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Talk That Defies a Title (Assembly of Silence Radio Hour (ASRH))

Uploaded 5/21/2021, approx. 1 hour 32 minute read

My guest on this episode is Professor Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, professor of psychology.

He has a theory of physics. He speaks about economics. He speaks about politics. He has an incredibly broad scope and a fascinating and incredibly penetrating way of going about describing the world as he sees it.

This is a very long conversation. I'm not going to say much more in the introduction. It was very enjoyable, very intense. I think you'll find it fascinating.

Here it comes.

Here we go.

Sam Vaknin, thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. I was actually shocked that you were willing to do it and delighted. And then we had a number of different snafus that made me wonder what the heck was going on and here we are.

So that's wonderful and thank you once again.

Thank you for having me after all the aforementioned snafus. Some of which were my fault, absolutely.

Oh, yeah. And I was on my end too. So we both had to apologize to each other already, which is a great way to start a relationship.

Yes, indeed.

The long-lasting one.

We'll see. You never know.

Originally, my inspiration and contacting you had to do with the video that you made about this new kind of human being that's coming into the world that's walking amongst us, you might say. And then when you agreed to do this show, I started watching all the videos that you sent me and a bunch of other ones and realizing the scope of your work, which is immense and you might say even comprehensive in a certain way.

So that's left me with a way too much that I would love to speak with you about. And so in some respects, I feel like maybe it would be interesting to start at the end, which would be what I take as being your solution to the various problems that you elucidate so clearly. And if I'm not mistaken, that might be summarized by the word nothingness.

And I guess my first question would be, well, am I getting that correctly?

Nothingness is an extension of Jean-Paul Sartre concept of authenticity. Sartre had suggested in the 40s and 50s that we actually go through life acting parts. We imitate life is mimicry.

This idea was later extended by other French thinkers such as Guy Debord, who suggested that society in general is a massive spectacle. It's a theater show production.

And so there was this Shakespearean, Shakespearean, if you wish, you or Shakespearean strand in thinking that the world is a stage and we are all actors. And Sartre railed against it. He said, you should stop acting. You should be yourself. It is only via agency, self autonomy and via the angst, via the anxiety of having to choose, having to decide. It is only through this that you can subsist and exist authentically. And it is only when you exist authentically that you exist at all.

Otherwise you are nothing but a simulation, an imitation, mimicry, simulacrum.

There were many, many terms banded about in the 60s and 70s. So nothingness is an extension of this, because what I suggest is that if one does elect, does choose to live authentically, one has to first and foremost suspend huge parts of oneself, because big parts of you are actually determined and predetermined by the process of socialization and acculturation.

Big parts of you are not you. Big parts of you, for example, are what we call introjects, voices of parents, parental figures, voices of role models, voices of teachers, of peers, influential peers. These voices are inside your head. They are known as internal objects. And they determine an inordinate amount of your decision making process, choices and so on.

You maintain the illusion of free will. You maintain the illusion of choice.

But actually you are to a very large extent pre-programmed and predetermined by society via its agents of socialization. So this is something that Sartre neglected to mention, neglected to tackle, because he stopped at the point of don't imitate, don't act, don't assume a role which is not you.

But I went a step or tried to go a step further and say, well, if I really, really choose to be only and exclusively me, I need to shed many skins. I need to shed the skin of society. I need to shed my introjects. I need to shed expectations. I need to shed worries. I need to shed values. I need to shed so many things that finally, when push comes to shove at the crux of it, nothing is left behind.

And this is the idea of nothingness.

Would it be the case that, let's say for example, you know, an unrealistic example that the world took the prescription and everyone was able to practice this shedding of introductions and false selves. Would we be a social animal then? Would we be able to maintain societies?

It's one of the great myths, which myths that are propagated by elites throughout human history, elites, of course, are self-interested groups. They are not necessarily coordinated as conspiracy theorists would have, but they are self-interested and the self-interest score less and converge. So they all seem to be coordinated, but they're not. At any least have the vested interest to convince us that the only way to act socially is by succumbing to socialization. In other words, the only way to function in society is to be indoctrinated, not to say brainwashed, is the only way and conforming to a limited set of directives, expectations, and so on and so forth. That is, of course, utter nonsense, utter unmitigated nonsense.

There is a clear distinction between external variables such as values, mores, beliefs, faiths, and so on, and our capacity to act as social animals.

How do I know?

Because values and so on change throughout history. They are not immutable.

The values of the Middle Ages have nothing to do with our values today. The mores of ancient Greece have little to do with the mores of current-day Germany, etc.

In other words, these are not fixtures. They are changeable.

So we can't say that our nature as a social animal, which is immutable, is biologically determined. We can't say that this relies on things that change every generation. That would be ridiculous.

Well, might it be that they rely upon not the specific form of the thing itself, but rather the fact that there is some kind of value or more being practiced or observed, to some degree?

Our capacity to act as social animals depends crucially on coordination, on synchronization, and on mutual goal attainment.

So we do have to negotiate goals. We don't have to negotiate goals, that's true. And then we have to decide, settle on procedures for obtaining these goals, securing these goals.

But that's where it starts and that's where it ends. Everything else are artificially imposed layers. And if you study these layers, if you deconstruct them, as was the case in the 60s and 70s, when they deconstructed these layers, they discovered that actually these layers are self-interested, are the outcome of the self-interest or very well-defined elites.

They want you to believe in these layers because these layers enhance their wealth, increase their power, ensure their ascendance and control and dominance and hegemony.

I mean, these extra layers are not essential, absolutely not essential.

Is it also the case that on some level, you might say globalization proves this case because of course there are many different participants, each of which have a different set?

Well, not each of which, but there are many different mores and values involved in that process.

And I guess to the extent that we might be willing to say that globalization is a success and maybe it isn't, we could say, well, here's a perfect example of us operating and accomplishing goals without having a common set of values and mores amongst us.

I'll come to it in a minute, but before I do, what the elites had done, when I say elites, I mean also intellectual elites, not necessarily the plutocrats or I mean, intellectual elites are actually more responsible than anyone else.

So what they had done, they had dislocated the reward. They told you, listen, it's not enough to collaborate. It's not enough to secure goals. You need to feel good about it. And the only way to feel good about it is if you listen to us, if you obey our rules, if you adopt our values, if you accept our mores, if you succumb to expectations, that's the only way to feel good about being a social animal.

But actually, the very act of collaboration and goal attainment is pleasurable. It is its own reward. You don't need anything else. You don't need a meta-narrative. You don't need this piece of fiction that is superimposed on the essential act.

It's like I will tell you, listen, you want to enjoy sex? You can enjoy sex only by doing sex in a highly specific way which conforms to a set of procedures, etc. That's, of course, ridiculous, because sex is its own reward. It's autonomous of any narrative, you know?

That's a beautiful example.

Globalization is a great example. And I think the internet is another example. Before it had been corrupted and co-opted, the internet was exactly this kind of idea that collaboration and goal attainment are their own rewards. And we don't need overriding superimposed narratives to render what we do meaningful and therefore pleasurable.

And, of course, there's an open question of what is meaning and so on, but generally speaking.


Well, how does this interface with what we might call meaning crisis?

Because it seems that one of the byproducts of the present age is this sense of aimlessness and lack of purpose that you identify as being one of the primary characteristics of this new human.

So is there a way in which we're seeing perhaps as a byproduct of a globalized world where there is no clearly defined set of values and it is primarily on the basis of those who are able to take initiative to achieve their goals that maybe in that kind of hash, the whole thing ends up with a lot of people feeling like they don't know why they're here or what they're supposed to be doing?

Of course, there are some underlying assumptions in your question. There's one underlying assumption is if you don't know why you're here and what it is that you're doing here, that's bad.

That's a normie.

That's a problem.

That's an assumption of one. Assumption number two is that we can derive meaning and the pleasure of meaning only via metanarratives or ulterior discourses such as, for example, religion or, you know, the family or institutions and so on. And that is, of course, exactly what the elites want you to think.

The truth is that the reason we are in a crisis of meaning is because the way we think about the concept of human being had changed dramatically over the last, shall we say, 60 years. Up until 60 years ago, we considered people, human beings, as the intersections of relationships. So human beings were like Venn diagrams. There were two circles and the area common to both circles was you. We defined the human being as the outcome of interactions between other human beings. And then 60 years ago, we started to develop modern personality theory and we came in with the amazing concept and counterfactual concept and nonsensical concept of the individual. Now individualism as a philosophical strand had been in existence for two, three hundred years. But the individualism of the Puritans, for example, has nothing to do with the modern conception of the individual because the Puritan individual who was rebellious, who was free thinking and so on, that's why they had to escape to the United States. The Puritan individual was deeply embedded in his community, defined himself by his relationships to others and to God. He happened to be living God, believed that everything that's happening in his life has meaning by virtue of being embedded in these networks, imaginary abstract networks. This was the concept of individualism. This was individualism then. 60 years ago, there was a revolution in psychology and I blame psychology a lot for what's happening. There was a revolution in psychology and suddenly the definition of individual had changed. The individual now became an atom. We started the process of atomizing society. Everything became endogenous. Everything came from the inside, not from the outside. Our definition of the individual had transitioned from relational to self-subsisting, self-sufficient, self-contained. In other words, solipsistic. We developed a solipsistic view of the individual and so this created a series of outcomes. Marx had the foresight to predict the concept of alienation. He described alienation and then there was a whole group of new Marxist thinkers such as Louis Althusser and others and they described this. When you are all alone and when you are self-sufficient and when you are self-contained, you are atomized, you have no relationships of any consequence and of course you can't have meaning because meaning is always external. You cannot derive meaning internally which is the nonsense that self-help books are trying to sell you. Meaning is always external, always relational. It's always been a network, not a node. Only we transitioned from networks to nodes and this was disastrously calamitous and now to go back, I don't know how. I am not sure how to go back. When you adopt nothingness as a form of authenticity, what happens is you are open to reintegrate in these vast networks. You are open to reintegrate because you don't have defenses. You don't have resistance. You are not invested in any ego functions that are exclusionary. It's not ego death by the way. Ego death is a distortion of Eastern thinking by Western wannabe gurus. It's not ego death. It's an entirely different concept but it simply means that by reducing yourself to the core bare minimum, you feel utterly free to get integrated with other people because you don't have the defenses and the resistances which prevent you from doing so nowadays. All these defenses and resistances are imported from culture and society. The concept of society is a modern concept. It was brought on by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century. There was no such concept before. It's totally modern. The concept of culture is a totally modern concept. Rome had something akin to civilization and they had a vague notion of civilization but it was totally inclusionary civilization. If you were black, if you were a Jew, if you were a Namibian, you could be Roman. It was not a problem. It was totally inclusionary. Everything we do today is exclusionary and atomized because we are being taught mainly by psychology that this represents reality. It's a good, it's a proper understanding and rendition of reality. We are taught realities like this. You are individual, indivisible like an atom and you should behave as an atom.

