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Debunking the Human Mind, Condition (with Isabella Wang, EXCERPTS)

Uploaded 6/13/2022, approx. 45 minute read

I want to greet you, no matter what, first. Sam, thank you for being here. Taking the time. I really appreciate it.

Thank you for referring to my work in your book, Digital Mind of Tomorrow. It's on my reading list. Actually, I was tempted. I started to read it. And I'm going to read it on my forthcoming trip to Romania. So this is my reading material then.

But thank you all the same for sending me a copy.

Thank you so much. You are a big part of it.

I cannot not sending to you. I'm actually very excited. I would say also looking forward to talking with you. I'll explain why in the sense this book or everything I've been doing lately, it's to observe or we will talk about it to see the world through including this book through the lenses of business, technology, psychology, sociology, and philosophy.

And based on my quite a list. There's a reason I kind of put this combination is not randomly and based on my observation of you and you are one of the few people or I would even say probably the first person I came across that kind of touched on all of them in the in a decent way, not just, you know, I know about them.

You are I have it here in case I forgot. You are a writer. You are author and you are a professor of psychology and you have a PhD in philosophy and physics.

Correct me if I did my wrong research and you also used to be in business and you also told me about that yourself. You're in economics and you know about technology. Plenty of your videos showed me that and you're not just not on the surface. You know deep in roots how it affects the world, meaning the humans.

That's because I was Israel's first venture capitalist and I was much younger. I started the venture capital industry in Israel, which is now second in size to United States. And I was also a stockbroker. I learned about the nexus, the confluence between finance and technology.

Right. And so my background is highly unusual because the first 20 years of my life I've been in I've been into physics and philosophy and I finished my doctorate. I'm also a medical doctor. So I finished medicine.

But then I gave up on academia and I went to business and then within business I focused on commodity trading and then from commodity trading I branched out into finance and from finance to venture capital and technology. And I'm talking like 50 years ago, 40 years ago. That's when it was not that popular.

And then the last 25 years I dedicated to psychology. And in between I was an economist and economic advisor to governments. If you live as long as I have, you will also have nine or ten careers. That's totally normal.

Don't be too impressed. It reflects my age. Thank you.

Thank you for being so humble.

I do know people also work their entire life on one occupation and also people like you. I appreciate both of them.

And yeah, thank you for sharing.

And now we know you quite a lot based on your professional background.

This is the question I ask almost all my guests.

Now tell us about you as a person with three words, meaning if you have to choose three words to describe yourself, what are those words and why you chose them?

I am fiercely protective of the truth. I'm addicted to the truth. And I will make personal sacrifices and unfortunately I will sacrifice other people as well, their emotions, in order to propagate the truth.

But I'm not sure that I'm doing it out of a moralistic judgment or a moral cognition. I think possibly there's a little sadism in there. The truth hurts. And I know that the truth hurts because I'm a psychologist. And yet I continue to wield it as a blunt instrument.

So I don't think I should be praised for that.


Second attribute is fairness and justice. I'm very exercised when they're lacking.

And the third is the surrealistic and supernatural belief in the ability to communicate information, truth, facts to people, despite all evidence to the contrary. And despite everything we know in psychology about cognitive biases and cognitive distortions, which tells us that people are not open to confront facts, to modify their opinions, to alter their behavior. People are not malleable. They're not flexible. They're very rigid, extremely rigid. And when the rigidity reaches a certain point, it's called personality disorder.

Most people are on the verge of personality disorder. That's why it's very difficult.

But everyone around me could be narcissistic, which of course is not true. Everyone around you could be narcissistic, could have a narcissistic style, as Lyn Sperry calls it, narcissistic style.

Because people are always on the verge of a personality disorder because they're very inflexible. They are not open.

These are my three traits, I think.

Interesting. Interesting.

Thank you. Thank you for opening up for us.


The fourth is I like red, dry red.

Red wine.

The mega pine. That's a mega pine. That's definitely a mega pine.

Mega, mega, mega, mega pine.

Thank you.

Thank you. So now, ready for the questions? Always. Always.

Are you ready for the answers?

That's the question. Always.

We make a perfect pair. So hear me out. So what's your understanding of the following terms, following words, and what is your understanding of the relationship among them?

These are the words, heart, mind, brain, intelligence, and consciousness. Five. Sorry if it's too long. I want to hear out your understanding of them. And what do you consider the relationship among them?

Intelligence is the capacity to observe connections between ostensibly separate and disparate phenomena and objects. So it's what we call synoptic view.

Intelligence is the ability to have a synoptic view. This ability to connect generates insights. And insights allow you to reframe reality in a way that yields new information, which you can then leverage to obtain favorable outcomes from the environment.

In other words, intelligence renders you more self efficacious.

But what people fail to understand is that intelligence is like electrical energy. It's a resource. It's electricity. It's a utility. It can be used by the positive aspects of your personality. Or it can be abused by the negative aspects of your personality. It's neutral. It's value neutral.

Not so the heart, what you call the heart. The heart is, of course, a pump, a very simple pump. That's not what you meant, I assume.

