it's a show, it's a performance.

Yeah.

And this is what we can't distinguish anymore. And that's why people are so jaded. And this is why people won't even care to give anyone sympathy. And this is why reality has become so confusing because we don't know when people are performing for narcissistic supply and using their lives as a form of alchemy to get something out of somebody. Performance art.

Pardon? Performance art.

Yeah, yeah, no, we live in the time.

Well, this is interesting because we live in the time of the obsession with controlling the public avatar and the virtual version of yourself.


And let's maybe say, think of how much pop culture has changed.

In 1991, when Madonna's Truth or Dare documentary came out, it was vilified as narcissistic and she was demonized as a paraplegic and exhibitionistic or even the pros of like Bryson Ellis' American Psycho and the character Patrick Bateman, who clearly has some kind of MPD, psychopathy, very much disturbed people.

But you fast forward to 2020's Modern Society, and you see this emotional exhibitionism of posting, you know, your Prozac pills, your mental illness, this display of trauma of gluttony, of glamour, of heightened self, or even the creative process is demanding for validation, approval, look at me, and you can tell it's what Gillian Gilloohe would call the hungry ghost is that it's insatiable.

So would you say, what happens to a culture when all of this is normalized, when we're encouraged to engineer self mythologies and pathos, and the narcissistic person is usually incredible at spinning things to be more exaggerating and create creating alternative facts and huge images of things? What happens when that's our normal and we don't even question it?

I think, as I said, we should go a way back to see the roots of all this.

There was Marshall McLaughlin and they said the medium is the message. The medium became the message. And so media representations became reality. And so there's reality TV. And so celebrities became famous for acting to be famous. Action substituted for message. It was a chain reaction.

And now here's the problem. If action is the message, you need to escalate and radicalize your action to be noticed. Simply to be noticed, you need to radicalize. Anything goes. Sexual exploits, mental illness, assassinating your parents on camera. I don't know what will come next.

You know, so it's like Luca Magnotta.

I'm sorry.

It's like Luca Magnotta, the Canadian serial killer that you talked about.

I'm sorry. I was about to say one more thing and I'll let you proceed.

And I think a great representation of this is the movie Joker. Joker embodies all this. Absolutely embodies all this.

The narcissism.

But, you know, Joker is not entirely a narcissist. If you compare Joker to American Psycho, you see the evolution of this creed, if you wish.

Yes, because because Joker is a compound, a kaleidoscopic picture, partly a narcissist, partly a psychotic, partly a social influencer, partly a leader of a of a new social movement, partly a rebel, partly a conformist, partly a clown, partly a messenger or a prophet. It's a kaleidoscope of modern.

That's why Joker, in my view, is one of the 10 best films ever. It's an amazing social document. Amazing. I mean, forget the movie. It's a social document. It will be remembered forever. It's a stunning movie.

And you're saying it emulates a kind of modern archetype that we can connect to all different types of people that we see today.

It's a hive mind. Joker doesn't have a self. He has a hive mind. He is all of us. He is all of us.

He's our ultimate mirror.

Yes.

He is not a human being. He is a set of frequencies and resonances. And he changes accordingly by the way. There's no core. There's no core identity. He changes all the time. He changes professions. He changes lovers. He changes behaviors. He changes aspirations. He changes his mother. I mean, he changes all the time. He changes. So he's fluid. He's in flux. He's like the terminator, you know, this metal in the terminator is and this is the and compare him, for example, to American Psycho, American Psycho, whatever you say about the character, it's a horrible character, of course, sadistic killer. But whatever you say about him, he had a core. He was clear cut. Yes. In a way, yes. In a way, he was an American boy. He was because he was he was clear cut. He was there were no questions about him, no hesitations, no misunderstandings. The message was loud and clear. You couldn't mistake it for anything had you tried to. And he was consistent and persistent from the first frame to the credits.

Not so Joker is very disorienting as a figure.

Why? Because we are disoriented.

Yes, yes. Yeah, no, he's very true about Patrick Bateman is that his character is so polarizing to so many young serial killers and you know, people who are just interested in obsessed with him in general for whatever reason is because he does have that kind of sense of self that people can see, see themselves as oh, wow, Patrick Bateman kind of does know his place in the world when I don't whereas Joker is disorientated and confused and everywhere.

Patrick Bateman is certainty. Some people say better a horrible certainty over the most benign uncertainty. And Patrick Bateman is is a horrible certainty.

And yeah, no, for sure.