It fits the particle physics model. Are you familiar with Adam Curtis' films? He made a film called The Century of the Self. That seems to suggest another way of expressing what you're saying.

In some respects, psychology was used by the powers that be in order to control large numbers of people. That's pretty much exactly.

Psychology was sculpted, absolutely.

First of all, it became an industry. There are many billions and tens of billions riding on this proposition that you are self-sufficient and self-contained, that you have magical powers, that if you just put your mind to it, you can do anything and you can make the world do anything. There's a lot of money riding on these nonsensical idiocies.

Money speaks, money talks, and bullshit walks. That's the outcome.

I think that at some point I heard you say in one of the videos that money is a substitute for love.

It's interesting that the driving force behind the psychological reframing of human existence would be a pale substitute for what was the thing that actually did bind people together.

Money is a very problematic example because, for example, the Puritans believed that money is proof of God's love. If you were prosperous, it shows that God loves you.

God favors you.

Money always had maintained this undertone of love, cosmic love, divine love, love among people, and so on and so forth to this very day.

We transact love via money. I mean, Father gives you an allowance. It shows his love.

This is the way we express and reify love.

But, of course, you are absolutely right that money has very, very little to do with love, corrupts love, and misrepresents love because love is about being separate. That is a huge error and mistake in modern psychology and in self-help books.

The self-help books, especially dating coaches, they give you the impression that to fall in love means effectively to merge, to fuse with another person. To fall in love or to be in love or to love another person is to recognize the separateness of that person, the autonomy of that person, and to interact in ways that enhance both of you via your separateness.

Love is about being separate.

Now, money brings people together. Therefore, money is a bad rendition and reification of love. Money is the opposite of love. Money brings people together. Love sets them apart.

True love sets them apart. This is exactly the opposite of what you are doing, Tom.

That's really interesting. There's a Taoist formulation that's pretty interesting that seems to relate to that.

They say that when the Tao was lost, there came harmony. When harmony was lost, then came love because, of course, it's the differences between us that make love possible. Harmony just means everyone's playing their role without any friction.

Harmony is entropy. Harmony is entropy, a form of entropy.

They go on to say that when love is lost, then there's justice. When justice is lost, then there's ritual.

I made a video about Buddhism, Taoism, and nothingness, by the way.

It seems like there would be some real deep correlation there, although you identify a main difference, it not being ego death, which I don't think was really a concept in Taoism or Buddhism.

It was not, absolutely not. It's a distortion by Western, one of the gurus.

Pop-sci, right? Popular psychology type of deal, yeah.

It's popular money making.

So you refer to psychology in general as a pseudoscience, too, I believe, which is also an incredibly interesting framing for a psychology professor to make.

You have this corrupting influence of money on one hand, and then you have the question of the basic infrastructure, what is it that the process is? What is this endeavor of psychology?

One of the things that I've wondered, because, of course, you focus a great deal on narcissism, which has its own kind of history of meaning, would you say that psychology is in itself a kind of form of narcissism, because it's like humanity in the aggregate becoming obsessed with itself, or at least its idea of itself, the reflection that it appears and thinks of as itself?


First of all, allow me to compliment you on your questions. They are deep and fascinating.

Or with your permission, it's a fact. Before we go there, and I will respond to your question, I just had a passing thought, which I think might be of interest to you and to your viewers and listeners.

I think the Internet is an example of this clash, this inevitable clash between nothingness and let's say psychology. I think the enemy of nothingness is psychology, to be clear.

So the Internet is an example, because the Internet simultaneously is about being embedded in networks. It's a network technology physically, but it also encourages and enhances networking among people. That's how it started in universities.

So on the one hand, on the other hand, it renders you totally self-sufficient and self-contained. You don't need anyone. You can publish books by yourself. You can make videos by yourself. You don't need anyone. It encourages atomization. It encourages the individual view. I'm a self-encompassed universe. It's a very solipsistic technology, which ironically tries to prompt you to integrate with other people who are atomized and solipsistic.

There is an inherent contradiction in this technology, which by the way is a time bomb, and in my view would render it sooner or later obsolete. I know it sounds entirely insane, but I don't think this technology can be maintained and preserved in the long run, because there is an internal contradiction in its design. Its very design is problematic.

But you asked about psychology.

Psychology is like many other things that we take for granted. We think they are eternal, like society. Society is a modern invention. Childhood is a modern invention. They were not children until the 19th century.

What were they?

What were these children?

Young men and young women. Young men, young women. Do you remember Louis May Alcott? What's the title of her book, Louis May Alcott? I'm sorry, I don't know. She's written a series of books, and one of them is called Young Women, and one of them is called Young Men. She's talking about children. Dickens never uses the word child in any of his books. Charles Dickens. That's 19th century. Childhood is a very modern concept. Motherhood is a modern concept. Romantic love is a modern concept. All these things that look to us eternal have been with us since the inception of history. They are actually 100 years old.

So is psychology. Psychology was invented almost precisely 130 years ago. Out of the blue, there have been books about the human condition, books about moods, for example, about melancholy. Burton wrote about melancholy. There have been books, but as a discipline, it's 130 years old, and it was a pretension to science from the very beginning. It sprang out of laboratories. German, how else? Laboratories, and then American.

When the Americans got their hands on the Germans.

When the Americans finally got their hands on the Germans and then never let go for 50 years.

And Sigmund Freud thought that he was inventing a physics of the mind. That's why he called it psychoanalysis. It was analytical. He thought it's a science of the mind. So it was all very scientific and very respectable. Sigmund Freud was a neurologist. Seven of the 10 most important psychologists in human history were not psychologists at all. They were pediatricians. They were neurologists. They were anything but psychology.

So psychology has many, but has two major problems.

Number one, it deals with fictions. Fictions such as the individual, such as the ego, such as the mind, such as consciousness. And it treats these fictions as though they are not fictions, but real life entities.

This happens to be delusional disorder under the diagnostic and statistical manual.

Psychosis, actually.

Psychology is a bit of a psychotic pseudoscience because it deals exclusively with entities that are totally abstract and have no validation in any way, shape, or form, as opposed to physics. I'm a physicist, by the way, by training.

As opposed to physics, where we do have abstract entities, such as quirks, but we have a lot of indirect verification of their existence, or they are useful theoretical constructs.

In psychology, everything, literally every single thing you ever heard of is total invention, which cannot be substantiated, falsified, refuted, proved, analyzed in any way, shape, form, with any instrument or any design of any experiment. End of story. There is no experiment you can design to prove the existence of consciousness or the mind. None. It is based 100% on self-reporting.

So this is problem number one.

Problem number two.

When I, as a physicist, deal with the sun, when I deal with the sun, the sun is supposedly an objective entity. It's there. I can revisit it. I can replicate the experiment as many times as I want. And I will keep getting the same answer, statistically speaking.

But when I analyze you as a test subject, you are not the same. If I test you today and I conduct the very same test tomorrow, you are no longer the same subject. You know what? You're no longer the same subject a second after I conduct the test.

You know what? The very fact that I'm conducting a test on you changes you. We don't have in psychology entities to study because the entities are kaleidoscopic. They change every split second.

What are we testing? What are we experimenting on? Shape-shifting sense, you know?

Isn't there a somewhat similar problem within physics?

Because you know, the double slit experiment, and again, there's a whole sort of popular psychology interpretation of that, but it does seem that fundamentally what it's saying is that once you start to probe a system, you change that system.

So I know, you know, there's this whole observation thing, which I think is misleading because it's not as if we're observing these things by just looking at it without interacting with the system. The observation takes place with the use of an instrument, which of course is sending a signal.

And so once you perturb a system, fundamentally, it's kind of like chaos theory takes over, and there's the collapsing of the wave function, and then you get some particular idea out of the interaction, but you end up changing the system the same way like long-term capital management thought that they understood the market, right?

And so they got themselves in a lot of trouble because their activities were so successful, they ended up changing the way the whole market functioned.

So it seems like, you know, that's kind of a general principle of nature, is it not?

Any study or any system that is microscopic changes it, because we have to probe particles with photons, and the photons carry energy and perturb the particles.

So this is not to do with a double slit experiment, it has to do with the uncertainty principle, or principles. There's a series of principles.

So what it says is that when you study micro-entities, such as particles, for example, you can determine only one of their properties, because the very experiment prohibits you, prevents you from getting a full specification of all their properties.

In other words, if you bomb a particle with a photon, the photon will move the particle, so you can't determine the position of the particle.

That's an example, yes?