But the heart, the seat of emotions, or the proverbial seat of emotions, the metaphorical seat of emotions, is not value neutral. It does reflect underlying beliefs, values, mores, social and cultural impositions like socialization, acculturation. It reflects personal history, and so on. So it's a much more varied thing than intelligence.

The emphasis starting in the First World War, the emphasis on analytical intelligence, as represented by IQ, reduced is a part of a general trend of reductionism in psychology, which culminated with behaviorism in the 1960s, where people were considered no different to rats in a laboratory, and still are to a large extent, because we presume to conduct experiments on people, when actually you cannot conduct experiments on people, because they are the type of subject matter who is affected by the experiment, and also who changes from one day to the next.

Consequently, we can replicate fewer than 10% of psychological experiments, which means there is a replication or replicability crisis in psychology.

The heart is the core. It's very complex, and it's intimately connected to cognitions.

Nowadays, we consider emotions to be a type of cognition. When cognition is coupled with sensory input, that's what we call emotion. Emotion is reactive, exactly like many cognitions. It's a subspecies of cognition.

So the mind and the heart are two sides, two flip sides of the same coin, not as we used to think. There are two flip sides of the same coin. We know, for example, that if we have a thought, we can induce an emotion. And if we have an emotion, it often causes us to think in certain ways, intimately connected.

So there's the mind, the heart, intelligence. The brain is a very difficult issue. Yes, it seems to be the simplest. But actually, it is very controversial.

You see, we have this presupposition that the brain is the seat of identity and the seat of the heart. This is highly contentious, both in psychology and in medicine and physiology.

I'll give you one example. Most of the hormones that regulate mood are not produced in the brain. They're produced in the intestines. Serotonin, for example, is produced 91% in the intestines, not in the brain.

Another example is that the connection between the brain and the spine is not clear. We know, for example, the spinal fluid at night when you sleep cruises through the brain and cleanses it, cleanses it. It's like a cleaning crew in a high rise at night.

And yet we don't know why does this fluid come from the spine and where does it go afterwards or what does it do afterwards with allegedly the dirt.

We also have no idea of most functions of the brain. We have no idea what is sleep, what is dreaming. We know very little about the brain and yet with hubris, the glorious hubris, we claim that we know almost everything there is to know and we even administer drugs or medications that affect this very sensitive organ without knowing what the hell we're doing.

It's a very dangerous game, not on the philosophical level. Correlation is not causation. We can establish correlations between mental events and physiological events, biochemical events, electro biochemical events. We can establish this connection. And this connection is very regular, like the rising of the sun in the morning.

But we have no idea if the mental events cause the physiological events or vice versa. They are correlated, but we have no idea about the causation.

For example, the brains of psychopaths are very different to the brains of normal people in terms of grey matter, white matter, the striatum, the amygdala. Most regions of the brain are very different and the functioning of the brain is very different. Yet, was this caused by the emergence of psychopathy in early childhood because psychopathy starts in early childhood? Because the brain is forming and being shaped in early childhood. Was psychopathy the cause of these malfunctions or abnormalities? Or was the abnormality already present at birth?

We don't have an answer to this. We don't know what causes what.

And so I would be very careful about the brain, extremely careful.


I am of the mind, and mind you, this is only speculation. I'm of the mind that the distinction between the brain and the rest of the body is both artificial and counterfactual.

I think if evolution and nature act in rational ways, if they adhere to scientific reasoning, so to speak, processing would be distributed, not centered in one organ.

I think most of our mental functions are distributed throughout the body. And I think the focus on the brain is the exclusive seed of mental life, including cognition, motion, analysis, you name it, has led us astray because we have neglected the rest of the body.

I fully believe that there is what used to be called distributed parallel processing. In other words, what we call today connectionism.

I believe the whole human body, one giant laboratory of mental life. Now we know it's partly true because, for example, when we amputate people, there is phantom limb syndrome where the person continues to feel the missing limb long after the missing limb is gone.

It seems that there is some kind of processing going on on the local level. We know that the gastrointestinal system has a mind of its own. In essence, a second brain. We know that many areas of the body are not connected to the brain. And yet they continue to function perfectly. We know that a lot of information doesn't reach the brain at all. Parts of the body, big parts of the body.

And finally, we know that the brain consciously registers less than 5% of the information it receives. Less than 5%.

And what the brain does, it generates on the fly models, simulations of reality. When you're listening to me, when you're looking at me, luckily for you, you observe only or absorb only 5%.

What you're doing, you're creating your mind, an image and a simulation of San Vaknin. When you're listening to me, because you listen only to 5% of what I'm saying, you're filling in the blanks.

There's a series of heuristic extrapolations in the brain, mathematical models. Everything is happening in your mind, not outside.

And I refuse to believe that all this is taking place only in your brain.


Because if we were to meet face to face, I would have an impact on multiple organs of you, not only on your brain, even if I don't touch.

For example, I would immediately exchange with you a molecule, which contains 100 items of information about my genetic and immune system. And that is totally unconscious, non deliberative.

So vice versa, I will also send you my molecular from my body to yours.

Is this an interactive process from both sending me a molecule, I'm sending you a molecule, whenever people meet, they exchange this molecule, all people in all settings.