Joker is a horrible uncertainty. Joker is all the whole movie, the entire movie is about uncertainty, uncertainty. Don't forget the guy in the middle of the movie becomes unemployed. All the traumas of modern life are there economic trauma, psychological traumas, intergenerational traumas, psychosis, narcissism, I mean, you name it, a mental illness, everything is there, all the traumas.

And it's the reality. It's unapologetic about it. It's showing you as a cinema, as a cinematic film, what's happening in our world and putting it in our faces. Yeah.

And if you look at it, it's largely divided to two parts. There are two movies in Joker.

The first movie in Joker is about social ills. So you see, you see a gang of young children beating him up. You see him losing his job. You see him being mocked in the subway, you know, carriage. I mean, it's about social ills.

And then there's a second movie about the disintegration of the personality under these stresses and pressures, stresses and pressures of daily life.

Mind you, he's not traveling to Mars to be a part of a new colony. He's in his own city. This is daily life. We all have these experiences. I was mad. I was, you know, I lost my job once. I mean, we've all gone through these experiences.

But the movie is warning us that the resilience of modern personalities to these accruing stresses is at a breaking point and that we will all end up being Joker.

Don't forget that in the last scene of the movie, everyone is Joker. Literally, they wear a clown mask.

I mean, I see that I see that happening. Do you see the way that people use social media as a way of people acting out their unconscious traumas, that it's a kind of acting out behavior?

I think social media affords you a false sense of safety.

First of all, you can have anonymous handles and you know, it can be anonymous. But even if you're not anonymous, there's this feeling that it's not real. It has real life consequences without paying real life prices.

Like you, you can act on the world without paying the price price of acting on the world. And in this sense, social media are like firewalls. They are like protective sanctuaries, where you can go and you can be self efficacious, you can have an impact on the world, but without paying the commensurate cost of being self efficacious.

It's like this is so interesting, because you're kind of going back to the Faustian deal. And you know, Madonna has a song referencing the British author Bullard called Drowned World Substitute for Love off of her Ray of Light album. And it's about sacrificing the true self for the false self and the sacrifice that comes with success and yet discovering that materialism, consumerism and reaching out of yourself for fame and fortune and external supply to provide you happiness is ultimately an empty pursuit and doesn't really achieve any true fulfillment.

I was wondering, would you say the pursuit and chase for fame in a traumatized person is a substitute for love?

Well, if you can't get love from an individual, you might as well get love from the masses, as Adolf Hitler taught us. If you can't get love from an individual, you might as well get love from money, as other people taught us. I mean, money is a love substitute. Adulation is a love sub.

We have numerous love substitutes because we cannot find love anymore. There's no love to be found.

End of story. No, no, for sure.

And I think that innate human desire for love is being shown everywhere.

And something I find to be of extreme concern is that there is multiple versions of reality existing on the Internet and which you can lose yourself to if you are young and unconscious, whether you're a young boy and you identify with the incel community or a young girl who is being inducted into the cult of beauty bloggers.

The Internet and social media operates a lot like Scientology. It's a way to be uniformative and straight laced and mimic the behaviors of others. It's a way to have a place to belong. And it provides you a space for your lack of identity. It's a way to not be challenged. It's a way to exist in your own reality with your own gods, your own rules, your own news, your own values, your own school of thought.

And modern society is almost always the enemy.

And there's a term that historians of fascism call obsession with the plot. That means that you are creating an irrational enemy all the time, which I find to be the root source of both the liberal and Republican parties, is a lot of chaos and drama and scandal and outrage due to the narcissistic political leaders.

But would you say their followers are also narcissistic?

Well, if they are, they are vicariously narcissistic. They would be what I call inverted narcissists. They, they bask in the reflected glow of the primary narcissist.

So supporters of Donald Trump, they would be this kind of inverted narcissist. He's the sun and they're the moon. The light is reflected light. It's not, it doesn't emanate from themselves.

But I think there is collective narcissism. I was among the first to point it out. Narcissism of collectives of all groups. There is such a thing. And of course it motivates a lot of the political discourse and mind you, artistic and cultural discourse and so on and so forth.

But I think we are shifting regrettably from narcissism to psychopathy, actually.

Narcissism shortly would be passe because it's no longer efficient in our environment. Narcissism took over, let's say 20 or 30 years ago. Narcissist shaped, had shaped the world, but they had shaped the world to be without empathy, without true emotions, with facsimiles or everything, etc.

And what the narcissist did not realize is that in such a world, it is the psychopath that has a competitive edge and a natural advantage in the natural selection game that is now ensuing. Psychopaths will win.

You see, there's a chain of being. Narcissists eat regular people for breakfast. Psychopaths eat narcissists for breakfast.