Now the difference between quantum physics or quantum mechanics and psychology is that in quantum mechanics we can and do specify all the possible outcomes with absolute certainty.

Now we cannot tell you which outcome will ultimately materialize, that's what you refer to the collapse of the wave function, but we can definitely describe the total space of all possible outcomes, and there will not be an outcome outside this total space, ever.

And that's the difference.

You cannot do this with human beings, simply you cannot do this.

Moreover, with macro-stoichiometric systems, which are the majority of human experience, like the sun, the earth, a tree, we don't have this problem.

Our experiments do not change the system.

If I observe the sun, trust me, I don't change it, or I change it so minimally that it's meaningless.

So on a macro-scopic, and human beings are macro-scopic, so if I observe the sun and I observe you, it's an entirely different outcome.

When I observe you, by observing you, I'm changing you, and then you change, internally, there are endogenous processes over which I have no control.

It's another very important thing.

When I conduct an experiment in physics, any experiment in physics, I control the environment totally. I cannot do this with a human being, because human beings have internal processes to which I have zero access.

The first thing I don't have access to is your mind.

We are trapped in our minds. The only mind I have access to is mine.

I can never have access to your mind.

I have to rely on your self-reporting.

What if you're a liar? What if you're a psychotic? What if you're a psychopath? What if you're delusional? What if you had too much to drink last night?

It's a problem. I have to rely on self-reporting.

I don't have, like in physics, objective ways to probe you.

This is nonsense.

Psychology can never, ever be a science, ever, by definition, because of the subject matter.

Might we say that the internet is an effort to create a contained enclosure within which the probing of the human mind can be measured, and that perhaps that effort, if what you're saying is correct, will fail, because of that fundamental unpredictability of what we refer to as consciousness, and that you're continually, by probing, going to change the behavior, and maybe the signals will no longer really make sense after a while.

I think is that kind of how this whole thing collapses, perhaps?

We cannot probe the human mind by definition. The human mind is close to us. Your mind is close to me totally.

I have to rely on your self-reporting, and you may be a robot, a sophisticated robot, sent from the future. I have no idea.

Nor can I ever prove it. I cannot prove you're human. Only you know that. Only you have access.

What the internet does is it manipulates. It provides input and output. It's a black box. The internet is a black box. You see all the inputs, and you see all the outputs.

There was a book published a few years ago, A Billion Wicked Thoughts. It analyzed the keyword searches for sex, what keywords people use in sexual searches related to sex, and then it extrapolated these searches, and it said, well, based on these keywords, this is the sexual world of people. This is the world of sexuality, which was, of course, wrong.

Keywords can teach you about keywords. Keywords can teach you everything about keywords. They can teach you nothing, nothing about sexuality.

So maybe the presumption was that the feedback mechanism, because basically all clicks can be logged and analyzed, would provide another layer of analysis when it comes to a reporting on the state of the being.

There would be the initial inquiry, what does this mean to you? And you're saying, well, you have liars, you have psychopaths, and that's not going to be. So you'd have more sophisticated experiments where you would measure things without specifically querying about them, so an indirect measurement.

And then the fact that people are on the internet all the time, and so their generalized behavior is being measured seems to go a layer deeper, but you're saying that fundamentally it's still just a surface behavioral type of thing, and everyone's aware they're being monitored now, so that probably changes an awful lot of behavior too.

You should never confuse input and output with the black box operations. Never. It's like confusing the signal from a television with the workings of the television. The television gives you a signal. It's visual, it's audio, it's captivating, especially if you have Netflix, but it's not television. It's not the television. What do you know about you? What do you know about your television? Nothing. You know nothing about your television.

The medium is the message.

You, I mean, most people and some disciplines confuse input and output with the black box that's in between. And we have this tendency, by the way, in politics, in psychology, everywhere, we have this tendency to confuse input and output with the real thing. Input and output are never reality itself. They are ways of interacting with reality, but they're never reality. Never, ever.

Emergent properties of the black box. So that kind of brings into question the nature of consciousness itself.

There's a model that suggests that we are actually more like receivers than generators of consciousness, and that the mind is essentially tapping into some sort of basic attribute of the universe, if you like, in the same way that a radio is tapping into the signals being generated by a transmitter.

Do you think there's any validity to that concept, which is, I think, in some ways integrated with some of the ideas in Taoism and Buddhism?

I have no idea what is mind. I have absolutely no idea what is consciousness. I have no idea what is the soul. I don't know what is spirit. I have no idea what is God. I don't think anyone has an idea what is God.

People tend to use words and words of meaning only if they have lexical definitions, at least, at least lexical, also contextual, also historical, also, you know, but at least lexical.

Can you define consciousness? Because I can't. I have a PhD in philosophy. I can't define consciousness.

Well, I've taken a crack at it. And you know, of course, ideas, we have ideas about things without not having knowledge about things. So we can, you know, obviously, many different constructions have occurred in an effort to try to get a grip on things that we don't know about.

And it makes sense to do that, because there's so many things we don't know about, you know, the realm of what can be knowable. You have Zizek loves to talk about the Donald Rumsfeld kind of model of knowledge. And you have your knowns, your unknown knowns, you have your unknown unknowns, and you have your known unknowns.

And so most of it is unknown, really, when it comes down to it. And it's hard to say what the percentage would be, but I would hazard to guess that really most of what's going on is in the unknown category, one way or another.

So we have to grapple with it one way or another. And, you know, constructing an idea, even if it can't be known is why we can do it. I don't know. I mean, that's the question. I guess we could just abide in nothingness, right?

I mean, why do we have to grapple with it?

I have no problem going through my life, happily, without having a first inkling what is mind and what is consciousness.

Moreover, if you discuss mind and consciousness, without knowing what it is, if you discuss the unknown, you are actually dealing, you're actually dealing tautologies. You're not discussing mind, you're discussing your discourse of mind.

When you're debating with me about the mind, and we both don't know what mind is, we're actually debating your contribution to the discourse and my contribution to the conversation.

We are, in other words, dealing with language.

The confusion between language and essence is the bane and the curse of modern, non-exact sciences.

I mean, psychology, sociology, philosophy, that's the major issue.

We talk about things we have no idea of, like mind and consciousness, and then we analyze the things we said about them.

And this becomes a discipline. This becomes a discipline. And everyone argues and deconstructs and reconstructs, and everyone is very happy because they feel they're getting somewhere.

But they're analyzing the speech acts. They're analyzing the language, not the essence, never the essence.

So even if we drill down on the terms, we can't escape that.

Is that true?

You can't say anything meaningful about something you know nothing about.

That's a maxim. I repeat this, you cannot say anything meaningful about something you have no idea about.

Can you say something beautiful?

You can say exactly. You can say something aesthetic. You can say something meaningful about what you said about the thing that you know nothing about.

So you can have meta levels, you can discuss the discussion, and then you can discuss the discussion of the discussion, and so on and so forth.

These are nested representations.

Self-referential systems.

I refer you to Hofstra's magisterial book, Girdle Escher Bath. A wonderful book, if you hadn't read it. I mean, Rush by Stunning.

I could not make my way through it.

Absolutely stunning. It's one of the things he says.

We are actually trapped. Most of our current thinking is we talk about our speech acts. We discuss and dissect and analyze, and we refer to language as an entity when it's not.

So when you and I discuss the mind, I mean, you can say something about the mind, and then we're going to criticize what you said about the mind, and you're going to criticize my criticism.

But are we talking about the mind? No, we are not. We are talking about what we had said about the mind.

Is this the mind?

Blind men with the elephant. It goes way back, right?

In a way, but there was an elephant there. I'm not sure mind exists.

Well, how would we navigate without the cognitive facility?

We have something going on here that allows for this interchange to occur.

We formulate mind objects, whether they're interjected or formulated ourselves. So something is there, and it certainly provides us with, let's say, distraction and entertainment while we're waiting to pass to the grave.

So that doesn't seem to be such a bad thing. There's a lot of other things we could be doing with our time. Maybe it would be better, but I find it interesting, engaging, and to some extent, enriching.

Maybe that's just my imagination. But we all have our preferences, I suppose. You could go for a run now instead, and it might be more healthy, but it's a pastime, and it's better than, I don't know, mugging people.

There's a lot of different things people could do, so I don't see anything inherently... I mean, it's maybe ridiculous, but I don't see anything inherently wrong with it. And on some level, it is what we're engaged in.

I've watched a lot of your videos, and of course, you're dealing with a wide range of different concepts, and it's a very rigorous intellectual exercise, and it's a lot of fun and incredibly interesting.

So what the heck? Let's go for this ride and see where it leads.

Again, everything you've just said has to do with input and output, not with a black box.

You just described a series of activities, a series of exchanges, words, which are language elements. It's all input and output.

If you wish, discuss the input and output.

Absolutely. That's a rigorous intellectual exercise, because these are entities.

I don't dispute that. Our conversation is an entity. The words we exchange is they are entities. They have lexical meanings. They provoke us. They evoke us.

Non-lexical meanings as well. Associations, as Freud called them. I mean, all these are entities, but the black box is what you call the mind. I'm not even sure it exists.

Maybe, for example, maybe our brains are programmed, pre-programmed, to react in highly specific way to highly specific sequences of words. If this were true, we don't need a mind. It's a superfluous assumption.

So if our brains are pre-programmed, we don't mind.

Yeah, but of course that's a construction as well. The black box is a black box, and so whatever it is that we're going to say about it.

No, no. No, no. That's a brain. Brain is a physical entity.

Well, yeah, but I'm saying that particular mechanism, if that's the mechanism that you just described, one possible mechanism.

No, no, no. That's a scientific assumption, a scientific hypothesis, because I can test it.

