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The following is a conversation with Zev Weinstein, a young man with a brilliant, bold and hopeful mind that I had the great fortune of talking to on a recent afternoon. He happens to be Eric Weinstein son. But I invited Zeph not because of that, but because I got a chance to listen to him speak on a few occasions and was captivated by how deeply he thought about this world at such a young age. And I thought that it might be fun to explore this world of ours together with him for time through this conversation.


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In this, I hope he leads the next generation of minds is joining and steering the collective intelligence of this big ant colony we think of as our human civilization. If you enjoy this thing. Subscribe on YouTube. Review it on Apple podcast. Follow on Spotify. Support our patron or connect with me on Twitter. Elex Friedemann, as usual. I'll do a few minutes of ads now and no ads in the middle. I try to make this interesting.


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My favorite flavor and the flavor of champions. Click the magic spoon dot com, slash Wex in the description and use Culex at checkout for free shipping. And now here's my conversation with Zev Weinstein. You've said that philosophy becomes more dangerous in difficult times. What do you mean by that? Interestingly, I think I mean two things by that. And I think firstly, I should clarify, when I say philosophy, I sort of mean in a very traditional sense, just thinking ideation.


And that could be reconsidering our notions of self in a very traditional sense, which we consider philosophy, or that could be technological innovation. I think it's important to recognize all of these as philosophies that we can not question whether it's important to promote thought. I think the other thing I should clarify is when I say difficult times, I mean times when nothing is growing. And so the risk for real conflict is much greater because people are incentivized to fight over the things which already exist.


I think when times are not difficult. The people with the greatest power are usually the people who are very creative, generating a lot, and that really requires ideation or philosophy of some sort. I think when times become stagnant, the important successful people become the people who are very good at protecting their own pieces of the pie and taking others.


I think that those people have to be very opposed to any sort of thinking that could restructure. Society are conventions about who should succeed, and so firstly, I mean by that, that. It becomes much more dangerous, dangerous for a person to think deeply in question during a time when the important people are those concerned with making sure no one rocks the boat. One example of this would be like Socrates in his execution because everyone was happy enough to sit through his questions before there was war and poverty and distress, and afterwards it just became too dangerous.


The other thing I mean by that is that the consequences of thinking deeply. Carry much greater potential for real catastrophe when everyone is desperate, so like, for example, the Communist Manifesto is probably much more dangerous during early nineteen hundreds Russia than it was during the 1848 revolutions, because I think people were in much worse shape and desperate people are very willing to dive into anything new that might bring the future.


Without fully calculating whatever the consequences are, risks might be so it is both more dangerous for a person to have creative ideas and those ideas are more dangerous when when times are tough and by dangerous, you mean it challenges the people with power who don't who want to maintain that power in times of stagnation when there's not much growth, innovation, creativity, all that kind of stuff.


Right. And we know that if nothing new is created, people have promises that they've made about what will be paid to whom, what debt structure is the only possibility if stagnation lasts for long enough, is really some kind of great conflict, great war, because people have to take from others to make good on their own promises. So we know that by denying any sort of grand ideation, we are accepting that there will be some kind of great catastrophe.


And so we have to understand that philosophy is the most important when we've seen too much stagnation for too long.


It is also very dangerous and it's dangerous for the people who are doing it and it's dangerous for the people who believe it. But it's kind of our only way out ever.


And again, by philosophy, you mean the bigger show is not academic philosophy or this kind of games played in the in the space of just like moral philosophy and all those metaphysics, all that kind of stuff? You mean just thinking deeply about this world, thinking from first principles? I think your Twitter line involves something about like trying to piece everything together in first principles.


So that's that's fundamental with being philosophical about this world is and that's where the people who are thinking deeply about this world are the ones who are feeding, who are the catalysts of this growth in society and so on.


Yeah, I mean, I also think that the real implication of moral philosophy can be something that most would consider like a real political implication. So I think all philosophy really ties together because there has to be some sort of grand structure to all thought and how it relates.


Do you think this growth and innovation and improvement can last forever? We've seen some incredible. You know, the thing that humans have been able to accomplish over the past several hundred years is just I mean, Awe-Inspiring and every moment in that in that history, it almost seemed like no more could be done, like we've solved all the problems that are to be solved. And there's just historically there's all these kind of ridiculous, like Bill Gates style quotes or like it's obvious that we've this new cool things and I'm going to take off.


And yet it does. And so there's there is a feeling of the same kind of pattern that we see in Moore's Law. There's constant growth in different technologies in the modern era, in any kind of automation over the past 100 years. Do you think it's possible that will keep growing this way if we give power to the philosophers of our society?


I think the only way that we can keep growing this way is if we give power to real thinkers and there's no guarantee that that will work. But we sort of don't have any other choice.


And I think you're entirely right that this period of both understanding the universe at a rate which has never been seen before and invention and creativity, that these past hundred years have been sort of uncharacteristic for the level of growth that we've seen in all of history.


We've never seen anything like this. And I think a lot of our. A lot of our promises rest on this sort of thing continuing, I think that's very that's very dangerous. But the one thing that can get us out of this is philosophy and being ready to radically restructure all of our notions about what should be what is. I think that's very important.


So you think deeply about this world. You are clearly this embodiment of a think of a philosopher. Your dad is also one such guy, Eric Stein. Do you do you have big disagreements with him on this topic in particular? I think that people should know. He also happens to be in the room, but the mikes can pick him up so he can heckle. It doesn't really matter. But do you have disagreements with him on this point? Let me try to summarize his argument that we were actually based a lot of our American society on the belief that things will keep growing and yet.


It seems that however you break it apart, maybe from an economic perspective, that they're not growing currently and so that's where a lot of our troubles are at. Do you have the same sense that thinks there's a stagnation period that we're living through over the past couple of decades?


I think stagnation, modern stagnation is completely undeniable, particularly scientifically. And I think there have been a few fields where tremendous progress has been made very recently, I think. My dad might feel that. There is sort of an inevitability to the ending of this period, and I'm not so certain, so certain that the fall of this great time is completely inevitable because I don't know what thoughts were capable of producing what we're able to reconsider. I think we really have to be open to the possibility that all of our standard frameworks where, you know, like you will talk about embedded growth obligations.


If we continue within the same framework, then we're very susceptible to the dangers of whatever these embedded growth obligations are. I think if we break the frameworks, we have no reason to believe that the problems we're experiencing with our current frameworks more will follow us. And I think that's the importance of radical thought, is we don't know what the solution is, but if there is a solution, it will be borne from some very fundamental thinking.


And so I've I have great hope if you have optimism about sort of the power of a single radical idea or a single radical thinker to break our frameworks and break us out of this like spiral down the two to whatever the economic forces that are creating this current stagnation.


Yeah, I'm very, very hopeful. The optimism of youth.


Well, I share I share your optimism.


So let me let me come back to something you've also talked about.


You have very little stuff out there currently, but the things you have out there, your thoughts, you could just tell how deeply you think about this world.