But you see, people affect each other at a distance. For example, the fields of the brain extend up to 100 meters. Another example, when a woman passes next to a man, by the way, doesn't matter how she looks. And doesn't matter how old she is, when any woman passes next to any man, regardless of age, looks or whatever, the level of testosterone production in the men increases by 40% for zero, she just has to pass, not to talk, not to look, not to interact in any way, just to pass.

We are regulated by our environment all the time. In certain personality disorders, the regulation extends even to the most basic and minimal functions, like reality, perception of reality, a sense of self worth. And then we say that these people are disordered, because their external regulation is too much.

But what we don't realize, yes, 99% regulated by the environment. That's why I am utterly against the counterfactual concepts of self individual personality. I think it's a nonsensical concepts that came from Germany and Austria.

At the end of the 19th century, when these were authoritarian societies with a unitary structure of government, and a unitary structure in the family. So they established a hierarchy in psychology, the psychology that we are studying today, that we are teaching today, is a 19th century German authoritarian thinking.

And so there is a self, the self is like the part of familiars, is the father of family, is like the Kaiser, you know, is like the throne. This is the leader, that it's a German thing.

Yes, it simply reflects cultural mores and perceptions and a civilization that's no longer with us.

Today, we live in a network society, a distributed society. We must rewrite. I'm proposing to rewrite psychology from scratch, getting rid of antiquated concepts like self and individual, lacing them with self- assembling networks of self states, much more fluid approach.

So we have to rewrite, does that mean human changed, or, or the previous understanding was limited, how to approach this everything we do in science, well known that everything we do in science is affected by our culture, cultural context, or society, beliefs, beliefs and values we hold.

The people who created psychology were Germans. And when Freud was Austria, German sphere. This were authoritarian societies with a unitary center of control with rigid hierarchical social structures. So they created a description. So they look the same.

It was a limited version of psychology.

It's a limited version of what we call cultural bond. It's a cultural dependent version of psychology.

And by rewriting, what do you mean we need to fit into the mass humanity, not just based on one culture.

We know that people are not unitary. They are not fixed. They flow. People, human being is a river.

Yeah, not a lake, not a pond. It's a river. It's like Heraclitus said, Panta Rhei, everything flows, you can't enter the same river twice. There's no such thing as self at any moment in reaction to other people, in reaction to environmental cues.

We tend to become different people. You're not the same.

What's the role of psychology?

If I may ask, what's the role of psychology?

No pattern. There's no way to trace. We constantly evolve.

You can make an inventory of your self-states. If I were to observe you long enough to your detriment, I would be able to map out, to compile an inventory of your self-states.

So I would know that you have eight or nine self-states. And that when you are subject to humiliation, rejection and abandonment, your self-state is psychopathic, which is the case in borderline personality disorder. They become secondary psychopaths when they are rejected, abandoned and bullied.

So it's possible to make a map of you, a map. Got it.

But to say that you are one in poor conditions, in poor environments, in poor people all the time, and you will remain this way to the end of your days, that is ranked nonsense.

It flies in the face of everything we know about human beings.

But we don't dare. We don't dare confront this lie at the core of psychology.


Yes. Many people make a lot of money from this.

Okay. Yes.

It's the industry.

The capitalism.

Cultures, psychologists, therapists, everyone makes a lot of money.

It's industry.

Before I forgot, what's your understanding of consciousness?

Anything.

There are some problems that are unresolvable, that will never have an answer in principle. Never mind how much you know, how much you work.

About consciousness.

Consciousness is like God. These are concepts that are meaningless in the sense that you cannot assign meaning to them.

For example, you cannot say true or false.

They're meaningless.

Consciousness, I dare you and defy you to define consciousness. God, there is no procedure I can think of that can determine if God exists or not. Similarly, there's no procedure I can think of that can help us define consciousness.

Not only we don't know what it is, but we can never in principle know what it is.

The reason is that we are both the raw material, the subject and the object. We are both observers. We are observing us.

This creates effectively an infinite regression because you're observing who? You're observing the observer. And the observer is observing, you're observing the observer. And there's no end to this.

This is the cycle, never ending. Infinite regression.

There's no end to this.

When you try to define consciousness, you engage in a process called introspection. You look inside, you observe yourself.

But someone must make this, someone must do this observation. Who is doing it?

Who's the one who is observing?

Well, another consciousness, only a conscious entity can observe. So if you're observing your own consciousness, there must be a meta consciousness, another consciousness, observing this consciousness. And of course, it's infinite.

That's the rabbit hole, right? It never ends.

No, yes, there's no way to define consciousness.

Now, we do know, of course, that we feel something. For example, we feel that we exist.

Right.

But even that is contestable. For example, how do I know that you're human? How do I know that when you tell me that you're feeling sad, you are feeling sad? And how do I know that what you define as sadness is my sadness?

In other words, we have a problem to access other people's minds. We have to rely on self reporting, other people report, and we have to rely on the veracity and the accuracy of these reports, which is extremely bad science.

So the only mind we know for sure we have access to, is ours. We have no access to any other mind.