Wow. Wow. So it's like we're evolving now. If we evolve, devolving, yeah, we'll deploy it. So we're devolving. Wehit the Pokemon phase of being narcissists and now we're going to the next level of becoming psychopaths collectively.

Yes, I think so. I think we can see this by the way, in vulnerable groups.

As we all know from social history, vulnerable groups and minorities, they create habits that are later adopted by the elites. So for example, suntanning, suntanning was very common among farm workers because they were exposed to the sun. But today suntanning is associated with leisure time, with the elite. Free sex, free sex or liberated sex, emancipated sex was very common among the lower working classesand then it was adopted by the aristocracy and today free sex or liberated sex is a hallmark of the liberal progressive decadent elites.

So the elite always copies, emulates and imitates the so-called lower classes, lower socioeconomic strata. And we have, of course, the famous novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover. Lady Chatterley's Lover is exactly about this. It's about how working classes affect their aristocracy and so on.

Now, why am I saying, why am I saying all this?

Because I think what's happening, there's a groundswell of psychopathy among certain minorities. And I would identify only one and that is women. I think women having been emancipated and liberated don't know what to do with these new found freedoms and with these new found powers and with this new found access and so on and so forth.

The field has not been leveled, not by a farm, not by a long shot, but it is being leveled. And shortly, shortly in historical terms, you know, 70 years, 100 years, women and men will be totally equal.

But women have been slaves, have been enslaved for 10,000 years. And so they are newly emancipated slaves exactly like after the civil war.

But my blacks have been enslaved for 300 years. Women have been enslaved for well over 10,000 years. And so they have the mentality of a slave, the collective mentality, intergenerationally transmitted mentality of a slave, but with powers of a master. This is always an extremely bad combination.

And what we are seeing is that women all over the world are emulating and imitating the behaviors of psychopathic men, not of men in general, not of nice men, but of psychopathic men.

It's a hostile, it's a hostile, root source of injustice from what they've gone through for 10,000 years and in feeling that pain.

And now that there's this visibility, this cultural change, there is a lot of pent up anger and rage.

Exactly. And this anger and rage and aggression and frustration and hatred, frankly, because you know, they have been wronged. They have been wronged for.

And it's valid. I would say it's valid.

It is valid, it's justified and everything.

And we know from other other social units, for example, the family, if a child is being abused and tortured and so on, some children are very likely to become psychopaths. And all children would try to somehow emulate the abuser. They can become narcissists, they can become psychopaths, or they can become codependent and try to merge with the abuser.

But there's always, I mean, children who grow up in abusive families with abusive, narcissistic, selfish, aggressive, violent parents, they always try to somehow become the parent.

Oh, yeah, no, that's very, that's very true. And I think that's their way of unconsciously trying to deal with the trauma is by mimicking it, mimicking what has happened to them.

By regaining control, because if you become the abuser, you will never be abused again.

Exactly. It's a safety mechanism.

It's a magical thinking. It's like if I become my abuser, I will not abuse me because he's me. It's a kind of magical thinking.

And it's a distortion, it's a cognitive distortion.

It's cognitive bias and distortion, yes.

But magical thinking is cognitively wrong.

But it means that today there are many recently emancipated groups. And I'm talking about LGBT community. I'm talking about women. I'm talking even about blacks whose emancipation is still ongoing.

Yes. I'm talking about, you know, many, many groups, I think, are unfortunately adopting more and more psychopathic behaviors. That's why I believe, and ultimately, we know from social history that the elites imitate and emulate minority groups. And so it will transfer to the elites.

So I foresee very shortly in historical sense, a totally psychopathic civilization.

Oh, yeah, no, no, I mean, we're seeing it happening in real time. And that is such a beautiful prescient prediction of what is about to happen.


And, you know, on the topic of women, I wanted to talk a bit about pornography and how porn is a lot of young men and women's sexual education. And the new generation just mimics what they learn as porn.

And I know a lot of young men who have told me they struggle with the Madonna whore complex from growing up with pornography and this idea of a curvaceous, busty, pornographic woman and then the sanitized woman who is waif or fairy like or ethereal.

Is that also connected to narcissism in young men? Is that is that taught?

I feel like men have also seemed to lost the respect for the divine femme and the goddess. And we seem to be disconnected from the goddess archetype and lost respect for femininity. And I don't know if that's connected to what you're saying about the freedom of the slavery of that women have faced and how we're seeing everything cross contaminate.

Right now, there's even a term called simp that if you appreciate women, you are weak or weaker or inadequate for it.