And one of the things you mentioned is, as you learn about this world, that you as you read, as you sort of go through different experiences, that you that you're open to changing your mind, how often do you find yourself changing your mind, do you think, from 10 years into the future will look back at look at this conversation we're having now and disagree completely with everything you just said? It's entirely possible.


And that's one of the things that scares me so much about appearing publicly. I think that the Internet can be very intolerant of inconsistency, and I am entirely prepared to be very inconsistent because I know that whatever beliefs I have when subjected to scrutiny may change, because that's that's really the only way to to form your truest, most fundamental conceptions about the world around you. And it would take an infinite amount of time to subtract every single one of your beliefs to scrutiny.


And so that's a process that must follow me throughout my entire life and. I know that means that my opinions and perspectives are always to be changing. I'm prepared to accept that about myself, whether other people are prepared to accept that my.


Public opinions may may change and vary greatly over time is something I don't know, I don't know how tolerant the the world will be, but.


I'm very prepared to change anything I, I believe in, if I think deeply enough about it or a good enough argument is made so that I might reconsider.


Well, that's the certainly is currently an intolerance. And that's why one of the problems of our age, there's an intolerance towards change. And I'll also ask you about labels you talked about of we like to burn each other into different categories, the blue or red or whatever the different categorization is. But it seems like the task before you as a young person defining our future is to make that tolerance of change the the norm, doing this podcast, for example, and then changing your mind one or two years later and doing so publicly without a big dramatic thing or maybe changing it on a daily basis and just being open about it and being transparent about your thought process.


Maybe that is the beacon of hope for the philosophical way, the path of the philosopher. So that's your task, in a sense, is to change your mind openly and bravely. You know, you're right, and maybe I will just have to endure some sort of criticism for doing that, but I think that's very important. I think this ties back to this previous facet of our conversation where we were discussing if, you know, Thinker's would win over systems that are devoted to preventing radical thought or if you know, who will win the systems or the or the thinkers.


I think it's crucial that my generation take up a hand in this fight. And I think it's important that I'm a part of that because I know that I have some opportunity to.


There is I think it is my obligation as a member of a generation whose only real hope is to think outside of a system because whatever systems exist are collapsing, I think it is really my my obligation to try to play some role, whatever role I can, in being an instrument in that change.


Are you as a young mind, do you have a sense of fear about just like how afraid were you to do this podcast conversation? Davis has the fear of thinking publicly.


Yeah, I don't even think that that fear is irrational. It's very difficult to exist publicly in any form now because it's very easy for anyone to take cheap shots at something which is difficult. And as I said. The people who are trying to have the difficult ideas and conversations are perhaps putting others in in actual danger because everyone is so desperate that they might be they might be willing to try anything. So there's a certain amount of responsibility which one has to take going before the public.


And there is a certain amount of ridicule which will be completely unwarranted that anyone must endure for it. And. I think that that means that one has to be afraid because they could both ruin the world and be ruined by the world and in an unwarranted and undeserved fashion. I would like to believe in myself enough to try to accept this as a task, because I think. People need to try or there's no getting out of this and we will end in some kind of crazy, brilliant war, our food.


You've said also that in these times we can't have labels because it holds us holds us back. Maybe we've already talked about it a little bit, but this idea of labels is really interesting. Why do you think labels hold us back?


Well, I think. Many underestimate the extent to which language and communication really impacts and shapes the ideas and thoughts which are being communicated, and I think if we're willing to accept imperfect labels to categorize particular people or thoughts, in some sense we are corrupting an abstraction in order to represent it and communicate about it. And I think, as we've discussed, those abstractions are particularly important when everything is on fire. We should not be sacrificing grand thoughts for the ability to express it.


I think everyone should work much harder, including myself, to really be thinking abstractly and in abstract terms instead of using concrete terms to discuss abstraction while ruining it slightly.


Yeah, it's kind of a skill, actually. So one one really. Difficult example of in this in the recent time that maybe you can comment on if you have been thinking about, is just politics and there's a lot of labels in politics that it takes a lot of skill to be able to communicate difficult ideas without labels being attached to you. That's something I've been sort of thinking about a lot in trying to express, for example, how much I love various aspects of the foundational ideas of this country, like freedom.


And just saying I love America. A simple statement.


I love the idea that we're finding to America will often in the current time. Well, people will try desperately tried to attach a label to me, for example, for saying I love America, that I'm a Republican and a Donald Trump supporter. And it takes elegance and grace and skill to like to like avoid those labels so that people can actually listen to the contents of your words versus the summarization that results from just the labels that they can pin on you.


Are you cognizant of the skill required there of being able to communicate without being branded a Republican or Democrat in this particular set of conversations? I'm sure there's other dangerous labels that could be attached.


Well, I don't think there's any way of avoiding that right now. It might not be anyones best effort to really try. I think the thing I can say, which will most speak to that, which I truly believe is that. Participating in modern conventional politics is not being inherently political and a generative sense, it's this it's this repeated trope where politics now is not about creating new political ideologies. It's about defending ideologies which already exists so that everyone can keep what they have.


And that's where all of the the name calling and the labeling really comes in. It's an attempt to constrict whatever may be generated to standard conversations and discussions so that arguments can be strawman and defeated and people can keep what they have because everyone's very, very scared. I want to be very political, but not in a standard political sense where I'm defending a particular party or place on a on a spectrum. I would like to play some role in inventing new spectrums.


And I think that's most important politically, because above most else, politics is about real power and conventional politicians have real power and that power will find terrible outlets if new spectrums for that power to live are not invented. So. So you're not afraid of politics, political discourse at the deepest, richest level of political discourse supposed to mean? Actually, I'm very afraid of it.


But once again, we have no, it's not paralyzing for you that you feel like it's a responsibility. You ready to take it on? Yes. This is a good sign. This is your special human. OK, let's talk maybe fun, maybe profound. We talked about philosophers philosophy.


Who's your favorite philosopher who like somebody in your current time but neither influential or you just enjoy his her ideas or writing or anything like that.


Weirdly, I'll give an answer which sort of doesn't have much to do with. Whom I might imagine myself to be, I like Thomas Aquinas at the moment, I think he's very inspirational to me given what we're going through. And that's not because his particular ideas of religion or God or unmoved mover's are particularly inspirational to me. And I don't even think they were necessarily right. But. He was introducing aspects of the scientific method during one of the darkest periods in human history when we had lost all hope and reason and ability to think logically.


So I think he was really something of a light in the dark. And I think we need to look to people like that at the moment. The other reason why I think I need to need to learn from him is that even though he was doing something which really need to needed to be done and introducing scientific thought and reason to a time that that lacked it, he was not. Saying anything that would have been offensive to whatever powers were in play during his time, he was writing about, you know, the importance of a faith in God and how we could prove it.


And so it's important to remember, I suppose, that. Having. Ideas that shape the world and which bring the world closer to what we can prove it's supposed to be and how it's supposed to work does not always take some sort of grand contradiction of whatever is in play. And the most courageous thing to do may not always be the most helpful thing to do. And I think it's very easy for anyone with ideas about how everything is is broken to become very cynical and say, oh, the system, man, they're they're all wrong.