And therefore, we cannot know anything about any other mind.

Period.

The assumption that you and I have anything whatsoever in common is fallacious.

End of story, because you can't prove it. And you can't falsify it. It's not subject to scientific to the scientific method to prove scientific.

Can I ask what's your understanding of science? And what's your understanding of spirituality? And how do you consider the relationship between the two? How do you define them?

Science is a method. To a method to establish a possible way to get closer to the truth without ever attaining it.

Without ever attaining it.

It's a method of organizing observations in a way that will yield predictions that we can then falsify.

Right. If these predictions cannot be falsified, it's not science.

Science, therefore, relies crucially on the ability to be wrong. Science is not about being right. It's about being wrong. That's not me. That's Karl Popper.

So science creates theories and then all the scientists, once there's a new theory, all the scientists are trying to destroy it. Trying to prove it wrong. Scientists have been trying to prove Einstein wrong for 100 years. People were trying to prove Einstein wrong within a few years from the publication of Relativity Theory. They were measuring light around the sun. They were trying to prove it wrong.

This is what science is about. Proving theory is wrong.

To get closer to the truth.

The belief is exactly. The belief is that we eliminate what is wrong. Exactly like Sherlock Holmes said.

Sherlock Holmes said, if you eliminate what is improbable, whatever remains, however unlikely, must be the truth.

So science is the same. Science is eliminated.

And then by process of elimination, science believes that it's getting closer to the truth.

But science is a religion. It's a belief system. Science believes in the scientific method. Science believes in falsifiability.

Scientists believe that observations have value and are somehow connected to reality.

And not, for example, to the human mind.

Because I can construct a case easily that everything we see is not real but a simulation.

David Chalmers, the famous philosopher, even thinks this is the case.

But there's a series of beliefs that underlie science. And in this sense, it's a religion. It's a faith-based system.

Spirituality is the kind of thing that I avoid because it's indefinable exactly like consciousness and God.

I don't think anyone agrees on what is spiritual.

Any two people agree on what is spirituality. I think spirituality is the feeling of transcendence, the feeling that there is something beyond you and beyond the world which cannot be captured with reason.

So spirituality is anything that cannot be captured with reason.

But with, for example, belief. Faith. Faith in God, for example.

And so we have two competing systems.

One system uses reason to get closer to an alleged ostensible truth, which maybe doesn't exist at all. The very concept of truth is very contentious.

And the other system is based on a leap of faith, as Kierkegaard called it, is based on the belief that you can glean knowledge even if it's only your knowledge, idiosyncratic, cannot be communicated, for example, in a mystical experience. You can glean knowledge, not using reason, using other means, many other means, even mushrooms. You can glean knowledge, not using reason.

So these two are in competition. And yes, they are mutually exclusive. Anyone who tells you that religion and science are compatible or has no idea what is religion has no idea what is science. Science is not compatible with religion because it's the religion of reason.

And all other doctrines and ways of reading, and schools, they are not based on reason, what science is.

Additionally, science uses a language, a highly specific language called mathematics. But mathematics can be used and abused in spiritual disciplines. For example, in astrology, there's a lot of mathematics. So there's not a distinguishing picture.

So there's no way these two can be compatible or merged in whatsoever sense.

Never, ever. Anyone who claims otherwise has no idea what he's talking about.

And I heard a very interesting thing. I heard that mathematics people, they have the highest chance to get a mental disorder. Is that true?

I'm not aware of this correlation. I may have missed some studies, but I'm not aware of this correlation.

Although there were very famous mathematicians like Nash, who was a schizophrenic, but there were mentally ill people in many other disciplines. So I'm not sure there's a necessary connection. Mathematics is a language. It's the rudiments of language. It's a language reduced to its base elements.

It is extremely surprising, for example. Why mathematics describes reality so efficiently? We have no idea. No one can give you an answer to this. But it's a core problem in philosophy and in, for example, physics.

Yeah.

Why is mathematics so efficient? We don't know. Why is logic so efficient? And logic is a forerunner of arithmetic. And so why these languages? Let's call them formal languages.

My formal languages are so efficient when the world is not formal. The world is fuzzy. The world is crazy. The world is chaotic. The world blends and moves. The world is more like smoke.

And yet a highly rigid formal set of languages captures the world perfectly.

How is this possible? We don't know the answer. And it's a huge, huge argument in philosophy and science.

Yeah.

This underlying code that seems running this chaotic world.

So Carl Gustav John said in his 1959 interview, and he said, the only real danger that exists is man himself. And we are pitifully unknown of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. That's from 1959.

Now, do you agree with him? Or anything changed for better or for worse?

Nothing much changed, no. As far as the fluidity, the essence of what it is to be a human, what is the human experience? I don't think much has changed.

For the very simple reason that I had mentioned earlier, you cannot really communicate it. No one has access to another mind. And many, many experiences are so idiosyncratic, so individual, that you cannot communicate these experiences.

For example, if right now, because you're exposed to me, you will have a mystical experience. You will not be able to communicate it to me. Never mind how many words you will use. So this will remain forever trapped in your mind. Never get out.

So the essence of what it is to be a human is still remains a mystery and will remain a mystery forever.