Yeah, simple. It's from the manuscript.

This is a term that's used among themselves and red pillers and miktows and this kind of thing. The man is absolutely poisonous for normal. Absolutely. Very dangerous.

Anyhow, coming back to your question, pornography is an extension of a much larger philosophical trend. And that is a trend of reductionism.

Until the 18th century, the prevailing trend in thinking about anything in thinking about sex and thinking about society and thinking about God about you name it in thinking generally was holistic.

If you look at physics, for example, Newton connected planets to each other. The thinking was network holistic.

What happened in the 18th century with the cart, within the 17th century, I'm sorry, with the cart is that we suddenly separated ourselves from nature. We became observers. There was nature and us. There was God and us. The world broke down. The cart broke the cart, broke the world down, split it, schism.

And so from that moment on, there was a new philosophical dogma known as reductionism. It's prevalent in psychology, in psychology, it's prevalent in medicine, where no one is a human being, but someone is a heart or a lung.

It's so reductionism.

What is pornography? Pornography is the visual embodiment or reification of the principle of reductionism.

Because the emphasis in pornography is on body parts. Literally, by the way, there's a book, a wonderful book about pornography, called A Billion Wicked Thoughts. I don't know if you had the chance to read it. If not, I will read it. Hang up and run. It's the best study ever of pornography.

And then no opinions expressed. It's just raw material.

And you can draw your own opinions, your own conclusions. But the raw material is stunning. What they have done, they called one billion Google searches. And based on these Google searches, they drew a profile of the typical porn user.

Stunning, stunning study.

Anyhow, what they had discovered is that the overwhelming majority of porn users focus on specific body parts. It's kind of fetishes, you know, specific body parts and none of them, literally none of them pays attention to the totality.

So I can admit from someone who grew up watching porn that that's what I did. Exactly.

That's how my mind state was. I was focusing on one body part. That's one element.

So pornography is the extension of reductionism into sexual imagery.


Second thing, pornography is about role role playing. It's about pretension. It's fake. It's make belief world.

Yes.

And and it is a permissible world exactly like social media. You asked me about social media. What did I answer? I said social media is a sphere, is an ambience where you can act upon the world without paying for the consequences.

Absolutely.

Because of anonymity. Same with pornography. You act upon the world without paying consequences because pornography has real life effects. I mean, you ejaculate, it has effects. It is a real world phenomenon. Yet you don't pay any cost into today. Today's world, you definitely don't. Pornhub is free. So you don't pay any cost.

And so it's another manifestation or exemplification of this separation between reality because it's real and the costs of reality.

We have come, we have all become free riders, free riders within a huge commons. We benefit. We benefit.

But we refuse to pay the price.

Pornography is, is like that.


The first thing the pornography does, it simplifies in an age of dumb and dumber, in an age of stupidity as a reason to be proud.

I mean, people are proud of their stupidity. They are not nothings. I mean, they show it off.

They show it off.

Absolutely. They brag about it. They brag about not knowing.

So in the experts. They deride academic authority. They mock intellectuals. They argue with authorities on topics. They argue as though they are author. I call it malignant egalitarianism. Everyone is an expert because everyone has access to Wikipedia, you know.

And so in such a world, pornography fulfills a role because it allows you to actually interact with archetypes, archetypes of women, archetypes of men and archetypes of sexual activity and to experience the entire gamut, in other words, to become an expert.

Is that dangerous?

Pornography is an absolute unmitigated time bomb.

According to studies by Twain, John Campbell, in the last 10 years, dating, dating activity among teenagers, hormone- laden teenagers, dating declined by 56 percent because modern dating is a clusterfuck of dysfunctional attachment styles.

And you see how these young people are getting in their codependent cosmic entanglements with people in which they're idealizing the person as their soulmate and really operating off of a child's view of romance in tandem with being in that pornographic world.

You know, what happens to the people who don't become conscious of their broken attachment styles and codependency?

You're the optimistic type.

You still talk about these cycles to the grave.

You still talk about attachments and so on.

Recent studies by Lisa Wade, for example, uncover shocking truths.

The bone tone today is to not get attached. Teenagers, people under the age of 25 who responded to very detailed questionnaires said that the worst transgression against etiquette is to get attached after sex.

The majority of these young men and women your age said that if they find an intimate partner, they will try to not have sex with the intimate partner because sex is meaningless.

Isn't that very avoidant?

It's not avoidant.

Are you listening what I'm saying? Sex is meaningless.

Oh, no, no, see, I can't relate to that. Sex has a lot of meaning to me.