Yeah. I think it takes.


Another kind of discipline to be a person with real ideas and to make the world better without stepping on anyone's toes or contradicting anyone, I real respect for that being able to be when it's within your principles to operate within the current system of thought.


Yeah. And not not offend anyone, not say anything outlandish, but introduce the method by which progress must be achieved. I think that takes a kind of maturity which is found very rarely now. And I really look to him for inspiration, despite whatever disagreements I may have with my new details of his philosophy.


Yeah, it takes a lot of skill, a lot of character and deep thinking to be able to operate within the system when needed and having the fortitude and just the boldness to step outside and to burn the system down when needed, but rarely and opportune moments that would actually have impact. I mean, it's ultimately about impact within the society that you live in, not just making a statement that has no impact.


Yeah, and we were talking about how dangerous it is to do real philosophy at a dangerous, broken times. He was going through the most broken time in history and he questioned the.


The methods which made a broken system able to survive and he was so skilled and so graceful that he became a saint in that tradition, and there's something for me to really learn from there.


Do you draw any inspiration, have any interest in the sort of more modern philosophers, maybe the existentialists and Nietzsche is one of the other early ones. Do you have thoughts on the guy in general or any of the other existentialists?


Well, with regard to Nietzsche, I think I think Yeats might have said that he's the worst. You know, he was it was certainly filled with with passionate intensity. I think compliment he was the worst or her criticism, you said this has this big line, the best lack all conviction, the worst are filled with passionate, passionate intensity. So. I think nature was was destroyed by the horrors of everything that that went on around him, and I think he never really recovered from it.


I think that's because if you think about Nietzsche's philosophy, he was very opposed to any sort of acceptance of what one had. One should always envy those who have more and use that envy to to fuel their their growth and become, you know, accept whatever the human condition and desires are and use those desires to want more and more and make use of your greed. I think it's very difficult to be truly happy if the thing which you.


The thing which you pride yourself most on is never being satisfied, and I think nature was never satisfied and that was the the danger of his philosophy, I think also with his moralism. There is no good or evil. I sort of disagree with that on a on a pretty fundamental basis. I think that our notion of morality is by no means subjective. It's really the proxy for the fitness of a society. I think whatever we consider ethical, like don't steal, don't murder, don't do this.


Societies have a very difficult time running.


It's very hard to run a civilization when everyone is stealing from everyone else and people are murdering each other and committing these things, which we would consider atrocities. So I think we also we know this because I think very similar notions of morality have evolved convergent from different traditions, I think. Good is a proxy for a civilisation's fitness, and the good news is that that means that evil in being anathema to that good must therefore be the opposite of stable in whatever way that it's evil.


And that means that good will always be more stable than evil.


And the only way evil can really win is if everyone dies so that we can you can say that again, good as a proxy for society is what good is a proxy for the stability and fitness of a civilization.


And that's a good definition. Thank you. So you're throwing some bombs today, ok.


OK, this is exciting. So sorry I interrupt your father, but just a good day. I'm good. Thank you.


So in that sense, that's kind of optimistic view that if by definition good as a proxy for stability, then it's going to be stable unless the entire world just blows itself up.


So good wins in the end. By definition, yeah.


Or no? Well, good wins unless it all goes to complete destruction. That's a beautifully put. Thank you. On the topic of.


Sort of, you know, good and evil being human illusions. You've said that more broadly than that about truth, that it is easier in some ways to be unified under truth because it is universal than it is to be unified under belief, which at times can be completely subjective.


So. What is the nature of truth to you, can can we understand the world objectively or is most of what we can understand about the world is just subjective opinions that we kind of all agree on in these little collectives.


And over time, it kind of evolves completely detached from objective reality.


I think this is the greatest argument for objectivity is that something that is objectively true cannot be true to me and untrue to to you. You can feel that it's that it's untrue, but that would be unproductive and create unnecessary tension and conflict. I think this is one reason for the importance of science as a tool for stability. If science is the search for truth and truth can never really be, I shouldn't say that truth should never be an engine of conflict because no two people should disagree on something which is objectively true.


Then in some sense, search for truth is searching for a common ground where we can all exist and live without contradicting or attacking each other.


We have a hope that there is a lot of common ground to be discovered. Sure. I mean, if we continue scientifically, we are discovering truth and in that discovering common ground on which we can all agree that that's one reason why I think caring about science, if you have a culture which cares very deeply about science, that's a culture which is not necessarily bound to endure unwarranted internal conflict. I think that's one reason that I'm so passionate about science is its search for universal ground.


Let me just throw out an example of modern day philosophical thinker will keep your dad, Eric Goldstein, out of the picture for a sec, but he does happen to be an example of one. But Jordan Peterson is an example of another, somebody who thinks deeply about this world. His ideas are by certain percent of the population, sort of, speaking of truth, are labeled as dangerous. Why do you think his ideas are?


Just ideas of these kinds of deep thinkers in general are labeled as dangerous in our modern world? Is it similar to what you've been discussing, that in difficult times philosophers become dangerous? Was there something specific about these particular thinkers in our time?


Well, I think Jordan Peterson is very anti-establishment and a lot of his beliefs. He's an unconventional thinker. And I think we need, regardless of whatever Jordan's particular views and beliefs are, and if they bring about more danger than truth or if they don't, it's very important to have fundamental thinkers who exist outside of a conventional framework. So do I think that he's dangerous? I think by existing outside of a system which is known, he is dangerous. And I think we have to in some sense, we have to welcome danger in that capacity because it will be our only way out of this.


So I'm regardless of whether his beliefs are right or wrong. I'm pretty adamant about the fact that we need to support. Thought, which may rescue us, and that thought can appear radical or dangerous at times, but ultimately, if you allow for. This is kind of the difficult discussion of free speech and so on is ultimately difficult ideas will pave the way for progress. Yeah, and I'd actually I'd like to to slow you down there because I think one of the issues we were discussing previously was the fact that language often destroys our ability to think, um.


When we're talking about whether his ideas are radical, I don't know if we mean radical in the traditional sense of having to to deal with the root of a problem or in the more modern sense of being very extreme. And I think that's completely by design, I think. Fundamental thought, which semantically would once be considered radical thought, became very dangerous, and now it's become synonymous with extreme or dangerous thought, which means that anyone who considers himself a radical thinker is willing semantically also a dangerous or extreme thinker.


These are not helpful labels in the sense that the more we say radical or extremist thinker, then you're just, uh. Well, how do I put it?


You're not being you're not helping the public discourse, the exchange of ideas, but through no fault of our own, the concept of radical is having to do with a root is, uh, it's it's an obvious concept for which there must be language. And a lot of the attack on thought has to do with attacking language, which communicates conceptually. So this is an example of how our world is becoming increasingly Orwellian. It just language is being used to destroy our ability to to think I think I can't remember exactly what the numbers are, but I read some statistic about how greatly the average English vocabulary has decreased since nineteen sixty.