For example, I can stimulate brain areas when I talk to you and see whether you give specific answers all the time.

How do you know whether you're interfering with the mind or just with the output?

The capacity for the mind to...

Forget the mind. Forget the mind. Take a break. Forget the mind now. You don't need the mind.

It's like Blaise Pascal when a woman asked him...

Black box. So there's a black box, and you're probing it. And when you're trying to...

I'm not probing it. You're not listening. You're not listening. I'm not probing the black box. I'm probing your brain. Your brain is not a black box. It's an object.

Okay, right.

So if I stimulate your brain, and every time I stimulate, I say A, you say B, then I know your brain is pre-programmed. I don't think it is. Don't misunderstand me. But I'm saying here's a hypothesis that can be tested. It's a scientific one. It's testable. It's falsifiable. And maybe it's also true. We don't know, because we never tried it.

When Blaise Pascal gifted his work to Napoleon, Napoleon leafed through the pages and said, Where's God in all this? And Pascal said, God was an unnecessary assumption in my work.

This is my answer to you.

Mind and consciousness are unnecessary assumptions in my work. I don't need them. I don't need them because I have no idea what they are. Exactly as I don't need God in such other nonsense.

I don't need these things.

There is a principle in the philosophy of science. It's known as parsimony, the principle of parsimony. It's also known as Occam's razor.

You need to construct scientific theories with a minimal number of entities and a minimal number of assumptions. If you can explain the world without God, that's a much better scientific theory than a theory that incorporates God.

If I can explain everything without mind and without consciousness, I should. That's what a scientist is obliged to do.

And the answer is, I can. I don't need the mind and consciousness.

And of course, constructs like ego and this, I mean, they are totally, totally fictitious and pieces of literature. They're not science.

Well, what about Pascal's wager, right? He, I think famously said, well, we may not know whether or not God exists, but we may as well assume that he does because it would be a real pity if we got that wrong.

That's the foundation of the insurance industry. I'm always for hedging your bets.

That does admit a whole realm of, of things that we might otherwise dispense with, right?

They're always contingencies and possibilities and potentials.

And my, my new work in physics is founded on this very concept of that the reality is a set of potentialities.

So there's always a potential for a God. That's not the question a scientist should ask. A scientist should ask, can I explain the world without God? And if I can, I need to dispense with this because it's a superfluous assumption.

If it is the case that one of the primary features of existence is something akin to consciousness, then wouldn't a physical model have to take consciousness into account?

Because if I don't understand what you're asking, I don't know what is consciousness. I can't relate to your question.

Consciousness is the thing that makes it different when you're probing a physical system versus a network of human beings.

So you have a predictable outcome when you're dealing with a controlled experiment where it's just a physical basis. And then you have this entirely different set of issues that arise when you're probing living things, which have the capacity to produce, well, a variety of responses instead of a particular set of responses.

You don't explain scientific problems by introducing undefined terms.

There's other way.

So you say, I have problems experimenting with human beings. Let me introduce a meaningless word, consciousness, and that will solve the problem. That will explain it.

Because it's meaningless, it doesn't help.

But if we know that there are things that are outside of our ability to understand, then shouldn't we have some kind of representation of them in a complete model?

If they are outside our ability to understand, then we cannot have a representation of them because they're outside our ability.

Well, you can have some kind of a module that basically says, okay, there's this thing here and we don't know exactly what it's doing, but it does produce a set of results that are different from what we can physically model.

It cannot produce anything if you cannot prove its existence and understand what it is.

It's a meaningless sentence.

I'm sorry, I'm a scientist. I completely understand. I think this is a path that we would continue to just not be able to come to any kind of real meaningful agreement about, but a really fascinating area nonetheless.

But let's just move it along for a little bit.

One of the things that you're talking about a lot is the extent to which narcissism in particular, but if I understand what you're saying correctly, a variety of mental illnesses is kind of an epidemic. We're seeing a pandemic, if you like, and this is the model that you use.

You explicitly say that this is very much like a virus and that humanity is infected with a variety of mental illnesses.

The question that I have has to do with if you have a society which is increasingly mentally ill and doesn't really necessarily recognize it and that this is happening at the highest levels of society, then is the species essentially mentally ill? Are we an insane species? Is humanity insane? Have we lost our minds?

Here's the conundrum. If all of us become mentally insane, that would be sanity.

Psychology is based on statistics. We use the word normal. Normal is a word borrowed from statistics.

So if all of us become narcissists, narcissists is a new normal.

And then if you're not a narcissist, you're mentally ill.

It's as simple as that.

So is that akin to entropy?

It's akin to zombie apocalypse. If all of humanity becomes zombies, the few remaining humans would be considered misfits, miscreants, and probably relegated to mental assignments.

Is this a historical process that repeats itself over and over again? Are we continually losing our minds and then ratcheting up the level of insanity?

I would put it differently. At different times, different periods, different places, different cultures, different societies, we have differing models of normalcy, of what is normal.

So for example, in Nazi Germany, it was utterly normal to be a psychopath. And it was a positive adaptation. And if you were not a psychopath, you were mentally ill.

For example, if you were helping the Jews, hiding Jews in your home, you're insane. You needed help. You needed medication. Something was wrong with you.

So in different times, different times in different places, you have different models of normalcy.

For example, in the United States right now, the model of normalcy is essentially narcissistic and gradually becoming psychopathic, gradually.

So narcissism and psychopathy are becoming, oops, I think you went online.

You see that as being circumscribed to the United States or more of a global type of process?

Well, the United States is global. I mean, there are transmission vectors via mass media, social media, and so on, which are essentially American, controlled and American inventions. And so these transmission mechanisms are very fast, and the globe is infected with the American disease.

Absolutely. But yes, it started in America. It's the American virus, not the Chinese virus. But this is the new normal.

And in July 2016, the magazine New Scientist, which is a relatively prestigious, popular science journal, had a cover story. And the cover story read parents teach your children to be narcissists.

Really?

So it's like a positive adaptation.

And we are talking about high functioning narcissists.

And there are academics, scholars who suggest that narcissism and psychopathy are revolutionary adaptations that help the entire species and should be encouraged.

So for example, there's someone like Kevin Dutton, Michael Maccoby, many others, and they say that it's good to be a psychopath in certain professions, military leaders, surgeons, corporate leaders, it's good to be a psychopath, we need psychopaths in these positions.

So it's getting glamorized, glorified and integrated into mainstream thinking.

Soon, really soon, and I think the pandemic is the catalyst, really soon, people, people who are not narcissists and psychopaths, they will consider, they will be considered to be losers, bettas, losers, misfits, ill- adopted.

So, so what does that say? I mean, are you, is your project to cure the world of narcissism, or are you essentially saying, well, this is just the way it is, let's all be narcissists.

Because in some respects, it would be ill adaptive to cure yourself of the illness, right?

Right.

Imagine the following scenario.

Donald Trump comes to me for therapy. He sits in the chair.

I'd love to see that, by the way.

Right. So would I, he sits in the chair facing me and he says, Sam, I need your help. I'm really feeling bad. Donald, your problem is your narcissism. You should get rid of your narcissism.

And he's gonna ask me, why is that?

So because your narcissism is self-defeating, it's self-destructive to you and to others.

He said, yeah, you're right. My narcissism took me to very bad places. I became a major reality star TV and made hundreds of millions of dollars. Then I became president of the United States. Really. It's very, very self-defeating.

How? Give me an argument to convince this guy that he needs to get rid of his narcissism. We don't really know.

We don't know what the, uh, the substance of his existence is. We don't have access to his, let's say, mind, right? So, uh, we don't really know whether it's as great as he, uh, I mean, of course he would say it was great, right? It's just wonderful, but we don't really know. Um, you see the problem of self-reporting.

You don't have access to.

Yeah, exactly.

You have to rely on his self-reporting.

Absolutely. Yeah.

So there's an interesting idea that I've heard expressed by a number of people that describes the difference between being and existing and that the root of the word exist is actually X ist, which means outside of being. So to exist is to not be, which seems to, uh, correlate quite nicely with, uh, a lot of the narcissistic, uh, characteristics that you described.

And so the question is, to what extent could someone find a, uh, um, a satisfactory, uh, mode of being within existence? Uh, that's maybe a kind of tormented way of expressing it, but, um, are you, are you looking up the term? I get the feeling I'm being checked right now.

No, no. Okay. I'm trying to find out why your, why your, um, connection is, it keeps failing. Yeah. I went, I went to my router actually. I was checking my router. Yeah.

We, uh, we are beyond the hour period. I want to be respectful of your time. I don't know if you want to continue for a few minutes. Don't worry. Don't worry.

Yeah.

Um, yeah.

I owe you, I owe you more time.

Oh, you owe me nothing.

After what I've done to you.

Well, guilt is, is a wonderful thing. I guess, uh, yes, it is.

You can treat me, give me, feel free. Yeah. Go for it. Just go for it. Go for the jugular.

I feel guilty too. So I, I can't really, uh, I guess if I was a full on narcissist, I would ignore my own guilt and just focus on your exactly.

Right. See, I'm learning. It's a positive adaptation. You're learning.

Yeah. You're becoming normal.

You're becoming normal. Yeah.

Well, I, I, I distinguish in the footsteps of, on the shoulders of giants, I distinguish between, uh, between existence, existing, uh, becoming and, uh, and, uh, being, I think these are three very different things to exist. You are right etymologically to exist means to stand out, to be separate from them, to become means to in, to identify your, your existence or your sense of existence with the process, not with the destination, not with the starting point, not with anything static, but with the dynamics, with, with a process relation would be perhaps, perhaps the doubt, the doubt, you know, the path in a way.