Because of this barrier in communication, we have a concept in philosophy called intersubjectivity. It is the belief that people somehow, based on similarities and based on a contract, an agreement, can somehow develop empathy for each other. And intersubjectivity is highly dubious, to use a British understatement.

So I don't think, I think each one of us is solipsistic as an island. And I don't think there are any bridges between these islands and no cruise ships going between these islands. We are totally islands.

We are, however, as islands do, we are embedded in an ocean. And the ocean is this collective, what we can call mankind or humanity.

There are dynamics which characterize masses of people. Many of these dynamics are negative. For example, the Nazi party or Trump supporters on January 6.

So many collective dynamics are very negative, mob dynamics, crowd dynamics. But many of these dynamics are conducive to survival. And they do elevate us beyond the confines and the limits of a single human body.

So this is the ocean in which all the islands are embedded. Jung tried to cope with it. He called it collective unconscious.

Jung, by the way, suffered for five years from psychosis. He was hospitalized. He was a mentally, very mentally ill person.

So he came up with all kinds of UFOs and he was a conspiracy theorist, not us. But he had a few insights, a few great insights, of course, mixed with a lot of trash.

So one of his insights was the insights of archetypes.

Another insight was the insight of collective unconscious. What he was trying to say is that we all share a commonality which transcends our individual mind. And we operate within this lattice, within this network, sometimes unawares. And it is this network, probably, that determines us to a very large extent.

Now, in the 1960s, there was a school called Object Relations School. And they said that there's no such thing as self. But what happens is we are the assembly or the assemblage or the compendium of our relationships with others. So we are the end result, the culmination of our relationships with everyone in our lives. This is why they call it object relations.

By the way, in psychology, the word object means another person. It just shows you what psychologists are made of.

Psychopaths, all of them, they are the professors of psychology.

A kingdom of psychopaths.

In a very long answer to your question, I believe that we should, to find meaning and significance and direction and all these things, we should not look to the human body or human mind. But we should look to collective dynamics. I think it's another mistake in Western psychology.

Again, you see the influence of culture and society. Western societies are individualistic.

So the psychology is the psychology of the individual.

Yes.

Well, actually, I believe that 90%, if not more of the relevant dynamics are not individual at all. They're social. They're holistic.

But you see again the effect of culture and society on so-called science. That's why I don't think psychology is science. It's pseudoscience.

So you approve science, but you don't approve the psychology in this science system.

I'm a physicist. I'm a physicist. There's a new theory that I developed in physics that is now becoming mainstream and I hope would be of interest to people.

What is that?

It's a theory. It's the equivalent of, it's like relativity theory, but on different premises. So it's a global theory. It's a theory of everything. We can go into it later.

Okay. But I have multiple personality. I have half of my mind, which is a physicist. So I'm used to rigorous exact science and to the scientific method and so on.

And then I'm teaching psychology and psychology is not a science.

Psychology is not science. No, it's pseudoscience. It's a form of literature.

It's a belief. It's a religion.

I would call it literature. Literature. It's descriptive.

The greatest psychology to have ever lived, psychologist, is Dostoevsky. No one exceeds Dostoevsky.

Not for, not anyone. Not the modern, you know, but psychologists want money like everyone. And they want to be respected like everyone. So they pretend to be scientists because when you pretend to be a scientist, you get a lot of grant money and you can also make a lot of money because you're an authority. So you can charge people money for treatment, for this, for that. Also, you get to wear lab coats, you know, white lab coats and you look a lot like a medical doctor. So it's good for the ego.

And so modern psychologists, when you go to universities, Ivy League universities and so on, you go to labs, psychology labs, and they look like medical labs. But what are they studying there? It's nonsense. Experimental psychology is unmitigated, trash and nonsense. It's nothing you can learn from it.

And none of the experiments almost is replicable. It's total blood. It's a scam.

Simply a scam. These are con artists. And I have to be blunt.

Note it. We have this recording. People will hear about it.

I hope they can be aware whether they agree or not just to be aware.


You mentioned in your one of the latest video, dystopia. I'm sorry, dystopian, dystopian. We're so lost than ever because we enter into an uncharted territory. We're so lost.

And I said exactly the same thing in the book, by the way, again, not to promote my book, but I just want to say the resignation.

And there are all types of issues. There's all types of challenges. We seem to try to deal with them.

And among them, I want to particularly mention the depression rate you mentioned. The mental issue has skyrocketed. While most material life will be in the best situation ever. The wealth of this omnipresent technology.

If you have to find out what are the costs, the root costs, not the laws, the regulation. We need to build another building or rocket. I guess that's part of the psychology as well because all this is by human.

What are the causes?

Periods of transition in human history are common. There's nothing special about our transition because we're in a period of transition. There's nothing special about our transition by virtue of the fact that it's a transition.

Transitions are normal.

There are, however, two distinguishing features that had never ever before happened in human history. Never.

Number one, we are experiencing transition in every field of life.

You had periods before where there was a transition in gender relations, for example. There were periods like this.

Transitions from matriarchy to matriarchy happened a few times in human history. Or vice versa.