It was like some incredible number. It really baffled me. It's like, how are how are people less able to to think in a time when the world is supposed to be growing at a never before seen rate, it's like we can't keep on, we can't sustain this growth if we destroy everyone's ability to think because the growth requires thinking and we're ruining the tools for it. I watched your your podcast with Noam Chomsky. And I think one interesting thing which he discussed was how language is more used to develop thoughts within our own head than it is used to communicate those thoughts with others.


If the language doesn't change, even if it's usage changes and when language is destroyed in communication, it also.


Stymies our ability to to think reasonably, and I'm very, very worried.


But the language in communication requires a medium and there's a lot of different medium. So there's social media, there's Twitter, there is writing books. There's blog posts. There's. Podcasts. There's YouTube videos, all of things you have dipped a toe in in your exploration of different mediums of communication.


Yeah, which do you see yourself? This might be just a poetic way of asking, are you going to do a podcast?


But broader, a broader picture, what do you think as an intellectual in this world for you personally will be the path for communicating your ideas to the world?


What are the mediums you are currently drawn to? Are the ones I mentioned maybe something I didn't?


To answer your question concretely before, abstractly. I'm scared, but I need I need to do a podcast. You know, it's it's important. It is my obligation as a member of my generation, I, I really hope that more people my age start to do this because we will be the people in charge of of new ideas which either sink or swim.


How upset your dad be on your podcast quickly becomes more popular than his.


I think he would be negatively upset. I say be proud. He's a good dad. I really think so. Yeah.


So yeah. So but then zooming out, do you think podcasts are you excited by the possibility of other mediums outside of podcasting to communicate ideas?


I would be if people still read books or did things like that.


Uh. I'm somewhat guilty of this, a lot of the books I read are.


Very technical and then my to absorb like really deep modern conversations, I listen to I listen to podcasts and I don't really read many books on the matters that we're discussing.


For example, it's fascinating because you're making me think of something that I like you very much of how I consume deep thinkers currently.


So what happens is somebody who thinks deeply about the world will write a book, jauntiness an example. And instead of reading their book, I'll just listen to podcast conversations of them talking about the book, which I find to.


This is really sad, but I find that to be a more compelling way to think about their ideas because they're often challenged in certain ways in those conversations and they're forced to, after having borne them down and really thought through them enough to write a book. So it's almost like they needed to go through the process of writing a book just so they can think through, convert the language in their minds into something more concrete.


And then the actual exchange of ideas, the actual communication of ideas with the public happens not with the book, but after the book, with that person going on a book tour and communicating their ideas.


Well, there are two meanings I make of why, and not too many people spend much of their time reading anymore. One one interpretation is that we've lost our attention spans to our phones. People can't concentrate on a page if it takes them a minute to read. We're too busy watching tech talks or whatever people do.


The other interpretation would be that language and verbal communication has as well as, you know, some amount of communication which is done through facial expression, tone of voice, etc. These are means of communication that have evolved along with humanity over thousands and thousands of years.


So we know that we are built to communicate in this way. We have had.


Writing for much less time, it is a system that we invented, not a system which evolved and is innately part of, you know, humanity or the human mind.


And so we are designed to consume conversation by our own evolution. We are designed to consume writing by some process of symbols that's evolved over a couple thousand years.


It makes sense to me why many are much more compelled to listen to podcasts, for example, than they are to read books. It could be that this is simply a technological progression which has displaced. Reading conventionally, instead of some sort of maladaptation of our minds, which has corrupted our attention spans, you know, likely there's some combination which determines why people spend much less time reading. But I don't think it's necessarily because we're all broken. It may simply have to do with the fact that we are designed to listen and pass through our ears and speak through our mouths.


And we are not innately designed to communicate over a page.


So, yeah, there's an exciting coupling to me between like few second Tick-Tock videos that are fun and addicting and then the three for our podcasts, which are both really popular in our current time. So people are both hungry for the visual stimulation of Internet humor and memes. Huge fan of and also slow moving deep conversations. And that my you know, there's a lot of I mean, it's part of your generation to define what that looks like moving forward.


A lot of people like Joe Rogan is one of the people that kind of started accidentally stumbled into the discovery that this is like a thing. Yeah. And now people are kind of scrambling to figure out why is this a thing? Like why is there so much hunger for a long phone conversations and how do we optimize that medium for further further expression of deep ideas and all that kind of stuff? And YouTube is a really interesting medium for that as well.


Like video. Sharing videos, most the YouTube is used with a spirit of like the tick tock spirit, if I can put it in that way, which is like how do I have quick moving things that even if you're expressing difficult ideas, it should be quick and exciting and visual and switching. But there's a lot of exploration there to see what can we do, something deeper and nobody knows.


And you're part of the you have a YouTube channel releasing one video every few years.


So so your momentum is currently quite slow, but perhaps will accelerate your you're one of the people that gets to define that media is that do you enjoy that? The visual, the YouTube medium of communication as well.


I know that when the topic of conversation or the the means by which a conversation is is communicated or an idea is communicated, if that is sufficiently interesting to me, I will read a book on it.


I would listen to a podcast on it. I would watch a video on it. I think if I'm very curious about something, I will consume it however possible. I think when I have to consume things which really don't interest me very much, I am indeed much more ready to consume them through some sort of video or discussion than I am through a long, tedious book.


So for the for the breadth of acquiring knowledge is good for the depth, the medium doesn't matter.


I think it'd be fun to ask you about some big philosophical questions to see if you have an opinion on that.


Do you think there's a free will or as free will, just an illusion?


Well, I think classical mechanics would tell us that if we are if we were to know every piece of information about a system and understand the rules which govern that system, we would be completely able to predict the future with complete accuracy.


So if something could know everything about our lives, it could freeze time and and understand the position of every neuron in my mind about about to fire.


No decision could be unpredictable there. In some sense, there is that sort of that sort of fate. I think that doesn't make the decisions we make illegitimate, even if some grand supercomputer could.


Understand what decisions we would make beforehand with complete certainty. I think we're making legitimate systems within a system that has no freedom. We're making legitimate systems within a system. There's not freedom. Can you explain what you mean by that? Yeah, so if we were to have just a simple pendulum and I told you how long the rope was, I we froze it at a particular point and I told you how high up high above the ground the weight was.


And the motion of a of a pendulum is something which is easy for everyone to imagine.


I could if we had all of that information, you could ask me, where will the what will the pendulum do six and a half minutes from now? And we would have a precise answer. That's like that's an example of a very simple system with a very simple Lagrangian. And we could completely predict the future.


The pendulum has no ability to do anything that would surprise us. Weirdly, that's true of whatever this four dimensional, crazy world we live in. Looks like if we were to if we were to understand where every piece of this system was at any given time, and we we understand the laws of motion, how everything worked, if we could compute all of that information somehow, which we will never be able to do, we would every decision you will ever make could be predicted by that computer.


That doesn't mean that your decisions are illegitimate. You are really making those decisions, but with a completely predictable outcome.