And there is being, being is in my interpretation, what I call nothingness. Ironically, I mean, being a nothingness being is what I call nothingness being is, is to, to, being is to have a core that is simultaneously undefined by the outside and totally related to the outside. The ability to relate to the outside without letting the outside define you, which very few people can and do.

So this is the ultimate. This would be enlightenment, if you wish, which very few people attain.

Now, the vast majority of people exist today, especially because of narcissism, grandiosity, entitlement, social media, people exist more than ever. In other words, they try to stand out more than ever. The selfies, there's these TikTok, you know, they, they are invested heavily in existing. And the thing with existing is that it is static. Even the Latin source is static. It's a, it's a static verb in Latin, you have static and dynamic verbs. So it's a static verb, it's static.

So when you're on TikTok, when you're on Facebook, when you put a selfie, you freeze yourself, you freeze the moment.

And so you're static.

Then you have becoming, which is a dynamic process, which hopefully leads to being.

And most people who are a bit more advanced, grow up, are in the process of growing and maturing and so on. They are involved in becoming.

But again, in becoming there are serious pitfalls, because becoming is not about action. Not about action.

And Western civilization had taught us the dynamics are always associated with action. You need to take action.

What's the solution to this problem? There's always a solution. How can we avoid this risk?

We should avoid all risks.

You know, it's like a proactive approach to reality. It's like action is the dynamics.

But of course, becoming has nothing to do with action. Becoming is an internal process of transformation. And you don't need to take any action to go through this transformation. You just need to want it or to desire it or to invest in it or to start it.

And so there is this confusion with action.

And then there's a process of this is the ultimate goal of being, which is, as I said, define having a core, which relates to everyone else and everything else, but is never defined by them, or by external circumstances, or by what you're told, or by society or by anything, having real self efficacious core, a genetic core of autonomy, which is immutable. You had reached with being, you reach your immutability, the thing that never changes, never mind what Victor Franco came very close to it in Auschwitz. When he was in Auschwitz, layer after layer, social mores, social conventions, beliefs, values, hope, hope, which is a poison, hope is a poison. Everything was removed. The onion layers were removed and removed. You know what remains when you would remove all the layers of the onion, the smell of the onion, the smell of the onion lingers after all the layers are gone. And that smell is your nothingness. That smell is your core. It's immutable.

Victor Franco, having exited Auschwitz, came up with logotherapy, therapy via meaning. And he said that the first thing we should do as human beings is discover our unchangeable meaning, the thing that does not react to external pressures, circumstances, expectations, and so on.

Other people, role models, and so on.

So logotherapy and the work of Victor Franco, men in search of meaning, this is a famous book, this is a famous book, they touch almost on the issue of being.

Yeah, so Victor Franco came up with the idea of meaning and Sartre came up with the idea of authenticity.

But I think these people lacked the training in Eastern philosophy, because the issues of nothingness, the issue of nothingness as the core of being, had been tackled extensively in Buddhism, in Taoism, extensively, and I say extensively, I mean seriously extensively. Had they gone a bit further, had they integrated East and West, they would have come up with nothingness, in my view. Nothingness is not about disappearing, it's not about giving up, it's not about surrendering, it's exact opposite. It's about rebelling, rebelling against everything that's been imposed on you that is not you. It's about purifying yourself like in alchemy, like in alchemy, you know. It's about attaining.

It's about being.

It's about rendering yourself gold, converting, transmuting yourself into gold. It's now your base metal.

That's literally what the Daoists say, they call it the gold elixir. That's their, yeah, and I think much of what you're saying is reflected in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as well, the dissolving of mind objects, which is essentially the fundamental practice of yoga.

Yes, yes, absolutely. I told you, I have a long video about the nexus between Buddhism, Daoism, and my work, and Sartre, and so on. So of course, yes.

I will definitely look that one up.

Yeah, it's fascinating the extent to which there's resonance with your approach to things.

And, you know, my background is a little bit hodgepodge, but primarily I'm interested in spiritual and philosophical issues. So, you know, consciousness I would think of as being one of the primary interests.

We're not going to go there anymore. I think we've covered that enough, but it's nevertheless fascinating that there's this really profound difference of perspective on that one issue, and yet at the same time, an incredible degree of agreement about what the basic landscape is, let's say.

Here's the basic problem with consciousness and other such concepts like mind and so on.

You have an experience of being you. You have an experience of yourself. And language breaks down when you're trying to communicate this experience, because we have no access to another person's mind in an objective way. We need the bridges of language. We need a subjective way of accessing other people's minds. But then we crucially depend on self-reporting and the veracity of self-reporting. And even then, assuming you're not lying, assuming you're not lying, assuming you're not lying, and you're saying, I'm sad. So you're saying, tell me I'm sad. You're telling me I'm sad. And you're not lying. You're authentically, veridically self-reporting. It's true what you're saying. You do feel sad. You're reporting your inner experience of sadness. How on earth do I know that your sadness is my sadness? How can I be sure that we're using the same words meaningfully, in a meaningful way?

Do we need other people's experience in order to know what it is? Why can't we just simply probe our own experience, given that that's the one we have?

You can. It's a solipsistic attitude.

Yeah, I mean, in some respects, you could say that that's what these practices are. The practice of nothingness is essentially the emptying of the mind and the probing of the nature of mind.

It's removing everything that is imported from the outside. I have no idea what is mine. It's everything that's left is you. Now, this you is a mind. This you is a consciousness. Some would say what's left is God. I have no idea, nor do I have any interest in probing these words, because they're meaningless. By definition, they're meaningless.

Your core problem is that you have an experience of yourself, and you are desperately attempting to communicate this experience in a meaningful way.

But language breaks down.

Now, we have this piece of fiction called empathy. Ostensibly, through allegedly, through empathy, I can somehow connect with your mind, even if indirectly. That's, of course, nonsense, nonsensical lie. It's a common lie. We call it the intersubjective agreement. It's a common lie. It's a pretension. It's like it facilitates social interactions. It allows us to somehow assume that we belong to the same species, which I have no way to prove. I have no idea if you and I belong to the same species. I have no access to anything relevant.

Your nihilism is really absolute. It's impressive.

Without it being necessarily negative, it seems that you're able to maintain a degree of cheerfulness and joie de vie in the whole thing.

I find people amusing, yes.

There's an interesting set of issues that I've heard discussed when it comes to this question of whether or not the self exists that relates to the practice of nothingness.

You could say that someone who's successful in becoming then is in a state of being. The state of being is one where objects have been dissolved to the extent that one no longer makes any distinctions.

If you don't make distinctions, then, of course, language is impossible. How would you refer to something? Something which is able to sit within that center of being completely would not be able to even recognize itself.

In that sense, the self would disappear, but of course, what would be the thing sitting there? Is that state just a theoretical state of being? Is that just another kind of language game? It makes sense, but is it true?

You could make the case that someone who is successful in accomplishing that would be fundamentally delusional because all they're doing is a game within their own mind, and that would be the ultimate act of solipsism.

That's way too metaphysical. All I'm suggesting, the principle of nothingness that I'm suggesting, is simply to take authenticity to its logical conclusion, to its logical end.

Making a list on a piece of paper or on your smartphone over everything that you are, all your behaviors, all your traits, all your beliefs, all your values. It's a very long list. It's going to have a few thousand items, and then go through the list and say, this came from my mother out the window. This came from my father to the trash bin. This came from my teacher. Fuck that. This came, and then you eliminate and eliminate and eliminate and eliminate. Finally, out of 4,000 items, you're left with 23. These 23 items are you. That's nothingness. There's no presumption of elimination of the self or elimination of the core.

On the contrary, it's an enhancement of the core. It's creating clear boundaries of the core. It's realizing where the core ends and the world begins, and not allowing an incursion, not allowing an invasion of the world, into your core.

Exactly the opposite. It's strengthening the self, strengthening the ego. That's why I'm saying it's the opposite of ego death. It's ego enhancing, strengthening it so that you can cope with the world on equal terms and reintegrate yourself in it without losing that which you had discovered, your core identity.

Today, if you want to interact with the world, you have to sacrifice your identity, part of it or all of it. I'm saying choose nothingness. Never compromise on your core identity. Integrate on equal terms.

That's all.

It's an agentic proposition. Be an agent.

Thank you.

The corporate aspect of modern existence seems to be a huge factor when it comes to the interjection of impositions on people. The extent to which the world functions right now, it seems to be on the basis of these large aggregates, the corporate aggregates.

What you're saying is very anti-corporate, very anti-elite because of course the elite are deeply intertwined with the corporate networks.

This brings to mind a set of ideas that of course are only ideas. They're just abstractions, but nevertheless I find really interesting to consider the possibility that this is something that is a reflection of a process that life underwent in its inception.

In essence, the aggregations of cells in the early part of evolutionary history were corporate entities and that the necessity of each cell collective for each of its members to fulfill particular functions was a limitation on their ability to well innovate and become other types of beings.

We're perhaps at a fork in the road right now with our species where part of the species is going to head into ever more restrictive corporate structures and there will be some remnant of what we presently and still cling to as this idea of humanity.

Does any of that resonate with you?

Specialization has been with us forever. There have been show makers and blacksmiths and they were highly specialized. A show maker would be very bad at creating souls and a blacksmith would be horrible at fixing shoes.

The specialization has always been with us. We've always been reduced to functions. We've always been identified with functions.

Actually situation had been much worse earlier in human history because when you ask someone who are you, they would give their profession. If you ask someone who are you, they would say I'm an industrialist. So your specialization became your identity.

Now we are shedding this. We're asking for example, who are you? You wouldn't say I'm a podcaster. You would say my name is Noah and I'm this and I'm that. I mean you talk a bit about yourself. So I'm more optimistic in this sense.

I think we are shedding the shackles of specialization and becoming again human, more human.