Of course, there's a lot of meaning. By the way, has a lot of meaning period. Not only to you. It is denial.

Of course, sex is meaningless. But it's denial. When you have hookups, when you have one night stands, when you have casual sex, you lie to yourself. But you lie to yourself in conformity with cultural mores.

The culture today is such that you are mocked, ridiculed and derided. If you connect, if you connect sex to intimacy, or if you connect sex to emotions, something's wrong with you. Something's wrong with you.

And yes, no, and I've experienced this and I've seen people who treat people this way that, you know, if you see sex with intimacy, you're broken, you know, you need to just treat it like an athletic act.

Exactly. And so this has this leads to two things.


First of all, objectification of the other. You must debate with other people's bodies. People become animated dildos and animated sex dolls.

And the second thing is what I call the intimacy cloud.

Intimacy, you see in the past, when you got married, you had to forego all other people of the same sex. So if you got married to a man, you were a woman, you got married to a man, you forego your male friends and so on and so forth.

I don't mean you forego in the sense you were not in contact, but you forego them as potentials, intimate potentials and so on.

Today, in a typical young relationship between young people, each young person carries with him or with her a cloud of intimate people. The husband or the wife, the girlfriend or the boyfriend are just one of many.

Yes. Wow. One of many equally intimate, equally sexualized people.

So a woman aged 25 is likely to say, I love my husband if she got married, just got married. My boyfriend, I love my boyfriend. We're having sex and so on.

But I also love Jeff, who used to be my lover. And I also love Jack, who is my best friend, like a brother to me. And I also love, I don't know what.

And then she will see nothing wrong in spending the night at Jack's and nothing wrong. Absolutely.

And having sex is like the polyamory.

This is polyamory. It's polyamory. And I call it intimacy cloud. It's absolutely polyamory.

But see, this is very dangerous, because now what you're talking about the reductionism and the commodification of the self, think of that plus being encouraged to turn yourself into a sellable sex object and archetype and trope to be purchased, approved. Dating apps are just a human meat market.

And if you think of the modern narcissist, and if we've transcended past that, as you've said, swipe left, swipe right and a dehumanizing, discarding approach to sex and romance in our world is very hollow and very rapid.

I find dating apps to be even more dangerous than that.


But before I comment on on dating apps, I want to say that you see use the term polyamory, which is, which is a technically correct, but there's no love there. It's polyamory is when you have several intimate partners of equal standing.

The intimacy cloud is simply never giving up on anyone you have ever been intimate with or can be intimate with. Never giving up. Never paying the price.

Because when you get married, or when you have a boyfriend, you have a price to pay. And that price is called exclusivity. People refuse again, again refuse to pay the price. They want to have real world consequences. They want to get married, or they want to have children, or they want to have a boyfriend, but they refuse to pay the price of exclusivity.


Now coming to dating apps, the problem with dating apps is one, as you said, commodification and objectification of potential sexual partners.

But I think there's something even more pernicious and much more dangerous.

Dating apps don't come out in the open and admit who they are, what they are.

Dating apps don't say, listen, guys, this is a database of possible facts, you know, fuck bodies. They don't say this. They present themselves as a love bazaar, a market where you can find love, attachment, connection, relationships. It's a lie, of course.

It's deceptive and it's dangerous for the people who are too stupid to critically think.

Exactly, it's deceptive. That's the problem.

Dating apps, without exception, are totally deceptive.

Studies have shown that one quarter of people who go on dating apps are looking for casual sex. Yet another quarter are looking to have fun and entertainment, which is casual sex.

Sex, all sex.

Seven to nine percent are looking to cheat on their partners, etc.

Well over three quarters of people who go on dating apps have no inclination or intention in the universe to have a relationship. They are looking for casual sex.

That's, you know, and I think, you know, it's disgusting to me that these corporations would even brand these things as dating apps. Why not be honest with the people and just say this is a sex app. I call them sex apps. I call them sex apps.

This is what they are.

I want to talk about something controversial that you've brought up in your work before, but right now we have a very free space.

So I want to talk about this.

In ancient Greece, bisexuality was very normal and my generation seems to be extremely bisexual, very sexually fluid and more than ever with men and men.

And in ancient Greek mythology, Hercules had many twin male lovers and there is this concept of Erestes and the Romanes and say a male narcissistic type is ultimately a baseline heterosexual man, but he still uses gay men as sexual objects or as narcissistic supply.

Have you in your studies seen any cross-contamination between bisexuality and narcissism and is it connected?

Well, I wouldn't describe bisexuality as contamination. It's a cross-contamination.

I mean like a disconnection.