So I'm just sort of a little bit high at the moment on the on this on the poetry of a system within a system that has no freedom.


So the human experience is the system we've created within the system. There's no freedom but that system that we've created. Has a feeling of freedom. That to us and it feels as. Much more real than the physics, as we understand it, of the underlying like based system, so it's almost like not important what the physics of the base system is, that for the what we've created, the nature of the human experience.


Is there is a free will or is there is something that feels close enough to a free will that it may not be worth? Spending too much time on the fact that it's something of an illusion, we will never build a computer that knows everything about every piece of the universe at a given time. And so for all intensive purposes, our decisions are up to us. We just happen to know that their outcomes could be predicted with enough information.


So speaking of supercomputers, it can predict every single thing about the what's going to ever happen. What do you think about the philosophical thought experiment of us living in a simulation?


Do you often find yourself pondering of us living in a simulation of this question? Do you think it is at all useful thought experiment?


I think it's very easy to become fascinated with all of these possibilities and they're completely legitimate possibilities. You know, like do I. Is there some validity to solipsism while it can never be falsified or disproven? So, I mean, sure, you could be a figment of my imagination. It doesn't mean that I will act according to this possibility.


I'm not going to call you names and just to test the system to see how robust it is to distortions. Yeah.


So, I mean, all of these existential thought experiments are completely possible. We could be brains in jars. It doesn't mean that our experience will feel any less valid.


And so it doesn't make a difference to me if you are some number of of ones and zeros or you're a figment of my imagination, which lives in a in a stored, stored away brain. It will never really change my experience, knowing that that's a possibility. And so I try to. I try to avoid making decisions based on such contemplations, you know, if we take this this previous issue of free will.


I could I could decide that because I have no choice in my life, if I lie around in bed all day and eat chips, I was destined to do that thing. And if I make that decision, then I was destined to do that thing. It would be a really poor decision for me to make out of school and a dozen commitments.


There's somebody listening to this right now, probably hundreds of people sitting down eating chips and feeling terrible about them.


Those are how dare you, sir, if they're listening to this, they're clearly they're clearly curious about possibilities of of thought.


It's not the top, the bed and the chips that makes them not the better. The chips that makes them in yet another quotable from Zev. Why is that OK? But you don't think of it as a useful thought experiment from an engineering perspective of.


You know, virtual reality of thinking, how we can create further and further immersive worlds, like would it be possible to create worlds that are so immersive that we would rather live in that world versus the real world? I mean, that's another possible trajectory of the world that you're growing up in, is where more and more.


Immersing ourselves into the digital world for now, its screens and looking the screens and socializing the screens, but it's possible to potentially create a world that's also visually for all of our human senses, as immersive as the physical world.


And then, you know, it's to me, it's an engineering question of how difficult is it to create a world that's as immersive and more fun than though the world we currently live as a terrifying concept, and I hate to say it, we might live happier lives in a virtual reality headset 30 years from now than we are currently living this future.


The digital future worries you. It worries me. On the other hand, it may be. It may be a better alternative to fighting for whatever people are clinging onto and are non virtual world or at least the world that we don't yet know is virtual.


So embrace the future. We've been talking a lot about thinkers now.


In the broad definition of philosophy, you kind of include it innovators of all form, do you find it useful to draw a distinction between thinkers and doers?


I think that the most important gift we've ever been given is our ability to observe the universe and think deductively about whatever principles transcend humanity. Because, you know, as we discussed, that's that's the closest thing we will ever have to a universal experience is understanding things which must be true everywhere in order for that.


So I think if if we're if we're deciding that life is is meaningful and the human experience is meaningful, you can make a very convincing argument that its greatest meaning will be understanding whatever transcends it.


I think that's only sustainable if people are. Happy and well-fed and things of of market value are invented, and so I think we really need both to live meaningful and successful and possible lives in terms of like, whoo hoo, my greatest heroes are I can't decide between figures like Einstein and Newton and Feynman.


And on the other hand, figures like like Kary Mullis, for example, I think people like Einstein make our lives meaningful and people like Kerry Mullas, who's probably responsible for saving hundreds of millions of lives, make our make our lives possible. And, uh, good. So. In terms of where I would like to find myself. With these two different notions of achievement, I don't know what I would more like to achieve. I have an inclination that it will be something scientific because I would like to bring meaning to humanity instead of sustenance.


But I think both are very important. We can't we can't sustain our lives if we don't keep growing technologically. I think people like you are making that possible with computing, because that's one of the few things that's really moving forward a in a clear sense.


I think I think about this a great deal, so I think both are very important.


So one example that's modern day inspiring figure on the on the latter part, the engineering part on the sustenance is Elon Musk that somebody you draw inspiration from or what are your thoughts in general about the kind of unique. Speck of human that's creating so much inspiring innovation in this world so boldly, I know that we will not survive without people like that.


Ellen is a. Ridiculous and sensational example of one of these figures, I don't know if he's the best example or the worst example, but he is he is of his own kind. He is radically individualistic. And those are the people who will allow us to continue as as humans. I'm very happy that we have people like that in this world.


You said this thing about if we are to say that life has meaning. Our life is meaningful, then you could argue that it is a worthy pursuit to transcend life. Do you see that? Another just going to have to I'm going to have to go back and sleep on that one.


Do you do you draw some speaking, reon some inspiration of.


As transcending earth of us, moving outside of this particular planet that we've called home for a long time and colonizing other planets and perhaps one day expanding outside of the solar system and expanding colonizing our galaxy and beyond.


Honestly, I know very little about space exploration. I think it makes complete sense to me why we are starting to think very seriously about it. It's an amazing and baffling and innovative solution to a lot of problems we see as a world population. I can't really offer very much of interest on the topic. I think I'm talking about transcending humanity and transcending Earth.


I'm talking usually about deriving truth. And that's one of the things that makes like theoretical math and physics so interesting. It's like I, I really, really love biology, for example. But biology is a combination of whatever principles ensure evolution and whatever weird coincidences happen billions of years ago.


The is more interesting to understand the fundamental mechanisms of evolution, for example, than it is the results, the messy results of its processes.


I can't say which is more interesting. I can say which I think is more is more deep. I think theory and abstraction, which can be achieved completely deductively, is deeper because it has nothing to do with circumstance and everything to do with logic and thought so.


Like, if we were ever to to interact with aliens, for example, we would not have our biology in common if if these were or some sort of really intelligent life form, we would have math and physics in common because the laws of physics will be the same every everywhere in the universe.


They are particular. Anatomy and biology pertains only to life on this on this planet, and the principles may apply more ubiquitously.


Do your thing about aliens like what they might look like. I try to when I deal with thought experiments like these, I try to keep a very abstract mind set. And I notice that whenever I try to instantiate these abstractions, I. I corrupt whatever thoughts there are for which they're useful.


So it's kind of like the labels discussion. So like the most and try to make it concrete is probably going to look like some cute version of a human being. It's a little green fellahs with the eyes and so on or whatever.


Whatever the movies have instilled in your cultural upbringing, you're going to project onto that. The assumptions you have is interesting.