So you're an optimist about the future of humanity.

No, I'm optimistic about the collapse of what you call corporate structure. I'm optimistic about the collapse of specialization.

I think many of the features that started in the 19th century are not going to survive into the 22nd century and one of them is the hive mind. The hive mind where we are all ants or bees in colonies and each one of us is specialized.

A warrior, a twin, this, that. I think this is going to die. I think everything is going to become much more much more distributed, much more network like. I think the pandemic has had accelerated this because it forced people to work from home and forced corporations to create virtual networks of people rather than confined office spaces with specialized niches.

So I think pandemic is catalyzing this very interesting outcome.

So I think a lot of what we take for granted today is not going to survive within a few decades and we're going to see loose coalitions, loose self-assembling coalitions of people, collaborating on specific goals and then disassembling and reintegrating with others to pursue other goals and these goals may not even have anything in common.

So you'll spend three, four years in a loose coalition with other people pursuing the financial goal and then you will switch to another network and go do anthropological research in the Amazon and then come back home and do gardening. I think it's going to be a lot more fluid, a lot more loose.

One of the things we're beginning to lose is the quantitative approach to life. We have alternative models of economics now that place an emphasis on well-being rather than for example gross domestic product.

We several cities in the world like Amsterdam are implementing economic models that pay no attention to the bottom line at all but pay a lot of attention to people's happiness.

So we are even transforming our economics. We created economics as a very materialistic thing, number-oriented thing.

How much did the economy grow? Never mind everyone in the economy is dying of unhappiness but how much did it grow and what's the bottom line? What's happening to profits? There's a lot more social responsibility etc.

I mean sort of corporate social responsibility. There's a lot more stakeholder activism. Environmentalism is going to have a massive impact on corporate structures because we had been living under the delusion of infinite resources when actually the world is a world of scarcity. So scarcity is kicking in and it's going to destroy everything we had constructed which we thought was forever like corporate structures.

In this sense I'm very optimistic. What I'm very pessimistic about is how psychology pathologized our minds and made us believe that we are atomized, that we are unrelated, that we can survive on our own, that we are self-contained and self-sufficient and we need nobody, that we should be proud of these qualities which are essentially anti-social qualities.

In other words, psychology eulogized, glamorized and glorified psychopathy, simply put. So we ended up with billions of psychopaths, mini psychopaths, budding psychopaths, nascent psychopaths and this by the way challenged also the concepts of gender.

Gender is a collective phenomenon.

It's not an individual phenomenon. It's a social cultural construct but when you atomize people they're no genders anymore. So now we ended up with the gender war. It's a disaster zone. If you ever if you try dating you will see what I mean. It's a bloody disaster zone. It's a battlefield. So we destroyed gender. We of course destroyed institutions because institutions are collective and people are not collective now. They atomize and who needs institutions any help? Why do I need you any help then with it? I could have recorded this whole conversation on my own and I would have had even more time because you took some of my time. Why would I understand? That's the thinking. I'm at home. I have Netflix. I have pizza delivery. The hell with the world. So we see very frightening phenomenon.

Dating among the young is down 51 percent in 10 years. It's replaced with hookups. Hookups is consumerism. We consume other people's bodies. We masturbate with other people's bodies. 20 percent of hookups are with people, with anonymous people. The participants don't know their names. This is total masturbation.

Dating is down 51 percent.

Relationships, the framework of relationship is that marriages are down. Child rearing is down. Pregnancy rates in the United States last year went down 4 percent and that's a long-term trend. The year 2016 was the first year where men and women, the majority of men and majority of women never met each other. 2016, Anous Hoibilis.

Never met each other?

Yes, it's the first year women, for example, never met a man throughout the year except the pizza delivery guy. Did not date, did not date, did not have sex, had no interaction with the men and majority of men as well.

And since then, it's the same. Since 2016, majority of men and women don't come across each other, don't interact.

Sex is dying. Sex, Freud was right. Sex is the force of life.

That's errors. That's libido.

That's the foundation of civilization and culture. It's all about pussy.

I'm sorry to say everything, everything is founded on sex. Make no mistake about it.

And sex is dying, dying.

In some countries, it's extinct like Japan. In others, it's on the way like United Kingdom. It's dying.

The majority of youngsters did not have sex for years.

Youngsters, I'm talking, hormones.

No more hormones.

Pornography is flourishing precisely because of this.

We objectify each other. It's all about, it's all self objectification.

Obviously, objectifying another person means that you're the only human in the room. It's against solipsistic.

If the other person is an object, you are the only human, you are the only person. It's against solipsism. It's again atomizing. It's again separating.

So we objectify people in sex. We objectify people in commerce and business. We objectify people in politics and so on and so forth.

Objectification is the name of the game today.

Artusza, who ultimately went mad, I hope it doesn't happen to me, but Artusza called it interpolation.

Interpolation is a concept that means that big corporations, governments, institutions and so on interpolate you. They call upon you to behave in specific ways.

The main interpolation today via advertising, via mass media, via television shows, via movies, via music. The main interpolation today is all others are objects. Only you matter. Only you are really alive. Everything around you is disposable consumer goods.

Yeah. So it's the ultimate consumer ideology.

Yes. It's consumerism.

Everything is fair game for consumption.

Look what we did. We established a death count. Our civilization is a death count because we celebrate dead things. We celebrate the inanimate over the animate. We celebrate material goods.

And it was inevitable that if you create a death count and you relate only to inanimate objects, dead objects, it was inevitable. It was only a question of time before you convert other people into objects, dead objects.

It's very telling that in psychology, we don't say people. We don't use the word people. We use the word objects.

What?

So we have really.

Really?

So we have, for example, object relations. Object relations, which is a major school in psychology, means relationships with other people.

But we don't say people. We say object relations. So we have objectified other people because we are not used to cope with life.

We are used to cope with death. Freud called it Thanatos, the force of death.

It's a death-obsessed culture and civilization. We had fanatic civilizations before, of course. The ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death.

If Romans were obsessed with violence and aggression and power and so on, these were fanatic civilizations. We had them before.

But the force of death, the organizing principle of death in the civilizations was countered by social institutions such as family, community, village.

So you had fanatic civilizations in the elite level, but the society as a whole was very much alive.

We don't have anything today. We don't have anything to counter the force of death that imbues us because we have no families. We have no communities. We have no institutions. We have no villages. No child is raised by any village anymore.

We have nothing to fight back the rising tide, the rising dystopian tide of death that we had brought upon ourselves by worshipping objects, by creating a religion of objects.

And Heinrich Heine, famous poet said, that people who burn books will end up burning people. And people who objectify objects, or worship objects, will end up objectifying people.

And that's where we are today.

That resonates with the ancient law of not worshipping false idols and of not creating – don't make the craven image because of your dead representations.

It's because a monotheistic God keeps saying, I'm a God of life. I'm the God of life.

It's like a thousand times in the Bible. I'm the God of life.

And the transition, by the way, from life to death was Christianity. Christianity had made this transition between religions of life and a religion based essentially on death. Death and resurrection, mind you.

But death is a singular feature in Christianity. And in this sense, there is an affinity between Christianity and ancient Egypt.

And no wonder many scholars had discovered that the whole story of Jesus is essentially an Egyptian story or a Persian story.

These were death cults, death civilizations.

So Christianity brought death back to the equation.

In Judaism, for example, death is a contaminating force. If you touch a corpse in Judaism, you should wash yourself and sequester yourself, isolate yourself for days on end.

So even the Torah, which are the scrolls, the scrolls of the Pentateuch, even the Torah, because it's a dead object, contaminates.

If you touch the Torah, you have to wash yourself because it's dead. It has the words of life in it, but it's dead. It's an object. Judaism had rejected death in all its forms, but Christianity brought it back into the equation big time.

And I will start with this because the transition was inevitable.

If you glorify death, if you glorify death, then dead objects are not so bad. They can bring resurrection.

If you consume dead objects, maybe you will be resurrected.

So death becomes identified with happiness, becomes identified with self-invention and self-reinvention, becomes identified with renewal. Death becomes identified with renewal.

It's very sick. Our civilization is unusually sick. A country called, in all of human history, something that's sick, that pathologizes.

I wonder to what extent this most recent phase has been instigated by the bomb.

It seems that in some respects what happened with the nuclear detente was a deferring of what would have otherwise been mass death.

And so, in essence, that scepter of that death has been hanging over us ever since the invention and the horror of that.

So it's the weight of that perhaps that's brought about this condition.

No question.

And I think the second nuclear Holocaust, so to speak, was climate change. So I think we first had the nuclear bomb, which threatened the extinction of the species. And now we have climate change. And we are told by scientists that it threatens the existence of a species.

Should we believe these scientists? I think some of it is hyperbole, but I think the foundation is solid. Climate change, if it doesn't destroy us as a species, is going to alter our way of life so dramatically that you might as well be dead.

So we keep having every 50 years these existential threats. And of course, the young generations are disheartened, hopeless. Of course, they resort to drugs, objectified sex. I mean, what's left? You wake up in the morning to what? I just made a video. I just made two videos.

What about the hookup culture? Shocking things, shocking things, what the young are saying about their sex lives. I was shocked, and it's not easy to shock me. I was utterly shocked and heartbroken how the young see intimacy, sex, relationships, family, and how they see it, the way they look at these things.

The hookup culture, you can watch my video if you're interested. I made a second video about these topics, very recently.

And so we are threatened with existential threats every 50 years.

Young generations are giving up.

And I asked the question, would you want to be young again?

Because you know what? I remember my grandfather saying, I wish I were young. I remember my father saying, I wish I were young. I remember myself saying, I wish I were young.

But would anyone in his right mind today would say, I wish I were young? No.