You, for example, in North Africa, there was transition from matriarchy to matriarchy. So this transition happened. You had periods where people transitioned from villages and farms to cities. It was very traumatic transition, mega transition. You had periods where people adopted new technologies, which were disruptive technologies, and altered their ways of life in fundamental ways. This also happened a lot, even in the Middle Ages. We think the Middle Ages were stagnant and so on.

Actually, Middle Ages were a ferment, a hotbed of technological innovation. Of course, in the 19th century, industrial revolutions. We had all this. Never in human history.

We had political transitions. In the 18th century, we began to transition from monarchies and empires to democracies.

The French Revolution, the French Revolution, the revolutions of 1848.

So each transition we had before, never in human history. We had all the transitions at once, which is what we're having today.

We have all the transitions, all of them at once.

Gender transitions, political transitions, technological transitions, you name it, we are transitioning.

We are not prepared for this. It's too much change.

Elvin Toffler predicted this in his books, the Future Shock.

This is the first distinguishing feature.

And there is a much, much more pernicious distinguishing feature today that never happened before in human history.

In previous periods of transition, some institutions were affected and destroyed or replaced. Most institutions stayed intact. They remained functioning.

So in the 14th century, when you had the Black Death in Europe and everything was falling apart, the family remained intact. The church was there. Your feudal lord still remained on the land. The monarchy prevailed.

In other words, even though you were experiencing as an individual, you were experiencing turmoil, revolution and transition. The institutions around you, your community, your church, your feudal system, the monarchy, everything around you was stable. There was stability. Transition was limited to some institutions in some aspects.

But 90% of institutions and dimensions of existence remained fixed and stable. Inflation was close to zero for 300 years in Europe. Everything, even prices were stable.

Imagine that the price of bread in the 16th century is the same 18th century. This now is the first time in human history that all our institutions without a single exception have collapsed.

We don't have families. We don't have friends. In 1980, a typical person, according to studies, had 10 friends. Today the number is one. We don't have families. We don't have friends. We don't have marriages. We don't have the church. We don't have the state. We don't trust experts. We don't believe the authorities. There's nothing. There's no island of stability. There are no institutions. You are on your own, totally.

You're experiencing as an individual the greatest by far moment of transition in human history with multiple transitions in everything.

Your gender relations, your marriage, your, I mean, you name it, you're transitioning.

You're playing your own transformation.

Pandemics, wars, you name it, and yet you're all alone because no institution around you is functioning and the institutions that are still there, you don't trust them.

Including other authorities.

Including all the authorities and experts.


And this is the first time in human history.

These two things are the first time in human history.

Multiple transitions, I would say all pervasive, ubiquitous transitions, and no supportive institutions.

So you are utterly on your own, atomized, isolated, alienated, totally on your own.

So people resort to fantasy because they can't tolerate reality. They can't bear reality anymore. So they retreat to fantasy.

And they create technologies that encourage fantasy, soon to come the metaverse, which is the ultimate form of fantasy.

Yes.

They retreat.

They're running away. They don't want to live in reality. Reality is too much.

Too brutal.

Too unpredictable. People don't tolerate, people have low tolerance for uncertainty.

But the uncertainty now is maximal because even institutions are not there anymore.

They can keep up with all these changes.

Too much.

Powerless.

They cannot keep up and they cannot look up to role models, experts, authorities, institutions, God, church, family, community.

I mean, someone, friends, something, they can't. There's nobody there. You're all alone.

You're floating in a bubble. That's it. You're on your own.

If bad things happen to you, they happen to you alone.

So, of course, people have online forums and this, that it's simulation. It's nonsense. It's not real.

We know, for example, that face-to-face communication, pressing the flesh, skin touching, is infinitely better impacts than any forum online.

Yes.

So, you kind of answered my next question already. I was going to ask you the role of this.

It's not nice of me.

It's a nice person. You have the foresight to answer my question in advance. You know what I'm going to ask? The omnipresent technology. What's the role? And you definitely answered me already.

I would say, just to complete the sentence, I would say that depression and anxiety are reactions to this world. And the compensation is technology. Technology had become compensatory.

This is another transition.


I can enumerate right now, I can make a list, 50 major transitions that each and every human being is undergoing right now.

We cannot avoid this transition. They're all over. On a typical period in history, you had two or three transitions. Now, there's 50 that I can think of. And if I think very hard, probably 100.

One of these transitions is the role of technology. The main role of technology in human history until the 1990s. It's a very long period. We are talking technology. Technology started about 30 or 40,000 years ago when you took a flint, when you took a stone, and you made it into a knife. So toolmaking. Toolmaking started 40 to 50,000 years ago.

Until 1990, the main role of technology was to extend your body. If you had a knife, it extended your hand. If you were riding a car, it extended your legs. If you're reading a book, it extended your mind. I mean, it was all about extending the body.

In 1990, there was a massive shift. Technology was no longer about extending the body. It was about escaping reality. It's a massive shift.

May I jump in a little question? What's the trigger for this shift?

Reality became unbearable. Embarrassable since the 1990s.

It started before. It took time for technology to evolve.