I just want to make clear that there's no derogatory. We are not associating this with any sexual presence.

I think what's happening in the modern world as opposed to Greece. In ancient Greece, homosexual sex, first of all, was limited. It usually did not include penetration, but it was also an integral part of a power structure.

So sex is a language. Sex is a mode of communication. You can say many things with sex. You can say I am grateful to you with sex. You can say I pity you with sex. You can say I love you with sex.

And you can also say, master, you have taught me so much. Thank you with sex. You can also recognize the master's authority with sex. You can recognize a military commander's authority. Or in prison, you can recognize the chief honcho with sex.

So in prison, for example, totally heterosexual men engage in anal intercourse, but as a way to establish power matrices, power hierarchies inside the prison.

So homosexual sex like heterosexual sex has many, many types of messages embedded. And it's very critical to look at the context.


Moreover, it's not possible to have any meaningful exchange between people, any people of any type, without a very powerful erotic undercurrent. And that's, of course, the source of words like bromance.

Yeah.

And erotic sexual undercurrent is present among male friends, among female friends, among males and female friends. I mean, there's always sex in the air, whether it is converted into actual action or not, is another issue. But it's always in the air.

And so in permissive environments, such as ancient Greece, it was simply translated, but it did not indicate homosexual tendencies, by the way.

Of course not. It didn't mean that you were a homosexual. That's the difference.

It was a way of communicating something. It was usually a student and a master in academies, in proper academic institutions. And it was a way of communicating, or it was in the army.

We have documented, you know, we have in the Odyssey. And so in the army, Alexander the Great, we have documented homosexuality documented as a means of communication and creating cohesion, unit cohesion in the army.

And so it's important to understand it's a language.


The second thing I would like to mention is, I don't think there is sexual fluidity. I think people very often confuse sex and gender.

I think what has happened in the Victorian age, people conflated sex and gender, and it is still very difficult for us to get rid of this.

Yes, yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

I think all people without a single exception, even the most straight-laced Christian fundamentalist, all people are omnisexual. All people.

Yeah. I think what is happening now, and by the way, it's documented, I mean, in studies, for example, most men have at least one homosexual experience in teenage years.

I think everyone is omnisexual. Everyone is capable of sleeping with everyone, given the right circumstances, the right type of communication and the right ambience and incentives.

But what I think has happened, the Victorians created gender roles, which were so strict and rigid that certain behaviors were immediately outlawed, outcast and considerable.

Now what is happening?

We are creating a unigender world, unigender. We don't have any clear distinctions. The boundaries between genders are totally blurred, and we have a single gender with two types of genitalia.

I think that's where we are going.

And then also what's so interesting about that is that the people who will create these new terms and these new gender names as a way to also demand rights and also ask for acceptance based off of that template, and I find that to also be so fascinating.

And what you just said also, you kind of described about the teenager in the male and his adolescence.

So if we think of today like an 18-year-old boy downloads a gay sex app like Grindr and wants to hook up with a man just to receive oral sex or something like that, and he comes out of the experience, and he doesn't label himself as bisexual. He doesn't label himself as gay.

I think that happens more than we think.

I think it's a great pity that we use labels. I think exactly as we are creating a unigender space where everyone is of the same gender and the gender is human being, I think we should create a unisex world. A unigender and unisex.

On Friday you may wish to sleep with a man, on Saturday with a woman, and on Tuesday with both.

Is that more true to our animalistic baseline, our carnality, our truth?

Are you asking if we look at nature?

No, well not nature, just in general from your studies, to have that opinion. Do you see that as a valid thought?

Well I think what happened is we have unified agendas, so now we have one gender. Everyone would agree that essentially men are sometimes behaving like women, women are behaving like men, so we have unigender.

And we have unified the sex, so we have unigender actually, but what happened is people realize that they can conflate this process with political power, and political power also means money. Monetary incentives and political incentives contaminated the process, the pure process, the beautiful process of sexual opening, opening up sexually.

So if people now self-define as transgender or as gay, they can do so individually and that would not benefit them at all. But if they participate in a political movement, it would benefit them a lot. They could attain political power, they can make a lot of money.

Oh yeah, it's clout, it's currency, it's like what we see with male celebrities that are always gay-baiting, so that they can be in the gay media.

You said a lot of beautiful things kind of about how intimacy and a relationship requires a sense of ritualistic sacrifice, which means monogamy and connecting, and how a lot of our true spirituality is in these decisions and sacrifices.

And in our 2020s culture of surveillance, as we've talked about, there's a splitting and dialectic between the online and offline self, the private and public self.