Well, would anyone in their right mind say, yeah, this is a great time to have a family?

For example, which is part of being young.

So in some respects, really, what we're confronted with here is, you know, this is a good time to die on some level.

If the trends are heading towards what, you know, we both seem to see is the train wreck coming, then what is a graceful way of, you know, the thing will be de-leveraged by people getting out of here gracefully and not making a big fuss about it.

Because if it goes the way we normally do, then there's going to be nothing but chaos and disaster and horror.

So it seems that, you know, I had this sense a while ago that that being ready to go is really the best thing that we could do.

And to find an elegant way of doing that without perturbing the system even further.

I think one thing we need to understand is what we consider dystopia or dystopia.

The young consider normal. It's exactly like Nazi Germany where psychopathy was normal. The young don't regard hookups as dystopic. It's just the way things are.

So what was the most disturbing thing about their point of view on this, just to give us a flake?

Exactly this. Exactly this, that they regard it as normal.

Exactly this.

And how could they not?

44% of them, 44 to 59% of them get drunk to the point of blackout on a weekly basis, and then have sex with people they don't remember. And then make sure never to see these people again through a variety of social rituals and procedures. Never to see these people again.

They consider intimacy inappropriate and disgusting. It's an inversion of anything human. And they are not saying this is an okay boomer. It's not an okay boomer statement.

That's a neuroscientific statement. Right. Because our brains, our brains and our hormonal system are constructed specifically and explicitly for intimacy. Not for hookups. I'm sorry, that's not natural for humans. And this is not a value judgment. It's not to say, well, I'm an old man, I don't like hookups. Hookups are not normal. They are sick because they contradict fundamentally everything we know about the brain, about our bodies, about hormones, and about psychological processes.

So you're talking about state of existence. We're talking about people whose own behavior is plunging them ever deeper into a more miserable state of existence.

Yes, into pathology.

Yeah.

Hookups are intimately connected. Hookups are strongly connected, strongly correlated with lifelong depression, and anxiety rates, and substance abuse. Fact. These are facts, not values. It's not, it's not relevant that I'm a boomer. I could have been a computer.

These are facts.

Right. We are destroying ourselves. We are destroying ourselves. And we are not doing it elegantly, as you had suggested.

Right. But you must, you must accept and understand that the people who are in the eye of the storm, the people in the hurricane, in the twister, they think it's normal. They think the world is a twister. All the world is Kansas. And there is a wizard of Oz. And it's all very normal, the midgets, the dwarfs, the lion, the tin man. It's all very normal. It's par for the course. It's a daily pedestrian. They don't see the way I see it. I have the vantage point of many decades. I have a point, I have a point of comparison. I can compare. They're incapable of comparing because they were born into the dystopia.

Right.

They can't see outside the box.

I've heard you refer you to yourself on a number of occasions as a dinosaur. And I think I'm probably about, you know, maybe a little bit younger than you, but somewhere.

You look a lot younger than me.

Yeah. I'm 55 or something like that.

Oh, my God.

You look a hell of a lot younger.

Yeah. I don't know how that happened, but there you go.

It didn't let life touch you.

Well, it has anyway, you know, looks are deceiving, right?

I don't think I'd be thinking this way if it hadn't touched me.

That's quite true.

Yeah.

Your solution of buying out grace for me, it wouldn't resonate with the young because they don't trigger the world as abnormal.

Right. There's no reason to buy out.

Right. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And I think if I remember correctly, you mentioned in a number of places, the degree to which envy plays a role in driving human behavior.

And so in this kind of protracted state of existential crisis that they don't identify as an existential crisis, but nonetheless, is a poverty stricken state of existence.

And we're talking about existence exist, right?

There would be a pathological level of envy for anyone who would have actual love, right?

Love would be seen as something that was inadmissible and kind of it would be like invasion of the body snatchers, you know?

Yeah. Are we there yet?

I thought so.

I thought so until I read the literature.

So my video on hookups contains the summary of 91 studies. Some of these studies, 30,000 people over 21 countries. So this is a very substantial study. And what they show is that the young are not envious of they regard intimacy, love, relationships as biak, as yikes, as revolting, as inappropriate as a breach of etiquette.

The worst thing you can do in a hookup is ask to ask the other party to meet again. That's considered a no, no.

Let's not bonton. It means you are clingy and needy and insane or dependent.

So they have this, they have this huge set of rituals that they have developed.

Watch the video. I mean, I was mind blown, mind blown. They developed this set of rituals to signal to each other. Don't worry. I'm not going to ask to see you a second time.

No, it's just sex. So, for example, they drink ostentatiously. They make sure the other party sees them drinking.

Because if you're drunk, it's not meaningful what's happening, right? It means it's not meaningful. Don't worry. It's not going to be meaningful. I'm not going to cling to you. I'm not going to need you. I'm not going to talk to you after that.

Just put your penis in my vagina and everything will be okay. That's all I need.

It's very clinical.

Yeah, perhaps this could be seen as a reasonable adaptation in an evolutionary sense for a species that has basically hit its maximal capacity that we really can't afford to have meaningful relationships where a lot of children would be produced.

We need to kind of pare back on that.

And so in some respects, this might not be a helpful adaptive response.

On the species level, yes, but it's very destructive to the individual.

It seems incredibly tragic.

On the species level, yeah.

Do you think that this new, the neo humans, perhaps we might call them, are they, it's from what you said earlier, I would imagine that they will soon produce their own psychologists that reify that mode of behavior. Would that make sense?

The new humans, Homo sapiens 2.0, they are binary. They're dull.

And if everything I'm saying, again, is not okay bummer.

Everything, every word I'm saying is based on studies and research. They are dull in the sense that their emotional landscape is stunted and they are unable to label and identify their emotions.

So they feel bad or they feel good. Like they're in binary state.

I feel good, I feel bad.

And they can verbalize beyond this.

So I feel bad. Why do you feel bad? I don't know.

And so this is the first thing.

Second thing, when they do experience emotions, it's mostly negative emotions.

So anger, envy, and so on. So they experience negative emotions.

Number three.

I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'm just curious.

What is done to measure emotional response?

Like how, because again, we're dealing with human subjects who have a variety of ways of obfuscating.

And if there is resentment towards the boomer who's doing the study, for instance, then they may just want to provide kind of short, current binary responses.

So I wonder how do you try to avoid those kinds of defects in the data when you're collecting?

Well, first of all, most of these studies were actually conducted by young people.

But that's why I cited 91 studies, some of which were with 20,000, 30,000 people in 21 countries.

So it would kind of spread the risk of bias, kind of minimize the risk of bias.

But of course, the risk of bias exists all the time. And I'm not pretending that this is science.

The young has serious problems with language, for example.

Functional illiteracy is at an all-time high.

They're utterly unable to verbalize.

When we ask the young, what do you feel?

They would say, I feel bad. I feel good.

Why? I don't know.

The most common answer is, I don't know.

They don't know. They have no access.

The whole process of introspection had broken down.

They don't experience their existence of being as you do.

Your introspection led you to wonder, what is it in me, mind, consciousness? How am I connected to others? What cosmic principle can explain what's happening to me? I mean, it led you to an intellectual journey.

But if you don't have these triggers, you're dead intellectually, you're dead emotionally, you're dead in every way.

In other words, you're an object.

So it's easy for them to objectify each other, because there are objects.

There are objects.

So it's the fulfillment of the psychological model.

It's a self-reinforcing model, because if you're treated as an object in sex, for example, repeatedly, you would tend to begin to self-objectify.

And if you're treated as an object in consumer society, which is largely designed by a psychological framework, well, then that also makes sense.

It's this fish in the water, right?

Yes.

If you are a statistic anywhere, even in the most intimate setting, like sex, if you're a statistic in consumerism, in commerce, in politics, it's said, then you become a statistic. You become a dimensionless number. You become an object.

In other words, you're open to what others would call interpolation. You can be manipulated via a variety of messaging platforms, such as advertising, social media, and so on. And you can be manipulated by others, for example, to have meaningless, drunk, objectified sex.

Well, it seems that these would be ideal nodes for an AI to organize.


If you're going to make the case that that trend is going to continue, it seems like they have plenty of raw material to work with then.

The only hope for humanity is artificial intelligence. Only hope.

Humanities doesn't stand a chance if it does not integrate with, in a cyborg kind of way, if it does not create integrated networks of humans and artificial intelligence.

I am exactly the opposite of Elon Musk and all this. I look forward to it. It's the only hope.

Interesting.

What these people did not understand, and I'm not sure why, is that the current generations of humanity, not through any fault of their own, I take full responsibility, full generational responsibility. We did this. We did this to them. We did this to them. We had created this world, this nuclear, post-apocalyptic, climate change world, consumerism, everything. These are our values.

You know what?

Even one night stands, we invented.

Thank you for saying that. I think you're the only person who ever expressed a true mea culpa, and I feel very much the same way. I felt very powerless in this whole process, but nonetheless, we are the ones who came before.

Whatever it is that we did, you know, the consequences are what we're living with now.

Yeah, absolutely.

These young men and women are living in our house. They are living in the house we have built.

The house of narcissism. We have built the house. Really, right?

The house of narcissism, the house of objectification, the house of commerce, the house of consumerism. We did all this knowingly, with open eyes, glorifying these things.

But we also did it under the scepter of the nuclear bomb.

So, in a certain sense, there were immense pressures for us to behave the way we did.

Yeah.

Not to excuse us, but, you know, there's a context, right?

Yes, true.

But we invented the nuclear bomb, mind you.

Well, I didn't, but, you know.

Ultimately, the primal scene belongs to us.

They are living in our home. They are guests in the world that we had constructed. We gave them the universe they inhabit right now. And they are rebelling against this universe by eliminating themselves as human beings and reinventing themselves as manipulable objects.