But I would say that around the 1970s, the life began to become unbearable. In the United States, you had the Watergate scandal, the collapse of the trust in authorities, in the media, in universities, and so on.

Then the family collapsed. Starting in the 1960s and 70s, the divorce rate went up to 50 percent. Then promiscuity, not agentic promiscuity, but promiscuity is a measure of desperation. Made it very difficult to form relationships, and couples destroyed intimacy skills. So relationships deteriorated.

And today, for example, the rate of marriage is 50 percent less than it was 5-0 percent less than in 1990. And the people are not compensating for this by, for example, cohabiting.

So the general number of relationships is much down. Of course, childbearing, everything is totally collapsed. So in the 1970s, an existential crisis started. It took 20 years for technology to catch up, but you had the initial harbingers of technology. For example, you had dating apps in the 1970s.

All right. So computers, of course, 1980, you had Apple, 2C. You had the first apples. Before that, you had Commodores and Ataris. So you had you had harbingers. You could see it coming. The Internet effectively went public in 1990, more or less. So it was all about escaping reality. Technology stopped. No longer was concerned about extending our capacities and our bodies, but became much more concerned about allowing us to escape reality.

That's the fundamental of the purpose of technology. That's the product.

Today, yes. I would say, if you look at technology, first of all, innovation stopped completely. I know it sounds bizarre, but innovation actually stopped in more or less the 1960s.

I know it, for example, from physics. Nothing really new since 1980. I know it from psychology. Nothing really new since 1990. I know it from other fields. Nothing really new has happened in the past few decades.

Even if you look at this, almost the latest Apple, all the technologies in this thing, the 1960s, 50s and 40s, all the technologies, GPS, all there's not one technology in this iPhone that was invented after 1960. Not one.

We are repackaging. All we are doing is repackaging, and this gives the illusion of innovation.

Even in medicine, I would say, innovation stopped in the 1980s. mRNA vaccines, everyone says they were just invented. They were not just invented. They started 20 years ago.

So, innovation is dying all over. You cannot innovate if you're not in reality, and most people are no longer in reality.

What is the reality?

Reality sucks. Big time. Reality are these transitions. Reality is the lack of institutions. Reality is the disintegration of everything you can rely on and everything you've ever believed.

Reality is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. I don't blame people for running away from it, dissociating. Entertainment is a big thing, precisely because of this.

What do you see out of this 50,000 transitions? What do you see?

I will say now, what do you see?

You see, the reason I'm pessimistic is because the transitions of the past were very clear. They were like, from less to more, for example, less freedom to more freedom. They led somewhere. They were what I call directional transitions. They had a vision.

Not all transitions were good. For example, they transitioned to communism. Very bad idea. They transitioned to Nazism and fascism. Not all transitions were good, but all transitions were clear. It was very clear where they're going.

The transitions today are fuzzy. They're not clear.

For example, I will ask you, where is the relationship between men and women going? It's not clear. If you go to Afghanistan, it's very clear. Afghanistan does a transition. It's a bad, evil, vile transition, but it's clear. It's clear.

We don't have this vision. We don't have this clarity.

And the transitions are fuzzy. They're all over the place. They're leading nowhere.

It's a bloody mess.

And people disagree on the transition because when there was a transition to communism, or to Nazism, or to feminism, there was a broad disagreement. It reflected a broad agreement. For example, first wave feminism and second wave feminism. Many men agreed with it. Many men supported it.

There was a consensus between men and women, which is why women obtained rights and so on, because men supported it.

But when you go to third wave feminism and fourth wave feminism, which are today, there is no consensus. There's a war. Men don't agree. Men are fighting back.

Women become more and more militant and angry and violent.

So the transitions deteriorated because they had no consensus. They had non-consensual transitions. They are power plays. We are talking about power. Who has more power?

That's a very bad state of things.

Because humanity crucially relies on cooperation. We are cooperative species. And cooperation relies on being able to somehow obtain a consensus.

Yes.

If we fail in this, we will disintegrate as a species.

Now we think we are very arrogant species. We think we are here forever.

Let me tell you, no species was more successful than the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs occupied every ecosystem under the sea, over the sea, inland, on trees, you name it. Dinosaurs were in the air. They were on the savannah. They were in jungles. They were on rocks. Dinosaurs ruled the earth in the truest sense. They occupied every ecosystem.

There were big dinosaurs and small dinosaurs with wings without, with scales. You name it. And they are no longer with us, are they?

So humans shouldn't think that they are here forever and never mind what happens. And human evolution is no longer through the genes. It's through culture. Culture is the new human evolution.

And if we cannot reach a consensus, this is a good definition of mutation. A mutation in genetic evolution is when there is a change, usually a change that doesn't sit well with the rest.

So this creates a conflict inside the organism.

We are in this situation now. We have developed a series of mutations, cultural mutations, and we can't get over it.

If we don't settle these internal disputes and reach some consensus, we are doomed. We are doomed as a dinosaur.

We are doomed.

Is there any clue about how to settle this doomed situation? Any clue?

The first thing is to realize that we are at a serious peril of extinction. And I'm not talking about climate change.