You see that people have these public sanitized Instagram accounts where they exhibit their public relationships and show off and brag, and then these private Instagram accounts when they still demand an audience, still demand attention, displaying imperfections, drug use, scandal, chaos, drama of their own invention and their own pathos and self-mythology.

What happens when we lose a sacrilegious approach to life, when our most private moments become monetized and are exploited, our most sacred private experiences for attention, instant gratification, and what then becomes sacred, what becomes valuable?

Is that a part of the modern confusion, is losing that sense of, I found something and it's special and it's valuable and it's sacred and I want to keep it private. I see everything can be converted into narcissistic supply.

Yeah, well, here if we adopt a historical perspective, we see that humanity has always pendulated, has always switched between a private mode and a public mode.

In, let's say during biblical times, there was no concept of privacy. Privacy is a modern invention, a modern sort of development.

So people's private lives, what we call today private lives, were enacted in public. It was a public spectacle. Neighbors felt totally justified to interfere with other people's, with their neighbor's lives.

People were raising children in villages, not in families.

So the vast majority of the history of humanity, there was no privacy. There was only a public sphere. Privacy arose when we, again, privacy arose more or less in the Victorian era or maximum in the 18th century, when we suddenly began to segregate into individual dwelling units, the creation of the apartment or the creation of the house.

And of course, this is the basic structural unit in cities, urbanization. As urbanization speeded up, people were put in matchboxes. As they were put in matchboxes, suddenly the physical walls were internalized as a metaphor and the concept of privacy arose.

Before that, everything was in the open, literally in the open, physically, in the open, psychologically, in the open, socially, there was only public sphere.

But if you're put in a small matchbox together with your husband and six children, you become a unit and you have an Englishman's home is his castle. You become a unit and you become defensive. The minute you are surrounded with walls, you become defensive.

Try it out, by the way. Try it out. Put yourself in a room. You will see how defensive you are. Someone will open the door. You will feel inconvenienced for no reason whatsoever.

No, I felt that before. I felt that feeling of being jarred or shocked, you know, if someone comes in.

Yes, it will be perceived as an invasion or intrusion.

Yes.

So privacy is the result of an increased urbanization and its structural organizing unit, which was the apartment.

So it reflects social realities rather than individual needs or psychological needs, actually.

The truth, truth be told, we feel psychologically our well-being is much increased the less private we are. The less of a private sphere we have, the better off we feel.

We love that.

That's disturbing to me.

Yeah, I know that I know because I understood from your question that you value privacy a lot.

But the facts are that the more we belong, the better we feel. The more we are accepted, the more people we can share with, the more things we share, the more, I mean, that's the secret of the success of social media.

The less private we are, the better off we are, psychologically speaking, and also by the way, medically, are healthy, increased.

That's why, for example, married people live longer than singles. If you think about marriage, marriage is a sacrifice of privacy. It's an intrusion. The family unit is the first, the primordial sin of sacrificing privacy, the family unit.

And then you go further, you have other units. And each unit bites into your privacy cake until nothing much is left.

But this is how we organize. We are social, Aristotle has said that we are zoned political. We are social animals. We are not, because we have in nature species where the animal is very individualistic and doesn't flock or herd, but we are not like that.

No, no.

And I think that's so interesting to think about is that exploitation of the self and the privacy is really coming from a place to have a social environment to belong and they'll take whatever it takes to do that.

I feel like as a society. Just one comment. I think you should make a distinction between sacrificing privacy and monetizing privacy.

Our privacy is being monetized. Now that is an intrusion that reduces well-being.

But what if you invite that monetization? That's what disturbs it.

Well, you don't really ever invite this monetization. It's all very, very obscure and behind the scenes. It's not transparent. I mean, Russia interfered in the elections in the United States and no one knew about it until a year after.

Technology is not transparent. It's very obfuscating. So you don't really know. Do you know what types of information are gathered about you?

I don't think you do. Neither do I.

So there is this unease that we are being commodified or prepackaged or something. That's monetizing privacy is really a bad process.

But sharing in, I mean, giving up privacy for sharing and for belonging, that's actually considered a positive.

That's very interesting. That's very interesting for me.


And I think that I love how you said that these things that are outside of us are the internal metaphors, you know, our behaviors, the way we use visual language is very much coming from our internal environment and how we're trying to externalize something.

So as we're kind of wrapping up, I wanted to kind of talk to you about as we've painted the dark psychopathic narcissistic climate in our world, what is the solution? How do we get out of this? How do we escape?