So you prefer to step away and think in abstract notions of what it means to be intelligent, what it means to be a living life form and all that kind of stuff.


I try to I almost try to pretend I'm I'm blind and I'm deaf and I'm only a mind with no inductive reasoning capacity when I'm trying to think about thought experiments like these, because I know that if I incorporate whatever my eyes instruct my brain, I will I will impede my ability to.


Think as deeply as possible, because once again, it's the thing which shallows our thought can be the incorporation of circumstance and coincidence and for particular kinds of thought, that's very important.


I'm not discounting the use of inductive reasoning in many humanities and in many sciences, but for the deepest of thoughts, once again, I feel it's important to try to transcend whatever methods of observation characterize human experience.


But within that, that's all really beautifully put. I wonder. If there is a common. Mathematics and common physics between us and alien beings, we still have to make concrete the methods of communication. Yeah, and that's a fascinating question of like while remaining in these abstract fundamental ideas, how do we communicate with them?


I mean, I suppose that question could be applied to different cultures on Earth with finding a common language.


Do you think about that kind of problem of basically communicating abstract, fundamental ideas?


My least favorite aspect of math or physics or any of these really deep sciences is the symbolic component. You know, I'm I'm dyslexic. I don't like looking at at symbols. They're too often a source of of ambiguity. And I think you're entirely right that if one thing holds us back with.


Communication with something that behaves or looks nothing like us, I think if one thing holds us back, it will be symbols and the communication of deep thought, because as I said, I think communication frequently compromises thought by intention or by just the theoretical inadequacy.


So and this topic actually would be fun to see what your thoughts are. Do you think math is invented or discovered? So you said that math we might share ideas of mathematics and physics with alien life forms. So it's uniform in some sense of uniform throughout the universe.


What do you think this thing that we call mathematics is something that's kind of fundamental to the world we live in, or is it just some kind of pretty axioms and theories have come up with to try to describe the patterns we see in the world?


I think it's completely discovered and completely fundamental to all experience. I think the only component of mathematics that has been invented is the expression of it.


And I think in some sense there's almost an arrogance required to believe that whatever aspect. We invent having to do with math and physics and a theory, there is an arrogance required to truly believe that that belongs on any sort of stage with the actual beauty of the matters being discovered. So, um.


We need our minds and in some sense our pens to be able to play with these things and communicate about them and. Those hands and those are and those pens are the things which smudge the most beautiful thing that humanity can ever experience and.


Maybe if we interact with some intelligent life form, they will have their own unique smudges, but the canvas, which is beautiful, must be identical because that is universal and ubiquitous truth. And that's what makes it deep and and meaningful, is that it's so much more important than whatever we're programmed to enjoy as an aspect of human experience.


Yeah, that that's really beautifully put in the human language is these messy smudges of trying to express something underlying that is beautiful. Speaking of that, on the physics side, do you think the pursuit of a theory of everything in physics, as we might call it in our current times of understanding the basic fabric of reality from a physics perspective is an important pursuit?


I think it's essential. As I've said, I think ideation is our only escape from the constraints of human condition. And I think that it's important that all great thoughts and ideas are bound together. And I think the math is beautiful and it ensures that the things which bind great ideas which have already been had and great discoveries together, it it ensures that those strings will be beautiful.


I think it's very important to unify all theories that have brought us to to where we are.


Do you think humans can do it? Do you think humans can solve this puzzle? Is it possible that we, with our limited cognitive capacity, will never be able to truly understand this deep, like deeply understand this underlying canvas?


I think if not, it will be people like you who invent.


Some sort of I don't know, we'll call it computation for now that will be able to. Not only discover that which transcends humanity, but to transcend human methods of discovering that which is above it.


So superintelligent systems, ajai and so on, that that are better physicists than us. I wonder if you might be able to comment so your dad does happen to be somebody who boldly seeks this kind of deep understanding of physics, the underlying nature of reality from a physics perspective, from a mathematical physics perspective. Do you have hope your dad figures it out? I have great hope, you know, it's not it's not supposed to be my journey. It's supposed to be his journey.


It's supposed to be his to express to the world. Obviously, I'm I'm so proud that I'm connected to someone who is determined to do such a thing. And on the other hand, you know, maybe in some sense I feel bad for him for having to if he's going to be the the thing which which discovers some sort of grand unified theory and expresses it, I feel sorry that he will have to to smudge whatever canvas this thing is because.


Because he's human, really, I think. I know I've seen a little bit of what I think great math and great physics looks like, and it's it's unbelievably beautiful. And then you have to present it to a world with, you know, like market constraints and all of this, like, messy sloppiness. I feel bad and some sense from my dad because he has to go back and forth between this beautiful world of math and whatever the the messiness is of his, you know, his human life and then the scientific community broadly with egos and tensions and exactly the dynamics of our of what makes us human is also very lucky that he gets to play with these sorts of things.


It's a mixed it's a mixed bag.


I both feel a little sorry for him for having to deal with the beauty as well as the the smudging and the sloppiness of human expression. And I think it's difficult not to envy such a, um, such a beautiful. Insight or life or vision, so, well, that's your own path as well as this kind of struggle of. As you mentioned, exploring the beauty of different ideas while having to communicate those ideas with the best as you can in a world that wants to put labels, that wants to misinterpret the wants to, then wants to destroy the beauty of those ideas.


And that's you seem to at this time with the youthful enthusiasm, embracing that struggle, despite the fear in the face of fear. So and your dad also carries that same youthful enthusiasm as well. But that said, you know, your dad, Eric Weinstein, is a powerful voice, I would say a powerful intellect in public discourse.


Is this a burden for you or an inspiration or both as a young mind yourself. I think, as I said, there's this there's this weird contrast of, you know, I know that he has ideas which I think are very beautiful, and I know he has to deal with the sort of. There's there's something you have to sacrifice in beauty when you bring it to a world which is not always beautiful. And there is there's an aspect of that which sort of scares me about this kind of thing.


I also think that, um. Especially since I'm trying to think about how I should appeared publicly, my dad has been very inspirational and that, I think, is he brings a sort of fastidious care to very difficult conversations that was fastidious, mean, like it just very careful and thoughtful. Um, he brings that sort of attitude to, um, I think really difficult conversations. And I know that I don't have that skill yet. I don't think I'm terrible.


But the care, the nuance and yet not being afraid to push forward.


Yeah, I would really like to to learn from my dad there.


I think also my dad has been very important to my life just because I've always been a sort of very idiosyncratic thinker. Um, and I think.


I don't always know how to interact with the world for those sorts of reasons, and I think my dad has always been similar, and if not for my dad, I don't know if I would just believe that like I was stupid or something because I wouldn't know how to how to.


I don't know if I would know how to interpret my differences from convention. So.


So he gave you he gave you the power to be different and use that as a super power. Yeah, I guess you could you could put it that way, I don't know who I would believe I am if I didn't have my dad telling me that it wasn't my own stupidity which alienated me from certain aspects of standard life. So I'm very, very thankful for that.