I, for one, who doesn't think that climate change really threatens us. I think what it means is that we will have to rebuild many cities and we will have to adapt. We have to invent new technologies. Of course, there will be a huge transition. But I don't think it threatens our existence.

Okay, so it becomes warmer and hotter and there are extreme weather events. We'll survive. This will threaten us.

But we will not survive.

Conflicts and transitions which are fundamental to who we are, to our identity, and which we cannot settle concentrally.

For example, between men and women. The conflict, the irritability, the friction between men and women is not allowing men and women to have relationships.

And so when they don't have relationships, they don't have children. This is a real threat. It's a media threat.

Can you rephrase that again? The real threat. What's the real threat in one sentence?

The real threat is that if we don't reach a consensus on where our transitions should head, where they should go, then we will no longer be able to collaborate.

And I gave an example. Men and women don't collaborate on making children anymore. The statistics.

So if we don't collaborate, we're doomed. We will perish. We are not stronger than the dinosaurs. We are much weaker. We are much less successful as a species than the dinosaurs.

We don't live in deserts. They did. We don't live under the sea. They did.

They were much more successful than us.

Wow. Almost the last sip of the megapine. I didn't even realize.

I timed it. I timed it judiciously, insignificantly.

I can see that.

I finished my wine when the interview is finished. It's like an hourglass, you know, with the sand.

I can see this is a routine. Very good at it.

So the last sip. How do we how do you make this last sip worth it meaning?

It's up to you. You're the driver. I'm at your disposal. We're going to drive.

What really what question really haunts you?

What is the question that you kind of never everything I asked are part of my questions that really triggered me to find answers.

And why don't you contribute a question? I mean, to yourself.

I should ask you actually, what is your main message in the digital mind of tomorrow in your book? What's going on?

You have to distill it into a few sentences. What are you trying to say? What are you trying to do?

OK, I actually started to figure it out, to be honest.

I think down the core, I'm trying to call for more humans. I found we're less and less humane and we don't conduct human thinking.

And I think that's a true threat for everything, because we're the one, as you mentioned, direct everything.

If we don't clap, if we kind of lost our human feature, our human traits, that is irreplaceable and we're in real doomed danger.

You basically agree with me.

Yes, you're also saying that humans should collaborate and work together towards a better future and so on. And if they don't, then we don't.

We should collaborate, not just between human, among human. We should collaborate with the nature. It should be a whole holistic system because we all kind of interact with one another, one object to another object.

We can get out of this cycle and I can see any of us can be on this planet independently.

So yes, I agree with you.

It's a good point because I think we have transitioned from life centered civilizations to a death cult.

What is a death cult? The death cult is when you invest your emotions in material goods.

You're emotionally attached to your smartphone. I saw people mourning the loss of a smartphone more than they grieved over a broken relationship.

Seriously, I saw it. They were much more devastated when they lost a smartphone than when they lost a boyfriend.

So we were invested in material goods which are dead. The object is a dead. It's a death cult.

And so we have transitioned into a death cult and nature is alive.

When we had abandoned life as the organizing principle of civilization, and instead we introduced materialism, which is death cults.

Actually, we gave up on nature because nature is life. You cannot monetize nature. You cannot own nature. You cannot trade nature. All these activities are about death.

They are fanatic. They are about death. Trading, buying, selling, owning, they're all about death.

And now we are beginning to treat each other as objects, even in psychology. We call people objects. We are beginning to treat it as... so if you're an object to me, I can own you. I can sell you. I can buy you. I can bribe you.

Everything becomes a transaction. The same way I own my glass of wine or my television, I can own you.

We are commoditizing each other. We are beginning to treat each other as consumer goods, as consumables.

So we consume each other and then we dump each other. We dispose of each other. We discard each other.

The same way you discard an old television because it's a new model.

Everything, consumerism is a serious poison and it is the enemy of a true stewardship of nature.

Consumerism is the opposite of nature. It's about death. Nature is about life.

So we cut forests. Forests are made of living organisms. There are trees.

We now know the trees communicate. We know the trees and almost everything except work. We cut them down because we need to convert them into dead objects.

Then we sell these dead objects and the people who buy these dead objects, they're made happy because they have a dead object in their living room.

I'll tell you what creepy this is. We live in a seriously creepy civilization, you know, where we are surrounded by death and we find it extremely stimulating and wonderful.

We leave 31% of us. 31% are lifelong singles. We'll never have another person in their home. We'll never have a living so they have cats or dogs.

They don't have other human beings in their lives. But theyhave televisions and smartphones and cars and that makes them happy. Death makes them happy. We celebrate death. It's horrible.

And here's one thing. If you celebrate death, death will celebrate you. If you celebrate death, there will come a moment that you will internalize death and you will die and death will celebrate it. Death will celebrate you if you let it in your house.

And we have let death into our abode, into our homes.

And it's not the kind of guest who goes away.

Cheers to the last sip of megapine. Thank you.

That megapine now.

Wow, thank you. Thank you for this thought provoking, bold sharing between us among us.

It was a pleasure to talk to you. I'm going to turn off the recording now.

I'm going to ask you something, okay?

Sure.

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