Is this a survival of the fittest situation as virtual reality is taking over the world? Do we need to challenge our autopilot narcissistic behavior?

How do we deprogram?

We've had a short, beautiful halcyon halcyon interlude, a paradise. But paradise is lost. We've had 4,000 years, which in terms of the human species, human species is a million years old. We've had 4,000 years where we have developed content, invented the alphabets, wrote beautiful poems, amazing novels, discovered foundational principles of science, cross-fertilized, discovered the globe, traveled all around, had adventures and wars and love. I mean, we've had this 4,000 years. It's over.

And it's over not because of COVID-19. It's over because we are going back to our roots. We are regressing. We're going back to our beginnings.

So we're so deep in the future that this is happening.

The future is behind us. We are returning to a visual culture. We are returning to the public sphere. We are returning to a mighty's right. We are returning to an unbridled conflict with nature.

And spirituality.

We are simply returning the rise of the occult and so-called esoteric pseudosciences.

It's another sign that we are returning. We have given up on enlightenment. We have given up on science. We have given up on expertise. We are now giving up on medicine.

We're gradually shedding all these layers, which are very new layers. Enlightenment started 300 years ago. And we are again very religious. It's a new development. A whole swath of Europe, which used to be under communist rule, and where people were rank atheists, they're all very religious now.

So religion is having a comeback. The individual is having a comeback.

10,000 years ago, we were organized in very small units. We didn't have nation states. I think nation states are about to disappear.

It's like you have this incredible new DVD player where you can rewind at the speed of light. And we are rewinding. And there's no power or force on Earth that can stop this process.

Why are we rewinding? You can ask why are we rewinding? Why are we doing this to ourselves?

Because we failed. We failed to leverage these 4,000 years to secure a better future.

We don't trust ourselves anymore. We fucked up.


Sam, are you saying we've transcended past the collapse of Western civilization?

Oh, I don't think there's anything like Western civilization anymore. There is the canon. There are the famous books and the famous discoveries, but they are frozen. They're fossilized. They're like in a museum. No one relates to them.

Who's the last person to have read Dostoevsky? I mean, it's dead. It's dead in the water. There's no Western civilization. There's show business.

There's show business. There's fame. There's celebrity. There's performance art. There's living in a reality TV show.

And I think I'm really grateful. And it's fragmented.

It's fragmented.

It's not a collective effort.

Yeah, exactly. It's not a collective effort. It's everyone to himself. It's the jungle out there. Now it's everyone to himself.

And with social distancing, this metaphor of everyone to himself has acquired a real life quality.

Oh, of course.

And it's ultimately, if look, if there is anyone in power who is controlling all of this, let's just say if we were in a fantasy world and that was happening, they would want us to be at home in virtual reality, focusing on ourselves and becoming more and more disconnected and isolated. This is their utopian world as much as it is for the narcissist.

I've spent all my adult life fighting conspiracy theories. I think they are for weaklings, feeble-minded and scammers.

But, but I will say this, the elites, the financial elite, the political elite, and I used to advise these people for 30 years of my life. I used to be advisor to governments, advisor to very rich people, big multi-billionaires and so on. I know these worlds intimately. I used to be an intelligence officer. I know these worlds very intimately.

I will say this in an uncoordinated manner, not via conspiracy theory, but via shared values.

They want to make everyone a slave. That part is true.

But they don't conspire to do this. They just simply have the same values.

And so each one of the members of the elite in his own way and with his own capacity, and this capacity is enormous, each one of the members of the elite, I think there are about 10,000 people like that all over the world.

They make sure that we are less and less powerful. They disempower us and they reduce us to mindless, unthinking slaves.

And they do this not because they're evil and not because they're conspiratorial and not because of any of the nonsense of conspiracy theories. They do this because it's in their self-interest and because that's what they do.

Yeah, it's more practical.

It's kind of what you're saying. Is that like world domination of the elites and brainwash all of this? It's just kind of their practical nature.

I compare them to viruses. Can you blame a virus that is killing you? That's what viruses do. That's what elites do. Throughout history, by the way, the elites enslave the masses. Simple.

Absolutely.

And I think I want to thank you so much for your incredible conversation. And I think the people who find this conversation, I really hope it helps them and bring some intellectual camaraderie for the people who are like us out there who are thinking about these things. I think it's really important. For anyone who listened to this conversation, you can also email me fanmail at alexkazemi.com. Maybe Sam will put it in the description to tell us what you thought of the episode. And if it brought any type of change to your thinking, that would be really helpful. And thank you so much, Sam, for everything you did today.

Thank you for having me and for the intelligent questions.

Thank you.

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