Is there a fond memory you have about an interaction with your dad? Either funny, profound. That kind of sticks with you now a lot.


Part of the reason I ask that, of course, is just fascinating to see somebody as brilliant as you see how you're the people that you interact with, how they form the mind that you have, but also to give an insight of another public figure like your dad to see from your perspective of what kind of little magical moments happened in private life.


I would say I remember I just posted about this on on Instagram or something.


Otherwise it didn't happen if you didn't post.


Yeah. One person is always sort of mattered to whatever weird life and experience I've had has been this this comedian, Tom Lehrer.


Um, do you know him?


Yes. Yes, I love him very much. Likewise. Anyway, I remember I think I was five or something. My dad came home with the with the CD, this Tom Lehrer CD, and he told me to to listen to it.


And it was all of this like bizarre satirical writing about, you know, like prostitution and cutting up babies and like all kinds of ridiculously vile content for a for a five year old.


I think beyond just my love of of Tom Lehrer, I think it was a way for my dad to express that from a very young age. He was he was really ready to treat me like an adult. And he was ready to to trust me and share and share his his life and his enjoyments with me in a way that was unconventional because he was willing to discard tradition for the chance that are really unique and meaningful parental relationship to trusting that the his particular brand of weirdness is something you can understand at a young age and embrace and learn from a time later.


We should clarify is not all about what is it, murder and prostitution. He's one of the wittiest, most brilliant musical artists. If you ever listen to his work, you should.


He's just a rare intellect who's able to sort of in catchy rhyme, express some really difficult ideas and sat through satire. I suppose, though, that's still, even though it's decades ago, still resonates today. Some of the ideas that he expressed.


I will say also that I think I am probably a more cultured person, having listened to Tom Lehrer than I would have been without. I think a lot of his comedy draws upon a canon that I was really driven to, to research by saying, oh, what does this mean? I don't I don't understand that reference.


There are a lot of references there to really. Really inspirational things, but she sort of assumes going into a lot of his songs and for many of us like me after the piece those things together, you know, looking at Wikipedia pages and whatnot, but, um, to tie this back to the original question, I think, um.


I think there's sort of a break it you bought it notion of parenting, I think really, if you're if you're not going to accept a standard, you have to invent your own.


And I think in some ways, that was my dad's way of telling me that if I was to on standard as a child, he wouldn't you would invent his own way of parenting me because that was worth it to him. And I think that was very meaningful to me.


I know you're young. This is a weird time to ask this question. Are you cognizant on the role of love in your relationship with your dad? Are you at a place mentally as a man yourself to admit that you love the guy?


I love my dad like I am with the connection that I think I've had to very few things in the world. I think my dad is one of the people that's allowed me to see myself. And I don't know who I would imagine myself to be if not for my dad. That isn't to say that I agree with him on everything, but I think he's given me courage to accept myself and to believe that I can teach myself where I'm unable to to learn from convention.


So I have a very I love my dad very dearly. Yes.


Is there a ways in which you wish you could be a better son?


Firstly, I'd like to say I'm sure before I figure out exactly what those are. I think if I I think whenever I come to conclusions on what that means, I'm eager to to take them on. What do you mean by that will mean by conclusion? I have an idea for how to be a better son. I think I'm I'm inclined to to try to be that person. I think that's true of almost anything. I think if I have ideas for improvement, it would be wasteful, not not not to act on them.


So, um. I suppose one thing I could say is that. I think idealism and what could almost be considered naivete is not necessarily a, um, a lacking of maturity, but instead. And obligation to those older than us who have. Lived lives and seen too much to. Fully believe and what is naive and right without. Without the assistance of the young to reinspire traditional idealism, and so perhaps instead of trying to be more mature all the time, I should spend some time trying to be an idealistic form of hope in the lives of people who maybe have seen too much to retain all of that original hope.


So that's something that's that's difficult. But, you know, especially appearing in public as someone as young as I am, I think anything I do, which is juvenile by choice will be held against me. So but maybe that's a sacrifice that I have to make. I have to retain some sort of youthful hope and optimism.


Yeah, I can't I mean, I'm going to get teary eyed now, but I have allergies. But I also this pretty powerful.


You're saying I certainly share your ideas. It's something I struggle with just by instinct is your idea, but just by instinct.


I love being naive and. Seeing the world from a hopeful perspective, from an optimistic perspective, and it is it's sad that that is something you pay a price for in this world, like in the academic world, especially as you're coming up through through schooling. But just actually it's a hit on your reputation throughout your life. And it's a sad truth. But you have to look for many things. If it's a principle you hold, you have to be willing to pay the costs.


And ultimately, I believe that. In part, a hopeful view will help you realize the best version of yourself, because optimism is a kind of. Optimism is productive, like believing that the world is in can be amazing is allows you to create a more amazing world somehow. I mean, I'm not sure if I'm not sure if it's a human nature of a fundamental law of physics. I don't know. But believe in the impossible in the sense being optimistic about the thing.


It's like going back to what you've said is like believing that a radical that a powerful single idea that a single individual can revolutionize some framework that we're operating in that will change the world for the better, believing that allows you to have the chance to create that. And so I'm with you on the optimism, but you may have to pay a cost of optimism and naive hopefulness.


I mean, in some sense, optimism limits freedom.


I think if we don't really have much choice in choosing what is perfect, if it exists as is an ideal, then there isn't much room for for creativity.


And that's a danger of optimism. As someone who would like to be creative, I think I think it was Warren Zevon said, excepting dreams, you're never really free. And that's something I think about a lot. Um. There's an interesting guy also I really like him on that topic. You do have a bit of an appreciation in connection with music. Music. I play some guitar a few months ago.


What can you put in, like a philosophical sense, your connection to music? What insights about life? But just the way you see the world you get from music.


I think the role music has played in my life was originally motivated by sort of wanting to to prove things to myself. I really have no ear for music. I have a terrible sense of pitch. And I think a lot of music relies on very standard teaching. If you think about, uh, lessons, for example, music lessons, there's there's sort of a routine to them which is so archaic and traditional that there's no room for for for deviation, I think.


All of that suggested to me that I would never have a relationship with music. I loved listening to music. It was just it was difficult to me. It was sort of saddened me. I wanted to know if there was any way I could build a connection to music, given who I am, my own idiosyncrasies, what challenges I have. I decided to try to learn music theory before I touched an instrument. I think that gave me a very unique opportunity, instead of spending my time fruitlessly at the beginning on the syntax of a particular instrument, this is how you assess your posture on the piano.


This is how you hold your fingers. I tried instead to learn what made music work. And the wonderful thing about that was I'm pretty sure that any instrument with discrete notes is mine for the taking within a day or so of having the ability to to play with it. So I think approaching music abstractly gave me the ability to instantiate it everywhere. And I think it also taught me something about self teaching. Recently I've tried getting into into classical music because at least traditionally this is the thing which is thought to require the most rigor and traditional teaching.


I think it's essentially taught me, even if I'll never be a great classical performer, that there is nothing one can't really teach themself in this in this era.