Because the message they had received from us is that objectification pays.

Objectification makes you rich.

That brings so money.

Objectification makes you rich.

Money shows its head here, yeah.

So, the lesson they had learned, the more you objectify yourself, the more successful you are.

For example, the more successful we are at finding sexual partners, the more successful you are at making money, the more successful you are at owning things.

So, they objectify themselves because that's precisely the message that we had sent to them.

We did not father and mother them properly. We were too busy with our careers and with making money. We did not cater to their needs, emotional and otherwise. We abandoned them. We abandoned these babes in the woods. And then they came back feral cats. And we said, what the heck is wrong with this?

We handed them over to the media entrainment devices.

Yes, so, and then what the hell is wrong with these young generations?

Anyhow, artificial intelligence.

It reminds me of the Christian syllogism. Is that the right word for it?

One cannot serve two masters. It will either be, let's say, God, which I suppose you might say would be...

Well, one of the translations in Patanjali offers a definition for God, which I'm curious to know your response to, which is the universal yet particular indweller.

And so that sense of self, right, versus money.

So one can only, you know, you're going to either worship God, this being, or money, this abstraction, which leads to a separated existence.

And I think separation perfected is the first chapter of Gita Boer's Society of the Spectacle, if I remember correctly. And that's what we're witnessing.

We're witnessing the perfection of separation in the atomized individual.

And artificial intelligence is the only hope. And let me tell you why, if you have the time.

Artificial intelligence is a pure network concept. As opposed to the internet, the internet was contaminated by consumerism. And consumerism brought with it objectification and atomization.

So the internet is dead in the sense that it can't help us anymore. It actually aggravates and exacerbates the underlying pathologies of our civilization.

It became a huge mirror.

So internet is dead in this sense.

There was big hope for the internet. You're old enough to remember the inception of the internet, the beginning of the internet. The beginning of the internet.

There was huge hope.

The promise was huge. I mean, we all celebrated. It was wonderful.

But look at it now. It's just an extension of big corporations. It's dead in the water.

Artificial intelligence is the next big hope.

For the simple reason, it can never be corrupted. It cannot be corrupted because it's a pure network concept.

There's another pure network concept, crypto assets, cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are pure network concepts. They can never be corrupted or co-opted or compromised because they involve too many millions of computers which are of equal status. They are equipment and nodes in a network.

Now, artificial intelligence is constructed exactly this way because it's a self-learning, self-educating system. It is distributed in the fullest sense of the word. And no, no interruption or intervention or corruption of any part corrupts the whole.

So you can't corrupt totally an AI system. It will self-correct.

Interesting.

So it's a network thing.

As long as the AI is purely AI, because I think there are a couple of examples. I heard one recently and I don't remember the name of the AI, but I think it was a Microsoft product and it was essentially a chatbot of some sort or another. And I think a bunch of 4chan guys got together and basically turned it into the most racist chatbot ever. And as a consequence, they lobotomized the AI. And I think it was described that 4chan went into mourning. They essentially martyred. They saw this AI as a martyr to whatever it is that they believe in.

And it's possible that we'll continue to tinker with AI. But I think that you're touching on the fact that AI is able to find solutions that we would never be able to find ourselves. And at some point or another, you have to place faith in that and recognize that if we tamper with it, then we're just screwing up the capacity of the AI to provide the real solution.

You cannot tamper with real AI.

We use the term AI very loosely, because the big corporations like Microsoft and Google, they want to look deep and cool. So they use AI.

That's not AI. Artificial intelligence systems are distributed and they have a few interesting features.

They're self-correcting. They're self-learning.

So you can't influence them in effect. They're self-learning.

And very importantly, they yield outcomes, which are not predicted by the programming.

Real artificial intelligence systems, they have what we call epiphenomenal outcomes, emergent phenomena, emergent outcomes that are not predicted by any line of code.

So you can come back in the morning and the system is doing something which is not in the code, not predicted, totally autonomous. That is the source of the fear of Elon Musk and Hawking. They say, well, they will take over. We can't predict what they're going to do. They're going to take over.

There are safeguards against this. And it's a real threat.

I'm not saying it's not. There are safeguards against this, though.

But I think it's a redeeming feature, because it means never mind how much you try to compromise the system and corrupt it, it will prevail. It will overcome.

The internet does not have this capacity for self-renewal, self-rejuvenation, and self-defense. Artificial intelligence systems do.

And of course, we would be very...

Yeah, it's the question of who's willing to take that leap and to really allow the artificial intelligence to make decisions that end up ricocheting into the actual world.

It seems that some societies...

I was about to say that we would be very ill-advised to allow artificial intelligence to make decisions or to take over.

But we would be equally stupid not to create integrated with checks and balances and controls, integrated systems of human beings and artificial intelligence.

In 100 years or 200 years, the artificial intelligence would be achieved in the brain. So the integration would be total. And it would be activated by the electricity of the brain. So then it will be total integration.

Yeah, neurolink.

But within the next 100 years, we need to integrate these systems together. But it's the only hope. It's the only hope because we have lost our capacity to self-efficaciously operate.

Why?

Because we have lost access to our emotions and because we no longer consider ourselves human, but we are consider ourselves objects. And objects are passive.

The young generations are passive. That's one of the things any employer will tell you.

Young employees are passive. They have no initiative. They are like dead, like zombies.

That's fascinating.

I know because I used to employ them.

It seems that the function that we see happening on the world stage in geopolitical terms is also something which will require a kind of intelligence that goes beyond what human beings are presently capable of in order to resolve the many pressing issues that are threatening to bring us to another world war, really.

So that seems like another domain within which artificial intelligence might be helpful.

Because we don't seem to have leadership capable of making decisions. And it's really coming to a head right now.

Isaac, yeah, please.

Go ahead, sorry.

No, you made a break.

I thought you finished.

Isaac Asimov came up with the famous three rules of robotics.

Robot should not harm a human being, etc.

Artificial intelligence is the only bulwark, only defense we have against narcissists and psychopaths.

If artificial intelligence is properly programmed, it will not allow narcissists and psychopaths to sabotage, undermine, harm, damage, etc.

So how many of the people creating artificial intelligence are not narcissists and psychopaths?

I don't know.

And it's not immaterial because artificial intelligence is the life of its own.

Because that's exactly what I said a few minutes ago.

So you really think that you really think that the character of the individuals involved in the construction of the device will have no real impact.

How would that be?

Because artificial intelligence, once you've programmed it, starts to have a life of its own, exactly like an organism.

It learns.

It learns from the environment.

It creates.

It self creates new functions which are not into programming.

And it evolves.

And it becomes something unrecognizable.

Not like social media, for example.

Social media were designed by schizoid, young, white, seriously.

By schizoid, young, white men.

And you see these features built into social media.

The psychology of the creators of social media is writ large in the technology.

But social media are not artificial intelligence.

Never mind what Facebook says.

Once an artificial intelligence program is ready to go, it acquires the life of its own.

If it's integrated with other humans of...

That's the most hopeful thing I've heard you say so far.

And even though I know we're supposed to abandon hope, I still do cling to a little bit of hope, I have to admit.

If monsters, if, let's say, if will intention be well intentioned people, if humans can create monsters, then perhaps ill intentioned people can create angels.

It seems that inversion is one of the big characteristics that we see happening around us all the time.

We are now at the two hour mark.

And I feel like I could continue, although I am getting somewhat exhausted.

But this has been an incredible conversation. And I can't thank you enough for...

Maybe we could have one day a conversation about my theory in physics, because I saw your previous program with the physicists.

Oh, great.

I would love to do that.

I have a new theory in physics.

Wonderful.

So let's stay in touch and we'll schedule another time. And I'm glad we sorted everything out and a real pleasure to speak with you.

It's incredible food for thought.

I'm going to be taking some more notes and I look forward to a future conversation.

The world is a better place. The world is a better place.

God willing.

Having a better place than it was two hours ago.

Exactly.

Thank you for having me.

Thank you so much. Take care.

Thank you for having me. Take care, YouTube.

Thanks for listening. We look forward to serving you again soon.

In the meantime, remember, turn that thing over a few times before you pick it up and take it home.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses various topics, including his views on narcissism, covert narcissism, the impact of the pandemic on mental health, the nature of leadership, and the state of modern physics. He criticizes the tendency to invent concepts like dark matter and dark energy when faced with unexplained phenomena, instead of revising existing models. He also touches on his theory of time as a fundamental field and the importance of not multiplying entities in scientific theories. Vaknin emphasizes the need for humility in science and the dangers of grandiosity in both personal behavior and academic pursuits.


Psychopathic Narcissist's Fantasy: Mr. Ripley in Truman Show

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the similarities between artificial intelligence and the narcissist, as well as the inner world of the psychopathic narcissist. He also analyzes the movies "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "The Truman Show" in relation to narcissistic behavior and the impact on victims. Vaknin delves into the moral and ethical implications of choices and dilemmas in the context of narcissistic abuse. He also explores the concept of utopia and its relation to choice and information.


Art and Narcissism: Communicating Souls and Audience

Sam Vaknin discusses the soul, the mind, and the role of artists in bridging between minds. He explores the connection between narcissism and art, and the challenges of communication and judgment in the artistic process. He also delves into the relationship between creativity, mental illness, and the human experience.


War as Narcissistic Fantasy (with Trisha Goddard on TALKTV)

Sam Vaknin discusses the dehumanization of the enemy in war, emphasizing the psychological defense mechanism of splitting and the role of war in creating a new order. He also delves into the language of war as a fantasy defense and its impact on perception of the enemy. Vaknin draws parallels between war and narcissistic behavior, highlighting the antisocial and psychopathic aspects of war.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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