So I've been I've been enjoying whatever connection I have with with music. The other thing I'll say about it is that it's a it's a very rewarding learning process. We know, for example, that music accesses are neurochemicals very directly. And if you teach yourself a little bit of theory and are able to instantiate it on an instrument without wasting your time or spending your time tediously on learning the particulars of that instrument, you can instantly sit down and access your own dopamine loops.


And so you don't really need to motivate, motivate yourself with music because like you're giving your your brain drugs, you know, who needs motivation to to give themselves drugs and learn something? So, uh. I think. I think more people should be should be playing music, I think a lot of people don't realize how how easy it can be to approach if you take a sort of non-standard approach. And the standard approach, in your sense, was understanding the theory first and then just from the from the foundation of the theory, be able to then just take on any instrument and start creating something that sounds reasonably good.


Yeah, we're learning something that sounds reasonably good and then plugging into the, as you call them, the dopamine loops of your brain, allowing yourself to enjoy the process. Yeah. What about the the pain in the ass rigorous process of practice? So there's something about my dopamine loops, for example, that enjoys doing the same thing over and over and over again and watching myself improve.


I think that's because music is more effective at accessing us when it's played correctly. And I think you play I'm I'm positive that you play music much more correctly than I do. So if you are going to sit down and play something that you've learned, that piece will be much more satisfying to your ears and to your brain than if I were to play that piece just sitting down within with an instrument. But it's sort of a tradeoff with freedom and and rigour, because even if I should be spending more of my time practicing rigorously, I know I don't have to to make me happy.




Well, JoCo Willink, I think has the saying the discipline is freedom. So maybe, maybe the repetition of the discipline of repetition is actually one of the mechanisms of achieving freedom. It's another way to get to freedom that it doesn't have to be a constraint, but in a sense unlocks greater sense of opportunity, then results in a deeper experience of freedom.


Maybe, I mean, particularly if you're thinking about discipline and, uh, method for improvisation. Right. There are a million pieces that you could improvise with the same discipline in how to approach that improvisation. So I think. I think that's it's true that discipline promotes freedom if you insert a layer of of indirection, because I think I think if you're if you're trying to learn one piece that was written four hundred years ago and you're playing it over and over again, there is nothing personal.


Sorry, there's nothing personal or creative about that process, even if it's beautiful and satisfying. There has to be some sort of discipline applied to the creativity of self. So I think that I think that is the layer of indirection which reconciles both approaches to freedom and discipline and enjoyment of music.


Discipline applied to the creativity of self dams, thank you now as an aging man yourself, if you were to give an advice to young folks today of how to approach life and maybe advice yourself. Is there some way you could condense? A set of principles, a set of advices you would give to yourself and to other young folks. I've how to live life, sure, I would I would say that with the collapse of systems that have existed for thousands of years, you know, whatever is happening with universities might be an example of some system that that may or may not be decaying, I think, with the destruction of of important systems.


There is a unique opportunity to invest in oneself, and I think that is always the right approach provided that the investment one makes in his self is obligated towards humanity as a whole. And I think that is that is the great struggle of my generation. Will we create our own paths that are capable of saving whatever is collapsing or will we be squashed by the debris? And I hope to articulate what patterns I see this struggle taking over the years that my generation becomes particularly active in the world as an important force.


I think already we're important as a as a demographic to particular markets. But I, I should hope that our voices will matter as well, starting very soon. So I would I would try to think about that. That would be my advice. Do you? It's a silly question to ask, perhaps, but then a bit of a Russian one, it's silly because you're young, but I don't think it's actually silly because you're young. Do you ponder your mortality and are you just afraid of death in general?


So tying us back to our previous conversations about abstraction versus experience, which is determining our our notions of our life and our our world, death is interesting in that it is obviously hyper important to a person's life. And it is something that, for the most part, no human will really experience and be able to to reflect upon. So. Our notions of death are sort of proof that if we want to make the most of our lives, we have to think abstractly and relying not at all at times on experiential thought and understandings because we can't really experience death and reflect upon it, hence and use it to motivate us.


It has to remain some sort of abstraction. And I think. If we have trouble comprehending true abstraction, we tend to view our lives as we tend to view ourselves as nearly immortal, and I think that's very dangerous. So. One concrete implication for my belief, an abstraction would be that we all need to be aware of our our own deaths and we need to we need to understand concretely the the boundaries of our lifetimes. And no amount of experience can really motivate that.


It has to be driven by thought and an abstraction.


In theory, that's one of the deepest elements of what it means to be human, is our ability to form abstractions about our mortality versus animals. I think there's just something really fundamental. About our interaction with the abstractions of death and, you know, there's a lot of philosophers that say that that's actually core to. Everything we create in this world, which is like us struggling with this impossible to understand idea of mortality, and I mean, I'm drawn to this idea because both the mystery of it, but also just from the human experience perspective, it seems that you get a lot of meaning from stuff ending.


It's kind of sad, the flip side of that, to think that stuff won't be as meaningful if if it doesn't end, if there's not a finite. But it seems like resources gain value from being finite. And that's true for time. That's true for the deliciousness of ice cream. That's true for love, for everything from music and so on. And yeah, it's it seems deeply human to to try to, as you said, concretize the abstractions of mortality, even though we can never truly experience it, because that's the whole point of it.


Once it ends, you can't experience it. Yeah. Again, another ridiculous question. OK. What do you think is the meaning of it all? What's the meaning of life from your your deep thinking about this world? Is there a good way to answer any of the questions about this existence here on Earth? And as I said, we're here in part by principle and in part by accident, and a lot of the things which bring us joy are our program to bring us joy, to ensure our evolutionary success.


And so. I would not necessarily consider all of the things which bring us joy to be meaningful. I think they play a very a very obvious role and a clear pattern, and we don't have much choice in that. I think that out rules the idea of joy being the meaning of life. I think it's I think it's a nice it's a nice thing we get to have, even if it's not inherently meaningful. I think the most. The most wonderful thing that we will ever we have ever been given.


Has been our ability to, uh. As I said, observe, observe what? Transcends us as as humans, and I think to live a meaningful life is to see that and hopefully contribute to that.


So to try to understand what makes us human and to transcend that and in some small way contribute to it in the finite time we have here. Those are some powerful words, so you're you're a truly special human being, it's really an honor to talk to you. I can't I'm just, uh, I'm a new born fan of yours, and I can't wait to see how you push the world. Please embrace the fear you feel and be bold. And I think you will do some special things in this world.


I'm confident if the world doesn't destroy you and I hope it doesn't. Be strong. Be brave. You're an inspiration. Keep doing your thing. And thanks for talking down. Thank you so much. Thanks for listening to this conversation with Zev Weinstein and thank you to our sponsors Express VPN Grammar Grammar assistant, simply safe home security and magic spoon, low carb cereal. So the choices privacy, grammar, safety or health issues. Wisely, my friends, and if you wish, click the sponsor links below to get a discount to support this podcast.


And now let me leave you with some words from Aristotle. Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.